Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, December 29, 2011


by Norma Jean Demaggio

a foot bound, its skin mangled and bones broken all in the name of beauty
the pain, sweat and tears put into the pursuit of beauty
our society say its barbaric and wrong
but are we any better?
with our injections to get full lips
rhinoplasies to get the perfect nose
and let us not forget the endless amounts of silicone used for the perfect breasts
not much has changed in a thousand years
barbarians are we


by Richard Kostelanetz

Anyone who advertises himself as a crook can’t be surprised if people avoid him.

If you don’t know what you’re missing until it’s gone, get rid of everything you own.

Imagine what the planet Earth might look like if seen from the sun.

All ghosts know what they were but do not tell.

Stealing what nobody wants, you’ll never be arrested.

The bloodless can’t blush.

Begging for pennies is less profitable than begging for millions.


by Subhankar Das

There is a saying that the crow is the vehicle of the God of Death. So falling at his feet in supplication, imploring him to eat this morsel of sacrificial food for my dead mother, so that I am allowed to eat. How long can you be on plain air o crow? If you do not like this milk and water have this morsel of buttered rice.

In cities inevitably there are no birds except crows. Crows do not live in forests; they love to stay near human habitation, near the world of humans and not in the non-world.

The dressed meat of the fowl has already gone straight to the kitchen or in the chicken roll. Thus the notion of being the most accepted bird. This meat is cheaper than the fish in the market. Where is the chance for it to fly to your roof top? The pleasure of being accepted.

Though I have seen a peacock in Mathura city that never misses a chance to dance if it gets to eat bread. It is not that it does not dance for the peahens on the sly on roof tops and parapets just like ordinary men full of sexual urges

The Sane One

by James Valvis

Another night: no sleep.
He sits restless in his bed,
cursing away the hours.
He read somewhere,
maybe in a magazine,
or some bromidic novel,
when you can’t sleep
you should take time
to listen, close your eyes,
hear whatever it is
the world wants to say
so much it keeps you awake.
Why not? He shuts his lids,
hears nothing but clock,
hum that haunts his wall.
No revelation, no insight.
He tries once again,
decides there’s cars also,
late night traffic that’ll turn
into the morning rush hour
he will soon be joining.
Nothing else. Once more
he tries, but this time nothing.
He supposes his heartbeat
is down there somewhere,
but he can’t hear it, nor
the voice of his dead father,
the weeping of his mother.
Bah, after a few minutes
he gives up the project.
All that happy horseshit
is for loafers and layabouts,
religious nuts, poets,
weirdos who hear voices,
kooks who howl at the moon,
he thinks, then turns over,
reaches for the Xanax,
and a shot to wash it down.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Halfway to Naked

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Among hobbledehoys, some simple friends seem more adept at dressage
Than do slatternly peers with obdurate, chthonic tendencies.
Those others, who also perform the rites, remain all but larky.
Hardihood lacks sufficiency to face down persons engaged accordingly.

Consider that carnal factotums, after a time, disintegrate to dust.
Similarly, blackboots, selectively mute, can be found risen to grandeur,
Or otherwise assigned to mirandole princes devoid of ugly-minded gaffers.
When such peerage shakes, the world rushes to videotape their trembling.

As for the rest of us, we homunculi, no amount of alacrity gets us
Beyond halfway to naked; it’s a shamefaced truth that minions
Decenter their superiors time and again out of need, nefarious intent notwithstanding.
If only, liberties were equitably spread, we might better our lots, rejoice, rebel.

The Falling Of Glass Swans

by Jason E. Hodges

Bells chime softy overhead
I V’s drip silently across the room
Drip with drops of crystal like hope
Hope that you will live through the night
These drops move like swans
Like Plush-Feathered-Swans floating atop the glass like lake of better tomorrows
I’m sleepy now, but I can’t sleep at all
As the clock ticks off yet another hour
The mechanical lungs breath in perfect rhythm
Graceful they look pushing your chest up and down
Keeping you alive at least for the moment
They work all through the night never missing a beat
In and out, in and out
Floating you through to the next day
Then back into the night
And the swans keep falling
Dripping like diamonds
Making their way into your veins
Thirty hours have passed
And there’s still no end in sight
And the bells keep chiming
Sounding off that all is okay
For now it is early morning
Or early night
It’s hard to tell at this point
For this room is covered in darkness
As dark as a Night Rose glowing dull in the moonlight
And the swans keep falling as I close my eyes for the night
While the Angel of Death sits doing his crossword
Patiently waiting for your name to be called

