Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, January 30, 2011


by A.J. Kaufmann

Can't pick the flowers of Vesuvius
they've become golden gypsy rings
for death's slick
the ones which wrote all my
they've become stones on the road
to nowhere
they've become the road's
they've become the pointless
the Polish man of the mountain's
can't pick the flowers of Vesuvius
any more
then why I still madly hold on to
the empty
in other people's
of long-gone lava
shadow of dawn

Green Chimneys

by Mark James Andrews

with me down green chimneys.

all monsters and walk them over
to the bone yard
to staple their skirt hems
to the eaves of the crematorium.

the chin whiskers on the elf
perched on his bench
with the assault rifle
strapped over his shoulder blade.

the polaroid of me
sitting on the silver minnow bucket
offering you a yellow perch
or was it a blue gill?

the ham fisted sinner at the Steinway
sermonizing between twinkle tunes
“one never knows
do one?”

Returning from Leave

by Donal Mahoney

The rain is very thorough.
Going where I have to go
this summer afternoon

I march west beneath
my own umbrella while
you beneath a floppy hat

dash marvelously east.
Why I wear this uniform
explains why I ignore

the perfume
traipsing in your wake,
the ribbons dancing

in your hair, as I
beneath my own umbrella
keep on marching west.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Work With Me

by M.P. Powers

An aging surfer dressed like he's still
fourteen, shouting in his cellphone.
And I can hear him from all the way under
the coconut palms: "I told you I'd have yer money
on Friday, bro... Read my lips...
FRIDAY!" He clops up the hill in his flip-flops.
Passes a young beauty in a black
bikini. She struts past me, shaking softly her three
silver bracelets as the music pours out
of the reggae bar. She moves
in perfect rhythm with it, and she'll stay in
perfect rhythm, just like that, for years,
through all her love affairs,
drifting along, the music brushing lightly
her hips and her shoulders,
her silky skin, touching her ears, becoming her thoughts
and words and then... well,
and then... going slowly out of season,
like all of us
who live long enough. The music finding someone
else. It's all part
of the process, and when it happens,
it just happens,
and you have to know it's happened,
that's the whole thing. I watch
as she takes the crosswalk, takes
the other side of the street. A few minutes later,
she is gone, and the old surfer
is back, still on his cellphone. A tired old song he is
from a bygone era. "Dude...
Why you gotta bust
my chops? I told you my situation! Work with me,
bro... Work with me..."


by Randall Rogers

FOR A WHILE or permanantly


The Sweater Vest

by Kathy Carr

She knitted me a mauve sweater vest
with an owl on the front. She didn't know
I didn't like any shade of pink. Or sweaters.
Or owls. But I knew she was waiting
for my reaction as I opened the reused Macy's
shirt box, edges worn and jagged strips
of brown showing along the sides where tape
from years past had pulled up the white.

The vest had probably taken a long time to knit.
The owl was an intricate raised pattern,
its beak stuck out into a fuzzy point.
She'd even attached huge googly eyes to it.
I'm sure I would have loved it ten years
earlier. “Oh boy,” I managed, pulling
the handmade monstrosity from the wrinkled
white tissue paper.

“Feel it. It's soft,” she said in her childish
sing-song voice. I pressed it to my face.
It smelled like Grandpa; like an old man's
cologne. And like their fat toy poodle's
flea powder.

The owl vest wasn't the first thing
Grandma knitted for me. She made
slippers once, with pom-poms on them.
They were perfectly wonderful slippers -
in them, I could glide around our kitchen
floor like Kristi Yamaguchi.

I wonder if knitting was therapeutic to her.
If it helped to know that she was creating
something out of nothing.
Did it help her briefly forget about the stillbirths?
Did it help to set aside the helplessness
she must have felt when her oldest
son lost his hearing?
Or the crippling depression that followed?
Did knitting undo any of the damage
caused by the shock treatments?
Did it help her forget losing a grandson?
Or her sister, Beulah? The sister her parents
had institutionalized as a child? The one
we found out about after Grandma died?

Did she knit one, pearl two? Or did her fingers
automatically move without conscious
thought, needles clicking, yarn snaking up
from her basket, sweater vest growing like a baby
in her lap? Did she imagine me as the slippers
took shape – her granddaughter dancing
in them, alive and full of laughter?
Did her hands tremble like they do now?

I ask myself these things now,
after she's been gone a long time.
Back then, all I saw was an ugly
mauve sweater vest
that I would never wear. A waste
of time. A failure of a present.
Like a good girl, I told her “thank you”.
Then I kissed her on her velvety cheek
and wished for something more.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

space invaders

by John Grochalski

they come into the bar

a young asian man
and a brunette woman

the whole place gets quiet

mitch, the racist, stops commenting
on the mexicans and asians in bay ridge
and stands there against the bar
stirring his vodka and orange juice

phil stops complaining
about the urinal
that hasn’t worked in over two years

we all stop and look at these aliens
these space invaders

they are a young couple
my wife thinks it’s their first date

they order guinness
and even though there are seats at the bar
they sit against the wall

away from all of us

soon we go back to talking

mitch about the arabs
phil about the urinal
and how good the pizza is next door

my wife and i talk about poetry
and how b.j. hasn’t been back
in this joint since 2010 turned over into 2011

