Thursday, 1 December 2016

Sister Publication to Poetry Life & Times

Issue of December 2016


 Customer Survey. A Poem by M. A. Schaffner

Death is another possible market —
laughing at death, playing at death, dying
slowly and courageously like in movies.

Death as a costume party with vampires;
unlife as a zombie jonesing for brains,
crashing funerals, pretending to care.

Death as a product sells better firearms,
more lurid fantasies with the heroes
shaped by algorithms to buyers’ needs.

For needs read desires; for death, denial
in its most comic form. There will be sex,
of course, and thin pale girls with sincere teeth,

and over the far horizon the real deal
waits confident as a dealer whose marks
laugh behind his back until they need him.

Escape. A Poem by M. A. Schaffner
Posted on November 28, 2016 by

Back to its roots the goose rambles
through the brambles to the golf course
and beyond. A green pond beckons
with an iridescent sheen it can smell.

It moves past. A twisting wooded road
goes up and down between the farms
that surround the camps and lodges
and empty lots where someone planned
to spend a life and then forgot.

Mottled with bottles the pond lies
forlorn between the secret parties
that every teen knows all about
and the goose waddles through, sensing
a river past barbed wire fencing
where the rest of the flock awaits —

the ghosts of a past predating
the clipped wings and special diets,
the tube between its liver and its mouth.
Its final dream is flying south.

M. A. Schaffner has had poems published in Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Agni, and elsewhere — most recently in Former People, Raintown Review, and Rock River Review. Long-ago-published books include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia juggling a laptop, smart phone, percussion caps, pugs, and a Gillott 404.


FUD. A Poem by Robin Ouzman Hislop

Fud helped temper attacks
trump a three-word promise longer than ever before
the up ones sleeve trump card
trump up trick, as Day of Judgement
raised the dead on intestinal gas through the anus
to expel hopping into an atom splitting fission
similar referendum wins multiple atoms to split
exponential increase in atoms splitting into right wing populism
the number of some which will awaken destruction
to take war to Europe
and based on history applaud the great victory
to win back control from now fractured EU.

The final trumpet that taps into a seething and of course many
but based on history
the Christening of them leads to nothing happening
but Utopia argumentum ad metum
– not ace in the hole card period of time –
compare trombone at dawn by several commentators
that Brexit, a trick with a trump is not caused by
split geyser of anti-immigrant sentiment suggestions
and ascent in part we are entering one moral due to another
according to the belief of thousands within an extremely short period
on a very broad scale.

Possible scenarios are infinite
to build a wall has many awful faults prevented
hit the economy with a strong force of natural selection trump
which might represent to trump up a convincing EU
as well as also one major wave of inward-facing
and they in turn causing all the indicators
that were in case against the last EU for all its UK causes
automatically honour targeting frail people
in their many moving parts
as their combined energy weakens.
Fear uncertainty doubt FUD call force in suppressing
in the face of won overnight
by those who due to the massive complexity
by the hundreds of splits causing multiple moral Utopia
argumentum ad impact
of the first atom of all ages and killing. Of all ages and killing.

Robin Ouzman Hislop, born UK, a reader in philosophy & religions, has traveled extensively throughout his lifetime but now lives in semi- retirement as a TEFL teacher and translator in Spain & the UK.

Robin was editor of the 12 year running on-line monthly poetry journal Poetry Life and Times. In 2013 he joined with Dave Jackson as co-editor at, where he presently edits Poetry Life & Times,,

He’s been previously published in a variety of international magazines, later publications including Voices without Borders Volume 1 (USA), Cold Mountain Review (Appalachian University, N.Carolina), The Poetic Bond Volumes ( and Phoenix Rising from the Ashes (a recently published international Anthology of Sonnets). His last publication is a volume of collected poems All the Babble of the Souk available at all main online tributaries.

Dreaming in Hi-Def, Ozymandias Streamed Dynamic Data. A Poem by Joseph Armstead


The sound of ten million voices raised in confusion,
raised in wonder, raised in anger, raised in prayer,
like beads of fallen mercury
to roll across the desert sands,
pathways to Giza, Luxor, Cairo,
and Alexandria,
home to antiquity and myth, kingdom of the pharoahs,
pyramidal necropolii dotting an arid landscape,
baking under the fiery glare
of an unblinking solar eye,
next-generation optical disc,
waiting for the Summoning,
for the Call,
waiting for the Sacred, for a Benediction
from a polytheistic overworld
of New non-secular Gods,
the pantheon of the IMF, BASF,
Microsoft, Apple, Oracle,
Exxon-Mobile, CitiBank,
Daimler-Chrysler, Sony,
and McDonald’s,
as the orchestra of voices gather,
venting their passions, like Opera,
“Look, Ye Unworthy, upon my works, and know
this high-definition storage media format
will spread the glory of the blue-violet laser
across the face of Heaven,
an interstitial data sector
striped across the disk-array
of a Cloud-based
Application Server Farm,
where the tears of the Mighty
fall like acid rain!”
The sound of ten million voices
raised in confusion, raised in wonder,
raised in anger, raised in prayer,
across a boundless arid plain,
an ocean of charred and barren grit
stretching into a Future where
the Kalashnikov assault rifle
is the scepter of Paradise.


