note from editor:

"Divination" by Helen Vitoria

Seeing as Phantom Kangaroo has published almost 200 poems, I think it’s time I streamline the site. I’ve done away with the line index for issue no. 15 and, — in the next couple months, — I hope to create category links for poems, so that PK is easier to navigate. Also, contributor bios are now published on the same page as their respective poems. 

 

With that said, this issue of Phantom Kangaroo includes dead girls, foreign horoscopes, witch-inspired rhymes and an alien car collision. Enjoy! 

  

Claudia Lamar, April 2012

 

 

 

 

 

Artist Bio: Helen Vitoria’s poems can be found and are forthcoming in: elimae, PANK, MudLuscious Press, >kill author, Foundling Review, FRIGG Magazine and Dark Sky Magazine and many others. She is the author of four chapbooks and a full length poetry collection: Corn Exchange is forthcoming from Scrambler Books. Her poems have been nominated for Best New Poets & the Pushcart Prize. She is also an angsty photographer and math and sports make her cry. She is the Founding Editor and Editor in Chief of THRUSH Poetry Journal & THRUSH Press. Find her here: http://helenvitoria-lexis.blogspot.com/

Clarification

When she left the wolf,

She came out cawing, all teeth,

His belly a cave.

 

The woodsman refused

Her the axe.  On the mantle

Still: dark fur, pale bone.  

 

A murder, tell the

Child, names any group of crows.

Even old mothers.

 

 

 

 

 

Alicia A. Curtis lives in Lawrenceville, GA with a photographer, a cat and ten fish. She enjoys bird-watching, divination, and listening to the wind. Her poetry has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in "Gothic Poems and Flash Fiction", “Abramelin”, “This Great Society”, and “The Last Man Anthology”.  

Australian Horoscope

The Magpie, March 21-April 20

 

The sun will return and engulf your realm with sublime lights.

You have to seize the opportunity and capture the cherry blossom

before the return of the owl. The sun will make you amaze people

with enigma and light.

 

The Kookaburras, April 21-May 21

 

The leaves of the tree woman begin to fall. That is a bad omen.

But if you are brave enough, you can bring luck through chasing

the sunrise in Antarctica.

 

The Bowerbird, May 22-June 21

 

You can’t imagine how mysterious your life would be

if you dwell in the cave for a period of time just to ponder.

And if you like to cast a spell on the opposite sex, just forget

about decorating your bower because simplicity has its enigma, too.

 

The Rainbow Lorikeet, June 22-July 22

 

Just keep looking at the horizons because your luck

is buried in a little cloud that is hiding behind the rainbow.

The day you will shoot that cloud with your arrow,

the rain will fall and fill in your empty buckets with water of luck.

 

The Kangaroo, July 23-August 23

 

Your heart is telling you to stand just in the middle and watch.

But your fate is going to be hit by a beefy brawny buffalo if you don’t move.

If you find it difficult to move, just begin with trivial things.

Try to change your pillow. Maybe, a new pillow can make your life start afresh.

 

The Rabbit, August 24-September 22

 

Don’t drink water all day not just to experience thirst,

but also to remember that your life is inundated with water.

So if you like your life to be always fertile just don’t deny the water

and grow a rose in the desert to poison any daring snake.

 

The Koala, September 23-October 23

 

The crow is coming again cawing to encumber your weary soul.

So just follow that flock of sparrows and listen to their songs—

a panacea for all your aches.

Music will fill your termite-infested room with fresh air.

 

The Emu, October 24- November 22

 

Never lock your horse in the stable. Just saddle it and start out

trying to surpass the howling wind. When rekindled, your innate power

can grow olive trees in the North Pole.

 

The Crocodile, November 23-December 21

 

If you start eating a pizza, just finish it all.

Nothing can infest your life but those crocodile tears.

Don’t play the role of the victim.

You shall overcome all obstacles, if you don’t throw

half of your pizza in the dustbin.

 

The Turtle, December 22-January 20

 

Some people with prosthetic limbs did cage the dragon.

So just uncage fear from your heart,

and don’t forget that Venus is watching over you

on top of your shell.

 

The Eucalyptus, January 21-February 18

 

Welcome to the wilderness!

Finally, you are going to learn how to sleep

without blankets next to thousands of scorpions.

