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Untitled Document Poetry - The Legendary  
Jay SheetsE'mon Lauren McGeeCraig Kurtz
Ava BirdAleph Altman-MillsLana Bella
Luis NeerJames Croal JacksonJoshua Medsker
Gary BeckYuri KrumanDennis Weiser
Patricia P.



In the Oasis of Little Birds
by Jay Sheets

I

May her words be ruins,
nude on sand,
for he who wanders,
heart in hand.

Talons disguised as voices pierce my third eye I step carefully into myself—they steal my skin, slice through the dark air of pain—I am supposed to know I bleed as my Brother’s do. Preying on heavy bone, seeking delicacy in the ash of what it means to be human, they dig through my presence; lucid as the liquid Self drips like red honey from my roots. Ancestors rise through my flesh & image turns to word, word to energy, energy to power & back to make sense of itself, my Self—encoded, decoded, an imagining, a reimagining of a time so cyclical I now know what it means to be both the observer & the observed. The mystery is we have forgotten the mystery, forgotten how we are all words in the same riddle written on sands of a landscape forever veiled by dunes of past-lives, the winds profess —“What time whispers is almost enough.”

II

In the oasis of little birds a chipped arrowhead gets tossed for another try while the hands of the Breath-Birther write history in the crack of a shell—a mimetic desire to feed from what kills—“Dark wings need no light for they are.” The sun dips, a decree that soon enough it will be at my back now chasing, no longer a blazing compass the iron in my blood begs to follow. The desert rises, praises Centauri, Iah-Djuhty wakes, carefully parts the curtain of night to illume fortunes of indigo, smoke & sea—an ethereal verse from the oracle once storied to Adam & Eve.

III

Where the Golden wander,
tow
.ard apples meant to rot,
fruit on tongue, lonely one
deaf to what is taught

Centipede slips into stone;
milk-rock Mother, red petals
furl cold on the dune—Manu
came too soon. Green-star
slumber, man was a lore
under bell-moon crowned
blue, saved in fur pelts as we,
it, them, died on locked moss.
Rites born between breaths,
middle breaths. “When
the water thirsts what does
it thirst for, where the water
thirsts...”—urgent is the breath,
ghosting through my fingers,
one tongue at a time—white
breaks open, an echo
of Amduat in the twelfth
hour guides; apocryphal
legends lay bronzed on blush
sand, the inkhorn dries, vatic
lore of the nomadic hand, not mine.

IV

Red ribbons, threads of gold, the lost hymns of Cædmon for trade under Mercury. Bamboo blooms in the far east as legends bide time in green just as hollow. The Ghawazi dance to the drums—songs of the Seven Seers evaporate into the taste of night—sandalwood lingers, rope sinks into sand, a mystic robbed of his bread, thirteen dhows set sail toward Aeolia. Zerzuran gods crush lapis, clay & fishbone with pestle, ink words to be kissed on the throat of a dove. Tellings of Bedouin tobacco & black opium fly in with the Peregrine who nest in Ugarit but hunt here, where the tamarisk sleeps. Fire, scorch, muscle, salt, teeth, cut. A woman reveals four patina snakes coddled in cloth & breasts hungry for hoofbeats, swift earth, where silver foxes need not slaughter—the prophetess of pearls—“A pearl dropped in wine stains in mute time.” Here, we are pearls, dropped in time, stained with what chokes us.

V

She speaks of Jinn, maps
delicate songs in their honor
on her body in fire no ink
could stand. Finger smokes
over rim, an etheric nest,
blue haunts black—
the mists are navigable.
Her henna-wrapped hand
holds seven almonds; spiced,
blackened, dead stone fruit
to break on history’s
tongue—she hands me three.
Her lips lament, “Thoth
had wings.” My skeleton
fragile; the glass in her night.
She bends a crown
of nettle thorn & breathes,
“There are no butterflies here.”

VI

In this world
of perishable things,
we’re in love
with too many things.

The scarab rests—time is not visible but still it rolls softly, swiftly, folding back into itself like a heart on fire. Ezekiel’s Wheel was never a wheel but a damp gold sky-body chariot blazing through thorns like there was never a drought; a chokecherry dusk pinned to armored prophecy. Blue circles white, I wake to thunder—there was once a season so sacred. I walk where the feathers of the little birds fall, through the fragments of our constellations, toward guarded sky.

