Archive for December 2013

Raindrops - Ali Znaidi

Rain settles in the cracks of the stones—
chalices for thirsty little birds.
& this image settles in the memory;
drops of desire, echoed.
& raindrops escape into a language of nostalgia
as I’m always thinking of my grandmother’s
goatskin which always contained cool water
scented w/ tar.

- - -

Ali Znaidi (b.1977) lives in Redeyef, Tunisia where he teaches English. His work has appeared in Mad Swirl, Stride Magazine, Red Fez, BlazeVox, Otoliths, streetcake, & elsewhere. His debut poetry chapbook Experimental Ruminations was published in September 2012 by Fowlpox Press (Canada). From time to time he blogs at –

A Cambridge Christmas

Decorations are up
hung from fishing wire,
fishing for good luck.

There’s Christmas on her neck
and as she stretches out in front of me
a wake of cinnamon decks the halls.

It remains and lingers,
falls away past nostrils and
turns to festive well-wishes.

The market is in full swing
wrapped up tight in large scarves,
like a low cut sling cradling the cold.

Winter has the streets in its hold,
the wind is sour, bitter to taste,
and punters, commuters, Asian lost-tourists walk in haste.

Shop floors are warmed by radiators
hung above their wide open doors:
let the heat out, let the customers in.

And when the mid-November light dims
and the council gets past the
everlasting electrical admin,

streetlamp sticks will light and spark,
sending effulgent embers down onto
the Cambridge cobbles.

Children will peer wide eyed into windows
remembering names for their lists,
hoping to unwrap them as gifts later on down the line.

Adults, some probable parents and others newly-wed together,
enjoy the festivities, the weather, the bespoke crafts
bought from Argos sold as Handmade Swedish Chairs

And do they care? No.
It’s Christmas in Cambridge and
winter is settling in.

Cheap Goodwill

The evergreen edges of the newly cut
box hedge border look greener now
with its cleaner lines and stronger bark-spines;
the train's in an hour so pack up and go,
leave Christmas where it is,
leave Christmas at home.

Un-sent Christmas lists sit in the flue still,
they never got delivered and never got through,
houses stand with their lights on up the hill,

they blink and sparkle and blaze and gaze at the night
with competition, cheap goodwill.

You Deserve My Hate - HeartFlo

You deserve my hate, and never expected my forgiveness.  I could hold this against your forever, but what would make the difference? Choosing to forgive you, releases me.  No more can the offense resin thru me, forgiveness -    frees me.

Child runaway, living halfway, you seen me as a throwaway
But, God’s power, God’s freedom, I display.

Smothered my innocence and left me breathless, groping thru the dark for any piece of light, even if that light was artificial sight. Hating you imprisoned me, entangled me to your ideology. Doing to myself over and over again what you did to me, through fogged mirrors, false lights, and late night schemes.  My life means more to me, than it ever will to you. This is why I choose to forgive you.

Child runaway, living halfway, you seen me as a throwaway
But, God’s power, God’s freedom, and God’s glory I display.

Stopped by my God-Momma’s house and overheard a conversation. They say, they saw you out on the streets, said you barely had shoes on your two feet.  When they called your name you turned around- dazed, even looked a little insane.  They said your face was clouded with shame. It seemed you didn’t recognize your own name.  I don’t know what happened to you – after.  I only know my own disaster, how life gave me no answers, how I turned into a   prostitute/stripper/dancer. Raising my kids alone, while my soul dug its own cancer.

Child runaway   living halfway   seen me as a throwaway
But, my power, my freedom, I display.

            You deserve my hate, and never expected my forgiveness, I could hold this against your forever, but, what would make the difference? Choosing to forgive you- Releases me.  Hating you imprisoned me, entangled me- to your ideology.   No more can this offense resin thru me.  Forgiveness- finally frees me.

- - -

The poet/spoken word artist, HeartFlo Spent years in and out of drug addiction, people addiction and found freedom in writing, and a spiritual renewal with my higher power. HeartFlo currently performs spoken word poetry and writes from those experiences.

Dress Up to Come Back Home Again

Bouncers can only stop and stare, maybe
get involved when their contract states
they've got to care, but up to that line
they wait on doorstops and thresholds,
looking for kisses from the makeup clad gold. 

Smokers swell in the sea mist of the 
open smoking area, they talk ideas
and travel plans, wave to no one
hoping they'll wave back again.

The bar men, the bar women and the cloakroom
attendants sing along to the songs
under tired, muttered breaths,
hoping the depth of the queue
subsides into something more serviceable.

 And after?

Young ones with freshly ironed faces
piss into gutters and speak in
half-rhyme stutters, Morse code flutters that
translate into nothing more than, another beer please. 

