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"Real," photography by Eleanor Bennett

Changming Yuan


Illustrative Illusions





still hanging

on that twig

like a deflated crow

is the tree’s last leaf

the shadow of your soul

that refuses to fall

to the autumn ground

instead, it is getting ready to fly away

into another valley

where winter is delayed

or whitewashed





Wedged deep

Between dawn and dusk

Is an autumn moon

That kept down-hurling

Its acupuncture needles

Onto my consciousness

Before winter comes

To cover my inner land

With blue snowflakes

As in the Arctic

Though no one has ever seen them



Changming Yuan, 4-time Pushcart nominee and author ofChansons of a Chinaman, grew up in rural China and published several monographs before moving to Canada. With a PhD in English, Yuan teaches in Vancouver and has poetry appear in nearly 500 literary publications across 19 countries, including Asia Literary Review, Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Cortland Review, Exquisite Corpse, Redactions, RHINO and Sentence.  

Yevgeniy Levitskiy






She read me Plato on Thanksgiving

as I painted a cornucopia

with one hand and

pretended it was

an allegory of a cave. 


She read me Poe on my birthday,

blew out my candles,

and ate the last piece of cake,

all the while never asking

me what really killed

Fortunato–the wine

or Montresor.


She read me Pushkin on Mother’s Day

on the ride back home,

a poem about love

in the coldest regions

of the world, but

never once glancing

in the front mirror.


She read me Plath on Valentine’s Day

and talked about finding poppies

in her mother’s vase and

buying a bouquet of

flowers to plant

in memory of

dead poets.


She read me Palahniuk on Christmas Eve

before breaking my

index finger, claiming

that only in pain,

can she truly love me.




Yevgeniy Levitskiy has received a B.A. in English-Education from Brooklyn College, and is currently pursuing a M.A. His writing has been published in The Junction, Jellyfish Whispers, Pyrokinection, and The Mind[less] Muse. His forthcoming publications include The Books They Gave Me (Free Press/Simon & Schuster), Downer Magazine, Everyday Other Things, Eunoia Review, Bare Back Magazine, Poydras Review, Bursting Plethora, Misfits’ Miscellany, and ken*again. He is currently at work on a middle-grade novel.

Jane Ozkowski



You Waited for Me; I Didn’t Come.


I sat in the cafe across

the street from where we were supposed to meet

watching you watch the city’s crooked teeth

eat at sun. I watched you waiting

without hope as a woman

with a shopping cart crossed in front of you,

her glass bottles rattling a flat

love song as she passed.

The sky steadily filled with ink

and I watched you waiting,

streets fading

until you disappeared.



Jane Ozkowski is a Canadian writer currently living in Edinburgh.  She holds a BA in creative writing from York University.  Jane Ozkowski’s most recent work appears in Poetry is Dead.  She can be found online at


Alexandra Smyth



Let’s deviate:


your pumice hands           my mouth a smear of poppies

we twist and tangle           in the dust,

sweating with mouths      listening in tongues.


My voice is the tea kettle whistling.

Your eyes two foxes who have just entered the hen house.

Feast against me.


The air is cashmere.  I stretch. 

Our bodies make letters. Yours an A

mine to my great aunt Virginia.


I plus your A

            we dot T’s

cross eyes.


Spread me across the table

greedy like butter and jam

do it quiet

                        so we don’t wake the bees.




Alexandra Smyth lives in Brooklyn, NY.  She is a receptionist by day and a MFA in Creative Writing candidate at the City College of New York by night. When Alexandra is not answering the phone or writing poems, she can be found biking around the outer boroughs, starting craft projects she never finishes, and hanging out with her black cat, Bandini. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Alarmist, Neon Literary Magazine, Rufous City Review, Specter Magazine, and This Zine Will Change Your Life.

Mark J. Mitchell



A Sonata of Sonnets



“Not every end is a goal. The end of a melody is not its goal;

however, if the melody has not reached its end,

it would not have reached its goal. A parable.”

                              —Friedrich Nietzsche                                        




One step past memory lies melody,

Its own country. Loose notes laced one by one

But held taut by music’s will. It’s undone

By bass built out of pasts, played by memories.

Elaborate notations attempt to cage

What came before: The half-forgotten tear

In time’s fragile fabric. The tune can bear

More than you can. Every lined, white page


Opens like a window, like a transom

That lets meaning, almost, not quite, slip through,

Like smoke, like memory. An improvised

Tune on a sax holds your soul for ransom,

Reveals your past but somehow makes it new.

A master punishment that time devised.



“Hay muy poco angeles que canten.”

“Very few angels can sing.”


