Monday, December 9, 2019

Elaine Person

Arm in arm, two men
strolled until someone shot them.
Just father and son.

Elaine reads "Arm in arm...":

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Elaine confesses: "I live in Orlando where the Pulse nightclub shooting happened. In some cultures, it is common for men to walk arm in arm. I thought about what crime could occur if a prejudiced person misinterpreted this affection. Life is perception. Perception and reality can differ."

ELAINE PERSON’s parody of King Arthur appeared in Random House’s A Century of College Humor. Elaine teaches writing workshops at libraries, churches, for Road Scholar, and Crealdé School of Art. In 2018, Elaine won the Saturday Evening Post Limerick Contest. Elaine is published in Florida Writers Association’s short story collections, Poets of Central Florida anthologies, and contributes to and edits Florida State Poets Association’s annual anthologies. Her writing is included in, Sandhill Review, and Not Your Mother’s Book. Elaine writes “Person”alized poems and stories for all occasions. During these serious times, she feels her performances of her one-woman show Humor in a Hurried and Harried World elevate the spirit.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Faye Turner-Johnson


shoot ‘em while they’re running
shoot ‘em while they’re reaching for registration and insurance
shoot ‘em when they’re holding a cell phone
pleading for help after an accident in the middle of the night
shoot ‘em if their tail lights are broken
shoot ‘em while they’re sitting on their own couch
eating ice cream when you thought it was your couch in your
apartment and your ice cream they were eating
shoot ‘em if they don’t signal when changing lanes
shoot ‘em if they’re at home with the door open
playing video games with a nephew
just shoot ‘em
shoot ‘em dead
shoot ‘em while living black...seeking justice and freedom in America

Faye reads "Just Shoot 'Em":

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Faye confesses: "I am deeply troubled by police officers killing unarmed black people. If officers are able to capture and arrest mass murders with assault weapons, why fear a cell phone? The murders of Botham Jean and Atatiana Jefferson have me wondering how safe it is to live in my own home?"

FAYE TURNER-JOHNSON is a graduate of UM-Flint with BA degrees in Theater and Elementary Education. Since her retirement from teaching, she has again turned her attention to theater and writing. Her desire is to direct plays and write about issues focusing on social justice, especially where it concerns brown and black people. Her work has appeared in Sky Island Journal, Whirlwind Magazine, Digital Papercut, Crack the Spine Literary Journal, and other publications. Work was also published in anthologies for Dime Show Review and Kissing Dynamite. She received an honorable mention for a poem submitted to the Rochester Writers' 2018 Summer Writing Contest.

Monday, November 25, 2019

J.D. Smith


Serial killer sites, and you can go
a whole career without one,
are far and away the worst.
Unless the crime and the hiding happen
off in a corner of a pig farm or something
that can be parceled off from the property
you’re looking at a teardown for sure
once they get done excavating all over
and punching through the drywall
for whatever they can find.
Don’t envy that job.
If the guy gets famous enough
you’re lucky if you can offload
the lot in under 18 months.
Whatever the city says the address is
it might as well be 13 or 6-6-6.

Regular murder houses and places
where somebody ate a gun
go pretty much on a case-by-case basis.
Definite teardown potential, especially if you’ve got
multiple victims or any of them’s a kid,
but the cleanup companies have it figured out.
Give them a day or two, longer if they want—
I’m not getting anywhere near that kind of mess—
and they can work the closest thing
to a miracle I’ve ever seen.
It comes down, sure, to what you can do
with an exhaust fan, bleach, fresh paint, sure,
and whatever the subcontractors have to fix,
but, more often than not, places end up
looking a damn sight better than before.
Not that it’s much consolation for the families
other than the price they can get.

Old age, terminal cases, the quiet suicides
like razors or pills, somebody hanging himself
that isn’t too heavy and doesn’t break anything,
you’ve got nothing to worry about
as long as the body isn’t left too long.
It goes to the funeral home or the morgue,
once in a while to a medical school—
and the maids can swoop in
like it’s a regular day, routine maintenance
like grouting tiles or tuckpointing,
like caulking the tub.

Gerald So reads "Appraisal":

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J.D. confesses: "This poem came from thinking about the practicalities of clean-up after two deaths in the complex where I live. This in turn led me to think about the respective sites of Robert Pickton's murders and the murder of all but one member of a family in a Washington, DC home."

