Channel: Carcinogenic Poetry
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Brenton Booth - One Poem

Dancing Naked in the Rain

Rainy Saturday afternoon thinking
about Whitman’s passage on animals
from ‘ Song of Myself’ and wondering
if I will ever write something as great
as that. I can hear several birds singing
joyously outside still living fully—
impervious to the rain. And all the
people now feeling unfulfilled hiding
in their homes, cars, shopping centers,
bars, random awnings, and cafe’s,
praying for sunshine and better times;
and I think about taking off all my
clothes and going outside to the wet
street and embracing the clouds and
heavens and all the earth and all of
life as those birds are—adaptable
and truly alive; free of ego, prejudice,
greed, history, religion, race, sex,
hope—another truly liberated creature
under the infinite sky; though I can’t:
I am not an animal, I am human—the
master species, and cannot live in
such a liberated way. 

Brenton Booth lives in Sydney, Australia. Poetry and fiction of his has appeared in many publications, most recently Nerve Cowboy, Lummox, Modern Drunkard, Tree Killer Ink, Lit Up Magazine, Jellyfish Whispers and Dead Snakes.

Amy L. George - Two Poems

Danza Acrobatica
The skin moves in ways
we do not understand.
Beauty begets beauty,
touch begets touch,
fluid movement a
monument to our
a twisted banner of red
encircles our love.

In early morning,
we rejoice to feel
the wind on our faces,
the sun on our shoulders. Alone,
we flow in waves of bliss, in
satin seas beneath the sky
whose topography
no man can chart.

*Ekphrastic poem based on "Danza Acrobatica" by Victoria Vera Rosado

Before the New Day

The night crept over the edges
of the earth, became a silk sheet
tossed into the sky
as we sat in the shadow of a chapel
dreaming pinpoint star dreams.

The gypsy wind murmured in my ear
of faith in darkness.
Lady Moon held her position
while small streaks of fire
circled her, danced in her room,
her children celebrating
the end of the day.

Two clouds embraced each other,
held us in their grasp.

One bore your name
and the other, mine.

They drifted near,
then together, all of us
paused, clutching unspoken
desire for the night,
the warm blanket ache of shadow,
the joy of faithful light.

Amy L. George is a Ph.D. candidate in Literature and Criticism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of Desideratum (Finishing Line Press, 2013), The Fragrance of Memory (Amsterdam Press, 2010), and Sacred Fires and Ebullient Flames (Red Ochre Press, 2011). 

James Brush - One Poem

Ghazal for Seven Goddesses

Pilgrims lost their way and wept, hearts broken
at the plundered tomb of their slain goddess.

Forests withered; deserts grew. Clouds stood still
for summons from a silent rain goddess.

Did you tremble before rocket engines
that ended your long lunar reign, goddess?

The old arthritic masters paint you vain,
so I near missed you dressed so plain, goddess.

Myths tell of deities for all things of
sky and sea. Come fly, oh airplane goddess.

Gasoline, butane, ethylene, your names
burn bright, oh my fiery propane goddess.

I’ll sing the verse, the chorus, chant. I’ll keep
the lonely beat for your refrain, goddess.

James Brush lives in Austin, TX, where he teaches high school English. He is the author of Birds Nobody Loves, and A Place Without a Postcard. You can find him online at Coyote Mercury, where he keeps a full list of publications.

Mariann Garner-Wizard - Two Poems

The Ruinator
His meltdowns are calculable by the moon,
by his toothaches,
and by the migrations of wildebeests thousands of miles away.
The science of their prediction
obsesses the priestly caste
that feeds his delusions of grandeur with arcane obsequieousness,
secretly gloating even as his
recurring nightmares
engulf their own lives.
The most fortunate of men,
he takes no pleasure even in his
stringed generosity;
only in pulling back the promised prize.
"You don't respect me!" he cries,
seeing only the Reaper,
who truly does not.
If I have to live in this City of the Future they're building
on top of the City of Now,
I swear I'll become like a monkey in the zoo,
flinging excrement at my keepers and
ever-ready to bite the hand that tries to feed me
overpriced tacos
under the guise of authenticity!

Humans are social animals, sure; so are chickens,
but neither is designed to live cooped up
with barely enough room to spread their wings!
The prevailing pave-every-parking-lot philosophy
makes even the run-down strip malls look spacious and pure.

