Diaphanous | Spring 2017
Spring 2017 Poetry ToC

Spring 2017 Poetry ToC


Spring 2017
Volume 1 Issue 1

Browse Poetry in This Issue
To browse the whole issue, click on cover image.

Gold Plated Fix | John Covello

Adjudicated knobby knees | John Covello

The Untuned Piano | Charles Rafferty

The Problem With Abundance | Charles Rafferty

Ellipses | Charles Rafferty

Symphony of Myself | Jennifer Juneau

Portrait | Jennifer Juneau

recidivist | Tree Riesener

that assyrian frieze at the british museum | Tree Riesener

[sonnet]: Light Degree Zero | Ali Znaidi

[sonnet]: towards a paratextual theory | Ali Znaidi

[sonnet]: to rhyme or not to rhyme | Ali Znaidi

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

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

Ecosystem | Anna Rabinowitz

Wrath and Roll | Anna Rabinowitz

Night Painting | Kostas Anagnopoulos

Snow Poem | Kostas Anagnopoulos

Attachment | Kostas Anagnopoulos

Bending the Muse | John Fitzgerald

Joe Cur’s Wild | John Burroughs

The Temple | Krysia Jopek

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

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

Cthulhu Alight In My Underpants | James D. Autio

Swoon | James D. Autio

Scrawl in the Herbal | James D. Autio

Not Reported | Tom Holmes

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

[untitled map poem] | Tom Holmes

Anticipating My 1000th Rejection Letter | Tom Holmes

Anatomy of Warmth | Mitko Gogov

Statue Maker | Barbara Ungar

Endnotes to Coral Reefs | Barbara Ungar

Know that I am Home | Thato Andreas Mokotjo

It was a Mistake | Thato Andreas Mokotjo

Tapestry Seat of a Forgotten Chair | Margo Mensing

Letter to Magdalene Slash | Dale Houstman

A Short Biographical Preface | Dale Houstman

Absentia | Sneha Subramanian Kanta

La Nuit D’Hiver | Sneha Subramanian Kanta

Water Music | Jay M. Mower

Trebuchet | Jay M Mower

Ashen Apple | Jay M Mower

Cloudburst | R. T. Castleberry

Against the Accusations | R. T. Castleberry

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

wild animus park | m durrance

Heartbeats of Light | Donald Illich

Middle Creek | John Swain

A Hanging Bowl | John Swain

Anesthesia | Kinga Fabó

Flash | Kinga Fabó

Itinerary | Sharon Lattig

The Times of Hartford | Tony Hansen

Vintage | Nate Maxson

Ice Age | Nate Maxson

Post-Worldism | Nate Maxson

Let’s Tell Scary Stories | Meg Harris

Thirst | Meg Harris

Dream During a Winter Storm | Theresa Darling

People We do not Know | Theresa Darling

In a Dream | Jennifer Juneau

Tee Time at Aleppo | Jon Wesick

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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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1 Comment

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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Spring 2017 Fiction ToC

Yellow | Michael Dickel

Of course, yellow is less stupid than either jello or Cupid. He always eats jello, and talks about how Cupid brought us together. But he hates yellow.

So, yellow? Less stupid.

Like this morning. He wolfs down vibrating orange gelatin. (Orange has yellow in it, right? Why does he eat orange if he hates yellow?) He calls this breakfast. I call it sick.

Then he smiles that sticky, sickly sweet smile, orange-tinged orangutan lips so happy to see me.

Pour me my coffee, and I’ll talk to you about breakfast next week. But make sure when we do, we’re talking eggs, some fried potatoes, OJ and coffee. Not this un-solid candy-like goo. He wants me to eat it, too.

He insists on pink wallpaper in my room. No yellow in that ugliness—dark-pink flowers climb vertical lines between lacy stripes of medium pink, all on a light-pink background.

I can’t believe they sell shit like this.

In my vanity mirror, all I see is his reflection. I don’t see my yellow aura in all of his pink.

The kitchen walls reflect a pure-white with no hint of “off” yellowness. The living room has sky-blue walls. His room? Dark blues tinged by black accents, dangerously dark, no yellow hints.

Let’s not talk about his messy room.

He’ll drop a note before he leaves, while I’m washing away my night in his shower.

The note will have a heart with an arrow through it—Cupid’s arrow. And it will say all of these things about loving me, holding me in his thoughts and heart, and how much gratitude he holds for Cupid.

I only see a hole, red blood flowing out. I wonder how you could stay alive with an arrow through your heart.

When he comes back, he will say some bullshit about how he felt like a piece of him was missing the whole time he was away from me.

He’s a romantic, optimistic about his world and his place in it.

I’m the realist, pessimistic. I have no place in his world, although his photos of me sit on a desk somewhere, I imagine. I’d like to die, most days, to tell you my truth.

Put me in a yellow coffin with a yellow-satin liner.

He locks the door on his way out, from the outside. He used to lock me in my bedroom, but not anymore.

The neighbors don’t notice me. They don’t see my yellow aura in his violet eyes.

If I could paint the walls in his absence, I’d strip the wallpaper, paint them all yellow. It would make him sick—perhaps, kill him. He hates yellow.

I’d have to get out that door, though. And buy the paint. And come back.

Yellow is less stupid than either jello or Cupid, but coming back?

Now, that really would be stupid.

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Multidimensionality of time — hybrid notes | Michael Dickel

So, she walks onto the stage below the rows of chairs in the bar. Glass-noise filters from the bar in the back, the sound of drinks ordered, mixed, taken up.

She performs —
	flat-world geometry
mere 1 or 2 dimensional mirror.

	even or odd
		three dimensional

Spreads out from
	big bang
		all possible directions
collapsing back.

