Friday, February 29, 2008

The Majesty, Magnification Of Poetry In Our World

 Manic is the Dark Night

By Michael Lee Johnson

Deep into the forest
the trees have turned
black, and the sun
has disappeared in
the distance beneath
the earth line, leaving
the sky a palette of grays
sheltering the pine trees
with pitch-tar shadows.
It is here in this black
and sky gray the mind
turns psycho
tosses norms and pathos
into a ground cellar of hell,
tosses words out through the teeth.
“Don’t smile or act funny,
try to be cute with me;
how can I help you today
out of your depression?”
I feel jubilant, I feel over the moon
with euphoric gaiety.
Damn I just feel happy!
Back into the wood of somberness
back into the twigs,
sedated the psychiatrist
scribbles, notes, nonsense on a pad of yellow paper:
“mania, oh yes, mania, I prescribe
lithium, do I need to call the police?”
No sir, back into the dark woods I go.
Controlled, to get my meds. I
twist and rearrange my smile,
crooked, to fit the immediate need.
Deep in my forest
the trees have turned black again,
to satisfy the conveyer--
the Lord of the dark wood.


Bio: Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet. All of us have experienced "manic is the dark night" in our own way, at a point or multi-points in our lives.  All of Michael Lee Johnson's poetry books are now available on Type in Michael Lee Johnson or book titles or simply go to this link:

Crazed Cabin Fever
By Joan McNerney

My eyes are exhausted from the WHITE. 
When walls start to converse, there
will be trouble.  Most of the avatars
from my favorite games are nice, I
have been talking to them at times. 

On the bright side, I am no longer
hungry.  Eating is another chore. 
The mailbox is stupid and my car
battery is more important than me.

People in town are very nice.  Owe
$6 on my hair cut.  Everybody is sick of it.
We all believe spring is a possibility.
Having lost so many gloves, I might
have to wear socks on my hands.  

Thank you for your understanding.
Human contact would be nice but
my phone is often off the hook
because of all those hang ups.
Wishing you a pleasant life.

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Spectrum, three Bright Spring Press Anthologies and several Kind of A Hurricane Publications.  She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net.  Poet and Geek recognized her work as their best poem of 2013.  Four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses and she has three e-book titles. 

Murmur Of Wind
By Bobbi Sinha-Morey
Alone at night my
shadow pounded
against the drum skin
of hopelessness and
I heard the murmur
of wind.  It curled
past me as if God's
energy had come in,
and in my tiny room
it touched my pale
skin.  Wings lifted
me and brightness
spilled in. 

Bio:  Bobbi Sinha-Morey is a reviewer for the online magazine Specusphere and a poet.  Her poetry can be seen in places such as Orbis, Gloom Cupboard, Pirene's Fountain, Bellowing Ark, and The Penwood Review, among others.  Her latest book of poetry, Crystal Wind, is available at and her website is located at

Editorial Comments:  I like the simplicity of Bobbi Sinha-Morey’s poetry.  It reminds me years ago how love, romance, loneliness, captured my life.  As years passed my subject matter became more diverse-but love and key themes will never be forgotten.

Sitka Spruce

By Eric G. Müller

Once my hand

lay flat against

the giant Sitka Spruce

I felt its age and might

ring through from

the distant center.

Its firm bark,

furry with moss,

flung messages

from its crown-top antenna –

signals I could not decode,

but kept on listening for.

No touch of any hide or pelt

from the wildest bear or bison bull

could make me tingle more.

But as I continued,

holding hand to massive trunk,

I sensed the muscles of this

wooden mastodon

begin to stir –

shaking my tiny hand….

And now, much later,

I still feel the warmth

of his latent squeeze.

– Cape Perpetua, Oregon Coast

Muddy Water Dance

By Eric G. Müller

On the bus from Chinque Terra,

on the western coast of Italy

we pass a river that’s drying

with thousands of fish

stranded in the shallows, dying;

making the muddied waters dance,

as they frantically jump and shiver

under the hot Ligurian sun,

with fat, languid gulls

squatted all along this

frenzied bed of impending death,

picking them out one by one.

We drive on to Florence,

leaving this rush of life behind,

and I picture how this trembling tongue,

spluttering with spirit,

will soon be silent and bare.

Bio: Eric G. Müller is a musician, teacher and writer. He has written two novels, Rites of Rock (Adonis Press 2005) and Meet Me at the Met (Plain View Press, 2010), as well as a collection of poetry, Coffee on the Piano for You (Adonis Press, 2008). Articles, short stories and poems have been published in various journals and magazines.

