Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Inside Sunset

by Denny E. Marshall

Sun peeks into
Cracks between blinds
Dust infected rays stream
Across room light to light
Cloud mixed colors glow
Right outside the room

Crime Scene

by Mike Perkins

let us secure the border
the whole thing
with that yellow tape
like you see on television

starting from the East coast
down around to
the Gulf of Mexico
across the Mexican border
up the West coast
across Canada
back to the East coast
squaring the circle of shame

we need to gather evidence
take statements
investigate thoroughly
expose the truth
that has been
conveniently forgotten
ignored and denied

someone needs
to take responsibility
to be held accountable
there are questions
to be answered

the questions:

who has been paid off?
what happened to our prosperity?
when will democracy return?
where are our freedoms?
how will our good name be restored?


we the people
of the United States
declare this nation
a crime scene
and demand justice
rather than pollutants
avarice, rancor
high hubris,
and low morals

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Speeding on Rosh Hashanah

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Tender pigeons, windowsill
Passengers, worse from dumpster wear
Than all manners of cats’ mentations
Woven into teshuva, sing

Us awake, after
We’ve become hungover,
Praying away the holidays,
Positioning our souls for servile stances,

Hoping Compassion once more
Overrules Judgment,
That The Boss’ Infinite Patience
Brings us jasmine sweetness plus

Life served up family style,
Celestially spun,
Sing-song-like, childishly
Innocent of the cadence of sin.

Hours spent, first tenuously,
Then with earnest, footing
Away differentiated choices
Or other bad habits,

Which carried their wasteful
Accoutrements, their claims to
Famous moments, their stolen
Feelings, fashioned from delusional
Social puppies, too close.

Such propensities for daring do
Don’t often sway past sagacity’s
Gates; mouthed words make
Only lukewarm bedfellows.

Toward a new year, it’s
Necessary to self-inflict
Moral current, good thoughts,
Pious regrets. Speedily.

Angel stardust means
Naught weighed against
The accuser’s puffed up sway.
Rebuilding requires emunah.


Author's Note:
teshuva = repentence
emunah = faith

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


by Robert E. Petras

First to go was the lawn tractor
swept away by a flatbed,
then came the strangers to the auction,
and they took things,
things like Betty Jane Demerit’swasher and dryer,
things like Betty Jane’s flat screen TV,
things like Betty’s jewelry,
her pearl necklace, her mother’s brooch,
carried them off the hill
like ants carrying crumbs
as the auctioneer warbled on and on
and they carried away more things—
just things—the grandmother’s wedding dress,
a mother’s ring,
the daily reminder blackboard
erased, the erasers, too.
Another flatbed rolled into haul away junk
as the auctioneer warbled on:
Going, going, gone forever.

Airplane Bottles

by Kevin Ridgeway

six months dry and a sip
of bottom shelf Kentucky bourbon
out of an airplane bottle

gag reflexes dance across the seething nodules of my throat,
sour world worms wiggle along the linings of my intestines
which writhe into arms that want to crawl out of my ass
and produce a sharp blade in one arm
slicing the main line of this head
with an aluminum bat in the other arm to shatter the skull

removing the brain delicately like a newborn
and spoon feed hunks of gray matter
past my bitter lips down
the slide of fire and out of my ass again
to shake hands with this doomed clown
plastic bottles on each finger dancing a horrific
deluded dance with the Devil.

The Run Through (An Original Narrative Poem)

by Jordyn Coats

He runs through grass not cut by metal
mounted next to motors. With each day,
a walk becomes a jog;
a jog becomes a sprint.
Weeks go by. The weeds brush
against his shins annoyingly.
The man pushes through
on this Sunday afternoon
until his heels skid and lock
the irritating blades of green
around his ankles. He can't bend
down to scratch the itch. It's numb
(to him, at least). Greek statue-like,
blue eyes glaze over.
A grey-haired woman,
with a bucket of muddy water sitting on the rotten porch,
crawls on cracked, callus infested hands and knees.
She measures the length, moves the knife closer,
and hovers gently as if she were cutting her daughter's curls.

Otherwise Strewn with Legends

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

In quick succession, her apartment, otherwise strewn
With superheroes, sex proprietors, also amanuenses,
All of whom brought tomatoes and cabbage,
Became a vortex for strange love.

While isolating hired multilinguals in her kitchen, on her roof,
Outside of her bathtub, the “little girl” concluded washers, dryers,
Dishwashers ought not to run concurrently, especially
When repairmen were unwilling.

To wit, she flooded the cotyledons, the mustabas of glittery tile,
Gulped green herbs, ate small peasants, tasted other morsels,
Then marveled at the collected, metallic graben of her salon;
Fantastic males can rend big holes.

Thereafter, those forces departed for easier women who preferred rouging
Cheeks, plastic cards, shipments from fashion palaces. Some
Surgically-enhanced beauty queens, pageants behind them, even
Actually like fire marshals!

Meanwhile, that gal pal’s domain stayed clean of synthetic fruit,
Familiar gift embargos, strast, as taught in boarding schools, recherché
Reasoning, hedgehogs, street corner wisdom. It remained tough to think
Critically about eldritch events when mopping vomit.

Costly, too, to coexist, future kindred or no, without generous
Dollops of sarcasm, discounted engagements, solecisms
Enough to fill bards’ bandoliers, writers’ pages, painters’ sketchpads.
Sometimes, women’s rights gave her the rot.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Two Arrows

by Taufiq bin Abdul Khalid

I was a wanderer,
Dissolute and mad,
Walking a hot and baking desert,
When passing through a gorge
I was suddenly ambushed.

First an arrow,
Which pierced my belly.
Then a second arrow,
Which pierced my heart
And kept me mad
But also blinded me.

For awhile I was in the dark
And I wandered still,
Until my feet tasted water,
Cool and gentle,
And my eyes opened
For the first time ever...

