Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

April 19

by Chris Drew

i am evasive

the shut up tips communication fault

i am a scoundrel dream’s fur sweater
the purpose and less the righteousness of my words
aren’t valid
but dumb concrete

i am scalding

the milk hit with acid
into cheese

joyous occasional beast
bounding out ‘a fenced in yard
type focus
drained pool party head lice
isn’t it a mistake accepting...

i am:
doggone it

confiscate this lesion: my harm
on empty dead worlds i do not yield
on top of blankets i do not feel cold

they’ve corralled us ourselves
i am seeing it in cut grass and smoke smell

in brewing waste
minute by minute like

fresh air good,
the budding tree buzz
sure enough like this

and like this

:down the stairs flown
a few times
two at a times

and in justice roaming thoughts

crippling anxious bugs

handsome shade

i laid my little porcupine faceless crowded drowsiness into the day
and ruptured and sought out manliness
in corners that don’t exist right

furnace drugged blood engine
tendril little sewn in hypocrisy feeler
and found out

sulking away
scrubbing uncleaned
wreathless xmas terrified thigh

let’s not forget

through evilness split little poke
of light

Guessing Here

by JD DeHart

A, B, and C are clearly not the option,
but there are a myriad of other options.
The test has all the answers, we are told,
to who we will be and the measure
of our future path.  I wonder which question
outlines whom I will marry, and I wonder
which essay decides my salary?
When possible, I choose All of the Above
because I feel it makes me appear
open and optimistic.


by Roy Dorman

Walking on the side of a dusty road;
Carrying a backpack full of yesterdays.

Hitchhiking:  Thumbing a ride into tomorrow.
Life passes me by.  I smile and wave.

Tomorrow I can put today in the backpack;
It’ll be a yesterday.

There’s a whole mess of ‘em in there
That are all pretty much like today.

Every once in awhile
There’s a different kind of today
That doesn't fit well with the yesterdays
That are already packed away in there.

I can feel the rustling
Of the commotion they cause.

Man with a Broom

by David Chorlton

If anyone could sweep the sky clean
it would be the man who spends his days
between Third Avenue and Fifth
never far from Thomas Road,
but he can only reach the numbers
on the speed limit signs
which he dusts, day after day,

and swishes clean the sidewalk
with short and nervous movements,
left right, left right, rest
a minute and continue, square
by concrete square. He leans his bicycle
against a wall, takes down the bucket
hanging from the handlebars

and arranges what pass
for possessions on the ground
before starting. His face bears the same
expression on Monday
as on Friday, and for him there are
no weekends. Dirt settles
each Saturday, Sunday, on all
the areas for which
he takes responsibility. Back and forth,

he rides week-long, filling all his hours
while traffic passes; the pizza business opens
and closes; streetlamps
light up and go off; while the heat
reaches a hundred-and-ten; while it falls
to thirty at night in December; through
sudden rain and lightning flash;
while the ambulance rushes to save
someone’s life when it’s late; while

the mockingbird above him
perching on the power pole
sings from its little grey heart
for anyone who’ll place business on hold
and listen to the silver coated notes.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Creation stopped--for Me--

by Bill Jansen

A bullet riddled speed limit sign
was whistling Dixie by the road
when a Ford Fairlane stopped
and the petite woman driver said:
"Hee hee. Get in-- Wile E. Coyote, (I presume)."
She introduced herself
as Emily Dickinson,
comet-tailed back onto the freeway
(while lighting up a Pall Mall)
and began to converse rapidly
in aphorisms and oblique sentences.
Finally, remembering perhaps my existence,
she asked:
"so whatcha doin, Wile E."
I release my death grip on dashboard,
and repeat my favorite lie,
said I'm ticking off the requirements
for a hitch-hiking merit badge.
She gave no sign whether she
believed me or not,
but she sure was a nice change
from whatever it was
that left me earlier that day
on the same road shackled to a bee.
Her eyes were marriage ceremonies
in a Swiss Convent garden.
As twilight began to yield to night
she let me out in Tulsa.
Gave me 10 bucks for a motel,
but unfortunately I lost
the stubby yellow pencil
she said was made
from the wood of Calvary.