Tangled path to heaven

by Alex Stolis

An October burial: a sun, bottled between
two clouds, there is quiet, there is a still
room, there is incidental music roaming
down the hall. You change your clothes,
close the windows. I watch, hat in hand
foot out the door. Don’t tempt fate. Turn
off the lights. Fuck me, make me a drink.
Let the laundry dry on the ledge. I’m no
longer afraid of heights. You ghost your
way through the day; mechanical, black
and white. This isn’t how the movie ends.
Coffee maker drips awake, telephone buzz;
winter is a shard of glass away. Your dress
is wet. I am idle, too far away to remember
clearly. Too close to fake it. We are a push
away from yearning. One more kiss, then
one more, finally another. Follow this vague
idea. We’re home free. Ready to dream stories
of tin stars, rope ladders and ordinary days.

meat market blues

by Jack T. Marlowe

Bar Girl sizes up
the night's
poor prospects

urchin eyes
and mercenary
smile freshly

for the
parade of
who approach

the march of
hollow warriors
armed with
potpourri of
rancid cologne
and denial


for love or


for a hot, wet
a malady
of the soul

"all men are
just interested
in one thing"
Bar Girl

generous eyefuls
of cleavage
and leg

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Half-Moon Christmas

by John Pursch

Snow collects, Mass transpires, cathedral-goers flit about; children slink upstairs, damn the sleigh bells, and drain the treacle from Mother's sullied slap shots. Baiting all but a pure, ivory idol, midnight friezes coalesce, decorate the banister, hang suspenders on a Christmas boil, and serrate a kneeling pulpit. Wedged in soot at every stop, Santa traduces many a rocking housewife to stunt marsh, all beneath the trapdoor's trembling tinsel. Spilt bottles beautify his bald spot, sound the martial gong, sop up knees, and introduce a loaf of dread to making ruckus. Baking in her rooftop tether, Vixen comports herself wildly, coming out of stirring pods; creamed thus, owned by nomads, Rudolph's quivering bulb makes for gyro cheese, licks her tongue, and lives to plunge an otter into resting jewels. Booties on, mantle affixed, our newly sane Santa smarts off, abuts a chimney, and calcifies his florid shaving gears, hobbling half a moon. Frondose and harboring newts, indentured turtle doves shuck clean cornerstones, cooing in the dawn.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


by Devlin De La Chapa

The horse drove heavy
beneath their winding feet

above the pasty red clay caliche
midnight black and moonlight white cursed

blistering coals paving the dense trails
between heaven and hell’s gorge

her body was weighty
within the barren of arms

the poison of love’s tempting betrayal
became a burden across the wintry desert

the tears that fell from within scorned eyes
once virgin were thrust between the throes

of the rains that came early in the year
and with it, yielding the scour of sin

slithering between the bare of peace
breaking the fruits with pride over lust

now she rendered paralyzed within those other souls
her spirit resting amongst those lost to the winter

he remembers chopping wood
beneath the vacant of his own soul

listening to crickets scrambling their dead
their heartbreak settling

like decaying cinders
on his dead lover’s tongue

just before he pulled the reins
all that remained on saddle

was the first crest of snows fall
and a bottle of piss warm Whiskey

drinking from the horse who dances on ground to the beat of drums
tuneless within the raging fires of the dead he carried

Last Saturday Night

by James Babbs

I remember
I was talking to this woman
trying to tell her
how good I thought she looked
I told her we weren’t used to
seeing women like her around here and
it was just about that time
when he came bursting through the door
with this big wave of excitement
rushing in behind him
he was laughing and
talking really loud and
he started buying everybody drinks
we had all called him Buck
for as long as I could remember
I guess because
he never seemed to have any
but tonight he was throwing money around
like it was nothing more than sand
he’d gathered from the playground
over at the school and
he kept saying my friends
like he wanted to give a speech
but then he’d just laugh and
buy us all another round of drinks
he threw handfuls of quarters at people and
told them to go play
something good on the jukebox and
word must have got out somewhere along the way
because people kept pouring in all the time and
whenever I found my glass empty
another drink would magically appear and
at some point during the night
I thought I heard people singing and
I don’t remember how I got home

when I returned to the bar on the following Wednesday
the bartender hurried over to me and
asked me if I’d heard about Buck
I started to laugh
thinking about last Saturday night
they found him this morning
the bartender said
I guess somebody went to check on him
because he hadn’t been to work for a couple of days
the bartender slid me a beer
then he said
I guess he hung himself in his garage
I already had the bottle to my lips and
I took a long drink

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Coming Down

by Sarah E. White

Feeling high
A sweet, sweet drug
The tingle on my skin, the heat of it pulsing through my veins
The pounding of my heart
Intensifying into a frenzy of wild and wonderful sensations
Breathing you in to me, completes me
In an almost unexplainable way
Filling my voids finally
Loving you is an addiction
The cravings are so strong, unbearable at times
Kisses penetrating into my lips right through my soul
Like the back heat of liquor soothing my throat
I drink you down
Warming me through and through
I am high on you
But even the best drug must come to an end
There is always the dreaded coming down
You leaving me is nothing but torture
I ache from your absence
My stomach in my throat from the force of the fall
You make me high
Flying above all that exists in my world
Then you clip my wings with one word, goodbye
I plummet
Falling face first through all of my feelings
Back down to the bottom
Leaving my body wrecked and weak
I huddle and shiver in the depths of this lowness
As I come down
Coming down from you

Dream vehicle

by Jamie Hubner

I walk a corridor of sanctimonious espionage,
Constantly battling against a double agent,
Flittering between him,
and gravities underlying grip upon me.

