The Imbedded Grit In Arnie’s Face by Dan Sicoli

of what human industry
carried you here, you rattled rover
exiled from the palisades
journeyed dust of weary planetesimals
squatting in epic creases
of your lizard skin

a workman’s attitude
an ethic sense of stubbornness
dissolves in the romanticism of world war anarchy
you survived

you must be some sort of shell-shocked vet
you must be some purveyor of time pieces
you must be the contemplator of cocktail neon

i knew better
than to question
your neighborhood code

but i must admit
you made me itch
watching you
describe your wife
with a unfiltered rage

am i hollow and pretentious?
an imposter in these store-bought clothes?
i can only confess to mocking the clock
of any workday

arnie, you stumbled like a blind man
through menlo park
gripping the schematics
of invention
crippled by the taunting
scorn of a photograph of laughs

Dan Sicoli
Dan Sicoli, of Niagara Falls, New York, USA, is the author of two poetry chapbooks from Pudding House Publications (Columbus, Ohio), Pagan Supper and the allegories. He can sometimes be found in local dives, saloons and barrelhouses banging on an old Gibson with an area rock’n’roll band.
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Purpurfargade Ansiktet by Robert Beveridge

dark blade of sunken velvet
drawn across my wrists

a newborn ready to be shown
the many-chambered garden
entrenched in this sunless world

flowers always bloom here
scent so light to seem a dream
wavers in breezeless air

you touch my shoulder
guide me to flowerbeds
that cannot be reached asleep

and in that night, Jeanne
in that scent you can blossom
expose your center self to eyes
that beg to protect you

soft, sharp child of nightflowers

The title is Romany for “child of the night-flowers” (per Stephen King in Thinner).

Robert Beveridge
Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Borrowed Solace, Dodging the Rain, and Twyckenham Notes, among others.

Intruders by Blaine Kaltman

John woke with a gasp- there was noise from below
Movement.  Footsteps.  A muffled voice whispered “Go.”
Fear infected his brain and chilled in his bone.
Intruders downstairs.  In his home.
His sleepy wife yawned.  “Shh!” snapped John.
He sat up in bed and flipped the light on.
“Call 911” he quietly said, handed her his cell phone
Slid out of bed.
She nervously dialed as he crept to the door
Being careful his feet didn’t creak on the floor
“Hello…there’s someone in our house…”  John heard his wife say
And as she whispered the details he started to pray.
Because now there were footsteps climbing the stairs
The tension was palpable- he could literally feel his neck hairs
standing on end, how would he defend?
Sweat beads his brow, footsteps continue to ascend.
John scanned the room for a weapon or barricade- anything that could help keep them safe.
Just pillows and blankets, in the closet clothes and shoes.
Nothing hard, nothing heavy- not a goddamn thing he could use.
“Hurry,” his wife pleaded.  John’s stomach felt sick.
And then…BANG!  He felt the door being kicked.
John braced against the door, his heart whacked his ribcage
His wife started screaming, the door shook with rage
BANG!  BANG!  Another two jolts
The doorframe splintered, unhinged from the bolts.
John’s braced against the door, his wife cried with despair
His wedged bare foot was bleeding, he was barely aware
He had no idea who was on the other side.
He just knew he couldn’t let them in no matter how hard they tried.
BANG! BANG! BANG!  John pushed with his might
The whole door was shaking.  He screamed “Turn off the light!”
His wife lunged for the light obeying his command
John pushed the door harder with trembling hands
The room plunged into darkness, John lip’s turning blue
The door shattered inwards, the first intruder burst through
John thrown to the wall, he recovered and jumped
Crashing into the intruder, to the floor they both thumped.
John scratched for the face, he heard screams from his wife
In the pale moonlight John glimpsed the glint of a knife.
He went for the blade, the second man barreled in
John wrestled loose the knife but was suddenly kicked in the chin
His head snapped back, he flopped on the floor
But managed to keep the knife, and then with a roar
He dove for the first man, on the floor, near
And drove the knife deep into his ear
The man shrieked in horror -a shrill banshee cry
John yanked free the blade and slashed for the eye
He could feel the blood spurting warm and wet on his hand
“Get out of my house!”  his wife screamed the command
John snapped awake.  The room was bright.
The rumpled sheets were wet but no intruders in sight.
Just his wife with a broom chasing down…a mouse?
“Get out!” She yelled swatting.  “Get out of my house!”
The mouse turned and scurried and John scratched his head.
Relieved yet still shaken he climbed out of bed.

