Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

For the Rest of Existence

by Maxwell Baumbach

I wake up every morning

your skin
                            my skin
               our skin

my lips
                       your lips
           our lips

our story
                                our love
              our lifetime

and eternity
before us

man in the moon

by Linda M. Crate

intangible as the concept of orange,
he slipped away into the wilderness —

he was not missed by humanity who
had always considered him ‘odd’; he

befriended the wolves, lived among
the mandrakes; he had the twenty first

century breathing down his neck, and
he hadn’t liked it’s icy fingers, colder

than winter’s breath; thus, he escaped
with his life before they cracked the

yellow bones in his chest and made
a feast of the corpse of his words, he

felt more fulfilled being in love with
the sea than he ever had his wife, felt

like more of a father to the mushrooms
to his own sons and daughters; he didn’t

mean to leave them, but he could not do
right by them by remaining, and thus he

rescinded from them becoming the man
in the moon with silver omniscient eyes.

Return of the Butchers

by Craig Shay

This is still a slaughterhouse,
though it may appear
that the butchers
have closed shop for the night –

The animals know –
The butchers will return any day now,
having sharpened the blades
of their wilted knives.

Button Up

by Laura Close

A year from now, maybe I will
button up. I will take a vow of silence

before the weather turns bitter.
               I will ask the vicar.

October is sometimes cold enough
to ask for a row of buttons or for

old overcoats to recreate recycled
notions from old coats’ buttons;

as for the fine fabric itself I cannot
recycle it; I don’t know how; I seek out

electric sheep and a row of quiet dreams.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thoughts in the Produce Aisle

by Robert Laughlin

A baggie wrapped around my hand,
I heft the prickly pear, a multicolored vegetable grenade.
The next bin over are some nopal cactus leaves,
So recently bedecked with spines;
Beyond them bins of chilies, fresh and dried,
And hanging on the wall, cayenne in bags—
That stuff that makes you choke to death
Should someone spray it in your face.
I think, the Inquisition and the bullfight aren’t enough;
The Spanish culture that produced them both
Has made the dining room another place
For torture of the innocent.

In the Basement of the New Yorker Hotel

by Wayne Lee

Her head is made of plaster. She pokes
it through a tangle of broken mannequin parts

piled on the floor, surveys the wreckage
around her in the basement of the famous hotel—

art deco banquettes coated with dust, ottomans
losing their stuffing to the rats.

Her hair is chipped, one ear cracked, one eyebrow
gone—a definition of beauty no longer in vogue.

If she could rise, she would hover like a moon
over this rubble, dangling by chains overhead.

A Kind of Blue

by Anthony Ward

With hands pointing out that day has passed another day-
Night having come into its own,
I find myself melting into the moment,
Losing myself to consciousness,
The colour of my mood rendered obsolete,
Turning blue from my want of courage,
Envious of others who find it less agonising to talk to her.
Her I’ve known all this time without getting to know her.
Her whose looks give me cause for concern every time I see her.
Her who leaves me feeling completely numb until I no long feel myself,
Only the sensation of the cigarette burning my fingers
Stirring my consternation,
With the sound of the needle scraping vinyl,
As I endure the thought of approaching her-

Postcard from Mexico Number 2

by Claudia Rey

Elvis (the names you find in Mexico!) is painfully thin, could be any age from thirty to sixty, has a marvellous sculpted face that seems to come directly from an Orozco mural, but is no warrior: he sells papayas he grows in his orchard. Every morning he rises at five, arranges the fruits in a wheelbarrow and walks from one pueblo to the other, advertising his produce with the ringing of a small brass bell. His papayas are carefully wrapped in newspaper sheets, sometimes old magazines. "That way" he tells me, "when I'm tired and need a minute to rest, I can read something. The news might not be fresh, but it doesn't matter. The important thing is reading. Keeps your mind working." This is real wisdom, I think. As simple and natural as his fruits.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


by Laura Close

Call me Ishmael.
Umbrellas are purple.
Call me sometime.
I can mend a small
Rip in the fabric, but
Embroidery takes
a few more hours.


