Words on Fire V3E3

Words On Fire
Imagineers of Pyrotechnic Poetics
Volume 3 Edition 3
( for January 10, 2016 – March 5, 2016)

We Didn't Start the Fire


  • Michele Johnson
  • José Coelho
  • Evelyn Elizabeth
  • Mel Mel
  • Michael French
  • Peter Spaulding
  • Gianfranco Aurilio
  • Lisa Yoder
  • Katya Mills
  • Denise Baxter Yoder
  • Andre M. Thomas
  • Joshua Art
  • Allene Angelica
  • Kiku Koibito
  • Luke Normsy
  • Frank Ramon
  • Matt Cox
  • Fergus Martin
  • Amit Herlekar
  • sma river
  • Splaetos



untitled by Michele Johnsen

My heart
With a single
Empty space
Signed by you.
Was that love?
Or was I just in love
With the way you made me feel?


No Man’s Room by José Coelho

Her description beamed into or from
my mind unintentionally as water ripples listening to the wind
night after night the stairways, old and creepy
announcing the steps
walls guiding the sound of human hands
whispering and touching
each others’ warps, seldom preempted
with love – her ass
should be held firmly, within his hands, while
his cigarette and his lighter
crossing the street, approaching
the heavy port
and then the long way up – 5th floor with nothing
but a lighter and a cold bed
inside  just the promise
of another morning rising ahead and
the instinct of
undoing, doing – her name – back and forth
into and from
his mouth, as a lenitive
her face, erased, as soon as his eyes
close and the idea of failure settles
somewhere, deep
never mind why a man
crosses the narrow street and joins her without a smile
because he didn’t – tonight he’s alone
no wife, no girlfriend – the key
should be inserted smoothly
and rotated

5th element

eyes of winter by Evelyn Elizabeth

you appeal to me

the sinners cling to you
as if they want to lose
their innocence again

angels clip their wings
so they might feel
the warmth of your earth

and while i am neither
sinner nor saint
you speak to me
i see a world in
your eyes of winter

but your stare…

your stare glows
an ancient fire
that few will survive
without being burned

and you appeal to me

eight ball

Untitled by Mel Mel

Maybe the people like the
Way I do spoken word.
So therefore the word
Is spoken.
Let the blind see and
Closed minds be opened.
Not a perfect poet so maybe
I’m not the one to be quoting.
Some like the way I arrange thoughts
And words or the sound of
My midnight voice.
Some don’t but then that’s
The reader’s choice.
Sometimes I give it
To you like urban blight
Or elaborate like a Rolls-Royce.

sponge bob

Dark Cinema by Michael French

Memories gladhand
Play “Whosit”
Sneak up behind each other
…and touch the wrong shoulder
Silly Munchkin
Tricks are for Kids
Some of them smoke
Disgusting friggin’ habit
even though some can make it look cool
Like Fred and Barney
watching Marlowe light a match
…off an angels ass…
reminded me of you


sweet touch by Peter Spaulding

i wrote a poem
to you
trying to explain something
in a dream
much better
than this one:

the light was dim, but comfortable
like slowly melting butter
or yellow candlelight absorbed
into vellum;
the looks were tender
the couch pillows had a flower print
and a gentle give

we’ve built grandiose, incomplete
images based on scantily clothed
maybe that’s why
we all feel so . . .

i woke up
tied down to my pillow
like gulliver or god
or gregor
drenched in sweat

the smell still lingering
in the dampness

i don’t exist
as a thought
in a neuron along
your synaptic path

i tried to tell you this
the therapist hinted at it
but was afraid or too sane
to go so far

i’ve blinked the people
i’ve encountered in and
out of existence
based on an obscure template
signed by plato’s plagiarized
chalky hand
in soapstone

enemies to provide
entertainment and
something distracting to
and put back together
like my lego set
and friends to make
this shit hole
reality i’ve created
like life rafts
to keep me from sinking in my own shit

you create me
i create you creating me
or maybe we’re all just
being held hostage
in the corner of a dark
spider-webbed room
strapped to decrepit wooden chairs
tripping balls on blue shoe polish
eyes wide, eyes wide, eyes wide
getting throat fucked
by horned gods
choking us (voluntarily) on
the kerosene dipped tendrils
of shredded, shredded
and mumbled satanic verses

you goddamn hippies

let’s shower together
with tea tree oil and
cast through ivory shades–
i need you

touch me with hands without lust;
the bread was stale
the whine was stale
the hate was stale
the sun is stale
the ghosts get

keep dreaming. i need to stay
awake because it’s payday


To You by Gianfranco Aurilio

To you that grow up
among hostile and insensible people
I give a vase as a present
to collect the tears.

To you that walk
on boiling sands
I give the strength
not to hurt the feet.

To you that suffer
hiding wishes
I give the silence
to keep the dreams.

To you that speak
and no one understands
I give a kiss
to see you smile.

