Mad Hatters' Review

Three poems by Mary Lou Buschi

Posted on September 30, 2011


Because you were unable to stop barking, or vacuuming, or drinking, I decided to vandalize our yard—painting the grass a garish red, deadheading every rose, swinging the scythe from the abandoned garage, while helping a hive of furious bees fashion a home of papery ash. And it's not because you said that I notice everything. It's the ridicule that tastes like nickel on my tongue. I'm not asking for praise, (a stout doll-head in a rowboat on an abandoned lake). I'm asking you to unpack the black lizard!–drain the gin, drink the lavender, blow the blooming elephants out of the front door like bubbles. Or a solo trumpet will blast the love that has formed a hump on my back.


The Womb as Winding Sheet

The flesh,
a fetid rose petal.

like starfish
around coral.

While a river
craves its
mud's skin.

A violet orchestra.

Bright fish
swimming in
and out of you.



The truth is if you hadn't looked back

we'd both be in the light.

5 of spades on 4 of spades…

with moments when there's nothing to say,

forgetting where the other said they were going.

5 of diamonds. 6 of clubs.

Maybe we'd be throwing barbeques for relatives—

Remember which ones don't eat meat, or drink beer,

wine, or liquor, feeling, desperate, empty, and relieved when they leave.

Jack of hearts—King of hearts …

Because you were scared to lose me—you did.

7 of clubs. 2 of hearts.

I've been using the dark earth to sculpt busts of you.

I carry them from river, to room, to field speaking softly,

Arranging and rearranging you on shelves and mantles.

Ace of spades.

When I begin again with warm clay,

my hands around your neck—

I pull gently out to mold your chin,

your lips parting—cheeks fill my palms.

Queen of hearts.

And each time I form your eyelids

my fingers shape your flaws.

Mary Lou Buschi's work has appeared in The Laurel Review, Indiana Review, The Collagist, Pank, Swink, Southern Indiana Review, Dark Sky, GLASSCHORD, RHINO, and is forthcoming in RHINO 2012, The Caper Literary Journal , and Gargoyle . Mary Lou is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina . She is also a NYC Teaching Fellow working with young men and women with autism.


Poem by Michael Sean Bolton

Posted on September 21, 2011


I am eyes warping, my busted down think,
how this stainless skyline shot
my childhood away.
Proved nil and mouth flapping
stalled out prayer,
seed-semen thrown to fields
of dead water. A surgery of reception,
this shut-down room;
your promise of presence
only passings inverted
and rattling empty
What means this invitation? Oh, I know
the moan of my clutch,
my belief to be
apprehended in a hush of derision.
Your spike, I trust, will re-turn.

Michael Sean Bolton received and MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry from Arizona State University in 1993 and a PhD in Literature, also from ASU, in 2009. He currently teaches in the Literature and Language Department at East Tennessee State University . His poems have been published in journals such as Prism International, Thought Crime , and Sage of Consciousness . His chapbook, A Passion , was published in April of 2010 by Gold Wake Press.


Two Poems by Jeffrey Side

Posted on September 15, 2011


She did appease my oblivion
and anxious hose,
flailing with
tongue seductions
in the wreck of time.

Discarding chronicles
like sail foam,
data jobs,
or managerial endings,
she was a true love of mine.

But now it's come to sunshine
regimens, profile
clouds, orphan windows and
nihilistic soundtracks.

All like mighty
wandering shadows,
unexpectedly impaired,
somewhere in the night.

I still got a thing about you.



The ejaculatory
life is
the salvation
meteor of
futility or
fidelity willingly
false more
by your
leave during
times of
cultural tautologies
other destinations
ready love
in the
breach always
ambivalent mystery
reality waiting
to be
defiled in
the uninterrupted
present wings
will be
effortless for
aliens needy
of platonic
mist or
evolutionary doubts
in music
pirate maidens

Jeffrey Side studied English at Liverpool University and Leeds University . From 1996 to 2000 he was the deputy editor of The Argotist literary magazine. He now edits the online version of this, The Argotist Online , which has an ebook publishing arm called Argotist Ebooks.

He has had poetry published in various magazines such as Poetry Salzburg Review, The White Rose and Homeground ; and on poetry web sites such New Hope International, Underground Window, A Little Poetry, Poethia, Nthposition, Eratio Postmodern Poetry, Ancient Heart, Blazevox, Lily, Big Bridge, Jacket, Textimagepoem, Apocryphaltext, 9th St. Laboratories, P.F.S. Post, Moria, Pirene's Fountain, Great Works, Ken Again, Hutt, Fieralingue, The Dande Review, Raunchland, Poetry Bay and Dusie .

He has reviewed poetry for Jacket, Eyewear, The Colorado Review, New Hope International, Stride, Acumen and Shearsman .