To find myself on the shore
Of a vast ocean.

Silence, Please

by Richard Hartwell

I delivered the small bouquet of roses,
Three modest yellow blooms in various
Stages of blossoming, or individual decay,
Depending on how diverse your points of view.
Why only three one may ask and
I can only answer these were the
Ready ones, the expectant ones,
Flowers calling to be culled from
Among masses still standing silent,
A weekly task of love presented to
My daughter who inches towards a
Silence greater than she should know
Before her span of years and laughter
Expires. I named these blooms to her
Upon delivery: the Father, the Son,
And the Spirit that binds us all.
I eschew the labels Holy Ghost and Holy
Spirit, whose cause is so misstated, knowing
My daughter’s hearing the Great Silence so soon
Binds me to all those blind to such a bouquet of love.


by Sarah E. White

Taking it all in
Inhaling every last bit
Love, hate, desire, loss, laughter and rage
Taking it in
I let it mix around in my mind
Churning through my soul
Until some sense can be made
Then I breathe it out
Push it out
Letting it flow into words
An idea or an answer
A poem
But sometimes I just can’t exhale
Some thoughts get trapped inside
Pushing on my insides
Screaming for release
I have to hold on to them
Until I can breathe them out
Breathe them out with some beauty
Breathe them out better than how they went in
Anger sometimes escapes
It bursts forth from my heart
No beauty
Just the simple blinding flash of ferocity
Sometimes it’s not breathing at all
Sometimes it’s just hot air

A Life America Once Lived

by Jason E. Hodges

The midday train calls in the distance
Echoing through this once bustling town
The perfect manicured laws of the suburbs have now fallen
Fallen back to the hands of the wild
Weeds now grow high around household furniture
Furniture left behind when there’s nowhere left to go
Hawks sit patently on the edge of a rain filled swimming pool
For the green water is coming to life
Life that calls out in the darkness
When the night comes and stars speckle the sky
Calls thrown from awakened green frogs singing their songs from the warm green water
In the pool that once entertained formal dinner parties
Behind the house that needed no down payment
The house that needed no credit
With a mortgage that made a salesman a bonus
A mortgage that was anything but right
And now the train calls out in the distance
Falling away, almost unable to hear
Like the cries from dreams lost in the city
Dreams barley held on by the desperately holding
Dreams very few would continue to see
But the banks keep on building
One seems to be on every corner and street
T-shirts and coffee mugs are out for the handing
Handed out to ones that open an account
But the ones that fly the flags of out tuned pockets
Should not even apply
For the days of getting the Unaffordable American Dream
Are gone like the people that once filled these homes

Thursday, September 22, 2011

We Walk the Streets

by Donal Mahoney

Whenever Lolly stops me
on my midnight rounds
just to chat about the night

I shine my flashlight in her eyes
and whisper low so the other
working girls can't hear me,

"Lolly, it's your intelligence
and taste I find so appealing.
I appreciate that upper lip

you've lit up in neon red
so artfully with lipstick."
We talk about mortgages and kids

whether hers are back in school,
whether mine are still in college,
whether my brother ever sends a check.

When finally I say I have to go,
she giggles like Monroe, gets all
blonde and bouncy, saucy to a fault,

waves good-bye with a grand sashay,
thrilled again to be on her way, pleased
that once again I won't take her in.

Five Best Memories

by Korey Brownstein

What was your first best memory?
I married a tree.
What was your second best memory?
I cheated on the tree with another tree.
What was your third best memory?
I cheated on that tree with another tree.
What was your fourth best memory?
I cheated on that tree with a shrub.
What was your fifth best memory?
I cheated on the shrub with a dandelion.
What happened next?
I cheated on the dandelion with a clover.


by Jill Chan

How little it takes for us to remember,
how much you own
for that second of bruising.
For the soul is bruised with your thinking.
Bruised and daily healing.
I hope you are well,
breathing in the air as babies do,
with nothing to fear
but our making,
their innocence and our pride.
We knew yet we continue knowing.
They cry in their hunger as in our love.
Wake up, they seem to be saying.
Wake up. Welcome me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Bird at the Window

by Tammy T. Stone

She didn’t talk on the phone anymore. The phone was still installed, but it sat on a little stand on a faded plastic chair she found at the back of a Mexican restaurant. The phone gathered dust she never removed. The alleyway at the back of the Mexican restaurant, which she walked through once a week on the way to an appointment, was full of concrete and the colours of dead regal things. Wires and electrical ditties sprouted everywhere, from porous brick walls to the cavernous bottoms of doorways and crown molding like veins that pulsed the sun itself.

Some were cut and hung limp without this kind of life in it and when she saw these sprigs of former circuitry she thought the city must have died.

(In a dead city there is no room for phone calls.)

A bird came to sit on her windowsill, the one in the kitchen with its yellow walls and junk pile of dried out spices. She didn’t use her spices anymore because once her eyes started to well up
at everything she saw outside on her weekly walk, she realized she couldn’t smell or taste anymore. Her throat was closed. Her eyes had become wide gaping receptacles and the world knew all about it. Sometimes she thought the world flocked to her because she was the last one to see.

Every colour and shape forced themselves into her until she screamed and threw up and had nothing left inside of her that was originally her own. The dead city was deep inside her now. The bird that sat on her window wanted to poke her until she bled the city back into life.

Heart-Felt Festival

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Bring gilded hunting horns of golden sound.
Strew flowers in the streets that surround.
Open straw baskets, replete with rare scents,
Light limitless lanterns; stake up some grand tents,
Build bonfires blazing, set caldrons warming,
Gather people; call my masses to swarm,
Announce my great honor, trumpet my grand joy,
This princess esteems her birth of a boy.

