Monday, June 2, 2014


by Vanessa Raney

So the secret
– what the schools teach –
is rolling the
meat with oil, fingers
wet, before
you slip it in, warm, the
pan covering.

The Illusionist

by BethAnn Caputo

Show me how you do that trick.
The one where the stars in your mouth
turn to black holes and lost to them are
my tongue and the words you are too afraid to hear me say.

there is a perfect ending where I know exactly what you are thinking
and I am more sleight of mind than ever.
I have mastered this game of hide and seek
and can make things appear out of nowhere,
long after they have vanished.

I can dive head first
and over
and over again
into shallow waters that spell words like
mistake and forsaken
and float to the surface, unscathed.
I am not shackled or hanging upside down
drowning in a pool of dazed morning afters, silver linings
and obstacles like the New Jersey Turnpike
that make it hard to get to you.

Saw me in half before you go this time,
and take with you the parts of me
that can’t let go.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Brittle Handles

by Perry L. Powell

Reach out and it’s missing. Reach out and all you touch is gritty air. Reach out and there is thick coat ice on all your branches and your work is unavailable.  Your work is unavailable and your power is out.  You have no power to play. And no play to power. When nipple to nipple, where are your warm ones? Reach out to remember. Not owning the world, you cannot fix it. Not fixing the world, you cannot own it. Not the world you own.  Not the fix you’ve blown. Not broken off like a figurine still on the shelf. So once this tree has fallen over your lines, you reach out and what’s to hold? Yet again here you go riding your bike in all directions over black ice.


by Reena Prasad

 Kintsukuroi they call it
 The art of mending with gold
 It works on people too-
 too fragile to be recycled
 and too human to be sewed

 An aranjanam and a radiant nettichutti
 to offset the paleness that unslept nights
 had bestowed
 Bangles to hush up the name
 she whispered sometimes
 to the breeze
 Zari edges of her sari to cover up the
 unsteady trip of her feet
 The gilt to light up her husband’s house
 to thaw the strangeness
 and make her feel at ease
 She entered, right foot first
 and was swallowed by obscurity
 Her golden padasarams kept beat
 to the fading music of her subdued ankles
 though an image of a broken silver one
 on a bare chest
 caused cracks in the mirror
 when she looked

Author's note:
aranjanam = waist chain
nettichutti = a head jewel
padasaram = anklets

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bad Dog

by J. K. Durick

Good and bad are simple concepts
In the canine world, while arbitrary
At times, they summarize so much:
Good gets gentle words and pats on
The head, a treat or two, or perhaps
A chance to go along one more time,
And bad, the other paw in this parade,
Gets angry words, a hand or foot out
Of nowhere slapping, kicking, another
Tug on the choke collar, or time spent
In the too tight kennel they kept for
Moments like this; in the end, it’s just
A matter of reward and punishment,
Like we get so often; when good we get
Good words, good grades, all the extras,
Privileges and paychecks, pomp and
Playthings, a cozy life in comfortable
Surroundings; but bad we get other
Things, more guilt than glory, smaller
Checks, pink slips and traffic tickets,
Doors closing and busy signals, empty
Promises and pockets, all the next to
Nothing they hand us grudgingly –
All a matter of punishment and reward,
So we sit up nicely, rarely bark and
Wag our tails, hoping they notice.

You are here

by Andrea DeAngelis

You are here
in that circle
of red and dread
that center
of despair
and I don’t care.

Going nowhere
slow and slower
coarser and colder.

The subway stalagmites
growing into many rows
of graying teeth
that will cut your throat.

No one cares
what you think
only what you do
and what you do isn’t doing
but only your job
which makes you feel
less than nothing.

So you are here
when you only want to disappear.

You are starting to believe
that bitch Becky
who told everyone
“Oh, she’ll never get anywhere.”

You are here
you are here
you will never be there.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Etienne (1)

by Sherry Steiner

Etienne was slow in returning, long months relished, dead leaves, green leaves, colored leaves, what used to be a long hour in a day turned to a week swelling to months of calendar counting and x'ing out and numbers marking in. Moments devouring the old shot, popular angles instantaneously removing directional control, some said all was not lost.

