Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Dance at Harry's Bar

by Tom Hatch

Champagne, good food, the piano player
Playing our song, a cool, not to cold February
Night, Rome, Italy at the top of
The Via Veneto, Harry's Bar
We had no choice in the matter
When will we be at Harry's Bar again?
She smiled at me I knew it was the time
We were tourists on the ball at Harry's Bar.
Dancing at Harry's we took control
Of the open floor gliding our steps and twirling
Like the wind she in my arms
Then a release her hands over head she whirls
A roulette wheel “all my money on lucky red 7”
The two of us in total charge we knew the rules
We invented them.  It was a spotless finish as
I held her close
Then some applause and shouts of
“Inamorato, inamorato”
As our ten year old boy
Eating his tiramisu shaking his head
Turned bright red as a knocked
Over glass of wine puddling
In the white linen tablecloth 

Terror Without a Timetable

by Ralph Monday

Dread follows along, creeping behind like
vines on a forest floor. Like taxes and
relationships, love and hate, Elvis and Liberace,
even vodka won’t dull the patina settling over—
a kind of mind Novocain that dulled baptism
in amniotic fluid flowing like a river from
spread thighs.
The feeling can never quite be pinned down,
an insect squirming, wriggling on a pin.
It blooms red within us.
Perhaps it is Oppenheimer’s uncorked genie
in the bottle, Bin Laden’s watery ghost, Nazi’s
singing at the Berlin opera, Wagner’s Valkyrie
ride in Apocalypse Now, Augustine’s conversion
under the tree, the Spanish burning Mayan codices,
Joan of Arc’s visions, or rock and roll burying
Glenn Miller.
Maybe nothing so exotic—more like a bad date
at a drive-in, rush hour traffic, road kill, alimony,
the dentist, the unfathomable rush through space,
or staring muddy-eyed at the clouds in morning coffee.


by Richard Schnap

I walked down the street today
Remembering how it was years ago
With the theatre that showed vintage films
And the restaurant with the greasy chicken

And I ask the street if it remembers me
Barely more than a child in blue jeans
And a black leather jacket, smoking a Marlboro
And waiting for love to embrace me.

But the street says No I don’t remember you
You are mistaking me for somewhere else
I don’t have a theatre or a restaurant
I’m not the place you seem to call home

And as I stood there a boy passed by
Wearing blue jeans and a black leather jacket
Smoking a Marlboro as he smiled at a girl
As if she was the one the street would not forget..

paying off old sins

by J.J. Campbell

acid wash my soul
under a neon moon
and call me a new

the fools may believe
in whatever new religion
is being sponsored by
a celebrity this week

i'll be fine with my
cross, my guilt and
my regret

rinse and repeat
with a glass of
red wine

the house down the
road burned down
a few days ago

i gave the family
cash instead of

given the no
trespassing sign
i doubted they
my generosity

of course, they don't
know my reason for
giving the money

paying off old sins is
a lonely business

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


by Linda M. Crate

"Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud." — Maya Angelou

There are so many critics,
be an encourager
the world is already full of scoffers
scorners and indifferent
dark souls
who only seem content when they rip
someone apart thread by
tenuous thread;
who wants to be remembered
as the villain of the story
in the chapters
of anyone's life?
be a rainbow in someone else's cloud,
the reason they can smile
on a dark and difficult day;
you never know
how much you can enrich someone's life
just by being a rose
instead of a thorn—
put down your torches and neglect your
witch hunts for there's not a perfect
person that roams this earth;
just remember
that everyone's fighting a tough battle of their
own, and the last thing they need
is yet another
telling them they're doing it wrong
as they journey along their

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


by Tim Gardiner

sun glints
oil slick carapace
smothers soil

Grown-up Monsters

by Regina Solomond

At eight I outgrew the fear of
Spirits waiting in the shadows
Distorted faces outside dark windows

                                                Roses are red

And snatching hands beneath basement steps.
I slept without my rabbit doll and nightlight.

                                                Bruises are blue

At twenty-four I met you on the subway with your
Combed hair, pressed suit, suave smile
And fell under your spell.

                                            My childhood nightmares

I forgot that sirens are beautiful
Until I was already drowning.

                                            Incarnate in you

grecian burn

by Linda M. Crate

i would say i'm as easily
read as a book,
but this whole
town seems
so i'll say it like this
i wear my emotions
on my sleeves—
don't believe in mind games
or hiding secrets deep
within the gardens
of my heart
because flowers are meant
to bloom;
so why did you cut
them all down?
all my roses wilted at
your feet and you
let them,
and i cried as demeter at
the loss of persephone—
but i have no
snow to
afford me so i'll burn you
in the gaze of apollo's
sun let your charred
black wings
lead you home.


by Marc Carver

As I sat in the toilet,
someone came in once maybe twice.
They walked up to the only cubicle and tried the door.
I rustled the two day old paper to let them know that it was taken
then they started  to whisper,
"This toilet is haunted. This toilet is haunted."
"I don't think so."
I said.
They left but I stayed.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


by Vanessa Raney

So the secret
– what the schools teach –
is rolling the
meat with oil, fingers
wet, before
you slip it in, warm, the
pan covering.

