Sunday, December 21, 2008

# 18

cali portal -- pierre francillon

--"It's a tightrope to stay
true to the character, true to the irony,
and allow the irony to happen"
Ben Kingsley--

Submissions are a good thing

Parov Stelar

418 Victims to Date

The Hope

The jet black cloud that hangs over the village
is a malevolent pillow held by arms of awesome
power ready to press down and strangle us.
Serves us right we have been smug thinking we
had the keys to peace, shaking our heads
lecturing others how to, and then it all collapses.
Our democratic system that makes it possible
for the rich to steal from the poor, or our system
of law, where justice is given to those who can
afford it. It is no longer safe to live here, but how
to leave? Car-lights cannot penetrate through
the miasma of night on a road that has lost its
purpose and ends in a vale of nihilistic laughter
where the victims are told to live in peace with
their tormentors. Yet there is a beacon of light
a still flame of hope, the heart of humanity is not
yet defeated.

Jan Oscar Hansen

a burden of worry

what i know to be true is that

daily we come out of ourselves

peeking from under our shells like

turtles mere puddles of nerves

determined to test the waters of

worry deserving of answers

and daily we muddle through the

muck sometimes so nearly stuck

in our fathers shoes confused

by the awkward fit and wondering

at the need to wear them at all

some days its all I can do to

convince myself that fathers are

no less human than me or you

or my son or the man next door

that we are all diamonds slightly

flawed and the burden of worry

is merely a jar sealed too tight

(previously published in Hammers, Sketchbook

and The Poetry Victims)

J.A. Spahr-Summers

zz baggins not quite so personal and irregular diary...

morrison burning -- zzbaggins

Saturday, November 29, 2008

# 17

rexroth's daughter -- Michael A. Crowley

--"Love is the triumph of
imagination over intelligence"
Henry Louis Mencken--


Calling for More Submissions

406 Victims to Date

August Heat

Women have divorced their bras,
men melted into their boots.
A sparrow gasps for air
in a stairwell, grounded
by heat and grime.

An overheated motorcycle
holds its breath for a man
who catches the bird,
sets it in the shade
of a city garden,
bursting with sunflowers.

Believing we will survive,
I promise myself a sleigh ride
choreographed by Mozart.
First I lead a horse
from the white pasture,
pry ice from his hooves,
bind him to the sleigh.
The harness is stiff with cold.

Blinkers on, he sighs,
lowers his head to the bit,
his only view what lies ahead.
My voice is the cool weight
he draws over the ice pack.
Music glitters in the frozen trees.

Karen Douglass

wild horses

my emotions run wild like mustangs
little colts easily startled they bolt
across the meadow manes trailing
in the wind tails whipping
from side to side they snort
majestically my
creatures of conscience
and consequence
and the ground grumbles beneath me

J.A. Spahr-Summers


marte away -- zzbaggins

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

# 16

red art from a blue state -- amy kohut

--" The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To them... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create -- so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off...They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating."
Pearl Buck--

--"Words that don't kill you make you stronger"
Ghada Kanafani--

--"The problem with joy is that,
by contrast,
it exposes
how unhappy you really are"


Creedence Clearwater Revival

Calling for Submissions

391 Victims to Date

don't bang your head on the stars!

burn, like faggot
fertile, like river banks over flowed
drunk, like butterfly at fermented fig
fertile, like soil topped with ash
loaded, like freight train
shot, like russian roulette loser
urgent, like orgasm
shot, like broken arch
wound, like god's eye
jarred, like peaches
stiff, like over
jarred, like every soldier
high, like wow
cruel, like hope
sure, like now
cruel, like malignant
wet, like inside
dharma, like burn it
known, like biblically
dharma, like virtue
clean, like fashion
fire, like sun god
nipple, like yum
fire, like heart
golden, like dusk
seen, like ant farm
fleeting, like virgin
seen, like vision
smart, like silence.

amy kohut

i dont want goodbyes anymore

i learned to say goodbye so easy
from traveling all my life
from always packing my baggage
at night packing boxes
looking at maps
pitching my tent of a life near water
just a leaf kissed by whatever wind does prevail
across the planet i have reached
through the canopy of trees
peered over mountains and dived underwater
swimming through curiously
allowing goodbyes to stack up in my closet
little boxes of shoes never worn
ever again

J.A. Spahr-Summers

along the way -- zzbaggins

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

# 15

sloth -- Candace Byington

-- "The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history
may be the hijacking of morality by religion"
Arthur C. Clarke--

Soho Dolls

Calling for Submissions

390 Victims to Date


(I refuse the right to be force fed
somebody else's interpretation of freedom...)