To you that fight
not to die of love
I give the life
to never surrender.

road trip

Juicy Things About Driving and Restaurants by José Coelho

delicacy slides down your throat
the moment rice fields prove their existence
– white storks, chimneys, iron bridges growing into the landscape –
the plausible you
stacks tear drops until light vanishes away
behind cork molded hills
and the mind  – starlings, ibis, egrets – sets forth into a drive of its own
mysterious ingredients
cut the surface wide open
and juicy things pop up
at mile 196
parked trucks, big fat cars and signs
blinking – stone soup, fish soup, all sort soup –
the sun splashes its mild winter odor
above the remnants of trees
where chickens, ducks, doves
play one of your childhood dearest scenes
in memoriam
and once inside, the waitress, the ribbed vault, columns, hiding hooks
– are you on your own, sir, what will your order be, red, white?
big screens, one on the right, one behind
merged space
and sound – forks, glasses, someone whispering
seductively about fear while you
attempt one smile
each time the waitress passes by
again last days’ rain will keep falling
from north to south
but not today, today  every square inch of earth
as me inside you, migrating terns – dark coffee
blended hair, naked neck and shoulders, the touch of
my forehead in your
occipital bone –
and then you’re finished
– are you ready, sir?
deliciously gorged, one is back on the road
with nothing but tastes swirling
all around your tongue
the exquisite feeling of liquor – left you behind
by the table – now it’s only me
and a measurable conviction of solitude
just another
200 miles


innocent by Lisa Yoder

Walk with me
Across the bridge
Hand in hand
Sun on our cheeks
Wind in our hair

Cast diamonds on the water
Trace the flight of birds
Find candy castles in the clouds
Pen a future of poetic verse

A little farther over water
Cracks in the buttresses
Schizophrenic dissonance
Peeling blue paint and bird shit

Death run to the other side
Agonal breathing chest heaving
Where is our happiness?
Loss of innocence so slow
And subtle, I almost missed it

But close your eyes
And I’ll close mine
Walk with me and we’ll pretend
Hand in hand
Forever young
And innocent again

winding stick

the crime scene is permanent by Katya Mills

Her great eyes fall on us
while we are looking

the medium
the monster

we give our all
to thank her
for the ocean

lackluster commentary
washes up on the shore

the droppings
of opinion
hit and run
hit and run

the crime scene
is permanent

she spreads us
lost and luster
thin sometimes

in a minute hand’s
wide circling
lenient spin

we do it
to ourselves

the hours
artfully wasted
the body
hardly moves

text necking in our photo
editing booths

the age off our faces

pixel worship
while life gets scarier
out there

help me
i have forgotten
what’s real

i don’t wanna regret
all this screen time
like some washed up
porn star

even that
must be real

god let me fall back
laughing in your arms

at a bar
at a laundromat
smoking reds



Hungry for Darkness by José Coelho

Your voice –
there was a dissonance
among an affection –
the dusk falling
from above the mountain
skyline of birds hungry for
your voice – damn – so sweetly
played within
my private yard
now the surge of metal feathers
inside still the memory
caressing our landscape
forbidden crevices, ingeniously drawn
as kisses, daily
picked up from your skin’s ribs
and melting
form, content, the strange displacement
of the surface in you, in me
and I – hearing your voice –
follow the track left by
my own steps
forgetting the texture of soil and
direction escaping me
as notion
there in the wild this valley
is huge

I wish for the night now

that your voice
is ebbing towards the shore
I’ll lie quietly
to catch its warmth
and drown.


Untitled by Denise Baxter Yoder

I see him
Near the rim of blue forest
Shakes his head and lifts a paw
Invites me to the land of coldness
Shadows call to this fine fox
He goes to ground without a sound
While I scan for silver tracks in the snow

sea in a cup

God by Andre M. Thomas

Now some gone call it destiny while others say that its fate, I give this world the best of me and then they start the debate, see I’m the last seed to survive the others died in them chains, see I’m the seed that’s born to strive some said I’d die what a shame, ask them people off in Flint about this time and our race, while the preacher say repent and give each dime to his place, in all religious books I read each suicide just mean hell but these religious crooks is cold, where Jesus died where the nails?, Huey held a Mac -11 Brother Malcolm did to how could somebody sell you heaven when it’s inside of you, as a kid I used to hustle just to burn through a wad opened up my strongest muscle and I learned I’m a GOD!


Untitled by Joshua Art

I want to look into your eyes
I want to stare into you and we feel nothing but each other
I want to feel your nails tear the wings out from the skin on my back
I want you to make me free
I want to bite my way with my delicate tongue from your lips to your ankles so I may unlock the chains that hold you
I want to never stop looking at your eyes….

