Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, May 30, 2013


by Emily Lake Hansen

After they took her tail, she had to learn
about feet: how to wriggle
the leftover thread out of her toes,
how to scrub off the dead skin
with a file, how to balance her weight
between the two of them – there were two,
that had surprised her. She became
meticulous, waxing away the blonde hairs,
fine and invisible, painting her toenails
red – a color the bottle called Red at the Beach.
Later, she learned to dunk them into water,
to tie them back together with butterfly kicks,
to move her toes so that each one
felt the ocean. At the beach now,
she sits at the edge of the shore,
legs spread apart, bottom buried in sand,
and tries to remember if she had been happier
back when she was whole and light
underwater or if she prefers the new work
of walking, heavy, through the waves.


by  Sherry Steiner

Strictly speaking some movements operate to the edge of the frame.  Sociological accuracy, dour reservations,  clarified Etienne's position. He viewed himself as a 1930's pope, a rock and roll star and a bank clerk all rolled into one. Truly literal.
Distortions were a bound as a 5th grade class collected for displaced elephants in the South Bronx. The public melted for exotic settings and generously gave until an amateur photographer found solace in producing freeze frame shots of the collection box in Etienne's hands. Attracting more attention as in a fashion statement he longed to be elsewhere clothed in a striped polo. Elephants in a coin box were all peripheral matters. Shaping of the facts in a high speed blur he calculated his business as an art or hobby and being somewhere between a thief and a hustler he resisted 39 people who wanted his autograph. If this was vaudeville he may think differently but nevertheless guilty of the fade to white, Etienne thinks in 72 beats per minute.
Cabdrivers take turns passing him by as his own failing attempt is so obvious in the twenty seconds of exposure. Centered off to the left Pierre whispers volumes about the ripple effect and some mechanical device of a German nature which is unlikely to bridge his memory or save any footage. Tired of thumbing a ride from these basic elements of language the two men found generalized mechanics more comfortable then retreating verbal commentary as the wings of Saturn were questionably suspended.

My Wife Provides Rational Grounds for Subjectivity

by Ben Brezner

Lucky landings
in places where
drinks still run cheap
like High Life jokes

tippling opinions, reminiscences,
oaths from pink lips,
empty now and
forever of all but

streetlight traintracks
wooze overhead,
gargantuan legs
pocked by night eyes,
sidewalk ok’s
your man’s an’ ‘em.

cross the border,
cover your head in deference.
What do we need God for again?
Forget it!

Sweet-talk plastered with dandelions,
Shalom Aleichim,
Aleikim Salaam
goat meat (I think),
partridge in the fridge,
greased freedom and gunpowder,
actual interactions with
human beings and vermouth.

Translate me into
whoever you are,
we’ll sit together on a swing
wrapped in knotted daffodils
as our friends feed us sweets,
follow the vedantas,
jig in the same circles
scribed by our ancestors.

Arms interlaced around us,
we’ll challenge each other
to more intricate hops
more Frangelico on the rocks.

You say you’ll marry me.
I’ll sober up and drive us
to a friendly bed,
a peeping Tom dawn
and we’re gone,
adieu to our home and native land.

The long path to exile
passes obscure saints,
and rivers I never meant to cross
and don’t plan to,

but who can fish
a fact from the future
in these days of crimped crowflight,
crooked power lines?

“I like you,” you say,
“But not your breath
at this time of day.

And it’s time
to get some food.”


by Jnana Hodson

Through unemotional contempt
where the dipping bowl ferments
Emma assumed I’d been spilling Chardonnay
over my watercolor field notes.

I didn’t buy tarot-card insurance
behind a Sumerian bronze disk
no matter what I dominated
in a beaker of green-flame transmutations.

Instead, we distilled wicked superstitions to a formula
resembling a reflecting pool where you spun
torpidly against the shrouded bullfrogs,
free of the paper deck the lady fanned before us.

Banned for Life

by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

A brew in his right paw
the young kid with the
friendly smile
at the end of the bar
talked to Monte
a round.
Cindy replaced
his empties before
he could signal

We went next door
to look for Scott
and Monte talked
to another guy he knew
for a round
we met up with Scott
a round later back

where the friendly kid
had swallowed his
smile, children,
divorce petition
and jumped
a stranger
from behind.

Monte heaved the kid
off the floor and out the door
rubber arms swinging
at nothing at everything
and drove him home.
Someone handed the kid’s
jacket over the counter.

Cindy said he was banned
for life
on her shifts.

Everyone settled back
into the canned tunes.
Scott and I finished
a last round without
talking much.

When Cindy was
let go
the place lost
its charm.  All
but for a notice
taped above
the cash register
reminding how
the kid
was banned
for life.

Basic Aloe Urns

by John Pursch

Aromas of earthbound splendor spread linkage to bovine recurrence, flopping parity boats for waning simian grapefruit, tumbling through dishwasher platitudes, filled to broiler brims with breakwater justification. Mollified eternal sepulchers of non-stop lethargy fling dominant toll house flunkies into deep bicameral vitality, spending chlorinated autumnal landscape mildew on junction leisure poltroons. Carbonated rashes play whist again, foppish and dully monotonic, severing tree line equality from spiels of roaming cellophane, skirmishing with tangled sanctimonious tire quadrants. Barometric sparks rely on pitching crevice ruminations, chomping addled motorists with stale prudential speakers. Southern labels nip a beached heckler nationwide, selling itinerant creature comas, puddled with haughty plover beans. Ivy cream seeds windy flotation squirrels with iterative potions of risky fender molding, peeling frozen geysers from taro beards near protoplasmic auctioneers. Grounding lures penetrate hooked Malt-O-Meal sanders, fragging some internal matchstick functionary with twelve-pound baby rawhide service. Tusks stomach gruesome kitchen auras, scolding esoteric phalanges for charthouse quarters, fully eluding canker pillage. Gibbons strut past partial crooners, stiff Etruscan lopers, and immunize scalloped knapsack bunkies, swaddling the secretary’s chambered spree in laughing divinations. Heavenly tow trucks fork into porcine prevarication, growing arbitrary lumps where abrogated fairy pails abjure. Errata prop up island blazers, flirting with bellow batons, pulpy and hornswoggled by girdled dandelion chutes. Dancing dudes deny diluted proctors, pause for wading caterers, and ogle gleaming diva plugs, exhorting buoys to foil forbearance in the manly gnome’s retractable jumpsuit pose. Shelf assurance assimilates baroque amenities, flaring into trumped estuaries, grinning behind outhouse terrain. Blimps evoke equivocal nonchalance from chattering brakepad polemicists, abetting bestial insets, stooping to canker doorway clarinets. Slim euphonic chocolate melts in hoping hods, relishing in chronological remoras, tussling with purified crowbar dementia. Evenly paired talons drip bedraggled incisors before ellipsoidal tribunal tires, curbing well-worn wrongs, ringing bandana pretzels, cashing in soap for salted sleaze. Goofy grousers sanctify sciatic adoration, scurrying for furlough, doubly entwined with hourly dunces. Gaskets strain to populate delicious fakers, reprimanding soldered elms, stapling pancakes to an amulet. Pliers quake at loutish punditry, reclaim immaculate montage heat, and oscillate beneath sore eyes in amply potted glances, veering counterclockwise to reveal a codicil. Sonic captions injure undulating whooping cloths, denude an easterly trolley pun, and signify imputed harness welts, scratched in putty taverns. Gargled sofas cake in wardroom coronaries, positing loose fisheries, blanching at gory spruces. Euphemistic foghorns repair to Irish seaside wobbles, tendering hauled decency in lieu of agile domiciles. Groves defile to settee spurts, rocked from jettisoned mattress guards, blistering young hollows with basic aloe urns.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

put down your stone

by Linda M. Crate

sunsets of crimson light
burn the flames of my rage
against this current state
of derangement, an arrangement of stones thrown
at victims violates them only again as if the
first time weren't nearly hard enough;
support for rapists rings loudly and stronger
than the aid for the victims —
how could we arrive at the conclusion like this?
women are more than your sex slaves,
much more than mere objects to gratify the desires of men;
don't these people have mothers, cousins, sisters, or nieces?
even wolves don't rip into each other so cruelly,
these broken girls once had dreams and still do yet they're
told you shouldn't have let yourself get raped —
instead of teaching girls this,
why aren't boys taught 'don't rape'?
morality is about as common as common sense whose wings
have fled this land of idolatry and immorality —
ignorance sings, but it is not bliss
to those who actually hold knowledge in our minds,
knowing in our hearts that this is wrong;
having to listen to the disgusting justifications that justify nothing at all.


by Changming Yuan

out of thick clouds
like mountains of inflated cotton
high above spring fog, much
lighter than the snow of last year
a biblical dove flies, soaring around
as if unable to find a place
to perch on land, where reed flowers
grow tall in the fields of salt, where
ivories float around
in rivers of milk

while all colors are present in this kingdom
no pale surface absorbs any light
as in the background of
each traditional chinese painting

Finger in the Pigment

by Steven Clifford

He points to a
streetlight mangled in the shore, remembering a memory
like turning over a
foreign coin. One end
“shiny”- the flip side “rusty”.  He recalls the pigment of that particular moon
improvisationally. The moon
looks like a white washcloth soaking in a watery sky.
But on a cloudy day, the moon is the moon


by Marc Carver

I walked into the pub
and a woman caught my eye
straight away.
I got my beer and she came up to me.
"I want you."
She said.

I went and sat with two other women.
She came over again.
"I want you to dance with me."
She said.
We danced
and she told me she wanted me again.
"What about all those men you are with."
I asked her.
"They are my brothers."
She said.

But i couldn't help but notice
one of them
had his hands in her pants
and besides
I don't want to be wanted

Sunday, May 26, 2013

84. If

by Taufiq bin Abdul Khalid

If I am made sightless,
I would still see You,
If I am made deaf,
I would still hear You,
If I am made armless,
I would still hold You,
If I am made lame,
I would still run to You,
If I am made with no eyes,
I would still cry for You,
If I am made mute,
I would still talk to You,
If I am made illiterate,
I would still write love letters to You,
If I am made senseless,
I would still make sense to You,
If I am made heartless,
I would still be in love with You.

Oh Lord! I am undone.

Letter To My Sister

by Warda Al Barbar

I sailed the sea of mourn
forlorn but canopied
with your virtuous soul
upon a crying wave.
I dropped my remembrance
as an anchor to abstain
between the eastern sun
of forgets
and the western moon
of ignorance;
a compass I lost
when I heard your mellow voice
murmuring in a melodious dream.
The waves swallowed me
when I saw your coy smile
painting an archaic picture
of a crowned epoch;
I found myself safe but taken
by memories that grieve me
not alone. Your mother
drunk the sea to beget you again;
your father is a shore of sadness,
standing to erase death.

Foreign Street

by Steven Clifford

The sublime clings to our jaws, teeth grinding.


Serene structures, engrossed in
delicate towers,

 the tranquil stepping stones—narrowing

into the washy brush. My mouth

turns inside out,
 the tongue

swatting city flies

for nourishment, the joy of perching on guts.

The bare streetlamp—radiates a womb,

the gravel boiling milk.
The sour
the sour, in the cross walk
charm. dee da

dee dee

da. And the traveler picks at threadbare.
“I’ve been here before”.




by Richard Schnap

It helps to know you’re not alone,
That others share the burden of life’s lessenings,
A divorced mother running a pizza shop
Wanting many things as an oven breaks down,
An elderly cashier at a corner supermarket
Glad for the fact that he woke up that day,
Even the sidewalks splintering over time,
The trees that die leaving forsaken nests.

Remember this. For you are not the only one
Who long ago gave up on birthday candles
And Thanksgiving wishbones, who lost
At love while the clock’s ticks grew louder.
The world is a waiting room filled to capacity,
In prisons and penthouses, taverns and tabernacles,
And you only need to look out your window
To see someone passing with their head bowed low.

Friday, May 24, 2013


by Paul Leon Samuels
Bricks and mortar, beams and trusses, nails and screws, wood and sheetrock, paint and plaster, chandeliers and painted glass

A building, but not an ordinary one. A single large room, glowing white, long sleek seats, and a balcony above

A gathering place for people with a purpose, not a grand theatre with actors on the screen, but rather a stage, with sacred performers for an audience of One

G-d looks down, a smile of pleasure on His face. “It's Shabbat,” He says to an audience of Angels. “See, My people remember. They gather before Me again. It's not quite time but now they gather and settle in. Look, the children laugh and play in the pews, the mothers greet and smile, all understanding each other's process to settle the children down.”

