Lust at the Cafe Formosa

Lust at the Cafe Formosa

Once, at the Cafe Formosa in L.A.,
I saw the most beautiful girl. And the
best part was, you could see she didn’t know it. Yet.
Didn’t know how anxiously her nipples strained
against her shirt, or that her endless legs
and sloe-eyed gaze were worth a million
bucks… to someone.

She was a sway-in-the-wind willow, her skin the
pale of vanilla ice cream, her hair all shiny black
straight like an Asian girl’s, thick as a mop.
She was maybe seventeen, on the brink, so ripe sex
exuded from her pores. She leaned against the juke box
fingering those quarters in her shorts’ pocket so
they jingled like Christmas, the fabric between
her thighs stretched to bursting.

When her food arrived, the girl unwrapped the
chopsticks, lifted Kung Pow chicken to her mouth,
inhaled the spicy morsels. A long, sauce-slicked
noodle played with her lips and I longed to lick it off.
I’d been alone four years by then, so
used to it even the longing had long departed.

Then she showed up, all fresh-spangled, clueless.
If I didn’t walk out then I never would. Elvis was
crooning Don’t Be Cruel, but I knew she would be.
Girls like her can’t help it.


©Alexis Rhone Fancher is a downtown L.A.-based poet/photographer whose work can or soon will be found in Rattle, Fjords Review, The MacGuffin, Deep Water Literary Journal, Slipstream, BoySlut, Carnival Lit Magazine, Luciferous, High Coupe, H_NGM_N, Gutter Eloquence, Good Men Project, Bare Hands, Poetry Super Highway, The Juice Bar, Poeticdiversity, Little Raven, Cliterature, Bukowski On Wry, numerous anthologies, and elsewhere. Her photographs, published world-wide, include a spread in HEArt Online, and the covers of Witness, and The Mas Tequila Review. A member of Jack Grapes’ L.A.Poets and Writers Collective, in 2013 Alexis was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and a Best of The Small Presses award. Her book of erotic poetry, How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and Other Heart Stab Poems, will be published in the summer of 2014 by Sybaritic Press. She is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. Please visit www.alexisrhonefancher.com for more about Alexis.

"Lust at the Cafe Formosa" was originally published in poeticdiversity.

White Flag

White Flag

On Edward Hopper’s painting, “Morning Light.”

No one paints loneliness like he does. Those half-clad women by the bed, on
the floor, hunched over, staring out the window, in profile or from behind,
always clean lines, such worshipful light. The gas station in the middle of
nowhere, estranged couples on the bright-lit porch after dark. Even the boats
sail alone. And the diners. The hatted strangers, coming on to a redhead, a
moody blonde, all of them losers, all of them desperate for a second chance.
This morning the sunlight pried open my eyes, flooded our bedroom walls. I
sat alone, in profile on our bed in a pink chemise, knees drawn up, arms
crossed over my calves, staring out the window. Desperate for you. No one
paints loneliness like Edward Hopper paints me, missing you, apologies on
my lips. Come back. Stand below my window. Watch me beg for a second
chance. Downturned mouth, teary eyes, parted knees, open thighs, that famous
shaft of Hopper light a white flag, if only you could see.


©Alexis Rhone Fancher is a downtown L.A.-based poet/photographer whose work can or soon will be found in Rattle, Fjords Review, The MacGuffin, Deep Water Literary Journal, Slipstream, BoySlut, Carnival Lit Magazine, Luciferous, High Coupe, H_NGM_N, Gutter Eloquence, Good Men Project, Bare Hands, Poetry Super Highway, The Juice Bar, Poeticdiversity, Little Raven, Cliterature, Bukowski On Wry, numerous anthologies, and elsewhere. Her photographs, published world-wide, include a spread in HEArt Online, and the covers of Witness, and The Mas Tequila Review. A member of Jack Grapes’ L.A.Poets and Writers Collective, in 2013 Alexis was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and a Best of The Small Presses award. Her book of erotic poetry, How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and Other Heart Stab Poems, will be published in the summer of 2014 by Sybaritic Press. She is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. Please visit www.alexisrhonefancher.com for more about Alexis.

"White Flag" was originally published in H_NGM_N.

My Advice to the Kid Was

My Advice to the Kid Was

Be capable and willing and vulnerable
and confident in the hands of who you
believe to be good,
surround yourself with these, and delve in
deep as you feel comfortable deeping,
for one hundred thousand buoys will
balance the waves whilst you
are dipping,

and be ready at all times
to swim.


