Poetry Drawer: Micro Poetry by Michael T. Smith

Chapter 2

Moving forward, I want my disease to be my companion,
so she can help me write my canon.

Eclipse

I borrowed the eyes of an eclipse,
to wink Eden under the table,

I saw a secret, which is to say –
I didn’t see it:

to borrow eyes from not a friend, but Mother
Nature,

to see what I can’t see unseen.

Gunshot romance

There’s a girl sitting next to me,
belongs in a Tarantino movie.
But I’m not dodging bullets;
I’m only dodging a longshot kiss.

How Terrifying…

How terrifying death is
in the middle of a thought.
My eyes wanted to slam shut
such that they could defend
against what I know not.

Kindness

Sometimes human kindness
            to one another
is so short
                        as to be nonexistent.

Nausea

There is nothing more repulsive
than the smiling photo of a politician
in their ad,
those papers glued to surfaces many,
like a parasite —
those who themselves are but a surface plenty.

Waterfall

I want my thoughts
to descend
like a waterfall,
such that the droplets form
an image of you.

When…

When every word you’ve used
           Too much —
It’s a hollowed word,
          Sans thought.

Word Map of a Cat on a Mat

Putting the indexes out,
I saw the cat,
Sleeping with torso outstretched
While I, unheimlich, rushed to and fro;
On a mat, it sat — in peace,
And I said sighing, what I want is that.

Michael T. Smith is an Assistant Professor of English who teaches both writing and film courses. He has published over 150 pieces (poetry and prose) in over 80 different journals. He loves to travel.

Poetry Drawer: delta cockroaches: axing proves: A line from Lionel Ritchie: Le Grand Siècle by Mark Young

delta cockroaches

Plumbing lines should really
be treated with or treated to
video clips of Michael Jackson
from the days of the Jackson
5. Except. The browser does

not currently recognize any of
the video formats on offer since
YouTube has **completely re-
moved**its Flash player code
from its site. I load up my boat

with pretzels & set sail for the
Azores in the hope that hedge-
rows of blue hydrangeas will
recognize a kindred stranger.
I Want You Back propels me

along even though it’s on its
last legs; but, at sea, it doesn’t
matter all that much. A mael-
strom beckons to me, but my
pretzels kick in & minimize it

in the bottom left hand corner
of the screen where it can whirl
impotently. Finally I reach the
outskirts of the harbour. A limo
is waiting. It moonwalks me in.

axing proves

You do not have to settle for
the town mahjong hero — here,
let me take the keyboard. Lady-
bug y Cat Noir have a past &
revisionist views of events, but
even the most skeptical analyst
does not believe all the goodwill
has been completely wiped out.

So, there is nothing to forgive. The
protagonist enters a new world
where early voting polling places
are not yet available. She is still
quite mobile but gets tired easily.
Is three weeks of it too long?

A line from Lionel Ritchie

She hid behind a tree as a car
drove past. Sometimes these
things just happen, especially
when antacids aren’t working

anymore. Nothing I could say
would help. The surrounding
landscape vanished as the latest
sci-fi series was streamed, ad-

free, on to the quarry walls. The
contextual translation could be
anything you wanted, within or
without your comfort zone. A

boy fell from the balcony. CCTV
footage captured a group of neigh-
bours coming to his rescue. This
Pin was discovered by Prissy Duh.

Le Grand Siècle

Crazy parties at night
in the gardens of
the Summer Palace. Morning
comes, & the crows come
to pick over the remains.
We go for a walk,
compare notes
on the paintings inside. The
Fragonards. The Watteaux.
Reminisce about that
string quartet we heard
playing in the small salon
off the Rue des Brigands
a few evenings ago. There
your heels clicked against
the cobblestones. Here on
the lawn they are silent;
but the crows
pecking at the plates
replicate the noise as
I remember it. Robbers
Street. What did I
steal from you? What you
from me? No demanding
notes, though we paid
the ransoms anyway.

Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry since 1959. He is the author of over fifty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. His most recent books are a collection of visual pieces, The Comedians, from Stale Objects de Press; turning to drones, from Concrete Mist Press; & turpentine from Luna Bisonte Prods.

Poetry Drawer: Change of Seasons: October and Christmas 2019: The Wrong Sweater by Robert Demaree

Change of Seasons: October 2019

We filled the birdfeeders three weeks ago.
Against the yellow wood
We can see they have not gone down
At all.
We may wind up spreading the seed
On the ground
For the chipmunks and squirrels,
Who will consider it their due.
Forty degrees on the porch this morning.
In town orange lights set out for Halloween,
Evidence of lives that go on
When we are not here.
The somber beauty of leaves turning
In the rain.
Along the shore
The water pipe lies atop the ground.
The town will turn it off next week.
The birdfeeders are still full.
The birds have headed out
And so will we.

