Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, September 29, 2013

At The Observatory

by Charles Bane, Jr.

At the observatory, I can
watch all the water mills
of galaxies. I deny every
injury in me and long to see
not backward but to forward
cliffs. I think the consequence
of you is written into the structures
we cannot know but by candles
in our room. Do you unfurl for
me? No, rather it is starry in your
eyes naturally and I want you
to order all the murdering
unstained from paper histories.
I deny sacredness
not born of your womb,
your hair the thousand
gestures of lovingness that
fall in gravity.

Clean Sweep

by Amy Soricelli

You have gathered up like leaves - all the colors bright with old promise
fresh off the tree, dangling...left over from summer.
They have not escaped the random car whose tires race across the blank seasonless street
it cares so little where the traces of summer end up.
Wndshields protected -shadows and suns.
I have piled the small, compact spaces in my heart with sudden bursts of no-where air -
whispering through the silences that you carry tight-fisted, on-guard.
Down the long narrow straights of your imagination you make a snowman out of paper cups;
lone carrots found straight up in a garden.
The spidery veins from the edges of you - crush like ash in the palm of my hand;
how much of ourselves can we gather in our arms to share - how much can we hold through the season -
its desperate efforts to shield itself from every stark drop of rain.
There is nothing in the mist we can use.
It died with the july breezes.
You can sweep it away now.

Ken Van Koevering

by Michael Cluff                              

From the latest
unremembered, unimportant war,
Ken is stationed on Second and Tonto Bar Lane
the only one
he willingly will bet,
who, around these parts,
is aware Kuwait, is, yes,
a step away from Iraq
by geography,
but in importance overall,
universes apart
with the span growing forever
by the second.

Time advances
memory reverses.

His  heart is not hevaier
than the lead left
in his left leg
but both would be better
not bitter
if only.....

the right operations
were done in their proper moments.

And he feels
even spoiled menudo
tastes fine
compared to the aftermath  in his throat
and still accessible soul....
The Gulf War
and America,
have left behind in him.

Another Sinner's Prayer

by Donal Mahoney

Long ago Christ bled from every pore,
died on the cross, rose for all,
too few of whom now seem to care.

He died for what I'm doing now
and for what I've done before
and for what I'll do again unless

I drown in a flood of grace,
a flood more terrifying than
the one that Noah faced

from the safety of his ark.
I do believe--but I don't behave.
I need to drown in a flood of grace.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Re-Powder My Wings

by Paul Tristram

Peace, Silence, Calm and Solitude.
A Short, Sharp Shock of Sobriety.
A Cleansing of the Soul.
No Medication in any form.
Meditation, Meditation, Meditation.
Drifting Outside of the Box.
A Pause in the Proceedings.
Society’s Involvement put on Hold.
A Retreat is NOT a Surrender!
To Float within your Essence.
To Awaken to the Naturalness around You.
Feel the Buzzing and Vibrating
as your Life Batteries charge inside.
You are Wonderful, once again.
Now off you go!
It will take a Long Time
for Them to Kill that
Beautiful Smile of Yours
this Time.


by Sherry Steiner

Be it French or Swahili the language of the dance was a mystery to Etienne. Symbols arranged in space, pure elemental patterns insignificantly sweeping overhead gave rise to the postulation of the ridiculous. But not to worry as the graphic passages verbalized strict content commands that would oversee elements in total control of the moment. The next day 6 mechanics dressed as marine merchants casually strolled down the pier with a monkey wrench in one hand and an anchor in the other. Pierre shuddered. How could this be? To pinpoint a moment, to make sense of a leap without the frog - nitpicking grammarians threw up their hands in dismay at the sight of the 6 paraphrasing cross shutter assemblies. Nineteenth century semblance of realism contributed to brilliant re-organization of amateur vacations on the Riviera. Etienne was stumped. In high fashion the blinding whiteness resulted in a silent blackness...

It Happened at the Art Institute

by Donal Mahoney

"Tell Pablo I cannot see!"
says the man in the Picasso painting
as I pass by, program in hand.
The man has a hairy nose
where each of his ears should be.
And his ears have become a butterfly
where his nose ought to be.
I paid top dollar to see this exhibit.

The man in the painting rants on:
"Pablo has done me wrong!
The eye in the middle of my forehead
has a detached retina.
I need a new eye so I can watch
you and the other voyeurs
roll your eyes and laugh at me.
Tell Pablo I cannot see!"


by Amy Soricelli

I would be patient with the round, smooth nature of clay.
Liquidy moist, easy - shiny, smooth.  I would move my fingers
so gently around its edges...coaxing the beauty from its
undefined form.
The swollen dirt like brown caramel between my fingers; I would run
it smooth along the round of it.
There would be outside noises seeping through the window while my foot
worked some sort of pedal in sync with the cars, dogs...footsteps.
I would lead its very rim outside of itself -
and lace it through my fingers like silk.
Others around me busy with their thumbs - palms filled, speckled with design.
I can't separate their rhythm between the hum of the air and the solid speed of the shape it takes.
It would become a bowl or a vase - light lavender with yellow flecks - I would shine it up,
gloss its face - place it on the table when its done.
Toss kisses into it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


by Linda M. Crate

you're Hamlet
i'm Ophelia
let me die in my flowers
wilt into the hyacinth's
be Eliot's girl
you drive to madness
from which i don't know i'll
ever heal,
why did you have to choose me
when you knew we were wrong for one
another completely?
just a notch etched into your bed post
another trophy of your lust;
broke with your distance
your lies
and your ghastly betrayal
made me wilt into the sky a trail of
crimson tears
you probably ignored as you
made love to your new girl
i hope she tastes
of pomegranates,
stains you with memories of me.

