Words on Fire V1E5


Words On Fire

Imagineers of Pyrotechnic Poetics
Volume 1 Edition 5

( for August 17 – October 4, 2014)


  • Frank Ramon
  • Jean Billheimer
  • K. Leigh Thoma
  • S.L. Weisend
  • Michael French
  • Robert Price
  • Priya Patel
  • Frederick Andrew
  • Emily Adams
  • Marco Casteleijn
  • Fergus Martin
  • Vicki Bashor
  • Don Morgan
  • Weak Perfection
  • August Cruise
  • Patrick B. Vince
  • Michael Veloff
  • José Coelho
  • Ric Rudnicki
  • AF Knott
  • Robert Horton
  • Debbie Green Razey
  • Kristy Rulebreaker
  • Mickey Draca
  • Mac Dre
  • Peter Schonefeld
  • Allene Angelica
  • A Furious Child
  • Matt Cox

Peaks Of Tomorrow by Frank Ramon

some drink to forget the past
some drink to remember
but after awhile you’re
just  blowin on the coals
and burning up the dying embers

some wonder at what will last
some change tween
September and December
but when the horse
nears home, everybody’s roan
is breathing on the dying embers

some run around and gas the blast
some have a moderate temper
but when the violin strains
and cuts tears thru the rain
there’ll be dancin on the dying embers

let us glance for a while
thru the curtains of sorrow
that hide behind smiles
i know what you fear
that you’ve gone all these miles
with nothing to know now
but memories, but you see
the peaks of tomorrow still waiting.

some cut and they rub with a rasp
and some photograph the contenders
and when you can contain
the things that remain
they’ll be flames on the dying embers

let us glance for a while
thru the curtains of sorrow
that hide behind smiles
i know what you fear
that you’ve gone all these miles
with nothing to know now
but memories, but you see
the peaks of tomorrow still waiting.


Fool’s Gold by K. Leigh Thoma

I’m plasticized wood
A grinning wolf in a hood
Waiting at Lil Red’s door

I’m a snake oil salesman
A good luck talisman
I’ll give you some, you’ll still want more

I’m fool’s gold and ivory soap
A maker of horoscopes
Taking what I can get

I’m a preacher and savior
I won’t judge your behavior
As long as my needs are always met

I work at the carnival
No sweat. I’ve seen it all
Seeing the people take their ride

I stand in the shadows
With the broken down scarecrows
I’ve watched you walk, I’ll make you stride

I’m a ghost from your nightmare
A smile from your worst scare
A shining light that lies in the dark

I’m plasticized wood
A grinning wolf in a hood
I’ll give you some, you’ll still want more


One way ticket by Jean Billheimer

Sidewalks line the narrow lane
yet I spurn them to walk
down the middle
Concrete walls decorated with
glass and wood
Loom on both sides
seeming to lean in
to get a better look at me
And still, without pause
I stick to the middle of the road
For me it’s always
the middle of the road
Destination unknown
It’s a one way life
There’s no going back


street by Michael French

Clarence stirred his tea
He had splashed a little milk into
a saucer for Angel
She was lapping it now
For such a little cat
with a very quiet voice
she purred like a small engine
The apartment, a few steps down
from street level, wasn’t neat
but things were in their places.
Angel was his latest companion, the
most recent of several feline friends
that seem to find their way
to his door…
when there is an opening.
Clarence always imagined the word
going out to the neighborhood cat grapevine,
that there was a lifetime engagement available.

Katherine unlocked her door.
Quincy had learned to wait until
she unclipped the leash before bolting
to the kitchen and his dish.
He always acted like there was a chance
it had run away while they were out.
She smiled at his antics and once again
was reminded how she had doubted the little
well…he was a mutt, would become part
of her life, after Peter passed away.
The same went for the apartment, a few
steps up from the street.
It had become Home, after the house they
had shared simply became too much.
Her present moment was not how she had
imagined it all those years ago…..
Still for the time-being, looking into
Quincy’s bright eyes waiting for her to sit
and scratch his ears, she had something akin
to peace.

Robert climbed the stairs to the top.
Bonnie was out in the hallway, as she often was
Seven months pregnant and her back was
bothering her. She had to walk, but they didn’t
like to be out roaming at night. Other times
he had to sleep, and she had to pace.
She had her hair up in pins, an old baseball
shirt of his down to her knees, with the noticeable
bulge in front….no makeup, and dark circles under her eyes
from lack of sleep.
“My God, she is beautiful”…thought Robert, but
knew saying it would just start her doubting it.
Still, and he appreciated this…
she generally tried to remain civil.
“Hi, Honey” she said, hands on the back of her hips, “how was work?”
“Fine…. got you a present.”
She came closer as he reached for the small bundle
that had remained hidden and quiet in the pocket of his coat.
The orange kitten yawned and blinked in his hands.
Robert knew he had overcome any objections simply
by the look in Bonnie’s eyes.


6 by Robert Price

Authorities don’t care
how I feel
When I see blood stains
on the asphalt
mingling with the
gravel and tar
Disturbed by twenty
inch tire tracks
Hi-Tek soles march
across concrete
Smoke stealing tears
from my eyes
Political punditry
they’re gunning
for me
Bringing up old
shit that’s no
longer relevant
And terrorize me
with 6 shots and
no recourse
4 to the gut
2 to the dome
Not seeing home


Saving Sylvia Plath by S.L. Weisend

Wake up Lady Lazarus & smell the coffin, right?
Now, feel that sick warm fluid seeping back into your cranial bowels.

Take hold & grip it!
Let the roots, the awful roots, of the honeysuckle pull you out of the ground.

Don’t.  I said, Do…Not!
Allow this planet to swallow you down like some feel-good pill, At least,
Not while your head is still pretty.

