Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gusts 2

by Michael Cluff

The cheeky breezes
tap out my boredom
and boorishness
a battalion of possibilities
prance outward
to defeat
the draughts of ideas
that hold me under
a pool of pruned promises.

The wild winds grab
the released me
carry it into
the corona
of the solar balloon
that tints the inviting
indigo and iris of the
liberating dusk
sliced off
from the numbing
of noon.

cheating death

by Linda M. Crate

buried in the sunshine of your
hair are blackened candles
of webs that even
spiders would shy away from,
and i wonder
if you  sat upon the reeds
watching me kiss lilies
holding conference
with the lilac winged butterflies;
because the bees
you presented my flowers
first tasted sweet
an ambrosia even the gods
would envy,
but no one's jealous of
my poor little
broken heart
or the fact you played it
to the beat of a
lover's demise—
you never cared,
but you said that you did
your heart died in your
chest long before
you were born you became
a grave for a funeral
that isn't yours.

Everything is in flux as a rule right now:

by Pattie Flint

the night you came home is the night
I left it; walking barefoot in snow I
wasn't afraid of. The water was too
hot last night; and you were too honest.
I didn't want to know what you thought

because you think I don't exist; I am
no survivor, I am a tiger in a circus train
shivering as the snow falls down and
washes away my painted fool stripes.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Big Ears

by Colin Beardshall

Everyone called him Big Ears, a fitting appellation
Not that his actual ears were big.  You never saw
Them under the large joke shop ears that he wore
Whenever he was out and about.  You’d see him

In the railway station or waiting for a tram
On West Street.  He’d be at the other side of the road
Looking like a startled deer.  You’d wonder if he had
The wherewithal to make it across the street.  And he had.

He was not concerned that people looked at him
And pointed him out to their friends or little ones.
He was in a world of his own and in his world you
Went about your daily business wearing joke shop ears.

I heard him mentioned on the radio once, a famous
Local celebrity had seen him in the station and thought it
Good conversation to mention the guy with the big, plastic,
Joke shop ears.  I left Sheffield and have never seen

Big Ears since, even though I have been back many times.
I wonder if he has moved on to joke shop teeth or perhaps
A monster hand?  Whatever he is doing now, I admire him
Because who among us would wear joke shop ears

While conducting our day to day business?

I’ll stick to my big red nose.

Nice Old Grandpa Likes to Yodel

by Donal Mahoney

Nice old Grandpa likes to yodel
whenever he recalls the boys who
beat him up in third grade.

After sixty years, Grandpa finds them
on the Internet and takes a plane
and visits them, wherever they may be.

The beatings he absorbed, walking
home from school, Grandpa can't forget.
He keeps a list of all the boys who

bludgeoned him because he wore
Coke-bottle glasses with wire frames.
When nice old Grandpa lands, he finds

some old classmates dying in hospice,
others drooling in nursing homes,
and a few like him still on their own.

He sees terror dancing in their eyes
when he announces, "Rudy's here!
Remember half-blind Rudy in third grade,

the kid you thrashed for wearing glasses?"
He lets them know he wears contacts now
and he's there to rectify their wrongs.

Then Grandpa begins to yodel long and loud
and a security guard curses and drags him away.
The aggrieved always press charges but

no judge has ever sent Grandpa away.
He pays a decent fine but otherwise
nice old Grandpa gets probation.

Joey Is Nine and Having a Party

by Amy Soricelli

Fourteen pirates with patchy eyes-  swords
bouncing right and left;
as they tumble down the stairs - arms and legs
tangled, like spider webs.

Sneaker toes with blocks of mud
leaving peppery trails to the cake -
knobby knees and light-bulb eyes
M & M's on pirate plates.

Ice cream mounds in drippy bowls -
gathered like soldiers in a line -
parents nearby in pirate hats
keeping watch with forest eyes.

He blows his wishes into the yard
dangling, like tired balloons;
floating over ships made of wood
and the August blow-up pool.