“They are here, from newborn to almost with Me, a simple chant, a call to the Shema, I love their song. I love their prayers, the prayers of my people. Yes My chosen ones remembering Me!”

“See the scrolls how carefully they handle them, as if they were carrying Me in their arms, I feel their love, their commitment –it's so good. And each week on Shabbat it does not get old.”

“The prayers, the silent sitting in My presence, the cares of the week slipping away as they enter My rest. They need this- I love giving it to them-My rest. My people-My chosen people. The scrolls come down the aisle back to shelter. My people reach out and kiss and carefully, softly touch. They don't know I feel the kisses and relish their touch. Final smiles-prayers and praises.”

“Hugs and chatter, now 'good Shabbats' all around. Yes, it is good and now food will follow. Their spirits are calm, their appetites awake. My people are in My rest…Good Shabbat”

Thursday, May 23, 2013

[point of view]

by Changming Yuan

no, no, no
no more do i want to be
a chinaman, brown-visioned
with all my yellowish
outlooks, yellowish sentiments

nor do I intend to be
a red-skinned big-foot
with my ancestors' vast land
all occupied by foreign devils

nor a rising black star
with evil pale-faced memories
nor a big white boss
with all the world's politically correct dollars

rather, I prefer to be a tiny rock
sitting still at a hilltop, or on the roadside
watching, observing, even whistling
when there is a wind blowing hard

What There Is: What There Isn't

by Amy Soricelli

There is no canvas with that old man on the bench.
No spotty spots of blue and gold no drippy shades of yellow
there is no lemon sunny-bright sun in his tired hat; No lilacs pumped up
grapes there are no wrinkled plums in his shadowy brown bag.

There is no shadowy brown yellow sun with the old man on the bench.
No drippy blue and gold suns no lemony wrinkled plums no bags
of spotty spots;There is no canvas of lilacs - no pumped-up grapes
in his tired hat- no bright shades.

There is no tired hat with that old man on the bench. No canvas of lemon-
sunny bright grapes - no lilacs in the brown bag - no shadows of spotty spots
in wrinkled plum shades of blue.  No drippy suns/ gold/pumped up

There is no old man on the bench. No hat.
Just a canvas of spotty spots of lemony bright suns/yellow grapes
drippy shades of pumped up gold and blue - lilacs wrinkled and tired
in a shadowy brown bag.


by Linda M. Crate

slipping through the cracks
i fell through the keyhole
gracelessly without effort,
quicksilver blossoms of rain
were my only company
for your love left me long ago
in an exile longer than the
arms of the ocean whose hold
on me was great until she
eroded away all sense of ego;
declared war with the stars
and every child of summer's tongue
i made a promise to become
the key to her undoing so here i am
blossoming with flames of rage
that only summer's children are equipped
with; i beat her back into her cage
snarled at every tooth of the moon until
he turned yellow with cowardice,
and ran back into the folds of where night
is hidden from day —
you sent me a letter the other day
telling me how happy you are with her,
i burned it like i did the ocean
maybe you tasted the flames in my countenance
when you looked at the crimson sunset.

A quiet place

by Michael Holme

I lift my inch-too-long trousers as I squelch
over the lawn past trees and a rose bed.
A grandma is pictured at the edge
of the spiky flowers on an imitation
granite memorial. Simple plaques abound.

Gaudy plastic flowers form the bulk
of the rainbow in this garden.
I assume “life is for the living.”

Then I reach it: a maple tree, the canopy of leaves
I’ve never seen. I look down at the cross of calcite
and other noncombustibles on the ground.

The grass is dry here and I sit cross legged.
I say a default hi Love, then reminisce or tell you what’s new.

Blades have started piecing your symbol that dwarfs my seat.
They’re waiting for a lawnmower; then what?
But you’re being consumed by this mighty tree’s roots.

I recite our psalm, 121, from memory, and read
two prayers. Then I think, can I come tomorrow?
The ground is blurring and I add a few salty drops
to the efforts of the elements.
Lighting a cigarette I tell you one way or the other,
never breaking my promise.

Then I walk to our car, carefully throwing
my extinguished stub in a rubbish bin
next-door to a green one full of wilted flowers.
I wipe my eyes, feeling I’ve been with you.

Till we meet again, wish me Godspeed in this life.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

On Remembering Crack in the Boxcar Door

by David S. Pointer

That day my grandma
loaded me into her 62
Ford, we went to see
a Hank Snow concert
usually I loved her many
country records-Johnny
Horton, Marty Robbins,
the man who became
The Man in Black, but
I didn’t like Hank Snow’s
record, then standing on
that wooden theater chair
so I wouldn’t drown in hall
flooding fan exuberance, I
had to admit Hank was
really great singing Ghost
Trains, 90 Miles an Hour,
and The Golden Rocket
and after that it was as if
Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse
had all been fired and life
was lit up by thunder and
lightning powered with
some Hobo’s last cigarette


by John McKernan

The one you said you would watch
While I visited my uncle at the hospital

The thin fish whose neon yellow side stripe
Curved to the initial  J     For me
Around its left eye

I trusted you
Because you used distilled water
Because you placed a statue
Of the Buddha in your aquarium

I should have remembered
The curlicues of marijuana in your hair
Your daughter’s story about the matches
Your mother’s silence at the grocery store
Your laughter when I used the word heroin

You killed my blue skipper and laughed

I have finished crying

by Poulome Mitra Shaw

I have finished crying.
I cry no more.
I wept months for you
Stained shadows left on the bed sheet
Need to be washed, dried and ironed.
Everything's on as before
The tea tasting the same,
The crows knocking on the pane,
Morning sunlight framing the shadows.
You and me stand buried deep in a frame
... Amidst monsoon symphony
A decade since followed. You fled when all lies caught up with us.
Every morning the smoke mounts to burning eyes
I sit forever with the tea
holding a habit as ancient as hope.
Waiting for you to return from all those roads that lead you astray
Waiting for you to keep those promises
Waiting for you to look at our baby
Postponing living each day....
Swaying days and flipping pages over
As if today doesn't matter
I have finished crying
I cry no more.

Waiting For a Beautiful Woman

by James Babbs

she shows up
ten minutes before three
she works second shift
except on Wednesdays
that’s her day off
and every other Sunday
but I never come on Sundays
I stay home
I like to watch football
she’s wearing red today
she always looks good
but I really like it
when she wears red
after I’ve watched her
get out of the car
and disappear inside
I drive a couple blocks
down the street
and hang out at the bar
I have nowhere else to go
I sit around drinking a few beers
flirting with the waitress
the heavy-set one
with the weird looking eyes
I know I could get her
if I wanted to
but I just like to keep
stringing her along
when the clock reads eleven
I give the waitress a nod
leaving her a big tip
before I drive back
and sit in the parking lot
I really like it
when she comes out
her hair all a mess
dragging herself to the car
some nights
she just sits there
both of us in the dark
before I hear the engine
of her car starting up
I wonder what she’s doing
what she might be thinking about
and I ache inside
wishing I could hold her
and I can’t stand it
longing to feel her
moving against me
and I just want to
whisper in her ear
pushing the strands of her hair
away from her face
telling her not to be afraid
pulling her closer to me
everything’s going to be okay


by Linda M. Crate

white and green leaves
flowers of lavender peeping through the seams of
disillusioned stars calling themselves
mankind grow regardless of their apathy
and indifference, their echoes remaining longer
than those of star children
believing their possessions can make them happy;
i used to be among them until i discovered
that one day this world will sink forever
beneath the fires of the sun,
and so instead i stare at horizons of trees
wandering lonely country roads
singing with birds,
watching flowers grow the simple things are the ones
that often matter in love and life and nature;
so i hold unto their echoes
even when the rest of mankind forgets —
technology has made us all lazy and unheeding of time who
sucks one second of immortality away always even
when we wink our eyes closed for sleep;
i wish i could dream with my eyes
open because there's so much i have yet that i wish
to be seen, so many things i have to do
laying undone —
fractured stones know my pain
but i won't be broken forever like these vines
i will find a way to grow
unnoticed until my vines can no longer be cut down by
icicles of apathy and indifference coated on the
words many strangers and friends alike utter.

Head Full Of Verses (Heart Full Of Blues!)

by Paul Tristram

Some days solitude
is your favourite friend.
A strange pub
in a strange town
by the seaside.
A good packet of cigars,
4 or 5 pints of real ale
and a spot of people watching
from behind your
extremely hip sunglasses.
Get a local newspaper
and read the usual crimes
committed in unusual
sounding places.
Buy a warm steak pasty to walk,
It’s a temporary day
in temporary surroundings.
It’s nice not even having to check
where the dog is for a change.
Remember that this is why
you are a Rover,
The Gypsy in your blood
needs to shake it all loose
every now and again.
This is the cleansing,
the re-charging, the way.
You do not always need
a head full of verses
or a heart full of blues
to spend the day upon your own.
Sometimes it’s the only way
but sometimes it’s the sensible way,
the right way, the perfect way.
You’ve learnt that much, at least
Thank God!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

His Big Day

by Michelle D’costa

I wore his tuxedo
The one that smelled of aftershave
And he wore my gown
The one I had been knitting
in my mother’s womb
With strands
of my yet unborn hair

He wanted to be my bride
On the Big Day
I was more than pleased
A cake walk it would be
In my stilettos
I assured him

As he clumsily walked
down the aisle
With his father,
His waxed hand
And so did his
veiled head
with drops of claustrophobia
drippingfrom his tiara
like Christ’s crown of thorns,
weighing down on his ego

He noticed that my tuxedo
Looked ill- fitting
Hiding my curves
But no one cared
All eyes were on him
And he took pride in his gown

He realised he had to look his best
As he was the bride
His eyes asked me if his make-up was fine?

My lack of response
made him nervous
And he smoothened out
A crease on his gown
That he thought existed

I noticed his father
Was embarrassed at his son’s decision
To succumb to me (his would-be wife)

He thought the role reversal
Was my idea
His son couldn’t be that stupid!

I waited anxiously
For his father to escort his son’s heart
And mind and body and soul
To my will

Before the vows
Could be exchanged
My groom or rather bride
missed his father already
unable to progress without directions
And wondered of his belly
Too heavy
Possibly nine months later
Having no choice but to
Take pride
in its size
But also hide
the stretch marks
For my sake

I couldn’t hide my excitement
Of him changing his identity
With my name

He tripped over his gown
And I read his mind
“I’m sorry, I thought it would be fun,
I need my tux back,Your gown ruined everything,
Your gown ruined myBig Day,
Waxing is torture! Stilettos stab!
Did you sow this idea of role reversal in me?
You must have!
I would have never come up with
Such a ridiculous idea!
Let’s pretend this never happened
You can make it up to me
For the rest of your life
By being my bride”

with carol at the switchhouse

by walter conley

a decadent and secret ball
takes place here once a year
at four o'clock--just off the witching hour
we don't need electric power
candlelight does fine
a waltz with candles
down the line
i, on your track
you, on mine
as with each other
we turn out and back


by Michelle Reale

They are kestrels, though I know them by other names.   Honey buzzard has a nice sound to it, but I would never say it out loud.  A raptor has a wingspan that frightens me, but only in my dreams, during a full moon.  I once met a woman who made a strong impression on me for all that she lacked.  I invented interesting details about her to entertain myself, but nothing too extravagant that even I wouldn’t believe them.   Here was a woman who would not dream of buying herself something special.  There is a man, somewhere, in a country whose name we cannot pronounce that might do it for her, though.  As for me, I had so many illusions, but that was  long ago and they  have gone through the progression from  hope to hysteria.  Occasionally, I nurture them; encourage their growth.   A woman might decorate herself with the feathers of a bird of prey, but she will still be a woman:  all angry teeth, majestic, with  multiple layers of mystery.   There are complexities to forgiveness, but we seek it anyway.  These are rules that most of us will never master, but not for lack of trying.   Still, we look to migration.  We test air currents.   We lean into the wind with more than just our bodies.


