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Monday 31 December 2012

The Non Herein- Michael Mc Aloran Reviewed by Zarina Zabrisky

The Non Herein-- by Michael Mc Aloran is a work of beauty.  From its crisp black-and-white photography design to the elegant spaciousness of the pages to the flow of syllables and ellipses.  I have an uncanny feeling that if I keep still and look and listen carefully--for a while--the lines will roll, rise and fall, breathe under my fingertips.  "Forgotten silences--traces to touch with severed fingertips..."  Mc Aloran's poetic realm is sculpted out of buried murmurs, stone winds, empty echoes, silenced wounds--sounds mistaken for colors, whispers sensed as touches, textures of unknown objects experienced as self.  Silences, shadows and silhouettes linger in the oneiric landscapes of hidden worlds, elusive yet tangible.  Everything is out of joint and horribly beautiful. This is poetry: The language at the borderline of music, shaman's mumbling and dreams.  Thus, there is a primeval, archetypal truth that reaches and transforms the reader--through the skin and into the marrow of the bones bypassing the trivial and habitual.  Beautiful. It is available to purchase directly from here

Sunday 30 December 2012

Zarina Zabrisky


her hair is crimson-orange

she says, "i'm going to die--"
sighs and goes on, "dye my hair,
since i might lose it
anyway.  chemo."

an airy curtain swirls in the wind.
traces of sundae flavor
hang in the fall air.
chemo sounds
like creamy sweets
in a horror donut shop.
desert is still in the window.

cancer lives in her gentle insides.
i imagine
it is as beautiful
as she is,
as her bluish powder,
her pale freckles,
her silver rings,
her tattoos.

I look at her pixilated print textile,
a sun spark in the glass button,
an illustrated bible on her desk,
a picture of her son
playing with a toy fire-truck,
an unfinished cup
of steaming peppermint tea,

and see death hovering over her
like a shadow of a butterfly

even her death is beautiful


Emptiness the size of the world
Is bigger, blacker than death.

Scars instead of the wings.
Wings withered,
Wings wilted.


Darker than even death
Is impossibility to love.

One is always alone.

Death is only a transit train:
Hell to hell.
Dying will not be hard,
Hell is always hell.


Illusions are the worst.

"Never" has a soothing consistency,
Like a missing limb,
Like an internal wound.
Like the rain bleeding outside--
Again and again--
Black blood rivers.


Death, love--
The same.
Nothing but loss.
Nothing but lies.


Grief is the scariest
When scowling.
My heart used to tremble,
My soul used to soar.


Illusions are more cruel than axes.

Never comes alone.
Always in packs.
Like yellow-teethed predators
Inside my screaming veins,
Eyes burning red-green.


One is always alone.

Saturday 29 December 2012

John W. Sexton


and flavoured to deter rats ...
live forever
as a bowl of sludge

a guitar note brands
a weal in thought ... mangling worms
push through

she secures the fog
with a golden cord ... daylight
is held from the king

barking ...
Laika makes entry 
in the earthless mind

Captain Kronk descends 
the soft grotto ... an
exhalation of become

a twist of his magic
her lips get hot

a glass door clinks shut
the beekeeper arranges
his beard of bees

her comb grits its teeth ...
Ophelia's knotted hairs
keep their grip on land

666 locust wings
to make that wedding veil
... the groom wore sores

maggot vixens
of Vhuck9 …
men for breakfast

John W. Sexton is the author of four previous poetry collections, the most recent being Vortex (Doghouse, 2005) and Petit Mal (Revival Press, 2009). His fifth collection, The Offspring of the Moon, is due from Salmon Poetry in spring 2013. Under the ironic pseudonym of Sex W. Johnston he has recorded an album with legendary Stranglers frontman, Hugh Cornwell, entitled Sons Of Shiva, which has been released on Track Records. In 2007 he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry.

Andrew Ruzkowski


“In the world of imagination, all things belong.”
—Richard Hugo

Brushed gray forms concentrics.  Shuffling sheet
metal singing rivets domed and smooth.

Smooth winglet, raked wingtip device vortices-

think of Yeats’ gyres.  The physics
of it, the it of it.


It is all about shapes and

lines.  A meridian becomes pulsate and
planar.  A weakening of gravity, the
field dismantled.  The matter graying, the

matter becoming air and columns through spheres.

Columns echoing splayed
radians to degrees.


I think about splicing algebra.  The variables
raveling          x-y,      x-y,      x-y. 
Integer-shoots like strings flicker,
it is a terrible thing to want perfected symmetry.

It is a terrible symmetry to want.


Becoming air twists ventricles and vessels,
becomes space between circles and eyes,
becomes specks in the iris and the distance
in a crystalline structure, the angle of grains

reflected in salt and light and years.