I am the strongest kid on earth
Joey shouts into the skies-
his words float like confetti into nearby yards
where there is no party and no one turning nine.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

There We're Atheists

by Bhargab Chatterjee

Catching the fire of a withered flower
you drink from Neptune's tumbler;
your thirst makes a mirror before me.
There colours meet and change all possible shapes
of an usual morning.

death has all colours and shapes
in obvious finitude,
my "Belladonna, the Lady of Rocks"
Out of the yellow paddy field
the shadows of our hunger grow
and perpetuate yesterdays.

"I rebel therefore we exist,"  
you say stepping on the floor
of my room;
there we're atheists.

A walk to forget

by Reena Prasad

The waves licked our feet
 reminding me of resolute wings
 pushing their feathers out through gaps
 I had kept hidden

 You pointed out the rocks with mossy hair
 I saw a stream of clear water trapped in between
 A small Gulliver in Brobdingnag

 Behind us the sun fell
 The darkness was no match
 for your angry bewilderment
 or my lack of colour within.

Tea Box Quartets

by John Pursch

Outa timid pyramidal tautologies come buxom bauxite saleswomen, freely reeling off pidgin pie dunderhead expediency’s puerile cuneiform wavefronts in spherical trigonometric cascades of cauliflower entropy. 

Passing ossified retractions with qualified plumb line approbation, nurses of the 52nd Gunnery Chapel filch swordfish saturation manuals from Company Q’s headwater giblet weekend retweet, mingling tweezers with tumbleweed insecticide arrival clots, sorted hourly into secondhand stools. 

I’ve adhered to homespun depravity’s cyclonic sidelines, sensing naked cigarette confusion sap in fully flown deportation blurbs of syntactic warrior sheaves, penning paltry gallows whinnies when hoarse chowder parts sigh separately, relaxing into Bermuda tide lunge clinging motions. 

Just as issues of a backbeat cylinder inure us to calendars in hypostatic leering’s grueling release point, dashed hermaphrodites appeal to lexicography’s swollen penchant for tomfoolery and uncool familial gratings, pining to be leafy. 

Treachery wonders whenever scotched patrimony affiliates defy enunciated smooches with pickles on eponymous epoxy ladders, repelling down gristle mote fall away chompers. 

Abased extras vaguely memorize pedestal linguini siren crill, peopling thrilled jock straps with stomach crumpets, tea box quartets, and socially self-similar suffusion prints in quasi-periodic nascence. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Returning to Egypt with a Clean Lute

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

I believe in heroes and nickelodeons, shyamalaned goings on,
Stocking stuffers, yellow violets, scapulas used as paperweights.

See recycling typing papers, buying rugose dogs, rewriting, repeatedly, sijos,
Plus remembering to breathe whenever sitting on quaggas, as good.

Revisiting steam tunnels, though, rots. Trial by fire, at most ivy-type colleges,
Leaves bridges out, invites vexatious buddies, excludes useful syllabaries.

Subsequently, ill-tuned heckle phones, sanguine monsters, coruscating dungeons,
Starry nights, opossums, random wage workers, all posture as sublimated beauties.

Buskers, perennially busy, fret, their tattered salwar kameezs notwithstanding.
They know that many adolescents’ day care providers fashion bilkis, smoke weed.

Cognitive limits imposed by cartouches, concordanced information, carry on as stale.
Mathematical concision, dirty laundry, pots of junket, yet deprive childhood innocence.

Few grasp that protecting the young matters; violetwood, as impressed upon by bores,
Unless oiled and dry, brings an abundance of enceinte. Confervae grows tendons.

Runny viscous substances, too, as determined by librarians, scatter precious treens.
Most times, collections of indolent lizards lose value, despite academic obligations.

