Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, July 31, 2014


by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

I raised myself.
I’m my family.
There is no one,
but me.  I’m a
lone wolf and I
answer only
to God and not
to doctors who
fill me up with
bad medicine.

I want to go
home.  Nobody
should deprive me
of liberty.
If I talk to
myself, no one
should have the right
to silence me.
I am hurting
no one at all.

I raised myself
from the time I
saw the light of
the world.  I was
born this way.  I
see visions and
hear voices no
one else can see.
I have a gift.
I’m the chosen.

Mother, Easter 2014

by Melissa Dickson

She’s seventy today. Already
my child longer than I hers.

In her basement apartment
my husband tutors her on a new TV,

the intricacies of its remote,
the possibilities on screen.

Upstairs, the children begin to long
for next year’s Easter morn.

There’s lamb in the oven, mint
on the sill. She’ll want balloons,

ice cream, something wrapped
in paper and streaming ribbons.

She needs her pills and another
skein of yarn for the blanket

she’s been knitting twenty years,
and may knit for twenty more.


by Anuradha Bhattacharyya

We rode up to the joint
And ordered Mountain Dew
Sipping which
Our blood simmered
In cold comfort
Of the open sky,
The bare trees,
The squeaking squirrels.

We rode up to the booth
And ordered Masala Dosa
Which went down
Like a rock
In the light waters
Of emotion,
Spicing up a tasty meal
Rather too spicily.

We rode up to a stall
And ordered noodles,
Syrupy savoury smooth
Slivery sumptuous smooching
The hungry belly.
The lips parted for more
And the guts sank
As an after-effect.

We rode up to the terrace
For coffee and in haste –
For we were yet not satisfied –
We gulped down a boiling cup
Then joining hands
We clambered into
The all embracing darkness
Of our humble rooms.

Last Mug

by Brandy Clark

An empty ashtray, often the centerpiece
of the table. A half-pack of cigarettes
and a silver lighter sat adjacent to the Marlboro urn.

Many times, I found myself across from her
at this kitchen table, my hands busied
by something or another, hers occupied

by a cigarette gripped between two yellowed fingers.
The tip glowed red with each breath in
and tobacco perfume accompanied

each breath out as she talked about
baking apple cobblers and lemon meringue pie,
getting up early to cook meals for her family

during the Depression and doing farm chores after,
or about quitting this damn habit for the umpteenth time.
Now, I sit at this same kitchen table

and look toward an empty chair,
then to a sink cluttered with dishes
from her last meal.I needed to rid myself

of those dishes. Remnants of molded baked beans
and the smell of sour milk wafted from the sink.
It made me want to gag.

She won’t need her plates
or the collection of souvenir coffee mugs
hidden behind cabinet doors.

I throw them away as well, one by one.
The stain of generic Folgers
clung to the inside of each handled dome,

a stain no amount of soap could ever cut through
and a thought went through my mind
before the final cup went in the trash,

a random scrolling marquee:  should I keep it? 
But her lips touched its rim,
and I don’t wish to drink after the dead.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Venus at the Drive-Thru'

by Stephanie D. Rogers

Her hand suspended
hung lazily from a
pearl pale arm

palm up
index out
not quite pointed
not quite crooked


lost appendage
awaiting tribute
or change

comes first

Drag Queen of Shady Shack

by Bobbie Troy

she was a big blonde
called Starr
with tits as big as
the grand canyon
and pursed lips
a la marilyn monroe
who silently
beckoned you
into her shady shack

but when she took off
her wig, heels, and make-up
she was plain ole’ Joe
accountant by day
seductress by night
and lonely in each disguise.

Ribbons & Pearls

by Brandy Clark

Whispers, snarls, cussing. Who the hell 
does he think he is? two elderly women spat out
as they passed, not bothering to keep
their voice at the polite levels people often do
when being critical. I slowed in my walk

down the aisle of the store to see a man,
a purse slung over one arm, a purposeful stride
carrying him through the women’s clothing section.
The man wearing red lipstick applied
with the greatest of care, white pearls

clinging to his neck (a decorative rope),
and a towering teased-up bouffant, dried
hairspray clinging to every strand of hair.
The man, now picking through the gaudy
ten-dollar blouses hanging on the racks,

harbored less confidence
than he’d shown moments before.
He cleared his throat, adjusted his purse,
leaned down to tug at the ecru pantyhose
clinging to his calves. I must admit, he had nice legs.

Our town, situated along the notches of the Bible Belt,
did not appreciate difference or those
unwilling to fit into unspoken ideals, expectations
no one could ever reach, or hope to reach.
His ideals meant selecting bright and colorful

outfits, and painting his fingernails a shade
that matched his lipstick. Fingers:  long,
slender, not meant to do a man’s work,
played with the pearls encircling his neck.
He must have felt someone staring, so he looked

in my direction. I nodded, smiled, gave
him a quick hello. He returned the greeting
before turning and walking away, away
from the people who chose to ridicule,
to shame him. He left before I had
the chance to say anything more.

