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Showing posts from January, 2021

Ivan Jenson

Star Spangled I am a half-mast flag flapping in the wind representing a fraction of my country having spent over half a century undocumented by historians living out the improv of my destiny and one day they will say that I am survived by the blinking and breathing who will cough and cry at the monotony of my eulogy and what remains of my karmic debt will be repaid where my best plans will finally be laid down in the anticlimax of my nakedness don't worry only worms and angels will know what to make of this Ivan Jenson is a fine artist, novelist and popular contemporary poet who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His artwork was featured in Art in America, Art News, and Interview Magazine and has sold at auction at Christie’s. Ivan was commissioned by Absolut Vodka to make a painting titled  Absolut Jenson  for the brand’s national ad campaign. His Absolut paintings are in the collection of the Spiritmusuem, the museum of spirits in Stockholm, Sweden.  J

M.J. Arcangelini

An Absence of Snow It doesn’t snow here, although there Are winter mornings when the frost Is enough to make one wonder, Joints grind against themselves, Skin shudders, shedding warmth. It does not snow here, though all the Leaves have vacated their perches And the naked branches hang empty Anticipating the wet weight of snow, Even though it won’t snow here. The calendar can tell me when winter Has arrived or my bones can tell me, Or the aches in muscles which never Ached before when doing those things Which no longer seem worth doing. Bones know better than digital clocks, Better than daylight savings time, Better than the holiday displays in Every store and on every downtown Street where merchants ply their trade. Snow has no power on the California Coast, it is merely a distant relative Who lives up in the boonies, sufficiently Inclined to deep suspicion of outsiders As to greet all visitors with a shotgun. My Mother Grows Old (1931-2019) She hardly ever

Super Blood Wolf Moon, by Gary V. Powell, reviewed by Rusty Barnes

Super Blood Wolf Moon Gary V. Powell Kallisto Gaia Press 2020 41 pages $12.95 Powell's chapbook is an impressive undertaking, Beginning with the evocative title, Super Blood Wolf Moon , the collection takes us through rocky pitfalls of life with wit and poignance. "On Learning of the Death of an Old Girlfriend on Facebook Before Finishing Your First Cup of Coffee" uses repetition to make its point, in a a chant or wail of sadness in which the narrator bemoans the loss of an old love while performing the odd tasks of a life, walking the dogs and remembering that annual flowers are just that: they always come back, but that she won't. Age and accident rule us all, and it's never easy to take. Another poem which uses repetition to its great advantage is a poem titled "Crowder Peas." The first and last stanzas are identical: "Remembered picking crowder peas/for the first time in years." Yet in the middle, contrary to the first poem, the narrator ca

David Cranmer

Sandpiper I run along life's shore dodging the cold spray of those surfing the same waves of past slights, real and reimagined, until the storms transform into tsunamis These champion surfers are charged by the surge of drama, never growing weary, and I've become an accomplished long-distance runner, avoiding their heavy, wet sand in my shoes. David Cranmer is the editor of the BEAT to a PULP webzine and whose own body of work has appeared in such diverse publications as The Five-Two: Crime Poetry Weekly, Needle: A Magazine of Noir, LitReactor, Macmillan’s Criminal Element, and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Under the pen name Edward A. Grainger he created the Cash Laramie western series. He's a dedicated Whovian who enjoys jazz and backgammon. He can be found in scenic upstate New York where he lives with his wife and daughter.

A Quiet Ghost, by M.J. Arcangelini, reviewed by Rusty Barnes

M.J. Arcangelini A Quiet Ghost Luchador Press 62 Pages $13.00 reviewed by Rusty Barnes M.J. Arcangelini's  A Quiet Ghost is a quiet revelation. Through a series of short narrative poems, Arcangelini takes us through and beyond all the stresses that come with open-heart surgery. Even the epigraph from Moby Dick from which the book's title emerges, we see already the signs of a careful poetic mind setting a deliberate tone. In "Expiration Date" a poem which treats Arcangelini's heart as a product with a date beyond which lies death, the stanza is broken up by three indented instances of the words 'expiration date'  and more later on which serve to warn us that what is coming might uh, be grim. "Spread across three arteries,/repeated, a motif, a design, a sign,/my expiration date." We can see as the speaker does later on in the poem, this doom arising to greet him as the speaker observes the doctor, . . .he had/ seen my expiration date and/ he was

John Dorsey

The Prettiest Girl in Toledo, Ohio used to wear a purple sweater & buy drinks at the bar with her father's texas oil money she had hair on her neck that she had to get removed by laser every other thursday or else she would look like a delicate werewolf to her the whole city felt like a slab of glass a pitcher of clammy beer & she would drink just enough to feel beautiful & ugly again in the same night The Prettiest Girl in Greensburg, Pennsylvania for gennifer payne reads poetry & carries a skateboard while walking past the train station she has fiery red hair & thinks the world ended in 1994 & who are you to say that it didn't. Kathy McDougal's Boyfriend says he won't wear a face mask because he just can't live in fear someone once said live free or die that's where we're lucky now we can do both. John Dorsey lived for several years in Toledo, Ohio. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Teaching the Dead to S

Sentinel Species by Chase Dimock, reviewed by Mike James

Sentinel Species Chase Dimock Stubborn Mule Press 2020 $15.00 Reviewed by Mike James Early in the book of Genesis, Adam names all of Earth’s animals. Even in myth’s endless dream time, that is a formidable task. The image of Adam, artist-imagined on one of Eden’s rocks, came to mind while reading Sentinel Species , Chase Dimock’s new bestiary of poems. Dimock doesn’t name the animals. That work is already done. Instead, he either re-imagines them in unique and sometimes comical situations or he utilizes them as catalysts for introspection and discovery. The best-titled poem in the collection, “Burying my Dog Behind the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library”, illustrates how animals help to mark timelines of grand history and ordinary lives. The poem begins, “In the hills of my hometown / I have witnessed the burials / of two house cats / a golden retriever / and the 40th President / of the United States of America.” Dimock then begins to weave through a combination of public ev

Howie Good

The Bereaved Ugly, lined faces. A grimy rain coming down. The world is behaving in ways that just a short while ago I wouldn’t have thought possible. A rectangular hole has been dug to regulation depth. This is where he’ll stay. You should squeeze your younger siblings to you, tell everyone within shouting distance that you love them. There’s no word in English for a parent who’s lost a child. Howie Good's latest poetry collections are The Death Row Shuffle (Finishing Line Press, 2020) and The Trouble with Being Born (Ethel Micro-Press, 2020).