Gold Plated Fix | John Covello

I think I should panel the bathroom in dogwood
paint cumulus clouds on the tiles on the floor
diaphanous curtains surrounding the shower
and make a new toilet of bricks

And then I'll refrigerate all of my clothing
except for the ones that I'll need in the morning
and throw out that dish that's been sitting for weekends
and make a new promise that sticks

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Adjudicated knobby knees | John Covello

Befitting these activities

So make like Swiss around a cheese

And keep the car in neutral

The Cassavetes, Castavets

They’re clicking on the castanets

And funny thing about the eyes

They look just like the milkman’s

And Xanax is as Xanadu

With Sammy Cahn and Kubla too

He keeps a disappointment book

And doesn’t miss a meeting

Now comes the time to lose control

In alleys where they never bowl

And finally I’ll sell my Soul

But keep the R&B stuff

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The Untuned Piano | Charles Rafferty

The wires go slack at different rates until my favorite song sounds as though I’m staring at a beautiful woman with somebody else’s glasses. The room in which it waits has been arranged: There is a white rug that makes me worry about my cabernet, there is a grandfather clock that loses a minute every two weeks, and there is an old map of Europe, the year of which is 1750. Almost none of the countries remain on the map, and those that do have bled beyond the borders I have always known. The piano has become something I have to dust, and my reflection in the wood makes me think of being underwater — the blurry depths, the discordant breath of the risen. Still, it will always be the perfect place for a vase of flowers, no matter their state of freshness.

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The Problem With Abundance | Charles Rafferty

The Library of Congress started out with 740 books. Now there are 838 miles of filled shelves. At one time we could have contained what the library contained. Now we are awash in what we can never read. Sitting here on my bench, among the pigeons and the indigent, I feel like a monkey about to enter a freighter breaking apart on the American sandbar. It is packed to the ceiling with bananas and plums. The weatherman calls for flies.

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Ellipses | Charles Rafferty

You leave out the boring stuff. With you, it’s all car chases and sex scenes. You are three gunshots squeezed off in the distance, surrounded by silence and the expectation of sirens. You depart the page like an echo, like the last of the snow converting to mud, like the three birds that lifted off their wire and flew away from me this morning, as if the matter could be settled so easily. You are three ants threading my yard in search of the perfect crumb. You are the belt of Orion. You are the redaction, the burned love letter, the knock of the bill collector. You are three darts thrown over a cliff in search of the lurching sea …

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Symphony of Myself | Jennifer Juneau

An instrument strung in detention. 
In word, susurrant.

This composition trembles something
glowing. Shy maybe.

Childlike and ego-wasted.
I conduct a prize-worthy

piece only I heed. Attempt the triolin:
three-stringed melody ablaze.

The confession of a chord
fizzles out the quartet.

Can someone deck this moment in a tux?
A long glimmering dress?

Comes a generosity in my state-of-the-art
precinct of flux

as I dispatch notes hired by me.
I am the ovation I crave

Musical chasm I graze and erupt.

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Portrait | Jennifer Juneau

Her elliptical figure was a mill for technique.
When her sketched body spoke in charcoal
your disdain for beauty was divulged

at your fingertips so that the creative brain in pursuit
of attention nullified brilliance.  How blind you are.
Who wouldn’t want to flaunt a siren?

Profuse eccentricity is a roughhouse for the eye
and despite how often she sent you scrimmaging
in perplexity for perfection

you returned to the Molotov cocktail that is her assemblage.
What am I compared to this splitch of art?
Ambition meanders with subzero hands,

the under-ripe brow, over-lit,
an uncomely task of erasing shade to make shadow.
Just look at her mouth.

Can aptitude, like water, be held long
before it seeps through the fingers of self-doubt?
What if I spoke with a mouth like that?

A farrago of mud syllables governing the ticket,
your gravy train wrung with smudge, why cling
to the grind of major complacence?

Moist palm, rain-sheared & the homely house
of ransack.  She and I had something else in common
other than the umbrage of your fine slack.

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recidivist | Tree Riesener


some are baptized in water


cut the ribbon dive deep and come up dripping into that act of worship known as followed by light refreshments last call last fling last gasp postmodern postmortem


go down several times grab the brass ring and pull the trapdoor up cool then almost shivery and you’re ready for the apres-dip the party game mouth-to-mouth the sops-in-wine

you need moisture what about a funny uncle with tears but if tears have dried up how about bread crumbs how about earth hey how about the rose like a female evangelist with lots of eye makeup the revered rose the silver-striped rose considered more beautiful than shit and piss (but the old saint knew better)


leads us to the whole subject of ashes for some are baptized in fire

mark your face with ashes of pink net dresses unfunny valentines champagne labels last year’s recycling

stuttering robes of white all flamed and neutered in the urn be born anew in the sumptuary laws of the tortured coal brothers—lump nut egg stoke cannel (oh cannel, sing like a bird, lump you old woman’s darling) pulverized boiled turbinized generated transformed condensed


some come to baptism late and hope for the best

we aren’t let to slip easily happily into this world this praying for an easy death what’s that all about passages are not intended to be painless

becoming insensitive might be an answer we could add something to the prayer a pousse-café take something from the first stanza or even before versed demero twilight sleep

maybe even echo me and bring me back elisha lying there face over my face legs sprawled open to pain you on me me dead on my back sneezing sevenly way back to life

if I shake off the water like a new-drowned dog but plunge right in again if I dive through the flame and only come up ashy as a naked saint if I ring the angelus bell hidden under the corset

if I do that just that will that qualify will that suffice is that enough

to baptize me back to beginning again

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that assyrian frieze at the british museum | Tree Riesener

I know I’m there 
in the lower left corner
but I can’t figure out 
if I’m the chained captive
the child in her arms 
or the assyrian king

that woman and child 
tired and thirsty
tear-stained faces 
trying to breathe
in the dust 
from the chariot’s horses
that little boy with stumps for arms

was I the one who watched
used them to balance the composition

if I am that one
I must struggle not to sleep

someone said someone would always be there
any time there were two or three
but it’s genghis khan day at the museum
and I think they’ve locked the building 
and all gone home
know what I’m saying

poison for angels I said 
and the man shook his head

never had so much call for angel poison
don’t really keep it in stock
but here’s a bit to tide you over
mind, it can strike back and destroy the unwary
so be sure you read the warning on the box
before you go around poisoning angels

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[sonnet]: Light Degree Zero | Ali Znaidi

Reddish lice: Simulacra of fireflies: Seeds under the wings of a crow. 
This is a dark night, a space when all those emotions were made 
fragile by a faint moon, and the caws obfuscated the lyricism of 
the nightingale, but still the shimmer of fireflies underneath the wings
left me haloed in the luminous sheen. The fragile feathers fluttered 
in successions like spring pollen or cigarette puffs from vulgar prostitutes. 
Swallowed up into the belly of the crow; myths; or those gyrations inside history 
were not digested, hence spewed. {Myths don’t grow in the dark because 
they contain seeds of rebellion}. Fireflies tried to contaminate all the parts 
of the crow’s wings, trying to create a luminescent crow, but in vain. We all 
know that perfect mundane light is imagined but can never exist. Therefore, 
we have a general distaste for the crow; that poor bird, hence bias surges. 
But, this is not a bias: Light is a revolutionary trope and history never began 
without introducing a sprinkling {or varieties} of “lighght,” to quote Aram Saroyan.