by Will Monigold

They don’t live in submarines.
They shit in the dirt
And drink whiskey from small cups.
On holidays they love horses
More than Jesus, or Santa
Or the Easter bunny.
They eat beans from iron pots
Cooked by rough men in dirty aprons.
When dudes eat steaks in fancy restaurants’
In St. Louis or Chicago
It is from a steer branded
By a cowboy. They pull
A rope around its neck
And bind it’s feet tight
And burn it with a glowing iron.
The tough cowboys are from Texas
But I understand that gauchos
Can kick a movie cowboys’ ass.
They shoot each other with pistols
Brawl in bars, and screw
Unfortunate women who have
No other way to survive.
I know someone who loves
To watch movies about cowboys
And that makes them real to me.

Her Desperation

by Niles Champeaux

Damage inflicted, oblivious to its lethal poison
Blinded by the infamous half curse
Innocence and naivety provided an easy path to her heart

Even after he ripped it all to shreds
She still tried to piece it all back together
She thought she could use what she had always held so dear
But past promises arent always a reliable adhesive

Struggling to dismiss the elephant in the room as illusion
She begged and pleaded for reassurance
Noone able to give her the advice she wanted to hear
But so badly needed

Sinking in her misery
He silently snuck onto the last lifeboat
Leaving her somberly awaiting his embrace


by Korea J. Brownstein

I fell in love, lost my mind
too late to find nowhere to hide.

My heart was placed on death row,
the switch was flipped and it went cold

No use for words,
no need to beg
what was no longer is.

Licked by flames, taken away,
my wounds began to heal,
but the devil played another tune

Love is the devil’s gift.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Reptilian Mind

by Wayne Lee

In my reptilian mind, I still crawl
on my underbelly
through the primordial ooze
inexorably toward evolution.

I am not yet ready to stand, to sire
live young, to bleed, to oppose
forefinger and thumb.

Everything is either food
or not food.

I miss my tail.

Pearls To Diamonds

by April A.

I've changed black pearls of cherished then
To sparkling diamonds of today,
It's all arranged, I've got a plan,
At such small price as love to pay.

I'll sell my dreams as plain free verse
To any weekly magazine,
With no fear or remorse
I'll break the bounds of routine.

If my heartbeat is still upset,
I'll just select some different pitch
Or even try another fret
In search for harmony to reach.

The changing music in my head
Will always keep me in the wave,
I'm weaving future like a thread
For more to wish, for more to crave.

I'm leaving passion far behind
with its exhausted silent force,
No longer love will make me blind
Or seize my whole universe.

Postcard from Mexico Number 1

by Claudia Rey

Omar owned an elegant beauty parlor in Mexico City. Small but central, well known among the so-called fresas (strawberries) the young and rich and spoiled girls who follow every fashion diktat and love to dress in pink. He was very good, worked a lot, was slowly becoming rich. His fancy cuts were famous. But suddenly he had enough. Pollution, traffic, cold weather? Enough. He left the shop to his business partner and came to the beach. Now he lives eight months near the sea, walks along the beach with a backpack filled with his tools - scissors, combs, towels, sprays - and cuts hair directly there, on the sand. He also goes to the customer's home or hotel if she needs something more sophisticated such as color, highlights or whatever. Along with hair care he gives face massages and philosophical conversation, and likes to pretend that his second name is Aristotle... The town shop still works, and affectionate customers still hope for him to go back for real. Which will never happen, he tells me with a grin. The few months he has to stay there, in the cold capital, he feels upset and nervous. Mexico City is not his place anymore. Home is where you feel happy, corazón. How could anyone disagree?

