Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, January 29, 2015

In the pond

by Joe Farley

you could have
grabbed hold
of my arm
and pulled me out
when you saw
me floundering,
instead, you pushed
me under the water
held me there,
and watched me drown
while laughing,
sipping wine,
and singing arias,
with your lovers,
beauty I could not hear
with my ears
stuffed with frogs.


by Nancy Gauquier

My father was the son
of his father’s step-daughter,
who died young, like her mother.
“Worked to death,” my mother said,
my father never talked about them,
he was raised by the housekeeper,
and worked in factories
from the time he was eight years old,
except for when he fought
in two wars, and by the time
I got to know him, he was half-deaf
from bombs that burst his eardrum,
and limped on one shrapnel-deformed foot.
My macho father, who chain-smoked,
coughed his guts out every morning,
and boasted continually of every fight,
who coached little league and badgered his sons
into stubborn walls of reproach.

My mother struggled through the sixth grade,
during the depression, there were years when
they couldn’t afford to go to school,
I never saw her read anything,
except Sears catalogues
and True Confessions magazines,
raised as the only daughter
of a father who doted on her,
and beat his wife.
Trapped in a treadmill
of futile attempts to keep up
the facade of the happy suburban life,
she juggled bills like meteoric balls
to keep them from falling,
and crushing us all.

Seven children, five survived,
hostages of a marriage gone wrong -
my father, the soldier, the proud warrior -
my mother, the Puritan with the Victorian
figurines and angels guarding their room,
for my father, sex was another conquest,
for my mother, another defeat,
after she had her last child,
I could hear her slap him in the bedroom,
“Richard, stop it,” she would say.
“The children . . .”
as if we were all gathered
with ears pressed to the door.              

To Get There

by Kelsey Bryan-Zwick

empty coffee cups and road maps sprawled on
passenger’s seat, the highway always stinks like crushed
cans, like bumper car collision, or bowling ball barreling
towards stalled pins, gutters busting with rubber detritus
especially the grapevine, especially at night
when the big rigs appear as dinosaurs with jowls
honking, or headlights, or the two sides of a trash
compactor about to merge simultaneous into your lane
an unlit cigarette clenched between your teeth, the dent
the impress, the spur, the music loud enough to feel like
espresso, to mock the tumult of seventy miles an hour
whizzing by, all the lights on the horizon blinking
office building windows, wink like they’re in on the joke
sky-scrapping giants ready to topple down to earth, this is
when the big one quakes, as you arc towards the clouds
on overpass the car jumps like a cow over the moon
taking the whimsical detour of rainbows

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bodies and Things

by Guy Gisbourne

She mulled over a heap of things,
Groves of ancient trees,
Cemeteries of marble grief.

She attended the funeral of a pilot
And smiled at the dam buster’s theme
We’re a very sexy family
Especially dressed in black.

She remembered a former lover
And wriggled on her stool deliciously.
Can a punch cause appendicitis?
She bounced and shrieked in delight.

She read about Trotsky’s train,
Grinding through the forests of the night,
With one thousand five hundred comrades,
Keeping the revolution alive.

tornado black

by Amy Soricelli

Hate sits in the red chair/ it's angry ankles crossed; blood hate words forming circles tied tight - it could strangle the shell off a nut.
I have hated long and hard from this angry chair/ space - a black void - sucking its teeth;
glass people breaking their dagger eyes pressed hard against the foamy sheets -
its blind hate breezing in the shaded spots dead/dead sunlight crawling through the hate like rocks crawling through the dust.
I have hated strong misty stale air outside this window/ its curtains with fingertips poisoned from tobacco death.
Oily streets call my name in loud open mouths spitting fire trucks and angry/lonesome dogs.
Hate washes its hand in the muddy sink its spinning drain capturing the corn lettuce blood stains
Hate takes off its hat and hangs it on the greasy door knob sways its hips like its something hot.
The flesh of my skin peels and cracks like cheap vinyl; I make love to this hate in angry tangled bed sheets alone.
Hate kicks my ass across the street and i land full force into the deepest hole of your memory.
I will remind you of this hate - it will bury you alive.