She Eats

by Korey Brownstein

Vicious jaws devour souls of worlds
Savage teeth grind rigid matter
A raging tongue laps liquid mantle
A despondent uvula sways in sadistic delight
Cosmos breathe smells of absolute death
Tainted lips tear away for a grander veal


by Lee Stern

There is a country I am going to that is not the old country.
But it is a country of different hats and different methods.
Older people who have been there say that it’s a place of expectations.
I’m not going to rave about it.
But I will say that people who have been there
after they suddenly return, seem astonished to actually be back.
And to get to this country, as you might have imagined,
you need a ticket and a bottle of sweet smelling liquid.
Having two tickets is even better.
Although if you show up with three of them,
all of the books you’ve ever read will turn their pages for you
and you’ll be astonished that you were never able to do it yourself.
For this is a country you might have read about.
You might have seen the sentences placed on the ground
nearer to the edge of a waterfall than you might have expected.
And praying for it, you might have seen its dogs
placed in a line that, though it couldn’t be reconnoitered,
might have comforted the magicians it owned.
And the suitors who were begging to go free.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Aisle 60

by Korey Brownstein
Aisle 1: music plays a pas de deux
   I miss my lady
Aisle 2: a gentleman’s Spoken Résumé
      the internet dies
Aisle 3: divorce your family
   where do I sign?
Aisle 5: a beau monde for gentlewomen
     the cheddars gasp
Aisle 7: maps of megalopolises
      where is ChiPitts?
Aisle 11: fresh Bhut Jolokia
   have it on the rocks
Aisle 13: meat and poetry
      I taste The Peacock
Aisle 17: the eunuch searches for his missing piece
      that damn Shaunnigan
Aisle 19: cars dressed in dew from the past
   let the sun wash it away
Aisle 23: a cure for borborygmus
     the cwm without a crwth
Aisle 29: the widowed man paints a new coat
      she is in love with the stain
Aisle 31: the lover of politicians
      a virgin cloth collects her tears
Aisle 37: materials for a bien-pesant
   society will provide a discount
Aisle 41: the sex-crazed Sarvajna
      why is the woman I love hiding?
Aisle 43: the six-mile man runs into the arms of rejection
      his talking shoes return laughing
Aisle 47: the dancing queens sing
      “I like you just the way you are!”
Aisle 53: the imprisoned nametag
      what sort of crimes did it commit?
Aisle 59: the city drains
      another train drinks and flies away
Aisle 60: the hermetic place
      no one shops here

Mexican Beauty

by Devlin De La Chapa

Sun’s down
in the bastard saloon-
dirty cowboys drinking
water down Whiskey
a Mexican hostess
drenched in cheap perfume.
Sun up
I hit the Cochise west,
my tongue stuck
to the planes in my mouth.
Dry spit, the hostess is spent.
I see buzzards flying over my head
in Bisbee,
then one laughs-
it’s her
loving me gently
drinking me softly
stealing me harshly.
With guns drawn,
envisioning the cheap of her blacken hair,
I shoot at the blistering sky,
bullets backfire ‘til
one grazes my soul.
Still drunk
on Whiskey and sorrow
blood is the salt
of that Mexican beauty
who lost me in Tombstone.


by Subhankar Das

you are playing a double game
she said
promising both of us the same moon.

i know I am soft
and crave for all these
lunar moments of eternity
as forever does not mean anything anymore.

i would love to play a triple game
one for my heart

it’s time I think.

A Trip to Four or Five Countries

by Geordie de Boer

I found a pad in Paddington
down the block from the stuffed bear’s den
and a short walk to the station,
dined on canned pork and beans for breakfast,
bangers and mash with a pint of bitters
for lunch, burned to paint like Turner,
took cold water showers, shook
in the daily fog, grew frail in the damp,
spit in the Thames, left London for good.

I’ve never been to Spain, but I love
flamenco music, the tall, athletic dancers.
Someone told me (later) that I
might have learned the answers to love there
by studying Picasso‘s life. Didn’t he
live and paint in France?

I took a chance and went to Paris
(France, that is) almost passing as a Canadian
(hand me the brie, eh?). My clothes
gave me away for what I am. I followed the footsteps
of Manet, ate pate de foie gras, smeared
Dijon mustard on my croque-monsieur,
hailed waiters as garcon (they snubbed me)
all to no avail. I left the Country
of Human Rights with my tights in a wad
and my tail between my legs.

I settled into Salzburg, ate pastries
at the konditorei where Mozart
broke bread, finished his unfinished
commission for the Requiem Mass
in D minor (I wrote it in C),
committed my own sins of omissions,
slept in his unmade bed (Requiem aeternam
dona mihi, Domine), took an Austrian
wife, tried to lead a pristine life.

I took my wife to Rome to roam
its Seven Hills, killed a bottle of Frascati,
made love in the Sistine Chapel
(with an American tourist), secured a divorce
from the Pope, of course,
wondered how I’d cope with single life again,
spun a cocoon in a pine tree, began
my metamorphosis to Respighi’s Pini di Roma.

I left Europe, flew back home
to New York City on my beautiful yellow
and black wings, found the city mellow,
pitched a tent in Central Park
before renting a penthouse apartment,
locked my wings away in a compartment
at Grand Central Station, pondered
how people could live in a foreign nation
that sort of life being so,
I don’t know, bland…
and foreign.

Because We Were Born

by Jill Chan

What could happen anymore
but more of the same.
We live because we were born;
we die because we live.
Above, stars watch us trying.

