Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, October 30, 2014

still though we move

by Michelle Villanueva

your love too strong whispers those fields she knows
reaping these very blades the girl so young
clean slices glisten fast against slight hay

lame engines bellow forth their liturgy
she laughs when she remembers the blank words
while she traces star petals with her fingers

tease apart patterns of shifting tendrils
grandmother told her still she scans dark skies
waiting for some break in the firmament

cautiously the lace border around us
sends shadows through distant dividing walls
timid as freedom we seek these gardens

electric she sighs paths into being
creation was once that easy the sands
call her while the meadows breathe their firm hush

alone she scales the breeze for our own sake
her cubs though we much older than these hills
delight in the pitted youth of her hands

salvation patters rain toward the window
awash within the dunes she made herself
we wait sniffing the air for coming storms


by JD DeHart

The fear of even the strongest
magician is that someone will
look up the sleeve.  It's the same
with the rest of, basic mortals
that we are, roaming around with
no top hats.  Someone, somewhere,
we are sure, will notice the source
of our trick and then threaten to stuff
us into the darkness of our own hat.


by Byron Beynon

I slept late that Sunday
morning my father arrived
with news worse than the hangover.

He drove me to a familiar house
where my aunt witnessed
my silence in a world

where flowers came with cards
and neighbours with faded voices
whispered their sorrow.

It was the first time
I'd kept company with death.
A few days later

at the grave's sharp edge,
feeling the tight-lipped
earth falling from my fingers

I understood her hushed pain,
her blue eyes of grief.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Land Lords

by Bryan Murphy

Property as virtue: an international lie
receding with history, tail ablaze with stingers,
preparing fire next time.
Its toady minions,
puffed with sense of entitlement,
better watch out: tenants can be pricks.

My first taste as a teenager:
the Lawrence lady from London
lets herself in to the South Coast cottage
while we still sleep,
decorates the death-wired lounge
just before demolition
to swell her Council compensation claims.

Fortune keeps me free
of Brighton’s gangster landlords,
its flat-torching insurance-scammers –
were there a Hell to burn them!

Life propels me to Oporto,
where the regime protects its pillars with weapons
and landlords lack no licence to use theirs.

Italy’s counterparts
could teach them a thing or two
about the pretence of power
from paper deeds.

In Rome, Cadolini: “You don’t know who I am!”
Right. “I’m sailing solo round the world!”
So proud of an ill-fitting factory-outlet suit,
of flats in his dead mother’s name.

Ditto Carraglio, Sicilian good manners,
antique dealer convinced of his right
to flout the law, generous to others
of his ilk: “Thieves won’t be back.
What have you got left worth stealing –
your moustache?”

In Turin, a dysfunctional family,
parents striving to be nice
yet ready to squeeze as though by right;
a whippersnapper son, who failed as an architect
before graduating,
choking with anger on his silver spoon
that bends against the bars over my bank account.

Even in Eastern Europe,
once the red-fascist State has gone walkabout,
a Colonel can accrue capital
through contacts and trickery,
install a foreign tenant in a former Army high-rise.
“Have some more rakia. I’m doubling the rent.
You need a Bulgarian wife. Why are you really here?”

States do no better on the landlord’s podium,
spy on you to boot, and let you know:
the cough of the scribe when you talk on the phone,
handprints on clothes in well-rummaged wardrobes.
“Shut up,” is the message, “we own your tongue.

Don’t even think about it.”

Hong Kong is different,
for time is money,
words are bonds,
and face looks also inwards:
all too precious
to waste extorting nickels from strangers.

I still rent freedom.
Half deaf, I hear the siren call
of brick and mortar:
“Buy me! Let me! Join the caste!”
I’d be no better than the rest.


by Marc Carver

An old woman comes toward me,
she is lopsided
her right shoulder down towards the ground
as if
she was carrying cannon balls in her two bags.
Her other shoulder is up
and her hand straight out
as if she is skating on thin ice.
I don't need to get out of her way because
she is walking sideways.
Taking the scenic route
always a good idea.