Exuberant Whirling

by Nalini Priyadarshni

Deliciously daring technicolored dreams
Rub their soft bodies unabashed
Under the canopy of closed lids till
Succulent imagining burst and measure
Scrambling pieces of misplaced identity
Egged on by cheering silver spittoons
Lined up against ochre rocks

Mundane and spiritual in equal measure
Insouciance nestles lightly upon
Confluence of east sea and western desert
Neither of which holds reins of that
Heart beating in tandem with my own
Impertinent kernel, drawn irresistibly to
Miracles brought into existence with
Exuberance of cosmic dance grown more
Radiant with each whirling together


by Douglas Polk

toes sink into the sandy bottom of the fishing pond,
a pedicure and massage,
wading in the warm water,
waves lap against knee and calve,
soothing both mind and soul,
birds call across the water,
keeping a neighborly eye on those of us who don't belong,
beavers or otters across the pond,
go about their daily routine,
worm mounted a the hook,
and the bobber on,
a graceful arc,
ripples spread as the bobber nestles into place,
enjoy the trees and sky,
enjoy the wait,
the strike sudden,
an electric jolt,
numbs both heart and hands,
until the bass reeled in,
a prayer said,
and with a thank you,
the fish released,
therapy of the very best kind at the fishing hole.

Saving Tim Murnane

by Donal Mahoney

Tim Murnane had been lying in bed and staring at the ceiling of his hospital room when a strange woman suddenly walked in. A mature, nice-looking lady, she wasn't a doctor or nurse. She was dressed in her Sunday best--a voluminous skirt, puffy white blouse he could almost see through, and a pill box hat. He hadn't seen a pill box hat on a woman since Jackie Kennedy was in the White House back when he was a young man. This woman, however, was carrying a Bible, not an elegant purse.

"Mr. Murnane, my name is Ophelia Barnes and I wonder if you might be willing to give me a few minutes of your time. I understand you recently had an operation."

"I did indeed," said Tim. "They took out my appendix and my gallbladder, too, when they found it was bad. I'll be here awhile longer while they run some other tests. At my age, things can go wrong, you know, and they want to see if they can find anything else."

"Very true, Mr. Murnane. Folks I know have been dying at a faster rate than usual in recent years. It can be frightening but it happens to all of us. If you don't mind, Mr. Murnane, please tell me where you think you would go if you died tonight."

"Well," said Tim, beginning to get the direction of the conversation, "I'd probably go to Egan's Funeral Home up on 63rd Street. I went through pre-arrangement counseling there and paid for everything--the box and the plot. I took care of all that for myself when I had to bury the wife a few years back. Got nice discount. In fact, the plot's in St. Adalbert's Cemetery, just up the road, not far from here."

All of that was true. Tim Murnane had made all the arrangements to be "salted away," as he had told his seven kids, who were now all busy raising families of their own in different cities. But he figured if he told this woman he was going to Eagan's and then to St. Adalbert's, she'd know he was Catholic and perhaps not ripe for harvesting for whatever well-meaning Christian church she represented.

"Mr. Murnane, I meant if you died tonight, would you go to Heaven or Hell."

"That's an excellent question, Mrs. Barnes. If I had a chance to go to confession before I died, I wouldn't go to Hell, God forbid, but probably not right to Heaven either. I'd probably have to spend several centuries in Purgatory, burning off the stains of a very sinful life. And I have no objection to that. I will have earned my entire stay. I don't drink and I don't smoke but over the years I've always found women attractive, if you know what I mean."

Mrs. Barnes didn't really grasp that Old Tim, although a lapsed Catholic for decades, was not about to switch denominations this close to the finish line. He had been a White Sox fan his entire life and would die cheering them as well, never the Cubs. So she was ready to press on when Tim, warming to the challenge, asked a question.

"Mrs. Barnes, if I joined your church right now, what are the chances you'd visit my grave. All my kids live out of town and I'd rather not disturb them."

"Mr. Murnane, If you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior right now, I promise I will visit your grave. You could even be buried from our church. It would be a beautiful ceremony. We'd love to have you, dead or alive."