My last leaf

by Reena Prasad

The heron is back. Drops quiver at the edge of a wing
I am transfixed watching the last leaf fall yet again
I am the drop easily latching on to a strange feather
yet there is life in the depths for me even if I let go

I am swept by random waves into sandy cups of sea water.
Shells mark the grave where my last desire is buried yet there I will never lie.
I am the liquid surge of the unknown bursting into bloom on a temple tree
My wilderness burbling with distilled essences dances bough and root within me

I belong to the tender rain, the rogue sea, the ephemeral mist and the
blossom-kissed tree
yet I am not destroyed by what holds me
unlike the big fish thrashing at the curve of a stabbing bill
My last leaf will never remember me

Lou's Mummy

by Julie Kovacs

Heeeeeeeey Abbott!
Look out for that mummy behind you!

Whose mummy it is
Not a helicopter mummy
nor an attachment mummy
(not the kind that is classified as one that grows from your side like a parasite)

The name is Klaris
not Claris or Clarie's
where pre-teen designer bandages can be bought.

Look out for that snake charmer holding the medallion!
The serpent instead of Lou could end up eating it
without the digestive aid of hamburger
then it would crawl off into the desert
and end up inside a crocodile.

Klaris would have to scare the crocodile into
coughing up the medallion
that would not be easy
when Mel Cooley is teaching the reptile
how to cook using a microwave

while the dancers and worshippers
in the nave of Klaris
hip-hop to “Muskrat Love.”

Claustrophobic Closeness

by Paul Tristram

We are now a circle,
complete, compact and concealed
like an anklebone in snow.

A breathing rhythm,
with scent circulation,
warm and moist muscle padding.

Comfort in this darkness,
finger joints: chain locks,
legs: skin and flesh double bows.

Busy in our duel employment,
catching wishful stars
and weaving unrealistic daydreams.

Selfishly happy and contented
in two-seated oyster shell discipline,
revolving together as we roll.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


by Todd Mercer

If none of us talk,
we all walk out free,
on our own recognizance.
Don’t take the deal. Don’t blink
when they say your partners
betrayed you first, i.d.’d you as ringleader.
Police make things up,
they’re allowed to lie, to psych you out.
You must’ve seen a TV cop drama. So show sense
and invoke that Fifth Amendment.
Or better, answer, “I don’t recall,”
to the Bad Cop when he slaps
the cup of coffee from your hand,
and say it to the Good Cop also,
when he calms his fellow actor,
when he pours you a fresh java,
says he can relate.


by Anuradha Bhattacharyya

She collects
Her favourite things
In her bag.
She takes them out,
Lines them in order
And counts.
Then she
Tumbles them back
Into her bag.
Like her,
In my heart
I fail to sort out
My affections.

Birthday Poem 2 a.m.

by Will Monigold

It’s raining again.
The picnic bench
Is missing a board.
Evidence of its hard life.
The neighbors have
captured their dogs.
When I step outside
The street is quiet.
Nights are cool.
Sleep comes easily
But I avoid it.
There are times I hope
I won’t wake up.
Winter is coming.
The promise of darkness.
Ceaseless clouds
Putting to bed
A weary sun.  I let the rain
Wash my face.


by Marc Carver

In the pub three men
sit on a table in front of me.
They have a beer in front of them
and all of them have lighted faces
as they all stare into their phones
as if they were looking into the oracle's eyes.
I can't help but think
they could have saved themselves a few quid
and stayed at home.

One of them eventually breaks the trance and talks
to a big guy sitting on another table who is also on his phone.
They talk about all of them being on the phone.
These three leave
and the big guy goes up to the bar
and starts shouting
The barmaid sways away from him
and the woman manager comes over.
She does the same and shrugs her shoulders,
he throws his arms about
but she still shrugs her shoulders

He sits down
and then a woman comes in and he starts to kiss her and hold her.
I can't hear the words but I know what they are saying.
"I was surprised you called I thought you said we were finished,.I thought you didn't want the baby."
"Come on baby you know me, I am headstrong I didn't mean it."
They sit down together in each other's arms,
his loneliness is gone
but his problems have not.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


by Simon Anton Nino Diego Baena

Darkness enters
through the windows

of my dilapidated room
dripping with petals of venom,

like the Hashashins of old
in Persia and Syria.