Editorial Comment: I love both of these poems: wonderful, keen, insightful use of mind, language, and imagery-wonderful work that just keep me digging for meaning.

Red Arrow
By Roger G. Singer

A cold wind knows my name.
Wool coats and high collars tighten
the center of me, blocking a gray
falling sky.

Strong footsteps speak with hurried
cause. Full faces cover against bitter
air; the old know of loneliness.

A car pushes into puddles splashing.
Rough water edges appear as
homeless tears. The driver, hat on,
cigarette smoking sits behind
windows fogged thick; his hand
wipes the glass before him.

A neon blinking red arrow points
toward warmth; a piano plays
the drinks into songs.

Bio: Roger G. Singer, began writing poetry in the military years ago, for relaxation and to express his thoughts in abstract form. He finds writing poetry more of a challenge than writing more formal articles he writes for his profession.

Editorial comments: I always know when I read a poem I like. Maybe it is a reflection of someone who writes similar to myself. Here again I find a story rich in imagery that jumps a little here to there but holds together and leaves you wondering at the end.

The Community Organizer’s Wife, A Note
By Ben Nardolilli

In case you choose
to come home
and wonder why
the pine fresh lemon smell,
I had to cover up the milk
that went bad
and the jug that leaked
all over the rotten
legumes and seeds,
it is a lovely thing
to see the back
of the icebox, and
my reflection again
on the shiny floor, though
if I slipped on it,
who would know?

Bio: Ben Nardolilli is a twenty four year old writer
living in Arlington, Virginia. His work has appeared in many publications including: Houston Literary Review, Perigee Magazine, Canopic Jar, Lachryma: Modern Songs of Lament, Baker’s Dozen, Thieves Jargon, Farmhouse Magazine, Elimae, Poems Niederngasse, Gold Dust, The Delmarva Review,Underground Voices Magazine, SoMa Literary Review, Heroin Love Songs,Shakespeare’s Monkey Revue, Cantaraville, and Perspectives Magazine.

Editorial Comments: I love short incidents in life, chucked full of imagery, leaving me with reflections.

By Mike Berger

I talked to him almost every day
as he goes about his routine.
He tells me that 42 empty beer
cans will buy a bottle of wine.
For his age, he is adroit at climbing
into a dumpster, plastic bag in hand.
His only possession, a battered grocery
cart. He lives under the bridge on 7th St.
He claims he graduated from the local
University with a degree in chemistry.
He started drinking when his new bride
ran off with another man.
I give him a couple of bucks on special
occasions. He's effusive with his thanks.
The drink demons own him. He can't
break the cycle. As I am heading home
I see him passed out in an alley.

Bio: Mike Berger is 72 years old. He has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and was a practicing psychotherapist for 30 years. He is now retired. He has authored two books of short stories along with numerous professional journals. His humor pieces Clyde and Goliath, Good Grief Columbus, and If Noah Built the Ark Today have won awards. H is now writing poetry full-time. Mike has many pursuits which include sculpting, painting, gardening, and baking bread. His forcaccia is to die for.

Editorial comment: Mike allows his psychology background to pepper into his writings. Here we have a simple yet very human story of a sad tragedy that weaves within our society in the form of addictions.

Loving Rain
By Steve Klepetar

Alone with this tired body, chest
and arms aching, and all this rain.
Rusty leaves cling still to red oak.
Good to be alive in April, witnessing
another ugly Minnesota spring.
Drizzle smells of screens and river
mud, puddles drift down my
deserted street, small tributaries
to some mysterious sea. Like a
poor sailor caught in an old song
I will go to sea again, take ship
on those winding waterways.
Hard deck splintering beneath
my feet, hands burning, stung
with rope. Oh, the dreadful wind
and rain! No squirrels, no diving
birds, even savage woodpeckers
who stripped bark from two
dead trees ten feet above the leafy
grass, shelter today, somewhere
in this sodden fog. How easily
everything disappears. Softball
fields empty as the broken hands
of slaves, infields soaked to rich
mahogany, backstops cold, misted
over with beaded drops of metallic rain.

Bio: Steve Klepetar’s work has been nominated for both the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Professor of English and Faculty Director of Advising
Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud, MN

Editorial Comment: When I get nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net to evaluate Steve Klepetar’s work. Loving Rain reminds me of when I used to live on Lake Street near St. Paul, MN so I relate to this winter notion well. I also lived in Edmonton, Alberta as a war resister for 10 years and ate cold till I could not swallow.

