Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Your Departure Left Me In Pain

by El Habib Louai

Sometimes there were cries
I hear somewhere long before
They arrive to my open door
On a lonely long empty road
Cries from a distant void
I hear them as they echoed
In the bushes of my dreams
Dreams I dreamed in empty
Curves of a labyrinthine well
Other cries of people I knew
Met them high before they vanished
I saw souls of members dismembered
And I cried alone as you left me
Your face I saw between two wings
It smiled to me before it faded
Will you ever come to me again?
A question formed on a sand grain
Your departure left me in pain
And I wish I could be then
As you wanted me so near
Melancholic, I sit wherever I dare
I count little moments and flick away flies
As time mercilessly in phosphoric bubbles flies
Sister moon comes to journey the night
Again alone just as it did, unceasingly
To somewhere I will never see
Will you be there for me?
Among those weary travelers
Formed in brown scattered clouds
Tinged by curving caravans of dreams
Borrowed from unfinished Arabian nights
Will you be there for me?
To leave fresh parting kisses
On my scorched sweet lips
I beg you as I perpetually did
To have mercy on me
My brown-eyed lady
The only one who walks really
In such never-withering beauty

Forbidden Love

by Jeffrey Miller

Kyung-sook came over on Christmas Day
to get back at her mother who forbade her
hanging out with Western men.

I didn’t know she had an agenda
until the following week when I saw her
coming out of my buddy’s apartment.

She got pregnant not long afterward—
Some other guy made her very happy;
Her mother wasn’t too thrilled, though.

Throwing Dirt at the Moon

by James Babbs

I remember getting angry
before running outside
throwing dirt at the moon
because some girl had
refused to dance with me
the moon was so bright
it hurt my eyes
I didn’t want to
look at it anymore
I stood out there
for the longest time
nobody ever came to
check on me
I don’t remember her name
I wonder sometimes
whatever happened to her

Saturday, October 30, 2010


by Ana Vidal-Guardia

In my absence
white powder owned the hours
and the minutes were given away free
attached to rented bodies,
ephemeral divine power
exhorted in some filthy hotel room.

The sweaty sheets
begged for laundry treatment,
while the bodies,
choleric trapezes oblivious to mercy,
performed night after night
balancing synthetic life
inside dehydrated fish bowl spaces.

On the long black nights
I waited for you
sewn to the kitchen table.

And anger replaced sadness.
And I wished death would plunge
inside your adulterous bones,
for no diamond
will ever sweeten

the bitterness of your sinful lips,
the same ones you will use
to kiss our children
when tucking them in bed,
the sheets smelling all so fresh

Ice Coffee

by Morgen Streur

I made the coffee just the way you like it
I drank too much last night so I may have thrown a jealous fit
And scrolled up through your sidekick
If I did, I don’t remember
All I know is your love is my November
There are so many thanks to give
For this and that, from past to present

I drove that other girl mad
I broke up with her the night before her birthday
She cried, and called me the worst person alive
She said I always left her, at the worst times
And if I really loved her I never would’ve done that
She’s right and I’m wrong in many ways
She even hired a counselor to keep the thought of me away

I still cause destruction everywhere I go
A trail of broken hearts line the rivers I like to flow
Alone, I’m getting better.
These veins of mine are leather
Forever tethered to an anchor,
Concrete in its nature, imbalanced in its soul,
if you ever find my heart… It may never know

Two Dimensional

by A.K. Jackson

I’m lying on my bed again
only now it is not made up
with my bloodstained, pink sheets
or anything flannel. Its thin
and white like the hospital bed.
I take a shower early in the morning
and my hair is wet with someone else’s
shampoo. I go back to the bed.
I take the game pack out of my gameboy
and turn it upside down.

All the Pokemon come falling out,
growing in the oxygen, leveling up
to be big. They are flat,
like colorforms. You’re flat, too,
just a notebook page away
and I can see your hairline
in the black and white photograph
from high school sophomore year.
I can’t see the safety pin
in the webbing of your hand.
Your hair, red, falls into your face.
Your angle-nose, thin lips,
not randomly generated face.
You have some DNA in you,
have your daddy’s look sometimes.

