Issue 2 - 8 March 2018
I’ll flip my wish into a fountain
that flows through means of perpetual
emotion—sorry—motion. After I let it fly
it’s buffeted before entirely blending
with the other wishes put on coins. If I ask
how the flow is so continuously continuing
in and of its own volition, could that pointed question
pop the bubble it uses to sustain equilibrium?
“It ain’t why, it just is,” explains ole Van Morrison,
a singer, not a water engineer. Keep delightful mystery
mystery-ish, even if you think you know
the specific mechanism. I’d swim in the catch basin,
if no one was milling around to see a floater in wet clothes.
I found a freestanding fountain to leave my wish with. Like this,
as easy as a quarter off the finger. As lightly given over
as an arc of cool water, more refreshment in store.
Starfish shape, splayed in a fountain of wish after wish.
Todd Mercer won the Dyer-Ives Kent County Prize for Poetry (2016), the National Writers Series Poetry Prize (2016) and the Grand Rapids Festival Flash Fiction Award (2015). His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer’s recent poetry and fiction appear in The Drabble, Dunes Review, Eunoia Review, The Lake, Literary Orphans, Misty Mountain Review, Peacock Journal, Plum Tree Tavern, Sonic Boom, Split Lip Magazine, Star 82 Review and Vending Machine Press.
From blocks and strips of wood you were created.
Now, a perfect instrument,
a testament to expert hands that built you.
Your perfect tone,
a testament to the ability of she who plays you.
You inspire her, the player,
to become worthy of reflecting your potential,
the capability of sweet songs
or rousing choruses.
Nestled in your stand,
you always appear so morose,
as if the neglect
eats at your very essence.
You’re meant to be touched.
Meant to be held,
as a lover, a close friend,
a great companion
with endless musical possibilities,
to be enjoyed by player and listener alike,
a relationship to last a lifetime.
Linda Imbler is the author of the published poetry collection Big Questions, Little Sleep. She is a Kansas-based Pushcart Nominee. Her work has appeared in numerous national and international journals. Find more about Linda’s creative process at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com.
Tiny, Melodious, Plastic
Today, all the news on the web is about
doubles. Twins, wigs, thumbprints,
plagiarists.Will you steal this
like everything else? Three girls and a boy
live above us in a six by six
room. I often hear them
singing. Sometimes one of them cries;
it’s a girl, from the pitch of her
voice. When I see them
on the stairwell, I hand out dollar-store
rings. As I dig at the plants in
the backyard, the children
watch me from their window and when
I look up, they drop the curtains.
Spring green, with white
leaves. My mother told me she always
thought I was retarded. Once,
the girl in the window
yelled stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, and
refused to wave back. It doesn’t
matter, she screamed,
I’m smarter. I think too often about my heart –
are the shunts functioning, why does
it hurt, is it the right shape,
the right kind.
Christine Hamm has a PhD in American Poetics, and recently edited the anthology, Like a Fat Gold Watch: Meditations on Sylvia Plath and Living. She is currently an MFA poetry student at Columbia University. Christine’s poetry has been published in Orbis, Nat Brut, Painted Bride Quarterly, BODY, Poetry Midwest, Rattle, Dark Sky, and many others. In 2017, Ghostbird Press published Christine’s fourth book, a linked collection of hybrid poems, Notes on Wolves and Ruin.
scattered on incandescent snow
plunged from gnarled vines.
Lynda McKinney Lambert is a mixed-media fiber artist and author who loves winter. She is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities since 2008. She writes full time from her rural western Pennsylvania home where she lives with her husband, Bob, two dogs and two cats. She recently completed a new 20-page chapbook called first snow that she will be putting out for publication in 2018.
Through the shimmering woods
When I pass
Espying a miniature sparrow with jitters
Its mother’s beauteous feathers
Embrace the young bird
Like a protective shield.
My feelings turn more intense
Beholding the authentic bond
Mumma! I need you
Thou have to return.
