Monday, July 16, 2018

Alyson Faye

TIGER-WATCHING AT YORKSHIRE WILDLIFE PARK

Eagerly we hurry,
free of our grey boxes
for the day’s entertainment.

Anaesthetised.
Caged.
Transported.
To our drab, windy shores.

Our sat.nav got us here,
Our iPods jangle in the
manure-stained air.

From metal walkways
we gape and gawk.
While you pace,
your miry compound's ground.

What do you see,
when you look out?
Your stripes interlacing
with the wire mesh?

Disdainful, of us-
a clicking, chattering,
rowdy group of bipeds.

Do you yearn for
your topaz jungles,
moist with prey?

A tail flicks.
We are dismissed.
The mud records
your departure.

We drive home,
through taupe housing estates,
around snaking ring roads,
switching on our headlights.

Night draws in.
We are both prey and
hunter, in our metal
boxes on wheels.


Alyson reads "Tiger Watching...":



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Alyson confesses: "This poem was written after a visit to Yorkshire Wildlife Park, home to the rare Amur tigers, and though it provides a rare opportunity to view these animals and the programme of the park is all about conservation and breeding—I couldn't help but feel it's a crime to cage these beautiful animals for the purposes of a day's entertainment for us. It is a complicated and emotive issue."


ALYSON FAYE lives in West Yorkshire with her family, including 3 rescue cats. She teaches creative writing classes and works part time as an editor/proofreader. She is one of the writers in Women in Horror Annual 2, (2017); her stories can be downloaded at www.alfiedog.com as well as being available in numerous ezines and on sites like zeroflash, Tubeflash, 101 words, three drops from a cauldron and (most often) at The Horror Tree (www.horrortree.com). Her debut Flash collection, Badlands, from indie publisher Chapeltown Books is available to buy on Amazon. Her poetry has appeared in varied small press magazines like iota, Bennison's Books Indra's Net, Raw Edge, jotters united, and later this year on the Nature Poetry-inspired website Words for the Wild.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Peter M. Gordon

FLORIDA MAN

When breathing air feels like drinking swamp water
and sweat falls unevaporated to sizzle on sidewalks

Florida Man emerges, to start a fight in a pizza joint
when wrong cheese is applied to his garlic knots.

Florida Man provides pot and ecstasy to reward his
children for good grades. Florida Man writes his cell

phone number and address on the stickup note to
make it easy for the teller to send more money after

the robbery. Only Florida Man snorts bath salts and meth,
walks next door to bludgeon his neighbors and eat their flesh

raw, in their driveway, where everyone can see him.
Perhaps it’s this thumb-shaped peninsula’s fault, the

right-angled thrust into the Atlantic that causes lightning
to clash over its center, illuminating all our dark places,

that makes us all a little bit Florida Man, waiting for the
weight of sin to sink our sandbar into primordial swamp.


Peter reads "Florida Man":



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Peter confesses: "Even though I've lived in Orlando for almost a quarter-century I am still amazed at what some of our citizens do. This poem arose from my reading Florida crime news and from my worry that there may be something in the air that gradually infects everyone that lives here."


PETER M. GORDON has published over 100 poems in publications such as Slipstream, the Journal of Florida Literature, Poetry Breakfast, and others. He is the author of two collections: Two Car Garage and Let's Play Two: Poems about Baseball. Peter earned a BA from Yale and MFA from Carnegie-Mellon, and teaches in Full Sail University's Film Production MFA program.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Rosanne Limoncelli

THOSE LOUD NEIGHBORS

I am disturbed by voices
not imaginary ones from my crumbling sanity
but the all-too-real voices that permeate
the walls that surround me and from the ceiling above
unavoidable-inescapable-thundering noise

I cannot verify
if they are screaming with glee
or for help-help-help
help me
in one moment I'm sure
that one or more women
are being brutally-violently-noisily defiled
and in the next instant-second-moment
I’m certain they are
cheering for a goal on TV

is that kicking-pounding-banging
above my head
an expression of unadulterated (adult) joy
an explosion of (not-so) private pleasure
or an unleashing of vitriolic violence
an eleventh-hour entreaty for ecstatic escape

perhaps I am paranoid
there is much evidence to that as
previous investigations of mine
have only revealed sardonic looks and middle fingers
these erstwhile lessons have taught me to
mind my own business
to live and let live
but if I do
will it be Kitty Genovese all over again
in which case live and let die

HOW LONG CAN I HOLD BACK
from running screaming upstairs with a gun
to catch them or save them or stop them
to put an end to the reason-occasion-justification
for the deafening disturbance

or should I just shoot myself?


Rosanne reads "Those Loud Neighbors":



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Rosanne confesses: "'Those Loud Neighbors' was inspired by some folks who used to live upstairs. Lying awake in bed, very late at night, unable to sleep because of the noise, my imagination went wild. Could someone be in danger? Do I hold their life in my hands? Am I crazy? The frustration and anxiety eventually led to creativity."


ROSANNE LIMONCELLI teaches filmmaking and story writing for Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. I would rather be reading or writing crime fiction and poetry than anything else. My short stories have been published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Suspense Magazine.

