Midnight Bouquet by Strider Marcus Jones

i lay still
watching her
my desire and delight
while she covered my cock in chocolate
with soft
silent
strokes-
like Modigliani
painting a nude.

my fingers
glistened
in the lamps gloaming light
with the scent of her midnight bouquet,
and her taste still swam in my mouth.

soft licks now
tongue tingling, teasing sucks
as i lie
with head thrown back
and drift
weightless
on the plateau of pure pleasure
with aurora borealis
stroking my senses
waiting for the rain.

Strider Marcus Jones

Strider Marcus Jones – is a poet, law graduate and ex civil servant from Salford, England with proud Celtic roots in Ireland and Wales. A member of The Poetry Society, his five published books of poetry http//www.lulu.com/spotlight/stridermarcusj…. reveal a maverick moving between forests, mountains, cities and coasts playing his saxophone and clarinet in warm solitude. His poetry has been published in the USA, Canada, England, Ireland, Wales, France, Spain, India and Switzerland in numerous publications.

 

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Living With The Consequences by Paul Tristram

It’s splintering again…
and badly this time,
God is yawning and looking away.
Those mountains are getting treacherous,
the weather’s taken a turn for the worse…
and I’m doing nothing but repeating myself lately.
‘If you can manage to hide
6 lines of beautiful, golden
brightness and optimism
in the middle of an otherwise
dark poem you will not only
save yourself but your entire history’
I’m sighing at just the thought of it.
Trying to un-circle the patterns
that I keep clumsily falling into.
Coughing up another bloody, double yolk for you.
The mind is playing tricks…  for I seem to remember
gentle evenings in the summer,
walking hand in hand down by the riverbank.
Young, proud and happy
to have eyes and ears and memories.
But in reality, I know full well
that was the year we burnt our childhoods
at the stake in the centre of Town
and set off separately into the wilderness.

black derby

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight; this too may pass, yet. Buy his books ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ (Lit Fest Press) http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1943170096 ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326241036 And a split poetry book ‘The Raven And The Vagabond Heart’ with Bethany W Pope at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326415204 You can also read his poems and stories here! http://paultristram.blogspot.co.uk/

Stage Marriage by Mark J. Mitchell

We’re falling out she said without going.
The damp concrete floor chilled tender bones—things
were off. Her chicken-wire cage twisted south
and ancient clothes shone white. Her tiny mouth
opened without sounds from her scar’s cold song.

Go if you want, he didn’t say, staying
stiff as a work light. Before today sings
its arid blues, one note, an unraveling truth
will scroll past your eyes like fictional news.
The program’s shorter than time. The play’s long.

Her small religion forbids the showing
of teeth. She can’t laugh. She gathers snow. Flings
it past a cracked window that almost pouts
at him. Glass rains like misbegotten vows.

Turning, his eyes miss her hands, where no rings
clutter their lifelines. Palms spread the play. Wings
hide a prompter in case the script goes wrong.

Mark J. Mitchell

Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver, George Hitchcock and Barbara Hull. His work has appeared in various periodicals over the last thirty five years, as well as the anthologies Good Poems, American Places, Hunger Enough, Retail Woes and Line Drives. It has also been nominated for both Pushcart Prizes and The Best of the Net. He is the author of two full-length collections, Lent 1999 (Leaf Garden Press) and Soren Kierkegaard Witnesses an Execution (Local Gems) and two chapbooks, Three Visitors (Negative Capability Press) and Artifacts and Relics, (Folded Word). His novel, Knight Prisoner, is available from Vagabondage Press and two more novels are forthcoming: A Book of Lost Songs (Wild Child Publishing) and The Magic War (Loose Leaves). He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and filmmaker Joan Juster.

 

A Poem by Wolfgang Carstens

“Daddy,”

Raven says,

“Why
do you sit

fishing
for hours,

not catching
anything?”

“Honey,”

i say,

“do you
see

your mother
here?”

“No,”
she says.

“exactly,”

i say.

Wolfgang Carstens

Wolfgang Carstens lives in Canada with his wife, five kids, dog, mortgage and death. His poetry is printed on the backs on unpaid bills. Visit him online at wolfgangcarstens.com.

 

Onset by Gary Beck

I survived another winter,
fortunately not too chilling
and with a sudden rush
spring invaded the city
with platoons of magnolias,
companies of cherry trees,
battalions of forsythia,
regiments of dogwood,
endless armies of daffodils,
in an undeclared war
on urban sensibilities.

