Friday, December 31, 2010

Hugh Fox


What do I give a crap about all your
fancy French romantic country mansions
and your goddamned DMP's, you know,
Doctor of Musical Performance, I can't
even believe how many Russians,
Armenians, Chinese, Brazilian, Englishers
there are around here, and old Chicago street
me going to the Chopin and Schumann festivals,
married to a Brazilian M.D., retired after teaching
English literature for fifty years, when all I ever
really felt/feel comfortable with were/are the
Chicago, Brooklyn, whore-area bars in Paris,
dying from cancer now, "You've got maybe
a year, a year and a half...," prostate into
bladder, going everywhere else, I'm supposed
to believe in heaven and all that, but just believe
in graves, eighty-five years of women, liquor,
lots of criticism published, travel-grants, you
name it, Bukowski's best pal, my best autobiography
named WAY, WAY OFF THE ROAD to echo
Kerouac's OFF THE ROAD, wishing there was an
after-death L.A. - San Francisco out there waiting
for me, to just keep doing our thing forever, and
that's what I mean for....ever.....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Joseph Farley

Holy Vermin

brother rat, sister vole
gather your congregation
of vermin souls
lead them in
their songs of greed
teach  them to steal
and sniff and feel
and claw
their way to
the top or as far
as their short furred
bodies and feet
wriggle and scurry
to gain a seat
in  board rooms
and legislative halls
where thy can create
rat-friendly laws
and live their ratty
vector lives
and court their furry
rodent wives
and breed and feed
and shit all over
so the people are covered
in feces up to
their shoulders.

with eyes closed

in daydreams I exist
the rest is clearly false
and if forever is a myth
I have still tasted heaven
if only in small sips

still in the queue

if my eyes roll up into my head
do not fear the worst
i'm only checking in at home
to see if they've called my name


the light was green so you kept going
driving through city streets
farmer's fields, forests,
over mountains
from sea to gulf to lake to ocean
you have been on the road
so long now
if someone were to holler “stop”
would you?
Could you?


My home is a state of the middle way
slow to change, but not far behind.
We are rich in demagogues and always have been,
manipulators of words and finances.
A spine of mountains divides us in two
but the real divide is Philadelphia and what is beyond.
No one loves the city, even the people who live there.
What we have of value is taken for granted,
rivers and forests, lakes and hidden valleys.
There history and politics are forgotten
and we catch a glimpse of what was before
Penn's woods were cut down for farms
and pre-fabricated housing developments.

 Joseph Farley edited Axe Factory for 24 years. His books include Suckers, For the Birds, and Longing For The Mother Tongue.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hal O'Leary



Be it known, I do not jest
I need to get this off my chest.
A female would say "off my breast"
that is if she were like Mar West
who spoke of her's  as her 'hope chest'.
The female will, of course, invest
in plunging gowns and all the rest,
in hopes that she can then attest,
from bulging eyes, we've passed the test.
But be it known, I can suggest,
that I'm a male with some unrest.
So, if you will, at my behest,
please lend an ear while I divest
myself of that which I protest.

While females get to proudly show
the beauties that they have in tow,
with cleavage plunging Oh so low,
and there-by they begin to sow
the seeds that cause we men to grow,
the male though must never...NO
display the gems he has below.
The one-time cod piece had to go.l
No longer can a good man crow.
This is not true with fauna though.
The stag has antlers, not the doe.
And so, it's well that you should know
it's time for men to holler "WHOA,
the joy we savored long ago.
What's good for Jane is good for Joe.


Should you be on a sexual quest,
Take this advice at my behest.
The starting point I find the best
Is always with a woman's breast,
For here we find she will invest
Her utmost effort to arrest
Your glancing eye. It's just a test
To see if you have interest
In getting something off your chest.
In hopes perhaps you might divest
Yourself of all undue unrest
In thinking you'd become a pest
And hie yourself unto her nest.
This could amount to a request.

