Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Height of nothingness

by Santosh Kalwar

Low in the mood field thinking,
always on this lonesome wheel-chair,
knowing that she will never feel the scent
of that rose, from the backyard of hergarden, never stretch arms wide open
and kiss to the heavenly sky/nightly stars
or dare to poke jokes, oh girl of blue eyesand sad legs, oh dear girl of silent ears andloose necks, of saddened face
I don't know if you are listening,
I don't know if you are thinking,Only when I feel the weight
of your body, is when I take you tothe bathroom; trying hard heightened
They say, "Who am I?"
Can a written connection of soul to soul
will ever be justified? Will it ever be verified?Who am I to be with you
in this tragic moment? They often ask.
And, I say:


by Ryan Swofford

Freaks with yellow eyes and purple hair
Running their fingers down white skin legs
Running their tongues up cherry nipple smoke
Alarm when you make a stupid
And it goes bump and how that
Made you jump

Two fingers rammed inside
Of cherry pies (watermelon wares)
Freaks have yellow eyes and
Purple hair
They sit up smoking weed in wicker chairs
Wicked-white eyelashes and brand-new labia
We call this: "Experimenting"

Freaks with purple eyes and yellow hair
Transforming and experimenting with tests and tubes up
Rammed inside
Nonvirginal wicked-white eyelashes batting against
Cellophane existence
Pimple chicken skin cold against naked chicken skin
Hearty eyes clear heart full of revival
Three fingers rammed inside

We call this: "Nonvirginal"

The Universe

by Bobbie Troy

the universe
an intangible thing
that seems to grow larger
as i become smaller
and less confident
and so confused
about the relationship
of macrocosm to microcosm
and microcosm to macrocosm
that the only decision
i can make
is what to have for dinner


by Bryan Murphy

He knows she is there.

The air is heavy with the aroma of coastal flowers and the Pacific humidity he associates with Dolores. The guitar awakes to Hamish's touch as he tunes it. The audience looks bigger than those he is used to.

Hamish felt very lucky when the leader told the band they would be playing the Jazz Festival at Zuntema, just along the coast from Playa Chisme, where he had met Dolores. He was sure she would come, for the rare treat of live jazz, if not for him. She had captivated Hamish by her easy sociability, by her height, which matched his, by her being at home in her own skin even amongst the lost souls of Playa Chisme.

Hamish, though, failed to prise Dolores away from the surfer. Four long months have passed since then: plenty of time for Dolores to have grown out of him, or tired of him.

The act before the Oaxaca Jazz Ensemble is playing. Its music barely creeps into Hamish’s awareness. He thinks of the music the Ensemble is to play, and suffuses it into his mind with the essence and the allure of Dolores.

Now it is they who are playing. Hamish produces his allotted notes. He would love to follow the tenor sax beside him into the heights and beyond them, but his instructions are to stick to the score and not try to show off his technical skills. Those skills had brought him invitations first to jam with the Ensemble and then to join them, an honour for a musician barely out of his teens that recognised his Oaxaqueno status despite frozen-north birth and features. Hamish is happy to do what they tell him.

At the end of their second number, he catches sight of Dolores. Has she changed? Her hair has bleached to a lighter brown. She is as self-composed as ever, at ease in town clothes. She slips out of his vision amongst the families replenishing plates and glasses.

Into their third number; his playing takes on an urgency. He is playing for Dolores, of course, calling to her, urging her into his orbit. By the fourth number, he is not showcasing his technique, he is his technique. Dolores is forgotten. The drummer starts to play off him, echoing Hamish’s chords in new riffs. Expectant looks are exchanged amongst the band, though Hamish is oblivious to them. They urge each other on with flickers of improvisation. The tenor sax dives deeper into the music and leads it in a new direction. Hamish follows him and then is following no-one, rearranging the tropes of the genre to outline new possibilities and then explore them. This is no longer technique but raw feeling.

The music stops rather than ends. Applause takes its place. The band stare at each other, exhausted, elated, astonished.

Hamish is back in his own head. He remembers Dolores. Now is the time to find her. He sets his instrument down at the edge of the stage and takes the steps that lead off it. High-fives and back-slaps mark his passage through the crowd. He has never experienced a reception like it. But where is Dolores?

The next band is tuning up when he spots her. She is not alone. Hamish recognises four of the group from the Playa Chisme summer. The surfer is not amongst them. Tomas waves him over. Greetings are effusive, congratulations sincere. But it is an age before he can get Dolores to one side, out of earshot of the others. He asks her to come to Playa Chisme with him, alone, now. She can’t. He insists. She won’t. He cannot believe her reluctance. He entreats her.

“Look, Hamish, you’re a nice guy but you’re just not my type.”

Hamish’s world stops turning. His blood has frozen in his veins. His liver has turned to lead. His head hurts.

The figure of Julio comes into Hamish’s peripheral vision. Now he is going to get hell for his disobedience. Julio nods at Dolores.

“Hamish,” he says, “we have to talk”.

But the band leader is beaming.

“Let’s get some beer and fix you some solo time for the gig in Puerto Desaparecido.”

Hamish is back in a turning world. He is starting to feel good.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Proper Fish

by Al Ortolani

If she would uncover one breast,
and then lower her nipple
into the fishbowl,

I could be koi.


 by Perry L. Powell

And but for the sense of this
walking barefooted over acorns on the concrete patio
where shadows keep alibis
chaste as Pompeii.

When now the weather changes,
there are movies in the evenings and conversations
with friends, as is the fashion
on this street.

A baptism in a fish tank
or compressor damage can occur if stacked upside down;
Balak and Balaam over
the horizon.

An unidentified noise heard at night.

Lower Coos River

by Richard Hartwell

The river meanders towards Coos Bay
in almost bayou-like curves and twists,
sinuous as ribbon candy, but deadly:
old hulks, grounded and rotting, on
ox-bow bars; mooring piles driven
into the mud, barely identify the
river’s current course in the fog.

At night even intermittent lights,
reds and greens, can’t mark the
channel in the blanketing fog,
ricocheting glows confusing:
you’d be aground before they
came into view, all except for
old-timers, noting the widening
vees of river current on each pile,
as the patterns of geese change,
more adept than local guardsmen.

