A Poem by Carl Terrence

When I Chop Wood
by Carl Terrence

When I chop wood
I get the axe blade good and oiled up with baby oil and then look at my reflection awhile on the shiny axe head.

When I chop wood
I think in cords. Like that truck is about 4 cords. That cloud up there is probably 9. My leg is like 1/8th.

When I chop wood
The blisters on my hands pop, finally, and whiskey comes out and I suck on ‘em.

When I chop wood
My beard grows faster. When I’m done I shave off my 2 foot beard with an oily axe blade while looking in a puddle.

When I chop wood
Forest animals come out and sing a song in perfect rhythm to my chops. They sing a song called, “Man a Choppin’, Man a Choppin’”

When I chop wood
I build great stacks of chopped wood. Art scenes I guess. The scent overcomes the neighborhood and they open their windows to get some chopped wood inside.

When I chop wood
Blood comes out of the tree stump and floods over the grass and onto my boots and I stand hacking in blood up to my laces.

When I chop wood
They close down the farmer’s market and the singer / song writer of the week comes to listen to my song.

When I chop wood
I’m doing a godamn service to mankind so don’t go chattering to me about whats for dinner or whatever.

When I chop wood
I sometimes start chopping other things too. I chopped some floors and some ladders once. If it’s made of wood then I’ll chop it. All I see is wood. And chopping.

When I chop wood
I feel like people in the 1800′s did when they were working. I don’t need clean water or a car. I just need this godamn wood chopped.

When I chop wood
The neighborhood kids gather ’round and say, “I’m gonna chop me some wood one day.” I look up say, “Not like this you won’t.”

When I chop wood
I go over to a boulder when my axe blade gets dull and I rub it on the boulder and get it so sharp that it could cut another couple dozen cords. 7 cords.

When I chop wood
I don’t even bother getting up unless there’s about 10 cords needed. That’s about 10 long beds full. You’re truck will probably break down before I’m done cuttin’. Then I’ll cut your godamn truck up with an axe and get back to my wood choppin’.

When I chop wood
I get real mad and pretend the wood is my old day job. I pretend I’m cutting up my old jobs and then I just start hacking and soon there’s nothing but kindlin’ and just wood dust flying up in the sun rays and on my face.

When I chop wood
It’s like going to church or taking a shower or maybe driving. All the good ideas come when I get to choppin’ and then I know I should be rich because I was the one who thought of the steak sandwich anyhow.

When I chop wood
I think about writing down all the things that happen in my life every day, like when I got in a fist fight inside the Bank of America, but more like a reflection or a memoir or a story on cable starring Sam Elliot when he too, has to chop wood.

When I chop wood
There’s no one better. There’s just no one out there who can chop more wood than me. I mean no one and I welcome all challengers.

A Poem from Joshua McDermott

The Snow
by Joshua McDermott

Before things got difficult for my family,
I complained one Christmas morning
when I didn’t get the toy I wanted.
My mother had actually bought it for me,
but she hid it in the closet
to see how I’d react.

Later, when there were no toys,
when there wasn’t even a closet,
when my mother had died,
the snow on the ground outside
was enough.

Joshua Lew McDermott is a 23 year old poet from Idaho. He sometimes lives in Logan, Utah, where he organizes readings and independently publishes his friends’ work. He has two cats, reads a lot of anarchistic books, and likes to go hiking. “

A poem from Oswald James

“So, this place was a morgue?”
by Oswald James

the singer said to silence
it was true
we heard this place was a funeral home
before a bar
earlier in the night
by a fire

the locals seemed offended

Lara had taken up w/ some drifter
a table over
her man,
remarkably patient
bought her another

the band,
all tall and pale
were deep into the desert
and sounded like death
it was the last night of tour

I sat there feeling like a dried out yucca bloom
with a throat full of agave
every eye in the room
gazed upon the goddess on bass
until she stared back
and moved the place to envy or lust

under the icy stars
we rode out with the tumbling weeds
and wondered, “what next?”

Oswald James owns and operates Alta Real Pictures, a film/video production company based in Austin, TX

A Poem by Dennis Held

Air, Conditioned
by Dennis Held

I am dry, I am droll
And that’s just how I roll:
Call me Billy.

I’m not mad, I’m not bleak
I’ve a Frenchman’s physique,
I’m not silly.

I like gin, I like jazz
You can take what I has–
That’s just me.

You won’t mind what I write
And if it’s patently trite,
We’ll agree.

I can toss this stuff off
I don’t work for no boss
I am poemy.

And if you pay my fee
My verse isn’t free:
Nor me.

Dennis lived in Missoula, Montana for five years and was awarded the MFA in poetry writing. Taught writing, editing and literature at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, from 1994 until 2001. Betting on the Night, a collection of poetry, was published in 2001 with Lost Horse Press, and was reprinted in 2003. Now living in Spokane, Washington, he teaches writing at Eastern Washington University. His second book of poetry, Ourself, was published in January 2011 by Gribble Press. He continues to publish essays, book reviews, and articles in magazines and for public radio.

A Poem by Dirk Michener

Untitled (Horse and a Cow)
by Dirk Michener

A horse and a cow
Stand still in a
Large field

They stand for a long
Time and sometimes
Move their heads
Up and down or
Side to side

After a while
They lie down and
Go to sleep

The horse and cow
Sleep from sunset
To sunrise and wake

They each walk to
A separate part of
A large stock tank
And drink water

They drink water for
Several minutes then
Urinate and shit

The horse and cow
Mill around
And chew at clumps
Of grass and plants
On the ground

Horse stands under a
Tree and swings its
Long tail

Cow stands by a fence
Looking at other cows
And sometimes shakes
Its head around
And chews.

