Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Like my Father

by Martha Landman

I wanted to be drunk and now
I’m jumbled by the cashew nuts
You can’t right the wrong
and have a good time too
your head pounding

Better go slow down the steps,
stay upright like my father did
every time he performed
a miracle beyond human elegance
enchanted by blue silk;
he was a real cruncher,
a kick ass

dead at the age of forty:  A
deceased person undertaking to
move along the breeze and gasp
against the death tag, music
cartwheeling in his ears.

Mother says I’m the only
one around missing him,
says his influence
made me take a nicotine-
fingered shit like you.

But she’s full of shit too -
cradling herself to sleep
in his rocking chair,
photo album in her lap.

A Sinner's Soda

by Donald Paris

A white man dredges himself through
our neighborhood. He leaves cold bottles
on doorsteps with dirty stoops.

We chase after him
plucking up the packages he places.

Biting the necks of pop bottles,
we sat in our church clothes,
as the suns melts us
like plastic army men.

We pour back into the glass we empty.


by David R. Miller

I have been shot from a cannon
I’ve been speaking in tongues
I’m an endless stream of consciousness
A convict on the run
I am a Khoikhoi
A Ghilliak
The tip of the phalanx
At the point of attack
I am a Valkyrie
A Black Sheep Turk
Revisit Mau-Mau
It’s a method that will work
I am the luckiest cat
I have a tenth life
I am the sperm that finds the egg
I am Casca
With a knife


by Shannon Barber

There is this woman.
The vision of her lips-
          With the vaguest hint of color.
Has taken me past desire
          & I am lost.
Forever left to wander
          In a land that has no boundary.
Her mouth, her glorious gleaming mouth
          Steals my will and sense of direction.
Somewhere between her lips and my soul          
          I will happily be gone forever.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Letter Codes

by Michael Cluff

M believes C does not exist
as indicated at meetings
they both attend.
But if A, G and S even burp,
the ground they walk
is defied by M,
who just happens to be
her BFFs.
And when N turned
in his report a bit late,
M wanted to place "L"
on his brow a la
"The Scarlet Letter."
T turns away from it all
while E goes silent
since R and U refuse to ask
D whittles his toothpick
into the shape of Idaho
and K is special
as always.
Which reminds I,
O and U
fees are due
but J and O
as a team
refuse the slimy
strong- arm tactics
of WXY
and the terminator
M in the middle
employs to reinforce
to keep and M and H
and P
in line.

Diplomatic Eloquence

by Pijush Kanti Deb

The angry fields are calm and empty-
rebels are now quite spontaneous,                    
maybe, compelled and enchanted too
to take a shelter blissfully inside
the strong clutches of the superiors.

Let’s feel, the magic of diplomatic eloquence-
as in the previous scene,
roaring- verbal or of arms,
chased to tarnish retaliation,
warned against unfavourable unity
and marched to trample the raising heads,
amazingly all additions were equal to zero.

Fire, nevertheless, was alive
lying under the blanket of ashes.
A set of intellectuals and updated brains
combined together dumping the arms,
hours of whispering and counter – whispering
gave birth to an effective plan to produce
‘’Sweet Knife’’ –polished by enchanting eloquence
and sharpened by all the goodness of
gifts, rewards and awards.

Look, with in a moment, all toddling steps
join in a procession on the straight street
leading to the clutches of the muscular hands,
getting cut their throats of rebellion
with neither a wail, nor a repentance in
surrendering their future to the eloquent present.

At The Gatsby Party

by Alfonso Colasuonno

I love their cruelty,
the way they target you,
the way they straddle you,
like the horses they ride,
and the horses they request,
and I bear their decorum,
that false front,
behind the cocaine lines,
and the hammering up of Oxys,
and the trust accounts,
and the meds,
and the therapists,
and the galleries,
and the night life,
and the scornful glances at your closet,
and the way their hair curls
against the lightness of their eyes,
and the perfumes they wear,
and the lives of leisure they live,
and I say to them,
hey, rich girl,
and sometimes they reply.


by Marc Carver

At the entrance to the town
I jumped up onto the wall
and sat there in the sun
closed my eyes
and listened to all the people pass by
I saw one old boy looking at me up there
as if i was a king
he smiled at me
and i smiled back.

If anybody asked me what i was doing up there
I would have told them
that i like looking down on people
which is not totally true
but in the end
nobody asked what i was doing up on the wall.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Glass Girl

by Shannon Barber

For fifteen minutes I am human not glass.
I move like a real live girl.
--walking, talking, tits & smiles.
I see their eyes glaze over.
I've lost my exotic charm.
I stop moving.
My voice drains down to smoke.
And I am glass.
Just glass waiting to be smashed on the street.

Our love was an overnight bag

by Poulome Mitra Shaw

We never made promises
So that you never have to keep them.
We never had battles like the rest
So no such passionate interlude ever paved
There were no edible stories, no blossomed breeze
We were in blooms within
We had a fiction of you coming back home to me
In tie and cufflinks
And I had prose of me going back to all your boundless
caressing your inheritances
of phobias, of fears, of nothing,
of that little in between
precious and sterile.
We had a surviving little nothing over dissolved and advanced

You never allowed our bodies to stain over mind
I have been safe in there, as safe
as a woman would be once hurt and in need of a haven
And I never asked you to remove our moist soil
Unspoken, bound and betrayed within
Our love bore flowers and growth
Each morning since then I waited for the trees adorned
and the season's been nine months
Expecting and never pregnant
It's been so long since I have lost count of my yellow summers
And shawl wrapped winters
They were Ruskin's seven husbands
Loving, with rapid stubble
But now we have our rain and betrayal
In overnight bags, packed to discretely leave rooms
Who ever said we needed spoken and shed?
Who ever said I only believe in promises?
Whoever said my eyelashes won't break wet when you talk of letting go.
Whoever said
I never made you promises
And I never have to keep them.....

