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Poetry - The Legendary
In the Oasis of Little Birds
by Jay Sheets
May her words be ruins,
nude on sand,
for he who wanders,
heart in hand.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
In this world
of perishable things,
we’re in love
with too many things.
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.
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,
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by E'mon Lauren McGee
5/ 1 12:40 p.m.
Character is confinement
140 ways of being
All the confidence you need,
Until states of matter dry out
5/ 1 2:51 p.m.
CNN ruling today
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
drowning in air and everything above
that masqueraded till pitiful
till almost beautiful.
2 mins later.
Cross- legged mind
No more graceful
just open and closed
peeping till blind
sight is pain when you look at yourself.
There’s always someone watching.
Hope for no awake,
no alarm clock set.
Just shattered pride
glued in my eyes
popped and swallowed.
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.
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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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by Ava Bird
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
and good luck, bitch!
its time for us
to move on,
to new beats and notes
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,
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
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!
Back to the TopThree Poemsby Aleph Altman-Mills
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:
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.
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.
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.
Back to the TopB.T.S.by Lana BellaBrad 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 andhalf-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 fleshso 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.
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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
ramblings on dreams,
ramblings on other writers
and especially ramblings on
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
as you are.
i wrote down on a tulip yellow post-it note
and stuck to the wall above my desk—
the note stayed up there
day after day after day after...
then one day
there was a fight at school
and i missed it,
as i always do
when something of note
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
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
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
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
"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.
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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by James Croal Jackson
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
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
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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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. (email@example.com).Back to the TopFive Poemsby Gary BeckEvolved MatingYes, my new found love,you penetrated meand though I tried to keep you outwith 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 mesated, mewling, hand on crotch,not that far removed from Ogand sex in survival cave.Common SparrowFly darling,wings more hesitant than a baby sparrow.I will catch you if you fall.I listened to your chirpingas you lay close and clingingin the wrinkled midnight of your sheets,lonely, lost, afraid.I passed my handacross the smoothness of your freckled back,soothing you,your legs curledlike tiny lizards in the sun,basking in sleepin the comforting nest.AccusedNature is not cruel, but justand though we tremble at judgementthere must be a visionof enduring todays,rebuilding tomorrows.Nature never cast a benevolent eye,nor had patience with our effortsthat consumed the bounty of the earth.As our inexorable trials approach,there will not be mercyfor the innocent or guilty.Hard HeartWhere 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 crimethat you should sleepnight 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 nightof inconsequential sleep?SanctuaryThe violation of my apartment,my substitute womb, where I take refuge in a secret haven,has been disrupted by intrudersinto my dream, my chamber of safety.The greedy fingers of despoliationdidn’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 intrusiondid not touch my poems, my dread or fantasythat some hand of envy or spite,in a wanton, malicious momentwould destroy my poems.So if the erratic hand of justiceseizes the thieves by some coincidence,perhaps there will be mercysince 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 CityBack to the TopFour 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
Back to the Top
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
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
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org and find more of her work at
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