Those pearls were beautiful.
I wanted to tell him that.

taking chances

by Linda M. Crate

after the movie
last night
in complete and utter silence
an epiphany dawned
her lit candle
over my mind, 
i was 
reflecting on life and i realized
this isn't where i want to be
i don't know what i need to do or what i need to change
but here isn't where i want nor need to be;
each of us wants immortality
to live after we die,
but it is more important to help others and live before
we die—
that thought rested heavy on my shoulders,
and so i'm going to be braver than i have ever been
make and take chances
i never would usually make because i'm sick
of playing it safe
i need to stretch out of my comfort zone
get these books published
and climb those mountains i always thought i ought,
conquer my fear of heights
sky dive and parasail and take a hot air balloon ride 
to take a chance and talk to that cute guy
my mind has convinced me i haven't a chance in hell with
because in the end 
it is true
you only do live once,
and while this is no excuse to be irresponsible and to forget 
every action has her consequence
it is encouraging me
that i need to be bolder, to break out of my shell
so the yolk of me spills a deeper yellow
that my star dust
shines brighter than the sun.

No Paper This Morning

by Donal Mahoney

Most days the newspaper hits
the lawn by four in the morning
but it's six already and I don't see it.

I'll have to pull on my pants
and go out to see if it's hiding
in my wife's flowers and bushes.

She keeps adding more plants
to the jungle she's created out there
with parrots and macaws on the way.

But instead of going out
I tell her it's a nice morning
and suggest she check on her roses.

In this heat, they may need water.
And while she's out there I suggest
she scan the garden for the paper

in case it's held hostage by the foliage.
After coffee she sails out the door
and returns with no paper but brings

an armful of roses, a bouquet
I welcome more than the poison ivy
I find every day in the paper.

a tuesday afternoon in july

by J.J. Campbell



of sleep
and i'm

go wrong

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Islamic Greens

by Steph Walker

Islamic Green trees
– sick mottled eucalypts
burn against International Klein Blue sky

where dark nights cry
upon snaggletoothed pillars, wrecked by movement
and wind-torn gestures

prolonging, a tint of the past
fear of future:
blazing bright colour with cool degrees of difference

as satellites drift
and beach waves beach, biting and fermenting
along limiting shores

rich rations ripen
with hands that turn cards

the greenest, tartest apples
fracture amongst voices

the whitest of noises
as gravel rests on grass
with cold dust and sand-smoothed glass, once sharp

water lashing warm faces
the high-pitched wail, the sound of soil-wrung hands
ringing themselves

only in footprints
of the past could we recall
the moments before:

fractures, steps of elevation, falls

steps over swollen beaten country
borders running courses, running
from one end of the atlas
to the other

as broad dusty hands

hands stretch – over cards and hips,
the way you think of wings, shoulders
and jaws
as broad and powerful

a diversity of fear
mottled, grafted, fused like vines
the strain of wrists and fingers

feel this: a flutter of wings meeting
torn torsos
warm hearts beating

clawing young stems with course leaves floating
rising to the sun

not for Islamic Green vines
but for gloveless,
dirty hands, wrenching
in fracturing caress

soil rung hands, draped and wrenched
and clawed down,
swollen beating – beatless

beach waves beach
and bleary eyed satellites drift away
from wind-torn jetties that remain
toothless, motionless, beneath
International Klein Blue

after making love we sit by the lake

by Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

{everything around us resonates intimacy
kayak’s paddle dipping  fingertips into,
out-of an eastward flowing rippled current
where mounds of tall curling ends of

grass surround the lake and teasing breeze
gently dances through long strands of
cascading leaves blowing loveliness like a
woman’s hair over ground’s breasted nakedness;

there is love in strength of sun’s energized
rays like broad shoulders of a man’s aura
moving its force over earth’s entire body;
sweltering warm it enters, streaming its

ejaculation of life into the deep inward reaches
of the lake, illuminations of tadpoles swimming
then doe and deer grazing, dappled by
idleness of clouds caressing, drifting}

in sky’s aftermath.

On Deserted Farms

by Austin McCarron

On deserted farms
I find the wood on
which stars leap and
wild animals roam.
In darkness I shave
my head and the wind
sleeps and the leaves sing.
In green bush the fire
of my inner being roars.
I lie down to see and the
wolves shine in blindness
at my burning secrets.
Strangely, I drink the
worms in a scalding cup.
The night sky is like skin
of bruises, black as manes.
The morning sun wakes me
with strong and vivid mouth.
I starve my glutinous heart
with crusts of light and my
tongue sips at the blue faces
in the dancing wine.
First the blood on the branches
flows in silent waves and I smell
the suffering of pine, riddled with
spit of swollen glans.
Then the sea rises and covers me
with drunken fists, eternal kisses,
leaving me exposed to history,
the archaeologist of my own ruins.