Tomorrow, we can all be martyred instead,
then it will be up to your budding Corpse to bury the living dead.
But don’t worry, just toss in a few grains of dust at a time…until
we are all deeply buried within the cemetery lines.

O Lazy Lady Lazarus, Queen of the impish moon,
Daughter Of the son Of the sun & All His transference of light,
I see how He let you invent the shadows of the day.

& In your naughty way, upon the first draft of his book,
in yellow crayon, you wrote, “Oh, Let there be blight!”

Sometimes, I picture you pinned to the aching afternoon–
Tanned & in your ruffled bathing suit
& golden hair spun into a cocoon to cover your sacred scars,
Your babies right there beside you.
You & your Golden babies…
Arranged on a beach blanket like Taroc cards, like Taroc cards…

Waiting for someone to come and decrypt you –


There’s Never Time by Frederick Andrew

there’s never time for what we say we love
the scribing of the odd poetic line
the run or bike or swim without a shove
perfection of a recipe sublime

consumed with work and keeping of the things
which, truth be told, turn owners into owned
and all the bloody paperwork that sings
in bureaucratic archives filed and zoned

the things about the things which we adore
how easily the meta draws us in
to languish in a state which we abhor
a telescoping corridor of sin

but truly, does the clock run out too fast
don’t know, can’t say … I’ve got to cut the grass


When Darkness Falls by Fergus Martin

When darkness falls,
I will see no light,
a shadow no longer cast,
the veil will be drawn.

When darkness falls,
the silence will sing
symphonies unheard,
that echo in the void.

When darkness falls,
I will be consumed,
swallowed at that moment,
fading from reality.

When darkness falls,
the storm will cease,
breathless whisper’s stop,
the quiet calm.

When darkness falls
this dream will end,
mere memory in the past,
a distant thought.

When darkness falls,
where silence reigns,
when the storm is done,
the light will shine.


Silence by K. Leigh Thoma

The silence seems to penetrate
The gaps inside my soul
Seeping into tiny fractures
Filling all minute holes

The opaqueness of the hollow
The vaccum of the void
The screaming of the empty air
The sanctity destroyed

Alone appears the constant
Alone appears the fact
Alone appears the future
There ain’t no turning back

Jailed in a room of my making
Trapped chainless in despair
The windows may appear unbarred
Look closely.  They are there.

For there are tick marks on the walls
Counting one day at a time
One for each that silence beckons
Each day an unknown crime

Alone appears the constant
Alone appears the fact
Alone appears the future
There ain’t no turning back


The revolution will be on tap

& leaked by an insider with a cloud of oxidized hair & conspicuous absence of tan & antiperspirant />
We will say, “he looks like an Amish terrorist”
& secretly wonder if real terrorists even own skinny jeans />

The revolution will be revised to fit the needs of our viewing audience

& stapled to every tongue & fishhooked to every lip />
Militants will even get to choose their own CAPTCHAs, which will be inked to their outer hips, in case their hands are taken as prisoners/>

The revolution will use guns to convert people into data

& the data will become immortal/>
No one (or zero) will ever die, not ever, never again… />
even the worst kinds of syntax errors will be saved to a file named HEATHEN.txt />

The revolution will certainly be(no)joke, at least(not)at first

& will be led by a people whisperer who does a lot of work with rats />
His persuasive whip will sting with pleasure, and we will say, “Wow, he is even better looking than that guy in the hat… Guevara is it?>

The revolution will be brought to us by MTV

&THE WHO will be the opening act /> (Who is that?)>
Small plates will be offered, along with microbrews & exotic herbs

& The sponsors will provide us with water guns, in case the trolls attack />
There will also be an after party, so make sure to stash some combat flats/>

by S.L. Weisend


Nine ways to leave a lover that wasn’t meant for you* by Emily Adams

1.) Quietly
in the still hours of the morning
when his house is empty and dark
you will leave the door unlocked
but take your heart back from where it rested,
tangled in his bed-sheets

2.) Regretfully
your time together a weight that will drown you
you know that there are never any life-jackets
in this kind of love
never any guarantees
you will not get back what you gave
despite what the return policy reads

3.) Happily
with smiles and promises
with the kind of love that sits at the center
and radiates
with the confidence that your bodies will
fit together again one day
with the unwavering belief in fate

4.) Jealously
knowing that with every day he will fall
more in love with her
and you will fade like an old picture in a wallet
behind credit cards and old hotel keys
soon your features will blur and you will resemble
every other girl who broke his heart
and she will make him happier than you

5.) Fearfully
with the creeping feeling that you will not exist
when he no longer loves you
and with every mile you drive away,
you know that you will be less real
so you stay a little longer
and kiss him harder
but you are already starting to disappear

6.) Quickly
with haste and sharp movements
cold and mechanical goodbyes
you will not cry
you will not cry
it is done and sealed and you must leave
this will be as hard as it seems

7.) Hatefully
the resentment burning a hole
in what you thought was love but
turned out to be only an act
so you exit stage right
his tender goodbyes will feel like knives
even the way he closes the door behind you
will feel like a lie

8.) Desperately
on your knees, begging for him to save you
from something that you can’t even name
something that has been chasing you since
the very first day
you ask for impossible things
and can’t help feeling like if you were a little
a little better,
he wouldn’t let you leave

9.) Finally
with the book closed
you will drive away and you will not look back
until you know you will not see him in the rearview mirror
and you will sleep alone, cold in the evening shadow
of temporary love
knowing with a heavy heart that he will not call

*Or perhaps you will not leave at all


Illusions by Marco Casteleijn

staring into the sun
nothing to hold on to
listening to underground songs
then, now long forgotten

my closed eyes I hold up high
to fold them back into me
underground stories, my songs
cordially crisp they’ve gotten

Time’s elusions are framed
and hung all over my soul
subversive bells ring ballads
around my empty fingers ten.