What if freedom
were just a pill
that the government
hides in the bullshit
it feeds us?

What if tomorrow
the prescribed dose
no longer had an effect
and the ball and chain
cuffed to each and
everyone of our ankles
suddenly becomes apparent:

Would you be
all ready to hack off
an arm and a leg
from a dream of yours
just to cover the cost
of a stronger dose?

You probably would...

You probably would
if the chick
you wanted to bang

Michael Lira

ignoring history

we choose to do this

as a society

as a race

we clamber for bread

and circuses like romans

already corrupted

lounging in our spas

barking orders

throwing undesirables

to the lions because

we don’t really know why

but we do it anyway

we live for it somehow

it comforts us

to wield this power

like crafty would be gods

creating chance

and circumstances

handing out candy

lording over life and death

J.A. Spahr-Summers

questionable content...

peace frog -- zzbaggins

Friday, October 10, 2008

# 14

exsssssssssssiting! -- amy kohut

--"True friends stab you in the front"
Oscar Wilde--

Fatboy Slim

Friendship Issue

383 Victims to Date

Zeitgeist Addendum (released 10/2/08)
Please everyone, watch this...


The enemies of our leaders are poets;
not good men necessarily, not at all,
but neither are they men who fire hell-fire missiles
into mud-bricked homes in the desert
nor who burn the jungles of the tropics
to eradicate the plants of dreams and nightmares;
not good men at all, and as much
tyrants as any man who has a god in his pocket.

The enemies of our leaders are poets.
Where men get up in the morning to work
and build words into dreams that give hope
and cut the flesh from their own hands
furrowing the earth until it bears seeds
until their screams divert resources
to the people among whom they live they find
the support of communication and of people
is much bigger than shock and awe.

The enemies of our leaders are poets
who listen to winds at night as they walk dark alleys,
who stop at lonely diners for a cup of coffee
before jotting down a few notes and going off
into the shuffle of their own tired footsteps;
who come together again in the workplace
speaking in tongues marketers do not understand,
and seducing women with eyes that do not waver.

The leaders cannot lead without the words
a culture creates within itself,
within its needs,

(from ... The Graves Grow Bigger Between Generations/
published by Higganum Hill Books)

Jared Smith

To be a Poet
for Sandra

To be a poet, I suppose
one must remain true
to the love of small things
and never forget
the sound of the calling itself,
restless, like a cloud caught
in the soft peeling rhythmic bells
of hell stealing by.

I myself
try to tell an honest tale
of the frailties in my life,
glad for an acre of sadness
to tempt my taste for another mile.
And while the tale might be wasted
on the likes of two or three,
I listen for a smile from the crowd
or a cheer,
maybe even rely on a tear
to tell me of truth
among the lies I hear.

(previously published in Hammers and The Poetry Victims)

J.A. Spahr-Summers

On friendship...

graffiti off main street 13 -- zzbaggins

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

# 13

Pisces -- Junanne Peck

--"I am suing the tobacco companies,
for years they have been saying they're going to
kill me
and it hasn't happened yet"
Kurt Vonnegut--

D.J. Monkey

Issue on the sly

In memory of Paul Newman
and Mahmoud Darwich

369 Victims to Date

May 31, 2005

She said, "When I fly in airplanes I practice dying.
If a plane falls from that far up no one's gonna live.
I figure there's about 90 seconds when everyone in the plane knows
they're gonna die.
So I practice being friends with myself
in 90-second bursts."

"I fly alot," I tell her, "10 days a month sometimes."

"You must be good at dying by now."

Nonstop voicemail from God lately.

Go soak up the sun and be tickled.

Diver, gently

(from ... Live For a Living)

Buddy Wakefield

10 seconds to live

black lightning strikes

swifter than light

in these corn fields

and you never know why

the pitch-black mamba eyes

(black screaming endless black)

attack for no reason

you are about to die

(previously published in Sketchbook)

J.A. Spahr-Summers

What the hell?

she wants to be yellow -- zzbaggins

Saturday, September 20, 2008

# 12

don't know jack -- Michael Crowley

--"You don't need anybody to tell you who
you are or what you are. You are what you are!"

