Words on Fire V1E3

Words On Fire
…Imagineers of Pyrotechnic Poetics
Volume 1 Edition 3
( for June 1 – July 5, 2014)

Picture [Music of the Cosmos by RC deWinter]

S.L. Weisend
Vicki Bashor
Don Morgan
Angel Austin
David Kernohan
Jean Billheimer
Michael French
Peter Schonefeld
Matt Cox
Doug Metz
Arthur Turfa
Denise Baxter Yoder
LeeLuu Lee
Kristy Rulebreaker
Ericka Zass
José Eduardo Coelho
Ric Rudnicki
Robert Horton
Amit Herlekar
Mickey Draca
Debbie Green Razey
Paul Chapman
Allene Angelica
Omukuvah Otido
M. Macharia
Michael Veloff
Rick Maury

The Poetry

Blank Pride by S.L. Weisend

Does it even matter?
Their bloodline,
crooked-faces carved in lime;
the graffiti of elite can never be covered up.

So, while you cast heartache at royal infants
when they are tiny and barely even teething,
and bounce your checks at the five and dime,

the world will have spun in perfect order,
the tea and oranges, served at the exact time.
and, you will sit on your sofa, pissed as ever
in your camouflage of white whine.

 I Remember by Vicki Bashor

It was a dizzy liquidation,
but I ciphered it.
A vintage table, some furniture,
some shrieking mother.
I ditched the entire event.
All my siblings showed but me.
I could not see the reasoning
in picking through their things.
She gave me handwritten recipes,
and he gave me more man
than I’d ever seen, just by teasing me
(what trouble you causing lately, Vicker?)
he’d grin, big blue-collar man,
and hug me close.
I’m a no-show at the viewings.
I heard later the stories,
headache blooming,
of arguments over the antique dining table.
I blew smoke of a cigarette
as my brother unloaded, unexpected visit.
Later, when drinking wine,
I remembered,
pulled from a sachet in my delicates drawer
a half-burnt lavender candle that was hers.
I didn’t light it, but sniffed in deeply her smell.

My Son by Don Morgan

From my desk, I watched him leave.
He was quiet, respectful, careful not to disturb.
Thinking, I suppose, that I would not notice.
Thinking, I suppose, I would care to live without him.

Now, I spend my days carefully removing the labels from my every memory
washing each and scrubbing them all identically white
hoping to forget that I saw him go,
watched him go, let him go.

The Telltale Heart by Angel Austin

Dangerously tachycardic
Stuck in high gearIt can’t sustain this pace much longerSwollen with sadness, grief, and sugarSwallowed pride and disintegrated dreamsIt pumps. It pumps. It pumps, as if on an uphill journeyPushing blood through places pulmonary and of plentiful poundage

Added on for years of misery
Like rings seen after the felling of a tree

Labored breaths move rhythmically amidst the frenetic pumps

Fighting to keep time. Praying for more time. Hoping there’s enough time

To find rest

In another heart

to help




 Love by David Kernohan

Love tip-toed
Into the place
Between the breaths
Finding space
In the pause
She made herself
At home

She did not
Come in a rush
More like the
Blush of dawn
A prelude
The hesitant notes
Of an unsung song

Unasked, uninvited
She was not perturbed
She simply sat
And waited
And waited
To be recognised
To be seen

Like a rising tide
She flowed into my life
Irresistibly insistent
Seeping into me
Filling me
I drowned
As love tip-toed into me


[art by Banksy]

Coping by Jean Billheimer

When it’s quiet
at night
And I am alone with my
I can almost hear you

I stay still
so still
Hoping it was not a dream
this time
I can almost feel you

You’ll be fine
They say
You have to learn to move on
It’s time
You should just keep busy

Don’t worry
I say
I’m learning to move on
I’m fine
Just need a bit more time

You’ll be fine
They say
As soon as you can move on
It’s time
You should just keep busy

