Month: August 2016

Syed Abid Hussain – Shepherd on the Plains of Damaan

Syed Abid Hussain   Shepherd on the Plains of Damaan Two sweltering hot days of June, close and oppressive. The glare of the noon sun discomforting and unbearable, temperatures in the extreme upper forties (~118 F). One could hardly look at the sky with squinted eyes. The hot wind buffeted one with some ferocity, and after a shave in the morning, one’s cheeks burned while cruising through it. During such days I wondered at the resilience, hardiness and tolerance of all the shepherds of Damaan, where the sun was relentless in the hot sky, and the vast dusty and...

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William Doreski – Five Poems

William Doreski – Five Poems   La Farge Blue So in Trinity Church we stalk to the altar, then turn to admire light shivering through the blue, bottomless blue, that La Farge embodied in the windows placed high above the vestibule to absorb the afternoon sun. Braced in gloomy stone the blaze of this implacable color frames Jesus with two marble pillars too formal to support the plain colloquial ministry he preached. But they hold and focus our gaze for long moments, infusing the blue deeply inside us. Slumped in a pew we avoid touching each other until the...

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Mark Patnode – Five Paintings

Mark Patnode – Five Paintings Dennis Gardens, Winter Autumn Sunrise  Early Morning, New London    Meridian to State Street   Shoreline Tributary Mill    Artist’s Statement Why not throw it, sling it, splash it? It’s the artist’s mark – it’s Mark-Making™. I strive for powerful visual simplicity in my artwork. The first marks establish a relationship with the subject and it becomes a dialog as I develop the work. Working quickly and with great intensity, I create the poetry of the transitory moment. Though I paint a variety of subjects, I find great satisfaction working with land and cityscapes....

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Cheryl Snell – Two Prose Poems

Cheryl Snell – Two Prose Poems   The Rumor of a Lighthouse We leave the smog of the city for the fog off the coast and enter a house that makes more sense to us. A lean-to of driftwood with seaweed stairs to climb—we climb them all, foam swallowing our swollen ankles. We think we can trick the mist that follows us; and so we rise on rubber toes to spy on the haze rolling against the windows. We see that it takes off water-drops the way we wipe away tears. Sea-smoke is seeping through walls already wet. You...

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Edward Byrne – Four Seasons in Northern Indiana

Edward Byrne – Four Seasons in Northern Indiana Summer Sunset Indiana Autumn Winter Woods   Spring Sky   Edward Byrne is an editor, literary critic, photographer, and author of eight collections of poetry. He has also edited two anthologies of poetry. His photographs have appeared in magazine articles and as book covers or journal covers. He is a professor in the English Department  at Valparaiso University. More at edwardbyrnephotography.wordpress.com. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

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Kris Faatz – Night Roses

Kris Faatz – Night Roses   Night Roses The night tastes of gin and wild blue air. Zelda keeps her eyes up on the sky as Scott drives too fast through the maze of city streets. The convertible top is down. Zelda’s hair, brushed sleek only minutes ago in front of her dressing table at the Biltmore, will be a rat’s nest by now. She tells herself she doesn’t care. The stars gleam up above. Zelda has to focus hard to see them. Down here on the street, tall lamps zip past in streaks of yellow light, and the...

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Jean-Yves Solinga – Four Poems

Jean-Yves Solinga – Four Poems   . Paris : Demi-sommeil The invisible alien army of street cleaners already at work The hesitant rebirth of crazed buzzing of vélomoteurs Crystalline clinking sound of expresso porcelain cups being lined up on zinc bar Habitués still arguing last night’s off-side The minutia of life starting to invade the routine of living… ……………… …When his left arm reconfirmed her absence in his bed Torture of organic and floral hints of her on wrinkled sheets Fleeting thoughts about Adam tearfully looking back at gates of Paradise Duality The definition of the untouchable ideal: From...

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CL Bledsoe – Two Poems

C.L. Bledsoe – Two Poems   Stop and Smell the Cake Forty is a number that’s forgotten how to lie, or maybe it’s just tired of keeping track of words that mean nothing but fear, that crumble when observed too closely. If it takes more muscles to frown than to laugh, why do you fault me my exercise regimen? I’ve grown thin and yet, somehow, fat, because what we take in may stay longer than it nourishes. There’s time, sludging down the slow hill, to shed the weight of loss, to taste spring in the air, the lily of...

