Joel Netsky


A soul confronting primal chaos, the cosmos exponentially decrepitating until even walls begin melting and all structure ceases, one by one family and friends into the smirking unanimity of sheer darkness, casually into a typewriter slips a leaf and begins typing. Upon town and country thoughts drizzle, onto ravaged, leveled, cratered. How much silence can one keep before the onslaught of lobotomy and genocide, carnage of psyche after psyche. Ancient Job types, and like those who with the patriarch had debated and censured, does the society with “Howl”, but likewise slowly they drift away, the electricity of the work sufficient reply – not for decades has such verse vivified the genre, engendering dumbstruck gratitude and deference.


Walking on sidewalk – eight, ten paces in front a gent towards tavern turns;

as the door consumes, over his shoulder he, his face the etch of the haunted.

Previously had I beheld such: the eyes of Apollinaire in photo, his temples swathed

in bandage from shrapnel –

while recovering would he coin “surreal”, to convey the laying fields of World

Conflagration One; within two years he is sod.

Mind drifts to Baudelaire who minted “modernity”, the Industrial Age having

transmuted his nibbling doe and fawn into automatons of the assembly line. Need

Author be haunted? Surely aesthetics does not require said ritualarium, say

Shakespeare and Tolstoy, Whitman and Mallarme, emerging from hallowed tides.


Enfant terrible, on his shoulders Atlas bearing this big marble – ours an uninhabited planet, a bucket with neither liquid nor well, a lost tribe, the homeless who through the cold stagger from minute to minute until in an alley, under a mattress, the last ember expires. Overcoat, beret, Le Monde, Gauloises, coffee – in an outdoor cafe he, the only to refuse the Nobel in Literature. I walked by, glanced, kept going. Jean-Paul, you who I have studied assiduously, were as many – alas, as I ! – shredded by the age.

New work by Joel Netsky: I was born in Philadelphia in 1946, and have always loved literature and writing. From 2008 to 2010 I owned and operated a used bookstore.

Previously published by Poetic Matrix Press – available on this website.

The Unequivocality of a Rose                                                                                        By Joel Netsky                                                                                                                Cover Art by Patrick Fisher

2006/07 Slim Volume Series Selection

Tomás Gayton


Africa is billowy primrose clouds
on sky blue canvas
barefoot Masai boys wearing red plaid blankets
herding scrawny goats and cattle
over ruddy dry earth, purple-green foothills—
our primal ancestral common ground
Thompson’s gazelles graze sparse dry grass
giraffes browse on thorny treetops
loping in slow motion across the Serengeti plain—
a ballet of pachyderms crossing in deep water single file
An elegant leopard languishes on naked limb of an ancient tree


African Princess

In a time capsule crossing Africa’s Rift Valley
on Serengeti’s vast plain a spirited young actress
Lady Emma and I are on the Ukimwi road together
on wildlife safari from Nairobi to Harare
our souls ignite in song, carefree and silly
Her playful laughter lulls me to sleep at sundown
I dream we are standing in the African bush—
she close behind me as I place my hands on hers
Together we thrill to thunder of the lion’s roar
the flash of lightning
in dark cool Serengeti night—
until I am awakened by falling rain
and Emma’s gleeful chatter at sunrise


from – Sojourn on the Bohemian Highway
by Tomás Gayton

Poetic Matrix Press

Solar Eclipse by Francisco X. Alarcón (click here for full poem)

Solar Eclipse


Mother Moon embraces
Father Sun above the clouds –
we, their children, rejoice!

Mamá Luna abraza
a Papá Sol sobre las nubes –
sus hijos nos regocijamos

Tugann an Mháthair, an Ghealach,
Barróg don Athair, an Ghrian, os cionn na néalta –
Déanaimidne, a gcuid páistí, gairdeas dóibh!


the Moon eats the Sun
with kisses and caresses –
they’re making celestial love!

la Luna se come
al Sol a besos y caricias –
¡hacen amor celestial!

baineann an Ghealach plaic as an nGrian!
gona bpóga is gona mbarróga –
comhriachtain na spéire!


the Moon, the Sun impart
the lesson of Spring –
a wedding ring for all!

la Luna, el Sol dan
la lección primaveral –
¡a todos anillo nupcial!

insíonn an Ghealach is an Ghrian
ceacht earraigh an lae seo –
fáinne pósta do chách!


when the Lady and
Lord of Duality made love –
primordial Big Bang!

la Señora y el Señor
de la Dualidad al amarse –
¡Big Bang primordial!

