ablaze addiction air alarm andiron aroma arson asbestos ash ashtray backdraft backfire bake ban band barbacue bellows billow blacken blaze blend bloom blow blowtorch bomb bonfire bong bouquet brand breathe brimstone bud bunsen-burner burn butt campfire cancer candle candlestick canister cannabis carbon carbon-monoxide carburetor carcinogen carton "catch fire" cauldron ceasefire chainsmoker chalice char charcoal chimney "chipper" choke cigar cigarette cigarillo cinder "coffin nail" coal combust conflagrate consume convection contain cook Corona cough crack craving cremate crematorium Cuban cure cutter dank dependence detector detonator diesel ditchweed dog-iron dopamine drill drag dragon draw dynamite ember emission engine enkindle emphysema escape evacuation exhale exhaust exit explosive extinguish fag fatwood feed fiery filtered fire firebug firecracker firedog firefighter fireplace fireproof firetrap firetruck firework five-alarm flame flammable flare flashover flickering forge freebase fuel "full flavor" fume fumigate furnace fuse ganja gasoline gasp grate grenade grill gun gust habit hash Havana haze HAZMAT headshop heat hearth hell hellfire hellhole hemp herb hickory hit holder holding holocaust hookah hose hot huffing humidor hydrant ignite incense incendiary incinerate inferno inflammable inhale iron joint kiln kindle kindling kings ladder lamp lantern lava Lent light lighter lightning locoweed log lox lung mantel marijuana match matchbook matchbox menthol nicotine oil-lamp opium oven pack parch parejo patch panatela paper "peace pipe" perfecto phlogiston pipe plume pot powder presidente puff pump punk "put out" pyre pyromania pyrotechnic quit reefer retardant ring roach roast roll "roll your own" screen scorch sear second-hand shade-grown signal singe sizzle skywriting slag slim smelt smolder smoke "smoke-filled rooms" "smokes" smokescreen "smoking a cloud" "smoking gun" smother smudge "social smoker" spark spiff spit spread stain steam stifle stogie stove strike subdue suffocate sulfur squib tabacco tallow "take a hit" taper tar tinder tinderbox toast tobacco toke torch torpedo "touch off" trigger unfiltered "ultra lights" urge vapor vat vent ventless ventilation volcano votive wax weed withdrawal wheeze wick wildfire wind wrapper yellowed yulelog Zippo 100s 420


Poetry (any form or style) and Micro or Flash Fictions wanted for an anthology on SMOKE. Not just the black clouds rising from the five-alarm fire next door, or the billowing plumes of smoke warning us of a forest fire, or the emissions from factory smoke stacks, apartment house incinerators, and crematoriums, smoke rings rise from cigarettes, smoke pours out of headshops, pipe shops & cigar stores--see that purple haze rising over the fields of poppies and marijuana we just planted--we've used it to communicate via smoke signals and skywriting, to cover our tracks and disappear with and without mirrors, combat the enemy on and off the battlefield, kill bugs, flavor food, cure illness, declare peace treaties, and fragrance our homes. Got the idea? Release it onto the page.

Guidelines: Submit up to three poems/micro fictions or two flash fictions at a time with a fascinating bio of 35 words or less, not just limited to publication credits, copy/pasted in the body of an e-mail (no attachments, please) to roxy533 at yahoo dot com & . We will also entertain up to six one-liners or 2 short stand up routines at time. Previously published work is OK as long as authors have retained the copyright, which will be returned to them after publication. Simultaneous submissions are encouraged. If your work is accepted elsewhere, and you still have obtained rights to republish, just let us know where and we'll be happy to acknowledge the other publication.

If you do not receive a response from us within a month of your submission considered it rejected and feel free to submit again. Due to the volume of submissions we cannot respond to each and every individual submission. Selection for the on-line edition are made on a ongoing basis as we receive your submissions. However, final selections for the print edition will made after the October 31st deadline. (In otherwords not everything that made the cut for the online edition will appear in print.) Please do not query. When in doubt, send the submission to roxy533 at yahoo dot com &