I want to feel your legs strangle my torso
I want to know there is no going back
I want to feel nothing but you and I as we fuse
I want fusion to be the only thing left for us to use
I want…to never stop looking at you


trax by Katya Mills

the weekend came
with rain and the grasses fantasy

reality was dishes
was rent and quarter
moons and abrasive

the train tracks are so
goddamn polished

when the weather clears
i think i will go eat lunch
on them

or paint my nails
or lay my spine out
or straddle them in denim
and ride them

choo choo
like a freak

or follow the vibration
to the end of
the world

like church bells
like prayer

like god was in doing
the thing which
when done

made you smile
shut up and


frost by Peter Spaulding

it was funny,
the way you

—who had condensed overnight
into a thin glaze of obscure
meaninglessness, smeared
onto the thick, glass
walls of my bullet-proof

transformed into a butterfly
across my windshield,

only after
the inconsiderate sun and i
began to erase you
from existence
with our a(u)tom(at)ic

and your gossamer wings
became the effervescent
of today’s æther,
and an easily


cat on ice

Camera Obscura by José Coelho

A stairway leading nowhere
taking them up and down as if
ignoring this fact
A bed of dark purple tulips creates
a disturbing background for those
At a distance the husky sound of a lighthouse suggests
an ocean
dimmed and covered with fog
Sitting by a rugged dune a shape or maybe two seem to be
facing the sea
Meanwhile, the unpleasant touch of an hand
too close, too intimate
becoming super real – I
close my eyes and the pressure blows
sand onto the image
clouding it – just as the people
consuming their time uselessly, not even
an astounding tunisian
cat – green eyes, half closed
and sleek fur –
lying at the third step
resonates each and every foot
passing by
his life spanning
the realm of those individuals
whose feet
walk their shadow

I stop breathing
to understand one of the shapes
turning its face to me so I can
see – myself
if I want to – the sea
repeating its dying
as the morning brightness
invades this room
the silky touch of curled silence
brings me back
you – milk, rye, gray hair
loose – now
that worms
crawl underneath
stairways, people
fall, decaying over the dark
purple tulips – stoically still beautiful
and the cat
vanishes somewhere between
those two.


Untitled by Allene Angelica

She made her way
Plain vanilla
On the rockiest road
Chocolate chips
Staring in the distance
At the sherbet sky
Shuffling steps
Heel toeing their way
Through marshy pitfalls
And nutty aggravations
Her peach tinted lips
Mouthing words
To a song
She glittered
With swirls
Of raspberries
And drupes


Ashraf by Kiku Koibito

As they sever your head
Your spirit flies about the world
To live in a million devices
To make grief and outrage
‘To push millimeters toward
A more just humanity
Far too slowly
Far too high a price
Tear a million hearts
Bleed their complacence
That it’s a wonderful world

water drop

Wave by Luke Normsy

I am

in one of
those unfortunate
states, waiting for



maybe it will come
and not have been
at all worth

maybe it will
never come because
there is nothing
to come
but that

doesn’t feel right, it has to
come, whatever
it is

the desolation
we see

is actually the
ocean floor

the water sucked
away by

the coming



they say when you’re
thirsty enough

even salt water
looks good


Color Blind by Frank Ramos

kidneys organs eyes that see
basic traits of humanity
we all feel pain
we all shed tears
the only differences
here that are clear
are the ones that live
between the ears

assholes come
in many colors
we all know some
one hue or another
but when its decent
folks i meet
i don’t need sheets
to hide behind
and unlike the
talking bobbing heads
I’m color blind!!!
I’m color blind!!!

glass of water

Functionalism, Dualism, Monism and Emergence by Michael French

The awareness that I am aware
Pendulums within pendulums


Spring breaks in around the edges
All the signs are there
Rivulets run down the street
The thought that some of that water
could make it all the way into the River
down to the Lake, through the Gulf
and end up in the center of the Atlantic.

It’s not likely
But it’s possible

Now, Imagine
Each one of those drops
knows of this infinitesimal chance.
There is the hope that the journey will lead to
a moment, swept up into a cloud and carried to the East
There to fall as a gleam on Nelson’s Sword in Trafalgar
Or even a tear below the eye of Napoleon in Cherbourg

It’s not likely
But it’s possible

street sweeper

The Forbidden by Lisa Yoder

They say, “Dark waits not for thee.”
But for me it does, like a madhouse,
a crazy carnival thing; I am lured in
over and over again,
always strangely fascinated by things
that set off the trip wire of my intuition,
make my heart pound madly,
my mind careen wildly with exhilaration.

It’s always fun for a while;
you know, extending my middle finger.
To rules? Religion? Resented parental figure?
Thirty years and I still haven’t figured it out.

After a while it gets frightening in here.
During those brief spells when I must stop and breathe,
in those moments before dawn, between wakefulness and sleep,
before my superpower rationalization and self delusion kick in
I feel them, the monsters of my childhood nightmares staking their claim on me.
I am afraid, alone, isolated, faithless.

I will run away again, run back out into the sun,
don all the vestiges of the self respecting believer in Good.
I will even fool myself for a while; “I am so happy.”