After Twenty Years, Towels Fray

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

After twenty years, towels fray, limnaea creatures, too, wonder water’s worth.
Invisible hedgehogs’ hibernacula, alongside many kinds of patient editors,
Begin despising sassafras roots, fairy wings, wee pieces of acorn pancakes,
Even as strutting alongside thoughtful rivers of binturong fur, answered shouts,
Thunder, lightening, electrical storms, photoshopped regolith, plus tooth decay.
Critters longingly gaze at yesterday’s métier while their eyes go chalcedony.
Only dogs, maybe hyenas, purple smoke, kaleidoscope cries, dead moths embrace
Such self-determination as found in “abuse survivors,” “darlings,”  “wise pensioners.”

Consider, at street level, various costermongers shout bananas and cherries.
I’d have taken that from their barrels had you not insisted on boutique affections.
Hence, I made due with bull fiddle when loving needed mandolins.
I wanted to yield, to ordering in Chinese noodles, to buying guquins,
To run around our suite buck naked, save for old kimonos lent by our concierge.
Instead, you recalled antiques’ costs, wanted no restrictions to our private parts.
You esteemed that laws of intimacy exist as they do, especially officially.
Further hazarding, like ions with unpaired spins, might fetch paramagnet powers!

Until tomorrow, more harmatttans blow toward New York , bring trash.
Babble fishes continue divulging multi-linguistic laconic expressions.
Mustelids organize blues bands, red specks, green-marked shells, recruit
Insect warriors, randomly, afterwards orienting them in fields of thermal holocaust.
School secretaries keep on calling parents to seek kids’ field trips permissions.
Secret suns saunter, too, as well as do polarly matched elements. Meanwhile, beauty
Spots noted for ferule-styled reinforcements, abandon rest to sleeping villagers.
Motorcades, jazz clubs, elephants, all blithely disregard matters of mestizo heritage.

On balance, burying problems in haymows, reveals moist spots where tree bits harbor.
Leafy brightness, in dark spaces, makes sebaceous any sugar-coated examinations.
Relationships evolve epigenetically, unstructured eggs plus wiggly sperm cause potential.
Normally, truth churns through public potholes, skips before knee hauling in toxins.
Most Twozans leapfrog through forests, past Oenomelian lakes. Alogonquins
Dance, end purposeless ballet sessions in an aebleskiver manner. Miles displace grip.
Our choices remained informed, guided, put to ease, sidetracked, by cenotaphs,
Until we rowed in daisies, got trod upon by emotional peacocks. Liaisons take work.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


by Stefanie Bennett

Renegade neutrons
Fall apart
On the front lawn
- Yet you, with
Your cold
Aerial of soul's
                Hand them
A clean bill
Of health...

Strange how
A 'for real'
Shooting star's
Never around
You want one.

Dervish Your Hours

by D. Russel Micnhimer

We dance our beginnings forward
our future is behind us, following
us we cannot tell what it will be
when it catches up to us

Our past we see in front of us
we can see clearly what it has been
by keeping an eye on it if we are
alert we can learn

We are Janus perpetually cast
in the middle of time, gates open
and close to meet our gaze

Dervish your hours, you may have
more than it seems

Oblivionville (The Next Phase)

by Paul Tristram

They’d jammed a chair against the kitchen door handle.
I kicked it open and the skinny, junkie guy ran out
carrying with him his little bag of tricks and misery.
I saw her first track mark on the back of her left hand
I shook my head disappointedly and asked why?
“This is Oblivionville, the next phase and you’re either
coming along for the ride with me or you’re not?”
I grabbed my cider flagon and denim jacket and left.
20 years later, I heard she threw herself under a train,
she didn’t die, one of her legs was hit the wrong way
around and one of her arse cheeks needed to be removed.
We used to be schoolyard sweethearts, once upon a time.
I remember her bringing me bread & butter in the shed
at the bottom of her grandmothers garden where I was
hungry and hiding, she also brought a potted flower
and put it on a shelf by the window to make it look nice.

