Steven Leake

White Lighter Society


Legend says

Every single member
Of the 27 club

Died with a white lighter
In their pockets

A memento mori

Before rock and rollers
Did yoga with millionaire gurus

And

Became shredded vegans
To fight the wear of time

One more celebrity scandal

Or perhaps

The machinations of unseen puppetmasters 
Sacrificing sensitive souls of particular brilliance 

For the New World Order, of course!

A psy-op to enshrine new gods

And tease the imagination
Of the curious and pathological

I put a cigarette
On the tomb of Jim Morrison

Summoning the mojo
Of some mystery cult

To tip the scale

Towards creating a meaning
Worth living for

Damon Hubbs

Nesting


After months of building
painting and electrical work,
after sewing and embroidering 
beading and bolting
recycling and repurposing, 
after years of moving furniture 
and changing fabric
dusting, vacuuming 
and tidying up

you watch 
through a tiny peephole 
in the dollhouse
as mice move in,
building little nests 
from found objects, 
blindly tossing 
and 
turning 
in their miniature beds

the carving-knife moon 
hinged like a broken fingernail. 

Stephen Jarrell Williams

"Paper Wings"


Why do I
worry

I've never had enough money
to make an easy run of it

but mostly trouble
magnified
by who I am and what I write

so I'm no longer squinting
over my shoulder anymore

at those with crooked noses
surrounding me
on the free corner of the city

I'm going to fly
upward
with my paper wings of poetry

over their
flat heads and loose suits

undoing my belt and pants
leaving them
with a spat in the faces!




"Doing in Ourselves"


Continuous Corruption
perpetual pollution

entire country full of flumes
breaking wind

cities shaking
bombs spreading babel

supposited leaders elected
atop private dunghills

bathtubs overflowing
with worthless dollar bills

ceilings covered with army ants
dropping mini turds

far oceans spying
full of periscopes and troops

doing in ourselves
pointing our fingers at everyone else.

Sayani Mukherjee

Violence


Wanderings amidst snow cradled stairs
Lily footed innocence
A lighthearted Soaking
A Feather-like elusive disarray.

Then a leopard at night
Humanoid force
The violence is foggy
My tainted mirror sees it
The masks of forked paths
A string, a right left child's play.

After a nanosecond speed
The bullet proof vest
Marching through
For virtue
Death and dreaming
Glassinobs scented handkerchief
Shorting of breaths
Death over death's bosom.

The power of a couplet
The pinching truth
Salty with each throb.
The leopard runs deep down
Forests and pillars
Authority holds the shadow
The skeptical insomnia
A sharp finish
Morphine sleep, time's hole.

Hours hold on.
The river runs through
Shadows and bones
Chess game and vigilant mistress
A dark hell with my resistance.
I can't lie with the River.
It sees through
A wise grandmother and a woolen muffler.
Coils the structure
Men with law enforcement

Country's growth spurt.
The children feed on
Winds and brain smoked intelligence.
The play is ironic.
A blind stare.

Aborigines instincts a creepy vestibule
The river rings on
A music to ears
Lily footed innocence
It holds the strings alright
A juggler.
Mass extinction
Nature's yearnings
A blood dripping amazonian finish.
It devours.

J. Archer Avery

BORDERLINE

eggs fried in 
butter, handwritten poetry 
in a yellow legal pad 
the hand cramps but remains
unbroken, words flow but the train 
has derailed, thoughts like a key change
climbing out of the goldilocks zone
over the borderline
madonna in coagulated egg yolk
droplets of chicken-fried genius ink 
and it doesn’t feel 
like i’m going to lose my mind
but i keep on pushing

 


HEARTS OF TALC 

sunglasses 
in the soft darkness

serenity now

cocktails 
in thunder-snow

in a hot tub 
in a tornado

we reimagine
everything 

vladimir putin in leather
black helicopters

toothpicks in an avocado pit 
the scent of burnt sugar

we witness
with hearts of talc

the end of one thing
and the start

of something
else

Ian Copestick

Hospital


So, here I am.
Back in the palace
of terror, and shame.

My dignity gone,
before I even got here.

Weeks of drinking,
without eating had left
me so tired, and weak
that I could hardly stand
up.

I had a bath.

Getting in wasn't easy .
Getting out was impossible.
Emergency services had to
come, and lift me out.

Then my eyes were a mad,
glowing yellow, like a cat's.
Jaundiced, hepatitis.
So they brought me here.

And here I've been since.

No drink.
No cigarettes.
No fun.

Michael Lee Johnson

Witchy Halloween 

 
Inside this late October 31st night,
this poem turns into a pumpkin.
Animation, something has gone
devilishly wrong with my imagery.
I take the lid off the pumpkin’s headlight
and the pink candles inside.
Demons cry, crawl, split, fly outsides —
escape through the pumpkin’s eyes.
I’m mixed in fear with this scary, strange creation.
Outside, quietly tapping Hazel the witch,
her broomstick against my windowpane rattles.
She says, “nothing seems to rhyme anymore,
nothing seems to make any sense,
but the night is young.
Give me back my magical bag of tricks.
As Robert Frost said:
  “But I have promises to keep,  
  And miles to go before I sleep.”