Gazing at the blue sky
I beseech the almighty
With an onerous heartache
In the throes of
Surviving as an orphan
I want to cry out
To whole universe I shout
Mother please come back!
Sravani Singampalli is a published writer and poet from India. She is presently pursuing her PharmD at JNTU, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Winter rain, rough stones
on a cold beach. The chill burns
in the wind, the rain more like ice
as it falls. The shallow lake
edged in moss, the bare trees
crammed with jackdaws. In the water
dive black coots, their white beaks
white like mountain snow.
Sparrows dart in brambles
scant of leaves. After the rain
and snow, all that remains this winter
is the white sky, and quiet.
Ion Corcos has been published in Grey Sparrow Journal, Clear Poetry, Panoply, The High Window and other journals. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Ion is a nature lover and a supporter of animal rights. He is currently traveling indefinitely with his partner, Lisa. Ion’s website is www.ioncorcos.wordpress.com.
A Picture of a Friend
Those eyes contain a universe far beyond
what surrounds her. Regally she sits in
patterned blue coat, dark hair covering a
shoulder, present but contemplating
a clandestine place she beholds with
her steady gaze. What wonders must
await there! Tell me what you see,
that I might share in secret glory!
Arthur Turfa lives in the Midlands of South Carolina. His poetry reflected other places where he has lived or traveled, and people he has met along the way. He is the author of Places and Times (eLectio Publishing 2015, Accents (2017), and Saluda Reflections, coming in 2018 from Finishing line Press. In addition, he has been published in anthologies and journals both print and online.
My aunt stands waist-deep in the creek
and holds me aloft so my toes skim water.
I can’t swim but I am trusting until
she lets me loose: accidental baptism.
Eyes and mouth agape, I become a vessel brim-filled
with green-gray. The light down here is opaque,
an overcast sky. Then I am hauled upward—
catch and release in reverse.
Thirty years on, I’m still below the surface,
limbs flailing and lungs aching, feet scrabbling
for purchase. I repeat a mantra: stop fighting
this life, stop fighting what is.
Heeding the words, ceasing my struggle,
I begin to float.
M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer who writes poetry while living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in San Pedro River Review, SOFTBLOW, Calamus Journal, and numerous other print and online journals. Find more at writermstone.wordpress.com.
You loved me as matchstick thin, when
hollows inhabited these barren orchards
under my eyes, when shadows clung to
what they could, when barely skin but
Did you seek my scarcity or
was it only preservation? Have you
grown accustomed to angles? And
now no longer starving, have you
Emily Reid Green has appeared in publications including: Gravel, Khroma Magazine, 1932 Quarterly, Moon Magazine, and The Ekphrastic Review. Last spring, she was a sponsored poet with Tiferet Journal and their April poem-a-thon. She lives in Toledo, Ohio with her family.
Washer bangs like the drum score for a movie
in which something serious will happen—
maybe a phone solicitor
wielding bright knives of his latest scam,
or sudden illness shaped like a killer whale
surfacing from the protagonist’s throat.
The machine booms & rattles.
It curses in metallic language,
mad to overflowing with prose.
I listen to its thu-thu-thuing,
its syllables unable to complete the thought.
Meanwhile, back in our film,
the hero worries—
script ablur with boots running,
hammers slamming cinderblock sky.
He sighs as I do at the coming whirring,
rather than hush that means
surprise: the end, goodbye.
Ace Boggess is author of three books of poetry, most recently Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017), and the novel A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea Publishing, 2016). His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.
Stones dance to a sparrow’s heartbeat.
I take the moon
from the hands of a man
who isn’t holding it; stitch it
to my sleeve.
A severed finger rises
and begins to burn;
but there is no finger, no fire.
I build a boat out of a beam of light.
I use the instant of your death
as a rudder.
The air I breathe
is also my mirror.
Joseph Murphy has been published in a wide range of journals. His first poetry collection, Crafting Wings, was published by Scars Publications, 2017. A second collection, Having Lived, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books (2018). He is also senior poetry editor for a literary publication, Halfway Down the Stairs, established 2006.
