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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 – The Couple by John Grey February 6, 2018

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Pony-tailed, bearded,
tattoos riding both arms,
his vision of driving big rigs
from coast to coast
has mutated into the reality
of pushing a lawn-mower
through someone else’s weeds.

 Straight out of high school,
bright red hair
too tight to be braided,
both cheeks freckled
and lips cherry-red,
her fantasy was to be a movie star,
but she married the big lug
and now has three kids
to prove it.

They live in a trailer
and barely get by.
They never almost had it made.
They didn’t once feel it
fumbling from their grasp.
The closest they came
was a ride in his uncle’s
ramshackle Chevy
and her drunken night
at a karaoke bar.

Big rig, singing star –
with those two?
Dreams know better.

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


Poem by Jade Blackmore – What Happened in Hollywood in the 1990s January 28, 2018

Posted by vscorpiozine in 1990s, poems, poetry.
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What Happened in Hollywood in the 1990s

She was an artist from Silverlake
When I had pizza with her at the Rainbow.
A slight, unassuming girl,
With black hair and bangs.
She gave me her business card.
And talked about how hard it was
To be a single Mom in LA.

Maybe, I said, it would be easier for her
If she moved somewhere cheaper, less
Inhabited by drugs and weirdos.
She cut dinner short because it was almost time
For the babysitter to leave.
We hugged and I promised her I’d stop by
And buy a painting someday,
But I never did.

Five years later, a street tough
Female, and poised to brawl,
Flaunts tattooed arms in a jeans vest.
She hangs out with a terminally insane rich girl,
Trying out
Pills, booze and
Pretend Sapphic sex
For the benefit of some alternative icon
Who barely noticed their existence.

When they found the woman
In bed
There was no note,
Just the presumption of an accident.
The name of the young Mom, now gone, was printed in the paper.
It looked familiar
So I grabbed the business card the girl
At the Rainbow had given me.
The name matched, but everything else had changed.

Poem by Jade Blackmore – The Morning After Dream January 21, 2018

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The Morning After Dream

I had a dream where I was an assistant to
An ethereal, tortured soul
And I could not keep up with him.
He ran off in the middle of the street
And sat in the back seat of his dealer’s car
Smoking a joint.
I tried to get him to leave
But he reeled me in.
For a minute I was right there with him,
Cocooned into his world
How could any other dream
Be as enticing
Correct, or comfortable?

When the smoke cleared, he was gone,
And I returned to an apartment with brick and lumber bookcases,
Cats and quirky roommates.
Brooklyn before and after L.A.

Just another cliche,
A generation collapsed
Under the weight of its arrogant joie de vivre.

Now the sky is colorless
Because it is better,
They tell us now,
To be safe and erudite.
And the clothes are thin and disposable,
So are the people,
The fame.
The truth
is a malleable concept,
You create it from scratch,
You make it into
Your own image.

A phone buzzed as the dream
The text read,
“Will you come backstage and see him?
He likes you
And wants you to stay,
to work.”

But when I got there,
The theater was an empty shell,
Stripped of ceremony,
Smokeless and silent.
The world had moved on.

Poem- Gentrification by Jade Blackmore January 5, 2018

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 Livable but slippery
Once red brick villains,
Now a horde of liars.
Vinegar tears from the old guard.
A concrete asp left over
from maladaptive days.

Protests fall on deaf ears,
A broken, lingering fear.
The mundane tapestry of day-to-day life
Shocked into submission by
The din of construction cranes
a permanently vacant building
Only the rats and spiders see their paper-thin but sustainable walls.

Laws were broken, then changed with the customary sleight-of-hand.
The lights go out
At the gymnasium where a one-eyed millionaire from the Valley
Tells bartenders and store clerks
How another luxury building will benefit them.
Homeless men raid the snack table
Then go down the street to sleep in front of the
Picture window
Framing a brand new, cobwebbed lobby.


Poem – Shinier Objects by Jade Blackmore December 7, 2017

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Shinier Objects

Cool and hip.
loud and obnoxious.
obscure, snarky and intellectual.
Academic and narcissistic.
And lacking in all protocol.
Edgy and underground,
Art fuck-y and self-absorbed.
Mix and match the adjectives with
Decades of faces and nothingness.
A parade of sculptures
With no discernible filling.

But tucked away in the corner
or maybe a few someones
forged a steady presence,
now neglected
for the wrong reasons,
for shinier objects
with nothing to offer except
eventual crash
and splatter.

They’re gone,
because like
they were too
pure for
you or
the barren, angry blur
the world has become.