love one another

by Linda M. Crate

Love. It has the power to cover a multitude of offenses and it is only standing united that we can truly be of any use to one another. We're all different, but that doesn't mean we can't love one another. Hatred is self destructive and carves out hearts, destroys families, and burns them in the anger. It is a force that burns and burns but when all have perished beneath it's flames, it hungers ever more. Love, it is the only thing that can save us. The only force that will put that fire out. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

category: uniform

by Ross Vassilev

when the
blonde, blue-eyed
arrested me
I thought of
telling her that I'd seen
porn movies that
started this way
but I decided not to
push my luck

it's hard walking
when they got
your ankles
cuffed together

it was a hot
summer night and
there was a full moon out
for the misbegotten

I suddenly thought of
all the homeless
in New York
disheveled winos
old women
pushing shopping carts

the inside
of the police car
was hot and steamy

and being in a
hot, steamy place
with a beautiful
wasn't so bad, really

I wondered
if she had a boyfriend.

How do You Kill a Cactus?

by Cory Adamson

Pastels on top of

The keepsakes and
clutter covered in
gray powder.
Not a scratch or dent
on one.

Isabel yowls and
whines for mama
and daddy to take
her bow off.

Sticky clean smell on
top of sticky clean smell.

In the psychedelic plastic pot
Sits a brown, saggy
lump under sand. Thorns
like spaghetti.

Not an ounce of real
green in sight.

The floor’s shag kicks
up static and dust
to sneeze from.


by Anuradha Bhattacharyya

Wading through the crowd
In bikini upright,
I catwalk my way to the fore
Of the line of the bold and
The beautiful gals
Who tramp the jungle of firewood,
Only to ignite the flame of fame, the name
Of having bewitched more than a handful
Of men, women and the entire cyber world,
With a stare so frank and a pout so haunting
That many missed for generations
In the years when only
A father or a hubby set his eyes
On my celestial visage.
I stride through the crowd
Like a Casanova claiming the world
Stage as a stage for fun and festivity.
I stomp above the clutter of average girls
To capture the moments of fever for the
Most celebrated parts of the body
To show what I possess as the crown
Among the material gains that are offered.


by Nancy May

autumn sunset
wings of a jay unfold
in the breeze

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Reliable reports have reached the Saloon that an American man has died in the Mexican resort town of Tulum after being kicked, bit and sat on by a camel.

"The camel kicked and bit him practically to death, and when he was almost dead, he sat on him," said a witness. "Between the blows and the weight of the camel on top of him, he was asphyxiated."

According to one version of the attack, the camel became enraged when the American did not give him Coca Cola to drink.  The US Embassy has confirmed the death.

That’s what happens when you mess with camels.  Do not fuck with bartenders either.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


by Marc Carver

The old man sits in the wheel chair
he is colorless and grey at the same time
if they folded the wheelchair in half
they would not need to take him out.
They could fold him up and put him in the corner.
"Where there hell did Mister Tewskebury go. Oh there you are."
Unfold him and watch him pop out
like an unlively jack in the box.

You have to get up close to him
to see whether he may have gone already
whether he will open his eyes
like in a horror movie.

He is the closest to death that it is possible to be
Like all of us
but it doesn't make us live
with anymore passion.

A Parting Gift

by Miranda Stone

I am like the hollow bones of a bird
in her palm. Toeing the precarious
line that divides her adoration
from her contempt, I wait for her fist
to close, reducing me to brittle slivers
she can brush from her fingers.

I feel for the ring on my left hand,
a force of habit, and remember
I no longer have reason to wear it.
She wrapped her own ring neatly
as a birthday present. It was her gift
to me the day I signed the papers,
a proposal in reverse.


by Ag Synclair

They hide in the corner
behind small things
in the mention of names
in pictures dug from a grave
encroaching upon you
like big governments
like leaders
like commanders
all vying for a drink
from the same silver cup
but no government
no leader
no commander
will drink from yours
they will be truncated
mounted on your wall like trophies
you will take them down
with one
kill shot
to the gut.

