John Grey


Some are big-boned, some are egret-thin.

For every tall one, there’s another squat and dumpy.

Most are brunettes, a few blondes, now and then, a red-head.

Many noses are up, many chins are down.

Some chatter constantly. Others remain silent.

Morose, happy, solitary, cringing to the crowd,

there’s many kinds, and then the subtle variances,

the loud one in a quiet moment,

the cold one who suddenly warms.

There’s a flood, then a trickle, then a flood again.

Sometimes there’s even none, but not for long.

What starts it? Who knows? But, from time to time,

I hear my voice cry out of nowhere, “Come, lie beside me. Stay.”



The dark wants your eyes.

Your pupils don’t know what’s coming.

The faces are about to go unrecognizable.

Better hone up your touch

because, soon enough, the light won’t do.

Sounds are taking on importance.

The TV is killing off your favorite characters.

The newspaper is telling you it’s all a blur.

Color schemes are the enemy now.

Your children are whispering behind your back.

The words “nursing home” pierce your still keen ears,

draw your blood, not theirs.

So what if you bump into the furniture.

If your eyes desert you,

then you’ll learn to see with your knees.

It’s getting late.

Your children need to get back to their lives,

to the plotting of their own offspring.

You look forward to sleep,

your life on equal terms.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and Sanskrit with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Owen Wister Review and Louisiana Literature.   



Gail Rudd Entrekin and Charles Entrekin


The Art of Healing
by Gail Rudd Entrekin and Charles Entrekin

Gail and Charles are well known to Poetic Matrix Press. We have published two books by Gail and one by Charles. In this volume they alternate pieces exploring the very trying journey through Charles’ cancer. Charles writes confronting this in himself and Gail writes as his spouse, lover and caregiver. They both are gifted poets and through this writing they reveal the difficulties and extreme love that takes Charles to complete remission. To say this is beautiful is an understatement. This is a read that all those who have experienced a trauma or have cared for someone will find enlightening and just beautiful. (available soon)


Black Swan
“A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.”
David Hume (1711-1776), An Inquiry Concerning
Human Understanding

Cold and dark, the moon on the pond,
the black swan sits unseen,
undiscovered, waiting
like a shadow on a PET scan
a mass in my chest.
The exception disproves the rule.
The white swans everyone finds
do not define the color
or the shape of despair.
I wake to the sound of a sheet
flapping in the breeze.
My wife sits at my side.
With the coming of dawn,
my black swan recedes.
Too soon to choose
the right pair of shoes,
what to be buried in,
the color of my shirt.



The Love Embrace of the Universe….
after Frieda Kahlo

Here I am in my red dress, my long hair blowing
and in my arms you are curled, a naked child man
your blind blue eyes, a third eye large, black
and wiser than we know, in the center of your head.
A brown goddess fills the frame, holding us both
in her generous lap, her nipple dripping, a tree
sprouting from her shoulder, and around us
in her arms she is holding everything that grows
roots dangling from her wrists and fingers
and, love, we are safe here. You are holding
fire but the sky is awash in mist and moon
and we will not burn. Go to sleep.
We will not burn.









Poetry from Katrina by Lyn Lifshin



Hurricane Katrina 10th Anniversary


he could not stop watching
the images of hurt and
crying children on TV.
Known as Grandpa Grady
the elderly man in his
River Ridge neighborhood
was sickened by the images,
was saying “ya’ll get those
children.” To calm him,
family members lied
and reassured him they
would rescue the children
he was seeing on TV.
But as the day wore on,
sounds grew quieter
and he stopped eating or
speaking. A nurse stopped
by but did not send him
to a hospital. Last Thursday
he died in a single bed
in a small room at the shelter.
“I think,” his daughter
said, he grieved him
self to death”



