"There will come a time when it isn't 'They're spying on me through my phone' anymore. Eventually, it will be 'My phone is spying on me.'" - Philip K. Dick (1928 - 1982)
warm against my cheek,
caressing like pages
of sacred scrolls.
Your eyes are
vacant hotel rooms,
in the dark.
The slack of
your jaw, the heat
of your breath,
Through the mirror,
rivulets of black
and red crawl
into your mouth,
lining your throat,
wiring muscle and bone,
deep inside pink folds.
Your voice, your body,
Our silver station wagon
is peeled open and spilling
across Rogers Avenue
like a can of tomatos.
Bent through the window,
my father speaks glass and teeth.
My mother siezes in the
front seat. White eyes
of an oracle, quivering.
The phone rings on the
hospital wall. "How is she?"
a quaking voice asks.
The shock of my mother's
broken body speaks for me.
"We're fine," is all
I can say to the driver.
I still think about him
sometimes. Just out
of high school then,
he might have children
of his own by now.
The burden he must
still hold weighs on me,
and I wish he could see
my parents, smiling, as they
play with their grandkids.
Conjured once again,
she lies in an exhausted
heap of cream linen and
feathers on my kitchen floor.
I wait, impatiently, while
she peels off another piece
of vellum skin. Ignoring her
frantic screams, I place
my inkwell beneath the
crimson fountain, pluck
a quill from eider wings,
ANXIETY OF GUILT
There never was a time when guilt
didn’t sit just below my clavicle.
If genetic guilt is possible, I know
how it travels packaged in the lining
of the uterus where it feeds on my soul
just as pregnancy ate the calcium from
my bones and teeth,
yet births continued, through ignorance
and the too infrequent pleasure of sex,
but like a drug addict’s call, the beckon
of climax too great to ignore.
I know it’s contagious
and always there, hardly buried
in the day-to-day issues of life
where it arises on a perfect day
to swamp pleasure with anxiety.
I can see the veins on the top of my
hands that used to be smooth, a cliché
reminiscence of mother’s hands.
the skin so thin, a tap leaves a reddened
rose of remembrance, like guilt,
it fades slowly.
His name lies on our tongues
a memory that wanders through us
dragging its pain like shredded flesh,
bloodied and defiled.
We talk around him when we talk at all
as if his being doesn’t sit with us still,
as if his mind wasn’t beyond his learning.
his guitar playing so natural
all who heard were amazed.
As if the adoration of his dog,
big and clumsy and mourning
at the top of the stairs
didn’t tell us what we already knew.
We never talk about the night;
the police refusing entrance
his body hanging stilled
as if our imaginations didn’t speed past
the reality of the horror, the loss, the emptiness,
the gut-wrenching explosion of pain upon hearing
he was no more.
Pat Tyrer is a writer and lover of literature who walks the canyons of West Texas watching birds when the sun is up and star gazing when it’s not. She loves poetry that sits in your mouth and fiction that speaks in mysterious and haunting ways. See more of her work at www.wordstreet.net
I WONDER WHAT I WOULD BE LIKE HAD YOU LOVED ME
HAD YOU CRADLED ME IN YOUR ARMS INSTEAD OF USING THEM TO SUFFOCATE ME
HAD YOU BEEN PROUD OF THE CHILD YOU CREATED INSTEAD OF WISHING YOU ABORTED ME
HAD YOU NURTURED MY DEVELOPMENT INSTEAD OF REGRESSING MY CAPABILITIES
WHAT WOULD I BE LIKE HAD YOU LOVED ME?
HAD YOU INSISTED I WAS VALUABLE INSTEAD OF TELLING ME TO KILL MYSELF
HAD YOU SUPPORTED MY ASPIRATIONS INSTEAD OF CALLING ME YOUR BIGGEST MISTAKE
HAD YOU CONVINCED ME I WAS IMPORTANT INSTEAD OF LABELING ME A STUPID CUNT
WHAT WOULD I BE LIKE HAD YOU LOVED ME?
HAD YOU PROTECTED MY INNOCENCE INSTEAD OF DEFENDING THOSE WHO SEVERED IT FROM ME
HAD YOU GUARDED THE SECRETS I ENTRUSTED UPON YOU INSTEAD OF EXPOSING AND BERATING ME
HAD YOU CALLED ME BABY OR PRINCESS INSTEAD OF ABORTION CHILD
WHAT WOULD I BE LIKE HAD YOU LOVED ME?
WE WOULD HOLD HANDS AT THE PARK AND ADMIRE FIELDS OF BRIGHT YELLOW DAFFODILS
WE WOULD WEAR MATCHING SUN HATS AND SHARE AN ICE CREAM SUNDAE, WITH TWO BIG SPOONS
WE WOULD GO ON DAY TRIPS AND LAUGH UNTIL WE COULDN’T STOP LAUGHING, THEN WE WOULD LAUGH, AND LAUGH SOME MORE
WE WOULD WEAR FLEECE PAJAMAS AND WATCH MOVIES TOGETHER UNTIL I FELL ASLEEP, THEN YOU WOULD KISS MY FOREHEAD AND WHISPER, I LOVE YOU
I WOULD WAKE UP THE NEXT MORNING AND YOU WOULD STILL LOVE ME
HAD YOU LOVED ME
Morgan Phaneuf is an aspiring poet and author from the Quiet Corner of Connecticut. A proud mother, wilderness enthusiast, and karaoke queen, she strives to bring consolation to those who relate to the uncomfortability expressed in her writing. Focusing on authentic experiences, she re-creates trauma into words of empowerment.