Ometecuhtli = Lord of Duality
Omecihuatl = Lady of Duality
Ometeotl = Deity of Duality


Earth, Moon, Sun
Serpent, Quetzal bird, Soul –
a blessing at hand!

Tlalticpactli, Metztli, Tonatiuh
Coatl, Quetzalli, Tonalli –
nahuatlatolli in matl

Tierra, Luna, Sol
Serpiente, Quetzal, Tonal –
¡bendición en mano!

an Domhan, an Ghealach, an Ghrian
an Nathair, an Quetzal, an tAnam –
ár mbeannú!

May 27, 2013

Irish (Gaelic) translations by Gabriel Rosenstock

from Francisco X. Alarcón’s new book published  by Poetic Matrix Press

Borderless Butterflies: Earth Haikus and Other Poems /
Mariposas sin fronteras: Haikus terrenales y otros poemas

Landscape of a Woman and a Hummingbird

Landscape of a Woman and a Hummingbird
Joseph Milosch
New from Poetic Matrix Press
Available on our website

Climbing Modjeska Peak

It is the same, climbing a mountain
or a high-tension power pole.
The world becomes smaller
as I climb, fixing my eyes
on fractures and fissures
no thicker than a quarter inch.
Creeping up, I follow a trail
of finger-holds as I scale
rock faces, not metal struts.

The world is above, below,
and around me, but I
can’t see more than
a foot in front of me.
Pausing on a ledge, I repeat
a cliché about the view.
At the top, the world expands
into a giant circle.

Standing in the center,
I stretch my arms
and become a cross
visible from the coast;
continuing to lift my arms,
I form a Y. Spinning once
around, I find the world
stands still, and that the earth
shrinks to the size of a pedestal
to keep me from falling into space.


Lyn Lifshin
New from Poetic Matrix Press
Available on our website


the teenagers
chattered with their
teachers as the school
bus rattled along the
country road. They
just finished a term
paper and broke out
singing a Pashton
song. That music must
have been the last
thing Malala heard,
one of the last she
Two men flagged down
the bus, boarded,
screamed. Which one
is Malala? Silence.
The rust leaves all
that moved in the
breeze. The girls,
terrified, frozen. Only
their eyes moved to
That one the gun
man said. Fired two
shots. Then he fled.
The Teacher said
to the local hospital,
stared in horror at
Malala’s body, bleeding
and bleeding, unconscious
in her friend’s lap.

Spangling Darkness

Spangling Darkness
Raphael Block
poetry and songs
New from Poetic Matrix Press
Available on our website

New Year

Our celebrations were small affairs
with one or two present at most,
like the welcome my wife and daughter
gave the New Year, with carefully
prepared round, sand-filled trays,
candles of all shapes and heights arranged
until the moment ignited and light
generously swirled and flowed
out and in our eyes
linked in wonder.

Or the birthdays of simple homemade
stirrings of cakes, smiles, and wings.

Now they fill my dark nights
with soft flickerings.


I am Homeland

I am Homeland
Twelve Korean-American Poets
Edited by Yearn Hong Choi
New from Poetic Matrix Press
Available on our website

By Doo Hyun Chung

An Empty Tomb

In the midst of fire shell of the Korean War,

My father, missing
No traces to his death

My mother,
Her husband,
Built a tomb for her husband’s missing
Or death
Without his remains or ash

That was her last dedication to her beloved husband

Buried in the empty grave of my father,
The last scene of his back walking out

Inside the empty grave,
Echoes of his last footsteps in October 1950

She passed away, and so
Passed an ideological war of one generation

Do not say, it
is empty  Never

Never, never, never

Doo Hyun Chung is a medical doctor (radiologist) in Maryland.  Poet, painter and sculptor.  His poetry book is Reincarnation of Budapest (in Korean).  He received the Overseas Poet Award from the Yoon Dong-ju Memorial Group in Seoul.

Poems by James B. Nicola

Touch Red

Touch red
Touching red is like knowing you
But can you touch red at all?
Is it the red of the red
            Or the red of the thing
That makes touching red
            Touching red?
The bright and the blare
            And the brass and the boom
And the bomb are like
            Knowing you.
Is it the feel of the red
            Or the feel of the sting
That makes knowing you
            Touching red?
I don’t know
So I burn
Touching you
Touching red.