Pulp remains literature’s costume jewelry, slimy wind instruments, again and again,
Befriend no one, not even wild ducks, not even tenured deans, not even piebald ponies.


by Ali Znaidi

Magma everywhere:
A volcano erupted.
Then “red tape” again.

only happy when it rains

by Linda M. Crate

there's nothing but
disaster pounding in your
ears, tell me
do you ever tire of
being doom's day
pigeon proven
time and time again?
why do you
embrace negativity
like a lover?
wouldn't you rather
burn in the
radiant gaze of the sun
to shine delight
of sparkling rivers?
no, you'll
cling to your entropy
let it sing
it's carol
until your own bitterness
consumes you,
and your bones are
the thin
veiled branches of dying
leaves fragile and
easily broken
i don't see how you could
choose despondency so happily,
but some people are only
happy when it rains.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Precipice of Winter

by g emil reutter

And on the hill covered in a foot of snow
they gather.

Sleds and spheres they travel up and
down the mighty hill in chaos.

We watch from the porch of the old
museum, remember the past.

And as dusk turns to night the
moonless sky blends into icy hill.

You grab the wooden sled, run, and dive upon
it, take flight as wind catches your hair.

And as the sled soars you soar through memories
laugh as a teenager would.

You climb back to the top, run and fly down the
hill again.

I take a ride or two until we double up, blades
cutting ice until we reach bottom.

And there among the teenagers and parents with
young kids in the darkness of a winter night we

laugh and unbeknownst to those around us, we of
middle age have one last ride on the hill.

For a Lady

by David Mac

Lady Death been kissing me
all night long
Lady Death don’t like me
She says don’t sing
that song
But Lady Death come round
yeah come round, do
Lady Death been keeping her
ring on the side
her eyes on the side
her teeth in a glass
Lady Death farts
all night long
keeps me awake
Lady Death don’t want me to
go to work
Lady Death want me to
stay in bed
breakfast in bed
wants to brush her hair in the mirror
Lady Death wants to
stay inside today
Lady Death wants to
watch television
Lady Death don’t you know it’s
blue sky
Bah she says
Lady Death don’t you hear the
blue birds?
So what? she says
Lady Death stretches out
lights another cigarette
looks at me
and smiles
Sometimes I even smile back
But I can’t be sure

Nooner Daydream

by John Pursch

And what could Albumenthian Q. Hoppledespotch, Foisted Chauncylator of Royal Swobodia, say to canned vindictive plaintiffs of cursory, plaid-bred, morally chelated, peanut-ridden, hopscotch-infested monkey calendars? Nothing! 

Et war penny-paunchy hopeless to con sieves with antsy careworn constabulary festive brutes, the climb to widened horizons baying softly at the gentle moon in swooning car door penury, flipping offal in heady tales of nooner daydream sacroiliac tumbler kicks, flaming backstand races in groves of cylindrical marginalia pleats, smoked to popular vacancy troughs of bean clop shovel feet in dearly fondled dyspepsia, maligned by fuming tigress iguana tees and sapiential crawdad pachyderms in anonymity’s lifeline to spousal whittling stalls. 

Nanoseconds spread spelunking crossbow argyle preppy sloganeers to pounds of insight, dishing hyperbolic leash grenades in fennel tortellini growths beneath symmetric earful lashes, blending grappling hazing hooks with hair lace buckles, interleaving tonal fractionation’s bruiser displacement whelps at ivory udder station creaks. 

Perspiration plopped intact upon acidic poultice mops, tasking sows to hype aweigh in tearful exegetical youth, pressing lazy charbroiled intuition’s puny intimate repayment breeze for unified and fissile bubbles, switched to second consequential lattice toes, pinning famous prices into rhomboid miscellany’s sworn obloquy.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

love is just a taste test away

by Leeroy Berlin

if you’d have read the manual you’d have
known you could find it writ in the fingers
or the cells that hold past, present, and the
future in acid and vitriol poured
out to the sands; and a kiss might tell you
all that science could of erections and
chemicals and the lifespan of offspring;
her attraction a reaction to measures

teased by tongue, reduced where oxidized
where rust is lubricant, love circean
illusion cast by a lingual wand waved
tonsils to teeth to waive quaint notions of
quaint honor and gawain’s too nevermind
soulmates, but taste and you’ll know where love starts.