Go away
oh please
Leave me with my memories
I’m fine
I’m fine I’m fine I’m fine

Waiting by Michael French
“I had to philosophize.
Otherwise, I could not live in this world.”
― Edmund Husserl
+++++++It’s called a reduction.
Time is measurable.
An hour, takes up
one whole hour.
Then, the hour
I wait for you.
Measurably the same.
Subjectively very different.However……Neither is possible
without the consciousness
of time passing.
Arguably the definition
Awareness of a past, present
and an aching, almost surreal
longing…..for a future
with you in it

A Sonder, Part 1 by Peter Schonefeld

Restless Awakenings – You are out of your element in this crowd.  Too many people make a forced invasion on personal space.  Claustrophobia kicks in & you struggle to hold back the instinct to fight or flight (and just as well, nowhere to run).  Brushing past yet another stranger, you feel the skin of their hand touch yours — a flash of disconcertment and, in the next fraction of a second, a rush of images, feelings and foreign names assault your head and your heart. You receive a glimpse of memory, ideas, hopes and fears, all-of-that anonymous stranger: A sonder.


deconstruct a fashion life:
take bone and blood and tear,
the falling aways of rich leather,
polished floors, opening doors
and trackless ways splashed
with fine wine made vinegar


in autumn, leaves turn, fall,
get pushed into mounds
for compost

wind blows amber before me
feet crunching step by step

i pick up a stem of withered oak
(the one that Ruskin found all those
years ago) and realise

crinkles and turns of a single leaf
whisper all the stories of nature


he stood in the supermarket aisle
thinking there are too many kinds of milk to choose from


breaking up on entry —
bright city lights

brilliance of the show is
dimmed by a light array
reflecting off the wet street,
opening a window of doubt:
is it possible this was just
one of Minnaert’s illusions?


(for the first time ever)
his skin was wrinkled
and thought to himself,
so this is the flagellation of opportunity cost for not drinking enough water


the expression of a feeling
and a confidence that feeling is right


man screams
at young child on sidewalk —
onlookers walk on

i was an onlooker,
on this hot summers day,
and i walked on. the

violence of that man
as he screamed
at the little boy
haunts me still as i regret
i did not stop to help the child
but more

i did not stop to help the man


breaking and bending notes —
the hum of machines


thirteen year old with
a can of weed and two buds —
quiet country streets

i shuttle their friend about
and marvel at the ins and
outs of professional cage
fighting: smashed faces, ribs
and knees


he finds it an ironic kind of torture
that his favorite poem, a Goethe
classic, is penned in Deutsch and
he can’t even speak the language.
He writes a cinquain to complain:  my

is lost to me
as modern ways deprive
the voice of ancestors arrive
in vain?

…old man Modersohn,
your eyeless face
looking forward and


a fresh spring breeze —
along the path lovers walk
hand in hand

she’s wearing  the most  sheer  dress
ever possible and,  as the skirt flutters
in the light air, the  floral design makes
me think                  Dryad,
an image  reinforced by the faerie look
she gives as i follow the   step bounce
of her soft breasts and pinnacle nipples


deconstruct a simple life:
take blood and bone and tear

Your place or mine? by Michael French


Not the first words I spoke to you
But damn close
Lacking all grace or style

Even base etiquette
My condition at the time
Really no excuse

Brash, rude,
more than a little
full of myself

What you saw that night
The worst side of me
Loud, aggressive, childish

And…..yes, it was all for show
and yet
Somehow you saw through it

We have proof, I’m not like that
You get a feeling about people
and you are rarely wrong

The thing is
It’s always for the good side
the better angels

Once in a while you get let down
But it doesn’t change you
I hope it never does

1117 by Doug Metz [spoken Word]


Boxing Day by Matt Cox

I put my glove on
for him
to sweat on
and bleed

I intended for this
to be done

But we were inside
against nature

Until the breaking
and he collapsed
and I stood
over him victor

Fifty Years On by Arthur Turfa

Sidewalks filled with laid-off men uneasy with idleness,
Yearning for yesterday, terrified about tomorrow.
Smokeless chimneys stretching toward the sky,
Open hearths cooling longer between heats,
No rumbling of coal trains resounding beneath ridges:
The Valley drastically reduces steel production.