The projected trajectory of thought made hideous,
By mornings judgmental gaze,
Thought is most certainly floundering,
While the rest of my heart secretes a sweet wanderlust.

I have entered the arena of the unbeknown,
If god created earth and us beasts in tandem
Then he undoubtedly presented us with these liquids,
These mind and reality altering tools,
With which I have created a labyrinth, returning to my true self,
Modifying my mind into a finely tuned dream vehicle of deception,
Driving a reality we cannot control,
Not due to fates subtle push,
Nor the firm grip of human interaction or fault...
But because control is nonexistent and unheard of in this world,
The feeling is all the same.
A Comatose emptiness alluring you like a promiscuous temptress,
Winking and tugging at your sleeve.

We are all unwell and attention lacking,
Perhaps this is the constant devouring of us from the inside,
A parasitic force drowning us in a temporary sea
of twinkling stars to help us forget,
Nasty medicine does you good
Like a tarnished reputation adequately fits the bill,
Mendacity and deception the tricks of my comrades trade.

We become lost...

Victims of a seducing, liquefying whisper,
Delivered on the breeze.

The night is young,
As I welcome you to the inner sanctum of my daze.
Home to palatial rapture,
And a confidence trickster,
Tiring by each pass of day.

The Writers Guild Veteran

by Robert Laughlin
You don’t know who puts the words into the mouths of stars.
LA loves its writers just as Venice loves its cars.

Umpqua Barques

by Richard Hartwell

Ponderous lines, unwieldy, graceless, and abnormal,
yet possessed of elements of durability and staidness;
these were the houseboats on the lower Umpqua River,
homes to generations of families of stationary river folk;
eyesores, lost value, and potential hazards to those whose
vested interests lay with eradicating the “estuary squatters.”

At night myriad beams peek from many windows,
shining like eyes focused on the bouncing Umpqua,
the contrast with the brooding valley mountains and
darkened feathered forest becomes the majestic milieu
to jubilant, shattered splinters of light, and the aberrant
barques become glorious by conjurers’ tricks of deflection.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bomb Expert

by Douglas Polk

angry eyes watch the clock,
awaiting his return,
her anger a bomb,
the living room clock ticking down the time,

pensive he pours another drink,
studying the clock on the bar room wall,
a bomb expert,
measuring, waiting for the safest moment to detonate.

My Dead Come Down

by Art Holcomb

In the early hours,
my dead come down
from the alder tree behind my house
and drink from my swimming pool

cautious hands dip
scoop by scoop,
eyes on me,
as I stand on the other side
of my patio door.

I sip my coffee
and slowly crack the door open
just a bit,

     just a little bit.

They (suddenly) do not move.

And I quietly, through the crack,
steal a breath of
our common fortune

I hold that breath;

     it’s heady

and they,
having had their fill,
retreat back through the landscaping,

to vanish

electric coil glow like taillights
as we both make for the dawn.

In the Store Parking Lot

by James Babbs

he was an old man
I knew his name and
I’d talked to him a few times
but I wouldn’t say we were friends
but when I saw him
coming out of the store
I said hello
before asking him
how he was doing
he told me not too good
he’d been to see his wife
earlier that morning and
she was in a nursing home
suffering from Alzheimer’s and
she didn’t even know
who he was anymore
he started crying
standing there next to me
in the store parking lot and
I didn’t know what to do
I didn’t know what to say
I wanted to say something
but I’m sorry just didn’t seem like
it was good enough
but I said it anyway
feeling the sun on my face
watching him wiping his eyes
with the back of his wrinkled hand
I told him
I had to get going
there were some things
I needed to get done and
it was starting to get late

Mermaids and Curses

by Jason E. Hodges 

Walking where water once stood
Where waves once crashed with power on the shoreline
All, now sea land, as far as my eye can see
Littered with twisted bits of coral and shell
For the tides have pulled out to the dark depths of the ocean
The Shoals, spotted smears of soft salty sand cushion my feet
As I walk out on what was once called bottom
I see, sea creatures swirling and trapped in puddles
In this place that’s only here for an hour
Suddenly, I hear a faint cry in the distance
My steps move toward what’s now turned to hypnotic singing
Then I see her, in all of her beauty, trapped in a small pool of holding
Half woman, half fish
Her eyes blue as sky-crystal-cloud-burst
Her lips red and full with temptation
Golden hair draped softly over her breast
Her singing seemed to hold me in place
Her words begged me to stay
Then the tides water starts to flow in around me
Faster, and faster
I struggled to walk with all of its rising
I thought, I’m never going to leave here alive
Now I’m swimming in panic for the safety of the shoreline
Trying to break free of her incredible grasp
The undertone of her begging and pulling will surely drown me before this is over
The curse of the Mermaid has a hold of me now
Suddenly, I awake to the sun climbing midway in the sky
Sitting up I see a lifeguard frowning and writing a ticket
The next time you drink and pass out in the water, I might not be here to save you

