Friday, January 30, 2015

New Poetry by Martin Durkin

1. Khoba

A cowboy rolls in
takes the money.
his mind
is certain about the job
but he can't make a
decision about
more matter in fact
the past
his, hers, any of it


His body is in
the rain pours
only for him
as he feels he
doesn't deserve the touch
of the warm sun


His hand is quick
he believes in heaven
and hell
he holds no hesitation
about pulling the
where this path will take


One day he finds himself
inside a
sitting in a
he looks at
Jesus pulled down
from the cross
and he wonders
about a word
debt and sin.
although the body
of Jesus is
he sees something
in the statues


He pictures her in
his mind
frozen for him
and smiling.
his boot's shift under
the pew
as he reopens his eyes


There is a partial weight lifted,
his horse drops head and
he throws a leg over

- Martin Durkin 2015

Over the past four years Durkin has been published in various anthologies and literary magazines including: ByWords, The Dream, Niagara Falls Poetry Project, E-zine, Blurred Blue Tattoo,, Jones Ave., Origins, and Subterranean Quarterly. Durkin spends his time taking part in poetry readings across southern Ontario, being a freelance writer/photographer in Greater Toronto Area, and was the poetry editor for Origins Literary Magazine.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Words and Images by Wayne H. W Wolfson


Again, the twitched out rituals that always accompanied my preparations for travel. A lifetime of accumulating coins, nonsensical mantras and moments of silence, they were piling up so that it was becoming harder and harder to do on the sly. And the amount of energy which they demanded was becoming nearly as taxing as the worry which they were supposed to keep at bay.  I knew that I had to get rid of some of them. This fact was emphasized by how uneasy I became even upon initially coming to this realization. As much as I lived in my head, one foot needed to remain planted firmly in the real world too. 

It was faulty logic, trying to pick which irrational behaviors were the most practical to keep. I always worked hard not because I had to in the same way as someone in the nine to five life would but because I felt better when doing so. The contemplation of the cuts became too much a distraction from the pen. I pulled my sickness up over my head as if going to sleep on a cold winter’s night and temporarily let the matter drop. 

As beautiful as it was, even the city burning with the cicadas getting too close to the fire and then lighting off too late to escape, their sound was the fading piano at the end of a song, had come from a fever dream. What had I done lately? The pen had not mapped enough new terrain.   

With my work, I strove for a distinctive style and to avoid lapsing into merely mannerisms. Paris has always been my Mecca but the inherent inspiration which I knew it held for me was my “B” plan. Without the succor of most of my newly jettisoned rituals, I felt that the discomfort in the actual journey over would shake something new free from the barrel of my pen. I leaned my forehead against the cold glass of the window. Down below, abstracted patches of city as seen through the blurred arch of the propeller. 

The first time upon my arrival back into the city I had spent my first night in a hotel, it had not been by choice. The long term sub letter before me needed an extra day which he was given, I suspect for having paid for his entire stay in cash. 

The hotel I picked was nice. Nicer than where I used to stay all those years ago before I started subletting a place, when all I did was hotel living. My room was on an upper floor and afforded me a simultaneous view of Val de Grace, the Pantheon and over its left shoulder, off in the distance, the Sacre Coeur. 

Now I preferred my first night back to be in a hotel. To me, it was akin to when you buy a fish and upon bringing it home one leaves it in the bag, putting the entire thing in the tank by way of an environmental transition. 

Despite having spent some twenty hours in transit I had to shower as I could never bring myself to crawl into a bed, any bed, dirty. As it was a good hotel the water remained nice and hot for the entire duration that I stood under the spout, head upturned. 

After that I drank a bottle of vichy water somewhat too quickly and got under the covers. I fell into a deep dreamless sleep, waking several hours before dawn drenched in sweat which had dampened the sheets and smelled faintly of black pepper and flowers. 

Two weeks home. She was surprised, when I had sent her my first few letters and they were not padded with the usual observations about the weather, the journey home or reminiscence of views seen together during the time shared in the same city. In different ways to us both, the letters were the perfect device with which we could remain together and close. For her, our correspondence allowed for interaction but with the buffer zone of continents between us, it was as if she were viewing a wild animal but within the safe confines of a zoo. For myself, the normal social pressures of etiquette were reduced down to writing back, which I gladly did, in a timely manner. This missive me was a pleasanter fellow too as he was more giving of his thoughts since the usual mostly silent me would have just equated to a blank page which would be kind of an Avant garde slapstick. 

