Thursday, May 28, 2009


Yes, being an internet journal has it's high points. For one, you get to use a "z" instead of an "s" without feeling shame down to your bones. Also, I get to instantly publish poems for any and all to read at any point. I've heard a lot of people (myself included, in the past) go on and on about the importance of print poetry journals, but for what OSFR is, it could only really function on a website at this point. But there are some low points, too. Blooger sucks. Yes, I said it. Though I am not good with computers and will have to do major research and work to figure out how to start a new website with all the previous posts included. The main issue I have now is with commenting...apparently people are having a hard time doing it. Not sure what to tell seems to work fine if you have gmail (or any sort of google account). Formatting has been a problem for me as well. Not sure why, but the blog has seemed to become self-aware and decided that it dislikes formatting poems correctly. While I constantly try to get it to say its name backwards to make it vanish into another dimension, I still have to work hard to get it to correctly format poems with kooky fonts or wacky line/stanza breaks. Be aware that formatting can sometimes be hard; bear with me. Anyway, keep submitting, and if you're in Chicago, by golly sign up to read! -Russell

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Featured Poet: Peycho Kanev

"Peycho Kanev is 28 years old. He loves to listen to sad music while he drinks slowly his beer. His work has been published in Word Riot, Gloom Cupboard, Poetry Cemetery, Nerve Cowboy, The Chiron Review, The Guild of Outsider Writers, Spoken War, Side of Grits, Southern Ocean Review and many others. He loves to put the word down and not talking on the cell phone for days. He is nominated for Pushcart Award. He lives in Chicago. Alone." scream in the afternoon the sun is high again and it looks to me like an enemy, outside in the hot street an old lady stands by the curb under the shadow of a tree and she looks like my mama and she looks like your mama I ask my self where my luck is. it has ran away like a river of sweat in this hot summer afternoon and the old woman is gone and the sun is about to set as I wait as I shiver thru the endless day and thru all the wasted loves I fell asleep again and this poem become silent for ever. the beast the beast is so lonely… and the beast and the prey are looking for each other- to become their blood mutual. the blood of the prey is vulture into the veins of the beast, doomed for loneliness. and happy blood- with desperate and sorrowfully passion the recluse possesses it. the love of the beast is all in red. for N. confession you are sun light sun light walking around you just don’t know how good you are you play with my seriousness make me laugh when you comb your hair all the gods come down from the mountain and watch you are the woman than all the women should have been it doesn’t matter how you turn your body or what you say it is perfect diamond perfect cut perfect glow and when you get the blues I got the blues because I don’t want you to get the blues in all my life I have never said to another woman that I love her now I say it to you and I know that I will carry you always in me inside outside at my fingertips at the edge of my brain and in the center in the center of what I am of what remains.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Re-featured poet: Barry Frauman

Happy belated Memorial Day from the (Russell, oft-involved Becky, friends) staff of O Sweet Flowery Roses! Please find more poems from Barry Frauman below. No, we are not hard up for submissions quite yet, but Barry is the first poet signed up for the Super Duper Blowout Chicago Reading (date, time, et. al: TBA)!

Let me know if'n your down to read and I'll put you up on the list!


I dreamt of you Tony in morning twilight,

that you were admitted to hospital care

not sick, not well,

that I was your room-mate,

not ill at all.

You wore silk pajamas, white, I think,

your hair thick and dark, a few strands of gray.

Your body flourished, exciting and strong,

I ached to sex you.

Instead we unpacked, each one for the other,

together, happy.

We talked long and warmly about... can’t recall,

more friendship of love than in stormy life-days,

the tension of AIDS.






he first of my heart is quiet, certain

and serene as all the Buddhas.

When I err, when for a fraction of a second

I am not quite honest, the motion of his eyes,

their change of light, point back the truth to me

with no less love than in our perfect harmony.

He is my soul.

* * * * *

My other love maintains there is no soul

there is no God

there is no human life

outside the robot masses of our time

stampeding all his words into my brain;

yet deep within, his fury seeks affection:

At a crowded café, not too gay,

he cornered me with a hug;

and then one night, good-bye at his door,

he beamed when I kissed his beautiful face.