The Prize

by Kelsey Bryan-Zwick

I had to explain to the surgeon
that I wanted to keep the metal
after it had been removed

It’s not that I wanted it
just knew that somehow
I had earned it, and couldn’t bare
to have it buried as biohazard waste
or in the ground before
and without me

This metal
bolts and washers
two thin rods
odd machined sculpture
bent to the curves
in the lean and slouch
of my posture
scaffolding to keep me
up-right, assembled
into and now out of
my muscled ribs

This collection of titanium bling
I will keep it with the other set
the stainless steel from the first surgery
that metal that I am allergic to, that
boiled and blistered
I have saved these             things
keep them in                      odd drawer

There are other relics
the neck braces, the x-rays
the wrist bands, cotton balls

It is the metal though that I must
clean methodically, soak in bleach
scrub with old toothbrush and rag
in my latex gloves, hold each piece
to the sun, see how it shines
in the light

I examine them
read the little
letters and numbers
imprinted in each
I will keep them
and maybe one day
melt them down

into a chalice                       for ceremony
into a vase                               for flowers
into an urn                                  for ashes
into a teapot                         for company

a paper weight                                charm
a music box                                   lullaby
a pair of scissors                               craft
a trophy                                            wins
counterfeit coins                             trade
a crown                                      glorifies

If like metals spill the same amount of water
from a filled container, the body must transcend
its own internal displacement in order to maintain
a sense of wholeness, the hard immovable part
of the self that will in all ways needs every spare caress

The metal that appears the contents
of junk-drawer, through process of osmosis
has absorbed an intrinsic quality, has become
something precious, to me the metal, now
externalized, clutched to my chest, creates
a kind of pressure, reversing its alchemy
until I am only grasping straw


by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

I sit in the quiet room
rejoicing earnestly.
The sun remains outside.
It dares me to come out.
My nose remains in a book.
I live in make believe.

I listen to the silence.
I hush the bird that sings
that prefers the blue skies.
Outside the sun glistens.
I worry about the rent
and living in the wild.

I go back to work tomorrow.
Today I feed the soul.
The freshness of rest works.
I drink in moderation.
The body needs a day off.
The future is uncertain.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Demotic Psychotic

by Nancy Gauquier

Seven years as a cashier in a tourist shop at Pier 39,
I mean, hey, I've sold enough wind chimes,
now I'm going crooked, bent, squiggly,
off key, off time, no valentines,
no sympathy, no symphony, no symmetry,
no sugar in my tea, stark raving surreal
If I need to commune with nature,
when I'm out of my tree,
I pull leaves out of my ears,
spit river rocks out of my oceanic mouth,
hop on the wild white stallion of my mind,
and ride.


by Laura Kaminski

I go out while all’s still
dark, reach for the bottom
of the towering pile of
clouds, tug it toward me, fold
and knead, quarter turn,
repeat, then set them back
into the sky for second
rising, preheat morning.

By eleven they’ll be
baking, separating into flaky
cirrus layers ready to melt
on the breeze-tongue
of noon. Done with early
pastries, I brush hands
against my apron,
scatter raindrops.

Time to take down the
Bugatti blender (seriously)
and the KitchenAid
girl-tractor, I want
this kitchen redolent
with ionic ginger, dark
substantial offering
for later.

Bring your own
cup and whatever’s left
in that tin of Imperial
Gunpowder. Step out
at four o’clock precisely.
Serve your


by Marc Carver

Absolutely nothing matters
say those first words that come into your mind
they show your true nature
who you really are
don't hold back on that
let it out
see where you end up
first thought best thought
second thought censorship.

