Friday 30 November 2012

1 Poem by Melyssa G. Sprott

Not the Mirror

It’s not the mirror glass that’s cold,
it’s my reflection—I’ve been told.
So comes the fall, the frigid shiver
of my soul, such tiny slivers.
Little shards of time forgot—
instant reminders that all is lost.
It’s not the mirror glass that’s chilled—
it’s my frozen soul, empty and killed.
Tiny fragments of calm unretained,
all this loss—inside contained.
Such minute slivers—this fractured soul,
so comes the shiver—uncontrolled.
It’s not the mirrors shiny sheen,
it is myself—I have seen.


Melyssa G. Sprott is dark and disturbing and has been expressing it with poetry and short horror stories since her birth. Her existence itself is an affront to all that is right and good in the world.

[Posted on 30 November 2012]

Monday 26 November 2012

Solicited Poems by John C. Mannone

Dawning of the Dark

Day shuts the door and darkens
with purple sky. After the bolt
of sun flashes orange, it unlatches
the night below horizon. And dark,
no longer sullied by light, is unhinged.

Inverted Flight

Dust from trees
will swirl up
but only ash
incinerates us.
Soon sin will, too,
where the fire glows.
Deep into the pit
we have fallen
to assuage the guilt
that cannot be washed
with tears of wet remorse,
nor elegies — the purple
plaintive chant.
Our song, now
lifts into wind
stealing our breath
as the chokeberry
cupping soft fruit
with prick of briars —
its beaks we didn’t feel,
our movement, innocent.
A flick of eyes, swift,
from the lush tree,
but from the thistle,
a begging to pluck the berries
as meadowlarks
flying into starlight,
as an uncaged moon,
as the sun.
We once were free
as swallow birds,
now, into the abyss
pulling us down —
on our wings,
the weight of sin.


I want to forget.
When I press my eyes closed
to shut out the light, I see
a diamond mine as if the coal
blackness is squeezed until
sparkles grow from the dark.
They turn raven black to purple,
then fly into thick webs of indigo.
In patterns, dots stream
from inside me,
red, green, transforming to rings
as if pebbles rippling a pool of dark.
I rub my eyes
through thin fleshy lids. And rings
couple to form trains of yellow
that traffic on invisible rails. Hauling.
They carry me atom-by-atom
in carloads: my carbon, my soul.
I open my eyes
and it’s raining outside. The coal tar
shines in lamplight, the moon
swallowed by clouds.
I don’t see
the hard coal anymore. Disappeared
as dust washed down the black street.
I blink and it is gone.
But I want to remember.


John C. Mannone, nominated three times for the Pushcart, has work in The Baltimore Review, Conclave, Prairie Wolf Press Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Pedestal, Rose Red Review, The Hellroaring Review, Curio Poetry, Vermillion Literary Project, Medulla Review, Glass, Lucid Rhythms, Pirene’s Fountain and others. He’s the poetry editor for Silver Blade, an adjunct professor of physics, and a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador. Visit The Art of Poetry at

[Posted on 26 November 2012]

Thursday 22 November 2012

Solicited Poems by Kristin Abraham

Bigger than a Bread Box

A man who thinks
about awe, stops
to think, just a moment;
in the canyon, armadillos
scuttle by like bald little
men, everywhere on their
toes.  But he’s not thinking
about them, their shyness;
he’s looking for the negative
spaces, needing a little more.

God’s Country

In another version
she makes him put his boots
outside in the evening
to air; she has war fatigue
but is not fearful, just
sometimes it’s good to pray
she tells the baby’s small fists
at her lips.  It takes a lonely,
an angry person to live
on a mountain like this;
it becomes easier to mourn
people than to wait for them.


