Home Poetry

Full coverage

by Donna Dallas

siphon these little varmints
from beneath my skin
they’ve done nothing for me – these depraved little muses
softly killing me
an awful curse
this constant barrage of music
and the words – the never ending words
their songs part me through the middle
slice down to the birth thoughts
I cannot sleep
I write like a beast
eat little
then wait to hear a sonnet
a song
perhaps a riddle…….
something to fill in the blanks

Gods of a Bonehead 1

I am your fortuneteller
                        I whisper
the song of a future
born to the sky on the day of
                        a year
in your bones you know
we are a layer of a layer
we walk among bodies
                        with minds
we think we are gods
but we are as vulnerable
                        as a baby bird
yet we hold such power
as to wield weapons – but let me get back to your palm
that long deep line with so many breaks
so many crackled dips
I cannot find the end
                        nor the beginning
the future speaks
the wind blows secrets at us
the rain bleeds on us
the eagle seeks your forearm as if
                        you were a G-O-D
a falcon grips the serpent – do you remember anything my love?
I only know that you are here flesh
and blood and I’ll hold you
                        cradle you

Gods of a bonehead 9

I put makeup on so it looks like I’m not wearing makeup
I don’t know any real reason why I cried at 5:28am
I know the motion of my gut
I know the wave of a feeling that we
are all moving in this direction…….
this dreaded direction
I drive a car with monthly costs
that could feed a village
if I’m blank it’s because
my rip tore the universe
splitting it in two
we long for the other half
never the one we are in
while we dry ourselves up
to bone dust
yearn for the thing out there
missing all the things in here
along the way

Gods of a Bonehead 11

All is the same
maybe it will always be             the same
and is that so bad?
what’s worse than the same?
only death
only end
to anything that is substance for
I know I will end
with my last breath upon a window
as the steam forms
my fingers sculpt out an awkward shaped heart
another breath steams that very piece of glass
and the carved heart reappears
will it be the depth and magnitude
of a universal bonding             I don’t know
I only know we are all
in motion
twirling around in a circle of carnal lust
from Dante’s Inferno
those lovers lost in the wuthering tunnel
can’t stop to catch you
yet need you so desperately
sick joke                that Inferno
so well thought out it rocks centuries
into the millennium as if Beatrice
could walk in at any minute
we would all stand in awe of her
ethereal face and cow soothing eyes
and the only time we learn to live again
is when something so terrible              or so epic
yet days later                        when the dust settles
we crawl back into our cave
and sit on the edge
of our own skin with
because those tender times
when we were rocked to sleep
have disintegrated into the frivolity
of our aged bodies


Donna Dallas studied creative writing and philosophy at NYU. She has most recently appeared in Red Fez, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Opiate, Beatnik Cowboy, Burning House Press and several other publications. Her recent novel, Death Sisters (Alien Buddha Press) has just hit the market. Donna serves on the editorial team of Red Fez.

And the coldest tree takes root

by Daniel Aristi

They’ve come late
In the evening 1,000 ants
Like ninjas –
Felled this ole Gulliver
At the ankles
(Tomorrow we expected both sunshine
And war).

            Body load is distributed flat
            On minute tribal shoulders
            In a poised, expert manner
            That suggests experience –

Why don’t ants grace humbler flags, they
The Dark Rivers?

            Skin had grown brownbag
            Over the wedding ring –
            That’s how old he

                        A fist of twiggy fingers sworn together into a pyre

                        No more running-faster-than-the-bridge-crumbling-behind-you

                        You know, you can measure time in teeth

                        And I want to be buried in my playground – furtively, at night, by loyalists
                        A tad bit drunk.

La violencia

No better, thinner. No better,
Taller. No better,
Got a gun:

                        – Goes Unchallenged Now (GUN)

                        – Gimme Ur Name (GUN)

                        – God’s Urgently Needed (GUN)


Qué macho es el
Gun, you’ve got another
Dick, hombre mío.

                        In Spanish victim is female – la víctima – and

                        Bullet is female – la bala – and bullseye

                        Is female – la diana – and death is female –

                                                                                                    La muerte.

More of the same

Bullet-pierced milk
With you know
Made the street


                RE: [Exit wounds] –
                The barrio exhorts:
                Güey you better
                Toughen up, and the bullets
                Stay in


                                Bullet (n.): nocturnal, burning,
                                Flies quickly from dark to


                                                Experiment #54:
                                                Emptied box of guns
                                                Down brownstone
                                                Staircase. Only
                                                The young run fetch them.
                                                All adults
                                                Have one already.


