Poems that might amaze you

The Courts by Ally Malinenko
-for Daniel Vernola

The tips of my fingers are starting to turn translucent
like an orchid petal
soaked in river water.
I keep coming back to these waterways
each season
like a pilgrimage trying to find that part of me I lost
dashed on the embankment back home.
I wish I was less liquid,
more fire and ice,
something you can gather around
cut into squares and take away with you.
But here I am, in the dawn of another year,
with last years problems resettling in the wake
of so much merriment,
like determined little stones.
Baudelaire had skull lined cemetery paths.
He walked a darkened road
like we did when we were younger, Dan
and now it’s Christmas Eve
and I’m rounding the same old block
listening for those same footsteps I have known for centuries.
We go back down to the abandoned courts,
and talk with our heads thrown back
aghast at all the stars in that little town,
aghast at the way you can feel the earth groan and roll over, sleepily
as if it were nothing more than a giant born from the worlds we invented.
We come back together again in this hallowed place.
You are wrapped in wool and seem almost electric
and I’m still water
parts of me are running off leaving dark stains on the concrete.
Still water, ever since the woods and the waterfall
all those rocks, all my blood
and the tears that he wouldn’t stop crying.
Goodness we were all so in love with each other.
Off in the distance another dog howls on this holy night
and you want to know how I write
the very act of it,
the angry violin strings in my headphones
the flickering candle
the alligator head and photographs.
You want to be in this moment right now, the keys tapping under my fingertips
cause you stopped writing when your journal vanished
in that heartbreaking city and you were too drunk to find it again.
You stopped writing when your dog was stolen.
When your apartment was robbed.
When the bugs marched in a single unstoppable line.
When you severed ties with the only living artist in that city
because alone is one of the few ways you find any peace.
I can understand that. Miles away from you, writing this love note,
I am feeling the same way.
I’m keeping track of the things you have lost, in the years I have been gone.
Out here in the freezing cold night
I promise you that I’m coming back and you feel so thin through that jacket
that for a second I worry,
But you haven’t got me fooled, old friend.
My twin.
You and I,
we are both unbreakable Gods and we know it.
This is just another winter, just another year,
in the longest lifetime we have lived so far.

poems by kelley davidson


up the stairs, wind on my calves, hello cat.
too cold for september. can it be september already?
in june i lived in a tent with whiskey and hunting for wood every night
and a fire, my dreams danced all around it
you could look over and see them waving, waiting to be invited to share the fifth and the light
tell me a story, dream, and ill then tell you about yourself
now i smell their refried beans, sopa con pollo
hear the mexican traditionals bellowing from next door
and i want to knock on the door and tell them that its okay
that i am homesick, too.

world traveller

think of india: skeletons sitting, shitting in the streets. they are saving their seeds.
think of athens: junky from germany pacing in front of my hotel “american, american?
tight bitch? got some money, bitch? got some fuck?” hes all green lizard skin and
caramelized sweat; i could probably peel his face back and find the devils hand stuck
deep in his head, giving him tourettes, DT’s and the sweats.
think of the sweet swedish bartenders covered in glitter on the islands, stoic smoking
cigarettes pot and pouring shots hiking up their tits for the two euro tips going back
home to identical white box houses heads aching from house music and then taking a
long shower. she wanted to be an actress, you know.
think of these my only bones, me the walking open wound, cerebrum circling around
other souls’ maladies. when how many of them gave a bandage about my cuts, or a nod?

two poems by Diana Rose

Beyond Closed Doors

Scent …clings to a room
Pervacent as cats feet across
mystic night air
It seeps in sleeping minds
with eyes wide shut,
redevouz in midnight hour
while a sleeping dog lies.
See spot run,
the drum beats the tune
and he runs
baying at moon with packs
of wolves in sheeps clothing
Pissing on fences
for circumstantial reason.
Whispered words
centered focus
were more than the fine line
walked down the median
with headlights
blurring vision,
between the sheets
of the fucked
and mind fuck
Beyond the
of reality
fenced framed and fucked again.
American whore
the pictures of her
on the players lists.
More than this
time ticked
sands sifted through fingers
where and when
were we before this..
still whispered
were the words..
warm inviting
like the kiss of Judas.
the slap
with a whip(lash)
jazz chords
rift final notes
beyond all belief
as you walked on down the hall..
The closed door
the tale to be told
in darkness
fucked again

