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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

As Fillmore said to Henry:

by Robert Laughlin

As Fillmore said to Henry:
You can have any color you like
As long as it’s black, white or yellow.

Rotation Alley

by John Pursch

Hark, our feelers are coaxed into auction shorts and quaffed donuts, mesmerized by plenitudes, and chuckled at by savage hair nets. Modern man goes loyal at the sight of ankle jobs, sacrificing clay pots, reindeer, coulisse, ear-wax, real teeth, nostrils, snake pits, surface bangs, bludgeoned mice, fields of treats, and buzzing cattle; all for a hook, a menagerie of diamond numbers, a gleaner of the loosened chaste. A bowl of minnows cans peaches in a celluloid basement, swirls to centrifuge a meager rat, and irrigates a bunion, half complete. Cobblers crown a chortling monkey preened for stays of restitution, reinforce a Day-Glo hindrance, and titillate the moribund sexologist. Climbing on a cyborg, armatures finned with ballast, we answer merry lipids, defenestrate a bobbin, and circulate nude lacquer chips.


by Anita McQueen

Slant of darkness
turning me over in my bed

face in my pillow
breasts and belly against the mattress

hard to breathe
afraid of the ceiling caving in
with all my sin

wanting soon
the daylight window
blurring it away with blinding brightness

not crying anymore
little girl gone
a woman now

getting dressed to dance down the stairs
slurping a bowl of cold cereal
aiming for my hot heart

forgetting the night and the night to come
I chat with the neighbors

catching the bus to tease my boss
another paycheck not quite enough

weekend coming with party after party and agonizing guilt.

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

by Bobbie Troy

tell me something I don’t know

but not about keeping secrets to preserve dignity
about burying truth with illusion
about hiding fear with prejudice
about wanting to belong to the crowd
about being haunted by love
about being hounded by heartache
about seeing logic but not accepting it
about being alive but not feeling

tell me something I don’t know
before I go

(Twin) Moon(s)

by Darryl Price

A late blue electricity, frying up nicely, you and I, 
you and me, then so briefly sure, a candle inside 
wind rains, slipped into always sad afternoons, filling my thoughts,
and that'll be that, your lips, my mouth, I was
amazed, I don't know if it means anything, invisible to
the naked eye, passionate, possessive, the outer grey galaxies, this
exhausted, lonely, marbled countertop, no longer humming as it should; 

later a softened madness in the middle-ages that he seemed
to profess to us both that I hoped for her
sake she found particularly offensive, I admit my words might 
count as cherry trees for markings, a cruel joke, since
you have thin cold fingers studying barbed wire, more likely
the ice forming all at once, rudely, a hole in
the heart, equally perilous and apple red, like unforgiving mediocrity.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

the petting zoo

by Brian Le Lay

don't dare jolt the barbwire fence
so long as the wireless is working

and they keep the brainless beat booming
through the black bows of trees,
a synthesis to stagnate to,
it's scary in the wild

what ever happened to the glory days
of twelve-hour webcam masturbation
on a national holiday?

the neighbor's festive twinkling lights
and lamplit santa claus
hazing through your frosted window,

jim-bob your naked woolen stomach whiter
than mary-ellen snow

and that middle-aged man from colorado
i almost had phone sex with
but chickened out
when i heard his voice
where's he now? typing a series
of facebook statuses which chronicle
the boiling of a pot of water?

wikipedia is the lonely drunk uncle
of encyclopedias who knows a lot
about six cylinder engines
and teaches you to drive stick
while taking pulls
from a silver whiskey flask,
whatever it takes to forget the war,

internet is a library burnt to pyramids
of sawdust ash and pissed on

and pasted back together,

a sad petting zoo where prolifically
anti-intellectual college kids
like zebras with their stripes skinned,
like lobsters with their claws clipped,
like race horses long surpassed their heydays,
receive the superficial kisses
for which they so deeply yearn,

proffer flaccid vacant statements
and whine oh my the immense
academic trick-chutes and tripwires
of the thirteenth grade

settle for state schools, the predictable shadows
of your childhood bedroom,
maintain your social stride and cower,

you've the night-creeks in your old
wooden staircase memorized,
why move on? zimbabwe's where?
no no we know where europe is
we just don't care to go

and it's a slow, slow


Satan Never Knew He Had A Twin

by Cynthia Ruth Lewis

It figures.
I should have known you'd show up again.
I knew the day would come
when you'd eventually resurface,
like the stubborn turd that you are