A Poem by Michael Roberts

pikthur me rolliN

by Michael Roberts

Pegasus the common plough horse
Knows not what it means to be human

No entiendo
Mi amour es muy grande …
To be acqui?

      at that huge white bird above
       the movie screen

        That’s the glory of the universe
         Not Subhuman Captain Crank 
          and his digital didjeridoo 

           Look at these dark cartoons I found
           When I was … in Happy Valley
             possessed by good & evil

A Poem by Steve Potter

spotter in Paris
a recent dream
by Steve Potter
Photo by Todd Catropa

a black dog licks and nuzzles my crotch
as two ghostly girls chant and pray

over the transparent fetus of a deer
in a matted down patch of grass.

I warm my hands over a campfire,
my erection tenting stained shorts.

nearby a documentary is being filmed
at an abandoned farmhouse.

I walk through tall grass
with the pale eyed ghost girls.

dead yellow stalks spear
up between our toes.

we watch the filming
as the farmhouse burns.

Steve Potter’s poems and stories have appeared in print and online journals such as; Blazevox, Blue Collar Review, Coe Review, Drunken Boat, Freefall, Marginalia, Pindeldyboz, Stringtown, Haggard and Halloo and 3rd Bed. He edited and published the eclectic but short-lived Wandering Hermit Review. Potter currently lives in Seattle, but his feet are getting itchy again, so he may be living somewhere else in the not-too-distant future.

A Poem by Ivan Jenson

Cougar alert
by Ivan Jenson

you wear your heart
on your sleeve
which makes for
a very sincere
and bloody mess
you also have
all but spelled out
the grammatically
incorrect plans
you have for me
and your frankly
forward propositions would
have to be bleeped
out on prime-time TV
and I retreat
from your advances
because you scared
the smile right off my face
when you hiked your skirt
licked your lips
and winked
when I was only
asking for change
for a dollar
so that I could
feed the starving meter
where I parked

Ivan Jenson’s Absolut Jenson painting was featured in Art News, Art in America, and Interview magazine. His art has sold at Christie’s, New York. His poems have appeared in Word Riot, Zygote in my Coffee, Camroc Press Review, Haggard and Halloo, Poetry Super Highway, Mad Swirl, Underground Voices Magazine, Blazevox, and many other magazines, online and in print. Jenson is also a Contributing Editor for Commonline magazine. Ivan Jenson’s debut novel Dead Artist is available as a paperback and on Amazon Kindle and Nook. His new novel, a psychological thriller entitled Seeing Soriah is now available as an eBook or in Paperback on Amazon. A collection of Ivan Jenson’s drawings and poetry will soon be published by Hen House Press, New York.

A Poem by Michael Snyder

Peri Banou’s One Thousand and One Neuschwanstein Apts.
or Making Love in a Rowboat on a Bavarian Lake;
Collage Poem #4267

by Michael Snyder

Arthur recruited Lancelot cause he rhymed with Camelot.
The novelty broke bread with 47 Ronin double-negative
ghostriders sussing penance from paradise in this uniphonic
ejaculation of imagination to farthest nether region’s juicy galas.
“Wanna be buried in space? Now’s your chance!” blasts the stereo.
..We caught mono from the monotone learning lifespeak
in translations of Murakami books and bitching
about brightness to the sun.
Vinyl Siding with romanticism is romanticide..
–the live dog nuzzles the dead one.
A steel girder girdle girl riled my flamage.
friend heroine muse lover
If God can be a woman, so can the Devil.
Looking for the massage château in Hieronymous Bosch’s
‘Garden of Earthly Delights’, we run smack dab
thru a taqueria hellscape cornfeeding observatory starlets.
*Before we get too far into the poem, it might benefit the reader
to google ‘tangential’, ‘heuristic’, and ‘random absolute’.

Armoured daffodils breathe easy like revival smiles
and 18 wheelers with “I brake for bunnies” bumper stickers.
He was born on a Boeing 747–talk about your plane of existence.
I’ve had my blinker on for a 200 mile stretch in this nighttime desert;
Norwegian Valhallogens beam light year’s jeers onto this 20 dollar
ritual suicide knife path of fondant twerk coffee haus creamer.
–Shoulda known dressing as a No-Dachi Warlord in a Jap steakhouse
would bring down the wrath of Hello Kitty and Chococat!
(btw, Poets are mostly good for in-breeding and in-fighting).
i slave away to ’36 Views of a Dual Domed Nuclear Reactor’
caught on Fuji film thinking ‘what can make us sink?’
and ‘what will tow us from the brink?’..
Sometimes, though, it’s as if i’ve left myself in the lobby.
Meanwhile Mad King Ludwig trips over the snare drum of his
own beatnik. But beyond the washed up shore, mermaids serenade
on mother of pearl strats sending sunrise frisson into the crook
of our universal niche.

*Don’t worry hipsters, 2 thou of these 2 thou and 1 hits are mine…

Michael Snyder is a truck driver, poet warrior, cat lover, and cheesecake eater. He is a regular contributor to the daily poetry site Haggard and Halloo Publications.