Satan's Annual Report

by Donal Mahoney

Adolph's been here since the Forties.
So have Benito and Tojo.
As soon as they arrived we gave
each of them a huge furnace.
They shovel coal all day and all night.
That's what we do with celebrities
who have earned special attention.
We give it to them in spades.

Down through the centuries
we've been home to the best or the worst
people in government and business,
depending on how you look at it.

Check out Attila over there.
He's been shoveling for centuries
and he's getting pretty efficient.
We put Osama right next to him.
Osama's so tall we had to order
our longest shovel yet.

We're getting ready for Assad.
He could arrive any day now.
We put in a gas furnace for him.
He'll shovel emissions.
Pol Pot will train him.

Pot's done well foot-stomping grapes
in our Agent Orange fields.
He trained all the guys from Monsanto.
Now we'll bring him up to speed on Sarin.
We expect a big influx of Sarin experts.
Sarin will be bigger than plastic.


by Tom Hatch

My son gave me a book
About herbs
The smell of the basil,
Cilantro, tarragon, rosemary,
Oh the fennel or is it anis
The cilantro turned into coriander
Pulling the weeds in the bed keeping
The garden neat the smell of earth
Then opening the book
The smell of fresh ink
He signed love you
Dad and your herbs
As the suns burns my back
On my knees


by Richard Schnap

She was a vintage bottle of wine
Gathering dust on a back shelf
Of the liquor store of love

Overlooked for decades
By customers whose tastes veered
More toward cheap flasks of gin

But then one day an old man
With a still, sad look in his eyes
Took her down with a careful hand

And in his small room that night
He sipped her slowly and gently
As if he’d searched for her all his life

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Charon's Obal

by Jeremy Marks

The beds are white
with falling snow

and very still in their
ankling salt pools

a mariner, his ship comes
into the cove

and the ripples grow
over a silent gathering

of hungry fish. They are
plucked and netted

speared and baited
like a bear in dark chambers.

Many beds white with
light and linen

crisp and wintry
and hidden

from the wind, there is
no longer rain

and still no fruit when the
Moon shines full through

the glass. The nurse draws
the curtains back and a

doctor enters:
what have we here

jotting, reading
lie back, shimmy for me

there, that is better.

The next day the water
is still and I surprise you

with pearls.

Charon’s obal, you say-

Every Wednesday

by Wayne Scheer

Wednesday is garbage day
in my neighborhood,
a magical day
when the detritus of the week
disappears into yawning,
growling trucks
operated by sleight-of-hand masters
capable of banishing kitchen trash
with a flick of a switch.

We take these urban heroes for granted,
yet every Wednesday,
no matter the weather,
they clear away the loose ends of our lives
in ways clinical psychologists
can only envy.

Their methods may seem harsh,
perhaps a bit gross,
but they sweep through my street
heavy with waste,
burdened by the weeks memories
and allow us to start anew.

You can have your Houdinis, your Copperfields and such,
take your Freuds, your Jungs, rabbis and priests;
give me the men and women of garbage pick-up
who do the work we despise
every Wednesday
making clean our lives.

Baby Got Wings

by Larry Duncan

I’ve never been happier to see you go.
Your suitcase packed with mammy dolls
chickens for sacrifice and all the words
you never say out loud
typed out on clean, white paper.

I know it wasn’t easy.
We slept late,
had to hustle,
and you got lost
on the way to the airport.
The directions didn’t lead where they said they would.
There were black dogs outside the terminal.
A man in uniform took your boarding pass
and passport and I bet for a moment
you thought he was never coming back,
that you’d be stuck
on the curb with your bags,
with the taxis pulling up and away,
the traffic circling,
with all the embraces and the release,
stuck for the rest of your life
between the coming and going
until the time ran out.

But you made it baby
through security
and the long lines
and the bag check
to the airport bar
for few drinks to settle your nerves
before walking the long hall
to the fuselage.