Jay Sheets studies Mythopoetics at Goddard College in Vermont and is a Poetry Editor for the literary journal, Duende. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hermeneutic Chaos, Aleola, Sundog Lit, Albion Review, The Light Ekphrastic, Enclave, and Entropy. Sheets lives in Plymouth, Mass.

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Three Poems
by E'mon Lauren McGee


Newsfeed

5/ 1 12:40 p.m.
Character is confinement
140 ways of being
All the confidence you need,
to survive
Until states of matter dry out
Like mechanics

5/ 1 2:51 p.m.
Freddie Gray
Homicide
CNN ruling today
Common sense
CNN rules everyday
With glass ceilings, and all the hallelujahs one can eat before breakfast

Ghazal for a Holy Name

A prayer is wrapped around my name: faith
Choking absolute freedom found hopeful in faith
Escaping a loose forgiveness of doubt from myself

In Islam, it sails on foraged tradition often spiritual like faith
An Arabic, foreclosure of time crying in reverse is still faith
In the blackness of my skin, rips a dawn satanic enough to shake the god out my name

A November day, leaves rained a glorified blessing said to be faith
Said to be stitched on my spine; locked on faith
Summer days swelter my sin unfamiliar with Emon

Still called me Faith
Still called me a belonging to time and faith.
Still called it more holy and I

Me at 3 a.m. and 2 min Later
after Natalie Diaz

I,
drowning in air and everything above
that masqueraded till pitiful
till almost beautiful.

32 tablets.
2 mins later.
Cross- legged mind
boyfriend;
No ballerina.

No more graceful
just open and closed
peeping till blind
sight is pain when you look at yourself.

There’s always someone watching.
Boyfriend
calls mom,
I sleep.

Hope for no awake,
no alarm clock set.
Just shattered pride
glued in my eyes

Closed fear
in ballerinas;
are burnt,
32 tablets,
broken,
popped and swallowed.
Like water;
fluid.

3 time repetitive;
3 a.m. and 2 min later.
A last dream,
the devil dancing on my shoulder.

E'mon Lauren McGee. Southside Chicago. 69th Redline. Harold's Chicken. Mild sauce on the side. November 9, 1996. Early graduate. Slam poet. Louder than a Bomb and victory. 3 peat. Brave New Voices. 2 years. Teaching artist. Published artist. The Breakbeat Poets Anthology. Performing artist. Human.

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The Virtue of Tobacco
by Craig Kurtz

   
Tobacco, so it’s said,
is a vice and a bale;
certes it will leave you dead
as does everything for sale.
Ever since the dawn of time
there’s been a sense of doing ill;
for those who think smoking’s a crime
suspend such counsel, if you will.
Choose a city at your leisure,
ask where all the smokers went;
however evil’s their pleasure
they’re not found in a church basement.
Of all divertissements conceived,
some make groans, some falling down;
there’s no doubt you’ll get aggrieved
with too much fun in any town.
Yet tobacco is a temperate lust,
it’s even allowed in most jails;
while other cravings get you bust
you can drive on coffin nails.
Tussles over custody
are rarely blamed on cigarettes;
hassles over bankruptcy
are not oft smoking’s fault assessed.
But! Of all the banes to chide
(and there’s a few, I’ll tell you, friend),
tobacco’s shame is misapplied:
’tis lovely who it does offend.
Iwis, tobacco earns the hate
of those who want all glee deceased;
pontiffs, although predominate,
won’t butt in for a puff, at least.


Craig Kurtz
has vexed aesthetic circles since the 1981 release of The Philosophic Collage. Recent work appears in Aerie Literary Journal, The Criterion: An International Journal in English, Danse Macabre, Penumbra, Poetry Quarterly, Red Fez, The Road Not Taken: A Journal of Formal Poetry, TMJ Magazine and Xanadu.

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Two Poems
by Ava Bird

abundance smiling

the landlord
had to pull me
off the streets and shout:
"great to see you, its dinner time!"
girl, time to get off the dance floor
and receive the blessings
of harvest and nutrition
time for fruition, abundance coming,
in fact she's here now
lady luck is shining
like lakshmi
and good luck, bitch!
its time for us
to move on,
groove on
to new beats and notes
going within
dreaming
leaving
love notes
left surprises
still smiling
from this morning. 

(los angeles 2013)

For a Good Time, Call Your Congressman!