©Bree is a poet and founder of Green Panda Press which has produced poetry and art chapbooks, anthologies, broads and sundry in the small press since 2001. Her work has appeared in Arthur, Big Bridge, Ecstatic Peace, The City, Whiskey Island and numerous small mags. Her books include Let Cupid Know (Ronin Press, UK 2012), A Leg to Stand On (Green Panda 2013), Laying Pans (Ecstatic Peace, MA 2009), was chicken trax amid sparrows tread (Temple Books 2009), and other memoirs and poesy. She lives with a puppetta and her (much) better half in Cleveland, Ohio.

We Are All Orange

We Are All Orange 
(for you, Gearity Elementary) 

They asked me to speak to you about poetry,
diversity. To say we are the same would cause 
scandal, controversy.  To say whether we are 
sisters or brothers, adults or coming up, we’re 
all corrupt and are corrupted, to say we start 
out right even if we are interrupted, to say
we start out downright perfect,
o Say, somewhere someone loves us,
even if its one person who isnt nuts. 

To say we start out fresh and gather dust, 
to say we have the world in the palm that grows 
outside our huts, in the hassles happening outside 
our castles, to suggest the streets we walk to stand
in line for the bus or limo, tractor, compact, Hummer, 
trailer, SUV, to suggest those streets are any less
than what makes us us. 

So so we grow every day we listen up
to the traffic (o say can we?) 

Beats in tires squeal ling
drums in the weathermen flying in
the copters, songs in the ivy
and the pattern that it makes
on buildings, sweet and ill feeling
climb up. 

What climbs on us?  What jive shucks?
Black yellow brown red and white fingers grip a 
pen or punch a pad to write. Man woman child 
and in between copy down to share what theyve 
seen. Whether voices carry on with fictions
or speak personal truths, to say we are
the same is contra(diction). 

Diction means to speak. Make it proud.
Make it from the heart so we can see we.
So you can see that you and i are me. 

Yeah right, you and what army? 

The power of the pen the sword cuts down the 
might of buildings, businesses, mayors, contracts, 
cancers, districts.  Color blinds, venetian opening
consciousness like traffic widens, power of the 
pen so much stronger than living in one. 

Yoo hoo did you say diversity?
To say youre me would cause a scandal.
Difference is who it is that just loves us
cause they give the boost so you and i
can know whats what—
blue green violet and orange. 

In 6th grade the joke was nothing 
rhymes with orange, but im not listening.
When fruit is just been washed its glistening.
When i speak my rhymes whole hoards
are listening, so when they say 
'can't' you rhyme,
you spit orange. 

Ohios in the foothills of mountain o ranges
we climb and descend, Cleveland, we cant
rhyme with us. In the sunset we are orange,
all of us. When the sun sets another day
makes history. We start out right, we climb we.


©Bree is a poet and founder of Green Panda Press which has produced poetry and art chapbooks, anthologies, broads and sundry in the small press since 2001. Her work has appeared in Arthur, Big Bridge, Ecstatic Peace, The City, Whiskey Island and numerous small mags. Her books include Let Cupid Know (Ronin Press, UK 2012), A Leg to Stand On (Green Panda 2013), Laying Pans (Ecstatic Peace, MA 2009), was chicken trax amid sparrows tread (Temple Books 2009), and other memoirs and poesy. She lives with a puppetta and her (much) better half in Cleveland, Ohio.

when lost in innocence

when lost in innocence

i saw lion faces in each
of the leaves of this tree

hundreds of them,

and each of the faces, the glances
they made, being humble and
strong and what i wanted to be.


©Bree is a poet and founder of Green Panda Press which has produced poetry and art chapbooks, anthologies, broads and sundry in the small press since 2001. Her work has appeared in Arthur, Big Bridge, Ecstatic Peace, The City, Whiskey Island and numerous small mags. Her books include Let Cupid Know (Ronin Press, UK 2012), A Leg to Stand On (Green Panda 2013), Laying Pans (Ecstatic Peace, MA 2009), was chicken trax amid sparrows tread (Temple Books 2009), and other memoirs and poesy. She lives with a puppetta and her (much) better half in Cleveland, Ohio.

Takes to His Bed

Takes to His Bed

He remains a modest man with wit,
who window shops relationships.
Not one inch of glass appears
transparent. Only the darkened image

of a self, après
relentless twitching
away from bedtime, beds
in general. He drives a hearty

vehicle into alleys,
where signage enumerates
the ordinances broken
by way of sitting still.