Our hearts demand of us
to lose when we're driven to win
by weather or lack.
What possibilities there are
have been named
and we are their far reaches.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Night Out

by Douglas Polk

Out of a fairy tale, she steps into the bar,
silver-tongued I coax and compliment her into my bed,
the next day sun,
harsh and direct,
reveals the fairy tale dead,
the illusion of enchantment last night,
fueled by alcohol and hormones,
we whisper our good byes with pounding heads.


by Lee Stern

I’m sorry I can’t shovel the dirt anymore
in the manner in which you’ve come to expect me to do it.
I thought that I was doing a pretty good job.
But the way you looked at me
indicated you lost confidence in what I was doing.
And wanted somebody else to step in and take my place.
And I’m sorry if I didn’t put the dirt in the right place
or if I didn’t spread it evenly.
I tried to subscribe to the goals that you outlined.
But I had a lot of things on my mind
during both the nights and the days.
so I wasn’t always successful in reaching
out for the correct operation. Or for the correct solution.
I was merely trying to move one pile of dirt to another place.
From where it had been located.
And from where safeguards
had been removed from the places that we dreamed would always last.

Stroppy Urchins

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Stroppy Urchins, all twee among tourists, call out for clothes,
Pave self-promotion in alleys, on streets, steady among boulevards.
Etiolate brats, accustoms to sweat shops, they beg bread, pester gypsies,
Commonly sift among urban cruft for invisible diamonds, rubies, emeralds.

Such social tetany brings bolshy, sometimes exasperatingly belligerent, faculatives,
Strolls wee persons ‘round would-be bourgeoisie, nabs purses, filtches pocket change.
Almost never, however, does it stoop to slit a throat; safer robbery will do.
Plus, obstreperous coppers are known to find pleasure in jailing hoodlums.

Now and then, brogues rest. When bounty’s beyond reason, including: plimsolls,
Chatelaines for opening post boxes, rusted lugers, tame budgies,
As well as coins faced with etchings of ancient krakens, life’s good.
Yet even those catches get revealed as more superficial glitz than social currency.

She paces the isle of the streets

by Jenny Catlin

She paces the isle of the streets
Corner of McArtur Park,
Alvarado Street
She’s always been there
She was before time.
Her broken sunglasses
That once used to be Gucci
Hang one amputated arm over heavy lidded eyes.
She dances
Shaking her round bottom inside a faded house dress
The flowers that she colors in with felt pens
Her things all live around the park bench
She is before time and above future
Even the crack heads leave it alone
Her leather bag spilling out Family Circle cartoons
And bristeless hair brushes
She’s taped three quarters to three fingers
Now castanets accompany her dancing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Walking Stick

by Brian Wake

I cannot, he would rage, take any more these days,
without a stick, than half a dozen steps, and often
these are only where the stick itself would wish to go.

Stuck in the mud, he’d say, and jinxed, that’s me,
and I, for what has seemed like centuries, and without love,
tread dreadful crannies around the points I have to make.

I write, he would explain, in order to maintainan
equilibrium between the very height of passionand
the grey slug moments, awful dog shit of despair.

I write to make the passive consciousness of possibility,
he’d say, to which all values must belong, appear complete.
I drink to make ends meet.

It has been, dare I say, a good deal less than wonderful,
my life, unfair these morbid, mental growths I’ve had to bear,
unutterably sad. But kind, he said, of you to come.

The doctors here are marvelous but mad.

I Only Can Tell You

by Darryl Price

your irises are more
to me than any of these early hills,like slow-
motion sea flowers bound to leisurely happen,
and out pops the ready
to eat sun to make the
whole world come alive with new possibilities
again. What pours forth then on all else around here

from that simple beginning
is every first beginning
for me from the colors of trees to the dull
winds brightening themselves like paper against the
whirl of each shimmering
ghost as it glides on by.
Your gaze alone seems to give them their freedom to
continue to present change and growth throughout the

courageous hours. I don't
want you to think that that
means you are in charge of their solitary meanings.
It only gives them an extra amount of
this morning's fine residual
pearl of green (cleared
to go) fuel they'll ever need to blow off on their
own into the mysterious worlds everywhere.

Plastic Surgery

by Randall Rogers

must lie.
and die.
The sooner
than later.
Or else,
it lies
not only
to itself.

Sea Glass

by Jason E. Hodges

The sea glass I see sitting before me
Sparkles with scratches of beauty
Scratches of time
Its frosted exterior brushed on ever so softly
From the tides constant coming and going
Tumbled and tossed by the waves of time
Etching its outside with salt and sand
As I look upon this glass jewel of the sea
I wonder what piece of someone’s life it broke from
Could it be from a ship’s window shattering as it runs ashore
Beaten by waves in a hurricane’s wind
Or is it from the glass of a lantern
Held by a frantic fisherman’s wife
Searching the lonely shoreline after a storm for her only true love
Then dropped to a crash on the rocks of the morning low tide
As she runs to his side, alive, spared from the sea
Or maybe this glass is from a bottle tossed into the ocean from halfway around the world
Making its way to a new land where its message is not understood by the reader
Thrown back, discarded to the sea with an end over end spinning long toss
In pieces, it now will become
Broken by the black rock of the bottom
For, sometimes dreams are not easily read by others
For the ones who have no dreams see a different world than the dreamer
A set in stone no different world of their making
Sea glass, the mystical gems of the ocean
Or pieces of broken dreams turned into jewels of the sea
From broken thousand mile unreadable journeys
Or is it merely a symbol of hope that the one you truly love is still alive in the darkness
Alive and able to hold once more
Saved by the undertow of life’s constant pulling

Sunday, September 11, 2011


by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Near dawn I'm sitting on the edge of bed,
everything with a tinge of black
pulling me back into the night,

you're behind me breathing hot on my neck,
your hands snaking around to my belly,

pressing hard against me
your cool breasts...

California fires burning on TV and you
lasting like a line of flame across the entire valley,

never forgetting this
our last night together

sprinkling ashes of glowing orange outside the window,
bed squeaking like an old woman,

you thinking
you'll never be alone,

mountainsides burnt with stumps of trees and bushes
once strong and green,
canopied by an arc of tainted sky.

The Comeback Kid

by Alison L. Peoples

I saw Jesus
walking along the side of the road
looking for the answer
to his prayer.

