October 20, 2014

Clock Maker by Michael Lee Johnson

Solo, I am clock maker
born September 22nd,
a Virgo/Libra mix insane,
look at my moving parts, apart yet together,
holes in air, artistic perfection,
mechanical misfits everywhere,
life is a brass lever, a wordsmith, an artist at his craft.
Clock maker, poet tease, and squeeze tweezers.
I am a life looking through microscope,
screen shots, snapshot tools,
mainsprings, swing pendulum, endless hours,
then again, ears open tick then a tock.
Over humor and the last brass bend,
when I hear a hair move its breath,
I know I am the clock waiter,
the clock maker listens-
a tick, then a tock.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era:  now known as the Illinois poet, from Itasca, IL.  Today he is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 875 small press magazines in 27 countries, he edits 9 poetry sites.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  "From Exile to Freedom", several chapbooks of poetry, including "From Which Place the Morning Rises" and "Challenge of Night and Day", and "Chicago Poems".  He also has over 71 poetry videos on YouTube.

October 17, 2014

Eventually by Michael Keshigian

Staring from the moon
in a dream
I saw people of Earth
meander aimlessly
from minute cavities,
following burrows 
to dutiful destination
and back again.
Some moved faster
others carried more
and few were prostrate to fantasy.
Yet above each hill 
hovered ghosts of intentions
not resting, but preparing 
markers with singular openings 
where well meaning will be placed.

Michael Keshigian’s ninth poetry book, Dark Edges was recently released this September, 2014 by Flutter Press.  He has been widely published in numerous national and international journals and appeared as feature writer in over a dozen publications with 5 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations. (michaelkeshigian.com)

October 16, 2014

Lost in Bedroom Twenty Nine by Eira Needham

Not knocking, I clunk open
the door, into a room
supposedly vacant.

She sits on a chair
by the window,
rocking and purring.
Sun glosses her dun mane
as it sprawls
around furrowed features.

Sorry, I breathe.
Her life entangled in bygones,
the old woman's gaze
never wanders from
the plumped-pillow face
of her baby, cradled
in a white sheet.

Eira Needham is a retired teacher, living in Birmingham UK. Her poetry is eclectic and has been published in print and online. Recent publications are in The Tower Journal, Cyclamens & Swords and Green Silk Journal. She has also been Featured Writer in West Ward Quarterly.

October 14, 2014

The Boy with the Books by Katherine Liu

Once I knew a boy who liked to eat books.
He did it secretly, would twist his shutters 
shut and crouch near the windowsill.
He'd unwrap a page from its spine
and pull it, crinkling, into his mouth.
Slow chews. Ink running on his tongue, stained black.
His Adam's apple bobbing
when he swallowed. Then he'd unfold another
page, chew it to a pulp, eyes wide the whole time.
It got to the point that whole books went missing
from the library, but no one could picture the quiet boy
with leather-tipped covers against his teeth,
thin drool sliding down the front.
He said to me that no one knew, but he had a secret to share:
Listen, listen; he said there were little
bites still sitting in his stomach, giving him 
nourishment when he was empty. 
He could feel them, their weight, wanted me to have a chance.
So I laid my head on his stomach,
listening to the gurgle of his insides,
feeling for the lumps he'd needed to tell someone about.

Katherine Liu is a sophomore at Adlai E Stevenson High School. She is on the editing staffs of Polyphony HS, The Platinum Journal, and her school's literary magazine. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in The Wit, The Platinum Journal, Cuckoo Quarterly, and 3Elements Review.

October 13, 2014

The Cold Side of Window by Taylor Graham

Rain smears the glass but she won’t 
come in. Her place is walking in weather, 
looking into distances no one else can see.
Her husband has not come home. 
Wandering, they say, from canyon to mesa 
in the province of Lost. This is no 
romance, where he’ll suddenly fling open 
the door and recant every absence.

They found his pack, discarded on sand 
“neatened” – what a strange word, 
meant to calm her – night and day by wind 
that scrubs away footprints. In that cold,
high desert, he could slip into the balm 
of sleep without a waking. She wills him 
to count the nights by stars and angels 
as if they could map his way back home.

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in El Dorado County. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, The New York Quarterly, Poetry International, and Southern Humanities Review. Her latest book is What the Wind Says (Lummox Press, 2013), about living, training and searching with her canine partners.

October 10, 2014

Sheepskin by Martin Willitts Jr.

Sheepskin by Andrew Wythe


She is wearing a thick sheepskin winter coat
on the hottest day, 
posing for me, still as wallpaper
in the kitchen 
as she sits on a stool.

It is unbearably hot.  
July sets the skin on fire.
The air is so heavy with moisture
it cannot move.

She does not complain.
She knows what this means to me.

She prays for me to end this.
Like a person wanting to break it off.
She holds the promises to be quick about it.
She holds the silence in her hand
like it was a plum.

If God has an answer for her prayers,
I cannot hear it.
I am too busy being light and shadows.

I am too busy to notice the rest of the world.

This poem is from a collection of poems based on the Andrew Wythe "Helga" collection.  Martin Willitts Jr is the winner of the Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award, in honor of the 100 centennial. He is the author of 6 full-length collections including national ecological winner "Searching for What Is Not There" (Hiraeth Press. 2013) and 28 chapbooks including contest winner "William Blake, Not Blessed Angel But Restless Man" (Red Ochre Press, 2014). He has been in Poppy Road many times. 

October 9, 2014

Witchcraft's End by Richard Schnap

She set out into the world
Eager to cast a spell
But everyone she met
Seemed already in a trance

For they all carried talismans
Glowing like crystal balls
That held them all in sway
As each told them what to do

And she wondered what deity
Could possess them all so
In an ironclad enchantment
No power of hers could break

But she felt a time would come
When the guiding lights would fade
Leaving all their followers
Lost in a realm of darkness

Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.