Self on itself
	singularity time
		time bubbles
	toils, boils, foils us all
strings film pressure folds wave goodbye dimensions

High energy held in your sighs
	time pressure builds
	this loving feeling
larger-on-the-inside dimensionality

experience flows
	on the emulsion
		surfeit of surfaces
	surf faces surface breaking
wave bubbles roiling time dimensions

The judges take a moment, hold up their cards when the MC asks. She has an almost perfect 10, only one of the five judges holding up a 9. What the hell.

The chose me randomly to serve as a judge. I held up the 9. The history of us untraceable in the heart of her performance, not linear, always bubbling, moving through bubbles, bubbling up — narratized into linear experience only in our minds.

Memory, counter-memory, memory counters create, un-create, re-create our narrative(s) for us of us, each discrete, lost as its found, foundering in the deep sea of possible and probable. The experience more randomized, spirals — spins — spreads — chaotic, fractal rather than narrative, she explains to me as we leave the bar much later that night.

She had won the competition, slammed her poetry right up against me. Us. Her. The other slam competitors.

Memory, counter-memory: Jesus Hernandez, Chicago 8 / 7, erasure a part of every narrative, I call.

Memories: gas station, Maryland/ Chestertown and Quakerneck Landing, train ride, walking/ running through black neighborhoods to Old Town. Okay, also Hernandez, she responds.

Counter-memories: MLK, Jesse Jackson, Black Panthers, “outside agitators”, whispers relegated to the alley call.

So many narratives, she answers.

As we walk to our car, she performs her poem, “Long Silence.” I join in.

(Time) less (dissonance)≠ (harm)(money), I reflect.

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We voted | Michael Dickel

An uproarious meme combined a diamond mine with an ankle through the fractured lens of Trump’s broken glasses, mangoes spilling out of his suitcase as he tried to make his getaway through the lobby to the broken carousel that would take him round and round the pomegranates, which have broken open, spilling illusory seeds over petunia beds—wilted legumes hang from the candelabra above his head as he goes round and round.

Bubbles from mechanical bears floated in the air onto a sunhat adrift in the windy afternoon, fertilized and well-watered green grass covering the soil, sand, and peat mixed into the perennial political-party beds—bedroom drug-parties launching sandstone in a perilous trajectory arcing over the hummingbird, which drops rubies for a bread-crumb trail back to the sanity we all left behind. 

We voted, thought the woman with a beard, with full-throated existential screams, as late-capitalism collapsed around us in the swirling out-of-control global conflict not yet called World War III. 

The blue planet, painted red with bloodshed and black with extinction, spins into the banks, bounces out and hits the red planet into the corner pocket. Venus remains untouched. The dark dwarf somersaults around the table in the bar, his map tattoos glowing.

Stragglers watch the game of eight ball with indifference. The bartender begins to applaud, laughing at the numerology of the square-root of negative one. All numbers are imaginary. Especially, the bookkeepers’ numbers imagine their own private nightmares.

The toad drops her off the asteroid somewhere over the rainbow, not so far away, and she floats home across the gully again, as in the beginning, the mist rising from the hot earth, scorched and volcanic in the aftermath of abstract symbolism.

Clock towers folded over like candles in a heat wave, granite shivered until it crumbled, steel puddled around melted glass—this once-and-future landscape unfolds into origami swan songs below, while we all debate the value of paper-ash dust, she thinks.

She lands gently in memories, her only reality, these bits of energy vibrating between imaginary numbers and entangled light, no more than a ghost of an apostrophe in some physicist’s escaping theories, as she makes love with an amphibious poet in the watery shadow of Standing Rock.

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Dangerous | Meg Harris

Somewhere along the way, you learned that men were dangerous. You can’t exactly roll back to the very moment of knowing this. Perhaps it is a critical mass event where the many things you learned about men accumulated somehow in a list under the word dangerous. Until dangerous was the default position for man; the clenched jaw of a brother, the man on the lane wearing a holstered gun, the guy parked in a late model car with his erection reaching out for the steering wheel, the man who suggests you sunbathe in the yard, the man downstairs who screams obscenities at his wife and has painted his bedroom black, the friend of your father’s who suggests you could make some money keeping company with men.

Maybe it’s because when you were a lonely kid and wanted to go to a matinee one afternoon your mother said no because men will look at your “bust” and want to attack you. You were eleven and you remember being very puzzled that a strange man would attack you.

Maybe it’s because more than once your boyfriend’s gotten into tussles down at the pub that had everything to do with your rack. It’s that man who jammed you up against the wall. That man who whispered under his breath when you walked by, it’s that man on the stoop of the five and dime who rubbed his hands deep in his pockets and twirled his tongue at you when you were just a child.

It was how your body grew up and betrayed the child you. How your body conspired with men against you until it was no longer a place of joy and comfort. But a fleshy prison meant to lure out the worst in a man. It was that young man who grabbed you and planted a wet kiss deep in your throat when you were just walking home from Jannie’s. You try hiding your body. You try disrobing. You try keeping the dangerous man close to you. You keep him far away.

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Nothing | Meg Harris

Nothing comes to me veiled in a beautiful shawl of starlight. She drops her hand by her hip as if it is nothing. Her invisible breath is the breath of my mother. It touches me where I am never touched. Some invisible place of emptiness that does not exist. Nothing resides here inside of me. A pale life energy beating into life. Nothing is my cloak. My bedmate. My understanding.

In the morning, I think of nothing and how the night wrapped around her. Nothing is a woman. She is my daughter, my mother, my wife. It was nothing. It wasn’t anything. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing is a color. It is a pulse. Nothing is a dream or a nightmare.