Unless and until we actually get
the personal jetpacks once promised by the Future,
they can take these mini-apartments and
overwrought tourist fests and
grub that's more sculptural than edible
and just – save it, OK?
Save it until us old coots and biddies
who don't want to be connected with everyone we know all the time
die off naturally; can you do that?
Then the rest of you can bicycle to work next door to your squat,
where you'll do something prestidigital, get paid in virtual currency,
and groove on in that post-mod fantasy world
until all the zombie cows come home
and kick down the un-stable walls of Densetopia;
then burn, baby, burn!

Mariann Garner-Wizard is Texas writer and editor and a member of the Austin Poetry Society. She contributes regularly to The Rag Blogand to HerbClips and has authored or co-authored several books, including two self-published volumes of verse, "SIXTY" (w/ photography by Scout Stormcloud, Lulu, 2006) and "Didn't You Hear Me the First Time?" (Dharma Wizard on Lulu, 2013). Some of her performances in Austin's East by Southeast (ExSE) annual video poetry showcase are available on YouTube.

Ross Knapp - Two Poems

Married Couple

Hurtful truthful
Stereotypical stale
Futures so bright
So planned--
Following societies’ grand design:
Twenty to thirty-wedding, make mundane money.
Thirty to sixty-Protestant wealth, children.
Sixty to ninety-compromised vacations, then dead.
Here at twenty-four, we still call each other honey,
Only two years wed--
Cracks are beginning to show.
The once in a while passionate sex--
The increasing glances of hopelessness
The spending free time on opposite sides of the house.
Coming down from the Wuthering Heights of happiness
Withering civility-
Fading faithfulness.
Origin of love, lost in madness and chaos.
Here we are: a year later—divorce.
Neither wishing to see the other ever again.
Just another dark statistical dot of death.

High School

Hipsters preaching doctrines
Far above the rabble in their luxury high-rises.
Triteness the only new anathema,
Only one unoriginal thesis
To add to the church door.
Bastardize the universal basics
Leaving all branded with the imperial words--
Too simple, too archetypal.
They babble on and on and on
Like that one annoying alcoholic aunt.
Graphic design along with materialistic I-Phones
And ridiculous oculus eyes,
Clearly qualifying one as omniscient critic.
They endlessly socialize and
Schmooze over sugar soaked lattes,
Showing off their status-booze on Instagram.
Thirty to forty something moms and dads
Inevitable inferiority complexes.
The freshest fad in the land--
The newest tritest archetype.

Ross Knapp is a recent college graduate with degrees in philosophy and literature. He has an experimental literary novel forthcoming and various poetry publications in Blue Lake Review, Poetry Pacific Magazine, Burningword Literary Journal, Belle Reve Literary Journal, Blood and Thunder Literary Magazine, Tipsy Lit Literary Magazine, and Clockwise Cat Literary Magazine.

Marcie Eanes - One Poem

Reclaiming Myself

I stand fearless
Shunning narrow definitions
not of my choosing
Now means 
no more excuses
or hiding from truths
Freeing myself
from draining relationships
that left me
shattered and alone
Approval's fickle permission
not needed
from those who condemn;
secretly plotting my downfall
in days, hours minutes.....

Tattered heart 
ways to repair 
 jagged gashes
Mornings bring
with every new discovery;
Confidence guides imperfect
into riches
far greater than money;
Uncovering mirrors
hiding beautiful me
Resting  soundly
after actions completed
 in  unrestricted life
when courage awakened

Marcie Eanes is an independent journalist and poet. A resident of Racine, Wisconsin, Marcie travels frequently to share her work with others. A four-time published poet in di-verse-city, the official anthology of the Austin International Poetry Festival (AIPF), Marcie is a published poet in her right. Her books Sensual Sounds, Passion's Zest and Cameo can be found on amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com

Tom Pescatore - One Poem

I Once Appeared to William Blake in a Dream

I once appeared to 
William Blake in a dream,
I was in mourning,
for daylight had passed onto night,
I was a shadow lurking
and he called out
to a vision of me,
through me,
it was raining outside my window,
there were long streaks and
gray streets, obscured,
I could not make out his cry,
it was muffled by oozing time,
by corporeal pain, by loosened screwed,
I tasted stale wine on my tongue,
he wretched at the smell 
and I saw in that moment
I was but a phantom stretching out,
bleeding into void,
I was the nothingness sent to take him,
I was the coward stranger,
the burning savior,
I once appeared to 
William Blake in a dream.