Where The Road Leads

There was a time..
If I closed my eyes I could return
Return to the weekend trips
where life was the top down
my bare pink tipped toes propped up on the dashboard
sunshine on my shoulders that made you high
Didnt matter where we headed
trees drooped down to touch the earth
covering the world with tranquil simplicity
mountain streams rose crashing around us
where an inner tube was enough to
leave me dizzy.. and my laughter made you stop
quoting Kerouac just long enough
to start believing that the road of life
is what we traveled
to find the hope in each other..
Life can be measured in the roads we travel
it cant be seen in the material possessions
or the jobs we have
Life is the heart of the world
through the eyes of another
It can be as spectacular as a waterfall
careful as you scale those rocks..
they can scar your knees should you fall
and the rush
underneath the water
leaves you needing
leaves you wanting
to take a picture and remember
the moment that you knew
that someone else
saw the same thing as you..
That climb to the top
of that mountain.. hush of the world draped in green
the only sound a far off osprey
echoing our thoughts that bounce
from your eyes to mine and back
So many roads upon roads..
At what point do we stop
And just be..
Just breathe
Stop searching the world for completion
traveling each road for inner redemption
that is a long time coming
You cant ask me what road to take
the map I give will be highlighted with my own wants
It might not be the destination you need..
On this earth there are hundreds of roads to take
each one as valid as the last
You have to decide when to stop
changing direction
set the course, and a time of arrival
Cause baby.. only you know
what road makes your heart pound
makes you realize that at long last you are coming
to the end of your journey
and what destination will make your heart
know its home.
There aint no mountain high enough
you can scale to other side
take the path less traveled
search through endless deserts
that will complete you in a way that
says.. I made a difference in this world to
these roads we travel… we break down a lot
put our face in our hands and say shiiit
Where am I … who am I
and what difference does it make
Get out at that gas station
look in the greasy mirror of that bathroom
look long and hard
there is light on at the end of your road
there is someone there that makes you
understand what home is..
You just have to believe.
Me…. I believe in you
I believe in you so much that it matters not what
course you set..
I have traveled the roads less remembered
I have seen lifes endless highway
And the roads I have yet to take can be
with you or without you
It matters not… cause in essence..
Im not going anywhere..
My heart is home.. home and resonating with
life to give you back..
Should you choose
to just arrive.
this last road you take
could be your ride home.

DLR© 2009..all rights reserved.

Poems by Christopher Di-Filippo

Art Offers Tomorrow

Art is on my fingertips –
smearing, for the search of a need;
a truth, that marks the years,
a lie etched into my fingerprints.
Accomplishment forgives the
struggle; a sustenance of
obsession, redeeming creativity
with the offer of a promise. A feeling
that concedes separation,
and awakens each new piece
with a greater distant to self.
Art is the misstep into appetite,
a fortune that impedes
upon solitude,
crafting potential in slow
beats of uncertainty;
unjustly offering a moment
in the distance, until
purpose becomes your
centre of attention.
Like citrus in the eye of a
dream, it pierces creativity
with definition;
making freedom an act
of agony, until life is
sacrificed on a promise –
‘Tomorrow greatness is born’.
Simplifying the words to a
eulogy of inner piece,
art barters the soul
in payment for inspiration;
until the final tally,
reveals the bounty of achievement,
an ocean that surrounds
the choice of each new day.
There is no apology, no sentiment,
just a name remembered;
a work that hangs in inspiration,
for the few passing eyes
that meet its purpose; justifying
the hours that were burnt
out in brilliance.
As the ashes of experience
sit in wake of a life
that could have been lived;
it all disappears with the
next idea, the next temptation
to create; holding all the possible
threads of a dream together,
until the next work of art is born.