Farther down, the river gains
depth and breadth, becomes
madam to upstream whores,
welcoming inbound, as lumber
freighters crowd the GP and
Weyerhaeuser docks, and tugs
churn up such wakes that low-
lying islands are constantly
swamped, scattering shore
birds out over the broad
expanse under the bridge,
over the bar, and out to sea;
as salt tears mix with sweat.

breakfast of champions

by John Grochalski

i turn to wake my wife up
before the alarm goes off

but she’s already awake

the cat is on the bed, crying for her food

we both pet her

my wife tells me that she has been up
off and on since three-thirty

so have i, i say

i think it’s odd that at moments over
the last few hours of this early morning
we’ve both been up and silent

is anything wrong? i ask

my wife turns and lays on my chest

she tells me that it’s nothing, really
she’s just worried about traveling and planes
about our vacation to italy not coming together

but then she’s honest
she tells me she’s worried about the drinking

we sit and drink all day every sunday, she says

wine, scotch, and more wine, i think
we drink and watch tv

but i say nothing
just nod in the dark

my stomach is sick, she says
mine too, i say

i feel fat and bloated
so do i

we both have to get an angle on this, i say
but we always say that
we’ve tried for years

only three drinks after work
but it becomes four or five or six

one bottle of wine each weekend night
but by then time we go to bed it’s two and then some

three or four or five beers at the bar

and if we have the day off?
then it’s the breakfast of champions

i don’t know what to do, i tell my wife
we need someone to come in here and play adult

we’ll cut back, she says
although i knew that was coming

right, i say

only have three drinks after work
and on weekends we’ll do one bottle of wine

take up jogging again

no beer
no bar

and if the urge hits us too early on sunday
then we’ll go for a walk

it’s a good plan, my wife says

then she gets off of my chest
she gets out of bed to start the day
as the cat keeps purring and meowing beside me

it is a good plan, i think

it must be

because we keep doing it over and over again
hoping that one day it’ll finally stick.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Story of a Sieve

by Melina Papadopoul​os


the most rebellious thing
I've ever done
was swim against the current,

the crayfish were angry

they gave me
fisherman forgiveness.



I also apologized to them
for catching them in the palm
of my hands and watching them
slip through the cracks of my fingers.

I told them that
I felt like a puppeteer
who works the strings best
when they are untied,

I felt like a child
who takes a sieve
and shovel to the beach
just to build a sandcastle
and start dynasties of hermit crabs,
currency in sand dollars

but still walk away



actually, I've always
found my own two hands
to make a better sieve
than anything else.

they could separate glass from sand,
water from glass and sometimes

water from water



the truth is
I'm just too apologetic
to want to do any wrong.

I spend too much time
separating good from bad
with my own two hands.

when good is the glass
and bad is the sand--

bleeding ring finger


by Michael H. Brownstein

One by one the cliff erodes,
ice bores deeper,
words stop making sense:
abyss, crucify, alliteration—

passion comes in through fog.
Who claims we must remember?
Skin always knows pain.
fingertips happiness, feet satisfaction.

Gone Fishing

by Chris Butler

Keeping my head
above water,
I am able to see
all of the fish
swimming in the sea,
but I’m not yet
brain dead, so
I know that none
of their schools
will accept me. 


by Kye Bray

I cannot control this feeling inside,
This immoral love will not subside,
He left you without one last stare,
I doubt that he'd ever even cared,
What I see as I look into your eyes,
Makes me wonder if this man cries.

Your love is a beautiful work of art,
One only crafted inside your heart,
If you cried I'd wipe the tears away,
And in this one moment I will say,
He was insane, reckless, and dumb,
To lose what made him truly numb.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

When in distaste with tributes of human design
(after Sonnet 29)

by Caleb Puckett

When in distaste with tributes of human design,
    I all alone celebrate my singular state,
And find strength no other can assign,
    Look upon myself, and determine my fate,
Acquiring resolve through self-directed hope,
   Featur'd like a calling, like a charge to be possess'd,
Desiring my inborn art to find a larger scope,
   With what I most enjoy, leaving the least:
Yet in these thoughts all men despising,
    Sadly I think on me,—and then their state
(Like to the drunkard at break of day arising
    With a clear mind) mocks me at glory’s gate;
For pride only comes from the accolades they bring,
    Causing me to scorn this slight song of self I sing.

Evening Faces

by John Pursch

What color is the flame that partially sears my clifftop year? Next-door neighbors flirt with method acting, scratching at couches, sewing calm textures into coherent sand. Morphing into sleepwalkers, vistas speak of vaulting cats, prescribing half a car crash to totaled strangers, wrapped in telephone lines. Wanderers use copious cereal mills to down anterior problems, withheld from ailing foes by tearful severity’s dreadnought tune. Powdered tea restores minutiae to angled imitations, feeding capricious smiles to scuppered news, sweetly plying the clear, frenetic reasoners with sound. How the tethered shoes peel sworn pavement from the browned and burgeoning olive steam, heaving tackle and topsoil at momentous notes, troubling a corps of salesmen for haughty rows of dinners out. Solitary mendicants flip rabid piles of winking sages, handling score sheets with a plenitude of fleece, whispering tactful raspings in the evening air. Pressing into the early morning flicker of embossed neon, oozing along the turnpike, the flow continues with effortless grace, shining a miner’s lamp into the curtained crevasse. Who can fit a fiery life’s journey into such a timid ambit of proud erosion, hamming it up for soulful waiters on a listing gangplank? Reports of saintly virtues tumble through the microbial dusk, flaunting belief as only so much unclaimed baggage. Turnovers pop into halftime omissions, wearing split-screen eternities, chiding an anchor’s rusty chain. Hearings go unrequited, offering empty beer mugs for a facial tic, steering last call heroines to cheaply made flophouse stew. Headline overtures meander into pressed letter jackets, jockeying for dated prepositions, syllogistic in their oven-baked ruminations. Imperial duties elude overbearing paramours, anticipating the crunch of tired gravel. Turning on the projector, newly minced sentinels clear the clavicle’s rooted fable of its pondering, milky hum, freeing a newfound fighter to plead with altered phases of the moon. Carts await laughter’s tempered gaze, lining lonely Styrofoam nuggets with grins and month-to-month regurgitation. Hulks of punch card pogroms iterate on urges in windswept balky waves, shifting and sloshing at sequential darts. Clocking in to set a tabular fragrance, lewd tomorrows ease the cylinder through paternal axes, crawling on a million shackled feet, training each other to obey. Congealed drops slowly smile at the tapping, scrawling hand, eating whole cities for the price of a nape, stellar and behaved. Proudly irked by westerly playwrights, aspirations of youth invigorate the slackened rays of dawn’s overcast streets, hailing cabled essentials for a bodiless night watchman. Capstones creak at the lingering drift of freshly quaking tarts, wobbly in their rundown heels, edging from backroom busts to coffee shop filtration, searching blandly for a friendly face.