               —Federico Garcia Lorca,  Casida of the Weeping





These silent angels give away their age—

They’re afraid to sing, afraid to dare

A tune, a note too delicate to wear

Beneath their haloes. They’re tied to a page

Like sinners chained to their sins. They’ve become

Metronomes, just counting eternity,

Certain and complacent, because they see

God all the time. And how they can count: One


Two. One and always. They can’t improvise

For all their holiness. It wouldn’t do.

Time’s signature is all that these handsome

Not quite divine creatures have left. Revise

The time, perhaps, but to sing something new?

Well, clicks St. Michael, it just isn’t done.



“Da brach sieab, schaute hinaus verschrankte

 Die Hande; wunschte sich ein langs Buch—“                    


“With that she broke off, gazed outside, locked

Her hands together, wished for a long book.”

—Rainer Maria Rilke, Piano Practice, New Poems, 1908





A broken note hangs in the air:

A turtled spoon trembles. You see

The music. Her hands hover. She

Exhales, caresses the keys with care.


Timid chords begin to engage

The surface of coffee. One

Sugar packets content is spun

Across the table. The image,


All white, of a saint, a surprise,

Emerges on blue cloth and you

Begin to remember someone

You kissed just once. Those perfect eyes

Have appeared in dreams, always new.

Quiet, a fresh tune has begun.




Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver, George Hitchcock and Barbara Hull. His work has appeared in various periodicals over the last thirty five years, as well as the anthologies Good Poems, American Places,Hunger Enough, and Line Drives. His chapbook, Three Visitors will be published by Negative Capability Press later this year and his novels, The Magic War and Knight Prisoner will be published in the coming months. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and film maker Joan Juster. Currently he's seeking gainful employment since poets are born and not paid.                              



J. P. Dancing Bear



The Consumption of Time


He never sees her body in the faces

of clocks, nor does she see his body

in the clouds that go trouting by,

silvered as they are.


He sees her face in the housings

of clocks, the ticking of her heart

in the motion of hidden

springs and cogs.


She believes his face is the moon

or another satellite of similar size;

always able to tell time

by its phases.


Then it is not even faces

but eyes, that are themselves

miniatures of dials, of instruments,

of glass. An orbiter white as teeth


rises and sets with each lid.

She sees his mouth and only that,

lips revealing a row of planets

and a soft red bed to lie upon.


Rifts in time plank the universe—

Do you remember? she asks.

The gesso moon rises again,

full of his lips across her sky.



J. P. Dancing Bear is editor for the American Poetry Journal and Dream Horse Press.  Bear also hosts the weekly hour-long poetry show, Out of Our Minds, on public station, KKUP and available as podcasts.  His eleventh poetry collection is Family of Marsupial Centaurs and other birthday poems (Iris Press, 2012).


Marjorie Manwaring



Escape Artist



I'll be a juggler. No,

a swimmer. Manacled


like Houdini. Able to maneuver

my way out of any sort of box


even underwater, even dangling

from a high rise.


Did you know as a boy

he picked up needles with the lids of his eyes?


For my first act I will wire walk across Niagara Falls

how I love to listen to you oooh and aahhh


as I tiptoe across life's gaping chasms.

Meanwhile. Pssst. Keep your eyes peeled


I've rigged my balancing pole to turn into a rabbit

after I nail this triple Salchow dismount.


Thank you, thank you, and now

that we've all had a moment


will my sparkling assistant

please draw her sword?


Ladies and gentlemenI present to you a real live

levitating man. No strings (witness her blade slashing air)


no mirrors! And again, please bear with us as my dear assistant

fetches her theremin, accompanies my departure


with an otherworldly opus . . . Oh yes,

oh yes, it is quite lovely up here


though I'll miss the one-armed unicyclist's derring-do.

How I revel in this life as a spectacle


even as I become smaller

and smaller to my earthbound audience below.




rpm, 1980




           my new


           (shut door)

                     (close curtains)


                     Cruisin'  45

                               (over and over)


                      me spinning Smokey

            spinning me


through the thick

            of what drifts


                       through bedroom

                                 window screens


            mothers' Come home calls

                       August's sprinklered heat.


           I see

                       what my vanity


           mirror reflects

turntable spinning


          knickknacks, figurines

          how my night-


gown clings

           and falls


           my hips moving

           (this way)


           my head tilting

                        (that way)


                     how his voice leaves

me spinning



                                a giant super-


                      imposed on rows

                                (Dutch milkmaid)


                                (southern belle)

                  of purse-lipped storybook dolls.




Marjorie Manwaring lives in Seattle, where she is a freelance writer/editor, co-editor of the online poetry and art journal the DMQ Review, and member of the Floating Bridge Press editorial board. Her chapbook, What to Make of a Diminished Thing, was published by Dancing Girl Press in Spring 2012, and a full-length poetry collection will be published by Mayapple Press in February 2013.

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Summer 2012 Issue