He was collecting bottles
and cans
and, as any man,
He wept deep inside.

I saw Jesus
waiting at a bus stop
waiting for his salvation
to arrive.

He was huddled beneath
the metal and plexiglass box
that protected the uncomfortable bench--
the rest felt good.

I saw Jesus
digging through a trashcan
for the promise of
a fine meal.

It seemed a shame
that He could not share
this loaf of bread
with the many other hungry.

I saw Jesus crying
because no one noticed
that he wore no shoes
on his well-travelled feet.

I saw that Jesus has a MySpace
trying to make a comeback
through social media

Hope Tumbles

by Carmen Eichman

Winter strikes September.
Landscape empties,
lists as aged hollowed wood.
Hallowed vows erupt vitriolic roots.
She claws desperation,
egregious emptiness digs into quick.
She sucks frigid air, but love's lungs collapse.
Hope tumultuously tumbles
to a soft lichen floor of failure,
raven black despair.
Bowed head,futile prayer.
Taut white neck aligns
along absent angel wings
as bowed head and branches bend
in an ice laden loss.


by Lee Stern

The pianos are all moving at their own speed.
They’re going from one place to another.
And when they get to the one place, they can’t stay very long.
So they have to keep moving.
People wave at the pianos but it doesn’t slow them down.
Nothing seems to slow them down, in fact,
And when somebody says he thinks they’re slowing down,
we know that he’s a fool.
And everybody’s a fool who shares the same opinion.
When you see a piano that’s moving away from you,
the best thing to do is to get out of the way.
Don’t try to be a hero about it and get it to stop.
Let the people listening to it be the heroes.
Let the notes, as they surround you with a feeling of wonder,
acclimate the movement of your senses
and move mountains to a place you can live.


by Chris Butler

I always remember a poem that rhymes,
like the rhythms of heartened nurseries,
able to withstand the wasting of time
through the reprints of obituaries.

Warm words, lying beside a lullaby,
sing the doggerel songs of love sonnets
and quick snippets of quiet passersby,
from those authors mnemonic and honest.

Written anapestic tetrameter
tells immortal stories for centuries,
instilling morals like an ill fever
by repeating recitals in series.

Picture one thousand pens writing at once,
mumbling da-da-dumb as the class dunce.

Faith Plus a Little Help

by KJ Hannah Greenberg
Eminent doctors disagree,
    Except when issuing despair. 
Then, they decree 
     More than bank books merged; 
Dismayed families
      Feign to hide 
Hopes trouncing by affliction’s
       Many kinds of debt.
Too few paid bills. 
Too little optimism.
Fasts, cries, death, addiction.
Woe on market’s mysteries,
When homes razed by storm,
Or rocked by grief’s winds collapse.
Then small children wail afresh,
Alarming angels into action. 

Simply… Beautyful

by Amit Parmessur

Something’s rocking,
sitting near those wild rocks
And you know, it’s a mosaic of magic
Really, there’s something magnetic near the wild rocks

Tender fingers chopped from long lady fingers
from the green garden where stars grow
Toes cut from the juicy stem of red sugar cane

O fresh fragrant Frangipani,
your hair’s like the finest spaghetti
curled by the warm breeze of Pointe d’Esny

Your grace exudes all religions
You’re a peppy reggae

Skin like cream churned in local industries
Legs from the dust of lovely dodos
You’re like a soft bouquet of trochetia

Someone’s rocking, sitting near those wild rocks
Someone needs to feed you with sincerity
Someone needs to cuddle you with true love
Someone must become your morning mirror,
evening tea and nocturnal sorbet

There must be majestic magic in your veins
I wonder whose private property you’ll be

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Well House

by Sarah E. White

In 1947 the men of my family worked in the rolling hills of Kentucky
On the small farm that we called home
Men as honed from the land as the stone blocks that they labored
As true as the mortar they mixed for their strong standing structure
Covering this hole in the earth with its life-giving water
The well house was finally complete
Now in 2011
A little piece of my history has vanished from the land
It has succumb to the minutes of time and machines of the present
Now just crumbles of rubble lay on a bare empty slab
Turned back to dust to blow over the land
Lonely is the sound as it drifts on the wind calling out to my memory
My history lost for another history’s making
Something so insignificant to others stands as a building block of my childhood
Leaves me teary eyed and remembering a time of stability
Another piece of childhood gone
Yet the well house stands strong in my memory in the perfect home of childhood
An anchor point holding firm in my thoughts
A landmark that will never be lost
The backbone of my back yard little world
An off limits place for hide and go seek
Oh how it tempted us with all of its mystery
With its perfectly dark inside
Something soothing about the scent from within
The ancient cobwebs and dust of a time gone by
It all seemed all so familiar
For the well house still stands with its life giving water
The well house stands on in my mind