I breathe now.  The columns speak.
Half-tones click.  Vocal cords seize.

Again, gravity shifts elliptical.  Flex and flux and
the fluid body sinks to a curve.
Vapor forms in continents and water traps.

The breath becomes a rippling machine.


A torn ligature widens bodies and gravities,
knifes time-zones and measured space.

Blood swells from planet to lips,
from touch to touch to form,

from a prayer-cadence caught in daily lungs.

Sunday 23 December 2012

Sam Ledger

Russian Doll

Wholly it slips away, washing down a plug hole at the end of a bath. At the end of each day.  All the life I have inside of me, pink and livid flows quietly from here. How much of yourself must you lose before you are considered empty. The old massacre the young, pretending as they do so that it is for our own good, for our betterment. I was well before corruption tinged the edges of my skin with hues of ochre.

Devils wear headdresses on a Sunday morning, as sermons sound across stone floors and dusty windows. To sleep I listen to French radio, to wake from death I remove the nine volt battery and touch it to my tongue. There are different levels of torture, ones inflicted upon the self seem less justifiable, hold no measure to the force laid upon your body by better men. Or women. My (human) being rages under lust, rides a cresting wave that she says will recede into the distance.

You just breathe through it.

Sounds of gulls and water breaking over sedimentary rocks roll over mortality, immorally. We lay upon sand, digging feet into a myriad of grains. I have eaten each one, a sin, the body, the saviour. I am still uncertain why we walk the way we do, talk the way we have been taught. The cadence of generations, repeating. Lies stacked upon lies until we all believe the stories we have told. Someone knows the truth but we have buried her under the woodpile for the winter. Come spring we'll thaw her salve and salvage what we imagined our life should be. Gold weighs the same as earth, there is just more dirt to eat when it is the price we pay for life. Twenty one stones she collected in a bucket listened as each one fell into her pot.

We are pissing in the wind my darling, we are screaming into the wind. Our house was built two centuries ago, when things were so simple. These are the things we are taught when cross legged on machine woven rugs. No missing fingered infants fashioned these, we do not pray here. We do not pray at all.

Metaphors are reminders, captured under glass. Mariners went to sea to discover some promised land, but came back starved and black. We are not Jewish and no other fuckers would take the sickness embedded under their finger nails. Meandering as it does through a linage seized by low esteem. If you know the meaning of your name, you know where you have travelled from, yet I have moved no distance from beginning to end, This is a state of oscillation. Circles and circles. Under your own spell a young voice, unbroken diminishes after time. We age but we do not change.  Broken crockery is accidental; still it comes with blooded fingers and obscenities blueing the air.

There is so little air, she exhibits altitude sickness from her pedal stool. No one put her there to adore, more to exclude but they carry her down every night, to dance footsteps as a Russian doll, unpacking herself. Smaller and smaller, regressions until, broken, crushed between thumb and finger and pelvis.

Static hums from a radio, turning it up or down makes no difference to the sound. Emptiness of space has never seemed so large or small. It's all a matter of perspectives.

Friday 21 December 2012

Gillian Prew

The Missing

Never widow, just ruin in bone
in covers of black air,
of flung dust
a dark burst from the gone tongue.
The dressed wilt of these fuchsia breaths
weaved away thin from the turning lungs.
Living a long, bitten shadow,
fixing the eye to the anchored flower
petals of dry light whispering.

No God
I was born into the wrong fields. They stuttered
with ever-goldening, the black pulse of growth,
and I played right into their forest skirts
full of bluebells and night time. My house was
smoke and separation,
and lying still with booming ears. I read
until my eyes hung out and the walls softened,
my solitude gusting like a loom-gale.
I styled the damaged bone that held me up,
the ruined blood, the mouth of memories
until my mirror showed a girl ghost           glad
and I did not even imagine happiness then.
And now the rain comes like confetti
worn from too much wishing, too much
imagining a dress, and my insides remarking on it. A dress
with faithful skirts full of bluebells and night time
where no god ever was.

The Dying Season (for Milo)
Pink mouths
the fuchsias have fallen           open and glad
their plucked tongues fanned still on the wintering stone.
            And I,
tumbling upon them
with my day-heart and my needle lip
            ruffling them to wreathes.
            No griefs
in the quickening turn             the run of things
the birds fenced in by fog and wind
            the browning days
the dug-in sun.
            The dying season.       And the rain comes
loud as a twinning sound
                      pooling in the dents that absence has left.

Thursday 20 December 2012

Shari Caplan

Markers in Darkness
My breasts pinch and widen
like chrysanthemums bothered
by the last bees. Under my linens, a lump
of snow thickens like soft gruel, a curled weasel prodding claws.

The mother shudders a filmy current on amber hay
and milky lank slips into the straw.

