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    You'll Never Find A Gay In Catholic Church

    ‘After 200 years of Mass
    we’ve got as far as poison gas…’ (Thomas Hardy)

    Our father who art not necessarily in heaven
    hallowed be thy name… but only up to a point…
    this is my prayer for all you holy-phoney gospel-preaching moral majority
    well-respected evangelists who curse out your neighbours and damn sinners,
    sorting spiritual e-numbers from chaff and theological sheep from goats,
    may your Lord have mercy on your soul, for I have none – you’re bound for hell,
    this is my prayer for all you child-abusing born-again porn-downloading-again
    god delusion creationist clergy who visit massage-parlours and maintain discrete
    assignations in motels for the laying on of hands in stations of the crass,
    I don’t forgive you fathers, for you have sinned – you’re bound for hell,
    this is my prayer for all you fake-Catholic sisters of no-mercy who take the pill,
    use condoms, fail to procreate, whose sacred causes oppose stem-cell research,
    same-sex unions and a woman’s right to choose, no bunch of our fathers
    and mumbled hail marys will buy you off this time – you’re bound for hell too,
    this is my prayer for obese indulgers who pig out on junk-food and chocolate,
    you poets who commit blasphemous rhyme writing verse that doesn’t scan,
    you asylum-seekers, rough-sleepers, furtive smokers, dope-smokers, binge
    drinkers, coke-drinkers, coke-sniffers, glue-sniffers – you’re already in hell,
    this is my prayer for all you slacker youth who self-harm, self-abuse,
    substance-abuse, pick your nose, play emo, play gangsta, play x-box,
    and hang out in hoodies on street corners – you’re probably in hell too,
    with all those unbaptised dead babies, bastards, adulterers, civil partners,
    junkies and whores who reside in unforgiving purgatory for eternity,
    this is my prayer, blessed are all you atheists, humanists, rationalists,
    Darwinians, pacifists, vegetarians, agnostics, pansexuals,
    pagans, heretics, blasphemers, apostates, unbelievers,
    recidivists, free-thinkers, doubters, and waverers,
    for the rest, come at me, ye legion of horrors
    for I would willingly slay thee all,
    there is neither fear in my heart
    nor compassion in my eyes,
    face it, you chose the wrong salvation
    you’re all bound for hell…



    Andrew Darlington has had masses of material published in all manner of strange and obscure places, magazines, websites, anthologies and books. He's also worked as a Stand-Up Poet on the‘Alternative Cabaret Circuit’, and interviewed many people from the worlds of Literature, SF-Fantasy, Art and Rock-Music for a variety of publications.

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  • 04/27/15--07:00: Julie Gates - One Poem
  • Chasm

    The fissure in the broken frame of my winter,
    Hewn from molding, gray, aged elm,
    Cracks the mirror holding me captive, hanging,
    Crooked, crammed in the corner, clothed in cobwebs,
    Where the wispy bones of a deadly spider
    Still loiter,
    Until the hour the jagged silver fingers
    Growing the crevice
    Spin a fractured web,
    Become a kaleidoscope,
    And my steel cold prison crashes down the steep slope
    With the clamor of an avalanche
    Sending shockwaves of spindly shards
    Over brittle brown earth,
    Spiking the solid surface,
    Seeking the chasm concealing life—
    What was trapped between wood and glass
    Soars.



    Dr. Julie Gates has directed the English Education program at Angelo State University for the past 13 years. She is also a creative nonfiction specialist and a creative writer. Her poetry has appeared in Carcinogenic Poetry, Concho River Review, and Visions with Voices.