Tom Pescatore grew up outside Philadelphia dreaming of the endless road ahead, carrying the idea of the fabled West in his heart. He maintains a poetry blog: amagicalmistake.blogspot.com. His work has been published in literary magazines both nationally and internationally but he'd rather have them carved on the Walt Whitman bridge or on the sidewalks of Philadelphia's old Skid Row.

Sheikha A. - Two Poems

Coelho’s Desert

I once lived in a desert,
similar to the one Coelho speaks of;
I may not have traversed the sand
or left footprints of my soul on it,
but I recognise the scent he describes
and the four-point winds that fill
my eyes and mouth with its character

I wasn’t born with a fickle mind.
Surely, the grains of that desert have
been pervious to my curiosities,

to have me in an eternal, ambulant search,

for the scent of my soul has displaced;

but Coelho’s desert is vast
with the need for a compass,

whereas mine fawns
under a powerful sun,

disoriented, dislocated,
tracking nothing but my scent
to guide me home.


if you visit my city,
you will have travelled far

for what the moon didn’t show
in Tarifa or Tangier,

you will see the bloodless white
glowing shamelessly through;

the sky is a dark-grey
having forgotten how a horizon breaks
or folds across the sea-line

or how the camel coloured shores
don’t implode under the touch of feet;

you may gaze at our honour-bound

so long as you keep it unclaimed –

the nocturnal winds are sharper
than the bullets from men’s rifles –

and your sheep would taste
burnt meat over our rain-perished


if you visit my city

don’t be alarmed for the desert it is not,

because the moon does lose to an eclipse
every fortnight.

Sheikha A. is the author of Spaced (a poetry collection published by Hammer and Anvil Books, 2013) and poetry editor for eFiction India whose works have appeared in numerous publications such as Red Fez, Mad Swirl, American Diversity Report, The Penmen Review, Danse Macabre du Jour, The Rainbow Journal, Sunlit amongst several anthologies as well. She currently writes from Karachi, Pakistan. Her real name is Umm-e-Aiman Vejlani.

Sergio A. Ortiz - Two Poems


to the desert
where redemption is free ...
a faraway transparency,
a swig of blood, a touch?

West Africa
just sank into the sea—
held up the shredded 
faces drenched in tears

what comes next,
will we see the corpses flying
above our heads?
this jail inside a jail
inside a sinking desert

The Color of Death

her skin chips off
around the arms like seashells
then darkens
just above the ankles…
a hundred years on the stretcher

I visit after the stroke
and hear a knelling—
half of her body
silent gold dust,
the other half a silky sorrow

Sergio A. Ortiz is the founding editor of Undertow Tanka Review. He lives in San Juan Puerto Rico.  He is a four-time nominee for the 2010-2011 Sundress Best of the Web Anthology, and a two-time 2010 Pushcart nominee.

Fred Chandler - Two Poems


A hand drew a face
It lived
Became a life
Was a reflection
Of the drawer
Between them
One a lie
The other a truth
One lived on
The other died


Everyone is set about moving
Actually hurrying
To the land ahead
The new home
But this all must be done
Before the sun sets
Before the evening
Before night comes
Where eyes go blind
To see the way
Where we're going to
What was to be
From one tablet
Of a great promise
All teetering on
The last of the faint light
Where here is rapidly fading

Fred Chandler is the author of two chapbooks, A Flying Frog and X Factor. He is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, a fellow of the American Film Institute, a member of the Writers Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Fred's poems have appeared in Voices Israel, The Pink Chameleon, Splizz, Northern Stars, Black Lantern, KCET, Danse Macabreand The Storyteller, among other publications. His website can be viewed at www.fredchandler.com.

Chrystal Berche - One Poem

City of Angels
A light for each fallen star
The glowing
Always growing
The image of life captured in cheap rays
Tumultuous neon
We’ve forgotten the sun
What a shame
Our existences
petty feuds
fumbled efforts at fame
Pathetic humans
Trying to prove we’re gods
What a sham
poster idols
Painted glass portraits of perfection
One-dimensional fail
With crumbling edges
Hairline fractures already beginning to show
Spackle on the cover up and hide
battered eyes and jaded glow
Painted dollface illusions
Swept from shattered patterns off the floor
Glued in crooked facsimiles
Revealed by paparazzi’s press
The camera sees everything.