Stretcher Case

by Paul Tristram

It is a contradiction completely,
when the thing sent to help you
is actually making you feel worse.
That awkward juttering and rocking
motion bringing seasickness to the land
that you are rapidly being carried over.
To the point where you are constantly
swallowing and trying not to breathe
to stop your soul (which has become
precarious like a goldfish in a bowl
that’s been temporarily forgotten
and balances on top of a moving car!)
from actually bursting out to freedom
from one of your clenched orifices.
The Riot is still in full swing
as everything shudders to an  halt
and the inside of an ambulance roof
comes sliding into view
and a calmer kind of movement
interferes and now takes its place.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


by April Salzano

Rain is washing earth with something
like pity falling
on my son’s rusty bicycle, training
wheels and all. He is almost nine. Autistic.
July is screaming, summer
is almost over, and third grade is coming
with its threat of tantrums and more
1:1 instruction.
The chicken coup does not have any
chickens and the fresh coat of paint will run
brown into green
grass. Thoughts intrude on my visual.
My friend’s son is going to die,
tubular sclerosis will claim his brain and all
I want to know is will there be a secret
sense of relief buried
in the sorrow, a tiny crack in the loss?
I wonder if night will breathe gratefulness
into lungs collapsed from mourning,
because she does not have to watch anymore
deterioration that lasted decades and spoke
words that no mother wants to hear
in the negative, words like hope
and cure, words like function and love.
And love and love and love.


by Stephanie D. Rogers

By seven, there will
Be fog.  Fog of the densest
Variety.  Fog
Through which none can navigate.
Fog not even you can cut.


by J. K. Durick                 

Now we know the distances and begin
To measure the time we’ll spend;
This is the mother-lode, the raw
Materials of journeys, of visits, of
Getting away, of arriving there at last;

Its legend and lines, place names
And route numbers, the slight color
Variations to mark mountains and
Forests, various forms of water,
Rivers, lakes and the like, assure us,
Provide us with a plan to go on;

We unfold it, and then lay it out full
On the floor, on the kitchen table,
Draw a line with our eye, set up
The trip in our minds, imagine all
The turns and towns along the way,
The best places to stop for food, for
Gas, for just stretching, walking a bit;

Things like these can’t be left to chance,
We rarely just set out as if destinations
Didn’t matter, as if we were explorers
As if guidance wasn’t always available,

Instead we head out, catch 189, then 89
Heading east, call ahead for reservations,
Watch mile-markers and exit signs, and
Keep the map, folded just right, handy
Ready to consult, always ready to confirm
We are exactly where we need to be.


by Marc Carver

In the park
it said on a small plaque next to a tree
'20 the tree of heaven'
I had a good look at it
but it didn't look to heavenly to me
only later did i think
it may look different at the top
I should have climbed it

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

First By Color, Then By Size

by Nate Wilkerson

I found a family
of rocks in a river

and stuffed my pockets
before going home

to wash them,
scrub them

place in them in lines
first by color, then by size

I stared until two, three
then four in the morning

knowing inside
that one day

there would be no love
for this new family

on the edge of a bridge
I stood

throwing them
back to the river

when I close my eyes
all I see now are

rocks in lines
first by color, then by size


by Bradford Middleton

The city of lights is a stop-gap en route home
It never lasts as long as I would like
I only get to look out windows at the sights
Or loiter at train stations with nothing to do

Nothing to do but sit and smoke
Watching the beauty of the women all around
Drinking the ubiquitous mega latte as it’s
The only thing that’ll last long enough

Paris is the place to watch so
I sit outside a café near du Nord
A random businessman enters a sex shop
For his lunchtime fix of lust

I just sit back and ogle the bar-maid
A gorgeous young thing
Of African descent who got me a seat
With only the faintest of smiles

But then I got to dash after four roll-ups
And all that latte
To get my train
To take me home


by Mary Annie A.V.

my sweat is scented different
it teases, you say
as you nestle between
my humor and my blade.

Nothing sweet scented,
loaded  with the wildest  longings
I carry within me.

I have gathered
the pressures  of the day
into my sweat
the toil of it
in my body, its aches.

You meditate upon,
pamper it with
your exquisitely crafted
maleness, the harshness
that gratifies and sustains.