He taps messages into
the cloud, retrieves
a tapping all his own,
redeems a noun, a verb.


©Sheila E. Murphy is an American text and visual poet who has been writing and publishing actively since 1978. Her most recent 2 books are collaborative visual poetry, with K.S. Ernst and John M. Bennett. Murphy is a prolific writer and has authored numerous titles in poetry. She is also a visual artist, organizational consultant, and teacher who has lived all of her adult life in Phoenix.

"Takes to His Bed" was previously published in Aterark.

A Postscript: All My Nightshirts Are the Ones You Bought for Me

A Postscript: All My Nightshirts Are the Ones You Bought for Me

The person closest to my psyche
introduced hell as my destination
after declaring it did not exist.

When we sleep,
we sleep with selves
who know our breathing.
No need to measure,
for it loves and leaves itself.


©Sheila E. Murphy is an American text and visual poet who has been writing and publishing actively since 1978. Her most recent 2 books are collaborative visual poetry, with K.S. Ernst and John M. Bennett. Murphy is a prolific writer and has authored numerous titles in poetry. She is also a visual artist, organizational consultant, and teacher who has lived all of her adult life in Phoenix.

"A Postscript: All My Nightshirts Are the Ones You Bought for Me" was previously published in Aterark.

Playpen

Playpen

Young father, tall and seated
on plush grass in the front yard
frames a child in yellow dress,
whose stance is new.

She steadies on his knees, his feet
as fences, and looks out 
at green, street side.
It is impossible

not to notice them, devoted
man protecting a half year 
of life, learning to plant
one foot amid growth.

All windows face the rainless
afternoon. Clean light,
a few cars, and boundaries
almost invisible, apart.


©Sheila E. Murphy is an American text and visual poet who has been writing and publishing actively since 1978. Her most recent 2 books are collaborative visual poetry, with K.S. Ernst and John M. Bennett. Murphy is a prolific writer and has authored numerous titles in poetry. She is also a visual artist, organizational consultant, and teacher who has lived all of her adult life in Phoenix.

Grocery Girl

Grocery Girl

You wore your brother’s army/navy surplus field jacket,
green and unzipped,
and your younger sister’s yellow tank top.
You sprouted short, scraggly hair,
and long, tanned legs
that burst out of scuffed tennis shoes
like swirling search lights
at a strip club’s grand opening
that shone into your white washed denim shorts.
Striped gym socks scrunched around your ankles.
No bra.

You waited a long time to come into my home.
You reconnoitered through acquaintances,
sent treaties by way of counselors,
gained invitation via lieutenants.
You walked through my front gate
all ribboned and bowed,
and I carelessly undid you.
You gnawed on me for hours,
greedily worked me with your canines,
lustily turned me with your forepaws.

And in the end,
it took me twenty years to write this poem.


©Joe Gianotti is from Whiting, a small, blue collar town on the fringe of Chicago. He has taught English at Lowell High School for seventeen years. He is an editor for Northwest Indiana Literary Magazine and Blotterature. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Steam Ticket: A Third Coast Review, This, Literary Magazine, The Chaffey Review, Folly, Yes, Poetry, Wilderness House Review, Mouse Tales, and other places. You can follow him on Twitter @jgianotti10.

"Grocery Girl" was previously published in Blotterature.

Late Night Burritos

Late Night Burritos

Sunday creeps toward us
as we barhop on a Saturday night.
We swallow mass quantities
of juniper berries, coriander, saffron,
of grapes, sorghum, molasses.
The single malt. The blended.
Dark spaces roll together.
Songs play forever.
The clink of whiskey glasses
mixes with billiard breaks.

At 3 a.m.,
burritos. We must have burritos.
And the burritos must be plump
with steak and lettuce and tomatoes,
soaked in juice that will
run from our impetuous lips,
dribbling down our chins,
only to be wiped up again and again
with the ass of the tortilla.

We stagger to the diner
and read the menus
with eyes as glossy as window clings.
We talk loudly,
and we grunt laughing noises
with mouths full of food.

Outside, we light cigarettes
and strut like caudillos,
but pieces of cheese and shell
grapple to our uniform oxfords.

In the morning,
we will spread ourselves
throughout the city,
like forager bees to nectar sources,
jobs to perform for our weekend queen.


©Joe Gianotti is from Whiting, a small, blue collar town on the fringe of Chicago. He has taught English at Lowell High School for seventeen years. He is an editor for Northwest Indiana Literary Magazine and Blotterature. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Steam Ticket: A Third Coast Review, This, Literary Magazine, The Chaffey Review, Folly, Yes, Poetry, Wilderness House Review, Mouse Tales, and other places. You can follow him on Twitter @jgianotti10.