"Mrs. Barnes, I do accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I always have, ever since grammar school. I'd have never graduated if I hadn't learned about Jesus dying for my sins from all those nuns, God bless 'em. They taught me from first grade on that if I had been the only human being on Earth, Jesus would have died for me alone. Of course, they let me know too that I had to keep his commandments as well as believe in him. There were only a couple of commandments I've had trouble with. I mean, I never stole anything or killed anyone."

"You'e right, Mr. Murnane. Jesus would have died for you alone. And if you decide to join my church, I promise I wlll visit your grave."

"You wouldn't have to bring any flowers or anything, Mrs. Barnes. Just walk right up on the gravesite and stand next to my tombstone."

"Stand next to your tombstone? Why would I do that, Mr. Murnane?"

"Well, if I start feelin' a little better, I'd like look up your skirt."

Mrs. Barnes didn't faint but she did walk out of the room without saying a word.

And Tim Murnane pushed the buzzer for the nurse. He wanted to see if she would ask the next priest she saw making rounds to stop by his room. A couple of priests had stopped in already but Tim hadn't been ready for anything serious. Thanks to Mrs. Barnes, however, he knew now that he'd like to give any priest a real earful. It had been 30 years since his last confession and he had plenty to talk about. At 74, he wanted to be ready before going to Eagan's. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Merciless Summer

by Regina Solomond

That summer smelled like burning ants.

Father was full of tubes,
his face a skeleton’s smile.
Mother lived each day like a shopping list,
checking off each item dutifully.

I held the magnifying glass
with the hand of a god.
The ants never had a chance.


by John McKernan

Like to pitch glass crack pipes
on a pile of rocks by the long dock

Will sniff then pour out half a fifth
of tequila or vodka   The good stuff

down the drain of a kitchen sink
then fill it back with their own urine

They know how to put it back right
in the shadow on the neon counter

Needles can be bent or dipped in
cat droppings   Right    Folks sneeze all

the time at the wrong time staring
at nine hundred dollars lying on

a blue plastic plate in lines of coke
One specialty is accidents

A crowbar or a long lead pipe
duct taped over thick insulating

styrofoam across the side of your
ribs    Like to be never forget

People get killed all the time   Right
Now if you listen close you won't

know what you're hearing   The sound
of someone’s ankle twisting or the sound

of  a nine millimeter going off in fire works
I call out Friends whenever I see them


by Marc Carver

I can't decide whether
I should begin or not
but the trouble is
if you call yourself
something you have to start
don't don't you?
You can't call yourself
a plumber and not plumb.
You can't say you are a milkman
then not bring the milk.
You have to be something you can't be nothing
and say
"Oh me I do and am nothing."
People don't quite know what to say to that.
What they should say of course is.
"How do you know when you are finished?"


by Linda M. Crate

her laughter is obnoxious
not the sort
that is infectious,
but the kind that distracts all
thoughts in my mind
from forming;
she taps her foot impatiently
i see it out of the corner
of my eyes as
i try to focus on anything
but the people around me—
i find the more
she laughs
the more irritated i get
as if this stranger
has declared
a war against my sanity,
but i don't know her;
as she swings her chair around
to stare
can't help but wonder
why am i the
strange one?
maybe it's written on my
head in some invisible ink
that i should be an outcast,
and she should sing
songs off tune.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Illusionist

by BethAnn Caputo

Show me how you do that trick.
The one where the stars in your mouth
turn to black holes and lost to them are
my tongue and the words you are too afraid to hear me say.

there is a perfect ending where I know exactly what you are thinking
and I am more sleight of mind than ever.
I have mastered this game of hide and seek
and can make things appear out of nowhere,
long after they have vanished.

I can dive head first
and over
and over again
into shallow waters that spell words like
mistake and forsaken
and float to the surface, unscathed.
I am not shackled or hanging upside down
drowning in a pool of dazed morning afters, silver linings
and obstacles like the New Jersey Turnpike
that make it hard to get to you.

Saw me in half before you go this time,
and take with you the parts of me
that can’t let go.

Defining Destiny

Nalini Priyadarshni

When you turn your back
Towards me
And pretend to be busy
I know you smile and wait
For me to run my tongue
At the back of your neck
And lacerate your heart

    Hot tip of your tongue
    Like the tip of a dagger
    Pierces my dreams
    Bringing my sword from
    Its scabbard
    To sharpen it
    On the edge
    Of your breath
Like wet muslin sari
Around the curves of a woman
Caught in downpour
I cling to your stiletto
And keep faith.
Dispositions define destinies.

Coming Home at Midnight to the Farm

by Donal Mahoney

Driving down the hill I see the same bend in the road the school bus took me around for years. I can see in the headlights the wildflowers ringing the curve like a necklace--goldenrod, cornflower, Queen Anne's Lace, God's gift to country roads in the fall. You don't see anything like that in the city but I'm getting used to living there.