B ut the reflection
S een in the bus’s windows is
B eing
S uch a

the true self of me
is sunspots in the dark
is humming wonderful tunes
is reading words of great
I had with people
who left, and did leave
a long Time ago


Heat by Vicki Bashor

The heat and humidity
with it
moments of sweating
some lovers like, and it must
be in our DNA
remembering eras with
no beauty bottles,
instant showers or cool
relieving flows from a
plugged-in box in double-
paned windows.
Holding this truth
to be self-evident
when I am
inclined to jump
bare-assed into a lake’s
blue gash element
of a sweat-drenched
man undressing
to join me.


In Reply by Don Morgan

Water, agile as water, bright and fair,
Weightless as sunlight but vital as Thor
O, I so want to be lighter than air

Or maybe silence, hiding who knows where,
Known only in absence and not before,
Water, agile as water, bright and fair

The world is nothing but facade and glare,
I choose the heavens, for I want to soar,
O, I so want to be lighter than air

To be like mist and pass without affair,
To choose for myself, when to man the oar,
Water, agile as water, bright and fair

I want to be a spirit free from care,
To fly without limit both yon and yore,
O, I so want to be lighter than air

I want to flow and dance with sprite-like flair,
To live my life free with time to adore
Water, agile as water, bright and fair,
O, I so want to be lighter than air


Untitled by Priya Patel

harsh rains soak through me
suddenly refirtilized
once again I bloom

my roots awakened
the child in me comes alive
dancing in the rain

Emotion by K. Leigh Thoma

Though in a drought
Caught in a whirlpool
Of never ending doubt

Through a baffling cone
Not trying to hold
Just sinking like a stone

Through infinite space
Blackness and silence
That time can’t erase

Though standing up straight
Unable to love
But unable to hate

Through land and through time
An intimate stranger
And a heartbreaking crime


IF, THEN by Weak Perfection

If my mind can be cleared,
I soothe it.
But it can’t
Without peace
So I fight
And I lose it

If my thoughts can be articulated,
I write it.
But they can’t
Without strength
So I fear
And I hide it

If my heart can be freed,
I uncage it
But it can’t
Without grace
So I ask
And engage it

If my soul can find rest,
I accept it.
But it can’t
Without Him
So I pray
And direct it



Songs not sung by Jean Billheimer

Looking back on all my memories
Flipping through catalogs of plans
and untold dreams
Peering down avenues of journeys
never taken
Measuring each choice I made
against unchosen scenes

Curious of the life I would have lived
If instead of rushing headlong down
this path I am on
I’d thought more about the journey
and less of destination
Taking time out to embrace each situation
And the many joys each one brought along

I don’t know if others look back as I do
And wonder what adventures that other
path could bring
It’s not that I’m unhappy with the life
I’m living now
It’s the pondering of the life I didn’t live
It’s humming to the songs I didn’t sing



“The Voice, The Limelight, And The Battlefield” by August Cruise

I’m jealous of the rebellious,
Their zealous conviction
Against all constriction and restrictions,
Listen to their words and read the written novellas;
See what they tell us,
How they compel us.
They speak of these battles within;
Soft, good Graces and high caliber Sins;
The cousins in the family of morals and ethics,
Causes of the hectic methods of the reckless skeptics
And the medical antiseptic against the disease that wears faith thin.
But both sides are akin;
Same face in different skins.
A face all will see,
Both the living and the non.
We are all given time-
The most valuable currency
And it’s stolen furiously
By opposing insurgencies,
These enemies are still purging me.
I’ve been dysphoric when I should be euphoric,
I’ve been running on fumes when my fuel should be caloric,
But I am just a pawn;
The farthest I move back in the head of my King.
I’ll defend him from dusk till dawn,
My hope is in the Church bells he rings,
And my victory is in the trumpets He will bring.
Until then,
Until the end,
I’m just pressing on.
My feet are Trojan Horses,
My arms are an Echelon.
This is no war,
It’s a strategy of knowing forces;
The common flow is just a con.
The pen is mightier than the sword,
So I’ll write my rights and wrongs.
My affinity,
Your infinity,
Our serenity,
And beyond.


In through the Out Door by Vicki Bashor

My green pen was writing again
in the moonlit wine hour of 2 a.m.
my drunk jeans half standing
crouching at the thought
of taking down
this strange quill scratching
in the naked darkness
I’d whispered prayers of penance
I watched it all unfold
inside of me a nuisance
itch itching, black gold
That pen seemed to have
a mind of its own, detached
my boots one, two in a vertical row
near the front door, heel to toe
slipped off appeared ready
to take me backwards, I sipped
Lit the tip of an incense stick
to incite the writing invisible bitch
intensely scratching envious cries
or poems of yearning, droll slow
I rolled a cigarette grinning at her back
hunched over that desk
She would be jealous again, of me,
the runaway girl in her head.

Master Puppeteer by Vicki Bashor

Master of puppets
you run me wild.
Put me on your
personal stage or page
of methods and
feed me bait of hands
and smiles.
I react like a
natural performer,
giving you all you
want and need, in sessions
and in rhythm, but if I don’t,
you stare at me and
dig your hand in deeper,
hurt me in a way
I cannot display to any
audience but you.
Master puppeteer, you
own me when I nod and
agree, but you can barely
contain me when I am
fire in your hands.


Cinquain Butterfly : Mórrígan by Patrick B. Vince

her black ibis
to the place of my queen
where she’s kept in captivity
bound down
lividus chains forged by the Gods
her eyes blocked from seeing
dear Mórrígan
my love

Senryu : encouragement
by Patrick B. Vince

every now and then
I have to remind myself
sometimes dreams come true


#Paranoise by Michael Veloff

just another lovely day in #Paranoise
running to and fro and to again
(I think I’m being followed by that driver
Down In Front)
maybe I should kiss his bumper for Pot Luck
and then
kvetched while giving out Party Flavors
(tired some, but it’s a misgiving)
I’m working on my ring announcer voice
for some Hipster Welding Ceremony
and three cheers for the Quiet
(scratch that, three whispers)
close of the day
na na na na as Jerry sings
Dixie Down
and I take two tablets for Relief

 Therefore I exist! by José Eduardo Coelho

Let’s see: the inconstancy of things is the core of our quest for the balance we never reach

and that quest makes us materially fleeting, always at a fringe of the intangible, always falling short of the moment, brief, plausible.