Thursday, December 15, 2011


by Joanna M. Weston

she stirs old things in memory
hangs them like a calendar
to be seen and turned daily –
that kiss exchanged at dusk
  moon-rise over the lake
     his diagnosis shared

these curled hands
retain the trembling past

A Story

by Holly Day

once upon a time
we were in love
and then we weren’t
time has turned my hair gray
and my skin gray
and my eyes blind.
I wonder how he’s aged.
I hear the dirt moving
far above my head
the shovel draws close.
pebbles fall on my face as
metal bites into wood.
I have composed
so many love letters
down here, in my head
started conversations
mumbled explanations
but I can’t say a word that he can hear.
I see his face in the opening
framed in moonlight and wet earth
if I could feel
I’d feel him pull the ring from my finger
the skin sliding off the bone with
the cold metal
if I could speak
I’d ask him about the new girlfriend
ask him
if she’s prettier than me.

Growing Pains

by Cynthia Ruth Lewis 

I've been writing so many angry poems
about you lately, that the whole world
probably thinks I'm nothing but a
bitter, spiteful bitch
and I don't blame them
but they weren't there;
they weren't in my shoes
they weren't subjected to the likes of you
and I hope they never are
assholes like you ought to come
with a warning label,
instead of subtly enticing clueless women
to swallow your twisted bullshit,
until they're almost as low as you are
so excuse me while I rant
and get it all off my chest
and beat the living crap out of objects
with a baseball bat,
working off the frustration
while trying to repress the hurt,
wishing I could have experienced
only the best of relationships,
but realizing true growth
comes from the worst

This can’t be real

by Dionna Liggans
I bear a tiny scar shaped like a lowercase L on my hip and one in my belly button. I thought that stuff like this only happened in the movies, yet here I am being pinned down and taken advantage of. Here I am on this beautiful snowy December night crying silently as I keep my voice down for fear of waking my parents. The slight blue glow from the CD player casts haunting shadows across their faces as they tag each other in as if I were just a childhood game of jump rope. I close my eyes and wait for it to end. Months go by, no words are uttered. No one will believe me, they will all say it was my fault and I wanted it so I keep silent. Long nights are spent tossing and turning because the stomach pain is so excruciatingly painful. Hold yourself together I utter silently to myself. This is your secret. I go through the motions as the pain finally makes me collapse in class. My worst fears are confirmed. “You have pelvic inflammatory disease,” the doctor utters as I lay hopeless in the starch white hospital room. I take a deep breath and fill my lungs with the cold antiseptic air “what does this mean?” “Your fallopian tubes are severely scared and we’ll have to go in and take a look. You may end up infertile from this, but we don’t know for sure.” I stared as the doctor stepped out into the hallway, the only noise coming from the room was the sound of my mother’s tears falling on the cold concrete floor.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


by Dionna Liggans

Just when I thought I had you out of my system
Here you are
Your poison running through my veins
like blood.
Tempting me,
Teasing me,
Pulling me in deeper and deeper
Until I'm so deep I can't breathe
I can't sleep
I can't eat
All I can do is sit in thought of
Of us.
In thought of that first kiss
and how
Your lips molded so perfectly into mine
As you cupped my face in your hands.
And I thought,
this can't be real,
yet there you were right in front of me.
In thought of the first time we made love
and how
you were ever so gentle
treating my body like it was your own private temple.
we became explorers.
searching every curve of each other
oohing and ahhing at our amazing finds.
Thinking about how good it felt to have my body intertwined with yours.
It's as if you became a part of I.
Or maybe it was I that had become you.
But that's all over.
you left me
Sitting here alone
Trying to cope with what happened.
And as soon as i came to grips on what can and can't be.
You walked back into my life.
And like a true addict,
I can't help but


by Will Monigold

On Friday nights
She talks to the Jesus.
On other nights she
Drinks fortified wine from
Heart shaped bottles.
A thousand boxes
Are stacked around
Filling rooms
That are otherwise
She practices piano
In a church basement
Where they feed the homeless
And track children
Who have no place
To cry after school.
Late at night
She questions
Her right to live.
Mostly she defers
To the lack of wisdom
Others maintain
populates the universe.

The Unhearable Brightness Of Seeing

by Omar Azam

Take it.
It will be forever.