For a good time, call your congressman!
Tell him your tired of these wars and him bein whores,
strange bed fellows:
sleeping with his dicks in oil
his pricks in big pharma, doctors, politicians and
even bigger dick tricks
in the military industrial complex
In building 7, he fucks for missiles,
he’s a cocksucker for war,
blood lust,
pope robes to bibles,
fables and fag hags in gowns to fuck us!
Is it 4:20 yet?
Earth Day yet?
Is there a revolution yet?
Let us Rise
against dicks in politics
wars incorporated,
empires,
gods and other vampires.

Ava Bird her poetic and other works are printed in historical anthologies, academic journals, spiritual publications, online, recorded for radio and exhibited in galleries. she has published two books of poetry and prose 'the new now' and 'rage against the war machine' & is an organizer for the worldwide poetry movement 100thousand poets for change. you may also see her artwork somewhere!

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Three Poems
by Aleph Altman-Mills

13

I thought it was the only year
I would still be allowed to be a child
and yet be allowed to be something more,
knew I had to make the most of it’s snake-bellied plunge.
I could break everything,
before building a new life, a new body,
big-girl-hood a sidewalk after the rain.
I was starting to realize I would never be too big to cry
with this hammering, wearing dams like wedding rings.
I was drowning, and I decided to drown.
That was the year I made a list of brave things:
1. trembling
2. breaking rules
3. telling people you love them
and resolved to learn how to do all three.
I would spend days working with my beaver heart on an email,
press send when it was still choked with wood chips.
I told dangerous secrets simply because I was scared to.
I held myself like a stack of books,
and I sat in thick skins of mud
and I screamed lyrics to songs
where everyone could hear me,
hoping they would sing along.
They didn't.
I kept singing anyway.

And the Hole, Bound Tight, Closes like a Mouth

My stubbed skull oozes knuckle.
Birds hush the seeping sky.
Someone's filled in all the sidewalk cracks.
There's no room for anything to grow.

Music Box Song

I’m in one of the plastic tunnels
of my mind. This is like
the maze at the fair,
but it is upholstered with jam.
I can see through a star-chain of distorted mirrors
one of the ghosts who
spits out thoughts. I will not go down
her pipe. It is churning with corroded batteries
she tries not to choke on when she screams.
Even the music box
in the center of the mind
that slaps silky drops
of wind against the walls
is reduced there to an echoed shaking.
The ghost has a needle
in each hand
and is trying to carve her way out.

Aleph Altman-Mills is an autistic writer who loves swinging and skirts. She has been published in The Legendary, Words Dance, and Mobius, among others. She blogs and posts poetry snippets at really-fucking-confused.tumblr.com.

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B.T.S.
by Lana Bella

Brad looks at me, fingers digging into my skin to stop from shaking.
Eyes of keen emerald kiss the air like tiny green dancers on glass,
and suddenly all around, skein of darkness, slate and warm, draws
near, blinking a thousand atoms from the midnight sun. Breaths
delay, whose notes turn into a gilded lake, with marine things and
our bodies swim on leaflet folds. Sharp scent of tropical rum is cool
with mango bite where his lips touch mine, my thoughts run from
cranium to heart, words echo with sounds caught in a half-gasp and
half-kiss, yet intimate like a muffled sleep--a sleep that neither he
nor I, has grown tired of sleeping. And the night pegs down, stitches
our skin in a garment of silk, his cheek presses against mine, with flesh
so gold and bones a trove of feathers sailing on board-wood floor. As
he carries me up the stairwell, how my fingers feel moved to pluck a
tulip from the brass pail above the book shelf, pink and softly bloomed.
I lean in, licking the baying beats of his throat against my tongue,
syllables spell out four letters of his name.

Lana Bella has a diverse work of poetry and fiction anthologized, published and forthcoming with over one hundred journals, including a chapbook with Crisis Chronicles Press (early 2016), Aurorean Poetry, Chiron Review, Contrary Magazine, QLRS (Singapore), Storgy, elsewhere, and Featured Artist with Quail Bell Magazine, among others. She divides her time between the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam, where she is a wife of a novelist, and a mom of two frolicsome imps. https://www.facebook.com/niaallanpoe

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in the same groove
by Luis Neer

been listening to william burroughs
lectures, audio recordings on youtube—
reading lists designed to expand
human consciousness,
ramblings on dreams,
ramblings on other writers
and especially ramblings on
the paranormal.