I speak with uncertainty of the roundness held by the words when we recall the softness of a meridional moon, the glare of greasy hair rippling, speaks to me within eyelids that uncover
I speak artificially of the nights’ roundness and her eternal light, in lukewarm breasts that I fondle, I speak to you, now, so round, soft and complete between breathed commas and though subordinated, included prepositions

I think as a delicacy that one devours, slowly, I approach you as a shadow looking for shelter in a plain, of such brightness, obscene, I squeeze you until the skyline’s accuracy, where you decay, resting and I find you again in the dodged ramble of my committed hands

I think you, therefore I exist!


It is strange by Michael French


just saying them can make something
that doesn’t quite seem real
what had been
kept at arms length
now dances closely
you get to feel its breath
and you find yourself
having to at least
let the music play out
while getting your toes crushed
and what is worse

knowing it will still be there
when you wake up in the morning

all because it now has a name

and like one of your children
there is no doubt to whom it belongs

and the light doesn’t help at all

and you tell yourself
at least now its out in the open
and the process
whatever that is
can begin

If you’re not too angry.


The Heart that will build Her Kingdom…. by Ric Rudnicki

Before my dreams were wrapped in the skin of her kiss I often carried her silver calm charm in between the letters of the poems I had yet to write

Visions of her bosom
brought by grace and  sovereign late July cross ocean winds
….winds full of her aroma
patiently    divinely      misted the pages of my life through her eyes

Sensual nonsensical   sounds of her school girl sex streaming through my steam remains fantasy tonight                  muted in late night sweat and wine stains Her Eros fills my hand and head with the beauty of unconscious ink
Seasons of poems become impatient with my conscious thing
A snow storm of her passion forming on my chest’s edge
A hurricane of her lips and strength clawing at my soul straddling her ridge
Now                                as storms wait for the Blue moon above to burst
She sits on a perch near the rocks of
my half lived century of life
remaining more than a ghost
than wet rain and salt drenched waves  striving with her tide
while wild white soak swells of her
keep me awash !
sleeping in a moment of my fantasies with my last mount fire !
How can this be!!
Water for fire
Fire for water
Heat                Yes! Yes!
The gift of her sends my thoughts into the years of our love
Feeling our hands touch for the millionth time
You would never know we were married in my dreams
The sweetness of her uncommon twist of sugar and bliss
would leave any King
Begging                       Pleading          in the moor   in chains   in the drown
for the touch of her fingertip tryst
as her KingSlave is bound and tendered

She….sparks the call of the tiger Forms of her sinewy past shake me to my knees before her

Her hotness directs my Hardness                       Empress enmeshed engrossed enthralled in moments of my exotic Animal cries
She smiles    hands of mine lost somewhere behind my back and I don’t fucking care! I’m sweating out of my heart rate                                                      she’s vetting me for all my love is worth to her
I’m paying for her hearts empire   a fortune    a gypsy rising from the ashes of her past puts rings on my love warm fingers
I am her throne
I am the one
That still calls her my home…

This is the love that needs no house…



Cog: Dream Displaced by Frederick Andrew

in the mind’s eye of the youth
a dream starts to unfold
the books he reads
span many leagues
lend fire to his own
flights of imagination
grandiose that he’d make real

in time, in time, my padawan
the path you choose is long
the tools to make the tools that build
the parts and pieces of your dream
must first be honed and mastered
put your shoulder to this wheel

patient by his nature, youth
wades out into the stream
he finds the flow
and with it goes
trusts blindly that his dream
swims somewhere in the current
just around a bend or two

your work is good, my padawan
it’s clear you have a knack
for grasping what we put in reach
assembling the things we teach
so finely honed and mastered
in the pattern of our dream

now the stream to river’s grown
youth takes his task in hand
he stays the course
despite the cost
of lesser paths forgone
whose aim and destination
hew more nearly to his heart

so pleased, so pleased, my padawan
your trust in us you’ve placed
the diligence with which you trod
as through the tedium you plod
so finely honed and mastered
earns the title Senior Cog

Senior now and all but spent
he takes some time to gaze
the river’s run
is all but done
adrift upon the sea
and lacking in direction
begins his solitary swim at last.

Inspired by the poem dream girl by +RC deWinter


Starved by AF Knott

You were starved.
The first item on the shelf you saw
Was me,
A dented can of sardines,
Originally stocked in post war bomb shelters
Commercially resold by some crook, some soul robber,
You took it.

I heard the fork
Scraping it all out, into your mouth
Oil spilling onto your chin.
I meant to ask,
You even like sardines?

