Category Archives: Poetry

on my seventh birthday by Michelledion Matthews

on my seventh birthday

dad teaches me how to fire a rifle cleanly
piercing targets dead center

cold blue-black bullets
smacking and puncturing
the pink skin of innocent balloons
unassuming pepsi cans
makeshift bulls-eyes scribbled on pizza boxes

i fire
to admire the wounds i made
bubblegum rubber shriveled like terrible skin
shiny aluminum torn by a pointed head
cardboard corpses flaunting their battle wounds

dad says “all you do is pretend
the target is something you hate.”

i think of fractions
with mismatched bottoms that i can’t add
i think of tiffany-know-it-all
the slim blond at school who calls me whale girl
i think of dad
i fire cleanly

                – Michelledion Matthews
                   from Words Dance 3, Winter 2003

Street Jazz by Chris Kornacki

street jazz

most think
downtown detroit
is a burning garbage heap
so no one ventures through the city
unless they’re moving towards
some well organized venue
with tight security
metal detectors
and inflated ticket priced

but me and my friends
and drinking
22’s of “high life”
out of brown paper bags
forget all about the $70
scalper priced concert tickets
we can’t afford
as we sit on the corner
listening to a jazz trio
who’ve set up stage
on the street

they don’t even lay out
a deep pitted hat
or an empty instrument case
to collect spare change
but play
for the sake of playing
with no other reason
than to put a solid saxophone shrill
into the footsteps
of the people passing

they don’t want our money

and there’s not too many people
moving past here
who are willing
to just sit out on the street
and appreciate that

                – Chris Kornacki
                   from Words Dance 8, Fall 2005

Lesson from The Gold Rush #3 by Tyler Mason

Lesson from The Gold Rush #3

Opening a door
is a dangerous thing.
You never know what storm has risen out on the horizon,
or if that storm’s wind has barricaded itself in wait
against the door, so that when you open it,
you are thrown against the back of the house,
with only the fat prospector
who is with you to help. What’s worse –
the house has no foundation. It lies on ice.
And when you fly back, the house flies with you,
until you, the house, and the prospector see-saw on the
edge of a cliff.

You struggle to keep the house in proper teeter –
maybe with a chapped face – an icicle hanging
from your mustache. Because it’s cold, of course.
But some other wind blows the house back on course.
Pushes you from the edge of a cliff and your house skates
downhill, coming to a rest on a little ice field.
Safe, except you haven’t eaten in days. That’s why
you were trying to get out in the first place.
That is why you opened a door.

And what if now you are on the outside coming in. You found
no food and the storm has picked up again.
So you return and enter the house and the fat prospector
thinks you a chicken. Every “I found nothing, sir” is
not heard.

He only hears you cluck. And you say,
“We could eat one of my boots,” and that just makes
him hungrier, until he has a knife and is chasing
you around the house. So you open a door.
The storm again greets you with a harsh wind.
As you fly, you are saying, “I am not food.”
The prospector gains a little on you against the wind.
“I am not cluck,” you say.
“I am cluck cluck. I cluck-cluck-cluck.”

                – Tyler Mason
                    from Words Dance 10, Fall 2006
                    Guest-edited by Jessica Dawson

(air terminal love) by Adam Smith

(air terminal love)

cross-armed and staring,
you sit
like a portrait
read like a magic

a cacophony of
and probabilities
of who you
might be

your face stilled by
far-away look

and that makes you
famous here,
sitting in the

and i,
in bearded wonder-
(eleven days),
can only stare
at my

stealing a glance
issuing a smile

in my mind
you’re signing

                – Adam Smith
                    from Words Dance #4 Spring 2004

untitled #22 by Kelsey Jones

untitled #22

they say it isn’t “kosher”,
you and i –
they say it isn’t natural,
the way we are

they say it isn’t right,
tell us we’re an abomination
in the eyes of God –
they preach the
of marriage, the pureness
of straight love,
tell us that we’ll burn
in the devil’s
playground – – – –

but baby, all i want
is to swallow
you down
whole and revel in the
smoothness of your
and the silkiness of your hair,
the sly quirk of your
tongue, and the wicked twitch
in your hips