Our love was an overnight bag packed to leave rooms


by James Babbs

after all these years
I’m still that little boy
who got lost in the department store
when he was only six years old
I still get scared at night
listening to the wind blow
after I’ve been drinking
when I’m lying here alone and
I can’t get to sleep
I remember how it felt
going up and down the aisles
tears running down my face
if I’d ever see my parents again
both of them dead now
and the wind keeps rattling the blind
until I get up and close the window
standing there for a moment
looking around the room

why madmen should never edit poetry zines

by Ross Vassilev

in a small
the poem/
the oranges
and a crack
in the window
of my mind.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


by Michael Cluff

C feels L is dissing her
that AEIOU is supporting him
the five always a unit
apart of the other twenty-one.
S is a proponent of C
which D cannot balance
even when M defected from D's influence.

C wants to xxx with J,
not I
but B and G,
off-putting all involved.
L recently ditched MNOP-
too much of a polysyllabic crew
until O became her own entity
before Y was to replace her
making a new quintet
While Q watches U
and never questions Y.

Z ends the row before F
fails to fulfill his potential
to lead P back to C
as their society
holds they all should be
excepting B, T, E and V
and DMZs
will evermore remain
at the back end
of sequential rows.

Internal Compromise of an Under-Edukated Narcissist

by Daniel N. Flanagan

And I think the nighttime brings about
Promise. In all of us,
We are all going to compromise,
Capitulate…take that sub-par job; but
Morning comes and
Morning sun run through us, and
We are enlightened, inside as well and
Believe through much narcissism that we can,
And deserve much greater. The walk-on CEO in all us
(men) and it pains us that
Every night is a repeat of
The night before, well…
Tonight. I think. I might.
Call that gas station tomorrow. And
Take that job.

Peter Memorized it With Little Cards Last Night But Can't Remember it in the Morning

by Amy Soricelli

He rides the bus with his hand on his chin -  his thinking hand wrapped around the very end edges
of his face all caught up .
His brain dances underneath his hat.
He whispers words to himself like a song/like a promise over and over
he can spin them in his shoes; he kicks back and forth on the seat.
The bus moves too fast today.
His mother stirring tea around and around and around she said/she said...
"you will do well" her threat stabbing down the buttered bread in his throat
catching itself on the sides of his wasted time; spinning around like a top with its pointy end falling short.
His friends push/shove smiling between red lips/finished breakfasts rumpled
bakery paper between the seats like lost coins.
They smile their easy just-studied smiles deep into the crease in their pants
their shapeless hair mocking him between their lashes.
He has no room for food in the piled-on high blank loss of memory.
Words stapled to his coat like lost boy directions.  Like an immigrant
with papers no one asks to see.
Cannot find the answers between the toes in his new brown boots.
He scrapes off the answers from the window ledge and leans hard against the glass.
Looks for the perfect sentences in the dust on his hands.
Or they might fall from the sky/drop on his shoulders.
Land at his feet.

Silly Old Sod

by Marc Carver

As i walk up the stairs
a man comes out of the library
he looks in a hurry.

Sure enough
he turns his wrist towards his
but he has no watch on.

He sees me watching him
and probably thinks
that i am thinking.
Silly old sod.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Come to the Flashing Lights, Avonte

by April Salzano

I am chanting, along with his mother’s
recorded voice that calls, broadcast
into the air from a mobile command truck,
her desperation hidden, her fear, only
partially captured so he will not run
if he hears it.
It’s Mom, I am saying it with her.
Because he has been gone for 13 days.
Because he is autistic.
Because so is my son.
Because if Avonte comes to the flashing lights,
this family will no longer have to wonder
who is hurting him in ways even at 14 he cannot
understand. They will not face what I would
like to call the unfathomable, but fellow warriors
know better. It is the first and worst thought
on our minds, but it is always fathomable, always
lurking in the foreground, blocking what should be
moments of peace needed on a level
I will not try to explain
because my sisters understand.
Just as they understand
if Avonte comes home, I too can stop crying.
They will forgive my selfish tears
because they know
Avonte’s coming home
means it is possible for my son
to be okay if only our second worst fear comes true.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

winter walk

by Douglas Polk

shuffling through trees standing naked,
huddled against the cold,
dogs sniff the piles of fallen leaves mixed with snow,
awaiting the warm breath of the winter sun,
dreaming of the hot days of summer,
yet present in the moment,
wet and cold.