Phillip, for example initiated artificial passages that no one could board, he simply said that it just didn't matter, like music once again, the two found generated visuals without the usual warhola perspective, one of them might have said something - but it was a fade, dissolve and focus-through kind of deal, audience participation on tempo, fairly obvious he stalks his own backgound of related actions. Etienne etienne focus focus o more cuts per minute, histrionic over-lappings, a thirties adventure no doubt, no wonder, half a million dollar musicals, pastel revolvers, brutal street sarcasm, phillip rejoiced in the baroque, increased synchronization - miniature compressions, he reels, implicating positive data accentuating viewer decay, his is a brief story, far away random case samplings stood at the forefront - no one knew what he was talking about. Just hold the elevator, please. breathless, etienne...underground cabled clergymen came forth - harbinger of gross negligence, firing up low brow reductions from twenty-five years ago, the story is old, a has-been-around - wrought iron, guarded by his spirit etienne joined a long line of images at an Italian storefront, 'I have no need' someone heard him say.

Yes, concise and to the point and remembering this he said no more.

Physical rhythms - a valid tool for mental escape interested Phillip. amused no doubt by the lack of centripetal decay he shot a series of close-ups subject to the approval of the shopkeeper, cosmopolitan juxtaposition, a fourteen letter word, hey, just back-up, generalize, track it casually, remember - this unit is not labeled for individual sale.

There We're Atheists

by Bhargab Chatterjee

Catching the fire of a withered flower
you drink from Neptune's tumbler;
your thirst makes a mirror before me.
There colours meet and change all possible shapes
of an usual morning.

death has all colours and shapes
in obvious finitude,
my "Belladonna, the Lady of Rocks"
Out of the yellow paddy field
the shadows of our hunger grow
and perpetuate yesterdays.

"I rebel therefore we exist,"
you say stepping on the floor
of my room;
there we're atheists.

Towards the Park

by Tony Rickaby

blows into road
hits ground and bursts
rolls in arc.
end lands in gutter
rubbish tumbles
veers onto pavement
misses pushchair
rests in plastic
catches in crack
cut head oozes
brick forms cloud
bag drowns in puddle
flicked black plastic flaps
slicker tumbles
rolling orange

Sunday, February 2, 2014


by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

those grub jobs
and crud bosses
weren’t more
than a high school grad
could expect
I got to dress up
and show my legs
and buy
my own beers
tell myself I was
on the way

and really
they were
all of them
all of it

a layover
I was somewhere
else where
someone else
the beers

Life in a Word

by Patricia Williams

Stage I
Look at the word, lust, take an unvarnished view: craving, desire, an inordinate appetite, burning fire, a yearning for more than required, an itch that needs persistent scratching. To lust after, to covet, to want, predisposes one, to others of the Deadly Seven, like envy, greed, and gluttony. Lusty sex sins, attributed to mental disorder or concern unbuckled, committed by Hollywood types and alike by pious clerics sniffing perfume mixed with the scent of baby powder, generate psychological thoughts: how magnetic draw fades quickly, how sex without love just makes you sad.

Stage II
A word that defines a form of decay, rust, freezes motion, emotion, is a scale formed from disuse, a condition of oxidation, limitation: observe the person whose pinnacle occurred at age eight on the stage of the Original Amateur Hour. Rusted-shut is rigidity, inflexible and barren, neglect over time, a bureaucratic universe with cliché-filled dialogue, wordplay, and nonsense, byzantine utterances from pale-faced scholars. Find rust in cast-off devices, disintegration, waste from civilized living, corruption, tarnish, decomposition, politicians rusted in place, producing parodies of democracy.

