Sunday, October 12, 2014

Alan Catlin- Three Poems

A Different Planet for Bartenders

I guess it was
assumed I was
supposed to be an
inexhaustible source
of useless information.
A noise finished on
the infernal machine
and he asked me:
"What was that, how
many minutes is it &
who was the artist?"
"First of all, "I sd
"If you're referring
to the noise, I have
a blocking mechanism
that blots that out.
Secondly, I like
Mozart and that wasn't
by him.  Lastly,
if we're going to do
trivia let's do
something interesting
like how many symphonies
did Haydn write
or what do the initials
of famous writer's
stand for.  I'll go
first Thomas Sterns is
for T.S. Eliot."
The look he gave me
suggested I wasn't
the type of bartender
he was used to.
He might even think
I was that legendary
bartender from
another planet.

                                                           My Secret Life

                                                           I receive transmissions.
                                                           That’s what the antennae
                                                           are for.
Transmissions from space.
All kinds. Mostly radio
                                                           signals these days;
                                                           clear days you can pick up dozens
                                                           of stations right here on earth.

                                                           Battle plans.  Outlines of what
the future will look like once
we take over.

It won’t be pretty for you guys
that’s for sure but given what
you’ve done to this planet,
what do you expect?

Yeah, lots of people have said
I’m a few pills short of a commitment.
Truth is I have been committed.
Bunches of times.  In fact, I’m out now
on a work release program.

Gathering information.  That’s my job,
king o sabe. I’m working incognito like
James Bond only better looking.

Nothing some cosmetic surgery and a few
false teeth couldn’t fix.

Gotta cigarette? No, how about a quarter?

No, it’s doesn’t pay well.  Hey, when you’re
a sleeper agent, you have to take the good
with the bad. You know, go with the flow.
Be authentic, dude.  I’m as authentic as it gets.

I do have one major worry.  Sometimes I get
video messages.  I know most people would
need a TV for that but I’m different.
The problem is the signals are changing
and I don’t have a convertor box.
What if a vital message comes through
after the change and I don’t get it?
Where will I be then ?  What will I do?

                                            Alien Abduction

“Do you believe in aliens from other planets?
I do. And they have much longer memories
than ours.” Christopher Reiner, “Pain”

After the alien abduction, she swore off
derelicts and drunks, said she was a changed
woman, something like a nun but not quite
as pure, a kind of bride to a Christ with
no hair, a long white beard, who stood
twelve feet tall.  Naked, he was like a God
and after she gave herself to him there would
be no other. She swore he said he’d be back
for her when the time was right, though she
neglected to ask how he measured time,
a failing that might prove fatal if his standards
were radically different than ours. Not that it
mattered to her; she’d wait forever if necessary.
She’s still waiting.

J.D. DeHart- Three Poems

The first person to touch the fabric
Fell into a crystal sway of capture,
Held still by its ice.
Then the next, then the next.
All told, hundreds gripped it
Before realizing to handle with care.
Now the fabric rests behind a curtain,
Carried there delicately
By outstretched arms.
To destroy the fabric would be impossible.
Every now and then a child or an old
Person with forgetfulness still stumbles in
And has to be unfrozen again.
Desmond Dark
He’s got the shades,
Of course, the dark armor
Underneath a long ebony coat.
He brings the night with him,
Even at the beach.
A sudden tempest, the pasty
Sunbathers buried in shadow.
He can’t help it, it’s his power,
It’s his art, the swirling of chocolate
Thick evening comes with his passing.
He hasn’t seen the sun in years,
And though tough, cries for its blazing
The Tangle
We began to walk earnestly enough,
Then were pricked by thorns.
Stung by the occasional bee.
We were ready to head back, but the vines
Would now allow it.
So we trudge on endlessly, occasionally
Sustained by some twigs, a bit of fruit,
Skin stinging with disobedience
To those who told us never to venture
Into the deeper wood.

JD DeHart is the author of the chapbook, The Truth About Snails.  He is a staff writer for Verse-Virtual and his blog is

John Pursch- Two Poems

With billions of brains working full time,
it’s likely that someone will someday
try to remember this very moment.

If we listen carefully,
maybe we’ll hear them searching,
or see their lookup rippling the shadows,
or feel the rumble of their memory waves.

