Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Issue #6

Three Poems by Amanda Boschetto


i too dream of the children's deaths
and all of Africa's sky is filled with hunger
pain still holds the weapon of anxiety
the real war is inside me

a letter to some black boy with only one arm
he writes of hope and somewhere half around
the world there is tears and guilt embedded
in the alphabet

the burning sun sets and lions feed on laughing
hyenas, vultures of fun and in the eyes of
a missionary, cutting God out of the land, forgotten
and our crimes are obesity, money, greed
life's undying need we tell us

as Africa continues to bleed

night trace

the trees are hungover, drained of all
the snow its branches must carry
and cancer is stuck on the icy milky way
this bleak season where light must suffer
my nerves on my face are frozen and i try to
stretch them with my palm but nothing but
blood comes out

there is frost in my heart, taken from your
illusion of heaven and it rains skulls from
my own cheap hell, words and worlds are
fictional things, like an illness in the broken wind
you are gone but like a ghost you
move in my tired nights, i count the feathers
fallen behind your instant trace but you're still...

...slipping away

the maddest tree

night's maddest tree is a bore to
the suicides that surround it,
its leaves smother the ground

large and heavy orgasms lick the
roads clean,
like snow flakes gone insane
and it rains frogs from the sky

the tree agrees with winter, with
its silly death spread to everything
even the yawning roots
that love forgot

and on a clear day i can see the
rape that the tree does to every
ray of sunlight
everything's broken within me

Biography Note:

Amanda Boschetto lives in Sweden. She has one chapbook with deadbeatpress and one forthcoming with epic rites in 2010 as well a couple of poems in a few zines. She has facebook at;

The Shredder
Kenneth Pobo

Jezziaro’s Used Cars has

a today-only sale on vans.

Super-size your car, the ad says.

We nail our kids into activity schedules.

After Internet porn, chat rooms,

and Google, we watch the latest

metroplex movie--about a terrorist

who works at Burger King, poisons our fries,

gets away with murder. Home again,

we shred trash which reveals

information about us, turn the lock,

steady ourselves with the TV’s glow.

Biography Note:

Kenneth Pobo had a book of poems published in 2008 from WordTech Press called Glass Garden . His online chapbook, Crazy Cakes, also came out in 2008 and can be accessed at http// Kenneth's chapbook, “Trina and the Sky,” won the 2009 Main Street Rag chapbook contest.

Catch Ken’s radio show, “Obscure Oldies,” at on Saturdays from 6-8pm EST.

Iris Odonata

Mom's in the basement,

tidying up the secrets,

double-checking inventory.

Dad's in the pantry,

tallying up his markers,

counting with a rosary.

Sister's pulling straight-A's,

fiddling with her violin,

playing at being au pair.

And me? Sitting in corner,

just seen, not heard,

awaiting ripening to share.

Biography Note:

Iris has logged 30k hours in hands-on healing work. Iris wrote her first poem at nine. A staunch advocate of mirth, Iris laughs belly laughs daily as exercise against becoming too serious. Iris invites inspiration with all her senses from a multi-universe.

Two Poems by Ben Nardolilli

Under Certain Conditions

The smokestack and the whole poisonous family

Belching away at the sky, with no apology,

To end to the dirty painting and the muted singing,

Can make you think, what was here before,

What was lost for this gain?

The bottles on the shore with black water inside

And burnt-out cigarettes, messages

From those stranded a shore away,

You look at them and wonder if the waves

Had any idea they were moving anything polluting,

Like the backs of rats giving free rides to flees.

The strip mall was a functional emporium,

You know that, but still, you ask out loud

Because the muzak gives you the freedom of the muzzle,

Why it could not look at least a bit different

From the one you passed by down the road.

But the rose that opens up like your lover’s face,

In the middle of the field with every stalk in its place,

And the sky holding no storm in its canopy,

With every thorn a perfect aquiline, and the petals

Right in their number, the color of moving blood,

You are quiet, you understand, you have no more questions.

A Spring Enclosed

How could I have avoided you,

All those years in Catholic school

And you were so pale,

Pale as the virgin, and those

Who surrounded her, and like them

Your dark hair flowing down your head

Made for a convenient veil,

And when all you let me see

Was your neck and ankles,

You expected me to think of you

As someone just in it for the money?

No, you pretended to be his bride,

Even though you did not believe

He was heaven sent, or in heaven itself,

But when I found out you had not made

A home in any man’s bed, I told you

The black was no longer necessary,

And that you could cut your hair,

Tan your skin, you were clean of heart,

Even if you said your mouth had kissed the streets.