You're sadly mistaken if you think
I've got nothing better to do
than fall for your bullshit a second time around,
that I still have such a low opinion of myself
I'd allow you to drag me through the mud again,
and re-expose myself to your psychotic mind games
and emotional torment

I was hoping you'd be hanging by your nuts
in Hades by now
but I guess even the devil doesn't want
your sorry ass;
I'm sure you even took him for a ride
at some point in time,
but you were always such an expert at deception,
he probably didn't even recognize his own kin

I'm sure he learned a thing or two from you
before he had sense enough to cut you loose

I learned a great deal, myself;
I'm amazed at all I went through because of you
but, I have to admit that it strengthened me
enough to where I can look back
and laugh at it all,
and if you, yourself,
would have learned the art of that
a long time ago
instead of taking your relentless anger out on others,
you might have even had half a chance
in the human race....

and the devil would still be an only child

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Deal

by Wayne Scheer

So this magic fairy
Says to me
Because I've been good--
My cholesterol is 136
I don't cheat on my wife
And I recycle--
He's been authorized
To make me
A once-in-a-lifetime
You're sixty-five,
He reminds me.
According to 
The Natural order of things
You're going to get older,
Infirm and die.
That's your future.
But if he
Sprinkles me with his
Genuine, state-of-the-art
Fairy dust,
He promises
I'll get younger
And healthier
Until I end up
A teenager again.

I remember myself
At sixteen
Arms dangling
Voice changing
Hormones raging
And in less time
Than it would take me
To choose between
A NY pizza
And a poke in the eye
I tell him
I prefer  
The natural order of things.

Checking In

by Anthony Ward

I’m not sure what exactly happened; what had caused me to lose control. I remember going over the edge, tumbling several times before coming to an abrupt halt, as if the earth itself had stopped. Whether there was a defect or it was down to my drinking I cannot be sure, but I can be sure that the drinking was certainly responsible for my careless behaviour, my destructive nature.

It had been building up for some time, slowly but surely, like the Allegretto from Beethoven’s seventh—getting under my skin and taking me unawares until I could not stop humming it. The thoughts resonated in my mind until I became convinced by their harmony that I belonged to a world where I could no longer find a library that bore the names of the great literary elite; as if they were being removed from obscurity and replaced with the non-literary in terms of endearment to the mutually famed, like all those buildings that had accommodated me through my youth, that had since been removed.

I felt as if our sentimentality was being sterilised and our memories were being isolated; as if some undercurrent was currently presenting itself—the past being erased like the old bus station where I used to smoke that’s now being replaced by a new bus station where I can’t smoke at all.

I would often stand there wondering where it would all lead, imagining myself being able to walk into a store to download the ability to write, contemplating how that would influence literature, by writing, not from experience or how you perceive the world around you, but on what takes your fancy at that particular moment. Wondering also, what is the purpose of life in the idealised sense? Mere animals do nothing but survive; they have no aspirations to predetermine their existence, except to live for the present. What separates us from the primordial instincts is that we as intelligent beings can aspire to the aesthetic. Though what is the aesthetic if it doesn’t belong to the individual? Is the ability to write just ability or something more personally intricate? What would life be if we lived it as if it were a preordained script, with all incidence and circumstance primarily prepared? It’d be like opening a present and already knowing what’s inside because you bought it yourself. It may well contain what you want, but without the element of surprise—without the essence of life.