If I had x-ray vision

If I had x-ray vision
     I’d see
in the sea of souls
like whitecaps in the glitter of the sun
     but glimmering through the surface
from the depths
hungry as a field
     of blood-red
But I don’t
     and so attend
this grand chorale
of mouths agape
     red as rows of
poppies, and—
James B. Nicola, winner of three poetry awards and a Pushcart and Rhysling nominee, has published almost 400 poems in Poetic Matrix, Atlanta Review, Tar River, Texas Review, &c. A Yale grad and stage director by profession, his book Playing the Audience won a Choice Award. First full-length collection: Manhattan Plaza scheduled for 2014.

Poems by Erren Geraud Kelly

Buffalo Girl (Annie)

Knew a chic named Annie
Who wrote poetry
Later taught herself to play
Guitar and discovered she was
Pretty good at it
I met her in a coffeehouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
One night, when I was reading
And looking to score some
Annie told me she left
Buffalo because living there
Was like slow death
And the factories made
Ya old
Before your time
Annie’s face was a map of
Her eyes like dark
You couldn’t stop looking at her
Her mother was 100 percent
Annie hated being pretty
And did things purposely
To make herself look plain
She didn’t want guys lookin’
At her
She said she wanted to be
More than just a pretty
Annie would dress down sometimes
Wouldn’t wear any make up
But her Sicilian face didn’t
Really need it
Annie used to joke
If I broke her heart, one of her uncles
Would break my legs
But she gave her love freely like the
Didn’t matter if it was a man or a woman
A lover was a lover to her
Once, Annie showed me her breasts
In a private spot
At the Brooklyn botanical gardens
They were the size of honeydew
I nearly fainted
She joked they were her best features
They were her calling card

Her songs were protest songs
Which was to be expected of
Folk songs
And it’s always weird
To see white people
Rage against the machine
When they are the machine
“But Italians aren’t really white,”
Annie said
Annie was always trying to get
Me to come to the Communist
Party meetings
I would always refuse
I’m not patriotic, but I’m not an extremist
I’m for nothing, I’m against nothing
I fight only for the things that matter
To me
But I think Annie was about sex
More than anything else
She believed those myths about brothas

Annie started out by selling cd’s on her website
She figured came out better
Than being on a major label
She had more control
And made more money

The way Annie and I
Broke up was absurd, comic maybe
Things had been tense between us
The last few weeks
We got into a fight at a Chinese resteraunt
And I accidentally knocked a
Glass of water over
She started screaming something
In Italian
And then stormed out

I never saw Annie again after

A friend told me Annie had
Looked up an ex boyfriend
And wanted to play rerun
I think Annie just wanted to do the “rock star“
And she didn’t want to deal
With a nobody
Or maybe I was just a rebound fling
Something to help her get her self esteem
I hear her albums from time to time
She’s come along way
From the coffeehouses in Brooklyn
But I’m always cautious
Of olive-eyed Sicilian women
Who give their
Love like the

Shoulder length and longer

If a woman’s hair
Could be a flag
Hers would be the
Freak flag jimi
Sung about so proudly
Her hair would be the
Star-spangled banner
On steroids
Her hair doesn’t scream
“fuck you” so much
As proclaims
“this is me, deal with it”
Like she stole a peacock’s attitude
And co-opted it
All those long brown locks
Are the united states of

Ebony Body

She chills to pac p biggie bone
Because black pride is a special thing
And aping one’s culture
Makes her feel less guilty about her
She is rail thin stocky pleasantly
Around the middle sometimes
Down home pail with freckles
Rarely Hollywood tan
Maybe new England alabaster
Just enough accents around the breasts and hip
To make a brother get his game
Get him thinking about getting in that wet
A mutation god never finished
She’s down (some say she’s dumb
Say it’s more hip to be square
But she’s a square peg
In a round-holed world
God never got around to finishing
Her properly
Ebony soul trapped in a white body

Fourth Of July

i don’t know
what the crowd
watched more
the fireworks:

or me

in my danger
educated blackman


“you’re not really exotic anymore,” she told me
“there’s nothing about you
that’s unique or marketable.
your only real talent is
you know how to work
a cliche.”

“angry black poets are a dime a dozen
these days and the ‘victim’ schtick
is getting old.”

but that was what i always wanted:

to be black on my own terms
not be a black man the way the whites
or blacks
wanted me to be
but be a black man in my own way
i’ll never be a prisoner
to anyone’s stereotype
or be confined to a fill-in-the-blank
on an application

so, if you’re offended
that i like “catcher in the rye”
more than “the autobiography of malcolm x,”
too damn bad

if you’re pissed off cos
bach, rachmaninoff and bob dylan
move me as much as miles, jay-z and al green
i have no apologies

i’m nobody’s black man but me