Biography Note:

Ben Nardolilli is a twenty three year old writer currently living in Arlington, Virginia. His work has appeared in Houston Literary Review, Perigee Magazine, Canopic Jar, Lachryma: Modern Songs of Lament, Baker’s Dozen, Thieves Jargon, Farmhouse Magazine, Elimae, Poems Niederngasse, Gold Dust, The Delmarva Review, Underground Voices Magazine, SoMa Literary Review, Heroin Love Songs, Shakespeare’s Monkey Revue, Cantaraville, and Perspectives Magazine. In addition, he was the poetry editor for West 10th Magazine at NYU and maintains a blog at

Oh, please. They didn’t sneak into the country to be your friends.
-Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development.

Paul Handley

The largesse involved in making friends

is offset by, well, having friends.

My balance sheet overrunneth with credits.

Thank you cards a must, especially

a thank you for a thank you,

so as to keep on the ledger’s best side.

Terms of contacts and networking gather warmth,

when congeal beneath a layer of loyalty.

Admiration of political ideas while impractical

and lack principle, allow me to be part

of a panorama of you, and me,

a bar, or restaurant and the aura of your success

and blandly handsome anchor man looks,

to friends of others who want to walk onto the set.

Only ones I trust are from before I fall

or have success and I have had both,

and even before I had both, I kinda had both.

Biography Note:

Paul Handley spent a career as a student and a student of odd jobs. He has an MA, an MPA, and is ABD. He has driven a cab and sold meat door-to-door. Paul has work included or forthcoming in Anemone Sidecar, Apollo’s Lyre, Boston Literary Magazine, The Shine Journal, and others.

Justin Ehrlich

Indifferent eyes burn with cruel

Restraint, calculating malign

Designs; unstirred by Golden rule.

Her icy fingers hold a shrine…

My queen of suffering presents

A coruscating crown of thorns

While whispering sweet sentiments;

Stigmata kisses reign forlorn.

Snowflakes pulse vellum arteries.

She tastes the shapes of altered states,

Adrift in abstract quiddities.

In reverence before her gates:

I took a sparkling razorblade

And tore my flesh with vigorous

Calligraphy: a serenade

To my eternal Dolores.

Unveiling my ripped, ravaged chest

I proudly flaunt the spoils of love.

She ordered I expunge my breast

With acid, and a kitchen glove.

The brittle diamonds of despair

Fall flippantly from out my tongue.

Responding with a solar-flare

From the inferno of her lung:

‘One day I’ll push you to the skirt

Of reason; snapping sanity

Unleashes rage, repressed, inert:

You’ll strangle my last breath from me…

Through placid wreaths of floral smoke

I spied psychosis in your eyes;

Amidst the verdant words you spoke,

I heard a buzzing plague of flies.’

Nails oxidized by pity pierce

Emaciated flesh in tuned

Compliant silence. My last tierce

Of famished pride drains from each wound.

Forsaken on this crucifix,

The desert sun swarms blistered bone:

I thirst for vinegar-laced lips!

My vulture goddess long has flown.

Biography Note:

Justin Ehrlich was born in 1985. He holds honours in philosophy and learned to appreciate the aesthetic of a theory over and above significance. His poetry has been published online in Pens on Fire, The-Beat, Ancient Heart, Gloom Cupboard, and The Recusant.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Issue #5

Two Poems from William Doreski

Tortilla Soup

Watching you brew tortilla soup
in the bathtub amazes me.
A tray of tortillas, two heads
of cabbage, a dozen carrots,
a slew of potato pancakes,
fish heads, carrots, and beef shanks—

and then you run the hot water
and stir with a softball bat.
The muscles in your lean arms creak
You grunt as the mixture slathers red
when you pour in Tabasco sauce
and salsa. A few sheep lungs

fried in lard. Parboiled mushrooms,
psychedelic. A bucket or two
of corn chips. When the soup looks grim
as the drainage of an abattoir
you ladle it into kettles
to cook on the range for a day

or two before you serve bowlfuls
to each of the bristling men
you’ve loved. While you feed
and flatter your lapsed paramours
I inspect the empty bathtub.
I’m impressed by the residue,

thick as a layer of napalm.
The men cough blood after eating
their first bowl, spit bone and gristle
after their second. Their breath
smells brutal as an afterbirth,
and they belch with justified pride.

A Single Gray Tone

The day strikes a single gray tone—
detail elided by snowfall
hovering like a frozen breath.

I want to solve the books I love
not by reading but pressing them
against my chest until the words

bleed from my pores and dehydrate
the creature that has haunted me
a lifetime. Instead, I’ll shovel

both the snow and myself into grief
of misplaced priorities like
a government gone bad. They say

not everything is politics—
but the heart attack that drops me
into a comfortable drift

will delete one vote from the sea
of democracy rising even
as global warming melts the ice caps.

