Two Poems by David McLean

summer is 

summer is the blind witch;
she is looking for the murderers
who took her mother,
or just a motor car driving in Paris

like Lucy Jordan might have wanted
once; warts and all the anxious
immeasurable, summer
was never yet heaven for them;

she is looking for her murderers
so she can be forgiven


stars in the sky like cocaine

and water to slake the thirst
of everything else forgotten -

a smear of time
over dried paper,

dead words and hungry ashtrays
and all these incessant “maybes”

are a face to peel off
over every empty pedestal,

and the night wants nothing -
especially not faces and babies

Two Poems by Justin Hyde

tasting the back of my teeth in a truck-stop booth

having been dumped
by the married copy-editor
and having dumped
the indonesian dipsomaniac
on the same day

a snub-nosed brunette
tapped me on the shoulder
at carl’s place last night

she asked:

are you justin hyde
from the class of 96
at ames high?

i told her
that was
factually accurate.

we calibrated nostalgia
over eighty dollars worth of
jameson and bud light.

back at my place
she asked:

where is your couch?

i told her:

i try to winnow
all superfluities
from the needle of my compass.

no really
where is your furniture?

i grabbed two metal chairs
from my closet
unfolded them
and palmed her right tit.

i can't stay here,
she said.
this is too weird.

as i thank the graces
for being blessed with
the constitution
to laugh about this

sitting here

tasting the back of my teeth
in a truck-stop booth.

ex wife calls

her grandfather

to a husk
by cancer)

finally passed.

and i think:


what was that worth?

seven decades and change
of useless hustle
yielding the same
foregone conclusion.

another filament
gone rot
in this cosmic
back alley
craps game.

your ear
to the earth:

the sediment

holds our mortgage.

Two Poems by Rob Plath


my scars
become skylights
most nights

the stars
shine thru
the wounds

their silvery milk
bathing any traces
of pain


i have this
old mug of

& these
tubes of
primary colors

& these makeshift

but if everything
should suddenly
become terribly stale

then i have these two hands
to un-postpone my
suicide ....

Exit by Jonathan Butcher

As I shuffle around street corners,
I feel their shadows, almost hear
the muscles in their faces contort
into frowns.

I hold back in fear, as the old
memories slide back like unwanted
presents, and the grime from the
pavement seems even greyer than

And this allows me to picture an alternative
back drop, if only for a few seconds, a back
drop that always seems far to much effort to

They stand behind me, fists like rusted
shovels, grinning like fools, knowing
my one and only exit is now truly blocked.

I allow them this grace, to let them have
their crowning moment, let them think
they've left their mark.

Two Poems by Kevin Ridgeway‏

Valley Transit

On a rickety local
evening bus passing
an endless parade
of boarded up strip malls
framed by power lines
decorated with
dirty pairs of shoes
and fields playing host
to burned out oil rigs

a senile old man
asks me if I
know about the

the endless
stream of
broken glass
pass by
in fluttering
and he

--she has

smile in
the darkness
above us--
a woman
clad in lingerie
with gangland
lining her
bronze figure,

depicting retirees
each other for
Rose Hills

we climb
the hills
and enter
the heart of
the valley,
the millions of
lights twinkling
from each tiny
slowly dying
but still

Notes on a Law and Order Marathon

They happen almost daily
Formulaic plots, coffee and blood
Spilling into each other
As we nosh lazily on stale popcorn
And masturbate infrequently
To our favorite female assistant DA’s
There’s one we like to call Hot Lips,
Another we like to call Big Red,
And our favorite Mocha Delight
The male cops spout cornball zingers
At the unlucky perpetrators
And haul them to the meat factories
Where they’ll get cut deals
From our favorite ladies
In our favorite skirts
As we frolic through these
daydream doldrums
Hours of suspended reality

Two Poems by Ford Dagenham


shall i attempt to describe
what over-pilled and hanging writers
written? - the filths black animal blanket
your reason away?
no - i shall describe tuesday when time was still on dry gears,
when my voice shrank small as a mouse's,
when, too sane, all faces were intricately lined by artists,
when i touched the slow lumbering large things all around me
so conscious of being on the surface of a populated planet,
and i, too sane,
clearly knew and felt the earth’s solid girth and soil heft under my feet,
all sky's painted in
hollywood watercolours.


well, up later than usual
modest place east of town
8 AM
read my detective novel in hot bath drawn from tank in the attic
heated overnight
cigarette smoke mixing with steam.

on green rusting washing pole
cord long gone to coil in the winter border
sits a white dove lit glowing by the low sun,
looks soft,
no hint
of his noisy oils
in the creamy feathers
he ruffles and smooths again.  long shadow of his beak stretching along his back.
framed in the window perfectly like
in-laws on the mantelpiece.

well, at the back door i light another cigarette
i wear a damp towel pulled tight
in the draft.  quiet/ one man mends his shed roof
bent over behind
the bare trees
higher than fences
hitting nails in threes.

on the bent aerials monochrome magpies impossibly bright against
the heavy grey storm clouds
nod and twitch and pace
smaller birds scattered
lost like seeds till shoots sprout
showing themselves again
in spring.

well, i'm not in west texas anymore . . . are these birds omens i wonder?
this year’s nearly done with me.  its mistakes and endurance and drool tailing off
like dawn mist on the choppy lakes where the
small boats creak

well, i decide to decide the birds are omens.  why not?
and i stretch out
on the old bench picking at the weathered peel
looking at the churches.

Two Poems by H.L. Nelson


She ran between
coffee shop mornings
and coitus interruptus nights.
Which was between
3rd and 6th streets.
Gluten-free coffee biscuits
and congealed-cum ass cheeks
were her markers.
Begin race, run, end race,
ad infinitum.
The days blurred together,
a photograph of movement
taken with a cheap camera.
She was the cheap camera.
Used once on vacation
by him, dozens of hims,
the tourists.
Clicking her button,
getting her wet,
then tossing her away
in the morning,


I fear holes
punched in drywall,
the anger
that lived and breathed,
within his house.
The cigarette smoke
that curled around his fist,
which was ready
to strike
at the slightest provocation,
that yellowed the walls
and stained the ceiling
the color of sickness.
Ashes smeared
on every surface,
ashtrays filled
to overflowing,
dropping their contents
onto the dismal,
dark brown carpet
where they would lay,
until he yelled at me
to pick them up.
Glasses flung and shattered,
shards not near
as sharp
as his words and hands.
Linoleum cracked and peeling,
gathering West Texas dirt
in its abundant crevices,
which stepmom scrubbed,
on her knees,
and in vain,
with a toothbrush
in the dark hours
of the morning.


About Me

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