Order: espresso & beer.

Whatever is necessity

At this time of

History: Tick-tock-tick-

Tock: 73% of respondents

Answered, “Bomb”.

A reciprocal

Perpetual blood


That’s what I had

With my first wife – the one saving

The other to then be saved back

Again & again.

I’ll have beer first –

Espresso is a

Full stop.


Daniel Aristi was born in Spain. He studied French Literature as an undergrad (French Lycée in San Sebastian). He now lives and writes in Belgium. Daniel’s work is forthcoming or has been recently featured in Main Street Rag, Berkeley Poetry Review and Cold Mountain Review.

The Campaign

by Michele Alice


     give us another chance

           to do it to you



Put a couple

         of yeast cells together

and look what happens.


Through the veil of snow,

                        signs of spring:

buds upon the trees,

crocuses in bloom,

and the cardinal in muted plumage,



Michele Alice is: Detroit born, Tucson (U of A) philosophy-major, resides in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.

My First Dance

by Juanita Rey

This is what it looks like
to be dressed in
what a family can’t afford:
a chiffon dress,
blue as a lily flower,
wide lace,
vertical pleats,
new nylons,
creamy white shoes,
tight enough to hurt.

My mother remembers
when she first went dancing.
Her parents went without for her
on that occasion too.
It’s romance.
She figured we all
owe a debt to it anyhow.
Otherwise, there’d be none of us.
So why not owe more.

My father can remember
hanging out with his amigos,
all done out in hand-me-downs,
watching the cluster of la chicas.
on the opposite side of the hall.

He was brave enough
to ask my mother for a dance.
So she reckons the expense
will be worth it
if I meet someone half as fine
as the man she married.

Of course, mostly they argue these days.
But always in clothes they can afford.

My Street

Families, loners, occupy the tenements,
play in the park,
shop at the grocery store.
I’m sure there’s a story to why
all these people live where they do.
I’m learning it bit by bit.
Some have been here all their lives.
Others are just passing through.

Lots of folks sit out on their stoops.
If you want to know why they can’t get a job
then stop a while and listen.
Economy’s bad,
they tell me.

This city’s a crazy grid
of streets just like this one.
Except elsewhere
there’s different houses, different people.
So it’s not alike.

Some of the streets are better kept up.
Some look like battlegrounds.
Some boast fancier parks and grocery stores.
With others,
the playground’s littered with glass and needles
and, if they have a store at all,
it’s most likely boarded up.

I’ve seen people
sitting on their stoops
on block after inner city block.
But I only get the news
from the ones on my street.

The Whistle from Above

Are you pleased with yourselves…
I think the word is “voyeurs.”
Or is it “lechers.”
This is what comes of all these
English as a Second Language classes.
I have rid myself of el lascivo, el libertino
but then some would-be stud takes their place.

Okay, I get it.
I’m a piece of meat
with hair where it should be
and brown skin where it’s not.
And I have the shape
that corresponds with
someone’s momentary libido.
Now there’s a word that’s the same
in English and in Spanish.
So there’s no getting away from it.

But, to be honest,
a catcall, high up on a construction site.
has nothing to do with me.
From that distance,
my possibilities are endless.
Up close, I can only be so much.


Juanita Rey is a Dominican poet who has been in this country five years. She has worked many jobs while studying to improve her English. She has been writing for a number of years but has only recently begun to take it seriously. She enjoys reading. Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison are particular favorites. Her work has been accepted by 2 River View, Harbinger Asylum, Pennsylvania English, Petrichor Machine and Madcap Poets.

A New Method of Wellness

By Charles J. March III

Maybe I begot the Y2K bacterium…
I mean, it’s conceivable—since I was a reckoning, millenarian millennial—who withdrew from the world while waiting for the coming of God; notwithstanding the certainty that I wasn’t yet counting down the days until my odometer was ready to roll over and cross the great divide, as I progressively gazed forth to my calendar being filled with astronomical events, leading me to consider giving the 12 modes of Gregorian chanting a chance, which, I knew—in all likelihood—would have reflected my new light potential like a Gregorian telescope. So I started to deliberate about the day when I would get up-to-date with myself, be the arbiter of my arbitrary actions, and advance on a date with Destiny.

