Arriva #800/850. A Poem by Dane Cobain.

To paraphrase the greats,
never has a company been hated so much
by so many;
they are the scum
that floats on the water
that stagnates in the bucket
that brewed our primordial stew.
They are the reason why
I write while I’m walking
in great cursive lines
stumbling into signs and foliage
much to the amusement
of the shopkeepers who won’t sell me cigarettes,
the pedestrians who won’t lend me a mobile phone,
the drivers who ignore my proffered thumb.
even prisoners get to make a call,
or do cardiac arrests not count?
They are the reason
for countless £2.60 Carousels,
£4 Wycombe Day passes and
£4.50 Day plus passes
now the price has gone up,
£12 taxis
over and over
£12 taxis
when I’ve already got a fucking ticket
and now I’m walking eight miles home
because the five mile route cuts across a motorway
and because my ticket ain’t worth shit
and I weep for the tree that it’s printed on
because the bus didn’t show up after 90 minutes
and I thought, ‘Hey,
I could fucking walk it in this time,’
so I did.
the only bus I’ve seen so far was out of service,
but I’ve seen sewage plants and cemeteries,
stinging nettles, farm shops,
discarded gloves and a hoodie,
and this is real countryside
if you ignore the road I’m walking on,
I last passed a sign 20 minutes ago
saying two miles to Bourne End
another two miles to Wycombe
and another two miles to my flat.
My feet will hate me in the morning,
but not as much as I’ll hate them –
sitting down would be the worst thing I could do
so I’ll keep on walking and writing
and venting my spleen because
(oh look, Bourne End)
Arriva is truly, outrageously shit,
can I get a hallelujah?
They take our money
and they crush our spirits
and we have to keep on going back
or walk three marathons each week
just to get to work and back.
Dastardly schweinhunds,
bell-ends of the highest order,
shit-stains on the anus of society,
unholy douchewater in life’s lemonade,
dogs’ ejaculate mixed with gone-off milk;
the pus,
seeping from the blisters
beneath my feet.
I tell you, man,
I need to learn to drive a car.

Author Bio:
Dane Cobain (High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK) is an independent poet, musician and storyteller with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not in front of a screen writing stories and poetry, he can be found working on his book review blog or developing his website,

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Ode to the Good Black Boots that Served My Soul So Well. Poem by Aberjhani Poet.

My tears were never mentioned.
Nor were my hungers, fears, courage, or rage
as that epic snort announced
the lightning-shaped desire of the bull
who transformed a cow pink as clouds
into the mother of you, the one whose skin
for two decades would leather around my feet
like “Amens” safeguarding a drunken prophet’s song.
Boots: like twin sentries who never once fell asleep.
You munched dopily on grass the same wondrous
emerald as the eyes of fairies tending every blade,
peering sometimes down tunnels of dreams
at your future existence in corners of my broken world,
sensing yours was a destiny chained to one
madman’s lifelong march against chaos’s tyranny.
Your loyalty locked around my trembling ankles
like enigma stamping shadows on Mona Lisa’s smile.
Boots like the woman whose brilliance lit my soul.
How you bore without complaint the funk
and unkind humidity of my rallying cries storming
the castles of caviar dictators decked out
in the skins of your brothers and uncles,
gurgling the milk of your sister’s mooey virtue,
how you jailed your tongue to indulge my screams,
sacrificed the length of your spine to the tons
of despair and joy that flooded my days.
Boots like my cousins pissing red steam in Syria.
Boots like my heart howling daggers in Missouri.
Boots like my daughter tattooed with grief in Nigeria.
Boots like my lover eating bullets in Ukraine.