I see the house ahead, one light on, upstairs. It's midnight and my father's dead and my mother's in that room praying and maybe crying, waiting for me to pull in. She knows it's a six-hour drive from the city.

The wake will be tomorrow night at Egan's mortuary. There will be 15 decades of the rosary to say and I still have trouble getting through five. Then there will be three hours of listening to my mother's friends console her, ancient ladies all, many of them widowed long before her. 

Many times my mother has been in their place so she knows what they will say but she will find some comfort in it anyway. The old farmers still alive will simply say "sorry for your troubles" which serves as both a condolence and a prayer. 

Mass will be at 10 in the morning with Father Murphy in the pulpit sounding like Bishop Sheen. My dad told me long ago that when he finally died Father Murphy would confer sainthood on him at the funeral, no need for any miracles. Father Murphy has a long history of canonizing every farmer who dies unless he committed one of the seven deadly sins in public. My father said he hoped Father Murphy would talk loud enough for God to hear.

After the procession to the graveyard and the consignment of the casket, everyone will drive back to the church hall for the funeral meal--wonderful food prepared by good women and arranged in a long buffet. 

The farmers will assure my mother they will be out to her place tomorrow and the next day to put up the hay. After the hay is taken care of, they will take turns coming to feed the cattle and they'll go to town to pick up whatever she needs. Things will work out, they will tell her. Not to worry. 

After everyone has eaten, the ladies, one by one, will rise and bow to my mother and tell her to go home now and get some rest. 

The men will shake hands with me and ask how long before I have to go back to the city. I'll say I have a week, maybe two, uncertain as to what night I'll have to leave. I know it will be around midnight. And the same light will be on, upstairs.

Divine Distribution

by Pijush Kanti Deb

I feel lucky enough to be posted here
with a mission to accomplish
along with other
by my Boss- a great soul,
in the name of whom
swearing proves its honesty.
Blissful I am to work for him,
hopeful for due remuneration
and watchful for a post-man
bringing my earned money
sent by my great Boss.
On the wheels of time
days, months, and years-
the running vehicles,
carrying the post-man,
stop near my hut
but no post-man is available
to knock my closed door
and no kind hand is extended
to fill my emptiness up.
Report blames the mighty and the shrewd-
claiming the money by force,
pillaging  the post-man mercilessly,
creating the problem of haves and have-nots
and compelling the almighty Boss
to think about adopting
an alternative distribution
of favors divine.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


by Nancy May

willow branch
fading ripples on the river
guide a lone cygnet

Endless Connection

by Denny E. Marshall

Lifeless and desolate
Empty dust covered sphere
Words used to describe
The satellite around us
The moon is not dead
Since it creates life
Imagine the oceans
Without their friend
How many creatures
Would starve or die
Without the crater wonder
Scientist now know
From watching from space
That the whole world
Is connected in some way
Ice, water, land, and sky
Seas both deep and swallow
North Pole and South Pole
All corners play a part
Although they left out
The moon and planets
The space between
Even further out
No reason to think
That the linkage
Would stop or end
Above the atmosphere
Follow the long pathways
Abundant untouched trails
All the way back
To the immense universe


by Anuradha Bhattacharyya

Two men, sword in hand,
A woman in between.
That’s what I grew up reading of.
Two men, roses in hand,
A woman choosing one.
That’s what our new age taught me.
But I as a grown up
Among grown up men
Find women, sword in hand,
Fighting men; an endless duel
Where none can choose to retire
With defeat
Written in one’s share.
I partake in a squabble
For power everyday
Before mealtime
Or after dinner,
In the office or a party
When decisions have to be taken.
A man’s best advisor,
A woman has to struggle
To be heard first
And then to be informed.
He says nothing,
Acts upon his will
Without consultation,
Not taking the woman as
A thinking feeling body,
Who could be asked if she’d like
What he did.

Counting Pebbles

by Paul Anthony

Face red on the saline breeze
Hair matted by the ocean spray
She sat, in her pretty dress
Unaware of her brothers playing Ninja Turtles
My daughter
Counting pebbles on the beach

Thursday, May 15, 2014


by D.L. Tricarico

brings us back
to the meaningful
and the grand
the inhalation
of green leaf
and birdsong
the exhalation
of traffic
and chatter
brings us back
to ourselves
reminds us
when survival
is the first thing
on the list
that we must
let in the air
then let it out