God imagine
what else could be sent
to make permanent
that particle
of time
before I snap.

The camera
is in me

Your brown eye

my face.

It is infinite -
So is my
power at this

Your hat was
your only

It made you.

You are
bare but
not exposed -

Not yet.

For once,
I have
the chance
to make me
to you.

take it away.
You mean nothing

like me.

Apocalypse TV

by Ben Rasnic

Sinister apparitions on horseback
vaporize into particles
of atomic snow.

Barely discernible,
the shriek of human suffering
marquees in closed captions.

On the count of three,
the ones who know too much
swallow tiny green cyanide capsules.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ungranted Wish in Little Armageddon

by Brandon Copeland

Morning and sunrise.
One rises, a mourning and no surprise.

A lonely heart is the expert lecturer,
a soul restrained
the body, in unison remains.
The lecturer ponders in cries
and cries are unanswered by angels and saints.
But on the mind’s battlefield
where the forces of good and evil
play out a deadlocked and unwinnable war
one’s eyes take sight to worldly duties.

By the constant flow of the
current of undammed tears
the lyrical testaments for unsung combatants:
posthumously undamned.
Eyes do not see the darkness that breathes
smoldering tendrils of discontent:
and the lecturer prays for an end.
For the bittersweet notes that victory brings
in a scythe’s rapid swing.

Alas, in little Armageddon
This humbled offering of wishes is ungranted by the Lord:
"Offer more prayers on the wind"     He advises.
You live day by day:
A taciturn vessel full to the lip with 24 hours.

And I see now.


by Adhar Maheshwari

Above shrubs of gold and auburn
in a forgotten ghost town,
the grey skies darken the afternoon.
It feels like a dream. A bad dream. 

The road that wanders up the hill,
welcomed me when I was a child,
now it’s trampled, directionless.
Arthritis, maybe. And a sprinkling of Alzheimer’s.

I see my old hut,
still standing swooped and bent.
Amongst skeleton trees that remember
things that should never have happened.

What lives in my hut I don’t want to know,
though I do want to see whether it crawls or snarls,
or if its dying a quiet death,
and feeling right at home.

Arsenic is too old fashioned,
these days we use memories.

Talking Shit About Respect

by George Anderson

In the quiet drone of the morning carriage
an old guy perks up, his voice alarmingly loud,

‘I spent most of yesterday in the garden. It looked like rain
Most of the day so I couldn’t spray the weeds.’

A woman near him, in a thick Cocky accent agrees,
‘Yes, you need to spray at least seven hours before rain.’

In my seat two down from them on the left I cringingly take it in-
my woolen beanie pulled tightly over my eyes as I try to sleep.

The old man’s gnawing voice rebooting every five minutes or so
in response to the woman’s inane refrains.

They talk about pesticides, talkback radio, shopping, the rain.

Later, as I stir and walk by their seat to disembark, I mutter:
‘Do you know what time it is, Sir?’

He glances at me dismissively as if I am a new breed of vermin.

I tell him as I scurry down the stairs, ‘It’s time you stopped
talking so much shit. People have to work, you know.’

The old man is quick & jumps up & follows me
onto the western platform of Sutherland Station.

‘What did you say?’
You heard me. Turn up your volume if you can’t hear.

I bound up the stairs to catch my connecting train and he screams at me,
‘you young pricks have got no respect!, you’ve got no respect! ‘

And as I glance back his train slowly rolls out towards the weeping heart of the city.

On the yellow line, he futilely attempts to wave down the tons of passing steel.

Kaleidoscope and Harpsichord

by Donal Mahoney

As I've told my wife too many times, the meaning of any poem hides in the marriage of cadence and sound. Vowels on a carousel, consonants on a calliope, whistles and bells, we need them all if a poem is to tickle our ears. Otherwise, the lines are gristle and fat, no meat.

Is it any wonder, then, my wife has had a problem, for decades now, with any poem I've given her to read for a second opinion. This is especially true when we both know the poem has no message and I simply want to hear the music, assuming there is some. Miles Davis made a living doing the same thing in jazz clubs. Why can't I have a little fun and give it a try even if my instrument is words?

The other night in bed I gave my wife my latest poem to read. I said it was fetal, not final. Afterward she said that reading this poem was no different than reading all the others I had given her over the years. She had thought I'd improve by now. Maybe I should switch to fiction or the essay, she suggested, or else stick with editing the manuscripts of others since I had made a decent living as an editor for many years.

"You've been writing poetry for decades," she said, "but reading a poem like this is like looking through a kaleidoscope while listening to a harpsichord."

Point well taken, I thought, point well said. The nuns for whom I toiled all those years in grammar school would have liked my wife. They might have even recruited her to join their order.

Then I asked her what a man should do if he has careened for years through the caves of his mind spelunking for the right line for a poem only to hear his wife say that reading his poem was like "looking through kaleidoscope while listening to a harpsichord."