John Lennon--

Michael Franti
and Spearhead

Poem for Charles Bernstein
Charles Bernstein understands the human heart
    I wish Charles Bernstein ruled the world
   Because of Charles Bernstein, I stay off the wrong side

of the tracks
Charles Bernstein reminds me of Benny Hill
   I touch the whiskers on Charles Bernstein's cat
Charles Bernstein says I could sleep in the basement
   I dream I could be a great teacher like none other than

Charles Bernstein
   I cry because Charles Bernstein cries, too
   I touch myself when thinking of Charles Bernstein

wandering around inside me
   I hear Charles Bernstein's motor bike rumbling down

Martin Luther King Boulevard
I hear Charles Bernstein reading poetry at some crummy
dive on the lower east side
Charles Bernstein is surrounded by flowers
I touch my lips when I see Charles Bernstein on stage
   I taste the medicine Charles Bernstein gives me for my

I imagine Charles Bernstein writing in my dreams
   I am the man of the house when Charles Bernstein is

Charles Bernstein brainwashed me into believing that
I'm a platypus
I smell Charles Bernstein's freshly baked cherry pies
   I wish Charles Bernstein would stop cheating off my

math test
My mother is having Charles Bernstein over for dinner
   I say that Charles Bernstein can read my thoughts
   Without Charles Bernstein, things are sour and bitter
   I hear Charles Bernstein still and silent
   Wish I could speak a little more like Charles Bernstein
   I see and remember Charles Bernstein
   I know I am the illegitimate son of Charles Bernstein
   Because of Charles Bernstein, I am a potter
   I imagine Charles Bernstein standing on snow-capped

I don't want to think about what my life would be like
without Charles Bernstein
You say you never stopped loving me, I say there is
someone else, and his name is Charles Bernstein
I don't love you the same way I love Charles Bernstein
   Why do I wonder so about Charles Bernstein
   I feel this wall separating me and Charles Bernstein
   I try to overcome my fear of loneliness, but without
   The almighty words of Charles Bernstein, it's near
   Impossible I enjoy small talk and big lies shared by

Charles Bernstein
Don't you love this mink coat Charles Bernstein
bought me
I wish I was a Buffalo, New Yorker like Charles
I say things no one else understands except
Charles Bernstein
   Imagine Charles Bernstein wearing a pink

bunny suit
I hope Charles Bernstein will come to my house
and play Yahtzee with me
I see Charles Bernstein in the fog of Manhattan
   I wonder if Charles Bernstein knows if I will ever

get married
I see Charles Bernstein looking back at me in
the mirror
Charles Bernstein invited me to stay the week at
his condo in Aspen

Shane Allison


i am a man of the world

i am hip to buying the essentials on occasion

i glide up and down the spacious aisles

i pause before a trillion trillion rolls of toilet paper

i must figure the cost now you see

i know this because

i am thrice divorced and

i can cough up a thrifty budget if

i have to

so i crunch the numbers

469 one ply sheets on each roll for 3.59

these ones are obviously the septic safe mega rolls

and then there are these…1100 sheets for 3.49

this is whats called a no brainer

J.A. Spahr-Summers

a reluctant farewell...

warning -- zzbaggins

Saturday, September 13, 2008

# 11

resting in the dark -- Janet Snell

--“Some people never go crazy,
What truly horrible lives they must live”
Charles Bukowski--


349 Victims to Date

MySpace Poetry

Bukowski's ghost is bothering me again.
He always comes when I am loneliest.
He always comes when I want him least.

I told a friend, on the phone, that my form was inadequate to my sentiments.
Bukowski has come to laugh at me.
He has come to ask me if I think margins contain profundity.
He wants to know how I found a poetry more useless than words.

I hand him a stack of the poems of troglodytes.
I ask him to find the profundity in his imitators,
the cottage-factories of rebellion,
the MFAs of whore mongering,
aging illiterates throwing their panties at him.
I tell him that it's easy to make love to a corpse.

He tells me that for a corpse, lovemaking is irrelevant.
I ask him if he thinks that makes him special.

He does not look at my painting of Strachey,
he does not look at my poster of Duras.
The dead have no need to laugh, but
the living have a need to be laughed at,
and Bukowski's ghost is here to help.

He says when I say that I am bleeding
I must know that he is the blood
when I say that the world tastes like ashes
I must know that he is my tongue

I suggest he avoid attempting metaphor.
He tells me that the sky is turning red.

Jonathan Penton

Who let Bukowski in?

Now the bastard won’t leave.
He sits at the kitchen table in my mind
like a sous chef swilling the cooking wine,
He is cleaning his nails with a fork

“You don’t know what love is...”

