Thursday, April 1, 2010

Issue #14

Mike Meraz

loneliness comes to me
late at night
and wakes me up
in the morning.
it passes by my door.
it opens its mouth.
it speaks to me.
it says, "I don't drink
but I need a beer."
loneliness does not come from
a lack of people
but from an inability
to connect with them.
look out your door.
open your window.
you will see me
walking alone
in beige shorts
and black sneakers
looking up at the sky

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.

lost souls,‭ ‬all of us
Ross Vassilev

there’s the cleaning lady
after everyone else
goes home

there’s the kid sitting
in his room
listening to his parents
screaming through
the door

or walking alone at night
cuz there’s something
about the purple
dark and the way
it breathes

there’s the men and women
locked up in prison
or lunatic asylums
dreaming of better days

there’s the hungry
and the people living
in war zones

just think about all
those people the next time
you go for a coffee
at Starbucks.

Biography Note:

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

Stephen Jarrell Williams

No notes on the side of the page,
this is it...
going crazy
all over you,

you are everything
opposite the world,

roughing me up with your dress,
smoothing me down with a whisper,

giving me words
on your back spread on the bed,

apartment walls lit in the dark,
electric candles on your chest,
you control
with a slap of your hands,

and to think you leave...
the writing to me.

Biography Note:

Stephen Jarrell Williams loves to write, listen to his music, and dance late into the night. He was born in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. His parents are native Texans. He has lived most of his life in California. His poetry has appeared here and there and in-between...

Pain of Larks
Chris Lawrence

i have written to the lark
expressing my concern,
his voice a poignant song
from atop the lofty elm,
its a memory of a day
and a place i would rather forget,
being a bird of course
he cannot read,
so continues his incriminating
tearing open another

Biography Note:

Chris Lawrence lives in West Kirby, with his family and their fish, has written poems published in Troubadour21, and Deuce Coupe, and also can be contacted on Twitter @clawfish.

Night Blue Twilight
Serena Tome

A chill from the open window
awakens me. Beckons me. Come.
Look. There. A blue aura cycles moon’s
ova, painted ivory.
Distant cloud measurements
coupled with sound’s sweetness deferred
converts obscure skepticism into
undefiled religion

Biography Note:

Serena Tome launched an international reading series for African children to connect, learn and participate in literary activity with students from around the world via video conferencing. She has literary work published and/or forthcoming in The Legendary, Breadcrumb Scabs, Word Riot, Calliope Nerve, Counterexample Poetics, Full of Crow, Boston Literary Magazine, The Stray Branch, and other publications. She is currently working on her first chapbook. You can find out more about Serena at

Eric Harris

an ass emerged
from beneath
the setting sun
tired and needing
of my arrival

I took him
and led him
around behind
a dense growth
of bushes

so that he
might sleep

I turned
then found
my way again
back down
the washboard road

that wound
around a
of mobile homes

a girl
and her older sister
or maybe it was
her mother

sat smoking
and dropping
their ashes
on one another
as they disappeared
into the night's
squalid harbor

I took out a
mechanic's rag
from my pocket
and absorbed
the scent
in order
to resurrect
my strength
for reprisal

when the sky
for it

Biography Note:

Eric Harris has spent most of his adult life working nights at a factory in North Alabama County. In his free time he enjoys traveling down Sand Mountain (his hometown) to the Tennessee River Valley. You can find out more about Eric at

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Featured Poet #5

Five Poems From 'Songs of a Clerk' by Gary Beck


I seem to be so alone,
each night trapped in my room,
each day spent at my job.
No friends, home, comfort,
just the daily vision….
Daily failure.
Dare I name my hunger?
Just one hope, one satisfaction, writing.
Yet I neglect it.

Bitter Awakenings

We had a dream when we were young,
in the recess of a child’s fun,
that of future glories sung,
merely waiting to be won.
First school, then work the pattern,
avoiding much pain and care,
then deceived by a slattern,
taking refuge in despair.
The pause that suffering brought,
the vision of elation
that brings all passions to nought,
lost in time’s acceleration.


Subway faces
reduced from joy or care
to almost animal despair.
The fragments of laughter,
one brief and dear
mirror to the constant fear.
When underground hordes emerge
they appear new born
for a daring instant they return
to the shell of containment.


How to drive away this anguish?
This bleak man haunting my days
with too unstealthy force,
capturing my power.
The fingers of desolation grip me relentlessly.
All day, all night, no rest;
ever battered in restless dreams.
The days pass with fleeting swiftness,
as I sit dreamless and inactive,
waiting for beginnings.