by Tom Hatch

Dammed up lodged in my throat
he is coming home
There is the steam from
the compost heap that beckons glow worms
And for his return
seen at night behind the lawn mower shed
next to the stream flowing from
my neighbor’s property on to mine
My son flows
are you out of troubles harm’s way
speak to me of your commissions
and details of your days and hold your
head high no snow or hard rain
on your sobriety I feel guilty
because I…have my scotch every night
to sooth my soul I will tell you this
makes the soul comfortable not an injured horse
waiting to be put down
our shadows are the same my son
cast on the wall under the sheltering eaves of our house

who i was when i was something to you

by Amy Soricelli

i am the string once i was the balloon.
once i was the free floater sunlit waves across your hair/the ocean
the blue blue ink on the page.
i am the switch once i was the light.
once i was the only beat of every drum every heart/the rustle of
the leaves across the open space of your life.
i am the hush once i was the sound.
once i was the simple bumps across the arm the silent thoughts/the anticipation of
the very moments when you'd see me.
i am the blink once i was the eye.
once i was the solid gleam the sparkling shadow/the inbetween
the words and spaces in your sight.
i am the very thing you miss.

On the death of Jesús María Valle Jaramillo
Assassinated, Medellin, Colombia, February 1998

by Séamas Carraher

Jesus, Signor María,
i'm sitting and the moon bursts
like an unhinged angel
through these cold holes
in the sunlight of your head.
Then they are shaped
into streets
and i'm walking on wings
between the dead and the undead
with little difference
seldom in-between.

How fragile this place called life!

With the moon in its mysterious flowers
washing your almost-human blood
from the debris of furniture
they've thrown into the street.

We are listening
to these
somehow-never-to-be-spoken words
"it's not so bad to be this forever dead...
It seems somehow
we are all falling endlessly
across the galaxy
on the monsoon of a dream."

Jesus, Signor María,
I could almost believe you.

But all that's left
is the bursting of the moon
this beautiful moon,
and your hands, your lovely hands
hold its shining pieces
like a sad sad angel...

And then it is raining.
And we are dreaming.

We dream endlessly,
of life and death
and all our falling

Thursday, May 16, 2013


by John McKernan

Right in

Covering the floor
With its metaphor of broken glass
Over oak across a black rug

Imitating the sounds
Of certain months and years
Of German and Russian history
Adding a strange new conclusion

To the Cinderella epic
I've just read to my daughter
Who asks    What did that?   
And I answer honestly   I don't know 
Just a fierce wind   Probably nothing   Nothing at all

Columbus Day

by James Babbs

in 1492
Columbus sailed the ocean blue
with the Nina
the Pinta
and the Santa Maria
but now all I care about
is not having to go to work
but I still get out of bed
at my regular time
get dressed
and eat some breakfast
before driving to the cemetery
why the cemetery?
why today?
no reason
I just wanted to go somewhere
and I hadn’t been there for awhile
so I walk through the gate
and stand over my parents’ graves
looking at the headstone
both of their names carved on it
and the dates that never change
I feel the wind blow
it makes me shiver
it’s much too cold
like November decided
to come early this year
and the sound of chimes
ringing in the air
someone left them here
people leave all kinds of things
but I don’t even bring flowers
just my pocket notebook
in case I have the urge
to write something down
I guess
each of us honor the dead
in our own particular way
and next to the graveyard
the pasture’s empty
no cattle today
when I visit the cemetery
the cows gather over there
staring back at me
from the other side of the fence


by Alan Britt

How’d you come to this conclusion?

Leaning against lampposts,
following the opium trail
from Shanghai to London?

I hardly know you,
much less trust you.

How’d you suddenly
become my confidant?

Oh, now, I know you.

You promised Eastern Shore farmers
abundant corn
in the middle of a drought.

You promised everyone else Louisiana crabs
the size of badminton rackets
and rejoiced like the rest of us
at the sight of skinny blackbirds
warbling the graves
of West Virginia ancestors.

You warned us
if we fancied our cousin,
first or second-time removed,
we’d be quarantined for life
to a traveling circus
prowling Southeastern Florida
during the late 1950’s.

So, we remained hairdressers
and postal employees.

We waited for the big breaks
that never came our way.

In fact, we’re still waiting,
still waiting
for hollow politics
to restore our faith in humanity.

And regret, as we all know,
is a meal
best served raw.

ancient irish traveling secret

by Leeroy Berlin

my neighbor eyes me warily on the plane
either because i haven’t shaved in a week
and i still have blood-shot eyes from the night before
or because i’m pouring grain alcohol out of one of those
clear plastic toiletry bottles
the tsa lets us carry-on
into my free coke without explanation.
sláinte, i say and smile as
i down what for all he knows is a
of coca-cola and shampoo.

one night of mistakes

by J.J. Campbell

and there she was

hair pulled back
glasses on, a laugh
as infectious as her

and i was thinking
of something useful
to say

dreaming i was the
suave motherfucker
for once in my life
instead of the fat
hairy mess i am

and it suddenly hits me

my dreams have
seen way too much
late night cinemax
for this to turn out

and before long
she was gone

although she did
catch me staring
a few times

and i never looked away

i thought i was giving
off the vibe of go ahead
what's one night of mistakes
that your husband never
needs to know about

watching her drive away

apparently that can be
creepy to some people

everything you’re not

by Linda M. Crate

I am a spider, my legs will inhabit your walls when the yellow bones break. I am an alarm clock, I will drive you insane with fury before I have any intention of waking you up. I am that voice in your ears telling you to ‘push on’ when you know you should have turned back. I am nothing and everything all at once. I am nowhere and everywhere at the same time. Come take my hand, I will take you down places people have only imagined. I will take you down dry oceans and wet earth. I am that last sweet reminder of sanity before it is eclipsed by the realm of nonsense. I am the lucidness in a world of insanity.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


by Alan Britt

It’s like cobalt crabs
waving in all directions,
hailing cabs
or attending
Texas barbeques.

Political coals easily stirred
turn deep red.

But these molecule claws
stretch right through the smoke
of ancestors.

Their thin saxophone arms
in satin tuxedos
waltz beneath rivers
on religious holidays.