Searching for work, we visit a flat mill town
Punctuating the Illinois prairie, shade trees stretching
Across straight, level streets.
Farewells to classmates heading to Venezuela,
Rejected offers from Down Under and elsewhere,
We pass on the exotic and select Pennsylvania’s other side.

Heading eastward on the Turnpike, but not for vacation,
We listen to different sounds. Our own stand out. Words, also.
Trading buns for rolls, pop for soda,
Dahntahn for Center City, June 1964 is my immigration.

Leaving behind childhood’s things,
Moving parental accumulations
For the first of several journeys,
We carve our individual niches
With varying degrees of success.

Fondness of home remaining,
Reality settling in like humid summer air,
And we accept the best of the new homeland
Gradually blending old and new
Into the people we became.

Almost twenty years later, a University of Chicago
Genius who never sweat a day in his life
Lectures me about what my father should have done.
I suggest he confine his remarks
To whatever he actually knows.

Almost thirty years after that, someone lectures me
On the decline of the American steel industry.
Even though tell him from where I come,
An orotund explanation still ensues
As I look for another drink.


[art by Picasso]

Gotta Syfy Groove 

In a crazy mixed up post-apocalyptic world
Where all  pots are too high to reach
Where all  knives hang too close for serenity
Hear  a percussive possibility
Know without a doubt
There’s always a shiny side to the bottom of the brass
As strange as destruction is
Adaptation always had advantages
One of them being
A purpose for this extra arm I seem to have grown
It’s really hard to compete with a three armed wonder drummer
In a universal discordant rock hard band
A rum pa pum pum
A rat ta tat tat
Got a Syfy Groove on….
Move over
Let’s play

Denise Baxter Yoder

untitled by LeeLuu Lee

Frostbitten hearts, laid to rest their deceased counterparts.

Fleeting is their feeling of warmth, cloaked from the sun, another day gone dwindling down to insignifigance.

No guardian to be found, unsafe and unbound, descend your cold grip of emptiness upon all casualties.

With each grasp happiness shall cease….


[art via Tumblr]

We have no life by Kristy Rulebreaker

If it weren’t for
the queen’s newborn child
we would have
nothing to smile for
We have no life

If it weren’t for
favorite football team
who won the match
we would have
nothing to celebrate
We have no life

If it weren’t for
a TV show about
the wealth of a rock star
we would have
nothing to admire
We have no life

We have no life
so we peek
into the life of others
so we could ourselves cover
just for a while
with the false nectar

haiku – zaas by Ericka Zass

urgent flesh demands
paramours’ compensation
beyond tethered lips

Not That Man

After digging squares of alien existence, simulating a mechanical journey, driven between green meadows, cattle and orange concrete juice, he realized the place
was not fit for his dying.

Delicious, forbidden hours
were left
neglected behind practical, functional, time framed issues.
Every insignificant detail was taken care of, smoothly, planned in advance, beyond a rising midnight sun or a technical orgy. But for him, only one thing mattered:
No place is good for a living if it ain’t  worth to die in.

The air needs space! blue and green space need real earth, the sort you get your hands dirty with, to
breathe and die all year round.

I found one such place                    but I am not that man.

José Eduardo Coelho

Piecemeal by Michael French
+++++++I took a walkwhere
isn’t the point
…. I did…
somethingThe type that picks up
stuff that got thrown
wash the dishesThe alternative
is too dark
Step into that
Might not get backOne piece at a time


She let her heartbeat skip away slowly through the years in the brutal shadows of her desert
Too many cold nights freezing from loneliness
A mistress in a house of emotional wreck and ruin…distressed.
Dead-ended in a lost slipstream daydream to nowhere
A lifetime of no love seeps below the grains of sand…falling often between her ever hopeful toes
Weighing down her heart…..