When I was a little boy, the first loose tooth I got, the idea of the tooth falling out frightened me. As to prevent it as long as possible, I would chew only on the other side of my mouth. I would keep my mouth open as to prevent any of the other teeth from accidently touching it and then as to not look like a circus geek, keep my hand over my open mouth. Now, a lifetime later I do not remember the actual loss of the tooth but only the torturously long time beforehand in which I tried to prevent the loss. 

I had been dreading first seeing Fatima in the flesh but had been so busy with planning the logistics of my return that it was low in the background. Now, everything else done it rose to the fore. When I went out to get supplies, should I go and see her at work right away while still a little tired and protected in that way by a sheen of fatigue? Over the course of our long correspondence the timber of her letters changed not merely being one way. Who knows what else has come into her life, what further sea changes may have taken place? Perhaps I should wait a few days until I was completely free of jet lag and had my sea legs. Why was I exerting energy in strategizing? Neither of us had promised anything to the other. If I had been in front of a mirror I would have seen my reflection slowly shake its head as I realized that there was a good chance I had just jinxed myself. 

I would go anyways, while on my way home from the market with the gaping mouths of my mesh net bags vomiting celery tops and leek stalks onto the still warm baguette.   

The start of putting in time at all my usual hunts, I stopped for a drink. I hung my bags on the little hooks which were hidden under the lip of the bar. From the end of the bar and I at my usual spot at the other end, time pays too much attention to me, and I know that I can not put it off any longer, it is time to go. 

I went in and her coworker whom I used to think was her slightly older sister saw me first, letting out an “ahhhhhh” which had been preambled by several clucks of her teeth. Fatima was finishing up with a customer. As they hunted for the correct change she made a crossing motion with her index fingers one over the other reprimanding me for not having written the exact day of my arrival and a handful of other such level of sins. The light in her eyes managed to betray a happiness to once again see me. 

Instinctually I still found myself keeping an eye out for her brother although it was now a moot point. 

In their tongue she quickly said something to her coworker, remembered how I hated that and apologized as she held the door open for me. We embraced. I was breathing in her scent and so her shoulder semi-obscured what she was saying but I knew it was what I had done wrong;

“I know, I am sorry.”

We made plans for the next night.

“We will meet where, you know, Verlaine died.”

She still did not drink but enjoyed the verbena tea which I did not understand as it was still bagged. I wanted some kind of a portent, which I knew could only be found in our kiss good night. It was warm and soft but remained obtuse as it was merely on each cheek. 

The next day I continued my rounds of reacquainting myself with all the usual places. I had lain out my clothes for the night on the dresser as I have always hated the visual of an outfit on the bed minus a body filling it. The crisp dress shirt whose color made my skin have a somewhat healthier hue than the reality of when I was caught up in work or having just arrived somewhere. The pants, whose waist offered a little room and so would not collude with the lack of vitamin C from my childhood, further altering my body posture with a tightness. 

I got there a little early as was my habit. Her simple black dress, my exact idea of her. I would have preferred to have had her over and made dinner but I did not want to force her hand were she fed up with me. I briefly smiled to myself as my inner voice once again mentioned as it must have when initially making plans;

“It is your place, should things go bad you would have nowhere to retreat to.”

I ordered her tea and something stronger for myself, the waitress mouthing our order without actually saying it as she bided her time looking us over to figure out where she knew us from.

“I received your Christmas card, thank you.”

I had pretended to be the good boy for so long that sometimes it almost felt real. The politely superficial, how was my trip over, were the tiny grapes with their razor like seeds still growing on the balcony, was safe for us as it was neutral ground. Or in its blandness, the perfect device to make any possible discord that was to follow seem all the more dramatic by the mildness of the prelude. 

Of course I tried to take my time with the drink but they were used to dealing with tourists and if one did not know the bartender then it was a tiny pour. I asked her if she was hungry. The shrug that I knew conveyed a “no” held back by politeness. We decided to walk around the Luxembourg Gardens a little. 