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[sonnet]: towards a paratextual theory | Ali Znaidi

A seminal manifesto articulated in 
a landscape of punctuation marks, 
arranged in seminal movements.
You can extract the text DNA from 
the annotations on the parchment. 
A history of commas revealed. 
A historiography of commas converted into 
Morse Code. The "paratextual"
is not a medium, but a contour of being. 
A moon without a halo does not exist 
and never has existed. You can plagiarize 
some beams from the moon, annotate them, 
then put them in a brown envelope. 
Although opaque, the beams reveal 
a symphony of an annotated being.

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Imagism (with “spot of time!”™) | Chris Stroffolino

This is just to say
it’s been over a year
& I still have that silly
4 ounce bottle of water
with a Bank
of America label on it—
a gift not poison, a souvenir….
& once upon a time
it was normal
for banks to have
and even public restrooms….

Bottled water
is more honest
for a bank
than the image
of flowing water….
(besides, the white chickens)

But even though banks
seem to store your money,
they love the free flow
of capital better
enough to put water fountains
in their corporate headquarters

as they discuss closing more branches
and making more money
on paperless e-banking
before esophagus gulps
that don’t need whites
only signs….

I guess I can throw
the bottle away now
(do you need a selfie of it to verify?
you could probably Google it

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I Do This I Do That Poem (April 2016) | Chris Stroffolino

It’s 7:12 PM on facebook, which means 10:12 PM in Brooklyn
I guess it wasn’t a bad day on facebook.
I saw a karaoke night video of Mark Zuckerberg singing
“Come together, right now, under me.”
& tried to mumble something 
about how fighting police brutality
is also resisting mind-body dualism.

Your facebook persona is scattered
on the pages of others who would be happier
if they didn’t have to see each other’s posts
So, trying not to feel I’m slumming it on facebook,
I post a petition to re-establish
The City of Oakland Arts & Culture Commission.
It gets one like. Another one gets 13 likes:
10 by women, if that means anything
(but not so many self-identified poets like it).
"wasting your wit on Facebook." 
"wasting your wit with the poets." 
"sorry for dripping so much pain on your wall." 
"and sorry for trickling trauma…."

Maybe they were trying to get romantic without dancing
Or it’s a call for action to surfeit 
on the kind of miscommunication facebook encourages
as if to prove a poem, by comparison, 
can heal the wounds facebook makes.
In the dressing room, I try on the clothes you look great in
To show you how bad I look in them as my way of praising you
Or do you troll in hopes of rebuilding a shattered community 
Like a couplet in search of a sonnet to end:
I only believe in “each one, teach one”
If I also say “each one, beseech one.”
and it’s no worse than living at the movies….

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Ecosystem | Anna Rabinowitz

That somber greens — ferns, conifers, cycads — flittered
              with fruit and bloom
That the earth’s face pinked, reddened, honeycombed glow
That angiosperm came to outnumber gymnosperm
That they seduced insect, bat and bird, flaunting colors
             and smelling good
That they multiplied, hybridized, colonized east to far,
             north to near, valley to peak
That brush crowded out burr oak and big bluestem grass
That weed evicted sweet brown-eyed Susan
That buckthorn unseated cream gentian and violet bush clover
That there had been prairie-fringed orchid, Indian grass,
             large-leafed aster
That there had grown starry campion and bottlebrush buckeye
That there had flown great spangled fritillaries, Edwards’ Hairstreaks
That Cooper’s hawks, eastern bluebirds, Appalachian browns
             had manned the trees
That what was mis-taken reappeared
That flowers strummed in the trees
That they made it and made it, new, now, and again
That it is possible, possible, spreading, and so


from Present Tense

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Wrath and Roll | Anna Rabinowitz

My soul is not itself,
A loud jargogle invades the plague of contingency.
Of course, I often deliciate in a state of confusion,
Especially when I wildly corrade detritus with illusion.
Many collages create mayhem, but these days folks
Giggle and kench, hosting bitter tears in their eyes.
No one seeks the mockery or scorn of ludibrious games.
Our ailing world is dedicated to erase sanguinolency.
Hence the decline of bloodshed in our current wars.
Drones, our best to date grade A, silent, unmanned aer-
Ial vehicles, our sleek UAVs, aces of launch and leave,
Save lives. SAVE LIVES. Hip, hip, hooray, yippee!?
 Remote control: surf the Web, site define
In its prime: eye on the screen, eye in the sky.
Get it down cold in comfy seats at safe old Creech.
Skill the scan, learn the drill and clinch their cease.
The shift is done, a setting sun, and home
To ground round patties on the grill, a jog with the dog,
A kiss for kids, drowsy, and wiped, hitting the sheets,
Plus shades down for a fuck, a hug, and a good night’s sleep.
We’ve navigated a boundless longinquity.
Life is luculent.
War is kind.

from Words On the Street

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Night Painting | Kostas Anagnopoulos


At this hour mind is all
Night is a closed book 
You fit its dimensions
This open book is awake 
Other books are dreaming  

Night on repeat 
Plenty of air to go around
While time passes time by 
I'm no gentleman 
Or not the kind you would expect
Not always agreeable 
Nightshade close to the root
Daily intake of vegetables 
More darkness 
The tooth is still under the pillow  

I have some delirium for the moon    
Dropping low
It takes up the whole frame 
Even at this distance 
You let yourself fall 
Into it 
Visiting a dream moon
But come right back 

Someone will find the universal plait  
With all the new consonants 
Unfamiliar mouths
Shooting off all at once  

This is your stop 
They didn’t call it 
Someone keeps tying the same knot  
Around your neck
Adding an amulet  
That dream you mentioned that got bunched up in the sheets— 
Was it repulsive?  
It's okay if you can’t remember 
Maybe nothing to do with you 

Semi-precious stones
Spill out of your pockets 
Bouncing across the gymnasium floor  
You’ll need words for your pictures 
And music for the words

Now come in out of the cold 
You've had enough
You knew better
Or you know it now
There's no weather left 

Then the wind smacked the tops of trees 
And the roofs just for fun  
Gutters wish day laborers well 
Give them bread 
English lessons 
Bless the sewers 
Backing up in their dreams 
Outside it's biblical 
Old Mr. Moran is out there propping up the young elms  
The city can't be bothered 
Some assholes backed their ford escort into another tree 
And took off 
Why isn't that a felony? 
Ann is catching up on her watching
Lori is doing something musical 
In her studio 
Jesse looks for houses in the country for a dollar 
Carol sleeps on the floor (no pillow) 
Olympia has imagined a flying violin case 
We all meet in some place
Plus Hellenistic philosophers on a trip to Egypt 
Getting it right because they’re dead
These are facts not interpretations
Dead guys don't need to speak up   
You’re on the wrong platform 
Cross over