 

The Redback Spider, February 19-March 20

 

If you don’t know the goat’s monologues in the

haunted cave, you are missing out like a crazy.

What you need is some strangeness to spice up

the emptiness of your life.

 

 

 

 

 

Ali Znaidi lives in Redeyef, Tunisia. He graduated with a BA in Anglo-American Studies in 2002. He teaches English at Tunisian public secondary schools. He writes poetry and has an interest in literature, languages, and literary translation. He likes to smoke while sipping tea with mint. His pen aspires to write something white on a black cloud before the rain falls. His work has appeared in The Bamboo Forest. Two tiny poems are due to be published respectively in April and May in fortunates.org. He writes flash fiction for the Six Sentence Social Network — http://sixsentences.ning.com/profile/AliZnaidi. 

Natalie

On his lips

the back and forth of darkening vowels

sets my thighs dripping like slow jazz

He buys me a second drink and I can feel my lips

unfastening like a black corset

Newspaper says the last girl

was strangled with her own scarf

and put out with the garbage

like a botched abortion

It has been 200 days since my hands have touched

another living thing

The grainy image on a security camera

tells my future better than tarot or tea leaves

His hands on my throat an electric shock

the color of rubies

 

 

 

 

 

Amber Decker is an undergraduate student majoring in English literature. Her writing has been featured internationally in numerous publications, both in print and online, and her latest full-length collection of poems is Lost Girls. Currently, she lives with her husband in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia where she watches werewolf movies and wastes countless hours playing video games. She blogs semi-regularly at http://roughverse.wordpress.com.

The Unpredicted

In the brown-walled den,

fingers on the pale triangle,

we asked our questions.

 

The answers were never clear,

but sometimes the spirits spoke:

 

rattle of windowpanes,

flicker of a street lamp,

a hushed, certain tap.

 

We held our breaths for initials

of ethereal husbands.

 

Now I lie with a warm possibility,

Ouija pronouncements hovering

in the future they skated to,

and I start to remember them all—

It's strange what love levitates.

 

In felt-footed dark, my unpredicted

spells out a past the board didn't know:

 

First love with The Farm Girl,

soft hulk of regret; fish that ate

each other one afternoon in the tank.

 

I conjure the tabby cat, dead

of kidney failure while I sang

in the children’s choir, his meow

hazy as the tenor line.

 

And then it materializes

in the feline glow of midnight—

 

The glint in his yellow-brown eyes

as he pawed the blue house

to the peak of the roof.

 

 

 

 

 

Anne Butler, a Virginia native, is currently an Los Angeles-based actor/singer who fell in love with poetry many years ago, while studying theater in San Francisco. On the corner of Bush Street and Grant Avenue, to the tune of lone a street saxophonist, she picked up The Words Under the Words by Naomi Shihab Nye and read every word. Now, in addition to reading, she writes! When she is not on stage or agonizing in front of a computer screen, she enjoys long walks, tea lattes, and the more-than-occasional X-Files re-run.

The Country at Night

Above a thousand fireflies twitter, their glow like shimmering yellow citrines. The bugs become flames. Stalks of corn resemble citronella torches, flames swaying in the wind. We don’t intend on turning back to extinguish the flames; don’t have the time. We don’t care, her and I. Excluding the rush of the wind and the crackling of burning husks, the fields are silent. Only nature is present. Only nature is present scares us. Then a thumping. She claims footsteps. I claim heartbeats. Moonlight blinds us, like truck high beams on a country road. Glancing back, I find the light bouncing back towards my eyes from something straight. Something sharp.  Something drawing closer. “Please don’t let it get us,” she whispers, but her voice is too faint for me to hear, for my legs lift me away, like a soul exiting a body. Stalks bend as I dash. She’s bumped to the ground. Part of me leaves her there. Part of me returns.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

C.M. Humphries is the author of forthcoming horror novel Excluded, and his shorter works appear in Full of Crow Quarterly, Fashion for Collapse, among others. He is a graduate of Ball State University (Muncie, IN). In another life, he walks around the night.