Maybe I will lift back this sheet white page
to see your face as it used to be:
no scars, no AIDS. Red hair and freckles,
turquoise eyes. I lift it.
The air has made the photograph
too big, the pixels are crosshatched,
your lips blending into your chin.
Your eyes are little black and white shapes––
not even circles. Circles with sharp edges.
This is not you, not you before, not
a single color or smooth to touch line.
I cannot smooth your hair because it is not hair
or you. I stop. I drop the page again.


by Mather Schneider

Shannon was born 4 months premature
to a crack head mom.

She was so small
you could see her heart

like a goldfish
under paper-thin ice.

The hospital lights ripped and ruined
her tiny retinas

and the doctors didn’t give her
a month

but somehow here she is
30 years later

blindly limping toward my taxi on
taffy legs

with Lloyd,
her loyal yellow lab

guiding the way.
Lloyd climbs into the cab,

sinks to the floor
with a happy huff

and then Shannon feels her way
like a spelunker.

When she's comfortable
I drive her to the public pool

where she will sit so peaceful
under her dark umbrella

with an icy coke, moving her hand in
and out of the shade.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My grandmother’s quilt

by Tyler Bigney

I’m watching you sleep,
studying the light brown freckles
on your shoulders. I can feel your feet
press up against me
under the quilt my grandmother
knit me for Christmas.
If she only knew that I met you
hours before
at a bus station
and paid three hundred dollars
for you to sleep
naked next to me
to make me feel
something, or
anything at all -

she’d be disappointed.

Gravel Road

by James Babbs

it’s just the gravel road
where the teenagers go
drinking beer while
sitting on their cars
the music loud and
the girls want to dance
but none of the boys will
and they complain about
their parents and
the teachers at school
and anything else
they deem uncool
and they swear someday
they’re going to
get as far away
from here as they can
the next day
driving past their empties
scattered along
the side of the road
I can’t help thinking
back to the time when
I came out here
surprised to realize
it was so many years ago


by Abigale Louise LeCavalier

“It was not your fault but mine.”

A line from a song
that brings it all home.

The days passed in pants
and thin man suits,
the evenings reserved
for too tight stilettos
and cocktail dresses.

Creeping around secretly
with the sneakiest of sneakers on,
hiding what could not be hidden.

Though nothing lasts forever.

Like the death of a sunflower
the falsity of it all
came raining down,
in browns, yellows, and grays.

And being seen for the first time
meant loosing everything.

And children.


But the creeping around
has stopped at least,
and I finally found the right heels
to go with that cocktail dress.

1969: Curbside Cleanup?

by David S. Pointer

President Nixon’s motorcade
rumbles along Truman Road
Kansas City motorcycle cops
process the street near Cash
Bargain Lumber Company-I’m
the astonished 7 year old kid
holding historic hedge apples-
I might’ve averted Watergate
with one light green diplomatic
greeting missile, misshapen,
splatting up a sidewalk balk
over the smoked glass non-
transparency entrusted with
the gigantic peoples’ planet

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rocky Top – Seoul, January 1991

by Jeffrey Miller

Inside the drafty, smoky juicy bar
halfway up the notorious Hooker Hill
hostesses carry out their trade.

Miss Lee hustles drinks at five bucks a pop
while Hotel California plays for the
umpteenth time.

It’s not really whiskey, but barley tea
you don’t know that with your hands
between her thighs.

You match her drink for drink
until you’ve had enough and watch her
waltz off with another guy.


by Mather Schneider

She was 74 and the plastic surgery
made her look like grandma when
she went skydiving.

I was her 36 year old cab driver.
She insisted on the front seat.
She had just returned to Tucson
from summering in Maine
during which she planted
hubby #4.

At a long red light she wondered
if I knew how hard it was
to find a man at her age.

“Most men think you want to get married,”
she said. “I just want to have
a good affair ”

She looked at me with eyes
that never blinked
metallic cheeks
fish-lips pulled toward
her ears
and jowls
like cheese tied with string.

And then
with the deftness of a 50 year old
she reached over
and squeezed my leg.

The miracle was how I avoided
killing the snowbird in the
blue Lexus.

How I Am Every Second, Minute and Hour of Each Day

by Chris Butler

Last minute…happy,
and this very second…sad,
each hour/day…same.

Life, now

by Cath Barton

The twitches and trembles
of nameless fears
that pepper my days with anxiety
are relieved by simple things:
walking in the hills,
planting bulbs in the garden
and stroking your hair.