The Callousness of Time

by Bobbie Troy

the callousness of time
sat upon his head
like a misshapen toupee
sagging, splitting,
and falling apart
as the body underneath
followed suit

Sweet Nothings

by James Babbs

the bottle talks to me
when I walk past it
sitting there on the table
it asks me
what are you waiting for
and I reach out
brushing the label
lightly with my hand
before tracing the edges of it
with my finger
I pull cans of Coke from the fridge
pour some into my glass
lifting up the bottle
and I stand there
holding it in my hands
before mixing some of it in
then stirring it
slowly with a straw
and the bottle talks to me
it tells me
this is something good
and every time I touch it
I hear it whispering
later in the evening
when I’m moving around the room
when the room starts moving around me
I hear the bottle laughing
and in the small hours of morning
when I start to fall asleep
the heavy taste of it
lingering on my tongue


by Bradford Middleton

The flecks on the horizon is where I want to be
Out of this town that destroys my kind
No sustainable form of electronic device to keep me occupied
Then what is there to do?  Read a book, maybe even write a book
Or even worse the thought of work
That place that sends me to the brink
So no all I do is drink, drink and smoke
This existence is killing me slowly

I got to make the great escape
And I ain’t talking about some shitty music gig
I’m talking out of this town
Never to return as I move on to other things
The idea of London terrifies but thrills me
A lot of great friends to be seen again
Who’ve missed me I know cos they’ve told me so
It does sound tempting I must confess

But wait, it’s not the London of old, the London I knew
It’s been borisfied to the point of death and the last time I was there
In the heart of Soho I sat down and wept at what it had become
A building site of biblical proportions with no sense of character
Just another faceless assortment of streets through which
I walked and wondered what had become of the London of old
The place that used to thrill and excite
It had largely gone to be replaced by some huge train link

Brighton is getting madder by the day
I see it everywhere I go people going out of their minds
Occasionally the fever will grip me too
I’ll be sat in the room smoking a joint when the fear will come
And all I can do to get through it is shut my eyes and let it all flood out
These words came out of one of those experiences
Flooding out on to the page at the rate at which my brain dictates
Thank god for my madness it’s the only thing keeping me sane

So the decision is the madness of this town or the return to the old
I don’t know which way to go

Sunday, January 19, 2014


by D.L. Tricarico

Sometimes, I confess,
I even find it
sitting on my porch
in the morning,
hungry, cold, and ragged,
tongue out and wagging,
my untold desires
whining like a stray,
a beat beast
just begging for
an extra morsel.
If you want to know
the truth, I usually
feed it and I’m
almost never sorry.


by Marc Carver

It has been the same colour
of grey for four days now
the sun came out for half an hour
a couple of days ago
so we knew it was still there.
Darkness starts
and i lay in bed
a new year begun
and old one left behind.
i lay in bed
see another day out
and tomorrow
i will do the same
days fall like dominoes
oh when will life start again

this mystic ride

by J.J. Campbell

come find me
resting peacefully
in a crease of

come find me
placing my lips
gently on yours

take me with
a teenager's

the urgency to
believe nothing
matters after
this night

this moment

this final act
of desperation
thought to be
reserved for

may we find
serenity holy
and true while
dancing upon
this mystic ride

into a future
that includes
neither of us

Life in a Word

by Patricia Williams

Stage I
Look at the word, lust, take an unvarnished view: craving, desire, an inordinate appetite, burning fire, a yearning for more than required, an itch that needs persistent scratching. To lust after, to covet, to want, predisposes one, to others of the Deadly Seven, like envy, greed, and gluttony. Lusty sex sins, attributed to mental disorder or concern unbuckled, committed by Hollywood types and alike by pious clerics sniffing perfume mixed with the scent of baby powder, generate psychological thoughts: how magnetic draw fades quickly, how sex without love just makes you sad.  

Stage II
A word that defines a form of decay, rust, freezes motion, emotion, is a scale formed from disuse, a condition of oxidation, limitation: observe the person whose pinnacle occurred at age eight on the stage of the Original Amateur Hour. Rusted-shut is rigidity, inflexible and barren, neglect over time, a bureaucratic universe with cliché-filled dialogue, wordplay, and nonsense, byzantine utterances from pale-faced scholars. Find rust in cast-off devices, disintegration, waste from civilized living, corruption, tarnish, decomposition, politicians rusted in place, producing parodies of democracy.

Stage III
When examining dust, a word implying powder, dirt, earth, grime, think Dust Bowl with choking billows of dust that muddied the sky, black blizzards with soil turned to dust. Think loess: pale yellow, buff-color, dusty soil cover, fine particles, ground and pulverized, silt-sized sediment deposited by wind-blown dust. Dust-replacing-the-sea speaks of upheaval, great change, the passage of time, see the dusty world in a grain of sand. Ash, dusty residue, recaps cremains, ashes-to-ashes, dust-to-dust, all that remains. Blow away, fade away, dissolve, dissipate, scatter; dry and bitter dust.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hit Up on University Avenue

by Amy Soricelli

Santos plays graffiti tag deep among the wall downstairs after school.
He cuts school mostly in the alley with cigarettes and dried-out beer left out on the counter by
his last-night Uncles; their worn-down shoes clicking like music against the slick linoleum floors.
He wild styles in the early morning like Picasso in training - cannot whack his name on the front steps
cannot be less than the Up he is becoming.
He wears his props like a smile.
Santos learned beer early in the hot August Tuesdays - the novellas not loud enough to cover up the hate -
spraying himself clear across the bricks/his unfinished letters dying in the creases like lines on a face.
Santos has a sister with a butterfly tat circling around her ankle like a web - sexy she thought to herself -
in the greasy window apartment in the middle morning of the South Bronx.
Everyone asks her when she's going to finish something - he can't hear what.
The bouncy baby hands in her hair - on her face / she carries him on her side like a sack - his wet fingers stabbing into her pouty lips
all she can do to keep him quiet in the misty drag of the afternoon.
Santos has neighbors with their coughed-up anger/their lonely skinny cat prowling against his legs
while he takes out the trash.
Every day the same with Santos - his name sprayed like a message across the concrete - hitting up the side streets - tagging up
his block where the school was before it closed.
Everyone reading him in their eyes/ on the sweat of their skin.


by Michael H. Brownstein

Tomorrow we swim upstream with the fresh water dolphins,
every tributary green with brown leaf, reed, tree frog silk.
Near the glades of baritones and subtleties,
the staircase of demons, the vines of simplicity.
There is no shades youth here, no faded youth, the hush
of Puritan and work ethic.

