"Snow Jobs" - Eugene C. Bianchi


Athens GA, Sunday March 1, 2009

"Snow Jobs" - Eugene C. Bianchi

Sleet is serious in the South,
defying Mason Dixon, falling
like tiny shards of glass, tapping
ever so softly on windows at dawn
like an unexpected great aunt come
to discuss your grandfather's genes.
She's sorry to bother you as you pour coffee
but since you're shut in and all that ...
We are forever covering up, she says,
to whitewash the vulnerable, the insecure,
to stand bright on pedestals famous for
praise or blame, no matter, since all
publicity is good if it doesn't stain
the snow, too long or too deep.
Did Hamlet ask to be or seem to be,
a query shaking mighty kingdoms, thinking it
better to leave poor Yorick's skull unearthed?
Yet try as we may, we can't stem the thaw,
the melting of age that limns our faces
with bitter regret or a gentle awareness
that the journey is the destination,
the longing its own reward,
our weakness a path to the real.

Eugene C. Bianchi
Athens, GA Feb. 13, 2014

"Lovely Rita, Meter Maid" - Charley Seagraves

"Lovely Rita, Meter Maid" - Charley Seagraves

Parked my truck near the Globe,
The Christmas lights were blinking,
I was two quarters short for the meter,
But I went inside and started drinking

And forgot to feed my meter
Until it was much too late,
A ticket awaited on my windshield,
I got caught tempting fate.

A sawbuck it cost me,
Ten bones, a ten spot, a dime,
Now that drink I was gonna buy you
Will have to wait for another time.

For when you park in Athenstown,
There's always a price to pay,
You gotta feed that insatiable meter
Every night and every day.

The meter maid who burned me,
I know her very well,
She seldom smiles as she stalks the streets,
A stoic mademoiselle.

A chalk stick in one hand,
A scowl across her face,
She often appears out of nowhere,
As if she came from cyberspace.

She does not care for excuses,
So avoid that slippery slope,
I have no doubt whatsoever
She would ticket even the Pope.

When I spot her coming down Clayton,
I run to feed my meter,
I do not know her name,
But to me she looks like a Rita.

© 2016 Charley Seagraves

"Yangtse Blues" - Bob Ambrose


"Yangtze Blues" - Bob Ambrose 
Three Gorges Dam Memorial Park, China
January 4, 2013

Far away, well east of Eden
virile rivers carved a valley
through the age of long ago.

Now stretching out in black earth flatness
cotton patch competes with paddy
tractor vies with buffalo
below the rolling orange groves
with fences lined in climbing jasmine
border rows of sycamore.

Here in the highlands of Hubei
I can hear its song
rising out of mist and mountain
gray home of gods now gone
refuge of wayfaring mystic and misfit
place where the wild torrent
courses through gorges
once upon some time ago.

But now the long river
flat and heavy
murky deepness drowns Three Gorges
sighs behind a concrete slab
controlled and still
until release.

To wander
ancient river plains
that birthed and nurtured
feudal lords

a brand new land
of grit and coal
of dusky skies
that smother cities

town and village
torn and pillaged
taken into concrete

borg till onward
into paradise
of tollway road

and high rise rows
in cities of ten million
souls, new centers

that were meant
to sparkle, broker
fortunes, beckon

dreams and draw
beleaguered masses
forward, soar

into the gray-brown
skyscape, lined
with cranes

and belching stacks
that stitch the land

and sky with smog
and seal the earth

beneath the load
of human progress.

East meets West
and ups the ante

heeds the siren
staggers forward

fading into midday haze.

And from the highlands of Hubei
so very far away from Eden
I can hear the good earth groaning
crushed beneath a billion souls
just seeking their century
salvation in wealth.

And so the modern world goes
as Gaia sighs and turns to stone
to wait upon a wiser age
when sages and keepers
will come once again.

from "Drunken Robins" - David Oates


from Drunken Robins - David Oates

waiting for job interview
he buffs his shoes
on the back of his pants

holding tiny frog in her hands
the look on six year old's face

She walks in the meadow
a quail flies up
two hearts race

such break dancers
even the pickpocket
stops to watch

she practices drawing on

off the freeway
among gas and burger joints
bird's call

rushing by the scenic overlook -- again.

the land is dark
the sky shines bright
in a cow pond

digging in
his pocket for change

Drunken Robins by David Oates was published by Brick Road Poetry Press in 2011.

"Resolution" - Ciera Durden

"Resolution" - Ciera Durden 

On New Year’s Day, I burned an old suicide letter.

No hesitation this time.
Just ash singing up like a grateful cough, the last hack and cleave of breath that steadies itself,
Says yes, this might be it,
Or, it might as well be,
Just one more and we’re through:
Strike match,
(Breathe in)
Wood smarts,
(The air caught in a jig scratch, a stumble in your voice)
Then, the sudden flame.
(An expelling of sound,
Out, out,
This is not breathing taken for granted,
This is not anything quite so easy)
Let the fire eat the five year old paper alive,
Just like you, five years later, eating every day,
Eating, despite newer letters written,
Eating, victorious, from mad hunger to hard swallow,
Hours caught in your teeth like meat, like bone,
You are still here.

Keep burning the letters.
The smoke ember dance flying up to the ceiling like a giddy message to the gods,
A ragged cough of a hymn,
Look at her, Christ, look at her.

"January flu" - M. Bromberg


"January flu" - M. Bromberg

Hiding from the world with the January flu
seems the best thing for a week or two.
The holidays are over and the bills come due.
You're in bed with the nose-wipes and the medicine too.

A cup of strong tea with some whiskey in it
will set you straight -- if just for a minute.
Then it's off to dreamland, and there's no limit
to what your clogged noggin has got in it.

What scares you the most is sure to be there
nesting in cranium and the roots of your hair,
or hiding in wait behind some surrealist's stair,
to give you the shivers in chilly night air.

But sooner or later you'll have to surface
to go take a piss or some other purpose.
You can't hide forever, no matter how worthless
the month of mucus or its worst of curses.

Once you've beaten the first-month flu
you'll remember how many things you must do.
Start with some lines for the poetry few,
and hope February doesn't have its own wretched due.

"Frankenstein" - Elsa Russo


I have become Frankenstein
There’s a hole in my head where the sun won’t shine
Where all the dark thoughts creep in and define

Combine refine entwine and redefine me
Until I’m as dark as I can be
And you can’t even see

That we will be the cause of my explosion
As I follow my dark compulsion
Through the haze of my expulsion

From the arms of my dear friends
Whose unending patience is at an end
Towards sicker things I do bend

And intend to swallow those pills down with a shot
Because this bottle is all that I’ve got
I could fool myself that it’s true but it’s not

But hot blood is pumping through my veins
Roaring like a hundred railroad trains
And the pounding my head it pains

And drains what little sanity I had left
As from reality I am bereft
And from my reason I am cleft

And I’m deft in the art of putting on faces
And filling in those missing spaces
Where I’m supposed to be in places

Left empty because I have become Frankenstein
There’s a hole in my head where the sun won’t shine
Where all dark thoughts creep in and define