|Photo courtesy of Jay Peasley
uncertainty of a place is
place within it. Deserts here
at the windows in wind
does not relinquish its fierce
on the day, even when night
and the Kandahar hotel
a baked clay room with
glass fittings of light.
there is freedom here.
men sit in doorways smoking
there’s the dry sound
hammers bending out plates,
the body of heat transcends
day’s impossible mission.
am free to move as I please
the desert, the place
best matches my mind’s sere
the proper arena
a future tasting of wheat
and thick streams. When
get home, there will be more
do than remember. So what then
really important? I live here
here, I live elsewhere
dreams, in the cold of night
darkness takes me in
makes real my other selves.
at the Bottom of a Pond
recall Thoreau swimming
length of the pond to discover
distance, the truth of his body’s
on this earth, and his skin
mine, radiating beneath
surface of the water. I let
poem out as a bubble
my mouth. He floated
in a world that
not let him sink.
was wondering instead after
monsters of the lake, those
only boys can conjure.
poem buoyed us up, its body
surface of my understanding,
let me drop, down to the pond’s
bottom, down to the final
coming up for air.
George Moore has published poetry in The
Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, North American Review, Orion, Colorado Review, Nimrod, Meridian, Chelsea, Southern Poetry Review,
Southwest Review, Chariton Review, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize four times.
In 2007, he was a finalist for the Richard Snyder Memorial Prize, from Ashland Poetry Press, and earlier for The National
Poetry Series, The Brittingham Poetry Award, and the Anhinga Poetry Prize. His
third print collection is Headhunting (Edwin Mellen, 2002), a travelogue on ritual
practices of love and possession. Moore also has e-books, All Night Card Game in the Back Room of Time (Pulpbits, 2007) and a CD, Tree
in the Wall, (CDchapbooks.com, 2006). He teaches literature at the University
mood usurps a tendency to act
I stare into the starry blue firmament.
one hears the twinkle of sky-lights.
you listen to the soul of a falling leaf
is it too close to the scratch at your heart?
we reach until an unbearable ache
up and down like a breath,
deep scars halt new words from forming.
that cleanse, pave a portion of hope
our treacherous path. Reach. Reach out
hand and I might play and float beyond
that settle us. Reach my mind in a kind
lagoon, tropics that surround with green,
green curtains of embracing scent.
I could sing, our voice would rise and rise.
Alice Shapiro has been writing since 1985 when she studied under William Packard, founder of The New York Quarterly and professor at NYU. Her poetry credits include her first collection of poems, Cracked: Timeless Topics of Nature, Courage and Endurance, published by TotalRecall Press (2009), a chapbook,
Seasons of the Heart with Scars Publications (2007), and contributions in Silent Actor, New Verse News and the anthologies Poetry Connoisseur
(third prize winner), Antologia del Nuovo Mondo, and Thank You, Gorbachov!
conversation counts double or triple
big letter scores on the Scrabble board
waiting wanting fearing
near her ending
by the nurses’ station
give her the phone
hear and understand how
can twist her mouth
her tongue thick and awkward
to be able to hear her words
too raspy or low
a double letter score
is hearing me today
to hold the phone
to her ear stuffed with a hearing aid
and decipher my words
brain’s not too muddied
medication or depression
in such a state she said
really did come to visit me for Mother’s day
wasn’t something I dreamed
Mom I was there
we went out to eat
fed the ducks
a pond near Chicago’s O’Hare Airport
fade over the horizon
big triple letter word score today
knew it was me all right
voice always raspy but I didn’t have to say
of us wants to be here
be present for these gifts
climb this tall tree
the star up on top
jewels around the neck
the longest winter night
with this peace
Gary Aker loves poetry. He writes poetry. Sometimes his poetry gets published. He also writes what he
likes to call sudden memoir, and let‘s
not forget his two unpublished crime novels. Lately, he aspires to be a better dancer, photographer and blues harmonica
player. Life is getting very young at 56.
Gary also has a story in our Fiction section.
Dice and Poison Candy
even know it‘s there
of the time...
all, we are a (somewhat)
proper lotus position
the middle of some shimmeringly pristine
scenario or deeply steeped
some sweaty, chaotic configuration of love,
(just as likely), broke down on the side
the highway, 335 let‘s say,
south of Topeka, Kansas
five pallets of National Enquirers,
the tear-streaked face of Britney Spears,
has GOT to get through);
weathered cargo ship
aground under a brutal, relentless sun,
hundred and one in the shade
a beer can rolling along all of a sudden
a tumbleweed in an old cowboy movie,
now a dog barking off in the distance
if on cue).
we are allowed, now and then,
absolution, of sorts,
our inherent obligation
most of the obvious
at least some of the finer points
the subtext and footnotes
the post, post-modernist novel of Life.
still It hovers and circles,
lurking just out of the corner of the eye,
for the perfect opportunity to strike,
out fate and fortune,
bad and indifferent, alike;
nucleus of the all-encompassing,
physics of context,
fluid matrical mechanics
how things really are;
constantly shifting locus
the very “shit” that happens to us,
and again and again
sloppy viscous loops...
moment ultimately coming to a point
the point of a big red arrow
the Metaphysical Highway
Stop Map Of Life,
the finger of God pointing,
a little too accusingly,
you (and you and you)
if to say
here you are)!
dice and poisoned candy.