But today ice and blue light, a shape to wind, a thick glove of cold,
slush and gloom--a cleansing of litter and blood,
the silence too loud to hear. An Alzheimer's moment
and the pink thread of mist frays into light,
the sky sun ached blue-white, full of calories
and miscalculations.

A Breath Apart

by Tom Hatch

Sitting down across the car a place
A young stare is her nervous peering to the floor
Not seeing the debris and dirt as I do

Her legs are long her feet are splayed with
Those dancers’ shoes a current of her life

Her nervous look at a hansom boy sitting next to me
Not a wafer of space between us only time
A still water fall falls black down into her bangs is spring

Her white skin a canvas painted young pretty anxious face
A full of life magic purse sits on her lap the train stops

The doors open with the youth of young men laughing in circles
She spirals their attention they freely give to her

What could be better taking turns
I told myself an incomplete thought about time
Spinning their heads in her direction

Long fingers fumble into a plastic bag
New hoop earrings with today's price tags still on

Silver circles adding attention to her long neck
The young men and hansom boy lingered locked in looks

Knowing where they are to be placed
I told myself a breath apart youth and age
She pulling the price tags off with feminine aware

Tilting her head to the right freehanded
Hearing her breath apart that I know
Clasps the ring into the pierce in her silent ear the audience

Sees the next tilt to the left with ease the ring is in
Youth does not know age
She looked up at all of us with an apprehensive smile

The young men offered their approving grins
She sits up tall with a comb down straighten up her bangs

In a glance in the darkened window a glass darkly
Before the station light enters in
The train stops the doors open for her departure

The young men, the hansom boy and youth follow her
Into a forest of trees in full blossom a breath apart
Fresh nasturtium colored air the doors close

I am a dark winter sitting alone except the Beautiful
Studious Chinese school girls doing there silent
Homework at the other end of the car
They are a new light

Alphabet Wars

by Michael Cluff

I is mad at A
and all those
who took
their vows, even Y
and sometimes X
but most especially U
for taking A to C
to decide if R and U
were splitting her off from Q
her constant love since the
Gothic 8 replaced 2 as a couple
with W
the double U
that upset I in the first place.

Yet trying to
split LMNOP up
is the hardest task of all
as I and U
had fought over for many centuries
especially  since Z
is always the laggard
A or even B
and D, G, T and V,
(well V maybe V) will never be.


by Marc Carver

I asked him
where he got those eyes
he pointed at me
and then
at her.

new religion

by Joschua Beres

I wrote the holiest of books
on a greasy napkin
at KFC.

I want to start a cult,
without the white robes and incest.
I want the Woodstock Movement
without the Waco ending.

we will live under lifeguard shacks
and believe in pinky promises
trampolines, and tantric sex.

we will carry our lunches
in red handkerchiefs tied to sticks
because we believe in ham sandwiches,
and the open road.

we will throw water balloons
at other cars on the freeway.
because we only believe in popping them,
or pretending they are boobs.

we will use brass knuckles
to enforce the “no beard” policy.

we will believe in breaking bottles,
and arriving one minute too late
to every train station
so that we can board it with horses,
like bank robbers in the Wild West.

we will believe in the magical quality of Crop Circles
and roller coaster butterfly stomach syndrome.

we will believe in climbing trees,
and feeding the rich to sharks
like caviar and bonfires
fueled mostly by marshmallows
and black gunpowder.

we will believe in food fights,
and pray to every neon sign
outside every cheap motel
everywhere. always.

our holiest of days will be rooting
for the 340lb somersaulting gymnast
at the Olympics.

we will believe in samurai sword vs. cinder block battles.
and that Oprah is probably a cool guy.

we will believe in tearing apart expensive putting greens
and taking our glasses off to see better.

we are the Church
of busy city intersection light saber fights.
and beached whales stuffed full of TNT
waiting to explode.

our ism has no name.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

once upon a time.

by Heather Brager

it would still be dark further west
she would remember plum colored hills
benevolent, cold and drunk

bones removed from their hands
small trinkets nestled, in deep pockets
the memories of declining charm

winds pushed west to east
peaks reflecting in wet eyes
she lived in a glass amongst the ice

it would resurrect in the morning
mist in their mouths and frost on the foothills
they knew this would happen


by Paul Hellweg

all life a circle
one looks west, the other east
the wind blows both ways


by Linda M. Crate

i confess i am the
girl that
always remembers
scars, stars,
and tissue paper wings
i always thought if i were a good
enough little girl
that my daddy would come
for me, and i'd be
his little princess and he'd
be my protective
king always
slaying dragons and cruel suitors
that weren't good enough for
i confess i've always been
emotionally damaged
a little too
distant, a little too shy—
thought maybe
daddy could fix that, too,
but as a grown woman i realize
i must confess
that i slay my own dragons
and unfair suitors
sometimes break me before i realize
their cruelty, but one day
if i'm good enough
God will put me back together.

