Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Sampling of Rhysling Award Eligible Poems from 2009

A sampling of my Rhysling Award eligible poems from 2009. Publication credits are printed at the bottom after the poems.



No be-bop, no swing,
just the blues, slow blues.
That’s all they want.
That’s all we play.

What do these aliens feel
when they close their eyes,
sway slowly to human music?

Before their dinner,
I pop a couple black market judies,
washed down with imitation bourbon.
When they kick in, I close my own eyes,
visualize a different time,
playing Le Cercle Rouge back in New Chicago,
my horn floating over Tony’s bass riff
and Amy’s inverted chords.

After the show,
the guards lock us up in our small rooms.
I dream of aliens,
bug-eyed with sharp yellow teeth.
No judies at night.
I have to save those for the stage (And no,
I won’t share the unspeakable things
I do to get them).

The next night, they bring us back out
through the kitchen, always
through the kitchen,
past that night’s dinner:
women, children first.
Their dumb eyes, tear-stained,
plead silently.

And every night,
the manager comes up to the stage,
nods back toward the kitchen,
sneers and says,
“You boys better play well tonight.”


City of Bridges

I am the Keeper of Bridges
in the City of Bridges.
The Travelers always ask
where the bridge will take them.
I tell them Heaven;
I tell them Hell;
I tell them the Void
and there's no turning back.
I always lie.
They always believe.

If it's late October
and the snow falls early,
I might tell them that the bridge
will take them to May
and the first breath of spring.
I will say that it's a long walk,
but in the middle there’s a diner
with pie and coffee,
shelter and cigarettes.

I may promise that the world
of their dreams lies on the other side
but that the journey will change them
and their dreams will lose all meaning.

If it is a lost child, I might say,
“The bridge will take you home.”

I never reveal the truth:
that this is the City of Bridges
where Bridge
leads to Bridge
leads to Bridge. . .


This Is Not A Test

Sign here: ________________________

Cut along the dotted lines of your disguise.
What will you do with the pieces
still smoldering in your hands?

Cutting releases endorphins
and can help you forget.
How will you explain the scars?

Initial one, and only one, of the following:
____Anna says you’ve lost your sense of humor.
____It’s not supposed to be like this.
____Your head hurts. You don’t know who you are.
____The walls are closing in the walls are closing in the walls. . .

Your reflection appears only in broken mirrors.
How does that make you feel?

Did you take your medication as directed?
Are you sure?

True or False: The coefficient of relative materialism
is the inverse of static dimensional capacity.
Explain your answer. Use exactly 100 words.

While this is not a test, do remember
that all answers must be correct
and time is a factor.



The way I look at my wrist
to check the time
when I’ve left my watch at home,

the way my lungs breath,
my heart beats,
without deliberate thought,

the way, after all this time,
I still reach for you
in our empty bed,

the way I gaze into the night
expecting the moon to be there,
the way I can’t adjust

to its absence.



Pretend that time moves forward
in rivers of dark blue light,
a continuous slow glide,
twisting in helical fugues.

Add year after year,
date upon date
(36,526 and counting).

Invent virtual positronic aluminum futures
or regenerated cellular infinities,
worlds enough
and time to explore all
of them, each one and every.

Forget the universe,
expanding, counting down,
down and down
toward Zero.


In the Precinct of Night

He scans the perimeter
before trampling feet can
obscure any clues:
a stray shell casing perhaps,
a spot of blood
that might become a trail
or some personal article
carelessly dropped in a hasty escape.

Then, finally, the body itself,
mute, but with one grim story left to tell,
a story the detective
always manages to decipher,
pieced together from fragments
hidden in shadow.

The one mystery he cannot solve
is his own:
why he so often feels
that his words and actions
are not really his,
but somehow predetermined

and why
he dreams in color
though he lives in a world
of black and white.


The Dragon’s Lament
for Mary A. Turzillo

There is
no treasure here,
no maiden to be saved.
And yet, they come and keep coming,
these knights,

these fools,
craving my flame.
They will not let me be
though I have allowed none to leave

though I
have paved the path
to my cave with the skulls
of their dead to tell them: “Keep Out.
Keep Out!”

I will hunt them,
reduce them all to ash
and finally be left alone,
in peace.


Letter to Poe

You’re wrong.
Hearts tell no tales.
Body after body
buried in my cellar – and all
lie still.