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The Word | Meg Harris

He says he loves the word fuck. It’s the way the word feels in his mouth, the consonant of it. It’s a badass word. He says make some fucking breakfast. He smokes his cigarette with the long slender fingers of his hands. Get the fuck over here he says and smacks the cushion next to him on the couch.

He is a wound. He’s an injuring. No matter what he does he harms her, a bite mark on her shoulder, spit in the vanity sink, semen on the sheets. He looks at her like he looks at himself in the mirror, like somebody-will-fuck-you-up-little-bitch and he runs a palm through his hair. Or he looks at her with a sweet and shy kind of a shame. This makes her want to kiss him until one of them cries or he says get the fuck off of me.

The couch is circa 1940s horse hair. And she didn’t know she’d spend so much time on it naked or it would be easier on her skin. True also of the carpet, the kitchen table, the stairs and so forth.

He likes to do the word more than say it. And so does she, more than she’d ever let on to anyone. She is his victim, truly, and mostly when he curves over her in a turgid suspense edging to relief. Fuck he says at last and only then looks into her eyes. She knows then she’s got him.

In halls, at the 7-11, on short car drives, or long ones, the cafeteria, on the PAT bus to the north shore, as she dresses for work, at the restaurant in Station Square, pretty much everywhere they are together; he lets her know what is important. It’s her hair. Or it’s what she wears. It’s the way she laughs or looks at the punk across from them on the bus or the way the punk looks at her. He makes her describe her day if they’ve spent it apart.

“He was fucking checking you out, wasn’t he? Yeah, I bet he was,” he says and flicks his cigarette into the sink of dishwater. It hisses out. On the night of the hissing-cigarette-dishwater, he sleeps in a hollow sharp rage. His back to her, shoulder blades pointed at her, a cigarette waving in the dim room. For every knife shot from his being, she grows more tender. She distracts herself with her daily beauty regime. Brushes her hair for long minutes, spreads a scent over her manicured feet, her elbows, and her shoulders. Chooses what she’ll wear the next day, slips into her nightgown. “Finally,” he says and, “shut the fuck up and get in bed.” She slips in next to him leaving a cavern of space between them and drifts off wordlessly explaining herself.

He wakes her pulling at her nightshirt. “What the fuck is this?” He says insulted that she’d dare to come to bed with anything on her body and again he turns away. She slips from her shirt and curls into herself and wrapping the comforter around her she sleeps. He wakes her again; he’s thrown the blankets to the floor and stands over her in the bed. He is naked and long and lean. He stares at her body and places his hand on her face his salty thumb into her mouth. She stares at his beautiful hips. Fuck, he says, his hand now in her hair and lifting her up to him. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

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Micro-Fictions | George Toles

1 January 2015    

Cameron parted the curtains of his loneliness and asked Emil, the Tim Horton’s employee mopping the floor beside the table, whether it was a big operation starting up the machines again after Tim’s had shut down for New Year’s Eve. “You must have had to come in very early this morning. All these machines to start and the trays to fill with fresh muffins, donuts and such. Not much time to celebrate, with that ahead of you.” “I had help. It wasn’t so bad.” Emil scratched his ear. Cameron scratched his as well, in a sympathetic reaction. “I don’t envy you that task. A lot of care and responsibility.” Cameron had the voice of a radio announcer, and it filled the nearly empty space as though he were broadcasting to an invisible audience. “Just visiting a little. Don’t mean to interrupt. You have yourself a New Year with happiness and the trimmings.” He put on his new sunglasses and peered out the freshly washed window. The sky was ice blue and bright. There was a single cloud up there, glad to be noticed in its floaty voyage to who knows where. He sent it a silent greeting, and then returned to his coffee, which was still warm as it could be.    

23 January 2015

Agnes and her daughter, Ramona, got along best during those charmed intervals when both temporarily forgot what the other was really like.

6 January 2016

As usual, suffering asked happiness for the next dance, and happiness felt obliged to accept.

15 December 2012

After the day’s terrors, he was surprised that he eventually managed to drift into sleep, and that his dream had a kindly dimness. He awoke before dawn, and heard the footsteps of the news carrier (whom he had never met) crunching through the snow on the porch steps and leaving the morning paper, as she did every day. The sun rose, just as it had before, ignoring any special claims of darkness from the most recent tragedies. The plants were grateful to be watered and the very cold cat to be fed. The photos of his own departed loved ones on the dresser and walls, stubbornly preserved the integrity of their smiling moment. The dog, wearing a new snowman kerchief, enjoyed his walk. Nothing could matter more to him. Within the next hour, having left the dog behind, he was buttering his toast and warmly greeted by a restaurant patron who recognized him, without knowing his name. He heard laughter as two nearby strangers converted a mishap from the previous night into something amusing. He was being pointed back gently in the direction of meaning of the ordinary sort. Sometimes it is next to impossible to get there. It is natural to say that we live in dark times when disaster strikes, and strikes again. But all times are equally dark for those whose turn to suffer dreadfully has arrived. What point is there in making a rivalry between different eras? There is always enough pain and loss to go round. One finds the daily consolations available, or one does not. Perhaps everything matters just as much as the day before yesterday and for just the same reasons, if only one can see again and stay—to whatever extent possible—connected.

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Chance Encounters with Wildlife I | Sarah Harris Wallman

I was putting Christmas behind us at 75 miles per hour, home still three hours ahead, everyone else in the car gone soft-necked with sleep, me making mental grocery lists to stay alert…and when I saw the deer I was alert, but it made no difference.