We slog through thick, wet foliage, our leather boots sinking in summer’s decay
Gone are the olive groves and aqueducts of home, the assurances of mortar and stone, order and symmetry
Our imperial writ probes ever outward, seeking purchase where none exists
And in so doing, we encroach upon inhospitable climes of godlessness
Its demonic denizens challenge our foolhardy advance, as rabid howls soar through the pitch black of night, followed by gurgles of agony and cackles of glee
Daylight reveals crimson growth overhead, along with pools of crimson carnage underfoot
Slick, red wicker-hewn standards hung with the entrails of our dead loom at the peripheries of civility
Such brazen mockeries of our might expose the pink underbelly of imperial overreach
Earth’s appendages retract and wither as frost proclaims its presence, and our beacon of dominion wanes with the light of day
The devil’s deluge continues unabated, sapping our vigor in an implacable torrent of indifference
The ground hardens, and thieving winds steal away warmth, stranding us in a world wanting for succor and mercy
Our tattered legion eventually splinters on the devil’s predatory persistence, his arbitrary malice overrunning neatly fashioned defenses in waves of feral bloodlust
Disemboweled and bled dry, our husk of imperial zeal is too brittle to sustain the weight of its own avarice
Night eventually outlasts day, and for our surviving few, the devil now has a name
Arminius speaks to us in fleeting whispers, and while his words are strange, his intentions are not
We are told of his travels, and of his ship, a blood red halo in the sky
Soon we'll depart, he says, seeding our minds with assurances, and promises of the void’s wonders
But we've endured his unholy culling, seen him unearth depravity’s deepest depths, and know the reality will be far worse
Andrew Leonard (he/his/him) is an aspiring speculative fiction author and poet with a passion for all things science fiction, fantasy, and horror. He lives in Illinois with his wife, daughter, and two Golden Doodles, who rule the roost. He has written numerous articles on foreign policy and geopolitics, and, admittedly, has what some call an unhealthy obsession with the war in Ukraine.
crucifix is hollow,
dancing by the fire
straight into the morrow.
Stomping on the ashes,
cawing like a crow,
dressed up in the ire,
down and down we go.
Smoke is in the air,
blood is on the ground,
inhaling all around.
Two are in the cabin,
one is in the sea,
dancing by the fire
to the tale of misery
Sammy T. Anderson is a Writer, Actor and Filmmaker originally from Pierceton, Indiana. His poetry has been featured in Halcyon Days, The Twin Bill and The Poetry Cove. For more of his work, follow him on instagram: @sammytanderson
a halo of blood
frames her head
her outstretched hands
clutching roses -
their red petals hemorrhaging
at her sandaled feet-
black husks- withered
to be swept away
with unanswered prayers
of burnt out votive candles
to empty benedictions
the danger in reading words in darkness alone
succumbing to social media
voices constant texting
- multi windowed messages
in your darkened room
door locked -
no one aware
they will all
you showed no outward signs
just a lingering love
of dead poets
and their dead words.
the serpentine river
coils its path
kissing the mold covered rocks
weathered and torn
by night's wicked waves
gulls gibber mournful
a garbaged sigh
beneath the arch of whispering lies
where words of love intently die
etched in lace
brown and rotted
hung in rooms, lighted
by TV sets
shining the cruel light
that man cannot live by
while practicing joy
of hair oil and grease
between the late movie
that offers no peace
and stale crumpled linen
of his unmade bed
where day break shall find him
Joseph A Farina is a retired lawyer in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. An internationaly award winning poet. Several of his poems have been published in Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine,The Wild Word,The Chamber Magazine, Lothlorian Poetry Journal,Ascent ,Subterranean Blue and in The Tower Poetry Magazine, Inscribed, The Windsor Review, Boxcar Poetry Revue , and appears in many anthologies including: Sweet Lemons: Writings with a Sicilian Accent, Canadian Italians at Table, Witness from Serengeti Press and Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century . He has had poems published in the U.S. magazines Mobius, Pyramid Arts, Arabesques, Fiele-Festa, and Philedelphia Poets . He has had two books of poetry published— The Cancer Chronicles and The Ghosts of Water Street .
You must have forgotten
how many holes you have,
those unguarded doors
leading to dark wet places
you can’t reach to itch
if something sinister crawls
up in there, while you sleep.
That pesky stray eyelash
you keep trying to flick away, rinse out,
is not an eyelash after all.
It’s me: that spider you barely missed,
now decorating your eye socket
with tiny eggs by the dozen,
using your eyelid for a blanket
and dangling out just one leg, to stay cool.
I learned that trick from you.
Just wait till I teach my children.
