Monday, November 12, 2018

John Kaprielian


Hands tear at buttons
cover mouth to stifle screams
supreme injustice

John reads "I Believe Her":

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John confesses: "Like everyone, I was transfixed by the Kavanaugh hearings. There was much that could be classified as 'criminal' being recounted, and occurring, during the testimony. It all percolated in my brain, and these lines popped out of my head one morning as I was walking to work, a perfect haiku."

JOHN KAPRIELIAN is a Russian linguist by education and has been employed as a photo editor for three decades. He has been writing poetry for over thirty-five years; in 2012 he challenged himself to write a poem a day for a year and in 2013 published the 366 poems in a single volume, 366 Poems: My Year in Verse. He has also had poems published in The New Verse News, Down in the Dirt Magazine, and Minute Magazine. His poetry ranges in subject matter from the natural world to current events and politics to introspective and philosophical themes. He lives in Putnam County, New York with his wife, son and assorted pets.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Robert Cooperman


No way was this anything but Dems
and CNN trying to steal my election.
I’m not actually running, which I will be,
and will win, in a landslide, in 2020,
unless the Damn Dems rig it with illegals
and dead people voting twice, and the blacks
who aren’t registered voting three, four times,
and scabs from other states casting ballots.
It’s my fabulous Make America Great Again
the mob of Enemies of America want to destroy.

So they caught this guy, this Cesar Sayoc,
and I bet he’s an FBI plant, since the Feds
hate me like rotten eggs. I bet he’s really
an illegal Mexican or from shit hole country
that wants to ship millions of terrorists here,
like that caravan moving up through Mexico
like a giant snake, to strangle my great country.

I further guarantee he’s got ties to the creeps
he “sent” pipe bombs to, the devices harmless,
only meant to scare my people into forgetting
what the Dems and Scummy Cesar are up to.

This guy will break under interrogation
if the Cheatin’ FBI lets me interrogate him;
he’ll admit he’s in cahoots with No Talent De Niro,
Droolin’ Joe, and the ringleader, Lyin’ Hilary.

Gerald So reads "Trump and the Mail Bombs":

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Bob confesses: "I was listening to the news, with horrified fascination, as more and more mailed pipe bombs were being discovered, thank goodness unexploded, when it occurred to me that in his twisted, evil mind, Trump would pin the blame on those he's created as his (and HIS) country's enemies, not on the real perpetrator, a twisted, Trump-loving, Democrat-hating violent sociopath. The poem just flowed from there like a fever dream."

ROBERT COOPERMAN's latest releases are the chapbook Saved by the Dead (yes, the Grateful Dead) and the full-length collections Their Wars (Kelsay Books), That Summer (Main Street Rag) and The Devil Who Raised Me (Lithic Press).

Monday, October 29, 2018

Nancy Scott


Now little boys don't need
to giggle behind the maple tree.
They can wiggle their weenies
at little girls with impunity.
Underage, a boy can drink
until he pukes; wait his turn,
fumble and grind, and, if
she tries to scream, clamp
his hand across her mouth.
If he can’t manage
to force himself within her
or claims he didn't do it,
there’s no crime.
Thanks for clarifying that.
The Devil’s Triangle is not
a drinking game, sir.
Though anatomically correct,
your meaning of boofing
has Merriam-Webster
in stitches. Tell us this—
do you feel entitled to set
precedent because you attended
a pricey private school,
where to have a hangover
was a badge of honor?
Despite denials and snarky replies,
your actions have enlightened us
about the law. Thank you, Mr. K.

Nancy reads "Thank you, Mr. K.":

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Nancy confesses: "I like men, despite their insecurities when it comes to sex. Believe me, I was bothered when my friend’s father grabbed my breasts and said, 'Nice headlights' or a city councilman asked me, 'How many inches can you take?' Today, with no memory of it, they would tell me I was mistaken."

NANCY SCOTT, managing editor of U.S.1 Worksheets for more than a decade, is the author of nine books of poetry and a novella, Marriage by Fire (Big Table Publishing Company, 2018), short stories described as "an elegant sexy romp." She had a long career as a social worker for the State of New Jersey, which inspired many of her poems. Originally from the Chicago area, she has resided in New Jersey for many years, but considers herself a Midwesterner.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozabal


He likes his beer.
That much he knows.
He busts his butt.
That much he says.

He does not want
the FBI
to ask around
about his past.

He denies he
did what someone
said he did in
desperate tones.

Slipping away,
the power to
decide about
serious matters.

He wants to poke
around the right
to choose and to
take it away.

He still likes beer
. That much he knows.
He wants to know
what beer you like.

He does not want
to remember
about the time
he dropped his pants,

or about the
time his busy
hands led to this,

Gerald So reads "He Likes His Beer":

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Luis confesses: "The inspiration behind 'He Likes His Beer' is the recent hearings in D.C. I do not see how someone who appears to be blatantly lying be confirmed to the highest court in the land. He does not appear to have the temperament for the job."