In the unremarkable moments before the deer, two points in space mattered to me: two hundred miles behind me, my hometown, where my mother had just presided over another feast of unnecessary anxiety and two hundred miles ahead of me, my real home, its thermostat lowered until our return.  We needed yogurt. We needed pre-sliced mango.

The deer, presumably, was more interested in this spot on I-65, its ratio of resource to threat.

By the time I saw the animal, its front hooves were already at the painted line, its muscles flexing for a leap.  I couldn’t even tap the brakes to shave a few miles per hour off certain death.

And for some reason it did not dash.  Just stood there at the yellow line, sentinel of death.  Maybe it would take another family.  Maybe it would give itself to dent a truck.  It is hard to know what deer think of fatality.

I gripped the wheel hard and scanned the woods for more of them. For reasons I would never know, the deer had allowed me to keep it all: the bricks of cheese, the fruits in winter, the thermostat at my command.

When my husband woke and asked how far we had to go, I answered in miles, knowing that we would have to earn each one, that none had been set aside for our use.

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Painting the Dust | Krysia Jopek

I slept through the best parts.

Of the movie?

Yes, I guess you could say that.


It all turned so sad so quickly like falling down cement stairs.

Did you close your eyes?

Of course, I did. But there were stars in the sky. And a blurred half-moon I took with me.

It’s okay to talk about the hurt. ‘

No one wants to hear.

You’re wrong. They do. They pretend not to be listening. They pretend disinterest but rubberneck toward your words. Towards you.

I thought I would be better by now.



Better at what?

All of it. Better at me. It’s an ongoing project, you know. I’m tired of it. Bored even. But odd. Un-usefeul at times. Pain should be useful, no? To someone or something?

You need to have some fun, go for a walk, do something definitive. Shred paper. The Mobius strip isn’t going to go anywhere, so either enjoy its curves & gravity or take a drive toward the boardwalk & watch people. Get out of your head.

But there is so much dust. It covers everything. It’s in my eyes, my lungs, my fingernails. All the wet cloths dry.

You can paint over the dirt. Layer it in a museum. It shouldn’t concern you. Bother you so much.

Is this enough?

It doesn’t have to be.

It’s a game, no?

Yes, a game. Actually a series of games. A matter of degrees, gradations, iterations. Pick and choose. Lighten up. Here’s your paintbrush.

I wasn’t expecting you.

I know. You needed a visit. I knew you’d be like this again.

Yes, I just needed to sleep some more or not sleep some more. To fight it off or not fight but play dead or beholden.

The others worry.

They needn’t. They do not understand. You don’t either. It’s okay. You know that.

If it stops hurting, call me. I worry. Here is the book you asked for. The sea-feather pen. Go on now. People are busy. Don’t expect so much. Be grateful. It all goes back to Plato, doesn’t it?

The Allegory of the Cave? No, Playdo.

The hole in your stomach will go away. I’m sorry it burns your eyes & hands when you touch things. Don’t be bitter. Sing more.

Yes, sing.

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You, Four Years After | Tapio Huuska

First Day, Sunday

Dear me [four years before],

Shoes are vain, the hard heels protect bare toes from cement gardens and broken gadgets on sides of snake roads leading home. Laces twirl when removed and free feet.

Marble children visited my illness. They zeroed the bed, knowing it was unslept. Questions tattooed on their lips, knowledge shining. How cold is cold? What is the pinnacle of cruelty? A sheet’s poor attempt to dry on a pale day. A blue secret cheek under lady powder. I sowed their words, zick  zack. I’ve felt better but dumber.

If I still had the magic rabbit, the deaths should be kept fresh in a plastic bag. You rush and make a mess. You go and pull the furry heart out without preparations. You feed magic with carrots and hope that lettuce doesn’t scare. Don’t five in, out, or around. Focus on the hat, hands will go and come back. I’m telling old wisdoms and you are there.

Every stiff ghost disturbed walks my days. This is my time. Why are you cut and left in many places? Send me a postcard of mountains, unrealistic palm trees and fat cats with windy slogans. I read your diary. The years are wrong. I hate you because you will wear shoes thinking you’re safe, wash sheets to sanity, although fear screams green, neglect the vegetables, and become me too late.


You, four years later

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Always Falling Now | Mark Bozeman

She is gone. He does not know how to be in that world, and he doesn’t know if he ever will.  He has to run his hand along the house walls because he feels like he is about to fall.  He is in her door, holding on to the frame.  The bed is made just like they taught her.  He doesn’t need to look to see where each one is, always in the same place, each resting against a shiny pillow with a lace fringe.  He picks up the ragged brown teddy bear, believing he remembers when they gave it to her.  It is soft.  The plastic rustles as he drops it into the bag.  He can’t see the next few, not through it all, not when he has to bend and pick up and put them in the bag, again and again, all while staying upright.

Last was the new one, won by her boyfriend at the ring toss at the circus.  He remembers the boy’s face as he stood over the closed lid.  Remembers wanting to walk over and push him into the wreaths of flowers.  He throws this one in the corner.  It doesn’t belong in with hers.

Walking for the front door, he hears the chair in the kitchen creak, feels his wife turning to look.  “What are you doing?” she says, something rising in her voice.  He doesn’t say anything, but he grabs the bag a little tighter.   Wanting to walk faster, he leans into the wall.  She’s coming.  She’s grabbing his arm.  He dips his shoulder and pulls away, and the pink pig on top of the bag falls down and bounces on the floor.  “They’re hers!”  He looks down at it, but she bends to pick it up, clutching it up hard to her chest.  Its recorded squeal is high and long.  That makes him whine.  He grabs the car keys from their hook and opens the front door.