Mike Lavine is a lawyer, biker, and writer of fiction somewhere between horror and comedy. A native of Barbados who now lives in San Francisco, Mike spends his spare time eavesdropping on other people’s conversations for dialogue ideas as he walks to the office.
I have at times been one
possessed of fire and darkness
in the black hours courting evil
in sight of the silent sacred houses
and the fearsome moonlit woods
mumbling words only I understood
made signs of earth and stone
survived the madness and returned
ashamed at times and wanting blood
I have been both within and out the circle
and have kissed the serpents tongue
drinking cheap whiskey at one night stand hotels
sirens moan outside down empty weed choked alleys
homeless gypsies in rags like ghosts pass by broken windows
ambulances and police cars leave trails of red and blue
the skidyard holds its secrets as boxcars rumble through the night
cheap glasses on scarred tabletops hold ice cubes
melting in the weak air conditioned barroom
stains on warping wooden floors both blood and piss
mark where lost souls fought and lost dignity and more
alone against the wall afraid and drunk, he stands
his night ends here in a musty backroom and unmade bed
the sounds of diesel engines roaring in the darkness
his shadows conspiring to choke him as he tries to sleep
as he slips into the coldness of unconsciousness
waking without memory in sweat and grime
his morning a hoarse continuation of his nightmare
a resident of the madhouse that is his life
the terrible morning revealing beggars, heretics and thieves
in silence he walks down cracked avenues
his head droning like flies on roadkill
walking in his sunrise's twilight curse
he sees behind uncurtained windows
faceless inhabitants under flickering lights
echoes of yesterdays before his horror took him
bathed in red and blue the sirens sound as the boxcars roll
Joseph A Farina is a retired lawyer in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. An internationally award winning poet. Several of his poems have been published in Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine, The Wild Word, The Chamber Magazine, Lothlorian Poetry Journal, Ascent ,Subterranean Blue and in The Tower Poetry Magazine, Inscribed, The Windsor Review, Boxcar Poetry Revue , and appears in many anthologies including: Sweet Lemons: Writings with a Sicilian Accent, Canadian Italians at Table, Witness from Serengeti Press and Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century . He has had poems published in the U.S. magazines Mobius, Pyramid Arts, Arabesques, Fiele-Festa, Philadelphia Poets and Memoir (and) . He has had two books of poetry published— The Cancer Chronicles and The Ghosts of Water Street .
If you liked these poems, you might also like “Nightwalker” by Joseph Farina, which was published in August 2021.
In view of the bleachers and the Little League diamond.--
night game, or no, we will make our way.
The sand drifts into the dry grass, and the killdeer cries
in its dust bath. Moths dither in the light that
cannot devour the moonlight.
Our cars arrive, and then, the pack -- on motorcycles.
There will be laughter, and scraps of remembering
the last month, and then we will move into the circle.
Our one high note of defiance will plume upward,
a demand for dark sky, before skin melts
and teeth erupt, and claws shed their civility.
Nothing clings -- not wedding rings, not wallets
tucked with kindergarten portraits, not passports,
or even the smiles of the littlest basemen.
All of that will fall within teeth, tails and tears.
You are blue of jewels,
on your skull, and ribcage,
and I do not mock you.
Someone has found a blessing within you --
a gold coin, a star -- rose petals, even.
Love is not lost with the dissolution of atoms.
Only, leave for me one sacred splinter.
This is enough for me to carry home
for my own fine and secret bones.
At 2 a.m. I sit at the kitchen table,
looking at bills, drinking Coke.
There's a creak, and my husband appears.
"What are you doing?" I ask.
He smiles and says, "Wandering."
He is not a ghost, just then,
but a man clinging to the Earth
with its tendrils and vines, its October crows
and poetry in passages of dark and light.
I summon him aloud, on the same stairs.
This house lives for the living, but
a word abides in an unquiet heart.
The Crocodile, Bound
When I realized I had forgotten you,
I rushed to the chamber of purple lights
and dull music. You, waiting, ensconced,
for me -- what was there then, but
these strips of linen, failing?
In your golden eyes of sleep,
in your river of dark space,
close, we are, in this cloth,
with no blood unraveled.
I caught you laughing at the purple bones,
draped in their satin, sitting upright.
Then did my love for you melt away
like sugar in a drink of rum.
Skeletons rise up, and dance, until they
tire of you. And I once wept to hold this
body of knowing, warm, in some
fiction of sleep. Every shadow body of mine
walks in waking, flesh in red hair, singing,
sighing, but not apart from me,
as now I lie in dreams apart from you.
Meg Smith is a writer, journalist, dancer and events producer based in Lowell, Mass. Recent publication credits include The Cafe Review, The Horror Zine, Dark Moon Digest, and many more.
She is author of five poetry books and a short fiction collection, The Plague Confessor. She welcomes visits to megsmithwriter.com.
If you enjoyed these poems, you might also enjoy the tale of horror, “Thin Skin” by Kilmo.
I dreamt my love there lost on a raft.
I dreamt I tried to care
And clung to the other half.
I dreamt I offered her a drink
The dregs white
As the white heart of a ghost.
I dreamt she started to sink
Her hand upraised in a skeleton’s toast,
And I dreamt I tried a sexy wink,
And my closed mouth
Tried a clenched kiss.