(She busted in and she burglarized my soul,
but now the bad news, she's out on parole.)
                           -- Jagger & Richards

by Alan Britt

Snare dives, stretches
boney wings & sways its
lightning-in-a-bottle hips
to the thump & punk
of a hi-hat in heat;
angst flares & dies
into ash before rising
like a phoenix amidst a hail
of lead & blazing poppies
tattooed on stained-glass windows,
snakeheads dragging us
below tar pits;
what's left?

Hard G grinds afterbirth
into Zensensation, thereby
perpetuating what steam-fitters want,
what hairdressers, lunch counter matrons
& lonely teachers want, what the Assistant
Manager of Marketing wants; meanwhile,
F minor distracts local security with her
flimsy flat tire plus coral nipple or two
as Keith's Telecaster Blonde bruises
stainless-steel clouds
into 30 thunder beats.


by Vinodkumar Edachery

Roaming idly
As sacrificial horses
That forgot their aim
Evil forces
In the world of Dhyana
Elixir to travellers

Spiritual thoughts that unfold
The mystery of  God
Erecting walls in human hearts
Terror moves

Thoughts of liberation
That presented fetters
To despots
Uprooting empires
With arms and ammunition
Of revolution

Thoughts of separation---
Of the beloved.

A Load Of Old Cobblers

by Paul Tristram

I loved it as a youngster, I did.
Listening to the stories
of the adult males of my family
and their
wild, colourful, prison tattooed friends.
As they drank their sherry and cider,
making thin roll-ups
with just one hand.
Going to the fridge for a cold beer
and casting a bone-handled 9” dagger
at the kitchen door whilst passing
and hitting it perfectly
at policeman’s head height
casually, as if it was just any other
ordinary every day thing to do.
I would sit there spellbound for hours
and then take what I had learnt
out into the streets and back lanes
to practice with my mates
throwing blades into everything
wooden around us.
The swear-words, terminology,
outlaw style and swagger
we perfected them all
before hitting our teens.
Now that I am a full grown man
and outdone them all
with my rebellion, travel and daring.
I still look back with a fond smile
upon my scarred face.
Half of what they all said
might have been a load of old cobblers
but it taught me a strength and discipline
that I still use to this very day.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Jack of Dreamland Dust

by David S. Pointer

The Valentine’s Day
heart craters were in
disrepair as was the entire
      infrastructure for love
until an unidentified woman
wearing a pink hard hat and
superior high fashion gravity
boots touched down like an
unsigned holiday card aflame


by Douglas Polk

yarn on the living room floor,
among the patterns of dolls and teddy bears,
spread across the space to the kitchen door,
all stuffed with the surplus of love,
which seems to ooze from her very pores,
when out on the town,
children search her out for hugs and smiles,
wherever we go,
making me proud she is my wife,
and I fortunate enough to be her husband.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

billie run

by Leeroy Berlin

william reginald henderson iii, esquire:
we called him billie.
he hated it
running from switching lights
a grim threat
to cut our time
over the unfenced earth
with scythes electric arched
across the street from side to walk
chasing us back
into the safety of verdant bulwarks that
stood between
and stucco temples to
silent sorrows
we feared would never let us free
from the suzerainty
of bars over our windows
and our parents' fear
of what else came on in the dark.

Alms House Effect

by R. Gerry Fabian

After the death of my paternal grandmother,
my father began to drink a little more
and gaze a little farther into the distance.
Strange, since his father’s death just surprised him.
Now, his jokes have become clever instead of crude
and all that intense hurry that was his trademark
leaves him like a totally exorcised spirit.
He begins talking about the weather and family reunions.
He learns the names of each of his grandchildren.
Suddenly, he calls on the phone for no reason at all.
The biggest shock is that he begins hugging
all the relatives; no matter how distant.
The idea that he is an orphan
doesn’t sit well with him, at all.


by Michael Cluff

N went on the prowl
hoping to sneak
a glimpse of Z
who was at the Double U
a result of a RSVP
the unknown X
factored in
to take over
before Z had a chance
to reattach itself
to a new HMO
that N also belonged to
and they could become
24/7 all over again.