Fires burn forever in the heart
loneliness breeds always in the mind,
fed with the barren fuel of repetitive days
we stampede to each weak diversion,
entwine ourselves within the coils of fantasy
dream of legendary deeds – any escape
from the sterile confinement of the office.

Biograpy Note:

Songs of a Clerk, an unpublished collection of poetry, expresses the frustration of a young man trapped in a menial clerks job, while dreaming of a meaningful life.

Poems from 'Songs of a Clerk' have appeared in: Istanbul Literary Review, Agency Magazine, Fiction Press, Kyoto Journal, Poetry Life and Times, Rattlesnake Review, Written Word Literary Magazine, Pegasus Magazine, MadSwirl, YaSou!, Words Words Words, Juice Magazine, Struggle Magazine, Flutter Poetry Journal, Iddie, Strange Road, Halfway Down the Stairs, Poetry Monthly, Calliope Nerve and many more.

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and worked as an art dealer when he couldn't earn a living in the theater. He has also been a tennis pro, a ditch digger and a salvage diver. His chapbook 'Remembrance' was published by Origami Condom Press, 'The Conquest of Somalia' was published by Cervena Barva Press, 'The Dance of Hate' was published by Calliope Nerve Media and 'Mutilated Girls' is being published by Bedouin Press. A collection of his poetry 'Days of Destruction' was published by Skive Press. Another collection 'Expectations' is being published by Rogue Scholars Press. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway and toured colleges and outdoor performance venues. His poetry has appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City .

Q @ A with Gary Beck

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

GB: I've been writing a long, long time. I was compelled.

CH: Who or what were your inspirations?

GB: Walt Whitman, Byron. Lermontov, Mallarmé, Thomas Wolfe.

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

GB: Being left alone to do it.

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

GB: Writing is doing, not discussing, debating, or self-examination.

End of Interview

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Issue #13

Two Poems from A.J. Kaufmann


This city, my city, a translucent fist
barb wire ghetto, history’s cripple
guard of Western code, ever leaning East
cornered everywhere, while little by little
these tenement houses, infidel streets
host voices of the homeless, sins of the free
this city, my city, panoptical screen
the scythe of a new war, the burning of will
a bigger sky is what we need
in bars the music never stops
a wider heart and hands of steel
sandpaper voice, a rifle-guitar
Tibetan flags at anarchy’s step
no fascist pigs, no Nazi threads of culture
the D.I.Y. sky, the D.I.Y. soul, perception, occasion
revision of more, a vulture
eyes be not closed, coins be never heard
oh city, my city – you dance while you kill
anti-depressives, a shot of cocaine
cowboy ego sent to Vietnam, again


Drifting without measure no point of return
only to burn
passing prisons
and nurseries of mind
leaving cinders
only to find

that it's my rebirth
the American wings
that shine
and it's my rebirth
the American wings

I've seen it before
I've been one of you
the chains of control
the carnival fool

Falling through the theater
watching the dogs
pleasing the gods
finding lanterns
and houses of crime
bathe in ashes
of lovers divine

lost in my rebirth
the American wings
that shine
yeah it's my rebirth
the American wings

Wasted, traceless
merged with the rain
river calling
my secret names
lifetime written
in solitaire blue
rotten eagles
feast on the truth

and it's my rebirth
the American wings
of fools
yeah it's my rebirth
the American wings
of fools...

I've seen it before
I've been one of you
the idol obscene
the carnival fool

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

Phil Lane

Hellborn, and like a Sioux,
every sunrise is a vice
to contend with,
a white man’s worst
tobacco, tents where no thieves
can break in, coyote runs
wild again, a child
grown so old, so
loveless, so thin,
on this postmodern frontier,
there is only one desk,
one chair. I escape and
trace a Marsh Hawk
above the water gap
where she turns a circle
and laughs
because a motel room
is a poor excuse for nature,
Budweiser, a poorer excuse
for whiskey, the tongue
does not burn, the heart
doesn’t jump,
it’s one thing to be lost
in the wild, but to be lost
at Exit 45 is neither heroic
nor romantic. Either way,
I am alone with my own blood,
carry my own history like a skull,
every past is symmetrical, intact,
ready for exposition,
even explication, if only
I had a brown-skinned woman
rather than a white-washed
imagination. Instead,
I fantasize where
a thousand others have before,
a cumcloud hung in the air
over the interstate.
When it all come down
to bones, to dust,
I hate to admit
that this is not Pocahontas,
and this is not Potomac,
this is the middle of nowhere
and it is now—

Biograph Note:

Phil Lane's poems have been published in various magazines as well as online. He is currently the editor of Breadcrumb Sins ( He lives in New Jersey and teaches English for a private tutoring company.