But no, I go good with rice and mayo.
The lid peels back with a key.
Best served on a wooden table,
On a tin plate in a house with burning peat
Where you’d have to turn
At JUST the right moment
To gaze out the window
At the seal’s head
Sticking out of the loch
Looking straight back at you.


untitled by Priya Patel

I am as restless as the night behind me
perhaps more
Sheets tangled; defeat dripping
from every thought I hold
The thunder screamed through the night
A murderous scream
or perhaps that was a dream
nothing is as it seems
I have become a wanderer
with no where to go but to the night

A Nursery Rhyme by Robert Horton

Jack and Jill
Shot up on the hill,
Fetched dirty needles
And Jill tumbled down ill.
Wee Willy Winky
Took her to his bed,
Upstairs, downstairs
But Jill was already dead.
So sing for your supper
And lick your platter clean,
Jack Spratt floats in fat
Gently down the stream.
Where two little fishes
Up the river swum,
Singing another gritty tale
Of life in the slum.
Then little Jack Horner
Syphoned off the scum,
Sucking in a corner
Moonshine off his thumb.
While the cat and its fiddle
Played a merry tune,
A dish full of heroin
Ran away off the spoon.
So fly away Peter,
Fly away Paul,
Those nasty little rashes
Don’t look good at all,.
Like ring a ring of roses
For a pocket full of weed
“Big issue, big issue”
There’s hungry kids to feed.
So Tommy Tucker psychopath
Drove through the town,
Four and twenty shots rang out
And they all fell down.
Tweedle Dee oh so dumb
Called the police a whore,
So all the kings horses
Trampled all the poor,
The queen was counting taxes
Guy Fawkes primed the drum,
And all the blind mice
Were blown to kingdom come.


Mama So Loved To Dance by Don Morgan

Even before I walked or talked,
my mother and I went dancing.
We took the bus, we braved the walk-
mama needed to go prancing.

Then up the metal fire case stair,
banging, toning like empty tanks,
to fall into the kitchen chair
near the hamburger patty steaks.

O these girls were really cookin’,
the walls were bumpin’, jumpin’ jive.
Believe it, that place was sumpin’
makin’ bubblin’ brown chow with chives.

Lipstick, ribbons, and bobby socks,
peddle pushers, shorts, plaid and blue,
all the music that really rocked,
perm pressed hair and saddle shoes too.

The girls would jump and fan their hands,
swing their butts, spin and shout out loud.
The sound pour’d out to all the lands
and drew an even bigger crowd.

My mom was first among them all,
wearing a grin, big as a sign.
She was swinging, she was singing
or wriggling on the floor supine.

Mama was a’pran, pran, prancing
she was the top, she was first class.
Mama was a’dan, dan, dancing,
without a doubt, having a blast.

 Chalk by K. Leigh Thoma

My smile was for you
Yet yours was for another
I gave you all I had
You still craved some other

My tears were for you
Yet no sorrow fell down your face
I cried myself to sleep
Only chalk to be erased

My heartache was for you
Yet you showed no love for me
I bled a thousand times
You didn’t care to see

My emptiness is full
It’s what is left behind
A broken sort of vessel
A broken sort of mind

The Myth by K. Leigh Thoma

If you were the ocean
Or the turbulent sea
I would stand on the shores
Holding hands with Penelope

But you are not the ocean
And you are not the sea
While I stand on the cold shores
You do not come to me

If love was an arrow
And I was Daphne
I would run through the forest
Turning into a laurel tree

But love is not an arrow
And I am not Daphne
Escaping  Eros’ false love
You still don’t care to see

If you were a cracked wall
And I was on my knee
I would fall on my sword
United with sweet Thisbe

But you are not a cracked wall
Yet I am on my knee
I have fallen on my sharp blade
And we are still not meant to be


by AF Knott

I opened my mouth

To let you see

The folded piece of paper

Between my teeth

Then fell against you,

Like a pickpocket

My canvas cords tightening

While dropping it onto your lap.

They pulled me away

To the window

Still looking

Over my shoulder to see

If you were


Bedlam Zoo
by AF Knott

I visited her at the Bedlam zoo,
Or she visited me, one of the two.
Her hand shook,
She had a big head,
Liked the grapes they rolled under the door
Eating them one by one using fingers two.

We slammed the tire under the tree,
First her then me, her then me.

One day the cage door opened
One of us got out
Can’t remember who,
Remembered my bundle on a stick,
Pabst Blue Ribbon, crackers, bowls of soup. . .

She was in her room,
The door’s thick window, too thick
To hear me knocking.
She just sat. They
Were going to put her down,
Or put me down,
One of the two,
I came to say goodbye
Knocked and knocked, she
Couldn’t hear,
Just sat.
They said come on, just like that
So I went
Down the hallway
There was a door,
In the room
Was a chair,
They said please


We Catch Fire by Ric Rudnicki

I was waiting for you with the cool morning Barajas wind
Chance on
Silky lips out of my dreams
flush before my eyes
Soundless moments smooth your smile over my heart
Our backseat new love crush
Turned on

Girl crazy
For you
No salt on your skin
Eyes move through my quiet words
Leading my lips to your sweet  sweet  sapor

Only moments of darkness left
Your soft as ever skin
Starts to glow warm

As if one kiss would ever be enough

Render me into your flame



The Sounds Of War by Robert Horton

Crackling of the wireless set,
Crackling of the fire,
Breaking the message says
Tension becoming dire.
Wailing of the sisters,
Wailing of the brothers,
‘cross the sea the children send
Away from their mothers.

Slamming of the kit bag,
Slamming of the door,
Six hundred and ten
Off to fight the war.
Cheering of the nation,
Cheering on the benches,
Good men their spirits break
In the muddy trenches.

Booming of the kettle drum,
Booming of the bombs,
March the men weary
The Fritz’s and the Tom’s.
Rat-a-tatting of the jerry cans,
Rat-a-tatting of the guns,
Fall the men down
’til war is done.

Squealing of the bugle
Squealing of the men
Silently the bodies count
Six hundred and ten.
Sobbing of the sisters
Sobbing of the brothers,
‘cross the sea the caskets send
Back home to their mothers.

A Tapestry Of Time by Robert Horton

This wondrous now,
this awe inspiring moment
in which I exist,
on the event horizon
of humanity,
on the precipice
of a frugality
where my destiny
takes yet another twist.

This ponderous now,
this thought provoking prophecy
in which I am told,
where time
is woven like a tapestry,
stitched with the intricacy of uncertainty,
as is life
and how it will unfold.