O Lord of the Unswept Road

by Séamas Carraher

O Lord of the unswept road
O unwashed Lord of the broken brick
and the graffiti wall
where something needs to be said
but never is,
i have little care left
living in a leaking house
where the warmth and the heart and
the soul
have been bled
drop by drop
little by little
on rent day
and bin-tax day and
in the long nights when the faces
around me sleep
and what could be beautiful is troubled.
O Lord of the heart that is numb
and the angry faces,
O Lord of the life that is half finished
yet unlived,
O Lord of love where only fear
reigns and
the only hope there is
sits warming its hands round the television
and the children litter the streets
like weeds
unwashed and unloved.
O Lord of the silence
when this strong man sits and talks
and watches it all leave
in sickness and pain
and the darkness without grief
pins your eyelids open
for the hurt and the fear.
O Lord of all the unwashed streets
in these places without name,
Lord of ghetto and police siren,
Lord of the ineffective
where words have their wings broken
and even the streetsigns snarl.
O Lord of the hurt when
everyone now sleeps
in the womb of what never is:
this song like a prayer
for what will rise
in the Easter-time
of unloved lives…

This cry of the wretched.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

August 10, 1680

by Matthew J. Barbour

The ground trembles beneath us. The ogres are restless.

In the sky above, the awanyu swarm among the gathering clouds. A storm is coming.

The kachina shout blessings from high atop the mesas, while coyote holds court in a stand of pinyon and juniper. All things that once were come again.

In the distance, kokopelli plays his flute. It is a time for rebirth.

The woodpecker strikes beak upon the tree. We march in rhythm with its beat.

Spear, club, and bow in hand, we are prepared. The God of Suffering shall be cast out.

Our independence is at hand.

Miracle Lotion

by Joan McNerney

This can erase years from your face,
cover blemishes, sun spots, crow's feet.
You will glow in the dark capturing
hearts, especially those of rich men.

Now you can procure a position of
prestige with a blue chip company.
You are to be admired by all, heads
turning whenever you enter a room.

Coarse dry skin can become
softer than angel wings.
The alluring scent of this balm
enraptures legions of admirers.

Old friends will stare at a new you.
Baffled, they ask if you had surgery.
With a smug but unwrinkled smile,
you point to your precious ointment.

Years of time, grime and slime
magically erased.  See dramatic
transformation as you stand transfixed
by that glowing beauty in the mirror.

Envision flying down boulevards,
patronizing haute fashion shops, driving
cadillacs...all this and more from the
Miracle Creme now at a new low price.

ignorance is no bliss

by Linda M. Crate

he told me that women
belonged in the
barefoot and pregnant
then couldn't
my offense
at such an outrageous statement,
claimed it was a joke
when he saw the
anger etched
in my eyes
would it have been a joke if i
hadn't been angry?
i don't think so
never could
ignorance, it certainly isn't
bliss to those of us
left to deal with what it leaves in
it's wake;
but people spout it and then insist
they didn't mean it then why
bother spouting it
in the first place?
they meant it, they just didn't
mean for you to react
how about people like that keep their
mouths shut?
that'd be too convenient,
too easy,
and we couldn't have that.

Gin Stump Shovel

by John Pursch
Glassy knots offer holistic socket pumps to rolling pardoned casualties of soaring selfless gorgon wharf repeater glaze, spotting helpless elms in dirty handheld sofa lace, pleating grass to softly humping shrouds of leather alabaster waves.

Handle me roughly, hordes of rainy grime, in fields beyond a stupefying lea, framed with seasoned lip-sync joy of perforating wheeze within a shell-shocked disembodied huckster’s frozen knuckle handball dipstick.

Flooding flounder vitiate a vitriolic capstone’s cooly capsized dashboard pew, spawned to rototiller gravity in pending situational deflection breath, mingling hourly with showy veteran memories.

Blankets frosted, hokey septum, itchy hairball mastodons, in prowling fuel tank sympathy, exposed to hogtied elements of periodic waistline hustle, pinned to dank edition daughter linkage, pawning earless hoopster cocoa to Prussian armature shakers, bending decks for fidgety throw rugs…

Goners whale Nefertiti’s canoe to flail in questioning disgrace, disheveled hounds dismantled in babble floor crime sensation prayers. You still pick athletic star charts, framing rump house cortex meals for gin stump shovel hoops, cheering on courageous middlemen to minute-munching domicile creation, trenching adroitly.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Jogging to Cadaverville

by Donal Mahoney

He's out there again, my neighbor, the doctor, waiting for the snow plow to pass so he can jog on a clean street.

It's 5 a.m. and we've had three inches of snow and it's still coming down but nothing can stop him. 

Doc jogs every morning, good weather or bad.

This morning we meet because I'm out spelunking in the snow and the dark for my morning paper.

Going through his warm-ups, he invites me once again to join him for a jog, an invitation he extends when we meet on dark mornings.

As I have told him before, I tell him once again that I'll arrive soon enough in Cadaverville and have no desire to get there faster. 

Months ago, I told him about articles in the paper, three or four times a year, indicating that another otherwise healthy man had dropped dead while jogging. 

I tell him that's not a good thing.

One of the deceased, I mention, was a cardiologist like him. Can't remember his name, I tell him, but he was also young, with kids.

I go on to explain that I am a believer in Recliner Therapy, something I find very beneficial. 