And I can see you now,
nervous as always on the liftoff,
reaching for my hand
And finding the hard plastic armrest
and its useless ashtray,
thinking of contingency plans,
of the distance between your seat
and the emergency exit,
of mechanical error
and the lengths you'd go
and what it's worth
and where you’d land
in the finality of fire and twisted metal
as you lift
up and out
of California.

what we are

by Amy Soricelli

I am the fresh walls painted soft-stroked -
deep past the buds with their round glow of dots along the edge...
the border like sun-streaked hair/flowers clean off the vine.
it is between the grey the black the loud fast push that we see who we wear on our faces
our eyes blinking the pain between the tight fluttering lids.
you are the trapped wind howling down a tunnel - small winds catching sparks...
light sparks -
calling me in whispers soft voices in tender vowels only the trained lover can hear.
we squeeze like silence between the buildings -
brick on brick piled strong in the air -
its ashes wide at the mouth -spring trapped in its corners,
and us in snow-covered coats huddled against the suddenness of love.
we leave a path with our heavy shoes down some street..
some random avenue curling up tree sides and down again.
it is not lost on me the sparkle of you.
the once in a blue moon side-line love affair i have with every step you take.
i create songs in my head and paint colors in the air and they stay.
they stay.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


by Will Monigold

I wake to find Orion
Pressed along the milked rattle
Against a consequence of stars
Where beckoning England
Looming large
Would have me arched again
Against your touch.


by Stephen A. Rozwenc


movement as meditation
silver coins plopped in a gypsy glass
7 shades of succulent desperation
tack north
along a rocky coast
to skirt
ambition’s dark menopausal squawk

temple yellow blue eschew
and emerald green parasols
twirl trembling coral forests

while frothy chandeliers
bubble the uninterrupted leitmotif
rose colored vagina monologues
extravagant penis soliloquies


silence demystifies
heart sharpened bamboo slivers

but only
if they sew
benevolent ventricles
into a beheaded Buddha’s
stoic stone chest

while the whosoever chalice
on juicy suburbanites
serendipitous emptiness


those indecipherable flutter sighs
reek of devotion's
cyclical ambrosia

internal blah blah blah
to balance the inescapable
external cha cha cha
small candle flames lie to snow

while white moths circle
chance meetings
where everything matters

please call me


by Bradford Middleton

L’Eue de vie is the water of life
95 proof but flavoured with fruit
I’ve seen what it can do
The power of this way of life
Bastille Day 2011
Jean-Francois rocks up with
The bottle of life and as it
Goes round the banter gets
Louder and more raucous on
This most important of days

As the fireworks go off
The hollering and wailing grow
Louder still and there’s not
A dog in sight just people
Out of their minds on life and
Their joy of this moment that
Comes but once a year on
This special day
The bottle was gone but the
Fun was on

I Buried You

by Sarah Thursday

I buried you
When you left
It was supposed to be for good
I dug your grave
I mourned you for two years
Your death was crushing
But I had your funeral
I said my goodbyes
And I moved on
Fourteen years passed
Scars healed
Memories faded
It was final
Or so I thought until the mail came
Your name on the envelope
It gripped my breath
To see your grave broken
You were shiny at my door
All flesh and bone
Not decayed
You watered the dust
And grew flowers
Of apologies and regret
Dead hopes, dead dreams
All singing sun bright
Who wouldn’t be sprung
Who wouldn’t feel
Miraculous intervention
And long for faith
In redemption
In divinity
I buried you
I dug your grave
You were never supposed
To rise again
You were never supposed
To be here
At my door

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lost in Tijuana

by Larry Duncan

She’s draped over a stool,
her back against the bar,
elbows resting on the edge.
One leg crossed over the other,
kicking in my direction.

Jeans and red tube top
fit like a second skin
and a pretty face—
almond eyes and sticky,
candy apples lips.

She reminds me of S,
who reminds me of M.
They were roommates.
I wanted S.  M wanted me.
We spun around in that circle
for years until I broke
off and crashed into N,
burying myself in the couch
of her Georgia trailer,
where I huddled every night,
thin and twitching,
in the cold light of the television,
waiting for her to come back home,
and she’d slide in from the front door
to the bathroom with a backhand
wave, waiting for me to ask
where’d she’d been until
she stopped coming home at all
and I enlisted in the Navy
so I could stop coming home, too
and took to walking at night
when I couldn’t sleep,
farther and farther
from the shipyard
to bars and strip clubs
and ran into A,
who danced every night
in that shitty club outside of PB,
who stripped and splayed herself on stage
and no one ever saw her,
who hated men
and their slack jaw faces
and said sailors were the worst
but I was different,
who buried her cat in the backyard
after it was hit by a car
and she cried in the dirt,
clawing out a grave
with her bare hands,
who was a girl
like any other girl
and who’s her heart I broke
like any other heart
because she was wrong
because I wasn’t different,
I was worse,
which leads to J
who honestly believed I was someone else,
so much so, I couldn’t help but believe it too
and I spent a year cramming
myself into the confines of that vision
and another pinched into that frame,
waging a cowardly, guerilla war
to break free and finally arriving at
R—R—R and her house a hundred
miles north in the hills over Fullerton,
who after months of correspondence
over the internet and the phone
finally agreed to meet me,
who loves my rustic body
and has book shelves,
a mortgage and everything,
who played Trivial Pursuit with me
while her friends argued about politics,
kneeling in front of couch
while I sat on the cushin
with my hands hugging a beer
between my legs
as we passed the box of questions back and forth
not bothering to move the pieces,
who I hugged on brick steps of her porch
when I left and we almost kissed,
who I barely know,
whose last name means thief,
whose house I can’t quite remember
how to get back to,
but is where I want to go,
to drive, drive north, drive all the way to Fullerton,
drunk and crazy in the middle of the night,
to arrive at her front door, knock, and say,
“I should have kissed you.
I wanted to kiss you.
I want to kiss you,”
R who was born in Mexico City,
who called me on my way down to San Diego
and when I told her I might go to Mexico said,
“Tijuana is not Mexico.
It’s something else.
It’s a border town.”