Stage III
When examining dust, a word implying powder, dirt, earth, grime, think Dust Bowl with choking billows of dust that muddied the sky, black blizzards with soil turned to dust. Think loess: pale yellow, buff-color, dusty soil cover, fine particles, ground and pulverized, silt-sized sediment deposited by wind-blown dust. Dust-replacing-the-sea speaks of upheaval, great change, the passage of time, see the dusty world in a grain of sand. Ash, dusty residue, recaps cremains, ashes-to-ashes, dust-to-dust, all that remains. Blow away, fade away, dissolve, dissipate, scatter; dry and bitter dust.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Be Some Sugar ! Baby

by Narendra Kumar Arya

Hey ! You want me turn up sugar
Killing my core bitterly
When air is as thick as mucous
And water as live as venom
And the aftertaste on cortical neurons—suicidal
Still bleeding and hot.

Please lend me your ears for a while
And listen into my auditory tunnels
Exploding with echoes of insanity manufactured
And you say hey chap! It’s time to forget
It’s virtually irrelevant, just clumsy
Chill ! Those shrieky sounds and thuds belong to history
Don’t pester with cries of ancient past, any more
Be some sugar! Baby
It really goes well with time.

Deluged often with advices to be mellow
Going past creatures of haunting mind
How  can I elude oozing pain
Drilled by your stabbing smokes
On the streets, inside the clouds, over the cities
The vessels inside my chemo-treated spirit
Carry no oxygen, no traces of life
Clogged with mindless consumerisms’
 Already poisonous vanities.

You insist onto my bitter brain
Telling, sugars eradicate mental extremisms
Sure to cure your intellectual inflatulence
Helps treat depression easy
Hey dumb! Why relish your nerves
With utmost negativity
When you have whole damn planet
At your disposal, to fuck around
Come on! Be some sugar! babe
Show some Maturity.

Gusts 6

by Michael Cluff

Mina rode the wild winds
into an oasis
mottled by cheeky breezes
and fern-ringed kangaroo paws
dipped in leaves a sculptor
would envy.

Roscoe waited
for her at the entrance
to the pottery shop
next to the hot dog stand
in the third rate outdoor mall
on a clipped back street
near the faltering freeways.

He grew just for her
and she just caroms and drifts
from one tienda
to the other.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Black Widow

by Melissa Dickson

That summer I counted eight, nine, ten.
Under upturned flower pots,
behind the gutter spout, in the drink cup
of an outgrown stroller. The children
had never seen anything so black.
Black as funeral boots, I said; black
as an ebonized chest; black
as my skillet, oil-rubbed, glistening;

black as Vulcan’s ass. We sprayed
them with bleach, poured gasoline
in their nests, thrust sticks in the breaches
of mortar—dying to call out
that enchanted globe of belly,
infinity mirror. Her hourglass,
aflame, hidden even in the pleats
of jade rising inside my den.


by Will Monigold

God’s eye
Has traced these lines
When they were made
Men were young
Gifted, perhaps
Certainly lucky
It was not prayer
It was trinkets
Blankets of
Victims of greed
Say you now
God’s eye
The page shifts
The needle turns
The stars didn’t teach us
How to lie
God did
Speak to me
Tell me what gifts
Have you stolen

Sunday, November 10, 2013


by M.F. Nagel

In  a
Gold and ice
A Place of men


Men that know
The madness of mountains
That know
The madness of men.


Wintered ravened night

A Silvered city

Aurora painted
A starry Shaman

Giver of salmon
Wait for the  fishermen.

Full-bellied bears
full-bellied dreams.

Of moose
And men and mountains

Of  salmonberries.
In the
Dens  of winter.

In a
Of gold and ice


maybe i was.

by Heather Brager

I thought I'd know your voice
a quality for the radio
back when you fucked girls
you didn’t know in their
dirty upstairs apartments
a few hours before dawn
I wanted to be those girls
but you know I will never be

you told me that we are
the sum of all parts
every choice is our brand
the broken glass on my rug
your hands on my ass
pulling my hair
your car parked down the street
just waiting for me to leave

I recall your profile
as you quickly turned
a short intake of breath
your eyes were mine
I thought I could curl up
inside of your chest
as we stood in my kitchen
waiting for the stew to boil

Varanasi Divers

by Deborah Bayer

Beautiful young bodies
diving from the high bridge,
you know no fear
of heights, of deep water.
With magnets in hand
you vanish into the belly
of Ganga Ma in search of coins
flung by pilgrims speeding
over the holiest of rivers.