Hopeless and miserably distrait….sick at heart heat rising….pressure building against the worry
Wending its way as a living lie fixed in her bristle and brow
Her thoughts wait for the Winds charting a last chance at a left behind contented life

There it is!
This pharos….this buttoned up roadstead

Leading to my castle in the sky…. with its unyielding confident stone walls veiled in silver and gold thread softening her drifting raw tears
She wanders about my rooms…..warming up to my naked truth pictures
Craving the comfort of my arms…

Her voice is on fire…a true herald to her long lost spirit
….wanting to clinch the warmth from my ‘out of nowhere perfect chance storm’ as it drenches her heart-space…and just like that…a pleasant change from the usual
She follows the scorching map to the hypersonic beating of her heart…her words and thoughts are parched…until my kiss soaks away her bareness..bridled and tempered by the touch of my hand….her desires sprouting like a new found verdure throughout my land… Her blazing thoughts begin to skin slow stoking spinet keys.. in the background…Nora’s pleasing voice can be heard singing “Turn Me On”
….she’s compassed
Holding out for another part of me to touch her skin….as the flowers bloom in melodies of bliss and spring time crush…..
Verdant, veritable vivacity…this is her wonderful natural ‘not in the cards ‘refuge….
In the Oasis of my heart…

Ric Rudnicki

And You, My Dear, Will Fade by Robert Horton

Ah, there you are,
How radiant you appear,
Lovers seem to be distant
As sycophants stand too near,
And you glide, as if on air,
I breathe your every move,
Omnipresent yet undefined
With simply nothing to prove.
Surely time will spoil you,
Painted smiles will decieve
The joker and the mourner
Who’ll find the time to grieve.
And you, my dear, will fade
Just as your lacklustre pearls,
Tarnished by pretentious tears
Cried by all pretentious girls.

Ah, there you are,
I knew you wouldn’t be far,
Delving into the dark corners
Looking for who you are,
Consuming your murky past
Like a wild ravenous flame,
Frantically erasing the faces
Of all the people you blame.
Surely they are long gone,
You’re on your own from here,
Best if you don’t meddle
In things that cause you fear,
And you, my dear, will fade
Like so many dreams before,
Of actually being able to love
The son you were meant to adore.

Ah, there you go
Reflecting on your sanity,
Mirrors telling their stories
Of beauty versus vanity,
Distorting sad expressions
So you always look your best
As you clutch a stillborn baby
Tight to your heaving breast.
But I lived and was crushed
By the mother I’ll never know,
Even though the wounds have healed
The scars will always show,
And you, my dear, will fade
Just as as you start to feel
And I, my dear, would love you
If only you were real.

Mary Rose

Hitches her mission
To a higher star
Far beyond earth’s orbit
It’s the briefest of times between
Total darkness and  carnelian light
A nun following orders
A child is lost
Minutes matter
She waits patiently
Vision extends to a forgotten alley
Skirting around the corner
She still maintains her habit
White mesh over black obsidian
Golden bands across her wrists
Illuminate all before her
Her rosary rises
A lariat in golden luminescence
Spinning rings into dimensional prisms
Wonder woman of this new age
In this nascent world
Things haven’t changed so much
Seek and find
A way to save the runner
Even if it is me
She thinks
Light years away

Denise Baxter Yoder


A basket full of love – rich with endearing flowers
That are tinted only with colors of utmost happiness
Made those innocent eyes shimmer with sparkling showers
While the lips widened to wear a smile of eagerness

As the basket is taken along the hedges of a beautiful garden,
The breeze of misty morning made dew drops trickle down
And quench the earth’s thirst, letting the shrubs thrive in the open
While the floral fragrance is savored until the sun goes down

Suddenly, the morning bliss turned savagely gloomy
For there came a darkest storm pelting black stones
Which obliterated the flowers till they bled for mercy
This brutal assault made agony ooze in muted groans

The river of sad tears persistently flowed for a long time
Until the gnawing pain dwindled, then the eyes caught a sign
Beyond the depths of a fragile kernel, quivering with fear:
A spark of faint hope – making the storm slowly disappear