His poetry and other publications include, Carrier of the Seed (Blazevox), Slimvol (cPress), Cyclones in High Northern Latitudes [with Jake Berry] (Lavender Ink) and Outside Voices: An Email Correspondence [email correspondence with Jake Berry] (Otoliths).


Poem by Gretchen Primack

Posted on September 13, 2011

The Crush

This is the beginning, and we all know how that is.
She takes your order, no matter what she does for a living.
You flip the cup to signal coffee and it fills with bright
birds. The air is warm as a brown eye.

Her gaze plucks at your ribcage; her gaze sits
in the backseat while you errand. You're filled
with a delicate marrow of fright and charity.
Your charm is a well-heeled little owl.

Soon the harm will come with its patterns. The backseat
gaze becomes oppressive: she resents it in the rearview.
Two of your heart's chambers had longed for new host,
and the insistence is grating; what a fool you are, and
a clumsy one.

But it's too late. You're a drawer drunk on holding.
A cart drunk on shouldering.

Something will happen. You'll win, or else another carrier
will cramp your chest, or you'll walk away.

Gretchen Primack's publication credits include The Paris Review, FIELD, Prairie Schooner, Massachusetts Review, New Orleans Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, The Tampa Review , and Best New Poets 2006 . Her manuscript Doris ' Red Spaces has been shortlisted for several prizes. Her chapbook, The Slow Creaking of Planets , came out with Finishing Line Press in 2007. Gretchen teaches at Bard Prison Initiative. More about her here .


Two Flash Fictions by Peter Ramon

Posted on September 8, 2011

Holy Land

IN past days traditional costumes were still indelible and many people never let nature change even though Europe laughed at them. So great was their sadness, poetic as it might be, in their aridity they sighed to see their artists paint a sainted family as if wrapped in green gauze. Once they'd climbed the mountain, the divine explorers stopped on a rock, the brilliant sky overhead, the silence of the desert immense. Here they died, here they will always be sublime and beautiful at the end of a limpid source under the ramification of trees in flower.



AT length she wholly conquered her heedless inattention. But it was too late. All his kindness rapidly evaporated. His objections grew more palpable and uniform. It was therefore not difficult to restrain her. She entered into a confederacy that disturbed his judgment. All was a fairyland and enchantment. Her emotions were indescribable. Her tongue incessantly described her danger and prayed for deliverance, instantaneously converted into a joyous certainty that howled from her lips. This combined with her other emotions to render the whole intoxicating. He chose unpremeditated emotions which are common to the human race. He was tortured by the innocent elegies she pronounced. She filled the air with heartrending shrieks.

Peter Ramon is an old poet who was born in Brooklyn, NY and lives in Austin, TX, where the girls are so pretty.


Two poems by Scott Keeney

Posted on September 5, 2011

Cambial Mirror

New branches on an old tree, the reductive
conformity of seasons, of change. A parrot,
for instance, has a large, thick tongue
like somebody tell me what this totem means.
Just because love is arbitrary doesn't mean
it's not deep, as I imagine I must be inside
my catenary love. I am staring at the back
of a tree like a great horned owl with his head
turned around. Cambial mirror. A laugh of lilac
rubs against my nostril hair. I see what I'm saying
now, calcium carbonate and sucrose in citrus
colors with the theme song from Cheers stuck
in reverse in my head and my mouth crunching
the chewable grab anything wandering
around in the barbules of the trees and the tops
pointing thataway, west I guess, in the steadily rising,
Orphic wind. A nutshell falls, green helicopters
twirl, shoots and suckers mar the old growth
with hope, with pointed dreams, with new ideas
brandishing the blades of permanent change
as if that wouldn't be exactly the same.


Hellacious Evergreen

or a poem beginning with a line by Lou Reed

“I'm not a young man anymore.” I've got nothing
on my grasshopper mind all the pollen time
like when I was young. I'm speeding along in
my black Civic remembering my trouser-brown Pinto
could barely make it up green seventies hills.
My heart is an eight-track. It's A Star Is Born
every time you sunshine in, or out, the door.
The woman in the crow, that's what you are,
Queen Bee. Lost inside Hellacious Acres,
crippled moon, I believe with one more “Watch
closely now” you'll be the evergreen I turn to
when I look out the window in winter and think
reprise everything but The Black Angel's
Death Song. Let me pull into the gravel driveway
of English muffins and eggs over hard. Let me
be your animal Droid auto-correcting its name
to Druid. Let “Shut up and respect me” be
our legacy as we writhe in our bed like bacon
and steam with an ecstasy like grasshopper ice cream.

Scott Keeney's poems have appeared in Court Green, failbetter, NYQ, Poetry East, Shampoo , and elsewhere. A limited edition volume, Sappho Does Hay(na)ku , was published in 2008.


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