"Late Night Burritos" was previously published in Steam Ticket Review.

Washerwoman

Washerwoman

Shirts folded, fresh, crisp,
stacked in a blue plastic basket,
a look like the newly purchased.
I would hook the brow of the basket
onto the waist of my pants and belt,
and balance it on my hip,
as I struggled out her skinny doorway,
coerced more narrow by her wot not
and its made-in-Hong Kong,
dime-store, antiques.

My basket filled with clothes
that never saw the machine
before they found the tub.
She scrubbed the grass and dirt and stain
from the cuffs of my pants,
the sweat from the collars of my shirts,
the white back into my gym socks.
With forever withered hands,
a bar of lye soap,
a metal washing board,
and Depression pride,
she alchemized old into new.

She stood almost everyday in her basement,
to knead the wash, to sow the laundry.
I would often hear her deplore the dishes
or ignore the dusting,
but she never lamented the laundry.

I get dressed now in the clothes of my making.
They do not feel right.
They do not look right.
They are not right.
I cannot plait her concentrated crease.
I cannot recreate the fastidiousness of her folds.

Already, I have found a cracked button
on the wallet side pocket of a pair of pants.
I could not fasten the clasp,
and, at age 37,
I felt surprise at the newness of this experience.

I have learned, in these long eight months,
to feel shame for ever giving her
the grass stained knees of my childhood
or the socks folded inside out from my carelessness.


©Joe Gianotti is from Whiting, a small, blue collar town on the fringe of Chicago. He has taught English at Lowell High School for seventeen years. He is an editor for Northwest Indiana Literary Magazine and Blotterature. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Steam Ticket: A Third Coast Review, This, Literary Magazine, The Chaffey Review, Folly, Yes, Poetry, Wilderness House Review, Mouse Tales, and other places. You can follow him on Twitter @jgianotti10.

"Washerwoman" was previously published in Wilderness House Review

FEATURED PERFORMERS: Ron Whitehead, Ryder Collins, Craig Cady, Bill Gainer, A. Razor, T. A. Noonan, Carleen Tibbetts, Russell Jaffe, Ryan Snellman, Michele McDannold and Brian W. Fugett.

AND music by the band Flamingo and an after-party in the Legacy Lounge.

Suitable for ages 18+. Cash bar 21+. 

VIP Pre-show 6-7pm $15 (Volume 1 of This is Poetry book series included with admission to VIP Pre-show). After-party to follow performances. 

http://www.atthelegacy.com —  http://www.facebook.com/events/693710787357846/

That smile

That smile

We are high together
In the world
You’re a doll of
A tax burden
Your intelligence is a
Trinket
That brain is so off
Throbbing Gristle
Plays like a lullaby
Lately the women
The honest ones
Talk of suicide at
42, 45
No – we say they say
Well, just listen
For a second
Your smile might be
A scream
Carry on, like the British
What do they know


©Jennifer Blowdryer, nee Jennifer Waters, has published a few books, made some friends, and has been writing songs for the past four or five years in the East Village and San Francisco. Jenniferblowdryer.com.

Doing Time

Doing Time

We have four hours.
He has been up since six.
He is reading a novel by Steinbeck.
He never keeps track of the titles.
He says they remind him
of unpaid bills, the jobs
that changed from state to state.

I am allowed two keys,
my driver’s license, cigarettes,
loose paper money in a transparent bag,
ten snapshots of the duck pond
at different angles because
he wants something
innocuous from his past.

He mentions he is
eating well. He is trying to recall
his dreams for an inmate who once
practiced medicine illegally
in another country. I hum
a tune about dancing alone.
I promise to be back.

Here is the future
on the wall: Only one hug
when you first meet and one more
when it is time to leave.
His sentences always end with
I’m sorry. I hold his hand
where everyone can see it.


©Arlene Ang’s latest poetry collection, Banned for Life is forthcoming from Misty Publications in late 2014. Her other books include Secret Love Poems (Rubicon Press, 2007), Bundles of Letters Including A, V and Epsilon (Texture Press, 2008), co-written with Valerie Fox, and Seeing Birds in Church Is a Kind of Adieu (Cinnamon Press, 2010). She lives in Spinea, Italy. Website: http://www.leafscape.org.

"Doing Time" was chosen as the third place winner (2005) in the InterBoard Poetry Competition.