Belt Buckle Chowder

by John Pursch

Foreign engines rev at lit umbrage, spinning catwalk oranges into stark remnants of a dozer’s pressing need. Grocery cannons pool in edible inches, oblong and occluded, fidgeting with walking tomes, splattering ink on cool, encumbered cardigans. Pie crumbles in a frictionless plop, rumpled and ironed again, steaming in the equatorial distance. Latin eye liner times an awkward buffoon’s poorly planned landing, seemingly aloof. Dents spontaneously vanish from rusty old taxis, revealing silent serial numbers and abandoned phone booth graffiti. Backpacks park on wooden desks, tabular gongs list our chosen dementia, and grazing bullets flit seaward, losing the martial entryway’s luminous jeer. Flotsam employs a steady wrist, rising in wine-colored squeezes, ambling through heaven’s myriad gateless aisles, spurning chests of momentary art. Languid chance drifts through quiet latches, hashing laundry lists for worn methuselahs, edging out longevity for a place in the musical tram. Clamoring for belt buckle chowder, a gaggle of benevolent teens cackles heartily, hopping to the fate of an unctuous, articulated lunger. Mirage teeth hint at rows of chaotic pom-poms, rasping in the steaming freeze. Breathy and exuberant, an automatic trance ascends each elongated, spinal stairwell, prancing into neural walkways left unwatered by the dear departed. Stamens and streamers, lousy in their blackened queues, fall upon the heaving decks of warships way down under, eating antlers for frequent formulae, pining for a ruse.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


by Kim Wilson

I wanted to be left feeling invisible because to remember would be unfeeling; compassionately socializing with the enemy shouldn't deliberately weigh on my feelings. Why would my sanity truly depend on your survival; that can't be. Why can't the feelings of being down have its window shut; spilling to the ground. The explanation of when I rage; has been shut up so long that I've forgotten the rules and pleasures to openness; if there's really still a place for me. The only thing that's changed is that the applause is only quieter. The bright lights of 'insane'; frightening nights is what my soul knows to be forgotten amongst the sane. I try not to weep or willow but out-casted is, as out-casted does. Don't cry for me because I hide part the way; let's get it straight. My forgetting my whole self because I have been born again and again and again and...; I ain't mad, I go on. How do you unscramble a rattled mind that's struggling to be born again with the hope I have left; I've lived in the flesh, now die in the Word. God has plans for me, as soon as I figure at what they are.


by Jennifer Moody

Where have you been?
I know you from somewhere....
But where?
And if I know you..
I haven't seen you in sometime
Where have you been?
It must have been a dream
It all just seemed so real
But even if I know you from a dream..
You've been gone long still

So familiar face
Explain our meeting place

And answer my question please!


Men With No Shirts

by Peter Franklin

Shed your decency,
I guess,
Once that tan comes on…
Baking and basking season has sprung
And you feel the need to bare all…
No matter your weight
Your girth
Or any manner of matted
And glistening-with-SPF-30-sunscreen-hair
Affixed to your arms
(fore and aft)
you are now on parade.
I get confused now…
In order to convict a defendant of indecent exposure,
It must be proved beyond that mysterious
Reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally exposed her breasts to one or more
Persons and that
One or more persons were offended by the exposure.
HER breasts?
Nothing about HIS breasts…sagging, unrestrained, offensive…
Visible for all to see, even my tender-aged children.
I don’t want to look…
Tell myself over and over not to look…
Never is nice to stare,
To gawk,
To laser-eye-lock into that which is grotesque and different…
But unlike Odysseus
I am not tied to the mast,
I succumb.
Drawn in, gasping.
Offended but unable to wrest my gaze from the
On foot…
On bikes…
On and on and on they come at me…a parade of naked
Unaware of their hirsute offensiveness.
Revulsion etched deeply into my
Is there no line to be drawn?
Past this point there is no return…
The earth is flat…
Off the edge.
Past this point even Oedipus would have
His sight.
Be damned, eyes…
For thou have tricked me again.
The pastoral beauty I have come to love has been clear-cut
To tangled desolation.
For inclement weather.


by Ned Holmes

Ghosts in a spew
do tumble;
upon razor-edged
horizon spoons.