And I welcome it
with open arms. Again

I want this atmosphere
to remain morbid

with no color
of rainbows:

this house, this street,
this city,
this cathedral of bones.
As the night begins

with a parade
of cigarettes and shadows,

I seek
the skull

hidden beneath
the pallid skin.

Inside an Ongoing Prayer

by Todd Mercer

The string of days are holy to me. I fumble
for the edges, hold a bead
with the least pressure that it needs not to slip,
slide it down to count with the others.
I’m fending off the past and future,
the nature of the garden ethos
very much a Be Here Now theme.
I’m barring hungry ghosts from this place,
bulldozing re-developers,
keeping these days sacrosanct,
threading them to string.


by Marc Carver

I went to the garage
and pulled two big bed frames out
and started to build a sculpture in the garden
I put all the planks around the side
so it looked a bit like a wooden tent.

Every day I would add bits to it and paint it.
Before long I realized it was not a sculpture at all
but a shrine.
Some one was going to die
but I did not know who
maybe her mother maybe mine
maybe my father, hers is already dead.

All I could hope for is that it would be my mother.
I am not sure she tried golf or listening to ice cube as they cling to the sculpture
but I think she would have liked the cube
the same as her boy.

Sundown at the Abbey

by Donal Mahoney

After a day in the fields
plowing and sowing, 
the old monks see 
sundown is near so 
they put away tools, 
clean up for supper. 

It's soup and bread 
torn from a loaf, 
chunks of good cheese, 
a rainbow of bright 
fruit from the orchard, 
coffee as black as tar.

There are 20 monks left,
slow and ailing, a drop
from a hundred or so 
a few decades ago.
The harvest is small,
their lives still simple. 

They work in the fields
and pray in the chapel.
But birds in the air 
sometimes hear prayer 
rise from the fields
and soar past them.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


by Jennifer A. McGowan

the course of true love never did run
marathons.  It’s more a heptathlon:  long, pointed
remarks flung out of bounds; hurdles; measuring up;
half-naked women and a load of balls.  Only the most elite
athlete will finish with an ego, or companion.  Even
you won’t remember the names of the pack.

Newgale, Wales, Winter 2014

by Robert Nisbet

The village: a pub, a forecourt, a camping site,
a few houses on the hill, two shops, a café
where we, so many of us, have watched
the steam rise from coffee cups, the butter
trickling through toasted teacakes,
looked out to see spring warm the cliff tops,
mused on the natural world.

And then (as now) the moving water and a foul wind
will rise, shattering, hurtling through the village.

Resurgence then, repair, the fresh paint licked
on window frames and gables.

And again and again,
when the village is spruced and sweet again,
the wind and the water will rise again and shatter.

And again and again,
when the water has crashed,
the village will return to lick with paint,
toast teacakes.

A Banquet in Autumn

by Donal Mahoney

In the wind
a butterfly clings

to a marigold while
a bee hovers.

A hummingbird stops
then darts away.

The garden is still
a banquet in autumn.

try to hide the shock

by J.J. Campbell

muddy waters
on the jukebox

a pretty woman
alone at a table
in the corner

i walked over
and asked if
she knew she
was going home
with me later
in the evening

she laughed
and told me
to start buying
the drinks if
that was going
to happen

two of something
strong on the rocks
i tell the bartender

like i know what
the fuck i'm doing

i try to hide the
shock that this
might actually

of course, my
credit limit isn't
that high

so here's hoping
she's a lightweight


by Richard Schnap

The magnolia trees have blossomed
In explosions of purple and pink

As the theatre of spring lifts its curtain
For the drama of summer to unfold

Next come the magical fireflies
Their lanterns like earthbound stars

A company of tiny ballerinas
Illuminating the stage of the night

Then finally the hidden cicadas
Singing their sad lament

A bittersweet finale
To another season passing by

And when they all have vanished
As the cold wind withers the leaves

I watch the birds flying southward
Carrying their songs away

Thursday, September 18, 2014


by Don Campbell












Drinkers' Heaven

by Tony Peyser

Bartenders know what you like. Your
Cocktails are always free
And happy hour is twenty-three hours
Longer than it used to be.


by Dave Migman

Whole street’s screaming drunk
for the duration of the weekend
taking it in turns to vomit outside the pub
kids smash empties on the road.

