Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gary Beck. Three.


To Grandmother's House

A 13-year-old Somali girl
who lived in Kismayu
went to visit her grandmother
in the war-torn capitol,
but never arrived.

Three men pounced on her,
raped the helpless child,
threatened her with death
if she reported the crime.
When she managed to get home
her horrified family
sought protection
bt the authorities.

The Shabab militia
that controlled Kismayu
accused the girl of adultery
and sentenced  her to death
for violating Shariah,
the legal code of Islam,
based on the Koran.

The girl was taken
to a soccer stadium,
placed in a hole,
buried up to her neck,
and fifty men,
watched by thousands,
stoned the girl to death.

She was victimized twice;
first by the rapists
who were not arrested,
then by those responsible
for administering justice
who deprived her of life,
the final abuse
of an innocent child.

Submerging to Obscurity

Poets once inflamed the world
with the summons to action
and became celebrities.
Mass entertainment
turned attention elsewhere
and poets dwindled
in the public esteem.
They no longer incite
inflammatory passions,
too often content
with college comforts
to dare the changed world.
Seems in electronic postings,
they enhance nuance
shunning direct contact.
Internet users
often find
versifying stultifying.
Blunt language may reach
those now out of touch
and poetry might discover
the needs of a new lover.

Receding Presidents

In a confused land
of violent extremes,
an indifferent middle
and media deceptions,
we have become accustomed
to despising presidents
and no longer remember
the last one we admired.
Our children no longer wish
to grow up and become
our chief executive,
instead preferring
rap stars, movie stars,
even sports stars,
who don't qualify
after intelligent appraisal
of their redeeming value
to serve a needy country.

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and worked as an art dealer when he couldn't earn a living in the theater. He has also been a tennis pro, a ditch digger and a salvage diver. His chapbook 'Remembrance' was published by Origami Condom Press, 'The Conquest of Somalia' was published by Cervena Barva Press, 'The Dance of Hate' was published by Calliope Nerve Media and 'Material Questions' was published by Silkworms Ink, 'Mutilated Girls' is being published by Bedouin Press and 'Dispossessed' is being published by Medulla Press. A collection of his poetry 'Days of Destruction' was published in by Skive Press. Another collection 'Expectations' was published by Rogue Scholars press. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway and toured colleges and outdoor performance venues. His poetry has appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Donal Mahoney

In Memphis On Business
this belle like a feather
floats table to table
bearing menus and water,
stunning this Yankee
in Memphis on business
whose host swears the South
has many more like her.
Up North, the Yank says,
young ladies like her bump tables,
slop coffee in saucers.
No wonder this Yankee
in Memphis on business
smiles when again
this belle like a feather
floats table to table
bearing menus and water
as if she were certain
the earth isn’t there
and the sky and the air
are highway enough for a belle
bearing menus and water.

Sitting Shiva in a Hotel Lobby

For a year this image has haunted me.
Over and over I hear on the gramophone
Cohen put in my ear
“Feature this:
On a crowded elevator
a strange woman in a baseball cap
unbuttons your fly.”
That image is on the ceiling every night
as I sit shiva in the lobby
of this small hotel,
a hookah, like a tired cobra,
coiled at my feet,
a shamrock in my buttonhole
dead from the last parade.
Night after night,
I think about this strange woman
as each hour I watch
the doors of the elevator
part and give birth.
I observe each new guest carefully,
hoping the woman in the baseball cap
will tire of the rain and ride up
in the elevator and register.
I want her to sit in the lobby
and talk with us.
We who are guests here forever
have eons to hear
what she has to say.
We have paid our rent in advance.
We can afford to sit here and see.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Peter Marra: Two