Time is an ancient Master;
his words haunt featherless crows.

My ghosts in a spew
will always tumble
as ashen snow
flaked cold too soon.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Heavy Vodka

by John Pursch

Overcast stallions pepper monitored boot heels with wobbling circus seals, laying rubble liters in deeply plastered wells. Chords of baroque fuses plant rotating aardvarks on comatose trailer watches, spending the economy’s flagrant popcorn in a spiraling dirge. Monotonic desire implodes on queasy, hamstrung managers, indenting a causeway’s passing blame with inflamed mirrors of rhapsody. Hatches blather, ceilings collude, and vinyl verandas scratch spindrift islands into moonless blight, coping with a worn blade’s secular musings. Tutelage grapples with instinctive brio, turning to bromide in the autumn moon. Feathered margins gamely plump pilloried antiques, drowning oil drum strappers midway to christened yoyo strings. Rousted peons devolve into clairvoyant yardarms, haggling over terminal auction kits, scattering known racehorses for the greying informants. Stout rink mechanics erase creased tendons, seeing ear-to-praline with the manacled few. Dallying longer than streamlined repetitions enjoin, an operative smells ratatouille in basement blazers, motioning for early redress and concomitance. Flushed spendthrifts wash up, ease the banyan tree aboard, and bank on herbal feeding bricks, wrinkling in the limelight’s simple haze. Oats congeal under mousse directives, heave from allergens above a rampart’s stolen glance, and firmly mint a dainty troubadour’s mandolin routine, proving more than heavy vodka can retain. Slapstick wars rupture supernatural glazes, pinning otters to a diurnal damsel’s long-lived laughter, exonerating all forgetful mandarins.

The Head DMT Office

by Shawn Misener

My body is nothing but a soul tentacle,
a molecule factory/receptacle

a squishy love sponge,
an organic thought antennae

a congealed sea of emotion
the blood highway
the blood information superhighway

always with something to say
something to do
something to be done to

moving through space



from inside the skull
through the smoke
through the screen
through the smokescreen of experience/ media
through the baby monitor,

the sound of a plug-in rocker
through ringing ears,
the crash of distant heavy machinery

Mr. Pineal would like to say hello

the note:

congratulations man
you made it up 'till now
where to next?

Ah, Mr. Pineal
the smiling butler of consciousness
the holder of the raunchy raw truth,
the Death Teardrop

where to next?

Clue Fantasia

by Richard Peabody

Alicia Witt on the table top
in the gaudy Dining Room wearing
combat boots with a rampant rabbit.

Maggie Grace against
an ornamental door in the Hall
with a red velvet whip.

Kate Moss on the Cellar Stairs
in a black PVC corset saying,
“Stick out your tongue, slave.”

Rachel McAdams in the pastel Ballroom
in a feathery mask and little black dress
dripping wax from a candle.

AnnaLynne McCord in the Conservatory
in a black bustier with a purple strap-on
and stolen police handcuffs.

Kim Cloutier on a brown leather chair
in the Study with white high heels
and a jar of peach blossom honey.

Amber Heard on a settee in the Lounge
with glow-in-the dark rope, sailor’s knots,
Reddi-Wip and chocolate syrup.

Amy Adams in an elaborate Wonder Woman
costume on the gold tile in the Kitchen
with a butcher knife at your throat.

Laura Vandervoort on the green felt
in the Billiard Room with anal beads
and black leather opera gloves.

Tricia Helfer, your classy rich bitch boss, 
with warming lube on top of a layer of
gilt-edged first editions in the dark Library.