Inevitably a tactile sensation seeps slowly from my marrow
to my consciousness–insidious, then obnoxious, then tortuous.
I writhe under Good, as itchy and suffocating as wearing a wool coat in summer heat.
I will fling it off, craving the cool of dark and the life I feel again
in the forbidden.

death walker

wrapping paper by Peter Spaulding

existence is a great big
spread out

always giving birth to new
more crumbling

we’re all surrounded
by death
there’s probably not
a square inch left
where something hasn’t
bitten the proverbial

i’d like to stay inebriated
against it
with various
and distractions

but today
i’m smiling
nodding hello
to my fellow ghosts

skipping down the gravel
eating rainbows
and other fruity

happy to see
other ghosts
smiling too

laughing at death
because it thinks
it’s getting something good

but the bastard’s
gonna be
sorely disappointed
when he unwraps
my clammy wrapping paper
and finds out
it was all for nothing

it sounds morbid
but that’s life

not a win-win

because you’re getting cheated
i’m getting cheated
and death is getting
cheated too

i’m not scared of it
today i’m smiling
and when i die
i’m gonna be that

stubborn child
sitting in the back
staring Him
talking back

flipping Him off
a knowing smile

we’ll probably
wind up as friends

street light

Finding a Place by Matt Cox

The fingers that scrape
against me
I knew them once
but I refuse them now

They push my eyes
against me
tracing my lips
but I sleep now

A cold cheek
against mine
rough comfort
but never again

Her tongue forced
against me
never never never
but so sweet


she asked what makes my muse tick by Evelyn Elizabeth

if i were to try to explain it
all i could say
it’s as if she always was

i’m at home playing house
with unfamiliar old feelings
not to be taken lightly
but guided gently
into the now

for everything is permanent
in a temporary fleeting
like the rivers that linger
beneath placid waters
giving into time
so that i might understand;

healing in pain
the wounds beneath scars
lust coupled with love
revenge breaking forgiveness
and a shift in my thinking

she is not the muse of whimsy
in my cliché greetings
she is the muse of
my sanity and my envy
my longing and my tears
she is there when nothing
else makes sense
when nothing else is heard
but revelations are at hand

she becomes the muse
of my joy and my contentment
she tells me write
write and reveal the universe
sitting at your heart’s doorstep

then let it go…
let it go and listen
to the muse
listen to her words
echo within you


At a Better Glance by José Coelho

At a better glance we’re all dust
– photographs, marbles, headsets in order to
listen to
time and memory
an internal clock ticks the influx, reflux
of blood
in me
I watch it
manoeuvring around while
Earth – twisting light –
insists on her perpetual movement
and you
with your wet fingers
carefully blaming
the Sun, killing
the Moon
smothering  whichever aliens dare to
come close
thirsted for human’s love formula
simply let it keep falling as if claws spoke
harder than feelings
and a weightless rain prevented
the universe from
its particles

At a better glance
your tears have moistened your skin
covered with

cool chick

letter of denial, longing, stupidity, philosophy, loss of reality, drunkenness and smiles; sad love songs by Peter Spaulding

well, i’ve sat
in my car again
for pointless hours
smoking and drunk

Memories of My Melancholy Whores
and The Metamorphosis
are sitting beside me
or inside of me, maybe
as if to summarize
the scene

another thread
is growing longer
losing hope
only to wax
and repeat

under your orders
and a little of my own
free will
i went out
to ‘find someone’
to add to the mounting
collection in my head

i succeeded, in part:
pretty, crystal
blue eyes, attractive
ball of energy she
eccentric and maybe just as
fucked up as me–
already saw
inside her
mind some
and damn
what a good writer
but i conclude
(yeah, i know. jumpthegunjudgementking)
it’d be
a firestorm, raging mess
which we all know
is too much for me

but she’d make a good friend
so that’s good;
i’m a little excited
(glad we met, girl)

that’s assuming she isn’t pissed
i was sizing up her compatibility
in the first 20
minutes of meeting;
least i’m honest

anyway, so here i am
hoping the thread doesn’t
contemplating grabbing onto it
and drawing, unraveling
you through

but as i said
i’m fuckin’ drunk
and sex comes along
with longing, in this state
along with a loss
of reality

i’d make you godless
or you’d give me god
and neither option sounds good
because i want you
to keep your faith
(it’s lonely without
none; any. none. any)
and besides, i’m angry
at the bastard
not to mention how all these
faiths have holes worming through
their philosophies

funny the one i find
most likely is (i think)
the one you gave up

enough about faith
and damn my reason
to hell with me
my morning comes
and i think again
about reversing your sunrises

and i’m not drunk this time–
well, not on alcohol

you’re gonna have to
order me harder
and i was never good
at following commands
(it’s some kind of disorder)

but you can try
and i can pretend
my will was in line with it

maybe i’ll hunt again
tonight. meanwhile
i love you

(cadillac, just for kicks)

in my heart now
worming through
my philosophies
you’ll always be there

voices beat holes in my head
always. bass and screams
soft tones
mad tones, loving tones
that’s what music is
to me. it’s a magic, dripping
mess in there



magically, i would
twist your world in half
and reverse your sunrise;
destroy and remake
your seasons
into mine

til then, and that far-never
guess i’ll try to hunt again
meanwhile, loving you
and metamorph-
(and there’s a crunchy, humming
bassline here)

sincerely, yours
your melancholy
melachonly whore


A Step Back by Michael French

Sometimes I need that rarified air
of the philosophic view

I was going to use the word “Clash”
but that in itself is a judgement
Pointing towards the sides of the argument,

and there,
another one
The words make assumptions,
quite ordinary, the concepts
on the other hand
may express the exceptional

We lean shuddering toward the unknown
afraid and hoping there will be something
when our grasp finally slips

To be handed the keys to the Universe now
would be the doom of us all
We pray fate will prepare us…..
but it never has before

The Skeptic and the Believer both know the Void

tv set

Unpalatable Feast by Fergus Martin

Through my window I see,
the world eating itself;
slowly from the inside.
Laid out before my eyes,
society in its splendour
saturated in cynicism.