Thursday, March 26, 2009

'strangely', 'incensed' and 'hookah-hoe'



sitting sipping mist through a straw
a transparent straw
made almost opaque by water droplets
in suspension passing through
she sat at the open winter window
sitting sipping tactile misty moisture
little sips and little by little
solidity lost her
her outline fading
but the blank pages of a note-book
open on the window-sill
like developing photographs
filled with sharpening print
lines and paragraphs
chapter and verse
gaining definition the more she
turned diaphanous
until as last the open window
was breathing wispy water vapour
over an abandoned novel of suspense
an open book ink still wet
left in limbo
a symbol of transparency



her eyes closed she stood
before me
behind her
a featureless wall covered in
what looked like scaled skin
bringing out the smoothness
of her own bare skin
covered only in a swirling tattoo
showing a rain-dragon curled
around and around her body
colours shimmered evoking
the impression that her body
was tattooed on that
of a rain-dragon but when
she opened her eyes
I stared into translucent crystal globes
filled with luminescent vapour
smoke where there was fire
her nostrils hinted at flame
she opened her mouth and breathing in
she breathed me in
to replenish what swirled in her eyes
with my burning desire



when I said I needed a hookah
the man running errands misunderstood
and returned leading by the hand
a girl whose black black hair
seemed to rise up from her shoulders
like smoke spat out by a fire
when climbing a hill
her dusky skin too was smokily reminiscent
of surfacing heat
I went without a hookah
(proof that those were different days)
we both had a cigarette

by Levi Wagenmaker

Levi Wagenmaker (1944 - ) is a retired journalist, living between the Netherlands
and France, with three bitches, two of whom are dogs. Enamoured life-long with languages he writes poetry in English only. His poems have been published on line and in print.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Autumn Without My Father

Smoke rises
curling toward
the sky and
what’s left
of leaves

I remember the house
on Williams Street
and my father raking,
scraping the ground,

the only sound
besides the crunch
beneath our shoes
and the apple thud
of love I never got
to say.

by Francine Witte

Francine Witte

Francine Witte is a poet, playwright and fiction writer living in NYC. Her poetry chapbook, The Magic in the Streets, was published by Owl Creek Press. Her flash fiction chapbook, The Wind Twirls Everything, was published by MuscleHead Press. By day, she is a high school English teacher.

Vist her online at www.franigirl.com

3AM & Three Hours to Burn a Body

Delhi, India

We are coming back to the hotel, full of curries our friends’ servants made. The camber of the moon appears, disappears—a white cutout in the smog. We stop at a streetlight. Out of the smoky night come the children—the brown iris of their eyes like saucers. They have emerged from their roadside tents to knock on the windows of the ambassador car. Our driver, Sharma, says, “So poor … so many so poor,” and the children knock harder and put their hands to their mouths, miming hunger. I am afraid they may break the glass. My friend says she wishes she had a lollipop. Sharma says “Work is worship.” The light turns green, the weak smiles of the children fall, and we leave them behind—ghosts of fog, still miming their hunger. Sharma looks in his rearview mirror asks, “What is it that we can do, Ma’m? What can we do?”

rauch-0011.gif from 123gifs.eu

Three Hours to Burn a Body
Varanasi, India

We have come to watch the bodies burn,
our guide shoos away beggars and children,
selling shells of light and orange marigolds—

An offering for Mother Ganga. The murky river
sways with candles, a thousand dawn-lit stars.
The sky’s stars hidden by a canvas of clouds.

Untouchables travel barefoot down sandy stairs,
carrying another gold-clad body on their shoulders.
They chant, and the families follow their dead.

I watch them tend the “eternal flame,” watch
the living to avoid the dead. The guide says,
“This one almost finished,” points to a pyre.

A flame twists from the ghost of an eye.
“Three hours,” he says, “to burn a body.”
Legs hot from flame, ash rains onto my hair.

“Good luck,” he points to the ash, “Very good luck,
indeed…Come,” he leads us to a concrete building.
A creased, toothless woman holds out her hand.

A wrinkled breast sags from the sari. She tucks it back
without apology. The guide tells us, “She needs money
for her pyre. Good karma for you.” We hand her 500 rupees,

She hides it in her sari, lies back onto the straw mat,
the cold concrete floor. The boatman waits. We row
down the river. Dawn prayers echo from a mosque.

A dying cow moans from the river’s bank.
White branches of smoke rise from each black smudge
in the sand, disappear into the white horizon.

Children run above, along the rooftops.
Fires below create hot wind, lifting
colorful kites and children’s laughter to flight.

by Suzanne Roberts

Suzanne Roberts is the author of Shameless, Nothing to You, and Plotting Temporality (forthcoming from Red Hen Press). She teaches at Lake Tahoe Community College in California. Ms. Roberts has never smoked a cigarette, but she has been in enough smoky cities to make up for it.