Gary Beck

Gary Beck has 11 chapbooks. Poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways (Winter Goose Publishing), with 5 more accepted. His novels include: Extreme Change, Acts of Defiance and Flawed Connections. He currently lives in NYC.

A Ten Question Interview With The Artist… Jonathan Butcher

Why do you write?

My main principle reasons for writing are that I enjoy it, and it helps to keep me focused. Writing poetry is one of the few things that keeps my head on track, and keeps me motivated, and I find that it helps keep any momentum going in other elements of my life as well. I’ve also had an urge to express myself creatively since being really young, but could never find a medium that suited me, or that I was any good at, and poetry has always been something I don’t necessarily struggle with. I’ve always used reading as a form of escape as well, so it seemed natural to start writing. It’s also helps relive boredom, which is always good.

What books do you read?

I used to read novels exclusively for years, but once I discovered poetry and started writing then they got more or less replaced by poetry collections. I will always have a collection by someone on the go, but I can find it hard to relax with a book of poetry, because as soon as I get through five or six pages the ideas start rolling around my head and I end up reaching for my notebook, so I rarely finish one in one sitting. It is nice to go back to novels as well, but I tend to slow down a little when I do. I’m currently reading ‘Almost an Equinox’; a collection by London based poet Sarah Maguire, that I’m really enjoying.

What inspires you?

I find myself usually inspired by my surroundings, and I think as a poet it’s impossible not to be. I was born and have lived in Sheffield all my life, and take a lot of inspiration from that. I have always been drawn to writers who turn their surroundings into these far-fetched and abstracted landscapes, and that has always appealed to me especially as I grew up in a rather mundane part of the city. Due to the amount of time I have lived there, I have also developed a sort of love-hate relationship with it, which I think helps as well. I also, like most people, had somewhat of a lively youth and I draw a lot of inspiration from that as well.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer and when?

I had been writing little things on and off since I was a teenager, but never had the courage to show them to anyone, other than a few close friends, but it was in my mid twenties that I decided I wanted to take writing more seriously. It was around this time that I started reading poetry almost obsessively, and I found I related much more to the structure of a poem than I did a novel. I had always lived in my own head somewhat when I was younger, and found I was able to express myself more confidently as I got a bit older. It was also one of those ‘If I don’t do it now. I never will’ sort of times.

How do you deal with rejection?

When you first start writing and submitting to magazines and journals, it’s more or less all rejections for the first year or so, and even after you find your feet, you get just as many rejections as acceptances. It’s just part of being a writer as far as I’m concerned, and it genuinely doesn’t bother me. It’s an important learning curve that you have to embrace, and you’ll never progress unless you do. You should never let it discourage you. I can remember years ago, one of the first magazines I ever submitted to was some quarterly print publication, and the editor sent me a rejection including a scathing page long rant about how they hated my writing and added an attachment entitled ‘How to be a Poet’ (which,incidentally, I never bothered to read). Needless to say, it didn’t put me off.

Who are some writers you admire?

William Burroughs, Garcia Lorca, Ezra Pound, Scott Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath, Charles Bukowski, Frank O’Hara, Kathy Acker, Gregory Corso, Anna Kavan, Philip Larkin, Simon Armatige, and Stephen Spender are some of the writers and poets I would say I admire, and have drawn some kind of influence from. There are also a host of poets on the current underground scene both in the UK and US who I greatly admire and have had the privilege of having some my writing published alongside.

Is writing the only artistic medium you do?

Yes.

What would be some advice you would give to your younger self?

I would find it excruciatingly difficult to spend more than five minutes with my younger self without wanting to reach for the nearest blunt instrument to knock some sense into him, so it would leave little time to impart any worldly wisdom.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read. That would be the most useful piece of advise I could give, especially if your just starting out. You should be reading poetry on a more or less daily basis You have to have a passion for it in the first place, and a poet who doesn’t read (and they do exist!) is going to struggle somewhat. Find a style that works for you and start submitting work as soon as your happy with what you’re doing, and be realistic about the magazines you are submitting to. One of the biggest causes of you writing being rejected is if it just doesn’t fit in the publication you’ve submitted to. Always respect the editor you’re sending to and above all be patient. Stick to your own work ethic and try not to be too influenced by other writers you may know. Carve your own path.

What is your writing process?

