John Grochalski

 

 

 

the garden of gethsemane

i can taste
the first of a few scotches

i think two weeks away from a job
a man can get too used to freedom

but one day back can strip it all away
and leave his dignity hanging by the noose

and then she comes in

she looks like the nun
who taught me all the way back in eighth grade

this old hen who used to torment me
with declarations of hell

because i never bought into the bullshit
never accepted that sad imp jesus
as my one and only savior

so i take an instant dislike to this woman

i don’t appreciate her smile
it has a reverent smugness to it
safe in the knowledge that she’s always right

always stuck talking to assholes like me

and, oh, how i can taste that first scotch
one little, two little, three little scotches

she asks me for help
schedules, tax forms, reading recommendations
for genres that i don’t give a shit about

and there is under five minutes left in this work day

when i look at my watch
she asks me if i have somewhere else to be

i tell her yes, it’s called my life

i tell her the sun has gone down on my benevolence
and now it’s time for the real me to rise again

she says but isn’t the customer always right

not in my tree, i say

and then i go to shut off the lights in the building
so i can spend the night forgetting myself
letting my liver make love to a bottle of clan macgregor

four little, five little, six little scotches

she just stands there
that smile still plastered across the face
like that old nun before she’d tip over my desk
or kick me out of her classroom for a week

i give her one last look and think fuck it
i let my river of alcoholic bliss take me away

as a final salutation this woman calls me lazy
and storms out of the building

then i pop the first switch

i let each light click off slowly
until the whole space is dark and silent
devoid of nearly all flesh but my own

finally holy

after all of the hours that it tangled
with my mortal coil

and made a sacrifice of my soul.

 

 

John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and the forthcoming collection of poetry, Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street, 2014).  Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he constantly worries about the high cost of everything.

Read More

Angelee Deodhar

 

Three Haiku

 

under pond ice
colored maple leaves-
candy brittle

*

dawn song-
the Alsation catches a red ball
in mid air

*

sunset-
my long shadow lost within
the trees

 

 

Angelee Deodhar is an eye surgeon by profession, and a haiku poet and artist from India. Her haiku/haiga have been published internationally in various books, journals and on the internet.

Read More

Grant Tarbard

 

 

 

What’s the Time, Mister Wolf?
a short fairy tale

one night, at the Lime
Tree Palace, foul rascals stormed
the Mandarin Gates

guarded by the Pith
soldiers who were wet with chews,
twirling batons. The

court deftly tightroped
over the Royal Jelly
garden, tiptoeing

by the sherbet lake
to the slip safety of the
executioner.

Hooded in midnight
dressed in charcoal liquorice,
he was a stone wolf,

a black liquorice
executioner, an ore
wolf with a kiln heart

and he ate all of
them with a drear howl. Now, all
the stories are told

 

 

 

Grant Tarbard has worked as a computer games journalist, a contributor to football fanzines, an editor, a reviewer and an interviewer. He is now the editor of The Screech Owl. His work can be seen in such magazines as The Rialto, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Bone Orchard Poetry, The Journal, Southlight, Sarasvati, Earth Love, Mood Swing, Puff Puff Prose Poetry & Prose, Postcards Poetry and Prose, Playerist 2, Lake City Lights, The Open Mouse, Miracle, Poetry Cornwall, I-70, South Florida Review, Zymbol and Decanto.

Read More

Matthew Dobson

 

 

 

Howler Monkey

The other two were cracked,
Their braincase burst by slips of steel,
So those I didn’t buy. But you, your skull
Is still intact,

A smooth confection, done
In by a dart to your lax breast.
You know, you sometimes howl, hurl megahertz.
A homesick phantom.

Yes, I hear your moan
At night; the echo of yourself
Unfolds across your glass case, the quiet roofs
Of the whole town.

 

 

Matthew Dobson is a teacher in Hong Kong.  He tries to write every day, and loves nature.