Should I quit writing? Start drinking? After all I quit drinking when I started writing and I discovered that the hangovers from both were equally debilitating.

The following morning she said, "You should never quit writing."

At that moment, she was enthroned at the kitchen table, as regal as ever in her fluttery gown and buttering her English muffin with long, languorous strokes Van Gogh would envy.

"You should write even more,” she said, “all day and all night, if need be. After all, my line about the 'kaleidoscope and harpsichord' needs a poem of its own. It's all meat, no gristle, no fat."


by Claudia Rey

A year later and nothing has changed: the sand is still warm, there are hundreds of stars over our heads, the waves are luminescent with plankton and roll gently towards the beach. We are here for a different reason, though. We did come to see turtles, but babies and not mothers.

It is nearly seven, already dark, and at first the beach looks desert and still. We sort of expected a frenzy of movement, but the only sign that something is about to happen is the loud quak of garzas, black birds similar to crows but bigger and uglier.

“They are waiting” explains our guide Luis. “They know that in a while they will have a good dinner.” I shiver. Okay, the laws of nature and so on, but do garzas have to eat baby turtles? Now?

We walk for some minutes by the light of our torches, but we only see broken whitish eggshell. Then Luis stops us. “Look, a nest” he says pointing to a spot where something is moving. I fall to my knees. A tiny black head, the size of a hazelnut, is surfacing from the sand… then I see a flipper. Slowly the tortuguita emerges from the nest, moving very weakly as if it was drunk. Another follows, then another. And soon there are dozens of them, stepping one over the other in their desperate quest for air - and the security of the ocean.

I'm dying to touch one of the little creatures, but I'm afraid a human hand might affect them in some way, possibly removing some protective film or whatever… “Of course you can” smiles Luis. So I reach slowly and caress the shell, which is surprisingly hard, while head and flippers are as soft as velvet. The babies are not bigger than a hen's egg and look sweet and vulnerable, but are in fact strong and resilient, and very good at fighting for life. At the end of their nose they have a sort of hard needle which they use to break the egg shell, and after emerging from a rather deep nest - which is in itself a challenge - they run to the sea and they start swimming, without eating anything for at least three days. Not bad for newborns, with no mummy to tell them what to do or at least to encourage them.

As if an alarm clock had started, hundreds of hatchlings are now leaving their nests all at the same time. It is nearly ten, the half moon is shining and we don't need torches any more. Now the sand is swarming of small creatures, at least fifty for each nest, and we walk from one nest to another very carefully to avoid stepping on them. Here and there we can still see the big round form of a mother turtle laying her eggs, but those are the younger ones who probably lost their way, explains our guide, and they are very few. The two events are very well spaced by Mother Nature: first the delivery, forty-five days later the birth. And they rarely mix.

Well, it's time to leave the babies to their business. But the real treat of the evening has still to come: we are allowed to put a tortuguita on our hand, and Luis takes an infra-red photo. The proportions are amazing: I can only imagine how scared the babies would be if they could see themselves on our giant palms. But they couldn't care less, or so it seems.

The tide has changed and big waves come nearer. A dozen of newborn have nearly reached their goal… then a wave enfolds them, taking them away. “So long, babies” whispers the lady near me. She has come from Puebla expressly to see this "milagro" as she calls it. “And now, let's have a nice cold beer” she suggests.

Sure, why not? Right now, a cold beer seems just the thing.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Personal Space

by Lori Lipsky

What a surprise you’ve never learned
No matter how many times you bump your
Tray into mine, you will reach the front
Of the cafeteria line at the same time

Unfilled seats abound
At the movie theater, but
You sit directly in front of me and
Drape your coat back so it hangs on my knees

One restroom stall occupied
Twenty still available
You choose the one
Closest to me

In the long line for the cashier
You hit my backside with your
Cart seven times
As we wait

Empty lockers at the gym
Are in plentiful supply
You pick the one
Adjacent to me

Groups of available chairs
Are open at the concert
You plop down
Right beside me
Must your hip touch my hip?
Must your shoulder rub my shoulder?
We’ve never met—the rule on a bench ought to be
Three inches on either side

Another moan squelched
You should hear my thoughts
A scream right now would
Lighten the load

The Light of a Thousand Moons

by Perry L. Powell 

I am what I am.
Like you, I have my complaints
and more confusions
than a small skull should hold.

There may be pearls here
but pillars elude me.
This is no age for builders;
they tell me swimmers only need apply.

A doctor and nurse,
sex on the surgical table
in the dim of night...
What can they say to the dying?