I try to write on a daily basis more or less, and during a good period I usually write around three or four rough drafts a day. Once I’ve got around twenty or thirty, I then sift through them and I might find five or six I’m actually happy with, and that I feel confident sending out to editors. I try to keep editing down to a minimum, as I want to try and retain any energy a poem might have, rather than kill it off trying to make it ‘perfect’. I rarely sit down and think ‘right, I’ll write a poem about this, and then send it to this magazine’  I would much rather just keep continually writing around one or two ideas and then see what come out, and that seems to work for me.

Jonathan Butcher

Jonathan Butcher is a poet based in Sheffield, England. He has had poetry appear in various print and online publications including: Popshot, The Belleville Park Pages, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Elbow Room, Dead Beats, Gutter Eloquence and others. His second chapbook ‘Broken Slates’ has been published by Flutter Press.

Available For Cat-Feeding by John Grey

Is there such a man
who feeds a woman’s cats
while she’s away in Florida for a week?
Yes, there is.
It’s me.
I’m someone entrusted with the key
to another apartment
by a woman who worries not
that I’ll steal something,
ransack her drawers, her closets,
or peek here and there
in search of secrets.
Tell me where the cat meat is kept
and I’m your guy.
Provide me with an inventory
of whose dish is whose
and I will fill them every day.
She warns me not to try
to get friendly with the beasts.
They’ve claws sharp enough
to crack walnuts.
In other words,
those animals will feast
on what I put out for them
but they won’t show
the least sign of gratitude.
No purr to go along
with my fur-threading fingers.
No slalom rub
in and out of ankles.
Is there such a man
who will go all out for a woman
while knowing here will be no
commensurate reward?
I have filled that role forever it seems.
Relationships begin with
“You just don’t know how much
I really need you.”
They end with “Meow.”

John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Silkworm work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.

High School Reunion Hook Up by Jenny Santellano

Google that girl
Yeah, try to
find her
She’s the one
with her
hair in a bun
and her head
stuck ten feet
up her ass

When you
get to her
she’ll be
approaching
fifty, and her
teeth will be
just loose
enough
to pull

lucky you

Remember,
her eyes
are brown
hair too
skin olive
three kids
a dog
house in
the burbs
money in
the bank
and her
name is
useless

Nothing like
a little
nostalgia

Jenny Santellano

Jenny Santellano is a poet who detests bios. If you want to know more about her, read her poetry, some of which can be found in Scarlet Leaf Review, Section 8 Magazine, The Beatnik Cowboy, and In Between Hangovers.

Untitled by Rus Khomutoff

for Jacques Villegle

Spectres and spectacles of wild wants
ironclad links and
oral history of oral histories
counterintuitive improprieties
in the halo of time
art machines of a clandestine flow
very intact
heart full of napalm
at the dawn of a sizzling moan

Rus Khomutoff

Hi my name is Rus Khomutoff and I write neo surrealist poetry. I’ve been writing intensely the last 5 years on my twitter page. I love getting exposure for my work. Some of my favorite poets are Philip Lamantia, David Gascoyne, Andre Breton and Merl Fluin

Tell Me Why by Jason Baldinger

On the waves of the night
the air so clear, it strangles
what’s left of your thoughts.

Here among tall trees
bugs passing time
buzzing rims of ears
it seems possible that the world just ended.
Who could want more than getting high?

There was a girl I knew once
who lived over Garfield Hill.
She would call late night,
when the alcohol reminded her
she was lonely.

She was lonely.
The end spiral of a divorce,
those hard places
trying to make arrangements with yourself.
The foggy waters deep in mind
where there’s a need to flesh out
where he ended,
where she began.

There are a thousand ways to kill a night.
We find ways to make darkness tolerable.
We sift out what’s needed from what’s wanted.

In the end we’re only broken harbors.
Dreams and loneliness
to keep us afloat.

Dreams
burn out
in the way you smile.

Loneliness
is the only thing
in life that compounds.

Jason Baldinger

Jason Baldinger has spent a life in odd jobs, if only poetry was the strangest of them he’d have far less to talk about. He’s traveled the country and written a few books, the latest of which are The Lower 48 (Six Gallery Press) and The Studs Terkel Blues (Night Ballet Press). A short litany of publishing credits include Blast Furnace, The Glassblock, Lilliput Review, Green Panda Press, Pittsburgh Poetry Review and Fuck Art, Let’s Dance. You can hear audio versions of some poems on Bandcamp, just type in his name.