By Christopher Collingwood ©

The Drive

The Drive is my vice –
an asphalt solitude,
promising distraction in the
highway of change. The space
moves around me, taking thoughts
that linger; the white lines,
guide into an endless nowhere;
allowing me to follow, if I chose,
on forever and forever.
It is a calm like no other –
a manmade reclusive; separating
all things by distance, until I can’t
help but seek its offering;
a silence tempting,
without the need of radio, or talk
of relevance; the drive gives
me motion, and a life without
the need for something else.
I steady myself – barely
aware of the wheel, I glide
upon the asphalt, compromising
logic for the will to fly, remembering a
rhythm, a feeling, that was there
once, but slowly lost to routine;
which is where I find my end,
at a purpose; I retreat from the
asphalt river, and surrender to the
thoughts that leave me parked,
waiting in a time, and a place;
where life starts, and stops and changes,
and that’s all that I remember.

By Christopher Collingwood

two poems by Kerryn Tredrea

only the good.

it was a very poetic moment
as she raised the frying pan
above her head, 
bared her teeth
and swung balletic with 
such momentum
he could swear this time
she would actually, finally
take flight.
it was a familiar dance, 
where he would read
a thousand nightmares
in her eyes while
she spewed profanities
and lashed out at the world, 
a screaming banshee.
in a theatre of war 
she would have been a major general.
the battle, he knew
was inside her head,
private, not for him to fight. 
so he retrieves her
tiny frame from the floor,
plants kisses on her forehead 
and tells her the only war cry he knows.
"only the good die young baby".
and hopes like hell
that it isn't true.

self reflection.

i accused mean mr. mustard
in the conservatory, with the whips and chains.
but the backlash is severe
on my fledgling hump when he says
“no one knows what love is!”
when you’re vicious pretty
the gymp suit never comes off.
i find my window of opportunity
and look through to the red light district.
but i’ve forgotten my green eye shadow
so not even the whores will accept me.
in a place where stranger and danger kiss
images of childhood nightmares play out
and it’s ok to use sins of the past
as tools of the present.
end of opening montage.
the ants have arrives early
to find me clutching at scarecrow straws
and howling at the moon.
but it’s really the thrill of the spilled blood
and the side effects of the egg donation
reeking havoc in my body and
even in a rerun melodrama it’s still
too early to return to the scene of the crime.
in no man’s land. “cocktails or slumbershades?”
flashbacking tragedies and
snatching morsels of affection.
but tomorrow is polly wally tuesday
in the united states of unrelentless
so smash the bulbs boys
cos I’m more ashamed of the light than the dark.
i may dance naked in front of the mirror
but I have no time for self reflection.

Poems by Jack Henry

into the abyss

we are all orphans
lost in the desert
alone in a crowd
clichés all
but still
buried in deafening truth –

we used to walk
in times of conflict and chaos
in times of celebration and survival
but those days
i fear
are gone
those days
but a memory

we are split
a thousand tribes
balancing on a thin
wooden beam
a beam that crosses
a chasm between yesterday
and tomorrow

we struggle with balance
maybe the beam will widen
into two or four or
enough for us
all to cross

without falling deep
into the abyss


i sit at a desk
in an office
behind a door without lock or key
people come and go
ask me questions –

i stare out my window
a damning sun
on fat beams of translucent smog –

jesus cleans
his fingernails with a switchblade
his smile fat and wide
his two front teeth missing –

our eyes catch, he nods,
i smile, sigh, and turn away –
i failed as a poet and suffer
a similar fate
with jobs and offices
and windows –

indifferent past, present, future
crumbling worlds……………. do not stir me
echoes of revolution………… do not provoke
fascist wannabe dictators ..….do not incite me

i wait on darkness
on echoes
on a comfortable space
where each act has a price tag

and every sigh makes sense

a demon in my pocket

there’s a
in my pocket.

he talks
to me,
bad ideas
into my head.

this demon
has ideas and
when i say
to his ideas
all the other
come out
to play.

my demon
and her demon,
the woman at the bar,
(or man, depends on the bar)

suddenly there are
too many demons
but, for the moment,

i’m not alone.

