"This portrait of the Chrylser Building in New York has
always been one of my favorites. The shot was an accident in the making as I was totally lost in New York one day and just
happened to see a shaft of light coming around the next block. As I approached I saw this image and grabbed it before the
sun set behind the city. I loved the contrast of complete blackness on the bottom to the white light shining on top of the
— Ed Rode, photographer
Basanta Kumar Kar
The surge fastens the speed, flattens
a new way wave and tide
bed opens the button uncovers the cotton
to merge and submerge filling pores and holes
blue sky turns red
everything is for hungry treasury
cash and kind play hide and seek
a self content redirecting the libido
to save humankind parade
Floating plants struggle to settle
ask to know the lineage
surge separates again and again
soft and tinted touch
dalliance of a sweet heart
a care, companionship, living together
the bed misses the life time fulfillment.
Parading body bare at surge’s discretion
changing acts and postures
this ordeal a lifelong endeavor
learn betrayal is trust
gather conviction and courage
to display, discourse and discuss the truth
before the silt washes to flow another bed.
(This is the story of Shikha a 26 years sex worker and mother of three children of Durg slum, Chhattisgarh,
Author of two collections of poetry, “The
Na´ve Bird” and “The Silent Monsoon,” Mr. Basanta Kumar Kar
hails from Orissa (India). A lawyer with
a post graduate degree in rural management, Basanta Kumar Kar has more than 25 years of experience in the social development
sector. Basanta Kumar Kar is currently Operations Director for CARE, India, an
international development organization. Kar is writing his third collection of poems written on real life stories about
women. The poems depict the vulnerability, predicament and unheard agonies of the most marginalized.
My Various and Sloppy Forgiveness
I am to be happy I must forgive you.
If I am to find peace I must forgive you.
If the palest sunray is to warm me I
If my dreams are to sift gently in the night air
like a feather in moonlight
towards my day
I must forgive you.
If all the movements of my technical brain
are to be greasy with indulgences
of easygoing joy
I must forgive you.
So here it is for you, friend of night,
my forgiveness laid out like my body
with shapely legs and mounding
belly inviting your head to rest,
gaze in all directions,
astonished at nature's beauty.
So, friend of night, here is my forgiveness
waiting as I did for you
to dive into my flesh and cradle
my vital organs sobbing for touch.
So here is my various
and sloppy forgiveness, reckless,
though I will need it this only last time, for you.
Six, Seven Strawberries
to be a strawberry so smashed on a slice
of buttered bread that insides and outs are
children standing, arms wide
open in the dancing downpour of sugar
sprinkled. We Swedes
may be dumb as
smiles glossy from a nincompoop's joke
but try this and tell me life's bleak:
strawberries, repeat, berries thumb-plump,
handfuls in your father's white handkerchief
like a cot at summer camp with
five girls giggling feathers to the air.
butter on white bread. Remember
both have histories, meadows green as
imploding with dew and a thousand
lush dreams. Your mother with blush pink
roses flowering through her cheeks and
smoky wisps of hair sweaty on her pulsing
temples. You once fit two more happy girls
on the cot so now more strawberries, six,
on the butter, strawberries
rubbing strawberries, fleshy ladies joyous,
despite bellies bulges, striations life makes.
Which Door Closed
Begin with bantam spongy fishes dehydrated; willy nilly pitched
along with glo rocks the neons of a six-pack of cotton
panties anymore and magic culled from
books where—in classifieds—you see an ad—finally—
you want to respond to:
“WANTED (read the small notice, printed —
oddly — in green): small space ship,
eight feet long, built by a boy, or by two
boys, between the ages of eight and
Some days we love the people the people quiet in their
fresh-faced Hello, Sun trot of sustenance, and doggies
offered one last pee before life and
key turn inward
for an indeterminate spell.
Some days we balk at making cross with the sorcery of
We summon the inspiration of personal catechism (has one
Arthurian blade a little tough to access, a faithful white-
foam geyser spouting like a tabby-whiskered
towards Heaven, and seven peacock feathers beloved
of Terpsichore, the very muse herself, when the west
wild with longing).