Visit Suzanne Robert's website

Marijuana Dreams

With feverish longing
I roll your sensuous
Slender frame
between my fingers.
My mind fogged with
dusky marijuana dreams.
Translucent, veiled thoughts
wrap me in a smoky warmth
I watch the ethereal circle of light
Rings of smoke, their perfect seam
tinged blue, rise flawlessly
and lazily mingle into
the misty night air.
Blue vapors of memory
floating like a song
stir my aching soul.
I make vaporous toys,
creatures of imagination
and watch them rise,
take a shape and break.
like misty waves in the ocean.
Purple threads of maroon
fill my senses
I’m comfortably numb.


Tikuli Dogra

Tikuli Dogra lives in Delhi. A mother, a poet, a tale teller, a blogger, writing is her passion. She lets her imagination run wild. Completely in love with nature and self, she weaves her dreams into her writings.

Vist the author online at Associated Content. She blogs at tikulicious.wordpress.com; her blog is titled Spinning a Yarn Of Life.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

War Games

Save a bed frame. Touch the voice
on the transistor radio
Lick the sun and the smoke.

Shimmy your hips faster
than the buildings. Make love
to a rocket.

Collect skulls
Save water
Play call and response
with the ambulance. Find a toy
in the rubble.

around a warship.
Turn on the power generator
for thirty minutes.

Count your bones.
Breathe air.

by Nina Karacosta

Nina Karacosta

Nina Karacosta is an Athenian that resides in New York. An actor and poet, she has been published in Pomegranate Seeds: An Anthology of Greek-American Poetry.


Love Smoke
Sunrise Smoke
Hunger Smoke
Secret Smoke
Nervous Smoke
Drunk Smoke
Light Smoke
Night Smoke
Friend Smoke
Weed Smoke
Sad Smoke
Sex smoke
Hate smoke
Alone Smoke
Cool Smoke
Stress Smoke
Lost Smoke
Hunger Smoke
Alone Smoke
Only Smoke
Fear Smoke
Joy Smoke
Survival Smoke
Beer Smoke
Tear Smoke
Love Smoke
Crack Smoke
Exhaust Smoke

by Rebekka White

Rebekka White

R.S.White lives in Florida where she raises children works in surgery and pursues a degree in Philosophy

Monday, March 23, 2009

Smoke Trails

trails of smoke
falling into my village
not the trails of angels but of violence
against my family, my neighbors even those I do not get along with
trails of smoke in the sky
run for cover
pray for peace, yes, peace
and maybe quiet...

by Bob koshin Hanson

A Smoker's Tale

Everyone has a smoker’s story
In this poem, I’ll tell you mine
Of facing the deadly parental fury
When caught committing this crime

Oh joy! Papa caught me with a cigarette in my hand
And slapped my younger brother, it was grand!

It happened many years ago
When I was young, just thirteen
I took to smoking to look macho
It was fun, I would strut and preen

Oh joy! Papa caught me with a cigarette in my hand
And slapped my younger brother, it was grand!

With friends I was strutting near the mall
Smoking, eyeing girls, having a ball
Papa was standing there with his colleague
He glared, and stunned, I stared, oh it was crazy

Oh joy! Papa caught me with a cigarette in my hand
And slapped my younger brother, it was grand!

In an effort to vanish without a trace
I blew a smokescreen – into his face
He turned and walked away in a fume
And I mourned my upcoming doom

Oh joy! Papa caught me with a cigarette in my hand
And slapped my younger brother, it was grand!

That night I sat shamefaced, Papa, he raved
Mom wept, my pesky brother – he laughed
Furiously, Papa turned and slapped him
Yelling, “He’s a loser, don’t you dare join him!”

Oh joy! Papa caught me with a cigarette in my hand
And slapped my younger brother, it was grand!

by Ritu Lalit


Corporate Executive, Mother, Writer, Poet, born in New Delhi, writes everywhere, Ritu Lalit writes to escape the humdrum. Her short stories have been published in the prescribed text books by CBSE for Class XII students.

