Roz Levine

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I Do Not Like The Men You Are 
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I do not like the men you are
Your work on healthcare is quite sub par
With years to think how to make it right
You toss us a plan of national fright
With millions about to lose any care
While tax cuts for the rich is what you cheer
By the actions you take you shall be known
From Atlantic waters to Pacific foam
In history books you’ll one day be shamed
For the millions who will perish by this act in your name
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Roz Levine is a Los Angeles poet. The results of the last election has rekindled her political activism both in the words and peaceful actions of her life. She cannot accept the abnormal as the new normal, sit back and do nothing as draconian changes shift our country to a nation becoming unrecognizable to millions of us.  
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L.K. Thayer

 

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“Praises From a Tenor Sax”

like salt on a bloodsucker
recoiling, shriveling
paralyzed fits of punishing
pawnshop

reuniting
with the sell-out
the down and out
muck and mire choir
singing
praises from a tenor sax
and a song
you can’t let go of

fill the loving cup
and drink it dry
try to stay away
but you can’t fight
the pull
of the taffy

you get stuck in the
sweetness
and you wanna
die
happy

L.K. Thayer

Photo by VC Ferry – NYC

 

 

 

Rich Ferguson

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(Photo of Rich Ferguson courtesy of Cat Gwynn)

Plug yourself into the electric present moment jukebox, sing yourself into the total sensurround sounds of now. Wash your hair with sudsy, bubbly playgrounds of wow; give your scalp a good laugh. Imitate a ringing phone; see how long it takes for someone to pick you up. Allow music, merriment & the moon to always find you, no matter how far you may sometimes fall inside yourself. Spread some traffic jam on a piece of toast; take a bite, swallow it without an ounce of road rage as a chaser. Sit peacefully with your hands on life’s steering wheel. Rest assured your heart is your copilot.

Eve Brandstein

Between Jacob & Benjamin

Between Jacob and Benjamin

In the kitchen in the middle of the night

between two bedrooms

my son sleeps in one, my father in the other

while my concern moves between

his limp & his lunch

his repetitions & his why

his criticism & his acceptance

his love & his love.

These two men eighty years apart

& me in the middle

between answers still asking questions

wanting to be understood & getting told what to do

telling my son its time to go & being told I shouldn’t by my father.

In the middle of the night in the kitchen

I peel an apple

watching 4 AM traffic 21 floors below Queens Boulevard

so far away from my home in California

& my birth in Eastern Europe

the end of his story

the beginning of his

worried awake by some haunting

or something I haven’t done

being in the middle of everything

the night

the passage

the place between these two men.

I eat the apple bit by bit

without a sound the traffic slips

into the middle of summer

I hear him stir & him snore

& watch the morning amber press against the cobalt

finally feeling the sleep I need

ready for surrender

I leave the last of skin and seeds

on the table in the kitchen

between parent & child.

– Eve Brandstein

Jack Grapes

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Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

( The haiku are from Jack’s forthcoming book,
WIDE ROAD TO THE EDGE OF THE WORLD:
301 haiku.)

*
Hearing Mom and Dad
fighting in the bedroom room.
Outside, the red moon.

*
I lost who I was.
Then I found who I would be.
Only who I was knew.

*
In the safe darkness
of the theatre I find truth:
Annie gets her gun.

*
There’s Charlie Chaplin
running but getting nowhere—
a plan for a life

*
falling in rhythm
to the buzzing of the bees
over something dead

*
Would that I was wise,
not this enlightened monkey
wearing monkey mask

*
They open my chest
and then put my heart on ice
while my brain simmers.

*
To write War and Peace:
In the stationary store
ask for more paper.

*
Poetry kills me.
I can’t face its stern demands,
heart filled with cobwebs.

*
When I’m gone, I’ll sure
miss that dove whose song wakes me,
but will she miss me?

*
Fortune cookie says,
“You will go on long journey.”
Pay check. Leave at once.

*
How to eat this life?
Break the past into pieces,
eat one piece at a time.

*
I love this sharp knife.
How it cuts the red pepper.
Salad filled with blood.

*
My childhood is gone.
I don’t want to go back there.
Too much mystery.

*
Once I was a dog.
No one was afraid of me.
I licked people’s hands.

*
I’m a proud Virgo.
One day I’ll be organized,
surrounded by worms.

*
Some things are too sad
to write about on paper.
My closed mouth writes too.

*
Poems not money
give such meaning to my life.
Sometimes meaning sucks.

*
Shakespeare, bricklayer.
Dante, the wise carpenter.
Me? Corn to chickens.

*
At a loss for words?
Call Jack Grapes, home or office,
day or night, for help.

*
I’ve squandered so much,
and given less than I could,
asleep in the rain.

*
Sit still a minute.
Now, let your heart open wide
and see what falls in.

Jack Grapes

 

Maryrose Smyth

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Salad Days

#

Poof, and it’s all gone,

falling,

breaded,

in an egg mixture with seasonings

— lips thrown onto brown paper,

hot beast smiles we grab and eat,

exoskeletons detached from their flesh bellies,

moon shadows and French kissed souls snapped from their God given rights,

All the world loves a parade, a good meal, found money,

Oh, but to behold that face!

#

It was September and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

A time before things changed forever and life asserted it’s irrevocables,

became opposite day everyday.

How I hate that Pat told us the future that day, said he planned to die early and leave a pretty corpse.

How I hate that we just sat on the deck of our uncle’s boat nodding,

laughing,

drinking,

sunning ourselves between mile markers,

spent time talking about bee shadows messing up our tans,

liar, liar, pants on fire,

how I hate how funny became ‘un,’

how glad never regained her running momentum,

how time, just left out the side door,

after first hanging a forever picture in my mind,

then gone,

slipping out the side door.