I dreamt she whispered bitterly:
Thomas White has a triple identity: speculative fiction writer, poet, and essayist. His poems, fiction, and essays have appeared in online and print literary journals and magazines in Australia, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. He is also a Wiley-Blackwell Journal author who has contributed essays to various nonliterary journals on topics ranging from atheism, the meaning of Evil, Elon Musk, Plato, The Matrix, and reality as a computer simulation. In addition, he has presented three of his essays to the West Chester University Poetry Conference (West Chester, Pennsylvania), as well as read his poetry on Australian radio.
for Michael Mushrush
Take off your mask.
If you have one.
Let the world feel your wounds.
The first one to scream
is your angel.
Close your eyes.
And follow its wings.
If it bleeds
you are damned.
was never an option anyway.
So shake it off.
And smile louder.
True terror lies.
By a soul.
A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has published 27 collections and chapbooks of poetry. In addition, she has published her work in numerous national and international literary journals. She is currently the editor for Kind of a Hurricane Press literary journals ( www.kindofahurricanepress.com ).
If you liked this poem, you might also like the dark, modernist short story “The Masks” by Kimberley Luxton.
THE ROOM IS YELLOW
The room is yellow.
The yellow of withered fruit,
The tinge of mildew, sickness,
The haze of misremembered bad dreams.
The room can only be yellow.
Never red or green
Or even blue
Because the room has never held you
As I have and
As I do,
Although I cannot hold you without
The room has never held you as you slept
Or stared into you as you laughed
Or seen you dress
Or heard your whispers
Both tender and tranquil.
I would give anything
For this room
To be green or red
Or even covered
In the sad pall
But the room is yellow
And my soul is blue and bruised,
Covered in this yellow film
Like diseased and turgid
I lie upon the rack
Spitting nails into the air
That land upon me –
Pointing down and driving into my flesh.
Again and again I spit
And the metal missiles itself upward
And then dives downward,
Into me, into me, into me.
I do not spit fire.
I do not spit ice.
I do not spit calm or salve
Or paint or passion or knowledge or love.
I only spit nails that hold me fast and immobile.
I have never spit out that key
To fit the lock
That fastens the chain
Held to me
By all those spitted nails
Although the key has resided in my belly.
It sits there still.
I spit another nail that aims for the sky
To my flesh.
I spit and I spit.
Leonard Cohen is dead after ohming for years in the ashram
And leaving his offerings of written flesh from time to time
In piles in the middle of the street
For the flock to ponder.
Rumi whirled like a dervish for the Lord
And Allen Ginsberg sang Kaddish
Into his grandmother’s old black shoe.
Tonight, like every night,
I lie in this bed alone
Stigmata blood soaking
Black, thick and homely
Right through the brains
Of my coarse gray bedsheets
And onto the endless cosmos
That is my floor.
John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals since 2009. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.
You are afraid of the light
that burns inside you
like an unborn child
A thousand tiny spiders
gnawing at your bones
You are cautious of the wind
that brings a plague upon its wing
A fetid, ebon miracle
like a monster in the clouds
that swallows cruel men whole
You are sure that something's breeding there
Your body is not your own
And the sky is full of tumors
that terrorize the soul
You inhale the song of the universe
Fall asleep inside its chaotic womb
You find refuge in a lullaby
as the cancer chews away
The stars shed light that blinds your eyes
Your home is the darkness of a dream
A coldness in the white,
We cling to childhood
That epileptic dance
Of chaos and lace
A fire burning
In the face of madness
Where the death bell tolls each midnight:
The lonely sound
Of a heartbeat
You wear your crown so perfectly
both saints and sinners weep.
You whisper dirge songs in your sleep
while the blood runs warm, still, in your veins.
You shed your skin in hopes to join your
lover in the grave,
To save your mortal soul from the heat
of a burning flame.
You play the martyr much better than I.
There's a sacrifice I'm not willing to make.
But, aren't we all like lambs to the slaughter,
hobbling about on broken knees?
Our demon seed strewn over this doomed land.
Bodies splattered across the threshold of paradise.
Morgues and graveyards fill to excess.
And I am left to clean up the mess.
Stephanie Smith is a poet and writer from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in such publications as PIF MAGAZINE, WHISTLING SHADE, NOT ONE OF US, THE HORROR ZINE, ILLUMEN, and LIQUID IMAGINATION. She can be found on Twitter @horrorsteph78 or at imajican.blogspot.com.
In the final corners of the night
Lie the crumb-starved remnants of sleep.
Your mind lies elsewhere, picking at wounds
That once were only skin-deep.
Along the narrow tracks of the bed
Run three paths out of the room,
Two of them ending only in dread,
The other, the crack of doom.
The uneven plaster slapped on the wall
Betrays a zig-zag plot
That inches toward infinity
Like a never-boiling pot.
Your awkward writhings under the sheet
Enact a suppressed demonstration
Against some horribly unfair law
That crucifies you to your station.
The light from the hallway beckons
Like a baleful reminder of God
Transformed to a crab-faced clown
Who’ll never so much as nod.