It’s a living.
It’s your life on this warm
day on the cusp of spring.
I long to lean over the edge
of the wide touring boat
rowed by two silent men,
put rupees in your
dark wet palms
but we are too far apart.

Along the Ghats, Sadhus,
bone thin naked men
with dreadlocks and beards,
covered with sacred ash,
sit cross-legged,
fingers interlaced, eyes closed.
Some are saints,
some are not.
Who can know at a glance
which man traverses
an inner universe
where galaxies are
beyond counting.
Who can know what
any of us will find
if hunger
springs us off the edge.

Visiting Crete

by Brian Wake

Above our bed a salamander, motionless for hours,
is waiting for its prey. To even blink, it knows,
an eyelid would betray its whereabouts and add,
perhaps, another hungry day to when it feeds.

Throughout the night we, half-asleep in candlelight,
keep watch for any twitch or instant of an uncoiled tongue
flicked out to whip a careless insect in. But nothing moves
and only swaying shadows stalk the bedroom wall.

Although we watch and worry that some dropping
of its guard might cause a sudden plunge, or time spent
hanging there unglue its toes, we hesitate. Like it we wait.
Our salamander does not move.

And could it wonder whether we, like it, are there
to prove that patience has its own reward and, waiting
in the candlelight, afford to hope that blinking eyelids
might betray its hiding place, and not as predator
but as our prey.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Bone Needles

by Paul Tristram

Deep within the thirteenth cave
of the snow crested Brecon Beacons
mountain range of Southern Wales.
She sits just well behind the shadows
of the massive main fire
sewing the last few stitches of a badger pelt
into the dome-shaped collection of furs
she has at her dirty, naked feet.
It has taken her 21 sunlight’s of hunting
to gather up enough material for her task.
It is comprised-besides the badger- of
a single fox, rabbit, hare, roe deer, otter,
polecat, beaver, stoat, red squirrel and weasel.
She had started bleeding from between the legs
at the waxing of the last full moon.
The Clans Leader had then pulled her out
from the circle of elder women and children
and placed her at the main fire
with the Warriors and adult women.
Where she was inspected for ripeness
with sniffs and nudges.
She had rubbed wolf shit into her hair and skin
each dawn since
and it had almost completely worked, so far.
She stretched quietly now that the last pelt was in place
and pulled the entire fur dome over herself.
As she crouched secretly in the shadows
blind in the darkness of herself made tomb
her ‘This’ hand clenched together the opening flaps of fur
beneath her arse and feet
as her ‘That’ hand worked away with bone needles
sewing the entrance finally closed.
When this task was completed
she sat waiting
she knew that when she was discovered
the whole Clan would circle
the strange new dome.
And just like when her sisters baby
had tried to come out feet instead of head first
their joint solution to the confusing problem
would be to smash down their clubs in disgust.
So anticipating this she had kept
the head of the fox pelt directly at the top of the dome
right above her own head
knowing full well that it would become the focus,
their target and the fastest entrance to death.

Charon's Obal

by Jeremy Marks

The beds are white
with falling snow

and very still in their
ankling salt pools

a mariner, his ship comes
into the cove

and the ripples grow
over a silent gathering

of hungry fish. They are
plucked and netted

speared and baited
like a bear in dark chambers.

Many beds white with
light and linen

crisp and wintry
and hidden

from the wind, there is
no longer rain

and still no fruit when the
Moon shines full through

the glass. The nurse draws
the curtains back and a

doctor enters:
what have we here

jotting, reading
lie back, shimmy for me

there, that is better.

The next day the water
is still and I surprise you

with pearls.