This conscious now,
this retrospective confusion
in which I am trapped,
where scattered remnants
of life’s history
litter the paths
of future defeats and victories,
towards the unknown destinies
not yet mapped.

This spacious now,
this awareness of evolution
into which I am emerging,
where nature is woven
as beautiful as an embroidery,
inextricably infinite
in its diversity,
where, in time
I will have no meaning,

For I am
Yet I am unborn.


Dream Keeper by Debbie Green Razey

If I bring you my dreams
Would you keep safe my heart
Lift me up from beneath
Would you swathe me in stars

Could we ride the night on moonbeams
Set sail on candy-floss clouds
Swing on a pearlescent, crescent moon
Take a spaceship to Mars

When it’s time to return
Would you shield me from the sun
Protect me from stormy rain clouds
Helter skelter down turbulent cyclones

Keeping me safe in your arms
We could catch the rainbow express
Transcending every hue
Of life’s prerequisite shrouds

I know this is nonsense and yes
…part of me never grew up
Though with you as my dream keeper
To life’s harsh realities, I’ll keep the door shut

Although please tread gently
As I have so far to fall
My mind frequents the Milky Way
Imagination guards my soul


Archangel (Tanka) by Debbie Green Razey

Masculine frame glints
beneath the light of the moon
Donning wings of strength
…yet he cries a lake of tears
for the souls he could not reach



Beautiful guest by Kristy Rulebreaker

When you
to my town
came unexpected
such a confusion
you created

The car wheels
were stuck
Noisy people
in houses trapped

Never before
these streets
were so quiet
I remember you
I wait for you
with desire

Long I will wait
and I understand
my cool friend
This hot soil
is not good
for your health

When you come again
as mad I will shout
Welcome beautiful guest
Snow I love you


Just a little poison by Kristy Rulebreaker

There is nothing bad
in showing your thorns
my friend
Don’t be afraid
You will never
become like them

You are a loving
tender plant
Just a little poison
you could implant
Just to show that
no one can
tread on your stem



untitled by Mickey Draca

I’m a senseless plex
In a tunnel of riot
Focused emotion
Giving birth to fight

I am in a mettle
Snake on a rock
Searching for riddle
Of a beauty swat

I’m an orange skin
Peeled on angles
Of memory in steeple
Touching the angels

I’m a glass
I’m a bias
I’m a mouse
I’m a pious

I’m a hand
In gloves of nature’s
Vicious brilliance
Of spirit structure


The police hunting down our babies, make it skin vs a badge, since Alex Haley aint around I use my pen on this pad, if I speak, I speak for those who died both nameless, and black, you know the kids, the ones who blameless, except they born in Chiraq, why Mike Brown can’t be a doctor, death the reason he can’t, so now he chill with Brother Malcolm, who first embraced Oscar Grant, said it really hurt it soul, we getting smoked by police, Redd Fox said it was cold, no joke to Ms. Della Reese, Martin asked whats up with Jesse, Huey sat with his burner,  George Jackson gave a nod, as he sat with Nat Turner, Fred Hampton gave a hug, I feel that grip to this day, Ms. Tubman said to always pray, while Che just tipped his beret, met some authors from the past, and drunk some tea with Parks, had a blast with Arthur Ashe, then me and Bob went to spark, heard a sound, but wasn’t sure, until it went through the crowd, best believe that it was James, saying he Black, and he proud, Mr. Gaye was really cool, his words earned my admiration, while Ms. Bethune said go to school, concerned with my education, look at Nelson next to Winnie, if he go she gone ride, while Biko warned me of the beast, modern day apartheid, saw my Granny cross the room, then I held out my hands, that’s when Luther hit a tune, you know he sang as we danced, seen my Pops and I just smiled, styled from his top to his shoes, after that the curtain dropped, and Billy sang bout her Blues, I was walking had to stop, heard one word, it was sorry, looked in his eyes and it was Pac, talking to Mr. Garvey, saw Amistad, and gave a nod, no plead he got it dismissed, next person ask me what I need, was Mr. Fredrick Douglass, told me that the journeys mine, I cried from this declaration, so filled with pride, those Haitians died, so I can have liberation, so as a man, do all I can, might write a book gain fame, then I think of Mr. Cooke, who told me son go make change!

By Andre Thomas


Some Advice by Michael French

I would tell you not to ask
a poet
how to write poetry

The flowers and death
A secret of the Haiku
Turn the page again

Frankly I have known several
not one of them
has a clue

Try to write clearly
Functions do not match at all
Aim to touch a thought

The language it turns out
is all internally generated
until it hits the page

Sounds mysterious
Even a dog barking, knows
he means what he means

Amber by Michael French

The original precious stone
not a child of the harsh forces of the
inner earth
Instead the result of gentle life
and the slow passage of time
Prized and crafted for beauty
literally, from the beginning

And like the life that formed it,
layers are found, a complex aroma
Colors that reflect and refract
changing, interacting with its environment
Warm to the touch and the eye
All the senses recognize the ancient signals

The word itself comes from the desert travellers
Who set out across their entire world to return
with a cargo more desired than gold
The original word meant
“The Beaming Sun”
The name like the stone conjures sweetness like honey
and the romance of a fire

Some things are consumed by flames
Others, transformed.



and the sun flung
and the earth spun
and the dinosaurs come on the plain
and the sun flung
and a rock spun
and the dinosaurs were not seen again

and the cloud ascended
and the bones descended
and the earth spun
and compressed into mud
the sludge that was becoming
fire for the slaves

and the earth spun
and the cars come
sucking on the nipple
of the gas station haze
and the earth spun and
the tension come
and the earth made the breeders
at a furious pace

and the earth spun and
the blood run
for the sludge put the man
in a terrible race
and the earth spun
and every ones lungs sucked
the dirt from the air and fell down

and the earth spun
and it left no one
in the clear there
the dinosaurs revenge now remains
and the earth spun and the next ones
walked on the plains in the change

and the earth spun
and the earth spun
and the earth spun
and the sun flung light
all around


Butterfly by Vicki Bashor

“I love you, but I don’t like you.”
Painfully, I’ve heard
it said disdainfully ..
as if I am a butterfly pinned alive
… you love me
but you don’t like to hear me cry?
I am confused about love
then, I want to say.
But I don’t.
I just escape away.

