Tuesday, August 23, 2016

JB Mulligan

mulching

The crunch of rotted wood and mold
as the pitchfork bites in, then pulls.

The wobble of unruly wheelbarrows
down the cobblestone path of the park.

Raking the mounds over patches of dirt
in the grass, around trees and bushes,

next to the stone wall.  The body groans
underneath the screaming yellow T-shirt

slashed with the sponsor's name.
A day off from work to work harder.

Those who did and do this every day,
who scratch life from indifferent soil,

don't joke about beer and back rubs,
or watch a perfect ass in taut gray pants

clench, release, clench, release,
behind that skittering rat of a dog.

Life somewhere might be limited to
a woman who has sagged with work and children,

whose face is a soft puddled smile
that used to light like a lover's moon.

But here, I get this T-shirt,
and we stop at noon for free pizza.

JBMulligan has had poems and stories in several hundred magazines over the past 40 years. He has had two chapbooks published: The Stations of the Cross and THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS, and two e-books, The City Of Now And Then, and A Book of Psalms (a loose translation from the Bible). He has appeared in several anthologies, among them, Inside/Out: A Gathering Of Poets; The Irreal Reader (Cafe Irreal); and multiple volumes of Reflections on a Blue Planet. 


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Frank Reardon

A Letter to My Daughter

I'm not going to glorify it.
There's nothing of note to bring it all in
as something only the strong
and courageous consume.
Truth is, I've never been
able to handle it properly.
Too many times I woke up
without memory,
the earth's heart once pumping,
now shattered
upon the ground; by my own
hand, by my own
fatal wallet and need to be seen
as more than I actually am.
There are years of stories,
some humor's ax,
others: the soaking of marrow
underneath the broken land.
If I could tell you what it's
like to wake up in jail,
break bones, hearts, and say things
that are not in your head,
I'd tell you to stay away.
I'd tell you to stay strange,
soul-rich, and daylight galaxy.
What I fear more than death's knock
is that you will discover your gene
and marry too young. And not
to a man, woman, or a dream,
but to a bottle of whiskey.
The same bottle I married
when I was twelve.
The same bottle I've regretted
the last thirty years.
And there will be months, even
years, you'll be able to keep
away from it. Hide in beer. Hide in love.
Hide in heathen. Hide in weed.
Hide in art. Hide in music.
But it'll come back strong. It always does,
only next time with shovel and lantern,
upside the head for the dim light
you'll be running towards
for the rest of your life.
Daughter, I know you need
to experience life for yourself.
Believe me, I know better
than most how it feels
when the wind chimes of desperation,
releasing their songs of plague inside the stomach. 

Frank Reardon was born in 1974 in Boston, Massachusetts, and currently lives in Minot, North Dakota. Frank has published poetry and short stories in many reviews, journals and online zines. His first poetry collection, Interstate Chokehold, was published by NeoPoiesis Press in 2009 as well as his second poetry collection Nirvana Haymaker in 2012. His third poetry collection Blood Music was published by Punk Hostage Press in 2013. In 2014 Reardon published a chapbook with Dog On A Chain Press titled The Broken Halo Blues. Frank is currently working on more short fiction, and building a novel. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Jay Sizemore

Methamphetamine
                     ~after Bob Hicok

Imagine a horizon stained with blood,
clothes still warm from the dryer
unfolded and heaped in piles,
a holocaust of time traveling selves

happening every minute without smoke.
Your husband’s pale face a knuckle
on the fist of a ghost, working
at words like a wad of chewing gum.

You remember the ferris wheel
at the Barren County fair, those yellow lights
rimming conjoined ladders that spun
a galaxy of wants in your ribcage, his stubble

rubbing your chin raw. His smile
a haunted piano that played you songs,
now a crumbling chimney of teeth
set to grinding aspirin into dust.

Once he plucked a lily from the hillside
and threaded it behind your ear,
months before he turned you into a smurf,
palming packs of Sudafed from the pharmacy.

You’d find the bathroom door closed,
the acrid odor of flame against foil,
cooking something akin to torment,
a fish hook on each eyelid, pulling.

Before he pawned your mother’s rings,
before his skin seeped with ammonia,
he liked to warm his hand between your thighs,
to surprise you with ice on your neck.

There were nights you’d sit and watch
the bats swoop in and out of the lamplight,
and you’d feel like the bat, the moth, the light,
the blanket of pseudophedrine sweat

clinging to his skin like dew. He would promise
to change and you would believe he could,
the way a child believes reindeer can fly,
that stars contain the whispers of wishes.

But there you were, finding your infant boy
asleep on the floor, dried milk vomit
crusted to his chest, his body quivering
with naked cold, indiscernible rock music

blaring from the bedroom, door closed.
The night felt like hammer, heavy on one side,
a train whistle blowing without end,
a coffin you’d been burying with your hands.