Charon’s obal, you say-


by Michael H. Brownstein

Pandora of Nubia, near the ivory trade route,
took possession of a grand ebony chest,
watched it with the eyes of a cheetah.

Somewhere within its thick walls
a secret stayed itself, and she could hear it,
now and then bumping into things.

She ignored it at first, or tried,
made promises to herself she knew she couldn't keep,
touched the wood with her palm,

played with the flimsy lock of grass and twig,
found herself admiring the grain with her fingertips.
Too much cat, the Shaman knew this to be true,

and bided her time from her grass covered home
overlooking the village near the great river.
There was something in the chest too great for her,

but not too great for Pandora with braided dark hair,
full lips and perfect skin—almost ebony black.
She was right, of course. Pandora was curious,

and it was curiosity that made her play with the lock,
break it open with an ah ha and a smile.
She opened the chest later that day,

let escape the demons the Shaman knew were inside,
thick fogs of madness and bitterness,
jealousy and selfishness, greed and contempt.

Pandora allowed them to sting her.
their noise intolerant and vulgar,
and then she peered into the shadow of the chest,

saw a round object corked and scented,
and pulled out a painted gourd
a vessel full of rich golden water,

a liquid with a smell she could not remember.
She drank from it.
It made her happy.

The painful stings left her skin,
she felt whole,
calm, able to see into her dreams.

Hope did not come with a fairy.
Hope came with Pandora’s gourd of beer—
a magic beer too easy to replicate.

The shaman went on to greatness,
made the best varieties,
and the people lined up to drink it.

Pandora kept the gourd in her home,
shared its contents with everyone,
especially those who wanted her to tell her story.

And then the Greeks came.


by Olivia Chapman

I catch myself in the mirror
Awkward, shy, unlike the age I
Was. Writing
Fog hearts for
No one.
I try saying
Hi to the lady in the bath.
She loves her oils and scented things.
The grip of Eucalyptus.
Cloves, favored by the gent
At the Laundromat who hides
Beneath his clothes.
Strangely comforting
That he also found a mirror
To paint his
Fog hearts on.

Such a chore
To heave up and out.
That thirteen stone was
There all along, drumming
Its fingers.

The lady of the bath isn’t friendly.
So unlike the sixteen-year old age
I was when bathrooms weren’t
Watching from the beach. You
Jumped in dirty, sweatshirt
Belted, breathing salt
And bleach.

Here woz
I when I dyed my lashes
When I swiped on dupe Chanel knowing
Full well its power to cleave in two
The hearts entwined in red, two names- I forget his.

There’s a new fog every day
I wipe the age
I was away
Though the mirror
Draws me closer
Back towards the ghosts I
Breathed life into.

Without me they suffer
But linger on
Like cigarette smoke
At the bus-stop.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


by Miranda Stone

Strip mining scars
the bare skin of the mountains.
Ridges of stone and wood
rise against the sky, blotting out
early afternoon sunlight.

Niches carved in slate
house the copper moonshine stills. In barns,
in shacks men stir sugar and corn
to produce liquid clear and pure
as the strychnine the holy rollers drink
in plank churches on Sundays.
Some survive the serpent’s bite.
Those who succumb lack faith in the god
speaking in tongues to the congregation.

Even in the mountain mist of dawn
when the bobcats slink through the woods,
a single searchlight washes over stone.
A train piled high with powdered coal
snakes its way past clapboard houses.
High above on the mountainside,
rickety shafts sleep, shut up in darkness.

Next Day Trips

by Perry L. Powell

It's a meat hook. It's a bat.
From out of the bright orange field emerges a parrot
looking over his shoulder.
Check Google for home runs.
What do you know: gold from quicksilver.
The philosopher's stone in a Japanese University.
Martin Luther at the front door with an iPhone.
Life left in the backroom where the boys play.

Like a charm bracelet—
one anecdote after another
walks the runway.
Here is a late lesson we reject:
gather your tote bag;
Bethlehem waits for its master.