Beauty fluctuates: Consider
mouse bones drying in the sun.
Consider the awkward photograph
and the white square
that keeps it
from mild summer breezes
ready to shift the pictured face
from startled to stellar.
Instead, beauty falls like shadows
in reverse or that which slowly
emerges from humdrum shallows.
Consider the dragonfly
that lands on the dried mouse
bones as if out of nowhere.
Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three recent chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit and Cloudbank.
Walking on the back road, I’m all by
myself, except maybe a crow
and crickets and cicadas that
grow quiet and loud
as I come and go,
blackberries shiny as mica
in the red ditch
a paper bag stained with purple
as the unripe ones are left to grow
plump and sweet, for pie—I go home.
Danny P. Barbare resides in the Southern USA. He has been writing poetry off and on since 1981. His poems have appeared locally, nationally, and abroad. He attended Greenville Technical College. He lives with his family and wife in Greenville, SC.
The Moon, Leaving
Her crescent ghost lowers down the western line.
She’s claimed her sky an hour before it evens
to a silver hazy wisp of a viking ship, a dragoness
frozen like a cone. And she’s over the amber line
a thousand days wide; she glows in that flood
she swims. She wears a mask of flowers watered
by small rain, her look-through glance
golden-grays an opposite wall and projects
on a canvas from deep in her second reel.
L. Ward Abel, poet, composer and performer of music, teacher, retired lawyer, lives in rural Georgia, has been published hundreds of times in print and online, including The Reader, Istanbul Review, Versal, Yale Angler’s Journal, Pudding, Indian Review and others, and is the author of one full collection and nine chapbooks of poetry, including Jonesing For Byzantium (UK Authors Press, 2006) and Digby Roundabout (Kelsay Books, 2017).
You thought hell was other people,
But you made your hell alone--
Cold space is torture,
No coming, no departure,
A single fork and spoon.
Where are all the people
Who are loathing other people?
They are balls of huddled bone,
For sleeping can be torture,
No one there to nurture
A heart becoming stone
From fear of other people,
Especially at a table
Where others see your bones
To pick. It can be torture
To hear their warm laughter
And never hear your own,
Thinking hell was other people,
But cold space is torture.
A floor tech and tutor in Fremont, Nebraska, E.M. Darnell has been published in The Lyric, The Eclectic Muse, Shot Glass Journal, Verse, Quantum Leap, Candelabrum, Aries, Open Minds Quarterly, Skidrow Penthouse, Fib Review, Verse-Virtual, and Blue Unicorn. He has also been a phlebotomist, hotel supervisor, editorial assistant, farmhand, busboy, occasional recluse, and incurable brooder.
Flirts on the Beach
I’m clapping my hands, congrats to you
Seems like you don’t see that you’re making a fool
Out of the beautiful boy I once knew
You’re such a cheater, a liar, a schemer
She’s your new toy, you couldn’t be meaner
And her distasteful bikini couldn’t be greener
Where did you lose all your dignity
Did she steal it and replace it with stupidity?
Whatever you need for publicity
I’ve never before seen a disgrace of such
Hypocrisy and double Dutch
But baby, flirts on the beach don’t last much
Julie Smith, 24, currently studies art history in Frankfurt, Germany and she has written two poetry collections and working on a third. Her other pastime is traveling. In the future, she wants to travel and write much more.
The Poet Who Wrote Adam Snow
(for John Ashbery)
The literary life is never easy, you saw it first
in the convex mirror, its spreading tension
the surface of claw-prints in silver. I then tried
to learn how to read humor and surprise
disguised as a shadow pretending to have
never seen alchemy winnow through thistles
down the dark alleys of your city parks. I,
the wanderer learning how to drift past
shoe factories and never pay attention
to the still-chiming ways of looking
at a lamppost, would like to say, You are
the art of consciousness, the consciousness
of art! Uniform of the swirling things,
you are: desk, papers, dried leaves, money
bills, memos, pills, tears, the image. All
surround me like a magma of memories
shutting down the last sex of wine from ash.