Three Poems by Brenton Booth


the birds die at twilight
and the hero can’t stand
the roads sink like quicksand
the gospels lie as always
the birds die at twilight
and the planes explode in the sky
the teenage girls comb their
silky hair
the old man looks teary eyed at
a wall
the birds die at twilight
and the poets write second hand
the bosses rub their hands together
in pleasure
the divorce courts are permanently
the birds die at twilight
and the dogs bark in the street
the villain is hard to see
the murderers kill for gods
the birds die at twilight
and the heart beats faster
the cage drips blood
the town is destroyed by the
the birds die at twilight
and the idols have no voice
the infants cry and scream
the firemen try to stop the
the birds die at twilight
on this tuesday evening
in sydney
and i remember all that i
have lost:
now that she is gone.


Its Christmas day & its rainin & I
sit alone on my sofa watching small
spiders bungee jumping from the
ceiling & feeling the hard sting of
solitude playing sadistic games with
my exhausted mind—
this is what stops progress
our inability to accept what we really
to be alone on Christmas day means
nothing more than any other day
& any other day I am happy to be
though we are programmed from such
a young age that it does
like all the other things we are taught
that aren’t true
though essential to maintain the current
ways of our frozen world:
& stop any possible improvements.


We were drunk and the last two people
left at the Brian Jonestown Massacre
concert. She was younger than me. We’d
been talking for a while. She said I should
listen to a particular band because they are
real poets and what they write about is the
best. I told her I was a poet and she should
read some of my stuff. I looked up some
poems on my phone and handed it to her.
She exited the page and looked up the band.
I told her I didn’t want to watch them,
musicians don’t understand poetry. She
told me poetry is crap. I took my phone and
stumbled away alone and lonely:
but not lonely enough for her.

and you never stop being afraid to fall by Bradley Mason Hamlin

the words got lost
I slipped
into a daydream
the way
her boobs
against my face
had a good poem
ready to be
like new wood
a totem to whittle
something to
at the universe
a poet’s
monkey claw
stumbling over
the brook of mind
but I got lost
along her curves
and the wet
of her kiss
spinning dials
of the animal wild
a preview
a small look
at where we came
the other world
we left
because of this.

There’s Nothing to Be Ashamed Of by April Salzano

Classic line in a lower middle class family,
used in reference to food stamps and government
cheese, blocks of hard butter and plenty of free
eggs. The school across the street from the apartment
where my grandmother lived, drunk on pain
killers, with her husband, Joe, who bruised her
in obvious places because he didn’t care who saw,
and she’d had Stockholm Syndrome for so long
there was no saving her, gave out free lunches
in the summer, even on weekends. While Joe
and my grandma babysat us so my mother could work
day shift in the nursing home, we got our boxed sandwiches
and fruit, maybe a cookie, plastic container of orange juice,
still frozen. There was nothing to be ashamed of, Joe said.
He worked at the school as a janitor and helped himself
to all the paper and toilet tissue he could carry. Chalk,
crayons, markers. There was nothing to be ashamed of
in taking from the kids who had nothing at home
in the town intersected with long-rusted railroad tracks,
graffitied trestles, closed factories and ghosted buildings.
Most of the kids at free lunch Saturday were black,
so we stayed away like we were told, took our food to go
while they sat in the parking lot, on curbs and steps,
poking the tinfoil tops of the drink cups open, stabbing
at the ice with skinny, pointed straws. No one asked
who qualified for the food, did a credit check or took inventory.
We could have more than one lunch if we came back,
and sometimes we did to bring one home for Grandma and Joe
to wash down the midday booze. If you lined up, you got fed,
it was that simple, which gave Joe time to knock my grandma
around a bit before we got back. She put eye shadow and lipstick
on our faces while the ash from her cigarette grew like lace
before falling off. We smelled like French whores,
my dad would say before he sent us out to play,
giving him time to bust a few walls with my mother’s shoulders
before we came back for dinner with nothing to be ashamed of.

Three poems by Rob Plath


one dark night of the soul
instructs us more than
10,000 everydays


my ex-vices only fueled
this superabundance
of the blues


you pass it by

a cat crushed
on the shoulder
of the road
at 10 am

but you know
it isn’t just
a dead cat

it’s a sort of
flat, crystal ball

it’s king of

offering us only
one vision
which matters

Two Poems by Cassandra Dallett

The City In No Particular Order

In The City once a year it’s hot enough to ride the 5 Fulton to Ocean Beach
Where crashing surf eats sand by the mile
an undertow so hungry it pulls icy toes out from under you
you can only get more than a foot in if you are drunk ,drunk, drunk,
Malt liquor Mickey’s 40-ounce drunk and I got in to my shoulders that way once
a sensation colder than my whole snowy upbringing.