On buses from Atlanta and Chicago to Washington D.C.,
on planes from Capetown and Cairo to Oslo,
on camels and horses from Peru and the Sahara
to just outside heaven’s jukebox back door––
you paid for tickets inked with blood and gold,
your proud sheen cracking and brilliant heels breaking
but never doubting (when I so often did) if
the weight of my demeanor deserved such honor.
Boots like sighs and moans crushed into a naked hot heap.
O’ good black boots that tap-danced genius and soul
inside the babel-tower myths of a house painted white,
that ushered tears out of poppy-bright fields
in Afghanistan and the oil-burned sands of Iraq,
boots with bones marched thin by rumors of hope in Tacloban,
boots so good, so noble, so worthy of rest,
how well you wear that legendary shine of bronze
just the way grace, and battlefields, always intended.
by Aberjhani (from New & Selected Poems)
Dec 23, 2012–Sept 8, 2014
The American-born author Aberjhani is a widely-published historian, poet, essayist, fiction writer, journalist, and editor. He is a member of PEN International’s PEN American Center and the Academy of American Poets as well as the founder of Creative Thinkers International. He launched the 100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance Initiative in 2011 and during the same period introduced netizens to concept of guerrilla decontextualization via a series of essays and website of the same name.
He has authored a dozen books in diverse genres and edited (or sometimes co-edited) the same number. His published works include the Choice Academic Title Award-winning Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, the social media-inspired Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry, the modern classic ELEMENTAL The Power of Illuminated Love (a collection of ekphrastic verse featuring art by Luther E. Vann), and the frequently-quoted poetry collection, The River of Winged Dreams.
Among his works as an editor are the Savannah Literary Journal (1994-2001), plus the Civil War Savannah Book Series titles: “Savannah: Immortal City” (2011), and “Savannah: Brokers, Bankers, and Bay Lane-Inside the Slave Trade” (2012). In 2014, Aberjhani was among a limited number of authors invited to publish blogs on LinkedIn. You can learn more about the author at Creative Thinkers International, on Facebook, Twitter, or his personal author website at

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Slither. Sonnet Poem by Norman Ball & Review of Serpentrope.

“The common end of all narrative, nay of all, Poems is to convert a series into a Whole… to make… a circular motion — the snake with its Tail in its Mouth.” — Samuel Coleridge, Collected Letters IV (1815)
Accomplicing that plot device, surprise,
the day shone royal blue. Our Sunday walk
assumed pedestrian guise until her lies
constricted near Unending Books. In mock-
submissive tone, she sighed: “Please let me be
right here, outside our favorite used-book store.
It’s where we met. All circles close a door.
That’s symmetry — the poetess in me.”
I pondered the reflection of my self
on Austen, half-price-off; then for a song, 
the poets, ancient children, on a shelf
set up on crumpled velvet. All along,
this princess had availed a serpent-guide.
I was the frog to her formaldehyde.

Norman Ball FBP

NORMAN BALL (BA Political Science/Econ, Washington & Lee University; MBA, George Washington University) is a well-travelled Scots-American businessman, author and poet whose essays have appeared in Counterpunch, The Western Muslim and elsewhere. His new book “Between River and Rock: How I Resolved Television in Six Easy Payments” is available here. Two essay collections, “How Can We Make Your Power More Comfortable?” and “The Frantic Force” are spoken of here and here. His recent collection of poetry “Serpentrope” is published from White Violet Press. He can be reached at

(first appeared in Angle, Volume 3, Issue 2, Autumn/Winter 2014)
Norman Ball ‘Serpentrope’
White Violet Press, 2013
If I told you that most of the poems in Norman Ball’s Serpentrope are metered and rhymed, with four-fifths of them sonnets, you’d probably get the wrong idea. So we’ll consider that a bit later. Instead, let’s begin with the eclectic nature of the book.
I believe Serpentrope is the only poetry book published to date that contains poems on the topics of: Civil War battle fatigue; formal poetry in its relation to a famous wardrobe malfunction; and Aleister Crowley’s Cult Of Lam. The poems often display a love of detail—historic and current—as in this excerpt from ‘Observations of a Civil War Surgeon As Night Falls’:
Cattail and catgut duel within the marsh that dads
the Susquehanna east of York. Two minstrels,
facing off, interpret harsh conditions with guitars.
The river’s fork
accompanies with stiff, percussive reeds.