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  • 04/28/15--07:30: Robert F. Gross - Two Poems
  • Demolition Job

    standing too long
    totally unsafe
    incredibly massive
    work of a lifetime

    take it down

    strip off safety gear
    work naked
    step in close
    breathe what’s toxic
    unlearn limits

    finger lines of least resistance
    find the fissures
    wire the charges up close
    lick them like a lover

    sunburst

    blast though the heart valves
    blow out the memory plaque
    spatter the bio over the big picture
    reduce expectations to rubble

    blackout

    spit on what remains
    piss on your ruins
    let bitter weeds take root
    admit the snakes

    moonrise



    In the Sewing Room

    All of it is familiar but none of it is known;
    I don’t know any of their names.
    The daydream figures of the dolls on the shelf:
    Indian princess, mammy, sweater girl, silent
    Movie star miniature with corkscrew curls.
    I don’t know how they came to be here--
    In the sewing room/guest room looking down
    On this bed with all these swollen, lacy pillows.
    I don’t know if they are companions or collectibles,
    Given as gifts or picked up at rummage sales.
    I don’t know if they’re décor or confidantes.
    But they must be recollections of this home
    That I pass homeless through. I do not touch
    Unless I receive invitations, and they are mute.



    Robert F. Gross gave up his apartment, car, and his possessions, except three suitcases of stuff, in October 2013. He's been wandering about with one suitcase of stuff ever since. He writes, directs, performs, and is on the lookout for meaning.

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  • 04/29/15--07:30: Trish Saunders - One Poem
  • You Knew I Was Home, Ignoring the Bell

    I would have invited you in but
    there was a black dog looking
    calmly at me in the mirror
    after the doctor suggested I give up
    chocolates and coffee --
    the very things I wake up craving. Then

    CNN confirmed for me the dread--
    making news that a wild elephant
    is slaughtered every 20 minutes. I say,
    a wild elephant dies every 20 minutes to
    satisfy demand from China according to
    my television. The word "insatiable” was used.

    I am beginning to despise you, 
    ancient and beautiful land of scholars
    and warriors and Wu Wei--think we don't know
    your fabled herbal remedies include
    powder from the black rhinoceros horn?
    Your reply came quickly:
    American buffaloes. Florida manatees. Hawaiian crows.

    Yes, the door is invitingly open now,
    the black dog
    refuses to leave. 



    Trish Saunders lives and writes in Seattle and Honolulu and (in her imagination) Paris, France during the 1920s. She’s been published in Off The Coast, Blast  Furnace Press, Dead Snakes,  Silver Birch Press.

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    The War

    I have decided to leave this city of war. The war has gone out of 
              control. You never know who belongs to whom,
                      anymore. What the fight is all about.
                               The war is still dragging on its
                                       fiery tail through the
                                              dead city like
                                                    some
    giant prehistoric creature. I take a maze of trail, which threads 
           its way out of the city, through the unchecked growth
                 and rubbish. I keep walking, leaving the images
                       of the city, into the wilderness. The sky
                             is layers of cotton-thick smoke.
                                  Wild, cross-bred thorny
                                          roses, scraggly
                                                    Aloe
    plants, hollyhocks, and emaciated chrysanthemums dotes the
                trail. Sprigs of tamarisk, sprigs of furze, herbs still
                       exuding scents, the grass is singing dirges
                             around my feet, as I pass between
                                    air’s legs, it snakes a hiss,
                                        a bark. I begin to see,
                                             to feel another
                                                      war
    in these species difficult and deeper into great piles of life 
          fomenting. An irresistible occasion, this garland of 
                   demonstrations! Morning glories, their
                         purple flowers look down on the
                               melee much as generals
                                      observe their wars
                                           whilst others
                                                    are
    doing the actual fighting. These generals are the ravishment of
          their own extending success, a display. The wheat fields   
                 weaving brushstrokes of their pride, they dance
                        and shout as of people of a ceaselessly
                                 bombed city when it’s freed.
                                         Rose bushes poised
                                              like ballerinas,
                                                       a
         choreography which  gathers them in front of the 
            forsythia. Quack grass, thistle, cockleburs and
                     black eyed Susan: are the privates,
                             sergeants, lieutenants,
                                       and captains;
                                            fighting
                                                 the
    war for the generals, the morning glories. This war does not  
        pace itself, space itself…, for it is self contained in itself.