I mean, would you send yourself a birthday card? That is what you are inherently doing if you contaminate yourself with artificial memories and abilities that you yourself did not live through or accomplish. The urban evolution is manufactured and preconceived by man without the miraculous independency of nature. Nature is free to respond to the rules of the universe while humanity is incarcerated by the rules of society. The city encapsulates our hopes and dreams by providing us with them when we should be searching for them, and upon finding them, realise their true meaning through the journey we fore-took to obtain them. An archaeologist would be suitably biased if he were to look upon what he’d been searching for all his life only to have it presented before him by someone else who found it surreptitiously. Although that happens to be a circumstance of life, he would however lose any personal identification with it. An astronomer would be despondent to observe someone else taking their place to travel to a destination that they themselves discovered through their own painstaking personal journey—and had aspired to go to all along—only to find that someone else that had been chosen by the establishment taking credit for their perseverance.

Imagine a mathematician searching his whole life to resolve a problem only for a computer to provide it for him. This is the true repression of art through representation which thus applies to life itself. Art creates idealism from the circumstances of life.

And so, feeling somewhat asphyxiated by these polluted thoughts, I found I could no longer breathe confidently within such an enclosure and decided to free myself from the urbane environment, and left the city in the hope that I may write again, taking to the road on a journey of self discovery.

Though after I’d placed considerable distance between myself and my heavy burden, I began to feel somewhat light headed—despite finding it difficult to hold my head up as if I were falling asleep—when all of a sudden I saw myself heading towards the barrier, which caused me to throw my body against the wheel.

But it was too late; the next thing I knew I woke up with the worst hangover I ever felt, unsure of where I was or how long I’d been there, with no sense of time or place. I crawled out of the car—a complete wreck—and climbed back up onto the road.

I must have walked miles trying to thumb a lift, but the cars kept on passing me by as if I wasn’t there. I to travel a considerable distance before my eyes rested upon an inert effervescent light up ahead, which I realised to be some sort of sign, so I decided to check it out.

As I got closer I felt its facade staring at me with a sort of ethereal amber glow emanating from its mouth-like entrance, which practically inhaled me as if I was nothing but air.

Once inside I wandered through the atrium that appeared to hold a certain reminiscent accent to the atmosphere, and I felt as if my presence was being monitored by the silhouettes hanging between the arched balconies, looking inquisitive in their perplexed anxiety as if my arrival had plagued them with consideration.

Shrugging them off I headed towards the reception and checked myself in—surprised by the lack of clarification I had to convey. The woman behind the desk merely looked at me and passed me a set of keys with appreciable intrigue as to determine what I’d find after I’d unlocked what was disclosed within.

As she passed them to me I noticed scars running up her arms, as if they were directing me to her eyes that looked beyond me into the distance, as if one of us wasn‘t there. She appeared to me as if she’d been running this establishment for some time, though I sensed a lack of interest in anyone but herself, as if she were holding onto something that had long since gone. I almost looked around to see if there was a cake—though I did notice a long table in the hall set with so much food it would spoil your appetite; but I was certainly in need of a drink.

As I looked around the ballroom it was as if was viewing a movie of antiquity, as if I were watching the whole thing through a pane of glass—almost translucent. I sat admiring the view through the windows that were adorned with timeless landscapes through a spectrum of mediums, with each direction harnessing a season at every angle.

I couldn’t help but notice a large portrait on the wall that resembled the hostess in a more amicable statement than the one I’d received at reception. I could see what it was she did not want to let go of, and from this vantage I could understand why. She certainly was beautiful when accompanied by her youth, when the world had been her stage and she was embezzled in close-up. While now she couldn’t accept that her beauty had been preserved for all eternity and that she should at least live out the rest of her life with dignity, though at the same time I couldn’t help but ascertain the prospect that any other artist could carry on creating despite their age. Though with grace she could have continued acting the parts the movies required. Was it her ego or the studios that caused her cessation from the limelight? Was it the studio that decided she didn’t look the part or was it her that didn’t like the look of the parts that were given to her when age became an issue? Did the movies give her the elbow or did she elbow the movies—ashamed by what light she was presented in?