Visit her blog, Weaving a Web at www.phoenixritu.com

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Nightmares and Nicotine

Sometimes when I sleep alone
I wake up screaming
Pupils dilated in darkness
Eyes opened wide
I battle for control
Slowly, the fear subsides
As noises around me
Once again become familiar.
I light a cigarette
My enemy, my friend
The flame temporarily blinds me
An already full ashtray
Sets upon my stomach
Resting on my grandma's quilt
I watch the ashtray move
Up and down and sideways
Paisley and Gingham pulsing
Replicating my heartbeat
Making me aware I'm breathing.
I hear the smoke
As it leaves me
Deafening in this quiet room...
Tapping, never flicking
Ashes upon ashes they topple
Prosaic hues of gray.
Studying the ashened cherry
My breath giving it life in the darkness
Its radiance warms the room
I think thoughts of nothing.
I hear my neighbor’s car start
My clock glowing digital truths
His retentive habits unfolding
A commuter’s lifestyle
His face remains unknown.
I smile in amusement
At his penchant for punctuality
His engine cuts through morning
As I lay still and listen
He shifts into a life that's his
Leaving me alone, again
to finish my cigarette.

by Adrianne Hurtig

Adrianne Hurtig has decided she's at the "do or die" life stage. She's taken the plunge and has begun to submit writings she's been hacking away at since she learned the alphabet. She's the mother of 8 & 2 step-sons plus the proud grandma of 8. Available for social engagements, cocktail parties and witty conversation!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


As he drools at her over the
tiny cocktail table
Trying to pretend this is a date
Which it isn't
She briefly excuses herself
Wrapping her coat around her thin bones
To have a cigarette under the canopy
With short sharp puffs
Talking to no one
Meeting no one's eyes
To take the taste of the last one
Out of her mouth
Before the next one arrives

by Chris Savage King

Chris Savage King

Chris Savage King enjoys her physical existence on a daily basis. Her novel Do What You Want (Pulp 2000) is still available on Amazon.

Vist the author on-line at:

Zaca Blaze

At the kitchen sink
I scrape burned toast
glaring straight
into the sun.
By 9 a.m. he used
to stare back
able to cook my retina.

But not today
not any day
since flames started
eating Los Padres.

In minutes long enough
for coffee to drip
appears an orange halo
blurring the sun’s edge
eleven days.
Tonight I peel skin
off tomatoes.

Fires reach Diablo Gorge.
I lock windows & doors
shove wet towels
against my threshold.

by Chella Courington

Chella Courington

Hula hoop enthusiast and chocoholic, Chella Courington also enjoys sitting on her ass, reading and writing. With poetry and essays in a range of journals, she teaches at Santa Barbara City College and has lived through fire.


stars in a framework:
a Catherine wheel
a match flares light
on the surface
of liquid in
a glass smoke
drifts from a mouth
my mouth in
a circle drinks flame
dies stars circle in
the glass my hand
circles lifts again
I swallow stars
reappear fill the glass
again spin the stars

by Gregory Luce

Gregory Luce [Photo Credit: Naomi Thiers]
Photo Credit: Naomi Thiers

Gregory Luce is the author of the chapbook Signs of Small Grace (forthcoming from Pudding House), and poems that have appeared in numerous print and online journals. He resides in Washington, DC, works as Production Manager for National Geographic, helps raise two sons, and enjoys a fine cigar nearly every day.

Visit the author at his blog:

Friday, March 20, 2009


How many smokes have I burned
since I wrote my first rhyming words
and attempted to call them poetry?

They seem to burn down so quickly
when you get to getting on a roll.

Sitting abandoned...

...on my lips
...between my fingers
...smoldering in forgotten ashtrays
...and burning holes in my clothes

I’d venture to say
hundreds times thousands...
Eleven-thousand-seven-hundred & seventy

I tell ya’
there’s just nothing like it,
sitting back,
flickin’ my generic bic...

scratching my head
and taking a drag while
scratching a word
and taking a drag that’s
scratching the surface
and taking a drag it’s
scratching that itch
and taking a drag

Then I realize
as I squint thru smoky filmed eyes
that I am done writing
right on time with my smoke

and alas
another crappy poem is born
as the crumpled butt dies

in an overflowing
stolen hotel ashtray

by Johnny Olson

Born and raised in Chicago, lost and found in Dallas, and currently on a swirling journey as an autodidactical painter, poet and writer. Johnny is also the mad editor, webmaster and host of MadSwirl.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Love Story Between Composing

You reached
out for the days
of waiting, still-live
cigarette butt-ends
on the expectant
ashtray (the smitten
one) that the Urdu
poet of lilting
lines and starry
fantasies puffed
calling at you
with coiling capers:
Pick them up, touch
them to your lips
inhale your breath,
phlegm, desire
in and out quick
before someone’s
footfalls come
running in scrutiny
of what’s smoking
between hearts and
long days of wild-
fire imagination
of love’s ink-stained
heart of Amrita Pritam.

by Nabina Das

Nabina Das lives two lives, shuttling between USA and India. Her short story will appear in a collection of fiction from all around the world (Mirage Books, India). Her poetry was published most recently in The Toronto Quarterly, The Cartier Street Review, and Maintenant 3 (Three Rooms Press), and is forthcoming in Quay, Sheher anthology (Frog Books, India) and Liberated Muse anthology. Formally trained in Indian classical music, she has performed in radio/TV programs and acted in street theater productions in India. A journalist for 10-odd years, a nonprofit worker, and a Linguistics masters, Nabina has spent enough time interpreting smoke signals.

