Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Elusive Alchemist

by Laura Kaminski

I bought a guide to local
birds, thought I might learn
to recognize a feathered
phrase or two. It is
a rainbow codex, organized
by plumage, begins with
redwing blackbird’s flashy
epaulets, woodpeckers’ helmets,
then proceeds with cardinal-
and robin-red, works through
to shades of jays and bunting-

But it cannot guide me
now, three hours after
midnight, searching in
the darkness for a fiddler
and his echo. I am far
beyond the limits
of the rainbow. I am out
without a flashlight
and the moonlight keeps
its secrets, it won’t reveal
sources, and I cannot see
the whippoorwill.

Ollie’s Wine and Liquor

by Donal Mahoney

For years Ollie worked
late into the night
ringing up his sales
of wine and liquor
cigarettes and condoms
sometimes overcharging
addled customers who
had nowhere else to go.

He invested profits in
gold and silver coins
hidden in a box
under the attic floor
of the house he bought
for a crippled son
who never married,
never climbed a stair.

Now the store is closed
and the son is getting old
but the coins are
shining in their box
under the attic floor.
Ollie too is in a box,
a sea of dust, an
archipelago of bones.

Before This
for Selina

by James Babbs

there was an emptiness in my heart
too many nights
strolling along the edge of the abyss
before this
I was the weird guy
waiting in the other line
the stranger who ate alone
at the table with too many chairs
when I look at you
I see the light dancing in your eyes
something I’m certain
you would never confess
knowing anything about
you don’t make it easy
your kisses
pulling something from me
you leave me
always wanting more
when you touch me
I shiver
the sound of your laughter
like cats on the piano
walking across the keys
the warm silence
when I hold you close to me
sweeter than any song
before this
the road in front of my house
some place where I belong


by Sylvia Cavanaugh

Perfectly round ova
nested within
were formed along with the rest of the body
in the shelter of a mother’s space
from her own singular orb
round eggs round the chain of
life it clicks along
propels a forward tide

while men burrow down in furrows of
clone technologies make their
swimming cells redundant
whiplash tails
accidents of evolution
all come down to our bodies
our brains
and our inventions

like this red and gleaming two-wheeled frame
perfect fit between two legs
propulsion honed to hip and knee
press of foot and ankle flex
thumb and bell cry
we are coming
we are coming
self-satisfied we
cruise a moist planet
her many trails

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Trying to map you

by Fiona Sinclair

I was a debt collector once: usual static shock
at some new revelation about your past,
a politician’s deflection to my When was this?
So more details I can’t place on your Jackson Pollock time- line.
Over a year you have wooed me with
ripping yarns of life as an engineer overseas:
rock star strutting onto Concorde twice,
commuting to work on a camel in a sandstorm ,
the gilded cage of 5 star hotels from weeks to months,
Then lottery win salaries in your pocket,
de- mob happy, no contest for you and your mate
between the UK or sticking a pin in an atlas-
Back home between contracts you took
the covers off the Bugatti, Norton, Triumph,
one finger to plods as you G-forced up the motorway
to your side- line turning Shepherd Neame pubs around
with clenched fists, a head for maths, Barnum ingenuity.
One vacation,  you work a tramp steamer
through the back door into Australia,
police cells like  an over- night stay in B and B,
steak and  beers for dinner,  when a visa releases you,
another of your chance meetings, chatting to a man in a bar,
who has just lost a British engineer , you stay two years …

Decades wielding tools heavy as training weights takes its toll,
a hope I die before I get old  attitude means no savings at 50,
but your canny agent reveals a modest pension
you supplement by ducking and weaving about  Sussex …
Your constant first person narrative infers
only man’s best friend for company now,
but once post coitus you disclose Oh no I was living with
Showing me photos of bespoke doll’s houses
you let slip this hobby started as a labour of love for…
Sometimes the ‘I’ does mean living alone,
sharing Christmas Dinner with two blokes from the pub.
Trouble is, when our relationship first began to close in on my
own back-ground, my gambled Let’s not talk about the past,
was accepted by you with poker player cool.
Overtime as my secrets burst their locks
I expected us to both show our hands ,
but you grip onto our contract like a winning betting slip .


by Scott Thomas Outlar

This hat was worn by Johnny,
and my Father loved Johnny –  
who taught him how to fire a gun
and took him to the woods.
I never met Johnny;
he was dead
before my time.
But I’ve worn his hat
for twenty-five years or so.
I wore it in the woods
as a kid
while pretending to be
Indiana Jones.
I wore it to the store
to buy ink
when I needed to
print the first copy
of an early book
I wrote.
I wore it to
my Father’s funeral; now
both he and Johnny
are gone.
But I’ll keep
wearing the hat
because I loved
my Father,
and that seems to be
the way
this thing goes.

A New Yo-Yo on Christmas Day

by Donal Mahoney

I took grandson Jack
for a walk in the park
high noon on Christmas Day.
He wanted to see
his yo-yo dance
but his parents said
no yo-yo tricks
in a crowded house
with a Christmas tree.

So after Mass
they wrapped Jack up
in a snowsuit worn
by the Michelin Man
when he was a child.
And Jack and I
strolled off, laughing
through the snow.

The park was empty
when I showed Jack
yo-yo tricks I’d learned
many decades ago.
I told him he would
soon be tall enough
to do these tricks
on his own.

Jack laughed and asked
if we could come back
to the park that night
and watch the comets.
I asked him why.
That’s when I learned
comets are yo-yos and
God swings their strings
on the other side
of the moon.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Demise of the Pay Phone at the Gilford Village Store

by Kelley Jean White

First, Norm said, the Pepsi truck hit it.
The phone belonged to a private company,
he didn’t remember the name, They came
to fix it. Right after it was fixed, said Norm,
a plow truck hit it. Took it clean off the building.
He picked it up, put it in his back room and called
the company. He called a bunch of times.
After a few weeks gave up on them. Two years
later some guy came into the store looking
for his pay phone. Norm told him it was in the back.
He asked him why his company never returned
his phone calls. The guy looked at him and said,
‘Well, we’re not very good at answering the phone.’
He left. Norm never saw him or the payphone again.
Norm didn’t pay for the phone and he didn’t make
any money on it. It was a pain, really. Kids stuck
gum in the coin slot. Shredded the phone book.

Ray at Town Hall knows a lot about payphones.

by Kelley Jean White

Before he was a deputy sheriff he was security
Manager for all the payphones in all Northern
New England. There were 15,000 payphones
in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont in 1992.
They were a major source of income for the phone
companies. Each coin box could hold $200.
Collections were taken daily by armored cars
to Boston. It was good business before cell phones.
Ray has a payphone at his home. He was given
a chrome-plated one by the company on retirement.
He says it’s hooked up and his grandchildren
get a real kick out of using it. However, it is not
the last payphone in Gilford. The last one is
in the main lodge at Gunstock ski area just across
from the Powder Keg.  Bill, in Sales and Marketing,
says ‘Maybe we’ll use it in an advertising brochure.’

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Goodwill Pilgrimage

by Ralph Monday

 Cleaning out the belongings of the dead
is supposed to be therapeutic, a Dr. Phil
healing, closure needed to be whole.
Going through my uncle's belongings
brought forth the same emptiness as
a recently excavated Roman urn.
His sweaters, blue jeans, dress pants
neatly hung in the closet as though he
had only went to the hardware store for
some nails, screws, a coke pulled ice cold
from an old fashioned machine. A real
coke, flavored with sugar, quality product
the way his World War II generation was
the real deal.

Even after a year the clothes still held his
scent, the way that a rejected lover longily
pines for one last caress. I carried them
to the truck. The faded fabric became a
Necromancer—live or Memorex—and I
rode with him through the Michigan forests,
waded in the stream casting flies for trout.