Three Pigs and Wolf

by Laura Kaminski

Dreadlocks: Three young javalina, trotting line behind sow-mother, up the embankment, across the road, fast-moving. Born with all their hair full-length, short little hoofed haunches not yet grown into their hides. Strands hang down into the dust, rusty gray-brown and wiry black rodent dreadlocks, a row of escaping Rastafarian wigs.

Too North: Strange to see them this far north in land that has grown cherries and seen snow. Drive up slow and stop the Jeep, get out and stand exactly where they crossed, look down the crease they’ve left in the middle of the field, flat trail to match one worn by the Mexican wolf in the Phoenix Zoo.

First Wolf: He is a river of instinct carving a path to a soap-bubble sea held delicately in his mind. Perpetual walkabout, his trail a curving figure-eight, he never pauses or hesitates, never looks around or up or out. Wonder if he is pounding down the path to ease the way for the rest of the pack. He faces forward, never sees the ones behind him who follow single-file, each paw-pad placed exactly in the foot-falls of First Wolf.

Mobius: Perhaps, instead, he’s hay-wired late, wakes each evening, begins running, perpetually tries to catch up with his pack. He cannot see them. They move impossibly ahead each afternoon while he is sleeping.

Darwin: Contemplate the javalina strait, straight parting of the mountain grasses, half a mile. Fast, they’ve vanished into a scattering of rocks and juniper, fast. Fast like the wolf, and faster. Have a caricature vision, bearded Darwin, fraying track-suit, watching from the hill. He has a stop-watch timing laps, advises them to step it up, reminds they must clock it faster than a wolf-trot or their furry little bacon will not make the team.

Source: Gaze south, pick up the sweet dusty scent of pollen, follow it backward, trace the migratory river to its source. Wonder how many generations they have been running, these piglets, since they began south of the border, set off at the pop of a gun from some sun-drenched village. Mark mileage generations in the changing shades of green. Agave lime tequila grasshopper. Taste for salt.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


by Stephen A. Rozwenc

1,000's of unvanquished throat chakra
casually powdered
smoky blue
with sweet Nagasaki and Hiroshima ashes
clamor to join us
as we flee
through hideous passages
where nothing
not even a glossy wall
hung with dazzling sodomites
could ever tempt us to turn back
and be reborn


by Matt Morris

A ferry transported him
up the sacred stream.
He was fleeing from the self,

the agony of being
this incarnation.
Going into the forest,

into the oneness,
the river flowed everywhere,
singing & happy.  Listen,

the ferryman said.
Siddhartha listened.  He heard
the river laughing,

its thousand voices laughing.
The bird in his chest laughed too.

Moon Rose
(after the lithograph in Robert Rauschenberg's “Stoned Moon” series)

by Neil Ellman

Moon rose
the sun eclipsed
blood moon bleeding  
in the fall
the end of days
a blood-stained flower          
far past its bloom
full moon fading
in the west
too soon to die
a copper leaving
in the sky.


by Kelley Jean White

This diner is haunted. The waitress says the paper towel machine in the bathroom starts unwinding all by itself and more than once she’s felt a little tap on her behind as she bends over the sink.And it doesn’t surprise anyone, afterall June’s father Spider died right there at the grill. Massive heart attack. (They’re always massive aren’t they.) No one remembers his real name. Except June. But he was
the cook here forty some years. Fast, a real flyer. And before that at The Bay. And the Shore. And the Sea View. He was good with his hands. Ask his second wife. Ask his third. Always building something.  And that bass fiddle. Those hands of his on the strings. More than an octave on a piano. And did you know he did clockwork? Fixed all those little springs and cogs? Built that fence out of gears and chains and bicycle wheels and pulleys and arrows all painted red and black and gold? He was a master. Arms, hands, everywhere.  Had at least a dozen arms. No one could move a job faster. Not even the quickest autumn wind.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Easy Target

by Miranda Stone

Give me another hit of blessed oblivion,
a haze to wash away the self-awareness.
Scars form on my skin, smooth and sheer
as tissue paper, to conceal festering sores.
Yet you expertly sniff out the old wounds.
To a man like you, with a charming smile
and a gun in your hand, I am fish in a barrel.