Some days fish rehydrate, swell with the surprise of dimension
and spirit, make a joyous pivot into traffic of the infinite
*Cameron, Eleanor. The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet. Little Brown. New York: 1954
Sarah Sarai's poems have been published in Minnesota Review,
Threepenny Review, Fine Madness, PANK, The Columbia
Review and others; are forthcoming in Main Street
Rag, Taiga, Terrain.org, Other Rooms and others. She has had stories
published in journals including Tampa Review, Weber Studies and South Dakota Review.
How easy it was then,
walking toward the lighthouse
through the shadow of ruptured walls
sea-washed wooden pillars.
The starless night sprinkled salt
in your hair, and the light
seemed miles away. An
stood watch over water
that had only moved four hundred feet
in forty years,
but the sweep of
dragged it closer. An illusion, of course,
but we rushed forward into it,
eager to believe. The light
our faces briefly,
and I remember we were laughing
as we slid in and out of the fog.
We didn’t know we were
We were still perfect strangers to loss.
This one takes me to a restaurant
where we sit cross-legged on the
and eat with our hands. Long-line Spanx
sausages my flesh, and my eyelashes,
sooty with science, bat a thousand.
go to a film afterward. He whispers
subtitles in the dark, even though English
is my first language, not his.
At Starbucks, he tells me
what his last three lovers did wrong,
his mother suffocates him,
why the concept of marriage is so over.
It’s the lazy girl’s way of killing herself, I say.
I watch his pupils dilate, Adam’s apple moving
in his throat like an animal. Oh, this one’s
gonna love me like a cough drop, I think.
I uncross my legs, and smile real slow.
Snell’s books include a novel, Shiva’s Arms, and four collections of
poetry: Flower Half Blown, Epithalamion, Samsara, and the forthcoming Prisoner’s Dilemma. She serves as book reviews editor for Alsop
Review, and blogs at http://shivasarms.blogspot.com and http://snellsisters.blogspot.com
there were tumors and lies
and they had to carve up his wife
they had to
remove her left breast
and before it was removed
he tried to imagine
what she would look like
after, after she stepped out
of the shower tiptoeing naked
to the bedroom with drops
of water beading on her body
middle aged and full
and all he could see
was a black hole over her heart
obscuring the place
where their marriage used to be.
Something About True Nature
it's you and the dog
and you are both vaguely overweight
and the dog is pulling you down
the sidewalk as you
plod along in your discount-store
running shoes like an ancient Clydesdale
and coming towards you
is another jogger and she
is tall and slim and lithe
and she has a heart monitor
wrapped around her arm and her
stride is perfect and
this is how it's always been.
there has always been
and stronger and
and this plodding
along has something
to do with desire,
with wanting to be some object of desire.
the lithe woman approaches.
you spy her pale
and unblemished face
as you both make room
on the sidewalk for each other
and it's at that point
you drop your gaze
and turn your face away.
David LaBounty lives in suburban Detroit and his poems have appeared in several print
and online journals. He is the author of two novels, The Perfect Revolution and The Trinity with a
third currently under consideration.
You told me you were
fine when I phoned
but an image haunted
the withered you I
struggled not to see.
Everyone had gone,
to search the polished
the blank plaster walls
for fading hieroglyphics.
Or think. Or crouch
the belly of the afternoon
with my electric voice:
While our backs were
kept the worst at bay.
I should have joined
bad. I’m sad. How can I put it right?”
The Farmhouse Window
The farmhouse window
a buttery light; the
swings high between
While she irons he
cleans his gun.
He asks her for more
oil; he asks
for another piece of
So many years they've
dwelt here like
a pair of doves, darkness
woods and the distant
Nothing comes between
them and they
sleep like stones at
night beneath the
quilt she made with
They smile at talk
of seasons turned
to dust. They smile
to see themselves
repeated in the darkened
no need to hide themselves
In the streets that
the sun beyond the
He can see them
as he sits in silent
sucking current from
Above the sky is
indigo and dubious.
He puts his forehead
to the window and feels
decision in his nostrils.
A flash of silver follows,
Paul McDonald is Senior Lecturer in English and American studies at the University of Wolverhampton, England,
where he runs the Creative and Professional Writing Programme. His most recent books are, Fiction from the Furnace: A Hundred
Years of Black Country
Writing (2002), The Student Guide to Philip Roth (2003), and the novels, Surviving Sting (2001), Kiss
Me Softly, Amy Turtle (2004) and Do I Love You? His latest poetry collection is Catch a Falling Tortoise (2007).
