Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Photo Finish

Nerves terminally frayed
like fiber-optic threads
broken off at the ends,
jangling spurs
working their way
up and down
your spine.

A little prick
here or there (especially
there) to let you know
you're awake
still crunchingly conscious
of the soothing background

creaking across the street.
Scrape of a pair
of worn-down dress shoes.
A whining that seems
to be coming
from somewhere much too
close by.

You take another
of frazzled filaments,
stroke them
across your virtual whetstone,
admire the way
they glitter
under the neon lights.

--Jeffrey Park

Monday, December 17, 2012

Two by Anita McQueen


Something's wrong

you're doing
what you said you'd never do
teasing men
for a date and dinner

at the restaurant table
inspiring him
to take a peep
at your cleavage

then as he glances away
you hide a chunk of steak
and bread in your purse

saving it
for home and your hungry father.


I was a flower
showing my inner colors

not worrying what others think
sun caressing my petals

no man moaning blasphemies.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

When Scars Speak

I live on a midriff.
I'm a souvenir of a birth
twenty five years ago.
I zigzag down a cheek.
I'm the evidence
of a knife-fight,
just last year.
Once I could burst
into flame with just a touch
but I'm calm now.
The embers are faces.
The ashes are spread
throughout this world 
I'm a story teller.
I say to you tough guy,
I can eat pain.
I'm supposed to grow
more invisible with the years,
though maybe that's indivisible.
I just say that
as long as I live
I will be the unsmoothable join
of anger and terror.
And I've got brothers and sisters
up and down two arms,
I've got a second cousin
crisscrossing a heart.
Better than that,
I've got a body hanging off me
that was a billion or more scars
in the making.

--John Grey

Monday, December 10, 2012

Relief on the Eve of the End of the World

December twenty-twelve and if the Mayans got it right
I can stop fretting about my bi-polar suicide
attempts. I'm happy now, thinking of disaster (outside
myself!), the unequivocal joy
of swift and certain annihilation. Gone the agonizing
dilemmas of just how to do it (gun, blade, pills, gas…
rope, bridge, booze, risky sex or radio in the bath)…I'd
considered both razor and rat poison, an anchored dip
in the frigid black lake at midnight. Meteor,
earthquake, asteroid. Hail big as the moon (come soon!).
Take my mom, too….she owes me money, whoa,
this is getting good---so many problems solved
in the blink of an eye. DEAR WORLD, if you read this
(hopefully in some exotic poetry magazine) we have survived. I remain, no doubt, screwed-up as always
and fantasizing my own demise. Me, me, me,
on a globe of you. Forgive my narcissism, petty thieveries.
Come Valentine's I'll be jolly again, really manic,
Hell-bent on chocolates and red-velvet cake,
my mind a complicit marshmallow (taking my meds),
little zombie me swimming in all the hearts I can handle.

--Kallima Hamilton

Friday, December 7, 2012


Anxiety swirls within my bones and fills my fingertips with poison
And my feet with a beating, a bleating,
A wanting something to quell the pulse,
To still the beat that brings the restless sense
Of darts rushing towards me, through me, in me.
And I am sure one of those darts will pierce my heart.
I tap my foot and my voice shakes.

But to be manic is to be fully alive; to feel each pulse
Coursing through my veins and want to feed from it
Want to move, fly, smile, cry for joy.
Work and mere thought becomes the simplest of tasks.
You can do anything. You are a king, a president, the master of your
Universe and the stars line up to praise you when you are around.
You stop the dart with your eyes, catch it in mid-air, and send it back to where it came.
You make a bull’s-eye.

Then comes the crash. Depression takes the wind out of you
like an embalmer removing all of your fluid. You can’t move.
Your limbs are weighed down by the very air you breathe.
Everything hurts – even the sheets from the bed that you lie beneath.
It seems to be the end of everything – your life, your work, your happiness.
You focus on breathing and watch the walls. Time has come to a standstill.
You would break the damn dart in two if only you had the energy.
You cry because the dart reaches you and you don’t feel a thing.

--Janet Doggett

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Joint Custody

You were gone
when I got home
at midnight
from a double shift.
Now you’re back,
two years later.
I had no idea
where you went
so I packed up
and got a room.
Long ago,
I begged you
not to leave
but that was then.
You can keep
the house, the car.
I'll come by
some starry night
when the moon is bright
and you're asleep.
I promise not to
wake the dogs.
When you get up
you'll find
I used my key
to take the kids.

-- Donal Mahoney