I add that I've never heard of a soul dropping dead in a recliner. I admit, however, that could happen but so far I have seen no mention of such a tragedy in the paper. 

Thirty years my junior at least, this young doctor who jogs asks what I do for exercise as he puffs through his warm-ups. 

I tell him I push all the way back in my humongous recliner at least three times a day and wiggle my toes, grab a Kleenex and blow my nose. 

I tell him I believe in a holistic, head-to-toe approach to exercise. 

The snow plow finally passes and the young doctor chuckles, hikes up his sweat pants and jogs off, arms swinging, through flakes of snow.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Poor, yours and defined

by Poulome Mitra Shaw

I want to meet you over heartbreaks
When your eyes will caress the purple rings under mine,
I want to meet you across closed doors
When we just have memories spilled across the sides,
I want to meet you over your crumbling years
We won't have our passionate denials,
I want to meet you over some infidelities
I will dissolve myself in contained deities with my religion tr...aversed.
I want to meet you over fun, frolic and picnics
I can be wary of your eyes following me in weightless love
I want to meet you in insomnia
In silent darkness, on a pink bedspread, in timeless connival of moist cocoa butter
seething restless on my misty skin
I want to meet you when you walk away
When I go prophetic to deny my blinding fears
I want to meet you in a cemetery, exhausted over bodiless souls
Who knows, you may descend to the memoirs on the pungent smell
You may return to the madness of love and life
I want to meet you in hospital beds
My last wounds will birth you in healing.
I want to meet at the church then
To belong and to be your bride.
Dressed in all that finery of convictions
Rich, poor, yours and defined.

Wilderness Solitude

by Paul Hellweg

“Anxious haste and hasty fear help rob man of his most essential properties. One of these is
reflection ...”  - - Konrad Lorenz

Thirty-five years of solo backpacking
in the Golden Trout Wilderness,
camped today at Movie Stringer
well away from the nearest trail,
just lodgepole pine, fragrant sagebrush,
and the occasional bear, sometimes
alone, often as a pair.
Last night below freezing,
this morning chilly,
not knowing for what time
the mosquitoes have set their alarms,
wanting to heed nature’s call prior,
dropped trou, squatted, and
within a moment, 127 kamikazes
mistook my untanned derriere
for an American carrier,
followed shortly thereafter
by a group of scouts, lost,
wandering off-trail, looking for the way
to Monache Meadow.
Makes me wonder if a soul can find
neither privacy nor solitude
in 300,000 acres of wilderness,
how are we to heed Lorenz’s
call to self-reflection?
Silence terrifies, but
bear, mosquito, human,
apparently few creatures
can tolerate much time alone, and
not many are likely
to be aware, ever,
that silence can
and indeed does
calm our ghosts.

almost like

by Patrick Longe

of the type
say almost like

from where hails
tell of a tale

half-way there
of honest truth

and except
that almost like

not to forget
the best yet

brutal the beauty
can care less of that

what will wear down
find almost like



by Richard Schnap

In the skeleton landscapes of morgue-like bars
I have heard the flight of miraculous songs

And on the blackened walls of graveyard galleries
I have seen the blossoms of breathtaking art

And on the smoke-stained pillars at anonymous corners
I have read the awakenings of wondrous poems

And known that even in the darkest of shadows
A light will be shining that never goes out

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


by Daniel N. Flanagan

“The only way you’d fall is if you jumped.”
That’s why you’re afraid of ledges
Because a tiny part of you wants to jump

And you fear that man inside your head
Telling you how easy life would finally be.

But I dangle off the ledge, because I’m not afraid.

I’m already dead.

A Brief History of the Abominable Snowman

by Andrew J. Stone

I didn’t always like the snow.
Used to stand right down there,
where the sand meets the tide
and the ocean water would hover
around my hairy shins and my hairs
would float in the sea foam, each one
the size of a little boy’s arm. I
was different. But is that reason enough
to chase me from my home on the Indian
Coast up into Nepal, and from there,
to the top of the Himalayas?

The first winter was so goddamn cold.
My coat of hair coated in snow every
time I came to consciousness. I
can’t tell you how I survived.
I figure evolution had something
to do with it—how my long black hair
tripled in thickness and whitened in
color. The cold turned my face blue.
Would anything different happen to you?

Yeti’s not real, they say.
An Abominable Snowman, they say.
Nepal, not far enough. Himalayas,
please. Mount Everest, nope.
Yeti’s not real, they say.
A child has gone missing,
well, his head and limbs at least.
Will you still say I am not real?
Even after you witness the bones
of your boy cracked in the soil
inside the crater your foot created.

Pot Of Gold

by Paul Tristram

Sometimes it is the little things
that stop you from going completely mad.
A pleasant distraction for five minutes.
I have a bowl with 2 goldfish in
and they have distracted me
from the shadow once again.
(I am starting to understand
old women and their cats)
I live in a rented room
with a shared toilet
and shower down the hallway.
It is not ideal but it will do for now.
Like my pot of gold it is a start,
the first step of a life plan.
Those 2 fish will grow with me,
next comes a one bedroom flat
with my own toilet and bath
and my pot of gold will turn into
an aquarium of gold.
Then comes my two bedroom cottage
with a garden pond full of gold.
But right now it is a start,
a golden distraction, a focus and a plan,
a room and a bowl to begin with.