Stage Rage

by Paul Tristram

I sat cross-legged upon the rug
in front of the fire
while he sat in his chair next to it.
Drinking from a bottle of
‘Medium Old England Sherry.’
I can still hear the force of the pull
and smell the thick, sweet, heavy
scent of it, all of these years later.
He was only half-cut and coherent
on this occasion, for a change.
He was smoking a prison thin roll-up
and I could see my Mother’s name
Indian Inked upon the side of the palm
directly below the thumb of his left hand,
each time that he took a drag.
We were both nodding our heads
in time to the music from the LP
creaking and hissing
around and around
on a portable record player
upon the floor a few feet away.
We would both clumsily join in
with the chorus each time that it came
‘On a Carousel, On A Carousel.’
When the album had finished
he always said the same things.
That my Mother didn’t have a clue
because she thought that
The Beatles and The Rolling Stones
were the best bands of the 60’s
that she had even named me
after one of The Beatles
‘The daft looking one.’
But that this band we were listening to
were obviously better
besides they were his favourite after all.
I would always agree but add
that I did like some of the others songs
particularly ‘Baby, you can drive my car’
and ‘Street Fighting Man.’
He always reluctantly agreed
to the latter song
then he would explain
how his favourite band once played
The Roxy Dancehall in Skewen.
During the ‘Bus Stop’ song
him and his gang had leapt onto the stage
and he had rugby tackled
the ginger drummer to the floor.
I would always hold my hands
up in the air in disbelief
and ask why would he do that?
Especially to his favourite band?
He would chuckle mischievously
replying that it was only the drummer,
that they were ten a penny
and that it was a better story to tell
than just getting an autograph
on some paper like the women did.
Later as I walked home to me Mam’s
across The Tip and down Denever road
I would think aloud to myself
‘I’ll be a teenager in a couple of years,
I’ve already got a gang together
I wonder if the Sex Pistols
will ever come and play in Neath?
If they do, I’ll be up on that stage
I’m banging Johnny Rotten out cold.’
I’d smile to myself as I kicked open
the backdoor to the noisy racket inside
and ate up my Welsh corned beef supper.


by Richard Schnap

First comes a coed
With a black and gold shirt
Whose inspected I.D.
Lets her sip a red wine

Then comes a worker
With paint-splattered jeans
Who gulps down the first
Of a series of shots

Next comes a beggar
With a handful of change
Just enough for a glass
Of whatever’s on tap

And finally an old man
With a cane and a thirst
To share one last drink
With someone who’s not there.

Grounds for Separation

by Donal Mahoney

There's nothing wrong with you.
We both know this is true

but there's something wrong with me
and you know what that is.

It's the elephant in the room
standing on our mantel

trumpeting "I'm here!"
I'll call when I find out

what's wrong with me
and then I'll buy a yo-yo

a shiny one with rhinestones
the kind we had as kids

and we can try that trick
"walking the dog" again.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


by Jeffrey Park

the flag drops and
the clock begins the count
train, bullet, rocket, transonic
clock running
supersonic, ultrasonic, relativistic
clock running
superluminal, faster than
the speed of thought, fear, regret
outpacing the running clock
outrunning time itself
looking at time from the inside out
time as an oyster’s midnight pearl
a dark smooth surface
curving away into never
a soft voice
a brush of lips
a fractured law of physics
fluttering about
in the terrible wind of your

Clark Gable is Dead

by David Mac

The hero takes the woman in his arms
She weeps
The orchestra stirs

A young girl rides a horse
The fields are on fire
The trees are angry fists

But the hero will die
The woman will die
The girl and the horse too

The tree is the only one who will
Outlive them all
For even the branches know
Everything ends up this way

But it doesn’t matter
None of it does

As the blue smoke hits
Or the bottle is smashed into the sky

The violins scream and shudder
It’s all they can do

And in the old movies
No end credits play

And everything ends
And ends abruptly

As everything else
Does not

we must be brave

by Linda M. Crate

the problems all seem too near the
solutions too far away
grasping at straws
doesn't mean that you'll obtain them,
and so i try to meander through meadows
taller and sharper than i remember
in all the pastures of
my youth;
yet the golden light of sun star
still pours through
allows me to know that somehow we'll
get out of this mess—
no one gets out of life alive,
but i want to live
while i'm still
so i will conquer all these mountains,
and throw these rocks so hard
that streams will skip
of stones—
i will speak with my voice because i will
not be silenced by fear or remorse
i will protest what is wrong
even if i'm standing lone
on that beach;
we all make mistakes,
but i want mine to mean something to teach
myself and others to keep their hands
away from the flame;
the only solution i can come up with is
breathe and it can be satisfying
just to let it go—
we cannot control everything,
and as much as we hate to admit it there are
things pushing us of which we cannot
and so i keep moving
because life will mow you over like
a lawn mower devouring grass
if you do not move,
and unlike the grass you will not
grow again unless you have enough nerve to
do the things that seem impossible.