One More Journey

by Wayne Scheer

In the weeks before his death,
having refused another round of chemotherapy,
he'd wake early, dress and pack his bags.

When his wife asked where her was going,
he'd stare, confused.
Once he answered, “Albuquerque.”


by Joan McNerney

She thought of herself as a
modern alchemist.   Fluent
in an arcane language
about the composition of so
many minute capsules.

The rest of the store could
be in a gas station or bargain
store.  Filled with candies,
lip sticks, other frivolous items.

If you simply had a cough, syrup
could be found on aisle three.
Her area was sacred to patients,
those with serious ailments.

Filling prescriptions navigating
insurance companies, seeking
authorizations. Always aware of
side effects, multiple drug reactions,
possible allergic problems.

Austere yet approachable,
she dispensed heroic potions
from her prized domain
as chemical priestess.

once we were happy

by Linda M. Crate

i remember we had fun once. we used to walk kinzu dam together. you used to hold my hand and i didn't resent it. i remember there was love and laughter. somewhere everything went wrong. resentment built. i hated you. i don't hate you anymore, dad. i'm sad. i don't know what happened. we both had tempers. we both said things we shouldn't have. we're fractured past the point of repair. we try, but the pitiful stabs of a relationship dead hurt me more than saying nothing at all. so i'm quiet. not to hurt you but because i don't know what to say. you never understood me and i don't understand you. all we ever did was judge each other. i'm sorry. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sell or buy or both

by Craig Kurtz

Sell or buy or both
but the exit is up
next. Test pattern or
turn content, press
pound to set.

In or out or pause,
left contest the contrast.
Negate or accept, hold
right for risk.

File or save or change
but the debit runs now
through. Task complete
when obsolete.

Spend or pay or not
but restock then report.
Clear. Tomorrow always
starts today.

Miss or pass or go,
instant choice or credit
later. Here & now marked
down. Quick.

Stop or fund or raise
then anticipate past cost.
Invest percent or skip
pay rate. Time.

Think fast or far but
what you do is who
you are. Society sold


by Tapeshwar Prasad Yadav

Amids silent prayers
Those folded hands
Give tearful parting
One deep of love, bid
Farewell upon life

How many names, are
Etched on tombstones, and
Only Taj is made
Still, many mountains lay
Weeping in silence

Amids twinkling stars
Galaxies swirl
Many stars are born
Many Red-giants are dead

How many voices, are
Floating in the skies, and
Only vastness are seen
Still, many 'nothingness' lay
Curious to our eyes

The League of Gentlemen

by Robert Nisbet

Kids do gangs, often enough. We did,
that’s me, Pete and Texas. Junior school,
we were the Red Hand Gang, later the Wolf Pack,
and last of all the League of Gentlemen.
We were smooth movers, snooker sharps,
we had silky skills. We played between us
one clarinet, one set of bongos, word games,
cards, the field (female).
                                       Only twice, I think,
did one of us swing a punch at anyone.
First one was Petey, down at Morgan’s Cove
one summer. Usual thing. Pete was going out
with Gaynor. And some smartarse from Tenby
said, You still getting it from that slag?
Pete thumped him. Broke one of the boy’s teeth.
Chipped his own knuckle.

For ‘A’ level history, we had Hayes, the staff’s
number one shit. Sarcasm was the thing
with Hayes, pick on people’s size, looks, anything.
And Texas was a butt of his. It was nothing
you could repeat really, just … incessant.
And one day Texas cried. Big lad, Tex,
and at seventeen you didn’t cry. But he did.
And then the bell, Hayes wrapped himself
in his academic gown, paraded out.
And that stupid Wattsy said, He was very witty, Tex,
you have to admit.
                              The punch seemed to come
from deep, he swung from below his waist,
and deep too from somewhere like …
…. despair.