one woman arrived with
2 children, 6 and 2. “Soon
as I got there I saw fighting.
I saw people throwing
chairs, pull a gun out right
in front of little children.”
She saw a boy who could
not breathe, asthma or panic.
She pointed it out to one
police man she saw and the
officer checked the boy,
said there was nothing they
could do. The boy was dead.
Another officer appeared.
The others figured he would
remove the body but the
officer said it was just to
check some gun shots



almost this time of year,
the aspens crackling
the drive out from Boulder
up into the hills
Octoberly crisp.
Peanut soup in an
out of season restaurant.
The Rockies blue.
We were all at the
Denver Film Festival,
would never meet again
but that warm perfect after
noon, none of us could
have believed that



the watermarks 6 feet high,
visible on some houses.
Signs of life slowly are
returning with the trickle
of residents who’ve gotten
in to look at what is left.
It’s freaky, everything
just floated. I’m going to
spray it all someone says,
spray it down with Clorox.
“Look at my counter
tops. They were so pretty.”
“Water knocked my new
refrigerator over, my lovely
mahogany door. I spent
$13,000 this year on my back
yard. It was beautiful. Now
it’s a disaster but it’s a
fixable disaster.”



one man said, stretching
his arms and pointing to
a red t shirt, blue jeans
and a pair of slippers.
“we lost everything.”
But that’s not his
biggest worry. He has
not seen his wife, kids
or grand children since
last Saturday. He heard
they were in Baton Rouge.
One woman was nearly
hysterical Saturday
morning when friends
went to wash clothes.
“I want to go home,”
she yelped, “I can’t stay
here forever.” Volunteers
have few words of
comfort. “Reality really
hasn’t begun to sink
in for these people. They
are still in a state
of shock.”



one mother sat beside
her son, a 34 year old
paraplegic who had
been carried up eight
flights of darkened
stairs and evacuated
to the airport. Inside
the medic tent she
stroked her son’s fore
head. His arms were
curled to his chest. His
mother took a towel
from her bag of
belongings and put
it on his arms so he
wouldn’t get cold. “I am
not letting him out of
my sight” she said


Katrina by Lyn Lifshin

available from Small Press distribution (SPD)

see more at



Charles Entrekin and Gail Rudd Entrekin

The Art of Healing                                                                                                                                                           a new books of poetry on healing from cancer due out fall 2015                                                                                by Poetic Matrix Press


Something Coming

We are beginning to understand something
of what is coming, to go beyond sensing a shadow
in the woods watching us, and to see it take shape,
see it coming toward us across a field, zigzagging
as it does, now standing idle and watching the sky,
now heading directly for us at a trot. And realizing
that we are seen, that it will find us no matteru
what we do, we are slowing down.
We are
standing very still hoping to blend with the waving
greens of this raw springtime, to stay downwind
of it as warmer breezes pick up and buffet the leaves,
the grasses, tossing everything in a moving salad
of life; we sway on our legs, trying to move with the air
that surrounds us, and we stop thinking of what is around
the next bend in the path, stop planning our next
escape route, and begin to merge with the moment;y
we have slipped into a painting by Van Gogh
something is coming again across the fields and we
are open as sunflowers in full bloom
to these last moments on the earth.


Losing the Light

You’ve been thrown like a stone,
skipping across the surface of moments,
rings circling outwards
from where you have been,
knowing you are losing
the here and now.

Until you begin sinking,
seamlessly drifting down
and the world is still outside
in the growing distance.

But you are not drowning,
there is no pain,
there remains the ordinary day
all around you,
and so you ask,
what happened to the light?




Lindsey Lewis Smithson


When I was a kid
I would go into my Dad’s
garage and tear apart
anything I could grab
I never wanted to know
how it worked
to destroy
to see the insides
bare on the table
to name each piece
see it’s function
The Ninja Turtles
The phone’s bell
The wheel in the VCR

The baby cries
on the changing table
my peach flesh fuzz
the sperm and egg
cocktail spun inside
and worked out through
my vagina
What are you really
beautiful creature
Stardust and sex
blue eyed product
Unsolvable puzzle


Columbia, Maryland

Green arms pulled down
blue sky blankets, drowned out
sunshine to help me sleep

Be calm here the gray sky
buildings whisper

you are nothing, nothing
in measure to what lived

follow this civil war bike path
to the mall where another
disaffected teen killed,
the Michael Kors store is having a sale

you are not one of us
the cul-de-sac knows it
wash away in the river
this path isn’t for you.

don’t fight sleep anymore



On Mountain St.
a white ambulance
holds his empty body.