He entered the
subway car

She was lying
on the floor
Knees to chest
clad in black leather


He looked
She looked

No one
No one

Heart Rituals

Broken neon
Sliding through the
Broken window

At the kitchen table



The instruments are shined

Slick time

To the window

Reading the
Sign outside

Throbbing light

Reverse alphabets
Behind her eyes

She turns quickly and
Seizes what is near

Steps outside
Into the


Moist sighs
 remind her
Faces pointed

Make her

She hides her weapons

As she

First unsteady
Then assured

It’s time to go

Leave her to
Her work

While the
Bed she left

A long


Monday, January 17, 2011

Geordie de Boer: Five Poems

The California-New Mexico Express
     for Richard Brautigan
someone’s walked away from
a motorcycle
in New Mexico.
Egyptian Cherry Pit Pyramid
Lying stacked like Khafre’s pyramid
and steaming like entrails in a canopic jar,
bones of fruit as slick as if passed from
a northbound Sphinx’s southern exposure.
The cherries I’d dreamed of eating
fresh from the tree,
as dark as a Nubian nipple,
as tempting  as Nefertiti’s tummy,
may as well be painted on
the walls of an Egyptian mummy’s tomb.
 Mother Effing Nature
Tornadoes in Brooklyn,
earthquakes in Peru, flash floods
in England, wildfires in Greece.
The weather’s not so wonderful
here, either.
Slovakian Winter, Waiting
Sitting under a sky
the color of a plugged nickel,
collar turned to turn
a fickle east wind, waiting
for a check to clear
(from a Czech, too; clear?)
wondering if the sketchy
sky might clear first.
My wife says,
I found a job for you,
waving the classifieds
from her chair.
I tell her,
I’m not working
for just any pencil-necked
She says,
Well, you worked
for yourself once
Geordie de Boer, a rambler and wrangler of rhyme (internal), lives in southeast Washington (state). He’s been published most recently by Muddy River Poetry Review, The Meadowland Review, Mobius, Miller‘s Pond, and The Centrifugal Eye. Visit him at Cockeyed Fits (

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ben Nardolilli


Seaside Donations

The bouquet of stars
That the night sky has given you,
You turn away from,
If the sky was not so large
It would be offended.

And though the sea is dark,
It stretches out for you
In its infinite waving mirror
Hoping to hold your face
In its broad wet palm.

You are right to refuse the sand,
The napkins, the glass, the cigarettes,
The broken presents it gives you
Are generous but worth nothing,
You prefer what you can hold at once.

I have still not made a gesture
To present anything of value,
I am in one piece
But the things I offer
Are bigger than us both.

Dream Architecture

The room holds him
Dressed in white,
He rises and abandons
His impression on the bed.

Out by the road
He drifts, pure salesman,
By tractor and rail road,
He maneuvers directions.

Into the forest he walks
Over the fallen flames
Of leaves piled around trunks,
He sleeps under branches.

In the farm left vacant
He takes vacations,
The livestock ignore him,
He takes beams as souvenirs.

In the snow he stretches
All the lines together,
His fence sags and the flakes
Cover his stolen work.

And when the grass returns,
He sprouts again by a barn,
To walk in the wind
Half human and half sail.

Attempt at Home Movies

The setting is in a restaurant.

Any old eatery, but not so old, they chased us away. They saw us
coming with camera and papers and said they wanted nothing of us. They
told us to go to Hollywood, we told them that we came here because we
wanted clouds in the background and were too poor to make them…

In the first scene, a man is about to propose marriage to his girlfriend.

One hand in his pocket he fiddles with a ring. We focus on this hand
shaking in the cloth tent in his pants. No one knows where he is yet,
we think he’s a pervert. In fact, for the whole scene we think he is
one, been a pervert all his life…

In the second scene, a rich movie star is trying to get a free meal.

Blonde hair and a white dress? Too obvious, they will think she is in
the wrong kind of movies. No, she has black hair that shines like a
dominatrix’s boots and she rules over the attention of everyone in the
lite-greasy spoon, everyone except the man with his hand violently in
his pocket. The audience’s opinion has not changed…

In the third scene, a mouse is seen in the room.

Okay. Let’s work with it

Sucklings Still

We once laughed together
At the creaking sounds
Our civilization’s hobble
Used to make for us

In the night we shared
Every doubt together,
We roamed rich in cynicism,
Pure as the knife with our steps

I called the dawn the work
Of a lazy moon burning,
I kept the curtains together
And hoped you would stay

The light reached you
And though I claimed
It was a clever lamp,
You wanted to rise up

Now you march and sing
With the others,
Your new family gives you
Nothing but smiles for a legacy

Yet you tell me to come,
Turn myself from being
A collection of interesting bones,
Have a heart, you say

You know where it is
My little stethoscope,
Carried away by your ear,
When we tired of discussion.