the young couple talk too
we catch snippets
stuff about their lives and jobs
their hobbies and movies

people who are foreign to each other
always talk about the movies

my wife looks back at the couple
then turns to me and says

remember when we were new to this bar

yes, i say

then we sit there listening
to the chatter of a sunday afternoon

the roar of the game

the urinal’s broken handle

the problems with the blacks
up on seventy-third street

we listen to the color of our lives

then the young brunette
asks the young asian if
he wants another round
or if he wants to go somewhere else

they opt to leave

looking around, i know that they’ll
never come back

together or alone

they grab their coats at the same time
my wife and i do

only we beat them to the door

opening it into a rich sunshine
the reflects an angelic white
off of the dirty snow

going home, she and i
beholden to no one
but each other.


by Rob Dyer

I have my fears
in Kaleidoscopic order
so that when I sleep
I can defend myself
as I rest my head
on a pillow
of mirrors


by Joan McNerney

I love you
and I'll
shout it from rooftops.
Chisel giant hearts
through Mount Everest.
Take out an entire edition
of the New York Times.

You love me
and you'll
preempt the president.
Send our rocket to Venus.
Fly fluorescent banners
over the United Nations.

Let's write our names
on this perfect sky
so even heaven knows
we are in love.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

Death is looking for me tonight.
It wants to feast on my heart and marrow.
I cannot sleep. I need to move on.
I consult with the stars for guidance.

Death follows me in each direction.
Its pale face smiles, overjoyed in its hunt
across every city I try to hide in.
I keep dreaming of Death without trying.

I know Death could get me anytime.
I tremble in fear when the room goes cold.
At night Death is like a drunken child beater.
I would not get it angry when it’s drunk.

It bids its time and keeps me on edge.
Death hungers for my heart and marrow.
Sometimes I just want it to be done with me.
The stars are not so gentle when Death is near.

One Too Many

by Kim Farleigh

The bull charged at the novice’s pink cape, dipping its horns with each lunge, its back legs swinging at the end of each run to face the cape, mercury time slowing and sliding with each lunge in a slowed-down sensuality of silence, the cape hanging from the novice’s side then rising, the horns moving by, the bull’s legs swinging around, the cape rising, the horns moving by, black aggressiveness flashing past style, time quickening, quickening, then slowing and slowing, thoughtless enthusiasm flashing by.

The next novice placed the cape in front of her body, the bull staring, the bull’s chest rising and falling, its tail twitching like a broken electricity cable, the novice stepping to the bull’s left, the bull’s tongue hanging out, a bull howling like a tug-boat’s booming horn, the orchestra’s music accompanying this booming-tug-boat booming, the bull charging, the novice’s cape twirling away from the horns, the bull fresh, quick, and charging, the cape twirling away from the horns, the bull’s legs swinging around and then charging, the cape spiralling too soon, the novice’s body exposed, the horns catching her torso, the novice cartwheeling and hitting the sand, the elegance and delicacy, that had marked her previous command, now gone.

She hobbled as if she was stepping on electrified ground, a sudden contrasting with her previous style, the others carrying her off, the bull too fresh and quick to warrant this excelling before enthused strength, the rushing within rushed like the bull’s rushing.

The first novice prepared his cape, his suit shining in the arena’s lights, the apricot sky’s soft radiance having been surpassed by this artificial illumination.

The young man, with a killer’s efficiency, measured his moments to move the bull around, analysing correctly the right magnitude of endeavour to take for each new step, delicate in his suits of lights, holding out the cape that resembled an insect with a single wing that flew away with every lunge of the bull’s horns, the bull’s individuality expressed by its need to charge just as the bullfighter wanted to line him up with the sword, the bull unexpectedly attempting to kill before being killed, the bullfighter measuring the moment to plunge his steel blade into the bull’s flagging hide, the sword finding its target in the back of this difficult bull, man and bull stepping and leaping simultaneously in opposite directions as the sword found its target, the bull staggering and collapsing against the fence, the crowd waving white handkerchiefs to acknowledge the glory of the bullfighter’s calculation, the other novice slapping the infirmary’s wall and screaming: “Maldita sea! That bull was mine!”

The young man circled the ring, his right hand raised, the other hand clutching a rose, objects of appreciation being hurled down into the ring in his direction, the right hand acknowledging the fluttering, white fabrics of butterfly-wing appreciation that fluttered against autumnal forests of people’s brightly coloured clothes, the applause reaching the infirmary like clattering cans where the other novice was screaming: “One, stupid, silly mistake! Just one! Jeeeesuzzzz!”

People in the silent room were staring at the floor, immobile. Distant emptiness deadened their faces.

“Just one!” the novice howled.

She gripped her forehead, fingers digging into temples. She had worked so hard. She was technically better. She had had a greater future. Everybody had said that.

But one little error was one too many.

I Like Pepsi Better Anyway

by Melanie Browne

I believe the world could sing in perfect harmony. It would just take a lot of practice.