The Lovers Observe the Moon Under Arrest

by Robert Gross

Talk about the moon as a mushroom:
a fleshy obscenity sprung up
under cover of darkness

meant to be arrested at midnight
without memory or remorse
thirty-seven degrees from the horizon

booked in the nodding night court
mindless before high priests
who do not grasp its transit

cannot finger the musty
deliquescence of summer into fall,
the funky quick decay of thought

into sensations, the prison break
of a convicted self into a felony
of infinite quick fragments.

The authorities dare not interrogate
the moon in terms of silence.
They sentence it to death.

The Sassafras Tree

by Pamela Hill

“Angel isn’t really dead, you know.”

I sit on the couch glaring at my sister, Gabriela.        

“It’s true,” she says. “He’s alive.  He must be a spy.”

I leap from the couch and snatch his photograph from the mantelpiece. “You know Angel died.” 

His eyes, full of life, stare at me from the photograph as I trace the image of his face with my fingertip. 

Gabriela rarely listens and rambles on. “You were married to a spy, Ana Maria.”  She points at the urn on the mantelpiece.  “No proof Angel’s in that urn.” 

My blood pressure escalates, voice rises. “Just go home.” 

She moves toward the front door then turns toward me. “I saw him at the church café.”

I return Angel’s photograph to the mantelpiece. “You must have seen someone who resembles him. I see his features in the faces of strangers.”

She leaves, and I snuggle under my quilt wondering if Gabriela needs more therapy to calm her overactive imagination, a term our parents alluded to years ago when referring to her illogical thoughts.  Gabriela has told absurd stories for as long as I can remember.  Still, I sit wrapped in a quilt all day thinking about Angel and wondering if he can possibly be a spy. He left for work one day and never returned.  The police said he died in a head-on collision.  I never saw Angel again, only the urn.

During dinner, I see his image at the table. I can’t eat nor drink as the lemon in my tea is too bitter. Washing dishes, soap bubbles become arctic ice floes running over the edge of the sink, and I shiver in the silent, frigid kitchen.

Night comes.  I lie disconcert in my room listening to the monotonous ticking clock, and the chiming, and now the ticking again.  I fall asleep but wake startled in the middle of the night.  What is that knocking?   I run to the door and fling it open where I am met by a crescent moon as a cool breeze ripples through my nightgown. 

I wander out on the deck and feel the breeze caress me.  Signs of a storm are gathering, and clouds begin to mist. I watch a cluster of sassafras trees sway on a hill just beyond the deck. I think about rain and how the grey-black clouds comfort me, somehow stabilize me, as a lightning flash reveals Angel’s face at the dark end of the deck. In the glance of my eye, I think I see him and run to that side of the deck and call out to him, “Angel.”  He doesn’t answer.  I imagine a deception in my sense of sight.  I wish to climb the hill and wrap my arms around the trunk of a sassafras tree and sleep within a cradle of aroma.     

Morning comes.  I’m about to leave for the church café and Gabriela shows up. “It could have been him at the café yesterday,” she says.

“Please stop talking about Angel.”  I wrap a pink mascada around my neck and leave Gabriela standing on the porch.  At the church café, I sit in a corner at a table watching and attempting to sip coffee, but my hands are shaking.  I want to believe Gabriela and linger.  I want her story to be true, just once.

Angel doesn’t appear, not even an apparition.  I contemplate Einstein’s consolation…a distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion. Is death an illusion? Is flesh nothing more than a prison?

I go home and kiss the urn, remnants of bones that are my past and my present - but not my future.  I’ll find a distinction in a returned kiss someday, a kiss, and arms that wrap around me as the blossoms wrap around me from the sassafras tree. 

Einstein also said… I never think of the future, it comes soon enough. I’ll go with that. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

All My Dreams Were Caring Women

by Poulome Mitra Shaw

All my dreams were caring women with hips and generous bosoms.
With the tender moon tucked within
With every disenchantment in their stride
They always walked back home
religiously, oh so religiously every night
without pleading with the closed doors
to unafraid beds violating the nightmares seen
They were caring women with forgiving hearts and large kind eyes
I always knew all my dreams were Mother's within.
They let go of all the verses that had baubles of disdain
I always knew all my dreams were Women within
They let go of every stab, every excess untold
I always knew my dreams never trembled
even when nightmare played out its role
They were compassionate women with tender smiles and loving arms.