There is an air of abandon here
across the tracks the trash spills
like lava down the embankment.
The train rumbles by
and hardly anyone glances out the carriage
they can’t beat it past their own reflections

“God you look so fucking good.”

All the boarded up houses are burning.
They no longer send out demolition crews,
the youth’ll do it for free. To keep warm
kicked out the house along with the dogs
they don’t give a fuck what you do, or
where you go.

Across the rooftops, echoing along the avenues
rival football songs ingrained into baptised flesh.
Bottles will break tonight. Blades with flash tonight.

They’ll be pavement blooms
all across this town tomorrow. God, you look so good.

Last night a storm moved around the city
we turned out the lights
watched it strike out against us
with brilliant jolts, power hungry
flashing and rumbling
like a living thing that you feel in your veins


by Anuradha Bhattacharyya

A seed
Sown in my heart,
The birth of desire
In sawana.

A lamp
I’ve lit in prayer
Provoking fury in god

A draught of which
Ignited the fire
Of trishna.

A dance
Of the thundering heavens
Clapping to the tune
Of rasa.

Author's note:  Sawana is the rainy season in India, good for romance, Kama is the god of love, trishna means thirst with sexual connotations, also Rasa, the famous dance of Krishna with his female devotees.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


by Jennifer A. McGowan

when you get angry
one of two things will happen

you will break
or you won’t

if you don’t
you gain momentum
until people point and say
You, You

at which point
you will break
or you won’t

and if you don’t
you’ll go further
sweeping all before you

until you reach
the roundabout
at the end of the universe

gridlocked in lorry traffic

a thing which makes you
so mindbogglingly angry
you will either break
or you won’t

and if you don’t
fuck knows.

Hardhat and Harness

by Jon Bennett

All the fire trucks are out there,
the hazmat truck, two long ladders,
an ambulance and cops
the hotel over the bar caught fire again
but Frank still tends bar like a sleepy cat
“I’ll go when the water starts
coming through the ceiling,” says Frank
wringing out the bar rag.
We all go out to watch
the men in hardhat and harness
on the fire escape
break through a window
while some doofus
with a brick in his hand
gets arrested for cursing the firemen.
We are working men, for the most part
but we watch the heroes
like we've never worked
a day in our lives,
bottles to our mouths.


by James Babbs

out here
looking at the stars
scattered across the sky
but I don’t know their names
if I had to I could find
the big and the little dipper
but I never took the time
to study the constellations
not the way other people have
for the most part
I just stayed inside
as much of the wine
and beer as I could
while the lovers held hands
and strolled together
into the darkness
I heard they made wishes
and sealed them with a kiss
they were hoping for something more
but I always felt better
after I’d been drinking
when I was drunk I felt like
I could float above the ground
I wonder where they are

Free Speech Canto XXXVII

by Michael Ceraolo

And the robber barons founded colleges,
which were endowed by their Creators
to hire a variety of professors,
then some of those professors were fired
in deference to the supposed wishes,
or the actual wishes,
                               of those founders,
or members of the founder's family
A few examples:

"If the railroads would expect their men
to be law-abiding,
they must set the example
Let their open violation
of the interstate commerce law
and the relations to corrupt
legislatures and assessors
testify as to their past in this regard"
was part of a speech on the Pullman strike
given by Edward W. Bemis,
                                          a professor
at Rockefeller's University of Chicago
this speech prompted William Rainey Harper,
the president of the university,
                                            to say:
"It is hardly safe for me to venture
into any of the Chicago clubs
I am pounced upon from all sides
I propose that during the remainder
of your connection with the University
you exercise very great care
in public utterance about
questions that are agitating
the minds of the people",
despite the dubious claim
that this wasn't a threat,
Bemis was fired at the end of the school year