There would be a lot of logistical problems. People might not show up for rehearsals,

some of them would be busy strapping themselves with bombs, others might

think they were too fancy, they would stay home and drink tea and do crossword puzzles

while watching porn. That’s ok. Let them do their own thing. I would like to buy a bunch of station wagons so

we can get a lot of people to sing in perfect harmony. Everybody can bring a sack lunch and wrap their drinks in

foil like we used to do when we were kids going on field trips. There might be gang activity. Drugs. Violence.

At first we can expect some of that. Aromotherapy might calm people’s nerves. Lavender. We could fill the air with the smell of lavender.

So a bunch of people with sack lunches smelling lavender learning to sing in perfect harmony.

I really haven’t figured all of this out. I mean I guess we will need porta potties. Even people singing in perfect Harmony need to pee and poop.

Is that expensive? Renting those things? Nobody gets breakfast in bed or anything like that.

Just the sack lunch. Station wagons guzzle a lot of gas.

bastard son

by Ross Vassilev

I'm the rag you
step on
in the gutter
of a really long
when the sky
cries aloud
for the quiet side
of Jim Morrison
I'm the wind
chimes at night
I'm the bastard son
hung out to dry
in the unGodly
world of Manhattan
the homeless
the dog shit
and the insane
I'm the ice cream
on a summer
street with all the
vanilla melting
and the
are shit outta luck.

The Devil, A Long Spoon, and a Serious Error in Judgement

by Carmen Taggart

She said come dine with me,
I hold the answers to a more vibrant life.
She was rockin’ the red dress and the stiletto heels.
Who could resist?

We discussed a contract over tea and cakes.
I didn’t need my really long spoon,
She tasted sweeter than honey.

Whispered promises, unslakable desire,
Our entwined bodies reflecting in the window glass,
Her reflection craggy, wrinkled, and withered,
The darkness of her soul no longer contained within a youthful facade.

She turned as red as her dress, heels stomping, you can’t walk away from me!
Oh, but I can, you have no power over me.
Yes, I do!! You need me! I am a celebutant! I hold the answers! Only me!
I laughed as I walked away.

Visitor’s Pass

by Mathew Richard Carter

Maybe the moon
only offers a halo
over David Geffen’s
house at the peak
of a midnight
spell of rain,
a folly for San Francisco’s tallest
street, trickling down to hear my name
on habanera breath
athwart the tongue.

Or maybe the moon
is brighter
horizons filled
with promise.
An empty beer can and
four dollars
in the wallet
spells something

I have entered
luxuriant worlds
without resistance,
Look -
the guestbook
has already been signed,
right there
Pat Metheny
and Adam Duritz.

you remember me,

I have donned
the plastic artifice
that has allowed me
to be here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Size Matters

by Kathy Carr

Jugs. Knockers. Wazoomies. Breasts have many aliases. Some names are used to indicate size, others to indicate function, and still others are used by rappers and street people who rely on slang for the majority of their vernacular. The fact that you can call breasts by so many names shows just how important this area of a woman's anatomy is.

From the time a girl is old enough to speak, she dreams about what it must be like to have men stare slack-jawed at her voluptuous breasts. As she plays with her Barbie doll, admiring the chesty perfection Mattel achieved, she imagines what it's like to be a Baywatch babe with huge melons bursting from her chest. The day her mother tells her that she needs a training bra is a day no girl will ever forget for that is the day she becomes a women. On the contrary, it is a truly cheerless day when a blossoming young woman realizes she will not likely be well-endowed. All hope is not lost, but she must walk with a bounce and wear extraordinarily tight, low-cut blouses to compensate if she ever hopes to garner any male attention. If she is lucky, some charitable young man will see past her lack of cleavage and ask her out. She may have to develop a “loose” reputation in order to achieve this, but that is certainly a better alternative to becoming a flat-chested old maid.

Some unenlightened people think that males ought not to be fixated on bosoms. Yet, men cannot help it, they are naturally drawn toward large breasts. It's like they are planets – the larger the planet, the greater the gravitational pull. Some scientists have stated that this has something to do with mating – that subconsciously men know that women who wear at least a D-cup will be better equipped to nourish his offspring. Although this is a myth, it is true that while a woman is breastfeeding, her “girls” increase in size – until the child is weaned when they shrivel up like raisins. This might explain why some women choose to engage in what is termed “extended breastfeeding”.

Once a man has chosen a wife – based, of course, on the size of her personality – one would be inclined to believe that he will love her no matter what nature does to her body. And he will, so long as he makes enough money to have her breasts enlarged, or at the very least lifted, should they become droopy as she ages. Paying out large sums of money in order to improve your wife's appearance may seem like quite a sacrifice. However, most men are willing to suffer with empty pockets as long as they have their hands full.

Incredibly, despite how flattered they might be, many women say they feel objectified when a man's gaze continually wanders to her chest. They claim that men should make eye contact and use phrases like “Hey, fella, I'm up here” while pointing to their faces. Even harder to believe is the fact that some ladies actually think it's improper to display even a hint of cleavage saying that it just encourages men to think of women as nothing more than a pair of boobs with a body attached. It should probably be noted that the majority of females who hold this opinion have breasts which look like half-filled water balloons hanging down to their belly buttons. Perhaps their selfish husbands ought to fork out the cash to have those balloons refilled. It should not matter if paying for breast implants means there might not be food on the table; ignorant people such as these could probably stand to lose a few pounds anyway.