The Skinny on Fatty's Cafe

by Donal Mahoney

Here's the skinny on Fatty's Cafe,
a grubby diner on a snaky street
under the El in dark Chicago
where street lights flicker
and the hungry descend from
the flophouse above the store.

If you have a yen for a BLT
and Fatty is workin' the grill,
the hungry say don't go in,
be patient and wait outside
for Fatty's brother, Skinny,
to wield the spatula.

Skinny has a way with BLTs,
piling bacon and tomato high
on a triple decker, with a hint
of lettuce and a swipe of mayo
on all three slices of bread.
No extra charge to toast it
when Skinny's workin' the grill.

Ignore the rain, sleet or snow
and wait outside with the hungry
till Skinny starts flippin' the bacon.
He takes over at midnight when
Fatty flops into his Lincoln
and heads for his castle.
Then Skinny lays out the bacon
and the hungry outside march in.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


by Laura Stamps

I take a bite and shut my eyes
to savor it.  “This is incredible,”
I say.  “You’re lucky to live
so close to a good restaurant.”
I shake my fork at him.  “But
you could have cooked this
yourself.  It’s easy.”  He pours
more spring water into my glass.
“That’ll never happen,” he says.
When I agreed to stay for dinner,
he ordered three plates of food
for me.  Roasted butternut squash
sliced in thick rings, smothered
with maple syrup.  Black beans
mixed with walnuts and shredded
coconut over a bed of spinach
leaves.  Sweet potatoes and
raisins simmered in apple juice
next to a mountain of brown
rice.  It’s a vegan feast.  And
I intend to eat all of it.  I do.
I take another bite.  This time
I moan.  “Total nirvana,” I say,
and he laughs.  “I’m glad you
like it,” he says.  “I’ve never
seen anyone enjoy food so much.
It’s just a bunch of vegetables.”
I wave my fork at his medium
rare steak, a chargrilled island
sitting in a pool of crimson.
“You don’t know many vegans,
do you?” I ask.  He looks down
at his bloody plate.  “Evidently,
not,” he says.  I lick maple syrup
from my lips.  “Yummmmmm,”
I say and spear a raisin plump
as a marble.  “Let me tell you
about vegans.  We eat all the time.
We eat a lot.  And we love it.
Or at least I do.”  He stares at me
like he’s never heard a woman
admit that.  “I’ve noticed,”
he says.  The ice cubes shift in
my glass, clicking against each
other beneath the garnet glaze
of the setting sun.  “Hunger,”
I say, “is my friend.”  I corner the
last piece squash.  “I understand,”
he says.  And smiles,
all canines and incisors.

Machinegun eyes

by Aashish Thakur

Love! No more old clichéd metaphor for you
This time demands something different
Something like veiled illumination
Something like stinking history books
Something that goes well with the packaged truth

And time says: we are not we
We are heads with price tags
Time says: we are not we
We are bloodstains
On the chest of the Earth
We are virgins
Drowning in our own blood

So I called your fingers: Dagger
I named your arms: Guns of tanks
And curve of your breast: The trajectory of an intercontinental missile

My love! In this time
Love becomes war
And war becomes way of living

I want you to
Keep staring at me
Because when anonymity becomes existence
Hope blooms in the death

The City

by Douglas Polk

people and buildings in every direction,
cars dance to the beat of the lights,
pedestrians wrapped up in themselves,
race on the city sidewalks,
a thundering mass,
of isolated cells,
lives intersect but never connect,
the city a solar system,
with planets and stars,
orderly moving though space and time,
asteroids undisciplined,
less orderly,
sometimes collide,
the city the same as the universe,
makes me feel small,
creates doubts in my mind,
that God's Hands are on this all,
this mass of dreams and humanity,
the mind can not grasp a love this complete,
a love that strong,
unimaginable how tiring it must be,
to love a city,
full of streets.