    If You Are Going

    If you are going
    Linger a little while
    Like the setting sun’s rays
    Touching the coming night

    If you are going
    Touch the coming night

    If you are going
    Linger a little while
    Kiss me good night
    Hold me for the last time

    If you are going
    Hold me for the last time

    If you are going
    Linger a little while
    Say you care a little
    Come for good-bye

    If you are going
    Come for a good-bye



    Tendai. R. Mwanaka is a multidisciplinary artist from Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe. His oeuvre of works touches on literary disciplines (non-fictions, poetry, plays, fictions), music and sound art disciplines, visual art disciplines (photography, drawings, paintings, video, collage). His work has been published in over 300 journals, anthologies and magazines in over 27 countries. Nominated, shortlisted and won some prizes and work has been translated into French and Spanish.

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  • 05/02/15--13:14: Ronald J. Pelias - One Poem
  • Bien

    One hundred fifteen years
    I carried my name,
    Santiago Lazaro Perez,
    gave it to a good wife
    who now sits near
    our dear Lady of Guadalupe
    and to nine children, all
    but two who I had to bury.
    No está bien.

    Now, I worked my patch
    of banana, citrus, and mango,
    worked everyday of my life.
    So bent
    I could hardly pick.
    Had to use my cane to reach
    what I could not.
    And each day I’d lug
    with each full crate
    the pain of an old body.
    No está bien.

    So, I took the ladder
    I climbed so many times
    to the orange grove,
    set it against the nearest tree,
    went up, tied a rope,
    and pushed the ladder away.
    My weight on my neck
    pulled me straight again.
    I swung, proud.
    Está bien.



    Ronald J. Pelias’s poems have appeared in a number of journals, including Small Pond, Midwest Poetry Review, Margie, and Whetstone. His most recent books, Leaning: A Poetics of Personal Relations (Left Coast Press) and Performance: An Alphabet of Performative Writing (Left Coast Press), call upon the poetic as a research strategy.

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  • 05/03/15--08:00: Joel Best - One Poem
  • Halfway There

    my first night in the new world
    a storm marches in from beyond the gray mountains
    perhaps from as far as the sea of red glass
    the wind speaks in tongues
    the green moon is full
    the storm maneuvers like angry soldiers
    this tempest is a search for conquest
    i’m lucky to be inside a tent
    when the first raindrops fall
    i am safe within a protective sheathe
    listening as the wind
    thrashes in frustration
    the tent swells and shrinks
    a laboring lung
    the storm outside
    attempts to rearrange reality
    weather is an artist
    painting the earth with unfathomable brush
    hoping to paint me as well
    into a composition some might find
    displeasing



    Joel Best has published in venues such as Atticus, decomP, Autumn Sky and Quick Fiction.He lives in upstate New York with his wife and son.He is the author of the collections “The Dogs Are Gone,” “Timeline,” “12 White Lies,” available at Smashwords.

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  • 05/04/15--08:00: Jonathan Butcher - Two Poems
  • Our Last Walk
     
    Under the shadow of that imposing grey mass of steel
    and concrete, we make the drink filled promises of ill
    thought out reunions, that never for a sober minute
    would ever be considered rational.
     
    Your fingers clamped to the cigarette papers, now slightly
    aged and cracked, your wit now seems cut with the weakest
    substitute, just like your powders; diluted beyond recognition
    and you assumed we didn't notice.
     
    That scar upon your left cheek that you would finger when
    making a point, the bottle circulating next to your knee.
    We would pray for an encompassing silence, to stifle the
    fear drawn from your credulity.
     
    The bruises left on rib cages like rain stained rose petals,
    answered any question asked incorrectly, but we have now all
    caught up with your withered expectations, but under this warming
    sun now even your shadow looks old.
     
     
     
    Obvious
     
    On that beach after last orders, the damp sand remaining
    stable under our intoxicated feet. That smile of yours as
    brittle as the shattered shells beneath our heels, the broken
    homes of now long excluded occupants. 
     
