Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Longing

by Neha Parthasarathy

How in the moments I will never tell my mother about, I danced. Shameless, against thick-skinned men who looked as lonely as I did.

The thought of making love to them was easy. The music made my body fluid and light, enough to forget this was some form of faithlessness; that these men kissed

their wives with the same lips that kissed the freckled air between us, inhaled the
sweet sweat lining of my neck. Why did they

drift? I was young, yes, but that’s hardly an excuse. They should have looked deeper, known that the song, though not recognized in Spanish would

break them anyway, make their bodies work harder to find pleasure that should never
be birthed. But why did I not stop their wandering hands?

I do not know, though I will admit, it was easier to ignore it, too high off the poisonous serenade that found its way around us, insistent and remorseless.

Booby-trapped Pigeons

by Ali Znaidi

The dictator ordered
that each carrier pigeon
had to be booby-trapped.
The dictator wanted
that each advocate
of freedom
had to be exploded.
But he forgot
that blood would irrigate
seeds of liberty,
& that pigeons would continue
to bathe in the fountain
of freedom,
while pecking little grains
given to them
by a little innocent child.


by Stephen Jarrell Williams

They paint me
I don't mind
to be
hunting me
tying me
on poles
my last words
their deeds
hanging from a tree
I rot into a flower
my roots
shaking the earth
my children
shining as stars.

galileo’s finger

by John Grochalski

the two shithead americans
touch 18th century artifacts
in the galileo museum
then laugh when they get yelled at
by one of the docents
it’s hard to imagine a time
when intelligence
and artistic license ruled the earth
stranded here in florence
and tripping over every cobblestone along the way
i try to picture leonardo walking around
with math and science on his mind
or a young michelangelo
on his way to worship at
the basilica of santa croce
but i’m inundated with american boys
strolling down the street
wearing boxer shorts showing
the david’s cock on them
chanting and laughing
and making a spectacle of themselves
in that absolute american way
so it’s hard not to think of the these giants
as more ancient myth
than actual flesh and blood
but they must be real
or else the history books be damned
and all of this architecture and sculpture be for not
i like to think of these masters
in the florence of their day
donatello watching the sunset over the arno
dante sitting in his spot and brooding
galileo tinkering with telescopes
and seeing the moon for the first time
instead of dead and cut to pieces
by the catholic church
his middle finger and one tooth
left for posterity in a glass jar
for american girls to ewwwww at
before begging their mothers
to buy them a gelato and a leather handbag
from the san lorenzo market.


by Marc Carver

I made it to my fifteenth bar of the day
or maybe more.
There were two woman at the bar
and another woman looked at me as i went in.
I sat by the two young women at the bar.
The bar had two bartenders.
One had a silly hat on and looked funny.
The other had a nasty look.
I looked  at both of them the same.
Everybody left me in the bar
even the bartenders.
So there i was all by myself.
I finished my drink and walked out.
The next day i saw both the men again
but in different places.
The one with the funny hat said hello
the other did not.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


by Quinn White

One morning before sunrise, Tom decided to move to Mexico.
Still in pajamas, he booked his flight for seven in business.

Aware that rash exits raise eyebrows,
Tom  trained his mustache to smile.

He drank four tall glasses of water. 
I’m coming back in time

for Mortimer’s graduation, Tom wrote his girlfriend
a note which he taped to the bathroom mirror.

Mortimer was Tom’s fish. Yesterday, Tom’s dad died.
The ticket cost five million dollars.

A kid, Tom found a Glen Miller CD in his dad’s car.
Ever since they’d liked big bands together.

“I hate guacamole!” Tom’s dad yelled at a church lunch.
Tom drank warm milk. Tom wrote Tom in pencil,

then erased it. Tom wrote everybody’s name in pencil,
erased everybody. He drew Alabama with shaving cream on his stomach,

razed his geography. You’ll miss the funeral, he wrote. Your dad
lives in Springville in a white house with too many birdfeeders. 

Tom ran out of erasers, but found soap wiped funeral
fine. He pulled on a pastel shirt, put in blue contact lenses.

Drove to his dad’s.
Ate a reasonable amount of drugs.
Lay in the cream shag of his dad’s den and floated.  

The Farmer's Right Hand
(For Rodney)

by Nicole Yurcaba

The farmer's contagious Monday anxiety
seeps through the John Deere tractor cab's silage-scented atmosphere
incinerating his hired hand, who, in quiet faithfulness, rides beside him.

There is never enough time.

A muscle-building, mechanically-inclining
year-and-a-half of working, learning, adapting beside him--
shoveling feedlot feed bunks, tall-stacking square bales in hay barns,
stretching and tacking barbed wire across and into locust posts--
has implicitly taught her
that when he wants a task done,
the farmer will either bear the task's cross himself
or hand her an unlined three-by-five--
scrawled with black ballpoint;
pulled gentlemanly from his left shirt pocket--
dictating her mucked, mired, muddied,
manure-splattered fate.

Tijuana Brothel

by Devlin De La Chapa

The flow of warm Tequila
grazes my tonsils, and my face sours,
the sticky heat smoldering off my tainted skin
and the brothel flies buzzing around my semi-exposed breasts
don’t tempt my conversation with the local Juan
sitting across the table from me, but I give in to temptation;
but as subtle, and as unnerving as his proposition is,
I am bounded to this tragically beautiful place
of Tijuana young beauties and self-solicited American girls;
they visit me in vast numbers these local lifers and foreign travelers,
I welcome them with a smile and a hefty peso and a shot of Tequila,
I open my doors, and openly seduce them to inhibit my body
without reason, without consequence, without mercy, just for my pleasure,
handsome men, rugged men, foul men, lanky men, scrawny men
have left a piece of their salty debauchery essence within my defiled temple;
before my revolution, my boyfriend and I spent hours at a nearby motel
lost on Mexican moonshine and lost in the cold hard vacants of our sex
then spent the next few days fighting the local Federales for money;
he once lived in squalor pissing around in drugged-out pissholes
abandoning me to my own devices; this black-haired-green-eye-girl
became the inclination of man’s greatest sexual principal outlet;
years will have past but I remain an image of a slave-driven impromptu
hoarding the foul of my own stench as I become more unAmericanized each day;
the dread remains of my boyfriend continue to wander these filthy tourist attraction streets
in search of something befalling to us all just to take home and gossip stories about;
the sun is starting to set in the far off west, my ears listen to the sound of business
clamor down in the smoky bar, brothel girls giggling, men laughing, corridos playing,
I hear the unzipping of worn down Wranglers, the unbuttoning snaps on a day old shirt,
and ostrich boots slovenly, nervously walking across the dusky room where I patiently wait 

Names in My Phone

by Jordan Jamison















Thursday, July 26, 2012


by Quinn White

I paint my face like a duck and you
you paint your face like a mouse and you
you paint your face like a dog.
Don't forget drop cloths.
Keep an eye on the trash. At all costs avoid
Penny's beach trinkets: the wooden sailor, the Ziploc
of ocean water, a dried seahorse, a snow globe.
You brought the beer?
Right, a duck would bring brandy. Hold on,
she's got my snifters stuffed with newspaper.
Faces on. Episodes queued.
Nobody take a picture.
Well, somebody has to take a picture.
Why can't we be duck, mouse, dog
and not tell?  Do your Donald.
            Who's got the sweetest disposition?
            One guess, that's who!
I stand, wag my white ass feathers.
            Who never, never starts an argument?
            Who never shows a bit of temperament?

Penny needs to put in air purifiers or something. I'm winded.
            Who's never wrong, but always right?
            Who'd never dream of starting a fight?        
Take over. I need my inhaler.
Mouse-face pops up, brandy in hand.
            Who gets stuck with all the bad luck?
            No one... awawawhahaha!
You're nailing it. For a mouse, you're classic duck.
            But Donald Duck.
This is a good one. We all sit down.


by Alan Britt

Fanning the flame, teasing
each hepabreath that
chisels Roman numerals
on the mantle clock.