Sunrise Service

by Richard Hartwell

From a northwest land of
lowboys, flatbeds and pickups,
unprepared for the infectious
spread of suburbanization,
he’s off the freeway and
staring down endless avenues
at 3 a.m. when all the lights
turn yellow simultaneously
as far as eyes can see, while
only searching for stability;

Swept from a Tennessee coal
mountains’ birth and adolescence,
discarded in the far west with
a saturation of children and a
life darkened like the underside
of leaves forever turned
from the sun, speckled with
rust and housing spider-spawn,
she seeks reprieve in the pre-
dawn from an ugly plastic life;

Colliding at the edge of day,
two souls coil around a
mutuality of sadness under
the soft dome light of the
overhead cab of a parked
semi sitting in the driveway;
lonely man, single mom,
a coupled moment, a rending
of sunset, assumed, as sunrise
blazes their night’s ending.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Go, Take in the Beauty

by Andrew Taylor

stand to the right
keep hold of the handrail

on the last night in San Francisco
we missed The Album Leaf

red lights through terminus fence
the rails can and do lead to you

wear the battery down it can always
be charged

power through points that sound
cold it is better to leave to return

There is a wind within dreams
falling from the sun

through summer fog stand still
until we are the last

Glow of Untruths

by Sy Roth

Ovid’s disambiguation rested on his face.
Their lies overwhelmed him
Behind his cheerful masque
Another face to hide behind.

He pranced for them,
A jester in motley
Obfuscating in their vacant,
guffawing unrealities.

His eyes wine-sparkled
Hither and yon in their sockets,
Swept the masses into a choking cloud
Away into their respective corners.

His eyes crinkled
Lids drooped downward
To dim their radiance,
Lost in a bitter gaze at them.

His lips rumbaed
A jumble of consonants
rumbled in assonance
over picket fence teeth.

Hidden beneath his lingua franca,
A muffled, chattering tongue
huffs and puffs in the water’s wake,
prevarications left  afloat on his flaccid waves.

Caught in the glow of untruths,
Beneath klieg lights that strip them of their chicanery,
They metamorphose into politicians,
Replete with a passel of prideful lapel pins.

Flags flap noisily draped behind him.
Before him,
Hordes flap in his breeze, and
Ignore his omissions.


by Linda M. Crate

the world worships
as if it were a new
and the only temple and only
mosque they need
is a shop with a sale;
but not me—
i've seen the allure of money
fail those who worship it
betting their lives savings
only to lose it all,
and people spending it all on booze
until all they have left is
a hangover;
money is no solution
it doesn't solve everything
only makes greed worse
because it is only meant to be a means
and not an end—
we were never meant to worship it
like people do,
and we wonder why the world is in chaos
because people love money more than
people and they love things
more than people, too, without seeming to realize
people were meant to be loved and things and
money to be used—
some people worship money,
but i will never bend my knees to the
mosque of greed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


by Kelsey Bryan-Zwick

I may have been
a vegetarian for years
meditate like yoga
for sure, but I take
a can of spray paint
to black widows that spin
webs across my path
cuz that kills them dead
and yeah, I don’t eat
them, or the rat in the trap
just, at some point I
am hungry again.


by David R. Miller

On the leaf-scattered floor
Of the clearing
Two bodies
Lay peering
Upwards and into
A uniform
Twilit sky

Faces brushing
And contours encased
Crowns pressed
On collarbones
The first star
She exclaimed
Yes, or is it?
The other responded with care
So bright
It could only be

And it shone
Like a candle
Like a beam
Like a fire
Until the night sky became
Cerulean, opaque

And her head
Slowly arced
Seeking inverted mouth
Until lips
Pressed on lips
Tasted upside-down tongue
Kissing firmly
Patient, unrushed
And her lover
She answered
In kind


by Roy Dorman

Death is the nap
from which I’ll never wake up.

I love naps;
it’s the never part scares me.

To learn about something
that occurred before my birth,
I can go to the library or go online.

But to think that I’ll never know
what happens after my death is scary.

All that time; not knowing.
If I think about how long
forever is as it relates to death,
It makes me all crazy.