Sword in a Box

by Tom Hatch

We started out on an early 6:07 train to Manhattan
He fell asleep before the Connecticut suits
Got on at Darien it was earlier than his
Usual time of morning the sun low enough
Streams in across his young teen face burning
Into his thoughts of a young man
He will eventually be revealing his uncertainty that
He does not know it all as he seems to now
At Grand Central he became that boy again entering
Into familiar but not often enough familiar to awaken
Excitement that same sun bright steep angles
Down through the long hazy air
Hitting the marble floor of the terminal
Squinting hazy Asian eyes thousands of humans
One thought getting to work I had one meeting
This morning then free all day with Nick
I needed a shoe shine the best in New York
The shine at Grand Central the Honduran young men
Flapping their rags and beat their shining cloths
Into loud slaps and snaps echoing down the long hall
To Lexington Avenue where he waited for me
On the street we started walking but he
Wanted to take the subway as we did a few years ago
Taking him to school on East 84th St. he was my little prince
He did not beg to stand in the front car anymore
As he looked out into the dark tunnel lit by his smile
Holding him up on my knee to see out the window
Standing today lanky head down as the train
Moved swaying him gangly looking about
Cautious and curious at the funny ads
Dr. Zizmor will fix your skin, Fitzgerald and Fitzgerald
The fighting Irish lawyers have won millions in judgments
Call them now they will find some one you can sue
And the hammer toe repellent before and after pictures
Our destination is to walk the length of Mulberry Street
SoHo, Little Italy crossing Canal into Chinatown
Out of the subway onto Bleeker and Lafayette
Crossed Houston the Puck Building where Superior Ink
Was manufactured for almost a hundred years
Ended back almost thirty years ago the bums slept there for the
24 hour warmth the inks pervasiveness covered them as well
In black making their eyes white, hollow each blink was a motion
Picture kind of sadness as a Lewis Hines still pictures or Walker Evans
Pointing out the building across Jersey Alley I had a
Loft there at that time in my life art was my mistress
Young and beautiful she was my warmth only to leave me
Cold, broke and broken after many years we walked
Down Mulberry where John Gotti and his men strolled in front of me
As I took the dog out in the early evening between Prince and Spring
D&G bakery was gone the oldest stone oven in the city
Rocky’s red sauce on this warm noon we passed along
Umberto’s, Ferraro’s, Vincent’s Clam House moved
Onto a side street Nick’s hunger was playing a slow pace
Ended up sitting out on the sidewalk at Il Cortile
The mixture of tourists and old Italian neighbors was the stage
Watching as our food came to us under the shade of an
Umbrella of goodness sort of took us back to Rome
For a minute
From a few years ago but not quite the same
We intersected Canal into Chinatown the open
Shops of fish and flattened creatures pressed upon
The windows dripping with grease, in water tanks
Turtles and large fish he found some ancient coins (he thought)
In a store as we finally merged with the smells
We bought a Samurai sword he danced holding it
Like the bamboo snake we purchased as well
Leaving the store with the sword inside a box
The street the heat and pungent odor the thought of
A sword in a box we are meeting his mother later
Uptown with his grandfather and friend for her birthday
His happiness winding the back lanes of Chinatown
With the sword in the box
Coming upon Doyer Street I showed him were his mother
Lived when I first met her he took a picture of an aged
Chinese man crouching in that front doorway
Turning around across the one way narrow street
A US Post Office also written in Chinese
The explanation of a sword in a box
At her birthday dinner disappeared $6.50 and some added tape
Now being mailed home to be explained another day
Nick and I saw eye to eye about the weapon in the box
Entered the Chinatown subway station on Canal Street
Leaving the busy hectic sidewalk above
Down to the uptown train a Chinese girl his age
Sitting diagonally in a pink sundress blowing pink
Bubble gum across from him watching her
Pink sundress light skin blowing her pink bubbles
This a suspended moment in the Chinatown subway train.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Etienne (1)

by Sherry Steiner  

Etienne was slow in returning, long months relished, dead leaves, green leaves, colored leaves, what used to be a long hour in a day turned to a week swelling to months of calendar counting and x'ing out and numbers marking in. Moments devouring the old shot, popular angles instantaneously removing directional control, some said all was not lost.

