Your Work, Your Love


                                                            The Wisened Lark
                                                            Jeremy A Benson

                                                           The poet climbs the sullied latter;
                                                            he claims the head upon its platter.
                                                           Ages wept for times concealed,
                                                           within the secrets once revealed.

                                                           He walked the way—
                                                           impoverished life—
                                                           to place upon the starry night.
                                                           He seeks his way to sacred gold;
                                                           the treasure sought,
                                                           he yearns to hold.

                                                           He feasts upon the giver's gift,
                                                           while hallow feelings faulty shift.
                                                           Beg the spirit,
                                                           beg the sun;
                                                           ask the way for chosen one.

                                                           Fame is followed,
                                                           once beheld;
                                                           by petty crafts the potter sells.
                                                           Sadness dwells in broken hearts,
                                                           but let us hear the wisened lark:
                                                           fame shall surely come


Poets of ASKEW POETRY JOURNAL, Issue #14:

By F. Albert Salinas

Cholitas with blue eye shadow and Aqua Net hairdos
threw chingasos— tore each other’s clothes off
for everyone in the barrio to see. A nipple
the size of the small tortillas my grandma made
with left over flour flopped out from under a yellow tube-top.
The girl with the gold cross necklace retaliated and
two quarts of café con leche spilled out of a black bra.
There were sharp smacking sounds like the ones my grandma
made working masse for tamales Christmas Eve. It was summer.
Tiny beads of sweat gathered on the dim mustache
of the girl with coarse hair on her arms.

Their perfumes covered the smell of garbage collected
in the sidewalk gutter. They bit into smooth shoulders.
Mascara smeared onto the others’ skin, brown lipstick
onto each others’ necks. A Vans tennis shoe flipped off
one of the girl’s feet as she stumbled back.
She stayed on the ground with her open hand out
in front of her face to keep the other girl away.
One of her earrings was torn out of her ear, and
she heaved for air, panted.

I’d seen my mother lying in front of my father on the floor
in this same defense and then I remembered what it felt like
when I wanted to melt into the ground rather than be hit again,
so I reached out to help the girl up from the ground,
but all she did was cover her exposure with her forearm.
Someone from behind told me to stay out of it,
so I backed away and for a moment I wished
I had never seen her nakedness.



By: Tim Tipton

I had a dirty weekend with a total stranger.
We stopped at a little bungalow by the sea
that hummed to itself.
We climbed up a jacaranda tree
and sat in the branches until our hair was
covered with purple buds.
We climbed down and slithered through the mud,
pretending to be seeds.
We sprayed each other with a garden hose
and the water caught sunlight so that we rinsed in
showers of liquid rainbows.
We ate banana and peanut butter sandwiches,
played music and pretended to surf on the bed
under sharp salty sweat air.


Gratitude for my Camel

By: Glenna Luschei

Thank you, Nizar for my camel Ma Bouche.
I rode him to the watering hole
an oasis of salt cedar and palm trees.

I know the meaning of his name: my mouth
laughs while my eyes weep

and in Arabic:

the soul laughs while the heart

He knelt to drink
while I swam.

You and Ma Bouche understand me,
how I can laugh and weep at the same time.


I'm Just Going to Have Fun

Ann Buxie

Is this some kind of streak? I've never had this much fun. Takes some getting used to. a little guilt perhaps it can't last you don't deserve it this too shall pass. But listen. What if bliss is innate, doubled into our soul, our DNA? By now, life has chewed me and juiced me, enough to prove my goodness. I'm tossing the locks, keeping the doors open, letting the holy blow through, not for my sake, but ours. Happy dissolves ugly, like alka seltzer in water, fizz fizz, 'cuz ugly isn't real, isn't true, can't endure. I rest my case.

the emperor is happy

                                    the elephant is loose
                                     tell everyone.



Geoffrey Jaques

I don't know what I'm doing
night sounds whoosh and whimper
Coleman Hawkins humming the moon
a lover anointed with plums

Seasonal plaster & dirt draping each objct like a cool

---each mite gathering in every corner
the melody drifting away over rooftops



Ron Alexander


In last year's annual poetry workshop, Irene,
the ashen woman in the floral caftan who sat
in her own folding chair next to the door, said
she could not listen to poems that were not rhymed,
said she preferred villanelles but as long
as a poem was at least rhymed, she would listen.
To emphasize her point, she opened her purse
and removed a stained meat cleaver, which she held
in her lap for the rest of the day. We set
a record for the most villanelles produced in a single day
in the history of writing workshops, which only goes
to show how a little helpful incentive can stimulate
the creative process. This year, we have emailed
Irene, telling her we look forward to her return.

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