comic books and baseball cards

by John Grochalski

i look at pictures of nieces on laptops
count ten fingers and ten toes

hope that everything is okay in gotham city

see the images of old faces growing older
the lines of flesh more pronounced

their children going from knees to feet
from sound to sarcastic

think of taking a cursory spin around
old sector 2814 tonight
just to make sure everyone is doing fine

i’m comic books and baseball cards

a web-slinger, wolverine through the ages

i gauge myself on the gray in the temples
the slipped step
the aches and pains of existence
the time ticking just to get out of bed

then i ignore it all

slap down piles of rookies and inserts
and wonder if that’s enough to sustain me
the rest of this mortal life

book that trip to central city this summer
hope that doctor von doom
doesn’t work his evil mid-flight

beg for that diamond plated variation
on last year’s meta mvp

the autograph card
a piece of the uniform to run my calloused fingers over

do a voo doo spin over each pack of cards
chant the name of the player i really want

hulk smash if i don’t get it
see the parents turning white and bent
smell the wet dirt around the graves

see the generations handing it off one by one
to the next batch of us
like old immortals reaching for the sunset

but please not to me, folks

because i’m the fastest man in the world
and i can’t be caught

at least not like that

i’m the dark knight glowering in the rain
just waiting on the joker to strike

i have lasso of truth that i’m keeping hidden
from myself for as long as i can

a rare honus wagner behind thick glass

i’m superman, baby

i have a fortress of solitude
and a fear of that kind of kryptonite

collecting the years that keep passing me by
everything going in clear plastic for future use

just like brand new
stacks and stacks of days placed in a box

nothing changed

i’ve flown around this earth dozens of times
to try and get some of the others back

but even superman fails sometimes
gets tired of this hero business

hopes for something else

but damn, if it doesn’t look like
something shady is going down in metropolis tonight.


by Robert Laughlin

The doctor said “It’s restless legs, indeed.”
A nasty syndrome for a centipede.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

World Poetry Day
On Looking up by Chance at the Constellations

by Robert Frost

You'll wait a long, long time for anything much
To happen in heaven beyond the floats of cloud
And the Northern Lights that run like tingling nerves.
The sun and moon get crossed, but they never touch,
Nor strike out fire from each other nor crash out loud.
The planets seem to interfere in their curves
But nothing ever happens, no harm is done.
We may as well go patiently on with our life,
And look elsewhere than to stars and moon and sun
For the shocks and changes we need to keep us sane.
It is true the longest drouth will end in rain,
The longest peace in China will end in strife.
Still it wouldn't reward the watcher to stay awake
In hopes of seeing the calm of heaven break
On his particular time and personal sight.
That calm seems certainly safe to last to-night.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Something Like Love

by Subhankar Das

There is an impossible moon hanging up in the sky
for no reason tonight.
The mosquitoes are on rampage, up from their
slumber making a game out of me
and I am too drunk to fight.

She left me saying sorry
The 5 years seems too long a time now
making their slow moves as if
a very old Salsa footage running
real slow with lots of light eating away those memories.
Figures smudged in delirious joy
soft trembling skin which are not afraid to sweat.
Longing hope and pain just like love.

She comes back after 2 days
saying she is missing me,
and goes away as quickly as she came.

Next time she comes back
we will be wild in bed once more.

Good Fortune

by Chris Butler

I cracked
open a
fortune cookie
and it read,

“Come back later…
I am sleeping.
(Yes, cookies need
their sleep too)”.

I guess
I’ll never
get to
(in bed).

Knowing Virginia Woolf's Eyes

by Melina Papadopoul​os

Virginia's eyes have horse sadness in them,
a mare's wet vision that blurs everything
into a concave illusion. The distance has vertigo.
If she stares off for too long,
she might trip the landscape on a cataract.
Maybe it's a step up from crying.

Somewhere on the iris,
houseflies go into orbit.
They threaten to make
their razor blade noises
in the ears or eyes of something not yet dead,
if they can make it there
before Virginia locks her lashes
for the night.
They know that they see too much at once;
they have no corners in their eyes
for distorting shadows. They're all
treated with the same farewell buzz.

Virginia is still learning
how to look into the distance
without turning her back, her head.
when she's alone with a noise,
she tells herself to listen
for the same thing:
the galloping of her blood, veins cantering.
Virginia knows that Earth moves fast.
It moves so fast that the only way
to slow it down is to trip it,
rabbit trap it in words.
It'd save the nameless a whole lot
of suffering. When they cry out,
they'd have something more to shout
than God, God, God…
that man's mind is ringing
and now he believes he's got
his own thunderheads in his ears.

Virginia's eyes have horse sadness
in them. When she catches reveries
of stallions in them, she remembers
what to look for in loneliness.
She could cry them away, she could
soften her gaze into a lament,
but she doesn't want to blur this landscape any more
than it already has been.

Fly wings in her eyes.
nothing is a step up from blindness.

Sweet Love

by Nazra Emamdee

What will you try to save me from
If I screech vibrating silence
And pierce through aching muscles amidst the night?
Can you put those dark green straws
Through which run revenge and pleasure,
With kisses and sweat back to meditation?
Will you put me down when I fly, screwing,
With the devil’s wings towards forgetful karma?
If I say that I love every piece of you,
Will you love my dead nail
Under which lies a pretty history of blood crystals?
Will you love it through a coated sham or naked
If it promises to uproot itself off my skin
And neglect me?
What will you love me for
If tears of an unknown manufacturer,
Like final products are spilled on your sweet lullaby?
Will you force me to sleep amidst quenching dreams
Which squeeze the life out of my garden?
If I grow cancer in my heart,
Will you love the living me or the leaving me?
If I hammer twice my ring finger,
Will you put that ring through
And feed me with strawberries
Or saw the flesh and bones off me?