Dreaming the Dirt

 by Corinne Gaston

Mother and child appear to me
out of the folds of a dreaming spirit
Before my eyes
They grow old, love, and die
And are reborn again.
They are surrounded by the grain
Endless growth and germination, the hot clay
In a world of soil and light
Arching over the earth, planting the seeds.
The mother
Who cradles the moon and child,
The sun that cradles the grain of the earth:
It is all done with purpose
The spirit folds them up
The seedling tucked into my mind’s womb
And then like a jolt
I am feeling the vines grow
I am inhaling the scents of foliage and compost
Dropped guavas
That are overripe and bursting
Full of that sweet-smelling pulp
The soil soothes me from the feet up
Grainy and damp
I am dreaming the dirt


by Jay Sizemore

been bitten by a jellyfish,
tentacles and barbs injecting venom
into the fascia where the pain hides,
to the point a stranger’s urination
would seem like a comfort on the skin.
Been in a car crash any worse
than a fender-bender, backing into
that parked car the day my dad
had his first heart attack
or getting rear-ended
for paying attention to stop lights,
my neck whipped like a spring,
but not broken.
Seen a desert or a rattlesnake
in the wild, always through panes
of glass or the high gloss sheen
of magazine pages left open
in a doctor’s office.
Had such a moment of clarity
that I felt like God must be real,
clutching his ghost-like fist
around my heart until the joy
burst free, and even murder
had its proper place in the world.


by Benjamin Grossman

are the crowned shapes. They were the earliest markings upon the walls, the beginning dribbles of art. “Pubic triangles” ancients called women’s reproductive organs before language grew immature. But some mummified opinion will say we are born from holes. Yes, circles bring us into life but all those circles lay at the center of closed v’s. More than God knows why Egyptian monuments aren’t pentagons. It wasn’t a crash that placed healthy eating inside of a pyramid. Aristotle understood the golden imprint a three-sided structure leaves upon a story.  A trapezoid must be a trapezoid. A square must be square or it risks being mistaken for a rectangle. But a triangle is a contortionist, able to shrink and expand and change while never changing. No matter the exterior conditions, the interior of a triangle will remain constant. We should all be turned green by the inner perfection of such a flexible shape.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Destroying the House with You

by Rich Boucher

Let’s start with the kitchen.

A kiss first, and then let’s upend the table
and send the vase slow-motion flying to the floor.
And then another kiss. And another.
Grab the back of this fridge with me
and let’s push it over as hard as we can,
if only for the sound of thunder indoors.
Why don’t you hold my hand, my sweet,
as we bring our boots up, kick out the window
behind the sink together; it will be as if
we’ve never been told how to act.
We will be the kindergarten playground
within us, clamorous, unleashed.

With the kitchen behind us on fire,
let’s please do decimate the living room;
let’s make it feel its own doomsday
with a smashed-in, thrown television
and TV trays snapped in half for IKEA kindling,
the K-Mart family portraits curling black and burning;
run your loving hands all over me
while I spritz some lighter fluid all over the couch
like a blasting of aromatic and demonic pee.

We’ll take out the bathroom with explosives;
I’d like to see the tub go flying through the ceiling
and up into the sky like a confused porcelain rowboat;
I’ll hold you from behind and let my hands get frisky
while the wavering flag of the shower curtain
burns a plasticene rainbow before our eyes.

The bedroom I think we should save for last;
that would be the best place for firemen to find us;
our crumbly remains an ashen Cupid and Psyche embracing
on the overgrown charcoal pit of our marriage bed,
two glasses of wine’s worth of shards on the sheets
glinting in the flashlight beams like diamonds left in a tomb.