Second Millennium Fairy Tale

by Claudia Rey

‘Hi, pretty little thing’
growled the wolf
jumping on the path
from behind a bush.
‘Going for a picnic?’
The girl batted her long lashes
and adjusted her red bonnet.
‘A big bad wolf… how interesting’
she said with a smile.
‘Aren’t you afraid of me?’
said the wolf, disappointed.
‘Er… no. Should I?’
‘Of course you should.
Ever heard about the big wolf
who eats tender little girls
and their grandmothers as well?’
‘Aw, come on’ laughed the girl.
‘No one believes this any more.
And speaking of eating,
are you sure you could manage?
I’m not as tender as I look,
actually I’m pretty tough.
As for my grandma, poor thing,
she’s so old and bony…
not that much to chew there.’
The wolf stared at her, confused.
‘But… but look at me!’
he insisted. ‘Yellow, scary eyes…
sharp fangs… strong claws…
I mean, the works!
You should be terrified!’
The girl examined him critically
from head to tail.
‘Scary eyes, you say?
My dear, they are not scary at all,
they only look sort of red
as if you didn’t get enough sleep.
Try eye-drops, they do wonders.
Fangs? Hum. Not so sharp
and rather yellow in fact.
You should see a dentist!
Now, show me your claws.’
She took his paw in her hand.
‘But Wolfie, you have a problem here!
You see here? A badly broken one.
And there? Broken as well.
Wait a minute, not exactly broken…’
She frowned. ‘Say, do you bite you nails?
The wolf stooped his head
and burst into tears.
‘I’ve been so depressed lately…
no one is afraid of me any more,
can’t find a single goat or lamb,
rabbits and mice regularly outrun me,
I often go to bed hungry…
and now little Red Riding Hood’
he sobbed ‘makes fun of me!’
Red Hood put her arm round him.
‘Now, now, don’t cry. You know what?
I’ll buy you a drink. A beer,
a brandy, a whisky. You choose.
There must be a bar over there
just round the bend.’
‘But… a drink?’ said the wolf.
‘Little girls don’t drink!’
‘Wolfie’ grinned Red Hood
‘don’t be so daft.
I’m no little girl, I’m twenty-eight!
But I had to keep my job, you see,
so I got myself a nip and tuck.
And you know what,
you should do the same.’

Happy Hour

by James Babbs

around five o’clock
Tuesday afternoon and
I guess it’s better
than Monday morning
but not by very much
I’m here
but I’m not doing anything
just sitting around
trying to decide
whether or not
I want to stay sober
I mean after awhile
even getting drunk
starts losing its appeal
now that I’m older
it doesn’t feel the same
I don’t know
I’m just in a bad mood
it’s almost dark outside
and the wind’s so fucking cold

it’s gonna be

by Amit Parmessur

it’s gonna rain bliss

yes, i’m talking to you
it’s gonna rain bliss
you and me

it’s gonna be a marriage of cultures
it’s gonna be superhit
it’s gonna be what it’s gonna be
it’s gonna be sincere

it’s gonna be poetic
it’s gonna be flowery

it’s gonna be new
you and me
i just can’t end you
it’s gonna be the best medicine
it’s gonna be sound, soft

say you like my style

it’s gonna be respectful
it’s gonna be wonderful
it’s gonna be beauty,
fulfil the wish

return to innocence
with experience

i’m gonna be your mirror

it’s gonna rain, now
let’s hide together

i’m talking to you

come let’s fly, away

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Grip of Despair

by Niles Champeaux

What happened to this beautiful place?
These once bright and vibrant streets,
What happened to the laughs and smiles?
Now left to nothing but dying and diminishing memories.
Remember how happy we were back then?
I wish I could.

This place used to be so alive,
So much opportunity, full of promise,
It wasn’t long till hope was jailed, beaten, and hung for all to see.

Darkness has become the reality here,
How can one escape reality?
How long until every bit of you falls apart like this place did?
The lives we once lived are over,
Infested with depression and despair.
The sun doesn’t sleep here,
it’s in a coma.

The Profile

by Sarah Gamutan

I am really not confident
Seeing my life in this mess-
Being such a loner and a very
Small person in a very big world.

Why? I then asked myself, too.
It is really saddening, it is really
Disheartening. I just really
Can't find an exact profile for

Myself. It is funny and it is
Making me cry. Why?
I then asked myself, too.
When I am asked whether
I have a lover or

Not, it makes me stare
Blankly at the floor-
FOREVER. It makes me cry.
Hundreds of million of times.

I switch profiles -single.
Tomorrow, my status is " in
A relationship". The next day,
I am again single. When a chat

Session comes in, I go offline
IMMEDIATELY! "This is horrible",
I told myself. I immediately packed

My things and went out of
The house. They were all screaming.
"Where are you going, Sarah? ",
Cried my very pathetic mom.

I turned back. We were all crying.
I am sorry, ma. If this child in my womb
Is neglected by my progenitors,

I would better leave and give this
Creation a happier life. I will do
My best to give him a good generation-

With no more sorrows. No more tears.
No more heartbreak- making sure
He doesn't have a broken home.

The Ripples on Silver Lake

by David Meuel

The sun had just slipped behind the rough granite peaks that loomed over Silver Lake in the northern High Sierra. The lake’s surface was darkening, and the evening air was cooling. My grandmother, sitting on a bench near me, buttoned her thick jacket and put on gloves. I walked along the shore looking for another small, flat pebble. I found one that would do, picked it up, threw it sidearm onto the water, and watched it skip—one, two, three, four, fivesixseveneight times. My eyes widened. I slapped my hands together in triumph.

“That was a good one,” Grandma said. “Eight—is that your record?”

“No,” I said, my eyes scanning the shore again for another suitable pebble, “I’ve done nine skips two times.”

“That’s very good.”

“But I want to do ten. I’m ten now. And I want to do ten skips.”

“You’re very determined. I’m sure you’ll do it.”

I threw another pebble in. It skipped only four times. I was annoyed.

“You’ve been throwing for a while,” Grandma said. “Why don’t you rest your arm a bit?”

My arm was tired. I hadn’t realized it until then. “Okay.”

I sat down with her, and she helped me put my jacket on. We gazed out at the lake. It was beginning to look mysterious, like a vast sea of black ink.

“Do you ever notice,” she said, “that each time one of your rocks skips the skip creates a ripple on the water?”

“It does, doesn’t it?”

“And do you notice that—even after the rock stops skipping and sinks into the lake—the ripples are still there, that they keep widening and widening, and that—finally—they disappear too?”

I thought for a moment. “I guess so.”

“That’s what I was thinking about when you were skipping rocks.” Her voice quavered a bit. “It may seem funny, but it reminded me of life.”


“Yes, and death too.”