Ball’s poems stem from an obvious intelligence, and that seems appropriate. Often they mimic the way that neurophysiologists characterize our thinking process: as the firing up of nodes of meaning that excite other nodes in a sort of spreading activation, until a whole pattern of nodes—perhaps previously unconnected—fires together, leading to new connections and novel insights. None of this, according to the theory, is sentential. Sentences come later. This mental commotion underlying conscious thought is echoed in Ball’s poetry in passages such as this from the poem ‘Formal Spat ‘:
… One dares
not ride a colleague’s time-worn rhyme. Left-hand feet
may dangle. Diction may rankle, stubborn
with vague intent. Relax. Sonnets can’t meet
the rent with a metered stick…

Or this, from ‘It Was A Totter From The Start’:
The duty steeped itself in stand-up time, a
rope to drag the day upon itself
with busying to coax the febrile mind
from thought, to book, to browse, to empty shelf.

Many of Ball’s poems employ puns, allusions, and apparently unrelated content. The result is that they often excite neurons in our minds that, at least for me, are firing together for the first time. This type of mental fireworks can be fatiguing, and it may be that the best way to read Serpentrope is to limit oneself to two or three poems a day.
I may have mentioned that Ball’s poems take on a wide variety of subjects. Serpentrope includes poems centered on: the cartoon character Dilbert rendered in a Hilbertian sonnet; dropping poems by airplane on Afghan villagers in wartime; and ballerinas with bulimia. And often the poems render their subjects in witty, punning, allusive lines. Like these in an excerpt from the poem about Dilbert, the cartoon engineer working in a cubicle in a large corporation:
… Dilbert stirs this pot with lead
balloons. His poker-face is barely drawn
by nine. Outside the box, Big Bosses rake
trapped miners over coals while overhead
a phosphor-fingered entity has sawn
animal spirits squarely down to size —
three taut frames. Dilbert’s zeppelin subsides.

Of course, like real-world explosions, explosions of meaning can do damage if not controlled, and Ball is an explosives expert. These poems are nearly all contained in meter and rhyme, and now that you have a feel for the content, it can more fully be revealed that most of them are in sonnet form. The interplay between the subject matter, the allusions, and the forms adds another dimension to the experience of reading Ball’s work — a dimension that I believe elevates the wild content by the mere fact of being under such control.
Given the eclectic nature of Serpentrope (I should mention that it contains poems on the subjects of: belly fat; the fate of a member of the band REO Speedwagon; and the turbulent life of the prophet Isaiah), it should be noted that the book also contains some recurring themes.
The most explicit is that of the snake Ouroboros, a topic treated in several of the poems and the subject of an essay included as an appendix to the book. The image of the snake with its tail in its mouth, sometimes curled protectively around the earth and sometimes a part of it, has, according to Ball’s essay, fascinated him for years. In the poem ‘Ouroboros,’ Ball portrays the snake in a menacing way:
…The proper name’s Hell-
that cool, wrapped bitch— trite circle. Let her clasp
sweet tail in teeth. All gray divides sell
foot-in-mouth diversions. I will have my foe just-so.
Discrete obsession. Damn
all demons who arrive. The golden calf,
zirconia stalking horse, is lamb
I dressed for slaughter…

But it is not always so. Sometimes the snake is a hoop snake rolling along, and sometimes it is a snake completing a cosmic circle.
Another theme in the book is that of human relations. Serpentrope does not contain a love poem as I understand them, but there are multiple renderings of soured or difficult relations between couples. The concluding lines from the poem ‘Endure’ are one example:
… We gratify
what synapses are lit. Hullabaloo
is all that floats above—mere atmosphere.
What anchors? That’s a fixity less clear.

The reader of Serpentrope will soon see that Ball is no sentimentalist. Poetry itself forms another theme in the book. There are multiple poems on the topic of poetry, a theme that first appears in the inscription that begins the book:
Teach a man to write poetry
and he will starve forever.

