Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Three Pieces: "White Gold", "Mixtape", and Stoner" by Scott Kaestner

 White Gold (A covid tale)

I was at Costco yesterday afternoon and what do you know... I stumbled upon

an entire row full of toilet paper. White gold, two-ply porcelain everywhere

the eye could see.

And we face-masked customers rejoiced into our own breath, so excited to wipe our asses without worry for a little while.

“I’m gonna surprise my wife and splurge for the Charmin Quilted!” exclaimed an old man as he quickly ran past me.

“Me too!” I replied.

One by one, we hoisted toilet paper into our shopping carts as if it were the

Stanley Cup.

These are strange days indeed and priorities have shifted, but at least some of us zombies will have clean assholes when the aliens land.

© 2020 scott kaestner

                                                        "last roll" © 2020 marie c lecrivain


I am from generation

mixtape nation

where dual cassette decks

led to first kisses

in basement bedrooms

trying to not wake up parents

fingers pressing buttons

recording moments of bliss

music played past midnight

anthems to new experiences.

© 2020 scott kaestner


You are what you bring

to the buzz

is not


sage stoner advice

but also

a way

of life.

© 2020 scott kaestner

Bio: Scott C. Kaestner is a Los Angeles poet, writer, dad, husband, and abides by the principles of ‘you do you.’ Google ‘scott kaestner poetry’ to peruse his musings and doings.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Ann Tweedy's "Beleaguered Oasis"


Full disclosure: the book I’m about to review was gifted to me, and is dedicated to our mutual dearly departed friend, Theresa Antonia, may she rest in peace.

    In the past 18 months, I’ve discovered, and with great pleasure, published the work of poet and human rights advocate Ann Tweedy, who, in my opinion, needs to be read by every poet and lover of poetry in the world right now. While I’m more familiar with her recent work, it was a joy to dive into her chapbook Beleaguered Oasis (© 2020), reissued by Seven Kitchen Press, as part of their ReBound Series.

    Beleaguered Oasis contains fifteen gorgeous poems, divided into three sections; The Body, Many Oases, and Immersed. Within these sections are several poems that tie together the larger theme of the work; a poet going through a journey of self-discovery, with time spent observing, or connecting to nature, or with people, until they are is ready to take up the journey again. Each poem is highly detailed, both in narrative and tone, and at the same time, accessable. 

    The lyrical and compact quality of the poems in Beleaguered Oasis are what make it an unforgettable gem. Tweedy’s greatest skill, as a poet, shines through every piece, especially in the poem “Lit Rooms”:

It’s night and the small tan moth

presses wings to pane,

enchanted by my light. Above her

the spider who’s spun

along the frame waits.

Did the spider, spinning, dream

of moth-juice, knowing light 

would draw one? And who

besides a moth can decipher

the call of incandescence-

whether the promise of nectar

or a moonbeam’s guidance?

Some posit she hovers

in a daze to let her eyes

reorient to darkness. But those

who gaze from lit rooms

watch light pull her and discern

the outlines of a why no smaller or bigger

than the why of any desire that pulses-

unknowing, unknowable-through us.

© 2020 Ann Tweedy

   Beleaguered Oasis gives the reader the opportunity to experience, and enjoy Tweedy, as a poet, on a different level. There are poets who will reissue, or republish, the same set of poems in a work they consider seminal, and more likely, sentimental, for a time they hit the mark. There are poets who will refuse to reissue/republish earlier work, as a way to exert control, and to satisfy their ego. Tweedy is neither one of these, and Beleaguered Oasis is a testament to the poet she started out as, and who she will ultimately become. 

Beleaguered Oasis, © 2020 Ann Tweedy, Seven Kitchens Press (https://sevenkitchenspress.com), 21 pages, ISBN 978-1-949333-64-0, $9.00

© 2020 marie c lecrivain

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Two Poems: "The (N) Word" and "Just About Legal' by Marvin Louis Dorsey

The (N) Word

Just beneath
my beautiful black
skin is anger
I've tried to push
it away but here it is
after hunting down
the young black male
do you know what
the son of a bitch said
as this young black man lay
dying in the street
he stood over him
And said
you fucking nigger
who you gonna get mad at
me for saying the word
the man who calls me a fucking nigger
I'm just keeping
the fucked up shit
Oh and by the way
The word nigger isn't pronounced
The N word

© 2020 Marvin Louis Dorsey

Just About Legal

I understand the riots
I really do
I was in my 20s I'd be
protesting burning shit
down too
I mean come on man!!!
What the fuck!!!
These crazy ass people
hate my
So much they're making
it just about legal to murder
my black ass
Another murdered black
man dead in the street
Keeping my shit real
if ya love me
Ya gonna feel me
I wonder how many
of you deep inside really
Don't need
anymore shit
Right now!!
What the fuck!!!

