Friday, 29 April 2011

Issue Five

Mental Health Day

by Howie Good

The pill I take in the morning
is supposed to help.
You better? everyone asks.
I’ll never be Teacher of the Year
if that’s what they mean.
I lose track of which door is which.
Alcohol intensifies the effect.
It says so right on the bottle.
Pornomaniac. A word I looked up once,
but haven’t had to use.

Delphi's Sonnet

by Kenneth P. Gurney

In the beginning, Delphi was not there.
Millennia passed before Parnassus
caused her to spring forth like so much water
and let her run down the slopes.

In the middle, Delphi walks among us
wears the faces of our choosing
and does her best to answer our questions
as honestly as possible.

In the end, she will cross the river,
the same as the rest of us
who passed along the gift of time 
as if it is a cool drink of water for the parched,

and she will take her place among the fourteen oars
that draw the boat to that farthest shore.


by John Tustin

Dank dark black void nil blank
nothing blind.
My voice echoes
in my head.
Something drips from
the walls.
Something skitters silent
on the floor and walls
and I am naked
I stumble.
The somethings crawl
over my hands
and a trapdoor drops me.
I fall
in the dark
ears clogged.
I scream,
no sound comes,
the somethings crawl
into my mouth.
I scream into
the void
and know
that I am

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Issue Four


by Sandy Day

The door swings wide
with hinges oiled
like a smile
I’m open.

A lover’s body
is never old
as kindness takes a hold and
passion rises
from compassion’s well
deeply dug
receiving and giving
start over
it’s new
close your eyes
and remember
touch me all the time.

I need one chance
to begin again
and decide that
benevolence never ends.

The gift of age
is knowing
of stages
clinging not to the start.
Another deeper print
closer to life
sleep sex pray
and walk again.

The Old Ones In Renaissance

by Joseph Farley

Pan returned
accompanied by the old gods,
so the dance began.
A season of love followed
where the flowers all bloomed twice.
Then the year turned,
and it was the time of sacrifice.
The new believers barely looked,
too busy with their steps,
as the crying children
were stacked upon altars of stone..
As the smoke and ashes rose
the dancers slowed their pace,
but only just long enough
to wipe small tears from their face.

The Water of Life

by S.P. Flannery

Through pores in exhalation flows
liquids distilled thrice
in old oaken casks,
troglodyte barrels kept secret,
a cache dusted off to celebrate
the summer solstice,
mid-day the libations begin
to pour, sun-worshiped
faces explode with sanguine
exuberance, song and dance
appear, apprehension cast off
to allow voices to wail
in disharmony and limbs to flail
without purpose, time blurs
as sight spins remembrance
into black, into focus at
midnight when in a position
pronate, naked in sweat
licked fermented, the past.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Issue Three

Psych Ward on Christmas Eve

by Paul David Adkins

What could be idyllic as this well-lit corridor,
as mirrors made of metal,
knob-less doors
plastered with snipped paper flakes?

Cut-out Santas, sleigh and Rudolph  
deck the halls. 

On her wall, my wife’s sketch hangs:
an X-mas fir
snapped at the base,
tiny lights dangling.

Tonight the pharmacist dispenses drugs
in reindeer Dixie cups.

Tinsel is strung
by the nurse station glass.

A doctor sporting a snowman tie
walks a patient arm in arm.
She wears red stockings.

She thinks they are skating.
The tile is cold,
and off somewhere
drifts laughter.

Laying the Dust

by Steve Klepetar

Sweet empty smells: oranges, old
rooms and shelves of broken glass.
Amidst green and amber shards

my hands bleed.  Tonight
moon grins through torn scraps
of cloud.  Her melting light smears

the sky.  When have we eaten last,
broiled our meal with olive oil
and wine, or taken for drink

a golden glass of wind? 
When have we wrapped ourselves
in waves?  Tonight we see moon’s

teeth bared in shadows
on the brittle wafer of her silver
face, feel surging tides of our own

blood.  How quietly these ghosts
gather, with what tender gestures
find each others’ faces in the night. 

Beautiful and shy, they lean
into their own hearts, against
thin, transparent bones, shadow

hands, black pools of their own
huge eyes.  At last, in cold wind
and splash of stars

we have dragged our own fury
bound and beaten to the woods.
We have come home to lay the dust.