I don’t want, ever, to see a punch like that again.


by Paul Tristram

Back when I was a teenager
a lot of people were poor.
Some nights as we hung around
the streetlights on back corners
we would see them and laugh
to ourselves in between drinking
cider flagons and plotting tyranny,
as they came jumping over fences
or falling off moonlit garden walls.
Kids as young as seven or eight,
from a few council estates down,
stealing clothes off washing lines.
No one could afford to buy dryers
so you had to use the garden lines.
But if you snoozed you loosed,
guard them or they were gone.
The dirty little thieving urchins
would take absolutely everything,
except for the jeans, they gave them
to us as a tax for a peaceful
crossing of our home territory.
They were worth a grubby £5 note
of your money, any day of the week,
in the pubs of Neath the next day.
Glue-sniffer even claimed
to have sold back a pair
to their original owner once.
They would even grab underwear
men’s, women, boys, girls
and big baggy old peoples.
Dragging them back home in sacks
to their Mam’s who would in turn
dish them out to everyone in the family.
Happy days for these women
for some other poor bugger had even
washed this season’s attire for them.
You haven’t lived until you have seen
grown men set ferocious dogs
on the heels of scarpering children
over second-hand T-shirts,
old Y-fronts and a pair of holy socks.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


by Amy Soricelli

I cut myself into pieces.
Slices so deep my name screams through my skin; angry letters carved cold -
drops of blood; a frozen door opened wide.

Long sleeves always in summer  - pull/pull/pull
you can't see it gripped tight into my fingers- the edges of cloth
protecting like a priest.

No one ever looks/no one sees -
no one checks underneath the white of my shadowy skin;
it is dark inside my brain.

I use a knife -mostly a key/ i like the keys.
Back and forth/ back and forth across my wrist over
and over until it speckles like paint.

Splatters like Pollock.
Then I slide it swift across my jeans;
dark graffiti elbows and knees.

I am the dark staircase; the hallway lights flickering
on/off like guilty moths.  I am the flat key hard against
the grain of my silent blue veiny skin;

I am hard black pudding thoughts that crease
the curtains silent.   It Feels good - the small freckled pain
across my long straight arm; dotted lines leaving a trail

bread crumbs in the darkest of forests.
I see the blood bubble up slowly then wipe it
fresh-off like a magic act.

I am a blood red mouth open into the night.
I pull my fingers across the faint scars
and make them scream.

September Journal: Saturday, September 14, 2013

by Don Mager

Heat sticks to the skin and calls out to
mosquitoes to plant miniature
dollops of inflammation.  Its breath
is humid like oven steam.  Its weight
sinks down to deep lung sacks and stifles
oxygen.  Between five fingered broad-
leaf shade, gaps aim direct hits of sun
at expectant figs.  It plumps them up
like juicy dumplings.  It unstitches
small seams in their purpling pink skin
to ooze out syrupy slow dollops.
Best served chilled and sliced with morning toast
and coffee, they stew sweetness.  Their stems
drip milk that sticks on fingers.   Pluck them.

There must be a rainbow somewhere

by Subhankar Das

It was a sunlit four o clock afternoon
and it started raining.
We have a saying in this part of the world
when it rains like this
it is time for the dog and the fox
to marry.
Before I could tell her that
she came near the window and said
there must be a rainbow up there somewhere.
But we failed to find it
from my lone downtown window.
So I came back to my coffee machine
to check if there is still some coffee left.
Wondering all the time about that marriage
of the dog and the fox.