I do not push you away.


by Michael H. Brownstein

so blue it highlights her eyes,
the white sun,
and grass in dire need of drink
This was the year winter did not come
and summer arrived before spring,
strong green and full of itself.
We cut the lawn for the first time in March,
watched a frenzy of honeybees in April
and harvested our first wild strawberries soon after.
By the time May arrived,
we had gone swimming in the pond outback,
the municipal swimming pool had opened,
and the first heat violence churned through the park.
The rivers of mud cracked,
its bank's knee dropped into crumbs
and the worst part of all of this was the lack of any comforting breeze.
We sat on the swinging chair in the shade of the porch
and waited for an east wind.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


by Joe Brennand

one frog
on one frog
roses in bloom

Your Black And White Photograph

by Suchoon Mo

thank you
for your photograph
a black and white photograph
of a young woman
in another time
another place

you are sitting by the kitchen table
in the light from the window
your are smiling

it is quiet here now
silent autumn morning

I am sitting by the kitchen table
in the light from the window
I am smiling

time is mute
so is space
in your black and white photograph

Farm Sale

by Robert Nisbet

The notice just gave details of acreage,
of arable and pasture. In The Journal’s later piece,
the interview, Owen’s phrases seemed to have halted
within him before they were written down. He simply said,
It wasn’t just a livelihood. He made some reference
to the obvious things, the shearing, branding,
calving, milking, the haymaking when cousins
and neighbours came, swigged brown ale from flagons
in the top of the barn as the heat built up.
But Owen did not mention, could not explain,
the one green image haunting him, those last few days:
the centuries’ clump of foliate oaks,
up by the main road, overhanging the milk stand,
the churns, the milk leaving for the creamery.

Find Him

by Donal Mahoney

Millie on crutches
in the day room
tells Fred on
his walker
to find him.
It's important
says Millie
even if you're old
and can't walk.
Hire someone
to push your
toward him.
If you can't
get out of bed,
hire two people
to wheel
your gurney
toward him.
It's too late
if you hire
ten men to
carry your coffin
toward him.
Now is the time,
and for many
that's a problem.
They have
too little time
to find him.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


by Alan S. Kleiman

My cockatiel 'Feathers' sits in his cage
And listens to music
He watches TV
And reads books
Engages in dialectical conversations
Calls me in the office
And plays cards when not working
By working I mean
Eating seeds
Ignoring the dried fruit
The caviar, sushi
and fresh oysters on the half shell
Sometimes he can be picky.


by Bill Jansen

This morning I am in a garage
I assume is somewhere near Dartmouth.
Though there is also evidence
that I may be in the studio of Mario Fiorillo.
I mean the unfinished portrait
of his Welsh landlord against a bicycle.
However that may be, a 1946 purple Bugatti
dominates my surroundings, wherever I am.
One of those babies you have to be
wearing a black tie for it to start.
Also arguing against, though not refuting,
the notion that I am in Wales,
is the point guard of the Dartmouth
Women's basketball team,
hanging up tools in their chalk outlines.
In fact she is a chalk outline herself,
and would probably fit easily
into the chalk outline of Oona O'Neill,
who, as you may know, I was crazy about,
and if this is a garage there must be a front porch
somewhere not far off.
And if there is a front porch there is a newspaper
with a sports page.
I should at least find out who won.
Then I can talk about the game as if I was there,
and maybe there will be a story
about a local landlord who has gone missing.

one way streets

by Linda M. Crate

sometimes i'm wrong,
but you're not
always right
so sick and tired of
being taken granted
for and
by people who supposedly
give me an ocean
let me be
an island
grow my trees and happiness
in utter solitude—
where visitors
can come for a while then
go away,
and it'll be okay
i won't mind being alone
and we won't owe
each other anything;
so tired of
always wanting something
because i'm a giver
i give with all my heart and all
they ever want to do is rip
out every last moon beam of my
silver soul
i'm tired of these one way streets
they're all so very vexing.

In Wild Bush

by Austin McCarron

In wild bush,
on gold stones,
on steps of green
and yellow wood,
the lamb grazes with
flesh of sacred curls.

Imperial laughter
attends the meal of love.
The knife healing the
stricken bone is shining
with blazes and powerless
as kings is the
blood eaten of fiery wounds.
The sun, grown weary of
flames, reveals only mystery
and blindness, visions of time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Learning to touch

by Marilyn Hammick

I stand and watch, minding
that everything is very hot.
With oven gloved hands
Grandma slides the cake tin
onto the kitchen table.

There's two minutes to go
but this oven cooks quick
The top is like the inside
of my satchel, its edges
sneak from the metal.

Good sign, she tells me,
and sniffs, that's cooked,
but                   she takes
my middle finger in her hand,
hover, press, release

you’re not ringing a door bell,
or poking your brother’s arm.
The depression rises, the surface
levels, the sponge is ready
for the cooling rack.