Even so, women unlucky enough to be lacking in the mammillary department can take comfort in the fact that they do not live in a third world country where the saggy breasts of bare-chested females might end up on the cover of a magazine like National Geographic. What pitiful creatures these women are – having no idea that they look so hideous and yet having their flaws exposed to the whole world. Imperfect breasts need not fear such cruel exposure in a more socially developed culture where there are more dignified publications in which gentlemen may study the artistry of a naked bosom. Here, imperfections are actually airbrushed away in order to spare the young lady the indignity of having her stretch marks, blemishes, or even surgical scars ogled by the masses.

Yes, society has come a long way since the days when only women who'd lost their breasts to cancer were lucky enough to receive breast implants. Gone are the days when a woman had to work hard to prove her worth to a company; even CEOs recognize that women with less-than-ideal breasts are simply not as intelligent as women with huge jugs. Still, our culture has a long way to before women everywhere will have a chance at making it big.

As the great plastic surgeon Chester McBustington once said, “I have a dream that one day breast augmentation will be considered a medical necessity. When we make insurance companies pay in every village and every hamlet, in every city and state, we will speed up that day when all the sexy ladies – black women and white women, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics – will be able to bare their chests together and sing the words of the old super-model theme song, 'D at last, D at last, thank God Almighty, I'm a D at last.'”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Edge of Africa

by Bryan Murphy

Like a mesmerised fly, a small white car
teases a path along a chameleon
tongue of land, eager to be swallowed
into its city.

The sky blackens like a power cut;
Luanda lagoon seethes like a forgotten kettle.
As the Atlantic approaches the far verge
and the car aquaplanes on the asphalt,

its driver peers toward the city,
his foreign home, distant as the future,
his breathing strained by fear, elated
at this flirt with death by nature

in a land bled dry by civil war.
The tempest loses interest, slams away;
the car staggers along the causeway
to chance its luck in the human storm.


by Stephen Jarrell Williams

We walk in a quiet march
under heavy clouds,
mist falling
mini pearls clinging to our coats.

The singing has ended for the night,
the song still in our minds,
our throats swore
by the meaning of the words.

Tomorrow we will be in the City of Cities,
all the world will hear.

We are some of the many
millions wanting
change in the kingdoms of government...

We move on,
our numbers blurring the sight of us...

Thunder rumbling in the distance,
countries beginning to bow.

Not enough bullets, or fire, or depravity
can weigh us down like the old days lying,
lying, so much lying...

We are no longer meek.
Our strength is our will
pushing down the walls with our flood of flesh.

In the mourning we will sing. We will sing.
And they will listen.


by Randall Rogers







Mother, I’m All Alone

by Mike Meraz

mother, I’m all alone.

let me sit on top of the kitchen counter
and listen to you speak.

mother, I’m all alone.

let me peek through the crack
in the bathroom door
and watch you put on your make-up.

mother, I’m all alone.

kiss me on the back of the neck
or pass by while I watch TV.

twist and writhe on the living room couch
while father begs you to come back
and I tell you to leave.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


by Randall Rogers


Betsy Tango

by Mike Foldes

Betsy Tango, dance with me.
When I first read your name
I wanted to strip it off the page,
take it in my arms, swirl
it like warm brandy
in a crystal snifter. Dance
with me while I run fingers
along the curves of your ass,
pull our hips together, squeeze
juice from the lemon.
Betsy Tango, you’re out of earshot,
now, I can say it aloud,
let me take you on the floor,
upright, rigid, succinct
in movement, violent, yet
thoughtful, step by step
from dusk when you come alive,
until, infused with night,
morning stops us
in our tango tracks.

Hookers on Archer Avenue (Version 3)

by Michael Lee Johnson

Late evening, early morning,
I search the night for whores,
young, bloody with desire.
Night streets are silent streets
accept for hookers and their Johns.
One wants the dart of groins
the other green eyes in dollar
sacred treasures-
snatch the wallet, a consecrated craft.
Both hit the streets quickly
satisfy needs quickly.

I’m an old buck now rich with memories
more than movement, still talk, take porn shots,
with a peeking eye, snoop around
department store corners,
and dumpy old alleyways.
My hair is gray, my teeth eroding,
thoughts toward prayer
A.M. Catholic Mass,
then off in early morning
to the mailbox, a lethargic walk,
I pick up my social security check-
comforts my needs.

Evening settles into bed time
with a western romance novel,
ambushes, excitement,
old transgressions stretch
and relax.

No desires, homage
to the day, to the night.