But many twelvemonths would make their way before the good government of my being would come to be. Momentarily after the millennium, I ran my eyes over different discourses of methods, which fomented my overthinking—therefore—winding me up in an extremely existential existence. I became cynical, and skeptical of the whole shebang, as I started smoking more peace pipes than Method Man, and yenned for my red skinned counterparts. I progressed to the edge of unemployment, and ambitioned about cutting myself in the line, but my avant-garde alter ego guarded me. I even thought of utilizing a TEC-9 technique, by shooting my star-crossed nut, but instead of destroying my third eye and waking up to a pearly gated ghetto—some of my pearly whites were serendipitously purloined by a slug, and I ended up in an ebony neighborhood.

I tried to plead temporary insanity—by saying that the state of my art was underdeveloped, and that all of my original ideas about original gangsters who experimented with experimental drugs would one day be certified fresh on old-fashioned tomatoes—but nobody bought them. Providentially, I wasn’t prosecuted, and was able to persecute different pursuits. The only doohickey I got out of the new deal was a set of newfangled fangs, which left my debt in mint condition. Perchance the second-hand smoke and hackneyed horse would have executed me toothless regardless. The solitary structure I had at that juncture was puncturing the organization of my largest organ, which was semi-erotic, but wasn’t likely the best logic. I was kindred to a method actor in a dreamlike requiem I once had, which turned out to be the nest of a nightmare gone bad.

People were starting to co-sign my slow death by design, and not even Dakota Fanning could stop the subconscious planning of my inner world’s wars. So I tried methadone, but got sick from its scientific methods, and knew that I needed something more, in spite of the fact that my spiritual practice was out of practice, and that the ecclesiastical tactics were rather taciturn—the bells would shortly toll for me, and my éclat would soon emulate the complex algorithms of Method ringing that were set/sent by The Holy Spirit. The pedantic permutations of my modus operandi began to find a routine, but it all became too routine, and I digressed from the process as my strategy grew into an elegy. I knew I needed a new order, because all my sun declines were like blue Mondays.

So I set out to get away from all my Hellenistic mistresses, who were like Nike—in that they were mindless, damaged goddesses who wanted to just do it, but which I suppose were sublimely beautiful witches nonetheless. And when I look back, it’s putative that they were all victories in discernment. Posterior to the pronouncement of this purpose, I ended up erecting passage to pristine pastures in an area where flora and fauna flourish, where the Beats found their rhythm, and where customers who are accustomed to alternative lifestyles have consumption. I also decided to take another shot at/as the unknown soldier, and the days that shadowed were extremely strange. Even familiar faces seemed unfamiliar. But I put my trust in The Man with the plan, and one day, my fiendish friend—who goes by the moniker of Monk (sobriquet, due to the resemblance to Tony Shalhoub and his OCD, but I suspect that he does, indubitably, have a certain, ostensible cenobitism to him) introduced me to a consortium called New Method Wellness, and after many kismets, came across the possessors, who launched me into a whole new way of life. The trying of untried herbs was inaugurated (which enabled me to be reborn by means of Mother Nature), and I also engaged in various, vigorous exercises (which were reinvigorating, and refreshing to my physique).

This all went well for a time, but the day where I became diffidently indifferent to “something different” soon betided. They then suggested that I get the lead out of my head, so I made progress to become an inky octopus, in search of the 8 areas of wellness. But then the rabble began to call my babble dense, and in a sense—it may be verifiable—but at least I rarely lose in scrabble. And I never scrawl before any man when it comes to the spouting melody of my fountain pen’s composition. Having said that, I only sign things when I see sigils to do so. I log my Logos, list my trysts, and scribble as I see fit (which usually ends in the ripping up of my scripts), but in the end—it all has a hand in creating the calligraphy of my calling card.

Anyway, many moons have waxed and waned from the time that the tides brought me upon these beauteous beaches—and I’ve since become involved in many New Thought Movements—where I preserve to attain alternatives to my old-self-medicated alternative medicine. Under no circumstances will I peter out in the persistence of being a wellness tourist, and peradventure—my passport will unabatingly be stamped—even as I pass onto/into the thereafter-life.


Charles J. March III is an impoverished, asexual, INFJ, neurodivergent Navy hospital corpsman veteran from the South Side of Chicago, who is currently trying to live an eclectic life with an interesting array of recovering creatures in Orange County, CA. His avant-garde poetry & prose has appeared in Literary Orphans, Stinkwaves, Fleas on the Dog, Harbinger Asylum, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, et al., and is forthcoming from Angry Old Man, 3:AM, and Free State Review.