To get out

of his constant slice

this house needs windows




Kristin Abraham is the author of two chapbooks:  Little Red Riding Hood Missed the Bus (Subito Press, 2008), and Orange Reminds You of Listening (Elixir Press, 2006); her full-length manuscript, The Disappearing Cowboy Trick, will be published by Horse Less Press in 2013. Additional poetry, lyric essays, and critical essays have appeared in such places as Best New Poets 2005, American Letters & Commentary, Rattle, Court Green, LIT, Columbia Poetry Review, and The Journal. She currently teaches English at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, WY, and is editor-in-chief and poetry editor of the literary journal Spittoon.

[Posted on 22 November 2012]

Monday 19 November 2012

Solicited Poems by Joneve McCormick

Back to the sea

I want to go back to the sea
where light and dark are one,
where I come from.

Back to sea waits and wiggles
where the will to be
(not greed) trumps right and wrong.

I would be a tiny fish, alive one marvelous moment
or a big one, snapping up the little.
The sea sings, ‘the one who doesn't know me is an orphan.'

I will go to the deepest space I can find
and listen to OM -- I want to fly
where my wings first formed.

Who are you?

You, behind the dark and light forms flowing near,
Behind the mirrors and doors,
Behind the angels and the demons,

Behind this versus that,
Behind thoughts and their frames,
Behind desires and fears...

Who are you
Who teaches that the less there is between us,
The higher I fly on my own wings​

Regarding Van Gogh's Advice
Not to Be Afraid and Not to Try
to Make a Painting Pretty

It takes courage not to try
to make a painting pretty.
Few souls can resist,
the desire to please requiring
that ugliness be hidden.

Tell it like it is,
beautiful and ugly,
the best you are able -
serve no other master!
Was that commandment made for man
who has so much to worship, and forget?

A Van Gogh baby is big,
drooling, eternal -
a fat promise
held by a vigilant mother,
her apron wrapped tightly
over simian bones like a second skin,
strings hanging like tails.

It is in related gestures too -
their straight backs,
a jutting hip,
a small leg dangling
and hands ready to reach -
that love and attitude
raise immortal heads.


Joneve McCormick’s poems have been published in a wide variety of hard copy and online literary and art periodicals and in several poetry anthologies.  She has two solo collections: Small Bird Bones and The Visitor. Joneve hosts the international online poetry journals, Poets International, Poetry Soul to Soul and The Peregrine Muse.

[Posted on 19 November 2012]

Sunday 11 November 2012

Solicited Poems by Koon Woon

A Smoke Break at the Nuclear Command

We multitask — chop, grill, wok, and pickle.
They are fickle, can come all hours, drunk,
after sex, before meetings, during greetings;
hucksters, gangsters, no telling who wants what
stir-fried, steamed rock cod with its head and bulbous eyes.

My father at the meat block hacks spareribs, carves bone from chicken,
minces onions, six sons chow the mein, French-fry the sausage,
whip the gravy, beat the eggs until you can fool the young
into thinking that’s sperm yanked from a calf.
Smoke signals say the pork chops are burnt,
the white sauce turning yellow, while the waitresses ladle soup.
Sounds like feeding at the zoo. Chopsticks tingle from a corner booth.

On and on motors start and stop, doors open and shut, ice water is
set down as menus are tossed. You need a minute? Mom is helping the girls to wash
glasses and tea pots. It would be sinful to run out of hot mustard during the rush.
My father drinks my coffee and I smoke his Marlboro,
Two cowboys in a cattle drive fending off rustlers, and damn!
The waitress says that the women’s toilet has overflowed!

We are going to go fishing as soon as our mental breakdowns are over with.
And we are going to take a smoke break from the nuclear command.
Just then ,a party of 12 comes in – well, put two tables together,
like a man joining a woman, the yin and yang, and kids with yo-yo’s.
We are a family doing family business, money for school books,
Mom’s dentures.

A Season in Hell

“When you come in to work each morning, remove your bodily organs and limbs
one by one. Hang them up on the hooks provided in the walk-in box, then put a white apron
onto your disembodied self, pick up a knife,
and go to the meat block,” said Alex the manager.