Monday, June 25, 2018

John Jeffire

ACE

Johnny Ace step out his Caddy
Curbside the Page One, March
Evening, Detroit iced to the nostril,
His boy Lights Out undefeated
And Boom Boom on the get,
Johnny Ace rolling in green,
Yeah, you just wait, we just
Gettin’ started, Holmes, this
Here ain’t no nothin’.
That white flake shake three
Straight day, don’t never slow—
I’m Johnny Ace, boy, you
Don’t never call me Smith,
Not no chump hangin’ off
The backside no red rig, naw,
Not no Gold Glove welter, naw,
Now we got diamond knuckles
Rollin’ chrome spokes over 7 Mile.
Johnny Ace, he on the prowl, got him
Bennies to burn, Banks coyote coat,
Platform lace-ups, Boss Man lid
Like The Hammer, takin’ world
Championship distance.

Then the roll up—
No make, no model, burners out.
This city, you pay up or you pay.
Blow gonna blow but the wind
Always forever rage in your face.
Bell don’t even ring and Johnny Ace
Know the count, boom stick
And a 9 bark, five slugs dig
His ribs, lead kidney punch,
Jab jab to the chest, down
Go Johnny Ace, didn’t nobody
See nothing, don’t nobody know
Nothing when the coyote coat
Run red to the canvas, Johnny
Ace count the neons, point to
The stars, reach out for a rope
That wasn’t never there.


—for Johnny Ace Smith,
murdered, Detroit, 37 years old,
10 March 1989


John reads "Ace":



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John confesses: "I am a native Detroiter, and John Smith, better known as Johnny Ace, is part of the underground lore of the city. He was a firefighter and local Golden Gloves hero before he got into managing fighters, working with some big names like world champs James “Lights Out” Toney and Tom “Boom-Boom” Johnson. My father was a boxer, and he and my uncles were all on the Detroit boxing commission and got to know Johnny Ace and always talked about him as quite the character. The full circumstances around Ace’s death are still unclear, but I wanted to make sure this colorful, mysterious man was remembered."


JOHN JEFFIRE was born in Detroit. In 2005, his novel Motown Burning was named Grand Prize Winner in the Mount Arrowsmith Novel Competition and in 2007 it won a Gold Medal for Regional Fiction in the Independent Publishing Awards. Speaking of Motown Burning, former chair of the Pulitzer Jury Philip F. O'Connor said, “It works. I don't often say that, but it has a drive and integrity that gives it credible life....I find a novel with heart.” In 2009, Andra Milacca included Motown Burning in her list of “Six Savory Novels Set in Detroit” along with works by Elmore Leonard, Joyce Carol Oates, and Jeffrey Eugenides. His first book of poetry, Stone + Fist + Brick + Bone, was nominated for a Michigan Notable Book Award in 2009. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine called the book “a terrific one for our city.” His most recent book, Shoveling Snow in a Snowstorm, a poetry chapbook, was published by the Finishing Line Press in 2016. For more on the author and his work, visit writeondetroit.com.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Abbey-Rose Chivers

LIFE IS SACRED

The walk to the chair is not silent.
Chains clink, too happy.
They revel in his misery.
So too, do the others,
whisper, whisper.
Look, there he goes,
They finally got him,
Down he goes.

They're better than him,
Of course they are.
Though their fate is the same still,
they laugh as the chains
Clink clink.
Such morbid joy must be a crime,
Surely?
To smile as the straps are tightened.
Life is sacred, no one can claim it,
apart from the state and the crowds
that cheer and clap as the lever comes down.
Coloured lights illuminate the dark morning sky,
A celebration, a celebration of death.
But he is fearful, shaking,
no longer a killer.
A prisoner, a number.
Dignity shaven like the hair from his head.
He is terrified, but still they cheer.
He is dying, but still they cheer.


Abbey-Rose reads "Life is Sacred":



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Abbey-Rose confesses: "I was inspired by the injustice of capital punishment and the willingness of the public to put criminals to death, essentially supporting the very thing they oppose."


ABBEY-ROSE CHIVERS is 27 and a full-time mum of one. She has been writing for ten years, dabbling in short stories and poetry, and is currently working passionately on her debut, a grimdark adventure set on an almost empty world. She has been shortlisted in Writing Magazine but is still hoping for a win.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Zakariah Johnson

SENDING FIDO HOME

Her neighbor’s new pup from the pound,
Kept snuffling and scratching the ground.
So, she left poisoned meat,
On her stoop as a treat,
To ensure her old man was not found!


Zak reads "Sending Fido Home":



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Zak confesses: "I’m a big fan of rhyming light verse, of “campfire poems” of the sort that are easy to remember and share, like limericks and ballads."


ZAKARIAH JOHNSON is a New Hampshire-based writer and the cross-genre editor for FoldedWord. His prose and poetry, mystery and horror, can be found in such publications as BEAT to a PULP, Switchblade, Shotgun Honey, Yellow Mama, and Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine. Visit him @Pteratorn on Twitter.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Sanjeev Sethi

CIVICS

Prosopographies exhibit the coulisses slipped into.
Eclipsed in them are personated villainies. When
deficiencies are covered up they seem well-done.
There is no consternation of in flagrante delicto.
Anecdata is for lovers and the like, the world chases
footnote of real facts whetted by legalese. In this
purview moral measures have no place.


Gerald So reads "Civics":



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Sanjeev confesses: "It worries me that contemporary public life is devoid of the moral angle. All decisions of the State are structured on the premise that they are within the legal safeguard. The righteous path is no longer an option. This poem is a cry against this and wishes for a change."


SANJEEV SETHI is the author of three books of poetry. His most recent collection is This Summer and That Summer (Bloomsbury, 2015). His poems are in venues around the world: The Broadkill Review, After the Pause, Chicago Record Magazine, Former People, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Stickman Review, Ann Arbor Review, Home Planet News, London Grip, Morphrog 16, Communion Arts Journal, Bold Monkey, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.