“Well, the rocks are our lives. Let’s say each skip is a decade. With some lives, it’s eight or nine. With others it’s just four. And with some others like your Uncle Gus—well, their lives don’t even get that far.” She stopped for a moment. “Then there are the ripples. They’re the impressions we make on the people in our lives—the influence we have on them, the memories we leave behind. Sometimes, some of us share stories we remember about people who’ve passed on with others. That widens the ripple even more. But then, after more time passes, the influence and the memories, like the ripples, are just gone.”

“Vanished into thin air,” I said, remembering the words I’d recently heard a magician say on TV.

“Yes, vanished into thin air,” she said, wiping away a tear that had formed on one cheek. “I wish you had the chance to know your Grandpa better.”

“I knew him for one skip.”

“Yes, you did, and that’s something.” She smiled now. “I knew him for five skips.”

“That’s a lot more.”

“Yes, it is. But, I guess I’m greedy. I would have loved just one more skip.”

“But the ripples are still here.”

Her eyes brightened. “Yes, they still are.”

Soon after that vacation I became bored with skipping rocks, and, when we visited Silver Lake in the future, I focused more on kayaks and then on girls vacationing with their families. I didn’t even think about that evening at the lake again until Dad called one night fourteen years later to tell me that Grandma had died.

“Nine skips,” I said without thinking.

“Nine what?” Dad said.

“Oh, nothing.”

As I put the phone down, the story came back with the clarity and force of a lightning bolt. And four days later, because it seemed especially fitting, I told the story to people at the reception we had after Grandma’s funeral. It was one of many stories that family members and friends told that day—and one of many that some others, especially the younger people there, were hearing for the first time. As I listened, I wondered how wide the ripples from Grandma’s nine skips would eventually become, and I wondered how long they would last before they too would vanish.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Heart Aches

by Anastasia Placido

My heart aches when you’re not around
  Everything is wrong:
My shoulder hurts
  My skin is dry
My room is not how I left it
            and my heart aches in my chest
aches for your smell
   yearns for your laugh
aching, desperate, and sobbing
my heart wants so to beat with yours
  it wants me to caress your cheek
hold your hand and study it’s lines
    It admires the shape of your feet,
the curves of your legs, the sway of your hips,
The strength in your shoulders.
     The color of your lips.

            My hands itch to
memorize every vein, wrinkle, and freckle
  to tickle your skin
my face can’t help the need to rest in the hollow of your neck;
      to nuzzle under your chin.
You are a pool in Florida heat
   And I am so ready to plunge in.
and drown
   You are the warm blanket on a frosty day
that keeps my body warm.
And it’s shocking when you are taken away.
            You are the steel rod in my bones when something breaks.
                        When you are gone, my heart aches.


by Emma Ambos

I was the shadow
of a waxwing slain,
sullen and sodden,
plain as a Jane.

But I suppose
that is well beyond
your concern.

So close me down,
fold me up,
hide me in
the pages of
a library book,
where I belong,
along romance and jokers.

Goodbye goodbye
forget me not
or do
if it makes you
feel any better.

Lusby Sees Some Tulips

by Darryl Price

The first thing the very first thing I thought was who doesn't know me well enough to send me of all the people in the whole wide world a bunch
of red tulips, and there was no escaping the fact of the red mind you,
like a bunch of tiny paper box kites tied up in a twisty tie of
snuggled together trees, caught as surely as minnows in a shiny tin measuring cup. At
least something over in that general vicinity was shining from a polished table top.Could've

been a gum wrapper for all I know.But that was through some still fuzzy
eyes. What brought the whole thing back to me as a sharp as hell relief
was a small little corner of torn blue sky that had got itself pushed into
the corner of the one and only window in the room like a used and
discarded tissue. I was also thinking I sure could use one of those soft reminders
about now but then I thought what for? My eyes were already cleared obviously and
my nose seemed to be working okay, although all it could smell was some awful
pungent handsoap smell, the kind that is named after a fancy fragrance found somewhere in
nature but is secretly made all out of chemicals. I couldn't really turn myself around
in bed so I couldn't begin to escape the goddamned tulips, although by now they
tended more toward tightly fisted pink roses of some sort, which was a bit of a welcomed relief I guess. I only wanted to get my hands on a nice
warm mug of chocolate milk and shove myself down into the furthest corner of my
own comfy couch at my own bit of home and watch a few minutes of
TV. Doesn't matter what's on or what's doing. I love TV. It brings me down out of the heights of fear every time I see it.I guess that means
I was afraid of the tulips. I don't really know why. I guess it's all
the socalled canned laughter they layer on the poor puns and bad jokes.On TV
I mean. The situations that can heal themselves right there in your livingroom in oh
a half an hour or so. And the crazy,fun people. I love to see
all the beautiful young people, living their lives as if we don't need to spend so much time worrying about the blazing meteorites coming at us from outer space. At
least not all the whole time we're alive. Sometimes we just want to have fun with one another. Perhaps that's what I've missed the opportunity for. Now I'm paying for
it. Is that it?And then just like that the fickle roses seemed like a
box of squared to be found tulips again and I thought,fuck,sorry lord, what
is this all about anyway? Who are these strange people I can feel here in
my room with me but cannot see? I know if something's being spelled out in

flowers or not. Believe me. Please.Do not try to brighten my sleep for me.
I have angels for that.They do a fine bang up job all on their
own. And they sound just like shaking bells when they are walking towards you. I
ought to know. I've been walking with them for several months now.


by Amit Parmessur

My tired mind takes its daily bath
in the pool of your mellifluous beauty.

O dunes of seven colors and infinite wonders,
why do your sands separate when I mix them?

Chamarel, my friend!
I can only imagine pink pigeons preening
in the lush and dewy gorges.

I can only see the kestrel collecting blithely
the sunrays along his feathers and
palavering with the silver rain.

I often try to imitate the original dance
of the spindly red sugar cane.
Are they drunk in some seggae too?

I find the children’s play and giant tortoises
so very cute.
O Chamarel, my dearest love!