Chrystal Berche is a writer, photographer and artist living in Iowa. When she isn’t writing she’s taking pictures, or curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap. 

Margaret Boles - One Poem

By The Weir Near the Townhall

The swan's head is red
rusty almost bloody
the long neck reaches
snake-like down
to the river silt
searching for food.
He almost, but not quite
uptails it, wrestling with
the mud, ~ I look left
to the Cathedral, right
to the thundering weir~
up at a patch of blue sky
try to count gulls, ducks,
geese as they blend in
to this picture, ~ unlike
the lone white swan
with the red rusty marks
on the crown of his head.

Margaret Boles has been writing poetry since 1996. Her work has been published in the small presses worldwide, including such places as Poetry Monthly UK, THE Moon, Labor of Love, and Metverse Muse. Margaret's book "The Eye of the Tiger" was published with Sanbun Press.

Sandra Ramos O'Briant - One Poem

Postmenopausal Reverie
Carnal cycles feminine moontide flow
Pressure redly focused
Cherry pie we said
Ripened peach stained sweet
Juicily secretes
That make me want to bleed again
For you

Sandra Ramos O'Briant's is the author of The Sandoval Sisters’ Secret of Old Blood (La Gente Press, September 2012), which was awarded Best Historical Fiction and Best First Book by International Latino Book Awards. Her short stories and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous print and online journals.
www.thesandovalsisters.com has a complete listing and links, as well as excerpts from her novel.

Benjamin Nash - Two Poems

City Lights

In dark,
in dark pencil,
in dark dreary portable,
in dark dreamy city lights
a boy is drawing a city in an eye,
lined in tall skyscrapers,
a little slice of moon,
dangling as if 
a lemon.

Glue Sniffers

Under a bridge,
the color of the skin,
the color of the rio choluteca,
the glue sniffers,
their dreams,
river away.

Benjamin Nash has a few poems published in Red River Review, Illya's Honey, Literary Juice, Southern Poetry Review, and others.

James H. Duncan - One Poem

Men of Karma
Iowa, that endless road and fading into
the mile-wide stormfront of pitch black western
rain, solid sheets, calling after us, roiling, lashing
across the Great Plains
the dirt in the air, cruel and hungry

boots worn from the eastern highways, rotting
pants stained by another farmer’s field,
no money, no going home,
men of karma crawling
into another starless night
speaking words from leather books
reading poetry aloud from skulls
explaining lives in order to lose them
a campfire nobody can see but us

we count water and days
we count miles and stones
we count laughter and bread
we count lovers and the warnings
that death leaves for us
in the middle of the striped highway

the trick to evading fate another day
is to taste the dirt in the air
and feel the earth move within your lungs
hear the nettles by the roadside speak of
every blood moon night you’ll share
between here and the sea
nothing else matters
nothing else matters
until it all adds up and away you go again
James H Duncan is the founding editor of Hobo Camp Review and is the author of eight collections of poetry, including Lantern Lit, Vol. 1 (Dog On A Chain Press) and Berlin (Maverick Duck Press). His second collection of short fiction, What Lies In Wait, is due in 2015. For more, visit www.jameshduncan.com.

Richard Schnap - Two Poems


I pass by the cashiers
In their identical uniforms
A colony of ants

In a line of shoppers
Talking on cell phones
A company of parrots

While across the street
Students run for the bus
A herd of antelopes

And children walk by
Holding each others hands
A flock of doves

As down at the bar
Old men nurse their beers
A troop of buffalos

Waiting for the ones
That will carry them away
A murder of crows

House of Rain

Once it was the home
Of a self-loathing beast
Chained to himself

And a bird who once flew
Clear across the ocean
Until caught in his cage

Now it is a cave
Where two creatures hide
In a mutual darkness

Waiting to see
Which one will outlast
Their dwindling candle

Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of prine and online publications.