Now you’re cooking 
Is there a patron saint for bedbugs? 
A bright bunch 
What’s out there then again what isn't?
Lugged it between Providence and NY
Two bags of dust  

In an expensive backyard in Connecticut  
Many building blocks 
Stacked in the basement 
Get rid of them 
A voice concludes 
The word doesn’t get the attention it should  
What word?
The base hides for good reason 
The doting sun on the other hand is hit or miss
At least for now  
Scram why don’t you 

Women struck by arrows 
Crisp bed sheets draped over foliage 
One pretends while the other takes her own life
Who knows why 
A pile of leaves
Floating on the Taconic
They have power issues
Some arrows are just for show
The Sebastians move forward 
One full of life
Another always angry  
She’ll be left behind until she’s loved
Inescapable love 
You don’t want to miss out on her last breath 
Anger masked in pain is puzzling 

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Snow Poem | Kostas Anagnopoulos

When the snow stopped 
The gift of olive oil was halfway around the world 
It’s Sunday to us, Monday to them
I come from a family of teachers but I skipped a generation 
What kind of person am I?
If I'm sore at air and water
I'll harden like a snowball
Escape is impossible 
Even with some loop-de-loop moves 
Is snow still a gift in the middle of the week?
Ice formed on Thursday 
Must step away from reach   
Or hold the door for someone
Just not forever
You don’t really know the facts
Who does?  
That you exist in every split second
But not too awake
Because your preference is always to get back in bed
Snow shortens distances 
Branches snap 
More trees will be cut down for a gas line in the spring 
Sheets of ice on the Hudson 
Spotted from a moving train
Mouthing some words
Forming enough notes for a winter cocktail   
A musical score you might say 
I’m not very musical
Though I hope to die listening to Bach   
That idea might shift  
Any number of poems with snow in them
Jesse brought back some artificial snow 
From Las Vegas, $6 dollars for a dime bag
We added water it was heavy 
The dog licks us in his excitement
All new in his eyes
Tips of ears get cold quickly  
Old accidents resurface 
In the knees 
I wouldn’t be here without accidents 
Jesse is messy  
His season is fall 
He juggles heaps 
I thought spring was the best season 
For suicide   
I’ll address summer next

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Attachment | Kostas Anagnopoulos

By rote I wrote 
Attached the words and their prescriptions  
More balls in the air 
I wrote about the flood that washed up all the books 
I spelled them out before they were gone 
Now time is up
Flooded with common expectations 
Keep them away from your face   

Wanting and loving are different 
I'm slumped over my own bones 
Antique bric-a-brac
Decades of sitting or lying down  
Spelling something out
Dreams of poems are up for grabs
Concentrate on people 
Dreaming or no
Their silhouettes if not their features
Some are dead
Shake out their coins    
There's no ghost story 
No greeting cards for spirits  

Dreams keep for weeks
Years even
Now awake  
The United States in blue and green 
All its earthly possessions 
More trouble than they're worth 

Poems squeezed out across the states 
Flying through the air   
Wheels outnumber their spins 
But who’s counting 
I can write a poem cheaply 
In my sleep  

B is a poet of possibility 
Have you met? 
Her words taught me English  
I hope the Dinah Washington stamp will be available soon
Saturday afternoon B recited her longest poem to an audience of six 
While the rest of us drank Pinot Grigio and chit chatted on the mezzanine 
Though who really knows how to chit chat anymore?
Everywhere you look: more matter 
B offered to leave 
She wanted to be alone with her luggage  

All days have hidden moons 
Up at the top 
Behind the steeples 
Seen by a few with attics
Poverty is the economy of the rich 
No matter how you wring it 
Ones with more fuck over ones with less 
Thank the Greeks for that 
I’ve been writing to the dead 
God and Mohammed both dead  
Look at all the people still at it  
On the opposite side of the sun 
I follow the sun to California
I’m dutiful  
My father said don’t go there 
When he meant go there 

It’s going to be a wet one
Then some dry ones
Do you ever think about your work?
No, seriously 
Words themselves are work
And there’s economy  
As you know words are free 
That’s why they keep coming
Causing cancer, WSB reminded us long ago 
No end in sight 
Poets only have each other
Though many hate each other 
Who else gets it?
Tea drinking types? 

B believes poetry will save the world 
If we get that far 
I’m taking bets 
But poets, I beg you
Don’t write novels
House sparrows have tiny heads 
Unlike European starlings
I was wrong about the trumpet flowers  
Today I worry about greasy fingerprints 
Getting on everything

The sky looks down 
Listening to us
We are so boring
Why does it tolerate us?  
Your long lost friends can hear you 
Staying in touch isn't easy 
You buy the newspaper
It tells you everything in a nutshell
Who died, what they did 
Why you didn't know them
How could you? 
Those people outnumber you   
Forget the subway
Start with the ones you know 
Where to now?

Which eye is bigger?   
Look harder 
I started off so clear-headed 
Where does knowing get you 
Forget certainty 
Get lost, they say 
Don’t look in the mirror 
It's all happening beyond your reflection   
Orpheus got lost
He did it for the press
One thought knocks the other off its pedestal
It's last in a long line of punch lines 
Greasy fingers pointing at things  
Are words good for nothing?  
I feel a memoir coming on
Not my own
Not a poem   
When words are all used up
There's always touch 
People or birds 
Let me clarify 
I don’t have a thing for birds 
I’m fond of bird books 
I find flight fascinating 
I wish for it 
Everything everywhere

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Bending the Muse | John Fitzgerald

Okay, this is it, shut everything out 
the sounds, the heat, infernal visions.
Relax the spot behind the eyes,
calm the heartbeat, head, and fingers

If something’s flying, let it pass,
unless it makes the wind chime tingle.
Cut the light — especially the light.
It likes to sneak in unaware,

takes awhile to arrive;
a jug of sayings weighs it down
(a tendency also apparent in waiters) 

It’s vital that the cup be drained 
of any stale solutions it holds.

All this done it won’t be long.
Quiet now, here comes the ghost,
that thin, slow spiral playing bones

The pen perks up, the pages shudder,
not letting on, but it shows.
I can’t contain myself to keep from asking 
why it appears so empty-handed

“Haven’t you forgotten something? 
You were supposed to fill this hole!
I dumped an Irish coffee for this
That’s it, I’m going for the bottle”

The specter takes a leak in the cup,
says: Here. that’s all you deserve!

“Now, wait a minute! This won’t do!
I’ve been waiting! Seems like years!
You'd better give me what I came for
Or that cup won’t be the only one pissed!”

But it says: Sorry, gotta go
There’s lots of other poets, ya know
And if you can’t treat me with more respect
I may not come back again!