Sleepy Whale 254

by Terry Brinkman

Shaving by night, Agglutinated Lather

City Weekly read, reread, while lathering

Unexpectedly, Postman double knocks

Titrations a clattered Milk-Can

Relathering the same spot

Aught he sought

Psychophysics therapeutics’

Full masculine-feminine

Absent of light disturbs him

Reluctant to shed Human Blood

Cut My Self

Sleepy Whale 311

Shake of a lamb’s tail

Glass of old Burgundy

Crimson halter around her neck

Dropped out of the Army

Lifting forearm tone of reproach

Sobbing behind her veil

Pure Mare’s moon light

She rests behind her hand, that’s drunk

Unshed Tears in her eyes

Inebriated murmurs vaguely

Misunderstood scapegoat’s dress

Sleepy Whale 327

Diphthong, three hands limb from limb

System-palmitic listener, Mahawianvatard

Maze of reading

Wine stained pages of City Weekly

She blew foamy crown from her pint

Splashed on her Chalkscrowled silk stockings

Crucified shirt elbows on the bar

Cowboys, steersman and Archbishop’s drinking club

Rubs stockings with Irish face cloth

Alabaster silent life of Dark lady and fair man


Terry Brinkman has been painting for over forty-five years. He started creating poems and has had five poems in the Salt Lake City Weekly. Five Amazon E-Books. Variant and Tide Anthologies. Poems in Rue Scribe, Tiny Seed, Juste Milieu Lit Review, Utah Life Magazine, Poem Village, Snapdragon Journal, Poets Choice, In Parentheses, Healing Muse, Adelaide Magazine and the UN/Tethered Anthology.

When in Rome

by Abigail George

(for my paternal grandparents)

You and that see-through dark-haired girl, you love
her, don’t you. Let me count all the ways you love her.
I could be dead, or just missing, or just missing out
on you. Your name is a song inside my head, and mob
justice burns bright tonight. There’s so much of you
in the narrative and context of my stories. There will
always be so much of you. And we were never lovers,
nor boyfriend and girlfriend, just a crack in the system,
and you know how much I love you, and you know
about my nervous breakdown, that I never finished
high school, and I know you want to be a family-man,
I know you want to build a home; I know you want
to belong, but life means different things to us, to us.
My home is the world, my home is under Scandinavian
skies, my home is sexy-Swaziland, minor earth and

major sky. Your lips are like velvet, and my face is
made of stone. I think you’re the epitome of cool, want to
kiss you so much, pull you in real close, but you’re in
love with a dark-haired girl now, and I have to respect
you, and remember you, and remind you I loved you too,
I loved you before she did, I loved you first. It’s
lonely out here blogging away in this frozen wilderness,
but writing brings an order to my life, and my neck is
graceful, and you’ll never see me naked, it has been too
long, and so many things have gone unsaid between us.
So, this is goodbye then my loyal friend until I see you
in heaven. And I’m going to cry Argentina, there’s nothing
you can do about that. We could have been lovers. We
could have been lovers. We could have been lovers. And I’m
not maternal, although my throat has a masculine energy.

Hemingway is third time lucky

(for my paternal grandparents)

I’m lost, I’m lost, I confess. In a minute I’ll be gone. In another
minute I’ll belong to the past, escape the present. I’ll be stripped
bare. I’m a stranger to man, and I’m a stranger to woman, and all
I’ve ever wanted was to be in your arms, and be loved forever. But,
this relationship, or whatever it is, or was belongs to the past, and
I’ll count myself forever holy amongst the stars, and the passing of
time, and the illustration of dust, and the interpretation of prayer.
And all I ever wanted was you, dear boy, dear man, dear finite space,
and biological gap, and psychological warfare, and a wish bone to
lead me home, and universal sanctuary, and a university degree, and
a high school diploma, and now, and now I have none of these
trivia, none of these things that makes the woman, that marks the
career woman. And I have a mother, but she abandoned me at birth
because my father loved me more, and my sister despises me, and
my illness, my disease, my Christianity, my radical feminism, and
most of all me. I’m an extra, I’m a starlet-harlot, I’m a monkey who
does not want to behave, but I’ll only behave in your arms, except
that position is filled. It is nearly midnight, nearly turning-point when
I’m near-death, near-life, and in death I’ll be extraordinary and in
life I’ll be extra-ordinary. And if I ever get married, I promise to
submit, I promise to obey, I promise to love in sickness and in health.
I am in a tunnel fast approaching another bright light, another
nervous breakdown, and was I really so difficult, so different to love,
and you tell me in a thousand different ways of how much I’m impossible
to love, and the hallucinations, and the insomnia leave me bleary-
eyed, and I look you straight in the eye, I want to try and make