Against the black ash we learn to read bark
with our backs. Your hot nerve eats a white gash
in the furrow, burrows a seed in mossy skirts.

Licked clean, a flower burns
on the brown foal’s breast. It will grow
annually further from itself,
toward each budding limb.

We too, its eggshell eyes tell, shall braid
pathways away from the heart.

You borrow
chrysanthemums, don’t know
you cannot sew roots back together.

you will go. Soon I will be moon-hearted and fractured,
splinted by many black branches.

I slip
into your current, cold as gold
and shudder like an egg out of its shell.

I climb the mare and follow winnowing wood.

Under the ash I swaddle a lump of red clay
in velvet green buds, growing
cold like spilled gruel.

Dia de los Muertos

Beneath the skin is a gauntly bejeweled
ivory. We crunch it today, remembering
abuelita’s rolled dough crisped in the pan,
the knobbiness of her fingers.

The cemetery wears a moonlight gown
of candles and bright white faces. The village
trails petals and candies. They howl a hurricane.
We welcome you to the banquet, abuelita, little sister, lost lover.

Awake, they moan, awake they cry
begging those who have already given
to give again.

“Tell us there is something after.” “Tell us
we can rejoin.” “Tell us you have not forgotten.”

We snip marigolds from our gardens
to wear in braids and necklaces, remembering
bright beads of sweat on a boy’s neck
who kissed us next to the peppers.

Between the spirits is a waxed wall.
We light fires to melt it down, so we may roll
a ball of red into a new moon.

We adorn ourselves because we know
one day no one will run a finger over our eyebrow,
no one will rose-festoon our graves.
Shari Caplan is an MFA student at Lesley University and a Boston-based actress.

Monday 17 December 2012

Chris Murray


Hildegard of Bingen

I step gingerly over the place where you begged for your death,
remembering how sore my hand was
and thinking it then a rehearsal for the real.
I was not to be there, when it came.

My comfort is in your chairs,
the one in the little study of tired books.
The one which looked out onto morning and evening star.

I watch the limestone outcrop,

I watch the flame
in the limestone
the purple, the yellow,
the loose-strife.

Devil's bread grows on this land.


The Beach

Dragged impasto of seaweed
aches against silver waves.

I watch the wormholes
ferry their glitter of sand
in kaleidoscopes. 


In the rain its knuckled bark
has the gloss of polish,

a bottle-green patina.
There isn't a skull-head for pivot,
tension is held in back of its palm
it fists into the soil,

raising it up.

The Little Shelves

Your willow-bound pentacle rests
in the small shelves, the not for-show shelves.
Books on music, astrology, maths,
their covers cracked.

Your pentacle was unhooked after your death.
its gone from its place on the wall.
Answering as it did a seed tied into string,
that someone brought to hang from the curtain rail.

I found your tattered ephemeris,
A Vision, by Yeats.

A lavender swatch dries down on the wooden sill
where your hand laid,
clawed. You tensed it as you showed me the men outside.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Craig Podmore

Paparazzi Porn Atom
There are no pictures of Dorian Gray
Only heresy and matricide
On pay and display.
There is an abundance of an ugly
Processed by the molested,
With coke residue on nostrils,
Pubis gaunt and public spit on skin
Stuck in a delirium of a
Tortured snapshot;
Show them flesh and you will be their Lord and saviour!
Black Dahlia
Knife warmed up
For the stage
Of dew, grass and decay.
The ink is wet.
Her death
Hot off the press.
The cameras consume her soul
And drain the cadaver.
She’s a sex-bomb of violence
And her final two acts
Cut the umbilical cord
From the stale darkness of desperation
To the savagery of ignominy.
Encore! Encore!

Sleeping Pills & Soda
I am exploited.
Post mortem fame
Next to my bedside table.
My lipstick dyed
Due to my pill breath.
Voluptuous reaper
In the fluttering of my
Disturbed eyelids.
Phone receiver
In discussion to one’s own carcass.
Decay, denude of glamour
As the flesh morphs
Into a Virgin Mary
Of boulevard dreams.
Empty pill jars – the fleshy pith of my soul.