There were the people just getting off work taking a stroll to decompress after their office internment and the tourists who tomorrow would be heading back to their real lives wishing to despite having already gorged themselves on the city take one last bite. 

We stop by the fountain to watch children beg for one more minute of piloting their sail boats. The setting sun made everything emit golden rays. I lamented the dying of the day. Soon would be the night which held its own appeal but this, my first real day here I wanted to stubbornly hold onto. For a second I suddenly had the desire to be alone, accompanied only by the beautiful melancholy of Monk’s slowed down take on stride. Briefly, I think of someone I once hurt. I do not repent but there is an embarrassment akin to when one sees an old photo of themselves wearing an outfit which did not look as good on them then as they had thought then. 

Her fingers, delicately laying across the top of my hand, protected from the cold stone of the railing I was leaning against.

“What are you thinking? “

Had I any support system during my formative years, I would have become a great man instead of merely a strong one. With everything that I had done just to survive, it would have been nice to have had options. I probably would have still acted the same but at least for once, the choice would have been mine. 

I blushed and offered up a small smile.


Monday, January 26, 2015

New Poetry by Jason D. DeHart

Need a Bath Boy

there is an endless assortment
of homeless on the on-ramp.
I have heard the sighs and prayers
of well-meaning people in the car,
imagined the muttering lips of bothered
people rushing past to their shopping
and over-priced meals at the mall.
the child, his hair slack, his skin
darkened with grime,
this child, family, cardboard message
creates, for some, an emotional tableau
and I worry about the emptiness,
the stone I carry inside my chest, a hollow
purse I call a life, and I wonder about 
sounds of vehicles swooshing by,
trembling hands the the odor of rain.

- Jason D. DeHart 2015

Jason D. DeHart is the author of the blog,  His writing has appeared in a variety of publications.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

New Poetry by William Davies Jr.

Grandfather's Garden

The straw as lazy
a drooped eye
over strawberry plants
scalloped in cold earth.
Runners sabotaged 
the way boxcars
emptied of Jews
on dead snow.

- William Davies Jr. 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

New Poetry by Greg McLaren


for Frances Odette

Frankie demands fruit she can’t reach.

We spring it to earth, where it’s hidden, sun-warm,

in laundry.

                 Leaves appear on the kitchen floor.

She looks to the flowers,            

white and yellow, and to me, and points – 

star!      flower!

                        The blossom in my fingers            

smells of orange, or is it

that my fingers now

                                 smell of orange?

She lifts her body, nose-first as if weightless,

to the half-crushed blooms, eyes closed, and sniffs – 

                       I love 

and fear everything. 

- Greg McLaren 2015

A short bio: Greg McLaren is a Sydney-based poet, critic and teacher. His recent books are After Han Shan (Flying Islands, 2012) and The Kurri Kurri Book of the Dead (Puncher & Wattmann, 2007).  A new collection, Australian ravens, is forthcoming with Puncher & Wattmann in 2015.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New Poetry by William Davies Jr.

Valley Forge

Air, crimson-plum cold.
Windows; silvery
snatched in January,
pronged and writhing 
the same as an agate pot
seized in the caroling
ice of the pond.

- William Davies Jr. 2015

Friday, January 02, 2015

New Poetry by Lizz Murphy


A woman is at home having the time of her life just herself
and her karaoke machine  I know this because she told me

There she sat in the crowded shopping centre just herself
on the circular seat in an arc of people separated by their shopping   I saw her alone in her deciding moment crossed her path like some stray black cat  Our eyes met and she stood up Stood by her conviction

If they don’t want to hear me sing
I’ll buy my own karaoke machine
and sing at home! 

Alone             Just herself

Alone sometimes I think I hear her song  
It drifts down from the north  seventy years old  
a little smoky  a bit cracked  more off-key than on

- Lizz Murphy 2015

Lizz Murphy has published 12 books of different kinds. Her seven poetry titles include Portraits: 54 Poems and Six Hundred Dollars (PressPress), Walk the Wildly (Picaro), Stop Your Cryin (Island) and Two Lips Went Shopping (Spinifex). Her eighth poetry title, Shebirds, is forthcoming (PressPress). She is widely published in Australia and overseas and has some awards and mentions. Lizz was born in Ireland and has lived in Binalong in rural NSW Australia for a long time.