For just a second, I’m afraid.
No more word play, no more lines.
But as she turns, I scream, “Enough! 
Then I guess there won’t be any others!” 

I smack the sudden face of fate,
absorb it with a fountain pen 
and roll the essence in a paper.

I may want it to work once more,
and if it won’t, I’ll smoke it later. 

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The Temple | Krysia Jopek

How will I know when I have arrived
To the stone temple worthy and on time?

Will the blackbirds lose their velvet wings
Or should I search for a more subtle sign?

I’ve lost the words for betrayal and loss.
With new knowledge in hand I’ll be more kind.

The steep stone steps leading to the altar
Almost impossible to mount and climb.

The empty book empties lost paper birds;
Their words burn my fingers and eyes.

Should I write a rationale to explain
How the poem should spill its odd music?

Or should I sing with broken syllables
In praise of a different kind of divine?

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In the Long Stillness of Quiet Days | James D. Autio

Slithered into my beard are folded
and gave great beams of darkness

ravished by distortion tubes and do
song and gave of such puncture turn

that does waft through such narrow
passage as do look and are draught

of living hand are webbed between
the margins stretching who pitched

and trembled for the long stillness
of quiet days that both of us thought

welded like a reader voice soothes
in autumn felt echoes of a first life.

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“…though this loft be of a blushy bent” | James D. Autio

I arise though round in vaults
                                                    along each edge of my clumsy
streams and gestures lift to a
                                                    posture peach beam plump it
turns cold in the upper skies
                                                    reaches of soft space pushes
in song through the dough of
                                                    my ears the measure cadence
is made by angles this lilt put
                                                    shuffled to carry me along as
repetitions strung like a heart
                                                    bead hang short of idle strain
my climb through echo wings
                                                    we form alongside interludes
in action we flaunt to touches
                                                    doubled of a bliss lovers send
out in signatures waving with
                                                    mineral and thirst which has
essential state and has known
                                                    transparency a honeycombed
plexus of earthen bump thud
                                                    the shorter hedges the stalk 
of balconies overhanging city
                                                    bearing crouched and hidden
couples passed overhead by
                                                    circuits of wind and waterfall
the way warm canopies cool
                                                    while evening drops to fluent
healing curves as souls render.

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Cthulhu Alight In My Underpants | James D. Autio

An octopus imagined me as a chandelier
as a swallow rustling free seed from out

the sleep tossed. I’ve been turned onto
the freak out potato a cursive eccentricity

within the vivid mind hold of a well hung
octopus. Had he culled such the pretty 

replica out of oats and linen drawers. Has
he turned his thousandth eye inward for

where my breathing pool and sun put to
line clay. And he blew me my drifting ball

exposed. And baking my umbrella weary
of the primordial rain rich and weary of

wedding rice falling. I give leave to this
octopus who sown a packet to rich loam.

He lit a fire that torched my bit of behind.

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Swoon | James D. Autio

Sprout and see men. Kilt the windings
wrenched. I remember seeing you exposed

by an updraft. I remember profound belief
dangled of my busy imaginarium. And at 

this I felt dizzy. I reached down into a spirit
trough to gown in busty head in melt eyelid

that left a bit of foam. We are sprung from
the winter of our shaving slide. Beard

and bushy eyebrow. I thought you had been
given a new uplift a blossom that rose

of your droop and slump. There are layers
into joyfulness. Awesome peek into glee.

And you have restored my constellations
as I lay and pull burly quiver. I dissolve

into a thousandth kilt. Beheld now. Bent. 
So handsome. Slim to bag pipe in a pocket.

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Scrawl in the Herbal | James D. Autio

Tried to pack back a pasture. Lift 
the delightful nooks the heart delayed.

There is a little girl in a bottle of clouds.
There is a shiny elephant skin we wrap

ourselves in. There is a faded sponge
and a dirigible prepped for quick escape.

Had we been pierced of our inner tubes
that carry blood and our beauty squall.

I tried to apply a wedding dress to that
cloud girl. She crumpled to these casual

embrace I brought. I in turn withdraw.
For the hour ball has tempered more

than the grassy crevice glazed with dew.
My sleek foot was gentle and closed too.

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Not Reported | Tom Holmes

Mother, I have dreamt you
as artist, musician,
sculptor, poet, dancer, 
as one who arts often
across time and distance,
as artists tend to do,
and once as the evil
banker drawing interest, 
and you chose to leave me
with this empty ledger: 


Item				Mother		         Father
Age                                 20                             Not reported

Nationality                    USA                          Not reported
Ethnic Background      Not reported               "    "
Race                                White                            "    "

Physical Appearance	
Height                            Not reported          Not reported
Weight                                "    "                         "    "
Hair Color                           "    "                         "    "
Eye Color                             "    "                         "    "
Skin Color                            "    "                         "    "
Other Characteristics   Not reported         Not reported
Religion                           Not reported          Not reported
Education                             "    "                         "    "
Occupation                           "    "                         "    "
Talents, Hobbies,
And Interests                 Not reported                   Not reported

Worse, you chose to withhold from me
your passions to fill empty times.
While I’ve been imagining you 
living through space, you were boring
as one who reports everything,
on her tax forms, and as listless
as these unbearing ditto marks.

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Under the Spell of an Increasingly Deadly Vowel Movement | Tom Holmes

I did not show up today as I lost my E. 
Forward, backward, and right I could try,
but only into a past without you. 
So I did not show to that party,
now two months away from this May day,
and as I hastily go, soon April and stopping
in March, a month of mortality for I.
What can a body say among rot,
marrow, and loss? And now fatally lost, oh,
what an abysmally bad day and why?

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Anatomy of Warmth | Mitko Gogov

because the codes are scrambled,
because the real thought is replaced by
some seemingly important.

because we are generated Patriots
of the unwritten history.

that’s why we are crumbed dust
forgotten dying star
Mayan desire to be reborn

somewhere in the holes of the arteries
we act warm-up
such as bricks and glass wool
in electric furnace.

anatomy of warmth.

I identify myself in every single pore
of the trees,
and look for the center of my home
in the burst dry fields

then from the lumps I create the planetary system
the universe of hidden groundwater

– my Cosmos.

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Statue Maker | Barbara Ungar


I am dancing in a room full of naked men. When the music stops we all stop, like Statue Maker. Some of the men have erections. I avert my eyes. When the music resumes, we all dance again.


Dreamed I was Prince’s girlfriend. He asked me to come onstage during a show and recite the lyrics to a verse he’d forgotten. We got there early, went to make-up; girls were twirling in small rooms. One said to me, You should write his bio. We looked at each other—Why didn’t we think of that?! I’m going to be rich.


I’m alone on the porch. I hear, then see a motorbike drive through the kitchen. I go to the open door. A man in the hall stares back at me, expressionless. I try to pull the door shut. He puts his hand over the jamb.