Ten statues of inability
Crouch in disfigured stone,
Rehearsing all your failures
Until you’re entirely alone.
Did you leave the gas on, gas on, gas on?
Your conscience asks with a stammer.
In just a few stunted hours,
The day will return with a hammer.
A handful of pills that flood the system;
The countdown begins at two.
The only stranger in the bed
Is no one else but you.
After the rain, the puddles recede,
Minor mutinies that flow
From the emptied plaza to
The narrow, draining streets below,
Pooling all their capital
Into a bank of mud
That hasn’t seen so much as a trickle
Of oil, sweat, or blood.
Since the time of the abattoir,
The gutter holds its own supply.
Even the air feels lighter,
Free of the lowering sky
Like a skittering horse without reins
Or a turbulent waterway
Purged of the urge to drown
Whoever escapes the fray,
Until the oncoming reign,
Hazy but looming huge,
Building toward another flood.
Après moi, le deluge.
David Galef has published over 200 poems in places ranging from The Yale Review and The Gettysburg Review to Witness and Measure, as well as two poetry books, Flaws and Kanji Poems, and two chapbooks, Lists and Apocalypses. Day job: professor of English and creative writing program director at Montclair State University; also editor of Vestal Review, the longest-running flash fiction magazine on the planet. www.davidgalef.com, @dgalef.
Tell me, were you looking for fortune, were you looking for gold?
When you dragged me with those peccant hands from the earth?
Or were you burying a secret, were you hiding your lies?
When you seized my body and pulled it away?
Tell me, did someone see you?
Did the woods shriek?
When the moss fell off my body and the dead leaves quivered.
Tell me, did my cold touch fondle you?
Did my crusted blood prick you?
Did you look at me, dead, in the eyes?
Was I still me? Did you find me in that pallid green?
Was I more beguiling? Spiritless and motionless?
Was your eulogy a lie told to the crowd?
Why did you come back?
Did you forget the knife?
I foresaw your betrayal months before it happened.
I perceived it, I sensed it, I expected it.
I became aware of your presence lurking at the windows, gazing at the horizon, looking for a way out.
The gates were closed and the doors were sealed but in my bones, I felt your itch for freedom.
I heard your silent apostasy.
I knew you wanted to leave me.
I caught sight of your shadow creeping behind me while I was asleep.
I watched you sharpening knives in a house that never eats.
I recognized your anguish, your indecisiveness, your torment flooding the corridors of our temple of love.
I found you under a cypress, humming a tune that wasn’t mine.
I caught you unfolding an image from your pocket, just to press it on your lips and stash it away.
So I did nothing when you cowardly decided to stab me in the back.
I didn’t plead.
I didn’t cry.
I didn’t scream.
I just turned to you, so you could look into my eyes one last time, while my blood was painting murals of love on white walls.
Keea Mihaly it’s an aspiring writer from Transylvania. She graduated with a BA in archaeology from the Babeș-Bolyai University.
When she doesn’t write dark poetry by candlelight in her coffin-shaped bed you can find her taking pictures of the moon and doing tarot readings to strangers.
She threatens to bite
if they get too close
her body sun-painted
her backpack and robe
on the curve of the shore
she covers her ears
crowd closing in
wanting more than a touch
for she's far from old
preparing to leave this hell
up to her ankles
up to her knees
holding her arms out
bearing her cross
the crowd halts
eyes wide unable to blink
she stands firm
in the sand and salt of the sea
into an immense pool of silence
singing songs with actual words
thousands of fish rising
spinning in a dance
a distant whale surfacing
huge with angry eyes
back into the sins of the city
she's one of the chosen ones
soon to be raptured
out of this world.
He touched you
unable to sleep
until he filled you
with his poetry
and you took
as someone else's
was only for you
when you left
you had the one
most women long for
and now you regret
poem after poem
a thousand pages
just for you
little by little
on every word.
Everything at her fingertips
But no one completely
All these years
Looks and body
Eye-catcher near perfect
Until age bent her bitter
Teeth sharpening into a horror
Oozing from her brain pores
Bread of dry crumbling cells
Wrapped in a hardening cocoon
Nightmare on a hangman's noose
Sobbing until cutting loose
A last grasp
Picking herself up
Stumbling to the pond in the garden
Cupping her hands to drink
Ripples of time she tastes
Finally understanding herself
Acceptance of mercy
Bitterness into freedom
Beautiful wilting of a flower.
“Bitter” was first published in “Black Poppy Review”, May 2018.
Stephen Jarrell Williams loves to stay up all night and write with lightning bolts until they fizzle down behind the dark horizon. He was editor of Dead Snakes, UFO Gigolo, and Calvary Cross. He can be found on Twitter as papapoet.
beneath sedimentary rock.
ping like red streams.
A dark shoreline filled
of aimless wanderers
of another life.
Jamie Seibel earned a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing with an emphasis in poetry from California State University, Sacramento. Her work is forthcoming in Versification Poetry Zine and Wingless Dreamer. In her spare time, Jamie likes to write short stories, draw, and take nature walks with her dog. She hopes to publish her own poetry collection by next year.
on Goethe’s table
the mothering earth,
impressed with too
out in the cold.
lost in spiritual ice,
like a crane stretches
from one shipwreck
to the next;
shipwrecked for good,
by an unsteady sea,
lingers on the beach.