They are there in her almond eyes.
They are letters in a word
tattooed just beneath my skin.


by Marc Carver

I woke up
with thoughts of the lady vicar
from the church
at the top of the town
i have stayed in for too long

They were good gentle thoughts
of us being together
before long my thoughts did make it to biblical terms
but even vicars have needs I guess
I think I will stroll past the church on my way back.

Welcome To Salt Lake City

by Suchoon Mo

I am going to Salt Lake City
a Mormon city
the cradle of Church of Latter Day Saints

I am flying to Salt Lake City
in a Delta Airlines jet airplane

I hear a young  woman flight attendant speaking
relentlessly too fast for me to make any sense

she sounds like saying

ladies and gentlemen
we are descending
please buckle your seat belt securely
until it falls apart

welcome to Salt Lake City!

Neighborhood Watch

by Christopher Hivner

Walking at night
I am never alone,
the stars
are my companions,
distant eyes
keeping watch.
When I need advice
Cassiopeia clucks
like a worried mother,
Pegasus offers a ride
across the stars,
Cygnus drops a feather
as a comforting souvenir.
If I feel lonely
on my walk
I look up
to my watchers
and they guide me home.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bone Needles

by Paul Tristram

Deep within the thirteenth cave
of the snow crested Brecon Beacons
mountain range of Southern Wales.
She sits just well behind the shadows
of the massive main fire
sewing the last few stitches of a badger pelt
into the dome-shaped collection of furs
she has at her dirty, naked feet.
It has taken her 21 sunlight’s of hunting
to gather up enough material for her task.
It is comprised-besides the badger- of
a single fox, rabbit, hare, roe deer, otter,
polecat, beaver, stoat, red squirrel and weasel.
She had started bleeding from between the legs
at the waxing of the last full moon.
The Clans Leader had then pulled her out
from the circle of elder women and children
and placed her at the main fire
with the Warriors and adult women.
Where she was inspected for ripeness
with sniffs and nudges.
She had rubbed wolf shit into her hair and skin
each dawn since
and it had almost completely worked, so far.
She stretched quietly now that the last pelt was in place
and pulled the entire fur dome over herself.
As she crouched secretly in the shadows
blind in the darkness of herself made tomb
her ‘This’ hand clenched together the opening flaps of fur
beneath her arse and feet
as her ‘That’ hand worked away with bone needles
sewing the entrance finally closed.
When this task was completed
she sat waiting
she knew that when she was discovered
the whole Clan would circle
the strange new dome.
And just like when her sisters baby
had tried to come out feet instead of head first
their joint solution to the confusing problem
would be to smash down their clubs in disgust.
So anticipating this she had kept
the head of the fox pelt directly at the top of the dome
right above her own head
knowing full well that it would become the focus,
their target and the fastest entrance to death.

the third world

by J.J. Campbell

a foggy morning
on a holiday

we trip on the
shielded light
of two glorious

cascade down
a boulevard of
broken humans
waiting on the
hand of god

they offer me
scripture and i
hand them a rope

the tortured souls
say thank you

the eyes of the
children no longer
have any hope in

bleak isn't the
right word

drinking rusty rain
water out of old
clorox containers

you never quite
expect to find the
third world just
down the street


by Marc Carver

The man who sits in front of me
stares at his mobile phone
so closely
it seems
as if he is being sucked into it.

The bus driver
gets out of the bus
and adjusts his wing mirror
5 minutes later
he gets out and puts it back.

People get on the bus
look at me
and sit somewhere else.

I see a house
a big house
it says in numbers
one and a half.

We pass
the home of cricket.
We keep going
the bus driver
giving us
a tourof where
the rich people live.

I could
ride up and down on this bus every day
and see a different picture.


by Donal Mahoney

a friend of buffett
a friend of gates
a billionaire in
silver and gold
joe milford died
on a toilet seat
not certain
he had to go

Thursday, September 12, 2013


by Richard Schnap

He always dressed in black
As if he was a priest
Or a mortician

Unable to decide
Whether to save his soul
Or to bury it

Maybe this is why
The songs he wrote
Were both hymns and dirges

Bleak soundtracks
For a burning Heaven
Or a beautiful Hell

Gone, Brother, Gone

by Brittany Zedalis

Wide eyes, chubby cheeks,
Tiny hands, little feet,
Distant memory.

Fire, smoke,
Unable to breathe,
Come back to me,
Come back to me.

