April 12, 2021

Deeply Lies the Body by Mike Rader

The midnight quarry flooded
to the brim hears a furtive
splash, an object once-human
slowly settles, snagging in
hidden branches, one shoe
already missing, before head-
first drifting down, wallowing,
deeper into the heavy water,
too silted to see that sinking
shape anymore, descending
into the depths where horses
drowned when the under-
ground river exploded through
the walls eighty-one years ago.

James Aitchison is an Australian author and poet.  As Mike Rader, he writes horror and noir fiction and poetry.  His work has twice appeared in Black Poppy Review, as well as Horror Tree (Trembling with Fear)Thriller, Akashic Books (Mondays are Murder) and many other magazines and anthologies.

April 9, 2021

The Loneliest Man in the World Answers Your Question by Jim Pratzon

Just because I’m holding it
       doesn’t mean the cup is warm or full.
       doesn’t mean the gun is loaded,
       doesn’t mean the poem is complete,
             waiting for you,
             a meal after a long journey

In this plot’s center, look:
       a grain silo.
It’s been abandoned by the former owner.
The soil is rich but there is no seed.
Even the mice are gone.
Kites and jays land only for respite before looking elsewhere.
The emptiness amplifies their weight and impact,
       and each departure sounds determined and final.

While I want you to pour yourself in,
       what I need is your curiosity to stir.
Empty vessels hunger for dignity,
       a noble form, a purpose.
       They need use.

Not sure if there is space inside?
Throw a rock and listen for the sound of my capacity.
Throw another if you need to be sure.
I can take it.

Pour your self into this man’s womb.
Nothing happens in solitude.

Jim Pratzon has recorded ten audiobooks for the New York Public Library, including William Marshall's The New York Detective, The Complete Short Stories of H.P. Lovecraft, and William Burroughs'The Job. He has performed his poetry at the KGB Bar, the 92ndSt.Y, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

April 8, 2021

Absinthe by Don Thompson

In this absinthe moonlight,
you can think only of
lost love.

When moonlight’s like cream,
you count your blessings—
and lose count.

Under a full moon’s harsh light,
you howl sotto voce.

Waning moonlight’s numinous,
lulling overworked angels
to sleep.

And in the dark of the moon,
no light at all, darkness
begins to glow.

Then anything seems possible—
even love.

Don Thompson has been writing about the San Joaquin Valley for over fifty years, including a dozen or so books and chapbooks.  For more info and links to publishers, visit his website at www.don-e-thompson.com.

April 6, 2021

Dinner on Sunday by John Tustin

When I die
They will still have their dinner on Sunday
All together
And talk about the people
Who don’t attend.

When I die
You will pretend it never happened.
No one in your life will know
And once you will cry
When you are alone.

When I die
There are only two people
Whose reaction is a mystery to me.
But does that matter if I am dead?

When you die
They will still have their dinner on Sunday
All together
And they will talk about you
But they’ll never talk about us
Except in winking insinuations.

I slobber on my pillow in my sleep
And dream about being missed

By you,

By two,

By anyone.

John Tustin is currently suffering in exile on Elba but hopes to return to you soon. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.

April 5, 2021

Gravity by Sha Huang

In January
all innocent colors have to die again
Trees hold up their skeletons
Black fingers reach down
to fish their own ghosts in the swamp
Wild berries have fallen to the ground
Their blood has dried out
brewing the mellowest black in the mud

Do you know that if we mix all primary colors we will get black?
A color that lives on all colors
A color with gravity that draws and engulfs

That explains why
when looking into a dead well
you are always tempted to fall freely
into its dark core

Sha Huang is a poet and art lover. She grew up in China and now teaches Chinese language and Asian cultures at a university in the US. Her poems appeared in more than 20 literary journals and anthologies in China and the U.S, including Verse-Virtual, Trouvaille Review, The Wild Word, and Chinese and Western Poetry (中西诗歌).  

April 2, 2021

Blur by Joan McNerney

this blur of hours, this waking sleep
sometimes in & then out of this world
we are dragged across another night

black wells roll thru eyes…trains
whizzing at 11 o'clock 1 o'clock
winds trace tree shadows over walls

on that white trapeze afraid to let go
afraid to drop to nightmares lodged
in corners shrunken wide-mouthed

cars creep down streets as first
weak light s t r e t c h e s over roofs
& the radio provides some likely song

there is no time to find what is lost
we march like tin soldiers in an
ungodly war with eyes slit at 6 o’clock

dry mouths, throats burning, dazed as
sirens screech pass another morning
warning of another day of quiet storms

Joan McNerney’s poetry is found in numorous literary magazines  She has four Best of the Net nominations.  Her latest titles are The Muse in Miniature and Love Poems for Michael both available on Amazon.com and Cyberwit.net. 

April 1, 2021

Ayahuasca by Rose Mary Boehm

To the left of the old Inca temple
you find the hotel
where oxygen is piped
into every room.
One callecita
further up that breathless hill
boasts a hostal
where even the cockroaches
drop dead on windowsills.

Tomorrow you forget
what your ego whispers
when you meet each other
in that sweaty hut,
vomiting your old perceptions
during many hours
following the spoors
of your own ghosts
given presence
by the magic ayahuasca.

A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and three poetry collections, her work has been widely published in US poetry journals. Her latest full-length poetry MS, ‘The Rain Girl’, has been published by Chaffinch Press in August of 2020.