on that twig
like a deflated crow
is the tree’s last
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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,
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 www.janeozkowski.com.
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
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.”
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
Hande; wunschte sich ein langs Buch—“
“With that she broke off, gazed outside,
Her hands together, wished for a long book.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke, Piano Practice, New
III. FIRST VARIATION
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).
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
Meanwhile. Pssst. Keep your
—I've rigged my
balancing pole to turn into a rabbit
after I nail this triple Salchow
Thank you, thank you, and now
that we've all had a moment
will my sparkling assistant
please draw her sword?
Ladies and gentlemen—I 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
with an otherworldly opus .
. . Oh yes,
oh yes, it is quite lovely up
though I'll miss the one-armed
How I revel in this life as
even as I become smaller
and smaller to my earthbound
me spinning Smokey
through the thick
of what drifts
mothers' Come home calls
August's sprinklered heat.
what my vanity
how my night-
my hips moving
my head tilting
how his voice leaves
a giant super-
imposed on rows
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.