Thursday, May 21, 2020

New Poetry by Michael Ceraolo

Cap Anson

Growing up in the town my dad founded,
we kids tormented the so-called friendly Indians
Later, I didn't want to play against
the Walker brothers, Fowler, Stovey
or any others of that race,
though I was forced to once or twice
I didn't even want Irish players on my teams
if there was any alternative
And I was far from alone in this;
I didn't have the power to ban them,
though I did have some influence
because I was the greatest player of the age
as well as a highly successful manager
Would I have felt and done the same
had I grown up in a different time and place?
Even after all this time,
I can honestly say I don't know,
though I wouldn't bet against it

Charley Radbourn

I loved base ball even if it wasn't respectable,
and after the season I had in '84
I earned both money and respect
I loved Carrie even though society said
she was a woman who didn't deserve love:
her first husband, she, and I
all died of the same social disease;
who contracted it first and passed it on
is unknowable now, and doesn't matter
You love who and what you love,
and I loved and still love
base ball and Carrie, without apology

Byrd Lynn

Comiskey slandered me as unpatriotic
because I went to a shipyard
to work and play ball during the war,
just as he slandered Jackson and Williams,
but that doesn't justify what they did
Joe and Lefty were my friends,
but don't let any of the Black Sox bs you:
that wasn't a one-time lapse in judgment;
they were up to their necks in it
All during the '20 season they watched the scoreboard
to see what Cleveland was doing,
and if Cleveland was losing or had lost,
they did something to make sure we lost too
My career ended after the '20 season;
I sometimes wonder if that was because
of guilt by association

- © Michael Ceraolo 2020

Michael Ceraolo is a 62-year-old retired firefighter/paramedic and active poet who has had two full-length books (Euclid Creek, from Deep Cleveland Press; 500 Cleveland Haiku, from Writing Knights Press) and has two more full-length books (Euclid Creek Book Two, from unbound content press; Lawyers, Guns, and Money, from Writing Knights Press) in the publication pipeline.

(Editor's note: the above three poems are from the "Dugout Anthology", a Spoon River Anthology for baseball.)

Monday, May 18, 2020

New Poetry by Jason Ryberg

Storm a’ Comin’

There’s a blanket of black wool
that’s been pulled over the city

(over this little nameless hole in the prairie).

There’s squadrons of orn’ry flies
buzzin’ about and stingin’ and the faded, 
ringin’ reports of car horns, here and there.

There’s pages of splayed-open books
on auto repair and Common Missouri
Wildflowers whipping and flipping
in a nervous Missouri wind.

There’s cats and dogs
conspicuously ducking for cover
and birds takin’ the last bus out of town.

There’s a heavy incandescent density to things
like the boiler-rooms of all the world
are just about      to blow 
and everybody, everywhere
secretly seems to know it
and even though it’s only 4PM,
the only light to speak of
is the ghosted-out fluorescent resin
of oxide lamps just now ghostin’ in.

And over across town,
on the far side of the train yards, 
right next door to Big Maybelle’s Beauty Emporium,
there’s two old boys sittin’ on the front porch
of a boarding house, 
hootin’ at all the sweet, young things 
as they come and go,

sippin’ on their whiskey drinks 
real, real slow 

in sweetly calibrated synchronization
with the melting of the ice cubes.

Their bones are ancient humming architectures
of radio towers and tuning forks.

Their pop-bottle bi-focals peer deep into the future.

One of them leans over a little
and says to the other,

Storm a comin.’ 


- © Jason Ryberg 2020

Jason Ryberg is the author of thirteen books of poetry, six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders, notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be (loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry letters to various magazine and newspaper editors. He is currently an artist-in-residence at both The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collection of poems is Standing at the Intersection of Critical Mass and Event Horizon (Luchador Press, 2019). He lives part-time in Salina, KS with a rooster named Little Red and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time somewhere in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River. 