So, eventually, these saxophones
might again wander nude
through the forests of the night?

Ah, tonight, these arms are naïve,
much like the arms of Neruda’s mermaid
entering a coral tavern,
engaging the company of terrified men,
innocence wide open,
eyes like opals
swinging from Mary Magdalene’s cinnamon lobes.

You can’t imagine the social turmoil
caused by the mermaid’s arms opened so wide!

Reckless arms like these
create wars,
world wars,
wars worthy of trading cards,
wars important enough to be showcased
on Ripley’s Believe It or Not,
desperate wars like locusts
during the Dust Bowl years,
wars like aphids stalking the underbelly
of our DNA.

These innocent arms sometimes cause massive back-ups
on the Tappan Zee Bridge;
they turn Mazdas into snails
I-95 South into Baltimore
and cripple I-70 into Dayton.

Yet, somehow, these arms inconsolable, today,
wandering the fog
of my precious sleep at 3:30 in the afternoon.

Since, by 6 PM, after sedatives and coffee,
I’ll already have squandered the perfect world
I’d hoped to find balanced on a single strand of faith
stretched high above my Barnum and Bailey life.

Hollow Pockets

by Jonathan Butcher

Another vintage jacket is peeled from
your closet, that defines your excuse
for occupying a room, whatever its size.

Only worn when holding court, explaining
the equations of all creativity, like an over
paid critic, slightly drunk on their own
bitter tastes.

The picture frames that hang like your
original 60's cravat, may as well
remain empty, as reflections from
your shoes denote the need for
carpet bombing your words.

And your vodka is laid by the wayside, no
fear of polluting the verbal targets that the
tinder sticks of your eyes went to so much
pain to ignite. 

The trails of your shirt follow your actions,
and get under our feet like false shadows;
ill fitting, as ever, but only in the wrong light.


by Robert Demaree

Favorite authors dropped off
For the church book sale,
The passing of a friend.
Easier to part with:
Those memos to the file,
Notes on events
Of interest to lawyers.
We did not succeed:
A storage shed, tight
With boxes, whose labels
Have lost meaning;
Somewhere in there
Green Depression Glass
That did not sell on eBay,
The Chelsea we bought for Caroline.

A Question of Policy, Verse II

by Douglas Polk

Syrians must be the scum of the earth,
sit by,
and watch them die,
year after year,
chemical weapons now engaged,
yet hard to verify,
dead men tell no lies.


by Eric Eich

It was the sleepover that would
never end, like when the two
edges of a map curl in on each other,
into a faded, infinite spiral. The sighs

of interstates and rivers from different states \
or continents, mating. The next morning,

I skipped church to watch you spin your
mother’s station wagon around the cul-de-sac.
I waited for the car to squeal and sputter,
for the uptaking of an invitation I accepted

long ago. I thought you’d never stop.


by J. K. Durick         

Hospital hallways are filled with
Strange shapes and odd odors
And a beeping that repeats like
A pulse or counting down, or up
To some elusive number of beeps
Rhythmic, hypnotic, the measure
Of this place and its time.

Hospital hallways are filled with
Motion and the sound of people
Caught up in the business of being.
I passed young women who were
Smiling and carrying balloons, and
A groups of medical people chatting
With the importance of themselves.
I passed a whole family who walked
In a daze of what had just happened
Or what was going to happen soon.
A young woman ran by crying and
Weaving through the crowd that gave
Way and seemed disinterested in tears –
Hospital hallways make people act
Like that – self absorbed, insular.

Hospital hallways are filled with
Helpful directions. It’s the blue line
To Baird four today, to my uncle who
At ninety-two is afraid of everything
He says, but not of dying. Yesterday
He said that if he was to stay overnight
He’d need to call home for permission.
Poor John, always the dutiful son,
Always the dutiful brother and uncle,
Poor John, the last of a generation
Waiting at the end of this hallway, at
the end of this blue line, waiting for
me to sit with him and hold his hand.
Perhaps, that’s what all these hallways
are really for.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


by Amy Soricelli

She walks down the street/ from the down side of the street I would see
her - fresh from the subways stale fuzzy air sweeping around her collar like a scarf.
Slow climb up the stairs her walk-up/pre-war apartment
shrugging off her over-coat with her two kids rubbing against her ankles like cats.
It was the soft steady sway/the tinkly sounds from the record player
she would play around and around -
the songs in their scratchy old time 'lost in love/in life' way.
Hold the needle down strong with a penny; keep the worn lusty sound from her broken heart-
broken like the chippy sets of dishes they gave out at the movies
and the characters on jelly jars for morning milk and orange juice.
Smarter than all her old boyfriends she married bad and broke it up. Smashed her own soul into
tiny sparkly pieces; she would lay them out - my Mom - like a puzzle and say...
I will move this here and here and become what I want.
And I would ask on bouncy feet....
am I what you want... am I what you want.

Marking Time

by Susan McDonough-Hintz

11:01 a.m.
Goodbye filled our mouths and lingered,
diffuse on the tongues, swirling.

6:32 a.m.
This morning I reached for a
tube of toothpaste and my
neck hairs lifted like eyelids,
my nipples stiff as peaks, nostrils
flared by the sudden smell of you,
but you weren’t there.

6:41 a.m.
I was alarmed.
The light was changing.

8:26 p.m.
Halfway up the mountain
night falls. I dig my bed
in dirt, cover myself with leaves,
and sleep, awake unearthed and
well bruised. Jagged rocks,
out of my way.

4:44 a.m.
I am alive and all of you is surge. 
And the flash. 

the correct order

by Leeroy Berlin

first we kiss
she said
for which i could fathom
no objection
so we did
but she stopped
and then we must rescue her, she said
to which
pinned to the mattress
while she ground herself against me
i simply assented
knowing fully
how little control
i would ever have
in this relationship.