Cruel spring

by Susan S. Keiser

A stray bit of hair works itself onto my cheek
to move in the thin, cool air of winter
and mingle with the smoke of cigarettes;
such threadbare histories we'd written.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Say What!

by Kim Wilson

Believe that what was told was not said.
The quiet voices yell blurts of fear and fire and this is where the rage fills the well
and overflows into weary caterpillars that scurry to reach a safe place to butterfly.
Living in a closed world will only burn quietness into your being
so you'll never be who should unfold and deliver to the masses masses of knowledge
that can only be spilled when your blood flows over a warm surface.
Alienate your soul glowing as an outfit to fit in,
deepening anxiety's hold held around your neck.
Breathe, breathe, breathe! And let the mother in, be the mother out.
Zero in on the cause.
Yes, that too has its place, move over.
Stop pushing.
You may be next; sister lend me a hand only that I may stay once I stand up
over the rainbow of blacks and whites and browns.
Invite me into your journey and I'll make it sweet.
What you may want to need is the pearly gates we women possess
only 'til you rest your weeping eyes. It has brought life to the mighty.
Never underestimate the twisted'ness of a frayed mind.
I believe I can melt chocolate in my cold hands.
My fire reaches such a surface and the fight never goes out.
Get your head out of my ass and be beneficial somewhere to somebody regarding something, sometimes.


by Melanie Browne 

He bragged that he once built his
own electric chair, and that it worked,
and that is how his best friend died
back in Indiana.
he boasted that his uncle
was John-Gotti  and all he had to
do was “make a phone call,”
and that in an instant he and I could
jet-set across the planet,
he showed me his Pale-green back-pack
That contained all his worldly belongings,
The St. Christopher charm, an old polaroid
of a mine-field, (he didn’t say how he got it)
I didn’t go all the way with him,
because I knew he was a liar,
but he got to second base, (possibly it was third)
because the possibility that he was related
to a mob-boss, however far-fetched,
really turned me on.


by Claudia Rey

Unrequited love songs
turn boring in the end
but new songs I don’t have.
Time has done its job:
most days my heart's beat
is just perfunctory
and I don't feel anything.
Not sure I like it.
Probably I'm ready
for someone
to hurt me again.

Saint Valentine Day

by Suchoon Mo

Saint Valentine day
eat your chocolate alone
silent sparrows upon the roof
they are not mating


by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Lots of windows long years
opening and closing my mind
on things like...

your silhouette in room corners dark
sitting in a chair staring at me

bedroom carpet growing a mouth at midnight,
teeth as big as my boots lost in the closet
you ran into...

you're always naked
in what I remember when drinking

someone blowing that blasted horn
in the distance beside the crossroads
barren in the crimson dust...

clouds speeding over our bed
out in the Arizona desert
howling in our embrace...

where did you go while I was sleeping
under pillows piled on my head
by you?

my tombstone in a giant mirror
on the only wall left
beside a thousand shattered windows...

why didn't you just hang

Vaseline Candygram

by John Pursch

Westward rows of haughty, disembodied jowls veer and wobble, fleeing vertiginous ermines; stacked spectacles glimpse oracular omens of parachuting shotgun brides amid a cellar stash of vindicated winos. Tenderness rarely speaks aloft in terms of scuppered scenery, breeding central feudalism’s ordinary cream. Molls evade an iced barricade on wheels of stuporous stop signs, hitting the middleweight brigand with handbag dumplings ala striplings, serenaded via Vaseline alloys. Axial thunderbolts emote in fertile, dockside quartets, abashed and in collusion with weird and omnipresent oldies, signed by bumbling easel stalkers. Blown away by breezy hailstorm wishes, entranced human peddlers freeze limbed detainees, wearing digital platters in labeled boutonnieres; wriggling fingers cheaply falling every few seconds onto jellied doghouse tunes. Ransom boats spill littered anchors into analytic contours, belching cured tobacco into morphing endothermic auction ears, hinting at spore conundrums. Dipping chaw and chalk toe gruel, a croupier rakes free prosthetic locomotive tiles from closing shifts, settling tactile surgery claims, in flavors unpredicted. Carrying the only detrimental, mid-course oar house known to modern mirth, a trellis tuner splits the girdled calf relief with hog sty energy, replete with lox and cabled Candygrams of beauty’s boxcar, plentiful and sonorous, in early logjam’s byzantine girth.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

This Floating World Is Sinking

by Martin Willitts Jr.