© 2020 Marvin Louis Dorsey

Bio: At the end of a workday, Marvin Louis Dorsey travels 60 minutes by freeway, exiting on a long unpaved desert road to his ranch home in Lancaster. There he is greeted by the wind, lone tumbleweeds rambling across the sandy vista, and a variety of farmyard animals. The dichotomies of city and desert, noise and quietude, and the confines of a cage vs. the expansive freedom of the night's universe of stars, inform the heart of Marvin's poetry, where a deep interior life shares the page with the wide exterior landscape.

You can purchase Dorsey's two chapbooks, Desert Prowl, and Casual Conversations, directly through the author. Email for details at dorseypoeticproductions@hotmail.com  

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Tuesday, March 31, 2020: National Women's Month: Alicia Winski's two poems "Our Little Secret" and "Flame Thrower"

our little secret

As our eyes met in understanding,
my co-conspirator tells me she’ll be making rounds
for the better part of an hour and closes the door
leaving me to gather a courage I’m not sure I own.

Dear God, I’m so afraid,
can I, should I
do this?

But God’s not here, is he?
and there are really no choices to be made,
there’s only one way out
and I clutch it tightly in shaking hands.

The pungent scent of ammonia wafts
through the air as the cap is twisted off a small vial.

The illicit bottle emptied, minutes (or is it hours?)
pass before I see it coming: lungs stalling, stuttering, striving for air,
while limbs twitch and quiver.

Rheumy eyes scan the room,
finding and fixing on my own.

Thank you, they say,
thank you for keeping your promise.

His cheeks are wet from tears
I don’t know if they are his or mine.

I love you
I tell him

as death announces itself with a rattle.
His body shudders and stills with a sigh,
at rest at last.

From behind me, I hear
he heard you, look
he’s smiling –

And so he was.

Leaning forward, I kiss the top of his head,
slipping our little secret into my pocket,
then leave the room, walking down the hall
to where She waits.

Always the innocent bystander.

© 2020 Alicia Winski

Flame Thrower

An enraged lioness stripped of her pride
I’m left licking and assessing wounds we’ve inflicted timelessly--
no idea how our journey together led us to this destination

I am bled out, dying by heart undernourished-
atrophied in struggle and starvation

So much time wasted, too many tears fallen
faith faded in a mire of hurt feelings and miscommunication

Everything we had slipped away thru bonds
breached by anger and misunderstanding

Putting yourself out of reach, into solitary confinement
you locked me out of a cell I would gladly have shared
if only you hadn’t swallowed the key

So, inflamed, with little thought
I aimed and took my best shot

A commando intent on unleashing devastation,
throwing flames guaranteed to annihilate on site
a man standing against a woman armed and dangerous

Over and over, my flame thrower smoking you
for every harsh word thrown my way only to be met
by a wall of by a wall of passive resistance—

an indomitable force passively absorbing my firepower
leaving us both burnt out -
two countries unable to come to terms

Perhaps we deserved every burn we got
maybe we simply set the fire too hot burning us
both up in the fires of our good intentions

It no longer really matters--
the war’s been fought and lost – pipe dreams scattered
lying cold upon the ground

Victims of emotional warfare
Rev 2020

(previously published in Running On Fumes, Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House, 2009)

© 2020 Alicia Winski

Bio: Alicia Winski, poet and writer of short stories, was born and raised in Southern California. Having spent many of her formative years on or near the beaches of Venice, Playa del Rey, and Malibu, her writing style, both contemplative and personal, is reflective of the affinity she developed for water, music, and color during those years. Along with her first collection of poetry, Running on Fumes (Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing), her writing has appeared in publications like … and it happened under cover (NightWing Publications), From the Four-Chambered Heart: A Tribute to Anais Nin (Sybaritic Press), Rolling Thunder Press, Cliterature, Requiem Magazine, Neon Highway Poetry Magazine, and Marbella Marbella Adelante! Having spent the last several years in Seattle, WA, as publisher of NightWing Publications, Winski currently lives in Los Angeles, CA, and continues to work on her second, and third poetry collections.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020: National Women's Month: Maria Arana's poem "Bury the Tears"

Bury the Tears

the ones you swore
I gave you

the ones that burned
your cheeks and pursed your lips

bury them
until not a single drop pours out

I’m not worth
all that anguish

I’m not worth
all that sorrow

bury them deep
deep inside

a black box
to match your black heart

then, I’d never hurt you
like you claim I did

and maybe
forever will be better

as we watch
the world’s sunset in flames

© 2020 Maria Arana

Bio: Maria A. Arana is a teacher, writer, and poet. Her poetry has been published in various journals including Spectrum, The Pangolin Review, Nature Writing, and Cholla Needles Magazine. You can find her at https://twitter.com/m_a_Arana