Ambiguous statements
corrupting weak wills,
and destroying cohesion.
Pronouncements collapse,
leaving hollow remarks;
beliefs lie shattered.

Filtering quaint platitudes,
that create expectation
finding only deception,
unravelling passions,
spin out of control,
leaving cold hearts exposed.

Layers peeled back,
reveal distorted reality –
wheels within wheels.
Turned upside down,
worlds fall apart,
devouring themselves.


Pride and Glory by Amit Herlekar

I have failed before, and I will fail again
Because I know, (Well, I came to know)
First by denial, then by utter reluctance
Ultimately by strike of rude awakening:
It was a wretched scream without a voice:
Beseeching me to open my arms wide
Only to accept me; just to accept myself
Which I continue to fail…

To make a world understand who I am
Help them witness the treasure I possess
Through the beauty of my works of art
Relish what lies beneath the mask I wear
In return gives me strength to stand firm,
Gives me courage to hold my head high
That’s the ultimate source of my pride.

After a long hiatus, through the windows
I see that my bygone glory has got faded,
They label me as a washed-up celebrity –
A comic book character wearing a mask,
Who is now old and has a bleating voice
With a family that he’s no longer part of.

* * *

All set to make a comeback in this time
With brave and bold new ideas of my own
I am embarking on a whole new journey
To achieve the goals painted my dreams
But I hear is sardonic laughs around me
They question the credibility of my talent
It makes the sorrow thrive without mercy
Burdening my heart which it cannot bear

The loneliness haunts me when it says…
“Wake up you miserable, bleating old goat!
How did we end up in this filthy cesspool?
You do not deserve this kind of aggravation.
Remember what you are, where you belong,
Wait until you see the faces of those who
Thought you were an old washed-up artist.
You tower over this jaw dropping greatness;
You are larger than life, man. You are a God
Saving people from their boring little lives!
Let us go back one more time to show them
What we’re capable of with a grand overture
And the very next time you bleat…”

Echoes of my long lived dreams resonate
A hard hitting reality of my own manifests
With a snap of my fingers the show begins
A missile strikes, explosion across the street,
A dreadful monster circling above screeches
I take a big leap to fight that dreaded beast
Firing powerful laser beams through my fists
“This is what you are, where you belong.”
A joyful smile fills my face with pride.

“This is it, man. The final act. Get out there;
Give it to them you mighty wrinkly goat.
Show them what you’ve got for the last time
And earn back what you always wanted,
What you alone deserved – pride and glory.
You are destined to soar above all of them.
Together we’re unstoppable – a global force.
You’re the best there is, the best there was,
And the best there ever will be!”

I win millions of hearts after the final act.
Next dawn, I sit on my bed, an encore begins;
I go to the window and gaze towards the sky,
Admiring its natural beauty I take the big leap
And they see me flying high up in the heavens.


Shoveling by Luke Normsy

The new neighbor
from St. Louis
or wherever

offers the use
of her powerful new

I want to get my money’s worth!
she bubbles

Devil-Normsy says:

tell her, ‘bitch, take that
Midwest courtesy
and shove it, I wipe
my own ass, you
go worry about
your own snow’

in a Mercedes McCambridge

but I politely decline,
citing a sedentary lifestyle,
the benefits of vigorous

Pussy, says Devil-Normsy

later I punish him
with extra Seroquel

and take 2 Advil
for my aching


Extra Fine Blue by Allene Angelica

I’ve disappeared
Misty vapors
Into my day to day

Towards reality


My mind
A blank canvas
With knotted
Painted with
Extra fine blue

With the light fingers
Of consciousness
But there are times
When the hand
Is heavy with lunacy
Piercing through
Gut wrenching

On the line
Inner and outer


Craving solitude


An outgoing
Life force


I am
Quite comfortable
In my own skin

But is my skin
Comfortable with me?