Since we are all dying…

I am what I am. 
You are what you are. And there
are peacocks in Wisconsin.


by John Grey

The man is spun into the world
by the bar-stool beneath him.
I'm not drunk like he is drunk.
My body and my head are still enjoined.
I'm not legs going one way,
mind drifting backward.
I don't see the hills above Montpelier,
the cows, the children tossing baseballs,
or young girls dipping toes in cold streams
while my knees give out
and my face slams against the sidewalk.
Waiting for someone as I am,
I'm just a little in my past.
And I know to drink just enough
to keep my bones in line.
Sure I see the hills, but the mirror
behind the bar's more clear.
And there's a few cows
but they're scattered among the gin bottles.
The bar-tender keeps the conversation going.
The baseballs whiz around his head.
And for every young girl felt up by the chill,
there's a lovely woman who'll be with me shortly.
But I order another drink
just in case she doesn't show.
My body's been this way before.
The sidewalk is on standby.


by Darryl Price

The coin, so little, the watch chain, the youth,
so to speak, each hand, the panic room, the
here and there, the ashtray, the stumps, the distance now,
the feathers, the jump, the radiant shadows, the spine
in gold letters, the arc, the circumstances, the mirrors,
stories, the talk, the torn away grasses, the collective
nouns, the esthetic, the city limits, the next year,
the correct use of the young money's predicament, the
voices, the hell, the hunting of the relevance of
the object, these boys, the light of the lamp,
the bonkers world, the baseball cap, the old pine
trees, the flapping din, by contrast, the most maddening
thing, the darkening apartment bricks, just outside the window,
the lighted fire, the strange smell, the endless appetite
beneath, biting the inside of my mouth, the small
lie, if you insist, the puzzled exaltation of rising.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Red on the Sky

by Savannah Stuitje

We are everything and nothing and dust on the wind
We are the burning maple tree, red on the sky
Sugar dripping onto the coals, the flames bright and angry
I will not be satisfied until I hold your heart between my teeth,
And my hands are inside you,
Playing among your bones, your steaming intestines
Until I have eaten your brain with knife and fork, sucked the marrow
from your ribs and wiped my lips with a linen napkin
Until you are looking down from my wall, your eyes glassy and cataract
spotted from where I have stolen your knowledge and savored it with a
fine brandy,
I will not be happy until I feel your arms around me in a new fur coat.
I will not breathe until your scent is gone from the wind
Until my ears no longer lie flat against my skull
Until your blood is on my hands, I assure you, I will not spill my own again.
We will toast my success in crystal glasses,
Praise the brilliant red of it, the hearty bouquet that assails us
I will not blink until you are gone from the places my mind goes when I drift
Between each spoken sentence, when I must ask others to repeat themselves
My mind wandered...
You will be scrubbed clean off me and discarded with yellow plastic gloves
And I will leave you standing at attention
Until your bones are aching with expectations as mine have,
Your eyes squinted with the cold, waiting for me,
Waiting to be let go,
Waiting to be remembered and taken home by the hand,
Until you give up and realize
You have been forgotten
I will leave you adrift in the falling snow
Your hands shaking, your breath short, your nostrils quivering
You will fall with melting snow on your cheeks.


by Vidousha Bundhoo

I am engulfed in darkness...
Vanity smiles at my every humble step,
And I turn into this monster
Who uses words like two-edged swords
Who gets into a frenzy of hurting
While being hurt
And causing even more hurt
More to myself than to others
By the hate,
The rejection,
The camouflage
And egotism,
I force a demon into my core
And feed it with my anger
And narcissism.
Often we kiss,
Just after I’ve just used looks and words
To slay the confidence of others,
To demean the gentle,
To crush the innocent.
My demon and I share orgasmic victories after each assault on humanity.

Things I want to learn how to do:

by Jen Ralston

Lay bricks
     (so I can build my own house)
          (to make a paragliding bicycle)
String a tennis racket
               (how hard can that be?)
Stay in love once I’m there
                    (I think I got this one down but time will tell)

A Hawaiian Shirt Inside a Greek Restaurant

by Robert E. Petras

Leaves all shed, we drove
past a lawn with a nativity scene,
next to one with a toy graveyard and ghosts,
on our way to a Greek restaurant.
Inside my tongued jackknifed pronouncing
pastichio and souvlaki, the menu
not so smooth to my tongue
as the flamingoes and palmettos
on my Hawaiian shirt, and I
mispronounced gyro, which is more like Hilo,
which I pronounced like the Hi the owner
greeted with, asking our name.
Petras, he said as if taste-testing fakes,
are you Greek?
No, I reply, I’m Slovak.
It means rock cutter in Greek,
he said. Enjoy.
After we left, we drove back through town,
past pumpkin displays, past glowing Christmas lights,
wearing our name the best we could.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


by John Grey

lime on the tongue
worm in the bottle
newspaper opened
in front of her
at the horoscope
of all places

does it say
'you will get
horribly drunk
in some faux-Mexican bar
that calls itself
a cantina’

it merely reads
'today your luck
will change'

it's a week old newspaper
printed before her luck
changed back again


 by John McKernan

Throw the dirt back in the grave
Level the ground   Plant new grass
Kneel down   Knock your skull
On the granite twice   Wait for Spring


by Michael O'Brien

winter snow blocks my path
i bet the well is frozen too
three months of little light
stogy roots for nourishment
no friends to drink my summer wine
but wait.... is that a robin?