Peter Declan Guy
Happiness Writes White
I realize, that at some point,
I may have said I loved you.
It was all a great misunderstanding.
is a commodity you’ll appreciate,
No more mysterious that a Freeman’s Catalogue.
I may have compared
To the icecaps of a wintered moon,
Your dreams to the poetry of wolves,
But love, ah, let us not delude
Where do the words come from, what is their power?
Bodies sashay, holding scared against one another,
The younger couples do a slow two-step, snatches of a song,
You know I’ll always be your slave, till I’m
buried, buried in my grave
Oh honey, bring it to me, bring your sweet loving, bring it on home to me.
such truth as we can bear to reveal,
A primal hurt, we dream of midevening, crossing the prairies,
An old hotel room
or my hand on the door, discerning only
The languorous retractions of your body, like stars crashing into a sea
free with the crowns of anguished desire.
Peter Declan Guy is a senior researcher at the National Centre for Franco-Irish Studies, Dublin.
He is completing his PhD on psychoanalysis and the modern Irish text and has been publishing in a number of different periodicals
from Ireland, the UK,
Canada and the US;
two books of his poetry have been published and he is currently working on a novel provisionally titled 'White Plains Crossing'.
Noughts & crosses, my tulpa, knots and losses.
Hold your fabricated and fine head high.
say no one knows the price. No one knows
how long you've waited in the shadows of tall pines,
listening to the wind-trembling
those thin-whispered secrets of long gone youth
and the lost dogs of innocence.
No wind, no blind
breath touches your fallen beaus,
those deep-eyed and thin-cheeked lads
gathered at the crossroad. They open
mouths in the silent sex of surprise,
the frozen O of death. They suck vacuums of night.
They suck dirt. They will
always be true and sure and
under your boot soles.
Wait for them, if you must.
They wait for you.
Jasper County, Indiana
There will be still water and then
a breeze strumming the surface,
and we will see scores of
lifting and settling in the distance.
The swollen, springmelt creek
sways its girlish hips,
you will say,
and caresses the stubble of last year's habitat.
Here, under a stand of pines,
you will ask
to use the binoculars
so you can see their red crowns,
their gray plumage brushed with rust,
You will feel the pinched wind
that ripples the water and catches
the shrill, tumbling crane-song.
You will watch the birds
wheeling in harmonies of three or more.
Those long-necked figures,
you will say,
beyond our knowing.
Their wings beat with music
we will never hear but only see
in the simple things of the spirit,
the last rites of snow
melting into the wetland.
There will be still water and then
The whole platoon's drinking San
Miguel and Red Horse
beer with bar girls in Olongapo. Doc Sloan says he's gonna marry
a pretty Filipina named Sheri.
Lance Corporal Kukowski
slugs the Aussie sailor who paid Rhonda's bar-fine,
ten dollars to the mama-san for the evening.
The girls think
I'm clairvoyant because I read their palms and tell them
what anyone can see. You've had a rough life
You want a man who'll take care of you.
Earlier, patrolling the jungle, we found a punji pit on
bamboo spikes covered with feces.
Private Walsh emptied both barrels at a monkey,
swore he saw a Filipino
with a blow gun,
felt a dart whisper past his ear.
Now, we sit at a back table in Johnny-O's
with girls whose
brothers shine our boots today,
steal them tonight, and sell them tomorrow.
This isn't earth, Mooney says. It's fucking
The girls watch me with their tea-brown eyes,
lingering at my table, pressing their palms together like Madonnas.
You have a long life-line. And here's the line that smiles.
Your children will have a good father. You'll have a good
They want to buy me drinks and give me pesos, but I won't let them
take me home. Last month a young Marine—
his girlfriend's place—grinned down the barrel of a pistol.
Burnt gunpowder lingered in the air above his body.
The MPs killed a mongrel licking blood from his mouth.
In my dreams, the kid takes my hand and says,
of the trail's under your nails.
Murray Shugars is an associate professor of English at Alcorn State University
in southwest Mississippi. He lives in Vicksburg with his wife, Sandra, and daughters, Samantha and Miranda. He also serves in the
Mississippi Army National Guard as an infantry company commander.