Food for Thought

by Amy Soricelli

Went out to dinner the other night with the man i married so many years ago
we commented over the menu which was much too big.
The other table by the window which should have been ours
had some small child crawling over the seats like she was home
my grandmother used to say.
Was glad to be over that / the constancy of that.
Our food was okay not great drank a lot of wine.
Next to us on the other side closer to the kitchen where
we were glad not to be was a couple in a fight.
She was cutting her food with great emotion and he had none
so it seemed. So i said.
My husband of many years said he was glad that wasn't us.
I thought - sweet - he cares when we fight.
This is why we take the long road and get through the shit so he can say
stuff like that.   So i said.
he said.
Okay.  I meant the kitchen.
Hate being so close to the kitchen.

William Dean Howells

by Michael Ceraolo

"For many weeks,
                             for months,
it has not been for one hour out of my waking thoughts;
it is the last thing when I lie down,
the first thing when I rise up
It blackens my life
I feel the horror and the shame of the crime
which the law is about to commit against justice"

on November 11, 1887,
that date was the day to celebrate the Armistice,
that date was the day to honor veterans,
the crime was committed:
                                          four men
were murdered by the state of Illinois

In addition
to the obligatory petition signings
Howells used his literary talents
in a letter to the governor on their behalf,
in many private letters,
saying the trial record
"proved themselves absolutely guiltless
of the murder charged upon them" ,
no objection when some correspondents
made the contents of the letters public,
still he asked
"Is there anything more to be done?"

his munificent salary
($13,000/year from Harper and Brothers),
his reputation and standing as one
of the country's most popular novelists
would seem to be enough,
he didn't trim his position afterward:
"All is over now,
the judgment that begins at once
for every unjust and evil deed,
and goes on forever
The historical perspective is that
the free Republic has killed five [sic] men
for their opinions"

                              And he went further,
being the proto-Zola in an ars poetica:
"Neither arts,
                    nor letters,
                                     nor science,
as they tend to make the race better,
                                                      or kinder,
are to be regarded as serious interests,
they cannot do this except from and through the truth"

Then as now a minority position

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Devil In His Studebaker

by Taufiq bin Abdul Khalid

Yeah, I have seen it all,
Heaven and Hell and back again,
You can read it on my face,
You can hear it in my song,
Heaven or Hell, and that same ol' refrain;
'I don’t know where I truly belong...'

Yeah, I have seen it all before,
The Good, the Bad and the downright Ugly,
But never you mind about me,
Do I even look worried?
So never you mind about me,
I am a fisherman on the River of Mercy.

And if one day, the Devil comes a callin’,
The Devil in his mean ol’ Studebaker,
I won’t take that ride, oh no I won’t,
For the Devil ain’t my muse,
He never was my musicmaker.

Yeah, I have seen it all before,
Angels sleeping on the doorsteps,
Begging for my dimes and dreams,
Knocking on my door looking like Lucille,
And I have always said, “Yeah, come on in, Lucille,
Come on in...”

So what are you waiting for?
Come in and play the Blues with me.
Get out of the cold, my brother,
The streets ain't no place to loiter,
For I can hear the Devil cruisin’ for souls,
Cruisin’ in his mean ol’ Studebaker,

On the Runway

by Nancy Woo

The reason why I don’t clean
or fix my car, and then drive
around Belmont Shore looking
smug with taillights smashed
and duct tape mirrors gaping
at the fluffed white people
shopping is because I might want
them to be offended by my
poorness. I learned this in
4th grade when I would, without
fail, walk into my Gifted And
Talented Education classroom--
where smart kids go to be told
they’re smart—in Orange County—
where the envious go to flourish
in their hive cement sidewalks—
15 minutes late every day, creaking
open the door to teacher already
talking, interrupting, because
my mother, worn out and coffee-fixed,
could never fit a schedule,
it was her subtle way of resisting
her tug-a-long fate—at least she could
rebel against time—and usually
my clothes were dirty or old or
hand-me-downs friends’ mothers
who pitied me gave me, and here
I learned how to walk in this rag
fashion show kind of way, quiet but
smiling that smile like I was saying
yeah, look at me, look at the isness
of my difference, I’ll strut on in
when I want and grin until
you believe I am grinning, smirk
wide like I am better than you for
knowing what poverty feels like.

HIS REPUTATION (terza rima)

by Joanna M. Weston

the fleeting sight of a tiger’s back
slipped through my peripheral vision  
a sneaking smudge of yellow and black

a mere whisk of tail’s sedition
leading me further still to explore
ferocity’s ancient tradition

whether it is true he will gore
any human who comes into sight
with deeply bellowed rousing roar

or perhaps retreat without a fight
having been already amply fed
preferring to sleep through the night

hunkered down in an accustomed bed
within reach of deer recently dead

The Pensioner

by MP Anand

Peering through thick glasses
With a shaky, veined and wrinkled hand
he scrawls with great effort his signature
against his name in the Pension register at the Calicut Corporation office
and collects his monthly pension from the pension clerk.

Slightly detached, he notices his serial number is steadily decreasing
implying many of his senior colleagues have passed away.
His time will come only God knows when
and the finishing line is not very far away.
He chats with his colleagues - a temporary escape
from the loneliness and infirmity in his life.