    It had taken an age it seemed to reach this pinnacle, like a
    gapping wound that was never stitched and left to turn septic.
    I now bask the clichéd result that was promised for so many
    decades and was now slowly delivered.
     
    To seek an end seemed superfluous, to take advantage of
    those Friday night vows which were welded together like
    rusted chains, and to pass them through the loop of a paper
    ring that tears at the first spot of rain.
     
    We stagger up the concrete steps in cold, bare feet; your laugh
    now as dark as the boarded-up shop fronts on the horizon. Any
    light now completely absorbed, and as you move forward for
    that last kiss, I stub my toe for the second time.  
     
     
     
    Jonathan Butcher has had poetry appear in a wide range of online and print publications, including: Electric Windmill Press, The Rusty Nail, Belleville Park Pages, Dead Beats, Underground Voices, Gutter Eloquence, Dead Snakes and others. His second chapbook 'Broken Slates' has been published by Flutter Press. He lives in Sheffield, England.

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  • 05/05/15--10:25: Larry Duncan - One Poem
  • Saint Lucy Lost Her Bowl

    Saint Lucy brushes against me
    as I order another Bushmills,
    her eyes in her hands.
    She has lost her golden dish.
    After all, the Dark Ages
    ended in the advent of perspective—
    bodies piled on the steps of the Academy,
    every face bearded, every hand and finger
    curled along the concept of a ground,
    save the cracked blue sky between
    Adam and the hidden phallus of God.
    My favorite Cubism being
    the slow slope just below the waist
    punctuated by the bone of the hip
    and “My mother is a Fish.”
    This is a mystery
    unavailable for digestion
    or search engine complicity.
    I don’t understand these directions.
    They don’t exist between the bottles
    or on my walk back home.
    I got her in the corner booth
    after I took her hands
    and she lifted her skirt so I could see.
    There are dimensions curled tighter
    than either Michelangelo
    or Da Vinci could imagine.
    This is a mystery.
    I like the way they sigh
    with their throats between my thumbs
    but my mother said a man’s feet
    were made for standing,
    particularly when a woman needs a seat.
    “We never really touch,” she says.
    My hand working like a fulcrum
    between her thighs.  “It’s all
    repulsion of electromagnetic fields.”
    This is a mystery.
    The way she covets her breasts
    and laughs when I become a child
    at the sight of them.  Don’t even
    get me started on the Pre-Raphaelites.
    There are too many lilies in that water.
    Of course, Botticelli is the best
    but my softness lies in the penitent
    kneeling beside the bedside
    of pornographic swells. Their hearts
    and holes plastered to mimic design
    along the walls of the next whiskey hall.



    Larry Duncan currently lives in the smallest apartment in Long Beach, CA. In 2010, he received his MFA from California State University, Long Beach. His poetry and fiction has appeared in various print and online publications, including Juked, the Mas Tequila Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Bank Heavy Press, and the Fat City Review. His Chapbook Crossroads of Stars and White Lightning is available through Arroyo Secco Press. You can learn more about Larry and check out links to his other poetry at his website http://larrydunc.wix.com/larry-Duncan.

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  • 05/07/15--11:12: Jack E. Lorts - Two Poems
  • Ephram Pratt Extolls Billiard Balls of Dust
     
    Encased in silence
    like wings on
     
    an invisible bird,
    the lions of redress
     
    unleash themselves
    into broad strokes
     
    of an isolated burgess
    welcomed into
     
    the invisible by
    a lack of industry
     
    and elasticity
    misdirected to
     
    the ancient sunlight
    flowing into fountains
     
    of incremental lightning
    intrigued by a
     
    multitude of stoppages,
    cleansing the fingers
     
    of a withered hand,
    blasted in a
     
    salt peter function of
    billiard balls despairing,
     
    lazily crooning in a
    voice of dust.
     