"I cannot with self-respect decline to speak
on topics to which I have given
years of investigation
It is my duty as an economist,
to impart,
               on occasion,
                                   to sober people,
and in a scientific spirit,
                                   my conclusions
on subjects with which I am expert"
was said by Edward A, Ross,
a professor at Stanford,
though Leland Stanford was dead,
his wife remained a prime mover
in university affairs,
"There is a very deep and bitter feeling
of indignation throughout the community . . .
to partisanism and even to dangerous socialism"
"Professor Ross cannot be trusted,
and he should go",
                            and he did

All professors
                      "should make a contribution
to our students and the University
but also to the society at large"
said Scott Nearing,
                             an instructor
in sociology at the Wharton School of Finance
at the University of Pennsylvania,
                                                  the school
from which Nearing had earned his
undergraduate and graduate degrees,
he backed his words with actions

When his appointment was up for renewal
the Dean of the Wharton School,
the chair of his department,
a large majority of the faculty
recommended re-appointment

the trustees disagreed,
that Nearing "aroused class prejudice"
                                                         that he
"advocated the ruthless re-distribution of property"
that his views were
at variance with those of the founder
[Mr. Wharton],
                              in defiance of
the conservative opinions of men of affairs"

those 'men of affairs' did not re-appoint him

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sweet Residue

by Martha Landman

Deep into the darkness,
Malayan gods sat saturated at
the seams of a conversation,
passion forbidden and hushed
into dangerous proportions,
their hearts titillated by
the platonic equivalent
of fire in a cocoa pod,

rising enigmatically, like a symbol
of sweetness wrapped in gold, utter
pleasure quickening her heartbeat,
a goddess from Ghana exploded
inexplicably —
a paroxysm of bittersweet
into green
                 & black

Later she huddled together with those in rehab
they bathed in the milk of camels and sheep
their chocophile badges soaked in lemon grass
their neural pathways rebooted and programmed:
                                                                   Cherrie Ripe
moments delirious with desire

They flaked divine prayers like a 12-step rosary
and bowed deeply to the master —  Forrero Rocher —
as they chanted:
                        Toblerone Tiramisu
                        Give us your bounty on Mars
                        Rolo in aero crunchie your
                        Galaxy, a twister of KitKats
                        Give us our Ghirardelli, our Lindt
                        On a baker’s tray

And all they received for lunch, filled with
lettuce and spinach, was a Klondike sandwich

The Mayan gods laughed with pleasure
and rolled like maltesers on the ground.

(remembering my father)

by Don Campbell

a belt

a coat hanger

a rolled-up magazine

a shoe

a strip of hot wheels track

a plastic wand
with a magnet
on the end
to move figurines

a wood paddle
with a hole
drilled into the center
painted blue
(for Webelos)


a bare hand
with a size 12


by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

Do you want to take a ride to Heaven?
I’ll blast you right up there with my six-shooter.
They’ll hold a memorial with much pomp
and circumstance for you, all your friends and
family will be there too, showing their love.

Do you want to take that ride at high noon?
Your spirit will leave the body and despite
the gruesome way you’ll look your pain will
be gone, as your blood spills out of you,
and the life goes out of your eyes.

Do you want to make a choice?  Do I have
to decide things for you?  I aim to please
myself more than you.  I could be bargained
with.  Give me your sob story and maybe
we’ll take that ride together.  I want to go too.


by Marc Carver

The guy who lives around the corner
who never talks to me
got on my bus.

As we got to the last stop
I could see he was fast asleep.

I thought about waking him up
and telling him it was the last stop
We could walk to the pub together
and share a beer, become friends.