With Him

by Donal Mahoney

Look so pretty you
no sound floats
out of my mouth

as I sit silent now
staring through you
boring in

what it is that
does this

to me now
and every time
I see you still

just out walking
laughing with him


by Chris Butler

Pounding silence inside,
blood-shot sun,
carbon monoxide clouds,
sober birds chirping out of tune,
cottonmouth buds,
black tar coffee,
curdled powder creamer,
bacon grease melting grass blades,
runny nose yolk,
bulimic cigarettes,
toilet bowl pillow,
amnesia dreams.


by Ben Rasnic

Gliding with the liquid grace
of the eagle’s wings boldly engraved
into the sides of his reflective
metallic headgear;

with outstretched gloved hands
soaring toward the deepest
corner of end zone, his
taut, sinewy tissues almost burst

from the effort to snare
the oblong pigskin--first securing
a precarious fingertip grip then quickly
cradling to the chest

before landing in a fetal position at the feet
of the man with the black & white
striped shirt frantically thrusting both arms
into air to signal touchdown!

and 6 points for the home team
to which the player responds
by spiking the prize point blank into turf
then breaking into spastic gyrations

that, if just tuning in.
one could only interpret
as some form of ritualistic
ceremonial victory dance

contradicting the curiously subdued
response of the home crowd
& the subtle sarcasm
of color commentators

as the Jumbo-tron scoreboard
juxtaposes the sad-eyed disillusionment
of a freckle faced eight year-old

clad in midnight green
and a final score reading
Redskins twenty-seven, Eagles fourteen.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Connect Four

by Justis Mills

I don’t know what his parents do for a living, but they come to the lounge weekend nights. They set up their kids on the TV in the corner, and sell food to the students. The dad wears tight shirts and looks calmly concerned, like a nurse. The mom is skeletal, but otherwise healthy. The sons are small, brown, and beautiful.

Today, the eldest brought a game: Connect Four. Someone is challenging him, probably stoned, but twice his age. She keeps laughing at how quickly he moves; his mouth smiles back while his eyes stare her down. He mocks her between moves, tells her up front how he’ll win.

I stare at his thin smooth wrists, the dance of his fingers. I notice the length of his face, his long eyelashes, the clownish pout of his two-toned lips. I remember a girl, the scar below her mouth. He looks just like her, except for that. I take a piece from the table, then my seat.

If I swung hard enough, the tiny grooves on the little black circle would bite into his skin. It might leave a mark, running down his chin, like dried nectar from a too-sweet fruit. I make my move, another, and try to match his stare. I lose within a minute, and join the growing ring of spectators. His mother watches from the corner, proud or amused, shaking her head with a hand on her hip.

Everyone is talking about this kid; people stream to see him win. He doesn’t disappoint, or flinch under pressure. He says clever things for the crowd, laughs, keeps his eyes on the foe.

There’s a lull in challenges, and my roommate Jim steps in. His face is blank as always, greasy bangs down to his nose. The kid tries to get a read on him, but has no luck. His taunts are met with straightforward replies, serious strategy. I’ve never seen Jim think so hard. When he wins, the corner of his mouth curls to a smile.

The crowd is gone instantly, and Jim with it. The mom walks to the sink, and her son wanders over to the TV. I try to walk over, to tell him it was a match well fought, but I can’t make the connection.

As soon as I leave, disappointment sets in. We were all part of something large, the aura of a prodigy. Each challenger was a sacrifice to the young master, condescending, worshipful. I find myself angry at Jim, angry that he dared break the streak, a single red light in a perfect escape. Or maybe, just maybe, that it hadn’t been me.

I get back to the room and he’s sitting on his bed, staring at his hands. I ask how he got so good at Connect Four and he says he used to play Go with his mom, which is similar. This whole time he’s still staring at his hands, eyes concealed, and I ask if he’s going to tell her about today. He says no, she’s dead. I ask since when, he says last month.

I give him half my taco, lean in shock against the wall. I congratulate him for the win, and he nods behind his hair.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Watching the Tide

by Sean Pravica

it would be so much easier
to divide things cleanly
into black and white
like a two party system
you’re with us
or them
while the majority checks out

ever hear of the haves?
i’m sure the have-nots
sound familiar

it would be so easy
to talk about the two
to make it real
to pretend it’s true

but all the rivers in the world
lead to the same place
and if the ocean chose sides
we might be onto something

but no one can have
what can’t be had
including all the ivory
that would be so safe
if it stood on rock
instead of clouds
born from an ocean
that only watches
one tide come in


by Zaina Anwar

I have inscribed
my desires

on Nature's breast
in letters

of burnished gold.
Now I know why

my reflection
in the quiet stream

is distorted
and crimson hued,

echoing the clang
of distant bells

and the ancient

of the lonesome

spinal tap

by Panos Panagiotopoulos

so bring your wings on me
make each flutter meaningful,
make it matter to yourself,
it's possible that I am one who should not
be trusted or relied on,
I am not your friend nor lover
but still, talk to me, pretend I am either
talk to me, I'm fed up with all this crying
all I read about is tears and hearts enduring
bodies under word and dot stampedes
I'm tired and I need to see
a crack, somewhere,
the foramina of days
as they press their patent grim against my skin,
the sun retreats and I'm more or less sitting
by my self,
writing radioactive verses
[for us]
on my self
I wanted to be the book you'd read one day
handed to you by a friend or lover
or sometimes both, you'd lick your fingers and
rummage through me
because your life is the party I'm crashing
observing your guests from the coffee table
until their rude potential sits on me
so quiver and make it matter
make it meaningful, if only
to yourself

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Great Existential Conundrum

by G. Tod Slone

The ducks don’t think of it, nor do the crows,
as the water eternally flows round the creek,
swelling slowly upwards, then draining outwards

