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
now
lost in the desert
alone in a crowd
clichés all
but still
buried in deafening truth –

we used to walk
together
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
divided
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

blur

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
bounces
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
demon
in my pocket.

sometimes
he talks
to me,
whispers
bad ideas
into my head.

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

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

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

i’m not alone.

Like Lazurus rising from the grave…

Hello, welcome back to Lit Up Magazine. It’s been awhile, well five years or so. But alot happened: 1) my father died, that was sad. Kinda lost my reason to write. Sons tend to want to make their fathers proud. 2) I fell off the roof, fractured my skull and many bones in both feet. Didn’t die, but had brain surgery (didn’t find anything) and was in a wheelchair for six months. So, I couldn’t walk, but I could crawl; seems like a metaphor for something or other. 3) I had an eight-month custody battle for my granddaughter. Went through 5 lawyers or so, finally ended up representing myself, and eventually got custody.

Anyway, you can see where publishing an on-line magazine got lost in the shuffle. Oh, forgot to mention: had severe anxiety/depression for about 6-7 years. Couldn’t even go outside, or do much of anything. Plus, all my teeth fell out. Kind of a bitch, but apparently they don’t grow back. So what happened was, I gradually got off all the prescriptions for bad back, bad knees, insomnia, and so forth. And years later, woke up from all that misery, and started to feel alive again.

So, what I thought I’d do is to start writing – how I feel about stuff; and also to promote my books, and those of some friends. And see where that goes. Whatcha think? So here’s my first book, Out There. You can read a few pages fer free, if you want, or log in to Amazon and review and rate the book. Plus… you can buy it! My second book Princessa is also available at Amazon. And you can find one or both at Barnes and Noble, and other book places.

And Joe Ridgwell recently published a new book (I guess he gots a whole closet full of ’em according to Lee Rourke) so you’ll want to check that out too. But as this is a literary magazine, here’s a poem.

Bartholemew, a short story

my granddaughter said
“remember that transient kid,
whose mom became a stripper,
and we played together when we were kids.
I heard from him,
he’s hooked on fentanyl now.”
and i guess he’s trying to destroy
what God made mockery of.
I guess he’s trying
to eradicate
the only eternity he ever knew
or ever will.
I guess he’s trying to punish
all that wrong, and wipe out
wipe clean his knowing it,
and feeling it, and being it.
This wretched cursed disease
that is at once and all the same,
embarrassed and ashamed
and ridiculed ridiculous
and living it
because that’s what he is.
And all his little life
will ever be.

 

two poems by Karl Koweski

the hyena in winter

the walls of his mental palace
are adorned with golden scenes
depicting his life’s seminal events
that almost could have might have
happened if things
were a little bit different

the hyena in winter
surveys his bar room veldt
and wonders how it came to be
even the early summer hippos
refuse invitations to his den

he’s spent a lifetime
nipping at the flanks
of alpha males only
to trot away at the
first gleam of barred teeth

his mobility
now hampered by
multiple knee surgeries
football injuries, he claims
face haunted by the ghost
of a shit-eating grin
though how a man can tear
his ACL while watching the
Crimson Tide on television
is left unexplained

for now Crown Royal crutches
and Hydrocodone braces
keep his haunches secure
he smiles out of context
the hyena in winter
imagining the shadow of a lion
hunting small victories
in a jungle of
continual defeat
unaware of the moment
his desperate roaring
segued to bitter braying

off brand cigarettes

pale blue eyes
ornamenting
the petrol
refinery
illuminates
the wet asphalt

from where I stand
in the doorway
of the Twilight Lounge
I watch the
cars streak past
interior eyes
alternating
between curious
and menacing
implacable
and apathetic

across the street
a rodent
scurries along
the gutter
as though it
has someplace
better to be

the slight pang
of envy I feel
chases me back
inside

Three Poems by Brenton Booth

THE BURNING SOUND OF NIGHT

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
lines
the bosses rub their hands together
in pleasure
the divorce courts are permanently
full
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
city
the birds die at twilight
and the idols have no voice
the infants cry and scream
the firemen try to stop the
blaze
the birds die at twilight
here
on this tuesday evening
in sydney
and i remember all that i
have lost:
now that she is gone.

CHRISTMAS DAY

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
want
to be alone on Christmas day means
nothing more than any other day
& any other day I am happy to be
alone
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.

MILES AWAY

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

lost
the words got lost
when
I slipped
into a daydream
about
the way
her boobs
feel
against my face
I
had a good poem
ready to be
cut
like new wood
a totem to whittle
something to
shake
at the universe
words:
a poet’s
monkey claw
telepathy
stumbling over
the brook of mind
but I got lost
somewhere
along her curves
and the wet
electricity
of her kiss
spinning dials
of the animal wild
a preview
a small look
at where we came
from
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

UNTITLED

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

VICELESS

my ex-vices only fueled
this superabundance
of the blues

WALK ABOUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN, MOTHERFUCKERS

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
wizards

offering us only
one vision
which matters