Phillip, for example initiated artificial passages that no one could board, he simply said that it just didn't matter, like music once again, the two found generated visuals without the usual warhola perspective, one of them might have said something - but it was a fade, dissolve and focus-through kind of deal, audience participation on tempo, fairly obvious he stalks his own backgound of related actions. Etienne etienne focus focus o more cuts per minute, histrionic over-lappings, a thirties adventure no doubt, no wonder, half a million dollar musicals, pastel revolvers, brutal street sarcasm, phillip rejoiced in the baroque, increased synchronization - miniature compressions, he reels, implicating positive data accentuating viewer decay, his is a brief story, far away random case samplings stood at the forefront - no one knew what he was talking about. Just hold the elevator, please. breathless, etienne...underground cabled clergymen came forth - harbinger of gross negligence, firing up low brow reductions from twenty-five years ago, the story is old, a has-been-around - wrought iron, guarded by his spirit etienne joined a long line of images at an Italian storefront, 'I have no need' someone heard him say.

Yes, concise and to the point and remembering this he said no more.

Physical rhythms - a valid tool for mental escape interested Phillip. amused no doubt by the lack of centripetal decay he shot a series of close-ups subject to the approval of the shopkeeper, cosmopolitan juxtaposition, a fourteen letter word, hey, just back-up, generalize, track it casually, remember - this unit is not labeled for individual sale.

not entitled

by Mike Foldes

the space now empty
where the dust was
atmospheric mosh pit
you on a trajectory
loading up your vas
deferens, not to quit
until the rectory door
opens, skin under white
collar turns red, and
years later you find out
it just doesn’t pay
to be stone cold dead.

Circuit Breaker

by Jeff Burt

We wiped the glasses on our sleeves
but dirty they remained, so lifted the bottle

and the pitch of our throats and poured an inch
just over the lips, to quench and calm

your tremors from the A of AC splitting sense
from expertise, to still the tympani

pounding in my gut from the D of DC
severing time into life and death.

Then we laughed, splashed a second round,
said next time we’d flip the switch,

and rose quivering in joke and audacity,
fused by fear and its common electrification.

Fair Deal

by Richard Hartwell       

In turn, by age, eldest to youngest,
four drew from a new- broken deck
fanned face down on the dining table.

King of Diamonds.
Fitting for the eldest son:
stockbroker by trade;
self-made overachiever;
family’s financier;
household of five;
Harvard Summa.

Seven of Clubs.        
Fitting for the middle son:
mid-level executive,
telephone company;
household of five;
Dartmouth Laude.

Knave of Spades.
Fitting for the youngest son:
chain-store vice-president;
always upwardly mobile;
family man of sorts;
household of six;
Harvard Magna.

Deuce of Hearts.
Fitting for the only daughter:
no expectations only failures;
‘women’s retail sports-wear’
sounded better than counter-girl;
counting me, a household of two;
high school diploma.

While watched surreptitiously,
high card chose first and then,
one by one, grandmother’s life
divvied up by her loving children,
with calls, raises and greedy trades.

Silently crying, so not to be heard,
I called dibs on my memories . . . and won.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


by Vinodkumar Edachery

With blazing eyes
And cruel teeth
Before me, a leopard.
Oh! Thank God
He doesn’t look at me
All his glare is turned
To  my soiled body
My crucified form.

Along the Banks of the Serpent River

by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

the Ojibwa elder
saw his reflection in the water.
It was that of a spotted leopard
when he was a child

but now it just looked old
and weathered.

As the Ojibwa elder looked upon the water’s reflection
and ran his fingers across the wrinkles of his face
he remembered the story of Narcissus
and laughed.        

He much preferred
the leopard.

Since the Day That I Read Dante

by Jeff Burt

whenever I meet a friendly woman a flower comes to mind:
gladiola for the large and pure of heart,

jasmine for wide and starry-eyed,
hyacinth for the lusty, daisies for the childlike.