So look for cleavage, that's a sign
That could mean heaven down the line.
And ogle all you want, that's fine,
With shivers up and down your spine.
It's what she wants. It's by design.
A welcome to her holy shrine

But know that you cannot foretell
If her response will ring the bell.
And should your efforts not go well
Your heaven could become a hell


Hal O'Leary has spent a lifetime in the theatre as actor, director and designer.He was recently inducted into the Wheeling Hall of Fame, and is the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Humanities Degree from West Liberty University. Since his retirement at age eighty-four, he has taken to writing poetry.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Craig Firsdon: Five Poems

Tats, Happy Meals and Bullets

Years ago a friend of mine got a tattoo.
It was a dragon with an M-16
and a banner that read "Marines".
I thought it was pretty cool,
what could be better
than an automatic weapon,
a dragon
and the Marines?

His best friend was also in the Marines.
They grew up
and enlisted together.
Everything they did
was for each other
and their friends.
I always thought of them
as a comic book dynamic duo
but with two Batmen
not a Batman and a Robin.
Now everytime I watch a Batman movie,
I think of him
so I don't watch
them that often.

The war has been
one big Superbowl commercial
advertising to get people to buy
their patriotic vision of
a thousand painful ways to die
and I refuse to buy any of it.
"Take this medicine and you will feel better"
Cyanide takes away pain as well.

They say the war is winding down
time to start the parades
throw the confetti
kiss every baby.
Instead they ride into town,
medicine taken, new and improved,
on the backs of unicorns.
Everyone wants a unicorn
who doesn't want one?
We see the soldiers galloping into town
a top their unicorns
and we lay down our own weapons,
our words,
our will,
look at ours,
now look a theirs,
we have better weapons,
we know better,
we fight with body and words,
we believe in our faiths,
we believe in ourselves,
This is war,
this is revolution,
this is ours
and this is better.

Don't even look at the unicorns
and think about
eating that piece of peace pie.
The hunger of war is only satisfied
by the full meal deal,
give me a number 2,
of unequaled insanity.
Buy one death,
get one free.
I don't buy it now
and never will.
War is a fast food happy meal
with friends and family fried
between two buns
with lettuce, pickle, tomato, cheese, onion,
a bio-chemical special sauce
and the prize
is just another life lost.
An American Truth Chronicles Tribute To The Fallen
Awake To The Nightmare
I woke early.
dreaming, my head still foggy
I turned on the news
not to be confused with reality
instead a multimillion dollar hollywood
sci-fi blockbuster or copycat horror flick
Just before the hero puts it all right
two screaming beasts fly into two towering uprights
pillars of babylon,
alters for the dead sacrificed upon.
If only the monster had been slain
providing the hero with a storybook ending.
If only..
too bad reality is sometimes too real
and endings are never completely happy.
I grabbed the remote to change the channel
and all I learned was that
nothing is ever what it seems.

That night I listened to the radio.
Art Bell spoke of beliefs
that are nonsense to the masses.
Conspiracies were my hobby,
never truely my thing,
but so much made sense after that night.
Life is stranger than any conspiracy
and while we poke fun at those waiting
for their beliefs to become truths
and those truths to come to light
we forget to realize that all of life's truths
now and have always been in front of our eyes
waiting for our focus
never to be seen
because truth is often more painful
than any lie.

When the body count increased
I was told around two thousand innocents were gone.
It will never compare to the millions slain by,
disease, uncaring hunger,
needless war, fear of the man,
black gold and the almighty dollar.
Pillars from unsalvaged tombs
are now monuments of God forgotten rubble
patchy graves in the middle of desolation.

There is still hope and always will be
inside each child, healthy and fed,
inside each and every person saved
from social slavery.
For too long greed has come at a heavy price
in the form of millions of anonymous graves
We know nothing of the real end
to their dreams,
We continue being ungrateful
for knowing that all of our dreams
have a beginning
while those who live in permanent grey
only see the world as one monotonous scene
forever ignoring the colors at their fingertips.