The talk is mostly about their diseases- blood pressure, diabetes
lack of or the excess of sleep. arthritis, prostate problems
varicose veins, good old times or their departed colleagues.
Many agree that the electric crematorium is the best
cheap, easy and less time consuming for their children.

No more fire in them to discuss fiery politics
No verbal  war over polemic issues
No bitter competetion,  no ego clashes
Their are past their prime - weary, worn, and spent
Every one has withdrawn into themselves
Decrepit by old age, diseases and their impending end.

He bids farewell
comes out, blinks in the scorching afternoon Sun
and heads home slowly
uncertain whether he will meet them again the next month.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


by Michael H. Brownstein

Pandora of Nubia, near the ivory trade route,
took possession of a grand ebony chest,
watched it with the eyes of a cheetah.

Somewhere within its thick walls
a secret stayed itself, and she could hear it,
now and then bumping into things.

She ignored it at first, or tried,
made promises to herself she knew she couldn't keep,
touched the wood with her palm,

played with the flimsy lock of grass and twig,
found herself admiring the grain with her fingertips.
Too much cat, the Shaman knew this to be true,

and bided her time from her grass covered home
overlooking the village near the great river.
There was something in the chest too great for her,

but not too great for Pandora with braided dark hair,
full lips and perfect skin—almost ebony black.
She was right, of course. Pandora was curious,

and it was curiosity that made her play with the lock,
break it open with an ah ha and a smile.
She opened the chest later that day,

let escape the demons the Shaman knew were inside,
thick fogs of madness and bitterness,
jealousy and selfishness, greed and contempt.

Pandora allowed them to sting her.
their noise intolerant and vulgar,
and then she peered into the shadow of the chest,

saw a round object corked and scented,
and pulled out a painted gourd
a vessel full of rich golden water,

a liquid with a smell she could not remember.
She drank from it.
It made her happy.

The painful stings left her skin,
she felt whole,
calm, able to see into her dreams.

Hope did not come with a fairy.
Hope came with Pandora’s gourd of beer—
a magic beer too easy to replicate.

The shaman went on to greatness,
made the best varieties,
and the people lined up to drink it.

Pandora kept the gourd in her home,
shared its contents with everyone,
especially those who wanted her to tell her story.

And then the Greeks came.


by Elliot Ian Ross

I'm already taking a shotgun to the swallows
barking into a jar of homebrew
howling at the coyotes
The mosquitoes all grow drunk from my blood
and I dance around in my underwear
and I dance around naked
and I dance around, just a skeleton
in a swamp noone knows about
and I've been thinking all along
I never told anyone my name.

Real Life

by Bobbie Troy

real life
is ambiguous
at best
we rarely know
“who dunnit”
or who didn’t do it
or what they or we
were supposed to do
we seek answers
to questions
that we do not know
how to ask

Aww Baby, I Think I'm In Love

by David Clarke

She's a delicious lick
of electric guitar,
a nasty rhythm
and a jangling hook,
stirring you to overflow
with soaring heartache
and fleeting joy.
But to feel her pulse,
plunk down more
than a couple crumpled bills.
She'll want you to bleed a little too.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Love in the Fourth Paradigm

by Nancy Woo


Open up my dirty puckered lips
tainted paradise
will you please


Bruise my ego into air
and let go the fourth dimension’s
mysteries, what comes next


Will you waltz with me from one overdone love song
in the lower
out to the endless white of the fourth paradigm,
the flower of life cradling
our nakedness in every direction,
spidering us beyond
first world traps

(two souls found don’t have to die in each other)

and maybe back


Out there must be a better name than Love,
our bodies such thin fabric
diagrams unseen


by Olivia Chapman

I catch myself in the mirror
Awkward, shy, unlike the age I
Was. Writing
Fog hearts for
No one.
I try saying
Hi to the lady in the bath.
She loves her oils and scented things.
The grip of Eucalyptus.
Cloves, favored by the gent
At the Laundromat who hides
Beneath his clothes.
Strangely comforting
That he also found a mirror
To paint his
Fog hearts on.

Such a chore
To heave up and out.
That thirteen stone was
There all along, drumming
Its fingers.

The lady of the bath isn’t friendly.
So unlike the sixteen-year old age
I was when bathrooms weren’t
Watching from the beach. You
Jumped in dirty, sweatshirt
Belted, breathing salt
And bleach.

Here woz
I when I dyed my lashes
When I swiped on dupe Chanel knowing
Full well its power to cleave in two
The hearts entwined in red, two names- I forget his.

There’s a new fog every day
I wipe the age
I was away
Though the mirror
Draws me closer
Back towards the ghosts I
Breathed life into.

Without me they suffer
But linger on
Like cigarette smoke
At the bus-stop.


by Mark Lee Webb

was a carpenter. While waiting,
he was put to work, and he built
all the metastasized cupboards
and shelves in the next room.

Anybody who contributed a wife
or a patient worked to try to help
Marshall Mitchell.