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Kyle Hemmings – Five Photographs

Kyle Hemmings  – Five Photographs Almost Like Paris  Surreal Trees Trees in the City   Aperitif   Urban Reflections    Kyle Hemmings has art work in The Stray Branch, Euphenism, Uppagus, South 85 Journal, Black Market Lit, Sonic Boom, Snapping Twigs, Convergence and elsewhere. He loves pre-punk garage bands of the 60s, Manga comics, urban photography and French Impressionism. His latest collection of poems and prose is Future Wars from Another New Calligraphy. More at: upatberggasse19.blogspot.com. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

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Jack Campbell – Two Poems

Jack Campbell – Two Poems   The Wall Who put this here? I don’t remember; I don’t remember stone and brick and ice. Who put this here this distance between us? I don’t remember laying in the mortar or piling in the rock. Nor do I remember the stones nor the kiln where these bricks were fired. Their glow dimming twilight. Who put this here; this wall of ice where no feeling lives; just the creeping cold of death. Perhaps it built itself while we slept. Perhaps it rose because it had to. Escape; there is none. Race to...

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Corey Mesler – Five Poems

Corey Mesler – Five Poems   Night Voyage In the dark I lost my way. I could hear the boatman calling, his voice like an echo of an echo. How far away am I? Ahead I think I see my father dead now twelve years. Is he guiding me, again, or is he a dis- traction, like waves breaking? Now all is silent. My father is gone if my father it was. And the sea is dead calm as if chiseled from marble.   Just a Little …..“Dead love stories are what make us.” ……………………………………. – Kevin Barry There...

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Russell Streur – Three Photographs

Russell Streur – Three Photographs The Reach of Faith The Chandler’s Window Temple Bowl   A resident of Johns Creek, Georgia, Russell Streur’s poetry has been widely published in the United States and Europe. His recent work has won two awards for excellence by the Georgia Poetry Society and is notably included in Negative Capability Press’s 2015 anthology of Georgia poetry, Stone, River, Sky. Streur is the founding editor of the world’s original online poetry bar, The Camel Saloon, and is the current editor of Plum Tree Tavern (theplumtreetavern.blogspot.com). He is the author of The Muse of Many Names (Poets...

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Tom Montag – Five poems

Tom Montag – Five Poems   Morning Walk The long ago call of the sandhill crane. The mourning dove coos lost love. Here we are, flying towards nothing. I know it. They know it. And still we sing.   Night Plowing Roar of the tractor. Silence inside the noise. Up the field and back. Light inside the darkness. The smell of earth rising. When you go, you always go home.   Still There Still there: the fence, the tree-line, the far horizon. The world comes back at us with longing, silence, an unbearable sadness at sunset. A small wind...

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Mike Lee -The Whenabouts

Mike Lee . The Whenabouts It was still dark when I woke up smelling of her, she being Rose Singletary, lying asleep curled up against my body. Her arms crooked around my neck in a gentle, but firm vise, holding me for dear life, which was understandable because she crossed the line and jumped the precipice by giving up the gift of her body and soul hours before. This scared me, because this meant we could be together like glue for the rest of our lives, or shatter to nothing by Monday. I know she was scared, too, but...

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Tina Barry – Three Poems

Tina Barry – Three Poems   White Legs in Green Water I dreamed of the lake’s soft water, my sister and I small white legs kicking. Our parents on a pale blue blanket, finishing soured sandwiches while their skin fried pink in the sun. We floated, bellies heavenward, tutus of their cigarette smoke, hovering, little portents of doom. We were too young, too dumb to heed. Dumb as apples bobbing. Be careful, they warned of the men who would hold us, arms brittled roads forever in need of patching, hearts worn to mist, who we’d love well and too...