They still exist somewhere
in a sliver of time and comfort
Back inside a cocoon
and unable
to defeat the
patina of lies.


Poem by Jade Blackmore – The Same October 22, 2017

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the same

the wreckage of a generation.
the good ones die early,
the evil ones fall like a house of cards,
the mediocre simmer and fade
to leave room
for the next generation
to perform
their version
of the same.

Poem by Helen Burke – What Becomes of Happiness? September 5, 2017

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What Becomes of Happiness ?

What becomes of happiness ?
Maybe there was just one day when you were happy.
Maybe you were small – 6 , 7 or 8 ?
Maybe you thought you had wings ?
Stood in your garden and planted a tree that a passing tramp had given you ?
Maybe you watched amazed as the tree grew in minutes and you
Climbed it , dizzy with the happiness of the day ?
The tree that wants nothing from you except that you climb it ?
Was that how it was ?

Maybe you sat up there, high , with the birds of paradise –
Saw what they saw, felt what they felt
Looked down on the whole world spread out before you .
Saw there were no shadows … maybe …

Maybe someone shouted then –
“Come on down now. Your tea’s ready . “
And you did , and that didn’t matter because
The tree would still be there after tea, just waiting for you.
And you climbed down, rung by rung , taking care not to damage your wings,
The leaves all the while whispering like lemon drops
And the scent of carousels and rainbows in your hair –
Just yourself in the crook of the day and the feel of those wings
And yourself with the sense to use them.
And all night and all day , you could go back out to that tree,
But you forgot it was there and someone said –
“A big girl like you doesn’t need wings. She needs to keep her feet on the ground.”
And maybe that’s how it was – until – one night ,
The tree could bear it no longer, and because it knew no shadows –
Maybe the tree began to sing , to call out to you
And knocking on your window came those birds of Paradise saying –
“Where have you been , my old friend, where ??”
And maybe you take your wings out from under your pillow
And trust once more to your feet in the dark.

And maybe that’s how the song that is happiness
Gets to sing in your life, all over again.


Helen Burke has been writing poetry for 42 years she also writes short stories, plays, comedy sketches and does painting and visual art.


Poem and Video – I Urge You by Anca Mihaela Bruma August 19, 2017

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I Urge You…

To meet me on the edge of the World…

There, where horologes grow their wings,
there, where distances ache our shoulders no more,
where the metronome dissipates our breaths no more,
and unbroken smiles do not grow…

The place… where… you cease to chase
The shadows of Worthlessness!…

To meet me where Eternity has lost its clock!
Where dreams live, unmutilated by tears,
so we can find each other
beyond banal bleached days
of senseless sceneless seasons,
where I may still taste the aroma of your morning eyes,
a Time and Place where I may cease to remember
how my roots were stolen from me,
and I may strive no more within the molasses
of mundane monotonous equations,
and require no more Mathematical solutions
of… this LOVE!…

I urge you to meet me
at the place where answers lose their questions,
with no maps or recipes to touch the Heart,
where words cannot shatter my hearing
and Time is not crammed inside a dusty lost note.
Meet me where the verb “to cry” is non-existent,
no walks on nameless maze of streets –
Instead, arched inside a hypnotic butterfly’s leap.

My Love…
I drew my Eternity under your eyelids,
words lost their senses,
past the borders between our thoughts,
just an additional pulsation for you….
to love me, insanely, without restraint.

No more random rusty routines,
Only… the Mirage of our cosmic Co-Existence!


Anca Mihaela Bruma, 31st December 2016

Copyright (c) 2015 by Anca Mihaela Bruma, All Rights Reserved, except the right to forward and to share with friends – with credit – which is held to be a good idea and is thus encouraged.

Poem by John Grey – The Breaking of the Drought August 11, 2017

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The rain is, at first,
like giant’s spit.
a few drops on the window,
a couple on the roof,
and then a half-hearted volley
that scatters its rat-a-rats
across the parched soil.

But then that giant
switches on his sprinkler system.
There’s no great force
behind the drops
but they slip into a welcome routine,
follow one behind the other.

But the big guy’s not done yet.
He starts emptying out his wells
and the sky is a grey melee
of a million tipped buckets.

Before long, the land is soaked through
and the word “drought”
is as forgotten as yesterday’s pop star.

But that giant likes nothing more
than to light his fire when he’s done,
sit down before it’s huge flames
and smoke cigarette after cigarette.

It’s the same giant.
Despite praise to the contrary,
there is no other.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Front Range Review, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Abyss and Apex and Midwest Quarterly