New Poetry by Joanna M. Weston

Arriving Home

the man comes
up the hill
dragging miles
and his shadow
behind him

he has Ireland
in his suitcase
ruined castles
massive cathedrals
hospital visits
family members
and a camera
to hold them all

- © Joanna M. Weston 2020

Joanna is married, has multiple spiders, raccoons, a herd of deer, and two derelict hen-houses. Her middle-reader, ‘Frame and The McGuire', was published by Tradewind Books 2015; and a poetry collection,  ‘A Bedroom of Searchlights’, was published by Inanna Publications, 2016. Other books listed at her blog:

Friday, May 15, 2020

New Poetry by James Walton

The I Know a Dead Mountaineer Society, Concedes

The cherry wood honour roll burns air gasping for lettering
a toast for scalers who bathed at the source of the Ganges
just so they could divine is Atman Brahman an answer 

reaching for those beads of months without footing
while Bach parades Air on a G String amid foothills
of ever decreasing amplitude the gold lettering returning

to a powder best left for oxygen yet spent here by prayers
and the ridge line so cold in pre-Winter life of dormant forest 
where a cross of ash is all still present of the weather boards

the wind battered in a calling for membership the entrance 
a question for admittance as the linseed dried of once such lustre
out of a foolish need to tame the replies of seeking pilgrims

who scattered to corners an eternal child’s marble bag leaching
found a way to climb unaided to the nearest heady outcrop
where no direction gains a bearing except for the next one

- © James Walton 2020

James Walton is published in many newspapers, anthologies, and journals. He is the author of four collections of poetry. He can also be found at:

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

New Poetry by William G. Davies Jr.

First Love

The new shadows arrive
like a schoolyard
full of children 
jostling, exuberant 
to blanket the new grass
so that the way
your hair is combed
and her lips unresolved
to mere words
float solely
on some rift
of springtime
and the gala
of being,
to which
you've been invited.

When The Bard Came Home

A red tulip,
perhaps the closest rendition
of Shakespeare’s cheeks
was unabashedly struck
from the ground.
I placed it on the Bier
of my hand
and proceeded solemnly
into the house
where I arranged it
in a jar of water
and set it on the windowsill
from whence it became
this beautiful sonnet
above a sink
full of dirty dishes.

From a Screen Porch

A slender limb
opens it’s pink billfold
to a warm cashier
whose necklace
of dandelions
and emerald eyes
speaks of the rain to come,
that revered teacher
who lives far off
in the woods.

- © William G. Davies Jr. 2020

William had a slim volume published by Prolific Press in 2015, titled: "Before There Were Bones".

Monday, May 11, 2020

New Poetry by Robert Nisbet

Some Small Night Music 

Walking the evening and the street,
you will glimpse odd, sudden edges
of life’s back-parlour narratives.
Two girls, just caught, just 
in their may-time’s bloom, between 
the bawdy confusion yet to come
and the slow, grinning wish to bike
the length of the street. These two
holler their happiness from yard
to pavement. A boy, just six maybe,
strops his sister, stamps on a tin.
A cat slinks through a hedge.
Suppers sit. In some houses there will
be sex tonight, some of it good,
as there will be hurt and anger. 
Night composes its music from
the irrevocably intimate.
This is love, a street’s love, unrefined.

- © Robert Nisbet 2020

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who very much enjoys the current US poetry scene. He has been published in magazines like San Pedro River Review, Panoply and Main Street Rag. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

New Poetry by Sean West

Out at Me

You take me out at high
noon to the flat pools of Moffat
beach where rocks yawn

like warm honeycombs
or wasp’s nests smacked
from rafters with a broom

I pluck black and white
sea critters from pools, blow
coolly on puckered lips 

of their shells to see pink
sherbet claws flitter out
delicate as eyelashes 

Such curious eyes staring
out at me

You tell me not to hold
him above water for long
or he’ll dry up and die 

I put him back, find instead
a snapped fishing line nearby
with an iridescent lure tied

to the end. It looks like
a wide-eyed sardine poking 
out a grappling hook tongue

Such a furious eye tearing
into me.