Ten minutes later
I am sat in the pub with my beer
and he is probably back to where he started.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sycamore, Early November
after a photograph by Amy Soricelli

by Marianne Szlyk

Half-erased, picked-at, leafless trunks rise
past the chain link fence
and over the tenants’ parking in back.
These trees are not
the mossed-over, well-hydrated
trees out west or down south.
These trees are not
the mellow summer trees
out on the island of festivals.

If someone were to sit beneath
these sycamore trees,
he’d be in some beater
used only to drive out of the city
and to the big-box stores
for the items
he cannot bear to buy
one by one at the bodega.

He’d be hiding
from his apartment,
his roommate, his friends,
all that he stores without closets,
from his bad job, from his worse one.
He’d be plotting
to find someplace better,
someplace other
than the space behind
this building the color
of rancid butter, welfare cheese,
some soundtrack other
than a cassette tape’s tinny
horns and strings,
the vocalist’s Midwestern rebuke.

Or maybe, just maybe
he’d be grateful,
having found this place,
his place for now,
behind the chalk-yellow building
and beneath the trees
at the center of everything,
not that far from
where Ella once sang
Dream a Little Dream
of Me.


by Gwen Monohan

When the moon is full
from reflected light
left by our sun
as we slip into dark
toward another night,

I’m reminded
how things are often
not apparent
to the naked eye
or even an aided one.

How we may be duped
by sly magicians
with a deck of cards,
a sleight-of-hand, or
bunnies in their hats.

Or pigs-in-pokes
on romantic nights
when promises are made
by almost strangers.
When the moon is full.


by Anuradha Bhattacharyya

It was preserved
Like pickle,
Tight lidded, marinated
In a jar, in the sun
To gather the full force
Of its aroma
When opened.


by Jon Bennett

I lie there sleepless
with an incessant hard-on
wondering, hoping.
“You’re so cranky,”
she says in the morning
as I watch her
take a birth control pill
pull off the t-shirt
and cover what I want
most in the world.
I leave
walk through Chinatown
the bustle of produce shops
the piles of qiezi
the long purple eggplant
chopped off at the stem.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


by Jennifer A. McGowan

It was the kind of
at-this-hour day.
The sort where open
eyes are an affront,
and you realise that yesterday
you only shaved one armpit,
or one leg, or in fact
somehow dyed your leg hair.
And hungry.  So finding the ingredients
for pancakes; then having
the brilliant idea of something
to make them flame coz
it cooks off and anyway
it’s fun; serving them up
to have them leap and
take off your eyebrows, completely
ruining that thread job,
ah fukkit, they taste good,
and I look good in dark glasses.
That kind of a day.  Normal
since you’ve been here.


by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

Who will want us?
There is evil in our hearts.
Our heads don’t think right.
My prospects dwindle.
Your blue heart splinters.
It does not get easy.
Heaven and Hell attacks us.
We have no shelter.
Our arms hang on us limply.
At midnight we lurk at sea.
The sand covers our eyes.
The moon shines on.
A flash of lightning strikes us.
We cannot defend ourselves
from the angels and demons.


by Marc Carver

I hear a ice cream van's music
but it is six in the morning.
I don't think any kids will be up at this hour
then I realize it is a memory
or a trick,
something in my mind
like rusty nuts and bolts
rattling around an old tin can.
I don't even have any real desire for ice cream
not anymore.
Even when I was a kid, I could run up to the ice cream van
but rarely had any money.
Poor then
poor now
not much changes.

The Parish Carnival

by Donal Mahoney

That's Bernie's wife on the carousel
laughing and waving her arms.
Once again she won't get off
even though Bernie is yelling
next to the concession stand
jumping around in his wheel chair.
He's finished his cotton candy
and wants to go home.
He probably has to pee.
He never goes anywhere
except to the parish carnival.
He loves the cotton candy.
He says it's the same as when
he was a kid years ago
before he fell out of the tree.
He needs Stella more than ever now
to push his wheel chair and she does
except when she comes to the carnival
and gives old Bernie a big plume
of cotton candy and hops on the carousel
laughing and waving her arms
once a summer every year.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Intersection Of Despair Drive & Fate Blvd.

 by Tony Peyser
True story: in 2007, this guy in Ohio
Crashed his car into a storefront.
Miraculously, no one was injured.