Only for a time, only for a magician's illusion
where swirling smoke would never suffice, and
permanence promised by the cross he cherished
is like the dry, plastic flowers boxed up for
Goodwill, brittle, never real, left for the collecting
lady in the back of a cluttered store. Put out on
racks for strangers to wear, themselves alien
to the tender mercies that would one day rummage
through mothballed closets.


by Sylvia Cavanaugh

Kids slouch
in and out
of juvie
for skipping school
then detention
tales to pass the time
like the new kid
who tells about the principal
from another state who
got him high and
I almost don’t believe
until the small aside
you know
how old guys
always smoke
the most


by Larry Jones

Get a cup
or a bowl.

Pour in about an inch
of apple cider vinegar.

Cover with Saran Wrap.

Punch in tiny holes.

They can get in
but they can't get out.

Now all you have to deal with
is the guilt.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


by David Subacchi

Half a century within the same space
Inside medieval town walls
Long since demolished
Within sight of castle
And parish church
The sound of town clock bell

Pigs were once driven
Along this street to market
A chapel, undertaker
And print works
Have gradually given way
To residential units

A cobblers and gun shop
Are also no more
The rear yard of a hotel
Is a car park for shop workers
And those who visit the bookmaker
Cars only pass one way

Half a century within the same space
Raised voices at night
From emptying taverns
Wind blowing bottles
Along pavements and gutters
Sighing between the chimneys.


by Brenton Booth

Sunny summers day
laying in bed
at 9:13 am
the penguins drinking
lemonade through
straws while
the green hills
of Africa kick a
penalty goal
and my neighbours
have all gone to
work and
all I can hear
is the tiny famished
birds in the courtyard
the soft rain at
Machu Picchu
the planes flying
into space;
the garbage now empty
and clowns already
taken away
wide awake on a morning
that reminds me of what
could be
if things went as they should.

The Wolf Throws a BBQ

by Ed Werstein

The first two ran
to their brother’s
when their houses fell.

All three of them thought
they were safe inside.
Then it hit me
like a ton of---

This one was brick!
Just like Old MacDonald’s smokehouse.

I had straw--
a houseful,
and plenty of sticks
from the second one.

With these bellows-for-lungs
all I needed was a match and ...

Oh, brother!
I invited the whole pack over for the feast.

All the dogs in town came by to beg.
Every once in a while
we threw one of them an ear.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Totem Poles

by Will Monigold

Watching a drunken man cry
Flopping jellylike in a heap
Along a bad street
That smells like piss.
“They can spend
A billion dollars
On the moon” he says
“But they can’t make
A safe place to walk.”
He’d cut his finger
On a broken bottle.
“He’s Kwakiutal,”
The other man says
Like that explained everything.
“They can’t hold their liquor.”
He laughs a toothless laugh.
We help the Kwakiutal man
Onto the sidewalk.
Prop him up against a dumpster.
“I’m Makah” the other man says
“We don’t have that problem.”
He laughs again
Showing all of his empty mouth.
“He carves totem poles”
The Makah man says.
“He’s famous
Everyone knows him.”


by Meghana Mysore

The TV stations come alive:
Finally they have something worthwhile to say.
“8.0 magnitude…shattering…”—
adjectives and descriptions galore.

But how did she die?
One night, before bed, she was routinely checking
 her phone for updates. She hungered for the updates;
they were a kind of sustenance.
She was ‘connected’ on various mediums—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest—
so she must’ve never been lonely.
Each night the updates would flood her screen, but she wasn’t
afraid of the flooding.
That night, she propped herself up on her pillow.
She’d lusted for more updates,
so she kept checking as the moon palled
and the rest of the world slept.
Refresh. Update. Likes? Favorites? Refresh. Update. Retweet? Retweet?


5:32 A.M. She checked again.
But this time, by accident, she deleted all her messages
And e-mails
And tweets
And Instagram photos
And Pinterest pins.
And the hurricane
swooped in like a preying hawk—
Amanda no longer liked her status,
Brad no longer favorited her tweet,
Emily no longer commented on her photo—

And it took
Every remnant
Of her being
Until there was nothing left.

Dei Profundis Waiting

by Sy Roth

So I hock a loogie,
A gray sticky mass
loosed  in disgust
profundity in name only--
instead a fear projectile.

Somewhere deep  congealed like muddy frozen ice--
Converts into a soul cleansing expectorant.
Perhaps to become a signal to extraterrestrial beings.

New sidewalk amoeba hurled at the earth--
News at 10.

How else to express disgust--
attention getting somewhen, but
cat-o-nine tails?

You haven’t been at all attentive,
could care less about the  others
converted into looped Seinfeld episodes.

I’ll suck the loogie from the floor,
if forgiven their trespasses.

They trusted--
cheeks pulled in with bated breath
for an answer--
hollow-cheeked faces fear the ocean’s depth,
they see Jonah’s fate played out in
xylophonic rhythms.

Their sentries watch--
ready their clarion call.

While I waited.
Dawn broke,
nothing from the earless entity,

time weighted eternities…

while the loogie rests curbside,
Penitential vestige.

Graveled voice

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tierra Del Fuego

by Todd Mercer


Charles Darwin on the original Fuegians (1833): “…when pressed in winter by hunger they kill and devour their old women before they kill their dogs”

Captain Robert FitzRoy
of The Beagle, at sea,
12 September 1830:
“…under my command, four natives of Tierra Del Fuego:
York Minster, 26
Boat Memory, 20
James Button, 14
Fuegia Basket
     (a girl), 9”

Peter Nichols, in Evolution’s Captain (2003)
“…his experiment had been a total disaster because they had reverted to savaging; their civilisation had been a gloss.”

Dallas Murphy, in Rounding the Horn (2004): “Boat Memory’s real name was never recorded.”


Benny’s Chevy Blazer taunted death. The mechanic favored euthanasia. Instead Benny sold it

to Guatemalan migrants. He asked a C-Note,
scrap price. Low enough to avoid guilt,
the proceeds covered burgers, beers,
a cultured excursion
to the nudie bar.

Six weeks later,
Benny then flat broke five weeks, his clap

received mail, a snapshot
of said Guatemalans,
and the Blazer,
on southern-most blacktop.
It ran perfectly.

Benny arson-ated his building, snapped
a Polaroid of the flames, posted it
to Argentina. He was ten thousand miles
from his road’s end,

but there’s more than one
land of fire.


Miles from the southernmost town, Ushuaia, Argentina to:

Buenos Aires—1473
New York—6584

Google Maps sez: “Sorry, we could not calculate directions from 76 Auburn Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 to Road’s End, Ruta Provincial J, Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina”

Average distance a Chevy Blazer lasts after Benny’s mechanic gave up hope, besides Benny’s: halfway to the gas station.

Distance between this barely fictionalized incident and the present: 23 years, 1 felony.

55° 58′ 48″ S, 67° 17′ 21″ W
-55.98, -67.289167

jack and the giant jukebox

by John Grochalski

jack can’t get the jukebox to play
goddamned digital….he says

people are laughing at him
because they’ve been laughing at him for years

i just want to play a little grateful dead

he says it
it sounds like begging

we watch jack and the giant jukebox
that takes up half the wall in this place

it turns into a camera
white light is flashing throughout the bar

on the screen there are pictures of a frustrated jack
trying to put dollar bills in the machine

pictures of him squinting
pictures of him in a half-curse
jack’s jack daniels hat cocked sideways
his fat, red winedrunk face illuminated

it’s a status update, hashtag bonanza

jack says, if i wanted this kind of abuse
i could’ve gone home to drink

a few of us look at the glass of white wine
that he left behind for what seems like days now
then go back to singing summer wind

jack puts another dollar in the jukebox
it spits it back out
plays a song from its archives

as the telling pictures fade from the screen
and turn back into images of half-naked pop stars
puckering up for all of us saturday evening drunks

i don’t get it, jack says
i worked in computers for twenty-five years
but this….

my wife gets off of her stool to help him

last week in the liquor store
i paid for the rest of jack’s bottle of white
because he didn’t have enough change on him

when we see him on the street
we laugh and point and say, there goes good old jack

my wife gets the jukebox to work

a little grateful dead, jack says
sitting back down like a twenty-first century master

he takes a pull on his white
begins drumming on the bar

i can’t tell if it’s a jerry song or one sung by bob weir

but things are suddenly looking up
for us in here tonight

as the bartender sets two shot glasses in front of us
and says, the next round is on me.


by Marc Carver

Some men are great
and some
have greatness thrust up their arse like a big tumour.
Some men believe themselves to be great
but don't even come close.