Timothy Pilgrim - One Poem

Pee Hate
I sleep cold at low tide,
back to a naked beach
opening herself to the Pacific --
own no Nook, cell phone, boat,
wear old jeans, rag coat,
sift trash, eat molded cheese,
ketchup packs from burger sacks,
fallen fruit off condo tree --
text my name in water, on sand,
under a moonless sky, pee hate
through the graveyard gate
when headstones tug at my thighs.
Timothy Pilgrim, a Pacific Northwest poet published dozens of journals (such as Cirque and Windfall), is co-author of Bellingham poems (2014) and included in Idaho's Poets: A Centennial Anthology (University of Idaho Press), Tribute to Orpheus II,and Weathered pages: The Poetry Pole.

Scott Wozniak - One Poem

Someone’s Son is Sprawled Out
Bleeding Restitution
Execution rings, alongside
stale, gun barrel smoke
in my broken, bleeding ear.
Bewilderment and shock
jolts my head clockwise
as aftermath searching
places me eye level with
retributions apparatus
of un-Godly delivery.
I then look sideways
to see restitution,
methodically, bleed out
to mingle in gore
with New Year rain
that coats the grime
of crack rock stomped,
Tenderloin concrete.
Instinct, frantically, grabs hold
of my survival techniques,
and tosses my scarred body
behind a steel, jalopy bunker
that’s parked street side.
And the screams
flail upward on heavy wings
before the sirens
can even think to chime in...
Scott Wozniak is a 37 year old poet, short story writer, and chaos enthusiast that lives in Southern Oregon. His writing has appeared in Red Fez Magazine, Midnight Lane Boutique, and in print at, The Daily Tidings. If you would like to know more about him, please visit, about.me/swozniak.

James Piatt - Two Poems

The Evolution of Violence

Power people
Spewing scarlet rhetoric
Like broken glass
Over the unforgiven,
Justifying their lies
With selected ambiguities,

Words of alienation
Burning with crimson injustice
Condemn the innocent
Masses in ghettos
To everlasting poverty,

Throwaway humans
Unable to escape
The ego nothingness
Of the consuming flames
Of elitist hostility,

Deadly seeds
Of helplessness
Sown in the minds
Of pitiable alienated youth…
Breeds violence,

In the end
Only brutality
Hatred and revenge
Is born in such
Ruthless ghettos!

A Miniscule Speck in the Heavens

From Saturn there appears in the dark sky billions of miles away, a
tiny luminous dot: It is but an inconspicuous and insignificant chunk
of water and dirt in the midst of vastness, a tiny crumb floating in
the darkness of never ending space: The implication of earth being
such a trivial speck in the vast universe, fails to make an impact
upon too many minds. Far too often, humans feel their singular
greatness and importance is vast and everlasting. How can one not
understand that human hands in search of meaningless wealth are
destroying the little bit of soil on which we all dwell? What is the
importance of the accumulation of things, if it creates toxic air,
polluted streams, and contaminated oceans? What is the value of
continually amassing worthless objects, trinkets of gold and gems,
which are ephemeral? What does man actually need in which to live his
finite life pleasantly and comfortably? When will humans awaken, and
grasp the nature of what they are doing to the earth; what will our
future families have left, when this tiny speck of insignificant, yet
precious damp piece of dust is ruined?

Dr. Piatt is the author of two poetry books, “The Silent Pond” (2012) and “Ancient Rhythms” (2014). He has had over 585 published, and his poem, “In The Meadow,” was selected as 1 of the 100 best poems of 2014, and his poem, “I Am” was nominated for a 2014 Pushcart award. His books are available on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Stefanie Bennett - Two Poems

Arbitrary Symbols 2035  
Such a lame ‘Read-all-about-it...’.
The news-boy wears high fashion
red garters,
corduroy breeches and
a second-hand
top hat
peep on through.
Come Sundays – he
small change,
absent-minded pigeons
and dreams
of shy
the show.
The whole
of it.
Chain Lightning
Hard facts sleep softly
if you let them –,
like grey shepherds
in The Good Book
before conjecture...
Such occurrences
the mind keeps
to itself:
humming self.
Stefanie Bennett has published eighteen books of poetry, a libretto, a novel, and acted as a publishing editor and worked with Arts Action for Peace. Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee], she was born in Queensland, Australia in 1945. Walleah Press is publishing her latest poetry title, The Vanishing, at year’s end.
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