Lawdenmarc Decamora holds an MFA in creative writing and is currently finishing his MA in literary and cultural studies. His literary work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cordite Poetry Review, The Ilanot Review, Kartika Review, Spittoon Literary Magazine, The Peacock Journal and TAYO Literary Magazine (Issues 5 & 7) namely. He teaches literature in the oldest existing Catholic university in Asia, the University of Santo Tomas.
a wanderer imagines
uni as a jump in to
pools of beer, ignoring the
great snoring and broken wind
that rattle the lecture halls.
nightfall is patching crackpot
old men in to a textual
new invention; thursday’s
supervision is a
nether wallop. the most
english friend you have says
it’s all just a barton in the beans.
this donkey town sucks you in
to a time warp- wheels grind up
a horrid hill, midnight runs are
a curry mallet to the gut.
the bar is a bitchfield-
chemistry dictates that alcohol
is a solution. laughter smoulders
on a giggleswick, you awake
after an eight week fever dream.
Jonathan B. Chan is an undergraduate reading English at the University of Cambridge. Born in the United States to a Malaysian father and Korean mother and raised in Singapore, Jonathan sees his cultural tapestry manifest in his writing. He has recently enjoyed the work of R. S. Thomas, Tash Aw, and Viet Thanh Nguyen. His mind has been preoccupied with questions of love, theology, and human expression.
Heavy air falls freely,
today my hands reach out,
pull nothing but the stench of day.
Trash men write dour treatises
that would be mine
mimic smiles on weathered faces
Made famous with my throws,
crumpled toss through glasses
darkly disavowing ownership.
Dirty snowflakes melt against
a rising tide, ambivalence,
a book proclaims its newness to the world.
Rain burns me in the scorch of winter,
my rain, my life, crows fly off with strands of hair,
lampoons choke black gods’ throats
Spit out pieces, barren,
misspent life is caught within their gullets
beady eyes make parodies of mock success.
Goodness walks a parody of hubris,
nothing comes of awful acting,
even beggars know my method.
Rose Aiello Morales has been writing poetry almost as long as she has been able to write. And she is still doing it at her home in Marrietta, Georgia, in the USA.
No One Knows
There, the dream of flying
cars, and the next,
tumbling through soft
glass, inconsiderate and
hopeful as a child
on his birthday,
hands outstretched, waiting.
Unsmiling. You might ask
where this story turns,
whether the glass reconstitutes
or the car crashes,
reminders of a childhood
reconsidered and the simplest
truth, which is no one knows.
Robert Okaji lives in Texas. His most recent chapbook, From Every Moment a Second is available from Amazon and Finishing Line Press. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Clearing, The Big Windows Review, Bad Pony and elsewhere.
The Letter I Write My Child
is not this poem. That letter would
contain freedom, the permission to be
a plumber or a screen writer, or a golden
spruce, or sixty pounds heavier than myself.
I am not heavy, although the mirror
sometimes makes me appear so,
or the fat of my belly, that can be grabbed
by small hands. I do not want her to
feel this way about the mirror, about
the body. She is perfect, a stranger says.
She is too fat, my grandmother says,
Tell her not to eat so much.
Eating for me, eating for her father,
often leads to pain. For me the kind
that keeps one up at night. For him
the kind that could lead to death.
We are both afraid of food.
How not to pass that down
to her? Have our genes
already done the work?
Caitlin Thomson is the co-founder of The Poetry Marathon, an international writing event. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals including: The Adroit Journal, Rust + Moth, Barrow Street Journal, and Killer Verse. You can learn more about her writing at www.caitlinthomson.com.
The Grape Stompers
The smart way they angled their feet to meet each grape
sharing the jokes and laughter of happier times
no longer so young, but each beautiful in the way you
admire a 300-year-old painting
hoisting their skirts high above the knees
in such a way the church would hardly approve of
stomping the blood of whole vineyards down
all those toes and heels and ankles stained
eggplant purple, shin deep in the marvelous sprawling
simplicity of no cars on the road.
Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Setu, Literary Yard, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.
The Challenge of Observation
To capture still life with a shadow,
painting fog-filled memories
with wisps of sweeping wind
before that inchoate light fades
& the ocean’s summer rhythms
are left anchorless in the wake
of obstructionist city’s demands
Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. His works have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. He champions the underdog to the melodic rhythms of obscure power pop. His two collections, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) and Worth the Candle (Five Oaks Press) and a chapbook Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press) are available through Amazon.
The braggadocio boys
come in brandishing
their Second Amendment rights.
“I’d take a bullet for freedom, man!”
Man, you won’t even take a night class.
Waving that around isn’t going to stop the layoffs.
The CEO who makes 537 times your salary
can’t stop grabbing.
But you walked right into that booth
pulled the lever on an incumbent
You pause your one-handed typing to tell me
I ought to show some respect.
I think back on my grandparents,
the which fork and what fork sides.
Their miracle was
they knew the world could change.
Ann Marie Gamble edits long works for university presses and short pieces at an advertising agency, and has previously published at the Tower Journal, Muddy River Review, and other venues.
The contours of this wild yet sad
little song learned to wait as
the end notes of love, paralyzed
on my fingers to piano. Into
chords but denying the verbs, I
veined through Liszt and echoed
like doubt, wrecking a bed of
black night flecked with pinpricks
of white. Soft as someone, some-
where, was asleep, I drifted to
the evening like shadow of a room;
my easy trebles stood on a tale
which went untold, straggling
against bureau top flooding with
moon. When their fall was at
flooring, I swallowed until hurt to
the flick of impatient tongue,
shipping the clefs down as sweet-
ness to ribs, burgled the best in me.
A four-time Pushcart Prize, five-time Best of the Net & Bettering American Poetry nominee, Lana Bella is an author of three chapbooks, Under My Dark (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2016), Adagio (Finishing Line Press, 2016), and Dear Suki: Letters (Platypus 2412 Mini Chapbook Series, 2016), has had poetry and fiction featured with over 450 journals, Acentos Review, Comstock Review, EVENT, Ilanot Review, Notre Dame Review, Rock and Sling, & Lampeter Review, among others, and work to appear in Aeolian Harp Anthology, Volume 3. Lana resides in the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam, where she is a mom of two far-too-clever-frolicsome imps.
Talk of Love
We look for a spark in talk of love,
something odd, a thing particular,
and those who talk the best can do so
from emotional confusion with
a limited vocabulary
G. B. Ryan was born in Ireland and graduated from University College Dublin. He is a ghostwriter in New York City. Elkhound published his Who You Need To Start a Riot in May 2017. His poems are nearly all about incidents that involve real people in real places and use little heightened language.
might be contagious.
Perfect squares, is/not algorithms,
oozing from tablets to the hands
that hold them. Upwelling, flowering banished,
overlaid or transformed into
checkboxes, datasets, math as the most invasive
weed. There’s a war going on.
The psi ops is breathtaking.
Body demonized, sanitized, sterilized –
are you mobilized as a destroying
army? Told to kill off bacteria
now slandered as “germs”?
Must all scents be chemical? Aerosoled?
Have you bought into the sharp-edged zombie
suburbscape, where dust’s an infiltrating
subversive? Do you shrink in horror
from wear and tear? Even our words –
shriveled, desiccated, plain-vanilla
bleats – have been rendered harmless,
have been given clown shoes and a red nose.
At night, when the TV has been silenced,
do you ever look at your ten fingers and see
the stair-stepped edges of an invading
Catherine McGuire is a writer and artist with a deep concern for our planet’s future. She has four decades of published poetry, in publications including New Verse News, FutureCycle, Portland Lights, and Fireweed namely. She has four poetry chapbooks and a full-length poetry book, Elegy for the 21st Century (FutureCycle Press). A deindustrial science fiction novel Lifeline was released by Founders House Publishing in 2017. Find her at www.cathymcguire.com.