Sunday, March 18, 2012


by Marc Carver

Cortinas de concreto
y pilones de salmón
en el lugar entre
el dormir y el despertar.

Hay un hombre ahí también
atrapado bajo el hielo
mirando hacia arriba para ver luz escarchada.

ahora estoy nuevamente con mi viejo amigo
quiero confesarle
pero él menea la cabeza
Que no hay necesidad.

Concrete curtains
and salmon loaves
between the place where
sleep and wake lay.

There is a man there too
trapped under ice
looking up to see frosted light.

i am with my old friend again now
i want to confess to him
but he shakes his head
telling me
There is no need.


by John Pursch

Chocolate burbles into the night, slipping through silent dreams of rotating groceries and bashful lists, tearing pages from a house pet’s front lawn. Gravel pools in quiet steam salons, eerily mothering a warm pinata, planting rare ingots of tiled ivory in everyman’s resilient tomb. Combing the beach for songs, therapeutic anglers smooch beneath the everlasting moon, giggling and cavorting in triumphal repose. Clans of destiny’s finest ankles hobble for sacks of sour balls, sweetening the potholes of tomorrow’s last invention, turning cranks into Everclear legends. Pink plays evolve into scenic drivers, turning egret musings at the drop of dimensional innings. Pairs of sticky diction fluffers, interred with mown hayseeds, flex their dithyrambic monologues, splashing highballs on a dusty olive, jacketed in umlauts. Tumblers douse liturgical moors in overflow’s fine sentinel, catching hearsay for creased stewards, making fury out of banner years. Gumdrops stashed away for drained raisins slam phased trauma seekers, pinching an affable switchboard plugger’s index toe in cowhide grammar need. Always on the peering parasite’s contrail, high-flying capsules spin yardarms full of resinated primes, cruising to the nimble alarm of baby talk and integral Sundays, matching residues with harems of null set motifs. Entire blowing arches curse the ribboned seeds, clashing with crayon complexity in an ulterior prism’s roasted pram. Gaslight hunger mires the millions above cloud top creeds, chipping away from trusty green pocks of sent urchins, looking for weathered relief. Urns upset tyrannical oxen, lunging into frayed yodelers, cackling at prized studio pears, winded and bereaved. Camping gales immerse stone lumber in obsidian welter ponds, blushing in the lakefront glare, backlit and bewildered. Derricks primp for the mighty standardized festival rites, sawing off loaned timber, faring well enough. Grappling with wellhead donkeys over half a camelback tribe, altered merchants sail for phony island shins, halting at whaling lawns, swallowing ancient lures. Encrusted in blank sunrise, clay crab denizens inch from tidal swans, hurtle a priestly orb, and fan across a century’s smoothly risen foam.


by Linda M. Crate

you are
fickle as an ever-changing
moon; your mercurial dance of
always explodes
as fire works in an American sky
of July Fourth —
your passion
drips in rain, burns like the
fury of the flame;
it evades me on the stained
wings of remote
dragonflies —
strained violin strings snap
their blossoms over us;
the fragrance
of roses washes over me
river stones of past skeletons yet unburied —
your yellowed bones crack,
spiders fall from your branches
and clandestine purport
is locked
teeth that rattle secrets spun of spider silk
in the rustling leaves of
quiet night

Beulah Needs Another Man

by Donal Mahoney

Beulah needs another man who'll take
the garbage out at dawn and not
bring it back again at midnight, something
Jasper's done many nights for years.
Beulah knows when Jasper's found

another woman but she never says a word
because Jasper always mows the lawn
and rakes the leaves and fixes
things around the house unlike
Homer who was never handy.

But yesterday the doctor said Jasper has
six months to live so Beulah wants to meet
another handy man at Jasper's wake.
She met Jasper at a wake the day
he dropped the lid on Homer's coffin.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day, 2012


by A.V. Koshy

You were the first born, Africa
among the continents
God created you, as the best Woman Mother of the lot
Adam and Eve and the garden of paradise,
the tree of life and the tree of knowledge
of good and evil
and all the birds and animals
the dinosaurs and behemoth and the unicorn
and the dragon and the wild ox were all found first in you
gold and bdellium and onyx and cedar
and diamonds and precious ore
Your people, tall and ebon and beautiful
the fathers and mothers of the whole human race
Africa my Love, no one knows of your contours
how daily I wish for your white sand interiors
and golden green curves
and birds of brilliant plumage
and forests and rivers and miles and miles of deserts
your children spread to Asia and
South America
Australia New Zealand
North America and Europe
The future may belong to the children
but no one has breasts like you
And when you stand up, the whole world will tremble
At your stride
for yours is the future
You the first born daughter of Mother
for there is none like you
and your people
will use the countless riches of your body
and well
for the healing of the nations
I salute you
and look forward to that day
When the mighty shall tremble and lay their riches before you
for protection and help
and be found to be very small
O Africa
always misunderstood
but not by the ones who have been there
in you and seen your promise galore
You are old as the earth
and young as a baby
and in times to come
will astound the wise-men
who always called you a second class citizen
of the cosmos
but they do not know
the people of Africa
and the stars are both gods
and wait for the shaking to rise up and dance
and finally be given by the Same God who made them,
their just dues
and then they shall rule
and of their kingdom and dominion shall there be no end
for all their slavery and misrepresentation and mental suffering leads to eternity's and infinity's reign.

Let me not to the mirage of my mind
(after Sonnet 116)

by Caleb Puckett

Let me not to the mirage of my mind
   Admit desire’s independence. Regard is not love
Which alters the reciprocation it finds,
   Or bends with the consumer to remove:
O no! it is an ardent remark
   That looks on any innocence to be taken;
It is a full moon to feral barks,
   Whose hunt is known and game quickly is shaken.
Love's not Regard’sfool, though smiling lips and cheeks
   Within his bending wile’s compass come:
Love sires no knowledge with his brief hours and weeks,
   But bears the bride’s remove from the groom.
If this be the final decision upon me shoved,
   I never thought, nor any private freedom proved.