Even more miraculously,
The business was a rehab facility &
The driver had a needle in his arm.

It would appear unseen powers
Took control of the vehicle
And guided him technically

On a wrong path which
Happened to be completely
In the right direction.

Should any of us find ourselves
In such dire straits, one hopes a
Similar divine hand will intervene.

(In a pinch, the human hand of a
Front seat passenger may be substituted.
Your results may vary.)

Day Labor

by Deborah Bayer

In July’s heat I go blackberry picking
and come upon a bounty,
warm and swollen with juice.
My hands grow sticky and purple,
arms scratched, mouth asking
for just one more.
It is a leisurely hour or two.
Queen Anne’s Lace, stout yarrow,
and bold thistle tumble
across the scrubby field.
A Common-Yellowthroat calls.
My response is a round of
open-throated Hallelujahs.
Innocent clouds hover over the river.

As a child I peeled ripe Red Havens
for father’s breakfast.
He couldn't bear to touch a peach.
Two seasons of migrant work
and a lifelong repulsion.
He never said much about it.

I grow satisfied, my labor is my pleasure.
With two bulging quarts nestled
in a sturdy bag, I leave thorny
plants behind, begin the walk
to my destination, a lap of luxury.
In the bean field by the dirt road,
two figures crawl on hands and knees
between bean rows.
Their movement startles me,
ragged long-sleeve shirts and
dirty ball caps.
Their backs, rounded.
Their weeding, confident and swift.
At last they stand and stretch.
Middle-aged, maybe man and wife.

A strong urge flushes my face,
shyness seizes me or maybe it’s shame.
I do not approach the weary pair,
bow, and offer them bright berries
from a briar patch near muddy water.

Black Watch

by Gwen Monohan

Buzzards roosted high
in our aging oaks last winter,
dappling the tall, bare,
branches near the road
which overlooks farm land
and beyond, a lake.

Where air currents
rising over water
kept them kite-sailing
with ease in daytime sun.
watching for dead remains
on land or partly floating.

Late afternoons they curled
back home alone.
Dark tatters, drifting
down to higher limbs.
Perching, like huge blackjacks,
plaid-draped against blue sky.

Love Letters & Kisses

by Paul Tristram

Written Thoughtfully
upon Prison Headed paper.
When Tempers & Wild Sides
are now Dormant & Sleeping.
Alcohol has been Removed
from the Equation & System
for some months.
The Hecticness & Chaotic Struggle
of the busy Outside World
has slowed down
and you are settled
into the Daily Routine
of ticking away
Days from your Sentence.
Can, often times
be more Honest
& Trustworthy.
Than a Nervous
Fight or Flee hand
grasping Heavenward 
a worn black Bible
and Swearing so, Adamantly
from a Crown Court Dock
with a Severely 
Wigged & Justice-Robed 
Audience in full Attendance.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

eye contact

by larry jones

the cop pulled me over
for speeding,
65 in a 45.

he whipped out his little flashlight

"i'm going to look
into your eyes."

he was thinking about
writing a ticket


he gazed a tad too deep.

"i'm letting you off
with a warning," he said.


Twin Girls, 1948

by Donal Mahoney

Beth was always different
marching as she did
to an armless drummer.

Her sister Kate marched
to another drummer,
one with arms on certain days

but never with a drum
that caught the sticks Kate
kept in the air flailing.

When the girls were young
their mom and dad took them out
for walks on Sunday

afternoons in summer.
The girls waved to butterflies
but never to anyone else.

It was hard for other kids
peering from porches
to understand the problem.

When the twins were small
they didn't call it autism.
It had no name on my block.

Now the illness has a name
and different medications
that sometimes temper

but never cure.
The girls are women now
old and living in a big home

with others in a small band
some still playing instruments
no one else can see.