I hate never.
Maybe forever too.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

She Buzzes Colour Like A Monet, Inside Me

by Paul Tristram

Making these Springtime mornings
warmer, fuzzy and less crookedly achy.
It’s sometimes irrationally overwhelming
yet cartwheel dizzyingly wonderful.
A cartoon steamboat tugging merrily
irresistibleness arm in arm with smiles
against the grain of my age-old pewter frown.
She blossoms in but a twinkle,
petal splashing everything beautiful
within the circumference of her gentle glow.
A giant bursting Moet bottle
of excitement, euphoria and enthusiasm
which wipes the hard work completely
and seamlessly from the now splendid day.

The Squeeze

by Stephen Jarrell Williams

The squeeze of it
Earth and sky
Flesh and spirit

Purple welts on the bottom of my bare feet
Sun boils on the top of my scarlet scalp
Stints in my heart

Soft rubber flip-flops for my stiff toes
My hippie hair still long but thin
Sad rock-and-roll playing in my head

You don’t care
I don’t blame you
We’re all alone even holding one another

But just take a moment
Bite the air and stand still
Eyes closed

Feel it
Not as pain
But a transition

Grapes into wine

The sea majestically blending
All the red of our unsolved worries
Into a beautiful blue shimmering
Beside the land turning greener and lush
Without our foolish promises of help

The squeeze of it

The squeeze of something much more.


by Nancy Scott McBride

dead of night
awakened by the silence of
snow falling

i want truth

by Linda M. Crate

naked truths
are hard to find, anymore,
everyone wants
sugarcoated lies;
but not me
i want the truth stripped of all the
lies no matter how much it
because the truth will set me free
from the things that no
longer serve me—
it will free me from the linnets wings of
things that have lost their magic,
and people who would
drag me down into their negativity
or hold me back;
i have no time to waste i will make
my dreams come true
it's now or never—
tomorrow may never come
and today is half-over,
these moments will not come back to me
so i must spend them wisely;
i will no longer
stand in place waiting for a moment
that may or may never come
in anticipation
for people who have seemingly forgotten me
to them time may be an easy commodity
but to me it is of the essence
and my time is valuable—
no longer will i allow it to be squandered on things
that don't make me happy,
and i will make changes in my life that allow
me to reflect the joy deep in my heart
because life is truly magical
when you think about it
and smiles
can cut away through the plastic parasites of this world,
so i want to give mine away.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Temperance Union Blues

by Todd Mercer

Some blame the whiskey, as if liquor
could drink itself. Whiskey, if you ask it, blames society
after Happy Hour is over. Hundred proof enough
times sixty minutes, and that product raised to the power of
who asked you to count to count drinks for me?
The strapping specimen tightrope-toes
the sidewalk, supreme concentration evidently
thus far preventing the face-fall, cuts and bruises,
the end of a routine circus routine
that no one bought a ticket to see. Whiskey
finally finds a vehicle for self-delivery. Not
his own car, but one with keys in the ignition, conduit
to the wreck he’s spoiling for, short cut
to the crime beat write-up, courthouse
melodramatics, the infinite duration
of Unhappy Hour, hash-marks
scratched on cellblock concrete. Whiskey blames
his folks back home, his background,
cites various and sundry disadvantages.
Whiskey passes days until next whiskey.

Lola Peaks

by John Pursch

She balances sweet petulance
and grapefruit mocha gumption,
taps a scorched coat ballyhoo
deflection suite of etude
swagger wanderlust,
and vitiates injunction tattoo
query circumambulation,
blistering polenta snuff
repaving schemes with
genuflecting naivete.

Diatonic ambulance schematics
roll in tubal titration vestibules,
teaching downbeat shift
hypocrisy to chapped munitions,
spatial tics nodding into quartile
droop’s balustrade of searing
monocular conundrums.