Christians don’t think about it, nor do Muslims,
or Jews, Buddhists, or others of that ilk

Only those of us alone contemplating the tic toc
of time resound in the silence of our dwellings
feel its dearth reality, “lo fatal” as Dario called it

Babies cry, while children are taught the fairytale
as if reality could or would pain them

But the fairytale, of course, is not for them at all…


by Lawrence Gladeview

this morning
i sprayed
the driveway
and sidewalk
for sedge

this evening
i will
pluck up
the carcasses
of a once


by Larry Ziman

The chocolate cookie fiend
rushed into the chocolate cookery
as fast as a parking meter
swallowing a quarter as if
the intersection really cared
whether the lowrider raced
thru the light like an asteroid
crashing thru the atmosphere
of a gas-chamber bar teeming
with kooks of a stranger breed of
outlawed civilization domesticating
aliens from the inner space
of a psychopath’s neuron gap
hiding in the cleavage
of a Hollywood starlet
served with 20 chocolate cookies
and a pink paper napkin.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


by Bryan Murphy

The envelope disgorges a faded photo:
my erstwhile drinking buddy’s younger bro’,
aiming a pre-draft grin into the future
as though he had one.

Whatever did you do
to those choiceless defenders of our freedom,
chosen to manoeuvre apartheid’s army
into check?

Were your jeans a shade too western?
Did you hand them to the sergeant too slowly?
Was your accent not quite right, an exile twang?
Did they just loathe your love of life?

Or was it your large, city-boy’s body, so easy
to pierce with pen-knife, machete, bayonet,
so light to lay out, silent, torn,
unable to accuse, or dance?

They all had a share in your murder,
the other new recruits. Your blood
bound them deeper than any enemy.
Those who lived “won” that war.

Do they still stab conscripts to death
now that peace and playstations rule?

The Rain

by Zaina Anwar

The wind
has spoken tonight.

Stars shudder
while the moon

has quietly
slipped away.

Soon, the sky
is swallowed

by savage clouds.
A thick film

of moisture
heavily clings

to every leaf
and languid root.

Children laugh,
their tiny feet

caked with sludge.
Through the streets

they run,
half naked

and oblivious

'The rain has come,
the rain has come.'

If only I can see the future

by Aashish Thakur

My tombstone will be blank or…?
Doesn’t interest me
But I want to see-
The falling sky and your departure
The invitation to spring and my happy lips
Doesn't count…
But I want to see-
The pain of the autumn, and your aging fingers
The dream of blurred boundaries
I can laugh on this joke, right here, right now,
But I want to see-
Exchanging of smiles by neighbours
And green grass, crushed only by children

Winter, Thirty-nine

by Rebecca Gaffron

My secret waits, clasped in the folds of darkness. One, one-hundred. My secret waits. A child playing hide and seek in frosty shadows, hoping I will spot her and tuck small, chilled fingers into my warm, grown hand. Two, one-hundred. Assuage the fear she names, don’t leave me alone.

And a fear she will not speak. Three, one-hundred. Is that my secret?

Winter stars twinkle a melodic answer. I catch their joyous strain—the child is luminous, magical. She is beyond measure. For an instant I perceive this truth.

Golden child steals from the shadows, tangled in a web of crystal breath. I long to see her dance. She beckons and the astral melody grows louder. We are luminous, magical. We are beyond measure.

A three-year-old me reaches across decades for a hand creased and lined by thirty-nine years. She will not dance without me. I lift my fingers and step forward, knowing she remains beyond my reach. But the snow crunching under-foot whispers that I’m getting closer

Monday, January 10, 2011


by Larry Ziman

I got a beautiful
lady just for you.

She just got into town
from Jupiter.

She’s got a great pair
of antennae

and a nice
green complexion.

You can have
fabulous conversations

about wonderful
life forms

in neighboring

She’s truly


by Chris Butler

I find
a friend
a friend
in my

the help of
after the

and the polar
cold melts
two hearts
into molds
of pure souls.

Misery loves
serenity never

I stand to cry, if I cry; to cry I stand, and sitting I will not cry.
(Upon reading Ulysses)

by Jordan Sjol

In stockyards I need to drink the leathery
compote of structured death from a crumbling
chalice of mud. I melt into putrid alabaster
mousse and extrude through pastry-bags fashioned

from the unwashed panties of
unkempt witches, as a spell to bring their
warlocks safe return through the eighteen
interminable trials. Destruction is

contained in silvered vessels of
unimaginable technical brilliance and
indeterminate purport. Jews horde it into
temples, bury it under mounds of

gold and arks of forgotten covenant. Near it
the density of dreams approaches infinity
and firmaments delimiting consciousness erode to
silt. The spasm of my sleep is etched

onto pottery which is to be studied
in thousands of years, allegory presumed.
Semiotics faces its utmost nadir since
Moses came down from the mountain, and

went down on the golden calf, smashed
his tablets and wept and wept. The parallax
through which the most circumspect cartographer
was sucked appears as a sinkhole on the

bank of the Liffey. There time becomes
manifold and grows teeth and recites
soliloquies in what man in panic
has provisionally named “tongues.” The switching

of horses' tails brushes against the
stratosphere and scatters constellations like
freckles of salt skittering across a quartz countertop.
Heaps and piles and mountains of skulls could

be constructed in fractal extrapolations from
here to the moon with the matter produced and
wasted by the malevolently laughing Nobodaddy.
Ladders to rapture could be made and forgotten in the time

it takes me to cross the room. I might go
gray about the temples and conjure
rabbits from my spittle and pass
through the eye of a needle astride a camel before