Someone is trying to kill her. The color-coded threat alert is on red. Why doesn’t she disguise herself and get away?


Night. Water’s edge. I plan to kayak to a camp, but have no light, so might not be able to find it. Plus I have no paddle.


A fragment fished from sleep: Shall I continue to be Barbara?

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Endnotes to Coral Reefs | Barbara Ungar

1. Oases of ocean

2. Nocturnal tube worms, sea stars, sea urchins, feather dusters

3. Underwater cities

4. Hard, stony, or reef-building corals secrete a skeletal cup, or corralite

5. A single coral animal can live a thousand years

6. Coral spawn on only one night a year during a spring full moon

7. Soft corals: black, thorny, horny, sea fan, sea plume, sea pansy, organ-pipe

8. All corals are killed by water that is too warm

9. Egg bundles are round—bright red, pink or orange—half the size of small gumballs

10. Stress, pollutants, sediment, acidity, warming oceans, dynamite, poison

11. Budding corals reproduce asexually

12. What sailors called mermaids were likely dugongs

13. Some hard corals look like giant brains, cabbages or antlers

14. Bleaching (expelling the coral’s algae) and subsequent starvation

15. The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space

16. Corallite closely resembles human bone

17. Reefs take centuries to build destroyed in weeks

18. She plunged into the deep blue waters off Kirimati Island

19. It is other-worldly

20. like it snowed on the reef

21. bleached white ghosts popping up off the ocean floor

22. We are sticking our heads in the sand

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Know that I am Home | Thato Andreas Mokotjo

When you see me behind a mountain, know that I am home. I am just revealed and relaxed and enjoying peace of mind and the view. When you see me behind a plot, or farm, know that I am home. It’s time to harvest. We reap what we have been sowing

When you see me behind a hut which is made with mud and grass, know that I am home. A hut is built for many reasons and seasons. When you see me, herding cattle, know that I am home. It’s no rich man’s place. It is the land of the saint and of those who know balance and timing.

When you see me each evening, sitting under a peach tree, know that I am home and content.

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It was a Mistake | Thato Andreas Mokotjo

It was a mistake. I didn’t mean it. That day was meant for us. That day was made for love. We went to my house hoping to have fun. I can’t forget that smile, can’t stop thinking of those blue eyes. Yes, she was mine. It was a mistake. I didn’t mean it. It happened too fast. She disappeared in front of my eyes. I knew she was around but she was gone too long. I could wait no more. I searched for her throughout the house. I could find her nowhere. I had changes in my heart, a dark cloud in my head. When I heard strange sounds in the bathroom, I drew my gun believing there was a thug in that room. I could wait no more. I could not call out! I fired the gun. I fired the gun. I fired the gun and then I opened the door. I could not believe my eyes. How could this be? I swear, it was a mistake! I did not mean it. How can I say I am sorry in front of your dead body? I am sorry. I won’t have the joy of seeing your smile again, won’t have the luxury of staring into your eyes! I wish I wish you understood what happened. That day was a mistake. I didn’t mean it. I was a mistake. If you judge me, judge me according to my sorrows. This pain is strong. I can breathe no more. I did not mean it. It was mistake

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Tapestry Seat of a Forgotten Chair | Margo Mensing

Tapestry Seat of a Forgotten Chair

Mass   weight   doors rattling scare the curtains
you can only just have less
that was one way omnipotence plucked its feathers

The simple ones acting as if they were leaving anyway

I had happiness tell me the truth   Nostalgia is not for borrowing
Sap alive to serve   flows into our dreaming days
Shadow me    Remember the armadillo has some celestial intention

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Letter to Magdalene Slash | Dale Houstman

The red deer, tight-hipped and coveting
the diamond, stunning in emulation’s
wither of hawthorns, her shadow sweating 
in fall’s weathering beds. The minor poets remain 

a solid pillar of husbandry, annual banding 
of the swine’s urban peasantry.
The charm of profitable enclosure.
We shall all own a million chandeliers.

And that Pope with the face of a spider
convenes with congers in the endless Vatican drains
to dream of a good blowfly season.
Grate the speckled bird, great apple pie.

Come here to rest your elbow upon a girl?
I lean in closer to misread the ledger.


Farmers have arms, we are liberated 
to analyze this dark drivel for pay and to aver 
that we are the Burning Will, the desired monsters
of all those classical deportments.

Aphrodite breast-deep in snow. Your absurdly 
white fingers, fashioning 
sheets of foliage from her back flesh, as Apollo
finally solves the riddle of the puddle.

Some blood attracts the more ambitious bees
and they would sting the red deer, and so
the story must continue in the reboot
of “The Anemone’s Fatal Fingertips”.

We were seduced into the water
and we entered fully clothed, thinking
there might be an inspection later.

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A Short Biographical Preface | Dale Houstman

He was a folk singer once.

The war was his guest 
in the Nepalese bedroom.
The peaks all done up in flowers.

He sang of marginalia, sweetly.

The wind was also sleeping 
on its stomach, the open umbrella.
listening to the rabbits prophesize.

He sang of mangos and girls
on the beach with their transistors.
A star fainted at the grocers. Take one.

There was a women’s revival in the outback.

The face no longer load-bearing, it is
the face of the beggar’s employer
and the bodyguards are downstream.

There were free drinks still to be had.

Flip this meadow for a profit.
This is either love or an outlet.
Every night ended in the Duke of Wellington’s tongue.

The greenest phantoms own pet breezes 

which know your name, so they can find you in the water.

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La Nuit D’Hiver | Sneha Subramanian Kanta

The age of the soul is dead, static. There were sounds of church-bells where I once went to school – now replaced by city smog and sounds of vehicular traffic. Such are fabrics of absence, changed by voids. The children do not come to school with songs of birds on their lips; but sleets of silk rusted lies.

Within the convent corner, the graveyard grows older and wrapped in dust. Weeds are the only company to rotten marble smells. No one reads tombstones these days. We have lost youth at the curtained close of day – it began with red dawn, as crimson a shade as the multipurpose hall. These are fragments – none seem interested in recollections of any kind.

Where did the thought untie, loose to its earlier end? The graveyard has died several times over. Interestingly, some things remain for a long time as they are, I think, with your hand sweep my thigh: intact.

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Water Music | Jay M. Mower

Only those who frolic on the shore 
are certain the trumpets precede love.

Water glides under a frenzied red, white and blue
sky while India ink flows from quill to score.

As the maestro streams his music 
across the Thames to people, thirsting for life,

pleasure boats trace tunes written in water; 
reeds, in unfathomed pain, follow wild wakes.

One traveler fears he does not belong,
another dreams with her eyes open to love.

Two on shore lay with bodies intertwined,
harboring secrets of their rhythm together.

In the distance, water and music
rise to join the voluptuous sky.

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Trebuchet | Jay M Mower

Most Mondays, I’m up more or less sane,
as your voice, a viol through my pores, wafts
from its safe place, a cup of tea and jellyroll.
You note sea-salt shaken violence and horrors 
of hateful hours blast our country’s wardrobe.