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The Beast | Gordon Hilgers

To misunderstand the snowfall, this morning having conceived its likely springtime mystery, every word of unlettered language traces its tracks, many seemingly misspelled.  To believe every fallen snowflake owns its unique face as should faceted diamonds is to have learned to contemplate the grasp of incarnation, red in its pulse through and beyond multiplicities or individualities both human and animal.  I studied you and you and you, the unteachable mask, storm thunder dancers, unmarked moorings of the nightmare.

For such reasoning, I had to learn stones speak first even when ground into the sameness of asphalt. 

Please garner no comprehension of one for another now.  Learn to see nothing of the great beast, how it yawns and howls, an icy brother to blizzards, fearsome arms which swat at you until you blanket its livelihood into pages, calculate its momentary concretions into increments or hints, and map its movements until it is free of the black spaces on the world yet to be explored.   Here is a cautiousness, cold revelers, a movement even here of the harmless movements of entire sheets of stars, a murmur in the wake as rumors of divinity pass and pass. 

This morning, I peered through glassy flaws in a final window, frozenly humane outside my own name, this odd horror committed to bottled rime, its once-furious wonderment a myth of how oceans dream. 

Something big is coming.  Listen.  Listen. 

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Birth Mother in the Days After the First Appointment | Tom Holmes

The parents yelled, pointed their fingers, and drank. They worried what the neighbors would say. The parents only recently owned a house, car, and two TV sets. They went to church where they sang in the choir and the father was a Shriner, so they deserved respect. Eventually they called Father Baker to reserve a place in The Lab of Incurable Dreams. The parents said, “You will go there. You will be good. You will give it up for the betterment of you and us and the world.” Those were the same words the government used when they drafted Tom, the brother. The parents relinquished him, they say, willingly for peace and because the government knows what is best. Though everyone knows the reasons are beyond them. It is for reasons of economy – the expanding markets for Coca Cola. They will get their new customers and profits. Tom never returned from where he never wanted to go. His voice was taken away twice. (He did not even like Coke. He loved root beer floats). The parents mourned with puffed patriotic chests, and now they want the same for the baby, as if they could prophesize a better future for him or her. (It will be a him.) He will cry when born and that will be his only voice. Father Baker has papers to sign him away, and so the law speaks and points and somebody profits. What will the child’s favorite drink be? Will he find his way home? Who likes leaving home, anyway? Explorers. If he becomes an explorer, he may discover peace.

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Arthur Reflects | Tom Holmes

This time he remembered to listen to the long thunder. It was too early for the lightning, which might or might not arrive, but he remembered to stay. He just returned home, too, after having his car washed. He realized the irony. He liked to clean on days like this. Not necessarily rainy days, but responsible days. He cleaned the cast iron wok that was soaking, then the bowl, chopsticks, spoon, spatula, and wine glasses. He usually cleaned by hand, even though he was aware he probably wasted water, but he told himself he was single. The girls were to come over soon. He didn’t want them in his place. He wanted to listen. Besides, what was he to do? Give them a tour of campus in the storm? No, they would sit. They would share names, backgrounds, and why they chose this school. He would tell them of the library. It was a fine library. Large and up-to-date, but people, he noticed, didn’t care about libraries until an urgent need for information arose or when papers were due. He knew of only one thing due, but even with what he knew, he wasn’t sure he could help. Each morning when it didn’t rain (though sometimes when it did), he drove to within blocks of The Lab. He walked the rest of the way there, past it, around the corner to a diner, and ate breakfast. Then he’d walk back, look into each of The Lab’s windows that faced the street, and stared in as far as he could to see if he could find her. He assured himself that if he saw her, he’d visit. But he believed he never saw her, or wondered if he was supposed to, or if he wanted to. Arthur knew she was in there and that he was not responsible. Her family assumed she was irresponsible and a criminal, or at base minimum, an immoral sinner. What he knew of The Lab’s employees was they probably treated, told, and reinforced the same to her. Arthur was concerned with how the employees would react to him, as well. He imagined they had a below-cellar room for people like him. He feared how all the paperwork would turn him into a ghost. And if not them, then her parents would certainly put an end to him without listening to what he would say or offer. He knew from Stacia’s letters that the doctors, nurses, accountants, psychiatrists, technicians, and nuns, as well as her parents, not only didn’t listen to her but spoke for her. They tried to erase her existence, at least her past, present, and future. Before moving to The Lab, her parents hid her in her bedroom. When they went clothes shopping, they smuggled her into the backseat of their four-door sedan, laid her down, covered her with blankets, and drove to stores three towns away to find her camouflage. Now that she was in The Lab, her parents at cocktail parties told stories of Stacia being selected for a short-term scholarship at a fine acting school on the west coast. Their friends, associates, and neighbors were so impressed, they readjusted their previous ignominious judgments of these respectable people. Arthur told no stories, except to incoming students. He waited. He waited for green plumes of smoke over the hills.

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Spring 2017 Art ToC
Spring 2017 Editors and Contributors ToC

Spring 2017 Editors


journal of literary and visual art

Spring 2017



Krysia Jopek – Founding Editor and Publisher

Meg Harris – Managing Editor

Thato Andreas Mokotjo – Poetry Editor

Eric Traska – Art Editor

Contributing Editors

James Autio – Fiction
Kinga Fabó – Poetry
Dale Houstman – Art

Technical Design and Layout by Michael Dickel

Except where otherwise noted, all works ©2017 by the creators.
Diaphanous ©2017 Diaphanous Press / Krysia Jopek as a whole.


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Spring 2017 Contributor Notes


Diaphanous—Spring 2017—Vol. 1 No. 1

(Only contributors who provided biographical notes are included.)