Two Poems from Michael Aaron Casares

The Neighborhood is Silent

The neighborhood is silent
against the raucous jeers
of abounding crowds.
Traffic rushes statically
on highways not for
from here.
The wind rhapsodizes dreamily,
lulling the silent, sleeping street.
But the neighbors are watching,
I am sure, as I carve an apple,
(its red skin sweating in the
pungent humidity).
I never speak to my neighbors.
We never barbeque, either.
We remain indoors, in our
closed circuit environments,
in our creature comfort habitats,
in our dens of solidarity.
The land has changed:
preference of security leaves
these remains, these dormant
people, silent and secluded
from extemporaneous movement.
Wheels on upturned bikes spin
like reels of family-time past
and the basketball, the children’s
games are completely forgotten.
The children are gone, locked behind
barred doors, or perhaps in their
basements. Slaves to their senses:
eyes and tongue.
The neighbors are watching though.
I am sure as I smoke a cigarette
and scream a verse or two that they
huddle quietly, waiting to break free


White walls awaken
me in the morning chill.
White walls now naked
unclothed they coldly
feel. This is home.

Rooms are rooms
of a home no more
where pictures once
covered them from
ceiling to floor. Arctic
winds through nicks
and cracks describe
the feeling this home
now lacks.

White walls awaken me
in the twilight din.
White walls now naked
form ice-like picks, a needle's
pin. This is home.

Hearts bleed hearts from
their home no more where
roots are shaken, taken from
their core and tundra’s touch
comes through each door like
winter’s grasp waits, wanting more.

White walls awaken me from sleep no more,
for without your warmth this house is poor.
A blanket’s comfort could not ignore
a home where love can live no more.
This is home.

Biography Note:

Michael Aaron Casares is a writer and artist from Austin, TX USA. He owns and operates an independent press called Virgogray. Recently his poetry has appeared in several publications both in print and online. He has two new collections just released, Green Tea America from New Polish Beat and The Winter King, an epic prose poem, from Shadow Archer Press.

Joanna M. Weston

roof and walls toss
rags of flame
from two-storey inferno

parents pin
tatters of fire
to film

children sit, catching
ash and spark
on hair, hands

in later years
will they screen home fires
keep nightmares undercover
let no one near bonfires with a camera?

or will they set match to paper
stand back and anticipate
the rush of flame
and wail of sirens?

Biography Note:

JOANNA M. WESTON. Has had poetry, reviews, and short stories published in anthologies and journals for twenty five years. Her middle-reader, ‘Those Blue Shoes', published by Clarity House Press. And poetry, ‘A Summer Father’, published by Frontenac House of Calgary. htt://

Mike Florian

The southeast wind is blowing a hundred and
The albatross flies easily over its home
Wings barely kissing the ocean
The barometer falls to unbelievable depths
The green sea rises ahead of you and
You pray the bow comes up yet one more time
You’ve held your pee for six hours
There’s no more strength
When the tide changes after the slack the wind stops
With the hot stillness the albatross disappears
Only the seagulls remain skimming the surface
Searching for a ball of feed

Biography Note:

Mike Florian had an article published in the late 60’s. He then took a fourty year hiatus from writing to do many things. Since 2008 he had a number of short stories published in various magazines including Word Riot, Ascent Aspirations. Albatross is his first published poem. He owns a manufacturing company located in Western Canada where he also spends a lot of time on the ocean.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Issue #12

Two Poems from John Swain


Incense like the amber lamp burns,
lights arrayed draped in silk robes
over the corner walls
as darkness eases over even the moon.
The crescent singes your fingertips
onto my back
as you let down long soft hair of rain.
The milk of feathers washes my garments
and then I am clean underneath.
I cover the empty antique birdcage
with a green sheet,
shadows fall like petals on the floor
as the imagined birds silently sing.
I dreamt of eclipse,
I am anointed in your eyelids red
as the moon before disappearance.

The Slightest Changing

Warm for an early winter evening
as archers cross the sky on horses,
I knelt on the rain ground.
We gathered for a birthday gathering
climbing the stairs in shards.
Starlings slept in a dead tree outside,
but we don't agree
and we don't sleep
while the downstairs neighbors tremble
and beat the ceiling.
We filled the room with bubbles
like little children,
pink and green filters jangled like light.
A girl with imaginary birds
punctured the glistening world,
she perceives the slightest changing.
She told me the kindest thing,
maybe one day I can believe,
she took pictures of our bare feet.
Dancing and hours
lost like our garments of darkness.