The onlookers knew him
by sight. I thought I knew
him better.

Wind pulls my hair
as the ambulance passes.

The gravel road calls
out at each corner.


The Day After Billy Died

Remember the earthen stairs
wrapping around the redwoods—
misnamed the Trees of Mystery?

You’d never carved
our names into any other
trees with a kitchen knife.

That day no sounds, save our own,
had existed. Other imprints
were glossed over by rain.


Lindsey Lewis Smithson is the editor of Straight Forward Poetry. Sometimes she writes some stuff and sometimes some people like it. @lindseysmithson; @straight_poetry


Go ahead dive down

It is alright   something beautiful is in there
You’ll see
More beautiful then even you’re sadness
It will take your sorrow and turn
It cloudy and bright
Like the shine on that red amber place
You’ve seen once or twice
Just before everything was lost or
Just before found
A gentle sax line on a street of the lost
Either waiting or consoling
Who can say
It can be a mood indigo
That will arrive again
At a perfect moment
When love is eternal
Is in all of us
Is in everything
Is one without second

James Downs

137 bullets (a lament)
shots rang out…rang out…rang out

they have them cornered and shots
started ringing out…it was as if 13
fingers resting against 13 triggers
couldn’t hold back any more and so
shots rang out…rang out…rang out
no one even knew if they were alive
or dead inside

James Downs
(Cleveland car back-fires in front of
police department, a subsequent
100 officer chase…then 13 firing on
a cornered unarmed black couple)

Richard Luftig

Prospero’s Book

It possessed all

his magic to keep

a daughter close.


But one cannot hold

the moon forever

or its rhythms still


and even a sorcerer

must yield to such

first, inevitable facts.


Here, I give you,

the best part of my life,

he told Ferdinand


and yield now to a place

where every third thought

shall be my grave,


and then drowned

his book so deep

in the fathoms


retiring all

he knew to

the alchemy of love.



The wooden thermometer in the Kiwanis Park

reports that they’ve reached eighty percent

toward building the new hospital wing,

and the Dairy Queen sign advertising half off

an Artic Rush also is pleased to announce

that Salvation is a Gift from Our Lord.


Along the State Route that cuts through the heart

of town, each weathered, gray-slate, clapboard house

has a sofa on the front porch, a rusted tree swing

or big, brown beater of a Pontiac parked on

a washboard-dirt drive. But the side gardens,

each full as the old person’s lap who tend them,


are swelling with costume-jewelry sunflowers,

peonies, tomatoes, snap beans, pattypan squash

that their owners have placed in a crate along the curb

along with an empty Maxwell House can where the passerby

might pay on the honor system right before he’s hit with

the hundred buck fine for doing thirty in a twenty zone.


A Box of Old Letters


Found in the attic after I bought the place,

the address on the front always the same.

But the postmarks an atlas heading west,

always west down the Ohio to Cairo

then up the Mississippi to St Louis.

Each day took him farther and further


from her touch, through towns

with populations smaller than their area,

tree lines thinned then vanished, land bleached

like the bones of cattle lining the trail.

Places where quarter-sections were left

for dead, land, a disaster never more


than one drought away. And he pleading

for a letter, some word to expel the fears

of losing her that grew with each passing

mile, enclosing pressed flowers:

hawthorns, pieces of sunflowers—

the color, he said of her hair—


columbines, then poppies when he crossed

the Sierras into California, he looking

for the gold that would bring her

to him and we never learning

if he ever possessed a box

to save on his side of the world.