Consider the consequences
of genius or exceptional eyes
and ears, limbs and
all the rest;
like the rest of us
consigned to jumping over
fences till death
do you part
from the earthly part,
the dross, the gloss
on the text;
consider the ant,
and fall back in line.
The fires of creation and
the winds of the muses
blew through Schiller’s head,
possessing him and possessed;
breathed on by divine lips,
eyes rolling like windmills,
he suffered the bread
of pain, the water
scribbled away and
the legions of the lesser
built their castles on his books,
built on his backbone.
in the dark German woods
Varus had his problems.
Rome marched back and forth
in the damp and the cold;
the southern Mediterranean light
paled, and went out.
dignity and sun
drew on enthusiasm;
the sacrifices of yore
dimmed to a point
and then all was light.
Light from the dome
blasted the dark
sides of the temples
white as sheets;
Schiller, at the
zenith of his flight,
as Zeno’s arrow
an eagle fixed.
Now on a table
grins at the skill
the bard shall not
go speechless to Orcus.
setting like Antares,
sees a pattern everywhere;
hope at the last.
you served us
better than most,
high as the Venusberg,
to the depths
of the Brocken.
Flesh and bone conjurers,
sufferers of human ills,
your secrets are safe
your honorable works
stand in unbroken ranks.
the dark side,
live off the flame;
balanced in Goethe’s hand,
grins like an ape,
and then dies again.
Mystic the moon-pools
of your willful soul,
those secret eyes buried
in your skull,
the skill to see,
the first light.
Dawn doth float
above the uneasy sleep
that God forgets;
heeding the call,
the littlest things,
the very worms,
like Cadmus creatures
of another breed,
wriggling out of the earth
turn to dragons.
You know it
before it happens;
Alone we two
fain would be;
the forests of
your fair eyebrows knit;
you see it all.
Outside the drawn curtains
the placid lawn takes a breath;
stepping forward in the east
the rosy, the hourless,
the enormous sun
starts up, showing
the rim of its everlasting eye.
Midnight, my cry sounded
up and down the bedroom,
you were gone,
gone your second sight;
I lay wounded,
Impossible in this dawn,
in this day arising,
if you came to me
there would be
in your sweet presence
than knowing the future;
at noon I work
Onward the sun on course,
dropping down the heavens
across this land comes
twilight slowly, then
dark and then the real
lights of heaven come on,
tiny and distinct,
and here on earth
the false ones.
You see it all,
clear as the neon signs
we see, the future
speaks to you,
and you tell us
the tragic end
of all our labors,
our mighty strivings.
In your prophecies,
thrown to the winds,
your truth for us
just as clear
as broken glass.
New York Down and Dirty
Some people walk
the barrios, the bad areas,
these crowded wicked streets,
these dark and menacing streets,
with a certain step;
no matter what
ken the way, have the means,
have defenses, have no fear, unease
or surmise no abiding danger,
of some jack-in-the-box,
a beating by
with some vengeful maniac.
Walking these streets,
others surrender cold turkey,
vox clamantis, to abject fear,
a fear that goes beyond the pale
of ignorance, of frailty
in the face of mayhem.
Look and see
this multifarious sprawl
of latticed streets, the surround of
stoop-ridden slatterns and drunks
punching holes through the fourth wall,
through the musings
of the home-bound banker,
suburbed in bitty splendor;
what does he know
of disorderly and crazy?
Of bumming, begging, stealing,
from quirky aggression
stinking of sweat
or higher than a kite
on parboiled gak?
This damned sorrowful city,
cut up in pieces not alike
for rich and poor.
Where are the steeples
that inspired the Dutch
to dour pride?
The rose-red brick
of blocky orderly buildings?
The clean-swept streets
of old New York?
Hustled away by time
and the march of multitudes.
this fabled lush land
of our rapacious forefathers
never was as real
as we make it.
New York! New York!
Gateway to the New World,
metropolis of wealth
side by side
with extravagant poverty;
the light is not for all.
No island gone to hell
but a paradise of vanity,
venality, slum of iniquity,
of skyscrapers, waiting
to swallow even biblical
Trope of mankind,
so many, too many;
you're rabbits by the abyss.
Relics appeared in Artifact Nouveau in 2016, and Cassandra in 2019in Scrittura Magazine.
Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Comstock Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Chamber Magazine, Typishly Literary Magazine, The Antioch Review and elsewhere. The author has been a Pushcart nominee and over the years has been published in a few anthologies.
The author has been writing poetry since he was sixteen and lives in a small town near Albany, New York. He is retired from doing whatever he was doing before he retired.