eye-contact with you, but you look away because you love another,
and I don’t binge-drink anymore, I’m no criminal mastermind,
fuck my intelligence, I’ve never slept with a married man, I’ve never
fallen for a woman, and even though I feel as if I’m a statistic, you
don’t, you don’t, you don’t love me anymore and I find it all so
difficult to be on my own, and I can’t bear the loneliness, I can’t
face you with another woman on your arm, and you say I look
like your daughter, and then I find it difficult to breathe, to look
away, because all I’ve ever wanted was you, and you tell your
secretary to tell me to fuck off and leave you alone. You’re work,
and I love your superstar personality, you were my sweet escape,
once my sweet embrace, and now because of the Sylvia Plath-
effect you want nothing to do with me, because of the mania and
the euphoric-high, because of the unstoppably catastrophic blue-
depression I guess I’m no good for anyone, but especially for you.
I’m a saint walking on water, I am Saul of Tarsus, I am Paul on
cocaine on the road to Damascus. I am the finite apostle glowing.
I’m swimming, my body like velvet, head above water rooting
for all daughters, and then drowning. Body-surfing, and then
head sinking beneath the vibrations of the waves, drowning again.
You have genie-daughters, while I have none. The lunar-phases
of endometriosis saw to my infertility. I have had orphan-abandonment
issues in the past. You have had abandonment issues in the past.
We’re both orphans. That’s the one thing that we have in common.
I can’t bear the rhetoric, the dogma, you can’t bear the church.
We should be in love, life-falling for each other but we’re not.


Abigail George’s fiction was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She briefly studied film and television production at Newtown Film and Television School opposite the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. She is the writer of Africa Where Art Thou (2011), Feeding the Beasts (2012), All About My Mother (2012), Winter in Johannesburg (2014), Brother Wolf and Sister Wren (2015), and Sleeping Under the Kitchen Tables in the Northern Areas (2016). Her poetry has been widely published in anthologies, in print in South Africa, and in zines from Nigeria to Finland, and New Delhi, India to Istanbul, Turkey. She lives, works, and is inspired by the people of the Eastern Cape, South Africa.


by Lance Lee

Night empties a pitcher of rain through my trees.
     Sibelius spins, weeps, rages.
The washer rocks back and forth.

My dog barks, but Orion, behind the blinding storm
     tightens his belt and passes unseen
as my friend cries, grief-stricken, but holds

leechlike to death, sucking life from the dying rune
     of his wife.
I want to say nothing ever dies, but wonder

if I can move so far from despair and fear,
     my own wife so near death once,
my life full of terror from wishing ill,

dreading good, so incomplete a man
     threatened by wholeness or lack in you,
touching the dread of living with my death,

that child who grows in me until one day
     I will be the old skin he sheds.
The truth is very strange, for the best things

are wrung from opposites, closeness
     from hate, courage from despair, life from death:
profoundest love from the grave.

                                                                                    In memory of Bob Rodman

Grandfather Daddy Wilds


                         Myth, Malevolence, Truth

Two images haunt me:  Daddy Wilds
willfully slewing his Lincoln around
at a hundred miles an hour in the rain,
sure he would spin the right way home:
and, his face battered as a refined
boxer’s, shambling from his room
at the end, though warned
any motion would burst his heart.

He was the wild free father brimming
with gifts:  cars replacing those
his son smashed, always found unused
in some maiden aunt’s garage; money
he went on making as a stockbroker,
after the ’29 crash; adoration
of my mother he kept company
as she modelled, outfacing
all the young men until too sick
to face my father down; the castle
and title he spurned because
they weren’t good enough:

and he was the man whose mastery
grandmother punished for ten years
with no sex,
who laid in his deathbed while
his son went on smashing things
for someone else to make good, and
his daughter brushed leadpaint and
turpentine around, as if no one was there:
the man who got up and broke
the only heart he knew he could.


Some nights I hear him hum
like an engine under the dry
white rain of stars we spin beneath
and I grow dizzy looking for true home
and lie there, short-breathed,
my jaw set like a boxer’s against
the pain in my side, weighing
what fuels our pride,
our bribery of love,
our final love of death.