Christmas 2019

Late December. We have gathered
For a Christmas concert.
The town band—amateurs, neighbours—
Plays O Holy Night.
A new generation has come
To Golden Pines. They share greetings
As though they knew each other well.
Our crowd, in the ninth decade of life,
Ranks thinned,
Small signs of things not working well,
Joints, numbness,
This year more walkers leaned up
Against the wall.

That they are amateurs is clear enough,
Except for the first trumpet,
The song they play once scorned by the church:
Our hearts are gladdened,
The room is made to glow
At this particular Christmas
In this particular year.

The Wrong Sweater

At stores this morning
Long lines to exchange or return:
Too large, too small, too green, too blue,
Most simply inconvenienced
By the innocent errors of loved ones.
But the day after Christmas
Also brings out the worst in us,
Holds up to ridicule and contempt
The kindness of others—
What on earth made them think
I would ever wear that,
In every family distant kin
You never see who still send the children
Outgrown games they never play.

Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladders published in 2017 by Beech River Books. His poems have received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club. He is a retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Bob’s poems have appeared in over 150 periodicals including Cold Mountain Review and Louisville Review.

Poetry Drawer: At Exit 50; The Shade Oak; Wedding Song by Robert Demaree

Poetry Drawer: REQUIEM FOR A DEAD COMPUTER by Robert Demaree

Poetry Drawer: Turnover: Foliage Tour by Robert Demaree

Poetry Drawer: At The Post Office by Robert Demaree

Poetry Drawer: Probabilities of Living by Robert Demaree

Poetry Drawer: New Organ by Robert Demaree

Poetry Drawer: In The ICU: Lakefront Property: Prognosis by Robert Demaree

Poetry Drawer: The Bartender’s Tale: Approaching 82 by Robert Demaree

Poetry Drawer: Golden Shovel Exercise: Chateau Frontenac by Robert Demaree

Poetry Drawer: Rush Week: Knowledge by Robert Demaree

Poetry Drawer: The Trouble with Pronouns: Basket Weave by Robert Demaree

Poetry Drawer: Braganzas by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

If they were going to put me in the nuthouse
I was going to need my collection of Bertita Harding novels
They had power–
the stories of these heroes would keep me alive:
Karl and Zita of Hungary
Austria’s Franz Joseph and Elizabeth
the Mexicans Maximillian and Carlotta
Duse and Da, whose tale age cannot wither
and the glowing story of Clara Shumann

but my wife, a Lithuanian
whose hands were strong
from decades of milking cows
tore them from my grasp
and shoved them into the Fat Boy stove
where I heard them crackling in anguish
as she held me away

I would have burned my hands retrieving them
and not cared at all

All I could save was my favorite
the story of the Braganzas of Brazil
who created independence
from the Empire of Portugal
which I had hidden
in my patterned brocade vest
which I wore over my cummerbund

The hell with you all
I was never cut out to be a farmer
When they release me I’ll take Bertita
on the open road
and together we’ll find a green paradise
something like Ireland

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over fourteen-hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for numerous prizes, and was awarded the 2017 Booranga Writers’ Centre (Australia) Prize for Fiction. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, is based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. His new poetry collection was published in 2019, The Arrest of Mr Kissy Face. He lives in Denver, Colorado, USA.

Inky Interview: Author Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois from Denver, Colorado

Flash In The Pantry: Serotonin Reuptake by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Mandela Warp: A Moment in History by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Cooking Shows by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Still Wet by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Loch by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Photogenic by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Microwave by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Granite by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Trick by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Coal by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Petition by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Poetry Slam by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Hygiene by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Between Jobs & Not Me by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Mea Culpa by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Stoned by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Five Hundred SCUBA Divers by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Love Bird by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Wailing Wall by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Adventure Travel: Glue: God Created Fledglings: Winds of Santa Ana: Janice M by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Buzz by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: 5 poems by Damion Hamilton

Balance

don’t swing to and fro,
stay steady, don’t
hang like shoe laces on clothes line
you can’t swing, you must go to someplace
firm,
at your centre is a hurricane, made of what?
all that is felt, a cold gumbo of confusion,
you want to go where everyone knows your name
but, you get anxiety when everyone looks at you
everything is wanted both ways, the sun and
it’s opposite is needed
and you try to stay firm on ornate cement
but what’s under its hardness?
i don’t know, but the bridge of your nose, sometimes
catches vertigo.
on a park bench you sit hard and alert,
but you stare out of the window of your childhood,
the one that keeps on falling
into a myriad of pieces,
yet fits perfectly when you compose them together
in thought.