All The Answers

by Jonathan Ojanpera

A man can ask so many questions
Prying, cutting, gutting  every one
His queries grow into vast webs
Finds not if truth or rest exists

He will brush the dust from old stones
Mine gold, elements, with fingernails
Frames his findings to sate the musings
Stripping his soul to the lining for more

What he fails to remember in this life
The questions without answers quite
The gods, the seer, the mystic won’t tell
Every answer comes with his last breath

In Here
for Spencer

by James Babbs

he comes in here
almost as much as I do
he doesn’t drink as many beers
but he sits down and has a few
talks a lot about the Packers
you know
the Green Bay Packers
Lambeau Field
the National Football League
he knows I’m a Bears’ fan
and that’s why he does it
but it’s all in good fun
and he always talks about Bart Starr
he can’t go just one time
without mentioning his name
and I’m not really sure why
I know the Packers have won
more championships than the Bears
but I say to him
I don’t want to hear about
Bart Starr anymore
I tell him
you can talk about Brett Favre
you can talk about Aaron Rodgers
anything at all
just don’t mention
Bart Starr anymore
I don’t know why
it bugs me so much
then he laughs and asks me
what I think of
Cutler’s new contract
I tell him well
it’s probably worth it
if he can get us to the big game
then I buy him a beer
and say look
at least we both hate the Vikings
he slaps me on the back
and says oh yeah
you got that right

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Kafka Variation

by Tony Peyser

I didn’t wake up as a bug but as myself
With 12-foot long arms.

 I’m way past,
“How? Why me?”

Yeah, I get stared at and hear
Some stupid comments

But I focus
On the upside.

If I lose the TV remote,
I’m able --- without getting up ---

To easily change
The channels by hand.

I can wipe the car windshield and pump my own gas
While still hunkered down behind the wheel.

If my wife and I arrive late at the movies
And can’t sit together, I can still

Put an arm around Kathy’s shoulder
Even if she’s a few rows away.

I don’t have to struggle to make eye contact
With my local barkeep for a refill:

Even from the farthest end of the bar,
I can politely tap him on the shoulder.

My office window right now is wide open.
I hum to myself as I trim the dead roses

In my garden, clean away some pesky cobwebs
And pick a piece of lint off of your shirt.

Slave Girl

by Victor Ehikioya

I have left the gong,
The drum...
And those sticks that strike
The dead log,
To my mates, who yet, tarry
At the square with amulets
Flung around their necks.
My soles ache from trekking,
And my waist, too weak to
To the erroneous sounds of
Tumid timber.
Mama sees not these things
For I too foretell the seer's
The letters on the gate,
Scare my thought.
It seeks refuge from
Swollen speeches
Bamboos and knives--
Belligerent folks.
I am the lad with a
Tattooed tooth,
Woven on the left breast.
The child with a soneri
Made to nimble on bare feet
As the tambour swells with
To somersault and swirl,
Like the Eagle, with
Unintended misfortunes.
But now, I see their faces,
Blurred with hate,
A smug with no smile.
They sit and scorn
Mimicking my rhythm,
And the runes from my
Charcoal-gray Mother.
The tin gods bear my step
And my snivelling, the fools
That clamp my feet to Metals.
I am the gray child,
The voice beneath the sea
The monster in the man.
These things they fear,
For now the mountain,
Has fallen in the lake.


by Marc Carver

The man with the flowers in his guitar
and the can of holsten pils
he would play me a song
he never did
but i am sure
he wrung every last drop
out of that can of beer.

Psychological Trials

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

None of the late day spies were possessed with more than loyalty to handlers,
Until such thoughts made the rounds of bars, parked cars, drug dens, coffee shops.

One mighty example of espionage missed, altogether, the perspective of mothers,
Who regard teenagers as lingering liabilities, chow hounds, sources of domestic entropy.

Coupling clandestinely in a government apartment meant going AWOL,
Rejecting assignments, spoofing mentors, turning backs, paying hazard prices.

If only academic fervor might drive pawns like him toward collection points,
She would have had merely to ask for course corrections, without safeties.

Nonetheless, “helping restore political balance” brought along bikinied dividends,
Economic stimulus packages, disproportional amounts of bribes, buried treasure, laughs.