When I wake whimpering
from yet another bad dream
I feel your breath, the breath of now,
soothing me.
I realise that fighting
is not the way.
I must ride the wave of life.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Flowers of Love to You

by El Habib Louai

Even when it rains
The feeling is the same
Even when it shines
The feeling is the same
Even when the wind blows
Between its palms carrying
Dry leaves as they drift
Even when the grass sings
Sweet melodies for butterflies
Dancing as they throbbed
The feeling is the same
Quite as redolent sesame, the same
A feeling sensed by a soul
So cheerful as it journeys
To put those lush flowers
On an Arcadian doorstep
For a dear blossoming heart
Only flowers once called
Les Fleurs du Bien
Are to be bestowed

The Bottom

by Abigale Louise LeCavalier

The strain of sobriety,
the glossy look
in my eyes;

And the plastic
feels like glass.

As I wash down
a few hours of sunshine.

Taking slow, deep, breaths.

the bottom
drops out.

Highest Bidder Hit

by David S. Pointer

The electromagnetic war
mongers roamed a mystical
Marsoid strip where
unintentionally absorbed
lightmail messages
about deep bat taxidermy,
bacterium documentary
biofilms, and wavelength
bombardment had been
intercepted for lightyears
by an unbalanced crew
previously studying thermal
equilibrium and the stress
hormones of humanoids
emitted before battle maze
engagement now focused
and equipped for the war
mongers overrunning to
requisition their computer
chip cryo-files for a rogue
particle radiation researcher
in high planetary demand
for imploding dwarf speed
bubble ships shootouts


by Randall Rogers

to beer or not to beer, that is the question, ah, each morning upon awakening, then the whiskey, herb, pill and - brace injection(s) question and of course what dosage level especially for the injection(s) size ( big syringe or small, many few one bib daddio, depends on the day the morning the sharp things put away, or not, questions as reading and writing, internet porn with total hand party focus, music and amplified blowém the full watts tonight, or dare i say it, some type of jj cale-rasta-tulsa-take it easy-the joker billy mac being that detective type really nirvana guttural belch of pretty hell sort of. yes i would agree that could sum my nanosecond changing untuned cheap chinese string growl, sometimes, or delta albino sound. always said i was an albino in a white-black man's transgendered or do i love the she/he thing? as one often hears me not described. i could only hope for such assholaids. i do have one fan though. genius that younger man shall we call him? or Beast? none other than my only fan (i mean me a fan of him and even his so-called work, poetry that would be unless ya been off the planet gramdma!!!), the moldbreaker, head spore himself, or herself (i suppose it depends on the night), chris butler. truly a hidden talent as he had the vision insight and scatological imagination to, well, not really ''get'' my poems as if they are at all nor where? ah chris is a genius for finding me, telling me he is a fan (my first and so far only - and surely he'll see through or leave the sheepless flock i shepherd, as heston as moses, in the ten commandos? but left he has not. his genius must has an is/will now flowering into a cultural revolution. all against ts elliot and that interminable ''what's he talkin'' ''bout willis?'' wasteland poem and that assholes ted hughes. the one who murdered sylvia. yes as this younger though much worse - and better - man than myself, he found or emailed and proclaimed him (or her) self a fan, of me, or of my writing i would gather building up to the personality malstruction from there, and than just snapping like a jonestown five-glasser before he, or she, shot that sarah palin jim jones in the noggin (as one should and would not deceive of doing - no many how many voices, how many angela lansburys, as mom? said so? this all too shall be considered though may not whence thyne gesturious fingers...mmm..well print and of course natch get me fame and freer stuff than i already pay for. i think. sound good to you?

One Day All Whores Will Magdalene

by Donal Mahoney

Mind you, now, my brethren,
the Scriptures never claim

one day all whores will Magdalene
and disbelievers Paul

and you won't find in Scriptures
a single verse that claims

one day all thieves will Dismas
outside the castle gates

while financiers Assisi
inside those castle walls,

their sharkskin suits in tatters,
their eyes, their tin cups up.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


by Chris Butler

I’m an attendee
at my own church funeral,
in a black casket,

just some resident
in the conceived precedent
to those before us,

as the acquitter
towards what life often offered.

Whisper whatever.

I’m the ghost writer,
obituary writing
on the date of birth,

smoking dope marijuana,
until I want to

feel never better,

but since the grass grows
greenest on the septic tank,
I’m gay for rainbows!