Selfie by Fergus Martin

I have been many places,
Seen many things
I have worn many faces,
Done many things

All are present in the palm of my hand
Lifeless image bereft of emotion
Soulless eyes stare from the screen
Ingrained is the image reflected
Hidden in the orbs of anonymity
Soul bleeding straight from the heart
Insignificance caught in a moment
Those eyes tell the tale of their past

Portrayed in the grey pallored skin
Is a being I don’t recognise
Lines that are carved in reflection
Life driven by riddles and lies
As I stare at the detail before me
The truth swirls around on the screen
What I’ve become is not what I was
Where I have gone is not where I’ve been

The journey this sadness has traveled
Laid bare at the press of a button
Flash of the light and it’s captured
Caught at this moment in time
Cold image that’s now staring back
Sees through the eyes that gaze on
Veil of pretense has been shattered
And with the push of a finger, is gone.


untitled by Peter Schonefeld

you explained love to me, so

i thought about it while we
pushed our bodies into the other as

the sun pulsed echoes
for that perfect day.

love explained you to me, and

i remembered as salt
stung lips over sacred ground while

the moon waned misery
mourning Spring.

let me show you love…

Second Shower by Allene Angelica

Second shower of the day
Got caught in the pouring rain
Warmth pounding my skin
Elates the mood I’m in

Drops bead
My need

That power never fails
To impress
As it castigates and rails
Our frailty

Lightening screams out
My name
For we are the same

I feel it in my blood
As it surges
And floods
My synapses

Within this fragile shell
As the thunder
Rings my bell

And I smile

 Spirited by A Furious Child

That soul,
The spirit which screams in muffled silence.
That body,
The physical entity that dissipates by death.
That ghost,
The memory of the person that once was.

A photo in my dreams takes me back
To ages gone by,
We met on that street
Shaded with a single tree;
You wore black,
For he had passed
And I did not know…

“Why did you disappear for years?”
I know you thought that
I thought it too…

I called and called,
I dreamt of you,
I saw your happiness in my visions.
Your agony, though,
I only saw in the heat of that summer day
And the shade of that tree…

I never met him,
The little man with great faith.
I never saw his face
Or heard his voice.
I never learned from him
Or witnessed his pain,
Yet I miss him
For you…

I know you’re in pain,
For there’s a hole in your chest
Where he used to live.
He is a part of you
That’ll never disappear.
His spirit visits your dreams
And kisses your tears away
Smiling all the way
As he did when he left…

Breathe, my dearest, for he is never gone.
See, my darling, he has wings in heaven.
Smile, my love, for he is always spirited.


FLOODS by Weak Perfection

I fear not
Pouring out myself onto other people
At least,
I fear not stains it may leave
Stains can be removed, or
At least,
Fade with time
I fear not running out of myself
That’s not entirely possible, is it?
To run out of oneself?
But, are these two meager choices
Are they the only two we have?
Goodness, no.
I fear the pouring out of myself onto others
There is so much to pour out
I will do more than leave stains
I will have more than drops before I am empty
I will cover their entire being
I will sweep them away in a flood
I will drown them
Thus, I remain contained.



Poetry by S.L. Weisend

When done right, poetry is terribly pretentious.
– it pretends to be
everything that it is not.

For instance; the sweet aftertaste of scotch offers no real nourishment, therefore could not possibly contain a drop of truth, or
the savory scent of stew from the bones of last year’s winter,  an epicurean joke, no doubt, to allege the merits of decrepitude.

It is the stimulant touch of a lover’s velvet sound, whose fingers are miles away, hence the lover must be untrue.
or, the rose-tinted hue of the Rockies before nightfall, though hard and grey beneath the shoes.

And when poetry is done right,

-at the cost of no more than a dime for a moment of a pen’s time,
and access to a flattish surface; try a municipal wall, or denim stretched like canvas over a girl’s thigh-

an angel can throw off her leather hood designed to keep her focused and staid
and study the wings she never understood and therefore was always afraid.

untitled by S.L. Weisend

When logic fails us
We walk through stars
up splinter’d planks of the old pier
A slippery bottle of red
Swaying between
You telling a story of a man
only a man
And, I only a woman
measuring waves
as they crumble toward sand


Sentimental Ties by Allene Angelica

With trembling tongue
I search for words
That will not come

Though I feel
Emotions with fervor
The zesty taste
I secretly savor

Drawing a blank
On gilded page
Left untouched
Purple ribbon saved
Meaning oh so much

Gathering dust
A reminder
Of sentimental ties
That have yet to rust

Of a past left
In my back pocket

The weight ensures
My crown does not
Hurtle like a rocket
To outer space
Where recognition
No longer knows my face

Keeping me
Eating humble pie

As I dance
The weight never
Seems to glide
Off of hips leaner


Rounded full
Of sweet

Keeping me
On the ground

Within surround
Of my
Sentimental ties
And that suits me

Just fine


A Bottleneck by Vicki Bashor

A bottleneck of ancient dues.
I’m left with no choice
but to cruise oarless
if my karma reincarnate
cannot choose what I’ve learned
to be resolute corrections
and hemstitched dredges torn,
the dresses not fitting
time and space anymore.