His Feet in the Yellow Flags

Horrible mutinous roles now in flames
Were based on producing,

The viewer eats, and the king is planned,
Scholars float accessibly,

A challenge to Berlin, and to the stars,
A note drifts from the explosion,

The operation plots its own course now,
The way to a group goes.

Ben says: A little bit about myself, I am a twenty five year old writer
currently living in Montclair, New Jersey. My work has appeared in the
Houston Literary Review, Perigee Magazine, Canopic Jar, One Ghana One
Voice, Baker’s Dozen, Thieves Jargon, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae,
Poems Niederngasse, Gold Dust, Scythe, Anemone Sidecar, The Delmarva
Review, Contemporary American Voices, SoMa Literary Review, Gloom
Cupboard, Shakespeare’s Monkey Revue, Black Words on White Paper,
Cantaraville, and Mad Swirl. In addition I was the poetry editor for
West 10th Magazine at NYU and maintain a blog at

Wednesday, January 12, 2011



"Can we get control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature, such as self preservation?" -CIA memo January 1952

Interview with Sid Gottlieb at DeepCreek Lake
or a Spiked Bottle of Cointreau
& Cosmos Carried in a Mouthful of Clenched Teeth

No wind in his mouth, heartbeat's
breath in his ears. Said he felt salt-weaved thunder
hammering flesh into string. "If it flys it's lighter than air,
your body chant-changed to feathers
by fingertips in the left-handed dark.
Let's smoke shadows with only our voice
& a candle flckrng in the cold corner of your mind."
Said he found a way dance blooms
into violence. As if we never slit a whisper's throat
after it knelt down to liquid pearls in a snick
of moon. It was an oddity minus rhythm.
The Queen of hearts palmed by the boulevard.
Put the back of his hand to his mouth: 10'000 flame-white
sheets pass thru faces, a hypnotist hand-sign
or lives unlived floating to the surface.
Said he never heard a voice touch the blind crease
curled in an octave the same way again. Tried himself.
It was like June prayed dust thru bars into alley of last
resorts & hail marys; returned to shotgun shells absentia
pulsepoints at the witching hour. Found it there to, face
floating in the night's throat, skull caved in like maze
of mirrors, 13 choruses in g-flat with a 5th of gin & knuckle
of c4 strapped its chest. This was real voice.
Ends where it starts.
In a midnight blue torch-tip pealing flesh from bones. 

Abramson’s Coal-Mine Canaries in C-Minor
& Operation Midnight Climax at Hotel Pennsylvania
in a Spread-Eagle Manhattan Night

Ever heard a scream hit a man right between the eyes?
Blizzard in one ear, lava out the other?
He held long as he could before giving in to the white-hot irons
pounding in his pupil. Swore his brain was a wicker basket
with a cobra coiled to the breaking point inside. Said rain runs to slow,
slow. Wanted a feeling like thought struck venom split in a thunderhead
sizzling on your fingertips. Hits before it hits.
More a knowing; like we all felt each other in the dark pinned
to the back of another life. Read exit wounds in Braille
dug out of the center of the mind's eye. Read a poem half-

erased & written on a toe-tag.
Read eyes ripped off the sky's orange-oiled back. Said he'd decrypted
rock-chalk mosaics & spit-painted murals of the Tattoo Elders.
Inside-out muttered histories in the susurrus of a suppressed nod.
Thoughts quartered with a ream of steel blinking in the iris
& stashed in catacombs. Wrote it up on parchment -instantaneous mass-life
by perijove- rode a pomace dance backward thru time. Saw Schrodinger read Tzara
to Archimedes. & voila! Antikythera mechanism. None of that matters now.

Lashbrook’s Unsworn Testimony with One Hand on His Gun
& the Other Caught in Time & Space
or Sights Seen Thru a Coma of a Half-Eared Sonnet

It's all predicated on him: blind herder of fireflies
& emperor to the army of bees. Knew there were keys hidden
in oblique places.
Out every window just beyond reach.
Underneath the tongue of an honest liar.
Dead center in the wake of your last step.
Said he found the secret door to slip a voice inside your head
& he'd follow it back with a tether-strand
of golden hair. You'd think he been struck awake

by a just missed echo of deja vu.
In the end he said he'd have to burn a raven's wing
in a dilated mouth of open air, flying phantom limbs
in all out thru a window. Not to worry, said death sings
in flesh-silent trebleclefs behind the third eye.