by Marc Carver

I dreamt that I was a songwriter
and that I had written 'bohemian rhapsody',
written or stolen.
Seeing as I would have been under ten when it came out
I was more likely to have stolen it.
I knew all these dreams had to mean something
one stacked up upon another
night after night.
It was like looking through a peep hole
you can see what is happening
but you are not always sure why
or what it is trying to tell you.
Tonight I will be waiting for another dream
waiting to be told,
then all I need to do
is start living them.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


by John McKernan

Oxygen everywhere   Hiding out from the Carbon

Many people in church this morning wore disguises

The baby resembled the scar in his mother's stomach

The woman in the mechanized wheelchair held a
            pillow stuffed with purple paper & candy bars

Her tears were disguised as a waterfall

God was hiding in a candle   He was the bright unlit

An army of foreign words hung suspended from
            the rafters after flinging themselves against
the sunlight on the stained glass window

One visitor tossed three bullets in the collection basket

A med student with a stethoscope shivered and left
early listening to the loud hymns and the size
            of those human hearts


by Vanessa Raney

I was a spoiling stool
of inattention,
an epiphany needling
in indifference.

I wouldn't have,
but I did,
waste those years
in calamity, where I

laid a brickwork of
reclamation in this
other country, where
her laxation

reminds me of mine,
as I take her
in a burning kitchen,

cutting the raw,
rolling the flour-
dipped gnoki,
an exclamation for

my need to cook,
the succor of my life that
is an absent ode to my
mother, on exiting.

ocean mother

by Linda M. Crate

you call to me,
ocean mother, i hear you
when i sleep
singing to me of corals
and the deepest of
hymns of blue and green
etched upon the surface
of your tongue
salted and ancient—
telling me of fishes and dolphins
sharks and crabs
octopus and squids,
and i can't understand the meaning
of the books you pour upon
my countenance
when you knock me over
insist to look deeper;
you tell me of ancient monsters and
of all the beauties found
glimmering deep
i want to swim within your waves,
and you call me to come closer
like any good child should;
but i can't help but fear your fury for you
dash rocks to pieces with your mighty
breath and have thrown men
to be carrion for all your
a bi-polar mother
beautiful yet repulsive—
you tell me that i can trust you,
like the shells you've washed upon the shore
or the sea turtles that made it to your
distant waves;
but i do not know if that's a truth or a lie
so i remain safe on the shore
longing for your embrace and loathing it all the same.


by Tim Gardiner

she stands alone
a slender beak
elegantly up-curved ~
the goddess
of a shingle shore

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Even The Shadows

by David Mac

Every night we drink
Every night we die
But come the morning
We are born again

Hissing and moaning
Thrown back to the world
The daylight will only protect us
For so long

But we know what will happen
We know the night is coming
For us
And we get ready
And we do

The inevitability of the hours
The cruel joke of the sun
And that one more bottle
That one more sip
That taste on our lips

The fire is so beautiful
That even the shadows
Are scared


by Will Monigold

Spike is a cat that
Wants more than I
Can give, but I
Love him. I
Don’t think He sees it
That way. The guy at the
Seven Eleven, Solomon,
Who sells Me cigarettes
Is from Gambia. He
Taught me How to
Say hello in his
Language; “Nanadif.” He
Seems pleased that I
Make the effort and I
Am pleased he came all
The way from Gambia to
Teach me, although I
Don’t think he sees it that
Way. Salmon, doesn’t judge
Me when I buy cigarettes like
They do at the supermarket, but
They don’t realize I am going
To die of other things long
Before cancer kills me. I
Don’t think they see it that
Way. Spike circles my
Legs and rubs hard. I
Reach down and scratch
His chin and tell him I
Love him.


by Jeffrey Park

Tracing random
they force
their way
into my private sphere
through pipes
twisting constipated tubes
asking demanding
answers –
search me
(all blithe innocence
behind a veil
of dead links
and data retrieval errors) –
blank stare
if you’re not redirected
in five seconds
try pressing


by Marc Carver

I got an email
trying to hack my email again.
I sent them back a message.

Don't try and hack my email as I have no money
you would better spend your time
trying to hack someone's email
who has money.

I hope, really hope they do manage to con someone
out of some money.
It has got to be better than getting a job right

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


by A.V. Koshy

Outside they are getting ready to kill each other in the name of religion
Slip through the nets
Let us walk unseen
To the field where the small, wild, white flowers bloom
There on the grass
Let me make love to you
Your hair in my mouth
You tangled in my arms
While far away sounds of weapons and thunder
Tell us time is short
Soon I will have to go
And try to bring peace
And they may kill me for it, my love
Let me have my fill of you
Be strength to my marrow
And believe I wiill come back
If only to drink the honey of your lips
As the crow, thirsty
From rain-puddle or water tap
While you, to me, incline
You lips, eyes, cheek and pretty bust
To make sad love worthwhile
With our scanty kisses
Only a bottle
In such hard pressed times
Of holy water
No longer oceans wide

The Goddess in spite of herself

by Tannen Dell

She was crafted with eyes
like sapphire galaxies
plucked from the shim'ring
pedestals of the seven,
polished by the electric
gravity of her smile.