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Bill Vernon – Il Fait Beau

Bill Vernon – Il Fait Beau   There were multi-colored lights strung across the streets, wreathes on the poles, but also geraniums blooming in a box outside the living room window and a bank of lush chrysanthemums blooming yellow over by the park entrance. In other words Angers, France, was pretty and very similar to back home, but it wasn’t home. My wife was helping my daughter care for her three-month-old, and I was banished because of a bug I might give to them or, worse, the baby. Not the kind of gift any of us had in mind....

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Ray Scanlon – Shopping for Grace

Ray Scanlon   Shopping for Grace I scored a moment of grace at Costco, an unexpected temporary unraveling of the ligatures that bind us to place and time, all the sweeter for the incongruity of its venue. Having no expectations is a necessary but not sufficient condition for such a moment’s appearance. If it were sufficient I’d spend more time at big-box stores. Cheryl is responsible for provisioning her office’s open house, so here we are, on a Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks before Christmas, not, one would expect, an ideal time for relaxed shopping. But the store’s...

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Tim Suermondt – Two Poems

Tim Suermondt – Two Poems   The Coming and the Going This morning I see the sun, that’s been AWOL for days, slowly making its reappearance and the rain drops on the windows are already starting to melt. As I gather the instruments for my breakfast, it dawns on me that this type of precision is precisely what medical schools would want from their students—future skilled surgeons, don’t ever forget the heart. The coffee smells like the outskirts of my paradise and I’m ready for the day, or not—coming or going.   The Tram Turns Onto the Last Street...

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James Penha – Red Headed Krait

James Penha   Red-Headed Krait Sako, Western Sumatra its fiery tail propelling the snake like a rocket’s glare streaming already half-way across the road when we stop to admire its rare beauty from a distance: crimson wag and inflamed head warning us to stay still or be stilled forever from neurotoxins ready from fangs —————- that will leap ahead of the long inky blue-black body defending its right of way at a bright red light incomparably wrought We wait. A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past quarter-century in Indonesia. He has been nominated for Pushcart...

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Marybeth Rua-Larsen – Three Short Fictions

Marybeth Rua-Larsen – Three Short Fictions   Gravity …..She was rain. …..She fell thick and fast, pounding the floor like a Greek chorus. …..She tapped and tapped at the window, shattering glass before she pooled together, sang and pushed through to drowning. …..The room only added to her thirst, and being the changeling she was, she shed her weight, masked herself as mist. …..Before she disappeared, she pressed mist into fog, losing herself in loss, hearing, still, the tin drum that silenced itself. …..Then they came for her, lifted her, rolled her down the narrow hallway to birth the...

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Aaron Poochigian – A Memory, Perhaps

Aaron Poochigian   A Memory, Perhaps Light rain; an ultra-modern train lisping through European woods. Beyond the spattered window pane gypsies are camping near the tracks— their clothes as dark as oaks, their hoods burlap. One brings a silent axe down on a birch branch, down again; another cooking at a fire rips feathers from a headless hen; the rest, though, have assembled round a bearded bard, a one-man choir, chanting an epic, without sound. . . mushrooms have sprouted from the log his closest fans are sitting on; a child is crying; a rangy dog is head-down licking...

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Dewitt Clinton – Blessing

Dewitt Clinton   Blessing When I look out into the late afternoon I think how could such things happen. I’ve seen crimson so deep, surely this is what color means. Once I saw a fox. I’ll never forget walking into a black bear, grazing. These are wonders, yes? Sometimes I roll over in the night, hear saxophones, keyboards, marimbas–my way of returning to earth. What shall I do? Love someone, I mean really love someone. Help someone learn how to read, deeply? Couldn’t I just breathe, wouldn’t that be enough? I look into the sky and think maybe I’m...

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John Riley – Three Flash Fictions

John Riley – Three Flash Fictions . .Salzburg One night in rehab I had a dream that I worked as a violin maker in Salzburg. It was the late eighteenth century, although there was no mention of Mozart or any other composer or types of music. There was nothing dream-like about the dream. I had one daughter. A son had died the year before and I could still see his face if I stopped pegging a new hole or trimming the bass bar and closed my eyes. I had spent most of the day of the dream talking with other...