Some really believe it
when others say they are great
that is the most dangerous of times
because most people believe what they want to believe

But it is not in the so called greats
that there is much
it is the different people
that I look at
and see diamonds


by Roy Dorman

He had fallen into the bushes
while reaching down
to turn off the outside faucet for the hose.
He now lay there on his back for a bit,
crushing some of his treasured,
just-watered perennials,
not knowing if he should laugh or cry.
He almost certainly would crush
a few more of the ferns and jack-in-the-pulpits
in the process of rolling over to get back up.
The longer he thought about it,
the more he was leaning toward laughter

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hommage à Marcel Duchamp
(Joseph Cornell, construction)

by Neil Ellman

Gone now
there is only the nil and void
of an empty shadow box
once filled with objects
manufactured, re-invented
in his mind
he as ready-made as them
larger than their art
than any box can hold
steel- and porcelain-words
with no meaning
other than themselves
no reason
other than the tangible
nor of himself
Art, then, is himself
re-invented in his mind
a shadow in a box.

Daylight Savings Time

by Tom Hatch

I am on this train again the Monday morning
After the Sunday when daylight savings
Time is withdrawn from our daily account
So it is lighter this morning than last Monday
Looking out the window a chain link fence
Moves past at maybe 40 MPH
Gliding through the brick yard sort of Lego town
Cement mixers, bricks, flag stone and
Drainage pipes for a patio up north next spring
Opens onto the Norwalk river looking east
The crewing teams are practicing rowing slicing 5 inches
In the white parting water this is passed to the next
Station boarding more fellow commuters
Aw there she is amongst the sleep walkers
A beauty sailing up the isle
I have an empty seat next to me
She keeps walking as a look of cold across
Her face a snub to the empty seat out the window
A lighted sign on the side of a building "At Your Service"
With the "E" burnt out dark holes left cracks
in the cinder block then the chasing view opens
To Long Island Sound my eyes
Journey to the distant island
As an on coming train a brush stroke of
Blurring light blue and grey an exhale thinking
Of the beauty snubbed as we pass
Over the state line of months till
We deposit DLST in our daily account again.


by Bradford Middleton

My only grip on anything sane has gone
And with my phone line goes my mind
As no more conversations with the outside world
Now it’s just me and this damn town
Where it appears I only know a few
And all of them are out of their minds

Out of their minds on isolation and solitude
Something I can really relate to now
Stuck at home with no company except my mind
And when that unravels it leaves me just wanting
A shoulder to cry on maybe
Or even just someone sane to talk to

But now the only thing I can get
Is more isolation and solitude as I
Struggle to raise the funds for any thing
Except a cheap happy hour drink and
An occasional toke on some medicine
To make me forget all the problems

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris


Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible. (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Iconographer’s Junction

by Todd Mercer        

The idiot boy, now a man,
mans the railway station bench
in vigilance. He’s fed up. He filled
a pillowcase with keepsakes
to take on the train which stopped
stopping eons back, the tracks themselves
pulled up for scrap in the Seventies.

The odds against the nine-fifteen express
pulling in to the depot
are astronomical but not
wholly impossible. This is the son
of one who monologues her particular
despairs to angels, and to her friend
the Virgin Mary icon on the
living-room’s door-facing wall.

Mary made it bearable, the burden,
raising such a sedentary runaway, on lucid prayer
and stories of the trains that used to pass. The mother
keeps immaculate, in case of The Rapture, saving
herself for a linked string of life events
that haven’t run this country route,

yet. There’s her aging boy-child
out on the departure platform,
choosing belief over facts, hearing
a steam whistle shrieking. Mother says,
“Tea kettle.” Mary
pours the boiling water
over leaves.

the good times are killing me

by John Grochalski

we wait for seth to say
time for vodka shots?
as if that’s the question of the hour

three beers deep
a bottle or so of wine at home to be consumed

forty years old and for some reason
i keep hanging on to all of this

when i want so hard to stop and let go

the good times are killing me
and seth and you and everyone who’s always in here
the stomach burns and the sides hurt
only what the doctors don’t know won’t hurt ‘em

cheers, seth says
he’s not trying to be ironic but…

we take the shots down and he says,
man, all i want is my girl back

even though she cracked his face a few times
and left him knee deep in family misery

but abandonment makes the heart grow fonder
or so i’ve been told

and when seth picks up our pints
for round four on the house
there’s no point in stopping him
because we know where the real joy comes from

so i slouch off the stool
to put two more greenbacks in the juke

hear seth talking to you
the same sad story over and over again

his redundancy as brilliant as ours

the american dream in full bloom here
this lonely afternoon.                                          


by Nancy Scott McBride

Better than we
cell phones know

communication between us
is down.

We punch in numbers and are
sent straight to voice-mail.

We're on the road and
don't pick up or

we're in the shower and
cannot hear.

Machines receive our calls/cries and
record our sad/mad messages.

Our ears/hearts are not in service at this
crucial time or

have been temporarily
dis   connected.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


by Nancy Soriano

Beta living in a wine glass. She stopped taking pictures her senior year. The vivid faces of her peers had retained their tones across the ages. These stills did them no justice. She kept them within her memory. Releasing them as the years dragged on without them. The last of her year. She had seen both World Wars. She had watched as her grandchildren died of pneumonia. Last week, she had witnessed a shooting in the local elementary school. The world was full of bees, wasps, and yellow jackets. Distinguishing between didn't get easier with age.


by Madison Volz

He cut his feet on bladed grass
Sitting in our silenced nonsense
Watching beer bottle eyes
Being young the illness
Symptoms based on stupidity

He was just a boy
To naïve to swallow the truths
She loved him
But not his father
The new guys were “just friends”

Exciting in a short time
He couldn’t know  
Drunks are attracted to light
A glowing beam of a Chevy
Caught his attention

Waking to breaking news
His mother never
Did look good
Dressed in black

Breathing Room

by David Klein

Death can come
and if I’m ready I’ll have him
under the sheets or on an asphalt
bed on a summer roof Rihanna
blasting to the max over street noise
a mongrel choir
fierce and clamoring
no psalm
no hymn rising
just What Is

On the Q train into Brooklyn
heading home from work
among the piled bodies on the Ferryman’s raft,
a life’s work
tallied on a MetroCard
we’ll shoulder ourselves breathing room
and do our thing, baby
just wail away
while the corpses dangle from handrails,
plugged into their music with its hackneyed ecstasies

I’ll give death a run for his money
kiss him on the mouth
blow breath into him
clasp legs hard around his waist
and past the end of time
we’ll dance

Closing of the Last Poolroom
In Downtown Huntington, West Virginia (1977)