Inside Glass Houses
By George Moore

…in the wilderness
surrounded by a conference
of trees. All living things
decide for themselves, then
the simplest express
their certainties. Like
the loons and their long
range calls. No you
out here. You who
wait for the action in order
to begin. You who have
caused little to evolve.
Just wild, open lands.
The natural arrangement
of mind and matter. What
lives here has its way. It
insists. There’s no one here
to throw stones at.
Punish the world?
For what? We remain
a stone’s throw from reality.
I wake up some mornings
angry at the sky. Without
reflection. Its omnipotence;
our singularities. I think
there must be a way to deny
blueness, eat the air, crack
the shell of me. Or undo
the trouble caused by
history. But nothing can
censure the natural forces.
I call all the worlds to aid.
You and that irreconcilable
faith of yours. No aliens
will arrive to save us,
we must fly ourselves.

Darkness Misunderstood
By George Moore

comes on of its
own space,
yet we are in
truth spaceless
such as we are.
Darkness actually
becomes us
sometimes more
than light, that
ephemeral photon
decays, its
more our essence.
Darkness does not
last, was there
before lasting,
has its own time
sense, its own
essence of sweet
We should court
the darkness as
we do the light,
mother of us,
mouth of us,
source of all we
emerge from to
return to. It is
in us, calling us

Bio: George Moore is an incredible man. All of his writing credentials are to extensive to list here. He teaches at the Univ. of Colorado, Boulder. He has been published in The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, North American Review, Orion, Colorado Review, Nimrod, Meridian, Chelsea, Southern Poetry Review, Southwest Review, Chariton Review, to name a few. He was a finalist for the Richard Snyder Memorial Prize, from Ashland Poetry Press, in 2007, and earlier for The National Poetry Series, The Brittingham Poetry Award, and the Anhinga Poetry Prize. He has been nominated four years for a Pushcart Prize.

Editorial Comment: George is a twister. He takes world views and philosophy, sprinkles some crystal like images in the mix and comes up with a creation.

A Cool Night In Spring
By Bobbi Sinha-Morey

Dragonfly with transparent
wings taps on my window
at night so I look for my
flashlight and go outside
hoping to catch a glimmer
of it before it flies away
into the sky. It disappears
much too quickly and all
that's left to see is a tip
of moonlight the rest of
it hidden by dark cirrus
clouds. Stars quietly
appear but they are too
few to light the pavement
by. I long to capture them
and wait for the day to
eclipse the long shadows
that dare block the sun.

The Edge Of Dawn
By Bobbi Sinha-Morey

In the pale silver light
of the morning star
I waken below the dark
stand of pines and wait
for the sun half hidden
in the obsidian sky
the glow of my small
white candle guiding
me through the woods
till the edge of dawn
arrives touching the
earth, gracing the trees
like a red golden dream-
scape opening like leaves,
casting its brightness
above me as I walk
quietly, the sun dimpling
my skin. I gaze by the
stream at my home so
far away seeing a lamp
shining within.

Bio: Bobbi Sinha-Morey is a book reviewer for the online magazine Specusphere and a poet. Her poetry's appeared in places like Ceremony, Falling Star Magazine, Poet's Espresso, and Smile, among others. Her latest books of poetry, The Quiet Scent Of Jasmine and Stillness In The Garden Of Light, are at Her e-mail address is

Editorial Comment: I have published Bobbi’s works before. He has a way with story telling and images buried inside.

Judas, all too Judas
By Phillip Ellis

If I could live outside myself,
without my head, without my flesh,
I doubt I'd meet another man
more deserving of obscurity.
No righteous anger could redeem my soul,
no measure of human mercy rained
could salve a conscience compromised
by four decades of domination.
No amount of mercy could wash away
my youthful follies still committed,
or drown the pain, panic and fear
that litter my life, my head, my flesh.
If I could live without myself,
would despair still be an issue?
Would I have the strength to talk,
or sell myself to silence?

The Clouds, Flying through at Altitude
By Phillip Ellis

The clouds upon my tongue
are rings of light,
that melt to moisture
and the cool gaze
of a bored duenna
on a Mediterranean balcony
against the deeper blue
of sky
imprisoning scattered
cumuli. How I fly here,
this night, with hovering
stars and city lights beneath,
thin patterns and patters
of constellated light
unseen and unsighted,
the moon mirrored
by rings of white light,
pallid moon bows
bursting with the sting
of brilliance against the blue
so deep it seems
black again. How I hover,
the cloud streaming through
the canopy, the ghosted
outlines of my aircraft,
the abstract dreams
and opinions
over the oceans and seas
to another land
of Mediterranean skies.