When the Pacific Rim volcanoes circle, in fire,
it will be time for tsunamis to wipe out millions.
Do not wait it out. Help will not be on the way.
The dreamscape of broken worlds cannot be healed.
We forgot all the powerful words and herbs
and necessary prayer will be unnecessary
for survival. Pity those remaining.
There is no salvation for those hungry for it too late.
Only those with the center of a turtle will float.
Only those.

Crowded Loneliness

by Nathan Ventura

Hawk like sprites
full of a million whispers
come like sunbeams
through my window.
Taking off my clothes
they carry me to the bathroom
and lay me in the tub.
My eyes clouded and tired
with their glow
give in and shut.
Crawling over me
they feel my belly
not like doctors,
but more like lovers.
Inserting silver instruments
they remove that loneliness
that lives in crowded rooms
and drips off of orgies.
They heal those cuts in my mouth
never satisfied by my tongue;
they wash my tiny wounds away,
lay me in my bed,
and they wrap me in silk.
They kiss me goodnight
and leave,
having rid me
of my guilt.

Paper cuts

by Susan S. Keiser

A sharp eye hones
and paints the outlines
of a world invisible to ours,
cutting at the certainty
of paranoid dimension,
stark gingerbread
scissor-made and snipped
from adjunct dreams.

Idle generations carved
of iterative black and white
drift from fingertips
into a filmy paper land,
people spilling into cities
and the countryside;
men and women, hopes
sliced from dreamlands or
pale, illucid memory,
drifting on a tissue breeze
toward genesis, imperceptible
in its minute savageries,
controversy biting at
a deft and bleeding hand.

This One's For You

by Cynthia Ruth Lewis

are the reason I no longer trust men

are the reason
there is now a barbed-wire fence
around the perimeter of my heart
the reason
I almost believed in the L word

before I met you
I thought I was just an empty, cold-hearted girl
with dead-end emotions
who had nothing better to do
than chase after men who  reminded me
of my father,
men who I thought might love me
get me
resurrect me
but then you came along
and totally changed all that;
you evoked false feelings,
made me believe in shit that didn't even exist
you cut out my heart
and ate it for dinner
and I know when the time is right
you will burn in Hell for that
but in the meantime
I'd like to extend my deepest apologies
to all the men out there I do not give
the time of day to,
men with whom I might have really clicked,
who might have handled my heart with kid gloves;
men I might have eventually even loved
all I have to say
to a certain, nameless, 5-star shithead out there is
take a bow, asshole,
notch your belt
and soak up your 15 minutes of fame

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Día de Verano

by KC Bosch

Football-size slices,
pan with orange marmalade.
Outdoor kitchen with
no running water.
That hard crusted bread
slathered with tangy and sweet.
Sustenance for every
long summer day.
I got old but
it never did.


by Jessica Otto

     after a late-night thunderstorm
call it unseasonably
     the brittle image
slimy this heart
     of the moon hanging
in the water I don’t want
     in an empty skyto think about what is
     redly like a peeled egggrowing what is growing
     underneath: a latticing
slowly rises to the surface
     an encumbered horizon linequiet oil membrane
     tethered with silhouettes lazily churning in my footsteps
     of clinging poppy blossoms
     (clinging redly underneath the brittle image)

Dead people aren't any good at telling jokes

by Melanie Browne

they just aren't funny,
the timing is all wrong,
and they always want
to smoke a cigarette
before they get to the punch
line, and then you can't understand
it because they start
coughing with some cold
they can't get rid of,
so you just kind of go
because you don't want
to make them sad,
because damn,
they get sad a lot.