When the spark flourished into full beams of celestial light
The basket is carried again; this time with strength & courage
Those stones remained at the bottom with their smirks of spite
To unleash terror; for the traumatic past was held hostage

Its only when new fragrant flowers are brought in,
Enchanting beauty is replenished with dancing butterflies
As the flowers covered up those heinous stones of pain & sin
Returning smiles to the lips & joyful shine to those weary eyes

Amit Herlekar

Poem from the Sea Salt by Mickey Draca

Bewildering portraits of summed up water
Seals in sea stars.
Knotted happiness juggling dawn.
When did Zeus disperse time within his children’s immanent umbilical cords?
Did he swallow a Pike Piper?
Colored authonomy of ticks in hierocracy of thought
Zeus was alive!


Oh what it is to really live
To feel morning dew under foot
To feel wind whisper through hair
To feel the sun kissing your skin
To be enveloped by birdsong

Oh how it feels to be alive
To taste freshly picked fruit from source
To taste the kiss of a lover
To taste words of kindred other
To bask in the light of the moon

Oh how it tastes to eat when hungry
To see the hues of autumn fall
To see new life take their first breath
To see love shine in others eyes
To see someone succeed at last

Oh how life looks when you are loved
To hear the sea calling your name
To hear the laughter of children
To hear a new-born child’s first cry
To hear words you so long to hear

“Blessed are those who see
beautiful things in humble places
where other people see nothing”

Debbie Razey

THE SILENT HOUSE by Paul Chapman
The house was always silent
My mother deaf since childhood
We spoke to each other silently
Watching each other’s lips
As a child I learned
To look on my mothers face
We lived in our own private world
Fifty years of silence
Then she got an hearing aid
But the world was too noisy for her
So she kept the aid in a drawer
Except when we went to the park
Where she´d sit on a bench
Turn on her aid
Then with rapture on her face
And tears on her cheek
Listened to the birds singing
The damned [experimental remix] by Doug Metz



I live
And breathe
The surge
That flows
My cells
That sizzles
My nerves
That curls
My toes
That whets
My appetite

Allene Angelica


[art via Tumblr]

Swimming by Vicki Bashor

My skin grew fins
to relish within
my pond again.
Sinning and seeing
sores in swirling
rapidity, I dive
ragged breaths
into coldest
blackest depths,
my violence
at the shore,
it’s twisting now
with snakes
and spoors,
I open my eyes
to the sweet
green scene
in waves my fins
seamed in between,
horizontal living
peaceful beings,
and vertical lines
of roots and reeds
and heavensent
sunbeams bursting
in shards of
water yardage
and my dreams.

The curtain of perfection by Kristy Rulebreaker

These words
are not stars
who never die
These words
are not beings
who never sin
These words are
apples with worms
These words are
stains with uniforms
To write
perfect verses
I don’t have
because you will
never see me
if I hide
behind the curtain
of perfection

Immaculate Inconception by S.L. Weisend

i am now origami… a meticulously folded swan shaped out of your insufficient
Flightless, unless you tilt me toward the sky.

my kinesis was decided by your straight creases & now my fate balances along the
heart-line of your hand.
with no free will in my ink or lined paper, Only faith….

of somehow landing on that shelf where you arrange all your rough sketches in order
of their potential, yet…..
you keep bouncing me off that filthy trash can.

delegated solace by Peter Schonefeld

and i know the prayer that the heart sings
is pure and earnest, an appeal (with faith) for this
bitch life you’re in to get better. But the brain
knows such pray will only delay the inevitable
and so, a realist, i press play and let the music
sing the praying for me.