     
     
    Ephram Pratt Admits to Fawning Acclivity
     
    Enticed by an elegance
    of shared darkness,
     
    of lights appearing
    on the horizon
     
    of a coming of age
    dream, bucolic & broken,
     
    like an incidence
    of irregularity
     
    needled and enfolded
    in silence;
     
    let the brokenness
    of a fatal lament
     
    seek out the messengers,
    seek out what we know
     
    but whisper softly
    only on days numbered
     
    in the Book of Life,
    the Book of Hezekiah
     
    sewn backwards
    into a sullen scripture,
     
    betoken by acclivity
    and beckoned
     
    into silence by
    a never waning sky.
     
     
     
    Jack E. Lorts, a retired educator, lives in a small remote town in eastern Oregon. He’s appeared widely, if infrequently over the past 40+ years, recently on-line in Haggard & Halloo, Elohi Gadugi, Dead Snakes, etc. Active in Democratic politics, he’s run for the Oregon House of Representatives and was mayor of Fossil, Oregon, population 479, for many years.

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  • 05/10/15--11:59: Scott Laudati - Two Poems
  • Men

    i never
    questioned that
    my father was a
    real man; he
    could do
    those
    things. things
    weaker fathers couldn’t
    (give a funeral
    speech without
    tearing, build a shed
    and fill it
    with tools
    he knew how
    to use).
    things
    they say
    make a man.

    my father
    had no doubt
    that
    i was not a man,
    had none of the
    qualities
    and didn’t show
    much hope
    of figuring it out.

    he liked to
    say, “you think
    you just flush
    a toilet
    and it goes
    away?
    what’s going to
    happen when it doesn’t
    go away
    and it comes back
    and you and all your
    idiot
    friends are drowning
    in poop?
    you’re all
    gonna
    die because
    you don’t even know
    how to use
    a toilet
    plunger.
    you’ll see.”

    his brother
    was the same.
    he wrestled
    in high school
    and he
    always said it
    taught him
    things but as
    far as I could
    tell he did
    everything wrong.

    they both had
    a favorite
    place
    to give
    advice.
    on the couch.
    during
    football commercials.

    i found
    it hard to concentrate
    on words
    men spoke
    while watching other
    men
    throw balls
    at each other
    and try
    their hardest
    to lay on
    the most
    submissive one.

    sports.
    this was
    supposed
    to be the triumph
    of all men,
    and every sunday
    my dad
    would yell
    and cry,
    never giving any thought
    to after
    the game, when
    all
    forty of them took one big
    shower together.



    Something Like Love

    i miss you
    blue eyes
    lying in your
    bed
    while you walked
    across campus
    looking at
    jersey mountains
    rolling away from your path
    like the sleeping stomachs
    of giant buddhas
    and me staying
    warm
    making the bed
    so we could unmake it
    using your roommates
    teapot to bring
    your small bones back to
    life
    and your soft skin
    under my heat
    it could be love you said


    you hate me now
    blue eyes
    you used the
    bruises of your old
    lovers to build back
    something more
    and i let my old
    loves leave me
    with less
    i could see
    no dark spots
    in you
    but my pain
    needed company
    and when once
    you thought
    love could conquer
    by our epitaph
    your eyes
    held the ruin of
    an idea
    abandoned
    it could’ve been love you said


    who are we now
    blue eyes?
    i’ve erased
    the words and the doubt
    i only remember
    how your cat ran away
    every time i opened the door
    and even though
    your dad was
    a cop i tried
    to like him anyway
    we had no vices
    then
    we could go
    to the zoo sober
    and smile at turtles
    and pet giraffes
    that night we drove all night
    i reminded you of
    those turtles
    who seemed to smile back
    and we rolled
    and kissed
    and ignored our sins
    and once again
    we talked about
    forever
    i always try and
    go back to
    that night i let you
    get on the plane
    and you left me
    and new jersey behind
    it can still be love
    i said


    i always try and go back to that night
    in my mind
    in my songs
    because
    it was something like love
    we were something like love