Those with power,
sitting in their thrones of bone,
washing away blood from their hands
with countless tears of the damned,
they tell us they did all they could
they tried to stop this insanity
but the inevitable will always be inevitable.
How hard did they try?
Did they try?
Try to feel compassion
or cut by the words of families suffering
only to build more monuments
from the sweat and blood of those they loved.

Words spoken from those now without voices
reveal the fakes and frauds
presidents and preachers,
the famous and infamous.
They congregate feeding on the pain
of the little people
an all you can eat buffet
and go up for seconds and thirds.
At their tables you can hear the chatter
discussing the problems of the meek
while the meek knock at death's door.
This is the one true flaw,
that no one actually cares
until these words escape our lips
and we admit, no demand,
to see where once we were blind.

Yes, these lives and millions more have been taken,
but they will never, ever, be forgotten
as long as our words are kept alive.
American Truth Chronicles #1
Change is constant
yet we demand it
from politics and politicians
like a corner crack dealer
a dimebag costing our freedom
                              our hopes
                              our dreams.

We are told "Vote or Die!"
We vote and thousands die.
Promised a better tomorrow
with just a pull on the leaver
a single solitary action
a message goes out
texting the executioner
                       "bring the noose"
                    it's ok, it's American made.
An American made noose
        around American made necks
        killing American made thoughts and dreams
        becoming the American made way.

They say the right to vote is a gift
and the outcome is our reciept.
The last time I checked
the signs on voting day
all read "Nonrefundable".

American Truth Chronicles #3 - Countdown To The Working Class Apocalypse

"American made" betrayed
by the American Judas'
hung by their blue collars
crucified on Hollywood billboards
making ants of millionaires
baptism by kosher candle light
in rivers of industrial runoff.
The burning bushes replaced
by a flourosant light bulb
lit only between
dusk and dawn.
We must not
be so wasteful

Tick, tock.
Tick, tock.

We are told life goes on
but where will you be
when time has run out
and every step we have taken
every carbon footprint
left in toxic gardens
has filled in
with blood and tears
and the fat lady has finally sung,
a silent musing,
her words trapped in a vacuum
of broken lives,
stained egos
and shattered dreams.

Tick, tock.
Tick, tock.

Where will you be?

A Letter To The American Conservative

I remember the days
when logic superceded
greed and power.

Now, instead of needy children
we adopt the highways
we've littered with inattention,
Bury them in freshly printed greens
and watch our printing presses smoke
themselves to an emphazema death
as we all abstain
only as long as the moment lasts.

With the focus of a five year old
high on prescription speed
we soon forget abstinence
and chase the first fox we see.
Its the chase, they say,
that makes the foreplay sweeter.

Chemically induced erections
and silicone inflated breasts
sliding on skin covered in
trans-hydrogenated fat
slowly heating our oceans
and sea-to-shining-seas.

Today the news said maybe
we will or will not
prosecute the murderers
lounging on our blackened beaches
in Versace and Valentino
writing memoirs to their greatness.

I know you understand me,
I can hear you scream "Socialist!"
just fine.

The next time we are out
and your logic asks me to pick up the tab
just remember I voted for
the black guy with a big smile.
This "socialist" is not giving you
a dime

Craig Firsdon is a 30 year old poet, songwriter, watercolor painter and sketch artist from just outside of Toledo in Holland, Ohio. He has been referred to as the "Toledo Renaissance Man" by Lorraine Cipriano in an article she wrote for the Toledo Poetry Examiner and often reads with other local poets including John Dorsey and Michael Grover. He was just published in RedFez and released his chapbook, "Opiate Dreams".

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Kenneth Pobo Showing How Its Done


We’ve got too few lawn chairs,
but maybe our guests will prefer
to sit on grass.  Are we stocked

with wine?  Li Po will want a glass
as soon as death’s gate opens—
he’ll pop in, followed by

the other two.  Wang Wei will
ask to stroll in the garden. 
I should’ve weeded.

For Tu Fu, we’ll need to borrow
a mountain.  Or invent one.  Fast. 
I know you don’t like poetry much--

neither do honeybees.   We don’t
have to dress up.  Death’s gate
will open again and they’ll go,

probably early, and pooped,
we can flop on the couch and leave
the dishes ‘til morning. 