Winter Tourist

by David Chorlton

The bars are open and every sand grain
on the beach is sparkling
in January light. Across the hotel courtyard
are yellow sunshades placed
beside the tables, blue towels on
the plastic chairs around the pool
and from the room a view of the Atlantic
at sunset, just before the evening buffet.
It is not enough. Even with an olive
in the cocktail and an avenue
lined with palm trees, it is too little
for someone who has spent a lifetime
preparing for this. Beneath all skies
he imagined the one now above him.
In every job he worked he promised
he’d make up for being used. He’d escape
the cities too, in which he lived, escape
and leave them far behind
without packing a coat in his suitcase.
When he arrived, nobody
was waiting to meet him. It is
an industry here to cater
to his every wish, but he is lost
with nothing to resist
as he walks to the shore in the winter
he carried with him always,
his hands in his pockets, his pockets
lined with ice.


by Robert Nisbet

Two quid, a full day’s earnings. Now,
the auction at the Market Hall.
He’s never been to one before,
just seen the sale ads in the Star.

He loves the café just outside:
these dealers, drivers, men in caps
and cords and aprons, women with
their tresses streaming, scarves and rings.

The hall. He browses. Loves Lot 12,
a copper kettle, tiny thing,
maybe eight inches high, odd bash,
but burnished to a sparkle. Then,
Lot 23, a miniature,
a girl with golden hair (she looked
just like his memories of his Mum).

The auctioneer stands second just
to God, he thinks, but suddenly,
descending like a royal flush,
the thought: Yes, I can bid. Lot 12.
Abruptly, 12, he gabbles, bids,
gets it for fifteen bob. And soon,
the miniature, for just a quid.

The hour following is chocked
and full with gazing on, with lots
and artefacts, before, his goods
brown-paper-wrapped, he stomps his way
to bus and home and bed and board.


by Anuradha Bhattacharyya

Climbing up thus far
And no more
Meeting with the impenetrable
Stare of the stark wall
Beating hard with one’s six claws
One after the other
Making no significant mark,
Wearing out
Watching warily
The way up that is blocked,
Winding up a coil of passion
Hungry, thirsty, retired
The spider builds his home
At the dead end,
Holding no grudge
Against all odds.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Liberty Leading the People

Eugene Delacroix (1830)

Sunday, July 13, 2014


by Michael D. Brown

surely my son not
my son in law, even if
I must hurl a javelin;
for what is the death
of one destined for my
crown, the end of
succession, my line
my heir, my son, my Jonathan;
surely one who killed ten thousand;
who skinned the foreskins;
who leveled Goliath,
needs no more honor,
no purple seat, or robe
but how to justify the
death of a hero,
a musician, a psalmist,
a would be future king
of Israel, a son in law.


by  Marianne Szlyk

The young celebrity,
whom neither Lila nor her daughter knows,
poses in her red and orange maxi.
She is on her babymoon
by the sun-dappled poolside
with real palm leaf cabanas,
banks of jasmine in bloom,
and lemon trees that cleanse
and sweeten the humid air.

Lila puts down the magazine.
She watches the pregnant receptionist|
waddle back to the restroom.
That girl is the only worker
wearing flat shoes,
but they do match her red
baby doll dress
and drop earrings.
And her blond bob is sharp
enough to cut through
the salty, overcast day outside.

Lila sympathizes with her.
She was pregnant once.

During the long hot summer that began in April,
five months
before Estelle finally was born,
Dave offered to drive her
to the Cape
or at least Castle Island
to cool off in the tepid sun and salt breeze
heavy with warm onion rings,
beer, and classic rock,
to escape the city’s stink
of garbage and perfume.

She turned him down.

When she was not at work,
she spent the summer upstairs watching
golf for the cool greens and water hazards.


by Ross Vassilev

wandering the streets after walking off the job

nothing to do and nowhere to go

I snuck into a movie theater
and don't even remember what I saw

lost along empty sidewalks

it felt both good and bad
to be alone as the wind sang
through the April sun

menaced by stuffed men
in white shirts and ties

I thought
all these losers who only know how to make money

at least I wasn't one of them.


by Tapeshwar Prasad Yadav

Sphere the morning light
Rolling through the hills
And wheeling the fields
Horn the buzz, chirping
And twittering the sequel
Swaying live the delight
Leaning golden rocks
And ocean waves dear

Wiping the fading grief
All spotless and clean
There comes jolly joy
Full of golden gleams
Bursting and thrusting
Pattering the ground
Propelling life rhythm

Mingle universal fraternity
With harmony blend
Distancing the enmity
In a bag full of tinkling coins
And storey skyscraper
Feeding the belly
With a pot full of jelly
Rolling towering joy!


by Nancy May

salmons jump
over mountains
currents of a stream

The Stone Yard II

by Tom Hatch

The stone marble from the mountain brings its goddess into town with its wavy veins of soft carrara and loving crystal white Thassos they kiss

There soft slabs leaning next to each other cuddling their cold from the winter and the mountain quarries from where they came trying to shuffle. As deck of playing cards weighted down becoming valleys where Thassos and his sister Europa played under husky dog blue eyed skies kidnapped by Zeus a disguised white bull

Europa gave birth to the stone yard goddess from a middle metamorphic earths slow

Inception and labor pains for millions of years the goddess grows with husky blue dog eyes sliced from the below brought to earth to a modern age.