Noel Negele

Love

To watch old
photographs
of hers
from when she was a baby

a round-cheeked girl
with large black eyes
that were
pure and curious

a healthy stubbornness
apparent between her brows

an innocence in her smile
that overwhelms you
with a feeling of melting

a woman now

a woman that
makes you proud

makes you want to try

a crooked smile,
a bigger curve
on one side
of her mouth

left dimple
deeper
than the right

soft, pale
thighs
half-covered
by your bed sheets

the warmth
of her ass
in winter

sleeping embraced
by each other

no such thing
as sadness
when she’s around

you cannot fail

anxiety—
a plague that plagues
others,
you’re not worried at all

sleeping embraced

her small hand
groping for yours
in the dark

her soft voice
in a whisper
saying
my love

your heart
could as well
be a frantic
bird singing
in the cage
of your chest

on the verge
at times
of proclaiming
absolute happiness

or immortality

sharing the intimate
darkness of each night

as the sun
comes up
each time

and goes
down again

as it will do

until the final day
they’ll dig that hole
for a body detached
by its soul

or whatever they call
this vessel
in you

that’s brimming over

with this feeling.




The mayhem of our youth


Sure it had its appeal—-
that time in life
you were so unbelievably young
you were almost
legitimately insane—-
and yes, looking back
at all that degeneration 
was a thing to behold—-
the nonchalant 
and mindless
booze consumption 
and drug intake and
the countless stumblings
from whore house
to whore house—-
and all those girls 
even wilder than you 
on your wildest—
naked, pale girls 
leaning over the plate
on the nightstand 
to take a good line
of Devils dandruff
as their breasts dangled
like firm but ripe fruits—
Yes, the frenzied
drug-fueled nights 
with the one on one fights 
that made you beat on your chest 
like a Gorilla
after it was done
or the group brawls
in slumping bars
under a shower of broken
beer shards—-
Yes, the dripping blood
on faces of people 
you had never meet before that night 
and the knife threats
the knife attacks 
the Molotov cocktails 
against riot police
because you’d read Bakunin 
back then 
and because you were angry 
and willing to hurt people—-
Yes, you were lucky to
get out of that youth 
scathed but very much alive
and truth be told and
because the older you get 
the less you bullshit yourself,
I never did have the stomach 
for all that 
and it never even came close
to filling that black hole 
at the front of my heart
that always remained and felt
infinitely empty
and there’s no more absolute
nothingness
than infinitely empty 
and no matter how many people
I pushed into that hole 
the love attempts 
the literature
the intoxication
the anger
the affection
it made no difference—-

But now,
much older than then,
I’ve stopped dropping 
things into that hole 

now I’ve learned to live with it.
Now, sometimes I’ll look 
deep into that hole—
and the deeper I look
the more probable it becomes
that it might not be so empty.

Now, I am much older.
The thought of that lost 
and misplaced youth 
sounds loud to my ears,
it sullies my peace of mind.

Now, I sit on my porch
and drink the first cold beer
in weeks 
because I promised myself I would
on the first day the temperature 
would reach thirty degrees
and I stare at the tree tops
swinging with the warm summer
breeze and notice the sound
of a particular twig 
that sounds like a creaky door 
with each mild gust 
and I think of my thirty three
days matured steaks 
marinating in my fridge
the whole day now 
and even though I’m hungry 
I light a cigarette and wait until
I’m famished 
and I look deep into that hole
at the front of my bloated heart
and realize 
I haven’t heard Edith Piaf
in a long time.

A.J. Huffman

Garden Writing 

 
Hunger and whiskey drip from barren 
branches, become tangible textures of lost 
humanity.  I close my eyes and imagine 
myself a seedling, nubile and sun-washed, 
but I cannot complete the physical 
connection.  I remove my shoes,  
dig my toes deeper into mudding soil 
as I search for a magical conduit  
that might just cut a path to the past. 
Moments pass like pantomimed centuries. 
Still I am left empty and cold  
and clutching the extremities of solitude 
as if they were the last 
breadcrumbs falling from the hands of peace. 



A Mirror of Gold Against Your Soul 


proves that I am as good as you

that you are not master
of any self, including mine

shows a perfect portrait of emptiness

ripples with dark refractions of time
and loss
and a hatred that continues
to consume

shows that I have
outgrown the need to save
dying things

implies a life
beyond the suffocating embrace
of your eyes

Howie Good

To Those Who Are Perishing

A strange figure that has always been there but never seen appears just then, green bottle flies tangled in her long, witchy hair and patches of brown mold staining her forehead and chin. She knows our names, our secrets, knows our thoughts before we even think them. Those she has invisibly visited have perished miserably from Alzheimer’s and tumors and in shopper stampedes. The science of it can be debated later, when cold black stars pinwheel across the sky and the moon flies up like a clown shot out of a cannon. In the meantime, today’s rain falls on yesterday. We grow old surrounded by clocks.