Intraocular Implant

The lens
in my right eye
should last for thirty years.
What then, might it see after I
am gone?

Chaos Theory

hides in shadow,
strikes like a copperhead –
swift, and until one feels his fangs,

“Cabaret,” Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine (Vol. 33, No.3. Whole Number 398. Dell Publishing, New York, New York. March 2009) Editor: Sheila Williams (swilliams (at) dellmagazines (dot) net).

“City of Bridges,” Sybil’s Garage (No. 6, Senses Five Press. Hoboken, New Jersey. 2009) Editor/Publisher: Matthew Kressel (matt (at) sensesfive (dot) com).

“This Is Not A Test,” Sein und Werden 21(Vol. 4, No. 1. Manchester, England. Summer 2009. Disc Edition) Editor/Publisher: Rachel Kendall (r(underscore)p(underscore)kendall (at) hotmail (dot) com).

“Autonomic,” Hessler Street Fair 2009 Poetry Anthology (Cleveland Heights, Ohio. 2009) Editor: Joshua Gage (pottygok (at) yahoo (dot) com).

“Entropy,” Raven Electrick (Tujunga, California. March 2009) Editor/Publisher: Karen A. Romanko (karen (at) romanko (dot) org).

“In the Precinct of Night,” Cinema Spec: Tales of Hollywood and Fantasy (Raven Electrick Ink. Tujunga, California. 2009) Editor/Publisher: Karen A. Romanko (karen (at) romanko (dot) org).

“Dragon’s Lament,” for Mary A. Turzillo, Amaze: The Cinquain Journal (#17: Volume 7, No. 1. Temple City, California. Spring 2009) Editor/Publisher: Deborah P Kolodji (Dkolodji (at) aol (dot) com).

“Letter to Poe,” “Intraocular Implant” and “Chaos Theory,” Intrinsic Night (Sam’s Dot Publishing, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 2009) Editor/Publisher: Tyree Campbell (tyr3403 (at) yahoo (dot) com).

Feel free to email me if you'd like any additional info on these (jestanley (at) cox (dot) net).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Paper Crow, Issue #0

Now available from Elektrik Milk Bath Press with work by:
Marcie Lynn Tentchoff, Noel Sloboda, Darrell Lindsey, Stephanie Smith, Karen L. Newman, Ken Goodman, John Nichols, Marsheila Rockwell, Marge Simon, Elizabeth Lee, Bruce Boston, Aurelio Rico Lopez III, Charles Saplak, Lori Strongin, Thomas Zimmerman, Lida Broadhurst, David Siegel, Bernstein, David C. Kopaska-Merkel, H. Edgar Hix, William P. Robertson, Pam Marin-Kingsley, Ray Succre, Gerri Leen, Greg Schwartz, Colin James, Joshua Gage, J. E. Stanley, Kristine Ong Muslim, Christian Ward, James S. Dorr and irving.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Intrinsic Night

Due in November from Sam's Dot Publishing.

Pre-Orders now being accepted at The Genre Mall:

Cover art and design by Scott Virtes.

Review by Stefanie Maclin of The Simmons Voice (Simmons College, Boston):
Intrinsic Night: Poetry Collection Combines Science with Folklore

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just Out: Sybil's Garage, Number 6

Let's all get on the G train and take a ride into speculative land. Descartes had it right. Cogito ergo Sybil.

When you lie awake dreaming at night, do you know that Sybil lies awake and dreams about you?

Here's what else Sybil dreams: She dreams of a world where humans are an endangered species. A universe where creatures are born, live, and die without ever touching the ground. She dreams of a town where once a year all men go mad, and of a community where basketball becomes the artbiter of life or death. Where children are trees that live in the desert and where ghosts drink your whiskey when your husband's away. And when she awakes, Sybil wonders if you still exist, or if you were just a figment of her imagination.

Cogito ergo Sybil indeed.