#

Paul told me, “Had a friend named ‘Congo’ once

— a man who lost both legs in the war to end all wars,

still made himself do leg lifts after his morning coffee everyday,

lifted what wasn’t there,

hundred-fifty times,

each side,

every day.

Phantoms,”

looking at me so I’d get it,

“The hardest, too much compromise, I guess.”

#

A new client texts me, “Things will happen quickly, shift’s coming.  Things long forgotten will be remembered.

No doubt it’s the Lord’s doing.”

I send her a text, let her know she can count on me, let her know where the Christian right can go now that I’m working my new shoe job at Bloomie’s,

I text her bold, “’COME. Well-stocked 4 end times:

50-off Jesus sandals and Armageddon boots.”

#

Mid-April, I ask my gardener,

“Can I ask you to move the wood by the oak we just took down?”

Straw hat tipped back of his head, Frito greasy,

only hat ever owned, him standing with feet apart taking the agaves out real slow.

Sun, that time of day, hot, you know the one,

 then I ask,

“Would it be too weird to ask for you to take down the Christmas lights?”

#

The narcissus did not bloom this year.

All over town, pale tissue fists raised on green lawns,

gardens too — white, yellow, orange.

Our house?

Green stems,

nothing but stems.

The hundred or so I planted last Christmas with money my mother-in-law sent me,

nothing but green stems.

All over town, fists on lawns,

— white, yellow, orange, pale fists on lawns, gardens too

Me?

Green stems, stems, stems,

no fruit,

no flowers. 

Just stems.

#

August sun, a bitter hag, even the mountains turned their backs when the great outdoors became an oven last week of April. 

August, every month of the year. 

The city, a lean factory, temps tipping past the century mark.

No a/c units, no fans left to purchase in big box stores,

the work of pushing cumulus and wind gone to where manufacture’s cheap.

Permanent summer, shade, not coming back.

#

I’m chillin’ shaking hash night and day ‘til I get my street cred back,

you know, get some reserves in the bank.

Get me sweet cheeks? 

Times tough, somes got more doubt than down for fill, more druther than they can handle,

SUV wheels stuck on some coulda shouldas woulda hill grinding hope to a halt. 

Tell you this much, raising kids like raising opossums —

doubt – the same – can’t cage what’s rabid, stir-crazy,

thems, moody mother suckers,

first things first, first coax the heart, then the mind, cross my heart,

the money will follow.

– Maryrose Smyth

Mitch Hicks

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There can be few better places in London for hanging socks

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Vintage Emporium enter thru pink along Bacon Street

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By candle I sup my tea as the mirror spies on me

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Close your eyes and merge from mirror thru painting of glass

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Signed D. Valentine I wonder where he hangs his socks? 

 

Snaps & poem by Mitch Hicks

 

 

 

Alicia Young

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given enough bourbon and a decent suit
.
.
i could hurt myself with you
given enough bourbon
and a decent suit city lights
drawing down the moon
on a properly placed back in time
saturday night if you didn’t remind so damned much
of my first husbandback then i could claim being 16
a ran away to the real world too soon
starry eyed twat
with straight A’s
and no street smarts
unable to discern the difference
between a pedophile and a suitori’m a daily communicant with that mistake

no, baby, lesson learned
you’re a used car lot wearing armani shoes
a lizard brain
in a gold chain
forked tongue slipping past
your greasy lips
you smell like turpentine
and unpaid child support

(C)aayoung | January 4, 2014

14theroad

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Never Say Never–Not 

Not a christian
Not a jew
Not a muslim
Not a shoe

Not pyjama
Not salon
Not hors d’ouevre
Not bon bon

Not sing songy
Not bespoke
Not too funny
That’s a joke

Not too randy
Not too poor
Not too disabled
To open your door

Not too wily
Not too slow
Not so decrepit
That I can’t grow

Not without fear
Not without hope
Not without longing
More than enough rope

Not hung up
On what doesn’t come next
Not too addicted
To obsessively text

Not that smart
That I can’t bend
Or know when a poem
Has come to its end

– 14theroad

Matej Purg

Finger

Smooth Jazz

Cacophony, disaster, chaos, the sources that fuel the existence of the self. Incapable of shutting off the bullshit, of reducing its volume, of muting it out. A pissing contest of voices, fragments, history, fears, consciousness, Darwinism of decay, harassing the self, eradicating the self, a mutiny on board the SS Self, decapitating the captain and discarding him into the storm, the dunces have taken over, without a thought wasted on the consequences for the host.

The host is awaiting instruction. The host is puzzled. The host is startled. The host roams the streets. The war rages within, the war reaches without. The host sees his reflection in the window separating him from the spectacle of Starbucks. The host is a spirit that doesn’t belong, detached from the cozy, the sweet, the gentle, the smooth jazz, the paper cups, and the lattes and chais. The host is exposed, left without defense against the titter within. The host points his pistol at the spectacle but once again shoots himself, splattering brain matter against the glass as the jazz inside remains smooth.

A life under the orders from the clinically insane, the fears that erode the past, the ghosts that destroy the future, the grand sum of everything that contaminates the present, that is the curse. That is the sentence. Karma is a bitch. But for what. But for what. Leck mich am Arsch! Fick dich ins Knie! Picka ti materina. Vas the faire foutre. Fuck off you cunts and cocksuckers. Hate and Tourette’s, the blunt means of defense. Hate and Tourette’s, the eternal flame at the tomb of the unknown self. Hate and Tourette’s, the expression of an existence as pointless as a pay phone in 2013.

– Matej Purg