San Francisco is Buckwheat driving a cab through the Castro tourists in the backseat stare
as a man fucks another man against a tree pulls his dick out causing a shitty waterfall.

We were drunken teenagers skipping down Haight Street
Suzanne in the lead always climbing to the top of light poles and teetering on the edges of cliffs
she was carrying a Mylar balloon that night
lost it around Clayton in front of the fruit stand
it flew right up into Muni lines
sparks rained down and store windows fell into darkness
roaring and cheering we ruled the city.

All those times we had to fix the glass front door
all those bodies launched through it drunk and desperate to feel
slamming the gate shaking the flat calling down to Johnsons
and scraping up the money to replace the glass again, like Suzanne kicking and screaming
that she wasn’t scared that she would fight us all.

Once in a flat down on San Jose Ave. we had to pull Danny Lucky off her
his teeth entrenched in her forehead
Once I left them in my room while we went to the radio station
late night for the metal hours we returned deep in Jack Daniels
and found every poster lopsided furniture upside down
Danny and Suzy more into killing each other than fucking.

My City was Bags the Skinhead,
I shaved my head traded squeaky combat boots for Doc Martin’s and braces
circled the block all day long to stay near him
on my knees bent over at parties blacked out in alleys trying to get closer
when we were alone we talked and fucked all night
did speed in the pink palace went back to my place
caused an uproar with my roommates
alone at night I crossed my fingers asked God
to make him love me make me his woman
tall muscled tatted,
drunk enough he played his flute and I followed.

I walked home alone a lot, beer cans hurled from cars through Fillmore
I took dangerous routes on purpose the city was mine.
Three a.m. a guy walked out of the Palladium and punched me dead in the face
And just kept walking probably thought I was a dude standing there
bald headed drunk daze on my way to the pit to drink more.

In San Francisco I sat at Hamilton Recreation watching my boyfriend Dre
play Basketball. My hair grown out blonde still wearing fishnets from the old days
but sucking candy sticks and trying to act all cute and sassy like the black girls.
I was his girl we rode the bus on dates. I wore a letterman jacket and Reeboks.
We drank milkshakes and rocked Stan Smiths. He claimed me.
We beat the fuck out of each other his feet and fists crushing me.
His flesh under my nails, breaking me, holding keys scaring his face,
him chasing me, me chasing him, me filling sunglasses with tears black eyes
Him spending his first night in jail after they led him out, left me unrecognizable pile of purple bruises.

My first night in jail, Cookie was one of my cellies, brown scars covered her limbs
she called it staph she was Greek had a lived a life more than heroin
but you couldn’t tell by looking at her. I was a kid who’d never changed in a locker room never got dressed for gym,
flunked in fact, stood in dirty water naked like everyone else.
They called me Brooke Shields. Hey Brooke what you in here for a B case huh?
Prostitution was always assumed I was white and not strung out what else could it be,

Jail freed me,
from me
so alone.

Ocean Beach Babylon
(For Brad 5/9/1970-4/23/2012)

When I stopped doing drugs
my friends were just getting started.
Fighting in their underwear over needles and dope
in the day light of our front door.
from the top of the stairs
I scream at them to shut the fuck up.
I worked all night on phone sex lines
and I‘m just trying to sleep.

Brad screams back at me calls me a bitch,
says, it’s no wonder that my boyfriend
beat the shit out of me.
“A nigger” that’s what he calls me.
his face is a mask of dope and sickness.
I’m already down my“boyfriend” just stomped me
into the ground while saying he loved me.
I don’t speak to Brad for years.

He goes to jail then prison,
violates parole every eighteen months,
and spends close to a decade behind bars.
I forgive and live, but I never forget.
That early morning scuffle on the stairs
how quickly he turned on me.
Me, trying to keep it all together,
rent paid and the phone on.

