Sunday, November 17, 2013

April Salzano

Four Poems

The Road to Back Road
is a bumpy bitch, a stretch
of dirt, unmarked. Speed is determined
by ability to maneuver. A place to pull
over and finish the argument
that was keeping your hands busy
at 10 and 2. No one will see
you get out, pace the car, hurl
the ring from your finger into rows
of waiting corn, stalks that grab and keep.
You burn out and leave
your passenger, gawking behind.
He knows you will be back.
No one can be that cold.

Incoming Freshmen
We rely heavily
on autocorrect and spell check.
We don’t write, we blog.
We don’t discuss, we tweet.
We don’t research, we google it. We consider
wikipedia a credible source. The dog doesn’t
eat our homework, our hard drives crash,
and our printers are always out of ink. We would
rather text than call and we don’t care
what time it is; manners are as irrelevant as
punctuation. We will attempt to
address you by your first name, and when you
correct us, we will roll our eyes and say, whatever.
We won’t speak in class unless you call on us.
We won’t take notes, but will expect you to
post the powerpoint online later. We need
an A, but will always be late
coming in (what syllabus?) because 7:40 is too early
for any class (I know, right?). We don’t work
well in groups, and hate working
alone (or at all). We will cringe
at red pen in our margins and will expect
our drafts back by tomorrow. We will all look
alike in our AE jeans and tight T’s,
our flat ironed hair. The boys aren’t gay,
they’re metro (duh). We will all be too tired
and we will ask if we can get out early today.
Everyday. We hate MLA format. We hate this class
and will probably write something
about your hair or your clothes on the course evaluation
if this semester even ends. We will
hate your favorite novel
because it’s random, and will miss
most of the major themes and all
of the poetic language and will misspell
the author’s name as Norton instead of Nordan,
and we won’t even notice. And besides, the civil
rights movement was last century
and we are so over it.

Dinner with Freud
He says I am projecting, in love
with my father. Hysterical. Pass
the salt and your ego, but hold the transference.
I know the right thing to do, but cannot
because I am all id, defiant, intent
on self-sabotage. Imp of the perverse
has joined us at the table. He’s hard
at work. Freud orders steak, medium-rare.
I am served without recalling having ordered
at all, a whole plate of nothing
recognizable. His knife, which is not just a knife,
slides through meat like a paralyzed arm.
I envy his fork, the stabbing motion.
My cutlery rests useless beside the dish, my mouth
wide open, no sound coming out. Classic.

Riding a Dead Horse
I beat it to death, lame,
mangy animal full of fleas. Glue
factory, dog food destination, bastard
of daylight, abandoned. Until me.
I saddle the carcass and click my tongue,
making galloping noises while I fly
toward a monster moon. All the things I have
said that have gone ignored are here
in the midnight of this ride. At dawn
my words, dark and riderless
will find homes in the heads
of the simplest of men.

© April Salzano 2013

April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. Her work has appeared in Poetry Salzburg, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Blue Stem, and Rattle, as well as other online and print journals. She serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A.J. Huffman

3 Stages Past Basic

Seeing Dolphins
dancing beyond the shore, I regret
my landlocked life, drown in desire
to ride waves like wind, to speak
in chittering tones only my own
kind can understand, to keep pace
with seagulls flying over my head.
I wish on the last star as it fades into morning,
wait for fins and gills to blossom from pallid
skin, mourn all the more when they do not.

Because Flying
monkeys took my ruby slippers,
I cannot sleep with both my eyes closed.
They were my secret escape, my compass,
always pointing home, my land-
marks in the desert of a jaded reality, green
as the sky in the city that haunts my dreams.
Now I am condemned to lie here in the half-
dark shadows of an empty room. The corners
are singing some mocking tune about candy
kids, while I am trying to focus on the distant
dripping of a faucet, imagine it
washing me away.

I Am Bedpost
Stoic sentinel, I am the frame
supporting your sexual proclivities.
My form was constructed to endure
years of over-aggressive thrusting.
I can take your frustration, rage, desperate
desire. I am cold
steel beneath your grip.
I am not bending or breaking,
just waiting for inevitable
exhaustion to calm you into coma
and give me almost eight
hours of peace.

© A.J. Huffman 2013

A.J. Huffman has published six solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and the winner of the 2012 Promise of Light Haiku Contest. Her poetry, fiction, and haiku have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Donal Mahoney

That's Our Song Back When

Yes, indeedy, Mary Reedy,
tell me, please,
where did you go
50 years ago today?
You disappeared
and so did I.
Remember the prom?
Your neckline was
the talk of school
till graduation day.
The nuns had a fit.

The zit above
your Appalachian cleavage
shook everybody up.
You said it bloomed
the night before
without warning.
"A volcano popped,"
you said.

Yes, indeedy, Mary Reedy,
wherever you may be,
I tell you now
fifty years later
I see the zit clearly.
It pops like Vesuvius
whenever Stan, my neighbor,
soused beyond belief,
thinks he's Andy Williams
and sings "Moon River."
That's our song back when.

© Donal Mahoney 2013

Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had poetry and fiction published in various publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Theresa Vitale

Three Brief Poems

To stretch your legs
and arms completely,
extend each limb
as though the joints
are mere extensions
of the bones,
a piece of yarn
not knotted,
offers no relief.
Could they not
grow another inch?

I look away.
Each silver missile,
launched quicker than the last
will fail to break the surface
or ricochet, fall dully to the ground.

If I've tried what fills me up
can I forget the recipe,
lose it in one of my old coat pockets?
Sell it to the neighbor’s son.
His girlfriend will freeze
without layers.

© Theresa Vitale 2013

Once swept away by the beauties of the Tuscan countryside, Theresa spends a portion of each warm day in Los Angeles planning future trips around the world. When she isn't planning, she is writing, or working as a paralegal who helps families keep their homes. She graduated from U.C. Berkeley with degrees in English and Italian Studies and loves every inch of the California Coast.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Harris Tobias


Outside my window, the trees have changed their
Long green gowns for slutty skirts
I swear I do not know what’s gotten into them
They were once so proper and refined
I shake my head and purse my lips
They leave me feeling outraged and unkind

Outside my window, the trees are throwing a party
I, of course, am not invited. Every tree gaudily attired.
They seem excited, excessive might be a better word
Tossing confetti, making a spectacle of themselves
Their vigorous behavior make me feel old and tired

Outside my window, the trees have gone on strike.
They are no doubt angered by the changing rules
Shorter hours and colder nights are not at all to their liking
They throw down their tools and quit, the fools
At least they stand for something, I wish I had their grit

Outside my window, the trees are on the move
Waving their bright flags of revolution, yellow and red
Already the streets are littered with their dead
There can be but one resolution to this fight
I close my window against the unconquerable night

Outside my window, the trees are bare.
Their arms raised in defeat, all hopes dashed.
The party ended, the rebellion smashed,
The strikers in full retreat. For another year the trees
Have tried. There’s something noble in their resistance
They may have surrendered but they have not died
I hide my eyes and weep for their persistence.

© Harris Tobias 2013

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