I Can See For Miles
skipping stones at the sun
odds and sods up on the mound
planted on this third coast
this sea lake soon for ice
Who is up at the plate
walking on water
I been working on my sidearm
the over hand high hard one
hasn’t been fooling any Who
forget the flat stone sinkers
lost in the overcoat of Virginia Woolf
I’m lost in the great arm slot myth
I am The Seeker firing away
with the magic angle of 20 degrees
I love that dirty water
Who are you Happy Jack?
Who are you Pinball Wizard?
the Moon goes down swinging
88 skips at the speed of light
and Who are you?
Mark James Andrews is a poet who has worked a checkered career as a gravedigger, inspector at a defunct auto plant and jail librarian. His poems journey through dark places while never ceasing to search for the distant light. He is the author of Burning Trash (Pudding House), Compendium 20/20 (Deadly Chaps) and a poetry CD Brylcreem Sandwich. His poems, stories and nonfiction have appeared in over 50 print and online publications and anthologies. He lives in Harper Woods, Michigan.
dead on my
to free him
from his golden
she flies home
Joseph M. Felser, Ph.D. received his doctorate from The University of Chicago and teaches philosophy in Brooklyn, New York. The author of numerous articles and two books on philosophy, religion, myth, and parapsychology, he recently began writing poetry, which has appeared in both print and online journals, including Whatever Our Souls, Wildflower Muse, Ordinary Madness, Joey and the Black Boots ReBoot, Red Wolf Journal, and The Mystic Blue Review.
still life with red shoes
life of half-emptied bottles of cider, roasted
ham almost untouched, the cold pasta and stuffed
cheese, wind sweeping the corners of the house
still full of you as the rain dripped down the windows
like fingers on a water piano where old tunes play
the times of memory and longing, when you danced
your way through the world in your favorite shoes,
red as the pulpy flesh of watermelons in summer, still
where you last left them, intact and unmoved, soles
rough and grainy like sandpaper, leather dented at the toe
and at the counter, like tired flamenco shoes, insoles
worn out by your weight, so ethereal now, and so lead
heavy, shoes that one finds to hard to lift from the ground
as the walking gets dense and thicker and sadder
Nominated for a Pushcart Prize 2018, for his poems “wooden fish ears” and “dead father in the storm” Elidio La Torre Lagares obtained an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas-El Paso. He has published several poetry collections in Spanish, and is preparing his first English language book of poems, titled Wonderful Wasteland. In Puerto Rico, he has been awarded the Puerto Rico Pen Club Prize for Fiction in 2000, 2001, and 2004. He currently teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Puerto Rico.
The moon did not need to acquire
a central position.
It had it as soon as it rose.
Margarita Serafimova was shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize 2017. She has two collections in the Bulgarian: Animals and Other Gods (2016) and Demons and World (2017). Her work appears in London Grip New Poetry, Trafika Europe, StepAway, The Birds We Piled Loosely, Anti-Heroin Chic, and many others. Connect to her on her eponymous Facebook page.
She drank her muse under the floor then stepped
across her many forms almost like light
that bounces off a blue mirror at night.
Her muse slept sound and warm under regret
and dreamt landscapes without words. Once outside,
she kept her games aloft, seeking small fights
like some loose queen on a chessboard. Her next
move lacked conviction—slipping into rites
of passage, coming down to earth as quick
as candy—not quite sweet—toothsome and soft
and ready to kiss man or glass. The cost’s
the same. That muse sat up, blade straight, alert,
to salve her vessel, reaching—fast—to lick
her pearled ear. They are—both—unrivaled flirts.
Mark J. Mitchell’s latest novel, The Magic War just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work has appeared in the several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. Three of his chapbooks — Three Visitors, Lent, 1999, and Artifacts and Relics — and the novel, Knight Prisoner are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. He lives with his wife Joan Juster and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco.
I have hung curtains from your shoulders,
window blinds from your eyelids,
and pictures from your ribcage.