I was also drained of blood and other vital bodily fluids.

After the morning rush preparing pork adobo and chicken curry, I ate lunch with Fong the chief cook and Lee the dishwasher.
In the afternoon, I examined souls and kept their merits and demerits in a ledger. For the three months I worked at City Lunch near the Bart Station,
I paid my rent and gradually became robust enough to walk to work. The entire city of San Francisco swung with the rhythm of my walk,
and stars appeared in the middle of the afternoon with a sliver of the moon.

Meanwhile, at Fisherman’s Wharf, the stingrays came to the jetty and whipped their tails against rocks; tourists paid me to dance on the waves. I carefully tread water and remembered to breathe.

In the end, I was evicted anyway from my castle that glowed at night. For lack of anything better to do, I walked from hilltop to hilltop,
burned newspapers to inhale the smoke, then climbed down to the water
beneath the Golden Gate Bridge and harvested seaweed.

I waited until one sunny day when the water was warm and calm,
then swam all the way to Asia and got replacements for my disembodied self.
I did not forget that I was a ghost. And that was my first season in Hell.

Aberdeen, 1966,
Or, driving around for a poem

Driving behind a logging truck with dancing flags
Pinned on the logs, I listen to “Norwegian Wood” by the Beatles.
Miss Freeland wants a poem for her creative writing class.
In the pulse of sawmills, I cut this logging town
Into board feet with my ’55 Plymouth, with saw dust
Plenty to make ice cream cones. I tend to forget 
The manure that gives us Red Delicious, or this memory.

Between windshield-wiper swings, I hear the tugs’ blasts.
Perch and red snapper flap on Scandinavian boats,
Neighborhoods where I sold subscriptions of the Reader’s Digest
In Finnish or Polish editions. Catching a glimpse 
Of a girl at the S.H. Kress coffee counter, I think
Of the book on the back seat, Eleven Kinds of Loneliness.
The doctors in the antiseptic Backer Building can’t take away
This and other pains of a small town.

It is near Xmas. My little brother peeks out the window 
Of the car. He is promised hot dogs and ice cream for coming along.
If a pretty girl raises her umbrella, I’ll write a long poem.
No such luck. We cross over to Cosmopolis to see
Boys fishing the Wishkah for sturgeon.
The car is damp, the heater doesn’t work.
In the monotony of rain and windshield-wiper swings,
I think I have a rhythm to beat the words against.
My brother and I settle for hot dogs and milkshakes
At a drive-in going out of town.


Koon Woon, residing at 2012 18th Ave. South, Seattle, was born in a small village near Canton, China in 1949, immigrated to the United States in 1960. He has been a Chinese waiter and cook, US postal and factory worker, mathematics and philosophy student, a former resident of Seattle’s Chinatown district, newspaper reporter, activist for housing and tenant rights, and finally earned his right as poet. His first full-length book, The Truth in Rented Rooms, from Kaya (NY,NY 1998) was a finalist in the Norma Farber first book award from the Poetry Society of America and the winner of the Josephine Miles Award for literary excellence from the Pen Oakland Society. Since his appearance in the Bumbershoot Arts Festival in 1985, Koon has published his poetry in dozens of journals in the US and abroad. He has given many readings and judged poetry contests, held workshops, and organized readings, including the sponsorship of Jack Foley and John Holbrook at the Hugo House in Seattle with the funding of Poets and Writers, Inc. His book has been used as a text for critical studies at several universities and colleges, including Bard, Sarah Lawrence, UC Santa Cruz and UC Berkeley. His poems have been read over the radio by Garrison Keillor and he has been interviewed by Jack Foley on KPFA radio in Berkeley. Koon has formed Chrysanthemum Literary Society and Chrysanthemum Publications, Inc., and he is now preparing for admission to the Psych D. program in clinical psychology at Antioch University Seattle. His much-anticipated second book from Kaya, Water Chasing Water, is due October 15, 2012. 

[Posted on 11 November 2012]


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