Monday, October 21, 2019

Nancy Scott

BALFOUR

A friend of my sons’, he lived with us
his last three years of high school.
He got a full scholarship to Eastern Michigan
but lost it by January after he ended up
in the county lockup
for receiving stolen property.
I loved the kid, but it wasn't enough.
His father had beaten him too many times.
In 2016, two weeks out of Riker’s Island
he overdosed in a Manhattan alley.
I miss him.


Nancy confesses nothing.


NANCY SCOTT has been managing editor of U.S.1 Worksheets for more than a decade. She is also the author of nine books of poetry and a novella, Marriage by Fire (Big Top Publishing Company, 2018). Before she retired and turned to writing, she had a long career as a social worker for the State of New Jersey which informed and inspired many of her poems. Originally from the Chicago area, she has resided in New Jersey for many years. www.nancyscott.net

Monday, October 14, 2019

John Oughton

NOCTURNE

There’s nothing like driving
as starlight pours through
the colander
of the sky

and the tires rumble
and hiss
back-up to the rattler
softly shaking

beside the dim light of
my sample uranium
the gentle burn from
whiskey down my throat

got a firearm
got a big SUV
life’s better when I’m on edge
plates expired,
still driving
still glowing


John reads "Nocturne":



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John confesses: "'An Oklahoma man was arrested last month after police say a routine traffic stop turned up a gun, a rattlesnake, an open bottle of whiskey and rod of radioactive uranium.' – news item, July 12, 2019."


JOHN OUGHTON is the author of over 400 articles, reviews and interviews, five books of poetry, most recently Time Slip (Guernica Editions), a mystery novel (Death by Triangulation) and a forthcoming book on how to teach higher education. While attending the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, he worked closely with Anne Waldman and Allen Ginsberg. He lives in Toronto.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Wayne F. Burke

SHUT-OFF

it had been a good day
until two cruisers moved-in
and cut me off
in the crosswalk,
a sunny afternoon
in the city,
one cop threw me
onto the hood of the car
another hand-cuffed me.

Me, the "unidentified man"
in the newspaper story
of the morning edition.

The cops knew who I was
but I didn’t.

The bartender knew that
I did not need another drink
but I knew I did and
after he shut me off
I climbed over the bar
and made my own,
and when he slapped the drink
from my hand
I punched him and
ran out
and became "unidentified"
for a day
or two, until cops
closed in
at the intersection of
State and Main.


Gerald So reads "Shut-Off":



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Wayne confesses: "The weird experience of reading about myself in a newspaper as 'unidentified man' stuck with me, remaining raw enough—despite having happened long ago (and before I got off the sauce), to serve as basis, emotionally, of my poem."


WAYNE F. BURKE's poetry and prose has been published in a wide variety of publications online and in print (including The Two-Five). He had published six full-length poetry collections, most recently Diflucan (BareBack press, 2019). He lives in the central Vermont area.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

2019 Best of the Net Nominees

Every poem published at The Five-Two is a favorite of mine, so in past years I've allowed readers to vote on three of my six submissions for Sundress Publications' Best of the Net anthology.

This has been quite a busy year, so I chose all the submissions right at the September 30 deadline.

In the order they debuted during Best of the Net's July 1, 2018–June 30, 2019 eligibility period:


My thanks and good luck to all.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Charles Rammelkamp

SECRET MESSAGES

I was seventeen,
just starting my last year of high school
when Diane Linkletter jumped
from the sixth-floor kitchen window
of her West Hollywood apartment.

LSD’d been deemed a threat
to the mental health of the younger generation,
the kids who’d later be called Baby Boomers,
a term coined by advertisers in 1974.
Time Magazine called LSD an epidemic,
in “beachside beatnik pads” and college dorms.

Art Linkletter, original variety show host –
People Are Funny, House Party,
later, Kids Say the Darnedest Things,
a stone-cold Republican,
accused Timothy Leary of murder
for advocating psychedelic drugs,
attributing his daughter’s death to a flashback,
though an autopsy found no drugs.

“In the Top 40,” Linkletter claimed,
“half the songs are secret messages
to the teen world to drop out and turn on.”

I listened to the radio religiously –
Beatles, Stones, Motown, Doors –
but never got a secret signal:
nothing like the sinister vision
of brainwashed Manchurian candidates
receiving secret signals,
promoted by Allen Dulles and the CIA.


Charles reads "Secret Messages":



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Charles confesses: "I used to chuckle at the hysteria on the radio about the 'secret messages' in rock songs, which were often banned from the air on the rumors. 'The smokerings of my mind' in Dylan’s 'Mr. Tambourine Man'? Marijuana! Ban in from the radio! 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds?' LSD! Don’t play that Beatles song, you’ll corrupt our youth! 'Get Off of My Cloud'? Those guys – the Rolling Stones – are smoking dope! 'Electrical banana’s gonna be the very next phase...' Thank you, Donovan!"


CHARLES RAMMELKAMP is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore and Reviews Editor for The Adirondack Review. A chapbook of poems, Jack Tar’s Lady Parts, is available from Main Street Rag Publishing. Another poetry chapbook, Me and Sal Paradise, was recently published by FutureCycle Press. An e-chapbook has also recently been published online Time Is on My Side (yes it is). Another chapbook, Mortal Coil, is forthcoming from Clare Songbirds Publishing.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Barry Ergang

PARADISE COSTS

The viper uncoils, envenoms the green air
and callow ear, seeds the sedulous purge
of grace. Tumid blood blooms, azaleas flare
lusty blossoms—bouquets for thaumaturge
whose children freewheel, flout his slights and scourge
his soul with willful notions. Disintegration
triumphs, reigns, baffled by its own creation.


Gerald So reads "Paradise Costs":



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Barry confesses: "What inspired the poem was the idea of an emotionally abusive parent having to contend with the eventual rebelliousness of the children he abused, and the consequent destruction of traditional familial bonds."


A Derringer Award winner, BARRY ERGANG's poetry has appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. His collection Farrago: Poems Light and Dark, is available in Kindle and paperback editions at Amazon.

Monday, September 16, 2019

David S. Pointer

POST-ENLISTMENT TRAIL

Disinvited
from adequate eschelons
inside speech code economy,
amidst parking lot suicides,
where land based invertebrates
lead the country into long
term low intensity conflict
at home, and ever abroad,

where unkept promises
keep pulling at the trigger
guards, inside, survival
level, brain wirings
egged off by 3-D color
avatars in video games
birthed to forcep more of
the forgotten to eternal war.


David reads "Post-Enlistment Trail":



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David confesses: " This poem was inspired by a lifetime of watching how some enlisted veterans are excluded from the economy and do not always end up with the things they have previously been promised. Once the modern brain research started rolling in-it was then scientifically known how American hiring discriminates between frontal lobe (happy-faced) people, and mid-region survival level brain chemistry."


DAVID S.POINTER served as a United States Marine Corps military policeman. He has a recent poem published in Spitball magazine on the Chicago Black Sox scandal issue.