Jay Sizemore was born blue, raised by wolves, and learned to write by translating howls. He doesn't regret his wisdom teeth. He thanks you for your concern. His work can be found here or there, mostly there. Find him at jaysizemore.com, or, if you're a stalker, in Nashville, TN, where he may or may not really exist. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Tom Darin Liskey

Stormbringers 

Those rough tongued river folk
South of the Missouri
Would confound me
With their open vowels
And sloppy consonants—
Pronouncing the word “hail” like “hell.”
I still blame them 
For my childhood fear of summer storms
When clouds blotted out the horizon,
And daylight turned black.
I would run and hide in the cellar
As storms rolled into the valley—
The farm reporter on the radio announcing:  
“Hell” was falling to earth.
But instead of brimstone, 
Destruction came  
In cold, hard clumps of ice—
Sometimes the size of my hand.
Hail that pinged off the rooftop 
Breaking windows and banging up cars. 
When I was a child 
I believed summer was the devil’s season.

Tom Darin Liskey spent nearly a decade working as a journalist in Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil. His fiction and non fiction have appeared in the Crime Factory, and Driftwood Press. His photographs have been published in Hobo Camp Review, Roadside Fiction, Blue Hour Magazine, Synesthesia Literary Journal and Midwestern Gothic. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Dennis Mahagin

How To Make It w/ a ‘62 Reissue Japanese Fretless Jazz Bass

Plug her in
easy, easy, yet
with deliberate
reverence, there’s a click halfway
between shove
and pluck, just above a patch
of hum, and the stick… to love  
her you must play
some natural now lick the tip
of your paisley diamond
hard McCartney
plectrum,
then whip it
away.

Keep the EQ
flat, but push volume
between nine or
ten; don’t think about
the Mongoloid prodigy
banjo boy from
Deliverance,
his ghoulish sockets,
hootenanny
whites under iris, shameful
dungarees cum
doom,
and neither go near
the line
from Don Henley’s
Sunset Grille, your talent
isn’t there, and maybe
never, yet still
possessed
of enough heart
for foreplay, vibrato
and the effort
that kills…
hammer on, tremolo,
trill… pull off
a thing between the tongue
and teeth, the ninth
and thirteenth
phantom frets, so little
time left, as your wind
moans the lip
of a bottle, oh Yanni,
get you some, only the first 
sweet good note in years,
a couple more measures

and she’s begging for it,
under a firm growl
and meanness, the keening
between howls…
don’t think about poor Jaco
Pastorius, mad virtuoso
beaten down bloodied unto
death in a south Florida
alley,
but all the keys
you want to play in
still… and maybe
a touch
out of reach, but you will
go up
the neck as she makes
the sound to break hearts
of unreasonable men, art hangs
via balance, you tell the self
Kamasutra legato funk
in the moment
that never was
you, splitting
into two, the billionth harmonic
of every killing effort, multiple
upon multiple upon  
multiple, turn her
down some
son, -- trap
breath within
the slippery damping
and the mute, light years
now, the stunned
meteors will mouth
your prowess, echoes
sustain through
the coming
tears.


Dennis Mahagin is a poet and musician from the Pacific Northwest. He is the author, most recently, of the poetry collection, "Longshot & Ghazal" from Mojave River Press-- which will be available on Kindle, Nook, et al., by summer's end. Dennis is also poetry editor for the online magazine, FRiGG. 


Friday, July 29, 2016

Ace Boggess

“Are You Morbid?”
                                                                                               
                                                —online quiz


I spoke to morticians on the phone each day
as though I ran a helpline for those who knew
too much about grief to feel it. Some
sounded like timid strangers in a quiet room
as they rattled off their litanies of names.
“Melody Anderson,” one would say,
“age sixty-four, went to be with the Lord
at St. Mary’s Hospital,” not stopping
to joke—as we in the newsroom did—
Jesus must have been waiting in the ICU,
resting with a post-op morphine drip in the next room.
Funeral directors found nothing funny—
their job to comfort survivors,
mine to get words right: names,
children, spouses, special friends.
I talked to plotters as though we were
intimates ourselves, mourning over
mass graves covered in newsprint
black. One brought me a Christmas tin
loaded with cookies the other reporters
wouldn’t touch. I ate plenty,
not part of the press at times like this,
so much as customer service. 


Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). His novel, A Song Without a Melody, is forthcoming from Hyperborea Publishing. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

LNP Manifesto

     In trying to sum up what our aesthetic at Live Nude Poems will be, we are drawn to the idea and function of poetry.  In our opinion, we’ve always believed that poetry must serve a purpose – to enlighten, to explain and by doing so, bring a greater understanding of self.  We have a job to do as poets, even if only to better know our own humanity.  We're certainly not here to argue what art is or why we write.  We write because we have to, and the work is unique to each of us.  Knowing that, we would like to showcase poetry that breathes and presents moments in time, work that helps us understand you, tells a story, changes the reader--if only for a second.