Joseph Armstead is a suspense-thriller and horror author living in the United States’ San Francisco Bay Area. Author of a dozen short stories and ten novels, his poetry has been published in a wide range of online journals, webzines and print magazines. A mathematician, Futurist and computer technologist, Mr. Armstead’s poetry often defies easy description, but frequently includes neo-classical imagery, surrealist viewpoints and post-modern themes.

Through the Grinder. A Poem by A.J. Huffman

Body language indicated frustration,
trying to get back
to normal, and I
looked down at empty.
Hands gave back everything,
thanked me as I had to move on
for their sake. An integrity procedure—
like seals on storebought bottles—
I moved closer
to the edge. Contained,
I believed I would not have known the difference.
I came apart freely and without
damaging the sky, dissolved
into the ether and afterthought.

A.J. Huffman has published thirteen full-length poetry collections, thirteen solo poetry chapbooks and one joint poetry chapbook through various small presses. Her most recent releases, The Pyre On Which Tomorrow Burns (Scars Publications), Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink), A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press), and Familiar Illusions (Flutter Press) are now available from their respective publishers. She is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2600 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, The Bookends Review, Bone Orchard, Corvus Review, EgoPHobia, and Kritya. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

GAS STATION. A Poem by John Grey

Straw hat’s busted
and the blue and red flag’s dragging on its pole.
The road’s as narrow as a plumb line
and the sides are baked brick hard.
Rusty gas pump only offers regular.
In the window, brown and speckled eggs,
soda bottles, a can of oil.
Unshaven Ed flops in his chair out front
Straw hat can’t keep back July,
cakes his brow a stinky yellow.
A car creeps by but doesn’t stop.
Maybe can’t read the price of gas.
Ed’s handwriting’s shaky
as his mortgage payments.
May’s quilting, the only thing
her fingers know to do.
Despite the heat, her handiwork
rolls up to her wrinkled chin, almost smothers her.
And here comes Vernon,
just who Ed don’t want to hear.
So Dewey’s got a new computer.
Tell that to the chamber of commerce.
Another car rolls by. And another.
Someone even waves.
Straw hat’s raised in answer, in anger,
then flopped down sideways on Ed’s head.
Go help your grandmother, Ed says.
Steam rises from the swamps,
raccoon pans the trash for food,
wood-stork chatters from a cypress branch.
Vernon creeps reluctantly indoors.
May stops her quilting for a kiss,
struggles to remember who exactly is this boy.
Along comes Temple to complain
about the weather and business and his wife.
Ed listens but his ear is cocked for cars the more.
He straightens his straw hat.
Brim holds by a thread.
How long you had that thing? asks Temple.
Forty years, says Ed. It brings me luck.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.

Barbara Crooker Selected Poems / 2015 available on

by Barbara Crooker

This collection brings together 102 poems from Barbara Crooker’s previous ten chapbooks of poetry, two of which won national prizes, with a handful of uncollected poems at the end. Of Crooker’s work, William Matthews has written, “Barbara Crooker’s poems have been written with a deft touch and with that affection for their textures and pacings that we’re accustomed to call, a little dryly, ‘technical skill.’ It’s a form of love, actually, and since she’s expended it on her poems, we can, too.” Janet McCann, writing in the Foreword, says, “The poems in this collection come mostly from chapbooks, collections which cluster around a theme, such as loss of a parent or friend, raising a child with autism, travel, art. Crooker’s collections are remarkable for their unity; their poems, epigraphs, even covers have a thematic thrust that collects and directs the work, making each a coherent work of art.... Reading the work from beginning to end provides an experience of Crooker’s world, that place of work and sadness balanced by art and love. It also provides vignettes of growing up in the fifties and sixties and shows what it was like to come of age as a woman in those years—the expectations, the hopes, the barriers that had to be overcome. Even in poems of loss, the energy persists, giving us the sense that Crooker is truly in the current of life, feeling its verve—what Wallace Stevens called ‘the intensity of love’ that he identified with ‘the verve of earth.’”



All the Babble of the Souk
Robin Ouzman Hislop

Click book image to visit the Amazon page

Poet Robin Ouzman Hislop’s first full-length collection, All the Babble of the Souk, is appropriately titled. With a remarkably consistent ear for the market’s noise, for “[t]he broken lights of the bazaar/spangled] with glistening promise/in the eyes of the dusky beggar …” (Laminations in Lacquer ) Hislop’s poems, many of them cinematic-style montages of sounds and images, show us the metaphoric souk of the world, on the beach or in the street, its glitter, its sadness, its ragtag glory:

“pets, flower pots framed captive in a moment 
outside the house of the painter, a robot
in chains with an alms bowl”
(“Departures”) ...Read more of this review by poet Miriam C. Jacobs

More Reviews for this book:

 Aquillrelle. Press Release. All the Babble of the Souk

Richard Vallance Reviews All the Babble of the Souk

Reviewed by Marie Marshall All the Babble of the Souk

Richard Lloyd Cederberg Reviews All the Babble of the Souk

Adam Levon Brown Reviews All the Babble of the Souk

Further comments and reviews on Motherbird




Take Us (With an intro to The Blacksocks)
from - more info on The Blacksocks:


The Minimalists - A grimly Spartan Christmas poem by Sara L Russell
aka @pinkyandrexa on Twitter


Janet P. Caldwell - Dancing Toward the Light
in affectionate memory of Janet P. Caldwell

Misery: New Orleans Gun Violence & Other Crimes / Nordette Adams


 A Merry Christmas to all our readers...
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