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Poem by John Grey – Whiskey on the Rocks January 5, 2019

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Once again,
one face floats up
out of the jangling whiskey glass,
one flittering shadow more alive
than all the big beef
in this barroom,
one voice in my head
that drowns out
all the sports talk,
politics and television rehash.

Drink to forget
and all I do is remember;
one sip and we’re high up
on the Ferris wheel,
comparing eye-lights
to the Chicago skyline;
another sip
and we’re lazing on the beach,
dancing in a club,
cooling our heels
while heating up love
on a verdant stretch of meadow.

One more sip
and the rocks are you,
melting into my head swoon,
or they’re the rocks below,
and I’m still not done
crashing on them hard.



John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Harpur Palate and Columbia Review with work upcoming in the Roanoke Review, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.


Poem by Helen Burke – The Teacher January 3, 2019

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The Teacher

I learnt how to cook from mam, but
It wasn’t easy.

Mainly she said..and there you have it.
This applied to Irish stew, Yorkshire
Puddings, and fruit cake.
Scones and lemon cakes ..she simply
Waved her hands like a magician.

The actual ingredients ..where you obtained
Them ..I was no wiser when I left for college.

I think there was a book
Written in invisible ink ,hidden in a
Sock drawer next to the book she
Took to mass ..alleluia

There is only one recipe she said
Follow it to the letter.
And don’t over complicate things.

Who needs food anyway. All you need is
Faith. The rest is invention
Designed to waste time and jam .

Poem by Jade Blackmore- The Old Man Sitting on the Bus Bench December 20, 2018

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The Old Man Sitting on the Bus Bench

 He sits alone at 3 a.m. on the bus bench|
A paunchy 60-something man
Wearing a baseball cap.
He sat in the last row
And watched the Rocky Horror Picture Show,
Singing and shouting along.
The kids sitting next to him gave him a
Perfunctory smile.

After the rice and the toast,
The kids in black eyeshadow, lace and corsets,
Walk out of the midnight screening,
They’ve learned something from their elders,
A bit of panache,
A bit of glitter,
Besmirched by
The obligatory modern outrage.

Once the old man was a slim firebrand,
in black leather and fishnets with a cheap hot pink wig
singing and dancing at the screenings
before it was trendy.
The decades left him alone in body,
but not in spirit,
As he waits for the #2 bus.

Old, alone and
Waiting for the bus
Doesn’t mean you should give up.
Death is the only cut-off point
For enjoying life.




Poem by John Grey – Ten Blocks to the South of Here November 25, 2018

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Ten Blocks to the South of Here

I see two men grieving in a shadow.
One says he’s fresh out of breadcrumbs.
The other put his stock in the smell of rivers
If only for a moment, I represent logic
just by keeping my mouth shut.
One says, the willows wouldn’t keep his secret.
The other was unaware her lips were on fire.
It’s night out. I am this empty mirror
slowly filling with what I see.

BIO: John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. His work has recently been published in Examined Life Journal, Evening Street Review and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.

Poems by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal – The Battle With Night and Into the Void October 13, 2018

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The Battle With Night

 I surrendered to the night.
The youthful days are gone.
I need me time. No more
getting too carried away.

I have become docile.
I shorten the evening
when I could and just sleep.
No more burning candles

 in the day and the night.
My sails are down and I
enjoy the sea from afar.

Pensive, without circles
under my eyes, I feel
the battle with night is gone.

 Into the Void

Hurled into the void,

into a vast abyss of


twilights without stars,

and moons, I go there

and make a life out

of the darkness.


Mumbling, stumbling,

I go on like a

withered corpse

breathing life.


In this blind illusion

I go down the path,

following the odor

of chance, brushing


off my burden. I keep

it together, whistling

and humming blue songs.

Life is a strange mirage.


Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal is a California poet. Some of his most recent poems will appear in Spillwords, Tuck Magazine, and Yellow Mama Magazine.

Poem – The Man Who Tried Too Hard by Jade Blackmore October 7, 2018

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His speech pattern, stilted and one-sided,
Brims with urgency.
Every word enunciated clearly, low pitched and
There is no hint of joy
Or irony,
Just a shell with a cause. All colors muted
Or subservient
To grays and a neutered canvas.

Poem by Helen Burke – Stopping at Mrs. Cooper’s House June 23, 2018

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Was on my way home.
Mrs. Cooper read books, had a dog
Called Darwin. She was not the norm.
Wore pretty skirts and spoke well.
Not many people spoke to her
Though, and she was a protestant
To boot, whatever that means.
We would speak of nothing in particular
But it meant more than the words.
Behind me was the beck where the
Hard kids gathered, their laughter
Like as if released from a dungeon.
I looked forward to Mrs Cooper’s house.
It had a softness, no edges… once she
Gave me a peach from her tree.
I ate it there and then.
Desperate for
Fruit, for the sweet taste of it
In my life.
They hated that I stood there, brazen,
Speaking with the enemy.
Picking up the fist sized rocks, aiming
Them just right, once I walked on alone.
Hatred is a lone creature and still
It mystifies me.
Once, only once, she hugged me.
Apropos of nothing.
No words came to us, standing there.
But we both knew what the hug was for.
And how long it would have to last me.