The snow falls daintily as scripture
in the daydreams of a prophet.
I can’t say what it codifies,

not being prophetic as I’d like—
but surely all that symmetry
competes with the finest alphabets.

I settle in my straight-backed chair
and keep an eye on the window
in case the color shifts. Sunday

in February always means snow
no matter how the brass organs
protest. Too bad for the church,

where few parishioners will show;
but the two apple trees out front
will fill with waxwings plucking

last autumn’s frostbitten fruit—
and the silence of their devotion
will atone for the featureless light.

Biography Note:

William Doreski teaches at Keene State College in New Hampshire. His most recent collection of poetry is Waiting for the Angel (2009). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, Natural Bridge. For a link:


a passing car illumines his sweat and anything else to which it briefly attaches …
he slops whiskey petulantly, her glittering eye crossing his at random; disassociated

her washed hair separating with relinquished repugnance as he scratches stark naked, scrunching animal hair and rubbing his sticky sacs with peacock exhibitionism

the dark creeps with furtive phrases as she stares into the full length mirror - a fugitive,
before simian shadows conceal her
and thick paws crawl with
grunting chants.

Biography Note:

A.D.Hitchin is a poetry and prose writer published extensively in small press and independent journals including ‘Blaze VOX‘, ‘Ditch’ and ‘Dogmatika’. His 'The Holy Hermaphrodite’ chapbook has recently been released by Shadow Archer Press. You can catch newly updated experiments at: and

Two Poems by Barry Basden

Morning Walk

I walk in the old cemetery near my house,
away from what little traffic and noise
there is here. I used to get up early enough
to watch the sun rise--north of a distant
hill in summer and way south of the empty
factory during the winter. These days I

tend to walk a little later. Usually I take
the dogs, but they are always so joyfully into
the Now, that today, on this crisp spring
morning, I've come alone. I don't remember
the crepe myrtles being this heavy with bloom.
A black cat darts among the headstones and

catches me up. Farther along, when I stop
on a shady path near the back gate, I hear
the wind--or is it murmuring from a grave
that gives me this shiver? I turn around as
if called and see beneath an old oak a
granite stone, slightly tilted, that reads

I'd rather be standing
where you are

Retirement Haven

This place was selected one
of the five best retirement
havens in the world by a glossy
magazine full of color photographs.

I visited there once and drove
through the countryside past a
grand house where a balding man
with a gray pony tail stood yelling
at men working in his garden.

Down the road, near a hillside fragrant
with coffee blooms, I passed a row of
tin-roofed huts next to a river. Women
washed clothes in the muddy current
while men sat in doorways and
sharpened gleaming machetes.

The flowers are lovely this time
of year, and the coffee is fine.

Biography Note:

Barry Basden writes mostly short pieces these days. Some have been published in various online venues. Some have not. He is co-author of CRACK! AND THUMP: WITH A COMBAT INFANTRY OFFICER IN WORLD WAR II, and edits Camroc Press Review at

One Breath
Junie Moon

Grey mist under purple sky,
twilights prelude, ink dots

merge, swell,
trickle down, sealing out
traces of day; shadows

exhale; silhouettes dance
’cross cosmic dust

Time banished,
hours erased,
grandfather keeping time
like a metronome

hazy fog, vapors, feathery
mirage, rising up
filling an empty room;
murmurs, seductive

gentle whispers; obscuring stealthy
cowards, hiding a
hypnotic prophecy,

unleashed in darkness...
abyss; mystical, insistent

collage of images
through cellophane
changing colors;
heart beats
listless, laden;
no heroic salutations;

transparent illusions, counterfeit
memories …voluminous darkness;
seductive, mesmerizing;

no borders, no boundaries;
no guarantees;
reality distorted, spiraling
in inner space,
life lay silent in one breath,
death lay silent in the next

Biography Note:

Junie Moon's work has appeared in Eat a Peach, Poe Little Thing, Black River Press, Down in the Dirt, Dogma Publication, Poetic Hours, Sage of Consciousness, The Persistent Mirage, Poetry Today, Black Book Press, the anthology ‘Lives of Artists’ compiled by Melanie M. Eyth, The Pink Chameleon, to name a few.

When I’m Horny and Suicidal
Steve Calamars

I play hacky-sack with
hand-grenades and lust
after land-mines strutting
in stilettos and fishnet

I chug molotov cocktails
and swallow cyanide
parading down my throat
in strip-teases and

I wink at hourglass-
shaped 357s and
catch bullets beneath
my eyelids . . .