Read More

Brian Michael Barbeito

 

 

 

St Theresa at American Malls or Angels and Popsicles

It’s a crescent moon there, but only for quick seconds. It gets drunk up like a quick libation by the storm clouds. See, the afternoon was overcast and now the night joins in on the trouble. It begins to rain. And hard. It hits the bricks and summits, the retaining walls even pause for some panic. Yup, the dusk and the afternoon and the night all meeting against odds- intermingling, sharing forces like three dogs jumping another and pinning it.  Why? There is not really a real why. Not that we can know. But north, at the topmost part of the State, is a series of malls. A strange lady wanders ‘round there. In lots where curt sturdy white demarcation lines paint themselves on black asphalt and the rain gathers from curbs and streets and other, pissing down solid industrial grates and making its way. The lady? She comes and goes but is there more than not. Its little things she does. Unseen. Minor. Nuanced. But there is a secret that not many people hear, and those that do, hardly believe. The secret is that there are no small things. Theresa knows this. She opens doors, helps children who have fallen and bruised a knee. Shows the aged the way when they are lost. Whispers on the shoulder of us, acting as the right force and conscience in times when nobody sees. Though the outside is lurid and unkind, Theresa remains unafraid. One time, a decade ago, she sat at a table with some of the old ethnic men who pawed beads, rosaries, and other artifacts. Theresa told them she had come to help the world in unseen ways, in her own manner, which was really the manner of something much larger but not grandiose. Of course they looked at her blankly. Behind her were the electric lights of the food court, and beyond that, the numerous places with signs and sales. One of the old men ate a Popsicle, and listened intently. He believed. Theresa knew this. They exchanged a knowing glance. Then, in the over-industrialized world that was vacuous at heart and head, haughty in the eye, and greed ridden for things it could not even understand, Theresa bid the men adieu and walked into the crowds to continue her work. Rain banged the mall tops like a million marbles thrown down in anger.

 

 

Brian Michael Barbeito is a Canadian writer. He is a two time Pushcart nominee with work that has appeared in various print and electronic publications. He is the author of the book Chalk Lines, [FOWLPOX PRESS, cover art by Virgil Kay (2013)]. He is the author of the experimental novel Postprandial, and of the episodic novel, House of Fire.

Read More

James R Kilner

 

 

 

Norfolk Sands

The sea is drawn back like a blind
from a window. The sands near Wells
are amber and open – half a mile
or more to the water’s edge.

We walk away from ourselves
over sand that feels like new snow,
or corrugated iron, over brittle shells
snapping painfully beneath bare feet.

This will be land for just a little longer.

We stop, tune in
to the silence.

Not even gulls come here
where there is nothing
but frequencies of light.

Now the world exists
on the principle
of the horizontal:

a strip of saffron, of periwinkle,
of ultramarine.

We have stepped through the frame of a Rothko.

 

 

James R Kilner worked as a journalist in the newspaper industry in Yorkshire for a number of years, before embarking on full-time PhD research. His publication credits – forthcoming and previous – include Other Poetry, The New Writer and Aesthetica.

Read More

Sharon Woodcock

 

 

 

The Cynical Gondolier

Back then he sewed up his
world with an oar.

Couples nestled on his boat,

lost in each other,

while he saw the bones
of their lives, glimpses
of threadbare wives,

husbands playing
knight, martyr.

One eye closed.

They would fixate
on eggshells, talk riddles.

Abstract pictures formed
of gigantic looms,
the stitching
of marriage vows,

while some clawed,
one hand
in the paper-tray.

One night, he saw Venus
on a bridge of the River Po.
She spun him into her loom
and by the moon’s light
darned threads
into the river bank.

He did not see the queue
at the river side,
or hear the serenade,
as she added layer upon layer
to their tapestry.

 

 

Sharon Woodcock‘s poems have been published in anthologies; Sea of Ink (Ink Pantry Publishing) and The Busker (What the Dickens Magazine), and in the online magazines: Kumquat Poetry, Anti-Zine, Message in a Bottle, Ink Sweat and Tears, Atavic Poetry and The Zen Space. She co-edits the webzine and quarterly journal at Word Bohemia.

Read More