Friday, December 27, 2019

Raymond Fenech's poem "The House Breathes Its Last..."

The House Breathes its Last …

The intermingling loud breathing of life has stopped.
Within the silence the dust particles are invisible.
All window shutters are engulfed in deafening stillness.
The babies have stopped crying, the cradles:
one remains tilting on three legs, the other,
rotting, eaten by woodworm and time.

The mid-wives are old, now no longer in fashion
retired in some forgotten residential home,
or buried in unknown churchyards showing only
their dates of birth and those of their demise.
Today women deliver in hospitals or in pools.
Blood then stained bed sheets, umbilical cords were cut neatly
with scissors, excitement, celebrations clinking of glasses.

Marbles no longer rolled nosily down the stairs
coloured rainbows trapped in transparent glass.
Only one remains resting at the foot of the steps
embedded in grey filth accumulated over years.
People’s ghosts are now sightless gazing sadly
on all these memories captured in time capsules.

Now its end is near, the velvet red curtains drawn,
once the owners’ pride, this house is now
a mass of creviced walls and humid cracked paint,
a discoloured time-consumed corpse.
They had carefully designed each child’s room:
fuchsia pink for girls and sky blue for boys:
now all is quiet except for the lamenting silence
shrieking in this uninhabited place with no light,
and a broken chandelier hanging on its rusty chain.
Foot prints only mark the grey marbled floors 
Stained, the shine gone, its ghostly reflections dusty grey
like a sun setting after a rainstorm in the invisible light.

Then the deafening noise outside, the trembling explosion,
as the giant iron ball struck the barricading walls
protecting its privacy from the rest of the world outside.
Its lungs collapsed as it heaved a last long agonizing sigh
in a pile of gory debris where so many people lived and died:
the many life sagas, grief, joy, moments of glory, of strife
all gone in a wink of an eye like each human journey in this life.

© 2019 Raymond Fenech

Bio: Twice nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize by two different publishers in New York and Los Angeles respectively, between June and November 2017, Raymond Fenech was appointed associate editor of a New York based literary magazine.
Born in St. Julian’s Malta, Fenech embarked on his writing career at 17, freelancing for two major Maltese political newspapers, The Democrat and Il-Mument and consequently became a full time journalist with the leading English newspapers, The Times and Sunday Times of Malta.
Besides working as a freelance reporter and journalist for almost 10 years, the author left journalism in 1986 to look for pastures new and worked for the second largest advertising agency on the island.
Later he also founded The Globe Trotter Magazine which was financed by Mondial Travel Group, and was appointed editor and regular contributing writer. Ray was also an editorial consultant to Golden Gate Ltd’s magazine, Lifestyle and editor of the nation-wide distributed magazine, Living 2000.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Two Poems by Jack G Bowman "After Watching 'Behemoth'' and "Impeachment Proceedings"

After Watching Behemoth

Phosphorous, radium enlightenment
Uranium 238 smile,
the scientist from the NRC
watches the sky,
mystery crashes in the atmosphere

wonders in sci/fi;
‘if aliens are changing the atmosphere so it’s easier for them to breathe’

or if that’s just another excuse for greedy, heartless sapiens
to pollute the planet 

sad, acid, fog tears, burns, scars
Earth trembles

waits for another large asteroid,
already past due

or some new dangerous giant to come up from the ocean depths
to do a little payback.

Impeachment Proceedings

His peacemaker role now becomes a resistance martyr
flames of frightened villagers march to storm the castle
he sees them, feels the mob blood rise
it is exciting, easy to join in

so he backs off
his one reflective desire
to observe; takes over,
intellect overrules the immense emotional wave

there cannot be too many mistakes
or the castle will send its soldiers to stomp the rebellion
storm troopers and with vengeance and sharpened blades
death, makes the man curious,
to watch at a distance

they no longer pretend to listen to him
the walls must come down,
the king must be tried and hung
and the land must become fertile again

maybe… maybe.