by Len Kuntz

I started drilling a corkscrew through my skull
three hours ago,
at dawn,
when it seemed the strategic thing to do.
Blood’s been pouring down the sides of my face
like fondue
and there’s brain matter stuck in my hair
and I keep twisting the curled spire
farther and farther through my head,
into the mealy meat
but no matter how much progress I make
there’s only more pain
and so help me God,
I can’t,
I just can’t get unstuck.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

All I Can Say

by Cynthia Ruth Lewis

It's times like this
that I really miss you, Dad
when Mom is ranting and raving
at her neurotic best
when my nerves are close to being shredded
beyond any hope of repair
when I hate myself
for having hated you
because I misinterpreted your oblivion
and silence as apathy,
when you were probably just trying
to find a happy place inside yourself,
one that didn't include deranged wives
whose psychosis knew no boundaries;
it's times like this
where I can truly sympathize
with the life you never had

I'm sorry, Dad


by Susan S. Keiser

We must have walked a hundred miles
between the beach and marsh that spring;
chipped flint and seaglass, piles of oysters
on scarred tables, spread with yesterday's news.
A broken screen door to the sea is left, the postulate;
an imprecise geometry that taunts your ruin.

Right of Passage

by Panos Panagiotopoulos

At night, they gather at the docks,
men married to the dawn,
they sweat ire underneath shirts
filled with holes.

A guy I see for the first time
rolls a cigarette under heavy rain,
the paper becomes one with his lips
as he tries to light it.
His eyes belong to a boy,
still flirting with shadows behind
40-ton containers.
His eyes match my own,
a boy's eyes.
He smiles.

But no one laughs,
not these iron-mouthed men,
men that sweat curses against
the stars and the night,

underneath shirts filled with holes
looking like jagged windows
on an ochre painted house,
like one of those overlooking the Aegean sea,
on an island,
where it never rains.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

white horses

by Ross Vassilev

I throw
a bit of rainbow in the air
for the lost children of the streets
for lost children in slums everywhere
for lost children
in god-awful families that never shoulda been
for Che and the Zapatistas
for Baader-Meinhof and June 2nd
for Joe Hill
for people who think that vulgar stories
are poetry
for the lost generations of East Europeans
since the Fall
for everyone who ever tried to become
an artist and failed
and all that's left
is the arms of the angels
for everyone whose dreams
are all rainbows and white horses:
remember all of them in your prayers to the Gods.

This Shirt Belonged to My Father

by James Babbs

this shirt belonged to
my father
every time I wear it
I think of him
pouch of Red Man
chewing tobacco
tucked inside his
left front pocket and
I remember
the way it burned
my tongue when
he let me try some
how I immediately
spat it out
while he sat back
and laughed
watching him
working on
something in the garage
his sleeves rolled up as
he reaches for
the ball-peen hammer
pounding the piece of
metal he has
clamped in the vise
the sound of it
ringing in my ears


by Mark Blaeuer

Across a boulevard that might have been
annexed as rural in 1945,
before its modicum of postwar growth,
our stockyard empties. Prodded up the ramp,
beef cattle scent long-buried fear crept out
of each grave. Gnomon to a radial
arrangement of white marble (upright style),
one soldier lifts his bronze arm—patina
for olive drab—as if to question. Vein-
blue sky pumps to artery-red.
Cicadas keen in oaks. Half moon hangs pallid,
muscle on a hook, a piece of earth.

Listen To The Inner Coil Of My Heart As It Slowly Unravels

by Melanie Browne

bok bagok
ooh ah mmph
clink clang crash

If Only

by Len Kuntz

I keep thinking;
if only I were a little shorter,
fatter, uglier and thick-skinned,
then things would be better.
If only I weren’t witty and sly,
well-read and tan.
If only I were a hemophiliac
and there was a sharp knife handy,
the world would
be a perfect place.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


by Alan S. Kleiman
But I’m usually more shy
I don’t centerfold regularly
I don’t centerfold happily
I centerfolded only a time or two my whole life
And I wasn’t thrilled centerfolding at all.