Follicles tunnel sinfully to
nether dotage highbrow panorama
kinks above cirrhosis slobber,
brewed in midtown demolition
stoplight garnish mating chains,
squelching alley malts with
private idler locale cheers
and moribund specifics,
traveling from shore house
gourd bequeathment trout
to cacciatore carborundum,
impounding sunken chattel
blips for shafted showers of
pathway ensign pensioners
on vacuous rotation screws,
endowing apostolic plumage.


 by J. K. Durick         

They didn’t come this way, full of promise and potential back then,
But this is their destiny, the end result of their design, their promise,
In this case emptiness is fulfillment, something they finally achieved.

They line up on counters and tables, pile in the sink, one or two roll
Under the couch, reminders, a measure of things that were and will be,
Part of the debris we leave behind, markers of our beginnings and end.

Later, of course, we’ll bag them up and bring them back, fill our day,
As empty as it might be, with empties, get our deposit back, ransom
Paid we return them back to be filled full of our/their lives once more.

Near here it’s called “the redemption center,” back of the Bottle Store
We line up, bumper to bumper, bags full, trunks full, pickups loaded
Down full of our empties, redemption should always be just this easy

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Chiricahua December

by David Chorlton

Sparrows flash
between the junipers
while towhees rummage
in grass turned dry
and pale through which
a trail leads
up the slope. Snow
clings to the crevices
on canyon walls
above the jays
and sapsuckers busy
tapping and calling,
oak into oak; red cap;
blue wing; low sun
shining cool
through the evergreens.


A chill stands up
straight and runs
from an agave's root
through the stalk
to the gray light
carried on the morning
wind across level
ground that flows
into the foothills
to where a shrike
looks out from
a shiver
at the tip of a mesquite.


Winter's crooked bones
rise from the creek banks,
white against the oaks
and junipers filling
slowly with night. It begins
with the stream turning
water to sound
and moves up the mountain
until the peak fades,
the juncos have gone
from the leaves in the yard,
and the forest closes around
the white patch
on a flicker's back.


A woodpecker's tap
carries between the trees
with their arms full
of overnight snow
while conversation soaks
into the clouds
pressing low and cold
onto the road
and the ice
lining each stalk of grass.

This Maze This Woman

by Donal Mahoney

Every man
needs a cane
and a German Shepherd
to ford the mind
and engage the maze
of any woman
single or married.
It doesn’t matter

which maze
which woman
as long as he
trundles on
when he marries
supports his children
grows old
and then rises

one hot morning
blinks in the ether
and asks himself
why did he marry
this maze
of a woman
only to find alas
she’s gone

You Shouldn’t

by Stephen Jarrell Williams

They say you shouldn’t
Antagonize the government
With their continuing expansion of the Patriot Act
Supplying sniper rifles to one-eyed Jacks

Marshall Law signs already printed up and stored
In vacant buildings outside of town and city

Row-after-row of thousands training
Strategically staged across the country
Containment forces with truck loads of body bags

NSA listening
Lists drawn
Odds are you’re on at least one page with an X

Easy now
Don’t panic

You use to think your body was God’s
But they’ll use it
After you’re shot and displayed like a ragdoll
Igniting you on TV

What a fire that will be
The news announcing nothing to worry about
Just a trash fire
Another trouble-maker dead

For everything is under control here at home
Smoke becoming our atmosphere.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Agricultural Report

by Todd Mercer

The wheat’s heavy on the back-eighty,
and the baby’s coming before snowfall.
The reaping machine needs replacement
parts. The cows are singing lamentations,
bovine mothers of the disappeared, stuck
in the milking service. Ferrous oxide
sculptures dot the slope behind the barn:
the pickup truck that died in ’99. The hay rake
with snapped-off teeth. Cherry shaker that shook apart,
they all shake apart with use. The car
that died in 1986. The farm’s seen better days,
but the house has vitality. A kitchen garden
still lush with fresh herbs though frost’s coming.
The baby’s nursery smells of new paint. The farmer
is on the floor in there, screwing
myriad crib parts together. The farmer’s wife
is glowing like a minor saint, she’s still
working hard. Next year no wheat crop.
Half that acreage should be set in corn,
the rest left to a fallow year, regeneration.
Cycles and cycles, not only the fields,
but all of life here. These arcs of boom
and bust and boom, they’re barb-wire strings
pulled taut by the earth’s rotation,
making tension through the farm story
of ordered things and entropy.
Food for thought, it’s food for livelihood.

