Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Issue #7

Two Poems by Joanna Valente

She Was An Awkward, Quiet Child

What are you saying? I asked. She spoke

so gently across the table as though forks

& spoons would curl & glasses would splinter.

I'm talking to my unicorn, he says he likes you;

she seemed affronted I could not see anything

other than an empty seat next to her, where

her father used to be. Is he hungry, does he want

to eat anything? I asked almost amused, but not quite.

He doesn't eat people food, most of it makes him

sick, except peas. I gave him some of mine.

Laughing, I cleared away our plates & ran them

under hot water knowing she was better than I.

The Regular

He was eating. The waitress poured coffee

into his cup, tenderly falling homeward

some streaming onto the saucer, ringing around.

There were coffee rings on the end table in his

mother's house. His father didn't give a damn about

furniture, not when it couldn't scream from beneath

the weight of all the books. Moscow

was just like North Carolina, all of it furniture

furniture from your aunt & uncle, furniture

waiting outside on the curb

to be picked up by women, not girls. Fritz, is this

going to be it? the waitress asked like he was

her father (who moved out with a

young girl almost her age.) He was surprised

that Fritz was still his name, it hadn't changed

like his body shrinking (could it one day

be gone? like the snowman he made at eight

before they moved.) No, that will be it, he said, indefinitely.

Biography Note:

Joanna Valente lives in New York, and is currently completing her bachelor's degree in Creative Writing and Literature. She has been published in various magazines and one upcoming anthology from Uphook Press. A few of her favorite things include the smell of library books, museums and the ocean. She can be found at her blog:

The Sunflowers' Roar
Sandy Benitez

In the cutting garden,
sunflowers tilt their faces
towards the sun. Wait for
the shock of heat to
awaken their lazy limbs.

Black eyes steal glances
behind golden manes;
once outrageous and wild,
tousled from the bi-polar wind
as The Scorpions' Rock me Like
a Hurricane whips by
from an aging radio.

With a roar, they proclaim
their strength to the alert
ears of corn in the field
and the crows who fly in formation,
cawking curses in unison.

Maybe this time, the lady
of the house will take notice
and carry them far away--
to the porch, the dining table,
or even the farmer's market.

Anywhere but here,
where time buries its head
in the dirt among the seeds
and purring has become
an afterthought.

Biography Note:

Sandy's poetry has appeared in over 85 print and online poetry journals such as Words-Myth, Falling Star Magazine, Chantarelle's Notebook, Tipton Poetry Journal, The Orange Room Review, Elimae, Lily, and Loch Raven Review. Sandy resides in Wyoming with her two hyper children and darling husband. Her first book of poetry, Ever Violet, by DN Publishing is available by contacting the author at

Two Poems by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Clock Ticking

This fit of time
to squeeze us
into a whimper of submission,
with its snake head,
bear's body,
vulture claws,
underdeveloped wings.

Wiggle loose...
Fight back with the vastness of our numbers.

Tomorrow is already here.

Turn Of The Night Runner

Run me into the ground.
Sit on my back, spreading your legs,
huffing from the chase
I let you win.

Pull my hairy head back.
Slit my throat with your fingernail.
Watch me pour
heat into the wilting grass.

I roar with the beasts
you've saddled in the past,
except I created the fire
within the whisk of your existence.

Biography Note:

Stephen Jarrell Williams' poetry has recently appeared in Aphelion, Fissure Magazine, Hungur, Liquid Imagination, Mirror Dance, Tales From The Moonlit Path, and Scifaikuest.

John Grey

Late Spring, chilly Canadian backlash.

The forest’s up in arms,

thin wind-shaken limbs,

with buds about to burst.

Pollen freezes in the air.

The hungry lose their appetite

to flakes of snow.

The frog’s croak is a bitter one.

Brown ponds shudder with ice.

Chickadees bite down on their mating calls,

huddle in the prickly brush.

Once more, survival trumps nest building.

The change came and then it didn’t.

The landscape fell for an ancient trick.

The thaw was a lie, insatiably believed.

The air grows cold. The faith grows colder still.

Biography Note:

John Grey has been published in the Georgetown Review, Connecticut Review, South Carolina Review and The Pedestal. He also has work upcoming in Poetry East and The Pinch.

Porn of the Dead

The only way to to tell the living,
those sitting there watching
news reports, from those that return home,
laid to rest, is a slight movement
of the chest. But watching
somehow it makes all less real,
and something not to be mentioned
when queuing in the Post Office
like watching porn in the afternoon;
curtains drawn.

It’s all about dying,
and dying a good death.
Praise be
a climax
between clean white cotton sheets
and the money shot final breath;
cut to a blissful smile …

The fluffers
and the spin swingers
can carry a flag beautifully,
(practice makes perfect)
and with clipboards and Biros
count body bags
like used condoms
wrapped in Union Jacks
and call it glory.

Pass the tissues.

Biography Note:

P.A.Levy hides in the heart of Suffolk countryside (UK) learning the lost arts of hedge mumbling and clod watching. He is an original member of the Clueless Collective ( and has been in many publications.

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