Ball begins the poem ‘Twickenham Stadium’ by stating ‘I’m not so much a poet as a wit,’ and then proceeds to compare himself and his work to the career of the American baseball player Harmon Killebrew, a Hall of Famer who, nonetheless, had some years with low numbers of runs batted in. Poets writing poems about poetry can be trying, but Ball pulls it off—in this case, with extended comparisons between his work and baseball. Let’s consider two techniques that I particularly admire in Ball’s work. The first is the clever enjambment, and the second is the killer concluding couplet. One of my favorite poems in the book is the sonnet ‘At the Funeral of a Former High School Crush,’ which begins with the wonderful enjambment
I memorized her purple halter top to bottom…
The poem then describes time shared together in physics class, and concludes with this couplet that brings us back to the funeral of the title:
They found her with her head arrayed in glass
flung forward like a weightless, prescient gas.

I love that couplet. And many others in Ball’s book. One more example. In the poem ‘Slither,’ that begins with a quote from Coleridge referencing Ouroboros, the narrator learns that a walk with his lover is actually her way of finding a suitable place to terminate their relationship. She has chosen the bookstore where they met to end things in Ouroboran fashion, and the poem itself concludes:
… All along,
this princess had availed a serpent-guide.
I was the frog to her formaldehyde.

Serpentrope is a book of formal poems that really doesn’t feel like one. It treats a wide variety of topics (I should mention that Serpentrope contains poems on: the antediluvian apostasies of G. H. Pember; the difficulties in Ireland; and the nature of testimony in the aftermath of the mortgage meltdowns). There are wonderful gems, couplets, and full poems that sparkle and explode. Serpentrope is a virtuoso performance by a poet of wide-ranging intelligence whose careful use of form adds considerable impact to his work.
–David Davis

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Purple Haze. Poem. Candice James

Purple Haze purports to describe “nondescript days” but that’s just a poetic haze that subtly brings the reader to this poetry’s real clarity, which is its ability to pose questions. These poems situate the “I/You” of the lyric’s spoken voice in a passionate, sometimes erotic, interrogation of imagination and feeling that is looking for answers. The echo is palpable while Candice James sings “‘Scuze me” while I write these poems.
~ Fred Wah, Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate 2011-2013
Appointed Officer of The Order of Canada 2013. Editor’s Note. Press Picture to Enlarge Photographic Text.

Purple Haze poetograph

Through the deep purple haze
Of non-descript days
I wander aimlessly
Through the hard edged corners
Of a compromised sky.
I spiral and spin
The shimmering core
Of an indigo sun.
I become invisible
In the deep purple haze
Of these non-descript days.
Emerging in blurs,
Smudges and tears
On a universe crying,
A broken heart dying,
The purple haze tightens
Like a noose.
I lay fallen and wounded
Beneath an indigo sun.
Thirsting for your touch,
Denigrated by lost love,
I fade into the folds of the haze.
You are the ghost of my past.
I am the vessel you haunt
As the deep purple haze
Of my non-descript days
Dissolves in the tears
Of an indigo sun
Spinning dark,
© 2014 Candice James
Candice James was born in New Westminster, BC and is a poet, artist, musician, and singer/songwriter, She is currently serving her second three year term as Poet Laureate of the City of New Westminster.
President of Royal City Literary Arts Society
Advisory Board Member Muse International (India)
Past President of the Federation of BC Writers
Author of 8 poetry books:
“A Split In The Water”;
“Inner Heart – a journey”;
“Bridges and Clouds”;
“Midnight Embers – a Book of Sonnets”
“Shorelines” – a book of villanelles”
“Ekphrasticism – Painted Words”
“Purple Haze”
“A Silence of Echoes”
Awards Received
Writers International Network “Distinguished Poet 2013”
Pentasi B – Phillippines “Woman of Prestige 2013”
Honorary Professor International Academy of Arts (Greece)
Keynote speaker/panelist at
“Word On The Street” Vancouver, BC
“Black Dot Roots Cultural Collective” Vancouver, BC
“Write On The Beach” White Rock, BC
“Writers’ Etc” Los Angeles, CA