Kostas Anagnopoulos is the founder and editor of Insurance Editions. He has published six chapbooks: Irritant, Daydream, Various Sex Acts, Some of My Reasons, Night Loop and What Works. His book titled Moving Blanket was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2010. His forthcoming book is titled Seven Books. He lives in Jackson Heights, New York, with his husband and daughter.

Kristen Anderson is currently a Junior at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where she is working towards her Bachelor of Architecture degree. Her work so far has focused on experimental and abstract concepts and how they can be integrated into the architectural design process.

James D. Autio is a visual artist and poet in Minneapolis. James’ work has appeared in Conduit, Sleet Magazine, Yellow Medicine Review, North American Review, Ditch, and many other fine journals. James is the proud recipient of many awards and occasional fellowships for his writing and art. James is an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe.

Mark Bozeman has been writing since he was 12. He has been an English teacher since 1994. Besides writing and teaching, Mark plays Ultimate Frisbee, runs with his dog and enjoys being a suburban husband.

John Burroughs writes poems, walks his dog, runs Crisis Chronicles Press and performs as Jesus Crisis. Find him at Crisis Chronicles.

R. T. Castleberry’s work has appeared in Steam Ticket, Roanoke Review, Comstock Review, Green Mountains Review, Santa Fe Literary Review and The Alembic, among other journals. He is a co-founder of the Flying Dutchman Writers Troupe, co-editor/publisher of the poetry magazine Curbside Review, an assistant editor for Lily Poetry Review and Ardent. He was a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee. His work has been featured in the anthologies Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice and The Weight of Addition. His chapbook, Arriving At The Riverside, was published by Finishing Line Press in January 2010. An e-book, Dialogue and Appetite was published by Right Hand Pointing in May 2011.

DeWitt Clinton  recently retired from teaching in the English Department at the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater. Poems of his have appeared recently in The Missing Slate, Negative Capability, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Verse-Virtual, New Verse News, Peacock Journal, Ekphrastic Review, and Stark: The Poetry Journal which featured a shortlisted poem for the Wisehouse International Poetry Award.

John Covello enjoys having fun with words and is honored to be included in the launch of Diaphanous. He disagrees with The Duchess in Alice In Wonderland, preferring to say “Take care of the sounds, and the sense will take care of itself.” A lifelong resident of Long Island, NY, his greatest pleasure is the time he spends with his wife Kathi and their assorted dogs and cats.

Reg Darling lives in Vermont with his wife and cats. When he isn’t writing, he paints and wanders in the woods. His essays have been published in Azure, Backcountry Journal, Dark Matter Journal, The Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review, Hellbender Journal, Hoot, Primitive Archer, River Teeth, Timberline Review, Traditional Bowhunter. His work is forthcoming in Tiferet and the Chaos.

Theresa Darling writes, creates pastels, and takes photographs in the Green Mountains of Vermont. While living quietly with her husband and two spoiled cats, she is working on her first book of poetry, Secrets, Silence & Shadows: An Examination of Rape & Marriage. She has been published in Bailey’s Beads, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Hellbender Journal, and Napalm and Novocain, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Michael Dickel, a writer, and photographer has work in several print and online publications. He co-edited Voices Israel Volume 36 (2010), and was managing editor for arc-23 and -24. His most recent book, The Palm Reading after The Toad’s Garden, came out in 2016. Previous books are: War Surrounds Us, Midwest / Mid-East, and The World Behind It, Chaos… He also co-edited with Sandra TylerThe Woven Tale Press Selected Works 2015 & Empty Spaces Project ExhibitHe has taught at colleges and universities in both Israel and the U.S. Visit his blogzine: Meta/ Phor(e) /Play.

M Durrance lives in Seattle. He graduated from UC Berkeley and CCAC. He is a self-taught musician and songwriter. In real life, he performs data entry and grunt-y side jobs to scrape by. He’s gettin’ too old for this shit.

Kinga Fabó is a Hungarian poet. Her latest book, a bilingual Indonesian-English poetry collection, Racun/Poison was published in 2015 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Fabó’s poetry has been published in various international literary journals and poetry magazines including Osiris, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Screech Owl, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear, Numéro Cinq, Deep Water Literary Journal, Fixpoetry, lyrikline.org and elsewhere as well as in anthologies like Beletra Almanako, The Significant Anthology, Resonance, Women in War, The Colours of Refuge, Poetry in Action, Poetry Against Racism, World Poetry Yearbook 2015, et al.

Two of her poems have been translated into English by George Szirtes and are forthcoming in Modern Poetry in Translation Spring Issue with an introduction by Szirtes.

She has also written an essay on Sylvia Plath.

John Fitzgerald is an award-winning poet, editor, and federal appeals attorney for the disabled. His most recent books are Favorite Bedtime Stories and The Mind, both from Salmon Poetry. He’s been widely published in journals and anthologies. He was editor of the Law Review.

Mitko Gogov is an entrepreneur and conceptual artist. He was born in Skopje, Macedonia. A youth worker and civil activist, Gogov writes and publishes poetry, stories, essays, and journalism. He was published in London by Yoko Ono. His work has been presented and translated in several anthologies, collections, and journals of literature and art in India, Pakistan, Russia, Spain, Argentina, Check Republic, Germany, and many other countries. His first collection Ice Water was published in 2011, in Serbia. In 2014 he was published in Macedonia, in the anthology Fires for the publishing house Antolog, which is supported by the Ministry of culture.

Tony Hansen published a book of poetry thirty years ago and his interest was rekindled five years ago when he felt inspired to write poems for the hospital where he volunteers. Tony contributes to online poetry groups, participates in local groups, and several of his poems have been published in anthologies.