Leaning Against A Cyclone Fence/Mid Summer

by Susan Winecki

A Saturday morning stroll.  I stumble upon a pack of teenage girls, shooting baskets on a nearby playground.  Drawn by their shining bodies moving over steaming cement like shooting stars across a breath-stopped night, I lean against the cyclone fence and watch.  Transfixed by tangled, mist-covered limbs, arms, hands bobbing up an down like buoys on a windy sea, I stay.  I stay for the smacking of overheated flesh making contact with its own kind.  I stay for the grace and grit of these holy innocents who still know freedom and fairness.  Those firm bodied teenage girls were love-filled, beauty-filled, wild-filled.  Steam rose, sweat dripped from them into tiny cracks on the cement floor.  The earth claimed these unfolding lionesses as their fast-moving limbs moved in concert with one another – reaching, squatting, falling, landing, twisting, arching, pivoting, soaring.  I stay for that and pray that they will never stop warming the air around them, setting fires on sun parched playgrounds, breathing with a vengeance.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Amelek, Feared No God

by Sy Roth

The tired ones hung back
walk-weary lines of them
snaking the rear
shuffling gait
young ones their crutches.

Youthful steps moved the others forward
heads mounted to their goal
inattentive to the rear.

Amalek swore to his soldiers
he would preserve them,
desiccate the healthy,
consume the old and bent.

Godless ones licked their lips,
for the laggards were a tempting lot
easily consumed
swept away before so
the others could mourn.

They ate the rear with
cannibalistic gusto.
Youth buried beneath their weak,
laved in their blood.

A storm of tears unglued the skies.
Men razed their dreams,
the meek,
the weak,
the infirm,
the young
lost in a morass of ego.

Amalek feared no god,
only himself.


by Robert Demaree

Favorite authors dropped off
For the church book sale,
The passing of a friend.
Easier to part with:
Those memos to the file,
Notes on events
Of interest to lawyers.
We did not succeed:
A storage shed, tight
With boxes, whose labels
Have lost meaning;
Somewhere in there
Green Depression Glass
That did not sell on eBay,
The Chelsea we bought for Caroline.

Letter to My Sister

by Warda Al Barbar

I sailed the sea of mourn
forlorn but canopied
with your virtuous soul
upon a crying wave.
I dropped my remembrance
as an anchor to abstain
between the eastern sun
of forgets
and the western moon
of ignorance;
a compass I lost
when I heard your mellow voice
murmuring in a melodious dream.
The waves swallowed me
when I saw your coy smile
painting an archaic picture
of a crowned epoch;
I found myself safe but taken
by memories that grieve me
not alone. Your mother
drunk the sea to beget you again;
your father is a shore of sadness,
standing to erase death.

Marking Time

by Susan McDonough-Hintz

11:01 a.m.
Goodbye filled our mouths and lingered,
diffuse on the tongues, swirling.

6:32 a.m.
This morning I reached for a
tube of toothpaste and my
neck hairs lifted like eyelids,
my nipples stiff as peaks, nostrils
flared by the sudden smell of you,
but you weren’t there.

6:41 a.m.
I was alarmed.
The light was changing.

8:26 p.m.
Halfway up the mountain
night falls. I dig my bed
in dirt, cover myself with leaves,
and sleep, awake unearthed and
well bruised. Jagged rocks,
out of my way.

4:44 a.m.
I am alive and all of you is surge. 
And the flash.

Needles of Freezing Air

by John McKernan

Right in

Covering the floor
With its metaphor of broken glass
Over oak across a black rug

Imitating the sounds
Of certain months and years
Of German and Russian history
Adding a strange new conclusion

To the Cinderella epic
I've just read to my daughter
Who asks    What did that?   
And I answer honestly   I don't know
Just a fierce wind   Probably nothing   Nothing at all

The Dilemma of Atoms

by Bobbie Troy

these unseen microbodies
positive, negative, and neutral
attract and repel each other
connect and disconnect
from themselves
but never know
that they have created
matter out of randomness
because they are on the inside
looking out