I lift my pen. I might sleep again, now
and forever, very much.


by G. Tod Slone

A Borders Experience

Free WiFi, so I bring in my laptop,
hook it up and buy a coffee, sip,
and recharge my battery.
Later, I get up to stretch my legs,
walk across the long space
to hunt for the poetry section.
The religion section is quite ample
—three huge wall-to-ceiling shelves—
same goes for the fiction section,
where I spot right in the middle
a small island stand marked Poetry.
So I walk over to it, and as I reach,
a lone elderly lady farts a gurgler.

Damn, I decide to skip the poetry
before the waft engulfs me.

Bums Don’t Carry Laptops

In the morning, I get out of the
sleeping bag in the back
of my two seater, crawl up to the
driver’s seat, sit, start the car,
then drive out of the mall lot
on down to Barnes & Noble,
where I escalator upstairs
to take a dump and
wash my hands and face,
then find a seat off in a
solitary corner and write:

Bums don’t carry laptops
or maybe they do.
I carry a laptop…


by Larry Ziman

Those men who question one-party rule
don’t like the booze that’s been served.
They’d rather the punch in the one-party bowl
wasn’t served with the one-party hearse.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The whole kit and kabuddle

by Ben John Smith

Some times Indian cab drivers
Tell sad stories
In the same vein
as a gambler
carrying a cat
or a slum dog
Vietnamese kid
Being carried on my

A drunk at the
Of the stairs.

i realize that

We all lay awash;
Looking for agoodness
That hides in eyelids
We can hardly hold open

Im not even
afraid of this.

I almost welcome it.

I say to her;

Lets sing songs
But she is asleep,

So I sing them to
And i get truly sad

That my voice
Will never be
As pretty as

and the moans
in her sleep are
like ghosts
in this
dark and
piss smelling

Lieutenant Venison

by John Pursch

High upon the nectar plateau,
deep to the right of the green,
lie the spontaneous cheer,
the early rustle of cheap
boardroom banter,
and interlopers who hunt
indigenous deer for sport.

Wandering in the pine straw,
a solitary buck plies the hills,
drilling for samples,
remembering down
to house wines,
other people’s pizza crusts,
generic cigarettes,
and fallen relics.

Scratching at a stump,
he strains for distant recall;
the past can almost hear him,
feel the rumble of his antlers’
ultra low frequency waves,
detectable literally forever.

Finally, he slides into time lock,
as a young lieutenant in French Algiers.
Why does he return, over and over, to this?
What causes his affinity for this thread?
Well, he certainly loves the cognac…

Glasses drained, the Frenchman smiles,
and temperatures waver near flaming.
For an exquisite instant,
he’s sated, enjoying the souffle,
having just eaten the tender morsels
of his greatest grandmama.
Meanwhile, the unpaid bill awaits.

Suddenly, in mid-gulp,
an arrow zings past,
clipping the trees,
and omnipresence reels him in,
through an interchange of foreign pasts;
the Casbah dissolves into
a strobing blur of headlights,
rumbling freighters, boxcars,
and red-shifted echoes,
landing him in mid-gallop.

Come in, Lieutenant Venison, come in…
Up and down the train,
the buzz is divine,
the cowcatcher’s reached light speed;
dredging up tomorrow’s drill bit,
the light at the tune of the indole,
the time will always be…

Jabberwocky Redux
After reading too much Aquinas

by Donal Mahoney

Would an aphid reside in an onager’s ear
if the onager’s master spoke Twi?
Or a Gascony scop with a leper elope
if a civet leapt out of a tree?
You doubt it? Read Thomas and see.

Would an addax in Denmark gyrate
if an emu in Sweden bore freight?
Or an eland in Chile complain
if jerboas in Goa refrain?
You doubt it? Read Thomas and see.

For really I thought ‘twas the onager taught
the aphid the tenor of Twi, and that
Gascony scops with Norwegians eloped
when Danes had lepers to tea.
You doubt it? Read Thomas and see.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Frozen in Mind
(The Donkeys vs. the Elephants)
—inspired by Becky Tuch, a donkey

by G. Tod Slone

It seems we’ve reached a very sad point
in this country,
purported model of democracy
—you know, free speech and vigorous debate.

Everything seems reduced to black or white
where thought remains bounded
in the box of ideology

and nothing exterior tolerated, let alone considered,
no matter how reasonable
—no discussion needed, wanted, heeded, or dared.

Evolution of Capitalism

by Joe Farley

Darwin and Wallace
created the universe.
It took longer than seven days,
and there was no time off.
The successful exterminated
the less well off,
climbing up the social scale,
buying yachts and houses
in the trendier suburbs.
The lesser creatures
had yet to evolve
unions and class action
riots and lawsuits,
but the hand of the devil
could still lift up
a pretty thing
from the muck
if it had the right qualities
to fuck or be fucked.