* * * * *

The eyes of my soul are in white white skin

under jetblack hair.

He is young-tree slender and elastic,

shoulders open and embracing

even when his arms are down.

The breeze nestles in his thick black thatch,

dreaming of eternal June, and he has

the soul of a tree in young manhood,

sometimes playful, more often stilled

in the half-smile of serene growing.

* * * * *

He calls himself fat, that's a laugh,

short wiry devil-dark mustache,

eyes of gray lightning.

* * * * *

Hello to you! Yes to you!

From all my soul to all my soul I call.

You are the tree in whose branches I nestle,

the lightning will not strike.

Your faults are like a summer shower,

soon to dry away.

* * * * *

Leaping to your feet? still fast asleep?

Thinking of you, wondering how you are,

I wake up late and slowly Sunday morning,

glasses on the table from last evening

stilled into the memories of fun.

Now silent, mostly empty, they'll sit out

the hour or two until I get to them.

Ever think of weekends you were here?

We've showered music breakfast yes or no,

it doesn't matter all that much,

we've had our sexy talky turbulence.

I won’t approach your nakedness now,

tempting though it is,

but will instead anticipate a lingering good-bye.

What are your plans?

* * * * *

The greatest number of people,

whose kin are family-tree,

would not understand my joy in you,

beloved keeper of our light.

I have small knowledge of your prior years,

I did not see the steps you took

to form the inner workings of your life,

a discipline so perfect and serene,

that you should be a beacon to us all..

You grow and thrive around a core of stillness,

a happy silent purity

toward which my restless spirit stretches endlessly..

You never come to me to lay confusion,

but work a trouble through then hail me

to share your joy in hard-won resolution.

* * * * *

Ten A.M. Sunday thunderhissing discoblitz

you shut the door against the din so we can talk

your rage boils up at years of sexual repression

your lightning strikes the wordhouse you have built

as shelter from the storms you generate.

I lash past your downpouring sentences

to bring my love to your intelligence

and turn your storming elements to sunforce.

Burning tired your head falls to my shoulder

still you say you do not feel love

it must be no right now, maybe not forever,

but firmly for this time you back away.

* * * * *

You let me rant about the world's nonsense,

then you embrace me.

* * * * *

Better this way you say in the labyrinth

of bar-and-bath nightmerchant anonymity.

Better this way than learning in the hurt

of amorous friendship somehow gone awry.

* * * * *

Remember the time you stayed during the week?

I’m sure it was December snowy rainy

muddy morning grumbling down to work.

The sidewalks were in slush,

we made the bus-stop walking in the street.

The night before I’d lain down at your side,

though I still mourned the parting of another.

As we were trudging slave-like in the grayness

toward the dreary obligations of the day,

I felt my guilt glide up into my throat.

With gentle indirection you forgave.

Your compassion that sad day gave birth

to the sweet closeness all our own

that keeps us free of all the cushioned traps

the gray Decembering world sets

to ground the flight of those who love.

* * * * *

You say, "I’ve never felt... whatever it is,

but that's alright, I live from day to day.

If somehow I could change, that would be nice,

but I don't count on anyone, OK?"

* * * * *

In front of your house good-night, I’ll call you soon.

Our hug is long and strong,

and always with the imprint of your face,

you touch me in my quiet tender place.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Featured Poet: Felino Soriano