I want to fall asleep
with my head cradled in your lap,
and dream your
speeding through my veins,
pushing my heart
to delirium

I want to hold your hand in
public, and not have old
ladies sneer and make
a circle
around us – I want to kiss
your cheek, holler your
name, tell you
I love you
and not have it be
some media three ring,
you know?

baby, I just wanna be with you

                – Kelsey Jones
                    from Words Dance #5 Summer 2004

This poem was written by my coeditor at the time, Kelsey Jones, in a themed issue we released in the of Summer of 2004 : Supreme Extremist. The guidelines stated : We are looking for poems that might piss off the authorities. A few topic examples being: politics, rebellion, the environment, women’s lib, blue-collar, religion, an alternative philosophy, et cetera, anything avant-garde. We are looking for liberated pieces of poetry, be it long, short, prose, whatever. We are seeking poets that like to spout off in clear-cut imagery, metaphor or confessional verse while incorporating a subject matter that would earn a haughty sneer from the average conformist. We want your realness.

November (Poem-A-Day) : Day One : Striking Thirteen

For my friend, Robert Lee Brewer’s 2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge.

Day One Theme : Matches.

match heads, Amanda Oaks

striking thirteen

i walk backwards
on the second hand
of a clock, one step
a tick, between twelve
& six, counting
how many times
my heart
beats yes
before i slide
like a match
down your arm
pushing me
up & over

Matches/Heart Photo by Me
Stock credits : . + . + . + .

Cross posted on

Because We Are Too Many by Bethany Anderson

Because We Are Too Many

It’s not necessary, he said.
We don’t need that in our lives.
And he closed the door of the car,
Imprints of pollen,
Yellow finger tips.

Inside the leather sweated,
Skin sticking to the seat.
Outside there is no air,
Just suffocating heat.

What makes you think,
That it’s ‘something we should have.’
Just another gadget, another gizmo,
One more thing to have that your friends don’t.

His sandals scuffed against the gravel,
Concrete, gravel, of the driveway.

There’s too many as it is!
Too many in the world!

So he keeps me in constant supply:
condoms and microgynon.

                – Bethany Anderson

Bethany Anderson lives in Edinburgh where she works full time at a supermarket, scribbling poems on the back of till receipts. She blogs at

Mithyā by Uma Gowrishankar


I collect the debris in the hem of my skirt:
stones, glass, clay – they fit into my frame.

Stones go to make the spine, one below
the other like the cobbled path in the garden;

ash settles in the crevices, blown from the sea;
smoke like clouds fills the nose and eyes;

desires crumble, turn powder in my hands.
Then the son that I bore in the depth of silence

faces south, lights fire and pours clarified butter.
The river flows through me, at the murky bed

crowd faces of loved ones, collected like shells
from the lips of seas during my many lives.

* Mithyā , in Sanskrit means illusion

                – Uma Gowrishankar

Uma Gowrishankar is from Chennai, South India. She blogs her poetry here.

Sadness by Claire Askew


“Your sadness has no / lips, nothing to press against my / sadness.” – Heather Bell

You walk in and I can see
you’re defeated — with every
sexy angle smoothed away
you’re cold and sad
as a paperweight.
You’ve tried to hide
behind a clean shirt
and scent that clings like ink
to my hands, keeps me awake
for hours, but I can see
the scraps of sadness’ feast
sticking in your teeth and hair.
It’s on you like a brand, dark
and bittersweet as blood,
my hungry gaze. I want
to haul it out of you
and thrash its sticky blackness
over stones, jealous
of the stifling hold it has.
I place my hands
face up on the table,
their insides pale as flags
of surrender, and say
give it to me to deal with
later. Let me take the midnight watch
so you can sleep.

                – Claire Askew

Claire Askew lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she works as a lecturer in Literature, Communication and Creative Writing and hoards manual typewriters in her spare room.