The Story

You tell yourself
You walk around telling
Yourself
It’s your history
The past
The future
You telling yourself
The story dancing around
In your skull
The stuff people said to
You
The movies you
Watched
Television shows
Music from radios
Sounds.
The stories changing
For me
Every few years.
Then me believing in a story
the story moves on
What story of the page is next?
it keeps turning,
i spill hot coffee on it, or soda
or water
the story can be be bland
or bold and spicy
or usually having highs and lows
and flatlands like Kansas
no hills at all
and sometimes you just want
the moment to unfold without
a story
and forget
next.

Wise Man

It would take years to become one
Far beyond a mortal sixty
Or eighty
To know all the things I must
Like not to go down a residential street doing seventy
It would take 400 years to learn how sit another a tree in a lotus position
100 to not follow a parade in the plaza
Fifty not to be aroused by cardboard model with synthetic lashes and teeth made by science
Eighty not to be a able to lose your temper
At some driving fool.

When You Lose

It’s as if you know
You’re going to lose
As if you’re just going
Through motions
And feel as if the machines
Know that you wanna win
That you’ll take another bet
Because you’re sad depressed
Or bored
And you’ll just stay there and take the beating and watch
It feels like they know
Everyone knows while flashing all the lights

In the rain

watching this, being sits,
the rains come downs hard,
light, then hard
this being sits, the winds pick up
and lashes out, violently
this being sits, waiting enduring
seconds, then hours, holding on
What is Time?
the storm starts up again, furiously
as if to snatch the air out of being
the being holds, drifting is not a choice
endure endure endure
the storm changes its pitch, like a cello
then rushes more, five years, ten years
the being waits in the darkness, then light
then darkness
the objects and beings, images drift away,
a baseball bat, a brown newspaper, a plastic cup
drift drift, while holding place
not one storm, but multitudes of storm
hard light, and various in duration,
light in sound, heavy
pressing the being
the being holds through.

Damion Hamilton is from St. Louis MO. His poems have appeared in Chiron Review, Poesy Magazine, Zygote In My Coffee, Red Fez, The Camel Saloon and many others. He writes poetry, stories and novels. He has written several books. ​Available here​. He can be found on Twitter.

Poetry Drawer: a velvet violin in space, machines like it when, slink like that last leather leopard, earth is a miracle-gro planet, let’s start with that old sun by J. D. Nelson

a velvet violin in space

I finished the spinach and made a list of the apples
it’s a new world with food for the people

why is the pack of picky werewolves scrunched up at the bottom of the bed?

it’s a new ogre who sings in the sunshine
you can grow thru the wall like a houseplant

would you like to see the dragon?
wink another module

notice honeybees
starting night for the colours in the mind

the leaping was enough to set off the alarms
versatile limbs and numb names

machines like it when

basic clouds for the prairie today
now for something exciting

to complain of the cloudiness
the antidote to the rock-slinging orcs

reaching me tonight for a two-moon soufflé
and that cracking voice – is that you?

boing said the high part
and that makes a nice worm

that sea is the talking salt of what now?
a shadow bat was lurking and now he’s drinking tea

speaking to the sky and that would include the sun
a packet of kool-aid the size of a mattress

a new earth language
a screwtape opera

the humble tiger
the redundant roofer

the nice wolf of the sleeping trees
now the release of the good doves

what is the colour of the sound in my head?

slink like that last leather leopard

a nice time in the clark universe
not the work of the worried man

the clacking smasher was in line for the world
would you like to fly?

see me in the dust bowl not working on my machine
on a blue earth waiting for the curb monsters

when you were caught in the web
did you think of the morning stars not working yet?