In fact, in essence she represented the whole atmosphere of the place, all characterised intrinsically as if every being was acoustically accosted by the auditorium, harmoniously orchestrated in incident, while music reiterated from every atom, resounding within the entirety of the space, as if we were all hearing our own individual music yet were listening to it together.

Just as I was becoming immersed in my own harmony, some morose chap with jaundiced skin clapped me on the shoulder and said to me—as if he were reciting his favourite line,

“So you fancy yourself as one of us now ey? Welcome to the end of the line man. You wanna drink?”

I did.

“There’s plen’y more where that came from boy. It never ends here. It’s just like you never left. You’ll always remember the way things were man. Sentimentality is the source of the soul. It incarcerates you forever.”

I looked at him to see if he actually meant what he was saying, before replying, “Well I’m just passing through. I just need to get my thoughts in order that’s all,”—feeling nauseous at the need to explain myself.

“Well I dunno where you headin’, though I do know wherever you’re trying to get to you wont find yourself any place better an’ this. All the cats are here man, no dogs whatsoever. The women here all look like ‘ey practically just walked off a movie set you know what I mean? They’ve been glossed over by all the trendy magazines; they’ve all scaled the heights of fashion man.”

“Well I just want some peace and quite so I can get myself sorted an’ get my head down.”

“There’s no need to work here man, you’ve got everything you could possibly desire here. This place is paradise, there’s nothing you could want that we haven’t got There’s no need to look anymore, you’ll find we have it all here.” He said with his bloated burgundy countenance disappearing and reappearing in the midst of yellow smoke.

“Well I’d rather find something for myself.”

“You know what they say? All work an’ no play. We got all the talent you could ever lay your eyes on here man.”

“Well I’m alright Jack.” I replied raising my glass and downing my drink before excusing myself to the bathroom which almost blinded me with its bright ivory ceramic tiles and sparkling basins.

I could of done with another drink but—feeling reluctant to converse anymore, and desiring solitude—I decided to go up to my room, ascending the stairs that bore chandeliers above the landings, all twinkling with a transcending glow of amber.

I found myself wandering along vast corridors decorated with wallpaper to the effect of a disused yellow. They were aligned with doors that held plaques that bore dates instead of numbers, and as I pulled my keys from out of my pocket I smiled to myself when I saw the number and recognised the authenticity of my predicament.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Queen's Day

by John Pursch

No one would notice, if not for the plant effect; went out of business and onto the rodeo circuit, opening a fish hook with a cat arm left, twenty peat to the fin, who wood off the pith wayfarer; topped it off the teeth, clay journey’s mental work, on the drain for staves, building a fence from scratch. Collect them all, save pollable risers for use on tomorrow’s wallpaper, donuts, and ornamental straws; faded license plates, pennants, scaffolding, dump trucks; vol, full, bezet, not a bed in town… Healthy smokers, a laugh a second, crazed dance crowds, the human churn, just carried off with the flow, bottleneck, the music stops, the eardrum strains in a tunnel beneath the Alps… Pass out over the bill, hire penguins for sandlot game, line up romantic zeppelin for sycophantic sarcophagus, new act with no tread marks. Clear glass pylons, banners of impending urinals, nanoseconds played with such a plumb, the prunes gave up and hinted at momentary windfalls. "Don’t leave!" the small rotisserie shouted.

Teaching (the little bastards to smoke)

by Raymond Keen

Teaching (the little bastards to smoke)
In the rain
Without parachutes.
Don’t look down,
Since there is no afterlife.

What you see,
What we are,
Painted faces in the animal kingdom.
Don’t look down,
Since there is no afterlife.

More and more people
Walk around in jogging suits.
Is this good for our Democracy?
Don’t look down,
Since there is no afterlife.

Your old church,
Which is sitting on shit,
Spreads our money all over the floor.
Don’t look down,
Since there is no afterlife.