by Philip Bartram

Two floors down at fourth
And tenth, I enter the warped
Wooden doors, losing
The wane in my body, taking
Some odd stalking form void
Of mind and blood and bone.
And then to the right, I
Sink slowly into the vinyl
Upholstery of a worn chair
Not wanting another occupant,
Content with its features
And solitude along the wall.
In the air before the wake,
Chestnut finished tables, each with
Diamond-honed slate and rams’
Horn legs, feel the subtle trembling
Of moist hands beneath the hooded
Pop-eyed lights swung above.
Curtis sweats the action, knows
The hand’s small trembling
That stiffens the arm,
But keep it coming on the snap,
Down hard on the nine, shoot the
Moon and win a zillion.
I rise and move within the room
In the intimate dance of locksmiths,
Each with bird’s eye maple and ebony
Pronged cues, each studying the invisible
Geometrical lines and isosceles triangles
That crisscrosses the tables.
Gray wisps of stogie smoke
Rise and hang forever, I watch the
Procession of odd marks escorted in turn
By Bottles, the thumb-less rack boy,
To the nearest open table from the door
And the solitary female beyond,
Waiting in split-thigh dress, stockings
And air-cracked rouge from lost sermons.
In the absence of misted perfume
And lipstick-stained cigarette butts, Bottles
Shuffles between the tables, removes
The dust covers and brushes
The short woolen felt.  In surgical order,
White cotton hand towels and blue
Cubed chalk are placed on the short
Hardwood rails.  At the head spot, the wooden
Triangle bemoans fifteen precise-cut spheres,
Each seeking its own space.
In the streaming of soft light,
A proposition becomes a breath that
Condenses on the cold concrete walls
Only to vaporize again.  The solid-six ball
Morphs, becomes the seven or black
Eight and the break.
Curtis, tapped out, becomes
A railbird.  A mark begins a low dull
Moan or a shunted prayer.  Whitey takes a kiss
And finds the side pocket.  On a corner table,
A masse twists in wild excitement around
A cluster of striped balls, kicks the twelve
Gently in the corner pocket, and comes to
Rest against the end rail.  With each
Windpipe-tight asphyxiating shot, each
Mark, each victim, in turn takes the complexion
Of a faded two ball with one last
Insufficient lung-filling gasp.
Where none shows his true speed,
Road men and stake-horse players
Loot on the lemon, taking caches of
Union wages or lost mortgages chipped by
Callused hands from coal-black seams
Deep underground.
Now, the ivory-ferrule scalpel
Makes one last delicate cut.
The mark supine on the hard
Italian slate closes his eyes
One time and forever.  I watch the
Discoloring of flesh and know it.
Again and again and again
In the cold and barren room,
Bottles lays out the stiffs,
Each his own slab, his own particular
Peace, none leaving a moist trace
Of hope on the small mirror.
As the last dust cover is replaced,
Curtis, Joe Smarts, and Preacher depart
By the back stairs leaving no memento
Of the Ecclesiastics behind.
Outside, the lone female smiles faintly,
Adjusts her blouse once and moves on.
In impassioned stiffness, the
Poolroom moves awkwardly into
Shadows, freed from the endless action
Of pupil-dilated moochers,
Strings and bank shots, and
The hand’s small trembling.
The sudden and final closing of
Warped doors go unnoticed in
The cracked redbrick streets above,
Where shoppers and jaded politicians
Mingle and talk of chance fortunes and
Bourbon-street salvation.
I walk south and then right
On sixth avenue.  A gentle wind blows
And the rain feels warm
On my face.  I fear turning to
Look back where I have been,
Fear the moment when the
Stare becomes permanent and
My salt-bone corpse begins to
Dissolve.  The Henry W. T. Mali
In my hand is out of place in
The non-Euclidean lines
Of traffic around me.

Zen 5

by Aashish Thakur

I ate your body
And slept happily
Hunger kills love.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Haida Dancer

by Craig Brandis

The Haida people live where the land
wants to end but can't quite.

Overturned by muscle,
I went there seeking new ways to see.

I found some of their daily wealth—
endless butter clams in the tide's outstretched arms.

On a linen nightstand for hungry daydreams,
I saw a longhouse fire in old Haida eyes peering back at me

with a stare that saw beyond the horizon
as an eagle dancer from a high-prowed war canoe.

for Tom Shapcott

by Stefanie Bennett

Now you've returned
From the Baltics
Hurling broken oars
At the Strait's
An irrepressible
Beckons -:
                Klee's aspic
Renaissance and
Eluard's "The wind,
Undecided, rolls
A cigarette of air..."

Within the Charnel House
You're knee-high deep
... Hesitating.
It's not
Passe fanaticism that
Coagulates -,
But the knowledge
Of it.


by Daniel De Santiago

Naturally, a dog's vision is in black and white. Choosing to see through their eyes, I relive the 60’s. This time, the leash takes me out for a walk while the clinking of the collar keeps me awake. Further down Memory Lane, voyeurists dressed in pinups and jumpers align themselves across Harley Avenue. Baked smells and barber shops. Volkswagen vans zoom by to the nearest cinema playing a film that is all too convenient. Looking farther into the distance, nociceptors kick at the back of my head. I shouldn’t peer past the rolling hills. Meaning that I should resign with the dog that is as blind as I am. The nearest park houses a bench for us to rest as the city welcomes me, and everyone else going for a walk, too.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

New York Babies At Night Time

by Rhyan Moncrief

Glowing storefronts illuminated 
both the skies and the stars with glistening undercoats
the streets were dense under urine and booze
spilled by boys who yelled at girls
happy to have their push up bras 
it was that summer we read Catcher in the Rye
We overflowed with privilege 
and hated it

In June we graduated 
from middle school
you found out that your father was cheating
on the women he cheated on your
mother with
& in July, I kissed you for the first time
I let you feel me up a little
because I couldn't help getting uneasy
plus you said it was nothing
Most nights we couldn't contain ourselves
shouting ideas as fast as taxi cabs
we couldnt run
our still-growing bodies
into the ground
We were raging rebellions
against the red lights
Back then we thought we knew how life worked
like the palms of each others hands 
By September
our fingers were callused from the monkey bars
and twisting the caps off of beer bottles
I took a pill from my mom's drawer and still couldn't stop dreading the 
sleepiness beneath my skull
We inhaled marijuana that filled 
the tinted air
between the

Too Big To Fake

by Donald Brandis

a story from an age of disbelief
of a lobster dancing with a porcupine, a badger with a crane
unlikely to the very border of impossible
we are suddenly much older
a teenage zombie morphed to a ragged camel
aged field-gray with a Hubble eye
watching Death approaching from the far side of the universe
as it has through all of the universe's life
not as a foreign agent but as a hidden intimate
like God whose necessary unknowns
like unstoried dark matter and dark energy
are most of what spin the visible universe

even in an age of disbelief
stories arise from the same necessity as God
not in detail but in being
strings of creative compromises of order with novelty
with no need to convince but only to entertain
settle back; we are not here to rule
we are only audience even to our own stories
a lobster dancing with a porcupine, a badger with a crane

A Death in the Family

by Donal Mahoney

Sometimes it helps to learn
a relative has died
a close relative you haven’t

seen in years and didn’t plan
to see again because
you haven’t talked in years

and wouldn’t talk again unless
you met in heaven or perhaps in hell
and God or Satan said

it’s too late now to harbor hate
why not shake hands--
and that may happen yet

if the two of you should soar
beyond the clouds or
plummet to the coals

and find yourselves together
in the same place forever.
The two of you always knew

where the other one would go
and too late now you both
may be surprised.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Envied like so Many Flamingos Missing Carotenoid

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

In contrast, yesterday’s enlivened “communication,”
Opened up politics which otherwise served warmongers,
Who envied like so many flamingos missing carotenoid.

Disputes that lasted for several laundry cycles,
In one corner of that sovereign homeland,
Perpetuated more regular instances of danger.

Again, tendencies toward sterility of thought,
Encouraged no dialogs among occupied persons,
Failed to balance proffered battle opportunities.

You see, authenticity’s yet iconicized in shiny things.
Unpleasantness still gets perpetuated on YouTube.
Civilization’s bunk, like elephant waste, remains destructive.

If only more frequent instances of safety,
More wholesome depictions of self (suited to esteem),
Got broadcast, we’d find peace among paupers.

Until such a span, reality, online, and in paper form,
Smirks at little children stuck on isles of limited serenity;
Enjoys sticking its tongue out at witnessed victimhood.


by Nancy May

winter horizon
broken branches
fallen snow

Leaving the High Country

by Craig Brandis

I saw satin knife blades sweeping the skin
from the carcass and returning  to their sheathes.

A herd of elk leaving the high country
swimming through a sea of blue stars.