synchronicity, he dictates.
of course things unfold in sync.
no one is following you
no one is eavesdropping on your conversations,
they are only in the same
groove
as you are.

this
i wrote down on a tulip yellow post-it note
and stuck to the wall above my desk—
acknowledge synchronicity.

the note stayed up there
day after day after day after...
then one day
around noon
there was a fight at school
and i missed it,
as i always do
when something of note
goes down,
but i did catch the sound of a textbook
hitting some poor girl's skull.
i was sitting mute in music appreciation
down the hall from the cafeteria.

i found out after class that
the sound had indeed been a textbook
and it had indeed been used to bludgeon somebody,
and i walked to my next class quietly and
simply.
slept in there, tried to dream, failed.
too much light overhead.

i went to my locker. there's a guy
3 lockers down from me
who only ever talks about
whatever dirt has been floating
through the halls.
we’re not close friends
but i like to think we have a sort of camaraderie
in that i eavesdrop on his conversations
every day.
god bless him.
his name is cyle and
this poem is for him.

"i heard it wasn't much of a fight,"
he said, to a blond-haired girl
who was standing next to him.
"the girl just hit the other girl with a textbook
and they started screaming."

i started down the hall
with my eyes pointed straight ahead
and realized that
all the conversations between separate huddles
were unsurprisingly similar—
"yeah, with a textbook"
—"i heard they clawed each others' eyes out"—
“did you hear why they were fighting?”
that didn't really strike me
as synchronicity—when there’s a fight,
people tend to talk about it—
but then i got to thinking about
that girl's bruised occipital skull.
i thought, ‘man, i'd die...’
and then i heard an impossibly tall person say,
"i think i'll die over this
presentation we're working on..."

as i kept moving forward
all this chatter fell
away
and soon i heard other people,
people in different circles and of
differing age and intellectual caliber, groaning,
"this presentation tomorrow's gonna
kill me..." and
“this presentation’s gonna be the death of me…” and
then
"dude, i'm hardcore fretting over this presentation,
man, i swear i’ll have a stroke..."

burroughs returned inside my mind,
voice like a cathedral burning—
you are not imagining these things.
everything comes together.
everything synchronizes.

i walked into my last block history class
feeling rather clairvoyant
and there was a woman in a suit
from the pittsburgh technical
institute, giving a presentation

i reached my desk by the window,
cold air coming in through the crooked blinds,
i opened my backpack, looked inside,
uttered a quiet groan, looked under the desk—

i had misplaced my textbook.

Luis Neer is the author of This is a Room Where You Wait for New Language (Ghost City Press, October 2015) and BECOME DEATH or Atomic Rain on the Shoulders of Atlas (Maudlin House, January 2016). He lives in West Virginia. Find him on twitter @luisneer.

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Three Poems
by James Croal Jackson


The Dust

Often I find myself wanting to move on.
To revel in the dust like a lost, small dog,
my fur a summertime shackle.

Those winter days, we were light we shared.
Lapped the water in like from a trough.
We didn't have to dip (not deeply)
and we'd share our sips freely.

Then Valentine's Day
came and went.
Meanwhile you sat alone
at the computer,
waiting to press send.

Clothes on the Bed
 
the room's infiltration / fabrics and hangers / bedroom who is this / who are you i / don't want you / to leave / i / haze / the fog / machine whirs / the pillow / smells like morning / orange banana strawberry / smoothie sweat old / and citrus / the blender whirred / like the black drawer / pulled in and / out / the routine is / the blue / sheet draped / stained forever / the blue / digital alarm / never woke us / sit / sit / black leggings / where are you going / healthy healthy / we draw lines / the visible line / the horizon / with those smoky faraway / buildings / the end is / never coming / we cannot see it / from where we sit

Froghead

froghead I ask you please keep your slither off of me
the empty cradled bridge reeks of an offline night
self-reliant on hand-held technomancy
your ignorance is no one's extolled virtue
Highway 103 exists as the lost ditch
speak: your tongue can't hear you
my pants are tight from overwork, not eroticism
my mezcal is as distant as the nearest soul

James Croal Jackson lives for art, adventure, whiskey, books, writing, and music. He released a rap album under the pseudonym 'Layzerus' in April 2015. He was born in Akron, Ohio but currently lives in Los Angeles. Find more of his work at jimjakk.com.