From that moment on
(one night last summer)

by Devin Streur

As soon as this cut heals I'll regrow my claws
& then be again who I was before now before
Steering my life off its course & before
Making myself this dark aching bruise of a
Body or better a hollowed-out emotionless
Vessel whose blood thickens & drips onto
A canvas once tender & bare impermeable
Oil on a night in July of last year it was 2011
When I met the knife & unknowingly flirted with
Catastrophe looming beneath your smile
A façade seductively leading me into
This ocean of teeth as you teemed with Chaos
Proclaiming for me alone it seemed to hear

Fear not friend the path is ours to follow
& no one will ever defeat us because
We're in this together

I saw nothing but the simplicity of rain & the dew
On the grass with the blades made of glass
& a hunger for flesh eager to be sacrificed
Then I prepared my body for Order's last supper
Perceiving it wise to dive into darkness
I saw as light knowing it not then as now
I do a journey too rough & for that matter
Unforgivably foolish to try as I did & forever still will
Naive as I am to convince myself that
I could ever love you

Scratch that last part I'd rather deny that you'd
Ever grow so fortunate to discover at all
The capability to comprehend
The very feeling itself.

open your heart

by Linda M. Crate

you honk like a goose
loud, conveying nothing —
your words undeciphered
even to the wind; you’re
the type that speaks only to
hear yourself and your
perceived brilliance that
no one fathoms; you exude
all the right words of intelligence,
and yet you forget that in your
arrogance you are you’re only
friend; no one can stand the
man that’s always right —
however, you seem to have
not yet learned this knowledge,
perhaps because it requires more
than just opening a book; it’s
necessary to open your heart.


by Will Monigold

I watch the flies
Twisting in the window.
Some of them land on the sandwich
From two weeks ago
That’s finally lost its smell
But the flies savor it
It’s almost spring.
If I wasn’t so deaf
I could hear the birds singing.
I watched a robin
Picking a worm from the dirt
This morning. If I leave the heater
On and connect the microwave
The fuse blows. The fuse blew again.
I turn off the heater and finish cooking
The pot pie.
There is a little bit of blue on the lid
Of the cottage cheese but it hasn’t
Seemed to alter the taste.
After I finish eating the turkey
Pot pie covered with cottage cheese
I place the plate next to
The sandwich. The flies seem to enjoy
The new item just as much as the old.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

MRA - Mommy’s Rifle Association

by Brittany Fonte

I yell, “Young man! Not at people or animals!” Then I sigh a sigh that can only be explained by too-long hours as chauffer, chef, dietician and disciplinarian. I breathe out what I have held in for so long; carbon dioxide lifts for shifting tides.

Maybe by biological osmosis, certainly by cruel (cryptic?) fate, I have become the mother I said I’d never be. I have born a boy who knows no boundaries but, perhaps, barbed prison wire (in papier mache). I am too late for “Scared Straight.” He is too young for boot camp.

Maybe he hears me, but he does not halt his ongoing slink to the hiding space beneath the sink, the place where his errant arsenal is hidden. There, he threatens dust bunnies or a toddling sibling with levied legos, and musses his also truant tresses by way of U traps in petite plumbing playgrounds.

I am the overprotective ova-producer; and I am trying to delay the inevitable male gun-play with minimal rules and minimum fuss. I fuse what I know to be true from bleeding with Buddha with what might work, if screamed, if coupled with physical force or big, big bribes, neither of which I can offer when configuring icing on classroom cupcakes, thirty minutes till school starts.

He is too young to know that dead is forever; he is too frank to finesse a new rule to such an old and genomic game. His little sister is, now, the Cyclops of Cyprus, or the virtual villain of the month in Sesame Street attire. And he is nine, or will be nine in four years, and in four years I will wish, only, for my own fortitude of character…and Restylane.

When I was nine, I learned tragedy sitting at a graffitied desk, dreaming at a brainy boy’s back, rereading history and then watching the future: the space shuttle Challenger. There was dream debris in the elementary school desks, sent by Hope’s detonation, by pieces of everyman’s mother sent through space: a sentry. We watched this live; we knew “never again” by the look on our own teacher’s face and the sound of a scientific misstep. Somewhere.

I want to warn my son about his abstract ammunition; I want to wean him from the glitter of violence beneath its sliver of grown up. But all I can do is pull him from his sub-sink clubhouse and warm his skin with kisses on this day, January 28th. I breathe in the smell of his lavender shampoo, his baby lotion, his still-fetal faith in the magic of the imaginary. I breathe IN. Oxygen.

Larimer after Dark
(Denver, 1986)

by Ben Rasnic

Skyscrapers poise
ornamented gargoyles
guarding the complex Infra-
structure of downtown
Denver, buffer zone

Corporate America
from the jagged edge
of inner city apocalypse.

Symphony of headlights
crescendos in pools
of black asphalt illuminating
Seventeenth Street
nightlife hopping
with bars and coffeehouses vibrant
with poetry and jazz humming
to the beat of the streets;

al fresco restaurants
on Larimer Square
catering upwardly mobile
young urban entrepreneurs
spinning wheels of fortune and rolling the dice
on blue chip stocks while chatting of
liquid assets and venture capital;

drinking margaritas
from petite marble tabletops;
Wall Street cowboys
shooting from the hip
on real estate developments
south of Littleton;

oblivious to the underbelly a few blocks north
where the buzz of neon fades
to burned out fluorescents
along gray fringe of vacant skid row

warehouses, havens
for transients, lost souls and winos
sucking blood from a bottle,
pawn shops and
pool rooms and a sign that reads
“No Children After Five O’clock”

seedy corner bars intersected
with switchblades,
Saturday Night Specials

revolving flashing lights
of ambulatory morgues;
shattered Budweiser bottles,
tossed cartons from a Mexican eatery;
picante sauce undistinguished
from dried blood;

where last call for alcohol
empties the Longhorn Saloon—patrons
pissing in the alleyways and one
drunken Indian loudly reclaiming
the Platte River for his tribe
back in Montana.

And barely visible in the smoke
and fog and haze one can almost
discern the ghosts of Bat Masterson
& Neal Cassady staggering gingerly
arm in arm toward distant railroad tracks
while others meander toward what

destiny of metal dumpsters
& cardboard shelters, oblivious
to the bellowing trumpets

of street prophets, dull
ache of cold night’s

placing a flirtatious

with the sunrise.

Angular and Toothy

by Dan Hedges

glass bottles being smashed
in reverse
gives us‘the whole’
from the‘shattered’.
everything is whole and broken
in our march with infinity,
in the instant where 
angular and toothy things
make us human.