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Stephanie Masson – Fleeting Moments

Stephanie Reese Masson Fleeting Moments Dawn is his magical time. The early morning light touches him, causing him to stir in the crib and utter soft cries as he stretches and finds the day. I hear and pick him up from the crib before anyone rises. I quickly carry him to his grandmother’s bed and we lie, two women on each side of a small child. The pale light hits his skin and, in that instant, it is flawless. It glows radiant, soft white. He rolls slowly at first to look at his grandmother, then me, his aunt, a...

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Janet Bowdan – Three Poems

Janet Bowdan – Three Poems Men in the Abstract men in the abstract are beautiful I like to watch them turn their heads in the train against a window, walk through a platform for a place where they will save the world by their flamboyant grace. there is an attraction to distance, an ease in dabbling rather than dipping in with cupped hands: Pygmalion owed nothing to his block of stone, adoring his chipping, his intimacy with the cracks he’d made. the rest of us have nothing at all to do with remaking the basic design. but I do,...

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Mike Alexander – Tussaud

Mike Alexander Tussaud   The gods no longer walk with us. They know we’d pester them in airports & in bars for autographs, for photographs, to show we’ve brushed against their famous avatars. A party: Southern California hills, an opening, perhaps. Couture afresh drives cameras ecstatic. Champagne spills. Celebrities hobnob as in the flesh… & we stand frozen in our tracks, so near to Frank Sinatra & the whole Rat Pack; this is our chance to talk off Elvis’ ear, kiss Marilyn or take a shot at Jack. We might have met the Queen or Lady Di, crossed wits...

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Beate Sigriddaughter – On The Side Of The Mountain

Beate Sigriddaughter On the Side of the Mountain She sat on the side of the mountain, asters and marigolds dancing their celebration of late summer in soft wind. Dragonflies and grasshoppers with bright red wings lit up the grass. Rain had been plentiful and everything was lush. Next to her in the grass, the prince: his hair dark and splendid, his skin lined with a story of much play in the sun. His head rested on top of his two hands folded underneath his neck. His right leg was bent over the top of his left. He had a...

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Mary Jane White – Three Translations of Tsvetaeva

Mary Jane White – Three Translations of Tsvetaeva   Night’s whispers: over silk Your profligate hand. Night’s whispers: over silk Your planishing mouth. Settling All the jealousies of the day— and the flaring up Of all our ancient history—clenched jaw— And the stifled Quarrel— In this rustling . . . With a leaf At the window . . . With the first bird’s warble. –So fine!—And a sigh. Not that. –You’re gone. I’m gone. With the flinch Of a shoulder. Nothing. In vain. An end. As if not. And into this vanity of vanities This sword: the dawn. 17...

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Susan Tepper – Two Stories

Susan Tepper – Two Stories French Film Around eleven in the morning the sky darkens and rain pelts the roof top pool. I look over the railing at Monte Carlo and the Mediterranean spread out below. Everything that’s normally brilliant with light has turned a gauzy gray. “C’mon,” he says grabbing his flip flops. Along with the others we scatter for cover. Why we do this is anyone’s guess, since we’re all soaked anyway from the pool.    Back in the room he says, “There’s nothing else to do but go to the films. I hate the subtitles. Your...

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Maryann Corbett – Three Poems

Maryann Corbett – Three Poems   Rulebreaking Saint Paul, Minnesota, close to the Mississippi My life is so placid now, the children grown– those most important gadflies against rules– that I slip smoothly into the offered niches of city order, and the comforting rhythms of bus routes regular as villanelles, of street lamps blinking on in unison, of traffic lights that work, of water and sewer dependable below the horizon of thought. So deep my trust in all rule-governed things that when the unruled world intrudes on me I come unmoored. A squirrel in the house reduces me to...

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A note about our launch

A Note About Our Launch “No interesting project can be embarked upon without fear. I shall be scared to death half the time.” – Francis Chichester   Many and many a year ago, I edited a small journal back in California. We had no money, no resources, no way to compete with the established journals. I was typing things – yes, on a literal typewriter – cutting them out, and gluing them to blank pages. We had to have a party to assemble the photocopied pages, fold each copy, and staple things together. And yet, people seemed to like...

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