Your story unfolds like I’m hit and run 
by an errant golf cart as winds howl
and trees creak.  Maybe the story 
won’t’ happen, like winged gargoyles
taking flight, but nevertheless, I tremble.

I only wish fireflies could tango with stars
and we would waltz like snowflakes,
but I hear the swish of a scythe cutting wheat
below Van Gogh’s crows, see train wheels
screeching to nil like holiday sparklers.

Red glare of expressway taillights at night,
chains and bridges of cigarette ash flash
through my home security system.
Boulders thrust through my castle walls.

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Ashen Apple | Jay M Mower

The ashen apple of these days… Denise Levertov

An abandoned orchard reeks of cider,
bronzed balls of fruit rot to their cores
on a pathway floor. While green weeds
strangle ancient footsteps, an eight-foot 
tripod ladder—four rungs cracked, one missing—
pokes between barren trees with some leaves 
withered crisp and a few rotten apples 
hanging from strands like broken spider webs.

A well-used box truck, now grey and rusted,
wants for cargo. The driver-side door rests
in a junkyard over the rise and two tires
that remain are flat as Kansas. The once
festive two-story farmhouse with boarded
windows missing, shudders as winds whistle
through its frame. Dingy white clapboard 
cries for paint, but no one lives there to care.

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Cloudburst | R. T. Castleberry

Do you find meaning in beauty, she asks.
Rain drizzles the apartment pool.
A wedding diamond gleams as
her fingers drum the steering wheel.

Choosing the easier, crueler truth, 
I answer; No. Not meaning. 
There’s an edge in all things I enjoy--
the calculation of cosmetics,
conjured imagery ordered
in paint spatter, photo’s glint,
a dancer’s legs striding a staircase.
Beauty is struggle,
assets forged by artifice and effort.

Her hands flutter in applause.
Clever and concise, she remarks.
Not at all convincing.
She starts the car to end the conversation.
Leaning into the open window,
I ask, Are we done?
We are. I am. 
She backs into a turn, raises her cell phone
and is gone.

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Against the Accusations | R. T. Castleberry

There is a sense, this tension that 
harmonizes the precise with the studied,
calibrates instinct with the sardonic.
Crossing my legs, I check the pants crease, 
shoot my shirt cuffs,
flick the filter tip directly 
to the flowing gutter.

Following designs in a sniper’s journal,
conquest chapters culled from 
memoirs of Audie Murphy and Errol Flynn,
I shined the smile, trained 
the knife wrist, the wit, the cavalier fist.
I learned the charms of chain restaurants,
treacheries of nightshade, of obsidian.
Tailoring the second-hand to fashion,
I chose the Viberg walking boots,
messenger bag and lifted Mont Blanc.

Judged as I judge,
reduced to rawest scale,
an exhibit tabulated
like the murderer’s clothes,
a parent’s tearful exhaustion,
I argued through a bare cell night:
I shaped this killer.

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Adaptations from Kenneth Rexroth’s 100 Poems from the Chinese | DeWitt Clinton


After Seeing a Dark Shadow on a Waning Moon, I Stay Up
And Read Su Tung P’o’son the death of his baby son

	For Angela Peckenpaugh and Edie Thornton

We’re  still not quite sure how it all happened.
One day they’re here, a bit discombobulated,
 the next, one wrapped 
around a rope, the other, overdosed, 
then a bullet to the brain.
Some close knew how all of this
Was building, but some outside the circle
Were simply shattered that these two
Were why we gathered
Quite confused in funeral lines.
I’m older now than both
And wake from sleep
Relieved  somehow they’re here
Though all we have are two memorial trees.
Both fought for years with what
Seemed daily all their highs and lows.
On the first day of each professor’s
Death we all felt cut
And bruised the air exhumed right
Out of us, of course we all went
Back to work exhausted, so incensed,
So lost in making sense of who we all still miss.


I Shop for Wine so the Dancing and the Singing 
Can be That Much More Thrilling, Then Unfortunately 
Find Su Tung P’o’s Riff on “The Weaker the Wine”

The lower the shelf
The easier you can drink yourself a headache.
The thinner we are
The more we can wrap around each other.
We live almost as opposites.
If we’re dancing and singing, I’ll probably tell myself just two.
We’ve got some quarrelsome characteristics.
The more we stay, the more we sigh.
Sometime soon, or not, we’ll see the end.
We seldom do what the other says.
No need to avoid
Us, we’re an Eastern flower.
The dust and wind we bring in will keep us all amused.
Here, no one lives that long
But soon we’ll be waving the last ferry.
We each have done something great
Though now we’re less inclined to be so good.
Every time I help with jewels I steal a kiss,
So we’re still illuminating, 
Still heating something there.
There might not be too much left after we leave
Except some boxed bones to move around.
As for what we wrote, somebody may find
Some enlightened pages, but most are not.
Some may grab what’s
Ours, but then they’d blush.
We still put up with bad dogs.
A glass ends the night quite well
Even if our stars fall to hell.
Then sometime past 10 we fall
Into the Great Deep Void.


April  22
11:30 am

Months Away from the Longest Day, I Sit Down to Read
 Su Tung P’o’s “The Last Day of the Year”

Who knows if we’ll really make
It to the end of even this year.
Mother always wanted to know
When her end was near, as if she
Could just pack up and hail a cab
For death.  On the worse days
I’ll admit I’ve had enough but lately
I’m starting to balance on my head
Not leaning up against a wall as
I’m usually prone to do so I wouldn’t
Mind a few more years to find a still
Salamba sirsasana I .  I’ll admit some
years have really gone bad,
But then the children in the neighborhood
Have started to squeal and yell more 
In tune with all the barking dogs.
On warmer days day lilies will open
Up around our old paper ash and I’d 
Just as soon wait to see all bloom and bloom.
And another volcano is about to blow,
Longer, higher.  Who’d want to miss
That?  I’m sure if I go back to work
The place will seem brand new.
But it could be true, I might fall into
The same old abyss I usually spend
Most of my time crawling out of but 
Maybe I’ll have a bit of panache, 
Make the new year even more new.
I may be old, but as the old boys 
Say after playing ball, you’re never 
Too old until you’re cold.


After a Spring Evening of Baked Cod, Green Beans and Cold Wine,
I Relax With “Autumn Evening Beside the Lake,” by the Poetess Li Ch’ing Chao

Each day the Lake is warmer and warmer.
Each day more and more bathe on the beach.
Each day boats arrive from dry dock.
This weekend, the beach house opens.
White sails already billow in the harbor.
Winter is boxed away until Labor Day.
In a few days millions of girls will vote for an “American Idol.”
Older folks will have a new star on “Dancing with the Stars.”
Park painters have started to paint the swimming pools.
The forsythia has six yellow blooms.
River crews are cleaning the river trails.
The sea gulls provide aerial complaints.
A body has popped up where ice
Fishermen once sat all day.
Another fell in last night, tipsy.
Young men and women, muscled,
Are starting to crew down the River.