Biography Note:

Steve Calamars lives in San Antonio, TX. He has a B.A. in Philosophy and works in a grocery store. When he is not working or sleeping, he writes (mainly prose). The stuff he writes can be found in bottle rockets, Chiron Review, Harpur Palate, Zygote in My Coffee and other places he won’t bore you with. He can be found in

Loren Fay

Bow down upon this severe bend.
Bones wither & do not mend.
On thy hand’s & knee’s..
Oh, I bleed my blood for thee.
Dearth, I tuck thou heart under the sea.
Cover the beating sound beneath the
Brackish waves.
Universal solvent, dissolve my broken lungs.
You do me no good, stranger of the months.
Beetle brown eyes pollute my ocean blues.
Dig away at my frightened charm,
I veil my battered pain.
My poise vanished during your perfect masquerade.
Who would sweep away a girl in an unending weep?

Biography Note:

Loren Fay was born in London, England and moved to America for schooling in Wisconsin and Florida when she was a young child. She is currently attending college in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Her major is Creative Writing and Poetics. She is currently in the process of writing a set of epic fictional novels, to be published one day soon. She has two blogs of which she posts on rather frequently. The first is titled '& as of now..', which contains much of her poetic works, mixed amongst some short stories as well. Loren Fay's second blog shares her journey with the world as she embarks on writing her novel(s). This blog is titled 'In the making- By: Loren Fay'. She picked up her talent and passion for writing by accident as she was a teachers assistant to a creative writing teacher. Since that fated semester of high school, writing has become a none stop passion for Loren Fay. She has been published in the St. Pete times, numerous literary magazines, and won the award for writer of the year in 2007 from her high school.

The Odds
Lucy Walters

I’ll go to Vegas for a day-
I’ll beat the house,
And triple figure fruits
Will roll down gold
From double tasseled breast
And glittering thighs.
Domed palaces where
Plush carpets roll
Like Savannah plains,
And despair and glee
Lie mischievous lovers
Side on side
Of a shiny coin.
I’d cheat death for just one happy day
Of life where odds are 12 to 1,
Lap at a bowl of bluffing games,
If only for just one
Tiny taste of light,
Then trudge home,
Broke again, at night.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Featured Poet #3

Seven Poems From Richard Wink

The Retired Lifeboat

The retired lifeboat



overturned like an empty crab shell

surrounded by the chalk

and harsh flint.

Weather beaten the boat’s name

had been reduced to a solitary ‘h’

in lower-case,

the shade of navy blue had faded

to a sheepish turquoise.

The sea touched the lifeboat

permissively surrounding it


In the crude sun

the tide departed without

taking anything


The Piranha could not swim

so he was fitted with wheels,

he spun around the shelf

just above the glass tank that contained

his brother and sisters.

Fresh air did the Piranha good

sure he was a fish out of water

plenty of people pointed that out

before chuckling righteously to themselves

but the Piranha paid no attention to unpleasant jibes,

though he did wonder how he was able to breathe.

His gills contracted and bristled

when irritated by the lazy drift of smoke

that billowed from his keeper’s cigarette

Burlesque Memories

The talent was fresh, simmering in a sterling rimmed champagne glass

I wasn’t sure what we were observing

but when the performance ended

we stood and applauded.

Her model was of immaculate design,

not garish like Van Gogh’s prostitute muse

with downcast sagging droops.

No, this vision was crafted

around the finest bone

I missed the last train

and sat in an all night café

sipping dirt brown coffee.

Why was I involved with the arts?

The Thames,

a river of grey romance

I could not smell.

The Page Turner

When the skin cracked

fingertips became tender

each page turned

causing a flinch

eyes wandered

tears rolled

as the final word

was read


Circumstances swam away as swans,

cowardly legs frantically paddling under water

Tides tickled the South East Coast

causing the North to sneeze

Trinkets sugar coated

diabetic deliberate

brandy flavoured blokes lick

the lollipop hat stand

fields dream beneath metallic covers

magnets spin

a clown’s bow tie

tickling barley humour

The Fox in the Furnace

The Fox in the Furnace

a temper of orange

warming the room

causing feet to surrender snug slippers

The Fox in the Furnace

crackles and sparks

a firefly ember glides over shoulder

catching us by surprise


Tremors shuttle

green blurs in awkward motion

rattling rails

bypassing through mustard fields,

specs of rain

streak windows


Daffodils suffer cramp

their stalks kicked,

crushed, then trampled

by the busy men

They shuffle into the burdened carriages

removing and rolling their coats

stacking coral briefcases into overhead compartments

polite theatrics

the newspapers spread open

like maps of the world

Q@A with Richard Wink

CH: How long have you been writing and why did you start in the first place?