A continuum on the morrow
I’ll chance replace.
May it be the day my chase
goes forward not backward,
my human spirit chafed
on venerable dramas
and incidents I cannot name.
I’m clean just the same.
On my knees oarless in my boat
I weep and beg for penance choked
for the vintage versions of my soul.


empty candy wrappers by Frank Ramon

i wish i had an umbrella
‘tween my mind and the tears
or some kind of a key
that could free my life of fears
it’s like this strong and faithful stallion
that I have ridden thru the years
lies broken and driven to disaster

green pastures gone
and the desert line advances
and i tried looking at the truth
i took a chance i could advance it
and it’s goofy and it’s minnie mouse
in a walt disney world
where the road is paved
with empty candy wrappers

empty candy wrappers
leaving gumballs on your shoes
you wanna tear away the plastic
that is wrapped around the news
it’s tragic and it’s drastic
as the propaganda chews
and spits out all the dirty lies
that lie outside the garden

concerts of confusion
as orchestrated pain
takes the place of all reality
and there’s poison in the rain
i wish that i could write a book
with hope in every chapter
but everywhere i look they’re cooked
in empty candy wrappers


I also want the keys
by Kristy Rulebreaker

I also want the keys
after the wind freezes
the fingers and the nose
to open the home door
to sit by the stove
to make some tea

I also want the fridge
when I am hungry
to take some cheese
I also want a pot
to make some soup
when I am cold

I also want the eyes
to look at me with love
I also want a double bed
warm on the both sides


Indemnity by Matt Cox

Let the empty eyed tongues
lick it all away.
Let them have it
to paint their faces
with pretend.

Give it to the fleshy ones.
Consumption is their gift.
Allow them to satisfy
their constant need for
constant digging.

Leave it there for them.
Let it putrefy and stink.
They will breed upon it
filthy and engorged
on the refuse heap.

Watch their maws break
as they slurp it down.
These words are empty
faulty and meaningless
but they will always trust.


Love by K. Leigh Thoma

I cannot seem to find a place
In which I can belong
I cannot seem to escape this maze
A repeating loop of a mournful song

I search for the light
An embered coal appears
Emitting its pitch black pulse
Its glow is soft
Like a fiery opal
Yet its warming heat
Implores you not to touch

I search for the light
A darkened tunnel appears
An inkness from ceiling to floor
A pinpointed star
Seems light years away
Its promising shine
Never getting closer

I search for the light
A fragile flame appears
A dancing and elegant flicker
Its somber swirl bows to the air
Bending to wind or whisper
Its gentle waltz dips
Its beauty extinguished

I search for the light
A solitary bulb hangs down
The cracking of electricity
Its fluorescent man made sun
The snap and pop of the yellowed orb
Swinging in triumphant arcs
Blackens out the room

I cannot seem to find a place
In which I can belong
I cannot seem to escape this maze
A repeating loop of a mournful song


The Let Down….leaving the Neck Tie Party by Ric Rudnicki

Under the dying fold of the day
I blind, burn myself from the sun that shines before my eyes
Catapulting my tensioned heart over the boulders and cliffs of today’s anxieties
Hope remains black knighted
Red Red blood tipping the blade under my gear

Left old
Left cold
Left alone
Fingering the worn cards of my
Out of date urges
Must I Lay forward the brand of missed stainless chances?

Put to sleep

Hanging above a pasture of rusted nails
Put my neck in the noose of tomorrow
Break my bones
Throughout the night
In the pain
In the dream
As dawn
Browns my sweating jacket
Feeling like 16th century parchment paper
Pain flakes off
My brittle life
Just another wandering white eyed ghost amongst the wreckage of the New Day

Shallow thoughts
Shallow breaths

Sun comes up
My head hangs down


sonnet III by Michael French

A poem about poetry? I don’t mind
The process is always a new surprise
A sonnet is just one way to unwind
And the words a path to lift the disguise

I can write about things like autumn leaves
She and I have watched this process for years
Yet the changes and passing time still weaves
A new Winter blanket of Love and Tears

Harvest both a symbol of Life and Death
What has come to pass and yet still to be
Walking an early sunset, cloud of breath
Try capture a phrase so others can see

A poem about poetry still can hold
Something ageless, brand new, warm and yet cold

“…I was reading the dictionary.
I thought it was a poem about everything.”
–Steven Wright
2 Poems by Our Featured Moderator: Uma Venkatraman

Stir My Senses

Not a shy violet
shrinking away
from your touch
Not a rosebud
waiting patiently
to blossom
Not a daisy
peeking timidly
through the weeds

I’m more an orchid
I’ve survived
every blow
adapted to each
twist of fate
bloomed despite
all odds

Your strength
won’t crush me
Don’t wrap me
in cotton wool
I can match
every thrust
of your passion

Tender melodies
don’t stir my pulse
Awaken me
with the
throbbing beat
of drums
arouse me
with clashing cymbals
Strum my nerves
with the twang
of an electric guitar

Let’s make
the earth quake
with our music

In the Night

You come to me
when deserted lanes
are drenched
in the shadows
of our passion
The moon
a willing accomplice
gently lights the path
for ours is a
forbidden love
lighting up the dark
You step silently
through the empty street
Even the slightest sound
can give us away
The wind obligingly
blows the other way
All the windows
are shut
to keep out the cold
I open mine
to welcome your heat
Every second with you
sparkles like the stars
Every minute
is brighter than the sun
We cannot stop time
from ticking inexorably
towards dawn
but the night comes
just for us


R.C. deWinter
Chris Flegel
Uma Venkatraman
Michael David Saunders Hall
Mary Macharia
Arthur Turfa
Frederick Andrew

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:

  • Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver
  • Soul on Fire by Eldridge Cleaver
  • In Defense of Mumia edited by S.E. Anderson & Tony Medina
  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  • Celebrations edited by Arnold Adoff
  • The Hip Hop Wars by Tricia Rose
  • My Soul’s High Song by Countee Cullen
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell

©2014 Words on Fire (in association with AfroDamus Jonze: The 21st Century Griot & The Poet Tree).

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