Bio: Phillip A. Ellis — Poet, Banora Point NSW Australia. Phillip A. Ellis is an external student of the University of New England, Australia. He is majoring in English, and also writes criticism.
Editorial Comment: I consider Phillip a personal friend. I also know he works harder at his craft than anyone I know. The first poems appears to be one of introspection, but of history, or the personal life of the poet? The 2nd is purely the blood stream of Phillip Ellis.

By Sarah Sisson

I thought I could get what I wanted
by giving myself away.
All I got was less of me.
I often thought that I would get control
if I gave up my body.
I just became less demure.
When people would stare at me
I felt important.
They don't remember who I am or who I was.
I snuck around thinking I wouldn't get caught
doing bad things.
I know I did them.
When I went out I wanted
to be the prettiest woman in the room.
Sometimes I was.
But all the control
I thought that I had
was a fantasy,
one that can still be so real.

Bio: Bio: Sarah Sisson is a professional singer in Texas. As a poet, Sarah has felt compelled to express every emotion in a simple way. A thirty seven year old woman who has lived her life in and out of jails, sanitariums and experienced pain with bi polar disorder.

Editorial Comment: Often poets, including myself, start from rough beginning. All we need is hope and a new direction. Our experiences formulate our art, open our hearts on paper. Here we have a fine example
Of that.

Afraid to Come Back Down
By Maranda Russell

I feel cold today.
Lost somewhere inside myself
struggling but unable to find a way out.
Everything is separate from me
my husband
my house
my job
even my cat's smile
doesn't do it's usual trick.
I'm disconnected
floating somewhere in the atmosphere
afraid to touch down
afraid of splintering
into a million bits of glass.
If I come back to earth
I'll cut myself and everyone else
into scarlet ribbons.
It's better if I just stay here
alone and disoriented
but more or lessstill in one piece.

Waiting On Something to Happen
By: Maranda Russell

Every day I wake up
eat my cheerios in the blue bowl
take my shower praying
there's enough hot water left
and leave for work.
I wait for something to happen.

At work I occasionally do something
and spend the rest of the day
trying to look like I'm busy.
I sneak moments here and there
to read my latest self-help book
or eat a handful of M&M's.
Still waiting for something to happen.
On the drive home
I dream about how the day
could have gone.
Where I could have been,
what I could have done.
I try not to crash into anyone
while I daydream
about something happening.

Now I wonder though
if I'm missing it all.
If I'm ignoring all the great things
that do happen,
just because I'm too lost
in my own ideas
of what should be.
I fear someday
I will regret
living mostly in my head
while the world around me

Bio: Maranda Russell is a 3rd generation writer who has been published in a few literary magazines. By day she puts up with grouchy doctors and at night she puts up with 3 emotionally disturbed cats and a wonderful husband.

Editorial Comment: Often poets start writing to find their way out of emotional hells, moods, and try to make sense of life. Maranda writes a lot like I used to, and still do, in an emotional, imagistic manner. It is simple, revealing, honest. The lady has a growing talent. My cat Nikki is not disturbed, but I am.

The Balcony
By Steve Picotte

An old man sits on his balcony and watches
the comings and goings of other
sand their intermingling.
The cacophony of voices float to him
and uplift his loneliness with their chaos;
he sees two lovers meet with laughter
and he smiles to himself in remembrance of younger days.

For a time, he is complacent; for a time.

The intrusion of gaiety into his somber morning
speaks volumes of whispered images
and a solitary teardrop slips down the bed
of wrinkled softness to hang from his chin unnoticed.
I stand quietly, watching his reverie with empathy
and then slowly move to return his frail body
to the crumpled death-bed of loneliness
where once he shared passionate lifetimes
with the woman who was his wife.

For a time, he was complacent; for a time.

A small sigh escapes his lips and he stares
at the textured plaster ceiling where
shadow and light play duels in little pockets.
He whispers to me as I turn to go-
"I loved her so much, Alan, so much...
I miss her, each moment, every day."
I tuck the blanket around his neck,
and wipe the liquid trace of sorrow
away with a gentle palm.

A young man sits on his balcony and watches
the comings and goings of others
and their intermingling.
The cacophony of voices float to himand bring him
to loneliness with their chaos;
he sees two lovers meet with laughter
and he smiles to himself in acceptance of older days.

Bio: Steve Picotte currently resides and writes in Kansas while working in building maintenance and information technology. When he's not working or writing he spends time with his fiancée, who swears he loves computers more than he loves her.