Nabina's websites

Nicotine Riddles

She swaggers across the room, beautiful as Bob Dylan’s voice—
not pleasing to the senses, but searing to the soul.
She knows how to move in second-hand denim.

Her hair descends in scarlet cascades, tracing
the outline of the anime sketched on her t-shirt, a character
with each eyeball curled into the shape of a question mark.

She invites you to dwell on her mysteries, the ones
she can keep you from solving: even now she directs your gaze
to the frames of rimless shades—lenses both black and blank,

empty screens designed to shield you from the movies of her mind,
lurid documentaries on the years she had spent in hell
without once removing her leather jacket.

You watch her sauntering past stone-faced scene-makers,
the thin curve of her lips stopping just short of a smile.
She looks you over with unseen eyes,

regarding you, perhaps, as you had been regarding her:
the only intriguing piece of art on display in this insipid show-room,
this gallery of absurd postures and stunted poses—

this gauntlet of prom queens and party animals.
She continues her approach across the carpeted floor, brandishing
an unlit cigarette in a flourish of pale fingers and painted nails.

Her voice is a whisper, searching for the sound of a name.
She offers nicotine riddles in place of conversation, words
designed to hide their implications in the insinuations of smoke,

shades of meaning illuminated only by fire:
the inflections of light as you strike the match head
and she leans into your flame.

And then you burn.

by Craig Fishbane

Craig Fishbane

Craig Fishbane has been published in the New York Quarterly, Flashquake and Night Train. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2008.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Autumn Sunday afternoons
Dimming down towards twilight
Abbott and Costello or the Bowery Boys
Greasy burgers in the fry pan
Cooked with onions candy brown

Wintry Monday afternoons
Staying out of the cold with my mother
Dialing for Dollars and Candlepins for Cash
Starch steam stench of mashed potatoes
Scorched on the surface of the copper bottom pot

Memories that glow in black and white
When life seemed to move so slowly
Now time speeds away and life’s colors blur
And I’m left breathing out its exhaust.

by David Lawton

David Lawton

David Lawton trained at Boston University theatre school. Acted Off-Broadway; Off-Off Broadway playwright; featured vocalist with band Leisure Class. In January 2009 he co-produced Downtown Does Huncke for His Birthday, stories by beat godfather Herbert Huncke

link to author's myspace

Camp Fire Nights

Flames leaping upward
Tongues licking golden
Orange, yellow, red all the
Bright colors always changing
Never still, slowly the tongues
Grow smaller, the colors darken
Deep crimson– a last glow– then ash
Soot. Darkness embraces us.

Everyone stands up, brushes off
The smoke, stamps out the remains, the night
Enclosing us – total darkness but we can
See the stars. We call “Good-night”
Crawl into our tents and sleeping bags
The children listen for coyotes
Fish splash, crickets chirp - we fall asleep.

Do we dream of the first people?
The people whose only light was fire?
People who would freeze if the fire
Went out? How careful they
would have been – always feeding
The flames, storing wood, coal anything
That could burn, give out a spark
Anything that would keep the darkness
Far away.

We strike a match. Paper, sticks, a flash
In the foggy dawn. The battered coffee pot
The one we save for camp outs. Wood
Smoke, coffee, the fishy smell from the
Lake. Quick skinny-dips. Lucky us
The elements at our finger tips- Air
Earth, water, fire. Our playthings.
Our toys.

by Marian Veverka

Marian Veverka has spent her life on the shores of Lake Erie. She has written two novels, unpublished, and lots of small stuff--poems, CNF, short stories--some published.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Footfalls scrape on stone stairs,
A double door,
More steps down, metal,
Then, at eye level,
An acrid tangle of smoke,
Hovering, silent,
Over the room.
The sour charcoal smell of ashtrays
Mingles with
Coffee boiled in ancient pots
And fumes
From dollar-a-bag cookies.

By Frank Kelly

Frank Kelly
Frank Kelly is a poet and dramatist (co-author of Pageant, the Beauty Contest Musical, which has played all over the world, and The Texas Chainsaw Musical) who lives on Long Island.

