Monday, November 30, 2009

Issue #11

Two Poems by Ross Vassilev

Jerusalem is your holy land but not mine

I’m old enough to remember
when they were still putting out music
on cassettes
I’m even old enough to remember vinyl
and Dawn Wells in Gilligan’s Island reruns
back then
there was hope in the world
at least for most people
before America’s endless wars
and global economic crises
now I’ve given up trying
just lie on the couch all day
while the spiders wrap their victims
in the corners
I’ve given up on sunsets and rainbows
and basic human decency
just waiting for the monster
with the body of a lion
the head of a rat
and darkness pouring from its eyes.

yellow eyes

my head dripping sweat
on the desk
my mind dripping
green bile
the nightmare flies
and the worms of my heart
maybe there’s other
lonely insane people who suffer
as much as I do
and I’m sure they’re all poets
I’m still fighting the Turks
kill the lights cuz
the Russians are coming
heed America’s
national paranoia doctrine
or they’ll throw you in prison
without trial
I’m a crazy person in a land
of loonies
feeling right at home.

Biography Note:

Ross Vassilev was born in Bulgaria and now lives in Ohio. He's a poet and the editor of Opium Poetry 2.0 ( and Asphodel Madness ( blogzines. He's been published here and there.

A.J. Kaufmann

My old lines – mistakes
My new ones – routine
Where’s the man I’ve been looking for
His machine

Where’s the burden, the ghost
The begging scrawl of years
Bowl of rice, the guest
Lines austere
Lonely lantern Annie
Silver on her breast
Songs of the sunken streetlight
Oceans, regret

My poem sleeps alone
Half-done, half-dead
The singer bows to the writer
Where’s the music,
The sincere, the jazz

Where’s the river, has it changed
City, remote heart attack
Tent of stars, minor concert
Yet another autograph
Is it me behind the glasses
Am I there

Why hide
I haven’t written for ages
Just collected, walked on by
My old lines – more mistakes
My new ones – not worthwhile
Winter – overwhelming
Prisons open wide
Wisdom crawls the gutter
Jokers ride the sky

Biography Note:

A.J. Kaufmann, born June 24 1989 is a poet, songwriter and traveler currently living in Poland. He's the author of "Siva in Rags", "I'm Already Not Here", "Pilgrims & Indians" and other poetry chapbooks. He can be found online at and /or at

Two Poems by Eric Miller

Coke Bottle Glasses

“How’s that?,” the optometrist
asked, as he slipped my new
glasses on.

“Spectacular,” I replied, despite
being worried that I would be
making a spectacle of myself
wearing these new coke bottle

But as I walked out of his door and
into the world, which had previously
been a blur to me, the curtain rose,
the music started, and I took my seat
to enjoy the spectacle of life, for which
I must admit I was delighted to have a

White Highways

From a hammock slung
between two leafless
trees, I stared at
contrails in the sky

Although they were
ice crystals formed by
planes flying through
freezing cold air, they
blanketed me in warmth

The white inked sky
spoke words of mythic
Greek and Roman gods,
mapping undiscovered
thoughts which carried
me to a place called
Slumber, located far
from white highways
in a special place
between two leafless

Biography Note:

Eric Miller is a retired dentist who has laid down his drill for a quill. His stories and poems number more than a mouth full of teeth and appear in many different publications.

Living on an Island
Alice Folkart

There we are, on the map,
that little green splatz
almost lost in endless
Mercator blue, longitude
and latitude with attitude
gliding right by.

Say "Hi!"
to the continent
when you get there.

The trade winds died
from an overdose of something,
and the weather lies gloomy,
gray, even greasy-dark upon us.
No end in sight, not even night
to promise cool.

When it's like this,
you can't see nothing much
whether you're looking out to sea
searching for the horizon,
the tightrope to a dream,
or at a map book or a globe.

All you'll see is a bumpy plain
oozing out across space
like the skin on rapidly-cooling oatmeal
that ain't going to be any good if you don't eat it now.