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Meat Cutter
by Josh Medesker



I am a Bavarian Jew (my life? tsuris)—
my hands ache; my fingers bleed—
I am the meat-cutter, the butcher, the flesh monger—

I am a Christian in bloody Kansas (my brother? John Brown)—
we melee, we organize, we hack them to death—
I am the guerilla; I am the butcher; I am the legislature.

Now I am a citizen of every country,
but belong to no one.

Joshua Medsker is a New Jersey writer, originally from Alaska. His work has appeared in many online and print publications, including: Empty Mirror, The Review Review, Criminal Class Review, Penmen Review, The Brooklyn Rail, and Poetry Pacific. (joshmedsker@gmail.com).

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Five Poems
by Gary Beck

Evolved Mating

Yes, my new found love,
you penetrated me
and though I tried to keep you out
with the finality of a woman’s closed thighs ,
you forced your rude entry,
a torturous assault,
full of obscene commotion,
a little boy yelling obscenities.
Now tonight you sleep beside me
sated, mewling, hand on crotch,
not that far removed from Og
and sex in survival cave.

Common Sparrow

Fly darling,
wings more hesitant than a baby sparrow.
I will catch you if you fall.
I listened to your chirping
as you lay close and clinging
in the wrinkled midnight of your sheets,
lonely, lost, afraid.
I passed my hand
across the smoothness
 of your freckled back,
soothing you,
your legs curled
like tiny lizards in the sun,
basking in sleep
in the comforting nest.

Accused

Nature is not cruel, but just
and though we tremble at judgement
there must be a vision
of enduring todays,
rebuilding tomorrows.
Nature never cast a benevolent eye,
nor had patience with our efforts
that consumed the bounty of the earth.
As our inexorable trials approach,
there will not be mercy
for the innocent or guilty.

Hard Heart

Where are you, woman,
while I sit in lonely silence
in a loveless room?
Are you sleeping,
while I pace the fraying borders
of my prison room?
Vintage thoughts of you pierce the night.
Do you twist and turn at night,
restless for someone who is not there?
No. Not you.
You sleep the sleep of the just,
but are neither just nor virtuous.
I guess everyone sleeps,
except me.
Why?
Have I committed
some nauseating crime
that you should sleep
night after night,
while I grip my sheets in frenzy,
tear the blanket in desperation,
gnash my teeth into the pillow,
lubricate the bed with sullen sweat?
Will I ever find one night
of inconsequential sleep?

Sanctuary

The violation of my apartment,
my substitute womb,
where I take refuge in a secret haven,
has been disrupted by intruders
into my dream, my chamber of safety.
The greedy fingers of despoliation
didn’t pillage everything,
leaving garments that I never earned,
liquor that should be renounced,
an ancient dagger, toy of fools and me,
other objects, worthless things.
I cannot visualize the rapers of my privacy,
faces, race, color, ethnicity.
These nameless shadows of intrusion
did not touch my poems,
my dread or fantasy
that some hand of envy or spite,
in a wanton, malicious moment
would destroy my poems.
So if the erratic hand of justice
seizes the thieves
by some coincidence,
perhaps there will be mercy
since they didn't do their worst.

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways (Winter Goose Publishing). Perceptions, Displays, Fault Lines and Tremors will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response will be published by Nazar Look. His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press) Acts of Defiance (Artema Press). Flawed Connections has been accepted for publication (Black Rose Writing). His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City

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Four Poems
by Yuri Kruman

Selfie In Verse

Uncircumcised, I dropped in 1983,
Picked from a cluster of old souls.
To honor Party’s Chairman, naked, free.

Raised in a forest, by a brook,
To know my berries, mushrooms, books,
I was the kid with big Jew eyes,
Braised in our Soviet paradise.

Three miles, uphill both ways, in driving snow,
I marched alone to school and back, enthralled.
With Pushkin’s verses, nature’s vagaries… and crows.

Plucked from the privatizing hordes at nine, I flew
In Delta’s steerage to the promised land.
Three Mormon Magi met us, bearing gifts, on cue.
The rolling bluegrass hills, the friendly smiles, the year-round fruits – all grand.

After we gave our gospel, good as took,
A sidewalk skinhead crowed, “A kike’s a kike,
So fuck you and your people’s book.”

How does one argue with such music’s truth?
With reason’s cudgels and defiant moods!
Thus, with our ancients’ wisdom learned, I grew,
Into a mitzvah boy – picture the goods!

