Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lori-Lyn Hurley


In the blacklit attic of his friend’s house,
chicken in the curve of the country road,
Jethro Tull and vodka OJ,
he teaches me sweet smoke shotgun
tongue kiss without the tongues,
tight corduroy, zippers and velvet.
Somebody’s mama yelling downstairs,
he lowers the weight of sixteen years
down across my fourteen while
Pink Floyd thrums my veins,
all bump and grind,
all sound and fury,
cheating dance and soft-turned sorry.
His sad eyes, her cute coat;
I was just a passing thing,
but real as the back door he broke open
to raid the minister’s liquor.
One night, one night, then two,
we slipped away like lovers.
And even though time has left us there
in that tight upstairs room,
it will always be the expressway somewhere
and roach clips on the rearview,
his hand on my thigh.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Peg Duthie


Rothschild Boulevard, 1 a.m.:
I am red light on the hem of your shirt,
pomegranate juice stinging your lips.

Oh, it isn’t true that everything is new
each time we start over. The skin I regrew
after each of our trysts is now my armor.

Well met is hell met with you, my man:
gelato will melt in neither your mouth nor mine
in spite of the lace that skims my thighs
drenched with a different perfume
than the one evaporating from my wrist.

Even as you lap up your honey-and-milk,
your phone continues its clamor at your knee,
buzzing as if it might barely contain the ire
of an eavesdropping god in disguise.

A cab inches by, its speakers groaning,
_Lay all your love on me._
The seeds on my tongue
each spell the death of a harvest.
_Don’t go wasting your devotion._ Ahhh.
It’s far too late to save myself
and yet too early to sleep.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Brenda Petrakos


I love rock and roll !
It liberates the kid at the New Jersey turn pike
The southern comfort daughter
The high roller’s son in his hotel on the strip
a shelter
a voice to remind
I love rock and roll
Every singer in 1972 was my friend
And they repeat their chants like
Mystic monks to tribal beats
And everyone knows the songs
And everyone sings with Mick
Or John and holds an invisible instrument
To their chest
And fingers
So savage
The air
Because we love it
We love it
We love rock and roll

Friday, November 13, 2009

Don Kingfisher Campbell


I no longer listen to licorice pizza
spin in my 9x12 cobalt blue bedroom
while sitting on a triple-sheeted bed
staring at band posters on three walls

I don't even pop a plastic pop tart
into a bulky black metallic cuboid
caged within a wood-laminated rack
in a corner of our shag carpeted apartment

I also stopped sliding aluminum bagels
onto outstretched "clay" computer trays
seconds later hearing tinny rockers emerge
from likewise-colored package speakers

Now just like the new young people I
download electronically ephemeral codes
which produce sounds sourced a hemisphere
away by a law-breaking Australian I pay

But I'm still enjoying the same music
so my daughter and her friends disappear
when they hear a cosmic pixie sing
without an urban beat or hormonal longing

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Peg Duthie


(after Kyo's "Le Chemin," covered by Les Enfoirés)

The wind shreds apart the spine of your song
even before you let go of its words.
You might as well be shouting to yourself,
pounding thorns into your own palms.

O lover, I'd give neither a fig nor a damn
for your punctured walls, your ruptured veins
but how (god damn) you are under my skin.

You hiss, "Je te hais de tout mon corps."
I hear, "Je te vais de tuer mon coeur" --
or is it "je te vais de tuer, mon coeur"?
If hate could kill, the grit of your ashes

would have scratched up my eyes
long before these latest vowels
began as a burn in your throat. O love,

only the whole wide world is between
your lips and mine, all of it crumbling
into commas, fishhooks, and quarter-rests:
I taste your fire in the ghost of your breath.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Joanne Merriam


breaking your own heart

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ellaraine Lockie


The contract requires
fur-lined handcuffs
and flavored condoms
for the lead singer in London

The four female string players
in anti-sexist mode
order vibrators for Milan

On arrival at their hotel room
one purple penis shape
protrudes from a basket holding fruit
bottled water and biscotti

Consequent arbitrations
place the piece of plastic onstage
in the percussion section

Where its middle C purrs
can be proportioned
in equal measures

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Don Kingfisher Campbell

I Wanna Go To The Sun
where I don't have to worry
about paying the rent

Shine on me with the music
of the spheres far away
from orthodontic bills

I'm Feeling Alive Again
forgetting what obligates me
to buy gallons of gas

I've got a Reason To Believe
I'll live long enough in this
universe to unneed a single body

Through instrumental Aperture
I rediscover my spirit
in tones without tangibility

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jeffry Jensen


The years strike an amusing blow as
blotches of talent only mimic a mastery
that once tore at the roots of an impulse.
This vintage impulse now has turned vulgar on fertile youth.
The aging rocker takes refuge in a continuous
night that swirls with a captive beat.
He must play off of charity and indifference as
he longs for a forgotten lover to fill a feather bed.
With a brandy for courage, he thrives in
the sanctuary of a wobbly whitewashed stage.
Ed Houston