Boba Looey Big Shot

by John Pursch

Yes siree, blob o’ lucid
ski-waxing perfunctory persiflage,
pellucid insipidities are flying,
bereft and beknighted,
pestering nocturnal hay missionaries
till tipsy docile hounds abjure
the focal minestrone communicant
to peculate imperious raggamuffin
tarts in dorsal disk reward retreat,
chopping binocular comas
to cowabunga punji creaks,
seeping polity in footprint antiseptic
street marauder greens of roughage glades
and sea-preened stolid sisterhood’s
connubial canard.

Nod to munchkin whirligig plump gestation,
tapped from tribal tree-length gunny sacks
to geezers spearing coiled orangutan expulsion meals
of soldered mandibles and ghoulish centaur fielders,
gibbon Titus Corncob Hat Rack #26
a rung for his gyrating monkey.

Now weird talkies splurge upon the stagecoach, crying:
“Shotgun Annie’s exclusive wheelhouse nut crackin’
window flaps to the rescue!”

Chest in dime, too,
nut amino toucan spurious
Boba Looey Big Shot’s purposeful
redaction mist contraption goose confabulator,
now diced and frozen into babbled ewe retainer feet,
lopping off the headway roomie circus ideation breath,
what one mired in stinky hyena crap woulda schemed
to fly offal mine handlebar mustard ashcan routine,
served vile and coldcocked on the
Sea of Unguentine’s Militia Ordeal of 1831,
some sixteen days and nautical nothings
out of Nantucket Inner Sound
(famed for aural coral manipulato segue bumpkins
and votive neurologically entranced doormen,
freshly grousing over stupor’s cilia, pustulating pomposity,
and brashly bombed aspic’s incendiary eschatologists).


by Bradford Middleton

Awakening with a renewed spring both outward and inwards this one looked
I ate down some breakfast and began to think
It’s never a good idea when it comes to things in my life
I’m still working the crummy job but it ain’t so bad that I’d want to quit
But the flat is turning into a cavern of books, records and films on them damn crooked floors
What’s more them mice have returned, bolder, smarter and last night they kept me up past 1
Scratching at my bedroom door I gave up leaving the door ajar, rolling over, off to sleep

All I dreamt about last night was sleeping somewhere else
A quiet peaceful place where I would annoy no one with my occasional bouts of insane rock’n’roll
So this morning when I woke up I do some sums and couldn’t believe what I read
I could escape, this time, I will escape.  This time I have enough for somewhere decent,
Away from the wailing of sirens, drunk clubbers and families meandering
Excitedly I run my errands and get to go online; I run a search on a popular site and await...

There are exactly 100 of them, I start looking around; somewhere near the Downs would be nice
I grab details of a dozen or so and excitedly make the calls when I get back home
The first one goes well until he asks about me; do you earn £14k sir. Erm, no... I claim housing benefit
The second one follows suit, by the ninth one it’s the first question I ask
Do you take DSS? I work part-time you see, the answer No came back every single time
So what am I to do? Right now, I don’t know if I’ll stay or go, this whole nightmare brings me down

Thursday, January 8, 2015


by Simon Anton Nino Diego Baena

Everything becomes a painting of memories
as the vineyards tremble in the conflict
of song and silence. It seems I yearn
for the pearls of my lost archipelago—
the temple is a window of the mosque
and a door of the cathedral. Still I see
no horseman on the hill, not even the phantom
of Frederico, but Azahara exists
in my dreams, at least. Since I speak
for myself, I remain drunk in my own narrative
of loss. There in the east lies the river
of grief and in the west lies the garden
of Bacchanalian feasts. Here I became
more aware of the potential of death
and what it means to life. But of course
I hear the music of water coming
from the Gothic fountain, if only
it could cure my longing of maya birds
flying over a forest of bamboo trees.