The Lime-Green Smear

At the side of the freeway

trembling, staring at his shoes,

the truck driver tells

the police officer his story,

a story about having to deliver

500 gallons of paint from El Paso

to Phoenix, how even though the lock

always slipped apart, nothing had ever

fallen out the back, how he didn’t even know

it was possible for a paint can

traveling at 70 miles per hour

to crash through a windshield,

hit somebody in the head

and only knock him unconscious

for a few minutes, how he was sorry

about the unsightly mess of lime green

but how lime green beats blood red any day.

 

Later, light-years above the freeway

chuckling, doubling over,

a space alien will tell

a few buddies his story,

a story about traveling far to assume

the form of a human between El Paso

and Phoenix, how he collided

with a car, briefly transforming

from solid to liquid, how he didn’t even know

it was possible for a hyper-intelligent being

traveling faster than the speed of light

to infiltrate the human race so shoddily,

have to pretend to be a miraculously saved man

and answer the questions of a fool in blue

for a few minutes, how he erased the memories

of all including the truck driver, whose green paint

played into the dullness of Occam’s razor.

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel M. Shapiro is a schoolteacher who lives in Pittsburgh. He is the author of three chapbooks: The 44th-Worst Album Ever (NAP Books, forthcoming), Trading Fours (Pudding House Press, forthcoming), and Teeth Underneath (FootHills Publishing). He is the co-author of Interruptions (Pecan Grove Press), a collection of collaborations with Jessy Randall. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Chiron Review, Gargoyle, RHINO, Sentence, and Forklift, Ohio. His poetry website is http://littlemyths-dms.blogspot.com/

Girl on the Highway

she went missing midsummer.

 

she was last seen,

alive out by the highway 

and with no clothes on.

 

when the police came she was gone,

like a squirrel on a tin roof at dawn.

a ghost.

a memory.

someone's little girl, lost.

 

then when she was forgotten,

by all but her mother, who carried 

her picture always, she was found;

by boys who were not looking,

as the gold is often found,

in the ground-by dumb luck.

 

in a cabin,

in deep woods,

she was

decaying.

 

 

 

 

 

D.S. Jones is a poet from Indiana. His influences range from Bukowski to Tennyson. He has sold poems to Black Heart Magazine and Danse Macabre, An Online Literary Journal. His prose has been published in Bare Back Magazine, Shotgun Honey, and is featured in the Told You So Anthology from Pill Hill Press. Visit thepoetdsjones.com to learn more.

Witch Wind

"That is no breeze," the young girl says,

"It's a witch's breath exhaling.

And better that you stay indoors,

Before it starts to wailing

And ripping branches free

Of trees, and snapping

Wildflowers at the stem

And with incessant rapping

At your door, begging you open,

So as to sweep you in her flow.

Better a knife blade in the heart,

Than be a witch's beau."

I thank her for her warning then,

Say I will stay indoors,

Not open up to anything,

No witch will get her claws

In me this restless windy night,

Her black arts wont prevail,

I'll be no old hag's fancy man,

No broom's sad human sail.

Eventually the wind dies down

Or blows to distant climes,

And midnight passes, says the clock,

With chilling chortling chimes.

It's time for me to prowl the streets,

Seek out a virgin's blood,

Suck clear the veins of life and love

Then chew my crimson cud.

1 seek no throats of harridans,

No banquet of an age

That scars this flying devilry,

That will not sate my rage.

Better that girl from before,

The one gave me the warning,

I'll thank her for her good advice,

Ami maybe, some sweet morning

When I lie in my coffin bed,

And she dwells in another,

I'll tell her winds may come and go,

But death's a faithful lover.

 

 

 

 

 

John Grey is an Australian born poet, works as financial systems analyst. Recently published in Poem, Caveat Lector, Prism International and the horror anthology, “What Fears Become” with work upcoming in Big Muddy, Prism International and Pinyon.

ghost’s reflection 

the sun mocks in golden laughter

girls trip over their syllables, skeletons

of their youth spilling riddles of time

against them they just can’t see it

yet; soon the light of yesteryear will

stretch ominously longer than they

remember; the ghastly apparition

in the mirror only their childhood ghost.

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry has been published in various journals the latest of which include: Skive, Speech Therapy, The Scarlet Sound, Itasca Illinois Poetry & Willow Tree Dreams, Dead Snakes, and Carnage Conservatory.

Possessing What Possesses Me

“My spirit in the bear knows both

ends of the spear,” a shaman chants.