Bottle of Rum

by Michael Frissore

Michael Savage, to me,
sounds just like Howard Stern,
who sounds just like
Alexander Portnoy in
Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint,
which is why when I heard Savage
recommend gargling with scotch
to cure a sore throat,
I should have just used
salt and water like my mother says
instead of substituting rum for the
scotch and pouring straight rum
into my mouth and gagging even
worse than I do if I use salt and water.

My wife sang Yo ho ho and
a bottle of rum
for weeks
afterwards and even convinced
me I had scurvy.


by Michael H. Brownstein

All day I look at myself in storefront windows.
None of the news is good.
Everyone follows the grain of commonplace.
I am surrounded by women in dark eyeliner,
Air skunk strong, blonde hair too sunny.
One day a simple tattoo will fold into stretch marks.
One day it will have the texture of grits.
Everyone has a scar, a blemish,
A skin-deep lie. It is almost impossible to tell
Tiger from tiger. But for our smell,
Each of us is exactly alike.


by Steven Gulvezan

You are not at their mercy
Ignore them
Reports of their power
Over you
Are misleading
They send
Airships of misinformation
Floating into
Your mantra
Watch them as they float
And out the other side…
Or perhaps you might
Send sparrows
With flaming twigs
Held in their tiny beaks
Flying up
To intercept
The airships…
Hydrogen and fire
Ignite and
Oh the humanity!
You laugh…
Only bald liars
Would steal
Your serenity
And attempt to encase you
In gloom

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


by Chris Butler

I consider myself to be
an emotional cripple,
even though I walk, talk,
eat and breathe
without the assistance
of a machine.

Sent from my iPhone

by Michael Frissore

I've decided
I'm going to add
"Sent from my iPhone"
at the end of all
of my e-mails

just so people think
I'm cool and
I have an iPhone.


by jkdavies

You have knocked the life out of me,
I shovel dead things into my mouth
but I only taste the fermented stuff.
Honesty looks good on me, but on you?
I didn't need to know how easily
you put me out of your mind.
You made me feel alive and I hate
to think how long ago that was now,
I want to quicken myself but it does not come,
I can not come, it is an exercise in friction and
though the flesh is willing the mind is freaked.
Reject, side dish, bit of fun, reject,
slut, tease, reject; words bicycle in my head.
Dead mould, mushrooms for tea.
Yes, on the side, by the pallid fish flesh. I will
shrivel up in the non-weight of your disregard.
This time, can I make the silence stick?
Can I pour in enough alcohol to make
me tongue tied and not voluble?
Bitter exudations, oozing failure, and
in the morning, sweet rancid sweat.
Success and failure both are counted
by apathy, not talking to you.
Your life goes on, maybe to her you will
seem a little distracted, maybe?
Maybe not even that, after all, she didn't
even notice when you went to her,
rubbed raw from our exertions.
I try another tentative rub, but no,
rejected by my own flesh. To drink
to sleep; to sleep perchance to weep.
You have knocked the life out of me,
and now half digested dead things
come back out of my mouth.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


by James Valvis

The first time I met
my wife she’d polished
her toenails green.
Of all colors: green.

And she had tattoos,
one on her wrist, another
on the nape of her neck,
and I cannot stand tattoos
on a man, let alone a woman,
let alone my woman.

And the music she likes—
awful. Truly unfortunate.
Her movies, unwatchable.
And she eats calamari,
which the rest of us realize
is squid.

But I keep coming back to
the green toenails. I mean,
green. I’m saying, green

It’s a good thing I’m so
perfect or we would have
never made it.


by Michael H. Brownstein

Here are the piles of bills,
the books of the house,
a stack of Forbes and The New Yorker,
pages folded inward marking an advertisement—
or is it the model my son likes?
The paid bills go here,
receipts no longer needed to the garbage
or the fireplace—
the garbage already full.
Blank cards and unused envelopes,
manuscripts and ten by eleven photographs
(Mia Maestro, trees, the beach
with someone else’s dog),
bills due now,
bills we can hold onto longer,
bills we never intend to pay,
newspapers with Obama on the front page,
newspapers with his picture inside,
newspapers in plastic bags,
plastic bags.
More bills and the music of the house—
CDs, cassettes, an old forty-five, an older seventy-eight—
the doodlings of the house,
prose manuscripts,
advertisements with Mia Maestro.
advertisements for the fireplace—
without Mia Maestro
late bills,
bent bills,
bills folded and torn,
a candle,
large vanilla envelopes full of bills.
Artifacts for the house.