Puff-Puff here
Puff-Puff there
Puffin’ in the daytime, Puffin’ through the night
Puffin’ becomes a career, no other goal in sight

Peeking out the windows, everyone’s a cop
Everybody’s watching you, they know you hit the Rock
Puffin’ with Barcardi, 151’s the lick
Winding up with car antennas and a flick of the Bic

Puffin’ in the doorways with your back against the wind
Puffin’ in the alleyways behind those green trash bins
Ducking in that empty house to join the puffers there
Hoping someone will want to piece up, spend their last bus fare

Playing the pick up game, Oh yeah! You know the one where you crawl around on the rug
Scoring points for picking lint, white pebbles and dead bugs.
Most ladies just start out being puffers, but eventually they’ll fall
To sucking pricks and turning tricks in somebody’s car or behind some wall

But let’s not leave out the men who started puffing to be slick
Puffing to get the girls and rock their world, then leave ‘em and call ‘em sick
Men who started out being hunters, hunting “strawberries” by the score
Ending up giving blowjobs or with their butt up, head to the floor

Alcohol has a Spirit, cocaine and heroin too
Eventually the Spirit of your drug of choice will totally possess you
And the times you choose to use will no longer be up to you
Your obsession will say All the time, and there’s nothing you can do

Puff-Puff here
Puff-Puff there
If you’re a Puffer you know what I say is true
And if you’ve tried ALL ELSE, I know what will work for you

They’re the Steps 1 through 12, and they’ll work just fine
Because they’re based on the changing of your mind
But you’ll need Spiritual help to bring about this change
Allah, Buddha, Krishna just to name a few, but for me, the Lord Jesus is His name

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Radomir Luza


the drums sounded like an angry ostrich
like the difference between plastic and stone
like heather graham in another movie where she does not take her clothes off

like mick jagger saying we don't analyze them we just play them
and the lead singers have become the businessmen they always hated

the sun hit me like molton lava like a new band caressing their first hit

like rod stewart without the attitude

the crack cocaine ecstacy pcp and heroine
the closed doors and naked needles

the angry stares and unmolested glares
the bloody knees behind bath room stalls

the margarita filled night the alley cat pisses
and east river brawls

the life without clocks and teeth that have not ever rocked
the darkness on stage that keeps people away
the stillness on mars
the spoken for stars

on an island near the moon
hey you guys and girls talk too soon

too many behind bars

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Joanne Merriam


Saturday casts you like a lure into my bed;
our mouths open and close.

The parts of your body I deserve least
are your hands, which move like chenille feels.

At some point we stop touching.
Some point later than we should.

After, you say I'm worried about the wrong things,
a gift I can't stop myself opening.

The night still on your lips goodbye,
I half expect to find money at my bedside.
Jeffry Jensen


It was the skinny guitarist with an
eye-patch who got all the unattached
girls on Saturday night after the hour
set of sweaty songs and bent chords.
The drummer went home with his
horny wife who was ready and willing
to rub down his heavy shoulders.
The singer couldn’t get off the stage
fast enough to hit the town with a
belligerent entourage of aging bikers.
As the last minute fill-in bass player,
I was left behind to drink up my share
of the take until I was fortified enough
to sing backup with the crying moon.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Scott Kaestner


omnipresent suburban slush piles
made kurt cobain scream for mercy
at the top of his mighty lungs;
i used to scream along
for that’s where i’m from
which is why i ran away
into the arms of a fertile metropolis
labyrinth with no limitations, no out of bounds
freak show filled with children of the damned
the doomed
merrily at play while the others just fade away
into the anonymity of one in the same
fast asleep in their picket-fenced
four bedroom
of space.
Sharmagne Leland-St.John


They came to mourn
They came to cry
They came to wonder
How someone so young
Could ever die

She had fame and fortune in her youth
The songs she sang were songs of truth

The moon it waned, the moon it waxed
Her train was slippin' down the tracks
The sky was dark the clouds were pale
When she rode out on a midnight rail

I remember her in the studio that night
Restless, and her voice was tight
All in a knot
Yet when she said goodbye who would have thought
She'd never see the morning light
But the sky was dark and the clouds were pale
And she rode out on the midnight rail

They came to mourn
They came to cry
They came to wonder
How someone like her
Could ever die

Although it's been over 30 years
Since we shed our loving tears
Since that night
When we kissed and said goodbye
Your star has never dimmed
Your ashes were scattered in a gentle wind.
The sky was dark and the clouds were pale
When you rode out on the midnight rail

For Janis
Joanne Merriam


I tell her about an article I read about hiccups,
how they may be an evolutionary remnant --
the same muscular contraction some frogs have
when they switch from gills to lungs --
and she rolls her eyes, very Southern, unconvinced
and says, "Oh, so now we're descended from fish?"

Below our skin, rivers, yes, fluid existence.
My mother's voice embedded in mine.
(When Mom calls that night, long distance,
we talk about that trick that makes me feel sick
every time I eat jello lime like the hospital's,
that makes her smell rain when
thinking of prom: this insistence on memory.
Who can guess what will save us?)