Afternoon sex was good.
Now she has to go back home
to her family again.
And it’s getting late because
of this beautiful rain outside.


by Simon Anton Nino Diego Baena

Never forget to always open the window
and let the light pass through unhindered
just like the very first time she allowed you
to hold her hand in the park. And when
the ashes settle all over the horizon, there
are memories worth remembering: the story
of the flame and the moth in your youth
how it puts you to sleep, the lost innocence
of tenderness and security as if the structures
would never collapse, after all, we are tragedy
woven with beauty; and the years engraved
itself on your flesh as dried rivers of a blistered
landscape where the rain never pours and
the scent of asphalt triumphs. Yet you cling
to pebbles and acacia trees that line up
like a phalanx in the outskirts of your dying
city where the future is in the past and
the present is only the moment of a funeral,
and what remains of that image is a portrait
of what the world can never restore.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


by Cindy O'Nanski

I love the view at Oasis Beach
As I lay my blanket down
This steamy afternoon
And position myself just so
To get a closer look
At those golden locks
Blowing gently in the breeze
Cascading over a sun kissed face
Followed by the perfect core
Rising and falling
With each and every breath.
Above crimson shorts
Sporting a distinct bulge
Leading to muscular legs
And the rest
I rub in with my lotion
On a hot summer’s day.

October Heart

by Ben Rasnic                                                                        

Time of year
light fades quickly,
a southwest wind scatters

leaves of brittle vermillion.
Hybrid shades of auburn
embrace the good earth.

Shadows flare
from jagged snow-capped  peaks,
frame windows facing west.

Light filters to absence;
enter darkness
of days gone by.

Thinking of distant
people, places,
beyond & before;

night train passing
sustains a lonesome refrain,
takes me traveling,

clutching memories like ticket
stubs, mapquest highlighting
destinations along the road life leads me.

Fifty-nine, then again
stroke of midnight past Halloween
brings sixty,

shadows flickering
in the hollow flames
of butchered pumpkin skulls.

Growing old-
er than years, sometimes don’t know
what keeps me moving--

perhaps the serenity that is the Chesapeake,
the stillness of white sailboats
against a pale blue sky;

or night trains wailing
a blues mantra in the distance
that takes me somewhere beyond

misty miles of dark terrain
& glacier sheen of plains
where the light lifts gently over the hill;

thoughts of
finding place
to call home.


by Amy Soricelli

We collect the dead in our closets here - the back rooms filled with boxes piled high;
sheets of paper whisper thin; hard breath on the back of your neck.
The cousins lingering eyes; black and white on the stairs of The Capital
ice cream cones dripping in the sun.
Long gone from this earth having disappeared many years ago -they curl up at the edges now/one on top of the other.
Great aunt lives in a jar/its outer box wrapped in soft tissue paper layered deep -
all that is left collected in barbaric ritual.
She was not scattered across the landscape of some determined mountain/sulky stream.
There is a suitcase with letters- notes; dried flowers bits and pieces -
if i gathered  them up they would flutter like dust- leaving no proof they were there.
I can keep the dead in a box under the bed-shadows black/
lingering long growing wings.
wild ghosts wrapped tight in string.

Dead Brother’s Note to Our Dad

by Donal Mahoney

Dad, happy to see
you’re taking a nap.
I’m down at the pier
so give me a shout
when you wake up
and I’ll come running.
The fishing’s been great--
three coolers of pike
iced in the trunk.

You always tell Mom
before we leave
you won’t be drinking
and she lets Tim and me
go with you but
you drink all day
here at the lake.

I'll get my license next year
so things will be different.
I'll drive back at night so
you can nap in the car.
I’ll keep the radio off
so you won’t wake up.
It’s always good
to see Mom.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Marshall County

by James Babbs

I was willing to drive
for more than an hour
I wanted to see her
but she kept looking through me
I don’t think
she ever really saw me
I don’t think
she ever knew who I was
or who I wanted to be
her beautiful green eyes
catching the light and
throwing it around the room
I remember
how I held her
the way we kissed in the dark
waiting for morning to come and
the warmth of our bodies
trying to protect us
the cold relentless and
I dreamed
I could hear it
hammering against the walls
some kind of warning
I should’ve known
it was only a matter of time

Playing Chicken

by A.J. Huffman

with a vulture in the middle of Hope
Road, defending its find,
some butchered necropsy
of undecipherable origin.  I slowed
to give warning, time for flight.  Surely
even this small-brained carrion could decipher
the outcome of this equation:
2 ton vehicle + 1 large bird = double road kill.  Obviously,
I was incorrect.  It flared its wings, faced me
head on.  Stunned by the savage audacity of this creature,
I caved.  Stopped
my car.  Watched in continuing awe as it cawed
in triumph, carried its carcass into the sky.