Vist Frank's pages: www.geocities.com/bockharn/ or www.myspace.com/bockharn or http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=778579127

Saturday, March 14, 2009


beneath a rising

the ladle dips

in the forest
an o-ring

per instruction, the handbook

a giant tree crackles—

strum the lute

the dragon puffs

like the wolf

fresh as floating paint

a fiery wisp
and whoosh
withering tender

the bow

an orchestra

and no one
suspects a fire

yet the diving bell

there is
no one as tender
holding her

purse warmth

by Jeff Crouch

Jeff Crouch
Jeff Crouch writes as though he were inventing his world from leftover parts, but he will tell you he makes his own glue.

from the fire

the fire girls jumped off
a factory roof to escape*
trapped over 100 others 20 years before
my mother, a millinery copyist in
another factory, could smell the smoke
whenever anyone spoke of
someone they knew...

worse than what there couldn’t ever be
anything worse...
she said;

I walked past thorough
ignorant of the embers

long before
you fleshed out of my fantasy
and after even after

I smelled it awful
like nothing I had ever known
couldn’t get away from,
you knew instinctively, whose lungs
40 years of Pall Mall smoke blackened;

death’s crackling
I couldn’t hear in my mother’s words
or stop hearing now
blocks from where I lived...

...kept seeing that sky, crowded with so many
from so high to fall
my mother couldn’t have imagined

as flame winged
they flew down
90 years ago

how many more would fly
even further down
one at a time
slam into the earth,

couldn’t ever be anything worse...

But I know now
what you did...
there’s no bottom to anything

“still a down and
further still to fall and faster than i
thought...” **

twin-souled and yet
10 months before
I had---there was... urned proof,
as you talked me safely out
of lower Manhattan through our life
back to Brooklyn
loved me past mortal flesh

I didn’t even have a clue...

you were already speaking to me
from the fire.

*Triangle Factory Fire on March 25, 1911

**quote from “Liquid Jesuit” by Andrew Gettler

By Linda Lerner

From Ms. Lerner's book, Living In Dangerous Times, Presa Press (2007) , this poem has also appeared in the journal, Black Bear Review.

Linda Lerner

Linda Lerner is the author of 12 poetry collections, another is forthcoming this Spring, '09, called Something Is Burning In Brooklyn, from Iniquity Press / Vendetta Books. Her poems are published in hundreds of journals--this one, like most of her work comes out of a very personal experience, she hope others will be able to relate to. It seems her best work is drawn from some unhappiness, or in this case, tragic circumstances; the rest feels like practice, warming up for the real poems. Visit Ms. Lerner online at http://www.nyqpoets.net/poet/lindalerner

Friday, March 13, 2009

With or Without It

smoke dances against the breeze tonight
as if a song is playing for him
maybe there is really a song playing tonight
for another soul has his wings
he now mingles with the wind
rides the withered leaf
as he hums his last song, his farewell song

smoke dances against the breeze tonight
as if a song is playing for him
his ashes now buried deep
where all borrowed shells lay
where maggots reside
where all things are memories

smoke dances against the breeze tonight
as if a song is playing just for him
he may be gone
in the crematorium his fragile body burned down
into ashes
but his legacy, the love he gave
will forever live on –
with or without smoke

By Lanie Shanzyra P. Rebancos

A fighter and sometimes a happy-go-lucky girl, Lanie Shanzyra Rebancos have been published in different literary journals and anthologies. She just has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Lanie loves to stay up late and dream wide awake, thinking so many things until her muse kicks in and instructs her to write and write and write.

Lanie's Blog

© 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Hadi blows off
the charcoal's feathery ash
and fire rekindles in his eyes.
Black down on his upper lip
wispy as the smoke.
He sits cross-legged and barefoot
hunched over the brazier,
another pellet pinched between his fingers.
Beautiful. Dutiful.
He tamps tobacco into
the clay bowl that nests the dream.
Far away. Here.
Then tends the embers placed on top.
The nargile passes from
Samir to Badr
onto Fouad, then me.
Hashish, Hadi hisses
with a winsome smile.
My cock stiffens hard as the pipe stem
dropped onto my lap.
Dorak (it's your turn), reminds my lover
beside me, knee nudging knee.
I don't wipe his spittle off the tip.
Minower (you bring in the light), Hadi whispers.
Inta minower (it's you who does that), I reply,
expelling the cloud
sucked deep down into my chest.
The night will claim me till dawn.
But I am taken otherwise, so must
refuse what is not rightly mine.

Previously published in a slightly different form in A Cautionary Tale (Uphook Press 2008), and Your Infidel Eyes (Poets Wear Prada 2006).