I’m here with the wolf and we’re cooking potatoes in a frying pan

                  would you like some?

earth is a miracle-gro planet

like the chant of the monks in the barn
no sound for the duration of the poem

mapping out now and then
with that morning fresh blend

the green magic the frog taught me
a spring blast of the clean energy

that famous earth
an eclipse burger

and now we have the news from the satellite station
hello from up here we can see everything haha

there won’t be a new world without some of the old
now in the sleep as one cooks a junk tire

keeping a baby koala fit
would you like to see the breeze in real time?

let’s start with that old sun

the angel here on the mountain
a war on the warmth

wandering head is the roving reporter
a big kiddle of the good wet yes

charming a sentence near you for a dollar
on star day we will show up and clean the sun with scrub brushes

when the stubborn become raw
everything is made of chocolate

power elf gets the cooking done first
a little beaver dam in the creek

celery brain
time now for the walk

J. D. Nelson (b. 1971) experiments with words in his subterranean laboratory. More than 1,500 of his poems have appeared in many small press publications, in print and online. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Cinderella City (The Red Ceilings Press, 2012). Visit www.MadVerse.com for more information and links to his published work. Nelson lives in Colorado.

Books From The Pantry: An Accident of Blood by Charles W. Brice reviewed by Giles L. Turnbull

The poems in Charles W. Brice’s latest collection, An Accident of Blood, are heavily autobiographical and portray a sobering mix of strength and fragility.

The collection, presented in four sections, kicks off with poems focussed on the experience of growing up. The opening poem, The Fishes, is about keeping secrets, being in a gang, and being thrown out of a gang for not keeping the secret. The way this poem is delivered perfectly captures the young boys’ spirit, allowing readers to imagine similar antics from their own lives:

Okay, Joe said, you can join.
Great, I said, what’s it called.
The Fishes, Joe said,
but that’s a secret.
You can’t ever tell anyone
the name of our club.
Do you swear never to tell?
Yes, I said.
Then Joe taught me the handshake.

Olfactory senses are stirred in The Smell of Home in Wyoming with reminiscences of feeding a horse an oatcake, how to approach it from behind, and the smell of the barn: Warm horse fragrance, creek of leather / saddle, breath mist before us— / a synesthetic blast of beauty.

It is easy to empathise with poems that relate to the effect of his growing up with an alcoholic father, for example in the poem, Deal Me In, which relates the despair of how his father’s gambling debts all-but wiped out his mother’s household savings:

During a night of failure-to-grow-up
daddy, drunk and deluded, sat with hoodlums
at a poker table and said, “Deal me in.”

Leukemia is a particularly powerful poem of lives and deaths, in which the sister of his best friend dies yet he survives, and the death of his dog, ‘the same morning that my dad, / rumpled and red-eyed, arrived / home after a night of drinking and whoring.’ The statement, ‘I lived.’ separating the death of his friend and that of his dog, says all that needs to be said but the poem isn’t done yet … ‘He mocked my cries rather than face his embarrassment. / He made fun of my grief while my mother / railed at him for his drunken infidelity. / I knew then that, / in the family I called mine, / there was no place for me, / no place for me on this earth.’

The intensity of the personal poems eases up with a scattering of more whimsical subject matter. In The First Time, the title hoodwinking the reader into expecting a poem about loss of virginity, is rewarded with a poem about the creation of a perfect Italian pasta sauce — rhyme augmenting the lines like herbs enriching the sauce.

Was his name Luigi, or Antonio, or Amedio—
who first threw garlic into olive oil? Did
he slice it thin, inhale its pungent fragrance
on his thumb and think, maybe a little oil?
Did Maria, or Beatrice, or Sofia, one of his
lovers, dip a soft digit into the mix, exude bliss,
kiss his lips, prance the room, dance and swoon?

There are four ekphrastic poems that take inspiration from famous artworks. The Land of Cockaigne is a wonderfully succinct example, after the 1567 painting of the same name by Peter Bruegel the Elder. Cockaigne, being a mythical land of plenty, the brevity of the poem perfectly captures Bruegel’s unflattering imagery. The ten-line poem includes the observance that, ‘Memory and desire silence / the squeals of the slaughtered— / never spoil our appetites’. In a manner akin to the cow that approaches the table in Douglas Adams’ The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, urging diners to enjoy, “Something off the shoulder perhaps … braised in a white wine sauce?”, in Brice’s version of Cockaigne, ‘Even boars come / with knives attached.’

Pork Chops in Raspberry Vinegar Reduction is a decidedly insightful take on the ingredients for a successful relationship. Beginning with the sprinkling of herbs over two thick pork chops dredged in olive oil:

Let them marinate for an hour or two.
Tell him it takes many ingredients and time
to make a relationship work.

… continuing with:

While the chops are browning
marry a quarter cup of water
to a quarter cup of raspberry vinegar.
Tell him that the recipe for a good relationship
means always putting the relationship first

before the wise culmination:

Serve immediately. Tell him that
nothing of importance can be solved
after 11 PM. Always kiss each other goodnight,
you might not get another chance.