Come quickly darkness
Hide this servant from the eyes
Of Deadly light
In your entwining arms
Sooth me with winds of fantasy
Blind my despair with your dark caresses
Come quickly Night
And sleep wiith me
In our bed of lonliness
Away from the inquiring day
Bare yourself to me
Let me rest in your brief ecstacy
Come quickly Night
Share with me
Your all consuming despair
Come quickly night-my mistress
all souls day
prayers for loved souls to purge their passing
reveal our grief this all souls day
the earth gives up its dead to-night
waiting to be received-
carrying marzipan skeletons
to place on their tombs we bring our offerings
of water, wine, oil and grain
sit and eat with them beside us
sharing our lives with them again-
i begin to recite the prayers for the dead
with the cross, the book, and sword
promising salvation and the cleansing of sins
of those whom we this day commemorate
to pass from their darkness to eternal light
"But though I have wept and fasted,wept and prayed."
whispered to a silver cross
shoulders turned away
completes the superstition
Joseph A Farina is a retired lawyer in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. An award winning poet. Several of his poems have been published in Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine, Ascent ,Subterranean Blue and in The Tower Poetry Magazine, Inscribed, The Windsor Review, Boxcar Poetry Revue , and appears in the anthologies Sweet Lemons: Writings with a Sicilian Accent, cabadian Italians at Table, Witness from Serengeti Press and Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century . He has had poems published in the U.S. magazines Mobius, Pyramid Arts, Arabesques, Fiele-Festa, Philadelphia Poets and Memoir (and) as well as in Silver Birch Press “Me, at Seventeen” Series. He has had two books of poetry published— The Cancer Chronicles and The Ghosts of Water Street .
am I god
am I real
can you catch covid from drinking blood
how to get blood out of white tuxedo
are capes still cool
vampire movies made by vampires
vampire costume cultural appropriation
dream about best friend being garlic monster what does it mean
will I always be ten
how to become human
how to become mortal
alive for thousand years want to die
can’t find partner in appropriate age group
no reflection might have something in teeth
used coffins for sale
what does the sun look like
J. Richard Kron is a writer and musician from Phoenix, Arizona. He holds a BFA in English from Arizona State University.
The day glossed, lost to a tar black starry brush
The trees bare, stare at the water’s moonlit rush.
Waking leaves, unmaking their burnt orange bed
Walking, talking, eulogize departed seasons dead.
The year near end and only quarter full
The dark dresses the wolf in winter’s wool.
Algo is from Ireland. In self imposed self isolation, Algo only wears black and enjoys studying the school of Austrian Economics, reading comic books and meditating. Algo once believed he was a nihilist but now believes in something higher.
many have pursued their tracks
past rivers of bloodshed
gagged through that lingering stench
after flesh ignites,
so it’s cruel fiction, a myth,
that dragons are dead,
slain by St. George
and a few fairytale knights.
except a malicious dragon,
no beast can spew
napalmish flames to roast
teenage schoolgirls at first light
as they flee Mekong food markets
through swaying bamboo;
or savage Dresden’s pottery shops
and music halls
to exchange piercing screams
for opera stars’ debuts;
or seek a higher means
to terrorize and appall
as Nagasaki skeletons
rush for sacred parents’ tombs
while flesh is stripped from runners
before the dead can fall;
their toxic breath blisters and blinds
as its greenish plumes
strangle entrenched soldier boys
in Belgium’s mud and haze,
and stuns the already wretched
in their shower rooms
to adequately fill
each of Birkenau’s massive graves.
only a dragon’s machete claws
and razor teeth
can butcher a million Tutsis,
helpless, frantic, and lost
in Rwanda’s thick forests
of afrocarpus trees,
and in Sri Lankan swamps,
gnaw at the Tamils’ remains
to prove their appetite
for flesh cannot be appeased:
their vile thirst never quenched,
always more quarry to maim,
always more towns,
more fleeing victims to set aflame.
Raised on the blue-collar (textile) side of a small Southern town, John Michael Sears spent his college weekends rafting the Chattooga River and hiking the area around Linville Gorge Wilderness. He has lived and worked in a number of countries, many of them in the developing world and in places recovering from civil conflicts. His poetry has also been published in Floyd County Moonshine.
Even now I think
of your red featherless face,
your unscarved neck as taunt as an axe sheath—
picked clean as my uncaged spine.
I watched you take the smaller birds
under your wing,
then smear your crown with warpaint
to ward off the hyenas who pine for blood
along littered highways.
Your flock mediate between life and death.
Your guild bridge the Old World and the New
but for too long you’ve been maligned
and judged unclean,
tarred and feathered, banished to your wake.
No song to sing, no call or defense—
your voice a hiss of black wind
carrying the scent of poppies.
The world you cleanse passes us
in bright, shiny cars
as we build a temple on the side of the road.
They call you a henchman, a stooped goblin,
but we know you sacrificed a head of feathers
to lift the sun beyond the mountaintops
when it burned too close to earth.
They do not know you are the queen of the throne.
They do not know the volcanic acid in your gut
can strip the paint from their bright, shiny cars.
They do not know
that somewhere a woman holds a black feather
that guarantees the safe delivery of her child
while you scavenge me to the sky,
taking my tongue as your song.
The spells are getting worse
especially at night—
indigestion, difficulty swallowing
a static swarm of reflux,
all of which leads to bad dreams:
she was a badger
trapped in the crawlspace
of its burrow.