shall we dance by Evelyn Elizabeth

you make me wish
i was broken
so you could put me
back in motion

it would be
an elegant dance
across the floor
picking up
pieces of me

i got here too early
and you
much too late
but i’m thankful
for the invitation

time and again
my mind will escape
to once upon
an ongoing ending

an ending filled
with bliss
and sealed with
a delicate kiss

i’d love to ask
you to dance
but i can’t
there are no words
left to say

each one left
on the cusp of
the broken moments
i spent time in
along the way


Blue Umbrella by José Coelho

In essence, everything ended
today. I realized it
after carrying out the morning tasks – walk the dogs
have breakfast and feed the plants some
water. I sat in front of the computer
and the void was
the size of the valley and of the mountain
and of the blue-umbrella sky, all so
prodigiously wide open
just behind the window.
The movement of cars, the people, fields greenery, at their
brought to me – I really don’t
know why – the memory of my childhood make-believe farm –
fences, cows
horses, tractors, implements. While I
fell off, everything grew
neatly – the road, trees, the children, home; besides me
hollow, insane, weightless, tapered, ever more
thrust in thoughts
and less flesh. I recalled
clearly of goals and projects, supposedly mine; although
absent-minded, unowned, became fuzzy and
in me a certainty of desertion and  fall got settled.

surreal eye

Torn Skirts by Frank Ramon

I went down to the demonstration
saw the man with the microphone
it was a lost souls congregation
they want to take him for their own
he’s a voice for all their problems
all the anger and despair
says he’s gonna lead them
over the muddy waters
but he won’t say when or where

And that big eye in the sky
keeps on watching you and me
as we struggle to survive
the torn skirts of lady liberty

Our grandfathers fought
in world war one
our fathers world war two
and in the blood and mud
of Vietnam
our young men fought
the Khmer Rouge
and the grinding sands
of Desert Storm
soon brought more death
and pain and harm

And that big eye in the sky
keeps on watching you and me
as we struggle to survive
the torn skirts of lady liberty

battles lost and battles won
gunfighters in the
doomsday sun
soul less eyes
glide over head
on lies the trigger finger’s fed
death will rain down
from the skies
by robot brains
whose thin disguise
is dressed by
propaganda puppets

And that big eye in the sky
keeps on watching you and me
as we struggle to survive
the torn skirts of lady liberty

broken heart

the end by Lisa Yoder

In the end,
it was reality
that defeated us;
it, an ever growing light
and we, mere shadows
unable to love in it.

we returned to the night,
later emerging
more damaged than before.

battery recharge

Go Fish by Luke Normsy


a broken shoelace

crusted egg-and-cheese
remnants from the
frying pan

the rain and the rain

diet soda

new carpet



$5 to the
hobo with a
cardboard sign


disposable razors

not bothering
to take the


x dead in
some tragedy

the falsity of nostalgia
the lies of the news

car payments

how fortunate the Israelites,
to get a bulleted list of

right from the
Horse’s mouth!

virtual beach

Playing Pooh Sticks by Fergus Martin

Gently floating downstream,
blissfully unaware
of the chaos,
that lies beneath
the calm.

Bobbing along serenely
on a surface
buffeted by ripples,
endlessly oozing
from the shallow.

Twisted and turned,
hopelessly lost
in tormented waters.
Carnage effervescing
in the bedrock.

Navigating the rapid,
wildly flowing stream.
Evading the turbulence,
the frothing turmoil
of an endless torrent.

Reaching tranquillity,
a pool of serenity.
Escape from the flotsam,
survive another day,
in this river.


at rest by Evelyn Elizabeth

on the darkest horizon
of wandering
take a moment
to look up tonight

let a constellation
catch your eye
become a cluster
of dark and light
search for the meaning
in each star’s name
notice a sparkle before it
begins to fade

experience the light
in one star worlds away
as it dies for the next
don’t miss the faint
glistening at rest
behind the brightest star
in the north

take a moment tonight
to tilt the axis
look into my eyes and
create a constellation
connect with a heart
as close as a pin drop

i’ve become lost
amongst the noise
once reflected in the sky
lost so each of your stars
may have more luster
even though
no light shines forever


the farm by Katya Mills

i bought the
farm and i planted crooked rows
of anything but corn
between the
ears between the

i let the children come
after school
and play themselves
to tired

when you’re dead
you can do so much


So Much More… by Mel Mel

Maybe I got something or
Nothing at all.
It take years to become great
And only seconds to fall.
Maybe I am just a legend in
My mind or Nothing at all.
Maybe I ain’t dope enough
Or there is more talent
In the half-glass for me
To pour.
Each day I take wins and
Losses but who’s counting
The score?
What you do on a daily basis
Among strange and friendly
Faces can make you one
Of the rich or the poor.
Just hope when I die that
I live the listeners begging
For more.
I loss count of my wins
And my losses but
When it’s more about
The subtance and the
Impact, who got time
To be keeping the score.
Some day they will either
Love me or hate me
Or want so much more.
I come from a poor block
Where life is so much
To make it out and be somebody
Of worth is what we live.
Even though the old timers
Tell us no matter where you
Come from it’s what’s in your
Heart that make you so much
However living in a failed system
Where we see struggle after
Struggle it can be a struggle
Just to struggle and see what
It’s worth to live for.

cat on skateboard

side effects by Michael French

I find myself easily moved

Let me try to make some kind of structure
If I just start writing perhaps it will come
Give it a rhythm
Give it some rhyme
And in time