blaine-kaltman
Blaine Kaltman has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Queensland. He is the author of “Under the Heel of the Dragon” http://www.ohioswallow.com/author/Blaine+Kaltman and the producer, lead actor, and screenplay writer of the award winning film “Back Alley Bulls” http://influxmagazine.com/back-alley-bulls-review/. He is a Foreign Service officer with the US State Department and fluent in Mandarin Chinese. His latest artistic venture is a hard rock band named Stone Mob and a cowboy themed video to support their first single “Murder Town” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK-S9vPdpNs . But none of this has stopped Blaine from writing poems almost everyday for the past twenty years.

In Prayer by Ananya S Guha

Erase those
wounding you
Take the slate
Wipe out memories
Don’t erase those
who slander
preserve them in
artefacts of history
dry memories to be
bound
in leather cases of
museums,
have you tried
the anecdotal ?
Narrate sorrows
prisms of happiness
and bring your grovelling
minds, to trance
in prayer.

ananya-s-guha
Ananya S Guha ( 1957) lives in Shillong, in North East India. He has been writing poetry and publishing his poems over thirty years.

Ponder Our Imbecilities by Jennifer Lagier

Camille is depressed, disillusioned.
Rations news consumption to less
than fifteen minutes a day.
Cannot bear to hear one more
idiotic conspiracy theory.

Has no patience with
screaming shock jocks
inciting violent hate crimes
against lesbians, transgendered, gays,
women, liberals, people of color.

If she has to watch another
bloated white man over 60
smirk, lie through his teeth,
she’ll fling something heavy
through her TV.

Jen-2016
Jennifer Lagier has published thirteen books, taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium readings. Newest books: Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle Press). Forthcoming: Like a B Movie (FutureCycle Press, 2018). Website: jlagier.net Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JenniferLagier/

My Canberra by Robert David Verdon

seen
from the old volcano
its parliament houses, low and high,
with their respective garden settings
a great arrow pointed south

under the cold constellations
following the emperor’s gaze,
as the penguins mass on hell-deep ice,
shuffling their eggs
between cold, starry claws —
my long-adopted, foggy town,
all land values, new trams and bush highways,
shifting under the blanket.

Robert Verdon
Robert Verdon has been writing for may years. He once belonged to Aberrant Genotype Press in Canberra. He came 2nd in the 2012 W.B. Yeats Poetry Prize, and was Highly Commended in the 2012 erbacce Prize, UK. His books include The Well- Scrubbed Desert, Her Brilliant Career, & Before we Knew this Century. He is currently completing PhD on the imaginal scene in poetry composition. His hobbies include cycling, walking and 10-pin bowling.

Shark Eats His Ice Cream in a Limo (for Conrad Schnitzler) by A.J. Kaufmann

come
dry radio friend
why are you absent
drugged mirage of con-stellations
drift
amazed
there is a movement among the cellular
celestiality
con-fort me
w/ bass

there was a wall once
between Zodiac & us
&sometimes the sound broke off
dim kolhozia barrier

bass
blows off the mural speaker
& fresh afro x-rays
pump the cinema volume
there are no
con-tracts
but sign me as joker
I sure have some dry
radio wit
waiting in the con-spect
for the
aummarum
wings

aum!

there they fall, like sharks
eating their ice cream
in a limo
which was an image
of something murkier
in the first
sense
or something darker
in swift a/z
zone

A.J. Kaufmann
A.J. Kaufmann is a modern Polish poet, songwriter and musician. He’s the author of “Siva in Rags” (Kendra Steiner Editions, 2008), “Broke Nuptial Minds” (Virgogray Press, 2009), “Hosannah Honeypots” (KSE, 2013), and other poetry chapbooks. He blogs at http://ajkaufmann.wordpress.com, and his music/audio site is http://ajkaufmann.bandcamp.com