You stick it in her,
“The old in-out, in-out,”
And we call that love.
Don’t look down,
Since there is no afterlife.

According to science,
Mind is brain,
Eyes are meat.
Don’t look down,
Since there is no afterlife.

Why did we do it?
We did it for the money.
It was the money.
Don’t look down,
Since there is no afterlife.

We must continue
With professional commitments,
While working toward our doctorates.
Don’t look down,
Since there is no afterlife.

You look better in the sun
While riding your silver bicycle.
We can’t even remember your name.
Don’t look down,
Since there is no afterlife.

Where can we go
To be someone else,
If beauty doesn’t matter?
And beauty doesn’t matter,
Since there is no afterlife.


by Mike Berger

The honky-tonk piano was playing it hot.
The moonshine was raw not the best of
the lot.

Introducing myself to a table of ladies,
I told them, "I'm big Al, no doubt you've
heard of me." A bevy of giggles followed.
They all laughed but the lady in black.
She looked down her nose and her eyes
said, "Oh please."

Sitting at their table, I bought them a
round of drinks. They all seemed pleased
except for the lady in black, who replied,
"Thank you, but I'm good." A pug nosed
blond ran her hand over mine. She batted
her eyes. The lady in black laughed, shook
her head, and looked away

Fascinated, I ask the lady in black to
dance. Taken totally by surprise when
she nodded yes. Her slender body moved
as if it were choreographed. "You're not
like the others," I commented. She
puckered her lips and knitted her forehead
and replied, "I'm not much into juvenile
mating rituals." She paused and stared
into my eyes. "I would appreciate it if
you don't give me your razzmatazz."

All of my favorite pickup lines took to
wing. "I like that," I told her. I stared
deeply into her dark eyes. Her body
and look immediately softened. "You're
the first guy in months I've met that I
don't intimidate." She smiled as she
reply. "Why should I be afraid of a
beautiful woman," I countered.

The music changed, the Ragtime
vanished replaced by soft melodies.
The piano picker must have seen us
and changed from hot to cool. I took her
boldly in my arms and touched my cheek
on hers. Her perfume sent chills down
my spine.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


by Pat St. Pierre

Add ingredients slowly.
Flour is the starter
white, pure and simple.
Salt, is not bland nor virgin
it makes the tongue roll
along the smooth lining
of the mouth.
Milk, the liquid substance,
is the necessary lubricant.
Egg the seed of life
adds moisture to the mixture.
Vanilla the flavor for individuality.
Hands, limbs torso help to
produce the mixing action
necessary for completion.
Two lean hard bodies emit
pleasurable heat.
The newly consummated batter
forms a creation of life.

Autumn at its Ebb

By Sarah E. White

White and brown patches of cotton
Lay scattered along the road
With the bright yellow explosion of wilting Maples
Fiery red and amber leaves
Yanked from their anchor point yet again
Floating now down
Ever falling toward the cold hard ground
Autumn at its ebb
I watch it flow out
As the wave of winter begins to build on the horizon
Waiting to crash upon us
The earth prepares for the break
The sandy bleak colored grass
Sucking the last bit of life from the earth
An earth ready for hibernation
Ready now for rest
Time to shed its colorful layers and stand bare
In the cold of winter wind
Replaced hastily by the man made decorations
Of a season yet to come
The red, gold and green of giving and getting
Eating and drinking
Gouging ourselves on our gluttony
While the earth stands naked and shivers
Alone in the cold dark nights
Its bounty long since ripped from its belly
Laying now harvested
On the tables of the thankless
As that wave keeps crashing

A Small, Yellow Apple: A Sukkot Poem

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

A small, yellow apple fell
From our plastic-covered table, where my
Little, light-haired lads did smell
The juice, the bread, and ably

Blessed the stars above, which blinked
Then shone on their sweet heads,
In our brief cozy of a home,
Built from sky above our beds.