Its okay I’m not really okay

by Glen Binger

It’s easy to lie to someone you’ve just met.
- Hi, I’m a doctor.
- Hi, I have the world record for most hula-hoops consecutively jumped through.
But in order to lie to a friend
It takes effort, time, stamina, a plan.
There is a thought process behind it.
How to tone vocal chords.
How to shape eyebrows.
How to gesture hands.
How to cover tracks.
How to run away.
For a short period in your life
You specifically think about
How to inflict pain upon someone you know better than most.
- Hi, I’m not sure why your fiancée left you


by Felino A. Soriano

            around wrists of silent movements, timing morning’s
                                    architectural splay
reopening mansions
                                                of salient fires
fluctuating phantoms.
We hear memories scratching achromatic souls
                        into walls of angled air’s
                                                                        desolate imagination.
watching elemental tableaus               control             tonal fog’s
unrecognized allure:
nearing the welcoming table
of noon’s innate warmest mood
                                    dissipation of twirling shapes
dance in range of fingers’ distant hankering
                                                                        allowing though eyes
to waltz into nostalgia’s guise of now’s

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sober Woman

by Chris Butler

I love her whenever I’m still sober,
but she only likes to fuck me when she’s drunk,
throwing my body overboard for her
from our relationship set sail then sunk.

Her kiss swirls my brain cells to succumb
to her moistened tongue, stimulating
my words to slur stumbling mumbles dumb
enough to forget her masturbating.

The other nights I long for her longer,
as she disappears in the red lit bars
to cuddle up with another lover,
only to return in a brand new car.

I know now the truth as to why she lies,
looking through her inebriated eyes.

The Banshee

by Sheldon Lee Compton

At night he drinks pints of black and throws spit from the mountaintop, cupping his hands at his mouth, the old dirt of the ridgeline pinched beneath his fingernails. Hours spent digging for ginseng.

The ridge is his property line, is the edge of his world. The family pushed him off the porch years ago, boot-toed him across the yard until he could stand and make his way into the hills.

When he speaks, the words leave him as spring rain leaves the clouds in sunlight.

And when he speaks it is with words tied by strands of wind. He says mostly these words in this way – love, hurt, mother, father, babies, mine, marriages, children, babies, woman, mine, women, hurt, alone, nothing, mother, father. The words weave into one another and in the end they become a single wail across the valley.

To the knuckles he pushes his fingers into the overgrowth at the base of the cliffs. The roots are there. He pushes into the old earth with his muscles, the bones of his arms and shoulders, tearing away the bloodline of the plant.

It's how he gets to sleep before daybreak, tiring himself out before the stirring moon has a chance to remind him again of all he has lost.

And when he remembers, it is the throwing up again of sunlight words in the darkness.


by Steven Gulvezan

Four in the morning I arise without
Warning to confront the ghosts and
Demons the angels the small bizarre
Things that appear only after three
O’clock and before five o’clock
Feeling perhaps with justification
That this is their righteous time and
Not mine—
Still I arise and offer them
A convivial hello and perhaps a small
Piece of my life to chew over—
My demons nod, accepting my token
Payment and quietly observe me from
The far corner of my room…

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Of Wilderness and Philosophy

by Rebecca Gaffron

If I wait in the rain and you don’t show, does it mean something? And would the meaning change if the evening weren’t so wet. Or cold. Or green. My wilderness is green. But I have always longed for rugged, stony greys. It’s human nature to covet that which we are not. To crave poison in the form of delightful dissimilarity. And so I’ve been drawn up steep granite slopes. I’ve felt the wind lift my feet from razor backed fells where I believed I’d found myself, even as golden curls whipped my eyes, casting them downward, back to the patchwork of verdant emerald and olive and jade. Back to geographies more akin to my own. Or yours.

If I wait and you don’t show, is it because you’ve chosen to be a lone wolf? That is an anomaly. Wolves are pack animals. But you are not. Not a pack animal. Not a lone-wolf. This is clear, at least to me. You speak of wilderness. Of pines that spire like church steeples into starlit skies. Of rivers rushing, coursing, bursting in abandon before turning still and soft. Of quiet unspoiled by human chaos. You seek these out in small doses. Not allowing yourself to stay over-long. Avoiding too much stillness, afraid it might keep you. Or deliver the message you’ve been seeking. Something about finally allowing the wound to heal. Something about strengths found in vulnerability.