Biography Note:

John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky. His work has recently appeared in Asphodel Madness, Flutter, Counterexample Poetics, and others.

An Empty Room
Chris G. Vaillancourt

An empty room.
Its walls hinting at
possibilities that
were not to be.

My hollow self,
emptied of desire;
existing only as
coal on a bed of

An emotional cruise
on a distraught sea.
Ships of black sails
transporting me
through the jungles
of frozen destruction.

Where are our plans?
Where are our solutions?

They were words spoken
by people who
will not caress
the torture of the future

Biography Note:

Chris G. Vaillancourt has been involved in the art of writing as long as he can remember. Chris is a Canadian poet who has enjoyed publication in numerous small poetry magazines and newsletters,such as Pagan Lady Poetry Journal, The Inkling; The Lance; Opussum Review; Red Dragon; Poesia International; Plum Ruby Review; Windsor Star; Quills, Poetry Sharings, Poesy, Poetry Stop, Detour Memphis,and a host of other print and ezine publications.. He has enjoyed the publication of several chapbooks of his poetry, such titles as "Slow Burn" (4 Winds Press) and "Teardrop of Coloured Soul" (PublishAmerica) and most recently, "I Walk Naked into a Cloud" (PublishAmerica)He has a BA in Psychology from the University of Windsor and a Diploma in Sacerdotal Ministry from the Saint Andrew Theological Institute. Chris lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Two Poems from Chris Butler

Cut and Paste

I sometimes

trim my

hemophilic skin

to feel the


felt pulled



my obese



with a buttered

butter knife

marinating in

the kitchen sink,

until this




and bleeds,

without infusing


with industrial





in this great

recession is

a subscription to


Wall Street Journal,

which you were

charged for,

but never


Biography Note:

Chris Butler is a twenty(3)-something nobody shouting from the Quiet Corner of Connecticut

Abseiling from Dreams in Hollywood
KJ Hannah Greenberg

Theodore thought carefully before

Abseiling from dreams.

It remained insufficient to repel

Down beyond nightmares;

He meant to descend, instead,

Leaving a fantasy, in which no less than sixty

Million women wanted him,

Sitting quietly in their prairie houses.

A steep drop,

Versus his daytime popularity,

Would have troubled the troubadour

Enough to break sombulance.

He’d have awakened sobbing,

A breathless balladeer at rope’s end,

Minus a knot or other constructive device

By which to climb back.

To wit, he flattening against

Fandom’s vertical cliff. The man

Sucked in gut and hope,

Exerted himself

Forward until plummeting

Toward an improved, spectacular ending.

After all, such diva curtain calls mean

Certain posthumous success.

Biography Note:

KJ Hannah Greenberg still giggles in her sleep. She contributes regularly to the speculative fiction ezine Bewildering Stories, and to the British continuum parenting publication, The Mother Magazine. You can find her writing under select budgies and in dozens of other places including, respectively, the wonderfully named venues of Fallopian Falafel, of Diet Soap, and of Morpheus Tales. In 2009, Hannah was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in poetry. In 2010, French Creek Press will be publishing one of her essay collections, Oblivious to the Obvious: Wishfully Mindful Parenting.

Ana Bitner

long stretches of nothing i try to

the answer

but the question

what was it

brightly dark

relentlessly intricate

half formed

push ahead

as if

it had
and lightness

an end

Biography Note:

Ana Bitner faces the fact that her life thus far is a write-off. She is scrapping it all and moving to Costa Rica, where she will live with sea turtles and howler monkeys and try to figure it all out.

My Reflection
Lilith Williams

I look in the mirror
and see so many faces stare back at me.
Eyes within eyes within eyes within
smiling and jeering and staring and still.

I saw a body once in a pond.
It was bloated and green and floating.
My friend screamed.
I didn't.
She doesn't talk to me anymore.

Their eyes are like his --
sunken and glassy and dead.
I tried explaining it once --
only once.
I don't explain it anymore.

Everyone prefers the dark and shadows,
no matter their sincere words.
I smile at the mirrors;
they never smile back.

Everyone knows the mirror lies.

Biography Note:

Lilith Williams lives in the Pittsburgh, PA area. She lives and breathes horror and likes to see how many mediums she can express it.