Shame on Sammy

by John Pursch

Velour scrunch never was recited more canonically than annual satyrs fashioned from squalid ocean hut armories, sifting pallets for bullion, filching banyans of highfalutin raspings, pillaging cowering fuselage stockades, crumpled into minstrel tea. Nuances disappear, addling the lightest slouch with stairwell lorry signposts, hindering berated gallons of postcard clues in gravel kitchen oratory’s bejeweled retracement. 

Hidden mentors bark at troglodytic moccasins, trying ontological featurettes in shedding navel blues. Roomy aeration grates on meager witchcraft junkies, festering in salad. Gazebo haze erodes to karmic redolence, shadowing espied collaboration’s wacky seamstress, copping hearty lineaments of hemmed-in mosquito jargon’s only barrage poltroon’s garbled basement sale. 

Your Nuke’s naked sunrise grows in stocky repetition, plugging macaroons for deltoid daisy chumps, slumbering through moaning marrow’s swooning necrophilia, slipping idly off derailment’s nodal nectar lode, pulled to tethered cormorants and wheedled auspice Geritol commercial shouts of animation’s editorial encumbrance.

Ineluctable frugality pauses to bounce in shallow watchword chasms, springing diamondback creation sacks on sunken scepters, allergens bedazzled by musical inklings of tartar. Sheared themes bay in momentous signature pylons, sequencing cemented gnomes to frontal pardons of eighty alluvial flavors, burnt indelibly for fatuous gentlemen to guzzle in mid-day matinees. 

Shame on Sammy’s perspicacious purple popsicle salliers, learning to spay cetacean dumplings in twenty furious fluoridated crates of juicy validators, fed to celebrated ionizers by the mourning son.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Actias Dubernardi

by Darla Mottram

The adult stage
of the Chinese moon moth’s life
spans no more than twelve days.
Spun silk flutters through
mountains like a dream,
short-lived and gossamer
as a secret.
Then there is me,
earth-bound flesh,
blasé with my hoards of days,
spending them lavishly
as if they were guaranteed.
If I were to trade
twelve years of hard work and ambition,
of diplomas earned and then forgotten,
of lists and diary entries and dishes;
if I were to trade twelve years
of incoherent musings and moscato,
of recipes and calendars,
of blueberry stained fingertips and June Carter’s voice;
if I were to trade twelve years
of regrets and wakeful nights,
of what if’s and the smell of mascara,
of status updates and movie nights;
if I were to trade these for an evening
floating through mountain mists,
wing-beats too quiet for human ears,
my only guide one that nudges
from within, then perhaps
peace and purpose would lose their meaning
and become dappled moonlight
and cold, thin air instead.

Third Eye

by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

I fell into an easy friendship
with the new girl unlike me
she didn't commute an hour to work
knew her way around a big city
introduced me to ken outside
my radar

like the eyeball ring at the headshop
I had passed blind a dozen times
making for the Estée counter
we both tried it on but she couldn't
swing the price tag and I couldn't
wrap my head around mystic milieu.

At a Thursday night sleepover
we had some beers at a dark bar,
me casing the boys
who weren't boys.

I had learned a new dance step
to Thursday dark bar music
and another thing;
I was relieved she had twin beds.

Just for grins, I was tempted
to buy the eyeball ring
but by then neither of us needed
third eye vision.

torn not shattered

by Linda M. Crate

a wounded hole
rests in
the heart of the wood
echoing the one
the wolf ripped into me
when he took out
the trees
of my heart's garden
used them to
defile another in my name,
i spent so many
months chasing after those stolen
bones that i forgot the
yellow of the laughter dancing
in the autumn trees
trying to dance their sunshine
over me;
so now i stand in the wounded
hole of the forest
letting all of nature embrace
me with her whispers
of water,
laughter in the trees,
songs of the birds fluttering their
wings in the breeze—
i remembered my heart was never
whole, there were always
apertures, but nature endured with her
sweet song and so will i
flying on the wings of the bluest days,
and the most obsidian of nights.

Rubberband and Paperclip

by Vincent Noto              

 With memory we contend.
Take your pick.  Straddle a roan’s back
through a meadowed trough beneath
crests of wooded waves. Along

the Emigrant Wilderness
Corridor, traverse a
frozen mountain lake of
yellowed opalescent glass.

A rubberband backward-flung
by the power of its own
break.  Though forward we go, there’s
no reclaiming what’s passed.  No

ebooks here, rusted paperclips
in pages long since unread
top ends peppered with foxing,
rotted bands no longer binding

and the preserved remains
of startled silverfish pressed like
flowers between deckle-edged
pages, on shelves dust-layered,

volumes standing, flanks
leaning, braced, as our memories,
holdout acolytes of
a dying religion.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Who Needs A Nap?

by Jack Mahoney, age 3,
as overheard by Grandpa

Who needs a nap?
Not me. I just got up.
I don't need a nap.
I need two hot dogs,
lots of chips,
and a big cup
of hot cocoa
and then I'll go out
in the snow with my
sled and slide down
McCarthy's driveway
before he gets home.
He's a cop, you know,
and the last time
he said I should stay
off his driveway.
Glad you were with me.
So no nap for me.
I'm ready to go.
Hot dogs, chips,
a cup of hot cocoa
and I'll get my sled
and my ear muffs.
It's 2014. I'm
another year older
and ready to go.
So if you wanna come,
that's okay with me.
McCarthy likes you
but maybe
not so much me.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Release

by Darla Mottram

They galloped down Far West,
hoofbeats shattering silence.
I watched them pass, two silhouettes
against a moon-silvered strip mall.