I turn from her cubicle to the window.
Behind my ghost in the glass it's starting to rain.
If you go back long enough,
I want to say,
we're all related, and isn't it wonderful,
what it can teach us about persistence.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Michelle Angelini


immovable mountains
stack themselves against
my passions
i'm not discouraged
i push back
sooner or later
beneath this pile
of dirt and foliage
i will discover
what i set out to find
Ann J. Brady


I woke up drenched
bothered by my faulty hormonal thermostat.
“This is worse than living in a swamp.”
The heat lasted longer than a flash.
“Must have been a man who named them.”
What do men know?
I told my doctor about them
he didn’t look up as he scribbled,
my hot flashes permanently recorded.
I picture
some unhappy male insurance clerk
with a vendetta
denying me coverage
because I bitched about hot flashes.
“Screw him.”
I flipped my pillow
let the underside cool my cheek.
My husband sighed in his sleep.
He didn’t hear me either.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Kelly Polark


I sing along
so loudly in the car
that all my frustrations leave me.
Rock on.
David M. Harris


Rarely, soapy-handed, I stop
and look. Who is that?
I’ve seen that face
in pictures, younger,
smiling, hair dark and glossy.
Wrinkles covered by
beard and bifocals, I might pass
for fifty.
In pictures from my first wedding,
just a decade and a half ago, just yesterday.
Slimmer, touched with gray,
without glasses.
At my sister’s seder
the day before yesterday
trim, with moustache waxed and a head
full of grand, grandiose dreams.
The wax sits on a shelf in the closet.
Where are the dreams?
Smaller visions seep into their emptied space.
Play center field for the Yankees? Cancel that.
Make a family? Enter a check mark.
Tear up the Pulitzer acceptance speech.
Write a poem?
Add up the score.
Subtract the losses.
Rinse off the past.
Start the next day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Joanne Merriam


We'd make a line and build momentum,
until the last one let go--
all the girls who love to watch
the world go by sideways.
Gwynne Garfinkle


back when you had to work for it
when there was one or maybe
two rock shows on TV per week
none of my friends even had a VCR yet
my dad got our first in 1976
a Betamax that only recorded
one-hour tapes

One night my best friend Becky stayed up late to catch the Eagles on the Midnight Special. I was at home doing the same, for her sake, really, because I didn't much like the Eagles. It was a clip of "One of These Nights" with frame after frame of seventies-groupie-looking women, with long hair and soulful eyes and maxi skirts, just photos of women synchronized to the song, and I imagined Becky, her eyes glued to the screen: she waited patiently, hope against hope for a glimpse of actual band members performing the song, the hope dying as the song passed the halfway mark. The next day she told me she'd cried.

Kate Bush swirling around to
"Wuthering Heights"
& "Wow"
her mouth an O
didn't know if I liked her at first
she was weird
an acquired taste
likewise dissolute little Ian Dury
singing "Wot a Waste"
and the Clash drooling and swaggering
to "I'm So Bored With the U.S.A."
but I played the videotape
over and over
till I loved them
new and strange

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jeffry Jensen


He came down from Canada in a dented hearse with
a guitar stretched out in the back and a buffalo in his eyes.
He broke many sacred arrows over his knee with the help of
Mr. Soul who hung out at runways expecting to fly.
I recognized the loner in him as I waited for an old
lady to laugh in between my trips to nowhere.
A cinnamon sky reminded me of a cowgirl who
counted all the grains of sand in order to go somewhere.
Carrying a cracked heart in his suitcase, he
dug out of a gold rush and waited for morning to
dance across the horizon as he listened for a new
song to crash into a creek with a different point of view.
Deborah P Kolodji


of a place we may never
we name the rock “Yogi”
as though it is ours

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Helen Graziano


A boy skips stones in the lake
Creating everwidening circles, ripples
Like a dream-catcher capturing hope

In action I am the rock held by David
To slay the tyrant, slingshot ready
I orate as pebbles in Demosthene's mouth

I am a rolling stone, I swing and sway, become scree
I'm a word hound, tumbling my gems
Till they emerge smooth and polished

A little rough around the edges, however

Who will cast the first stone
At the cowering adulterer?
Or am I the rock on which St. Peter built

While waiting for Godot, I suck stones
Transferring them from pocket to mouth
And back to pocket, sometimes Life sucks
Katherine Norland


A majestic boulder perched so high atop a cliff;
Yet it is said it will not fall, itʼs solid, and itʼs stiff.
It appears to be on edge, could roll with a gust of air;
But a hermit used a piece of the Buddhaʼs hair.
It said it would keep it in place, now covered with gold;
This has been passed down for generations and told.

It is a spectacle, a jaw dropping sight to see;
So easy to roll, yet so unmovable it seems to be.
The monks gather around the base of the boulder;
Bent down, arms folded in prayer shoulder to shoulder.
The nine hundred foot cliff holds the Pagodaʼs Shrine;
In Kyaik-tyo, Burma, a place now divine.

It testifies to the faith needed, a mustard seed or grain of sand;
If your dream weighs many tons with one strand of hair it can stand.