- © Sean West 2020

In 2019, Sean was shortlisted for the Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. His work has appeared in StylusLit, Stilts Journal, and Baby Teeth Journal, among others. He lives in Brisbane and you can find him at 

Thursday, May 07, 2020

New Prose Poetry by Howie Good

Repairing the World

Like in a riot, police were shooting rubber bullets. I was rushed by strangers to the hospital. It was dark, stifling, and dingy. The doctor cut my feet open and put pennies in the incisions before sewing them back up and wrapping them in bandages. We were both crying. The moment had the reverence of a flag-burning ceremony, which is performed when a flag is too ragged to fly. Later at home I looked down and saw the bandages were bloody. My mother said, "I just need to grab a lab coat and one egg and I can fix this.”

The Walking Dead

Thinking about escaping across closed borders, I dug a hole outside. It was hard work. I pulled out bricks, barbed wire, glass bottles and jars, and old cans as I dug deeper. When my mind drifted too far into sadness, I stopped. Everything moves slowly now. I’m learning to be stingy with supplies. On the table is a bunch of flowers I found in the trash. This may be a good time to catch up on The Walking Dead, but I stand at the window that looks out on the yard. Somehow, just standing there feels like a hopeful gesture.

Sunday Blues

A lot of people feel depressed on Sundays, starting about 4 in the afternoon. I’m different. I feel depressed on most days, and it doesn’t matter what time it is. A grief without any obvious source has pursued me my whole life, a claw-like hand that will abruptly fall on my shoulder. Sometimes the hand can get too heavy to shake off. Overnight a woman who jumped from the old railroad bridge was pulled from the river still alive. The water seems particularly agitated now, sounding like it’s muttering, “Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck,” over and over.

- © Howie Good 2020

Howie Good is the author of What It Is and How to Use It (2019) from Grey Book Press, among other poetry collections. 

Sunday, May 03, 2020

New Poetry by Mark Danowsky

In spite of horror movies

I pick up the man from Novie’s
bar on the other side of town

So drunk he put in the wrong address―
says when we get there he’ll show me

At the house, the shadow of a small dog
jumps against the front door’s frosted glass pane

I put on the car’s flashers―
a metronome breaking the dark 

The shimmering lake water
is not visible from the car 

I follow the man behind the house
leaving the driver’s side door ajar 

- © Mark Danowsky 2020

Mark Danowsky is author of the poetry collection As Falls Trees (NightBallet Press, 2018). He is also the author of Nightfall and Becoming aware of the tide, microchaps published by Origami Poems Project. His poems have appeared in Eunoia Review, Gargoyle, The Healing Muse, The New Verse News, North Dakota Quarterly, Peacock Journal, Right Hand Pointing, Shot Glass Journal, and elsewhere. He’s Managing Editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.    

Friday, May 01, 2020

New Poetry by Paul Tanner

closed an hour ago

and there’s still 6 pallets of stock left to do
before we’re allowed to go home. 

I step outside for a smoke.
and this guy comes up to me and he says: you not open?
I tell him: no
and he says: oh come on, just let me in to get a few things?

now I could explain that our legal trading hours are over
and that there’s no money in the tills,
that we are not insured to have people besides staff in now,
that I’d be fined and fired for letting him in, and so on 
but look, we closed an hour ago
and there’s 6 pallets left
and I suspect he knows all this anyway
and is just bored and lonely
so I just tell him: no

oh, do you know what? he says. I’ll be making a complaint about you! 
he marches off
and when he gets to the road, he turns 
and walks backwards across it, yelling:
a car swerves around him, horn blaring –
he stands there in the road waving his fist at the car 

then turns to face me again: 

and my peaceful well-earned break?
it’s nearly over.

- © Paul Tanner 2020

Paul Tanner's novel, “Jobseeker”, is available now at Amazon. His latest collection, “Shop Talk: Poems for Shop Workers”, was published by Penniless Press in 2019.