I have set our clocks to the beat of your heart
and have made our bed in the warm breeze of your lungs.
I have built this house, steady and calm
and complete with love and comfort.
I have filled this house with the song that played
during our first dance and decorated each room
with all of the flowers you have worn in your hair.
I have built all of this on top of the foundation
you have allowed me to build
between your legs and inside your smile.
Steven Harz is the author of multiple collections of love stories and is a multi-time winner of The Iron Writer Challenge. Originally from West Virginia, he grew up in Maryland, and now lives in New England. You may recognize these places in his stories. He is a graduate of Towson University’s College of Fine Arts and Communication. He loves music and reading, coffee and Dr Pepper, sports and Broadway, and watching his boys perform on stage and the baseball diamond.
the owl stretched wings
wider than my shoulders
pulled my body long
and out into the night
lifted over trees
wove past houses
rested on a branch
I felt air
riffling my skin
talons trailing behind
as I swooped and dived
under the tattoo
on my back
Joanna M. Weston is married, has one cat, multiple spiders, raccoons, a herd of deer, and two derelict hen-houses. Her middle-reader, Frame and The McGuire, published by Tradewind Books 2015; and poetry, A Bedroom of Searchlights, published by Inanna Publications, 2016.
Choreography for the Drunk in the Gutter Ballade by Frederic Chopin
First it was a toy boat
caught in a waterspout.
Then it was legerdemain,
a pink frothy handkerchief
and baby turtles marching,
to the sea. Then,
they found your ballade
in a lunatic's clutch.
That lunatic reached deep
inside herself and
pulled out a nocturne
when no one was looking.
That nocturne turned itself
inside out. You. A harlequin!
She and you arched skyward.
She and you
smoked Gauloises and
murmured absinthe endearments.
Some said it was
the ballade of the Danube.
Not so, it was the Vistula.
It was the ballade of
wide lapels and pen names.
auroras and the waltz of faceless
lovers. It was two-hundred-year old
champagne cognac and
staggering backwards to
a foregone parting. And now,
it tumbles your heart, forever
upstairs in an Escher.
Richard Manly Heiman lives on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada. He works as a substitute teacher, and writes when the kids are at recess. His work has been published by Rattle, Rust + Moth, Into the Void, Sonic Boom and elsewhere. Richard holds an MFA from Lindenwood University. He is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and his URL is www.poetrick.com.
I observe my life
in a slanted steel light:
this obsidian gleaming obstacle.
How curious to be
harnessed between hard places, thick basalt
carabiner clicked taut.
No more Lorca out loud. I climb
without feathers, hold onto
a hundred forms of fears.
Imagine no cliffs,
ledges, grips, regrets.
Isn’t it amazing,
no none of that.
The rock, an Escher staircase,
a multi-faceted Mobius strip.
over the edges.
someone says belay.
And if I say the words
will you know them?
Will you remember?
Is there still chance?
Are they still
calling it that?
Kate O’Neill’s poems have appeared in The Taos Journal of Poetry and the Arts, Voices of New Mexico, vol. 3, Journal of War, Literature and the Arts, and others. Her MFA in Creative Writing is expected in 2018 from the Institute of American Indian Arts. She has lived in Taos since 1993 and obtained dual US/Irish citizenship in 2017.
The first time after anonymous
drain, gravy, potatoes,
a handle of boiled muscle
and less than a boot
of shoed sleep - downstairs,
beneath weightless quakes,
a butterfly knife fell and waking,
you crept to find it
to occur again
but occur it did
you held it to bed
and once finally planted,
it parted your heart's
A last dreaming butterfly
when that butterfly
flirts with the cliff
and the cliff
doesn't clumsy its charge -
no avalanche and the village safe,
folds its shimmering furs
as the trees drop their gaze,
fingers trailing through earth.
G. J. Hart currently lives and works in London and has had stories published in The Molotov Cocktail, The Jersey Devil Press, The Harpoon Review and others. He can be found arguing with himself over @gj_hart.