Or so my father whispered
when I was young. Older,
the truth is precious as breath.
Grandfather smelled no paint
where he lay on the far side
of his home, while all his son smashed
were Germans in North Africa
and France, and himself, earning
a Purple Heart: and grandfather
died in bed in my mother’s arms,
who was heavy with me—
his death a shockwave in us both.

Some nights I hear him hum
like an engine under the dry
white rain of stars we spin beneath
and I grow dizzy looking for true home
and lie there, short-breathed,
my jaw set like a boxer’s against
the pain in my side, weighing
what fuels our pride,
our bribery of love,
our final temptation to love our end—
or if, as he clove to her ripe body
he knew too
life is more pure more adamant
than death.


The Names of Love


The Red-Tailed Hawk of My Forgetting

rises on a thermal of desire over the sunlit seacliff,
     red red tail flashing
as he turns head lowered, eyes spears that seek
     the merest telltale motion in the chaparral—
found, he stoops down the angle of his need
     a sharply exhaled breath,
talons hammerheads to the careless head
     whose thin scream they cut off
in a fury of feathers and dust and blood.

     Or he perches on eucalyptus trees
winter winds have long stripped,
     that brace one another or they would fall—
Ten years he muses      twenty slides downwind
     in hunger      forty mark him changeless
as I age.
     So I shimmy up the gunbarrel smooth trunk
to meet his gaze, dig my feet in for traction:
     sweat blinds I shake from my eyes until
with a last heave his gaze meets mine…

         ‘There is the man who day by day
     watches me. His father mother children
         are all one, and no one. The years are
     long peels of eucalyptus skin that fall
         to the earth, the man always the same
     while in me waits one whose greater
         wings one day will spread and shed me
     like a husk as he cries into the sun.
         In his gaze I forget my father’s name,
     mother’s, children’s, and love forgets mine.
         I am become everyone, and nothing…’

     ‘Here is the hawk who day by day
         ignores me. His father mother children
     are all one, and no one. The years are
         long peels of eucalyptus skin that fall
     to the earth, the hawk always the same
         while in me waits one who someday
     will shed me like a husk as he steps
         away from the sun. In his gaze
     I forget my father’s name, mother’s,
         children’s, and love forgets mine.
     I am become everything, and no one…’

Therefore wherever I go I name all I see,
     given or  new-coined— it is all one to me.
What I record may last while the sun endures,
     past that no one can care.
Name by name I chip away at my forgetting.
     Each word I give is a name for my love.

Report from the Front

Everything tumbles together, syringa
          in bloom, sweet clover on the air,
the earth’s breath between showers,
            bitterns poised to strike unwary fish
who abandon their granite posts
            with staccato QUAWKQuawkquawks!
when I come too close;
            muskrat who ignores me
as she parts the water with her nose,
            twigs for her den in her teeth;
and hissing snapper with jaws
            even death respects
who slides into tall grass
            that trembles at his passage.
Not far from this suburban edge
            semis from Quebec roll by
with cargoes of furs, blocks of ice,
            cedar sprays, antlers, Eskimo songs
and shrieks of children from farthest north
            where they fence small squares of sky
from wilderness and polar bears. I want
            to link all these in a causal chain,
as though I am he who knows, weighs,
            values, names—
but only this moment by moment teeming
            answers my hunger for sense.


Lance Lee is a Los Angeles poet, playwright and author. His poems, stories and articles have been accepted in both American and English journals such as Antioch Review, Cross Currents, Agenda, Outposts, Stand, Acumen, Nimrod, Iron, and Poetry Northwest. Recent publications include Iconoclast, The New European (UK), Ambit (60 Anniv. issue) (UK), Orbis (UK), POEM, Chiron Review, and Blue Unicorn. Books include Wrestling with the Angel, Becoming Human, Human/Nature and Seasons of Defiance (2010). His most recent book, Homecomings, is available here and in the UK. He is a recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and various other scholarships. A full review of his works and further samples can be found at lanceleeauthor.com

A day at Isipingo Beach, Durban, S.A.

by Natasha Deonarain

you should have drowned me
amidst your disappointments
               first-born female—

but instead I floated free

where longing became a bone ache
in the middle of ocean undercurrents
nipping at my heels

wanting to give in to the pull back
let my tongue swell with brine
tie my limbs in weeds

but I emerged from the waves gasping
and when darkness washed from my sight

               you were all I could see
backlit arms outstretched

awaiting my arrival

I do

It wasn’t like I’d planned it
months in advance,
setting the date, time, the flowers, wine—
our song;

               not like I wanted anyone to see us
on the way to the ceremony, she and I pulled over, opening the door
spewing vomit in the street

               and not like I wasn’t going to make it right
between them and me,
Shacking up with that man, hers;
A disgrace to the family, his.