The hand of G-d – Invisible to Smith – first walloped me at Uni, I recall.
My own was shattered in a fall to grace.
By luck, my Hippocratic sentence was revoked.

They snipped me in the fall, one year.
I had arrived conferring MRS degrees.
Harvesting rat brains with a guillotine at work was queer.
I hung up lab coat for the judge’s robe, plus fees.

We scraped the road, roof under head, one Christmas in Seville.
Extracted whole out of the ditch of death, we moaned and thanked the seraph sent.
The law’s long arm, a debtor’s ball and chain, was only starting to enforce its will.

The looming crisis crashed, no mercy, calling “Come, Repent!”
Past Cerberus, exchanged, returned, I’ve run the gauntlet through nine levels.
Now that I’ve made my peace and learned to love the bomb,
The details and intentions to the good are devils.

I’ve lived the lives of seven men; by force of will or miracle, I didn’t fold.
Not one has pleased my mother – ever had a chance – ‘tis true.
Yet still, I’ve sold the Brooklyn Bridge to pave my street with gold.
Out of the Egypt in my looking glass, the blessings are nor rain nor dew.
The New World has not made us free, but through the slavery, we’re bold.

You and I

The mad, desirous ones, they sprout, like lilies in death’s valley,
Teeth grinding for the noise and lights and separating ether.
Pejorative, cantankerous, banal, the lanes of glory roam,
Take all, pare none, thou rambler dandy blue,
He’ll find you, backhand Virgin’s son and stone your candy true.

I was a strange fruit, fearless, hanging far from home,
A poor boy, dug my ditch and lined it with my shroud of sorrow.
I prayed to perish with my boots on eastward
And dreamt to rise with morning’s wisdom from war’s masters.
Anointment missed, a penny earned, my colt-drawn reason reared and spewed vermillion castor.

Because you’re fine, they’ve fudged the line; no fear, no envy, meanness.
You waltz about with talons drawn, your oyster worldly, to confess.
The patent gleam of your demise knows harbors near and sentries wide.
Yet you persist, the wind’s pissant, your gnosis shredded in its stride.
When pillars topple in one breath, your maw will chomp a cud of cress.

The fever broke, the abscess eased, my spirits fluttered in the breeze.
I trampled nigh the sinews of my servitude and ran, a sprouted flotsam from the seas.
My beggar’s purse was filled with ducats now, my poet’s filth receded far.
The Portrait fed me; to the gods, took I my firstborn issue willingly.
A crest of fallen foes became the grist for milling mine own kernels wise.

We met beside the stream of our diminished selves, the fallow crescent of resentment near.
The whisper of your heaving sighs, the dribble of my ancient’s fear
Came into crisis with the mercy’s dawn; when like two children chortled
Over others’ shame, we flew, two phoenix off the high trapeze,
Took hostages and landed at the end of history.

I Grow Weary of the Public Face

I grow weary of the public face
That saunters to and fro, in vain,
Parading, as impostors may, inside my inner sanctum’s hold.
 
I.
A surreptitious genius watched a soiled and sand-filled litter box,
Dynastic hopes betwixt precocity, projection.
Impressed upon a brow unfurrowed by regret,
Cantankerous ambition nested, thin,
Beguiled by careless joy unknown to Daddy Dearest.

With unaffected skill, I render myself masked for spectacle to come.
I toil to cut away that fat of life
Which startles men to riot for their souls.
To charge myself with glory to the end,
I dole out thinly veiled distractions to inconsequence.

The vengeance stirred the lad, betrothed, beholden to four walls.
His innocence, returned, convenienced so the cosmic order.
Prepared he jealously, to watch, the wee bit one attain his due,
Yet something in his look of industry installed the ego to its rightful cavern.

Mary returned, in white; the summer’s over...She would be Magdalene this evening.
She was his rib, his mother, sister, essence, yet his equal. She held
The Cards, with him the dealer; they played this game to check the scales.
Instinctively embraced, and off from duty, he went to filter smoke and effervesce outside.

It would have been a stark departure, in days past or in lives untold.
Could have been war, or plague, or worse, to mold
His honorable christening away from bread and hearth.
Yet here he stood, steadfast, eliciting concision.

II.
Incensed and famished at my lot, I flee the castle for the countryside.
The peasants scatter, lest they genuflect, for my importance knows no bounds.
Would I much rather they condense, before me, earth’s new dowry, perhaps,
Or send an honest tailor, in short order?