Each red filament overlaps
pheromones of enlightenment,
each one better than before.

Each time forcing the spring
unwinding some
lovers prefer to be let down.

While others, it seems, can never
get enough.

Not getting out

by Anthony Arnott

            fire, cut the line, huddled
in the shade and gasping

for breeze. The cage lasts
forever. Scorch down onto forgotten

souls, even their dreams – breathless –

have abandoned them
            for hearts with a future.


by Elisabeth Smith Wood

He was smitten.
No doubt about it.
The grocer and the florist watched
his newfound jaunt and agreed.
The solitary man who sometimes hummed

maybe Coltrane, maybe not,
the one who fought to smile
or mutter hello when he bought his
morning papers was now a man with purpose.

Eventually he allowed as
how he did indeed have his eye on someone.
She shimmers, he told them.
Shimmers, they wondered.
Beyond beauty of the stars, she's
brighter than the sun. If I can hold her radiance
in my arms, I’ll be a happy man.
He kept his gaze low when he smiled as he left.

He’s humble, the grocer said.
He’s a shy man, the florist insisted each time he
bought every stargazer lily in the flower shop.
As lovely as these are, the man said,
nothing compares to her exquisite grace. When I can
hold her in my arms… he said as he strolled away.

When the smitten man came no more the
florist and the grocer agreed that true love was found
until the morning papers showed the man in his kitchen
clutching a woman’s frozen head in his arms,
surrounded by blood curdled lilies.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Still Study in Yellowing

by George Korolog

A compact Pocket Handyman Manual       metric recollections
half crumbled Macy’s receipts        a Christmas halo emerging
from a white envelope        whale skinned cables pinning down
the            futile attempt of a corner page to raise itself up from
         oppression, a plumpy yellow book with a lone blackened
diagonal across the slab side of its pages, angry              I think
one Ticonderoga, tawny rubber bands    a graded trigonometry
quiz, 89%      partial credit on the proof                     on top, an
unpeeled banana with
                                sunspots, arching the warm glow of lemon
lingering in the paper eves
                                        like a haze of profound blond passion.
Not keepsakes, but a still action
waiting to be pulled          toted away      squash slipping out of
your hand during
the harvest..                            The square of incomplete stories
a testament of haphazard remnants          snubbing deportation
twelve                          by seven inches of            accumulation
not collecting through the  night    but in a longer more random
squall markers like Autumn                                 leaves spilling
out across                                                  the Pollack landscape   

i was destined for it

by J.J. Campbell

it's the nightmare of
sitting in traffic while
everyone is busy
watching fireworks

feeling helpless as
the heat wreaks havoc
on everything in its

we haven't had a
summer like this
since i was a child

my grandmother that
summer warned me
that the only hotter
place was hell and i
was destined for it

i used to laugh and
think to myself i was
one grade higher than
she ever got

must be the early
stages of dementia

later i found out that
she was closer to being
correct than i ever cared
to realize

that was damn near a
quarter century ago

some memories you
just can't smoke away


by Peter Franklin

Drawn around for what appears to the be last time
Dimming outside light as gossamer images
Flit and dance on the other side.
Wayang Kulit. The shadow puppets…
One final show before the light fades behind them.
No more shadows then.
They reach in…Taunting, Tantalizing,
Telling stories for the ages.
Romance. Tragedy. Loves lost.
Celebrations never to be erased.
They fade from view for just a moment…
I reach lucidity even in the hovering darkness.
I wonder  how I’ll be remembered…
How the final words will sound to my ever-deaf ears.
If there are enough good things to be recalled, then perhaps
I have been a kind, patient, tolerant soul.
Well, maybe not so patient.
But I will hold the door for you…
Please and thank you…
My, you look lovely today.
Then again, perhaps not.
I am impatient,
Even now waiting for the shadows to dance again.
Wayang Kulit.
I’ve been known to be judgmental.
Can tell an off-color joke at precisely the wrong moment.
Here lies an enigmatic not-so-young man…
Slightly full of himself…
Wondering aloud what the world thinks of him.
Does it matter wither my ashes go…will
Their mere presence make a difference?
Could they ever make a difference…?
Now, pull back the curtains and let’s get on with it.
Night is about to lift…
Legend has it that the dead never really die…
The soul lives forever.
Saya kembali,  dust and all.
The curtains are


by Elisabeth Smith Wood

I didn't want to want him
just because he never called me someone else's name.
I wanted to snub his squared off fingertips that
covered his winter face.
I needed those hands to feel lizard commanding and
that face should have been goombah stupid or
truculent or a little too feminine.
I needed to remember that no dignified human
would sit on his sofa no matter how the cushions were turned.

I wanted him to be damaged, diseased and resistant to
my music. He should've used pretentious words that
would make me itch to slap him.
He should've smelled of sweat and cynicism or
filthy laundry and
he needed to never reach for his wallet
or my hand.

I willed him to be a lamb, a wuss or just
some fat Buddhist with a limp ponytail and
Oh God, I really needed him to be a lousy lay so
I could move on, relieved that I'd escaped the
ridiculous mistake that he would certainly become.

I wanted him to be haggard and spent, jaded
and unforgiving. I set out to hate him or ignore him,
to run from his crumbling corpse but
I haven't gotten what I wanted at all.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Death Has Dominion
Aurora, Colorado
July 20, 2012

by Donal Mahoney

Officer Burks brings Max
the Bloodhound
into the alley
and Max immediately
strains at his leash,
He's onto the scent
of a killer.

Nose to the gravel,
Max sniffs back and forth,
slobber dripping
from his hammock lips,
his head never rising.

Burks knows Max
will corner the killer,
but not so fast.
He almost trips when
Max breaks his leash
and charges forward,

jaws agape,
incisors bare,
till a shot is heard
and Max drops,
a bullet in his head,
blood puddling
in little lakes
around him.

It is ever so:
Max was slain
by the same killer
wanted by everyone
since the beginning
of time, the killer
who waits
in alleys and caves
and other dark places
primed to harvest,
one by one,
all of us
if our time comes.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

If you were to see me on the street, lover

by Marian Veverka

Would you remember and by me a beer?
Or do you think of me as that crazy woman
Who kept demanding that  I love you,
Really love you
Singing along with all the old
Songs on the jukebox (I always played the
Love songs,) did they whisper in your ear?

Simon and Garfunkel, when they broke up
I realized that if two geniuses couldn’t make
Their music together any more, what chance
Did we have, you with all your friends,  and
Me sitting at the bar alone, drinking any kind
Of beer they had on tap.  You called yourself
Crazy, but I was the one who spent time in
Rehab – was that a turn-on for you?

“four in the morning, tapped out– yearning…”
You were the one who couldn’t sleep, kept
Me awake – I still don’t know what you were
Longing for, whatever it was I hope you found it.
 I hate to think of others you might have hurt
Through all those years.  Now, seeing you again,
The old question remains – is it you or is it me
Which of us is the one who always will be

Still crazy after all these years.

I slept through an earthquake

by Anthony Arnott

Without   second look,     breezes
past, her scent locks on me     an
instant. Entering the

cafe, coffee. On the third
time of asking, I carve ‘conspicuous’
onto the paper.           pen’s fault,

half-listening to waitresses criticise
colleagues. Waiting to pay, I display
offender’s dream, healthy

tip.  Life’s in neutral       wind clutches
dust and thrusts it    my direction.

sun shines on       her seventh
month  and     man who wants to play
Father deems himself too vital. classic

      ruined by somebody
whose fantasy       to re-write

Work No. 227, The Lights
Go On and Off
(after the light installation by Martin
Creed with a frequency of five seconds
off and five seconds on)

by Neil Ellman

Lights on
lights off
lights on
lights off
so many days
so many nights
so many
empty rooms
so full of light
then dark
so full of dark
then light
no others
in the light
so many others
in the dark
lights on
lights off
in dark
I pray
for light.

