to da UP eh
sings Heartbreak Hotel
a jukebox at the Four Star Motel.
moose in a miner’s hat sticks her head
of a white Thunderbird convertible.
wolf played by James Dean pulls up
a Harley, fox tail on his handlebars.
woman drives five hours
enough to change her mind)
a white Avis rental car from Detroit
the Mackinac Bridge, her desperation
clumsy Hell-diver, bones heavy like the loon’s,
alarm tremolo a confused laugh
by the car radio’s blasting music
she leaps from a newly painted green rail
Four Star proprietor says
she is fortunate, her body will drift
disturbed white-caps to aqua wavelets,
long enough to be recovered—
she will spend eternity
the Straits’ icy bed.
an elegy in flight dives
I try to fathom eternity,
if time as we know it exists
these waters that preserve
who enter their depths, that echo
hammering of a copper miner
in the shafts of this hard land,
call of an orphaned moose calf,
howl of a wolf grieving for his mate.
loon wails the urgent need
come together, his survival cry
one two three notes rising in pitch,
out the final reverberation
the lost woman’s lament, diving
night’s black and blue green water.
(in memory of Charlene Berels)
midnight’s falcon eye, put on its yellow ring,
on the dark side of the moon.
from craters a new definition of beauty.
from the wound, claim its v-shaped scar, say
is my body, it is endangered, is delicious.
in, breathe out.
trust and tenacity on disparate shoulders.
the bully backbone of courage.
with the raptor showing off in the sky.
wild grasses under your wings,
brushfires with graphite washes.
feathers to the cover of a blue-gray book.
in, breathe out.
the rumors moss whispers to the log,
with your hands onto a nesting ledge.
a saucer of leaves, a bundle of sticks.
out the sadness that takes up a lot of space.
start the wind, ratchet up the rain.
the book. Be a purple glory vine.
an old tree into a magical bedroom
Beatles’ songs jump and play.
in. Swoop like a falcon, catch yellow rays
mid-air. Offer waiting spirits dandelion leis.
Ask them if they can make it better.
on an autumn eve – bleached bangs, mascara eyes,
in her bra – painted lips pouting in black and
sits on crumbling concrete steps, leafs through pages
until it is too dark to see her push wiry gray hair
her creased forehead, return the square photo of
youth to her wallet.
A bright cinder sparks this moment of half light –
shine on raked mounds of leaves – stars signal,
into the arms of the
woman, frame her as rain arrives to pelt her cheeks,
calm the yellow smoldering. She stands, picks up the
rake – Small comfort,
this knowledge that nothing is burning. Where is
with his hand out the car window, flicking the
or, cigarette hanging from his mouth, raking
fall, his ashes scattered by sudden fierce
She stares at the busy street, the beauty of her
blurring on glossy pavement. His voice is rusty,
a shiny red
fender, brings color back to her face. She faces
continuous stream of headlights, rakes withered
damp leaves, is grateful for the gift of decay.
Chris Lord’s poetry has appeared in several journals, and won places in several competitions
(e.g., Current, Detroit Women Writers, Writer’s Digest). She founded Word’n Woman
Press in March of 2007 and edited and published the Bear River Writers Respond to War print edition, and the
Writers Reading at Sweetwaters anthology. Chris was also editor of the four on-line issues of Bear River Review.
Chris’ chapbook Field Guide to Luck was published by Pudding House Publications. Chris is co-host
of the monthly series, Writers Reading at Sweetwaters.
Your Eyes Fast Shut
love this Mobius twist
smoky character wet and damp
a loose fist
its vapors unwrap
around your unwed finger
other along your Adam’s ribs,
every one like silk—
climbing up and up
that last perfect hollow.
side of your neck and
your eyes fast shut.
our arguments our slow and
loud overbearing quiet of two souls whose egos cannot share
can hear the comings and
of lovers or mothers
how I miss America.
am your translator here but I cannot translate
the me and you.
and then forgetting and
room about to explode with
space but for one of us.
past married me
to fix us or me at least.
I love you though
can feel your love receding—
wave returning to its larger pool
laugh hiding amidst a crowd
face which turns a corner
to look back.
can only love what is here the amount
each day becomes
your eyes fast shut.
Erika Moya is working writer living in Los Angeles. Her work has previously
appeared in the University of California Riverside’s
Art & Literary Journal-Mosaic, Qaartsiluni, Holly Rose Review, Toronto Quarterly, and
an anthology put out by Goldfish Press. She will be attending the MFA
program at University of North Carolina Wilmington this fall.
Some girls only
came to leave.
The end of your
cigarette is vibrating and the city is burning.
to look beyond the bronze shine of shoulder and
the untouched hairs.
you have all
these New York angels twirling,
in a halo of
the mean geometry
of this city,
and please go
to where it’s soft.
Rachel Gruskin is a recent MFA
Poetry graduate of The New School in NYC. She has work published and forthcoming in Westview and Caffeine Destiny.
thought about being dead,
my bloated self in the mirror,
take care of the funeral.
thought about dinner parties,
theatre: things no longer
the budget. Sex. Doctors.
thought about cohesion,
thought about outreach groups,
peaches, and kiwis.
paintings in my city.
thought about American Idol,
and meals on wheels.
another twenty years of less,
less, and less of a line
does not disappear on its own.
thought about mangrove crabs
in mud holes, pushed
into the closet.
rumble had finally started.
of fairies and dykes
were no long dead skeletons
sang elegies to the brave
to wrought iron gates
ones that live in fear
ones forced to marry,
home and hide
father, uncle and brother.
to wrought iron gates
in Western cities,
sang elegies to the brave,
like paillard with bats,
and aged while staring
country in the face,
for a marriage license
eucalyptus and grass.
night I had one list
reveries to read,
sitting at the back of the bus,
the puppet merchants
sell our dreams short.
the hurricane approach,
did they blame us
another swine pandemic?
night I took up arms
called to prayer,
Sergio Ortiz grew up in Chicago, studied English literature at Inter-American
University, and philosophy at World University. He was an ESL teacher most of his life, but also worked as a Daily Living
Skills Instructor for the El Paso Lighthouse for the Blind. His work has been published in: Salt River Review,
Modern English Tanka, and Yellow Medicine, The Battered Suitcase, Shipwright, Loch
Raven Review, Rust and Moth, and over fifty other journals. Ortiz now lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico.