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"Gold Rush," watercolor by Viestarts Aistars

Diana M. Raab



Displaced Watermelons


Early this morning on the beach

frequented by wandering canines,


joggers and hungry seagulls,

fifty feet from the crashing waves,


round and untouched on the ivory sand

were three whole watermelons,


one-hundred feet apart.

My dog and I wonder


from where came these titanic fruits

so out of place, so bizarre,


so begging to be sliced open,

so starved for attention.


We pivot around and resume our walk

down the beach towards the espresso stand


where I will order two shots

as if this were any ordinary day.




You Are What You Think About


What floats through my mind now

drifted through it one day in sixth grade—

I wanted to spread kisses

across the bark of a willow tree.


It’s still possible to believe

nourishing happened when our eyes

linked on the porch where grandpa read

his folded New York Times and

waved to the passersby who

cared to look at him sitting beneath

the window where years earlier

grandma took her life.


We will never know why.




Diana M. Raab is a memoirist and poet who teaches writing at the UCLA Writers’ Program and the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. Her latest book is Dear Anais: My Life in Poems for You (2008) with a preface by Tristine Rainer, which won the 2009 Reader Views Award and the 2009 Allbooks Review Award for Poetry. Her memoir, Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal (2007) was the recipient of numerous honors including the 2008 National Indie Award for Excellence in Memoir and the 2009 Mom’s Choice Award for Adult Nonfiction. Her poetry and essays have appeared widely in anthologies, literary journals and magazines.


Christian Ward



Uganda: A Landscape


The moon has slipped into a coma,

leaving packs of cloud, rhino-grey,

to roam the savannah of sky.


Down below, acacia trees taut

and thin as a giraffe’s neck watch

over a watering hole. Lily pads

skim the surface like the reflection

of stars.


A movement in the water.

The sunken eyes of a hippo start to rise.

The air thickens with flies. A distant

stars starts to twinkle, anticipating change.


The shadows of lions brush against

the trees.




Christian Ward is the author of Bone Transmissions (Maverick Duck Press, 2009). His work currently appears in Sage Trail, Grasslimb and Sein Und Werden and is forthcoming in Envoi and The Emerson Review.


Josh Stewart



In A Perfect World

     “If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.” – Yogi Berra


In a perfect world,

there would be no need for poetry.


Those like me would slip

through some narrow gap in reality

and emerge


desireless, content

in our new routines of office jobs

and married lives.

When we lay down at night

to confront our ceilings,


the darkness and the silence

wouldn’t need to be filled,

wouldn’t bother us

in the least.






When the apocalypse comes,

I don’t think I’ll have time

to scream and run,

board my windows and

ration food.

I will be busy

stepping in slow motion

over still bodies,


ignoring the explosions

and chaos.

I will walk through the flames

like a ghost,

oblivious to the fiery tongues

licking flesh from bone.


I will be a skeleton

who refuses to stride

into the afterlife,


so I will linger here,

walking empty sidewalks

until I reach their end.

I will sit at the edge of the world,

unwilling to fall off,


and I will stare into eternity,

thinking of a way

to grasp it in ten bony fingers.




Josh Stewart is a University of Toronto graduate, assistant editor for Inscribed ~ A Magazine For Writers, and author of the chapbook Invention of the Curveball. Josh likes hats, sushi, and Tuesdays.


Holly Virginia Clark


Survival Affirmation for the American Pessimist



Imagine Thursday: a line

to the Blue Note clots the sidewalk,

so passersby amble along the curb,

as traffic pulses inches from their toes.

Cabs razor around the corner

without pausing on red. 


Imagine the drivers, imagine all of us,

putting our faith in the reel editors

splicing together each crucial frame,

but how often does one end up

on the cutting room floor?

How often is it the top stadium stair

and we’re falling backwards?


It’s not just that we don’t die:

it’s that we think we won’t

and we’re right.  We keep waking up

and falling asleep again.  We keep

mounting the stairs to Death’s sprawling attic,

glancing at the stacked boxes of rue and reparations

we’ll sort someday, then busting

straight through the roof hatch.


Next thing we know, we’re guzzling

tequila on the roof of the house on Ravine Street.

We’re hooting at the cracks

of guns ricocheting around the dead-end

by the river.  We’re teetering barefoot

along the gutter and peering downtown,

scoping the skyline for hiccups of smoke

from fires the looters started.


And if someone was running,

shot in the shoulder, we didn’t know it,

if someone stumbled to the front

of the long line to heaven, we

were braiding each others’ hair,

writing poems, getting married—

poor Death doing pratfalls

to the laughter of our living.





Holly Virginia Clark earned her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in 2007.  Her poetry was most recently anthologized in Poem, Revised, a publication of Marion Street Press.


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