Had every problem in the book –
pericarditis, hypertension, seizures,
and finally a cadaver.

It’s a Few Minutes Before Two

by James Babbs

and I have to take a piss
I throw off the blankets
and sit on the edge of the bed
I was dreaming about
the dog I had
when I was a boy
then recalling for a moment
the woman I had coffee with
just a couple of weeks ago
we had a pleasant enough conversation
but I guess we didn’t connect
I get up
and head to the bathroom
I have two of them
one here in the bedroom
and another one down the hall
I want to check my phone
see if I have any new emails
I wonder
how long it will take me
to go back to sleep

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


by John Grey

like a bookmark in your favorite novel
I count the words you've read
since the last time -
like the nails down your hidden blackboards
I quantify the unspoken screams

like the knots you tie
I follow the dreams
of your fingers
to their tight and binding ends -
like the bass notes
of the songs you hum
I'm there unsung but
holding up your broken tenor

like the bulb that blew
when you switched on the light
like the air between
the Venetian blinds
when you shut them
like the last breath
out of your lips
no longer air
no longer anything
I'm partial to what you deliver
and understand
what you send away

like the roads
you follow on the map
I'm thin as the blood
beaten from your heart -


by Linda M. Crate

tangles of hair fall through my fingers. the scent of vanilla fills the room. threadbare candlelight dances the walls. your eyes are dancing with shadows of mischief. i stutter a smile into being. you kiss my throat, i fall to some deep ecstasy. i still haven't woken from that dizzy dream. a laughter that has sung onto my heart melodies i cannot erase. i wish you were still here loving me. but instead you're loving her.

Rampton Eyes and a Cotswold Heart

by Paul Tristram

"They need to increase the dose"
I promise you, a duck pond is there
The little hump-back bridge
The ripples in the pond
and that sweet little wooden bench
that we've talked about so much,
it's all there, baby.
But you've got to stop kicking off
take your anti-psychotics,
stop fucking
with the mountain,
put the Guns of Navarone away
and believe in us

The Hell of Agent Orange

by Donal Mahoney

"Throw me down the stairs a sandwich, Ollie, I'm hungry," said Dr. Olga Sumvitch, hollering up to me from Hell again in her best fractured English. 

Although she had spent the last 30 years of her life in the United States working for Monsanto, Dr. Sumvitch still speaks English with a thick accent. I'm one of the few Americans who can always understand her. She has trouble pronouncing my first name, Oliver. But she can always say Ollie, and I have no problem answering to that.

Years ago, Dr. Sumvitch emigrated from Moldova to the United States after being hired by Monsanto to fine-tune the formula for Agent Orange. There were some problems in its effectiveness and she had the expertise to work them out. 

The day the government finally approved the formula for use in Viet Nam, Dr. Sumvitch had gotten hit by a bus coming back to work after a sumptuous lunch with her celebrating co-workers. 

The injuries were bad. She suffered seizures in the hospital for several days and foamed at the mouth intermittently. The night nurse needed towels to sop it all up. She died at midnight on Good Friday with a groan that woke everyone in her ward. After her last groan, a deaf patient on her floor said that he could hear again on Easter morning.

Dr. Sumvitch and I were chemists by trade. We became friends at professional meetings. In the beginning I knew nothing about her work. In fact, I had declined a job at Monsanto right after getting my doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley, and I had always wondered if I had made a mistake in turning that job down. The pay and the benefits were excellent. And Monsanto had a great reputation for quality in their products.

Dr. Sumvitch trusted me not to talk about her work, saying it was top-secret, hush-hush by order of the government. It was the government, after all, that had underwritten the years of research and development that made Agent Orange possible. 

Without millions in taxpayer money funneled through the government back to Monsanto, Agent Orange might never have been produced. I promised her I would never say a word about her work. That would have been hard for me to do even if I had wanted to because I honestly didn't quite understand the true nature of the product at the time. 

Even now, more than 40 years later, I have to ask myself why would our government be interested in producing a product that would silently decimate land and crops as well as the people who depend on both for their livelihood. 

It sounds a lot like chemical warfare to me, and I didn't think my country would ever engage in such a thing. 

Right now, America is all worked up about what's going on in Syria--poisonous gases of one kind or other. I'm happy that I'm an expert in formulating new toothpastes. It's my job to make people smile brighter and whiter--not kill them--over a period of time. 

Dr. Sumvitch went to Hell immediately but stayed in touch with me after she died. I was afraid to tell anybody about that for fear they would think I was hallucinating after too many years experimenting with toothpaste. Once a month or so, however, she hollers up from Hell when she gets real hungry. 

"Food is scarce down here," she told me, "unless one has no objection to cannibalism." 

On Earth, and in Moldova especially, she had developed a taste for organ meats--gizzards and livers and hearts--provided they had been harvested from beasts, not human beings. 

Chicken gizzards piled on a mountain of rice were her favorite, although turkey hearts, if they were big enough, were almost as good. 