Seven Sips of Coffee

                by Eric G. Müller

A toy dog in a basket fixed on a bicycle
speeds by with its geriatric master

Still as a sculpture on the concrete floor
a green iguana with mandala skin listens

Four tanned surfers swagger along
with decorative boards and butt-crack shorts

Bikini babes with curling tattoos  
laugh to the rhythm of their flip-flops

Bored security guard plugged to an iPod
taps his baton as he walks his beat

Two plain blue nuns with homemade habits
Look hot, i.e. sweaty and out of place

A boy pops wheelies
With his bike on the pavement

This is what I spied in the seven sips
it took me to quaff my cappuccino

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Issue Two

by Kyle Hemmings
I buried Dakota in her favorite dress,
calico snug, said a prayer that I'd never
have another daughter born in a black blizzard.
I looked out over the clay gullies,
the impossible fossils rising like
hands. Flung her floppy sunhat over
the empty coulee. The dog barked.
In time, her pups would fetch it, bring it
back to the ranch. As if they knew something
by sheer dog sense. I looked East,
prayed for sorghum and flaxseed,
sunflower and milk-veined maidens.
Saw Dakota in the parting lips of clouds,
low and moving over drought and badlands,
saw her pantomine and sway
before the young moon,
her voice over the Cheyenne,
over cottonwood and willow
gently mocking me,the way it did
when she pressed my hands to her cheeks,
she, so numb from the cold, from chasing
the sheep that strayed. On top of this
bare hillside, I looked everywhere,
hoping for a sign of the next harvest.
It would keep me above ground,
this body of sod, mind of open spaces,
for another year. 

Your Tenth Floor Apartment

by William Doreski

Your tenth floor apartment features
glass walls and complex urban views.
No neighbor’s close enough to see you

press naked against your vista,
polishing your seamless ego.
You’re not at home today. Touring

your rooms with a friend I note
snapshots of discarded lovers
scattered everywhere with holes punched

in the eyes or groin. The atmosphere
oppresses. My friend wants to leave.
He thinks you’ll leap from a closet

and puncture his eyeballs or deflate
his already modest genitals.
I assure him that you’re a good host

and rarely attack guests who mind
their manners and keep quiet
while you’re explaining the glories

of criminal law. Defending crime
has rendered you rich as chocolate
and nearly as sweet, except when

you fork an eye or testicle.
My friend would like to meet you,
but not in your apartment among

these suffering photographs. Maybe
the three of us could dine out
some humid summer evening. Maybe

with waiters hovering about
we’d all feel safe enough to enjoy
a good Bordeaux , a dainty salad,

a piece of fish, a conversation.
In your apartment everyone
wants to press naked to the view;               

and thus vulnerable, most people,
regardless of sex, concede
their last scrap of dignity to you.


by Hugh Fox

      Should I Luschei them into carefully literaried (“Moon
      sliver, you get rid of Al Power, desert extinction,
      why nineteenth century such short lives”) fragments,
      give it to them the way it is, Bachianas Brasileirasing
      it again tonight, how come Alex mixes onions with guava
      and uncooked beets, give it to me straight, how many
      more hours, days, weeks do I have left, here I am next
      to my Brazilian M.D. wife who makes $210,000 a year
      and is my Czech grandma sweet, always one more or less
      blanket, “A little honey on those cornflakes,” from the
      honey-farm down the road, all three wives hanging around
      watching me die, e-mail (Lyn Strongin) XOXO’s every
      day from Vancouver, B.C., more Carpinteria, Tampa,
      Rome, Santa Cataina ancient babes, two more novels
      coming out this month, on the edge of Steinbecking/
      Shakespearing it, you wanna year about the German
      solid honey with my oat squares and a hundred before-
      sleep hugs, or always another oncological-urological

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Issue One

Tube Works

by Marica Szendry
On Sunday we are
from the comfort
of the subterranian

into a new world
of concrete, steel
and the unfamiliar
of a nominally half-way

I think I know the
until I walk its street,
catch its buses.

Confused, I blink
and grunt
like a displaced


by Anna Bilbao

We met at a bar and
began talking about
and stuff.

When I asked what
sort of band you were in
you told me

I paused before
and moving on to the weather.

Elvis Impersonator

by Ashley Fisher
Little Elvis is in the foyer,
entertaining the types that arrive
early to the theatre in his ill-fitting
jumpsuit and turmeric tan.

For the next twenty minutes he
is slave to the tape which presses
on regardless of the surrounding
apathy and the notes he invariably misses.

In one moment of uncharacteristic
showmanship, he gives a scarf to
the daughter of my blonde companion
who he appears to have taken a shine to.

Soon, we will take our own places on
stage in the studio theatre and our Elvis
will mourn his twenty minutes of
showbusiness down the drain.