Where I'm At

by Lucas Stensland

I don't want to
go home just yet
and check the mail
this bar reminds me
of where I'm at

the woman
sitting left of me
almost has her laugh
a whiskey sour
is my drink tonight

thoughts of those
famous soft white shoulders
the hills of heaven
are only clouds awaiting
this drunken kiss

the stool
she used to sit upon
occupied by an obese man
sometimes time changes
in the wrong direction

I don't know the name
of this neighborhood or bar
but I’ll be here again
the smell of some river
the smell of cheap beer

The Dilemma of Atoms

by Bobbie Troy

these unseen microbodies
positive, negative, and neutral
attract and repel each other
connect and disconnect
from themselves
but never know
that they have created
matter out of randomness
because they are on the inside
looking out

a purple sky of tomorrow

by J.J. Campbell

i set my love for
you to a funky
european beat

not exactly
you can
dance to

but cool enough
to give off a vibe
that sends the mind
racing to the ecstasy
laced clouds in a
purple sky of

i want to place
your soul on the
tip of my tongue
and see if i can
stand what

it's the first time
the heartbreak in
your eyes hasn't
made me want
to run


by Benjamin Grossman

burned before there were gods to steal from; before hell was under the sun; before desire was a synonym for flames; and even before dragons captured damsels. Perhaps these contained infernos began amongst an orgy of stones by humping sticks or crisscrossing tinder. Or perhaps they began in the eyes, watching the setting of yellow, volcanoes burning through stability, silence caused by lava. Though maybe fire’s origins date back to the mysteries of nowhere, an explosion in need of celebration: rescuing skin from goosebumps, expanding days into nights, chances to name stars, milk animals, forge crowns. Although fire arose far from castles, chimneys, and fireplaces, it evolved alongside of man: words whispered around flames; feasts igniting myths; beasts roasted over condensed warmth. Vocabulary stretched upward, rising beside smoke: smoldered, charred, burnt. Black fire became, origami of heat folded into desolation, consuming books, bridges, brooms, bras, babies. We will toss in anything to preserve a blaze, almost like we are unaware that all these fires are cold.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Amalek, Feared No God

by Sy Roth

The tired ones hung back
walk-weary lines of them
snaking the rear
shuffling gait
young ones their crutches.

Youthful steps moved the others forward
heads mounted to their goal
inattentive to the rear.

Amalek swore to his soldiers
he would preserve them,
desiccate the healthy,
consume the old and bent.

Godless ones licked their lips,
for the laggards were a tempting lot
easily consumed
swept away before so
the others could mourn.

They ate the rear with
cannibalistic gusto.
Youth buried beneath their weak,
laved in their blood.

A storm of tears unglued the skies.
Men razed their dreams,
the meek,
the weak,
the infirm,
the young
lost in a morass of ego.

Amalek feared no god,
only himself.


by Elisha Holt

If the mesas
are the teeth of this valley
the mountains are the lips,
mouth open wide waiting for rain
from a cloudless sky.
Caterpillars, the texture
of ripe peaches, crawl from the throat
to cut the fields of alfalfa
in the purple flowered bloom.
Their chrysalis nestle in stands
of wild Bermuda grass
until a breath of yellow butterflies
blows across these roads
where a flock of sheep means
someone is going to be late for school.
In the afternoon we listen
to the blackbirds’ watery song
tell us alligators are all gone from this place
and for this crime coyotes
take revenge on house pets.
Their eyes reflect the light
as they stand outside
the glow of the porch.
Like watermelons we grow fat
from river silt and lay in the June
sun longer than we should.
We have dug this lagoon
beneath a graffitied bridge
where the Interstate passes over the brown water,
where on sticky evenings
we find an abundance of catfish driven mad
by the scent of chicken liver and beer.
Once, in this very place, a woman
lay on top of a man, bodies
pressed together, her arms
around him to keep the moment from slipping.
And in this place
we are all that thirsty.

Our love

by A.V. Koshy

The wound - rents we made in each other's hearts
became eyes; dripped wet and waxen tears
that turned into moths, bees and tiny birds
in the foliage of our dreams, bright with their brilliant plumage

I swear yours were violet, indigo, parti-coloured
orange, welt-red and of parallel venation
coming as they did, like you, from both ends of the spectrum
While mine were a solid blue, lush green and sunshine-gold
only recently purling, like smoke signals, into thin rings

Look how even in our cuts and tears we complement each other,
our creatures flitting in our imaginary night's forest
proving, inseparable fireflies and glow-worms making love
that we love one another but cannot openly declare it.

No issue

by Marc Carver

I saw the big issue woman
at the bottom of the street.
She normally asks me to buy a copy
but now
i guess she knows that i won't
so she does
what she always does now.

She says good morning
and then asks me how i am.
I say i am fine
and as i walk away
she starts to say things
in her own language.

Exploring silence

by Reena Prasad

The sound stills itself at times
waiting for cleverer ones to have their say
In that brief interlude, I search
for a reverberation of my thoughts
in this orb of acoustic mazes
Drop a silent sigh here
It rebounds back the next moment
its echoes lingering, feeling, exploring the twilight zones
hanging like bats in unseen crooks
to come flying back
and swat me into stillness

In the dissonance of lively voices
talking themselves hoarse to keep out milder ones,
the rustles, the sighs, the whispers, the hums
make me marvel at their innate softness
but my silence
kept out of the picture for too long
envies these mellow beauties
and longs to make itself heard too
It thunders, it yells, it roars, it wails
There is no respite ever.

The Sand Between Your Toes

by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

into journeymen fiefdoms,
so what?,
the sand between
your toes.
And the lobster house
up on the hill
offering cold beer
and the daily catch,
your favourite table
by the window.

Looking out
upon free parking,
past the unshucked oysters
of promise
to one million bicycles
off the chain
in red


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Patience, My Earthbound Wormy Loves

by Susan McDonough-Hintz

November sends us underground.
Blood-brimming wrigglers.
We mine ore and rutilated grace,
shave through tunnels,
feed in fallow fields.
Harmless lies.

After soil stiffens in winter’s icy linens,
we shoot up
an early spring among the green
remnants of spent days and semen
that melt into must-haves
or stony perhaps.