Jason Ryberg is the author of five books of poetry with a sixth one on the
way in 2009 from Spartan Press. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri.
Julene Tripp Weaver
a slick-lick of sky
reflects blue sameness
gleams across a roof
this warm day early spring
gull floats effortless on wings
a serene glide
captured perfect in rooftop pools
puzzle pieces of water
wait, as we all do,
for life‘s final evaporation
the Sound a ferry crosses
Julene Tripp Weaver has her BA in creative writing from City University of New York. She has a Masters in Applied Behavioral
Science from the Leadership Institute of Seattle, and works in HIV/AIDS Services. Finishing Line Press published her chapbook
Case Walking: An AIDS Case Manager Wails Her Blues. Garrison Keillor featured a
poem from her book on The Writer's Almanac. Her poems are published in many journals including Main Street Rag, The Healing Muse, Knock, Arabesques Review, Nerve Cowboy, Arnazella, Crab Creek Review, Pilgrimage
and Letters to the World Poems from the Wom-Po LISTSERV.
Name For It
the pantechnicons, we talk with the technicians.
the same old story of love found and lost, misunderstandings,
of trust. A death, or at least a serious illness. And of course,
embrace. We had a name for it, didn’t we? The favourite device
the soap opera director, where a camera frames the face of one lover
it up over the other’s shoulder, and tells you the story
months to come. You exchange hellos with that actress I like.
blonde one. When you ask me if she could play you in the film
our life, I want to say yes but tell you that though she looks right
something wrong with her voice. We watch her character
her farewells, both of us wishing her a happy ending, and walk home
the way we do these days, too much, too fast, too well-rehearsed
wholly at odds with the script. We ought to have a name for it.
At The Hope & Anchor
is warming to his usual audience. The little fella.
one who once asked if you were a film star.
doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
drink it in, and nod, and drink
he says it again louder, and slower.
is truth. And we’re all psychiatrists,
on couches, back seats, bar stools, but really,
doesn’t, you know? It leaves tiny flaws, hidden scars,
mosaic of hairline cracks that will only open up
from now when something hits you hard enough.
Spare us from saloon-bar philosophers!
with me now, outside, to where the moon remains
by everything, and the old painted sign
rattling in the wind. Two things worth having.
to be going. Something to catch
hold you, and keep you from drifting for ever.
Matt Merritt is a poet and journalist based in Leicester, England. He has been published in a wide variety of magazines
and anthologies in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. His debut collection, Troy Town,
was published by Arrowhead Press in March 2008, and a pamphlet, Making The Most of
the Light, by HappenStance in 2005.
when he ran from Jezebel,
lost composure after he had slain
hundred-fifty advocates of Baal,
by his flight across the plain,
God to take him from this evil world,
Ahab’s queen had proved herself the bane
the holy prophets sent there by the Lord.
had been zealous, but his fear
this ironic exchange of words:
asked, “Elijah, what’re you doing here?”
said, “Now go outside while I pass by.”
mighty wind, an earthquake and a fire ―
then a whisper as the Lord came nigh
‘Lijah on the path that Enoch walked:
only two men who didn’t have to die.
and Queen Jezebel had stalked
men Jehovah sent with His commands,
because the Tishbite never balked,
end of her would come by eunuchs’ hands:
to the cobblestones and hooves
be dolloped out across the land
a pack of dogs. Watching from the rooves,
hoi polloi took in the hellish scene
the great adultress proved that it behooves
to understand God means
He says. Don’t subtract or add a thing
Scripture, not even to please a king or queen,
we have seen what happens to the kings
example after example in the text.
was time for the chariot to bring
home to Heaven and for the next
of the Lord to take his place.
now would doubly move to vex
enemies of Jehovah and His love.
would return as John the Baptist,
Him who merited the dove
living on wild honey and some locusts.
of the Savior of Mankind,
came back yet again, transfigured with Moses.
the Baptist, yes, would find
testify of the Savior of Mankind.
is Made of Boulders
and froth shoot forward in the river.
sway and tumble on the bottom.
the fish cannot resist; they stop
the calms to let their colors bleed.
the bed and bank are soft to the river’s
and cut. Nothing the river touches
itself in place. Sticks are bright
river fish. Froth is made of boulders.
J.R. “Bob” Campbell
is a native of Amherst,
Texas, and graduate of West Texas
A&M University who has been a reporter,
editor and photographer at nine newspapers in Texas and Colorado.
He has had poems and stories in Ascent Aspirations, Autumn Leaves, The Cortland Review,
Paradigm Review, Poems Niederngasse, Machinery Press, Poetry Life and Times, Ancient Heart, TPQ Online, Prism Quarterly, Decanto
and other magazines.