Catullus waits behind him, toga floating.

Open mic night livens up the afterlife.

A Goth girl’s punch line bounces

off a Ouija board, finding a woman

possessed by vacationing demons.

“Just another day at the fun factory!”

she hisses at the nurses in Tagalog.

Not her, though it’s her tongue.

Same way a leaf lands on my brain

and phrases flood me. Li Po moans,

“So many poems, but no moon.”

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Kriesel, 50,  is a poet and reviewer whose work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly, Antioch Review, Crab Creek Review, Rattle, Small Press Review, Library Journal, Nimrod, North American Review, Rosebud, and the Progressive. He served on the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission from 2006-2008, and won the 2011 Wisconsin People & Ideas Poetry Contest, the 2009 Wisconsin Fellowship Of Poets Muse Prize, and the 2004 Lorine Niedecker Poetry Prize from the Council for Wisconsin Writers. He was featured poet for the 2010 Great Lakes Writers Festival. Books include Chasing Saturday Night: Poems About Rural Wisconsin (Marsh River Editions) and Moths Mail the House (Sunnyoutside). He’s also the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Conference Coordinator. He has a B.S. in Literature from the University of the State of New York, and was a print and broadcast journalist in the U.S. Navy from 1980-1990. He’s currently a janitor at the rural elementary school he once attended. 

Stolen Heart

In December, he stole

her heart.

 

In July, over a year later,

she took it back.

 

He stole for sport:

bicycles, baseball cards, stereos, music….

 

He pilfered from

dumpsters, city dumps, and his work.

 

All privileges were stolen -

trusts, time, rights, dignities.

 

He burgled hearts, their songs,

and more.

 

 

 

 

 

Nicole Taylor has many hopeful projects, no MFA's and is an artist, a hiker, a volunteer and a dancer, formerly in DanceAbility. She blogs at www.apoetessanthology.blogspot.com/, www.facebook.com/Pushk1n, and www.oregonpoeticvoices.org/.

The Double

I am convinced I have a double

Out there, in the blizzards of darkness,

The blossoming nights of May.

A more romantic twin

Courting the stars on their millennial journeys,

Robbing the gardens

Of their fairest rose.

 

And he is touched by a sweetness

I have only dreamed exists,

And he knows a sorrow

From deep, deep down.

 

He carries a hundred different crosses

On his muscular back.

He writes poems bird-like and pure.

 

And when I see in the mirror

My half-witted, bearded face

I understand I am the other one.

The angry attic-ridden brother

Eating sawdust in dimmed-down corners,

Monstrous and alone.

 

 

 

 

 

Seth Jani is the founder/editor of Seven CirclePress and a few other minor publications. He is obsessed with Coffee, Depth Psychology, Environmental Restoration and Rilke. His work has appeared in Writers' Bloc, The Foundling Review, Chantarelle's Notebook, Thick With Conviction and else.

Haunted Still

On an isolated stretch

near Cooper Landing,

five miles past a gravel turnoff,

a simple two room cabin stands.

 

In that secluded home 

with autumn’s chill 

and darkness coming early,

parents peek in on two sleeping children,

close the door,

drive ten miles to a favorite cafe

for a Miller Light, grilled burgers,

a little conversation —

come home to empty beds.

 

Search parties comb the wilds —

dark spruce forests,

the confluence of the Kenai and Moose Rivers,

campgrounds battened down for the season.

They peer into boats pulled up to shore,

knock on solitary doors, follow side roads.

 

It’s been thirty-five years since the boy and girl

left their remote cabin —

maybe a trip to the outhouse,

an impulsive evening trek at dusk

in search of salmonberries,

abducted by strangers,

devoured by a grizzly.

 

Thirty-five years since the story 

was plastered on the front page

of the Anchorage Times,

their disappearance wrestled with on local news.

 

Did they know fear, surprise, cold?

Or did they simply curl up in the underbrush

like wild things, off course, but unafraid 

to wait for rescue?

 

 

 

 

 

Sharon Lask Munson is the author of the chapbook, Stillness Settles Down the Lane (Uttered Chaos Press, 2010) and a full-length book of poems, That Certain Blue (Blue Light Press, 2011). She publishes widely in literary journals and anthologies. She lives in Eugene, Oregon.