This is Felino Soriano's second submission, but everyone should check out Counterexample Poetics for unfiltered astonishment. Editor's note: Happy birthday to me! Felino Soriano (California) is a case manager working with developmentally and physically disabled adults. He is the editor of the online journal, Counterexample Poetics,, which focuses on International interpretations of experimental, philosophical, post-postmodern, and avant-garde poetry, art, and photography. He is the author of five chapbooks and e-books, including Among the Interrogated (BlazeVOX [books], 2008) Feeling Through Mirages (Shadow Archer Press, 2008) and Calling Toward Clarity (Chippens Press, 2009), and also has a mini-chapbook forthcoming from Wheelhouse Magazine. The internal collocation of philosophical studies with classic and avant-garde jazz explains his poetic stimulation. Website: Painters’ Exhalations 118 —after Bridget Riley’s Edge of Light Light needn’t sky born, or shape create happenstance below, soil level or other cliché developed notion decided on a shelf of predetermination. Birds sketch a clawing scratch vertical road from sky elsewhere leading to twig architecture, feeding opportunity, as light illuminates in constant etching into echoes dissipating only as dusk hands begin the painting of exaggerated gray. Painters’ Exhalations 119 —after Aleksandr Grigor'evich Tyshler’s The Wedding Somewhat deciphered by the citizens whose cataract emotion matches eros amid walkers during night purchasing intimacy through paycheck deposits for affection laced with uncertainty and thought’s edges protruding the forehead’s soft tissue. Here the ceremony unfolded structure capitalizing on sun’s open hand throws italicizing vows and intertwining reading of scripture. Hands exchange third finger symbols casting aside absence for platinum platitude, though the spectrum of smiles erases the monotony of the specialized moment. Painters’ Exhalations 120 —after Mark Cesark’s Grey Area This is language. Two hands held in fisted reality hiding bodies of truth or fiction behind the overused back of trickery asking choice of relevance above interpretational guesses. Human claws at dichotomies. Splaying too far from routine brush blends anxiety into parallel thinking of the body-normality excusing nervousness from the eyes’ visual safety. Many want sharpened edges of black or white. Maze circles segregated or introduced into factual tongues speaking newness— the area of vellum’s spectrum wide wingspan creating inability to travel emotionless away from supported measures the mind ambulates in complete control. Painters’ Exhalations 121 —after José Bedia’s Isla Bonita Impressionist interpretation of a woman’s unworn, strapless, high-heeled stiletto. Stilled away from walking’s many efforts providing a layered rendition beautiful faced woman interrogated by wind’s rhythmic, ugly hands. Trees border the silhouette metaphor walking tired among forest resting near water’s diamond recreation. If man resides here soon the heel will wear, become a broken semblance of identity prior to the overbearing bludgeon of self -righteous motives. Painters’ Exhalations 122 —after Thanet Awsinsiri’s Under the Shade We proclaim protection. Said by the promise of illusion. The protected is not alphabetic dissertations elaborating the body’s many functions. The body bare is at its unpeeled genesis actuating ensuing movement if desire overwhelms stagnant curses tattooing the limbs of extravagant reason. Where wind and walls simultaneously converse.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Gird your loins and plug up any and all available orifices, because this news will undoubtedly blow you away, out, and all around:
O Sweet Flowery Roses will be holding its third blowout reading in Chicago this July!
While plans are still being worked out, if you are interested in reading and live in the Chicagoland area, please email me (Russell) and let me know. The reading will most likely take place near the end of July!
Hope to hear from you all,
Russell Jaffe

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Featured Poet: Mike Berger, PhD

Your mother would be happy to know that OSFR has some return poets coming up- Barry Frauman and Felino Soriano! Enjoy this mother's day weekend and please keep checking back for more poet(ry, ics). Today's poet is Mike Berger, PhD!

"I am 72 years old. I have a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and was a practicing psychotherapist for 30 years. I am now fully retired. I have authored two books of short stories. I have published in numerous professional journals. I have freelanced for more than 20 years. My humor pieces Clyde and Goliath, Good Grief Columbus, and If Noah Built the Ark Today have won awards. I am now writing poetry full-time. I have many pursuits which include sculpting, painting, gardening and baking bread. My forcaccia is to die for."


I wondered whether it was like

to take a bubble bath. Born in

the depression, we were too poor

for such frivolous things.

I was too macho for such wussy

things when I was in my teens.

I wouldn't get caught dead in the bath

with 1 million bubbles while I was going

to college.