Brad was once my best friend,
he was even a boyfriend.
Stood on his tip toes the first time we kissed
at a party, his girlfriend scared of me,
the big skinhead girl.
We were thrown down two flights of stairs
by the bouncers, for drinking straight from the keg,
and stealing the donations.

We left his girlfriend there
and got stung by bees hiding from the cops in Golden Gate Park.
Fucked on the roof of Chinese Projects
staring drunk and cold over the twelve story edge.
Defying gravity we tried to sleep up there
made it home on the bus where he stayed with me
till he went to Log Cabin.
When he escaped he went with my best friend
but it was cool
he was one of us and he went out with all of us over the years.
At parties me or him always got in a fight
swinging through the crowd to the other’s side
We were 86d from everywhere.
We shared blonde hair, high cheekbones,
and something that ate at us
from the inside out.

Six years after the stairs Brad called me up
“I heard you wanted to talk but I didn’t believe it” He said.
He was an ex-con, tattooed“Dirty White Boy” across his back.
From segregation back to our yellow crew
of half black and Chinese babies.
I always dated black guys had even left him for one.
I never knew where that left us,
except friends,
cause he had to do what he had to do
on the inside and I understood that.
I think.

We got together,went out to the beach.
We sat on the wall, drank,
told stories of the old days
History ate at us like the waves ate the sand.
At nightfall bonfires lit the beach
We were sure we’d find the heads and the parties of our past.

Instead the clumps of bodies
we eased into were dry
fire warmed faces grilling hot dogs, popping sodas.

Church groups, they invited us to join,
Back in the day it would have been Sunset Pods,
Head bangers or skins lighting up the beach,
scattering from cops searchlights.

Our adventures had been stolen and replaced
with the squeaky clean church folk.
It was tragic and scary,
or maybe we were.
Maybe they
invited us to church
cause our asses needed to be saved

Four Poems by William Taylor Jr.

To Let Others Walk the World

I was born into the winter months
with a weak heart and frightened eyes

I met the big nothing early on
took it inside and became immune

I never bothered with the future
because the moment in hand
was always burning

abandoning dreams of justice
to sit beneath the sky
and watch things fall apart
in their fashion

to let others walk the world
as if they had some place in it

myself content with dreams
of little rooms with little windows
looking out upon the rain

sad music and wine

afternoons spent
in libraries and bars
with the drunks
and unemployed poets

all of us hungry for some quiet place
to escape the indifferent sun.

Even in This

I write poems for all the little things
that might otherwise be lost,

convincing myself I am somehow doing good
in keeping things alive a bit longer
than their natural span.

But maybe all the sad
and pretty moments
have no desire to live
beyond their tiny flash,

and I craft my words
only to try and make myself
feel somehow less alone,
selfish even in this.

The Dead Horse of Our Love (a poem in two voices)

The beauty of you was unexpected,
an accident, surely meant
for someone else

but for the strangest of moments
it was mine.

It wasn’t much, just a thing that happened.

I’ve never known
how to let go of anything,

I hoard every shard of every
perfect thing I’ve ever broken.

Dude, be a man about it.

The memory of laughter in sad hotels,

a photograph that proves
we shared the same space,

It’s over, bury it, let it go.

how you once imagined me beautiful
and the desperate way you loved,

I was mistaken.

I will carry it all
in the junkbox of my soul
for the rest of my days

Weak as fuhhhk.

and on nights when the joy
and the rage and the sorrow of everything
rises up within me like an impossible wave

I will think of you and sing.


If There Must

If there must be an afterlife let mine
be a little bar in San Francisco
somewhere near the ocean
an endless grey sky stretching
out over everything
dim lights
and a soft rain falling
with grand windows to watch it through
a bartender with an honest smile
leaning to fill my glass
a jukebox with all the right songs
and endless credits
to the left of me sits a blowzy blonde
with enormous laughter
and to the right an old man
with shining eyes of kindness
and stories to tell of days long passed
and we will talk
if we want to talk
or just be quiet and listen to the rain
time is obsolete
and there’s no place anyone ever
has to be and maybe an old dog
the color of gold
asleep in the corner
and people could smoke if they wanted to
I wouldn’t