It’s not like I’d never held the bouquet
or posed for their pictures in a white-satin strapless
placing one sober heel in front of the other lockstep time to
Pachelbel’s canon pounding in my temples, wiping the memory of last night’s

pasty pipe-cleaner shins, dishwater blue eyes—
               the acid taste of second-hand cheap cigarettes and beer
               in my throat as he goes down on me
               smelling of her

               or like I know what he wants
when under the Aegean sun he whips his head round, jams brakes
on the Honda, straddled motor purring between knotty thighs,
of golden carpets
rippling under the pebbled beach of his forearm

               and not like I’d ever know
his lashed hazel stare, exquisite lips overlooking a jutting rock jaw
tonguing words off cliffs I catch in my mouth but can’t understand

as if I’ve done something wrong when—
he switches to English and says, “Get on.”
I do.

The plot continues without them

                                               [Scene 1]

Must I endure your hiccups? It’s not enough
to want darkly,
you should want me, adorable nightmare.
When the crows
discovered the murder, he left home with a broken
wing but unlike us, lions will never give up
their pride

                                               [Scene 2]

or goats their kids. Every
new day is a fresh homicide, fear and loathing
aren’t required
for the plot to continue. Snakes
build nests but don’t fly so you really shouldn’t
get drunk at the feast.
Someone is bound to betray you
after I speak my confession
to the praying mantis, but forgiveness hasn’t been
invented yet; we still live amongst the
unkindness of ravens.
Dandelions send helicopter drones to spy

                                               [Scene 3]

on the swollen desert
(without healthcare benefits, of course)
but my hard-boiled legacy, cut from rapture
when the Yangtze River
was still an irreversible wonder has no place
when the backdrop changes
Look, if you have a question, don’t
be afraid
to hold up your hand—
receive and you shall ask.
Its will is done
if you so name it, for when you allow
the Book to open, it falls to the correct page.
She doesn’t like
your charms, but
to a fox, water’s your best friend

                                               [Scene 4]

or your worst enemy. It all depends on hindsight.
Is the stairway to Heaven paved in stone, you ask?
It depends
on how far this pavement goes
but be careful, no matter
how far they let go, sonar always brings them
home. Should I call You Mister or Missus, then?
The Gardener doesn’t know if crimson
will be in style this year,
but pay what you owe. He’ll
decide the price later since this
journey’s not done. The lightness of being is insatiable
yet we still hide truth

                                               [Scene 5]

under our pillows
in the quiet’s night air. Remember
don’t take the shortcut or
you’ll be cut short this time, like lonely cows in a lonely field
that really don’t feel alone when they stand and face the
pelting storm, so you should easily find


your own compass through this dark matter and other such physics particles. Shards of glass embedded in your skin don’t hurt but you still feel their hurt. It’s the business of ferrets that you’re too concerned with so rather adopt an attitude of shrewdness like a few apes with whom you’re well acquainted. Oh for Heaven’s sake, why should all this be such a mystery to you?   



Natasha Deonarain is a medical doctor and lives part-time between Arizona and Colorado. Her poems are published or forthcoming in The RavensPerch, Door is Ajar, Crack the Spine, Juked, NELLE, Rigorous, Packingtown Review, Thin Air Magazine, Dime Show Review, Prometheus Dreaming and Canyon Voices Literary Magazine.  

Poem for the New Year

by J.A. Staisey

Crack the champagne  Yesterday already happened
once and for the first time  Now it’s almost morning
The resolutions will be made diamond-hard
on the pale slates of memories  So when we forget
it will be intentional and when we say we didn’t know
it will be because we did  We will pick up dust
and soldier on through fields that aren’t ours
past the eyes that know our names  Eyes that know
our footfalls and the lies trapped by teeth  Evident
and obvious to skeptics Those enquiring minds  Wondering
when will the clock sound and where did all the champagne go?

120 Lincoln Ave.

Through the door and into
the puddle of mail—
waist-deep, knee-wide.

A bag in the corner means
‘junk,’ means ‘sorry
they don’t live here now.’

We sift and sort
our way to the stairs,
fishing for our keys.