It lays shattered all around me
And I get upset at how little it takes
An old cat, lost a long time ago
I had to close his eyes along the road
When I found him

It’s enough

I want to go back to writing about the stars
How the mythology as beautiful as it is
Holds nothing to the brutal physics of the hard reality

I get comfort from that
The observation the Universe couldn’t care less
If it could care at all
Seems right somehow

If that sounds bitter
Try reading it the exact opposite way

At the bottom
I know the cause, and the cause for concern
But at the bottom
Where ever that is
There doesn’t seem to be very much
Right now, anyways

I have tried to erase this
and couldn’t work up the anger


theory of everything by Peter Spaulding

people more well-
studied than i
say the universe

born in a burst
of light
such as will never
again be seen

and is galloping towards
a darkness more
than ever

at an exponential rate

and i think
i probably
agree with that

without need
for their instruments
or higher learning

it’s sort of like
yin gave birth
to yang, but then
regretted it and started
cannibalizing him
in a slow and
ruthless fashion


Loving More by sma river

More than one person
More than one way
More than receiving
Or taking away
More than believing or instinct or fear
Loving myself more
Year after year
Love is blinder
After a tryst
Lends an assist
Love enhanced by clear intellect
And washed away in dark neglect
Lighted by empathy
Weakened in rage
Or silvered by age
Torqued and twisted
Tormented and torn
Burnt and sharpened and beaten and borne.

Most of us seek it everending
Gripping and holding and carefully sending
Terrified of being alone
Sitting in shadows
A soul made of bone
But love abounds
Is everywhere
In earth, sky, sea, air
In creatures, insects, newest babe
In cornered hearts alone, afraid
So much so
Abundant sound
Oozing rampant
Not a contest
More a seed
A current, wave, focus, deed
Collective love
Or private bond
Free as surf
Or still as pond
Hard work
Or easy flow
Time together
Space to go.

It’s physical lack
Primal mammal need
Consuming, clinging, clawing
Vision black
Desperate plea
Stealing, hoarding, gnawing.

Touch releases from these fears
Touch fills up the holes of years
Intimate and tender try
Skin on skin
Eye to eye
Reminds us
It is here
Give without expecting back
Feel and never find a lack
They call it unconditional
It only means the riddle’s solved
There is no contest
Never lack
Has your back
Floating in foam
Caught in the current
I don’t give a damn if you don’t buy it
Find it
Feel it
Live it
Try it.


Untitled by Joshua Art

The mirror learned how to put on her make up
Now she doesn’t give a fuck
And she just KNOWS she knows what’s what
“So, THIS is the real world?”
It’s not that easy…
But…she never looks upThat’s why she fell
And never noticed the cuts
All the times they were healed
And bandaged all up
By me
But…and this is the keyMirrors only see themselves
if you ask me, this is your answer by Peter Spaulding
you can’t be a good writer
if you don’t lay yourself
bare, with your guts
clear to everyoneyou have to be fearless
laying every bloody vein
open on the tableyou have to show
your unpolished edges
and piss
and dreams
and all your flawsand you have to do it
without trying too hardor else it’s all fluff
soft, empty, meaningless flufflike clouds that can never be touched or held

if you don’t
there’s no feeling
nothing to grab
nothing to show for anything

anyone can say “the sky spells your name”
anyone can write lines
of dribble
about anything

don’t add to the dribble
dribble is everywhere
but there’s only one of you

and if you are contriving it
without your voice
don’t bother

real poetry is primal
poetry is life bled onto paper
poetry is the way a wolf rips into its prey
poetry is the way a fish swims
and the way a mother nurses

poetry is alive and dying and bleeding and vital and decaying all at once

poetry is how birds fly
and how lechers fuck
and is the way stars shine
and flowers bloom
and how corpses rot
and how lungs fill with air

none of these things ask how to do what they do

don’t choose words because they sound cool
choose words because they are what you want to say
don’t use words you don’t know the meaning of
don’t use fancy line spacing
and pictures
just to make up for lack of force in your words

writing and photography and
spacebarology are not the same things
they can’t give your poetry life
any more than mouth-to-mouth
can resuscitate a dead man

you can do both well, or one or the other
or none at all

don’t draw stick figures in mud that will be washed away tomorrow and present it as your everlasting magnum opus

poetry is one of the few kinds of magic left
poetry is changing and growing and
must be unique to you
everything has already been said
but if you have to copy someone else
without your voice, without your authenticity
without your own blood and breath
then you’re using a dead formula that has lost
its power
as soon as you pick up the pen

poetry is not fancy words
and things you yourself don’t even know
poetry is raping the world open until it conforms to you
and isn’t awkward
until it gushes at you and begs you not to stop
poetry is light and dark and everything in-between
poetry is not rote or dribble

there is a space reserved for poetry that occupies the area of a checker board
in a bookstore that boasts itself with the name Books-a-Million
because not enough writers understand this