J.D. SMITH's fourth poetry collection, The Killing Tree, was published in 2016. He is currently seeking publishers for collections of poetry and crime fiction. And a children's picture book. Smith lives and works in Washington, DC.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Allan Lake


Corner store an odd place for murder.
Generic, prosaic. This wouldn't wash
in the most unnovel novel. 'Edged weapon'
an odd name for knife with its silent k
holding on for, what, dear life? Anyway—
He'd popped in, in his high-vis vest
for a little something and certainly got it.
Two males in custody. Store owner said,
"He was a nice guy, a regular."
Not anymore though. Twenty-four
and there's nothing more and for those
who need reasonable reasons
it's going to be disappointing.
He had been laughing inside, went
outside where he encountered two men
who put an edged weapon straight into
his abdomen. People do things like that
and it results in a brief column on page 8.
Perhaps police will get to the bottom of it;
perhaps there is no bottom at all.

Allan reads "Page 8 Incident":

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Allan confesses: "I literally read about this seemingly pointless stabbing in an Australian newspaper one day, some time ago. It's a common occurrence. Cain killed Abel. "

Originally from Saskatchewan, ALLAN LAKE has lived in Vancouver, Cape Breton Island, Ibiza, Tasmania and, for now, Melbourne. Collection published: Sand in the Sole (2014). Lake won Elwood Poetry Prize 2016, Lost Tower Publications(UK) Poetry Comp 2017 and Melbourne Spoken Word Poetry Festival Competition 2018. Besides Australia he has been published in Canada, UK, USA, Mauritius, India, West Indies and Italy.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Terry Dawley


“What are you thinking about?”

My wife’s voice penetrates
that dark place I’ve once again entered
and yanks me back to the light of here and now.
I gaze at her like a man roused from a dream
only it wasn’t a dream but a nightmare.

“Nothing,” I answer.

But that’s a lie, after all, nobody thinks about nothing.
As for me—sometimes I think about murder.
I don’t mean to. I don’t want to. It just happens,
though usually there’s some sort of trigger.
Take, for example, Phil Collins’ song, "In the Air."

"In the Air" never fails to kidnap my thoughts,
and drag them back to the night of my first murder
where my mind’s eye again sees
the large kitchen knife, the perforated body,
and the blood. The blood. Everywhere.

Sometimes the trigger is a smell.
Like how the hot breath of sun-cooked asphalt
blows me back to a blistering day
where, in the baking-sheet parking lot of a tavern
another one of my murders lay sprawled
like a gangster-clad gingerbread man.

“You were just staring at the ground,” she says.

But the saddest trigger is how the sight
of a young mother with children,
can sometimes shove my mind
into that dark place where another young mother
lies on a couch, her throat just slit with a hunting knife,
her bright eyes pleading with me to save her.

But it’s too late for this young mother.
The light of life slowly dims and her eyes glaze with death.
Her three children sleep in their beds
oblivious to their sudden orphanage.
I pick up a little girl, press her face to my Kevlar-armored chest,
and hope my stifled sob doesn’t wake her.

Gerald So reads "Sometimes I Think about Murder":

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Terry confesses: "The exchange in the poem between my wife and I took place while sitting poolside in Aruba on vacation. The realization that—while my body was there in paradise—my mind was in a much darker place, so shocked me that I decided to write the poem."

TERRY DAWLEY is a retired police officer from Erie, Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in Pithead Chapel, The Cleveland Review, Mused BellaOline Literary Journal, Soft Cartel, and Law Enforcement Today. He is an award winner of the Writer's Digest 80th Annual Writing Competition and a six-time award winner of the Pennwriters Annual Writing Contest.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Peri Dwyer Worrell


The sun, the breeze, the waves.
Something solid, and beneath,
The shade and further back, the
Dark pain and rage from times
Long past, dealt with, beat back.
Surge now in swift attack,
A venal, manly moan, I
Shower salt water from my hair,
You burst right in, you whine.
At once my rage wakes up
As though no time has passed:
My dad, my mom, the bath,
Her nude and dragged, the sound
As feet slip in the tub,
A groan of things that slide
Out of control like feet,
Like fists, a face, a fall.
And all the blows my mom
Took, black eyes, bruised, stiff neck.
Sun shone in through the bars
On windows to keep us safe
And who stayed safe? Who? Who?
The monsters live within.

Peri reads "Safe in the Sunshine":

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Peri confesses: "I think most survivors of abusive childhood environments deal with the emotional fallout of those experiences our entire lives. I know I have! Writing this poem was just another step in my journey. You can experience more of my poetry here."

PERI DWYER WORRELL grew up white on a Puerto Rican street in New York, gaining a keen appreciation of the value of diversity, tolerance, and taking no crap from anyone. After thirty years as a physician, Peri became disabled and expatriated to Latin America. Peri writes fiction and poetry, and edits scientific articles.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

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