South of Where You Are

by James Babbs

I pretend you’re dead and
I’m the one who killed you
because it helps me
at night
when I want to fall asleep and
I feel my heart
how it keeps on beating
like it’s trying to escape
and in my dreams I’m rising
floating up in the air
and soaring high above the earth
before it all comes crashing down
and I don’t know
where I’m going to land
or how hard
I’m going to hit the ground
and it only takes a moment
for everything to change
I’m holding on to you
with my eyes closed
but when I open them
I’m falling
watching you wave goodbye

Friday, July 20, 2012


by Séamas Carraher

Throwing light at the darkness that
seems more bright
lit with loudness like bones cracking,
throwing light like bread at birds
and light in its love, breaking,
his head in this prison hanging
(this head with no price),
now all the night in its religion
beats bellies into my wounds.

Throwing light at the darkness
this freezing darkness, its foreign light,
its arms broken with embracing
its skin calloused with caresses
its mouth washed clean and its teeth heartbroken,
throwing light like water at fire,
and light violent at this dead field
(with its chest in medals,
all its father fat with generals)
and this field which is home
to these dogs feet
and throwing light on the deafness
and light on these heads with their tongues removed
finally, in this birth half lit with life,
throwing light at the moon
with its anger in cancers
that grow like all sisters in his net,
throwing light away, useless
in its nutrition,
creased with these crumbs and democratic in dregs.
It has all stuck like a sermon in her throat
on this dull day weathered with employment.

Here is one without a name, random, mouthless,
without measurement:
entrance for a hospital?
textbook for an engine?
suffering for these angels with their covers like sex,
another inquisition for the holy fathers
another murder for life!
additional light for the dark, with no
lament for the dead,

here is a dog's life half lit by the dark
for this one here
who is neither pat nor joe
who is as we was
and half as bright.

And here are walls extended by the thumb
and hearts hit daily by their hammer
here is a belly who grieves silently
with its light sodden and bit with parts.
Here is our hunger.
Like a fat man burning
with fuel.
Here is a sad man masked,
more naked, and
weathered with unemployment.

And here is meaning. On the hour.  Impenetrable in its factions
with its spokes steel as nerves
with its brain bursting
here are all answers with my question in chains.
And in this hole i lie down and dig
coming from beneath to where the past has no shape.
Here the morning grieves and the bottles weep.
Here the children throw their fangs at the sun
brightening the day with their torn copybooks.
Here is their bible, its economy in silence,
and the stock exchange proud,
its budget and construction in corpses.
Here, equally virus and infection
is another meaning,
like a message in a bottle
this bright spark carved into a head
and chattering with teeth
for throwing light all these long years
like coins
at. all. them. dead. eyes.

Then Mrs. President, with your life lit with lips
in the dark dressed with suits
in the secret dark and
our light hid in bottles,
in this criminal time
with the sun measured in pesetas, in drachmas,
in deutschmarks and dollars,
and its calling in mothers, in mourning,
more shopkeepers! and thieves!
in a dog's life,
in a lousy life, with a stone for my name,
and a stone for a chest,
and dead as a rock,
and my truth for a cigarette, and our sun silenced,
with no place for these legs,
and no priest to absolve me
here we stand with our war much in ruins
and this multitude, our mass, and its eyes set in stone,
and our flag still in shrouds, with its hammers blunt,

here we stand legless, and stumplike,
with our tools in the dark
foreign to ourselves, like a shadow to the light
blinded by gold, and greedy like a machine
all that money imprisoned in their paws,
all grain, wheat, and produce, in their wallets,
murdering with their automobiles
more vaults, prisons, executions,
more factories and funerals,
these bulbs blinded with commerce
these ribs cracked open by that dark lie
raising these arms here, now
heir to my labourer, reverselike,
nailed in concrete,
sinking in clay, sinking in suns, drowning in air, infreedom,
in fear.
Like my corpse surprised in explosion,
who is already dead!

And this man, this nameless man
in an hour no longer content,
this man with a knife for a liver,
with his brain in guns
and his tongue in chains,
this rising man still sleeping,
and this sorrowful man, and
this man with his face no longer a mountain
and his furniture hard with rent
and his rooms investigated
and these bones, after all their surveillance,
indicted, censored, subverted
cracking like roofs, like veins, like hope,
all ruins
raining with light on his head
and these loud men and this envious man and this greedyman
and fearful of the light
calling the night day and the darkness light.

And it is dark, no matter what they tell me
and a train travels the length of
my artery
and i am travelling without a name
in all our forgetfulness
carrying the dead ones who are
as nameless as myself
going nowhere in all our digging.

And you there listening, with your ear to the dark.

This is the dog's life
and a song for the dog's life
and a bitterness broken and the light still
and the food is still stale and all this noise
and this still mysterious dark
and these weapons
and all of this
this is where we are sinking, who are civilised,
where we are rising in all our drowning.

This is the dog's life and here without a map
this is the wound walking legless,
this is what lights our longing,
this is terror!
and this longing like life in all
this blinding
and all these stones, and all their limits,
and these
cities and in this dark with its differences
like a tourist
this must be the terrorist life and the
surgeon's life
and these feet tied in circles, their ankles, and joints
like hinges to wood
in here the day is not even day,
the dark more dialectical in knives
our sickles sharp, and sickening
and always our hunting, and beating
and the one half eats
and the other watches.

And here is a song looking for life
strong as a stone, furious like a fist,
but then these swollen bellies!
these backs bent, these chests beating,
and nailed into their boxlike muscle
and soft and engined with these sacklike lungs
and lives singly like a moth, in pairs like a child,
multiplying like a face, emptied by the wind
and all the rot seeping from this officeblock
it looks like the world
is falling
for this light feeds no one.
Who else owns hunger?

And this crowd that gathers
its feet in ropes
and these sounds that are silenced in wood
and this ache chestlike
without a nationality
but diplomat in denial, with no brother to forgive me,
and no president and no absolution,
and no State and
here strangling in the dark, the invisible dark
full of helloes, and no healing
and it is all we are
all throwing good light after the bad.
It looks like, here, the rain will never stop.

And these sacks full of children
are too hard to carry
and these objects defy me in its shape and their size,
and this tongue is not even mine
and i do not have a name for this dead friend
nor a place to bury him we can call our own
and i can walk this way no longer
in the dark.
And always for us
the dark and more of it
travelling backward in search of a name.
Then this weight must be the dead.  The decent dead.
The forgotten dead.
Dying in the darkness
for want of the light.

And so it must always be sunday
and the children sleep
and the sour drink settles
and the moon lies dead
and the clock explodes
and the walls are no less prisons
and we are here ticking, we are drifting,
fuselike and patient,
and the war goes on
and the hungry groan
and no one knows how to say it, to speak it, emptying,
and the earth shifts swallowing our seed
and i have been dead a long time now
and the wheels no longer make revolution
and them priests steal the drink from our bottle
the blood dries to dust
and the time changes but we no longer change
and the old books bleed
and all our questions dry up
and with this almost life in continual ruins
and the wounding grows
in one hand here
i am throwing this light that cannot light the dark
i am throwing it away
and here
now is the last point of the dark
where my heart stabbed itself,
thinking there could be more
after all our digging.

She is throwing the light like
the end of all life,
in its beginning, like a lover
into the cold,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

In the Air

by Elisabeth Smith Wood

The photo he chose as his
front man was a sulking virtuoso,
a guileless rabble-rouser
hidden behind a hirsute hand
spread wide enough to
smirk out from his persona.

Besotted by flaxen inflection,
he focused his affection and courted her by
blue light at thorny ends of
dark nights with the cursor casting
dares from another hemisphere.

Be careful of me, he began. I don’t know my
strength in these matters.
Grumbled bravado streamed from tethered
tap-tap-tapping to midget genius gadgets.

Don’t ask what I want to be
when I grow up, he warned. And if you’re
looking for a superhero, a sugar daddy,
a pansy or a Romeo, you’ve come to the
wrong instant message.