    Scott Laudati lives in NYC with his boxer, Satine. He is the author of "Hawaiian Shirts In The Electric Chair". Visit him @ www.scottlaudati.com

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    Indisputable
     
    It’s bad in here
    Cramped in one room the size of a walk-in closet with all my stuff
    My computer screen the main light
    The lone window smeared over with black paint peeling
    Some streetlight peeping a peppering of glows through the holes
     
    Mattress on the floor taking up the majority of walking space
    All my clothes piled on each side of my bed like banks on a river
    A bottle of water and two cans of tomato soup along the wall
    Two coupons for hamburgers at the corner fast-food joint
     
    No miniature refrigerator
    No Styrofoam ice chest
    No bicycle
     
    But
    My ex-wife sent a letter
    Said she didn’t hate me as much anymore
    I still keep a picture of her in my wallet
     
    Starting a new part-time job tomorrow
    Maybe the boss won’t be a back-stabbing weasel
     
    I’ll get on the internet Saturday in the library
    I’ll send this poem to some poetry site and hopefully they’ll post it
     
    Maybe someone will read it and identify with me
    Have a little chuckle and dream of how things use to be.
     
     
     
    Stephen Jarrell Williams loves to write in the middle of the night with a grin and a grimace and flame in his heart.  He is the editor of Dead Snakes at deadsnakes.blogspot.com
     

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    Nude Male With Echo #53

    It is less Greek
    to say I feel the world
    much more through my feet
    than I ever have
    from the sun above
    & though my skin does pink
    under the harsh blessing
    of the old god,
    I am home most of all
    with bare feet headed nowhere
    in particular
    on a forgotten field.



    Nude Male With Echo #54

    When the bird finally shook
    out of the weathering
    in my chest, it flew away
    to exercise the way my heart does,
    without mystery
    & without understanding
    that there never was a mystery.
    That bird flies to the sun
    & assumes all of that heat
    was born amidst his own wings.



    Darren C. Demaree has appeared, or is scheduled to appear in numerous magazines/journals, including the South Dakota Review, Meridian, The Louisville Review, Diagram, and the Colorado Review. He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology.

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  • 05/26/15--08:00: Emily Tuttle - One Poem
  • Through The Looking Glass

    I had a dream last night that you were waiting
    at my grandmother’s.

    A huge tree was in the middle of the kitchen,
    trunk so huge you had to climb it to get from
    the oven to the stove top,
    and you were using the apples hanging firmly from the ceiling,
    to make a pie.

    Your body was full and flush again and your eyes—
    The eyes you got from my grandmother
    and that my mother got from her
    and that I got from all of you,
    stare back at me like a looking glass.

    Light catching on the layers of hues
    embracing and floating in your iris like oil and water—
    Dark navy blue jeans and the sky blue dress I tore
    jumping from the back of your green pickup
    the day it wouldn’t stop raining—

    Before I speak, you smile
    and you ask me how my day was.
    I say good and do you need help with the pie
    and you say yes and we talk.
    We’re slicing apples with our fingernails,
    little fruits and buds we pluck from our kitchen tree
    and I am loving it, loving you, so much that I don’t notice
    that the apples are growing brown,
    or that your white blonde hairs,
    bleached from 1000 Finnish nights,
    are falling, calmly,
    on the crust.



    Emily Tuttle is an English undergraduate at the University of Maryland, minoring in Creative Writing and Neuroscience. She is part of the campus’s living and learning program for writers, Jimenez-Porter Writers’ House, and managing editor of Paper Shell Review, the on campus journal of analytical essays. She has an upcoming publication in Stylus, the University of Maryland literary magazine, and has been awarded the honorable mention for the Jimenez-Porter Literary Prize.

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    Abandoned
     
    Indiana farmhouse
    abandoned
    except old
    grandfather clock
    dusty corner
    pendulum
    motionless-
    still all family
    memories remain
    hidden behind
    that face.
     