I adore your secret garden, on the top of a mountain,
like an island in a sea of verdure.

I love the tropical rainforest whose
beauty lunges itself into the
sparkling sapphire sea, in perpetual, cheerful suicide.

In the blazing sunshine, the colors of my heart
sing out in beautiful radiance and sheer vibrance
at your beautiful vibrance and sheer radiance.

O Chamarel, my love, my friend!

Whiskey Come Sleep With Me

by James Babbs

come sleep with me
and listen to my breathing
it’s cold in here and
I want you
to come and keep me warm
my woman decided to leave me
and I don’t think
she’s coming back this time
you always make it easy
you wait for me
to reach for you
and I don’t have to talk
you keep everything
bottled up inside you
until I take it from you
and swallow every drop
when I’m away from home
I think about you
while I’m gone
when you’re empty
I go out and find you
and bring you back again

Long Distance

by Nicky Ellam

We could use up every light-bulb
in the world,
burning them all until dawn
when we make late-night phone calls
to plan dinner dates that are never kept,

and kid ourselves that the number of motorway signs
we'd have to read,

that the amount of service-stops
we'd have to make before we could see each other,
are smaller than they seem on the map,

but I'm sorry.

No matter
how many kisses you put at the end of your emails,
they just aren't enough.


bu Chris Butler

Immortal Poem

All poets,
young and old,
yet to be born or already dead,
aspires to write one
immortal poem.

A poem
causing lifelong readers to
forget to refer to every word
the poet has ever written before
and ignore any word the poet
writes thereafter.

A poem
that is read twice the first time,
memorized by mesmerized minds,
plagiarized by xerox copycats,
connected by the dots of shooting stars,
dissected by dull quill scalpels,
regurgitated like mother birds’ breakfasts,
recreated in an imagination’s reenactments
and then quoted in conversation
years after paper is banned
as a crime against nature
and ink is only printed in
barcodes on human skin.

A poem
cursing the author
with the burden of fortune and fame,
but affords him or her the notoriety
no poet had to die for.

A poem
which forces all poets
to quit creating and work
for the corporate world,
but will inspire one to
write an immortal poem
of their own.

Immortal Poem 2.0

One poet
wrote their own
immortal poem
after reading my
“Immortal Poem”
and posted it
on the internet
at ninety-nine
cents per

A poem
which was written before it was told.

A poem
about everyman
that has ever lived,
and written for everywoman
he’s ever loved
or fucked.

A poem
creating all kinds of clichéd phrases.

A sonnet
Shakespeare wishes he
had written.
A limerick
the Irish would recite
without a drink.
A haiku
inspiring samurai to
sacrifice seppuku.

A poem
to ruin art for everyone.

I wish I had
written his.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Given a Chair

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Given a chair, we might just touch the stars,
Take for neighbors sun and moon, sprint among asteroids.

Otherwise, plastic flags, paper litter, the squeak of second seat clarinets,
Will have to sate us sartorially, must suffice as bursury to our elucidations,
Maybe, ought to kowtow, as well, to such atavism as pokes requests through realizations.

After all, young, pony-tailed toddlers do not cease nor desist from fingering, pulling
Seams on their trousers, lint off their shirt jacks, discovering oily sweat, tinfoil, chocolate.
Humanity’s hope remains winter’s carrots, guppy harvests, sinecure jobs, fog, glitter, snow.
Piccolos toot sweet, yet leave us longing for new dimensions in taxes, rain, also childbirth.

Magic Lessons

by Darryl Price

" No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written: he may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing.'--T.S. Eliot

I think,I know,the poem's starting to wear off.
   But I'm alive one more day. Need to read more. I
was given these scars you understand to sounds of
   fluted out hollowed veins against a perfectly radiant

coming of the ocean to mean something
   well almost concrete and immediate, like "Don't
push me out there yet. It's okay. I'll wait for my
   tide.Then I'll lift off without any more help from

you, thank you." There's the beauty to it. I don't pretend
   to escape rare kindness either. Oh where'd I
put those glasses? You know. The ones I always wear
   when I'm not able to see that it's been getting

awfully late.Probably never finish the
   song you washed upon my forehead with your long as
the color of the sun wiped sheet of pure and golden
   sand combed hair. All's fair I guess. Although it breaks

the door down to my garden without so much as
   a polite knock. Sometimes even a small whistle
will do to let someone know you care enough to
   visit them in their dreams. It's wearing thin. And I'm

becoming visible again.I need more words
   to survive. I'm feeling less and less like turning
the wheel in front of your face to make the colors
   collide into a one of a kind mountain of ash

for your amusement. Be all gone. Soon. You'll start to
   see raindrops through your windshield. There'll be no other
choice. Certainly there must be something more to us
   than conjoint sad notepads. Why do I continue

to conjure from their inky depths to the surface
   of the mind floating alphabetical blocks of
heart-shaped burns? No matter. It's just the lack of pure
  symbols to the brain speaking in hallucinogenic

tropes.Go sound to sleep silvery moon girl
   where we can at least find raw courage to continue
to trill our secret names for each other through
   holes in stars and fan the universe with kisses.

We'll find more hills of noise if it kills us.
   And if it doesn't we'll be back tomorrow with
our plastic buckets and shovels to begin once
   more to build a home for no one. One size fits all.

Goodbye, So Long, and Farewell

by Danica Green

i. Goodbye

Rain is the sad weather,
Snow is reflective,
Such pathetic fallacy.

You'll still be dead when the sun comes out.

ii. So Long

I've never flogged a dead horse,
But I've kicked a dead rat.
I found it in the garden last summer,
Not a mark on it,
But covered in flies.
I kicked it to check it was really dead.

iii. Farewell

I'm taking the good china when I go,
You never used it anyway.
The duvet cover you said was too vintage,
The tacky seashell lamp

And maybe

Fuck it.
I'm taking the cat.