But I will smooth stuccoed walls
before I take you against them.
I will call you kitten when I weep in your hair
and every night I will swim 7000 nautical
miles to sleep at your side.

Over knotted webs and inter nets a flightless
bird booked flight to cross ocean after
ocean to brave her hurricane shuttered door.

Come in, come in, she said as she refused to see
his broken plastic shoes. She handed him a wine
glass and traded spindled legs to lean on.

Did you know, she asked, that flamingos mainly fly at night?
Angling closer she blushed and said, they soar hundreds
and hundreds of miles to nest from home to home.

Runnin’ Round Settlin’ Down

 by David Raffenaud

When you’re young and you start runnin’ ‘round
and you’ve got a couple bucks in your jeans
and maybe got a car or a buddy who does
so you cruise around feelin’ like a King

And you’re trying to find somebody, “Somebody to Love “
no it might not be love, just getting along
try to be nice
and if it don’t last
then we’ll just move along
and be on our way
and the world keeps turnin’ - like it always did

Then the sun goes down
and the sun comes up
and we all start another day

Then later on, you get a little older
when you start to think about it
and you’re lookin’ for “Somebody to Love”

‘Cause your head’s a little different
      and your mind’s a little different
      and your bod’s a little different
      and your pad’s a little different

And you think about settlin’ down

Tottering Time

by Sana Khalesi

All I see ahead are
fading lights
        future and yet
faraway past nights
but if you ever find me
after two thousand light-years
        or seven
remember me
        here and in Heaven
hide deep inside me
try to remind me
        of what lives behind me
ignite me
for all i see at the moment
is murk and meant
for a nostalgic torment


by Stan Galloway

A strip of bubbles underneath
the paint beneath the driver’s door
foretells a problem (that is, if I
don’t address it soon), from last year’s
winter weather. Oxidation
is the enemy of every
metal part, unnoticed, eating
at the very molecules,
bringing instability,
destroying what was made. I’ve got to
grind away the paint and what’s
beneath, down to the metal, smooth it,
treat it, paint it.
                         Now if only
fixing brokenness between us
were so easy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In the Wax Museum at Hamburg

by Yevgeny Yevtushenko (born July 18, 1933)

Full of blocky majesty,
arrogant, dock-tailed,
German princes glower
at the Russian communist.
All the presidents, chancellors
in their different kinds of gut-
meanness look darkly out
each his own kind,
his caste, and all their crooked
vulgarity is in that.
These are the wounders
of life. They warped it,
suffocated it, and so
they're immortalized here- or, no,
they're waxed.
In the midst of these grown fat
these greasy fools, and emaciated, malicious monsters
how did you fall,
Schiller? How about you,
Mozart? in luminous meadows;
Should have come down among deep-woods flowers.
But you're here- my old buddies,
the whole damned lot. The enemies' looks are trying
To kill me, but it's not so bad,
This not being liked
by Bismarck, and surely not
By Hitler. I keep looking, and gradually I see,
Among them like fatal ghosts,
the shaped, candle-stick figures
Of enemies still living. Yes. Still living.
There's one premier,
There's another one, and he's
No shining example and he's not either.
But maybe they are examples: yes,
but of the mean, the cruel, the phony...
I'd like to get them here themselves,
Into the wax museum by the scruff of the neck,
By the seat of the britches! It'd be great
To arrange 'em according to their crimes-
And let 'em be buried in wax as ugly as they are!
I tell you, the wax museum is wild
For more bums and bastards!
Me, I'm sick and tired of 'em! Sons-of-bitches
Have been lying to us too damned long!
It's time to drown 'em alive-
Right! In wax!
Let wax plaster their mouths
Shut, let it stop their hands
where they are
and let them stand
Still, still very still
And dead like good little children very still, very
Right here and now I'm coming out with my program
For revolution! I call on
EVERYONE! Drag 'em from their platform,
And while you're doing it, laugh and whistle
As loud as you can! Go get 'em,
People! Let's have a little more
Pure rage!
It's time to pull down all this trash
From their easy chairs
like pulling nails and being crazy
About pulling nails!
It's time, under hot bright lights,
To drag down out of their balconies
This collection of stupid faces
Like carp from scummy green pools.
It's time, it's really time at last
To get rid of junk like this! Into the wax museum
Of liars with these priests of a lousy temple!
People! SAY IT! Don't clam up!
Into the wax museum
With all heads of state
Who're headless!
And if somebody lies, even
if he does it in a new way, then
Stuff his gullet with wax!
Into the wax museum!
There's still a lot of bullshit around,
And plenty of liars... Hey,
BEES! Get off your ass!
Wax, little brothers! We need it!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Explosion in the afternoon

by Marian Veverka

Our old man can explode with anger
Over the smallest dumb thing
Like a gallon of milk left sitting on
The table
The fridge door not closed all the way
Someone’s shoes sitting empty in
The middle of the living room
And the TV still on

He’d use real cuss words
So loud the neighbors could hear
And scream back for him to shut
The ----- up
And our baby sister woke up crying
And mom yelling because we woke
The baby

I’d take off running through the back yard
Down by the old bridge where the train
Tracks crossed the swamp
And imagine myself a hobo swinging aboard
A slow train to China
Or any place far enough away
Where all you’d hear was the chatter
Of crickets in the tall grass

The ghost of a whistle from the days
The trains still ran.
There weren’t so many babies
And Mom and Dad would shut
The doors and be as quiet as the night.

Homeland is a distant dream

by Aashish Thakur

There is no one, other than you
Who think of you,
There are no memories, other than
Your own mirror image,
This loneliness is born out of infidelity
I found empty envelopes in my letter box
And you can find words running through my nerves
Now I can fill up the sky with verses
But beloved soil,
I have lost your address.

The Door of Life

by Bobbie Troy

I stood in front of an abyss
with fragility on my left
uncertainty on my right
and a fall into blackness
in front of me
not wanting to choose
any of them
I turned around
to go back to my former life
but found that the door
through which I came
was closed

Melting Men
(after Nele Azavedo’s ice sculptures of
seated figures, with a nod to T.S. Eliot)

by Neil Ellman

We are the men of ice.
Our heads are stuffed with permafrost
We have neither eyes to see
nor mouths to speak
Our souls are carved
from glacial floes
Like the angel of death      
we have no clothes, alas!

Remember us, remember us
not as a puddle full of rime
but as we were
and could have stayed
but for our moment in the sun

Between our solid state
and liquid form
Between our frigid toes
and feverish dreams
falls the cold reality
of time—
August is the cruelest month!

This is the way we melt away
This is the way we melt away
This is the way we melt away
not as a drip but a splatter

She Was the One

by James Babbs

she’s been calling me
for the past several days
but I refuse to answer
I just don’t feel like
talking to her
right now
she was the one who said
she wanted to see other people and
I told her go ahead
just leave me out of it
before I walked out the front door and
got into my car
driving to a nearby liquor store
then I went home
she’s started calling me
she probably wants to tell me
she’s really sorry and
she wants to see me again
I don’t know
she never leaves any messages
she just lets it ring and
then she hangs up the phone
I’m sure
I’ll talk to her again
some night when I’m feeling lonely
when it’s cold outside and
I’ve had too much to drink


by Mike Berger

I've had this problem forever and a day, a phobic fear of needles. Seeing one I lapse immediately into unconsciousness. It started when I was very young, when they took me for my vaccinations. At the sight of the needle I passed out. The nurse was pleased because they didn't have to hold me down. It took some time for me to come around. My next experience was in the Army when we went to the infirmary they try to give me my shots. On seeing the needles I was in Lala land.

After stepping on a nail, the sight of the rusty thing made me pass out but only after I had puked. The nurse in the doctor's office was all business. I try to explain my phobia, but she would have none of it. She told me to buck it up; as she prepared the tetanus shot, I saw the needle and woke up lying on the floor.