Editorial Comment: I’m a sucker for poetry with a good story. Here you see the transgression and passing of an old man and his life; and the sense of renewal all over in the last paragraph.

Rhetorician Retires
By R. W. Haynes

Sometimes you have to roll the dice.
With my fairly faithful hell of a dog
Beside me, sound asleep, legs in the air,
Hardly the lion of Beatus Hieronymus,
Nor am I all that blessed, by the way,
And though aquila non capit murem
(The eagle will not mess with a mouse)
I seize the mouse and click as though
Mice themselves were the forelocks of opportunity.

Take that, forces of darkness, and that,
O blank screen of death, and may this magnetism
Galvanize the ages, patch broken hearts,
Pay a few bills, cause unmet faces
To remember my name, dismay my detractors
Et cetera. Wake up, Samuel. Time for bed.

Bio: R. W. Haynes, a professor by trade, has begun in his declining years to submit some of the poetry and fiction he has written. So far, he has had modest success, occasionally impressing his wife. He is fond of rivers, and, since he moved to Laredo in 1992, has drawn most of his poetic provocation from the Rio Grande, with some digressions generated by the Nueces. He grew up near the Alapaha, a Georgia river which, upon crossing into Florida, wisely disappears underground, and he has rejoiced in potamic gurgles from Bulgaria to Nayarit.

Editorial Comments: After wading through this poem and requesting clarification of a few phrases from the author-and only being and ex-social worker 20 years ago, not an academic, I came to a slow realization I liked this poem because I think I like his dog. Other than that, great poem!

By J. H. Johns

I’m Eliot Spitzer
I’m here to tell you about
(holds up a condom in foil)
you know,
after a hard day
of governing in Albany-
or even when I’m kicking back
in my Park Avenue apartment-
there comes a time
when I think about slipping into a
yes, Trojans-
and even though I don’t use them-
they are the safest thing
between yesterday and tomorrow-
take it from me-
Client Number Nine-
try Trojans-
they won’t keep the Feds from getting you
but, they’re the best insurance you can buy-
this side of Wall Street-
so, whether you’re just having fun
or dropping a thousand dollars an hour-
use Trojans.

Bio: J.H. Johns lives and writes in New York City

Editorial Comments: How timely can we get,
And what is poetry but a sense of humor on occasion?

For 35 Cents
By Louie Crew

The paper smelled already parched
in the cheap drugstore version
of Giovanni's Room
which I sneaked home,
tucked between a McCall's and a Collier's,
to read for the first time
about real people
who had never been locked up,
excommunicated, or psychoanalyzed
even though they shared my kind of plumbing.

For seven years various guests located it
on a shelf of related titles,
and we knew.

Bio: Louie has edited special issues of College English and Margins. He has written four poetry volumes Sunspots (Lotus Press, Detroit, 1976) Midnight Lessons (Samisdat, 1987), Lutibelle's Pew (Dragon Disks, 1990), and Queers! for Christ's Sake! (Dragon Disks, 2003). He is also the dedicated "list manger" of the best source of poetry pubishers on the net:
As of today, editors have published 1,861 of his works.

Editorial Comments: Louie is one of my favorite people. He is a devoted person to poetry. Sometimes, with humor, and reality, we must read between the lines we are offered to find the real person we truly are: the above poem makes us think in those terms. Thank you Louie!

Trolls Beneath the Bridge
By Cathy McLain.

Cathy is an amateur photographer who lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and black lab Bailey. Over the years her love of photography has grown into a passion. Texas is known for everything big, but Cathy prefers to document and share the out of the way places her state has to offer.

By Carol Hollands

A lone flame enhances a scene
the softest glow of light
Ensues comfort and reassures
the hours of darkened night
Mesmerizing, hypnotizing,
with fascinating lure
A dance achieved precariously
so delicate, so pure
Painting walls with living vines
while silhouetted views,
conjure up imaginings
in shaded tints, and hues
Forms under a shrouded veil
set a moody romance,
and renders sightless gloominess
into a vibrant trance
The eye is blue in golden light
so heavenly divine
The candle, and the eye become
Entwined and genuine

Bio: Carol Hollands is from Ontario, Canada,
Married, a mother of two wonderful teenagers!
“I only write in rhyme, and I’m just now starting
To get poems ‘out there’.”

Editorial Comment: Carol inadvertently sent a non-rhyme
publisher a rhymed poem; but I don’t think Carol’s poem is trite.
Because I believe in her, I want her to see her poems do, in fact,
Have merit. Congrats!, Carol on a job well done.

1 comment:

University of Iowa said...

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