A part of me instructs my aimless wanderings away
From pilgrims, yet toward the Holy City.
I amble not to Dulcinea, courage, nor for truth.
Forgetting how to walk, perforce, for me presages idol worship.

 “The ice has moved.” He threw away the fag.
Igniting brush, the threat was carried out.
To sin, to feel unquenched, to celebrate his doubts,
He trained himself on errant, pulsing prey,
As if the hunt were nothing of its own.

He was assured, undressed, and pedestaled, apocalyptic kuros.
In stride, the fairer sex and demigods alike
So held his every utterance as hostage,
That naught may come to light save for his apostile.

I hear the elves and sense the hermits in the wood.
I was not made to countenance such imprudence.
If I were lost here and forgotten, left in peace,
Would disappointed be the hounds with paltry hide instead?

I shall live out my days like Robin Hood,
With sympathy from villagers and theft from those grown fat.
I will require no sustenance save love from people and the Princess,
And need no band to heed command, as I am for myself.

III.
Grown taxed by worship, dandy despot,
Out hero’s virulence was shadowed.
Of scribes and sycophants, pretenders, ‘twas no shortage; yet none were means to banish.
In thunderous, unheralded resolve, the Father-King stormed out, instructing none to follow.

Upon the parapet, in guise, the restless royal “We” was up in arms.
No longer doubts of self, nor care for rest, preoccupied him now.
A stultifying loneliness and doubt of purpose – so familiar…
He found himself and others in contempt.

I venture weakly to the forest’s edge.
If I may find my death throes there, to hell be damned this impotence!
I spy a lass there, maybe Princess, so fair to view and bringing bread.
I shall not put her out of mind at all, and make her mine forever more!

The tunic shed, a king disgraced, but never happier,
He fled the Holy City as if Acteon, beset by dogs.
The youth embraced his Princess at the door, grateful and hungry as the wolf,
Assuming rightful place as King of Kitchen Table.

I grow weary of the public face
That saunters to and fro, in vain,
Parading, as impostors may, inside my inner sanctum’s hold.

Brooklyn Commute

Hands argue in their native Yiddish.
Django is strutting in my wingtips.

A hoodlum's racket wrinkles the commute.
Every two ears spill out a stethoscope and jam.
Ads hawk an app for every ill.
The misery collective shrugs at cleverness; fuhgeddaboudit.

A pair of lovely ballerines with spikes
Betray the ankles of a hulking waif.

Grand Street, mandarin rush.
Propelled up from the earthen bowels,
The upturned corners of the mouth revel above the gleaming rooftops.
Suspended between whimsy islands, briefly entertained by sun,
The world is ours through the elevated trusses.

The mandatory bridge staccato carries off.
Each two fat fingers at the screen auto-correct eternity.
A muscle shirt, pious white beard,
A skirt too short, May to December glance.
Eyes to the ceiling for thick drops of mercy.

The tunnel swallows us; it’s fate.
Train traffic, each a lazy stop.
Rushing to rest, sweaty and swearing and relieved, I fly.
Jonah is spewed above the ground, egress complete.

Pick-up, drop-off; a stroller army girds,
Keen on repelling its checked privilege.
Padam, padam, the wheels insist below the grate.
Padam, padam, padam
Elle arrive en courant derrière moi.

My life in rose is suddenly concrete.


Yuri Kruman is an American author, health tech entrepreneur and negotiation coach based in New York. He is a contributing writer at Money Magazine and Lifehack.org and blogs on careers, consumer psychology, health and productivity at BlueprintToThrive.com. He has worked in healthcare, finance and law. Yuri has published two books of fiction, including a novel, “Returns and Exchanges” (2013, Author House) and novella, “The Egypt In My Looking Glass” (2014, Author House). His writing has been featured in Haaretz English Edition and the Algemeiner. He has made appearances at the Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, JCC of Manhattan Salon Series, Russian American Cultural Center and Roger Smith Hotel Creative Program. He is a recipient of the UJA Shapiro Family and COJECO Blueprint Fellowships and is also a member of the Asylum Arts International Jewish Artist community and the Jewish Book Council.