Her quintessence
is not beautiful
It is the point of origin
Of a thousand fuchsia
Ground together
By the ever locking,
wound up pellucid
atmospheres her cortex
Constructed as a sort of mask,
a net to keep out the many
and allow a concentrated
vivified Eagle Novas
within her multiplicative solitude

And here I hover
A humming phoenix
My second to last evolution
I'll whisper my forked tongue
Through her attention
Press my haphazard fangs
To the collar of her cloak
And glide the fiery feathers
in my claws
across her shadow.
Sand turns to molten glass

The seven tell me,
they tell me to try
they say to "fight for it."
Ignore the cold
that will encompass
the alpha and omega
of all things as I
make this
to the origins
of her sapphire eyes.

At My Age, Mickey Mantle Was Dead

by Wayne Scheer

A 68 year-old
isn't meant to keep up
with a 12 year-old.
I know that
and usually I'm smart enough
not to try.
But yesterday,
after my grandson
listened attentively
to a Shakespeare presentation
and came away with an understanding,
if not an appreciation,
I took him to a park
to work off his excess energy.

We sneaked onto an empty baseball field
used by a local college
and I encouraged him to run the bases,
not having a ball, bat or glove handy.

I timed him, and then he said,
“Your turn, Grandpa.”

I should have known better,
made an excuse,
“Bad heart, you know,”
but the adolescent in me wanted to do it.

So I took off from home,
not like the proverbial bat out of hell
and certainly not like I had a jet pack attached to my ass,
more like an old man jogging across the street,
a challenge to make it to the other side.
The first thing I realized was
although the old legs moved,
one in front of the other,
there was no spring to the step.
By the time I rounded first,
I was huffing;
the puffing came when I reached second.
From then on, it was a battle not to give up
as my grandson counted time.

I rounded third
and thought about a final burst of speed;
I thought about it,
but thought was all I could muster
as I puttered home,
my grandson laughing so hard
he lost count. Thankfully.

At least I didn't fall on my face
and as out of breath as I was,
the old ticker returned to normal soon enough.

“Now let's see how many chin-ups
you can do, Grandpa.”
I managed three,
and got a high five from
a muscular teen
who had just completed his second set
of twenty five.

Across the Field

by James Babbs

across the field and
out past the trees
where the creek bends and
makes its way
through the tall grass
that’s where they found her
dead for several days
her body decomposing
a place where I drive past
every morning
on my way to work and
when they gave her name
that night on the news
I didn’t know who she was
but I kept going to the window and
looking out at the darkness
the lights in the distance
not sure of what it was
I was trying to see

Sunday, May 4, 2014


by Sharon Fedor

But The World was less than a mile from home, and there, in sets, I used to listen to the bands. So the keyboard player must have brought a Clavinet to perform near the ceiling where the stage was located. Could they not have brought that stage closer to earth? The floor? And who owned The World? A Coop? A Conglomerate? The Horns? And where in that crowd of motley disciples, upped and downed, dancing and freaked, went those years?  Why the change? Never a blatant celebration. Never a drunken brawl (no alcohol!)  And now? A blasted eardrum forgetting a note? A cell forgetting to duplicate perfectly? An airline ticket to someplace else? A degree? And where is the keyboard player? And what happened to his Clavinet? Decades pass, but the spirits hang near me. I imagine them as I drive by The World. My eyes see an empty warehouse, space without sound, dust. So I close my eyes, and a black blaring vortex sucks me through to the top, once more, with my buddies, I’m high.

Seeing a Man Who Looked Like the Father I Would Never Recognize

by Amy Soricelli

I saw you the other day on the street sidled against the bad weather grim straight-faced
in your grey suit/ if you had one it would be deep filled pockets of air -
you shrugged by me, of course.
It was not you; the dead wandering around in tip-toe dances of black nightmares -
you are not here in this city -
not here firm down placed hard with cement.
We never shared the same space dimming street corner lights you were
sometimes what the shadows made;
plucked like a feather right out of your hat.
Your eyes were blinking  gold story-book promises: shady eyes under sunglasses;
smile sometimes... they said to you.
smile sometimes.
You knew the small of who we were/ the palm of your hand wrapped tight against some dead love you shared.
We were never there in black and white our birthdays slipped off the tip of your tongue.
The dead could not get out of cabs skipped by to the end of the curb/splash down on piles assembled like
puffy crowds of strangers.
I did not know you then - I would not know you now.