(previously published in Ygdrasil and Sketchbook)

J.A. Spahr-Summers

yada yada yada...

life and death -- zzbaggins

Saturday, September 6, 2008

# 10

Lowell Deluge -- Debra Bretton Robinson

--"Poetry heals the wounds
inflicted by reason"


321 Victims to Date

Mingus a Mongus

Music spins faster than my head. A rift of bebop Spanish caravan danc’n in the streets to the Afra-Rican inspired Beat. A voice breaks celebrating the goddess of Green suffocation. Keyboard plays a flat tone death to invisible asphyxiation. Turns the need of Green to Blue. Ah this lady does not sing the blues. Unnecessary, what is needed comes to me through the staccato of life. The horn flutters amidst the scattered drum beats and bass strings me along in an all consuming stomp. Happy floats across the room. Flute thrills like spring birds after the rain that brought the worm out upon the sidewalk. Birds yell at me with awks when I disturb their feast. I say excuse me bro Byrd, I did not mean to interrupt your fine repast. The worm wiggled gratefully into the turf. Smooth moves, anxiety on the side high point blowing that horn. Float away on a cascade of emotion. Niagra clashes, Roller coaster dips, white water rafting over the notes in the shallows. Dragonflies hover serene as they inch forward quietly. Camouflaged army crawls—soon to become Vermillion. Sounds clash discord. Unidentifiable body Floats in strange waters—a mother’s loss. She sits a matriarch. Elegant and angry at what she can’t change. The music screams her pain. Spanish Madonna crucifies me alive with her eyes. I offer only love. Distant as Death, my other chile, burnt offerings. Sidewalk worms smashed. NO starlings’ thrills. Hollow wood spell hypnotized. Waterfall drop, the barrel opens. Not a root beer float. Champagne Bubbles of air bounce to the swing of Lawrence Welk’s wand. Tiny Bubbles Bursting under pressure. Heart expands beyond capacity overload. Did you hear the bullet’s whiz before it struck the wall inches away, my manager asked? The bass strings twang while she watches the disposal process, where I took one bullet at a time, dropping them in between the gutter’s grates. Another twang. The hate gun powder packed. No one in the city should own a gun. No the children don’t know. English stiff upper lip is much like Mexican Madonna, separated by velvet ropes. How do I get to the other side? But the grass is brown from lack of rain. No, covered with cicadas. The Birds sing the song of joy, an ocean of sound intoxifies and like a red and white bobber attached to the fishing line, the worm a lure strung on the hook. I break the water, gasp air. Grasp its all clear. The struggle is just an exercise. Sometimes you just want to lay back, move with the groove, swim the lazy river, then but then, you want to take the deck of cards and toss‘m in the air like confetti. Watching the hearts spin, the diamonds dance, the spades dig the groove sound, the aces hit a home run. And it’s all over. You are out. Not much different then the worm smashed on the side walk. Don’t worry your cicadic cycle will return to feed the Birds until ya find ya way.

Donna Pecore


in a dali moment
just outside of wichita
just after dark in kansas
a ballerina of the cornfield
not far up ahead the
hot red hail of tail lights
just up ahead
a white tail deer pirouettes
in a puff of steam
just like this
as the hot blood trips
the frigid air
in my headlights
a strangely beautiful arc
of crimson red

(previously published in il-lit-er-ate magazine, Blinkzine Arts Magazine, The Argonaut's Boat, The Poetry Victims and Sketchbook)

J.A. Spahr-Summers

chit chat...

underwater kitchen -- zzbaggins

Friday, August 29, 2008

# 9

inside looking out -- Michael A. Crowley

--"If you care about something you have to protect it-
if you're lucky enough to find a way of life you love,
you have to find the courage to live it."
John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany)--

The Kills

278 Victims to Date

Moon Ode
(for Congressman Sam Farr)

Shall I trust the moon?
She flirts behind purple clouds
Veiling her luminous face
Like a naughty trickster
In a bad moon-mood.
I want to tell her to
"Take a leap,"
And she does
Over the next cloudy fence
Until finally,
Reminded of her manners,
Floats across my view
With a graceful smile
And offers her

Melanie Simms

watching clouds in oklahoma

there is a blazing white dragon
floating over there in the sunlight
it expands like a balloon filling up
slowly as i watch and there is a
herd of black horses thundering
rumbling directly overhead as if
this sky is just an endless prairie
to be trampled by hooves in a fit
of skittish frenzy i see the glory
of wet orange sunset splashing
through a hole in the sky tonight
trees thrash around like lightning
electric brew in an iron cauldron
these clouds dont know where
theyre going trapped indecisively
headed north south east west a
double exposure across the sky
i wait for the sizzle of rain to fall
it is tornado season in oklahoma

(Previously published in Poetry and The Argonaut's Boat)