(a cocktail served only at 12:00 a.m.)

by Larry Ziman

sex on the beach at midnight
under a full moon while the waves crash
over your head drowning out the roar
of her orgasm ringing loudly in your mind


by Aashish Thakur

Nobody dies from hunger here,
She is an everlasting meal,
So like a hog, people eat her
So like a dog, people lick her

Nobody ever lost path here
She is a joyride, safe and controlled
So like a pirate, people loot the boat
So like a pilot, people fly the plane

Nobody looses senses here
She is a bar of different kind
Where wine cups are filled with tears
And soul has so much to bear

But like a full moon, she shines from the pain,
and that crumpled bed sheet tells- all this affair is, nobody’s gain.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Like Siberia

by Melanie Browne

he pulls the
butterfly clip from
her hair,

and watches
as it flies
out of reach

A Monarch,
she tells him
and turns
to watch as
he stares into
the reflecting pool,
not yet healed.

A shaman might
call this a moment
of transcendence,

after a soul
lost for a
thousand years
in a Psychological

shovels out
of the frost,
only to suffocate
in a swarm of mosquitos

A Young Coed's Argonaut-Inspired Springtime Fancy

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Above me grow the solemn hills of Phi.
Odd flowers bloom, weave variegated roads,
For nanny goats and butterflies to roam.

Beyond, like many stems, pillars arise,
Their pates adorned with ivory seals of state.
Below, ships shine, such tiny colored beads
Strung on a cord with earth and sky and hope.

Men make dreams; their hearts make talking trash.
But one low creature of the land holds fast.

Such minds may play like naughty Billy goats,
Spill visions of some golden, unsung lambs,
Whose fleece and tender ways suggest a smile;
Memories of a time that knew no name,
Still-folded, while yet tending blushing land.


by Larry Ziman

If the beautiful lady’s no more an enchantress
and love’s withered into a weathered toad
and the ex-enchantress hops and ignores you,
demand a divorce. It’s time to unload.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


by Anita McQueen

against the wind
aiming myself
to the bull's-eye
every muscle
stretch of skin
oiled with sweat
of horns and hoofs
and grunt of the pawing beast.

The bars are closing

by Mathew Richard Carter

and only stranded patrons
linger along with all this
precipitation, like the remnant
petals of a peony following these hours
of darkness caused by pervasive tempest.

I’ve never seen such torrential waters
forcing down its weight, its power,
an ambitious fountain cascading at
warp speed. We’re mere ants who scramble in an empty
bucket’s bottom, filling fast, faster. No choice aside from

punching forward, each direction is entirely
identical. The splash of rainfall over blurred
pavement – ah, too much, washing the scene
to black and wet. Drawn side-to-side with

sweeping charcoals. Our sodden clothing established
presence by its drape, we scamper to the car
misplaced in labyrinth-city quadrants.
Still, no regard in this most beauteous

of waterfalls – imagining these pools
below us foster fish … as profound as
ocean gullies – with depths to imbibe
the rest of this deluge.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Facing the Uncanny in the Chow Kit Market

by Anna J. Fitting

I have kept that first sensation of thinking
That I had existed a whole six years
Not having met
a grin so extensive as the cow’s skull
resting on the metal tabletop of the wet market.

the intrusive stare of the cow’s head,
now attended shoppers with his itching grin,
of teeth as sparse and left-over seeming
as the struggling patches of vegetation on
an August stricken lawn.
Neither gums nor lips remained to dull it.

He was tormented.
torn to a hanging, peeled sinuousness.

Here is what a cow can be, I thought,
that once lived fused to rough minute hairs,
crooking legs, mobile feet,
set stationary,
an accidental spectacle of blooming mottled pink,
the discard among the butcher’s spread.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Yen King

by Phil Ginsburg

One summer in the city I wanted to end it all
I was so depressed I didn't even have the energy to kill myself
The only thing that kept me alive was a new Chinese restaurant being built
Across the street from my hotel

I decided I would go opening day
It would be my last meal, much like you give a prisoner on death row
The night of his execution

I waited about three weeks for the place to be built
And then came the big day when they put out the red, white and blue flags
On a string

I got dressed in a sport jacket
I wasn't ready to eat in public so I ordered take out
Bringing back a noodle dish, fried rice and egg drop soup to my room

The plan was to eat and die
I wasn't even going to open the fortune cookie

The food was awful
Salty, greasy and the soup carton leaked
I had prolonged my useless life for three months just for this moment

I started to laugh
The first laugh in a year
And then I laughed more and more and soon I was laughing so hard I was crying
And there was fried rice and noodles all over me and I didn't care

After that I decided life was better than death
Two weeks later I moved out of the city for about three years

When I moved back I discovered the Yen King was still there
The red brick facade now the color light soy sauce

I stopped at the door and thought of peeking in and telling the owner
How his lousy food once saved my life
And how grateful I was to him and his staff

But I reasoned that these people had to deal with the strange characters
in the Cantonese language everyday

They didn't need one more coming into their restaurant.