And if I wait by not waiting, will it change things? If I escape the lonely rain and cloudy shadows by settling into the warm glow of some social wilderness, surrounded by cheerful noise, might I find clarity? Or faith. Enough that when the phone vibrates in my pocket, I will know without hearing that it’s you. You, whispering the delicious promise of intentions-kept in my ear before appearing at my side. Then we will examine our philosophies. We will seek hidden meaning in IPAs and old Bluegrass songs. You will decry false rhetoric, calling out for more joy. More romance. More beer. While I argue the metaphysical merits of jokes unfit for mixed company.

If I wait and find you walking me out, away from the safely of the purely theoretical, will your wilderness envelope mine? There, in the wet and cold, where our greens still pulse under oily black darkness, will I convince myself that us is not something I’ve longed for? Will I see my hopes and fears reflected in your eyes? What if the pull is too great? What if we fall and in the descent lose ourselves, like pebbles dropped in a bottomless cave, plunging on and on forever, into nothing?


by Keith Higginbotham

I preached one
thorns in it
the word
            possibility is all about
without question
            at least
here defines through
                        to the soul
steams off in what way
            we’ve finished
is unromantic
in front of exile overlaid 
with lyrical
of a costume, the air


by Chris Butler

Kneel before your Sunday morning god,
brought to you exclusively by Viacom,

by pardoning the interruption of the alpha
dog omega preaching static fits

in hours of paid programming expressing
the opinions of puppets posing

as the ghosts of talk show hosts selling
souls for nineteen-ninety nine,

until the technical difficulties of black
and white epileptic locust storms

force us outdoors onto the low-definition
planet projected on plasma screens.

Because tomorrow always
becomes yesterday’s rerun,

nothing good is ever on.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I will go to bed hungry, not of necessity, but of choice

by Mike Foldes

The pantry shelves are filled
with cereals, rice, canned goods
with current date codes, a rack
of long white potatoes, a store
of liquors and wines, though
for the most part you stopped drinking
years ago. The refrigerator
is much larger than it needs to be
for the cubic volume of fruit,
vegetables, meats, shrimp
and other semi-precious perishables
taking up its inner space.
Within the cherry cupboards,
lifted and moved from market aisles
to privileged seats, one
behind another, a row of spices
each raised from front to back,
bishops in high-backed chairs
adorning the paper-lined nave.
The swollen belly grows larger
to match the pain, the wind wails,
or is that children singing?
If only they could paint poverty
into the corner of remember.

Tough Situations

by Glen Binger

There is a lack of oxygen
Floating around my neck,
My bones and my lungs.
Cotton balls sop all moisture
From the back of my esophagus.
I feel myself choking on invisibles.
And I can’t figure out how to fix it.

Inside me, lumps of nylon and newspaper and nothing absorbing, marinating in blood cells.

Pulse quickens, using more oxygen.
Depleting from my lungs,
My neck and my bones.
Strands of ocean-blonde hair
Wrapped around my throat
Like a noose, too loose.
And I don’t really want to fix it.


by Mather Schneider

Sunburned from sleeping all day on the berme
I wake with a thirst
like a chili plant after a hundred
days without rain.
I pull my feet out of the scorpion sand and
pluck an open pitaya from the sagging
bloody end
of a cactus spike-
the fruit red like the guts
of a summer bat
on my face and lips
black seeds crackling between my teeth
like the fried eyes
of grasshoppers.
I walk up the hill to see where I
and look out at the desert always
bigger than you think
and smaller too.
Miles and miles of crimson
hills and yellow rock
a thousand green saguaros like guards
whose feet have grown into
the ground
whose minds have gone mad
with duty
and whose arms reach up
to the lone hawk against
the sunset.
I hitch my pants and
slide down the hill
and begin the slow march
towards the strange
in the distance.


by Alan Britt

(Those who hope to be reasonable about it fail.
The arrogance of reason has separated us from that love.
With the word reason you already feel miles away.)

I wonder if I could swim, effortlessly, like Jack LaLanne,
the English Channel,
my happy teeth pulling tepid lovers in aluminum boats.

I wonder if there really is a devil, Lucifer dressed as headmaster
of a local elite all girls school
featuring an equestrian program
fueled by 24 and 25-year-old
horses donated by local thoroughbred farms.

Horses that slyly cut the corners of daily bureaucracy
with their arthritic hips
when the headmaster isn’t looking.