Richard Luftig is a former professor of educational psychology and special education at Miami University in Ohio now residing in Pomona, CA; a recipient of the Cincinnati Post-Corbett Foundation Award for Literature and a semi-finalist for the Emily Dickinson Society Award; poems have appeared in numerous literary journals in the United States and internationally in Japan, Canada, Australia, Europe, Thailand, Hong Kong and India.

MALALA by Lyn Lifshin

Excepts from MALALA by Lyn Lifshin published by Poetic Matrix Press

Pakistani Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Noble Peace Prize for 2014 along with Indian child advocate Kailash Satyarthi.


Malala, still playing with dolls,
believed she could change the
world, cure cancer, live on the
moon, make a difference in
the world. Did she imagine that
some day those who
believe in violence could
share the same sky’s
beauty, that the light of
childhood could bring
a glow to darkness?



in the school yard
the last day before
school’s done
along the sun
drenched roads.
Again and again.
until next time
God willing. Then
helicopters and
guns turn the air to
dust, birds
explode up from
the flowers. Many
crash dead. Blood
and petals. A war
zone of flowers.
This hide and
seek goes on all
night. We are very
afraid. This, Malala
writes, is my life.


ON OCTOBER 9, 2012

a Taliban gunman shot Malala Yousafzai
as she rode home on a bus
after taking an exam in
Pakistan’s Swat Valley. “Which
of you is Malala? Speak up,
otherwise I’ll shoot you all.”
When he found out which
girl was Malala he shot her twice.
Once in the head and once
in the neck.



the pond is a dark blossom
unfolding. If she were to
move to the window in the
dream, there would be white
lilies thru blinds, suspended
instead of a moon.
Fog lips on roots
and willows filtering into
dreams of swans. The light
polishing water, connecting
what was behind her to
what’s ahead.

Melodic Rose


Lay the earth bare
Let every child resound
Let every voice
throw its weight
against the sky.

Let every lost soul
succumb to the day of reckoning
How the temperature rose
higher than the
oceans tide
How bodies
sound like symphonies
the night after a revolution.

How women sound
after they’ve been stripped
as bare as bones
and diametric art.

How women whisper
wistful luscious thoughts
Folded backwards,
mounting into greatness.
Flowing down into secret chambers
Ebbed on by the dissident sigh
of the ocean.

How night contains
frightful condemnation
How night became the onslaught
of the tangible.

A great divide
a wreckless diatribe
of retribution.

By Melodic Rose


Somewhere far away
there’s a planet
straddling the fault line
between our Galaxy and the distant one.
It’s name is eternity.

And on this planet
time stands
s t i l l.

It is where morning fades into day
and if you saw the sunset
you’d know that every heart beat
resounds against the sky,
like an anthem for love.

Because eternity is but a drop
and if you could feel its grandeur then
you would know
that life was never meant to be contained.

It was meant to be loud
and beautiful.
It was meant to be full of valleys
as well as hills.

If you ever happen to visit eternity
then I hope you’ll send a post card back for me.
Cut a piece out of all that wonder
Just so for once
I can say
that I’ve tasted heaven.
Seen myself echoed back through
that vast expanse.

If you ever happen to visit eternity
I hope you will take a piece
of all that stagnant time
and send it my way.

I am sure it will be rusted
from being dormant for so long
but I will hang it around my neck
to remind me,
that perhaps it is the only thing that matters.

That maybe we have all the beauty
we’ll ever need.
Maybe we are just seconds in the clock.
Powerful like every shooting star
filtrating the dusk.

And we needn’t journey anywhere
Because eternity was never meant to be a destination.
Perhaps… it is only us.

By: Melodic Rose

I am a performance poet from Montreal and I have been writing poetry for 15 years. I am passionate about using the written words to explore social and political issues pertaining to race, spirituality and navigating the complexities of being a woman in our society

Melodic Rose