Table of Contents

Liz Bourke — “The Girl”
Donna Burgess — “Ashes”
Lyn C. A. Gardner — “God’s Cat”
Alex Dally MacFarlane — “The Wat”
Susannah Mandel — “Metamorphic Megafauna”
Tracie McBride — “An Ill Wind”
Kristen McHenry — “Museum”
Jaime Lee Moyer — “One by Moonlight ”
Daniel A. Rabuzzi — “Backsight”
Michel Sauret — “Brick Wall Giants”
Michel Sauret — “Son of Man”
J.E. Stanley — “City of Bridges”
Sonya Taaffe — “Skiadas”
Marcie Lynn Tentchoff — “Sun-Kissed”

Rumjhum Biswas — “Mother’s Garden”
K. Tempest Bradford — “Élan Vital” (read online now)
Autumn Canter — “Day of the Mayfly”
Becca De La Rosa — “Not the West Wind”
Eric Del Carlo — “Come the Cold”
Jason Heller — “The Raincaller”
Paul Jessup — “Heaven’s Fire ”
Vylar Kaftan — “Fulgurite”
Keffy R. M. Kehrli — “Machine Washable”
Sean Markey — “Waiting for the Green Woman”
James B. Pepe — “I am Enkidu, his Wild Brother”
Simon Petrie — “Downdraft”
Genevieve Valentine — “The Drink of Fine Gentlemen Everywhere”
Stephanie Campisi — “Drinking Black Coffee at the Jasper Grey Café”
Toiya Kristen Finley — “Eating Ritual”
Donald Norum — “An Old Man Went Fishing on the Sea of Red”

Interview with Paul Tremblay by Devin Poore

Saturday, May 16, 2009

From Matthew Kressel's Senses Five Press blog

We use the word "billions" quite often when speaking of the universe. But, unless I'm mistaken, there are only about 4,000 stars visible to the naked eye.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sampling of Rhysling Award-Eligible Poems from 2008

A sampling of my Rhysling Award eligible poems from 2008 (a handful of cinquains and a ghazal). Publication credits are printed at the bottom after the poems.

Sunset, Monument Valley, Utah

monoliths rise
from the barren desert,
red, like the russet hues of Mars,
like home.


Distant Cousins of Kerouac on the Outskirts of Europa

On the
sheerest of wings,
we ride the solar wind,
trying to lose our selves -- and find


The Oracle of West 25th Street

I see
right through her scam.
Still, she claims to know my
future. “Dust,” she says, “and ash. Dust
and ash.”


Escape Clause

the mind’s “I” lost
in endlessly looping
detours of charged electrical



weigh down the dead,
enforce the claims of earth
and ash-- all memories of sky


Lunaticus (in D Minor)

With steel and fire, we fly to the moon.
Apollo reveals a new sky from the moon.

Lunar depths house the machinery of gods
in this vast cosmic storm whose true eye is the moon.

Artemis unleashes the arrows of Fate.
With the blood of her prey, she baptizes the moon.

The river returns variations of night.
In untempered song, it reprises the moon.

Lilith would promise you undying life
through venom and lust. She trades lies with the moon.

With no light of its own, it survives each eclipse
while prophets predict the demise of the moon.

Its origin debated, a mystery, unknown;
only I know the how and the why of the moon.

The poet is lost, seduced once again
by the unadorned flash of white thigh ‘neath the moon.

© Copyright 2008. J.E. Stanley.

Publication Info:

“Sunset, Monument Valley, Utah,” Scifaikuest (Issue 20: Vol. V, No. 4, Sam’s Dot Publishing, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. May 2008, Online Edition). Editor: Teri Santitoro at

“Distant Cousins of Kerouac on the Outskirts of Europa” and “Resolution,” Scifaikuest, Featured Poet Section (Issue 20: Vol. V, No. 4, Sam’s Dot Publishing, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. May 2008, Print Edition) Editor: Teri Santitoro at

“The Oracle of West 25th Street,” Scifaikuest, Featured Poet Section (Issue 20: Vol. V, No. 4, Sam’s Dot Publishing, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. May 2008, Print Edition) Editor: Teri Santitoro at Reprinted in Sein und Werden 18: Memento Mori (Vol. 3, No. 2. Manchester, England. Autumn 2008, Print Edition) Editor: Rachel Kendall at

“Escape Clause,” Sein und Werden 17: Sein; Cosein; Tangent (Vol. 3, No. 1. Manchester, England. Summer 2008. Print Edition) Editor: Rachel Kendall at

“Lunaticus (in D Minor),”The Ghazal Page: The Moon Radif Challenge (Rolla, Missouri. July 2008. Online at Editor: Gino Peregrini at