Gordon Hilgers lives in a Dallas-area suburban ghetto called Five Points, a place labeled by The Los Angeles Times “the Ellis Island of Texas” for its over 30 languages spoken within its five square mile area. His poetry and prose have been published by Sequestrum, The Chiron Review, Poetry Quarterly, Edgar Allen Poet Journal, Red Fez, Texas Observer and many more.

Meg Harris poems, stories, and essays appear in print and in online journals, including Upstreet, Numéro Cinq, Whiskey Island Magazine, River River, Pirene’s Fountain, and others. She is 2004 alumna of Vermont College of Fine Arts. Meg Harris volunteers as a judge for Goodreads Newsletter’s monthly poetry contest and she recently completed training for Leadership in the Patchwork Farms Guided Writing Process. This summer and fall she will offer inaugural guided writing groups in “The Process” in rural Southwestern Pennsylvania and at Sol’s Path in Connecticut. Her chapbook, Inquiry into Loneliness is forthcoming from Crisis Chronicles Press. More of Meg Harris’ writing can be found at Blue Moon Northeast.

Gordon Hilgers lives in a Dallas-area suburban ghetto called Five Points, a place labeled by The Los Angeles Times “the Ellis Island of Texas” for its over 30 languages spoken within its five square mile area.  His poetry and prose have been published by Sequestrum, The Chiron Review, Poetry Quarterly, Edgar Allen Poet Journal, Red Fez, Texas Observer and many more.

Tom Holmes is the founding editor of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics, and author of three full-length collections of poetry, most recently The Cave, which won The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013, as well as four chapbooks. His writings about wine, poetry book reviews and poetry can be found at his blog, The Line Break. Follow him on Twitter.

Dale Houstman was born over there and moved here (by some other people.) His mother taught him to laugh at all the bullshit, not that issues shouldn’t be taken to heart, but be aware of the choking gas that drifts over the trenches. And, even in trenches, an occasional joke, a love poem, a round of half-remembered songs of youth can inhabit the same air as the chlorine for a while. Art and imagination don’t always win, but they don’t give up either, that may be the best we can expect. Behind every “good” man there is a “better” absence.

Tapio Huuska known by his stage name Cristal Snow, is a Finnish musician, writer, comic, director, television and radio personality. He still has the heart of a dreamer.

Donald Illich has published poetry in The Iowa Review, LIT, Nimrod, and other journals. He lives in Maryland.

Krysia Jopek’s poems have appeared in The Great Literary Magzine, Crisis Chronicles Cyber Litmag, Gone Lawn 19, Split Rock Review, The Woven Press, Columbia Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Wallace Stevens Journal, Phoebe, Murmur, Windhover, and Artists & Influence. She has written reviews of poetry for The American Book Review and a review of literary criticism for The Wallace Stevens Journal. Maps and Shadows, her first novel (Aquila Polonica 2010), won a Silver Benjamin Franklin award in 2011 in the category of Historical Fiction. The Glass House of Forgetting, her second novel (literary fiction) is forthcoming as well as her full-length book of poetry, The Sea Within. She founded Diaphanous Press, which publishes DIAPHANOUS: a biannual online journal of literary and visual art—and will soon be publishing book-length collections of contemporary, cutting edge poetry and short fiction from around the globe. Please visit Diaphanous Press and her author website.

Jennifer Juneau’s work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for Fiction, The Million Writers Award, a Sundress Best of the Net award, and has been published in numerous journals such as the American Poetry Journal, Cincinnati Review, Evergreen Review, Fairy Tale Review, Seattle Review, and elsewhere. She lives in New York City where she participates in poetry readings regularly in Brooklyn and on the lower east side.

Sneha Subramanian Kanta is a GREAT scholarship awardee, pursuing her second postgraduate degree in literature in England. Her award-winning poem  At Dusk with the Gods’ won the first place at Alfaaz (Kalaage) Her work is forthcoming in WISH Press, Shot Glass Journal, Madcap Review and elsewhere. Email her at s.sneha01@yahoo.in

Sharon Lattig Sharon Lattig teaches writing at the University of Connecticut’s Stamford campus. She holds a Ph.D. from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and an M.A. from The City College of New York, and has returned to writing poetry after researching the nexus of lyric poetry, ecocriticism, and cognitive poetics.

Nate Maxson is a writer and performance artist. The author of several collections of poetry–most recently The Whisper Gallery and The Age Of Jive. Perpetually one shot of tequila and another year of college away from being a very irresponsible psychologist, he lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Margo Mensing’s poems have appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Chronogram, First Literary Review—East. Three poems will be published in January 2017 in the new online journal, La Presa. She published a personal essay in Gastronomica in 2008. She was a Professor of Studio Art at Skidmore College through 2009. Previous to that she a Visiting Resident Artist at Cranbrook Academy of Art and also taught at The School of the Art Institute, Chicago.

Thato Andreas Mokotjo is a young South African poet and a writer who was born in Lesotho and lead a poetry in his secondary-level school and where he discovered and shared his passion for writing. Mokotjo looks forward to the release of his first collection of poetry, The Three Keys.

Jay M. Mower is a retired advertising professor and marketing executive. His poems have appeared in Acorn Review, Chaparral, Muddy River Poetry Review, Magee Park Poets, San Diego Poetry Annual and recognized in Atlanta Review International Competition. His chapbooks are Light Medium Dark, Different Voices and Along the Way. Visit his website.