First Shema, next words that graced
Shechinah, whispered softly, shaped
Brachot ‘round our outdoor space,
Buttressing our trust in Him, Most Lofty.


by M. Elaine Moore         
Last minute Thanksgiving details,
     and trip into town.
He stands along the roadside,
     fighting the bitter wind.
Tattered coat, torn gloves,
     boots having seen a thousand miles.
A single plea written on cardboard.
There will be no feast for him,
     no warm bed tonight.
I stop to offer hot cocoa and cash,
     and I say, "God bless you, sir."
A solid nod in return. "He does. Every single day."
The man smiles around a hundred wrinkles,
And I learn the meaning of thankful.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hide and Seek

by Savannah Stuitje

Love is not to be found in the backseat of a car
A circle of moonlight on a glossy front lawn
A musty basement spangled with cobwebs
In a nook, a cranny, a crawlspace
A library, a movie theatre slick with pop corn grease
Love is not shoved up against a wall
Wrists held down, breasts pushed up
Like a paid actress with goods for sampling
A housewife with a plate of finger sandwiches, pigs in a blanket
It is not stroked down its stomach like a purebred dog
Trembling into submission by a firm hand
Or groped through a flimsy dress
Love cannot be gripped by the thighs, made to ride like a cowgirl
Love does not rake its hands down your back
It is not made to moan and thrash
Or hold you in its hands like a prize fish
Mumble rosaries as it prays to you, its mouth open and regretful
Love does not scramble for its clothes in the dark
Or leave an earring behind; breathe something hot and moist into an ear
Love does not wander fingers down its body looking for souvenirs
Love does not wipe itself down with printed napkins
Or lose its underwear, a necklace, a sandal
Love does not sit in the bathroom and take inventory
Text a friend, call a cab, scrawl goodbyes on credit card receipts
A number, an exclamation, a drooping smiley face
It does not leave with its skirt caught in the car door
Love does not drive to a diner and eat pancakes
One after another, moistened with syrup and butter
Crunchy bacon and flaccid eggs cooked sunny side up
To lose the taste in its mouth
Love does not smoke bummed cigarettes
Or swallow handfuls of water in a gas station bathroom
Walk to a local pharmacy for little pills and take them dry in the parking lot
Bury the packaging in the trash
Love does not picture the darkness of its insides,
Porous white egg shell and minnow quick movements
Love does not curl its body into bed at 9 in the morning
In a little black dress, no underwear, and cold sheets
Love does not dream of babies rolling in lazy somersaults
Their eyes closed, hands folded, waiting patiently
Of bellies rounded with expectations
Seeds that smell the dirt like heaven
That come through cracks in the sidewalk
Their necks held out for execution

Glaring at the Light of a Digital Clock

by Noel J. Hadley

Leisure rasps of breath dampen my neck. I wrestle
with the belligerent light of a digital clock. She sleeps.
Under the sheets I can still feel the warmth of her vagina
moistening my leg. Naked breasts melt into my ribs.

Like scores of forefathers passing before me, as
Adam with Eve – I feel complete. I listen as the world smolders
silently, a rawhide matchbook of bodies scratching upon bed strips.
I imagine that right now pockets of the night are

illuminated – a wearisome pleasure flogged
with such fleeting passion then vanquished that sex is a makeshift
promptness only befitting to ghosts. Flesh is an appetite
that cannot be wholly incarcerated, it seems.

I fear that no amount of matches will ever
suffice for those who confuse enduring union with fleeting love.
Days of isolation seared with occasional escapades
of casual pleasure – then gone – a phantoms delight.

Passion is futile, then, without fidelity and afterthought.
The dampened blanket of her legs – the thawing of breasts in my ribs
and this present knowledge that she will be here in the morning –
no, beyond morning – tomorrow evening and the next –

Seven mornings from now, a month, a year even –
Give me another fifty years and eighteen thousand restless nights
strung in thought, glaring into the light of a digital clock.
I close my eyes. Her breath presses softly to my neck.