RW: I started writing for kicks when I was sixteen. I discovered a knack for poetry one afternoon; I think it was during some little creative writing exercise that I really gravitated towards the art. No longer was I bored by Charles Dickens or trying to figure out what the heck Onomatopoeia meant. At last something in literature was speaking to me, throwing down a gauntlet.

I consider sixteen to be the age when my life went wrong, and since that point for nearly a decade, through ten years of mistakes and misadventure poetry has been the one constant. Of course it has been glorious attempting to play the ‘tortured’ Rimbaud role, but eventually you sit bolt up, waking up at four in the morning in cold sweats and realize that this is something you have to do for the rest of your life. That I guess is when the bug has bitten you.

For about two years I was writing in secret, which is to say at the time I was ashamed. Poetry was seen as pretentious and without wishing to sound homophobic it was considered to be “poncey”. Growing up with laddish mates who had no real love for the arts, and perhaps their cultural outlook stretched just about to drunken sing-along’s to ‘Wonderwall’ on a Friday night. I guess I was afraid to reveal myself as a poet.

By the time I was eighteen I began to send out submissions and got a couple of poems featured in Print Anthologies. My first published poem was titled ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ and was simply about learning to drive. That experience was quite eventful, it took me three attempts to pass the test, and I even failed the theory test once because I came into the testing centre feeling hungover. I recall one lesson occurred on 9/11, the instructor didn’t believe me when I told him about two planes hitting the twin towers. But yeah, I digress. I’m a terrible driver.

Then after getting the taste after those publications I took advantage of the internet, and put together my first chapbook with a publisher in Chicago. The Beehives though not a critical or commercial success got my foot in the door and gave me a bit of confidence. Since then I have managed to produce five more chapbooks, and hopefully later this year, or early next, my first full length collection.

CH: Who or what were your inspirations?

RW: Early on I was heavily influenced by the current poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, her poems about everyday subject matter spoke to me and made me realize that to write poetry you didn’t have to hole yourself away in opium dens. This was a good two or three years before I discovered Bukowski and the Beats, who truly flipped my lid. I’m still only getting started on people like Corso and Snyder, so there is plenty left to discover. I genuinely prefer writers from the States. Anne Sexton and Wallace Stevens are big influences.

A lot of songwriters have influenced me. I especially dig the throwaway nonsense of Stephen Malkmus, the morose heartbreak of Elliott Smith and the genius of Ray Davies. Music is a big deal to me, without it I don’t really think life would be worth living.

CH: What would you say is the hardest thing about writing?

RW: Each and every writer is gripped by the struggle between their ego and their own delusions. Obviously the internal duel is in direct conflict with those who read your writing, so whilst at the peak of your powers you are thinking you are the shit, when in fact you could actually be churning out….. shit poetry.

I mentioned utilizing the internet earlier, and this is going to sound rather hypocritical, considering without the internet (a) I wouldn’t be talking to you now and (b) I wouldn’t have networked enough to get publishers from Liverpool to Los Angeles to put out my words.

But I am concerned that a lot of writing gets lost in the void of the World Wide Web. I still think we are in the early stages of online publishing, if indeed you can call it publishing. We need to build up writers, something like this is good, it acts as a showcase, but as an editor of an online zine myself (Gloom Cupboard) I’ve realized that you have a responsibility to make sure the aces don’t get lost in the pack.

Feature writers, try to put them in Print Editions and work with them. Support your local scenes, encourage your contemporaries. Literary movements only happen when people get together and collaborate.

Perhaps the hardest thing about writing is that it can be easy to plough the lone furrow. The role of the outsider is an overstated one. Get out and about, mingle.

CH: What advice would you give to a new writer who is struggling to find his or her identity?

RW: I’m a great believer in writing about what you know. For instance there is no good attempting to write from the perspective of a heroin addict if you fainted after getting a flu vaccination. Stick with what you know, write about what you experience and I don’t think you can go far wrong.

Of course another perspective is that originality is overrated, throughout history artists have ripped liberally from other artists. T.S Elliot plundered from Shakespeare and the
Bible and it didn’t do him much harm. But I guess if you are going to steal, then you better be able to dress it up, if you merely cut and paste then you’ll probably get caught out. Jesus, I guess this is a sign of cultural decline. Advocating plagiarism!

End of Interview


'Apple Road' is available to order from Trainwreck Press

'Delirium is a Disease of the Night' is available to order from Shadow Archer Press

'The Magnificent Guffaw' is available to order from Erbacce Press

You can follow Richard on twitter