old goodbyes all over again

by Amy Soricelli

I cannot be painted the smooth black hand of dark across my face.
I am not easily kept wiped clean off the shimmery top of all you know -
slam down hard/ two fist-ed pumps of anger like a fire drill with real fire.
(I am the fire).
So you think you know the step aside thoughts I have/ I rummage through your random memory
like a beggar through the garbage.
Most of it worthless/all of it yours claimed in the frozen night of lonely.
But i am lonliest when I am with you.
You found me broken like a shell in this wide wide ocean space of sand
rocks mostly under our feet.
If I showed you a prize the prize changed.
Don't bring me nails in your mouth to spit flowers -
I see the rough edges shape my heart/you cannot break it any longer.
It does not belong to you.

A Geography of Song

by Robert Nisbet

The first singers were cowboys,
Frankie and Tennessee Ernie and Slim,
moustached like velvet, yodel’s colour
backed against prairie and range.
My Hebridean father, human bagpipe,
would drone through the parlour
with the boat songs of Mingulay and Skye.
Bernie, riding the hill into Broad Haven,
would give us Lonnie Donegan
and a song of stacked pig-iron
shifted by rail on the Rock Island Line.
On the last bus home on Saturdays,
we’d larrup the rhythms of an old mill
by the stream, Nellie Dean,
the sentiment lapping with the beer
against the back teeth of the evening.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Coyote

by Tom Hatch

The coyote chases the road runner
To far off a cliff
Realizes his mistake
Looks around looks down
Expected to fall
He tip toes back to the cliff
Standing there laughing and
Giggling looks over
The edge of the
Thinks he has gravity licked
Tip toes out from the edge/verge
over into the air zip
He falls like an arrow
Shot up in reverse down
A cloud of dust ascends
Chuck Jones grins
And Mel Blanc goes beep, beep
A user of Acme products
Never to succeed

Oak Leaves

by Wayne Scheer

I try to decide
if the leaves
on my front lawn
look like a quilt
carefully arranged
by Mother Nature
or colors dappled
by a drunken
Jackson Pollock.

Either way
it's beautiful,
and I vow
not to disturb
it with my rake.


by Donal Mahoney

Paddy believes
in something he
has never seen.

So when I ask him why
he won't look for it, he says
“Because it’s here.”

Mick believes
in nothing he
hasn’t ever seen.

So when I ask him why
he won't look for it, he says
“Because it isn't there.”

So I ask Mick if he
would ever look where
Paddy says it is

and Mick says
"Paddy's full of it.
Why look there."

Sunday, January 4, 2015


by Amy Soricelli

I should remember more of you.
More than blurred shadows/spots of teenage bullshit
like acne scars.
You hated most people/they scared you into white-bread crumbs/their crusty edged
brown dreams followed you down my block.
You spent the summer on my doorstep - a cloud of smoke circling halo-like in the senseless
clouds of car alarms and lonely fanged dogs sliding sideways across your vision.
You never saw me but i was there.

I should remember more of you.
More than random shadings of deep mindless blank bus rides.
I climbed up the side of your building like a pipe.
Wordless tunes in my head wrapped tight/a long rope of anger - wore
it around my neck like a cross.
Our black "underneath the heart" makeup dragging the eyelashes down our face.

I could not love anyone more than your postered walls with tape
curling off the edges like a snicker.
Your father left your mother in a puff of suitcase slammed shut.
We drank a bottle of wine in the back alley and I held your hair and sang Motown.

I should remember more of you.
More of what filled your boots/crawled up the length of your legs wrapped
tight around your belly; the fleshy part of some lake fish.
You blew grape bubbles of gum-snapping-pop full loud in math class.
We bent over laughing like folded paper - the size of our words foreign in our mouths
like borrowed tongues.