Two Tigers Were Dancing

by Darryl Price

in the rain when one said
to the other,"I so
want to eat you right now!"

The other one smiled with
many sharp teeth and said,
"Yes,I want to eat you,

too, so much,but I'd be
sad if you were to disappear
from the world forever."
Later on as

they snuggled under stars
for blankets something ran
a wheel in this boy's chest.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Educating Pigeons

by Michael Holme

The window is open,
and Glenn Gould’s Bach emanates.
It’s a fugue from book one,
high volume
is bastardising its beauty.
A man with a dog walks past
surprised. It is 6am.
Two pigeons land on the garden wall,
taken in by the counterpoint,
and nod heads in canon with one another.
They appear to get the point.
Had the music been heavy rock,
the man would have assumed
the culprit was a power-waker,
preparing for a day of ambitions.
But Glenn, another eccentric,
can only mean one thing.
This riser is trying to educate

Extra Hump Dollars

by John Pursch

Backscratcher boxes of basements, shared by bland, illegitimate crammers of gill-feeding gorillas, sweat a million pleasant ends to all the seedy, unflattering deeds you've never admitted, never recalled, not a glance given from the steely-eyed perch of a lion trap, skeet-shooting stuffed olives. Road children stimulate the small of your back with hankerings for warm clothes and extra hump dollars, crashing found nuisance sheets with half a greasy fable. If only the dormant pendulum could dangle, fluttering, over arctic vestibules and ancient footwear; how we might then dive into certain ducts of bland, turbid idolatry, glimpsing the tail lights of a supermarket special. Alas, the tangled whoosh can only expend a sermon's nimble twist, oozing curried sound and pivots of a remnant's vital roar. Help two to tangle in a fleshy lab coat, gargling asymptotic remoulade, peering into a peasant's final act of parricide. Show hooves to specious, weathered samples, elucidating all the shredded trophies, garrulous in their moody, frayed ontology for spaniels.

Indian Song

by Randy Boone

I flew above the universe last night
  believing in most of what I saw,
  abstractions blurred by ozone,
  stars a million miles near.

In space you can do anything.
A gopher once told me that.

I tried to sing a requiem,
                in falsetto,
  and conjure faith from
     bandaged fingertips.

I learned atop the universe
  never to trust in gophers,

  never to doubt my song.

The Narrow Confines of My Existence

by Damion Hamilton

It seems like that is all I really know

The narrow confines of my existence

The sun rises and falls somewhere,

And all living things, move, work struggle and fight

Carrying a bucket of water, while the sun
Bangs the day’s rhythm on my  arms

There’s a war going on, all the time
The cars move along the interstate carrying strangers

You watch cars along the interstate long enough,

And you will wonder about all the different
People in them

All the people I can not possible know

Im in the narrow confines of my being, carry
A bucket from a dehumidifier.

As the kids riot in London--the radio tells me this

The television screens, and computers tell me
About celebrities and the stock market

The US credit rating has been downgraded, like my
Personal one

It will be burning and humid again--100 degrees

Sometimes I feel somewhat calm, when the world
Is telling me to worry and panic

Chicago, Miami and Budapest are out there

But, I don’t want these places

Maybe a pitcher of beer for my nerves,
And a baseball game

Pujolos  wants 300 million, and he
Continues to hit them out the park

I coulda chose a dozens of bars to go
To, yet I chose the one im at

But ill sit there and sometimes think I
Shoulda gone some were else

And listened to the voice in my head

In the narrow confines of my existence

Leaving the bar, after waiting for the
Alcohol buzz to get lighter

Taking the Interstate 70 and hoping that
The cops don’t fuck wit me

About expired tags on my car

Or think that I’m high or buzzed (I’m not)

Then getting home

Escaping the daily war of the nerves

Exhausted, bent, hopeless, hopeful
And tired

Falling asleep in my clothes,

Without TV or dinner

In the narrow confines of my existence

Sunday, March 11, 2012


[Note: the author taught English for two years in the Thai town of Nangrong – which means “Sit and Cry”]
by Burgess Needle
Saying goodbye to the town of Sit and Cry
One otherwise uneventful weekday
Except the students all turned out
            Girls in white blouses
            Boys in scout uniforms
And Headmaster Suraporn, of course, straight
            As a recent operation allowed
            To shake my hand with a dry palm
Eyes narrowed by too many mornings
            Facing the sun as the flag was raised
That open-sided bus waited for me once more
            As it had so many times for trips
            To Buriram, Korat or Surin
I wanted to pocket the scent
            Of kerosene wicks from every evening
Save the feel of my mosquito net brushing my face
The taste of ripe bananas sweetened
            With Carnation milk
Hear the temple gong reverberate
Hold an image of a nearby pond
            Nong Tamue beneath pink twilight
            With silhouettes of coconut palms
So sharp against the remaining sky they seemed
            To have been made of cut black paper
I departed as I arrived
            With a driver in blue uniform
            A monk by my side

ON AND ON: 03:06:2016
To my friend and wonderful poet, Leonard Cirino, who died March 9, 2012

by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

He had not died.
But I was shocked to hear he would die.

On a spring night
his time might come or maybe not.

On a spring day
they would hold a service for him.

On and on I
thought of him and I felt sad.

On a quiet
day his soul would take a stroll

on the beach. His
pain would be gone and there would

be no worries over his condition.