KOSOVO , or the promised land by Omukuvah Otido

Messiah summoned a dozen
CF-18s from his cuff linked sleeves
mountains turned to mounds
in smoggy mushroom sprouts

Motherhood and pregnancy
became suspended over a colossal void
and the contractive tendency of tears
became a subject of scientific inquisition

15 years later the chosen one
runs his fingers over dictionaries of
political expedience
considers his hairs now grayed by
decades of meticulous manoeuvrings ,
paled by an ever ticking conscience , now somewhat placated
by undeniable half victories

Whereas in the fields of Palestine
the pious sleep in beds ,
in shacks and in sheds
from whence they bear his holy name
and laud his English ways

**After Nato’s bombing of KOSOVO ,  Tony Blair became something of a Messiah


 Rocky House by Michael Veloff

a sandy Shore
oft lonely strand
there is no Balm in Gilead
a grain
of Mustard Seed
could well Provide

faith (less)
internal Elements
(reason its Temperance)
well within
a Well within

a Directive
not a Call
(there is no Arbiter
or Oracle to consult)
the Compass
lies Within

pointing Outward
into shadows

into the Shadows
(shades in suits of Flesh)
without the Light
that shines from its Rocky House

 “Song of Myself” by Rick Maury

“What is life?”

Life is nothing more than heat
Is something radiated by the Sun:
It fuses atoms to make energy
And the rays fall on ev’ryone.

And so it is with human life:
“Life is nothing more than something you give away.”

But if we withhold our life,
Just as if the Sun withheld his heat,
We darken.
We grow cold.
We perish.
I’ve seen people do this…

Instead of radiating,
They keep their life-force to themselves.
They “infuse” instead of “effuse”.
Absorbing instead of emitting.
Breathing in but never breathing out.
These people work against life:
They hold everything inside
To power their monstrous ego,
And when those things become burned up
They implode to make even more:
Converting hydrogen into helium,
Helium to carbon,
Neon to oxygen to silicon to iron  until,
When self can absorb self no more
And collapsing bones
Can no longer collapse on themselves;
They implode!

In a fraction of
A second–
All the teeny-tiny particles inside them
Crumble together,
Like a portrait on a piece paper.
The laws of metaphysics break down.
And the space that once held a thought
Becomes filled with their entire soul.
At last,
In this lonely space,
An infinitesimal point
Of infinite self-attraction is formed;
Their breath flies off to nothing;
And they degrade into a
B l a c k h o l e.

Such people are destructive.
Anyone who comes within their horizon
Is sucked up and forever trapped
In their d  i st o r  ted, d elu  si o  na l reality.
Nothing can escape,
Not even light.
But although they suck the light so closely
They still remain cold and dark
(Just as the ocean drinks the rivers
But remains unfilled…).

“…Do you radiate?”

I try to…
But honestly I do not.

I give off my life in sparks.
Most of the times I am in darkness
With my sense of right and wrong
Deformed by the World and those in it.

But there are those times…
Those moments when I spark:
like when miles from home i gave
my brother my bike when his broke down,
and leaning with my arms on
the edge of that great bridge and
looking upon those clouds floating
over that pellucid stream:
feeling my inner childishness,
when my seed had just fell
from the great Cosmic Tree;
when i was just a neophyte,
when i was true to God and true to others,
unadulterated, unalloyed, unsullied, untainted,
I was myself;
And God in me.

But now the World has distorted my religion…
Through its glorification of “stars”
Who are nothing but black holes.

My glass has been stained, deranged and profaned.
And now as Atlas I feel
The weight of the globe
Pressed against my shoulders.

I have been told what to do:
Told to listen to noise,
Told to look at grotesques,
Told to dress as a murderer
And play as one too.
I have been told that I am the center,
That I AM God. But
I don’t want to be God! and

i am but a young soul.
i know hardly anything.
i know nothing of this music
or this artwork or war.
and i definitely nothing about
being God,
when i don’t even know
how to be myself…

From that moment in time
When I defied the World,
I went back to my familiar cave.
But I went away with a vision.
I now try to radiate as I once did,
To again be the young paladin I was:
True and kind and brave and strong–
Not to prove that I am, but because I am.

No I’m not there yet,
But I hold unto the sparks
Like the blistered miner’s hand
Holds unto a diamond.