Jack G. Bowman is a licensed psychotherapist (LMFT MFC42855) poet, composer, artist and performer in Southern California. His poems have been widely published in small presses across the US, UK, India, Mexico, and on the internet since 1991. He has written reviews for Poetix and poeticdiversity, and he was a member of the poetry groups Third Person Singular, Duotribe, and The Furniture Guild Poets. In recent years, he's been published in Altadena Poetry Quarterly, Spectrum Anthologies, and Fevers of the Mind. In 2016, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

1. Thanatos on a Southland Freeway
2. Paranormal Libido
3. Incarnate Canals of Mars
4. Unnatural Fire
5. Diamonds in the Sand
6. Vision and Presence
7. Moths Singed by Moonlight
8. Serpents in the Stratosphere
9. A Walk into Darkness
10. Red Velvet Apocalypse
11. Other Realms of Being
12. Incandescent Silence
13. The Troublesome Tales of Frank Macabre
14. Ego Syntonic Jasmine
15. Metamorphic Consequences

Psych Workbooks

The 8 Week Self-Esteem Workshop
The Dilemmas of Men
Reading People

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Stefanie Bennett: Two Poems "Attention" and "Word Forest"


Renegade neutrons
Fall apart
On the front lawn
Yet – you, with
Your cold
            Hand them
A clean
Of health. It’s

Strange how
A ‘for real’
Shooting star’s
Never around
You want

Word Forest

And I saw you return in
     The dream I’d
       Not dreamt

 © 2019 Stefanie Bennett

Stefanie Bennett, ex-blues singer and musician, has published 14 volumes of poetry, a novel, a libretto, two chapbooks, and worked with (No Nukes) Arts Action For Peace [now ICAN] – the Institute of Modern Languages & Equality. Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee] she was born in Queensland, Australia.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Mariano Zaro's Decoding Sparrows

There’s an infinite number of reasons to write, as well as read, quality poetry. The most important, in my opinion, and based on my experience, are the following: love of language, development of one’s spirituality/empathy, and to document the deeper moments of human existence. To be able to harness all three in a poem is a challenge, though every poet I’ve ever read strives to do their best. Very few poets consistently succeed, and one of those is Mariano Zaro. His work, over the years, has been a steady journey toward this poetic trifecta, and his newest collection, Decoding Sparrows (© 2019 What Books Press), is proof of his mastery.
     Decoding Sparrows, divided into three parts, contains personal accounts of people who populate Zaro’s universe; family members from his youth in Spain (“Decoding Sparrows”, “Old Petra”), friends and lovers (“Convenience Store”, “The Crown of Youth” ), as well as strangers in passing who’ve left their mark on his poetic consciousness (“Nun Eating a Small Apple”, “Street Vendor”). 
    Zaro’s minimalist style and dialogue launch the reader right into the heart of each poem, where they become one with the person who’s interacting with Zaro. It’s a powerful and unique synthesis of reader, poet, and subject, most notably in the poem, “They Say Fire is the Tongue of God”, where Zaro takes a Benedictine Anglican monk, Brother George, to the remains of his monastery, which burned down to the ground during the Tea Fire (2008), in Santa Barbara, California:

Past fire extinguished inside cold volcanic rocks.
Future fire in lightning, war, and funeral pyres.
Present fire in this combustion that we are.

I drive Brother George to the monastery.
To the place the monastery used to be.
This is his first time back here
after the fire destroyed it all.

I bring my dog Cooper with us, because he loves
Brother George, because he may help
sort out the path of grief.

It’s hard to believe, Brother George says
when we arrive, standing at the edge of the road.
   The tower was there, he says, pointing
     at the air on a clear Saturday morning.

Workers have removed the rubble.
Brother George walks into the dark, flat ground.
The library was there, he says. The refractory,
the pantry, our rooms, the main chapel.

The bell is still standing, lifted on a tall, uneven tripod.
A bell big as a horse’s head, all bronze but humble.
Almost embarrassed by its survival.