I should remember more of you.


by Nancy May

empty nests
broken branches
silence between us

I Shouldn’t Drink Whisky…Even In Thought

by Paul Tristram

‘It was another ordinary day on Festive Road’
I thought to myself in Cell 2 of Neath Police Station.
I was awake because the old drunk guy in Cell 1
had awoken at Dawn soberish and was panicking
at his newly found sobriety and bleak surroundings.
He was voicing his objections loudly or was trying to
but the Police were proving to be an unreceptive audience
on this cold and dismal Welsh Winter’s morning.

“I’m sober now boys, let me out…please?
A drop of water, you wouldn’t begrudge
an old man a little drop of water, would you?
I’ll be 62 in April and I still haven’t learnt my lesson,
I shouldn’t drink whiskey…even in thought.
A fag, how ‘bout a fag, eh?
I’ll sweep that corridor outside for a bit of ‘baccy and a Rizla?
What am I in here for, anyway?
It’s not fighting, I can’t fight, never could, even as a nipper,
the last fight I had was 20 years ago
and that was with my ex-wife and she cowing battered me n’all!"

But he was talking to himself, no one was listening but me,
the Cruel Bastards left the poor old bugger another 2 hours
before letting him out and explaining that he was only in
for singing and dancing in the hospital waiting room drunk.
(You can’t be upsetting the normal folk with that sort of carry on!)
I sat upon the wooden bunk and smiled as I heard him cackle
light-heartedly down that happy corridor to freedom.
My own outcome would be different, I was going out the back way
and off to something that was much darker and more terrible.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


by Danielle Byington

Stacey thought with blinded thought
Perdition looked attractive
Beside her crude trailer park
Home, so she prepared for the
Ritual:  red cooking wine;
A bent, dagger-shaped nail file;
A package of clumped sugar;
A Virginia Slim taken
From her mother’s meager purse.

On the outskirts of the parked homes,
She lit the tobacco incense,
Clearing away impurities—
Until she had to relight it.
Between lighting the unsmoked cig,
Stacey drew a sugary star
To flag down the devil for her
Order of fame, health, and riches.
She jabbed and stabbed the nail file’s point
Into her palm, only to draw
Fleshy dents—not a drop of blood.

As above, so below, Stacey
Spilled the bitter red cooking wine
Down her ill-fitting shirt, and its
Stickiness glued her silver cross
To her chest, staining the sugar-star
That was beginning to blur with
The crawl of bugs:  a sign from Him.
The setting sun made a silhouette
Out of her large, scooter-bound neighbor,
Who coasted over the gravel like
A demi-god leaving an auction.
Stacey smoothed the dimples in her palm.
Things would be different now.

Valleys Town

by Robert Nisbet

It made him want to leave the little town
in the first place: gateway
to the mining valley: the village-ness,
the local thing.

Jolting to art school on the Underground
he knew moments of total anonymity.
At other times, in a fresh set,
he was glad of the new dispensation,
remembered the village in contrasting pictures.
Boutiques in the King’s Road,
his father’s grocery.
Espresso bars, the chip shop.
It was good to be racing on.

The meritocracy, the middle class,
glittered for years, but guttered a little,
like a stubbed candle, when his father died.
He’d remember now the long Cardiff Road,
where he’d watched the daily patterns,
the shopkeepers, the miners’ wives,
buses running in village time, village tempo,
from valley to town to port.
He sensed harmonies in the town’s truth,
shining like a newly-mined and new-washed coal.

Ambulance Lights

by Donal Mahoney

Willie McKee works
second shift
gets home at midnight
makes hot cocoa
flops in his recliner

and counts the stars
through the blinds
nods to the moon
and every week or so
sees ambulance lights
pull up at Tom’s house
blink for an hour
while the crew goes in
and restarts him.

But on Christmas Eve
the ambulance lights
pull away in minutes
and a hearse pulls up
two men go in

bring out the gurney
as old Tom's wife
stands on the porch
and smokes
and Willie McKee
tells his wife
neighbors will never
hear Mabel curse
old Tom again.