I shall build upon my sparks,
Intervals between them ever shortening,
And with faith shall rise above
The winds and the waves of the World.

And perhaps if this soul goes high and far
He shall be immortalized as a mountain or a star?
But I’ll just have to keep on climbing and see
If I can ever be what I was made to be;
and maybe even more.


nervous frantic, panicked madness
trembling, quaking insane

smooth wind flowing
through cavernous tunnels
of mucous membranes;

cryptic scribbling, struggling
for the slightest control,
mastery of the pen;

pouring through tomes of own ego,
bearing open wounds to salt
probed with dirty fingers
through gaping gashes;

who’s the little boy?

tripping out to lyrical wisdom
understanding inspiration
chemical coolly,
electric acid ballads
love street serenade;

dreaming of the abandoned heart,
operatic witch rite of sacrifice,
marriage and fire,
ebullient over the end,
slow heart pumping
song injection,
quivering through howl –
swigging brandy

so conscious of every nerve,
opening doors sneaking photographs –
a picture for the first book jacket,
thrilled to be embraced in the poem
of the psychopathic madman

pretending to write;
driven blind by a smoky muse,
tracing words as they pre-consciously flash,
mind speeding faster, hand faster, pen
each outrunning the other;

legs aching for sleep, neon mind
aching with madness and
forgotten lines;
techno-oppressive plastic prison,
isolated void of free floating visions

twisting walls with me inside;
shivering ecstasy over
dimensional images,
sleep pushing my dreams
to your real,

probing deeper,
intoxicated with insanity;
skull splitting fingers prying –
wake up!
eyes wide in dilatory hunger

anticipatory of benzedrine howls,
little boys and psychopaths
hang on a cliffs edge of judgement,
true gods shot down
in bloody assassinations
or conspired overdoses;

the saints all sleep
when sinners walk,
religion is dead in a history book,
love a lost conceit;
flowery ballads and epigraphs.

mad prophet scribbling
clairvoyant would be’s and never were’s;
nerves tingling, palms dripping,

soft posters bleed fluorescent souls
while hours dry up
under electric bulbs,
soon to wake but never slumbered.

every minute equally horrible and magnificent,
falling slowly in quivering ripples.

The Princess Hotel by Don Morgan

The Princess Hotel, the biggest hotel around.
I looked up at the grand sign high over the parking lot,
admiring her, expecting to smile and to think, as I always did,
“it is as it always was.”

But it was not as it always was, it seemed smaller, sadder and
I realized it had probably never been as it always was.
Each day passed with change, the birds’ nests abandoned and dried in the trees,
the squirrel and that cat, the weather, the sun that baked,
The rain that soaked and eroded and would eventually take the building,
and in this life of coming and going, the people that came and went.

How long did I have to live at The Princess Hotel before I would realize
how long I had lived at The Princess Hotel?

In my early days, the Princess Hotel meant high rise success with spas and salons,
my middle days, it was merely an occasional stop in a busy life that would never quit,
and my later days, it meant refuge and a life by myself.
But until today, I had not noticed this coming and going of change.

My life was a book of poems, each word.
Days, people, loved ones arrayed like pages I was given to read
but in my coming and going, I only skimmed
the words shielded by half closed eyes anxious to know the end
before I had even begun.

Now, I try to recall these things, the words, the days, the people that
my eyes touched so briefly, but they are gone.
How was it I expected them all to live on,
grow and color and blossom,
spread around me and warm me?

In my coming and going, they all disappeared.


 Morning Stroll

I took a morning stroll today
Peering happily at the stormy gray
Armed to the hilt
From the USA
But probably made in China

Favorite comfy sweater
Blarney Woolen Mills
Made in Ireland
That I inherited so long ago
In another life
From people I used to know

It has travelled
A very long way
Bought in the land
Where Leprechauns play
Put in a suitcase
To Califor-nigh-yay
Then to the Philippines
Where I’m sure it will not stay

That old girl
Still has some mileage left
She’s ready and willing
To give the world
A twirl

Now if only my body
Didn’t creak so loudly
As I moved it along
I’d show her
That this little gal
Is still going strong

Allene Angelica

When Charlotte Works Late

Her boss wears
a sweltering smile;
floods her senses
with Usher VIP.