How does the brain search the past,
seeking stored experience?

Maybe it does something akin to
reliving certain moments,
acting as a kind of time machine.

This invites us to compare
being and remembering.

If we can’t tell the difference between
the present and a perfect recollection
or a flawless premonition
and a deeply vivid dream,
maybe that’s because there is none.

Bobble E. Lee
Suppose you wish to take a vacation to the Battle of Gettysburg. You contact your local time travel agency, pay for the trip, appear at their facilities at the appointed hour, ingest a time travel tab, relax in a comfy bed in a private room, seem to drift off to sleep, and find yourself in a field or on a hill or in the woods or marching down the Chambersburg Pike, toting a bed roll and rifled musket, wearing blue or gray or butternut; maybe you land in mid-battle, Minie balls whizzing by, comrades shouting and falling, chaos everywhere….

In an instant, you forget that you’re time traveling and actually become a person who has always been at the Battle of Gettysburg, a part of history, essential to that moment, quickly absorbed by the flow, forgetting yourself for the duration of your vacation.

This complete immersion prevents you and other time travel tourists from changing the consciousness and behavior of the original combatants. Not only are no additional physical bodies injected into the battle, there is no additional awareness; any of these would change events, shoving the target into a new timeline. Thus the integrity of the past is maintained, even as millions routinely time-travel to that fateful weekend in July of 1863.

So Bobby Lee ends up being occupied by millions of visiting scholars, day trippers, wayward housewives, foreign dignitaries, avid reenactors; his consciousness simply absorbing them, not missing a beat. Despite their historical knowledge, he still fails to heed the protestations of Longstreet and Hood, abandons his tactical defensive policy, insists on doomed attempts to take Little Round Top, and finally orders Pickett’s Division to march face-first into volleys of canister. One might say he fails unfailingly, repeating his actions every time, but it is this precise repetition of events that defines them as happening only once, forever. He always makes the same decisions, the wind blows just so; now it’s silent, the batteries begin, limbs detach and take flight, thousands fall, identical cries of dying men emerge from Devil’s Den precisely now, forever.

A couple of words on how time travel drugs work. Simply put, they act upon the brain, enabling and triggering perfect recall and more. The subject is first sequestered in a dark room, where his or her body will be safely stored in a climate controlled module for the duration of the trip. The drug is administered; within minutes the subject regresses through his or her life history, reliving key events in startlingly accurate and ever-increasing detail, until it is impossible to distinguish memories from reality. At this point, a limited time-slip ingredient kicks in. The subject’s consciousness then goes off the rails, so to speak, and begins accessing events beyond its known past. Up to this point, the process could be explained as simply an incredibly vivid form of recall; after this, the brain is actually scanning the past, beyond its physical history, something like the way we search the internet for stored information.

In short, the brain is a time machine, capable of transporting a person’s consciousness back in time (remembering) or forward (extrapolating, predicting) or even across timelines (imagining). The so-called time travel drugs are simply chemical agents that enhance, enable, and trigger these activities.

So much for time travel tourism. In the highly classified military-industrial realm, several techniques enable time travelers to physically impact the past or future. These methods make use of the Montauk Chair, higher technologies developed by the Days Again government, and Graylien timeline travel secrets. In these cases, time travelers actually create new timelines from old, using targeted events as starting points. When they modify the past, they spawn new timelines and experience what is known as “time slip”, surfing from their original targets to a series of modified timelines. The tricky part, of course, is to navigate such a sequence of alternate universes and return to one’s starting point, more or less intact.

John Pursch lives in Tucson, Arizona. His work has been nominated for Best of the Net and has appeared in many literary journals. A collection of his poetry,Intunesia, is available at Check out his experimental lit-rap video at He’s @johnpursch on Twitter and john.pursch on Facebook.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Denny E. Marshall- Three Poems

Doubt, Doubt

Our love is shining now
Will it shine tomorrow?
Our love is happiness
Will it turn to sorrow?
Your eyes are singing messages
The notes I don’t know
You were catching some signals
That I can’t even throw
Doubt, doubt
What’s it all about