While remodeling my basement, I cut my finger with a handsaw and the cut became infected. A red streak started up my arm. The doctor was alarmed; he was afraid of endocarditis. He prescribed a massive dose dose of of an antibiotic on steroids. I sat in the examining room rehearsing what I would say to the nurse. I would ask her if I could take the antibiotic by mouth. A cute little redheaded nurse came waltzing into the room. She had a vial of the antibiotic and a needle in a sterile package. Just seeing the package sent a wave of nausea washing over me. I tried to ask about taking the antibiotic orally, but panic hits set in and I couldn't speak.

The nurse said she read in the chart that I was afraid of needles. I nodded my head vigorously. She turned her back so I couldn't see her fill the needle. While she was working, she explained to me that I would never know I was taking a shot. I told her to dream on. Whirling around she grabbed my hand and put it on her boob. My mouth flew open and I gawked at her in total disbelief. I jerked my hand away and asked her when she was going to give me my shot. I told her that I had best laid down so I didn't hurt myself in the fall. She laughed at me and told me that she had already done the dirty deed.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Persepolis Is

by Stan Galloway

Persepolis is
Memories and ghosts
dancing through illusive gates
vie like lions for substance
outside storybooks and annals
outside chants in awkward tongues
outside tourist propaganda
surviving inside the body
pulsing in cells
that almost remember
Indo-European syllables
in the bongo of the blood.

A marble remnant of id
drums in capillary walls
inarticulate as bulls
beneath the anvil and stirrup
beneath aspiration
beneath recognition
in teak and cedar
in limestone dust
in every dreamed face.

Not so distant
in space or time
is Persian blood
empire of bone.

Kites Woven in Yarn

by Pamela Sayers

While I sleep, my
fingers trace ocean
maps, aerial

on papier-mâché,
where tulips thrive
an alabaster winter

I disperse delicate
petals, exposing
colour’s spread,

filching the smooth
surfaces as I count

In mornight I see
her in an embroidered
rocking chair;

she hums, content,
busyness in her hands;
knit one, purl two

weaving rainbows,
hands of springtime,
a hint of clicks (echoing),

perfection’s bending
angle; rose polished
nails, she continues

her bones stitched
within my hands

Sometimes, during
the evening, there’s
vagueness; redolent,

it represents soliloquy —
broken drafts, messages
swept into ether

as dusty moments
eclipse doors ‘neath
sunset’s symmetry

Placing a pen in hand,
my wrist curves toward
these fingers, drawing
salt from my skin

Solitary Spheres

by Sana Khalesi

near and far
for and against
carry on
in such solitary spheres
widely apart
in the long-legged lullabied skies

to be retrieved through his beady eyes
too varied and too wearied
the god
perches in a cluster of red and mud

near and far
to us
seems harmonic enough
the sound and the fury
of a wakeless more-walk-less-talk guitar

She Took Away My Guns

by Kevin Ridgeway

cap guns a-popping
in the backyard
robots that transformed
into rifles
shooting plastic balls

that was my arsenal

one day I looked
at her
dead in the eye
and said

“That’s it for me!”

and shot off a cap
toward my temple

the grain of fuzz
in the 1980s camcorder
video is distorted
as the camera was
switched off

gone were the guns,
the water pistols,
and anything
else that exploded

there was no where
to turn--I had surrendered
to her and the end of
my wild childhood

I had only
the television
left with its
drunken hiss
that sung
its lullabies
to me at night

with a mighty bang

Saturday, July 14, 2012

La Marseillaise

by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle

Arise children of the fatherland
The day of glory has arrived
Against us tyranny's
Bloody standard is raised
Listen to the sound in the fields
The howling of these fearsome soldiers
They are coming into our midst
To cut the throats of your sons and consorts

To arms citizens Form your battalions
March, march
Let impure blood
Water our furrows

What do they want this horde of slaves
Of traitors and conspiratorial kings?
For whom these vile chains
These long-prepared irons?
Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
What methods must be taken?
It is us they dare plan
To return to the old slavery!
What! These foreign cohorts!
They would make laws in our courts!
What! These mercenary phalanxes
Would cut down our warrior sons
Good Lord! By chained hands
Our brow would yield under the yoke
The vile despots would have themselves be
The masters of destiny

Tremble, tyrants and traitors
The shame of all good men
Tremble! Your parricidal schemes
Will receive their just reward
Against you we are all soldiers
If they fall, our young heros
France will bear new ones
Ready to join the fight against you

Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors
Bear or hold back your blows
Spare these sad victims
That they regret taking up arms against us
But not these bloody despots
These accomplices of Bouillé
All these tigers who pitilessly
Ripped out their mothers' wombs

We too shall enlist
When our elders' time has come
To add to the list of deeds
Inscribed upon their tombs
We are much less jealous of surviving them
Than of sharing their coffins
We shall have the sublime pride
Of avenging or joining them

Drive on sacred patriotism
Support our avenging arms
Liberty, cherished liberty
Join the struggle with your defenders
Under our flags, let victory
Hurry to your manly tone
So that in death your enemies
See your triumph and our glory!

Again the Beguine

by Perry L. Powell

The rich grow fat on special pleading.
The poor in their gutters beg and cry foul.
The greater community sprawls bleeding
and even Rousseau breaks his social vow.

Wall Street, they say, is just our other street,
though Main Street is where we think we live.
Still those with much suck hardest at the teat
while those with very least are asked to give.

It's one thing and then it is another
when greed is all we really think to value.
We're all on board when upper decks smother,
but do you care when it's the poor we screw?

Does howling crisis always make the king?
Or the king himself construct the crisis?
Again the same players start the same beguine
and again those ancient snakes start to hiss.

Tell your frightened children not to worry--
Madame Defarge remembers how to knit.
Only the fortunate need leave in a hurry
and none are that fortunate, don't we know it?


by Michael H. Brownstein

The world never stops filling itself with itself
and we can never stop dipping our senses into its well,
a wish for rain slips through the congregation,
a Mongolian chant, the sudden hum of the bowl of the monks,
things break and things get broken.

—Fifteen questions for the Socratic notion

conveyor belt madness?
a sampling of turbulence?
people of the pandemic,
blood work and the end of days?
the list of the ancient sequoia?
a tomahawk road? sage advice?
smoke and a pinch of anger?
bankrupt cities of sex?
values in sound? timbres in light?
an erosion of teeth? organic man?
a shake-down of hands?
the dark stain of cloud and
a thin stream heavy with water
the lost trial of  the ruins?


by Alan Britt

From the caves of Lascaux
to a Lantana Beach, Florida-room,
fat flies cling to salty gingham curtains.

Opaque claws from a feral priest
or the governor of a slave state
overseeing plantations, herding cotton angels
with lightning breasts of 13, 14 or 15 years.

The chimneys of southern mansions
coughing pestilence, helicopter insects
migrating corner to corporate corner
according to the magic pipe.

Discipline……..rape of culture,
homogenization of one solitary human
to another.

Evolution as it stands today
gives me a fucking headache.

Tomorrow, dementia, that arcane disease,
sometimes known as monetary transfiguration
(from the 70 ruling families to you and me)
but otherwise known as he who has possession
of the bomb.

Follow the bomb,
& you’ll find the money.

On attend tous (We're All Waiting)

by Catfish McDaris

Je fais face à la mort chaque jour
généralement avec le sourire

Courir avec des loups sortis d’un
rêve sanglant et qui peuvent
hurler plus fort encor que le vent

Je suis le Tibet
Je suis un chamane Kachina
Je suis l’amour et la peur et la faim

Une fraction de temps
les cris d’un bébé
les larmes d’un vieil homme

Plonge ton regard
dans mes yeux clairvoyants
et vois des horizons qui à jamais
à jamais attendent

I face death daily,
mostly with a smile

Running with bloody
dream wolves, that can
out howl the wind

I am Tibet
I am a Kachina shaman
I am love & fear & hunger

A blink of time
a baby's cry
an old man's tears

Gaze into my clairvoyant
eyes & see horizons forever
forever waiting.