Arousing Union

by A.R. Minhas

My hirsute heart has a slit,
That extends below my breast,
A window to a hollow chest,
Throbbing for union—fully erect

We Worship at Work

by Omar Azam

You hate to think what we do in there
With your paranoid stare
and your upturned air

Your days too short to
waste time on praise
to One who made you
Let others do the important

Not even about ideology
this is the land of the free
free to do hedonism on the rise

We meet five times to show priority
you take five minutes to show me your skirt

and your schedules of efficiency
where days are meant for "quality"
you use these terms like bigotry

Where wit is full of distraction
You leave feelings out of the equation
consume meat like creation

"Why believe in philosophy
Why think such absurdity
When reality is proximity"

This room is your place
where you create a race
where the Unseen has no place

Let's have a conference
to discuss all matters of relevance
that are really of no consequence

in the holy daily divinity
that defines my reality
Where God is right in front of me

You claim our conspiracy
about our faces in proximity
the joke is really ironically

The Creator fathoms your ability
your quest to disguise enmity
for those who seek ontogeny

Thursday, March 8, 2012


by Melina Papadopoul​os

Sometimes, I want to ask you
if my name still tastes like something.
it's taken every last drop
of summer's sunlight stamina
for me to finally feel like a picnic.
I've just begun to dot my I's
with watermelon seeds.
I could be an ant farm if my blood cells
give out and decide that oxygen is too heavy
to carry to another breath I'll take for granted.
I don't have a Mount Zion in me.
I can't make internal pilgrimages worth it.
perhaps one day, my brain
will decide that it was trivial to carry
a name outside of childhood where you could
have called me that kid or something
and I would have been just as lost in my own skin,
even if someone replaced my heart with a compass
and my feet with a map that knows the way
without my reading so deeply into its travel lines.

So refresh my memory.
Put a familiar taste on my tongue,
a foreign one even.
Is my name still something
that you don't even chew before swallowing?
Don't worry, I don't want to melt in your mouth.
I am afraid of melting because
it could be the only death that doesn't come equipped
with an afterlife.

Is it too much of a hassle to still call me sweet?

I that know cavities are a burden.
I know that dental drills scold before forgiving.
Eventually, you hear your mother's voice
in that spinning snarl. Eventually,
you remember that your mouth is wide open
and that you're wide awake.
you begin
to think of names that you can't assign to nouns,
just adjectives and so I'll just come right out
and say it,

is my name still beautiful?
Could it be the real name
of a real wildflower?
If not, that's okay, I want
to be a scientific name.
I want to flavor soup
in Latin and, if I must,
with my death-cap tendencies,
I want to put out a dinner party
Linnaeus style.

But sometimes, I want to do more
than ask you. I want to tell you
to close your eyes and open your mouth,
and I want to place this name of mine
on the taste bud with the best memory
I think you'd forget me
if I let you keep your eyes open.

1981: Hollywood, Florida

by Brittany Fonte

The grass-fed cows on the Mid Western farms posed no harm to children, alone. My mother, having picked parenting skills like soybeans, sweet corn, sugar beets (that nobody eats), often let me roam until the dinner bell rang: well-done beef and casseroles made with Campbell’s soup. Tang.

When we moved to another, sunnier state, those safe farm feelings hitchhiked, too. My feral fascination with wandering loomed, loomed large, like billboards of the missing. I was six, quite oblivious. Adam Walsh, so Wanted, was lost not so far away at all. Just one Sunday trip South, sans Amber Alerts, sans security cameras at a Hollywood mall.

My brother was young, then, barely-haired; he was bottle-fed and bouncy-chaired. His birth betrayed my freedom. A new apartment complex meant: a new playground, loud laughs, wild cries, and treasured trash. It meant days spent with sidewalk-scratched knees, chewing gum, villainous bees. The trees blew needed breath to me beyond my sliding glass doors.

Begging time to play outside translated to “Calgon, Take Me Away!” As bubbles are scarce with babies in berth, Mom said, Yes. Go. She practically pushed me, and I heard those cows of old moo. As children do, I donned a smile, found a friend, holed up in a moving box; I became another princess with long locks. Our peanut butter crackers were royal petit fours.

Four o’clock came hard, and went.

My mother, the Minnesotan milkmaid of orange juice promise, carried a gallon of guilt, along with my bother-brother, door-to-door. She rapped, so scared, and asked; she masked terror thinking of that boy, the 5 o’clock news, some O’Toole. There were five no’s, then six. He was just six.

Finally. Cut to a seventh living room: I was cutting Barbie doll hair to match Olympic gymnastics’ wear; I was inside a cardboard studio, deaf to Time. Cue my mother’s tears: torrential. I had no idea the headache I caused, the sickness I stirred in my mother’s sewn gut. The fear stayed until I left for college.

I’d just played—like a son once lost in a Sears Roebuck.


by Linda M. Crate

you caught me in the teeth of
the stars, my hand singed
past punishment of those caught in
cookie jars; you stole the sun
star from my eyes and banished me
from your sight, I never enjoyed
the taste of star fruit flecking
against my tongue; anguish
washed over me in the dulcet hymns
of life that blinded me in their
brilliance — you destroyed our relationship
which was perfect simply for the
certainty that I’d never be immortal
like you were, like you are.


by KJ Hannah Greenberg

An unfilled space or interval,
A gap of some six million, whose
Imperfect doss, void of even informal
Requiescats, sent telluric currents
Across history, stretched our global fingers.

Reality Heals Itself

by Bobbie Troy

like the cry
of a lone wolf
looking for its pack
reality comes home
to routine
and occasional rapture
while the molecules
of everyday life
settle and fill
the wounds
allowing reality
to heal itself

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


by Ross Vassilev

learned today
of the death
of Scott Wannberg

I’d read a few of his chaps
a few years back

that a thing that once
lived and breathed
is now dead
is not strange

that a thing that once
wrote poetry
is now dead:
now that is strange

of course
only the body is dead
not the rider

we’re all immortal
but death is still just the same.

99 South of Chico: American Sentence

by Robert Laughlin
line of merging buttes and sky confused by ferrous tangle in foreground


by Robert E. Petras

Something’s different about Bubba and Buddha
today. Something. I can’t tell what it is
between those two toads—pocket plump,
jade gray, wart-jeweled, bulb-eyed,
finger-footed—cloned monk brothers
from the same branch of the Bufonidae tree.
Maybe it’s Buddha, the way he plops
and bumps along my Zen garden, or
maybe it Bubba, the way he squats,
thinking nothing, croaking nothing—
oh! ambivalent amphibian. But I can tell
between Bubba and Buddha
as my inner eye can tell between
my own blue-gray eyes,
mirrored in the mirror.
I can tell the difference today.
I can tell the difference.