by D.L. Tricarico

I see you in the picture
wearing your black dress
with the red chiffon sash
and dancing with him
in some kind of celebration
and suddenly it is as if
the swaying of your body
has erased the past two decades
as if I never gave you daises
by your classroom door
as if you never sang to me
as we parked in my parent's car
near the undulating ocean,
as if we never held
each other in the cool gray
of the almost dawn.


by Darryl Price

To our credit we walked into the coral
caves with our ancestral humanity and
an open air of resolute courage.
To shore, of course, and then to the big messy

plants that have always been the islands. Stars like
lavender shoes command all the attention.
It follows from this that the slower-moving
molecules will have this same energy path

eventually in the grand scheme and turn
back into absolute mind, to being, rather
than God, a good landscape for the sun to
affirm or deny again and again.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

prosthetic life

by SK Iyer

wooden-footed future gathers lampblack
from the wick of life
when shadows seek to hide light
looks for synonyms of happiness
in the lexicon of life

words fail -
singing and dancing
since the days of fairy tales
they have lost their shine

in the clichéd darkness
begrimed by the forerunners
travels the same time-bridged path
overburdened by footprints
towards the same destiny

Shopping Mall

by Subhankar Das

The overhead throng of starry starry lights
of the shopping mall are burning
through the layers of air-conditioned air,
and that boy goes on scrubbing with a cloth
the side glasses of the BMW
which was up for sale.
He was scrubbing clean
his wishes dreams anger opportunism
and the color of his failures.
And right on the opposite side
sitting in a coffee shop
I was unable to drink
this bleak black coffee long gone cold.

Getting drenched in this endless death shower
I felt there is nothing heroic
about being alive or to die.


KJ Hannah Greenberg

Tears swim down, gumming sides, making way for crescendoing bavuras,
Until weary epiglottises becomes incapable of throwing off chaff.
Rectified souls are provided access to apexes, get rewoven of essential stuff.
The rest of us, though, try to enact gratitude for essentials, but get stymied.

It’s not merely life’s avoirdupois, but also complete pieces of unenacted gratitude,
That remain devoid, entirely, of formation’s splendor. Those bits, derived
From bad addresses, burnt letters, mistaken memories, other claptrap,
Cheapen mediunity, weaken miracles, suck power from paranormal phenomena.

Strange habits repeatedly suppress spiritual immunities, without compensation
Leave actors not corporally sick, but dying of other salts and bitters.
Such remarkable chunks deprive, moreover, children of whirly-twirly rides,
Suck away dedicated moments of imperative living from the elderly.

Thereafter, associates’ good intensions are no aid, create no solace
As soon as the remnants of high end evolutions droop like saggy ears.
Too many folk resort to hanging their heads from car windows,
To posing as furries, to running from remorse’s solace, from its quiet power.

No grimoires exist for atonement. Loathing taints penitence as long as deeper
Resentments run free. “Regular” doctors, too, work useless even as we refuse
The Greatest Healer, partner with ill-conceived notions, bloat ourselves
With amuse bouches fashioned from duplicity or other bitter conjectures.

While we want to be jake with The Boss, to be enfolded, if not for eternity,
At least twelve months, in forgiveness, in tenderness, furthermore love,
Most often, we skip project details until discovering everyday nuances
Constitute the fill of salvation, the core of recovery.

Life’s woods, hedgerows, lakesides don’t lack beneficent spots.
Rather, some of us have strayed so far that only select vesicles
Show utility, can potentially free us from transgressions, can shiv
“Permission” to restore us to health, to loosen our grip on disturbing baggage.

The strong charges against our names fade only if
We believe we’re capable of change, of constitutional rarity,
Of having our bitterly consequences reversed
By the Master Videographer who wants to employ calm filters.


by Stephen A. Rozwenc

that black lipstick
pierced eyebrow stare
from the supermarket cashier
angrily flips a ruffled bunch of asparagus
like ice
across the check-out counter
so smug and swift the glance
no customer
will ever know
it conceals her four winged dragonfly tattoo
instead of pubic hair
and a defiant refusal
to be owned by any possession
except her ferocious lithographs
no museum will dare show
because too many
every member of congress
and the senate
and commit suicide
for dishonoring
their vows


by John McKernan

My brown eyes
Will be bright & wide open

My shadow
Will have the texture
Of a soft clean blanket

My hearse
Will be a new Cadillac
Smooth riding
Ignoring every pothole & nail

My granite slab
In the stonemason's shed
Will shine
In starlight & moonlight
Bearing the letters of my latest alias