Brant Lyon writes poetry and music, and frequently puts the two together in live performance hosting his Hydrogen Jukebox reading series, or in recordings such as his 'poemusic' CD, Beauty Keeps Laying Its Sharp Knife Against Me (Logochrysalis 2008). His poetry has otherwise appeared in numerous journals and antholgies, and has been aired on radio. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Idle Gossip at a Danzig Tram Stop

It was said, stepping through the wreckage
of last night’s air-raid, that Mr. Meyer
wasn’t taking phone calls this morning.

The widows waiting for their rations
rued that all the troubadours
had been re-assigned to the Eastern Front.

The carefully-catalogued smoke in the distance
wondered if Eros hadn’t been lost somehow,
just shy of the Baltic coast.

The returning amputees, discreetly encamped
outside distant villages, laughed with the Devil
while bells, of what churches still stood, rang.

Siegfried, however, was still appointed Reichsprotektor
of all Rome, even though everyone was terrified
to tell the Fuhrer he was actually only a character

By Adam Henry Carriere

Adam Henry Carriere

Adam Henry Carriere is a poet, teacher, and broadcaster who has crashed five states, committed radio in three, frolicked in some fifteen countries, and even played on three Navy ships before Rummy got wise. He also edits Danse Macabre.

Clarity in a Fog

Based on the painting, “The Gare St-Lazare” by Claude Monet, 1877 and the true story about how it was painted

Monet was smoking mad.
The critics had lambasted
his “Sunrise, Impression”
wondering why he painted fog.

It was simple. It was there.

He painted what he saw.
And he saw mist

Anything else
would have been a lie
to the eye,

to the reality of light
as it reflected off
the burned-off
change in atmosphere.

He wanted to paint outside,
because outdoors
was waiting for him
like a nude model posing,
impatient to be elsewhere

where light would be different
and difficult as a lover.

He declared to show them
lack of clearness, huffing
and puffing, like a pipe
about to go out
until you draw it in deeper.

His face was red
as a vicious sun
about to melt the surface
of the Themes,
until it boils steam

He marched dramatically
into the train depot,
a man with a purpose,
a man whistling hot
as a tea kettle loosening its hiss.

He was mumbling a mantra,
no one could see anything in it...
He was determined to straighten them,
they want to see things clearly,
even in a fog
ready to show them something

He steamed into the depot
Gare Saint-Lazare
announcing himself
as The Painter, Claude Monet.

The head of the western offices
did not want to admit
he had no knowledge about art
and all he knew was schedules, or
switching tracks
like changing pants.

All trains were halted.
They waited, stationary.
Like a man waits for a woman:
impatiently. The smoke was dense
as night in a tunnel.
The smoke was thick from the engines
so you could not see anything
unless you knew it was there.

When his painting were sufficiently soot,
heaving engines of spewing darkness,
he took his 30 complete works
like a conductor collects punched pickets,
as if his journey was completed,

as if his signature smoldering said it all.

By Martin Willitts, Jr.

Martin Willits, Jr.

Martin Willitts, Jr.’s tenth chapbook is The Garden of French Horns (Pudding House Publications, 2008) and his second full length book of poetry is The Hummingbird (March Street Press, 2009). He co-edits www.hotmetalpress.net.

five o'clock shadow

some nights are
like a cigarette
in an ashstray
that burns into perdition
that leaves a quietly deformed
noose that just hangs, waits
waits for me to
make the first move
but I know it all evaporates
just as easily without me
the options ersatz at best
and the city much like morning
a timely matter that could care less
who it breathes to
and john you old fart we
all know you pick your nose and
snooze when we're not looking,
it's always been there
trolleys stuck to the power grid
the sidewalks that go at 7am
arrive back a little later
at 5pm
and I've always been here
with my cigarette
waiting for the hoops
to come apart

By Bernard Alain
Bernard Alain is the principal editor for The Cartier Street Review

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pomegranate Smell

The pomegranate incense is gone yet the smell of the smoke lingers
Filling my nose with its scent
I used the last stick yesterday
And am sick with desire to smell that pungent fruit
Sinking into my veins
Like a good fix on life
The deep red burgundy of the berries merges with my blood

The pomegranate incense of my life remains
Like seeds once picked over by crows
Dry and humble they lie
Renewed by life’s rain
Each seed leaves behind a bright red stain

There’s no shortage of pomegranate seeds
When pomegranate season comes
I’ll devour them greedily
The taste of the red berry remains sweet and sticky on my tongue