Discovered slowly crossing the ocean in a shipping container from the Aegean Sea this woman goddess comes from the Greek island of Thassos  the container lined interior convinced in blue velvet with white Thassos marble floor her home and bed as she awakens from her mother’s rape by Zeus his no rules on incest there is no incest rules when it comes to gods fair game is under every foot 

Sleeping out of the cold stone as a bed waking mornings, walking the stone yard floor try to be human it is not easy as most notice she is the goddess quivering to be one of us. Her husky dog blue eyes we do not trust

Visit there and play with her as a human not as the million year old goddess that wants to pull you into her, into stone.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Crossing the Equator

by Tony Noon

Old Stoker told me often.
Sometimes I asked him
about the plank bending
long to the line
bending out over the deep

They don’t tar your balls.
He told me
No pallid painters’ rite here.

Blindfold, sea legs turn rubber
on this narrow path
as you shuffle to the drop.

Three feet later hard deck
and the roar of seamen
make the novice able bodied

If his heart does not give out.

Making My Own Acquaintance

by Randall Rogers

I don't know
what is more scary
thinking about
my past
like the time
I went to Cambodian
prison for shooting
at a cop,
or thinking
about my future.
Especially how
One becomes the other.
I guess best not
to think at all.

Hope and Mr. Neery

by Donal Mahoney

I saw Mr. Neery,
ninety if a day,
wobbly on his walker

on his way to Sunday Mass.
He won't accept a ride,
insists on walking.

He's easy to spot,
a St. Louis Cardinals fan
in a bright red jacket

and a Cardinals cap
that halts a hurricane
of snowy hair.

It's his first Mass
since burying his wife
a month ago when

someone lent him
a black suit to wear.
Now he's in red again,

a sign of hope,
even if he's bent over,
his humped back a

question mark growing.
But he's no different now
than he was before.

He still comes to Mass
like everyone else
looking for the answer

and to pray for the Cardinals
who play the Mets
at 1 o'clock this afternoon.


by Keith Landrum

tired of the struggle
a fire burns
our hope and
we wear that smell
like designer

don't tell us
about tomorrow
when certainty kills
like a pack-a-day habit
in pawn shop
parking lots

don't tell us
there's salvation
for broken spirits
we drink
like cheap whiskey

don't tell us
to work harder
that there is a dream
to be fulfilled

don't say
a word
just let us go

let us rest
let us burn
like stars

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


by Bhargab Chatterjee

Shadows remain behind every wall  
A Brahmi inscription
Erodes through the ages.

Those picnickers
Around the railing of the stupa
Step like silhouettes
Their foot-beats echoing everywhere.
Moving down.
Smashing the hard shell      
Wanting to smell the pearl
Putting it on their palms.
Morning sun offering a cold light.

Come Find Me

by Tammy T. Stone

Come find me,
The world depends on it.
Meet me at the stepped rock
You know the one
Atop Pure Land Mountain.
You say you haven’t heard
Windhorses rustling in holy height
I say, find your way to
The air is so thin up there
That skin and bones fall away
Leaving everything we need,
The space between us.

Antelope Valley

by Douglas Polk

eternal the view
sweetly serene
makes the heart ache
this place of forgotten lives
buried in a tiny cemetery
on the high plains of Nebraska
overlooking the valley
a community now
only of graves
the church in disrepair.

Passing Lane Ahead

by Richard Hartwell

Seen by midday light, mountains and mesas are stagnant in shimmered umber, only coming alive at late dusk or early dawn; pastels breathed from a strident-colored palette: lavender, indigo, a tinge of verdigris, before aflame with citrine, peach, and rose, as animals scour the desert sand.

Out here – Laughlin, Needles, Bullhead City – Edward Abbey’s desert solitaire and solitude has lost out to the roll of dice, diesel trucks, slot machines, SUVs, and greed. Developers, politicians and corporations have won. So many others have lost.

I would like to see what it might be might be like, say, five hundred years after the removal of man – eradicated by his own whimsy or succumbed to natural disaster. I would like to see the highways paved over with sand and sage, the casinos haunted by bobcats, wild pigs, skunks,, and other shadow seekers. I would like to se the unnatural edifices and abodes of mankind become the natural environment of the desert’s future. I would like to se the unnatural edifices and abodes of mankind become the natural environment of the desert’s future. I would like to see the high-rise hotels and casinos – their windows broken out by storms and disintegration – become the aeries of hawks, eagles, vultures, and the waterfowl of the Colorado; if it can survive the damn dam-silting of the water unwise. Yes, I would love to see it . . .