"Missouree" or "Missourah"

by Donal Mahoney

In some parts of Missouri
some folks say "Missourah"
instead of "Missouree."

When politicians mount
the podium at a county fair
to speak to straw-hat farmers

they say Missourah
with the oomph of a tuba
but in St. Louis they say

Missouree nicely
so city folks won't think
they're "hoosiers."

Some city folks call
country folks hoosiers
without malice.

Hoosiers are country folks
who move to the city
and never go home.

In some parts of Missouri
they say "crouch" instead of
"crotch" and "southmore"

instead of "sophomore."
It so happens that
Wilbur Fenster got

kicked in the crouch
playing soccer his
southmore year.

It was then a doctor
discovered he had an
undescended testicle.

Wilbur and Tammy,
his steady till then, thought
all boys only had one.

Free Speech Canto XXXII

by Michael Ceraolo

September 1921
Krobel, Arkansas
The school board's new rule:

                                             "The wearing
of transparent hosiery,
                                 low-necked dresses,
any style of clothing tending to immodesty in dress,
or the use of face powder,
or cosmetics,
                      is prohibited"

                                           Pearl Pugsley
showed what she thought of the board's rule
by putting more powder on her cheeks,
she refused to wash it off when ordered
to do so by one of her teachers
The principal backed the teacher,
the school board sided with the principal,
Pearl Pugsley was expelled
                                           She then sued

The trial judge agreed with her
that the rule was unreasonable,
then used lawyerly dance moves
to nevertheless rule against her,
she hadn't actually been kicked out,
she had just not been allowed back in

April 1923
The mavens in the state Supreme Court
decided that the trial judge had been
right in his ruling,
                          but wrong in his reasoning;
Pearl had in fact been expelled,
                                              and that
the rule she had been expelled for violating
was indeed reasonable:

"It will be remembered also
that respect for constituted authority,
and obedience thereto,
                                  is an essential lesson
to qualify one for the duties of citizenship,
that the schoolroom is an appropriate place
to teach that lesson"

it was not a unanimous opinion,
the dissenter, Justice Jesse C. Hart,
gets the last word:

" 'Useless laws diminish the authority of necessary ones'
The tone of the majority opinion
exemplifies the wisdom of this old proverb"

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Kerala rising

by Reena Prasad

Autocorrect will not allow me to write Kerala
without changing it to One Billion Rising Kerala
Nine days of sunshine, hymn chants, drum beats
 mashed tapioca and ripe jackfruit scented afternoons
 babblers in the backyard, blue streaks on trees
 scampering life among bushes, bare earth between toes,
 time standing still then rushing by on a bike
 toddy dancing on streets, temple fests with Kozhikodan
 Kulkki sarbaths, an evening in a super fast ksrtc bus
 armed with safety pins and roasted peanuts
 watching fat brown cows, yellow chicks and sleepy kittens
 herons in paddy fields, cricket in the alleys,
 early blooms of Kani konna yellow, brown dry leaves
 the taste of cool well water, green mangoes and fresh chips
 the bluest of skies, caws heralding visitors, long forgotten fruits
 warmth of family, familiarity of the air, heightened desires
 a billion of them still rising
 and the plane lands in the desert once more

man of furrowed brow
for r.s.

by Mike Foldes               

man of furrowed brow
eyes set in cups so deep
they’re hard to read
even in the best light.

man of furrowed brow,
stone cold, yet living,
high above the rest,
a memory in flight.

scattering clouds,
where are they now,
calumny and silence,
smoke and mirrors.

how it is that a face
carved in stone set
on a pedestal of blocks
can explain the human condition.

North to South

by Tom Hatch

The platform was crowded as Monday's are.
The train pulled in a clamoring for seats
I had to sit facing north the train is going
A melancholy south
Riding backwards all my sins are coming out
From my past colored black and some sepia tones
it is hard to breath as the air
Wants to leave my lazy lungs as I am facing north
Going south but it feels a little cleansing
As my new thoughts for today are hitting me
In the back of the head I should do this more often
As my sins leave my stretching body into some poor
Soul facing south going south in the car following behind
He is sound asleep as commuters do
Waking soon to be angry with my sins laid out
Like a lost game of black, white and red solitaire
In the upstairs hotel room on a bed
As the gunslinger waits for the
duel to begin in front of the saloon
Making for a bad day

A Tribute to Judy Collins
after seeing Judy Collins Live in Ireland on PBS 3/2/14

by Bobbie Troy

her hands looked old
as she held the mic
with both of them
her legs looked spindly
in the tight pants
and high boots
but her voice
is still as sweet
as the River Liffy in Dublin
and she can 
hold a note
as long as the Irish
can hold their Guinness