The animal council was there, too
holding court as if at the devil’s pulpit,
if you followed the zoning laws
this never would have happened,
and then suddenly someone
in the council, maybe the white-tailed deer, yells—
smoke it out, smoke it out
and then someone else—
burn, burn, burn
and when the witch awakes
to a day as flushed as a rosy-cheeked oven,
she knows she should see the family doctor
about her heart.
Fish Out of Water
Will I be stuffed with cosmos and carpet roses
like a straw man, my hours anchored
to the unsung eye of Sunday painters?
Will I be cast-off and scuttled, my ribs
sifted by divers in search of souvenirs?
Propped on wooden stilts
in the hollow of the salt marsh,
I am a fish out of water.
The green tidal grass bends
like waves against the bow.
The squall of blistering paint
started below the waterline, years ago
it spread like a ditch of cancer.
My old friends stopped coming by.
Saltmarsh sparrows flit from the cow licks
tufting the holes in my hull. Everywhere:
swaths of salt and rust, barnacle colonies.
Memories stopped coming by, too.
Did I fill the harbor to receive the Blessing of the Fleet
before a run to Georges Bank?
Did I lay traps in the cold waters off Vinalhaven?
When the wind blows
I rock in my wooden chair,
watching the light and shadow
wind along creeks and channels.
Soon I will see the settlers harvesting salt marsh hay,
their scythes swinging in the late summer sun—
haystacks piled like burial mounds across the tide.
The Truffle Hunter’s Complaint
Heart-shaped, my nose, I hold it aloft
like a scepter before settling down to business
at the perfume organ.
I bury myself, my trowel as smooth as polished bones,
in a scent map of soil and fossil, springtails, glacial stones
pestled in the earth’s fungal spleen.
I bury myself
beneath a hazelnut tree
the earthen-flax swabbing my snout
with a hint of rain and autumn chill,
a scent like love
but there is nothing here
but dark wood, dark water, and a cluster of wood blewits
holding their breath.
I root the beech wood, quarrying layers of earth
and time, because I alone divine the secrecy
of the forest.
I am the sacred pig. The White Sow. The mystery
of Demeter’s cult.
Down, down I go, burying and unburying myself
until at last I find the note
a musky black diamond coiled like a ram’s horn
around an unforgiving root.
And I should knock him to the forest floor
with his bucket of swill for bringing the hounds,
the way they poach and bracket the ground
too loyal, too eager to show their craft. But unable
to read the trees. Still, there are two of them
and only one of me. And I am not man’s best friend.
But who is to blame for this, I ask?
I am no slovenly earth butcher. It’s you who dragged me
to distant lands, fattened me, penned me
and muddied my name.
A Witch Takes Cure in the Waters of France
I’m nursed on mud
harvested from the clay beds of Abrest
and soaked in the springs of Vichy
until blue algae is like a cradle
in the golden bough.
The days are marked by rituals—
mineral water, steam, sugar cubes
wrapped in oiled paper,
and the moon, pink as a braided onion
draped over the handlebars of a bicycle,
shapes the movement of animals.
The night stalkers ambush.
The scorpion turns blue.
I show up for breakfast
in my robe and shower shoes,
read the regional papers
eat a breakfast of root vegetables.
According to Napoleon, carrots are the obligatory vegetable
of the sick.
I learned this from Germaine, the water girl, in 1906.
She ladled prescribed beverages
from a wicker holder,
and like a suicide filled her pockets with stones
to keep count of how many tonics
the curistes consumed.
These days it is self-serve terroir.
There are vending machines
that sell plastic cups in the Hall des Sources
where we gather like school children
at a soda parlor apothecary
to sip from the Earth’s cauldron,
a healing hell-broth simmering under the flame
of Hecate’s torch.
Damon Hubbs lives in a small town in Massachusetts. He graduated with a BA in World Literature from Bradford College. When not writing, Damon can be found growing microgreens, divining the flight pattern of birds, and ambling the forests and beaches of New England. His work is forthcoming in Book of Matches, Young Ravens Literary Review and Eunoia Review.
I saw the man by the river
He was the man with no shadow
He moved like fog up the sidewalk
I heard a noise at the window
I saw his eyes in the window
his eyes, they were hollow
And then he flowed through the doorway
Then my arm, he was touching
taken by fear I could not move
then his word it was spoken
I gazed at his face
I felt my soul leave my body
We were two men by the river
we were the men with no shadow
David Newkirk is a retired attorney. He is currently in the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where he is actively unlearning thirty years of writing like a lawyer.
Gazing out from the pane
Iridescent sky unfold,
Boundless and eternal
Pitch sable chamber,
Black, icy, delicate and soothing,
The Sound Of A Train In The Distance
Metallic and firm
Spectral vision of time from afar,
Cold and icy
Apparition haunting hills and mountains,
Lyrical composition - sorrow and death,
Relentlessly and brutally,
Travis J. Black (He/Him) is a gay poet, writer and visual artist living in Metro-Detroit Michigan. His work has appeared in Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine and the 200th anniversary book Determined Hearts: A Frankenstein Anthology. His work often explores the mysterious, imaginative and darker aspects of life. You can follow him on his author’s webpage at https://www.amazon.com/author/travisjblack