Biography Note:

Alice Folkart lives and writes on the island of Oahu. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in a number of Internet literary journals and print publications.

Kenneth P. Gurney

This not knowing
my child,
this fear of shadows
in the dark.

In the spaces between
letters typed
the dead hold their breath,
hope for a speaker.

The colored light
remains an hour away
from emerging
out of the blackness.

The dead who visit me,
like the alarm clock,
fade like the ground fog
as the sun rises
and work begins.

Biography Note:

Kenneth P. Gurney lives in Albuquerque, NM. His work appears mostly on the web as he spends SASE & reading fee monies on flowers for his lover. To learn more, visit

Doug Mathewson

Unexpected early dismissal from jury duty
left me on my own
midday midweek midtown
used book store cafe near the court drew me in
juror parking was free so I still had ten bucks
clerk with race-car tattoos and vertical hair took my six of my dollars
for a poetry book and a scone
scone was pear and almonds
book was Richard Garcia
both were great
reading and eating in a sunny spot
playing out my own alternate lives
with sailor me lost at sea
when cowboy me moved to town
disco me died too young
astronaut me who never took off
royal me without a throne
monastic me who suffered alone
the afternoon was passing
time to head home
the evening was still open
for us to decide who to be.

Biography Note:

Doug Mathewson is an editor and writer of short fiction who lives on Connecticut's eastern shore. He is editor of Blink-Ink, a contributing editor @ MUST, a photographer, and environmental artist. Most recently his work has been published by The Boston Literary Magazine, The Binnacle, Callused Hands, e-Muse, Full of Crow, Right Hand Pointing, riverbabble, and Poor Mojo’s Almanac(k). His somewhat more episodic fiction True Stories From Imaginary Lives is available at

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Issue #10

Two Poems by J.S. MacLean


It hides behind dusty colors
in antique shops and peeks
over hedgerows
just after high summer.
You can see it in faces
if you first focus
at a point far behind.
It is in the mirror
poking through hair
that’s been spent
like breadcrumbs
on a one way trail.

The hands of a friend
remind you of a parent.
There are no old people anymore,
once simple gardens are overgrown
and green.

The Caregiver

She cradles the dry leaves,
anointing them gently
so they don’t crumble
too soon,
touches the sprouts
misshapen by frost,
warming them open.

Hand, eye, muscle,
and memory
for the failing,
a heart
for the alone.

Holder of the names
of hidden ones,
doer of
private things,
a target, sometimes.

beyond glossy faces,
beyond pounding buds,
not an angel or a star,

she curves her arms
against the tide,
around those love words
in the sand.

Biography Note:

J.S. MacLean lives in Calgary Alberta. His work has appeared in such places as ditch, Why Vandalism? Battered Suitcase, Soundzine, The Toronto Quarterly, and various others. In 2007 he won first place in poetry in THIS Magazine's Great Canadian Literary Hunt. In his spare time he wears various hats on the staff of a new online journal, The Triggerfish Critical Review.

Salvatore Buttaci

blood-puddled war
sets landmines
with a twinkle
in its stormy eye
because it knows
the march of soldiers
how they tramp
on mud and green
under which one day
they finally rest
and so it goes
the kaleidoscope
of battles
of weak treaties
of time’s
brutal hands
oh, beware, beware
the rustling leaves
in placid gardens
the howling wolf
stretching its snarl
to bite
the solicitous moon

Biography Note:

Salvatore Buttaci is an obsessive-compulsive writer who plies his craft daily. His poems, stories, articles, and letters have appeared widely in publications that include New York Times, U. S. A. Today, The Writer, Cats Magazine, and Christian Science Monitor. He was the recipient of the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award in 2007. Buttaci lives with his wife Sharon in West Virginia.