LUIS CUAUHTÉMOC BERRIOZABAL, born in Mexico, lives in California and works in the mental health field in Los Angeles. His first book of poems, Raw Materials, was published by Pygmy Forest Press. His latest chapbook, Make the Light Mine, was published by Kendra Steiner Editions. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming from Ink Sweat & Tears, Poppy Road Review, and The Stray Branch.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Clarinda Harriss


As a nonbeliever in the supernatural
I have just asked a voudou priest I know
to make a doll to protect my good friend
(Catholic, born Jewish) from her mother
who is as malevolent dead as alive.
I have crossed myself half a dozen
times today alone as ambulances shrieked
behind, beside, and before me on the gray
macadam of the city. I have two-fingered
the evil eye at a road-enraged motorist.
I have prepared for All Hallows' Eve
as I do each year when the seasons darken
by digging in my diary for a blurred photo
I snapped from a dead poet's car in Galway,
a tall girl in a long black cloak strolling
in the mist so close to our rented car
her fingertips brushed the door: altogether
oblivious of us on that half-lane mountain
road.  Youth hostel girl, stoned, we figured.
By the turf fire in his smoky sitting room
the inn-keep pulled a book from the shelf.
Local history. "’T was our Maid of Ardmore.
Died for love a hundred years ago."

Clarinda reads "Nonbeliever...":

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Clarinda confesses: "Fall always takes me to the supernatural, probably because my son, back in high school, was a great fan of the punk band Samhain named for a Celtic fall festival. (I think.) More immediately: a good friend was having such a run of major bad luck that she asked me to enlist the aid of my home's voudou guardian spirit, Agwe. Poet Louie Crowder, who won a BhB competition a few years ago, is a Haiti-ordained voudou priest and now a friend of mine. He came to our aid with Lasirene, a powerful and glamorous mother spirit. I somehow associate Lasirene with the mysterious figure who walked with Michael Egan and me along a narrow, foggy road in western Island."

CLARINDA HARRISS is a professor emerita of Towson University. She has overseen BrickHouse Books, Inc,, for almost 5 decades (going strong). She is proud to say she has never lived in a house which was not haunted.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Charles Rammelkamp


When Bollinger died in the terrorist attack,
one of half a dozen random people
waiting for the pedestrian light to change
at the corner of Light and Lombard
when the bomb in the briefcase exploded,
I didn’t associate his name
with the Bollinger whose novel
we’d rejected a few months earlier
at Lovegrove Press, the story
of a feckless, if charming schoolteacher
whose wife leaves him for another man.

Only when I read the story in the newspaper
about another regional press publishing the book,
an account of the author’s widow persevering
in the search for a publisher,
did I fit the pieces of the puzzle together.
Finding a publisher had become her mission,
a way of holding her life together.

I admit to an irrational stab of guilt,
but I didn’t really like the novel,
and Lovegrove Press lives on a shoestring anyway,
but I was glad for the man’s wife,
whose loss I can only imagine.
And that novel wasn’t autobiographical by any stretch,
I recognized on further reflection.

Charles reads "Lesson Plan":

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Charles confesses: "I’m an editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore. We can’t publish many titles, though we read many worthy manuscripts. One of those was a novel called Float Plan written by Rob Hiaasen, one of the five journalists for the Capital Gazette in Annapolis who was slain last summer by a gunman. Hiaasen is the brother of the celebrated Florida crime novelist, Carl Hiaasen. Float Plan has just been published by Apprentice House at Loyola University, and it is worth reading."

CHARLES RAMMELKAMP is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore, where he lives. His most recent book is American Zeitgeist (Apprentice House). A chapbook, Jack Tar’s Lady Parts, was recently published by Main Street Rag Press. Another chapbook, Me and Sal Paradise, is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Nick Kolakowski


The Devil jammed a finger in Old Bill’s eye,
Made him twitch and froth as we watched,
Resigned to a hard Fall, ice bearding the eaves,
The road outside a river of frosty mud,
Hungry for boots; we curled upon ourselves,
In the cold, around the hard kernels of the pasts
That had flung us here, onto the world’s rocky rim,
Battered by a midnight sea.
The only difference between you and me,
Is I turned left at the stop sign, pressed the gas
A little too hard, maybe—just two seconds
Is what separates your morality and mine.
The sun broke like a dim bulb through cotton
Old Bill calmed and drooled; we fixed dinner.
Christmas approached; ingenious ideas sprung to mind.

Nick reads "World's Rocky Rim":

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Nick confesses: "What’s the half-life of guilt? It depends on who’s bearing that guilt, of course. With this poem, I wanted to create an environment that externalized a character’s feelings of culpability over something horrible that happened a long time in the past. But even at rock bottom, I wanted to give a little glimmer of hope."

NICK KOLAKOWSKI is the author of the noir thrillers Boise Longpig Hunting Club and A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps. His work has appeared in Thuglit, Crime Syndicate Magazine, Plots with Guns, and various anthologies. He lives and writes in New York City.