Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Issue #4

Three Poems by David Whitehouse

Ode to the Tabloids

A serious newspaper will tell you why the next teenage misfit
will dress his teachers in yellow jump suits
before decapitating them with an ornate samurai sword;
but not where or when.
So give me a pinky perky red-top tabloid.
Of a winter's morning I warm my hands on tales of minor celebrity shoplifters,
their speeding trolleys crammed with tracksuits, dog food and flip flops,
and enter competitions to try to win free shopping
to the total value of the theft.

Preservation Society: Blackheath, London

Starbucks will never open in Blackheath
because of the ancient Egyptian kings
who, knowing the evil of iced coffee and muffins,
embalm the place by injunction
they sniffed the evil on the phone
and to their tombs will take dewy chunks of heath,
church brick dust and piano recital sheets
to roam forever across the skies
their servants buried with them,
dead or alive, according to the season
in the British Museum they'll ponder the ancient script
before pausing for cinnamon scones and cappuccino

The Graveyard Shift

Once a woman beat me there.
In the empty newsroom's pre-dawn hour,
her fingers punched the keyboard.
The copy moved, not waiting for me.
Her mother-in-law had come to stay.
There was lots of slack time on the graveyard shift, she said,
enough for her to finish her Pol Pot history book.
I relaxed. Now I had time to watch Gary Glitter,
kiddie-fiddler deported from Asia, touch down live on TV.
The pilot didn't flinch, the plane didn't quiver, as it slid along the wet black tarmac.

Biography Note:

David Whitehouse, who is British, works as a journalist in Paris, where he has lived for 14 years. Previously he lived in Japan. He's married with three children and edits the The Lesser Flamingo ezine, which accepts poetry, flash fiction and short stories. You can find The Lesser Flamingo here.

Three poems by Charles C Brooks III

Gas Station Purgatory

People drone into tiny phones.
Their mouths are ragged metal
that clang
while I'm standing in line.
I'm deaf to everything else
but that clanging
clamoring in.

Their ruckus is a jumble of nonsense
from some relative, friend, TV show.
Sartre’s right
about other people.

This gas station is necessary.
I am stuck,
strangled by lottery tickets.
Beef jerky looks lethal.
There’s a rack of legal
speed for construction workers.
That clanging
is a test.


The waitress is too chipper,
She knows my wife somehow.
Soccer rushes by one television,
another shows stock cars.

The hedges are cut
in rectangles.
The parking lot is clogged
with hybrid cars
that look like Easter eggs.

Dream Casting

On the backs of pine beetles
burrowed beneath dense
tree bark
this journey is hidden.

The bedroom window’s hairline cracks
turn streetlights into muted prisms.
In the parking lot below,
talk of pancakes and bar fights.
I’m somewhere between it
and sleep, finally drifting off.

Next morning hands
cupped around coffee, I sit
a fresh persona.
Bare feet feel alive
on this hardwood floor.
Dust sparkles,
sifts, and settles.

Biography Note:

Charles Clifford Brooks III is a poet and freelance writer living in Georgia, USA. He was inducted into the National Creative Society as a Master Member his senior year at Shorter College. There he also obtained a BS in History\Political Science with a minor in English Literature. Along with his creative endeavors, he also contributes articles to three magazines and a newspaper. Charles Clifford has been published in over 40 magazines, 3 anthologies, and printed in five foreign countries. He is currently Poetry Editor for Literary Magic Magazine. Ghost Shadow Press picked up his first book of poetry “Whirling Metaphysics”.

Three poems by Hal Sirowitz

Bad at Friendships

Mother said I’d be better off if I

let her pick who to become friends with.

I don’t have much luck at it.

Friendships are supposed

to last a lifetime. Mine last a week.

That doesn’t bode well for marriage.

My wife is supposed to be my friend.

But if I’m incapable of making friends

with men, how am I going to make

them with women? It’s the same concept,

just a different sex. But I shouldn’t worry.

She’ll be my wife’s friend. And a friend

of hers is automatically a friend of mine.

The End of Blame

Father made a yearly pilgrimage

to his parents’ graves. He said if

his family got along better, they’d

all be buried close together and he

wouldn’t feel guilty about not visiting

his dead relatives. All he knows

is they’re buried somewhere nearby.

He figured he could pray for them, too,

since they’re in the vicinity. But it’s

hard to put fervor in a prayer when

you’re not sure what the people

you’re praying for look like. He

remembers how his Aunts and Uncles

looked when they were young.

Then his father got sick, his Uncles

ran the factory, and his father’s

coat business flopped. Everyone

blamed everyone else. They were

too busy blaming the other to visit.

They did it on the phone.

The Effects of Bagels

Mother didn’t keep a kosher home.

She wanted us to be free to use any fork

we desired. Out of respect for her father,

she would use plastic silverware when

he came over for brunch. She’d send

me to the bakery to get challhah

We weren’t very religious, but we

lived in a town where you could buy bagels.

And that gave grandfather hope. He’d pray

that eating Jewish food would eventually

accomplish what he couldn’t, make us more Jewish.

Biography Note:

Hal Sirowitz is the former Poet Laureate of Queens, New York. His last collection of poetry is called 'Father Said' (Soft Skull Press).

April Fool’s Day in Boston
Francis Raven

The pale that came after the impale of winter.
A slight greening on the edges of distance.
Yet, ice in the pockmarks.
The scouring that Spring cleaning is supposed to
Take advantage of
And simultaneously
Erase the traces of.
In keeping with civilization

There is a doubt that things
Left to their own leaves
Will ever amount to anything
But the next season.
And yet, the knife is removed
On slender feet, evaporating
In quick crystals’
Neighborhood expansion plan.

Biography Note:

Francis Raven is a graduate student in philosophy at Temple University. His books include 5-Haifun: Of Being Divisible (Blue Lion Books, 2008), Shifting the Question More Complicated (Otoliths, 2007), Taste: Gastronomic Poems (Blazevox 2005) and the novel, Inverted Curvatures (Spuyten Duyvil, 2005). Francis lives in Washington DC; you can check out more of his work at his website here:

Isaiah Vianese

The smell of bacon, fried eggs,
and brewed coffee.

Hunters and old men have gathered
at the greasy spoon to warm their stomachs

before spending hours in the cold,
some to shovel last night’s snow fall,

knock icicles from the gutters,
and others to sit high in the trees

with a rifle, essence of deer piss
spread on the trunk below.

The waitress keeps their cups warm
between buttering toast, working the register,

yelling orders to the cook
through the little window.

By eight, they will be gone to their work
their play, and she can have a cigarette,

but for now they keep her running,
raising their mugs for more.

Biography Note:

Isaiah Vianese is author of the chapbook, Stopping on the Old Highway (recycled karma press, 2009). He grew up in upstate New York, and currently lives in Missouri.

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