The Predawn Hike

by Tom Hatch

We set out as we said the night before
Predawn off Tudor Road to Devils Den
The almost shadowless trees across the trail
The air being watched through eyes of Uncas
Or Magua they do not know us their arrows
And muskets pointed at the sound of our way
seen behind
Birch bark and pine I swear I smelled gunpowder
And heard Hurons
From my youth pop gun caps pop
Shredder red paper like blood on the ground
Pulling my son into the dry creek bed
Shimming elbows to trunks
We climbed up two different pines I
Hoping to see all the tomahawks and knives
Ready for our scalps
The dream of youth The Last of the Mohicans
High up in pine trees my son staring at me
Twenty feet off the reality of ground
Like what is this all about?
The sunrise shone embarrassed me of my
Youthful thoughts
Finished our hike covered in sap
Camouflaged with pine needles
Stuck to the view of the Saugatuck reservoir
A half mile away
the sun in control
The tiny sight with binoculars enlarged
Two Narragansett dismounts side stepping pacers inch
By inch into the water rippling blue (Danube)
In a waltz disappearing away from
The shore my youth
I stared into his youth he throwing rocks over the
High cliff of his days I sat and watched
As the two black horses extinct as my
Youth disappeared like the Dodo bird
That could not fly but walked away

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Gift Logic Can’t Buy

 by Donal Mahoney

My boss has a problem with God
or rather a problem with me
because I believe in God
and he doesn’t.
Or so we discover
while taking a break
at a big convention.
I hope I don’t lose my job.

We’re in a bar with Lady Gaga
pouring from the juke box.
My boss has a whiskey sour
and I’m nursing a Coke.
God help me.

He doesn’t believe
faith is a gift no one’s
guaranteed but knows
some folks have it
and others don’t.
Why is that, he asks,
finishing his sour,
signaling for another.

I tap into memories
from philosophy class
and recite the proofs
for the existence of God
some folks accept
and others deny.
My boss sees the logic
but still doesn’t believe.
So I sip my Coke and say
faith is a gift logic can't buy.

A few more drinks and he asks
what a man must do
if he wants to believe.
Ominous, I think, but here goes.
My wife, after all, has a job
with benefits.

I tell him to ask the God
he doesn’t believe in
to grant him faith.
Ask Him more than once
and if he receives it
he will be amazed
that someone
like me believes.

Hail Mary

by Al Ortolani

The sycamore is bone
white in winter, the few
straggling leaves like bats,
wings curled, hanging
loosely against the mottled sky.
The jay in the oak
complains of the gray squirrel,
bending limbs, leaping
like a ghost
to connect the branches.
The blue sky is brief. It separates
the clouds—a flotilla
scudding west. The sun
falls between the shadows
of the house. The sycamore
stretches across the walk—
one boney finger to the door,
one hand open to turn the knob.
We are home, plates in the sink,
the television flickering football.
My uncles are a reflection in the end zone,
the family face, the muscle,
the bone, the game clock
ticking through another Thanksgiving.
Johnny Unitas in black high tops
drops into the pocket
to heave a last-ditch prayer
into the lights.

Paul Repossessed

by Donald Brandis

the moon a slice of melon
a weak lantern over an unsettled sea
their boat wallowed like the pig it was
a sailor standing beside Paul fresh from a visit to Corinth
said then spat overboard
neither guide nor décor but random thought
senseless as the waves of this beachless life
he muttered to himself without passion
Paul heard, considered answering
out of the great shaking reordering he once endured
like a hanging, like a mugging on a dark street
a sunstoke fit lasting three long days and nights
raving and thrashing, spitting up bile
then woke up someone else he was no longer around to recognize
would not have if he was
citizen now of a far country few ever merely visit

'the whole human world is overdue for a good shaking
and it's not far off,' he answered in the same flat undertone
the sailor had used but seemed now not to hear
for just then a huge fish leaped straight up out of the water
shaking off spray and all but dancing on the sea surface
twisting side to side as if to throw off a lined hook
flashing silver blue-green in moonlight suddenly bright as bonfire
for a long moment it hung near the moon like a dark wish almost granted
then diving back into black water it vanished without sound or splash
'Satan?' the sailor asked in the same monotone
'Us,' Paul answered: the sailor nodded


by Marc Carver

"You want to believe in the magic of life
but practacities hold you back
you want to jump
but can't push yourself over the edge
you want chance but like comfort also.
You are waiting but don't know what for.
You don't want fame or fortune
people bending at your knees
but you know you want something
that is always away from your grasp
stretching fingertips.
You will never find it my friend
until you are prepared
to let yourself fall."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

December Journal: Friday, December 6, 2013

by Don Mager

With a Wren’s persistence at a patch
of dry grass, the sun pecks doggedly
at the undersides of ice frozen
on chandalier limbs. In clandestine
caves of starless dark, sleet of evening’s
drive-time rain froze solid.  Half a day
away, ice clings undaunted by the
glaring sun’s affronts and its brazen
onslaughts.  Persistence hails its triumph.
Outbreaks of glee loosen ice chunks to
slip off.  Their silver clatters down to
bare grass’s midday patch, glistering
like the blast from a shattered windshield.
Ice shards drop.  Sun licks.   Ice drops.  Sun licks.


by Marc Carver

Today I had a desire to live
on a roundabout.
Initially I  thought about it
while looking at a small roundabout
then I started to fantazise about bigger ones.
Get a little tent
face one way one day
then sleep another way the next.

Watch cars and people all day long
as they go to work
go to places
have to drive
and I would have my own estate
my free land
I could walk around my island without the sea
and dream forever.
King of the manor.


by Corey Cook

cardinal preaches
from the church steeple -
dust-covered pews

…And The Bottle Is Empty

by Paul Tristram

The forehead of the bone Full Moon
frowns down big, fat and oppressive,
keeping slightly out of punch range.
As a knot of frustration entangles
my mood giving solitude Chinese burns.
There is a stench of death adrift
upon the crippling Winter wind
yet it is almost certainly not bodily.
The Town Clock behind to the right
neurotically tolls another bleak 2am
as I lift my stiff carcass up off this coffin
smooth park bench and walk unsteadily
in an antisocial fashion across to where
the streetlights adamantly refuse to go.
Then with collar up and jaw fixed
I step onto the dusty old Dram Road
to pilgrim into the night alone just like
my Father and Grandfathers before me.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Jack of All Trades Drives Irene to the Hospital

by Al Ortolani

At midnight, Jack robs the lawn mower
for extra gas, drains the tank, tilts the red can
into the garage light. Wearing

his best flannel shirt for the introduction to come—
he and Irene drive country roads
for fifty miles in the beat up Ford—
past the drag strip, the massage parlor, the state line liquor.
He stops at Chubb’s for water.

They run the garden hose into the radiator
and let it fill. Chubb waves good luck, then
more bean fields, more closed signs—
The streets in Joplin are empty, the traffic lights
down Maiden Lane—blink in syncopated yellow.

Jack pats the hood in the parking lot
at Freeman Hospital—the engine block
seeps oil, pings, smokes as it cools.
Wild geese or ducks, he can’t tell which,
honk towards Shoal Creek in low clouds.

By dawn, nothing
looks the same; the Missouri oaks
drop leaves like messages.
Only change is permanent.

Irene resting, daughter in pink.

He celebrates with pancakes
and an oil change—
daydreams about a new wood stove
and a rick of hot popping hedge.

Theogonies—a Dithyramb

by Robert Gross

The power of air
            in the thicket of a shrouded thought
the redemption of the world
                        through water and forgetting
the oven has gone out
the ashcan has fallen

The power of a coin
            in the street—a godlike boulder
the redemption of the world
            through stain and stupefaction

the key chain snaps
the small talk scatters

At the start it was all
            teapots and doilies
                        the proper parson’s parlor
all potpourri
                        and phillipians
the kettle wheezed
                        and it ruptured
            shattering the wedgewood
                                    driving the flock
                        gibbering into jivey dialectics

The power of sleaze
            in the scramble up the stairs
the redemption of the world
            through rock crystal and rot
the mutation of alien thoughts
            in bed and boardroom

What is the dance for
            dry rot and distance
                        the wordless weeping wobble
all chainlink
                        and charleston
the jeté freezes
            at the jolt of a jeremiad
the blindfolded danseur caught
            between barre and backroom
                                    in sharp-ribbed panic

The power of grief
            in the remaking of manifestos
the redemption of the world
            through whirlwind and wisecrack
the tea cosy is split
            the thoroughfare has become a thicket

Freaky Frog King

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Freaky, grotesque, malformed frog,
Upon your slimy stool,
Why promote such warty ways,
Your bayou place, your rule?