Church Committee Findings
in Completely Erasable Ink & 
Mantras Sung Upside-Down While
the Bastinado Slings its Sweet Revenge

Said call it bruised sky slapped on the night's open face.
El slips down in a streak of light sewn beneath the eye.
Silent hands behind the first rib & eyes sharp as sunlight strained
thru a cracked window. Handfuls of hocus-pocus
& sheet-stained moonlight breeze the heart's boarded up mineshaft.
Sings soft as radio static in the spine. Lungs empty & sown shut
from the inside. Topaz vein of sky blears the mind, ten pails of flame dropped
from the second story on a frozen-open train of eye. A collapsed vessel
in the law's withered right hand. In our pocket?

This future wan & sickle-slapped American flesh-tone; this rhythm's
epileptic needle lust & fistula leeching real sentences. Karma? Haven't we all carved bullets
with our names & locked them in the last place anyone'll ever look?
A ruby eye trained on the door? Said let's be clear:
a tongue of vacant air is the forgotten sound in thunder that takes prone voice

into the mind. From there it's crystal: sunsets pull silica-wind thru arched
cacti in a ribcage made for two.
Each night, fossil bones march to ungiven orders.
10'000 voices move in one fluid storm.

“Careful What You Do with Death & Frayed Bow Strings”
or Sonnet Found in the Deceased’s Pocket After
Terminal Interrogation & Read Outside the UN

Said voices bricked in behind the wall
found him on two fluid knees. Tried to hold a hymn
in his throat the pitch of tuning forks toned to 99 blown out
whispers. We all know what happens when eggs ride freight trains
& secrets bow-boxed & waiting to be opened.
Maybe you don't know. Never altissimo'd under light-stains
from a motionless blade? Never found your mirrored face
unrecognizable between forked fingers? This is America!
We owe the rising systole of symmetry a hard strike

from a copper-tongued axe & the forward motion of our thoughts.
There was no choice!
Bluffed a blind hand in his mind.
Swore a spit-shake with un-fleshed phalanges
& the skull behind the hood.


J.R. Pearson played "Jonny B. Goode" in 1st grade with an audience of 15 people.
Once, I seen him eat a whole case of Elmer's Glue. He was terrible at finger painting
but he's proud of these poems. Read his stuff in 
A Capella Zoo ,Word Riot,
Ghoti, Weave, Boxcar Review, & Tipton
. He recently was included in an anthology:
Burning Gorgeous: Seven 21st Century Poets.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Rodney Nelson



you made it up before any rain
and would not have had to moan or sigh
but you did

                     as if to whoever
inhabited the ridge you could see
way out from

                     a child made it too and
screamed a cliché to her following
not at you

                     to what would the moan or
sigh of an old hiker man have been

                     maybe it was only
a note from your animal to you
of continuing operation


he had gotten a talking job that tied him to
rooms so tried to act it out in them
                     play the trek
                     driver the
                     screamy bitch
                     the wiiiild turkey
that somewhere a camera waited whereon he
would be limelit to the pattycake music of
pander man and win all fame and money and sex
he might have ridden on the untalkative
plains to write it out
                     a soothfast metacowboy


I brought in the autumn dandelion crop
with an eye while no one’s raft of log and stick
and trashy weed came down the river

early sapient men would not have wanted
a few of anything but I had a mind
to each bent flower and its meaning

they would have swum to it and gotten the raft
idea and then gone on to piracy
and cod hunt and the garbage freighter


we would have to run away to
                                       Swallow’s Nest Rock
                     a man my age does
not elope
                     and translate into
German together I do not mean
live on the rock just be and look
at the hunch of it that the Snake moves
too quick to reflect
                     we would camp
on the Idaho strand downrange of
                                       Hell’s Canyon
                     in heat
                     not really
at the rock
                     I mean within its watch
we might abscond however a
man like me could do that
                     you know with
what and from what and whom
                     would have
or even may have to if the un-
rest that hit me in the late day
cannot get word to you in German
or English
                     we are animal
without one and read only the eye
                     may have to
run away from
                     the whom
the what you know just to get where we
can talk
                     translate from your dark eye in-
to mine into whatever at
Swallow’s Nest Rock
                     be and look at it
just run away to each other