Nearing the Longest Day of the Year, I Pull Weeds, Plant 
A Flat of Flowers, Then Open Lu  Yu’s “The Wild Flower Man”

No one really notices the old woman
Who sells bunches of bok choy
In the shade outside the indoor palace.
All morning long we never see
Who hoes and chops all day.
They’ve been here since the War
Brought them across from old Laos.
The marigolds and asters always
Sell before her leafy greens.
The two of us wonder where they
Go when they’re not behind what
We love to smell.
We’ve both been down on our
Knees (as well) pulling all the weeds we
Just don’t want to see in-
Between what we’ve planted that we hope
We’ll grill along with just caught fish.
Our good neighbor just
Can’t stand the woofs woofs anymore
So we’ll see squad cars
Pulling up late at night to check
Out what’s not right with our
Doggy neighbor who by now
Is smiling with a cold one.

Note: These poems are adaptations from Kenneth Rexroth’s 100 Poems from the Chinese. The numbers correspond to the title/number in Rexroth’s volume and can be used as a reference to 100 Poems from the Chinese.

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wild animus park | m durrance

hyper lit memories
hey you we miss you, you

petals a drunkener still
slap down factories of unawares

un inside, old ain’t much
paint needles pain to knit the dream

long dead blazes halve yesterday
here when though and oh so funny so

gray believes in things it can’t explain
time is forced frontward by alone

crack in the crevice of smoke dog stares
by speaking glass you ice the ear

sound cutting keys for any way out
but there’s no unringing the bell

Right String, Wrong Yo-Yo
Are not about
But also this

Is is neither there nor that
If any space between

And though I’d like to use like
To marry up when and where

I do not like like
And here be only here for here

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Refugees of Blood | Donald Illich

Animals gather by me, wait for stories.  
Lions want to hear about the hunt, 
about claiming meat in the savanna. 
Lambs next to them ask for tales 

about shepherds’ steadfast duties 
protecting the innocent.  Spiders climb 
webs asking about flies, other trapped 
insects, their lives before disaster, 

while turtles desire something slow, 
long, an epic about the landscape.  
The rest have their needs, they move 
closer to my book, a brand new ark, 

hoping it’s the one that achieves 
their dreams.  The only story I can tell 
is about the misbegotten couple 
who lived in a garden, who crunched 

into the fruit of a forbidden tree, 
who were escorted out like shoplifters.  
Once we could talk together, nobody 
ate one another.  Now we see each other 

as meals.  We’re refugees of blood, 
who can’t stop fleeing into bones and flesh, 
making sacrifices with our mouths,
letting teeth end the legends of others.

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Heartbeats of Light | Donald Illich

I wore a suit.  I called it my own skin.  
Wherever I went, people asked how long 
I was going to where it, whether I’d trade it
in for a pair of wings and a gown.  I ran 
from them, trying not to get a tear in my jacket, 
a rip down my spine.  Damage could happen 

anywhere.  I could be taking a class when a man 
launches a full-scale attack on my threads 
with bullets made of lead.  They might reveal 

the label, my heart, which once torn off, ruins 
the whole outfit.  It soon became clear I didn’t 
want to wear it outside, for fear an unknown 

bomb might drop, setting the cloth on fire, 
burning up the hanger of bones.  A watch 
ticked inside the fabric, telling me when it 

would lose its suppleness, its ability to shield me 
from the world.  I swore one day I’d take it off. 
I wouldn’t be afraid.  I’d let what’s inside me 

spill out into the ground.  I’d let whatever’s left 
shoot into the air, where it would be safe in the sea 
and the river, the rocks and the dirt.  It wouldn’t 

matter what I wore then.  They’d be as sturdy 
as the earth, recycled and torn, renewing itself 
as the sun fires within its glow, heartbeats of light.

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Middle Creek | John Swain

Tree line open to sky, treed ravine,
sun in my lungs, hawk claw on rock,
orchids, the poison mountain laurel.

Maidenhair fern, fossils in the wall
along the maidenhair water, black bear
mother and cub forage, paw stomp,
her groan growl sound heart sound.

My staff, tree branch, balsam scent,
she balsam, cold mountain upward,
void and river, a beautiful daughter.

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A Hanging Bowl | John Swain

Sea, the crescent moon
a hanging bowl,
a hanging crown,
for the lily and cold stones
she touched
opposite my burnt hand.

Bright Venus, sea brilliance,
born from nothing,
born from the hanging dark.

Silver helmet, sea burial
with dark eagles over
the wind in my grave. 
Sea comes, sea being
the night’s blood, island
at my side, withdrawn
to her beauty, to her sign.

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Anesthesia | Kinga Fabó

I thought: he’d clean me out.
But he only vaporized me.
Strained my colors.
Crinkled them back. Inside the statue.

Then came the odors.
The badly installed roots.
As corpus delicti.
On the operating-table.

I’m sterile.
Famous outside.
Empty inside.
My auxiliary verbs are men with headdresses.

His donation: railway tracks without smile;
always ready for tragedy –
strange, like a heartbeat –
sin is only a decoration.

I have no peace. I’m certain:
I’ll take root somewhere.
He is a professional.
He wants me frozen.

Translated by Gabor G. Gyukics

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Flash | Kinga Fabó

1.  Personality dies in lack of use.

2.  Gazes cannot be all in vain.

3.  He abounds at my expense, my thyroid minds.

4.  My body – a smoothly turning screw; my soul -- a metabolic disorder. 

5.  Belong is a must. I don’t belong.

6.  I misunderstand to be / misunderstood.

7.  Writing, painting, smoking, drinking; daddy (Churchill)

8.  Are you empty, because you are full of emptiness, or because there is nothing in you?

9.  Can the soul be seen, or only if its stain (can be)? 

10. -- Shall I regard you as absence?

    -- Feel free.

11. Covers

              Being is seen.
              Seeming isn’t. Seeming casts
              seeming over it.

