|Photo courtesy of Zinta Aistars
Joe Never Once Gave It Away
after Patricia Smith
Scott Brogan sang
sounded like we really could
everything Lou Reed wanted
could converge with Candy
out on the island
the back room where she
she would never
had surfer-blonde hair
a left-handed curveball as crazy
his laugh that jumped and floated
sometimes sank and tied hitters
stole a bottle of vodka
his Dad’s cabinet
killed it until we
each other and Mike D
could still drive
let him throw up
more time and he’d be fine
the beach at Mamaroneck
was hardly a beach
yards of dirt mixed
a handful of pebbles
like a sugared hand
still puking in the playground
the rusted merry-go-round
swung so fast it felt like
was about to decapitate
wobbly stuttering ankles
a girl named Gabrielle
braces and striped
that would have looked
on a zebra, her black
green bikini riding
her ass when she waded
the mucky brown
as the Long Island Sound
we were three pairs of broken eyes
and Scott, spoke first
always, his laugh, then the urging
it, Bro, wild side
it’s t-shirt off
ditched in the dirt
jump and a float
somehow she buys it
her arms are around your neck
feet from shore and Scott
shutting the fuck up now, isn’t he
Mike’s still puking
it’s a hustle
and a hustle there and you’re
exactly treading water
not anchored either and you’re
about ice cream later
the street where the cars
parked at slanted angles
she whispers something
sounds like yes
Jeff Kass is a teacher of English and Creative Writing in Ann Arbor,
Michigan and Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He also works as the Poet-in-Residence for Ann Arbor
Public Schools. He was the Ann Arbor Grand Slam Poetry Champion in 1999 and 2000 and the runner-up in 2001 as well as the
Champion at the inaugural Ann Arbor Book Festival Poetry Slam in 2004. His poems, stories and essays have been published in
several literary reviews, newspapers, magazines and anthologies and he has taught poetry workshops to thousands of young people
in schools, juvenile detention centers and synagogues. His short story collection, Knuckleheads, is forthcoming from
I‘ve Got a Bone
pick with your hip:
itch itch itch itch
my belly and ribs.
about your grip
a Robert Nesta riff
with the Mid-Atlantic sun,
feel like it must, steaming on
sea-bed horizon, flashing green
I sink into a cool sweat-sleep.
I‘ve got to pick the lock,
a pick to pound on the rock
the plain metal doors
the locked Juliet-tomb
where you sleep, but that‘s
fit for life offstage;
I‘ll pull no Shakespeare
But I‘ve a bone
with the director
our postmodern romance show,
exit: cleft between
every impression made
your heel on my mental
as the curtain call sounds,
throbbing and zipper teeth
our bare bellies.
June, Galesburg, IL
like this will miss the open window
night until the misted prairie
to muster up its winds.
second floor glows orange,
of the parking lot‘s tall lights,
than their filaments.
my flesh, I scratch away insomnia,
yours, inscribe the shadows
sweat on my fingernails.
your breath, not the drunks
keeping dry or drunk, not the bump
hoot of freights rolling the nearby tracks
night, not mosquitoes or the bean
from the coffee house below.
creases in your skin flash behind
passing cars. Our bikes, locked together
the hall, knock against the wall
this old building shivers,
sweat settling into chills
rattle the scaffolding.
will hold you beyond this fever June, weak
I may be, skinny with hospital
folded at the edges of my eyes,
I believe that, sleeping, you‘ll feel
slow breaths, and remember:
sick earth can sometimes be fair.
Chris Astwood is a poet from Somerset, Bermuda. He received his BA from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, and currently
is studying for his MA at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. His poems have appeared in Catch, The Caribbean
Writer, Iota and Other Poetry.
walk out on this failed Sunday
a January moon so full of sun
throw shadows on the empty pathways
footsteps have yet to memorize
you follow the path away from
nearby hills to the murmurs
this slow canal. Wood smoke
from chimneys into the moonlit sky,
closed shutters and clothes half frozen
lines. Lifting your head you fill
nostrils with your neighbors’ fires.
you were a child at the seaside
by the surf foaming at your feet,
could you fake even one step toward the silent ocean?
along this narrow canal, how firm
footing for the next, the final steps.
Tim Tomlinson is a co-founder of New York Writers Workshop, and co-author of its popular text, The Portable MFA
in Creative Writing. He is the fiction editor of the webzine Ducts. Recent fiction and poetry appear or are forthcoming in Perigee, Pif, Del Sol Review,
Nova Cookie, Dogzplot, 3:AM, Hanging Moss Journal, and Tongues of the Ocean.
the darkness within the violin the sleeping shadow
speaks ― force the shadow to speak ― this is the wreckage
of exile, this is the exile
place, person, you. I clutch my passport like a soft papoose
stitched to my belly;
my dark ambiguities
are vectors twirling above the hex sign
the red rooster is clamped, calling forth the wind. & I clutch
at my history, speak its
shadows, grains poured
into a terrarium with walls of zero. I am willed
night, by twilight, by the misplaced memory
of us, unfairly ended.
The planet we occupied revolves
without name, beyond the wrath
the earth rock, the soil, the grit
purpling the whites of
the eye. I saw you harvest
your grief as joy, saw you cull
through a basket of summer
truth from falsehood in a world
that believes there is no truth: I learned.
battle cry of all being
falls upon those ones
who farm the vintage ― hear it,
a wind passing from sea to inland, passing
homeland to exile: this is the sweetest kiss
I have ever given, been
given, known ― this is
the shadow-voice speaking the light.
Carolyn Srygley-Moore is an award-winning graduate of the Johns Hopkins University's Writing Seminars, a Pushcart nominee;
she has been published in a number of journals to include Antioch Review, Eclectica,
Flutter, and the antiwar anthology, Cost of Freedom. Her digital chapbook Enough Light on the Dogwood was published by Mimesis. She currently lives in Upstate
New York with her husband and daughter.
a palette, they might be called
umber, yellow ochre, phthalo blue.
Virgo eyes ― the smudge
camp fire, Spring’s harvest ―
and wet from dew.
eyes escape into elusive shades
flicker and turn
the sun’s moody rapture,
are stunned into obedience,
caught on the compass edge
metaphysics, the necessary duty of reply.
Ann White is a former journalist and magazine writer who turned to poetry around age 50. Her poetry has appeared in
various journals, including Blue Fifth Review, Swell, Dead Mule, Triplopia, Barbaric
Yawp and Modern Haiku and in the anthology, Letters to the World (Red Hen Press, 2008). She is the organizer of the Women Poets Reader Directory, a searchable
wiki for anyone who wants to book a poet. Ann received her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. She
lives in North Florida and works with college students who are political refugees.
Carol Lynn Grellas
fatal nightmare wakes me from my sleep;
programmed killjoy robs asylum-dreams
keyholes wait for eyes to undercreep
and stimulate an inner voice that screams
end the madness, bring you back to life.
positions, fate that’s been assigned.
letter rests beside the paperknife
use to cut the envelope. Remind
not to read that note again,
hopeless supplication never heard,
often is enough enough? But then
is no way to comprehend a word
suicide and all it meant to you ─
God help me do what I must do.
Carol Lynn Grellas is the author of two chapbooks: Litany of Finger Prayers,
forthcoming from Pudding House Press, and Object of Desire, newly released from
Finishing Line Press. She is a two-time Pushcart nominee and widely published
in magazines and online journals, including most recently, The Hiss Quarterly, Flutter,
The Oak Bend Review and an electronic chapbook, Desired Things, from Gold Wake
Press. She lives with her husband, five children and a blind dog named Ginger.