Craig Podmore

'The Hell in Me, the Hell in You' by Craig Podmore is available to purchase here

Saturday 15 December 2012

Peter Marra

night slaughter of the whisperers

an element of ritual initiation whispering
became painfully obvious
to the non-believers of sound

So blue, so go-go crooked
Descending into violence and threats
Honky-tonk desires
they make their way inside
An empty gun
a non-functioning piece for protection
prepare the bastard to my right

Speed Gang Diary written as the
Gang Girls Talk of
girl-girl blood
laughing as they
swallow fluids

She adores one filming her
with stretched out cunt
her skirt riding up her back
the shows play in a loop
inside a building that once housed
a museum of violence they look at the
mirrors he and she see what had happened
trapped faces sliced wide open

tongues flapping branches hanging above them
mildew and incense
snake into their nostrils many
failed attempts at orgasm
tableaus short-circuited in a search for brief comfort

the real thing is never as much fun
as the pre-recorded data played over & over
inanity drooling

a grave in the future
a deep touch
a deep sound spoken gently

women left to their own devices
lift their skirts to take a photo while
clad in moonlight
they’ll take a photo of a victim
consumed by lust and pain
Her skirt was up
revealed her huge smile

a young man clad in a used motorcycle jacket
plays acoustic guitar
sings in echoes and
jumps to the tracks
as eyes upturned
bloodshot whites
witness the actions

the swollen tongue of the sun licks
each and every one of them

sick with apologizing – they’re not sorry
slick with want they claw and laugh

catch a soul and kiss the switchblade

summer is here
summer is hers
an erasure

naked females lie spread-eagled in
the fields as the grass turns brown –

they’re giggling incessantly / teeth chattering
silent milk droplets wash the sweat away

as they beckon the moon to lick them warm
with its throbbing tongue

praying for the sun after its
image has been tattooed
on the soles of their feet

we’ll start at point 1
with the clinical hard push

of a celebratory dinner of secrecy and deceit
until the sounds that torture are erased

and go to a vanishing point

pleasure captives b/w creature features

Side A:

no silence
no sound
no walls
room empty
bare floor
bare light bulb

time recollected from
when she was there.
shivering fear going out into a world
they chased her down.

collapsible new faces grant
a touch of the air,
a time for the skin exclaiming for
the mantra reclaimed -
the thing that gave her purpose.

the one that she lost
when she took a spouse.

the bodies are
buried now.
the fish scales covering her want
are nursing the fear,

preventing the coldburn,
a burning with lead,
an overcoat of obsession as she
breathes and sinks.

Side B:

electrified we walk out
into glass shards electrified.

collapse - she said so
she said so
she said so

she liked the skin
as it slid down, then off fully,
with all the moisture
clinging clinging
the time is hollow.

touching the sky
pierced by spikes from heaven
fingering the moon.

petrified clouds hang in a heavy fashion.
she touches them once -
a collapsible fusion.

a laugh

then a fall,
silently embarrassed
by what just occurred,
a new way of feeling -  

it’s a pleasure that she
doesn't recognize.

last night she slept in a field that
projected green cooling skin sizzling,
as she negotiated for the arsenic dreams
that made her stronger.

toys that were so accomplished
entertained her for days

serpent handling: an additional killing in the boudoir 


the final test
her love of screams
her love of laughter.

at the table:
a nude female
diner transfixed by transubstantiations
seen in 3-D through the View-Master
reminisce about a childhood toy.

a miniaturized
woman falls through the air
arms rigid – movement voided
face adorned by eyes frozen
mouth decorated by saliva emanating
silver tears mercurial in nature
a touching,
a caressing of skin.

her nuclear shadow
(etched into the molding
near the termite holes) was
aggravated by fast breathing,
now a labored screaming function.

they amused themselves with
a giallo desire to be destroyed by knives
and left in a clotting pool while the director wept

her mommy told of madness
and tales of the snake-people,
cobra dances and reptile prayers.

her skin felt funny in the shower
water didn’t feel good
(it’s all fucked up).

the preacher didn’t help.
no help from a soul used up,
venom makes its way through her blood vessels.
behind the eyes vacant smiles

she brought warning signs
to others: 
our life-blackouts 
your infections
your mood swings.

the shower won’t cleanse
her skin was raw.
she turned on
she turned over.
the switch shorted out
a case of ungrounded plugs.

she counted two circular electrodes running scared
then she was more comfortable with the situation.

contact & control was a way of existence for her
the charge slowly mattered to me
her pussy lips pouting - so provocative.

“i think she was a second timer to the receptacle  and
she’s still there”

they  changed her face.
it was inside then it was good.
years of commercial use had forced a change.
she went out leaving the room of odors and pain
clad in black fishnet stockings –
to do some posing on the
black sand beach.

it’s where the rattlers were handled with no thought for safety,
where words were said with no redemption,
creatures charmed by the rabid snake-charmers.

she was deconstructed at 24 fps,
vibrating water washes her ankles,
removes sins.

afterwards she sat down with a wet plop,
smiling as bullets ricocheted.

this was a done dream, dear, dear me.
by the beach.
inside the house,
the maidens screamed for
pleasures they had lost.

a little game gone a little wrong
long used to the shock level
she measured  out 1 shock duration and 1 automatic failure.

view prey. pulse.
get some sleep. 
the sun came
mimicking a lifelike lust.

the ruins disappear behind them
as the extravagant electric vixens commit a crime

charmed charming creatures