I long for my pomegranate incense
The last stick burned yesterday
I’m sick with desire to smell that pungent fruit smoke again
Its ephemeral scent lost in my garden of yesteryears
I search for yesterday's scent lost in today’s patchouli mist

By Joy Leftow

Joy Leftow

“Poet Laureate” of Washington Heights, Violet aka Joy Leftow, has been featured on Rockland Internet Radio, Indie Feed, Jazz Poetry Café, and Everything Goes. Violet pulls no punches. To date, Joy has over 90 publications to her credit, primarily poetry. Joy’s honesty and openness will floor you - maybe embarrass you, but she promises not to bore you.
visit Joy's Poetry Blog

Peace Poem

Is like, you’re driving the interstate
And you hit a pothole and blow out a strut
And you stand by the roadside
Kicking the chrome and
Cursing the road maintenance crew
For being too late with a shovel of patch
Saying son of a bitch what a terrible system
And you don’t seem to notice
The headless horse in the crook of a tree,
Or that there is no road, just stink and smoke,
And the days that used to make you curse
Are never coming back.

By Mike Finley

Mike Finley

Mike Finley was born in Ohio and now lives in Minnesota with his family. He is author of over 100 books. Visit him online at mfinley.com

Saturday, March 7, 2009


You were my addiction
ran through my system
thick like sweet medicine
you made my head spin
my daily addiction
to my nonfiction affliction
a daily prediction
I miss your sugary smoke
and the race of my pulse
your calm and mellow mood
anxiety soothed
that mad smooth shit
that makes your troubles forget
I used to buzz in my get high
my mind would fly
city night sky
I would stay zooted twisted blitzed and blasted
now from weed long days I’ve fasted
My mind ran too fast with thought speed
so I had to heed
but I still feel this need for my weed
but for me to succeed the smoke I need to leave
I remember long get highs
that lasted from 9 to 5
Many times a day I would smoke toke and joke
But now my mental illness it provokes
I put my chalice down
and my smoky head crown
But I still long for that sticky green bud
My lover gets high every day while I try to look away
The frustration of my situation
sometimes I don’t even think about the smoke
Other days I wish to blow rings at the breeze the addiction seized
No longer self medicated
pupils dilated
a meditative creative state
where nothing a moment can wait
Every idea is phenomenally great
the manic mania I can no longer take
So I say goodbye to my high and day-by-day I get by

By DubbleX

DubbleX has been writing & playing music his entire life. He has been published by several magazines. DubbleX teaches special education and writes & plays music to stay sane. DubbleX thanks Joy Leftow for her support, for inspiring him artistically, and for consistently encouraging him to stay on his grind and for being his publicist.

visit DubbleX's blog

Chief Running Words

I am Chief Running Words
I play music I heard from the birds
I listen to tree whispers and keep my gaze skyward
I delight in moon starry nights and celebrate
The morning blowing it smoke from my pipe
I walk barefoot across my tribal plain

I color my body with war paint
So when you strike me I feel no pain
I hold my hands out to catch cold raindrops
I see the beauty of life in glacier park rocks
I am Chief Running Words
I get messages from hawk birds
I am Chief Running Words - I can heal you
if you take the time to be touched by my words

They killed my family
I return to my tee pee to see the atrocity of dead bodies
I walk around the grounds and hear no more human sounds
I beat my chest in duress
I cry no tears but grab my weapon and my arrow spears
Chief Running Words has no fear
when I am done I will return to the one and one

I am just as much Native American as I am African
Can’t take a man and half him
Can’t tell a man what he is and deny what is part of him
Nature and energy that create in him a Shaman
Under your laws you should adds this one to your list of sins
They want to kill me and kill me again
because I am half African and Indian

By DubbleX

Blowing Smoke

He blew rings for me

wrote my name
on the sky

a marquise of mixed letters

with a cauldron of smoke
that rose from his mouth

his kiss of confetti
sprinkled with sea salt
and Benson & Hedges

It was south of the boardwalk
by the whirl of the carousel

at the ocean's reception

we were just turning 20.

By Michele Rose

Michele Rose

Michele Rose is a native New Yorker, currently living by the Jersey Shore. She recently had her first book of poetry published, Aging Goddesses and Veteran Sycamores Musing. She reads as part of the Travelling Poets Society at Expresso Joe's in Keyport and recently appeared on the February broadcast of CafeImprov in Princeton. She is on hiatus from her job in professional sales and is doing volunteer work in hospice and at the local soup kitchen.

Copyright 2009 Michele Rose