you aren’t Shakespeare
you aren’t Poe
you aren’t Byron
or Shelley
or Yeats
or Blake
or Lao Tzu
or Burroughs
or Bukowski
or any other writer

write in the style that conveys what you want
rip off any writer or writers you like and make their style yours
invent your style, whatever
but it must be done in your style
and with style
and with your own knowledge
and with mastery

and of course, we all fail
we all produce dribble
from time to time
but if that’s all you can make
it’s time to stop writing
and find a new profession
or pastime
or addiction
or hobby

because poetry has a bad name
and people run from it
or turn their noses up
because they’ve read things
that are impossible to relate to
or contrite
or done poorly
thanks to these writers
and a tiny space is reserved
at Books-a-Million

good luck
getting in



shakespeare, brahman, miller, bukowski, manson, and me by Peter Spaulding
we’re just poor players
and ridiculous actors.
life is the stage.
life is maya.there is no curtain.
it never rises until you realize there isn’t one.
we come and then
go again.life is art.
god got bored and fucked us with it;
he’s laughing somewhere right now.
there’s no getting out until you’re gone,
reabsorbed, destroyed eternally, pushed
back out here
again, regurgitated in a mass of neurons and limbs
from his bored mouth, whatever–let it flow through you.
guzzle it until you can’t drink another sip.
channel it
until you gag on it,
until it’s stopped in your throat and clogging your veins,
until you’re glowing and phosphorescent
and putrid on it,
until it’s made you sick and there’s no strength left to consume it.
let it be what makes your skin crawl.
let it make you shiver.pretend the only things are sorrow and joy.
lap them both up and spew them as they come to you.let it course through you til you die of it–
we’re all going to, anyway.
drown yourself in it.
let it carve you out
until there’s nothing left to carve.
fan it and throw more kindling on it.
be a glutton on it.
be full of it and starve on it.
be depraved or be a saint.
be a villain or a victim or a god—
be a whore
or be devoted.
be a watcher or a doer.
be kind and gentle and be violent.
be everything,
if you can,
but let it burn you out in a burst of flame
and pray to whatever deity you choose that it has enough fury
to compare to the pale flicker of a match
in a world that’s white-washed
and grey
and utterly dark.

Invite to inComprehension by José Coelho
I’m not famous, never
liked to be but
I can say that I urinated with the great
Mário Viegas
Inclusively, I’ve met the sound of his
sputumMy childhood collapsed with
titanic fears – scathing things
changing anatomies and perceptions, traffic
accidents, bloody bodies, running empty
the rumor of violated houses, gray interiors
muddy waters sullying the placid color of
survivorsone day I decided to set everything
on fire, which was like
forgetting content, matter, will
and  recovering my own
identity: I stripped
off others, their baggage and their
until I felt meI then got back holding me to a
normal life, like
read, work, date and of course
collect stamps and addresses –
coming from the four corners
of the world –
It must have been around that time
I started looking at
stuff I
dwelt with; a
chair became particularly
dear to me: I studied it, drew it and
when I received guests
it was on it they sat
firstI’m not famous, never
have I identified with social pleasures, however
I can brag of having been with the actor
Mário Viegas
Inclusively, I’ve met the boasting of his
Or… by Splaetos
You avert your eyes as I walk by
and my world shakes…A pretty thing
just next door
the night before,
had smiled me up
and down
her mind.It occurred to me,
I’d written her down
some months before…
A mocha sunrise—
and so she was
at 10pm
in a frigid downpour.Just as young
and just as bright,
with echoes of day
where yours are night.And I suspect
the dawn she’d bring
could mellow the dark
and render the dusk
a bearable thing.But auburn hair
and phantom blush,
despite the hush,
spur dreams that sing
in a language
no words could obtain.

Perhaps what is sent
is not what you meant,
perhaps you’ve nothing to say.

But perhaps what I want
is for night to win out
for starlight to shout
and echo
through all of the day.

Arise by Luke Normsy
the night is cold,
o yes, but weak –the rich perfume of
feeding rot:
unsuppressedthe thawing earthstretching like
an animal will stretch
in preparation, summoned by
the pink-fleshed dawnthe miracle is comingdaffodils prepare for war
which tragic snows
must fight, and lose,

and bleed for to
provision the blossoms
of their enemies

the birds, survived again,
confidently herald
the imminent arrival

of thick worms,
short skirts, new buds,
budding passions –

i have seen the
green explosion
of Persephone’s return
36 times, each one
the first

it is a cold night,
o yes, but the
miracle is coming


End Notes
BigUps & Much ❤ To All Contributors. Remember: the poet tree will be streamed…so, let’s forever indulge in the balance of delicious agony and suite ecstasy of our everlasting leaves, always writing what the moment recommends to infinity and beyond. Till next time, Write On/;-)
Much ❤ to The Magnificent Seven [Moderators/Co-Owners/Co-Editors]:
Michael David Saunders Hall (aka the 21st Century Griot)
RC deWinter
Chris Flegel
Uma Venkatraman
Arthur Turfa
Frederick Andrew
Mary Macharia
©2016 Words on Fire




















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