I didn't have time after I graduated

to indulge in such a frivolity. It was

a quick shower and off to the grind.

Now I'm retired and my wife works.

At last I have my chance. I started

the water and poured in a bottle

of a bubble bath.

Bubbles fill the tub and overflowed

obscuring the bathroom floor. Soon

the stuff was up to my knees. I

struggled to find the tap to turn the

water off.

As I stand here looking at the mass;

I ask what do you do with 1 million bubbles?

I'm thinking I should have waited a little longer

and taking them back after I was dead.


The neighbors yard was a menace.

He never cut the grass. The rosebushes

had died from lack of care and the ivy

on this side of the house were now

stringy brown.

I never saw him go to work. I wondered

what he did. His friends would come at

all hours and played rancorous music

just above a threshold of pain.

They were all rough looking with long hair

and a variety of beards. The women who

must have been easy they had mattresses

strapped to their backs.

In the middle of the night I was awakened

by a thunderous crash. The street outside

what is lined with cars and two police


I understand my neighbor has a green

some. The cops haul them all away

along with forty weed plants.


Twisting Baroque art

etched into vermillion

cliffs It sings a Bach melody.

A dark blue river

provides a foil, highlighting

the mazes of scars

carved deep into


Brilliant red strata


A dizzy labyrinth

Touches streaked red sky.

Sunrays painting specters on

canyon walls as

they chase fickle shadows.

Lonely sagebrush clings.

Deep shadows reigns

where sun light hides.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Robert Walton: Bio and (awesome) author photo

Yeah, you're going to want to click on this picture. Remember, readers: send along a bio and three poems whenever you submit! I taught at San Lorenzo Middle School in King City, California for thirty-six years before retiring in June of 2006. Phyllis, my wife of 37 years, and I still reside in King City. We have two sons – Jeremy, thirty-one and Jon, twenty-six. I am a life-long rock-climber and mountaineer. I've made numerous ascents in the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite. Three of my short stories about climbing were published in the Sierra Club's Ascent. Others appeared in "High" magazine, "Loose Scree" and in "The Climbing Art". I converted a story named "Three's a Crowd" into a radio play and it was broadcast on KUSF on November 22nd, 2006. It was later broadcast several more times on PBS. Much of my poetry reflects my time in the mountains. A few of my poems have been published in journals and on websites.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Triple threat: Call for submissions, Applewood Revue event, Robert Walton poem

Why, you should hop on the wild ride and submit poems to O Sweet Flowery Roses. Yes, event time is upon us once again. Sean Lyman Frasier + Michael Gorman's Applewood Revue is a-rollin' into Brooklyn on its steam-powered go-matic contraption. The last one of these I went to absolutely brought the house down; it was the kind of magical event that makes people migrate to legendary New York City. The folk songs were fun and uplifting, the poetry was poignient, and the music of the band Go Cat Go was nothing short of a metaphysical feeling wherein the waters of the mind's most beutiful creek flowed between the hard tin camping vessels for water (which doubled as drums) all within the confines of Flushnik Studios. I strongly urge anyone in the NYC area to truck/boat/plane it out for this one. The details: Flusnik Studios 698 Flushing Ave Brooklyn NYC 7:30 PM doors open and FREE food served (Editor's note: the food is really amazing. Do not do like your humble editor and gorp down 9 lbs of pizza before a party with delicious homemade pasta and fresh baked bread) 8:00 PM performances begin Free Entry, Free Food, Cheap Drinks (You may BYOB) Spoken word performers: Susan Brennan, Niall Connolly, Liz Afton, Ed Malone, and Sean Lyman Frasier Musicians: Alexa Woodward, Jo Williamson, Bern and the Brights, and Michael Gorman Robert Walton didn't send anything but this poem, which I think is befitting of the revival-stylings of the upcoming Applewood Revue performance. Poem by Robert Walton: Above Parker Lake Snowmelt waterfall Bursting bright, Crystal tresses flung Across ebon cliffs - Impatient girl With all of time To brush your hair But none to spare This morning.