Summer Days

by Ali Znaidi

the scorching gusts of the sirocco wind are
building a big fire, a hell to bodies.
Beads of sweat on bodies blink as
they come and evaporate
Salty aroma fills in the air
similar to the smell of a grilled lamb
flavoured with salt
the air is thicker than thickness
folding bodies in quilts made up of
lava w/ many shades of red
the heat of summer is a thought occurring
      within the head of a heated grilled body
      that is rife with lack of freshness
summer days must have doors
clandestinely connected to hell/
sore signs on bodies/ Just forget about them
summer days will relish in the grilled flesh
& more aroma of salt will fill in the air

Brother Again

by Manasvini Krishna

ometimes, ghosts are more real than people. I cannot write my perfect, beautiful, perfect brother out of my system. His laughter sounds in Mama's daydreams, laced with dancing froth. For half a second, she wishes it were I--the fat, dark, nerd cradling his social anxiety--who was dead in his place. The thought creeps slyly out of her eyes, and then she blinks it away and we both smile at each other.

Blood is thicker than water. I need to bleed, to prick myself and see red bubbles and feel his presence in me. I want the bastard gone. I need to be exorcised.

Red Sky

by P.A. Levy

The revolution was to be televised live;
kick off this afternoon.  Sky had bought the rights.
We sat all comfy relaxing on the sofa
scoffing the biscuits Garibaldi baked.
Turned on, tuned in,
Molotov mixed the drinks; done the shaky thing.
Trotsky fetched the ice.

But we had forgot to turn the clocks back
in time for October’s winter constitution.
There was a Marx Brothers film still showing
and Karl, with the bushy beard,  he was singing
about the proletariat, telling jokes about
the sanity clause in social contracts.
We lapped it up like duck soup;
laughed so much went opiate dizzy,
except Mao Tse–Tung who kept going on and on
about this little red book, so we sent him out
for a long walk to get chow mien and a chop suey.

A quick word from the Lenin Vodka sponsors
and it all began.  General Ludd had the plans
and the spanners, whilst Captain Swing leapt into action
with the Tolpuddle posse.  But things didn’t quite go
as anticipated when some street-fighting man,
having drunk a little too much lager, spewed-up
on Airstrip One and it all got very messy.

Power cut - the are lights out.
Burston kids providing chaos like St Trinians
miners or minors striking for their rights again.
Then came the riot police on the pitch,
they think it’s all over.
It is now.
The pubs are open.

Still, we thought it rather cute, that in England
Trade Unionist took coloured banners for a little stroll,
whilst in France, heads would roll.

Published originally 2009 in No Teeth

useless old romantic

by J.J. Campbell

peeking through
the cracks in my

the scary world
outside that

too often i've
been trampled
out there before
i could scurry
back behind
these walls

but the useless
old romantic
insists on
staying the

though after
this latest
beating he
may be
willing to
the definition
of insanity

Shipping Thirty Pieces

by Daniel Wilcox

Many ‘amor’ or less youth sold One
For counterfeit coins of whim,                          
Pigged out sluicing the trough on
Fool’s ‘mental,’ tin-canned
Eye-nailing gyrated skin;
Along with prodigal’d millions
Bowed by the thin luster of delusioned media;
(Easy cash, easy go—so easy),
Posed broads-cast out from the Trojan net,
Yes, sleazy mindless you’s
Knock, knock, knocking their prodded gaze
Up tawdry lasses of loss
Who’s there?
Aborted relations,
In the ‘guilted-less’ age,
Or hug-noosing themselves with guilt--
A modern secular ‘whoreship.’

Teenage Angst

by Chris Butler

You’re never too old
for teenage angst.

throw temper tantrums
over nothing,

and thirty is
when it’s time to
settle down.

Forty is the new thirty
but fifty is still
half of a century,

and too late for
midlife crises.

But when you have to
breathe with machines
and eat through tubes,

you will still want
to scream.


by A.V. Koshy

You can set a car on fire.
You can storm a university.
You can storm a woman's heart and
set the jewel between her thighs on
But the layered sediment of history -
the aristocracy and the serfs -
survives in subtle ways
escaping this desire of yours
to be an arsonist
set fire to poems and words
break the glass casements of government windows
occupy city squares and cancer cells
drive something or some evil out
while being free
carnivalesque, Rabelaisian, Bakhtinian
at least once in your life
as if it all costs - the broken things - nothing
except everything
and as if Marx was right
for at least
in his and your waning,crummy

Who's Kidding Who?

by Patrick Walsh

the revolution's over
like a dog whimpering
for sex
in the hot afternoon

the hardware shop we've worked
in like dogsoldiers for ten years
says now
you can come you can go

but biometrics is the future
so put your hand on the machine
be stamped
like any criminal in time

I would love to tell them get stuffed
do neo-nazi out but  need the bread
like drugs
and the revolution's over full stop

comma comma
anger needs colonoscopy

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chimney Swifts Migrate

by Mary Delle LeBeau

the full moon rises on
the exaltation of birds in the dusk
of downtown LA
squatting on the parking lot roof
one urine smell stairwell from my car
I watch them begin their descent
spiraling in the air
falling ten birds at a time into a
fifteen story chimney
falling past cooper’s hawk and raven
come to pick
from the flock of thousands
they are flying between Scylla and Charybdis
like Odysseus’s sailors
a siren sounds
but their ears are stopped
they are creating the universe
from a crumpled galaxy
meeting death as simply as a star

Maybe There’s a Poem Hidden Inside This Bottle

by James Babbs

its been a long time
since I drank a bottle of wine
but I just opened one up
and took my first sip
this cheap red wine
the only kind I buy and
I think it’s pretty good stuff
the glass sitting next to me
when I’m writing this down
and I feel like it’s lonely here
practicing my dying art
trying to get drunk and
maybe there’s a poem
hidden inside this bottle
something dark and strange
ravaged with crazy laughter
maybe it’s the memory
left behind by a beautiful woman
and I keep trying to find her again
I keep filling up my glass
all the time my head spinning
until the bottle’s empty and
I have nothing left to say

Third Wheel

by Chris Butler

The third wheel
tries to get in the middle
of bisexual bicycles,
creating a love triangle
of cyclical predicaments
riding on tricycles.


by De Jackson

perhaps it is
her penchant for either
spinning opposite the Earth
or standing completely
maybe her axis
(more tilted than most)
is simply no longer at center
or perhaps her
is cooling.
all she knows is
the mournful moon pulls
at her more than ever
at least two-thirds of her
has spilled into that ocean place
where sorrow meets sea.

Winter fest

by David Appelbaum

I want to say dark
where paint peels
a silent drum
to stem the greed

dark isn’t evened
dwelling bound
to fire kindled
in habit cloth

dark whose sense
jangles loose
in a deep pocket
apron of care

dark open pith
curls paper about
the carnal crown—
a dead thing

Twenty Camels

by Brenda Anderson
Another consultation, another impasse. Dr Diroc finished recording his patient’s skyrocketing weight, and tapped an order for twenty, armed, star-voyaging camels. Under ‘armed’ he clicked ‘Kalashnikov.’ He, Diroc, would meet Fred Van Damm’s real needs.

Twenty camels materialized outside the window.

Fred gasped and hauled his three hundred pound body up from the chair. “Camels? But, it’s the 100th floor!”
“You didn’t climb any of them, did you?” Diroc’s tone was mild. “Not even the simple step routines I recommended?”
Fred looked away. Diroc pointed to a carpet in the centre of the room.

“Do I have to?”

“I offer you choices, Mr Van Damm. Are you refusing? If it helps, close your eyes.”
 Diroc joined Fred on the carpet and snapped his fingers. The carpet rose in the air.