Horses which, oddly enough,
never became the horses of instruction, after all,
but instead pace their darkened stalls with a principal intellect,
no longer awaiting the equestrian god
to bless old horses.


by Felino A. Soriano
            magnitude shaping wisdom ) aura (
evaporated surnames
                                                death upon dissipating skeletal
                                    paeans                         clash their cymbals of electronic
                                                            pondering disparaging functions of a conveyable 
                                                conjoined teeming artificial artifices
among curtains of dusky hours
inward gallant focal trickery; sleep then risen wings
of an eye’s winged stutter
silhouettes of a blackbird’s rising deception
                                                hierarchy of halos
drifting golden rings
wearing knowledge of broken                        voices              verbatim artful
slants of day’s original

Sewing curtains

by Joan McNerney

All weekend long
how quickly my needle
skips over hems.

We won't have to look
at bricks anymore.
I bought a patch of
celestial blue to hang
from the kitchen window.

A few yards of green
velour in the bedroom
waving like soft meadows.
Green meadows
will keep street lights
from our eyes.

Sewing curtains all
weekend long.
I want to hide
away in my own
world with you.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

the vampire poet

by Mike Foldes

take the dull man with the blank stare
sitting on the redwood bench,
the heavy set woman at the grocery
searching for the perfectly ripe fruit,
who looks sideways at the bent man
pushing the smaller of two sizes
of wheeled wire carts, empty
but for a box of bruised strawberries,
the child screaming to be freed
from the publicly acceptable
rolling stocks holding her
in a royal position at the top
of the heap of toilet paper, diapers
cereal boxes, egg cartons, ice cream
and her mother’s black leather purse,
take them all, color them
like dye transfer photographs,
pour the life back into them
with the swipe of the fox fur
paintbrushes of Manet or Seurat,
animate their tired lives and reverse
the spell of ordinary cast over them,
wipe the webs from their honeyed eyes,
bury your canines in the lexicon
of nameless manners,
reverse the curse
and give them back
their well-deserved
and everlasting lives.


by Mather Schneider

With hands mottled and fingers trembling I
take the joint from
Viking Mike who

“There’s just nothing
to fucking do around here

Sammy the Apache
and I agree
as the three of us pass the joint
dumb with our old clothes
and puffed cheeks
in the sunset parking lot outside
the Buffet Tavern.

The joint is finally microscopic
and Sammy pops it in his mouth
and we stand there looking at each other’s

There is nothing left
but a one room apartment
with paths worn in the carpet

or a flattened out place
in the grass on the edge
of the city

or walking
all night
in the cold desert


by Alan Britt

Buzzards from the afterlife
circle the entrails of words.

Serrated wings
the buried keys to your door.


Remember when history
was more popular than dodge ball?

Remember those dreadful tidal surges
exceeding all expectation?

Remember Mary’s fury when confronted
by three unwisemen
from some lame Ivy League accounting firm?

And whatever happened to the original Magi
fueling Harrod’s god-awful misery?

Those three humble Gnostics?


She could’ve discharged
all that.

Imagine granite appaloosa stallions
galloping the vaulted walls
of art museums
in the Hague,
in Tuscany,
at the Met,
in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Now, imagine you and I riding those granite stallions,
riding for our lives.

Then imagine British rock’n’rollers
tossing and turning in their nihilistic beds during the Blitzkrieg,
imagine attaining emotional brain functions
often attributed to aliens
circling our explosive blue planet?

Then, again, imagine you and I drifting
dangerously out of control,
dining at Taco Bell, for instance,
in an Einstein universe?

Tell me, where’s the sense in that?


by Ben Rasnic

The first time I remember
hearing about death,
my father’s best friend had nestled
a double barrel shotgun under his chin,
blew his face apart & splattered
his brains against the bedroom wall.

I was told
he passed away
in his sleep.