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Fenris (for Katy)
by Dennis Weiser

No kin of any kind have I, daughter or mother, father or son; nor friend beneath a lone chalk moon to sooth my nagging dirty fur and smooth my woe. No sound calls me “brother.” Beneath a marble moon, I am imprisoned by teeth of the sky. Each rock and star jeers at me. I snap, snarl. Not even my fangs can burst these cords, my fetters formed of insubstantial stuff:  birdspit, rockroots, fishbreath and cat’s footstep. Behind it all, a woman’s whisper holds the snowy field in place. Nothing to be done but wait…I dream of blood I’ll lap with my long tongue, the blood of gods I cannot help but hate because they loathe to feel my furious will, which only the hammer of god can kill. And so I dream of bounding, long and huge, across the Milky Way to Hamlet’s Mill until, with nightly skill, I’ll see my face and sing my song.

Dennis Weiser has published more than a dozen works of poetry, fiction and nonfiction since 2005. “Tzytzyan Ysalane” won first prize for prose fiction at the 2004 Chicago Printers Row Book Fair. He is a former weekly columnist for The Kansas City Business Journal and book reviewer at NPR affiliate KCUR-FM in Kansas City, Missouri where he has lived since 1981. In 2012 he concluded a successful crowd-funding campaign which resulted in the worldwide free eBook release of his eco-friendly erotic SFF novella, The Third Awakening. In September 2014, he launched 3RD AWAKENING BOOKS which annually publishes original works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Visit the 3RD AWAKENING BOOKSTORE, where you can preview and purchase print copies of his books. His complete resume, publications and works freely available to read online are at LINKED IN. A member of the Academy of American Poets, Dennis is currently writing his third novel, a mystery set in 1879 Java against the backdrop of Dutch colonial exploitation. In September 2014, he launched 3RD AWAKENING BOOKS, which annually publishes original works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Visit the 3RD AWAKENING BOOKSTORE, where you can preview and purchase print copies of his books. Find his complete resume, publications and works freely available to read online at LINKED IN. A member of the Academy of American Poets, he is currently writing his third novel, a mystery set in 1879 Java against the backdrop of colonial exploitation.

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Three Poems
by Patricia P.


where the stars used to breathe

I have not seen an ounce of
compassion in your eyes
for days now and it’s
beginning to worry me;
have you been taking
your medication, have you
been taking another
lover behind closed
doors and shut windows?

There used to be stars and
spotlights where your eyes
were, but now, all I see are
empty sockets with glass
keeping it sealed—I’m too
afraid to ask if it’s
because our love has grown
stale, if this relationship
has turned into a fling,
a short affair to you

And when you hold my hand,
it seems like your fingers
are always trying to break
free of my grasp, always
desperate to hold something
or someone else’s

The first time you said you
loved me, you cried with true
emotion because you were a
sensitive man and unashamed to
be so. The first time you said
that you were leaving, your eyes
were as dry as the Sahara Desert
and your voice sounded as rough
and cold as your limp, tired heart

brewing, boiling, bubbling

disappointment weights me down—
a heavy burden pulling my heart deeper inside my chest
a sinking feeling, leaving me reeling
my shoulders sag down, a white flag of defeat
my lips droop down, my eyes become oceans;
all my hopes, trampled on

regret stings like saltwater on an open wound—
the unanswered questions, the undone actions
swerve my mind into a prison of what ifs
it strikes my heart,
it pierces my conscience,
leaving me to look nowhere but back
anger boils and burns inside of me—
flames licking at my throat,
hell settling beneath my stomach
wrung hands and clenched jaws
with bloodshot eyes and bared teeth,
I am seething, I am furious
I am fucking angry

frozen heat

we spent all winter last year
ice-fishing, pretending to be
experts when in fact, we knew
squat: frozen bait and loud
debates were all we brought
home.

but I’ll never forget how the
pine trees shivered with
such fervor, how the ice
reflected back a distorted
image of our fingers, meshed
together in thirty wrong ways.

the cackling tongues of fire
in the hearth imitated our
passionate bodies, our
heated arguments. we
were never meant to be,
but we tried to so hard that
my teeth still hurt from just
remembering it;
my lungs still ache from
inhaling too much of you.

the snow fell so gently that winter,
but what we had mistaken for love
was so ardent that snowflakes
would melt before it even touched the
ground, before our blazing souls
could even begin to comprehend
that we were just two puzzle pieces that
would never fit.


Patricia P. hails from the Philippines. Her work has been published in Degenerates: Voices For Peace Anthology, The Wait Poetry Anthology, COE Review and several online zines. You can contact her through email: pennilesspoetry@gmail.com and find more of her work at pennilesspoet.tumblr.com

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