Poem – Single Room Occupancy on 86th Street (1992) by Jade Blackmore May 28, 2018

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The exclusive address would make people jealous
If they saw it on an envelope
And never actually visited me.
I could walk to Central Park or the Metropolitan Museum
But three people could barely fit in my room.

Every week, I went downstairs to Beethoven Pianos on the first floor and paid the store manager my rent in cash.
Another tenant, a cute blonde boy with a limp
Always hung out in the showroom.
We’d get Pepsi together from the soda machine
And dawdle by the pianos till a customer walked in.

The Grande Dame of the SRO, an artist who lived in the room next-door to me, always wore pastel maxi-dresses and walked around the hall followed by her cat.
She’d been there six years.
She was between apartments waiting for an inheritance, she said.

I’d eat fishcakes and spaghetti on Friday
At the diner next door, and
Listen to the tubby telemarketing pros
Discuss their prospects

Tourists from Germany,
Students on summer internships,
and party kids
Slammed doors
And padded in and out of the shared bathrooms
In slippers or rubber sandals,
Faces blurred,
Suitcases bumping down stairs
Every month or two.

I walked down Lexington with a Black and white TV in a box
Hailed a cab in the rain,
And reconfigured the TV in a bigger box,
With clothes stuffed in a dresser and in the drawers under a twin bed,
Half the floor crowded with a computer, printer and answering machine.

I’d wash my hair in the sink in the morning.
The window open to the courtyard,
birds chirping, cabs honking, children playing,
Then scurry downstairs
and buy a bagel and coffee from a cart on the street.
I’d start breakfast on the subway to midtown
and finish it at my desk.

Fell asleep with the Boombox turned low
after exploring Manhattan after dark
With friends.
Woke up and did it over again.

No snotty roommates,
Or screwed-up boyfriends.
No upstairs neighbors throwing used kitty litter out the window.
Sometimes freedom is better than space.









Poem by John Grey – Scarred Face in a Mirror May 19, 2018

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Ugly zigzag lines
slide down the glass like mercury,
a recurring wave
that stumbles the sound of confidence.

Flares fly off wherever skin is visible,
May as well point out horror with a cue stick.
And the mirror being cruelly convex,
a face bulges toward its source.

Promised some grafting,
you’re restless as the raindrops on the pane,
longing to be have it done
no matter the cost, the consequence.

Without new cheeks, new chin, new brow,|
there is no tenderness, no amusement, just regret.
A mirror cannot keep a secret.
This is the face that belies description.

It looks much better in dreams.
This view, even in the waning light,
can’t protect you going forward.|
It is a life with visible scars.

It has no dimension other than
what someone did to you
or what you did to yourself.
There is no honor
in any attempt to conceal it.

And indifference is a lie.
You are scarred for life.
You are scarred for living.

BIO: John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Evening Street Review and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.

Poem by Jade Blackmore – The Hospital Roommate March 4, 2018

Posted by vscorpiozine in 1970s, baby boomers, Jade Blackmore, Veteran Poets.
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I was 15 when my appendix was removed,
the old-fashioned way, with a scalpel and incision.
As they wheeled me back from surgery.
The pediatric hospital ward overflowed
And they wheeled patients two or three to a room
The little boy holding a red balloon,
The blonde girl with a bandaged forehead,
The freckled star quarterback on crutches.

Easter baskets lined the reception desk
In a failed attempt to make the kids
Forget where they were.
The fluorescent lights flickered on and off
Above slippery white linoleum.

Two nurses accompanied me to my room.
One nurse checked my blood pressure.
“You know, you’ll never be able to wear a bikini again,”
“No, no, they put the scar lower now”, the nurse rearranging the other side of the room corrected.
“That’s a relief,” I said, and my nurse chuckled.

An orderly wheeled in a strange-looking machine that looked like a small iron lung.
While the other nurse and a second orderly moved a bed to the other side of the room.“You have a new roommate.” The nurses said, and everyone left the room.

“Hi My names Claire,” A disembodied head with a pixie cut of sandy blonde hair and a pretty face emerged from the front end of the cylindrical machine. Her voice was outgoing, almost brash. We talked for awhile about the nurses, the bad food, David Bowie’s new album and neighborhoods how much we liked pizza. Her mother came in with a bottle of Coke with a straw in it, and Claire sipped some of the drink.

“Why are you here?” Claire asked me.
“Had my appendix out. And you?”
“She has some problems with her spine,” her mother said,
The rapid fire timbre of her voice
rendering further interrogation moot.
“Mom, it’s okay,”
“Shush. It’s getting late.”
A nurse came in and shut off the lights.

I drifted off to sleep and heard the girl weeping, “I don’t want to go through this again. Not another operation!”

Years later, I temped at a health agency for dialysis patients
And they sent me an errand to a nearby hospital.
I walked into a gymnasium-sized room
And made my way a circular desk in
The middle of a hundred cots
With bodies covered by sheets,
Some faces barely alive, some
Worse than any horror movie
The blinking of digital screens,
Complemented by cold plastic and knobs
Assaulted the sterile walls.
I stepped up to the desk.
The nurse looked up from her copy of People and I gave her a bubble-padded envelope filled with vials of blood

And as I left the room
I thought of the girl in the machine
In the hospital room all those years ago.
I hope she is taking her kids
To the supermarket or
Sitting in the audience of a Broadway play
or enjoying the ocean breeze at the beach,
free and whole.