But when I see you braiding your hair
in silent intimacy, each turn and counterturn

resembles the journey of your questing spirit,
and I see you as one woman bearing many, not mythical

and larger than life, but various and real.
You are the prairie full of wild prairie roses,

the trail-side filled with purple amarantus,
lattice and hedgerow, the vines of morning glory.

The Territory

by Robert Nisbet

Things start with the cathedral, the
natural meeting place for wary lovers
from holy homes, aged twenty-nine the
two of them. From nave to chancel
to lady-chapel they threaded steps
and conversation, only to return then
to the city-village, to the ice cream
parlour’s rum’n’raisin, and some easing
of the mood. Their coast path walk
took them through floods of yellow
gorse, bathed them in sun. Is it too
fanciful to use the phrase “white light”?
Maybe it was the warmth, the sweating
of that squeezed untidy kiss. It would be good
to report that they hurried to the beach
and skinny-dipped. Et cetera. Well, no.
But as cathedral bells tolled evensong,
and heights of rooks exclaimed their
fright, our two were twenty miles away,
sequestered in a little bistro, sharing a
bottle of Chilean Merlot, making plans,
making such plans.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Stony Trail

by David Chorlton

As far as the eye can climb it
the trail cleaves to the light

falling between creosote and cholla
onto the random shapes

stones are, lying broken
or embedded in the ground

beneath the steps of all who pass
along each tilt and turn

at human speed
through coyote space.

we won't be unremembered

by Linda M. Crate

bruised and buried in the tapestry
of your skin
let me needle and nettle
further within
the houses of your secrets, let me
bury you in mine;
take a drag of forever in your eyes
i'll show you the ocean of
let's sing a song no one will forget
one the world can never
let us dance within the garments of one
another, you're the only
clothing i could ever need;
your embrace is the only recollection of
love i ever want to need
you're the one i always yearn for,
and you're the only
one that i'll ever hug with the embrace of my
smile because you're the only one
i'll ever love
because you are perfection
in all the scars of your flaws, and i your shy
heartbeat to calm the rage in your
ever bleeding soul.

The Truth in Two

by Shannon Barber

Today I will take
A moment to murder the
Insolent fall air.

The day Icarus
Wept. I fell from the black moon
Too tired to fly.


by Byron Beynon

The trees lean towards the river,
a stillness in the mind's recess
during a serene summer
as high grown branches
cool themselves
by a liquid mirror.
The signature of history
dwells here,
garlanded words
echo across
this window of water,
absorbed into the day's eternity.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


by Tony Rickaby

blows into road
hits ground and bursts
rolls in arc.
end lands in gutter
rubbish tumbles
veers onto pavement
misses pushchair
rests in plastic
catches in crack
cut head oozes
brick forms cloud
bag drowns in puddle
flicked black plastic flaps
slicker tumbles
rolling orange

The city laughs

by Jeremy Marks

The city laughs because
you laugh
and I have laughed
in the downtown park.

It is distinguished by an old gnarled oak
of patrimony unknown and it was probably grown
under the hand of some steward long passed
who would sing while she worked.

Now it succumbs to one buckling groan of frost
before being sprung up like a laugh, again.

Getting On

by Donal Mahoney

I no longer put things
back where they belong.
I can't remember where
they came from
never mind where
they belong

so if you see me out
walking dogs
you know
cannot be mine,
not to worry.
I still like dogs.

But if you see me out
walking women
you know
are not my wife,
ask them where
they came from

and if it's not too far
and they seem pleasant,
take them home.
I'll compensate you
for your kindness
and your time.


by Richard Schnap

Through the sealed glass of his window
The bleak landscape of his life passed by

Shopping malls like shrines to false gods
Abandoned factories like extinct beasts

But sometimes he’d see a laughing child
Playing in the wasteland of a fenced-in field

And flowers blooming in barbed-wire lots
Their faces bright in the morning sun

For despite the darkness of his dead-end dreams
Life endured in the most unlikely of places

So he did not grieve for the ravaged earth
But wondered instead how it overcomes its defeats