J.A. Spahr-Summers


blossom on the vine -- zzbaggins

Friday, August 22, 2008

# 8

Pigs in a Poke -- Carol Radsprecher

--"I could say things with colors and shapes
that I had no words for."
Georgia O'Keefe--

Atomic Hooligan

278 Victims to date

“ . . . where can I escape, flying to the bright air or sea?


this was the long turn the long road
the black road turning into the black wood
the pine wood pokeweed black as the black water
as the black water weeds in the swollen river
the thick serried water—
this was the long turn this was the way it had to begin . . .

this was the long turn falling like the last thought
turning deep into the long night the black cold turning
into itself into its thick black center the lurid air
dank and festering its black smell smeared in the black night
congealed in the black wood clotted like the black water weeds
in the swollen river turning in the bright wounded air

turning the way the earth turned deep in the long night
turning in the black wood silent in the deep night turning
like the festering river turning in its lurid center turning
turning in the torn and swollen air—
the bright bloody air turning to itself weeping like the sea

Christopher Kuhl

Up on Wolverton Mountain

The glue that holds our mountain together
Is not the Rocky Mountain breeze
Gripping our lungs like talons,
Or the sharp scent of love for the land
Blowing across our faces a quick
As the tree reaching for this peak,
Or even the little crystal creek streaming
Like a ball of string tossed to the wind.

The clue is thunder down in the meadow,
The soft gleaming luster of smooth coats
Glowing from oats mixed with molasses.
It’s because of them...
The Arabian fillies and the colts,
The stallions snorting at mares in the barn
As if to beg them not to forget.
It’s for the horses, as swift as pain,
That Wolverton stands granite strong.

J.A. Spahr-Summers


soft dawn -- zzbaggins

Friday, August 15, 2008

# 7

I Remember -- Daphne Ann Wills

--"Imagination is more important
than knowledge"
Albert Einstein--

Bob Dylan

265 Victims to Date

Check out the controversial new issue of Unlikely 2.0...

Still Calling for Submissions
people cough them up)

painted with

nothing lies like scars
they do not cover the reality of You in peace
or the rush of panic
the imagined pain cannot distract or smooth
the moment
You and each can see the truth of the past We have not yet reclaimed

Edward Wells II

i believe

in love at first sight
in the power of words
in the differences
in our sexes
in passion
in pain
in no
in yes
in hope
in perhaps
in whatever
is left

J.A. Spahr-Summers

You'll want to read this...

candy mountain -- zzbaggins

Friday, August 8, 2008

# 6

red hot flamenco water color -- anna maly

"How do you perceive fire? Not just one specific moment of the flame dance, but rather flame dance in continuum... The dancer turned time and again, she moved around, she lifted her arms, and put them down, she stamped her feet, she clapped her hands, she tossed her skirt... yet my perception of her did not change with every new move. My perception stood still: one continuous motion of body, fabric, expressive emotion, grace..." Anna Maly

--“Stay firmly in your own path and dare.
Be wild two hours a day.”
Paul Gauguin--

Lenny Kravitz

Lookie here...

Calling for Submissions

Food And Wine 2

Some wines taste like regret,
and some foods go well
toward washing regrets away.
A white wine for example
goes with fish.
Perhaps the worker who pressed the grape
came back from a war that was not his own
makes the wrong declaration to the wrong fading love
but came to work the next day
with clean feet and a sturdy smile
and his bittersweet regret
courses through him
gets caught at the right high moment
before forgetting sets in
It would be like a Pisces
the sin-absorbers
the carriers and relievers
of burdens at the human party
with spots on their ties or dresses
to hold out their arms
to toast our many loving and warring sins
while lamenting our losses
and, by laughing,
casting the spirits out
of our bodies and lungs
breathing them back to the air
dispersing them to the far-flung wind
back to the turning soil
breathing them deeply
far from our bodies now
and into their own.

Michael Pacholski


So my father placed third in the ballroom dancing world championships
nineteen fifty something the man was smooth he simply took command
of the floor like a master made it his own as a child I remember dancers
stepping off the floor to watch their eyes glazed over with some certain
satisfaction at falling witness to this magic as for me the waltz is a waltz
is a pleasure to share and I do favor a good two step fox trot and swing
but with my rock and roll heart I want mostly to rip it up work up a sweat
burn off the ‘ol dancing shoes but good somewhere in between up close
I mean touching feeling the beat together I’ve decided is the place to be.

(Previously published in Unlikely 2.0, The Argonaut's Boat and Sketchbook)

J.A. Spahr-Summers


girls twirling around and around -- zzbaggins