I Still Sit By The Water
Mike Meraz

when I was 13 I would
sit by the water
and wonder what would become
of my life.

at 22 I would sit by the water
and wonder what I was going to do
with my life.

now at 38
I lay in bed and realize
water is pointless
yet there is something in me
that wants to get up
head to the Mississippi and watch
the boats go by, it is not the water
that matters so much, but a large space
of calmness, something to aspire to,
something that is traveled on, enjoyed
and breeds life.

I still sit by the water.

Biography Note:

Mike Meraz is a poet from Los Angeles who currently lives in New Orleans. He is the author of two books of poetry “Black-Listed Poems” and “All Beautiful Things Travel Alone.” Both are available at and He is also the editor of Black-Listed Magazine.

Lady of the tide-
Loren Fay

She sits beside the moons twilight
& changes your quiet thoughts.
She holds on to your cherished
life & moves within the perfect tide.
Swift as the current is wide
& as beautiful of an eve as tonight.
Swirling your arrogance
to sooth your exulting intuition.
She is the harbor of vessels
& the lady of great virtue.
Switch about your foolish pride
& come to attention at her side.

Biography Note:

Loren Fay is currently a college student at St. Petersburg College in Florida. She is working on her Bachelors’ degree, majoring in Space Research, and minoring in Creative Writing and Poetics. She has been published numerous times in local news papers and literary magazines. She wants to become a Missions Specialist at the Kennedy Space Center at NASA. She is currently writing a fiction novel (which is under secrete knowledge about its content). Follow her fan page on Facebook at Loren Fay (the writer). Check out her blog at

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

I shook his wrinkled hand.
His angry wink stared me
down. I shook his hand and
he killed me with his eyes.

Down the stairs I tumbled
like an old man without
balance. Perhaps I was
cursed by the old man’s stare.

I had an old wrinkled
hand and the old man’s stare.
He was me and I was
he. My angry eyes looked

long and far for the old
man. I wanted to kill
him. I wanted my old
hands and my old eyes back.

Biography Note:

Luis works in the mental health field in Los Angeles, CA. He was born in Mexico. His latest chapbook, Overcome, was published by Kendra Steiner Editions, and includes photography by Cynthia Etheridge.

Fire Song
KJ Hannah Greenberg

White wisps, blue tendrils,
Flame yellow kissed
Jewel weed bursts,
Red starred hearts,
Warm, then wane.

Wafting past earthen lances
Advancing only to sing
Where death wrings
Woodland mysteries.

Besot by unplanned grandeur,
Mysteries of blessing
Evade touch and thought,
Mimicking worse moments.

Birds nest where lives,
Beaten down, slip
Alone among reserves.
Temple records, only,
Remember our remorse.

Biography Note:

KJ Hannah Greenberg gave up all manner of academic hoopla to chase a hibernaculum of imaginary hedgehogs and to raise children. Blessed to be the parent of two girls and two boys, three of whom are raging through their teen years, and one of whom is threatening to spring from preadolescence, Hannah discovered, (all things being unequal) that it is both more rewarding and more difficult to raise children than to instruct thousands of college students on the nuances of human interactions.

Her poetry has appeared in numerous international venues, including: Joyful!, Ken*Again, Language and Culture Magazine, Literary Mama, Poetry Super Highway, Scribblers on the Roof, Tertulia Magazine, The Externalist, The Mother Magazine, The Shine Journal, The New Vilna Review, and Unfettered Verse.

Drowning In Pairs
Kyle Hemmings

You're carrying your puppy
past the skunk cabbage and poke berries,
the one with the terminal condition
a missing branch off the heart,
you'd give her yours
but you're only a girl
with damaged blood supply,
a pink shell of a heart
at times
a loss of pulse
a pulse-less unaccountable sea.

You gently hold her above the brook
that reflects the aspens and cassias
the deep blue maddening of the sky.
Damn God. And damn his shunted creations.
You swore you'd never get this close
to such a creature in need.
Your plan is to drown her,
but the thought of bubbles
stirring, clamoring to the surface
and your own reflection
you'll try hard to avoid
and you know
you'll be drowning

Biography Note:

Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey, where he skateboards and sometimes falls and can't get up.