You liege of dirt, decrepit, foul,
You fetid beast of earth,
Monarch ‘or tainted bowels,
Sullied passages of firth.

No untarnished throne of gold,
No robe of flowers fair,
No sun-covered royal aides,
Attend your dank, dark lair.

Yours remains an ailing land,
Sewage, tar, smoke, plus pox,
Your dais sits on caving sand,
Your kingdom’s silt and rocks.

However, your odd, speckled skin
Hides a cure most rare,
Thus, homage piles up near your feet
If only for a share.

Wonders of the wider world,
Hide in shocking pots,
Thorny or toxic jugs,
Tend to ferry lots.

Judgments based on airs, it seems,
Weigh by foolish coin,
Breed life’s greatest fears,
But leave answers yet stillborn.

I’d rather kiss a goat, a ram,
Than seek your putrid healing,
Nonetheless, in most things grand,
Aspect’s not revealing.

So, amidst the mire, the muck,
I search your ectothermic pleasure
I kowtow your fossorial might,
I beseech your marine leisure.

Yield your poison juice to me.
Caress my digits nimbly.
Noxious serum’ll set me free,
Venom will discharge me duly.


by D.L. Tricarico

I know all about death
And how when the sun is tame
And the wind is warm
It can be a kind of torture if
The pain still sings in your heart.
I know all about death.
I am intimately familiar with
loss and loneliness
which are really only two
sides of the same coin.
I've heard all about how death comes.
I’ve been told how a music
Plays at the end
That only you can hear
Heavy on power chords, basslines,
and regret. I know it comes
when you need something else
altogether. A new client,
a phone call from your children.
 A tune from The Beatles, maybe.
But then, There it is, in front of you,
staring at you like it does.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Long Distance

by Bill Jansen

32nd cousin twice removed (3.47 ERA)
of Earl Skruggs I get jumped
at karaoke sea-lion cave in Forest Grove,
(across from Periscope used book store)
late, but I make it
to 1000th Grand Opening of Bi-Mart,
(across from Ace Hardware).
None of the vehicles in parking lot
are later than 1952.
There is a persistent rain
that smells of Old Spice
but the truth and the ground
and every other bastard thing is dry.
Lucky Strike model in cocktail dress
lifts me out of my 94 Mazda pickup
and abandons me: a baby smoking a cigarette.
I crawl happily toward the store entrance.
1946 in a cottage near a clover leaf
in New Jersey, the cocktail waitress
has her dress snagged on barb wire
a gallant rapist is holding down with an umbrella.
In the cottage a phone is ringing off the hook.
Will someone please pick up the phone,
unavoidably delayed by a storm
in the path of their migration
the dead are calling collect.

Doll Burning Ceremony

by Tammy T. Stone

a morning just
before rain,
under a swelling grey sky
an incense dome enfolding
hands brushing dreams to face
monks in procession in a
world of honour and
not forgetting

chanting, the souls of
the sweet dead and discarded
my bursting heart
listens to a mournful
purple elegy
little beings piling up below
on the pyre
readying for ascent


by Marc Carver

A group of men come into the pub in Mornington crescent.
They are old,
but looking back on glory days.
It is like watching the carriages of a train
still in and in they come.
I go upstairs to the toilet
it is one of those victorian staircases,
only big enough for one.
I meet one of the gang that just came in,
he is big.
"I think we may struggle here mate." I say.
"I will go back up." He says.
As I pass him I say.
"I am getting a bit portly."
"Are you taking the piss?" He says.
"No I wouldn't  do that." I tell him.
But neither of us
believe that.


by D.L. Tricarico

you have to have patience
for it all
the illness
the death
the supermarket lines where other
humans murder your time
with their stories
and other acts
of routine mundanity.
you have to have patience
for the burdens and the setbacks,
the broken dish,
the stalled cars, the once pure
that have grown rotten
and corrupt, the pressing "1" for
“English,” and
the endless rain and snow.
you have to
have patience for
the difficult child, the late plane,
the loading app,
the keyboard key that sticks
and changes your entire message.
you have to have patience
for it all,
until you see
how it’s slowly killing you
and only then
do you realize
that you have to have
patience with yourself,
hoping all of those you love
survive once you finally snap.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


 by Leila A. Fortier

In the great tradition of Rabiʿa al-Basri, who as an eight century Sufi mystic and poet is regarded as the first female saint of Sufism, setting forth the doctrine of Divine Love, the poems in Numinous seem to arise from the deepest memories of humankind and a communion with the spirit.

The Camel gives it Four Hooves Up.  That's as in Buy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

totem animal

by Joe Milford

as a child told of beasts
as a boy reading of beasts
as a boy being a beast
as a man killer of beasts
as a man eater of beasts
as a man maker of beasts
as a beast afraid of men
as a beast masked as a man
as a beast killed to mask beasts
as a beast becoming a man
as a man recalling ancient beasts
as a man a dying beast
as a man an archive of beasts
as a beast shedding a man’s skin
inside this skin a beast and a man
inside this skin the child taught by beasts
who exited the womb with those masks

Jacaranda Tree Bar

by Tim Tipton

The five o'clock whistle wheels.
It is nearly dusk.  Darkness surrounds
a perfect sunset.
All the men are coming home.
Wives run out to meet them.
It's a clear clean night.
But the only thing my father wants
is waiting for him in a magic circle
within the best bar in town.
As daylight begins to slowly fade,
my father is torn. Between his
responsibility to my mother,
to   his minimum wage
job as a roust-about in the oil field
and the pull he feels
toward jacaranda tree
bar at the corner
from our house.


by Jim Bennett

over to the east  the moon is rising
full as a fruit bursting with light

burning through high cirrus clouds
its sunlight with a halo of ice

it is not be that way or any other
just because you say it is

tomorrow will not shine like a diamond
no matter how much you polish it

a stain is growing weeping further
down the wall   a grey ghost passing

I see nothing in your eyes now
sunglasses are so bright

strange dreams

by Linda M. Crate

with laughter in his lips
she sips
preying upon all my fears
telling me
every heart ache i wished i'd never
had to hear,
strangers lie in my bed where sweet
dreams used to sing;
i don't know where these nightmares
got their confluence over me
but they exude
a confidence
that evades me when the night strangles
out every last whisper of
light from moon beam or distant star—
now all my dreams are strange
whether good or bad,
and nothing is every what it seems
in these dreams
one face morphs into another
enemies become friends and friends enemies
and family turns both into angels and
monsters to attack me
when my back
is turned;
like love lust
this unrequited strangeness between night and
day stings,
and i pause because i don't know how
to color in these strange lines
so i color outside them

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Burning Bush

by Ralph Monday

I do not know your god filtered
through you, speaking tongues,
where you sit like a broken Roman
statue reciting Etruscan.
How can I know this spirit language
that is plucked from thought’s burning
bush? Ask, and I will give you a god,
a great Grecian urn, cracked, singed
black by the fires of dead dialects
that does not speak language of the
living. Run your tongue over its fissures,
taste the waters pooled in dry desert
oasis. Fill it with all the dross of your
years: anger toward mother, father, husband’s
suicide, intoxicated philosophies only you
can decipher, days of cum and roses, black
spots on the heart singed from a welder’s torch.
Mix it all together like a spell in a witch’s
cauldron, write that ink on a granite wall,
let the god tongue split you open through
an aria’s incantations. You will be no more
whole than the butchered underbelly of a sow.
All the gods long ago retreated to the sky
when they could no longer replace the faces
of women shivered by their dark tongues.
Words do not fill emptiness. Words make
the empty, the infinite void spoke into
being before the tongues came through you.

At the Mall

by James Babbs

he walks with a limp
hair as white as snow
shuffles over and
sits himself down
on the bench next to me
keeps adjusting his leg
until he’s comfortable
looks at me and grins
what’s a young guy like you
sitting down for
he asks
I grin right back
tell him
I’m not that young
and I like to come here
and watch people
I hear him chuckle
but his face
doesn’t seem to change
me too he says
but when you get to be my age
you’ve pretty much seen it all


by Amit Parmessur

On her way to the scarred cliff she
smelled the burning sunflowers again.
She saw a wheelchaired centenarian,
his head hanging with warm snow;
he gave her a rope and a sword.