As kids we would roam
the neighborhood cemetery after dinner
fascinated by the polished granite headstones--
would read each one aloud
engraving mental notes
on who lived the longest
and who died the youngest
as if all that mattered
could be reduced to simple mathematics,

life and death
merely another set of statistics
to decipher

and finding humor in every equation,
would calibrate our scariest faces,
creating ghost sounds and laughing as we ran,
often to trip over markers
camoulflaged by freshly laid wreathes

inevitably to stumble upon
that one familiar name book-ending
a bed of freshly turned earth,
the cryptic inscription chiseled
into smooth gray stone
mirrors faces ashen as chalk
from the flash awareness
that the man who laughed like Santa Claus
and taught us how to throw a curve ball
was never coming back, his discarded flesh
encased a couple of yards beneath our feet;

seven adolescents standing silent as statues
seemingly for an eternity
until finally someone mutters
“it’s getting late”,
then dispersing like shattered glass
or the ripple effect from skipping stones
across Johnson’s Pond;
head our separate ways
for the comfort of home,

stopping only
to give the dog
a big tail waggin hug
like nobody’s business.


by Randall Rogers






Saturday, October 2, 2010


by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal


Where the book of hallucinations
begins, a shadow turns the pages
and another shadow highlights
the words. Rocks have voices and
the sun is cool. The shadows fill
with sadness when the book is
closed. There is a secret poem in
the book of hallucinations. A
heart beats for a moment and each
shadow could hear it. They don’t
know what a heart is. They don’t
know for what purpose this heart
beats. How could a shadow know?
The book of hallucinations is not
for the faint of heart. There is no
form in each poem. The rocks who
speak give way to muteness. Their
hardness dissolves to dust and
the grass in the book of hallucinations
calls out to each reader. It calls out
to each shadow, who have trouble
understanding it. The book of
hallucinations puzzles each shadow
and the secret poem begins to beat
suddenly. It is a dazzling poem,
which makes one’s eyes water.
Suddenly, the book of hallucinations
quotes from the Book of Revelation.


Blue birds recite verses from the book
of hallucinations. The blue birds sing
and swoop in the celestial skies. All
through the day the blues birds sing
off key. The book of hallucinations
devours the blue birds. The verses
are highlighted blue by the shadow
who turns the pages. The other shadow
could not remember what color it
always highlighted the book of
hallucinations. Without memory
the shadow which highlighted the book
of hallucinations gave way to serenity.
Both of the shadows felt the beauty
all around. They started to measure
each drop of beauty in the world.
The cool sun dropped rays of light
throughout the morning. The light
rays navigated through each page of
the book of hallucinations and the
blue verses were wiped clean. The
shadow which turned the pages did what
it always did. It left the highlighting to
the shadow which highlighted the pages.
There were fragments of blue wings
throughout the book of hallucinations.
The shadow which turned the pages and
the shadow which highlighted the book
of hallucinations could not remember in
what part of the book the secret poem
was hidden. The blue birds walked from
page to page, through each verse, looking
for a love that flight could not reach.
Waves of blue birds walked on. The cool
sun set their hearts aflame and tore
each of their wings from their bodies.
The secret poem gorged on the blue birds.


In the book of hallucinations there was a
shadow which desperately sought a new
body. The shadow read every single
word in the book of hallucinations hoping
there was some kind of clue there, a place
where it could live in harmony. There was
a shadow which had similar ideas, only
it was not as desperate. It would highlight
every other word in the book of hallucinations.
This shadow was looking for a body with
a pink head. It would highlight every
word from pink to red to white. The shadow
which turned the pages observed the other
shadow and feel a certain uneasiness. In
the book of hallucinations there was no
guaranteed harmony. Each shadow kept its
hopes and dreams alive as best they could.


Words would dissolve without warning in
the book of hallucinations. Sometimes
blood would spurt out of certain pages from
time to time. The cool sun would release rays
of light and wipe the blood off. The cool sun
was always around in the morning and in
the afternoon. By the time evening settled in,
the cool sun would be gone. It would always
return the next day. Inside the book of
hallucinations, there was an old heart which
would beat on and on. The old heart would
beat faintly. The cool sun behind the moon
would drop rays of light toward the old heart.
It would go silent. The old heart did not like
being silenced. It would start beating louder
and louder the moment the cool sun was
not around to silence it with its rays of light.


The rocks in the waves would speak, but no one
understood what they said. One particular
rock in the book of hallucinations could throw its
voice. It could sing like a blue bird. This rock
had great range, but only for a few hours. In
the book of hallucinations, there was a shadow
which turned its pages. It did not understand
what each poem said. However, the shadow would
recite each word. There was another shadow which
highlighted every other word. It would never
recite each word. In the book of hallucinations
the shadow which turned the pages had a pronounced
stutter, which was dreadful. Fortunately,
the shadow lost the stutter and eventually its voice.