Whenever Dr. Sumvitch hollers, and lately she's been doing it more frequently, I wake up and get out of bed and head for the kitchen. I always make her a fine sandwich. I stack beef or pork, whatever I have in the fridge, on marble rye with a slice of onion and a dollop of Tabasco sauce. I top it off with a slice of Kosher pickle, wrap it in Saran Wrap and toss it down the stairs to Hell. It takes around an hour for it to arrive so I hang around in the kitchen till I hear from her. 

"Thank you," she yells, when the sandwich finally gets there. 

"Believe me, Ollie, I'd ask someone else for help but no one believes in Hell any more except me and my co-workers down here. It's like a big Monsanto reunion from decades ago. There are thousands of us. 

"Sandwiches like yours are impossible to come by. Eyeballs, armpits and feet are plentiful, if you like your meat well done. 

"You can always see what you're eating because of the bright light, and that can ruin one's appetite. Agent Orange burns night and day. It's always High Noon down here. No one gets any sleep." 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

metaphor of what?

by Ross Vassilev

the head rests on the forearm
the head is limp and mostly empty
awash in morbidity
contemplating the emptiness of the cosmos
or at least this corner of it
the head curses Bulgarians
and people
remembering the screaming
the insanity
the loneliness and despair
remembering marianne faithfull
and her sweet voice as
the head is reborn each morning
only to die slowly during the course
of the day
the head repeats silently to itself
namu amida buddha
namu amida buddha
namu amida buddha
the Pure Land is the place full of sun
where the trees always sway in the wind
and maybe that's
the only place there is.


by Herb Guggenheim

I stand at the edge of a floating wooden platform
& step onto the top rung of a ladder
that plunges straight down into the ocean.

They've told me it’s easy—
that even an 8-yr-old can do it.
But I'm not exactly convinced.
After all, stuff happens. Bad stuff.

The helmet they place over my head weighs 75 lbs.
"But you won’t feel it," they’ve assured me,
"once you get below the surface."

I listen to the echo of my breathing & realize
that the air they're piping in through a flimsy yellow tube
is probably the only thing between me & death.

When I reach the sea floor,
I'm down a mere 20 ft.
Still, that’s not bad for someone like me
who can barely operate his own DVR.

The water is clear & blue at once.
Schools of fish swim by—
tiger fish with black & orange stripes,
pale translucent fish, fish of blue & silver.

I spend the next 30 min. on a trail
that takes me past sunken helicopters, rock formations,
sea anemones, & living coral,

Scuba divers watch me & the others in my group,
making sure that everyone is safe.

One diver holds up a sea urchin,
places it in my palm
then returns it to the ocean floor.

Another hands me a fistful of ground up…something.
At the smell of it, a cloud of fish envelopes me,
eating from my open hand,
their tiny teeth scraping my palm.
In seconds, the food is gone.

Eventually, the scuba divers signal
that it's time to return to the surface.
I ascend the ladder.

At the top, someone lifts the helmet off my head.
I've made it.
The adventure has come to an end.
Everything else I'm afraid of lies ahead.


by Will Monigold

You see it there
Lying on the floor?
It’s been used
and bruised and at times
smashed into tiny pieces.
It’s possibly beyond rescue
But maybe you can do
Something with it.
It may be that the earth is flat.
I can’t see beyond the horizon.
That must mean something.
I know the physics of it
I’ve accepted the equations
I’ve even worked them through.
It all means nothing
If you refuse to believe.
The night is particularly desolate.
There is little comfort in the knowledge
That the stars are furies
Rendering the sky miraculous
Because they haven’t been through
The cataclysm of my pain.
So you see that heart?
The one on the floor.
It may be of no use
To anyone.

Days Ago City

by John Pursch

Millions swim the Gulf of Days Ago, fleeing Nerd Americo, Belief, Hell’s Salvation Door, Rusty Chicas, Naked Agua, Houndherass, Gaudymauler, itchy mass of Manypaws… Booming time-reversal trade clogs Days Ago City, thriving on nostalgia kicks in best lay heyday surefire peak payola centerfold of endless slumber bliss machine to bend the rules and stay forever. Retroactive looping binds the overclockers into blackened market bungee jump from lockstep marching slavery to pristine hours of boss-man interlude to gilded haze and back in damping oscillation’s penultimate retrieval, landing beaten sweaty slack elastic timeout cord, sore joints memorizing cellular detachment’s puny wage, addicted false revival pegging expedited past. Slumberers plunge deeper into brothel hideout strata, whence they tunnel back before authoritative reach machines dissolve in thump of stranded ante-bellum shack or rusty carcass dumpster, auguring essential iron playback; not your bestial holiday trapdoor synchrony encounter aging friends full circle. Busted at bottom of visa-jump temporal stack by drunken Federales, grimy sooty filter nodding off on barstool start awake in spurious Asstech mining town dreaming corn god ritual dig by hand trembling in pyramidal consequence of prices paid in chunky waves of flesh escapee territorial brigade charade chop shop soothing beating clockwise counting contrail cries resounding entrails corridors of stellar heart cake thumbtack whereabouts collapse in hydrophilic shoes abasement flooring boxcar breath of Days Again ad infinitum.