Once there, she quickly rubbed
her hands in the dust before choking,
slitting and dumping dexterously
her dead heart into the wild wind
for play, pleasure and peace.

Her eyes did not drip.
She sacrificed many more body
parts as grey smoke from nearby
camp fires wreathed slowly up.
She relished the struggle for breath.

Till, renewed, everything crept back
rolling like shiny drums to tell her
that life isn’t a sacred book,
or a scared feather.
She dug a lush grave
for her tears and became a
spectacle for the white clouds.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Petal Stuck in Dictionary

by Joe Milford

Mélange collage barrage pantheon
Serpent sylvan cistern sylph symposium
Organ xanthium tundran sap gum arboretum
Skywatch rover-monitor satellite videodrome
Interpolitician scalpel gyration in ammodium
Destitute-tron on terrible track no stopping fuel
I wish you would make me a flower, that’s all
Pantheon serpent tundra sap-mouth abuser
Sky merchant lying to the destitute for drones
A symposium of those who know to break you is $
Gyrations in the auditoriums as the welcomed
Stars burn down upon the concrete with their steps
I rove in and amongst the best and worst and say
I wish you would make me into a flower; that’s not impossible

middle school blues

by J.J. Campbell

a sixth grade
student got up
from her lunch
table with all
her friends and
walked to the
restroom on the
other side of the
school and hung

she was found
later in the day
by another

there was no note
left and weeks later
the whole community
is still dumbfounded

i'm sure it'll come
out that there were
drugs involved
or the mean girls
started calling her
a whore
or her parents
disciplined her for
not getting straight

none of that matters
to me

all i can think about
is how i would've
never had the guts
to do that when i
was that age

i guess girls do
mature faster than

The End of the Frontier

by Michael Ceraolo

The history books told us
(and maybe they still do,
I don't know)
the frontier was closed in 1890,
                                              an event
trumpeted with great fanfare by the Census Bureau,
                                                                           an event
posited as an important development
by a famous historian,
no longer able to play cowboys and Indians for real
changed the country somehow,
the exploitation and despoliation
just moved overseas

To a lesser degree,
has been posited as a second closing:
the year when, for the first time,
more Americans lived in urban than rural areas
(the definition of "urban area"
makes this questionable as well)

I offer a third alternative,
unremarked upon at the time,
almost unremarked upon now:
the frontier ended in 1956,
on a day and date unknown,
for the first time in the country's history
more people worked for someone else
than worked for themselves

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Teasing Mielina

by Amit Parmessur

If spring has another face, it’s yours;
on each thread of your holy head
there’s a golden drop of honey.
There are flaming swords always
busy carrying beauty
from one pink lip to another.
And in the honeycomb of your
brown eyes dwells a child,
buzzing with stingy questions,
while adoring divine idols
more than her own saintly soul.
As solid as your chair,
as parliamentary as owls
sits a queen who knows
honey isn’t far from the sting.
Your voice cuts
my morning blues and urges
my scars to commit suicide like
drones crashing into hard clouds.
Like you, the future promised
to last forever and
when you play in the rain
to whet your moles made from
two million flowers
I always go
tell the bees of you;
your dream isn’t to spy on
the moon and honey making
wild love on their honeymoon;
it’s to hear me hum your name
before I enter the ocean.


by Roy Dorman

Driving a narrow country road on an overcast winter day,
I pass a large woods
And can see more than half way into it.

Bare trees and equally bare underbrush,
The floor a foot or more of snow;
Nothing much going on in there.

Passing that woods in summer,
I wouldn’t be able to see
More than ten feet from the road into the woods.

I know during the summer
There’s a lot going on in there;
All sorts of flora and fauna activity.

These and similar concerns
I’ve registered complaints about over the years
Continue to go unanswered.


by Marc Carver

 A man walked past my window by the park
then I saw his dog.
I started to whistle,
that famous dog whistle.
The dog started to look around
as the man walked on looking into
the world which was his mobile phone.

I kept whistling as he kept walking.
All of a sudden
the dog sprinted off in the other direction
as if he had just heard the gun in the 100 metres sprint.

After a while the man started to shout for him
but in the end he gave up
and walked back the other way.
He has not come back,
so you could say
the dog was taking the man for a walk.

Yellow Crop Duster

by James Babbs

I hear the roar before I see it
and the sun brightens the color
against the blue of the sky
the plane makes a sharp turn
before swooping down again
coming in low over the corn
the pesticide like smoke
billowing from the rear
so close
I can see the pilot’s face
and I try to imagine
my own self up there
flying above the green fields
holding it straight
before suddenly pulling up
at the last possible moment
soaring into the light

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Spring Eternal

by Reena Prasad

Under the clear water, my toes explored
smooth, brown pebbles
while a white thorth swung like a hammock between us
Little fish darted about in our white pool
unaware of its cottony limits
till we let them go free into the
filtered sunlight dancing on the pebbles
Beautiful in her red pavada and blouse
and a kumkum spot between her brows
I admired her wordlessly-
silver anklets, long black hair, apples everywhere
and a crinkly smile.

I met her yesterday -
this lovely sister of mine. Still smiling
but with wrinkles where a dimple once lived
with broken toe nails, sparse, grey
a dried apricot- her beauty all squeezed out
Then I saw her daughter
and found the reservoir intact again

thorth- thin,cotton towel
pavada- long, flowing skirt common in Kerala
kumkum- turmeric/saffron with slaked lime( bright red powder)

October Death

by Ralph Monday

October in Tennessee, the fields
speckled with wildflowers like
pennies shook from a piggy bank:
goldenrod, swamp thistle, ironweed.

Frost will soon take them, crusted
white like sea salt, dying seeds
scattered by the wind fretfully
finding root for hoped resurrection.

You are dead to me. I cannot grow you.
Your leaves crumpled, sickly brown
forest rot spread over black tree roots,
perished stone, abandoned, dry, insect husks.

You do not bloom for an artist’s love.
Yours is the Judas season.
The quiescent center spat upon,
Nothing can bloom from your tangled roots.


by John Porter

The day train clanks
hungover through
birch, bog, sepia dacha
back to Moscow from Petersburg's white nights.
Somewhere on the curve of Stalin's finger
we share corridor counterfeit Marlboros
with a one eyed steel toothed chatterer
recounting his daring in battles from a war
he was too young to have fought in,
suddenly he grasps my elbow,
points and whispers,
"That's the field, right there, that's where the mines went off
and I was the only one left",
and we all stare at the still grass of the flatlands,
unending and unguarded in the yolky afternoon sun.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


by Paul Tristram

It has taken the fourteen year old boy
less than six hours to realize
that these stinking, merciless streets
are in fact paved with shit not gold.
After narrowly avoiding the offers
of a warm meal, a safe place to sleep,
friendship, trust and understanding.
From the vampiric paedophile clergy
hanging around the greasy-spoon cafes
of Euston Station wearing smiling
old man faces hiding the vultures inside.
He was abruptly robbed of his last £3:50
and beaten black and blue somewhere
upon the cold, unforgiving underground
by a gang of older homeless boys.
After recovering for 20 minutes or so
in the cold recess of a Bank side door
he lucked it and managed to cadge £2
off a very nice Salvation Army lady
(who reminded him of what he thought
an Aunty should sort of look like?)
selling poppies outside of a subway.
He bought himself sausage and batter
and chips and devoured them hungrily,
even sucking the warm dampness out
of the Styrofoam tray and newspaper.
Afterwards he went over to Hyde Park
where he felt better for a little while
(even noticed his own breathing again)
until the rain fell down like retribution
soaking him completely to the very bone.
Now it’s 2 hours after dark and he’s
climbed a boundary wall and is hidden,
curled up on a doorstep at the back
of a church singing quietly to himself
the only song that he still remembers
from childhood ‘Show me the way
to go home, I’m tired and I want to go
to bed. I had a little drink about an hour
ago and it’s gone right to my head’
All the while knowing that there is no
home only survival, there is no future
only today, there is no hope for anything
wider than his next warm meal and the
cleverness needed to problem solve this.


by Claudia Rey

Buy a new mobile
set calendar, time and date
and feel sooo clever

autumn wonder

by Linda M. Crate

i love autumn and all
her colors
splashing life in a
too oft devoid of
light and laughter,
her chorus of leaves will
dance with me
in the wings of the
and she never scaled me
in judgment like summer
of freezes me
in winter's coldest
of buries me beneath
flowers that make me feel
she is perfect
in all her laughter
a season
of apples, pumpkins,
and explosion
of giggles
psalmed in the
limbs of
she kissed me
with wonder
and draws me out
into the woods—
i find only animals
but there are
times i find pieces of
myself that i forgot
when the world ridiculed
me years ago.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Camel

by Amit Parmessur

The very first dune in sight,
he threw himself at my back
when he experienced
those emotional deserts.
Despite the cold night
my shamed heart felt dry
when he gave me those callow
and dull looks.