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Itinerary | Sharon Lattig

It is the charm of mise en place, of first 
ingredients that conditions this

one shutter bent, glass without, herbs
potted on it, the window one has 

the second trip, that November, mattered

	(setting out before dawn, weather content
	in love, as it happens—bound

      1.    to replace—place, allocate
 sun at moment’s hinge, expose it
 as it withers there

      2.    to bind were we ever
 compile coordinates
 trust these

     3.4    a flinty purpose
  resolve’s centripetal origin
  the occasional purple, blurred

 these routines

       1.   unwriting the weather to come

On the fifth visit, bags packed, bellowed back in
homage to a day for making lunch

the marchée trove—dates 
(unpitted), camembert (soft), leeks 
(seven), sun on leeks—askew, quantities

to crave—having always wanted to permit 
desire to wend (rechristen), having always 
wanted to look forward, through the rubble 
of extant I’ll’s, past the terraced contour 
of a revisionist’s sinew

the arch intact, having found its ends, will want 
to leave

a bowl—discomposed—as if
into change the plum itself were speckled 
perfect—a memory without 
the grave, still 

to have never traveled 
to possibly have
(these one or the same)

a cuisine becomes its directions, re-read before 
written, palatable, perhaps, to ask
which cloth, shrunken, frayed with age 
makes correspond tattered, an omen of apportioned 
pain, alters Henry to Henri?

who is to decide suffice, tock it off on flippant 
course, endorse act’s intermission?

sing it is as if it was 
uprooting the sage one doesn’t gather

a list begs to do
the table is a setting—
lunch cleared away—
this, an afternoon

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The Times of Hartford | Tony Hansen

gutted structures near downtown
three story flats all in rows
marked for urban renewal
rusted tin post boxes screwed 
into brick by removed doors
residential last remains
i walked among raw auras
soon to become parking lots
on the near margin of night
punched in at the paper
rookie police reporter
hired by The Hartford Times
wrote it out some months
apathy took me away 
Times folded soon after 
several careers later	
suburbs sustain tired seed
work calls me in one Sunday
no commuter camouflage
park abounds with junkies
seven a.m. hooker strolls
methadone clinic clients
my cubicle the city

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Ice Age | Nate Maxson

A new continent conjured from the ice melting. It’s quiet except for the occasional cracking of the shelves. Straight through, like thunder from the dirt: backwards. The chasms spread out. A rock hitting the windshield at a high speed: we’ll need new maps for the wind alone. All a fantasy, all a dream sequence in a black and white film. I walk into the ice. In the other mathematical sequences I vanish (and won’t shut up about it) but this time I reappear: with ice in my beard and the names of new oceans blue and close.

My watch unwound gathers frost on its numbers and hands.

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Post-Worldism | Nate Maxson

It’s not a comfort to be aware
That one day I’ll turn inside out
To birth myself again
A deformed question mark like a cattle brand
A husk into amnesia: the bite marks healing over
Like ice on a great lake
Which one of the great lakes, I’m not sure
Whatever the real opposite of having forgotten is
Because it’s not this/ nine in the morning pledges of allegiance for a decade, in English and then Spanish: that’s how they get you
One of these days it will come back to me, of that I am confident and a little nervous
The memory of chlorine blue swimming pools evacuated during a storm/ an old man holding a stethoscope up to the side of a furnace/ presidential candidates dancing The Macarena on live television, the hatred of innocence
Because I am a rememberer: Rembrandt/ elephant kid/ forget-me-never
Something skinned and twitching is going to climb out my throat
Who wants to catch the bouquet?
The knowledge of it should be enough to keep all the air traffic controllers awake when they should be dreaming of red lights and hurricanes and planes with no wheels that won’t ever land whose passengers vote on attempting to rise into the ozone
But first I have to learn to cry openly again and without shame when mother figures die in cartoons (cartoon mothers always die, it’s like a Rorschach test) this is what was taken from me
I’m swallowing the years and they taste like rain
If getting my ability to be wounded by beauty again means I have to say the devil’s (or to be precise, your devil’s) name in the mirror three times in the dark then so be it
If that’s what it takes to return to my theoretical ability to swim without breath, to breathe light and grow wildflowers in my hair: this impressionable surgery, what I had once and will have again/ time, time and the icebergs and crocodiles waiting in its stream, let them swim to me this time
My messiah complex dictates that before I can save anyone else I have to pull myself out, pull myself apart first in the most publicly naked way possible
I’ve been patient, very patient as I drank the water seeping into my flooded casket before it could drown me
This time it’s the world that’s going to have to wait

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Let’s Tell Scary Stories | Meg Harris

My automatic drawing
became your face.
The plump brown-orb-weaver
laces a web then lies
in wait at the edge 
of the moon-reflecting glass.

Ghost orbs float in the night.
The snowy owl
sweeps down the bank
behind your head.
For a moment I believe
he will embrace you,
this great white angel. 

I got the eyes wrong 
but the mouth is yours,
looking as if it may
move to curse
or to kiss me.

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Thirst | Meg Harris

for Laura

Would it help to know there is a Saturn moon
round as a giant cue ball which holds within it an ocean

the size of Lake Superior? Hike down the rocky hillside
to the brook which first cut this valley, remove your shoes

and socks and plunge your bare feet into the frigid water— 
this is the way of flow. Be quenched even as plumes
of ice leap into the darkness from the south pole of Enceladus.

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Dream During a Winter Storm | Theresa Darling

Last night I swam in the fragrance of apricot blossoms.

This morning, my feet pound the basement steps
Down into cold damp, where black mold claims the walls
Eating away each moment, while in every cranny lacey cobwebs 
Dance, a lover's final wave goodbye. 

Why do I believe this darkness, while above is angel snow,
Blue jay, chickadee, crow songs flying headlong 
Bravely into the wind? I do what must be done below 
Then climb the wooden stairs and know

Last night I swam in the fragrance of apricot blossoms.

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People We do not Know | Theresa Darling

Two doors down lives a man. His woman
Stands slightly behind and to his left. Here is a picture
Of their three children wearing their Sunday best
Ironed that morning while the coffee was brewing
Laundry rinsing, house warming, and sausage frying. 
With a flash

The scene changes. On a porch next-door
A man and his beer glide forward, back
Forward, back after a long day at the office. Inside
His woman sets the table, the coffee brewing
Laundry drying, chicken roasting, potatoes
Boiling over and the children playing tag
Out back. Cicadas’ mysterious words

Quiver intensely… then fade. Dusk.
Somewhere a fisherman and his eldest son prepare
For next day’s run, the younger children inside
Watching cartoons, coffee brewing
Kittens mewing from the cardboard box 
Behind the couch. A small murmur 
From upstairs, a lock clicking bullet hard 
Into place. People everywhere


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In a Dream | Jennifer Juneau

A baby was dead
at the bottom of a swimming pool.
It wasn’t our pool
and although it wasn’t our baby, we said

we’d love it like a daughter.
Together we blew air into its blue lungs.
She materialized alive and had sung
in her own dry bed nursing water.

Ecstatic, we finally had someone to nurture
as she extended a hand in the air.
We built a home for her:

here a table, there a chair.
So much to look forward to! Her need for us grew.
Then suddenly collapsed into the absence which I woke to.

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Tee Time at Aleppo | Jon Wesick

To break the siege
select the right driver.
For regional conflicts
a number-three wood works best.
The proper club eliminates 
chlorine gas attacks
and most barrel bombs.

Don’t leave your golf shoes in the clubhouse
or waste ammunition on the clubhouse like Putin.
Erdoğan has it right. Golf carts are essential
when dodging sniper fire.
Be considerate of other players.
Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Kurdistan
are eager to play through.

And if you slice your ball into a minefield,
for God’s sake take the penalty stroke
and move on. Save your scorecard.
Your third round is free

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