The politically-charged Section III features poems addressing topics including the Vietnam war, Hilary Clinton and, in the craftily-titled poem, The Trumpet Shall Sound, the Trumps.

Melania appears in stiletto heels,
Hurricane or not, you can still make deals.
Commerce revolves on a gigantic wheel,
And Trump sits atop it.

Charlie Brice is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand (2018), and An Accident of Blood(2019), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net anthology and twice for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, The Sunlight Press, Chiron Review, Plainsongs, I-70 Review, Mudfish 12, The Paterson Literary Review,and elsewhere.

Poetry Drawer: The Action Figure is Alive and Snowball Effect by Samuel Strathman

The Action Figure is Alive

After the book “Midlife Action Figure” (2019) by Chris Banks.

It starts with a close call,
the wiener dog’s
weaponized hindquarters
shimmying on the rug.

Our hero escapes
under the sofa,
waits until it’s safe
to make his way
to the laundry room.

He finds refuge
in a clean pile
of sheets.

The rumble of the dishwasher
lulls the weary warrior
to sleep.

*

The next morning,
he wakes to the sound
of a gouged mouse
screeching from a rattrap.

Can’t save squeaky now.

Sitting up, he counts
the bees buzzing
around his head,
feels dizzy, decompresses
back into the basket.

Mutant boy idles,
replete in the linens
until the housekeeper
shuffles over, lifts the lid
in full Yoda mode.

“Sunken treasure, you are!”
she exclaims,
and if the lionheart could,
he would smile back.

Snowball Effect

The office pet eats butter
off the kitchen counter,
makes the rat jealous.

Mom calls, tells you
she’s getting a divorce.

The VP’s favourite
seduction tactic is limerick.
You’re already surfing
for a new job
in a stolen boat –

anyone asks,
you’re babysitting
for a friend.

Mrs. Berger changes
the report deadline
from a week
to three hours from now.

The kicker is that the research
must be typed blindfolded.

Another catch is
the building is under fire,
bulletproof trolls with Uzis.

Chunks of concrete
dislodge, crack
of the icecap.

Hide the penguin
under your desk.

Better to apply
the adult diaper now,
meet your maker later –
but soon!

To think, last night
was spent eating
cheese puffs in front
of the TV, naked.

“Normal behaviour” is
training for a shootout,
*Tyler Durden sermons
blaring in the background.

Turn the lights off
before closing the door,
conservation before annihilation.

*Tyler Durden is the main character in the 1996 novel “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk. He is a ringleader who brainwashed his club members to commit crimes across the city.

Samuel Strathman is a poet, author, educator, and editor at Cypress: A Poetry Journal.  Some of his poems have appeared in Dreams Walking, Feed Magazine, and Mineral Lit Mag.  His first chapbook, “In Flocks of Three to Five” will be released later this year by Anstruther Press.  

Poetry Drawer: Buzz by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

I grabbed a can of wasp spray
from my wife’s hand
She was a farm girl and stronger than me
She grabbed the can back and hit me in the head with it

Wasps had colonized the attic of our farmhouse
the one my granddad had built in 1918
and our love was being overwhelmed
by the difference in our reactions

I found the wasps’ buzzing comforting
consoling
I heard messages in their drone
messages designed for me alone
telling me about the true nature of the universe

My wife said that if the noise didn’t stop
she was going to fall off the wagon—
was I too stupid to understand?

Yet now that she’d hit me with the can of wasp spray
she couldn’t use it
She had created an inner barrier
that she didn’t understand
but was unable to surmount

She went outside without saying anything
got into her old Pontiac
and headed down the road
I knew she was going to the meth house

Whether she was going to do meth
or just fuck the meth maker
I didn’t know

But I couldn’t pursue her
I was too engaged
in listening to the wasps’ messages

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over fourteen-hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for numerous prizes, and was awarded the 2017 Booranga Writers’ Centre (Australia) Prize for Fiction. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, is based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. His new poetry collection was published in 2019, The Arrest of Mr Kissy Face. He lives in Denver, Colorado, USA.

Inky Interview: Author Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois from Denver, Colorado

Flash In The Pantry: Serotonin Reuptake by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Mandela Warp: A Moment in History by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Cooking Shows by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Still Wet by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Loch by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Photogenic by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Microwave by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Granite by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Trick by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Coal by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Poetry Slam by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois