In a tapestried matchbox
I keep an old story
About two colliding hummingbirds.
The feathers left behind
Say nothing tangible about the vanity
In the always-and-everywhere dimension.
Throb after thrill
And throe after throb.
My sentiment- intoxicated bloodstream
Imagines itself significant
To obfuscate the cynicism.
Can you discern
The avid caterpillar in the orange heart
Of the moon?
Its bile can scald arterial paths between poles
Leaving the juice to transpire
While the flesh’s still fresh
And the sickness transpiercing
In its discordance.
The wolves under my tongue will wail
Stable in their indelicacy
To devour themselves.
Somewhere else, in lost saddlebags,
Is pining for stoicism.
Please, from your tower of ossicles,
Show me the right orbit
For which to define
The line of apsides.
Every night I visit different places,
Observe behavioral oddity,
Sleep in different crania,
Who eat grapes
But don’t share any with me.
Some of them laugh uncontrollably
Neglecting the risk of choking.
The new day insists on dexterity
To remove fermented beans
From the husky throats
And feed the vultures.
The sense of direction detects that
The air’s already acquired a ropy aftertaste.
Bio: Vyarka Kozareva lives in Bulgaria. Her work has appeared in Adelaide Literary Magazine, Ariel Chart, Poetry Pacific, Basset Hound Press, Bosphorus Review of Books, Mad Swirl, Ann Arbor Review, and is forthcoming in Abstract: Contemporary Expressions, Juste Milieu Lit, Sampsonia Way Magazine, and Triggerfish.
Dark hole sucks
me in suddenly,
and I'm lost
falling, falling, falling.
No bottom, no end,
until time passes
while others stand
they know not what.
to the future.
The one in pain
restrained from stopping.
There is a switch
I cannot find
inside of me.
PANIC! PANIC!! PANIC!!!
It sounds alarms
I know it's happened.
Train thunders by
pulling me along.
Far down the way
steam has decreased
and my brain
can think again.
Others say: “Insane,
not fit...” No.
Just mental wiring.
Reading, I come
to jumbled letters
on the page.
A word, I think,
Makes no sense.
I close my eyes,
let the letters sort
Open my eyes:
there is now a word
and I continue
Less, this happens
as age becomes
my pain, yet
I remember still
A mind contesting
with its brain
over what the body
will do –
The daily, hourly,
struggle of one
so graced with dys-
on the page don't
stand still, or
stay in order.
Others have no clue.
Child doesn't know
all others aren't the same –
this, the normal
he only knows.
When your grip is slipping
off the rope
and there is no length left
for another knot
to hang on to....
What do you do?
What do you hold on to?
What can you do?
What will hold you up?
will set you free!
you didn't know you had.
of unknown power.
WINGS to fly!
Bio: Duane L. Herrmann, a reluctant carbon-based life-form, was surprised to find himself on a farm in Kansas. He’s still trying to make sense of it but has grown fond of grass waving in the wind, trees and the enchantment of moonlight. He aspires to be a hermit, but would miss his children, grandchildren and a few friends. His work has been published in real places and online, even some of both in languages he can’t read (English is difficult enough!), in over a hundred journals and over fifty anthologies. He is known to carry baby kittens in his mouth, pet snakes, and converse with owls, but is careful not to anger them! All this, despite a traumatic, abusive childhood embellished with dyslexia, ADHD (both unknown then), cyclothymia, an anxiety disorder, and now PTSD. He’s still learning to breathe and do human at the same time.
There was a boy nearing graduation,
With great acceleration, college on the horizon,
First in his family to
--he was pulled from one side
Of the gravel, down into the ditch
& never made curfew.
Mom and dad cried and tried to find
Meaning and with an open heart
They gave the body of his car
To the graduating class.
The mangled frame sat on the back
Of a flatbed’s slow tow around the town,
In the homecoming parade, as boys and girls
Hammered the broken body without the joy
Or excitement of tires or glass
Or an engine’s rush of gas.
Candy was tossed to the children,
The football game was lost or won,
But the blind eyes of spraypainted metal still
Lets the sound come to you.
More Than a Carnivore Could Bear (as told by my grandma about her husband's childhood)
He had a dog, part-wolf,
Whose hunger was epic,
As his family had little to eat.
It had been weeks
Since they had meat,
More than a carnivore could bear.
So they collected wages
To calm their craving.
Upon the block, his family watched
The Butcher stuff hot dogs,
And decided on one each.
Mother carried the paper package
In her coat, and unwrapped
It in the kitchen.
Imagine Part-Wolf’s suspicion
At the scent of fresh meat.
Mother took the plate away.
Her trip to the hot plate
Was smooth, so much that
She slid and the meat flew
Up and into the eye
Of Part-Wolf’s teeth,
Snap and swallow, before
A scrum or tug-of-war. So went
The meat drought,
Along with the Depression,
Until it didn’t matter
What dog they ate.
Climb the Heights
We were just
Standing, watching either end
Of the Valley
Of a barren marriage.
And in the Valley, walls so tall
Only a whisper of dreams
Could climb the heights
To pass where escape lies
As a basin,
Lush with sap sweet
Water, if only enough to skim,
In this impossible proportion
To the dry, flat clime
Where time pulses like the night sweats
Of a neon saint with a circus in tow
Medics and Missing House Numbers
The passage of choice is a memory mirrored,
Not a hallway necessity like a locked firehose cabinet.
I regret not having a pass but had to see
The red lights on the ceiling that are still squealing.
Smash glass? No, sir. It’s no funhouse really,
Just an extinguisher taking advantage
Of the frame’s weak woodgrain. I don’t know
What you found, I can’t attest to that anymore
Than the worm tracks on autopsied back fat.
The distance between alone and together?
The greater the better, bigger pills with more color.
How can you swallow a photograph taken
At the moment of decision? There’s no map
To get back, even to itself– useless.
Yes, there was a camera but don’t mind the process,
Exposure and acid and… Relief in the form of a Note:
There’s no need for numbers in real life. There,
Did you hear that? The sirens have been lost for hours,
Spaced out, in motion like an excellent illusion, even
If it’s too good to be true, just know there’s no framework
For feeling, true for daily dosage, one by one
I’ve watched the house numbers fall as the ambulance
Drones around in concentric circles and I can still see you.
The Corpse Flower
The Botanical Center is a replica of the terrestrial,
Feeling lunar, artificial, a big bubble off the freeway.
The attraction was the bloom of the Corpse Flower,
A giant, imported and set far enough away
To be bothered by only a live feed camera.
We paid admission and waited days,
Married all the while.
Standing on a footbridge in a controlled
Climate, I felt like an astronaut
On a movie set.
While away, we checked in on the live stream,
Awaiting the hamburger-scented bloom.
Can a camera capture other senses?
We watched in case her jaws would fall open
Like the maw of a busted melon.
With uncertainty, time grew slow and meaning swelled.
Attention to the plant became a sheen
To preserve the moisture of memory,
Like the head of a room-centered bust.
And the live stream crept as though our watching
Would beckon a gardener, to unmask this plant
And reveal the great flower’s teeth. It wasn’t to be.
Pictures were taken to preserve the day
And populate dating profiles, there was great momentum
For leaving, then there was the gift shop
But I only wanted to put my face to the bloom,
And Inhale the scent of our abortion’s birth.
Bio: Aaron Wiegert has published two poetry chapbooks 'Evil Queen' and 'The Last Railroad Spike' both from Budget Press. Aaron's works have appeared in literary journals and anthologies throughout the U.S. as well as Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, Austria, and Nigeria.
The Rose Garden
I was the rose garden
that you left unattended.
I still bloomed despite the weeds
Wild and free,
I had to find my way through -
Every now and then, a passerby
would stop to admire my beauty.
It was the thorns that
kept others from getting too close-
even to give me water, I thirsted for.
I suppose I don't mind wailing for the rain
as I have weathered plenty of life's storms.
The Rose Garden II
You can't understand this world -
but just know
that not everyone abandoned you.
You often let the thorns stand in your way. I tried
reaching out, but I got so tired of standing there -
hoping that you'd see your beauty.
You always said Father Time waited for no one, but I'm not
going to either. Don't let irony get the best of you.
You were always wild and free
So why are you here
in your rose garden?
It was a lollipop dream. There
were monsters in their tiny
castles made of sand and
rattlesnakes with diamond eyes.
The paper tigers chased playfully
while the bears frolicked in the
daisy fields. It was a lollipop
dream. Where the sour hid behind a
The Funeral Man
No one knows his real name,
but they called him the Funeral Man.
Tall and slender,
with a dead stare, he'd appear
in dreams out of nowhere, in a hearse.
His skin was
Was he a shadow of his former self?
He kidnapped unsuspecting victims
and then would disappear,
as fast as he had appeared,
leaving a trail of smokey fog -
that didn't lead anywhere.
Who was this creepy -
strange dream drifter
While those who dreamed of
him didn't know who he was,
it was said that his
arrival meant trouble
was to come.
Take me back
to that night
on a cold October
I would have held your hand
I would have listened
I would have loved you
I would have danced
with you under the moonlight
and the blanket of stars
would have kept us warm
The Rotten Apple
She had an ugliness
couldn't see it right away -
like a slowly rotting apple.
Bright and wholesome
on the surface -
you didn't know what was
underneath her facade
Until it broke down
and she had wormed her way -
to your core.
Unknown # 2
danced with the moon
with the wolves.
Unknown # 3
She stares at her reflection in the mirror
Barely recognizing the woman staring back at her.
Time worn skin
Her beauty has faded gradually over the years
like a faded rose petal
dried and pressed -
in the pages of a book long forgotten.
Her memories are no different
sharp and dull
Scattered like broken glass
She then hears music playing at a distance.
"On a dark desert highway
Cool wind in my hair
Warm small of colitas
Rising up through the air"
A faint smile crosses her lips
To a memory that croons inside her soul
She sways to the music
and drifts to a time lost
Yet, not completely forgotten.
Young, naive, and in love with love
and a childish notion that time was limitless.
I'll Say Goodbye Tomorrow
I'll say goodbye
to everything I ever owned
I'll let my fingertips brush
against the books I'll never read.
I will look at the pictures
I will burn
that will never give you solace
the same solace that I needed
When I was here
I thought I'd call everyone
but I didn't think anyone cared
My voice one last time.
I wish that I had all of
the answers and this one
makes the most sense.
I'll be fine and so will you.
The Drunken Ballerina of the Night
The pine trees swayed
Whispering a song
to the night
A chorus of animals
as I drunkenly walked
deeper into the forst
with the moonlight
being my only guide.
like a drunk ballerina
Singing my own song
and the crickets
Past Parades Fade Through All Your Egos
You marched up and down
the Kentucky roads in your own narcissistic
parade. You waved the red flags,
but no one seemed to notice as they
caught up your broken boy charm.
No matter how many times I tried
to save you from drowning in your
thought, I always ended up being
the one to blame. You let your folks
talk about me as I was nothing.
Every time there was a problem,
You'd waltz right to your mom's apron
strings. My feeling was invalid when I
tried to turn to you. You turned the
cards around and I was the crazy one.
I always stood alone whenever I stood up
for myself. You let me drown in despair,
and the one that ended saving me was myself.
2 new poems/writings by HilLesha O’Nan : “In Patagonia” & “These Walls”Poem/lyrics by HilLesha O’Nan: “The Preacher’s Wife”Poetry by HilLesha O’Nan : “Small Town Hearts” “Two Wolves” & “Living with the Mirrors”
Eleven at night.
Four squeezed into the living room
watching a tiny black and white TV.
The fifth is outside,
cigarette in one hand,
beer in the other,
leaning against his pickup.
while he and a neighbor
go at it.
"If I see you near her ever again."
"You'll do what."
"You just think you're tough."
"Why don't you try me."
One gets up to adjust the antenna.
Another says, "Get me a beer while
The third's half asleep.
The fourth is snoring.
The fifth stumbles in,
his tongue still cussing
Everyone's accounted for.
Outside still hums with anger.
The inside sits on blocks.
Three Kids in an Old House
We found this abandoned house
in thick steamy summer woods,
its outer-walls unpainted and rotting,
the roof overgrown and sunk in parts,
every window shattered,
and the front door swelled out of its frame,
cocked to one side.
It was surely haunted, even at high noon,
for the dark air inside
seemed to have nothing to do
with what we had been breathing outside.
Tentative steps took us through the threshold
into a room containing nothing
but an old upright piano.
I ran my fingers down its keys.
For every ringing note,
there were five dull clunks.
The noise scattered cockroaches.
We summoned enough courage
between the three of us
to investigate the kitchen:
a rusty sink, a square of faded linoleum
where a stove had been,
and a small, empty refrigerator,
surrounded by water stains.
The bedroom was a cave of dust and spiders
and a shed snakeskin,
shaped long and slithery enough for imaginations
to shudder at the withering gaze of absent eyes.
We'd seen enough.
That this was once a family home
never entered our minds.
We figured no one ever lives
in such fearful circumstances.
A naive assumption on our part.
The Young Arsonist
He wanted to set the school aflame
but all he could achieve was
to set fire to the contents
of a paper recycling bin.
He felt like a ping-pong ball
being battered back and forth
by two different civilization.
Fire, to his way of thinking,
was a citizen of the world.
His parents called him a problem child.
Their parents reckoned him abnormal.
The cops never mentioned rootlessness,
just a warning for the future.
The flames, the heat,
gave little back to him.
The brief happiness seemed futile.
His father lectured him on being
proud of his ancestry,
added that they only moved
to this country
because he couldn’t make
a living back home.
The boy had been proud of the fire
but his father was right.
It would never be an ongoing concern.
He still wanted to set the school aflame
but he continued to attend classes.
And learning poured water on everything.
Many Webs on the Trail
Past the lines of the old stone walls,
between two long standing oaks,
the flutter of nerves stops just short of the flutter of web,
strong in the wind, a spider
holds captured prey as much with its eyes
as any gossamer.
I brush the gnats from my face
but that’s not what changes the mood to savagery,
why it’s suddenly colder, silent,
from the dark core of my brain to my nervous fingers,
my stuttering feet on the trail down to the marsh.
And what of the pathless thicket?
I’m terrified of what might be lurking there.
Ticks, more spiders, snakes…
I’d be such an easy mark.
No, nature’s not something to rush.
And these filaments across my path
can’t be torn to shreds with the wave of a hand,
The air is chilled.
The sky is fishing for a way in
between the treetops.
Everything cast shadows.
Not just the pines, the maples.
But the maze of death that flutters before me.
I somehow sneak my way around this web
only to be confronted by more of the same farther along.
For all I know, this could just be one giant construction
spread throughout the Autumn woods.
Half-erased lives cling to its sticky filigree,
maneuvering for a position. for a freedom
that is no longer possible.
It’s their dying that makes the living visible,
their struggle spun across the path ahead
that pulls me back to where my beating heart is waiting.
I crunch on twigs.
The sound is like the snap of carapace.
Blue-jays screech at my presence.
Don’t they know that I’m the good guy here.
Regarding the Afterlife
Last night, in a close gathering of folks
at my apartment, a writer friend
of mine claimed to have all the facts
regarding the afterlife.
"The soul catches the first plane
out of New York for Tibet," he said.
"But the soul's not traveling
to the high country
to make nice with the Dalai Lama.
Being so bodiless,
it's finally able to cash in on
that latent love of winter sports.
Now it can ski down Everest,
skate across the icy plateau."
'"Is there a God," someone asks.
"No," he replies, "only a slalom course
at over twenty eight thousand feet
where the thinness of the air
doesn't bother man's essence in the slightest."
I ask him what such an eventuality
does for all this "meaning of life" talk.
His response was that "the meaning of life
is bobsledding from the top of the world
down to its very pits
only without a bobsled."
"But what about religion?" somebody asked.
"Religion is a bobsled," he replied.
Emma is certain she will die today.
The mirror reveals a woman almost dead anyhow.
She figures maybe, with the right undertaker,
her face will look more lovely, more serene,
in the coffin than in reflection,
She examines her belly - the perfect target for a knife.
Her mouth opens wide - now there's a well
for dropping many of the pills in the bottle on the table beside her bed.
And look at those white wrists -
the optimum hunting ground for a ra/.or and a steam bath.
Self-destruction, she figures, is the perfect antidote
to what she's seeing in that mirror.
Now which are the mushrooms that dabble in death?
And where's the most likely place in her garden
for a rattlesnake to be coiled and ready to strike?
She’s weary of hearing it from people.
The falsity of so-called lovers cuts
but it doesn't go deep enough.
And her family are no use:
she doesn't measure up
and yet they still refuse to bring her all the way down.
Let them find her lying in her own blood.
Or contorted like an Indian rubber man
with a face a standard shade of blue.
But Emma is also certain that
her certainties are thin as skin.
She'll get through the day, the night,
and the next and the next.
Her death watch requires a lot of patience.
A life is a long, long time.
Bio: John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.