He tells Tiffany: I’d like
to order a mountain,
topped with a rainbow,
and served on a bed
of warm earth.  I don’t
see it on the menu.
She’s had tougher
customers before—
damned if she doesn’t
serve it to him and
damned if he doesn’t
dig right in.


I’m buying my niece some
modern game I don’t understand
or want to play
but she wants it so bad,
and I remember how I wanted
a hockey game
for Christmas, almost
wept when I got it—

in line some snarling white man
YOU’LL SEE.  He has that
rancid look, like spoiled meat
I forgot to throw out.  Oh,
to tell him to pipe down,
but he could easily be violent
and shoot us all
without remorse.


Perhaps I’d like to
make love to you,
birch tree.

What remarkable bark,
leaves that hide
just enough mystery.  I admit
we aren’t made for each other. 
We’ll have to love
without touching
like someone who says
“I can only be friends with you”—
that’s fine, I already know
what a fine friend you are.

You hold my secrets,
release them in fall
when wind carries them away.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Michael Frissore: Two Poems


 This Train is for Cockfosters

This is what it said on the train
from Heathrow to the hotel.

Whether this was the last stop
on the train or I was being insulted,
I’m still repeating the phrase
and calling everyone a cockfoster.

A Night in Amsterdam

Three English soccer hooligans
accost us whilst we’re trying
to pick up two American girls
at a live sex show.

They asked for volunteers,
but I had stage fright
(the people running the
sex show, not the hooligans
or the American girls).

The Englishmen follow
us around, shouting,
“Hey, Americans!”
whilst my comrade
tells them to beat it
and I alternate between the
scary, silent type and
the jokester, trying to
keep things lighthearted
so we don’t get trounced
amid this handicapped
tag team match in the waiting,
because you know the
girls don’t have our backs.

Three A.M.,
we stop for French fries,
with ketchup or catsup,
I discuss my comrade’s
shagging chances with
the other American girl,
and a hooligan calls to us,
“Hey, Americans,
your chips are all bloody!”
But that’s how we like ‘em.

In the end we part ways,
three separate factions,
no one gets the girl,
no one takes a punch,
just another night in
the Venice of the North.

Back to our quarters
for what I think will be sleep,
but our friends are waiting,
ready to go out again
to yet another techno club.
It’s Five A.M.,
I resist, but they hand me some
Ecstasy and I take it.

“Now, you have to
go out,” they say.

I don’t think so, but we do,
four more hours in the city.
I try to dance, try to have fun,
the Ecstasy not fully kicked in,
but everything’s blurry,
which could be fatigue,
or claustrophobia,
or social phobia.

All I want is out,
fight or flight,
and I fight for some reason,
standing, pretending to dance,
and thinking I might die here.

When it all ends,
happy, tired, confused,
we get back to our quarters,
it’s Nine A.M.,
I want some breakfast,
I want to sleep,
but what I truly want is you,
somewhere in Columbus, Ohio
or Worcester, Mass.
you are missing me
like I’m missing you
and I wonder
how your evening was.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Colin James


              Marriage to an Irregular Heartbeat

              Travel in this age of time killing times two.
              Scratching, it doesn't take long
              to get under skin.
              The many corners you avoid
              adore you.
              Horizontal, vertical
              what does it matter?
              All those indulgences
              have come to a head.
              A polemic arse
              in a camouflage of hues,
              as heartbeats do.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Peter D. Marra

Love Island

A portrait of 2 women

Beasts and
the wild things
Roll in the sand

Waiting for the cloud
explosion to slowly drift
and take them home

Slow sounds
once growls
now whimpering

Face down in the sand
she can’t hear the noise
Wincing forms

And the claws.
The pinup girl lives forever

Drinking sweat and gasoline
Convulsions and climax


The pierced eyes
At the faces of the

Walking out
Of the clock

Moss and dust
Behind her eyes

She stops
Causing the congregation to moan

Halloween altars
Waiting for you

She pounces