She knows
she shouldn’t be here.

Sleek blue panties
in the pocket
of black Armani slacks
smother his cell phone’s
continual ring.

Famished lips
cling to her breasts.
A scarlet tongue worships
sweetened nipples, bruised
and propped up
by a light blue shelf bra.

Wild legs curl around
his chiseled waist,
heels crossed upon his back.
His beast-like erection hurls
molten, broken promises
into her snug honey-well.

His name is all he hears.
His name is the only

a young wife sits on the patio steps;

a petite, crooked heap
in the large, vapid night
waiting for an answer
to each prolonged ring.

Mary Macharia

THE SONS OF BABEL by Paul Chapman
They arrive silently in ones and twos
Dressed in dirt and rags
Once they had families
Parents that perhaps, years ago, cared for them
nobody cares
No one gives a shit
Some have papers some do not
Although the store is full
There is very nothing for them
The people of the street.
A coffee and biscuits twice a week
From a do good soup kitchen
They say there is no money
But the stores are full
The windows of the shops
Lit with the materialistic baubles
Of decadent lives
But the people of the street are nothing
So the sons of Babel keep coming
Speaking different tongues
All needing the same
Coming away with nothing
Each day I see them grow fainter
Thinner, slowly fading
Into the back ground of life
Soon they will disappear
Then society will be happy
For they avert their eyes
They do not want to see
Afraid of the closeness of poverty
In case it is contagious

 238th Birthday Musing by Vicki Bashor

Jesus must have seemed very real
to those operated on after battle on the fields
or in tents in weather elements
suffering travesties of grave physicality
without the benefits of chemicals
anesthesia, penicillin
i don’t suspect i’m anything more or less
than my fellow humans
but i am worth way less than a war veteran
my cultural addiction is watching the carnival
around me, out and in focus
on man-made happy pills
(aren’t we at war still?)
i’ve missed two days’ worth so life on this earth fucking hurts
and in this moment of edgy real clarity
i see what a pussy i am
(to call myself an American)
get up again, get up again, get up again
my only suffering simple ennui
phantom pains from many generations behind me
voices whispering to me
screams of agony, revolutionary
i’ve had nothing amputated for my country

A Poem by Our Featured Moderator: Michael David Saunders Hall (as picked by the other mods)

What I Want My Words To Do To You

may these words meander
but help us find our meaning
in the metaphysical metaphor called
life. may they live for today:
Carpe Diem. & be weapons
of faith, hope & love–
always taking the risk
that yields the greatest results.
may these words reveal
that by your own free will
“all is flux, nothing stays still.”

may these words spark
the arc of your imagination
with the electric music
of the muses. & be your constant
catharsis of creativity
articulating conversations
within the collective conscience
of the cosmos, urging
an understanding
of the mysteries of the world
whose journal of its journey
reads like the matrix
of eternity
by infinity.

RC deWinter
Chris Flegel
Uma Venkatraman
Michael David Saunders Hall

Very Special Thanks To All Contributors. Remember: the poet tree will be streamed…& from the lips of wisdom, life’s last labors of love, especially the arts, will divulge museful knowledge through the awe of it all to our ears of understanding. So, let’s forever indulge in the delicious ecstasies and agonies of our writing to infinity and beyond. Till next time, Write On/;-)Recommended Reading:
1. Erotique Noire: Black Erotica edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis, Reginald Martin & Roseann P. Bell
2. The Secret History of the World by Mark Booth
3. Shake Loose My Skin by Sonia Sanchez
4. The Collected Poems of Federico Garcia Lorca edited by Christopher Maurer
5. The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke edited and translated by Stephen Mitchell
©2014 Words on Fire (in association with AfroDamus Jonze: The 21st Century Griot & The Poet Tree).

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