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Crucifixion. Ekphrastic Poem. Neil Ellman


(after the triptych by Francis Bacon, 1965)
After it is eaten
all is the same in the belly
of the crucifix
once a man
chewed, digested and spit out
misshapen remains
without a name or memory
without ascent.
Make a mockery
of sinew, muscle and flesh
sliced open and re-arranged
an offal pile
where there was a soul
now none
where there was compassion
now retribution
on a butcher’s hook.
even to myself
a victim of the my own conceit
I demanded providence
and was reduced to this
a torture of the flesh–
Oh, Lords of the Rack and Chain,
why have you forsaken me.

Neil Ellman jpg

Biography: Nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, Neil Ellman writes from New Jersey. More than 1000 of his poems, many of which are ekphrastic and written in response to works of modern and contemporary art, appear in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world. His first full-length collection is Parallels: Selected Ekphrastic Poetry, 2009-2012 (Omphaloskeptic Press).


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Stuck in a Black Bird’s Groove. Poem. Video. Nordette Adams.




The video for “Stuck in a Black Bird’s Groove” is a remix. I made an older video for the poem and posted it to YouTube two years ago. Last week I decided I really didn’t care for the old version, so I made that video with its 200 views private, and produced a new one.

For those reading who like to document process, first I edited the poem a little based on how my aesthetics have changed since I wrote the poem in 2006, nothing major, and then I went in search of royalty-free music, pictures, and video clips. I became a member of for still shots and for video, but since then I’ve discovered Neo’s Clip Archive of free video footage.

Producing poetry videos once in a while fulfills me in some way. I do it knowing that my poetry videos don’t draw a slew of hits (with the exception of Misery which did better than average for original poetry). The video for “Blackbird’s Groove” comes on the heels of the Break Up Notes Recovery video which I produced last week. At the end of August I also produced a video of another poet’s work, “An Angel for New Orleans,” for the 9th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

You may read the text for “Stuck in a Black Bird’s Groove” at my personal website & view me at

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Unusual Shiver in Winter Days. Poem by Sonnet Mondal

She was a creeping winter,
coiling and settling into the wardrobe
of my lined collections-
of cassettes and clothes
(Scattered in a bachelor’s room)
Suits arranged by brands
fragranced by sensuous nights
brought by you molded me
into a gentleman
below uncombed hairs
and unwashed hands.
I was into lessons to be clean
I was feeding on my love.
From a scrappy life
beside a pond
abound with weeping cranes
she was the only fish
in front of my hungry beaks.
Short-lived and destructive
as most pleasures are
I am wedged back
into an untidy shiver
from an act worthy of no mercy.
sonnet mondal

Sonnet Mondal is an Indian poet of the twenty first century generation and has authored eight collections of poetry. He was featured as one of the Famous Five of Bengali youths by India Today magazine in 2010 and has edited & written forewords of several books of Indian poets. His works have appeared in several international literary publications including The Sheepshead Review (University of Wisconsin, Green Bay), The Penguin Review (Youngstown State University), Two Thirds North (Stockholm University), Fox Chase Review, The Stremez (Supported by The Ministry of Culture, Macedonia), California State Poetry Quarterly (California State Poetry Society), Nth Position, Dark Matter Journal(University of Houston-Downtown) and Friction Magazine (New Castle University & New Castle Centre of Literary Arts) to name a few.
He has been Writer of The Month at the Spark Magazine in June 2012, was featured as an achiever in The Herald of India in 2010 & featured in E-view points in Rockfordkingsley ltd. in 2012 and was a featured poet at Tea with George at Desperanto Publication Ltd. (now defunct).
His works have been translated in Macedonian, Italian, Albanian, Urdu, Arabic, Hindi, Telugu and Bengali.
He is the Editor in Chief of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review and Editorial Board member of Multilingual Magazine Levure littéraire based in Paris, France.
Details of his works can be found at

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