A Key to the Sun

by John Pursch

Incremental thoughts creep through soot and dried conclusions, occluding the sky, flooding us with state machine strata. Hillsides erupt in basal confluence, enveloping the equally forced streams, descending in millennial showers of granular gavels and semi-closed systems. Heat careens through referential foam, humming clarity’s grainy tune, lulling mentality into loose slumber. Ominous artifacts loom beneath miles of dockyard sand, pitting bygone quadratures against the lonely daze of stereotypical orphans. Blackened logic bubbles up, quiescing in searched lucidity, replicating steeples in stained glass weekends, leaving blank serenity in pedestals of meat. Setting the dark river's drifting rain ablaze, streaming headlights dream of social safety, hem the tree line, and rouse the rippling rabble’s long-forgotten mandate for eternity. Tremulous and tuned to the song of a wayward hunchback, limbering up for quaint aliquots and rosy phantoms of beveled niches, pawns deflect dire equality, splicing torn opulence and mirrored delicacies, plated in stares of cold, blonde anguish. Crowded enzymes limp at light speed through ancestral fields of manacled birthrights and documents gone waxy, breaching all but the natal high torpor mark, gambling with clownfish for a key to the sun.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


In mem. Anna Nicole Smith
by Ed Zahniser

Every cloud has a sliver lining
it. Ask any meteorologist
but not TV types who’re always whining
about how last night’s forecast sorely missed

the mark & drowned—I kid you not—all folks
below Fourth Street in Brunswick, Maryland,
peopled by party-freaks who can’t be coaxed
to dodge direct hits to their most cherished gland

much less hits by this cloud-lining sliver
that got down to brass tacks all across town.
When I think about some glands I quiver
speak in tongues lose control black out fall down.

We don’t admit we mourn specific parts
but metaphorize our dead, the dear hearts.                 —

Exported Dreams

by A.R. Minhas

Love is Urdu and heaven is the papyrus…
Conjure! -- It floats like naked smoke,
Epidermis cells reborn on wounds,
Perfume-flasks shattered in the depths of consciousness.

Agony in post-cards of pleasure,
As the butterflies peak through the veil
Immolate memories on the pyre of suffering
Let the serotonin fill the bowl.

Lark! The xenogamous petals twirl;
And so the betel-leaf is chewed and expectorated
The enchantress prophesizes golden henna circles...
The sweet-nothings of her curse; whispered to a merchant of dreams.

As you pick up fragments of thoughts,
Construct—like the mad-houses of Idols!
Insert galvanic energy into the palate
Recreate the divine in foreign dreams.

Let it pixelate your vision
Repeat it verbatim,
Your tinnitus will be its prison
Imagine in rapid eye movements.


by Burgess Needle

Watch the realm of physics
                   Being stretch on Tucson
                   highways where saguaros
Bow and bend
                  as speed turns these
                  vertical green statues
To watercolor blurs
                  becoming the blue of Omega
                  infinite horizons
Where blue-green turns
                  violet just before
                  our destination with night
And everything comes to rest
                  including the pale atoms
                  of all that matters

payback burns

by Linda M. Crate

I stained you in pomegranate, let
my bitterness sink into your bones —
then I fled from you into the shadows;
you thought when you broke me I’d lay there
and wilt like my sisters: the lilies, but
I allowed you to suck out all of my rage so
freedom would ring like wedding bells, and
so I could finally breathe again;
my spirit was grateful to be void of your
hate which you projected on me —
it was so loud that my ears bled from
the dulcet tones; you dripped your lies
into my tea, so I used them to sour your
apples and you never thought twice about it;
you never thought that I wouldn’t break
like the limbs of a tree, you greatly underestimated
me when you told your honeyed lies here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Prague and Tongue

by Karina van Berkum

Like Tongue, the word
Prague is spelled
for its swollen center

and placement,
which snakes before
it stalls.

This winter I hid inside
both for a while
while the leadfaced

neighbors worked fast
on their own
obsessions. Alone,

I learned to be in love
with neither town
nor appendage

whose shining, wasted
forms ache against
one another:

Prague from Tongue
in a moment of silent
lunacy, say,

and Tongue sitting wet
in a gray station,
dying to go.

Spring Is Subversive

by Richard Hartwell

Spring is subversive for so very many, insidious even; it slyly stalks out from winter until it leaps full-blown onto fields of wild mustard trimmed on edges with poppies and desert lilies.  Where I live spring is more devious, often tricking roses and fruit trees with warm days, yet nights hovering nearfreezing, lulling blossoms and buds into premature birth and early death, letting those innocents shrivel and drop.

It is difficult to know which is better, if not best: to delay the salvation of spring, often elongated into April or even May, but knowing then that the season is real, not some conjuror’s trick contrived; or, to embrace early signs of spring, allowing resurgent hopes of incarnation, even knowing it is likely a manifestation only meant to tease and titillate desiresf or winter’s early end.

I have lived in lands and climes of both extremes and known the joys of fulsome spring erupting forth into elysian cornucopias, as well aso ther times knowing that winter’s disasters have ended, marked by trickery of first rose buds or nascent plum blossoms; I have been both pleased and tormented by mere tastes of spring in February as well as meals of sated spring in May.

If given choice, I would option for the possible deception of a too-early spring, not wanting to know what is behind the seasonal drapes or the illusionist’s cloak; thus, I await the annual surprise of spring.  Early or late, I anticipate a transformation.


by Anthony Ward

I’m not sure whether her baleful eyes
Contain hurt or sorrow.
Though they encourage my ailing sight
To bestow such beauty I behold.

Her chastity bears no charity towards me,
Causing me to drift in the doldrums
Like an Anacreon Dutchman,
Searching for the bottle that would land me
Upon those relentless shores.

Yet she weeps like Alvina,
Sweeping my soul off course
Between Scylla and Charybdis,
Drawn by her ungainly looks.

I long to widen her face
Until it becomes rounded,
Clear her inclement eyes
Until they shine through the darkness,
Before I end up smashed 
Against the rocks-
A broken man.

Postcard from Mexico Number 3

by Claudia Rey

Whales start to migrate in January, from cold countries as Alaska and British Columbia to Baja California and its warmer waters. One morning, all of a sudden, someone calls Ballenas! and there they are, jumping out of the waves, blowing sprays of water and then plunging in the deep again. They know where to go and when, but they also communicate among them with a complicate system of sounds which can carry across an incredible distance. They use these songs to warn each other, to encourage the youngsters, to flirt or love. Following this amazing net of melodies, whales have been travelling across the oceans for thousands of years. No tickets to book, no luggage to carry around, no jet lag. They simply go. Majestic, quiet, beautiful. It must be great to be a whale.