The eddied and current-shimmer of the moving Colorado moves me also. My eye is captured, hypnotized by staccato facets of its diamond chips; hundreds of carats per second streaming by with the sun angled low; hundreds of thousands of carats per hour siphoned off to slake mankind’s insatiable thirst; hundreds of millions of carats per day lost to the gulf sands before kissing the salted lips of Baja.

* * *

Wrinkled and calloused hands of an old man grip the wheel against the buffeting winds as the car runs after cloud shadows, trying to stay penumbral relative to the surrounding world. Scorched by sun splashes between islands of shade, life is only hot or cold by comparison.

On the side of the canyon road another dead wild burro thins the herd, culled by speed and inattention, both the burro’s and the driver’s. Merely another example of the onrushing clash of nature and modernity; yet he tears up at this sight of death, this death site. Sometimes, in the past, some canyon denizen erected memorials to occasional dead burros, talismans to wildness, Thoreauvian stelae. Not so much anymore. Soon all that will remain in the canyon will be the asses of the future rather than the asses of the past.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Monks in the Orchard Picking Peaches

by Donal Mahoney

Young monk
and old monk
in the orchard
picking peaches,
sunny and plump,
ready for canning.

Carrying bushels
to the wagon cart,
the young monk
asks the old monk
what to look out for
when growing old.

The old monk
pauses and says
not much.
Life stays the same
for the most part.
Monks work and pray
but an old monk
works slower and
prays faster.

But not to worry,
the old monk advises.
He admits he's
going deaf
but that's just
an inconvenience
since God uses
sign language.
Peaches like these
have no need to talk.


by Stephen A. Rozwenc

so close
they remain unseen
Buddhist hummingbirds
temporarily release
each suffering human flower
they visit
from 50 centuries
of ghastly possessions


by Marc Carver

I saw my dad two days ago
the first time in a year.
He is not the big man I remember anymore.
He has shrunk and he has that turkey neck.
He is still guarded
but now in a different way.
He didn't much want to see me
and i didn't really want to see him either.
We sat in the my overgrown garden
and he did most of the talking
I did not have a lot to say.
I hardly recognize him anymore
but  after a while he was glad to see me again
and when he left
I thought it would probably be at least another year till i saw him again.
None of us are getting younger I said.
They would all start dropping soon.
The aunts and uncles and each other's sisters.
Yea the next time i will see him as at someone's funeral
for some a sad occasion.
For others a day out.
a final resting place.
Death always brings people together or rips them apart.


by Amy Soricelli

She took me down the block - Magda in her thick black hair; said she was "gonna tell me what my life would be
after the brick fifth floor share the room with your brother shit".
What the days would look like mapped across the top of my head - how my shoes would swing under a table.
"Family services took some of her kids so don't ask about the crib" she tells me on the way up the wide flat art-Deco stairs,
the marble cold against my flip-flops.
She has a neat house with plastic flowers/their dusty petals perched on her window sill.  She offered us
lemonade from Flintstone jelly jars.
She took Magda's hand straight out/her palm flat against the formica table - turned it over to see
the long crooked life she traced with her pointy chipped red nails.
"Oh see see" she said.  "You will have a long life but you see here? here...
you won't find love for a while"
Magda was 14 years deep into Puerto Rican/she hipped her hips to the side squirmy tight on the wobbly
kitchen chair.
I was the last Jew on the block fresh from Hebrew School and a broken home.
We threw our five dollars into the center of her kitchen table and she scooped it up
and dug it deep into her flowery blouse.
Her son came out of his room to get some food and looked hard at Magda then down at my chest.
He smiled that smile like boys do when they think they know something.
He leaned his back against the stove and said he could teach me to slow dance like I never did before.
Magda laughed and his mother shoo'd him out/his wink leaving a long trace down the line of my shorts.
Spanish music played from the side of the hall and the fortune teller rocked her shoulders while she said
"Oh see - see here - there will be many babies but they will not always be happy".
Sirens raced by the window on the other side of the world up the street where the junkies lay flat
across the subway grating so they can catch a breeze from the trains/grab up lost pennies they fish up with
stolen poles from City Island.
"Here, give me yours" the lady says and grabs my skinny wrist while the smell of frying fish dances a short
hustle like a pulse.
She says to me "long life but it's a straight line. See? you have no waves- just straight straight"
I stared hard at her gold earring as they dangled steady in the streaming Venetian blind sunlight.
Magda laughs and says "your life is a straight line baby" and wipes the fish steam from her aviator glasses.
We bounce the steps down to the street/look up to see her arms already folded on the window sill.
The fortune teller already looking passed up to the other side of the block/the sun starting its slow liquid journey
behind the brick houses on the same street as the parked car with the flat tire; passed the old man with the lazy eye -
passed everything we passed the first time.