     
    Common Church Poem
     
    Sitting here in this pew
    splinters in my butt
    I spend hours in silent prayer.
    I beg Jesus for a quiet life.
    Breathing here is so serene.
    Sounds of vespers, so beautiful
    dagger, so alone, unnoticed.
    You can hear Saints
    clear their eardrums
    Q-Tips cleanse mine.
    I hear their scandals
    I review mine.
     
     
     
    Michael Lee Johnson is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 875 small press magazines in 27 countries, he edits 9 poetry sites. Michael is the author of The Lost American: "From Exile to Freedom," and several chapbooks of poetry. 

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  • 05/28/15--07:30: Tamer Mostafa - Two Poems
  • Consensus

    There’s always been a working class
    and cycles of economic instability.
    The newspapers call them crises. The downturn
    of the seventies, inland industrialization, wedding ring—
    ziplock exchanges on the downtown strip
    before Cobra beers added the King to the title.

    This city is in competition—with larger metropolitan
    areas and it fares at the top—top three in most
    categories. Nation and State to be correct. Police—
    included, circling the rough spots, pocketing
    cash from the runners, and handing back the rocks
    before curling in front of their squad car vents.

    Some numbers don’t make the statistics cut:
    gun metal clips, trigger guards, and other parts
    stashed in park garbage cans. The psychotics
    rising from their codeine lows
    who stumble upon the rusted offerings
    while rummaging for something to eat.

                                                         And there are just
    bystanders playing the part of jurors in a place
    where there is no testimony and the judge has left
    to prune geraniums, pick lemons, sip Manhattans
    next to the terrace of his coastal mansion.



    Stockton

    “some rivers flow back
    toward the beginning
    i never learned to swim”
    -Lucille Clifton

     i was born
    in a northern valley
    of California
    c is for current

    there are more i’s
    in california
    than i have
    siblings

    the deltas undertones
    stir a shirt to the surface

    near the banks
    a bucket of quick dry cement
    waits
    for its possessor

    why am i here

    the top of stockton
    floats into the drought
    of dry crinkled vines
    the wine is a sharp white

    they are still here
    lurking in the cattails

    captain weber
    commodore stockton

    the city’s name irks the natives
    mayor podesto

    weber
    stockton
    podesto

    my mother had a child
    that drowned before birth

    when the rain does come
    the ground has been too dry
    to absorb the water

    who can swim
    when the tides
    of the city
    reach the tides
    of the delta

    will i sink
    in this stockton
    on the inland delta

    which way
    will the water
    drag our bodies

    why do we
    ask questions



    Tamer Mostafa is a Stockton, California native whose writing has been influenced by many, but directly affected by the teachings of Joshua McKinney, Alan Williamson, and Joe Wenderoth. He has published over 30 literary works in various journals and magazines such as Confrontation, The Rag, Poets Espresso Review, Stone Highway Review, and Phantom Kangaroo

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    Dark Walking
     
    Before dawn, when Orion
    and a slivered moon dominate,
    when maples are barely articulated
    against a leafless sky
    and the air is quiet,
    when few eyes travel this road
    the stars ride high
    and towhees are not astir
    beneath the laurel hedges,
    the small winding stream
    weeps among rocks and roots
    collecting whatever has fallen,
    taking whatever is not tied down
    or bound up.



    Chasing after Anorexia

    Dematerializing is what saints do.
    Each holy person, if the Medieval
    sculptors are correct,  seeks after
    spiritual anorexia, a reaching out
    towards physical non
    Saints are persons who are able to
    tend, as far as it is humanly possible,
    towards emptying themselves
    of self so that they may be filled
    with the pure nothingness of the
    spirit.   Unlike Descartes, they believe
    that to not be is to be fulfilled,
    and that thinking, at least as seen
    through a philosophical lens, puts
    too much emphasis on the individual
    self and ignores too much the



    Douglas Campbell is a retired professor of art at George Fox University where he taught painting, printmaking, drawing and art history courses. His poetry and artworks have been published in a number of periodicals.