Shyness doesn’t mean you are shy
it doesn’t mean you want to die
or hide from each face
like a butterfly.

It doesn’t mean you are timid
or speak with a quiet sound
or laugh only when laughed at
or sing when the voice is laryngitis hoarse
when even a cry won’t sound.

Shy’s when inside you’re scared
and say truth to yourself
When you must be shy
because pain bars the doors.

Even a fire in the stables
won’t let the horse escape.
Burn before leaving
Put water in a dish left outside the stall
and think it will hold back the flames.

Only water will lash the storms
of rage, the visions of self
crashing the rocky shore

The dish won’t burn,
like the burning bush, truth
won’t escape. Flames
won’t lick the dew off grass or upper lip.
Stand tall
Duty has no meaning in a colored light
Shifting sands mean everything.

Yard Work

by Peter Franklin

It was my father
who taught me how to rake leaves,
pick up all the trimmings...bear the burden of the clean up crew.

I actually had no choice...
for I was the go-to guy once dad did his halftime clear-cutting of the back yard.
I always knew the call would come...hey, give me a hand.

It was nice for a moment
to think that I had a choice...though he quickly disappeared to the grotto-comfort
of the worn green Naugahyde sofa in the family room...second half nearly underway. 

So I labored, sweated under the late afternoon sun, never thinking to tell him
that the hay fever made my eyes and nose and throat miserable.
But that would have accomplished nothing,

save for only prolonging the inevitable.
I bore it well, I think...
Much like my love for you.

The Death of Gabriel

by Laura Eppinger

One day we’d have a son, we said.
Not now,
we said, now
when we go through a ten-pack a day and can’t leave
the house without sparking a joint.
But one day we’ll
settle, we’ll
calm down and make a baby.
genes would give him brown skin,
dimples and a raging
He’ll be our tyrant,
our doll, our prince.
We’ll name him
after my favorite author.
But we never calmed, could never
And Gabriel can never be
born, though I know
he exists
He lives in Macondo,
maybe, or on a steamboat
that never anchors.

Men Rule the World

by Brian Rosenberger

We were dining w/ friends. My firstexperience at a Korean restaurant. I will be back as that's damn good cuisine -grilled marinated steak, some mashed potato/cole slaw mash up, tasty, sinusclearing soup, too much (not enough) Saki and a lot of stuff I didn'trecognize, but eagerly consumed. Conversation covered a variety of things -work, why would-be Pres. Newt is a bad idea (President Newt, need I further address), eating habits of the elderly, and at some point, the burden ofwomanhood. By this point, I wasn't sure if I was a fan of Saki or not. Furtherconsumptions was needed. I proclaimed "Men Rule the World" andinvited argument. I pointed out Atlas, the titan who bared the burden ofsupporting the heavens on his shoulders, and undoubtedly peed standing up. As afan of cosmologies, I could have argued the Heads of Mythological pantheons(the ones I know of) are often male - Zeus, Jove, Jupiter, Odin, Atum,Quetzalcoatl, Lord Shiva, Yahweh, Jehovah (Mr. Jehovah to you), etc. Sure, I'llspot you Good old Gaea (Mother Earth) but I'm pretty sure she was makingbreakfast pancakes for Uranus back in the day. Besides, I could compare NBA ratingsto WNBA ratings. Björn Borg would have crushed Chrissie Evert in theirrespective primes. I don't recall ever seeing a female participating in theSuper Bowl. Still no female president (and that's a damn shame). Granted, Oprahis all-powerful but she's the exception, not the rule. This conversationcarried over into the Sunday morning with my wife. Again, I stated "menrule the world." She rebutted, "But women rule men" and Iconfess, I had no argument save one small request - Honey, go make me some pancakes.