Friday, July 4, 2014

the exhaust fumes of hate

by J.J. Campbell

chase your demons
like you chase your

these listless moments
we share with each

fading hope on an
endless highway

these old tunes bleed
together the longer
we breathe in the
exhaust fumes of

the broken hands
of the lied to

found out a little too
late that the american
dream was a first come
first served proposition

hesitation is one costly

Thursday, July 3, 2014


by Joe Brennand

summer dawn
feathers of fledgling jays
line the empty nest

the early bird

by Larry Jones

the robin pulled
a worm from the ground.

he ate half
then quietly stood
near the other half.

minutes later
another robin landed next to the first,
they looked at each other
perhaps they were mates?

soon the first robin flew away and
the second ate the rest of the worm.

then she too flew away.

sometimes the early bird
ain't that hungry.

temper like a sunset sky

by Linda M. Crate

i need a drink
something stronger than they serve
because people are
and these people are the
i swear they were all
born in the same barn—
doesn't seem to ebb the
flow of crazies
always here
to bother me,
but it wouldn't be called a job
if you were meant to
have fun—
so i suck it up
because, buttercup, someone
has to,
and i'm strong—
so i go on and persevere
trying so hard to
my temper before it explodes
like a flurry of color
in a sunset sky.

Cadoxton Murder Stone

by Paul Tristram

The Stonemason worked the word
MURDER in big ominous letters
upon the top of the gravestone in 1823.
The victim was only aged twenty six
when she met her violent fate that night.
She had been beaten and strangled
and thrown down into a marshy ditch
upon the other side of The River Neath.
To lay until discovery in shallow water
with her basket and the sheep head
which she had walked into town to buy,
floating with her dress hems around her.
She was sixteen weeks pregnant at death
and for sometime had vocally attributed
fatherhood of the unborn child publicly
to the Squire’s Son whom she had been
sacked from working for a few weeks
before the gruesome events unfolded.
He was arrested almost immediately
but being wealthy and pleading ignorance
he was released through lack of evidence.
Although the locals all as one swore blind
that they knew exactly who the killer was.
In the graveyard of the Church of St Catwg's
in the quaint parish village of Cadoxton,
the bodies were finally laid down to rest.
With a ‘Murder Stone’ set big and bold
to mark the hideous –as yet- unpunished act
directly opposite the house of the Squire,
so that it may be the first thing the Son
saw each morning from the windows.
This did not last long and guilty as it looks
he left and emigrated across to America.
Some say that he fled the guilt and curse.
yet, others wisely nod and think otherwise.
For the ‘Murder Stone’ it does still stand
and for those thinking he got away free
should go read the bottom few eerie lines.
For it insists in no uncertain terms that
‘God hath set his mark upon him
either for time or eternity and the cry
of blood will assuredly pursue him to
certain and terrible but righteous judgement.’

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Curbar Edge

by Tim Gardiner

skylark shadows ghosts in the clouds

over green mire moss grey mist rolls

rain passes a cuckoo calls from birch forest

My Brother Gary

by Michael Friedman

You always earned what you wanted,
owed nothing, in your eyes,
and showed no mercy or patience
for anyone

wasting your time. Your exasperated eyes
rolling up and then down again,
ready to chill the breath from any takers on.

That’s just Gary, Mom would say.
What can I tell you.

When you got sick,
you told Mom, Dad, and Rob
what to expect.
Figured word would get around.

And then you were dying –
flat on your back, stomach tube, IVs, respirator,
only a pencil and a small spiral notepad
for you to scrawl upon.

All of us went in and out
of your hospital room,
to stand as close by your head
as the machines would allow.

Taking turns at the living shivah
to look past the jellyfish bag
floating above your bloated arm.

Mom by your bedside,
you having forgotten
who else was in the room.

Your body no longer absorbing fluid.
Your final breath
swallowed days before.


by Marc Carver

I see a man in a pin striped suit wearing a bowler hat
He has been crucified to a cross mid way through hailing a cab
and running for it
His legs are astride one arm in the air showing his expensive watch.
The other is lower behind him umbrella in hand
They are at ten to four
I can't see the nails but I hope they are rusty
The top arm is nailed below
the bottom arm above.
He is frozen
no expression on his face
stopped in motion
he will never get that cab home.

Compostition X
(after the painting by Wassily Kandinsky)

by Neil Ellman

Disorder sows disorder.
Entropy fouls the gears
like barnacles.
Disaster looms
just beyond creation’s reach.
Disinterested, unperturbed
the universe pretends to care,
to know, to be
as if tomorrow
is just another day.