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  • 06/03/15--07:30: Neil Ellman - Three Poems
  • The Man Who Flew into His Own Picture
     
    (Ilya Kabakov, room installation)
     
    The man who flew into his own picture
    became anything but himself
    or the thing he most wanted to be
    with the face he most wanted to have
     
    he became an eagle with serrated wings
    as broad as his ambition
    and just as bleak
    a carpenter ant, a mite,
    a spider crawling across the moon
    as if it had a destination or a home
    and then a serpent
    with a flaring tongue
    in words not even he could understand—
     
    and then was turned to shattered glass
    with every shard another face
    and none of them his own
    or the one he wanted most. 
     
     
    Portrait of the Equilibrist
     
    (Paul Klee, painting)
     
    He who walks the braided rope
    between the this and that
    of yesterdays stretched
    from here and now
    to the when and if
    of tomorrow without a net
     
    juggles his days
    (three, four, five at a time
    as he crosses the breach below
    one careful step, then another
    with a sureness of foot
    that bridges the ends of his time
     
    the equilibrist knows the width
    of his life in millimeters, years
    and frays of hope
    and the measureless depth
    beneath his feet.
     
     
     
    The Beautiful Bird Revealing the Unknown
    to a Pair of Lovers
     
    (Joan Miró, painting)
     
    That the albatross knows the unknown
    the way it senses in the blindness of a night
    Its path along migration’s way
    Is the miracle that guides its flight
     
    that it reveals in dips and arcs
    its skim above confounding waves
    first lost behind a swell
    then seen for an instant against the sky
    Is the secret it concedes
     
    to lovers lost themselves
    wondering how the beautiful dark bird
    with outstretched wings
    can come and go so easily
    between reality and belief
    and know so much of undiscovered seas
     
     
     
    Neil Ellman, a poet from New Jersey, has published more than 1,100 poems in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world. He has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and twice for Best of the Net.

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  • 06/12/15--07:30: Autumn Meier - One Poem
  • Lava

    I tried to capture you the other day—
    To put your love into words, to
    Describe the fire coursing through
    Your veins.  Of course you’re fire;
    Lovely things are rarely anything but.

    Yet the bonfires are too tame, fireworks
    Too explosive, the fireplace too
    Homely and the firecracker too loud.

    Then I thought of magma, of that scorching
    Potential residing just below the earth’s
    Surface, pulsating with the heat of a
    Thousand suns, and I knew it was you,
    To most.

    To me?
    You’re lava.

    You’re the heat seeping from long-hardened
    Scars. You’re the fire licking up dry and
    Crumbling wood. You’re the intense force
    Moving mountain rock and sea.  You’re the
    Private display only I can witness.

    You’re more than potential to me:
    You’re the ever-felt eruption.



    Autumn Meier is a graduate student of Southwestern University in Waxahachie, Texas. she currently resides in Illinois, where she is preparing to leave for Kiev, Ukraineto implement a writing program.

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  • 06/22/15--08:42: Craig Shay - One Poem
  • Ghost Face

    He sings beside the ticket-window
    hallucinations of flappers
    walking and talking
    through the linoleum hallways of his mind.

    He sees the souls
    of the passersby
    through the television static,
    a chaotic flashing of cowboy westerns.

    Psychosis spills from his jowls
    of that toothless mouth.

    Words dancing freely off his yellow tongue,
    ravaged by termites and years of doctors druggy drool.

    Travelers walk past him
    floating on silver electric escalators
    to the helicopters, to their sleep chambers
    and rain soaked metallic eyes.

    Quiet specters pass
    boasting, unaware
    that he’s been living alone
    in his checkerboards universe−
    contemplating the riddles of their evil glances.

    He picks up their crumbs and morsels,
    delivering bread and wine
    to the pothole where he keeps
    the key to his concrete fingerprint.



    Craig Shay's an English teacher. His poetry blog is available at www.craigshay.wordpress.com

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