The weight of his calumny
made me feel like a cactus
trying to caress a fragile fish.

And as the moonless wind
blew from the oasis I realized
that it’s not a straw that breaks
the threads of sincerity; it is the
strain of a husband’s wrong words.

But when we reached
the burnt tree I heard him kneel
under the scurrying clouds of guilt.
I grunted with desperate joy.
He never wanted me;
he always wanted my ride.

Wish the dark could
scare the ego off his hooves
and teach him the right balance.

As we crossed the last mound
the stars told me that
I showed him my back
could be overloaded that’s why
he disrespected me and
dribbled the cud of his mistakes
over my rough skin
to call himself perfect.

Let’s hope God catches him
when he falls from the hostile
humps of life’s clamorous circus.

Meanwhile, the walk continues.


by Nancy Scott McBride

raising our cabin-
under the stacks of lumber
mice building their nest

speaking from experience

by J.J. Campbell

there was
a local news
story that
caught my
attention the
other day

the police
arrested an
eight year
old child
that used
crayons to
write out a
bomb threat

i see that
schools still
don't know
what to do
with the

Sunday, November 2, 2014


by Michael Friedman

See the language on the sign
yield to its meaning and be blind
in momentary air, flying fish chased
by ravenous thugs out into the open.
Sailing, slapping, flapping
across the spit-shined floor. The one
you cannot cross without permission from management.

Cause effect the correlative pejorative.
Dare ye be devil among the chosen idea
wrongheaded in tow-away zone
Tire boot clasps your goat
pecked by popular demands in fish school
turn as one dart as another sea within a sea
among reefs clean picked by God knows what
caused warming globe cannot deny
or be in the company of Jesus or Homo erectus,
splattered dung from tongues beatified.
Stand alone and eyes removed one at a time
so you can watch the other go. Warning to those
who defy the even flow, the school weaving the reef,
the mode stands out from the mean. When tools and application
trump investigation. When immediacy is all that matters
and further study boarded up as we’re through here.
Quikrete half used and solidified in the bag
buried at the construction site.
Look into the sun and see what happens.
Pick at scabs and watch the pink tender skin heal
just the same. Lock step, quicksand, narrow purpose
razor thick


by Marc Carver

I looked at the tree,
it was dead,
grey bark
no leaves, in its outstretched hands,
but still it stood tall.

No one, could ever knock down
a tree like that
even in death.

Then I saw,
it was holding
to its last breath.
The job that it had to do,
and I remembered,
what was behind the tree,
the old church
and before that,
the cemetery.
The tree was a warning,
as the dead bodies, creeped into his trunk.

Only one thing was for sure
I would not be coming past there at night.


by Bradford Middleton

This time tomorrow I’ll be speeding my way home, away from this town that keeps me down
A whole week to escape, relax and wash off the effects of living this kind of life
A whole week where the streets will be different to those I’m bored of walking around
A whole week when I’ll have a sane conversationalist with whom to inter-act

Home is many miles from here; in a different country in fact
Where a different language, currency and way of life persuade
Me into thinking that something has gone terribly wrong
England’s a mess and only getting worse with not enough space or enough jobs

I’m just grateful that my time here is running out
And a big house in the middle of nowhere will someday be mine
Which if I sold I couldn’t even afford a one-bed flat in London
As if I’d ever want to return to that place then

So the next week at home will be a time to cherish
A time to escape the insanity of this life
In a wonderful village in the middle of nowhere France
Where the place feels old and the life is great

Thursday, October 30, 2014

still though we move

by Michelle Villanueva

your love too strong whispers those fields she knows
reaping these very blades the girl so young
clean slices glisten fast against slight hay

lame engines bellow forth their liturgy
she laughs when she remembers the blank words
while she traces star petals with her fingers

tease apart patterns of shifting tendrils
grandmother told her still she scans dark skies
waiting for some break in the firmament

cautiously the lace border around us
sends shadows through distant dividing walls
timid as freedom we seek these gardens

electric she sighs paths into being
creation was once that easy the sands
call her while the meadows breathe their firm hush

alone she scales the breeze for our own sake
her cubs though we much older than these hills
delight in the pitted youth of her hands

salvation patters rain toward the window
awash within the dunes she made herself
we wait sniffing the air for coming storms


by JD DeHart

The fear of even the strongest
magician is that someone will
look up the sleeve.  It's the same
with the rest of, basic mortals
that we are, roaming around with
no top hats.  Someone, somewhere,
we are sure, will notice the source
of our trick and then threaten to stuff
us into the darkness of our own hat.


by Byron Beynon

I slept late that Sunday
morning my father arrived
with news worse than the hangover.

He drove me to a familiar house
where my aunt witnessed
my silence in a world

where flowers came with cards
and neighbours with faded voices
whispered their sorrow.

It was the first time
I'd kept company with death.
A few days later

at the grave's sharp edge,
feeling the tight-lipped
earth falling from my fingers

I understood her hushed pain,
her blue eyes of grief.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Land Lords

by Bryan Murphy

Property as virtue: an international lie
receding with history, tail ablaze with stingers,
preparing fire next time.
Its toady minions,
puffed with sense of entitlement,
better watch out: tenants can be pricks.

My first taste as a teenager:
the Lawrence lady from London
lets herself in to the South Coast cottage
while we still sleep,
decorates the death-wired lounge
just before demolition
to swell her Council compensation claims.

Fortune keeps me free
of Brighton’s gangster landlords,
its flat-torching insurance-scammers –
were there a Hell to burn them!

Life propels me to Oporto,
where the regime protects its pillars with weapons
and landlords lack no licence to use theirs.

Italy’s counterparts
could teach them a thing or two
about the pretence of power
from paper deeds.

In Rome, Cadolini: “You don’t know who I am!”
Right. “I’m sailing solo round the world!”
So proud of an ill-fitting factory-outlet suit,
of flats in his dead mother’s name.

Ditto Carraglio, Sicilian good manners,
antique dealer convinced of his right
to flout the law, generous to others
of his ilk: “Thieves won’t be back.
What have you got left worth stealing –
your moustache?”

In Turin, a dysfunctional family,
parents striving to be nice
yet ready to squeeze as though by right;
a whippersnapper son, who failed as an architect
before graduating,
choking with anger on his silver spoon
that bends against the bars over my bank account.

Even in Eastern Europe,
once the red-fascist State has gone walkabout,
a Colonel can accrue capital
through contacts and trickery,
install a foreign tenant in a former Army high-rise.
“Have some more rakia. I’m doubling the rent.
You need a Bulgarian wife. Why are you really here?”

States do no better on the landlord’s podium,
spy on you to boot, and let you know:
the cough of the scribe when you talk on the phone,
handprints on clothes in well-rummaged wardrobes.
“Shut up,” is the message, “we own your tongue.

Don’t even think about it.”

Hong Kong is different,
for time is money,
words are bonds,
and face looks also inwards:
all too precious
to waste extorting nickels from strangers.

I still rent freedom.
Half deaf, I hear the siren call
of brick and mortar:
“Buy me! Let me! Join the caste!”
I’d be no better than the rest.