Anna Rabinowitz A National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, Anna Rabinowitz has published five volumes of poetry: Words on the Street, Present Tense, The Wanton Sublime: A Florilegium of Whethers and Wonders, Darkling: A Poem, and At the Site of Inside Out. She has written the librettos for The Wanton Sublime, a monodrama with original music by Tarik O’Regan, and Darkling, a multi-media opera with music by Stefan Weisman. She has published widely in such journals as Atlantic Monthly, Boston Review, The Paris Review, Colorado Review, Southwest Review, Denver Quarterly, Sulfur, LIT, VOLT, and Verse. Her poetry has appeared in the anthologies, The Best American Poetry 1989, edited by Donald Hall, Life on the Line: Selections on Words and Healing, The KGB Bar Reader, The Poets’ Grimm, Poetry Daily, Poetry After 9/11, Blood to Remember, Women Poets on Mentorship, and Aftershocks: The Poetry of Recovery.

Charles Rafferty’s twelfth collection of poems is The Smoke of Horses (forthcoming from BOA Editions). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, O, Oprah Magazine, Prairie Schooner, and Ploughshares. His stories have appeared in The Southern Review and Per Contra, and his story collection is called Saturday Night at Magellan’s. Currently, he directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College.

Jonathan K. Rice is founding editor/publisher of Iodine Poetry Journal and co-editor of Kakalak 2016. His latest poetry collection is Killing Time, published by Main Street Rag Publishing. He is also the author of Shooting Pool with a Cellist (Main Street Rag, 2003) and Ukulele and Other Poems (Main Street Rag, 2006). He is the recipient of the 2012 Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award for outstanding service in support of local and regional writers, awarded by Central Piedmont Community College. Jonathan is also a visual artist. Both his poetry and art have appeared in a number of literary magazines.

Tree Riesener is the author of  Sleepers Awake, a collection of short fiction, winner of the Eludia Award, Sowilo Press, 2015, The Hubble Cantos, Aldrich Press, 2016, and EK, to be published in 2017 by Cervena Barva Press. Visit her website.

Mark Savage is an English artist who paints on his iPad to relax—usually with a few beers, in an English pub or bistro in Paris, where he visits often. Then he posts his art on facebook to see what the world thinks.

John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky. He has published two collections: Ring the Sycamore Sky (Red Paint Hill) and Under the Mountain Born (Least Bittern Books). His worked has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

Chris Stroffolino is an American poet, writer, musician, critic, performer, author of 12 books of poetry and prose, and best known for working alongside Steve Malkmus and David Berman on The Silver Jews American Water album (1998 Drag City). Stroffolino, (born in Reading, Pennsylvania March 20, 1963) attended Albright College, Temple University and Bard College, The University of Massachusetts Amherst, before receiving a PhD at Suny-Albany with a dissertation on William Shakespeare in 1998.

Donna Todd was the first female photojournalist working on major metropolitan newspapers in Australia. Since then she has continued to capture the lives and stories of people around the planet. Her pictures have been published and exhibited extensively and won her 100 major awards. She loves that her camera gives her the privilege of being some place she doesn’t necessarily belong.

George Toles is Distinguished Professor of Literature and Film at the University of Manitoba. He is the author of A House Made of Light: Essays on the Art of Film and the recently published Paul Thomas Anderson. For twenty-five years George was Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin’s screenwriting collaborator. George has been posting daily mini-narratives, which he calls Status Updates, on Facebook since spring of 2008.

Eric Traska has a B.S. in Visual Communications from Lyndon State College, VT. 1986. His photographic influences; Edward Weston, Alfred Stieglitz, Man Ray, Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe, Garry Winogrand and Ansel Adams. His other visual art influences include Georgia O’Keefe, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Grant Wood, Andy Warhol and Piet Mondrian. He worked as a professional photographer for over 20 years in New York City and Boston. He is the father of 3 incredibly talented daughters.

Andrew Turman is “Touched by Fire,” in the immortal words of Kay Redifield Jameson. Just another bipolar artist. He is not that bad and attests that he is evolving. He has a page dedicated to his art: W. A. Turman. Check it out and become a fan!

Barbara Ungar’s most recent book, Immortal Medusa, was chosen as one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Indie Books of 2015 and won the Adirondack Center for Writing Poetry Award. Prior books include Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life and The Origin of the Milky Way, which won the Gival Prize, an Independent Publishers Silver Medal, and a Hoffer award. A professor of English at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, she teaches writing and literature. She lives with her son in Saratoga Springs, New York. Visit her website.

Sarah Harris Wallman is the 2013 winner of Prada’s international fiction prize. Her work has most recently appeared in the Great Jones Street app. She lives in New Haven. She has an MFA and two small children.

Jon Wesick hosts Southern California’s best ice cream parlor poetry reading and is a regional editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual. He’s published hundreds of poems and stories in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, Metal Scratches, Pearl, Slipstream, Space and Time, Tales of the Talisman, and Zahir. The editors of Knot Magazine nominated his story “The Visitor” for a Pushcart Prize. His poem “Meditation Instruction” won the Editor’s Choice Award in the 2016 Spirit First Contest. Another poem “Bread and Circuses” won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists Contest. Jon is the author of the poetry collection Words of Power, Dances of Freedom as well as several novels. Visit his website.

Steve Yau is a Connecticut resident who enjoys cycling and photography, a hobby that turned into his passion. He has photographed bicycle races and weddings in the New England area since 2001. He also enjoys cooking and appreciates the art of holography.

Ali Znaidi lives in Redeyef, Tunisia. He is the author of several chapbooks, including Experimental Ruminations (Fowlpox Press, 2012), Moon’s Cloth Embroidered with Poems (Origami Poems Project, 2012), Bye, Donna Summer! (Fowlpox Press, 2014), Taste of the Edge (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2014), Mathemaku x5 (Spacecraft Press, 2015), and Austere Lights (Locofo Chaps: an imprint of Moria Books, 2017). For more, visit aliznaidi.blogspot.com.


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