“Go.” Diroc pointed to the window. The carpet rippled as it slipped through the glass. With a flourish it deposited them on the first camel in the line of twenty marking time outside the window. White-faced, Fred clutched the saddle, and moaned.
“Relax.” Diroc patted the camel’s flank. “Deep space, oh noble one.” The camels ambled forward then picked up pace.
Fred opened his eyes. “Where are we?”
“No place at all, Mr Van Damm, which is your choice, not mine.”
Around them, the blue of Earth’s atmosphere faded to the deep black of space. Stars and constellations whipped past.

Fred slumped against the camel’s neck.

“A doctor presents options, and facts. Give me one fact about the camel’s hump,” said Diroc.

“Uh, it stores water?”

“No. Fat.”

Fred glared at him. “That’s not fair! You can’t lay that on me!”

“Really?” The next was a shot in the dark. “I must ask you about the woman in your life.”

“My wife?” said Fred, with suspicion. “What about her?”

“Not your wife. We both know your divorce has come through. No, I mean the woman you dream about, the woman you’d do anything for. Sometimes you even dream of winning her.”

Fred swore. “No-one knows that. No-one!”

“You’re angry with me? So shoot me.” Diroc pointed to the Kalashnikov. “Go on. Pull the trigger. I’ll never pester you again. But if you take charge of your life, you might win her.”

Fred glared at him. “I don’t know how to use a gun and anyway, I-I wouldn’t. I’m a pacifist. Leave me alone!”

“As you wish.” Diroc withdrew, leaving Fred alone on the camel.

With obvious misgivings Fred took the camel’s leash and leaned forward. “Listen, you,” he said in a whisper. “Take me home. I’ll try harder, I swear. Okay, maybe I’ll try. Go on, shoo.”

Encouraged, Diroc whispered “home.”

Both men reappeared on the carpet in the consulting room. Fred trembled, balled his fists and complained:  the saddle hurt, he lacked motivation, everyone hated him, and so on for several minutes. Diroc nodded, opened the door for him and pointed to the stairs. His patient staggered across the corridor and turned left towards the elevators. The doctor watched him go and sighed. Another soft-option choice. Always the elevators, never the stairs. Diroc picked up his bag. Time to go home.

As he walked down the street, he heard a familiar tune. A few words drifted towards him:

“… and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”

Diroc kept walking. Perhaps, at their next consultation, he could pitch that to Fred Van Damm. He sighed again. Stairway to heaven? Fred would only take an elevator.  If only  the elevator could double as a diet. Suddenly it hit him: elevator music. Ready-made, pick-me-up, repackaged pap, Fred’s diet of choice. Diroc punched the air. Twenty camels had failed to speak to Fred Van Damm’s soul, very well: music would entice him to arrive at the agreed target, minus all his objections and 2/3rds of his body weight. Diroc rushed home and danced up the steps of his house.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


by Sana Khalesi

beneath the spell of your hazel eyes breathing
when right-or-left choices of
death or dying
a glare
a caution
with a respite on the cushion of your lips
or when
the innocence of your heart
my only belonging
and departs
with a 4-foot hole
in my still stale moth-eaten soul

oh trail me
regale me
seek this sick-me
with your equilateral longing legs
seek your poison snogs
on my lost-in-smoke-and-ashes lungs
and turn this crude cremation
into Louisiana Iris
all the bridges
from Shiraz to Paris
memories, reveries, treacheries
all gracious photos
and post-hardcore songs of EMERY

while nodding your hideous head
while sipping your afternoon coffee,
while listening to your only insanity-plea
peering to your vicious voice, uttering:
"oh oui oui!"
there's no ME,
and you are propelling
another mistress, Dionysus
with curly creamy short-cut hair
lost in her castle-in-the-air
peeling avocado pear
with your tender solicitous care

and I –
now dust –
beneath your steps
and missteps
giving an ear to Joan Baez's "Diamonds & Rust":
"...smiling out the window of the crummy hotel over washington square"
I dare
I dare you
pretermit me
by giving your fictitious look
a more factual gloss
in my loss!

Little Salsas
Friday 1:45 pm June 15th, 2012

by Pamela Sayers

Neurons crossfire, tracing constellations
into this room

Their son, nine years old,
at school, sings John Lennon,
draws a picture of a beach where
people carry roses toward the shoreline,
an offering to the deceased; listening
to his explanation, we smile …

Late afternoon

Summer’s here —
the blazing sun stitches the threads
of my blouse into my chest, unpleasant

Like the refrain of skipping a stylus
on ebony, I wait for its end, retrieving
cracked ice from my glass …

Saturday’s reprieve

A blend of aquamarine crushed shells
strike opaque, a cataract on an azure sky

Strings of blossoms honeyed on rice paper,
tempered lemon water’s current runs

unlatching gingerlily’s aroma in drafts
through open windows; spare droplets
meet morning lawns          

the finish line

by Mike Lafontaine

I hope the finish line
is a long way off
I have a lot
I want to do yet

I never married
I never had kids
I never had a big house
I never tended to bees

I’ve been in love
in Toronto, Sydney
and Virginia

time will tell
if I ever make it

I hope the finish line
is a long way off
so I can sit with
my wife and children
in our house
looking at my hives

and perhaps then
it will make me feel
so good
I wont feel so sad
all the time.

Italian Songs

by E.K. Smith

The sound bellowed through me so fast it made my head feel empty. Months later it was still reverberating in my skull. When I woke up, I felt warm iron and salt in my mouth and a few unfamiliar pebbles lodged in my tongue, which turned out to be shards of my front teeth. My body was like a bag of concrete mix, numb and pulverized. There was no sense of time or place, but somehow it seemed right to be lying in a massive pile of debris, inflating my lungs with swirls of smoke and burnt rubber fumes. I was thinking about how Grandma Gianna used to walk around from table to table at family weddings, tenderly kissing people she did not know and garbling up ancient Italian songs. She was not a modest woman… dear Grandma Gianna. She wanted me to become the president of something, a company perhaps. I appreciated how profoundly I had disappointed her, which is why I kept my eyes on my freckled hands throughout her funeral. On her deathbed, she spent days playing with her rosary, pretending it was an expensive pearl necklace, and told me how excited she was that she’d sent her RSVP to Heaven so long ago. I thought she might have been trying to make a joke, but I couldn’t tell.

At some point, I got tired of watching the pandemonium surrounding me and decided I should sit up. Nothing happened. I started to worry that I’d stained my favorite skirt. Before I could make a second attempt, a man came rushing toward me. He looked so dramatic running through all the flaming dust. It was like a movie, except in a movie he would have been much younger and more attractive. As it was, he had shaggy grey hair, a long beard, and bags under his eyes, arranged in the normal order of those features. His baby blue button-up shirt had smudges and tears in it.

“Are you St. Peter?” I yelled. Amazingly, my voice cut through the clamor, but I was puzzled at the warped enunciation of my words.

“What?? Samantha, are you okay?” He didn’t pause for me to answer. “Christ, Sammie, you’re bleeding all over the place.” He knew my name but I didn’t recognize him. He thrust one hand under my neck and one under my gelatinous thighs and tried to pick me up. I must have been too much for him because he fell backwards onto his ass. Instead of attempting it again, he lifted me off of him and placed me gently back on the ground. “Sammie, I’m going to go get the paramedics to come over here, okay? You just wait here.” And with that, he disappeared.

I never saw St. Peter again. The paramedics came, and eventually, there were stitches and veneers and physical therapists. Incidents like these take something unspoken away from you that you will never be able to regain. Yet somewhere in that moment when he came to me, I understood why Grandma Gianna used to sing those songs. A coworker later told me they knew someone who matched St. Peter’s description. She said he sounded like he could have been Rodney from accounting.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Death’s Wooly Scythe

by Mary Delle LeBeau

she just fell on the floor
going out the door to Sam’s
took the picture frame with her
trying to right herself
I can’t feel my right side she said to
my father the doctor who knew
and didn’t know
about death
she was laid in splendor of
the columned house of formaldehyde
on the eternal rest pillow of blue satin
face and hair made up
a doll that has been glued and taped
back together
she will rot before her 20 gauge steel
shroud of six sides the Heavenly Blue casket that
helps us feel death misses me


by David Appelbaum

and do you, Demeter
she’s about to walk
naked in the north wind
enrobed in might
surely Celestine
to underworld eyes

what will you bring
an eye to spy
with nectar and laurel
while they to Hypnos

now leaves wither
to hide your ash
and soon your howl
with the jackals

night bees swarm
unaware of menace

Getting There

by De Jackson

I am still listening to the rumble of
rubber on asphalt even as the salt

seeps into my skin. We’re still swallow
-ing bright yellow lines and vague road

signs as mile after mile after mile pulls
us farther and farther from home. The

radio sings through the static and though
it’s a long haul and the pace car is long

gone there’s plenty of daylight left and
we’ll keep going. But just between me

and you, that fork in the road back
there was the knife that sliced us in two.

