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


  1. Great poem, Doug! I guess there is much truth to the old adage: Sometimes we're forced to wear many hats." Well, maybe it's not an old adage, but your poem says it ought to be!

    Salvatore Buttaci

  2. Kenneth P. Gurney captures brilliantly the interlude between the dark whispers of the night and the approaching light of another awakening day. I really enjoy reading his stuff.