They yell as if they own the sky,
keep their echoes on rope tied to the
openings of back alleyways,
showing to her and her and her and him, his best friend, that he's
the drunkest of them all.

loving lips - Linda M. Crate

i love you
even when you're hard
to, and even when
you doubt me
there's no cutting these
ribbons tying
my heart to you
sometimes you put me through
fangs of agony
whose serpents give me
naught but pain,
and sometimes you roar
lions of rage
that terrify me;
sometimes you hiss the
warning of badgers i don't
heed, and at others
you claw at me with eagle's
talons insisting on prodding
melancholy out of me
always i love you
because you first noticed the
nerd and her glasses
behind her book,
and your arms
make me feel soft and your lips
tell me secrets you won't.

- - -

Linda M. Crate  is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, reviews, articles, and short stories have been published in a myriad of magazines. Her novel Amethyst Epiphany is forthcoming from Assent Publishing.


When she walks in
and around in those circles
looking thin in the thru-light of the windows,
she treads as if sifting flour from great level heights,
though her paws are murderous talons
ripping fluid in the gallons
from the stomachs of garden-hedge 
prey, hiding scared and low in the undergrowth,
their breath appearing invisible- it's not there. 

Never - Claire Rubbelke

My wings are bare, 
my shirt is torn,
When will I be Nevermore?
When will Death take my hand
and lead me to Forbidden land?
The Forbidden places of long ago,
where nothing good will ever grow.
Where it is, I cannot know,
For Death will take me there.

Frigid air and smoky tendrils,
my wings are frozen, broken, gone.
I wait for him to take me there, 
to the Land of Nevermore.

- - -

Claire Rubbelke is a Wiccan writer who enjoys playing trumpet and drawing, not to mention writing poetry. You can follow her over on

August & What It Brings

Then there's the the nurses in blue
who always knew that we knew
that the news wasn't good.
Then there's the patient, whom jaundice 
is rolling the dice for them,
sat still, long and thin
in a bed pinned to the ward
like a to do list on a cork board,
but the only job for it to do
is wait to fill out the paper work.
Then there's the family in black
who always sat back when
the funeral guidance guy visited with his hardback leather-bound funeral pack.

Then there's the sight of my father's eyes so red,
my sister's cheeks swelling up like that and
witnessing my mother bind a broken book back together again.

Hemingway Kiss

she'll walk off
and you'll walk behind,
you feel like a man
and see everything in soft focus exposure
and her walking ahead, timid and feeling triumphant.
this was your first kiss
and not your last kiss
but your most important kiss;
the foundation kiss,
the scaffold kiss,
cathedral columns holding up the whispering gallery of this kiss.

or did you walk off
and she walked behind,
did she feel like a woman,
soft, warm, and kind seeing everything is a hard focus exposure?
that was her second kiss,
not her last kiss
and not her most important kiss;
it was a mill stone kiss,
a grist lipped ground-down-again kiss,
a motel-hotel-roadside chapel of cheap kisses kiss.

Cosmic Caffeine - Paige Harmon

The cosmic wheel
celestial appeal
determining for some how to feel
GEMINI grins
While LEO always wins
…but tomorrow will you knock down
the same pins?
Strike today
Split tomorrow
How much advice from PISCES can you borrow?
The Times
The New York Times
The Washington Post
Contemplating the galaxy as you sip
your favorite roast
A vanilla meteor shower
A mocha milky way
A hazelnut shooting star
Which will you choose this day?
Reading the headline
looking for a sign
…Tales or Heads
You can go to work
or home to bed
Order your sugar with coffee
or butter with bread
Take the path on which you feel led

Leave it to AQUARIUS instead.

- - -

Paige Harmon is an American poet in love with the written word. Paige is currently working on her book, BEANS & BARLEY MUSINGS.

Postnatal: A Poem

Hook the loops of your bag
between your forearm crease,
let it swing not lag
whilst you walk to see your niece.

Your nephew is ill in hospital,
your parents too ill to help out,
your sister is depressed, it's postnatal,
and you've been there from the beginning, throughout.

Those aren't tears, but the effects of the wind
while you walk nervous to see.
Tied up in your cold coat you’ve thinned,
but no one will notice nor disagree.

As you’re there to help, encourage with wise words,
short bursts of helpful blurbs will
satisfy your sister just enough
for her to get through.

24 Hours

24 hours a day for the rest of our time together
we'll walk with glutton in our shoes,
walking with weight on our backs
covering distances only known in novels.

They'll get us you know,
those men selling cigarettes out of
office blocks, down that block there-
it's 62nd street and they never clock off.

What windows see aren't what we see.
Windows hear and feel and
we see and never heal;
we hold wounds like flowers bought 
in hospital foyers, late to see a relative.

Buy ones and get some free:
it's a ploy so we spend that little bit more
than we need to.

Sleep Alone Tonight

train lines scar them,
the trees decorate them,
slip a red watch around your wrist to hide them
in the commuter rush,
the office dash,
to wet-sidewalk-up-leg rain splash;
she's lost in the swell of New York City
with red wrists, a scissor's nettle rash,
and she'll sleep alone tonight.