The wind wrestled hair into my mouth,
but there was no need to speak,
so I didn’t fight it.

My phone buzzed in my pocket once,
twice, three times.

The deer halted at the intersection,
twirled, and continued their chase,
this time running right toward me.
Ruk ruk, ruk ruk, ruk!
Their cries startled, aroused
something gagged and bound
within me.

They veered at the last instant,
catapulting their lean, muscular bodies
toward the baseball field.
They scaled the fence without slowing.

As their hooves struck the soft earth
on the other side, the ties that bind
snapped, and I put one pale foot out
in front of the other, until I too was

sprinting through the shapeless night,
chasing something that looked like me,

but wasn’t.


by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

those grub jobs
and crud bosses
weren’t more
than a high school grad
could expect
I got to dress up
and show my legs
and buy
my own beers
tell myself I was
on the way

and really
they were
all of them
all of it

a layover
I was somewhere
else where
someone else
the beers

Light Comes to the High Street

by Robert Nisbet

Half past eight. Last night we felt the
lingering of an Irish gale, the rasping of
late leaf, by steps and alleyways.
There’s pub detritus certainly, but
Chloe, office junior, and Wayne, the
bookie’s clerk, drift, grinning, with the
leaves, to work. Both clubbed last night,
both separately, in cars elsewhere,
removed clothing, tasted a joyful
newness. The staffs of Furnishings and
The Outdoor Shop banter, scrap out
allegiances. Harriet sets up her mainline
bookseller’s, listens to the rustle, the chat.
The boys have been round, the road sweeper,
the paper deliveries, and, as the shuffling feet
scratch out their measures on the day to come,
something in Harriet’s imagination
bottles the alchemy
of people and purpose and day.


by Marc Carver

I asked the woman
in the pub to move me
tell me something real.

She told me about her
boyfriend or brother
who hung himself
in a shed.

I guess i was not too moved
five minutes later
I was walking up the road alone.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

by Donal Mahoney

Jim Daley and Joe McCarthy had something in common. They died at 80 going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Walt O'Brien, their protege, found this out when he called the homes of both men on New Year's Day, an annual custom for Walt, something he started doing years ago just to find out how his old mentors were doing. 

Jim's widow spoke to Walt on the phone and told him Jim had died from a stroke on Halloween. They had found his body in the morning, half in the bathroom and half in the hallway, cold as a mackerel fresh out of the sea. Jim's widow said she was a sound sleeper. Walt thought she should have heard his body fall since Jim was a big man, all belly and buttocks, as Jim himself would put it. 

Joe's widow said her Joe had tripped on the bathroom rug on All Soul's Day, banged his head on the commode and died in intensive care a week later, never emerging from his coma. She was happy the priest got there in time to administer the last rites before Joe stopped breathing. His last breath, she said, was a gurgle.

Jim and Joe had been more like uncles to Walt than mentors. They came into his life when Walt was in grammar school. It was just after his dad had been killed in Korea and Walt needed all the support he could get. 

Over the next 50 years Walt had stayed in touch with both men, calling them on New Year's Day from different cities. Their advice over the years helped Walt survive three job losses, a foreclosure, two car wrecks and four divorces. Sometimes their advice dealt with the big issues of life. But sometimes they commented on smaller phenomena as well. 

Last year, for example, Jim had warned Walt that growing old meant not being able to put your underwear on standing up. 

"I have to sit on the bed now," Jim had said, sounding almost depressed for a man known for his jocularity. 

Right after Jim told him about the underwear problem, Walt called Joe and asked if Jim was right. Joe too confirmed he now had to sit on the bed to get his underwear on. He told Walt every man has to sit down at some point in life, provided he lives long enough.

"Age has its requirements," Joe said. "There's a happy medium, I suppose. If I had died a few years ago, I wouldn't be having this problem right now."

At 60, Walt could still put his underwear on standing up but it was getting more difficult. He had to hop on one leg, pogo-stick style, to get the job done. But sitting down was not an option. Walt was a proud man who had overcome bigger problems in life and he'd keep hopping for as long as he could. 

One time, however, he almost fell but landed in a chair. His fourth wife Belinda still laughs about it even though they're no longer married. She even called two of his ex-wives and told them about it. They couldn't stop laughing.

Walt knows that one day he will have to sit down to put his underwear on unless he dies before that. He figures he has at least a few good years left. But after hearing that Jim and Joe had died trying to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night, Walt decided to take certain steps to avoid a similar mishap in his own life. 

First, he installed night lights along the baseboards going from the bedroom to the bathroom. At midnight the hallway now shines like a small expressway with no traffic at all.

Then Walt made some New Year's resolutions, a step he had never taken before. As a result he now eats salads and fruit plates instead of double cheeseburgers and lots of ice cream. What's more he reads the Bible now and then in the morning. He's even quit drinking beer late into the night.  

The new Walt now sits back in his leather recliner, sips wine coolers out of old jelly jars and listens, over and over, to his favorite recording of an old Irish reel called "Toss the Feathers." It’s played beautifully, he says, by the McNulty Family, most of whose members, he figures, are by now dead.

When he was a boy, Jim and Joe had introduced Walt to traditional Irish music and even taught him a few steps of the reel, jig and hornpipe.

Once in awhile, when he's had enough wine, Walt tries to do a few of those steps and he succeeds to his own satisfaction.

And, of course, he still puts his underwear on standing up, one hop at a time.