Our trust was a fire
Turned into a glow
We would get high on each other
Now we both feel low
Our faith is breaking
Cracks are starting to show
Have to release the emotion
Have to let them go
The bridge of trust we have
Will it wash out?
Doubt, doubt
What’s it all about

Angel Call

Lost in the woods walking at night
Hoping to find a guiding light
Take a wrong step and you can fall
In the sky, hear an angel call

Life is a storm blowing like sand
Signs can be hard to understand
The answers no one has them all
In the sky, hear an angel call

Pathways can be lonely and dark
The fire can lose magic and spark 
Hear a voice say time to stand tall
In the sky, hear an angel call

Touch of Angel Wings

Never noticed the touch of angel wings
Then felt the unexplained, tap the shoulder
Light plays like magic and the great sky rings
Never noticed the touch of angel wings
Four times saved by the invisible kings
Each time felt the black-robe hand grow colder
Never noticed the touch of angel wings
Then felt the unexplained, tap the shoulder

Michael Keshigian- Three poems

Microscopic migrant Martian workers
inhabit my skull,
though their exact location is a mystery,
yet I believe them to be
a nomadic tribe of insolent invaders
constantly building
in the blood vessels of my brain,
bulldozing platelets,
back hoeing plasma
and blasting capillary walls
from the cranial dome
to the base of my neck
and forward to the temples,
paving and leveling
while hammering mercilessly
in an attempt to reconstruct
my Earthly perception,
though they cease their efforts
for a day or two
en route to another site
when their task begins again
with the heavy rumble of work
weighing profoundly upon
my sensibilities,
curtailing my progress
as the constant pounding
begins to create slight fissures
upon my scalp
and a red planet hue
in my eye.
Expressed as tinnitus
most professionals profess
is a ringing in the ears
induced by stress
and a number of other
environmental tendencies.
It’s said,
that rambunctious mechanisms
and music too loud
can destroy the drums
in the ear canal,
ingesting caffeine
is a culprit as well,
its special buzz
instigates the ears
to incessantly trill
a variance of frequencies
very high to low,
white noise or static
is the common explanation.
The more sophisticated
prefer to refer
to the affliction
as auditory acuity ,
much above the norm,
an ability to detect
signals and radio transmissions
of interplanetary discussions,
meant for only few to hear,
with discourse duly noted,
received day and night,
lengthy conversations,
concerning universal plight,
divulging invaluable insight
when the messages
are decoded.

Meditatively I sit
upon the verandah
during cold, dark moments
after midnight
as dim shimmering moonbeams
cast decadent silhouettes
of shadowy branches on the wall
which silently undulate in a gentle breeze
and with snake like precision
entangle my hair
with needle tip fangs
to penetrate delicately
the recesses of my brain
and charm stubborn words
with unforgiving thoughts
nocturnal in nature
from out the lair
to inscribe upon fresh molt
a venom which devours
the unsuspecting prey.
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. (

David S. Pointer- Three Poems

space gasoline
made with spinal fluid
from the beheaded

sky terrorists
all the tiny planets
have the most oil

red planet dog tag
stamped on roboforehead
near last rite psalm

About the Author: David S. Pointer has recent acceptances for Chiron Review,  Dead Snakes, Main Street Rag, Kind of a Hurricane Press, Section 8 magazine and many others. David’s most recent horror poetry book is entitled “Beyond Shark Tag Bay.”

J.D. DeHart- Three Poems

When the Tigers Died
She watched their movements with her
almond eyes, full of sand and water,
worshipping them, loving them
until the last one collapsed
in its winding way across the grass-stitched
plain, then decided she must be the one.
She set about her plan, putting first the paws
on, then the tail and mask,
practicing her growl,
but sadly the effect was just not the same.
I Was the Machine Who
Washed your laundry today with a smile
Spat out three cups of coffee, perfect brew
Solved the quadratic equation with a crayon
Strode the line between maintaining attention
and committing offense
Defined the word transgression
Told you to stop cussing so much
A whirling, twirling dervish
of human and mechanical cyborg behavior
Mr. Solution, Mr. Fix-It, Mr. Gloss-Over-It
Mr. Trust-Me-Really, I know the answers.
Hi, how are ya, he intones
each time someone passes, while turning
the white fish samples in his small circle
of oily heat
It took me all day to realize
he was a robot, serving up toothpicks.