Brother George rings the bell, three times,
and the sound, violent and soft, rolls down
the mountains that open like a throat.

Cooper gets agitated, starts barking at the sky,
eyes furious, leash tense. I kneel down and
cover his ears. It’s okay, it’s okay, I say.

Brother George leans his forehead against
the bell, suffocates the last breath of sound,
and all is quiet again, inescapable.

© 2019 Mariano Zaro

     Poetry is a gateway to empathy, an ever diminishing commodity in this present age. Zaro’s Decoding Sparrows will help keep readers in touch with their humanity, as well as their humility, the two best qualities that make us, as a species, worthy of survival.

Decoding Sparrows, Mariano Zaro, © 2019 What Books Press (, ISBN 987-1-5323-4145-8, 111 pages, $17.95

© 2019 marie c lecrivain

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Wyatt Underwood's poem "To Computers and Oz"

I discovered you in 1965
you were eighteen and I was twenty-three
I felt like I had stumbled into a Norse doom
doom was what the Norse called fate
so it didn't have the grisly connotations doom has in English
but computer languages were like riddles, like puzzles
and I was asked to learn them, make them mine
then tease computers into solving problems we'd invented
how fast would a rocket climb?
how fast would fuel boil away?
how much fuel would a rocket need to...
oh!  I felt like a wizard solving those
and thrilled to take on the next ones
how does the spacecraft aim its camera?
and keep it from pointing at the sun?
and later how to use what we knew of gravity
to turn nothing more than doppler sounds
into probable locations of the spacecraft
it wasn't magic but it felt that way
and, better than magic, it worked
ah, computers, that was the trick of you
whatever we programmed you to do, you did
and that let us map the surface of the moon
and plan the trip to Mars and later Jupiter
the world was good then
I could and did forget Vietnam
Central and South America
it was just that one day when I looked up
the magic failed
I was a little tool in a big box of tools
and we were busy fooling people that we were doing good
we were the curtain the man used to disguise his tricks
and once the curtain began to tatter for some of us
soon it tattered for too many
and people no longer wanted to pay for the curtain
or for the man behind it
but by then he'd made himself indispensable
he and his minions swept away the shreds and bought a new curtain
velvet instead of linen
and it still works today
when Vietnam has become Afghanistan, Iraq, and whoever else we add
the man behind the curtain is busier than ever before
and I have lost the ability to see how he spreads good works
as well as so much misery
come on, Oz-makers!
weave us your spells again!

© 2019 Wyatt Underwood

Wyatt Underwood has been participating in the Los Angeles poetic communities since late January 2010.  He has published six books of poems and has had a collection of his poems published by World Stage Press.  He co-hosts or hosts at three sequences of open mics - at the Encino - Tarzana Branch Library, at the Westwood Branch Library, and at Beyond Baroque in Venice.  He participates at maybe a dozen other sequences of open mics scattered around Los Angeles.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Jack Henry's poem "and all for naught"

the ringing in my ears
never fades
day or night,
a constant screaming,
high pitched death wail,
it brings the madness,
it is the key that unlocks
my mind –

i sit in traffic,
ears ringing,
madness cresting through my skin,
an itch incurable,
a woman on a phone
talks loudly,
i hear her,
every word,
she is not hands free,
just talking & talking & talking -

& next to me
a man in a flash car
shiny bright
texts his mother,
or his brother,
or his mistress
as he

& my hands grip
the ringing & ringing
people slowing
& passing &
take it
anymore –

I pull off
the freeway,
return to
my hiding,
bury myself
deep beneath
the covers of
my bed,
& breath
as the
ringing rises
& i being
twitch again -

© 2019 Jack Henry

Jack Henry is a poet living south and east from Los Angeles. After a self imposed hibernation Jack reemerged and started writing again. Recent publications include Red Fez, Winamop, and dope fiend daily. In August 2019, Heroin Love Songs, a poetry journal Jack publishes, will see the light of day once more.

photo © 2019 marie c lecrivain