Toss us to the silk-spun drape of night.
Dissect the dark.
Cluster us.
We are tangled water-bearers,
scorpions, two virgins,
one ram.


by Benjamin Grossman

occur even if we throw up Adam and Eve, cut down every single apple tree, and rid the world of autumn, because the act of moving downward both dresses and undresses us, forces us to close our eyes until we become foggy breaths exchanging air or sluggish forms sinking below the surface of love. We dread the idea of never falling again and hope that if we fall in love we never stop falling. But how many relationships have ended from landings, from that unfortunate denial of descending? We gaze at heights as if fear lay naked before our eyes, not understanding that the phobia was always about the fall. As children we may dream of wings in place of arms, or play in what drops out of the sky. As adults we may obsess over an infinitesimal chance of crashing into pieces, curse at all the precipitation we used to dance in. Age has a way of turning us from falling so that we only associate a fall with accidents and death. We’re taught nothing is worse than the Fall, and yet we’ve already fallen past that fall: from heaven to earth to hell we’ve tumbled, incapable of remembering where we ever first fell from. But what about falling stars and how we wished on them as if we forgot falling isn’t good? And didn’t we spin in circles and sing nursery rhymes until we all fell down? We watch our children fall, let them fall so they can learn to walk alone, and we lust after that high where we separate from ourselves, actually fall outside of ourselves—that lone moment when we wish we were in a perpetual state of falling. No matter what Physics knows not all things fall at the same rate just like not all things survive their falls: parachutes don’t always open; smiles don’t always overpower gravity; bombs don’t unfall. Though for every downfall there is a windfall; for every pitfall there is fallout; for every faller there is a fallback. Humans leaven from egg and sperm just as much as they leaven from falling.

Cycles of the Moon

by Tom Hatch   
Curved silver sliver up high
But not too far above the trees
Walking at dusk the moon
Calls for the young boy from his mother
To come out of the woods that has chilled the air
For him to come home for supper

Expanded behind the hazy sky
Further up above the trees
Lighter than the night before
The mother serves him dinner
By the fire as he stares out
The window at that growing moon

The scale of reflected light
Is a larger moon again
No relationship to the trees this night
His dog is sleeping soundly
At the foot of his bed as
The moon shines across his more exacting face

Getting bigger is the glow
The aftermath of time
Shows the young man how to be tall
In the shadow of the sharper moon
His thoughts of all mans dreams that are dreamt
Every night and his yet to be lived

The moons brightness is FULL
At the highest point in time
Hardly needing any light
She sits on the porch about his dreams
The kitchen empty full of memories
As his journey uses up his age

Waning tightens up on the phase
The man with his mother’s
Radiance of the moon
In his smile that leaves
Her thoughts of his returning
In the doorway of his life is it fulfilled?

The faded light whiling away her hours
Missing the sapling in the tall grass that became a tree
The moon is closer to the trees again she is staring
Where the woods had been and he had played
Where he was called for supper she calls his name
Again one more time… laughing only the stars come out

The vanished moon is gone from
This night’s sky making her star brighter
Than the night before looking out an ancient window
He has come back home from his and her dreams
To the mother’s voice that called
Him from the woods


by Will Monigold

I could hear him mumbling
Something. Mumbling. When I was
Closer I could hear him. “It’s better
Walking on the moon. It’s better
Walking on the moon.” Monday.
Sitting in my underwear in
front of a screen. I can’t
See any reason to give the
Day a purpose. Raining.
I look down at my tattooed
Arm. The pictures trace a path
From somewhere to somewhere
Else. I study one that reminds me
Of a night I passed out under
A tree. I woke because someone
Was shining a light in my
Face. I put my arm up
To block the glare and slowly
Opened my drunken
Eyes. When I finally
Managed a peek I saw
The moon.


by Bradford Middleton

The life on the road came to me one day
Walking up the hard shoulder of the motorway
Being told to get off by the transport cops
We only want a lift I try to explain
You’ll have to pick it up at the next services
Cos you’re not allowed to do it here
How far is that then I ask the cop
It’s only a short little walk, a couple of miles
At most he tells me

We finally arrive and am hungry
Desperate for a lift but also for some
Sustenance to help the journey
After a while a cigarette is needed
So outside we go to light up our drug
Not sure of where we are or how
Much further we need to go
We smoke our smoke and wonder
What to do now

Then it happens and everything is fine
A lift has arrived and they even
Know where it is we want to go
Sheffield we say, ah The Leadmill
They declare to our surprise
Why yes is it that obvious I ask
Its no problem they say we can
Probably even find you somewhere
To sleep tonight if you want

Yes please we say and the drive is on
That glorious feeling of freewheeling
Up the motorway to a place unknown
A look around at what is to offer
Before its off to the gig and great it is too
That night we sleep overlooking a cemetery
From a grand old house but then the real
Fun comes later as we hit the road again

The Birds and the Bees

by Michael Ceraolo

There was a sudden concern
early in the third millennium
about what were then called,
in the mania for initializing,
            which stood for
Genetically Modified Organisms
there were plenty of pejorative nicknames
conferred by those opposed)
                                            (as though
every plant and animal
that had been domesticated
hadn't been genetically modified
to a greater or lesser degree)

The concern most often expressed
was in regard to the safety
of the altered organisms,
was indeed a valid concern but
a distraction from the real issue,
was the increasing consolidation
of the corporate control of life:
the granting of patents for life-forms;
the Creator's patents had apparently lapsed
unnoticed by one and all,
corporations were only too happy
to step into the breach

they aggressively enforced their 'rights',
managed to do so in a couple of ways:
fighting labeling requirements that might imply
that their 'products' weren't safe,
                                                and by shifting
the burden of proof from themselves to the farmers,
who now had to prove they weren't using
the patented life-forms
many farmers not having the resources
to defend themselves in court
against the colossus,
far too many unmodified foodstuffs
were left to rot in the ground
while awaiting adjudication
as to their ownership

at the same time,
genetically-modified chemicals
were being applied to the fields
with very little outcry,
such chemicals caused brain damage
to the bees who were necessary
to the propagation of natural plants,
still more natural plants died out,
corporate control continued on

The corporate-controlled life-forms
largely proved safe,
it was already too late for those
who had starved to death
because they were unable to pay
for the patented life-forms----

Sunday, May 5, 2013


by Ross Vassilev

birdsong in the summer dusk
and I can count the good times
on the fingers
of one hand

looking back
on all the screaming
all the insanity
I often wonder how I made it through
all that

I often go for walks at
this hour with the purple glow coming down
  from the cosmos
but not tonight

I see people walking
drawn by the city lights
and as much as
  the stone image of some God

I am alive.