Frank Zappa was right
you are what you is

by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

the meek won’t inherit
the earth, hornets will
burrowed in high rise
hidden in plain sight
that one sentry
ready eager
for battle
that fatal
pheromone radar
bearing down

they make a mockery
our being, theology,
space station squatted
on our shed
on our magnolia branch

they know they
don’t need a god
to create
orchestrate, obliterate
they are already


by Nancy May

harvest moon
tractor in a field
corn in the breeze

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Boy with Feather Eyelashes

by Jillian Briglia

The little girl noticed the little boy with feather eyelashes at school.
When it rained, his hair was black as a raven’s back, his eyes were bright coal, & his coat began to leave white down trailing around the playground.
When it shined, she noticed his stuttering voice, sweetened by the spring, come quick come quick come quick Elizabeth
During class she watched him scratch little black v’s in the margins of his notebook, following his eyes out the long windows.
During recess they would perch on the logs and count the number of crows on the telephone wire.
When he runs, he is falling upwards, she wrote in her secret notebook.
Once he chased a wild crow into the woods
and never came back.


by Jeremiah Walton

Took a stab at yolo and was reincarnated
I've died twice today.
once with the Moon
& once drunk in tree tops.


by Joe Brennand

harvest moon
willow branches sway
in the moonlight

A Few Other Things

by J. K. Durick 

The list we prepared and
Followed religiously through
The aisles, ticking off each
Item as if it were a mission
Accomplished didn’t work,
So this is the backup plan
The one we build into most
Things we do, a do-over
A slight correction that we
Build into the day, this other
Me returning to fix things up
The better me who knows
Now what’s missing from
That first go-round, the better
Shopper with his new list
The list of the missed items
To be ticked off, a check
Next to these other things
We needed badly enough
That I return, the ghost of
Visits past, the corrective
Angel finishing things up.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


by Jillian Briglia

The house is burning again.

I pass down the stairs.
Flames lick the crystal,
drop into my mother’s hair,
Flames glittering as hot rain.
Hair, she pats &

I pass through the kitchen.
Butter slides off sooty sour dough,
coats my sister’s hand in oil,
Butter slick as bones.
Hands, she does
not eat.

I pass by the dining room.
Glass boils in its panes,
slurs the ink on Father’s news,
Glass dripping as wax.
Page, he turns &

Dog, she dreams
of swimming
and air

I leave, shut the door.

Say goodbye—
to the house
where everything takes place
in the hallways.

Good Night

by Bhargab Chatterjee

When forms and colours make an impenetrable fog in the east, night is the only reality. My name is transfixed with good nights of my friends. Their fading footsteps unfold me in the abyss of midnight. My friend Sanhita strummed her guitar in the dinner. All the people cried "White Horse!" But the horseman evaporated in her satiated smile. When she departs her music turns into a glass-house in my garden; there the roots of cactus clutch all the familiar names. 

At last when I brush all the names off and come out in the street for a leisurely walk, I find a barefoot silence stalking me and whistling like a street urchin.

The thing that camps out all night on the cusp of your taste buds

by James Diaz

Hid under stove light
listening, leaning in
for rain water
the latter days of a badly lived life
your brow burning
with a story you don't know how to tell

fills me
but no light in the undertow
a body asleep
in its secondary life
a home is a secret
the bruises of youth buries
up to my knees
in a row of...

(how blood is no foundation)
tomorrows odds,
how a mother is no mystery

God if you are so compassionate
be still,
I have many arrows to throw your way
illegible body scribble
a pulse the bones bend with

it is your day to day
but I wont

then scream

after you,
I am after you.


by Nancy May

bleak moon
vines in a cool breeze
fish dine out