More Than Words

by Rebecca Gaffron

We connected
more than words
loved, like an earthquake
sudden and shocking
rattling the little bits of nice
scattered on my windowsills,
rocking my entire structure.
I lived lifetimes
in moments of unknowing,
anticipating how landscapes
might shift,
into something new,
before it was over
and he was gone
leaving nothing as proof,
just a few books
shaken off shelves,
but no real hint or clue
to affirm the depth of our affection.
Unless you count
in my concrete,
tiny lines spider-webbing
in elaborate patterns,
whispering his name.
And sometimes a tear
squeezes through my stone
like a weeping saint,
shimmering evidence that we
once wrapped in each other,
like an earthquake with nothing broken
or love more than words.

my misery laughs

by J.J. Campbell

cinnamon dreams
caught up in a
web of lies

is it love
or simply

is it meant to be
or a way to not
take a chance

these high wires
have been cut

why not now

why not you

this silly notion
that happiness
is something
everyone gets
to cherish

my misery laughs
in your beautiful

a thunderstorm
roars in the

old bones have
seen this scene
one too many

may the gypsy
never leave
your soul

Weeping Willow
for Ali

by Chris Butler

Please don’t cry
weeping willow.

The sun will come out
to dry tomorrow.

Drinking rivers won’t
drown your sorrow.

Underground, your callow
roots will mop up
all of the overflow.

So please don’t worry
Weeping willow,
I will keep your
wood afloat.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Three Limericks for a Friday Night

by Janet Rice Carnahan


Two camels sat down for tea,
Giving up Arabic coffee,
Dropping the silver tray,
Cream spilled away,
Sugar not two lumps but three!


Three camels came into a saloon,
Drinking heavily long before noon,
Leaving to get dry,
Ending up too high,
Falling into a hot air balloon!


Four camels sat down for a beer,
Seeking a good joke to hear,
After too much drink,
No time to think,
Seduced by one flirty deer!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Vacuum Room
(after the Installation of video in
architectural galleries by
Arnout Mik)

by  Neil Ellman

Where we live
in an empty room
of lights and shapes
projected on a screen

where we
can barely breathe
the images
of light
hold our arms
our eyes
in pixel space

where we span
another’s life
perhaps our own
in a vacuum room
where nothing
else is real.

Going Postal

by Bryan Murphy

Was it that John Lee Hooker concert?
Guitar busting drums. I bragged
how close I’d been to the speaker,
inviting it all in.

        I stare at mouths like a dentist,
        though it’s the lips I’m after,
        leaning in at them then twitching
        to favour the right ear: trying to get
        on someone’s good side now purely physical.

Or the volleys of semi-automatic weapons
from the balconies below,
celebrating another year of life
in war-desecrated Angola?

        “Being dead has its advantages”,
        my line as The Ghost. Being deaf?
        Not promising for a would-be actor
        vulnerable to pavement cyclists, anything behind.

Or the unrelenting barrage of meaning-light words
from governments, churches, companies bloated
with Humpty Dumpty’s linguistic awareness
forced into the cavity
at every zap, dial or click?

        Though teacher-trained to listen carefully,
        misunderstandings multiply,
        yet even the undeaf
        ask constantly for repeats.

Or the inevitable undermining of ear-brain connections,
biased toward the left, but now muted,
getting no better no worse, nor debilitating enough
to enslave me to electronic enhancement?

       Denied the comfort of silence
       by a supermarket soundtrack of tinnitis,
       I burrow into my own world, to seek
       new ways to learn my lover’s language.

Day-old Cakes

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Specific populations neveraccept day-old cakes, half price tickets, pugs,
Preferring, instead, to makethe most of bounteous landscapes framed in museum pictures.
Otherwise, galleries would be “sooooMidAmerican;” persons couldn’t attempt separating
Marshmallowfluff, laundry, also irregular type fonts from the task of working,
Especially when bound by the interpersonal intelligence of nuttering quolls,wombats, pregnant llamas.

A different type of car, ones with dark windows, new plates,tinted glass, hidden locks,
Might, for such matrons (accustomed to babbling to theirnightstands’ lamps),
Rectify rather frighteningsituations, could possibly teach their youngsters to extinguish fires.
What’s more, in contemporary times, the advent of: circusowners, Tibetan monks,
Back country witches, togetherwith crazed researchers, still causes cacophonous stock pricing.

Whereas staff able to avertsuch customer flinders entertain gracious notes from patrons,
It remains our chore toapplaud their clever applications, our jot to encourage their targeted
Adaptation of obliviousblathering, poised ostentatiousness, awkward remittances.
Alternatively, we jeer clerks, who give poor prizes orcomplain, get canned, smacked,
Receive epitaphs neither flattering nor coordinated to theirsweatshirt collections.

So, while shrugging, we spewabstractions to audiences from institutes of contemporary art,
Act as if no disadvantage is meaningful;pretend, in hindsight, there were never hidden costs.
Personifying good-bees makesus forget that real ringleaders pay managers, reducedto lecturing
Chemistry,lots of money, especially when their charges are expatriates or remotehousing contractors.
It’s better to suckle the beliefthat able relations are built from compassion than to try to understand.

Sounding off aboutstoichiometry or about poorly populated phylums, after all, stymies evenbunnies;
Brings tauntings about tumbling‘round the Middle East, about wading in the charity-garneringfountains.
Advisably, one disregards the caterwaulingof dumpster cats, the flights of fledging lizards, traffic.
Entrepreneurs will continue tobid against elderly patrons, will truncate worthy lessons, serious mentations.
Hush sweet baby, run the water,shut the door, pick up the towels and toiletries, shake, pray.

Poets in town

by Claudia Rey

In this warm evening summer - before the real heat strikes - it's pleasant to walk back home after a movie. In the main square a pop concert is about to start an the players tune their instruments. My friend and I stroll  under the arcades, humming to a softer music coming from a CD player. There's a guy there, holding a big puppet in his arm - he has slipped his hand in the puppet's bigger, rubber-foam one and waves to passers-by. The CD player is on the pavement at his feet, along with a piece of black velvet scattered with coins and a basket full of small parchment-like paper rolls. A sign attached to the basket reads CHOOSE A POEM.

I stop. Of course I want a poem!

The guy smiles at me. "Would you like José to choose one for you?" he asks nodding to his friend.

"Oh yes, please!" I say.

José bends and retrieves a poem, and the guy offers to read it aloud. It's a verse by Fernando Pessoa, and the guy is clearly Portuguese. So I tell him the only two Portuguese words I know, Muito obrigada.

"Ah, meu idioma!" sighs José dramatically bringing its big hand to its heart. Then it whispers something to the man's ear. "Now he would like a kiss" translates the guy.

Why not, I think, kissing the rubber cheek. José smells faintly of moth-balls, but I tell to myself that poets deserve some affection and a material reward as well. I put some coins on the black cloth.

"Obrigado" says the guy. "Poetry has no price, but we have to eat from time to time." I smile again and off I go holding my precious little poem.

My friend looks at me shaking her head and laughing. "So very like you" she tells me. Behind our backs the guitar music has changed and Carlos Jobim now sings THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA. I know it's not for me, but oh, how flattering.