Neighbors come and go
so fast no one notifies
the banks or next-of-kin.

Peaceful Cohabitation

Since neither of us has been able to exterminate the other,
the roaches and I have learned to live together.
Our initial bloody battles—the screaming, the poison—
none of it got us anywhere.  This is their home just as it is mine.
They were here before me and will be here after me; I have learned
to respect this.  They have history and numbers.  I have size
and a lease.  Determination is shared.  So this—cohabitation—is
the only available solution.  We try to keep to ourselves,
go about our business, interact as little as possible.  And we’ve managed
to lay a few ground rules, our own peace accord:
drains and windows are acceptable, drawers are not,
the bedroom is reserved for me alone.  Though occasionally
a renegade breaks free, to explore uncharted territory.
Being of greater stature I seldom venture into their terrain.
I did once reach behind the heating pipes—am still sorry.

notes on a scene

1.         Six-thirty in the morning and I can’t sleep
            like this.  Knocking on the veranda door,
            a misinterpretation: I only want help.
            Fingers pulling pins and flowers from my hair.
            Gathering on your bed all you’ll keep
            once I’m gone.  In the morning
            it will be too late; the bags will be packed.
            So, this is all there is.  Your fingers, my hair.

2.         She returned a month later wearing
            the same clothes as the day she left.  By coincidence
            or design, it drew all his attention.
            He kept trying to think of something else
            to say as she poked the ice in her glass.  Twice
            he opened his mouth.  She blinked nervous
            and thought of smiling, smiled, the glass at her lip.
            A coaster moved into place.

3.         Midday wakes alone, but not me.  A girl still sleeping
            in the bed as I dress, leave.  I find you
            at the harbor where we sit, drink beer, try to eat.
            Again and again I look at you; again and again
            linger on your lips where words come out.
            Here we are, in chairs separated by a table
            killing time: you pull at your hair, watching
            the water.  Waiting to stand and turn.


J.A. Staisey lives in Los Angeles. They work in an office by day and write by night.

Why Don’t You?

by Kevin R. Farrell, Jr.

Skipping rocks across the river between your ears,
I’ll fake my way through impermanence,

a slave to boredom,
scar tissue tickle spots,

I’m neutral,

I’m frightened my rage will come out of retirement,
a comeback tour of only the classic fuck ups, 

a graveyard of mass apologies,
an answering machine of only what the fucks?

chokes me like, 
cool beans, asshole,

I sprint through the crawl spaces of my mind,
someone should tell the rats about marathons.


Saunters in,
I’m unaffected,

what’s it look like
to look like
you’re not looking?

Toe the line,
self-service check out body bags,

all of our wounds internal,
putting cigarettes out on my past,

give yourself a hand,
I don’t need it,

I’ve destroyed myself so you can’t,
built myself back up so you couldn’t.

Rise and Spit Shine

Good morning!
Fuck everyone…

no contest,

politically active contraceptives,
dictating to the choir,

to raise the bar,
lower your standards,

licking your novice chops,
meetings are murder,

furrowed brow beaten but not out,
hard pressed to remain soft spoken,

sulking your way to the top,
cower in humble defeat,

you’re so lovingly receptive,
I’ll walk all over you,

no really,
fuck everyone.

Never Slept On It

My OCD sees only the unkempt,
trimmed my beard with a mouse trap,

ego maniac with an inferiority complex narcissistically mirror gazing,

I’m having rage issues,
I have no control when it comes to not having control,

I’m a free spirit grounded on the tarmac,
my heart is heavy, 

wet cement,
you press your name into it,

when it dries we’ll get a frame,
hang it in the hallway of my childhood home,

cover the hole I sucker punched in the wall,
right next to the other hole I sucker punched in the wall,

the new tenants walk on eggshells
to not disturb my ghost writer,

last night I fought a coworker in my dreams because he refused my help,

when I see him today 
he’s getting the cold shoulder,

that’ll show him who’s not even the boss of his own mind,
my alarm clock rolls its fives.


Melancholic whoa is me tea parties,
raised pinkies, 
furrowed brows,

eye rolls, 
the flesh of, the blood of,

the conversation hasn’t changed,
a long lineage of talking heads,
a sense of triviality,

we should talk less,
count all the frowns
to divide them by the smiles,

you haven’t heard a thing,
no need to be saved when you can run away,

and before I forget,
the lawn looks great. 


Kevin R. Farrell, Jr. is a New York based artist, poet, and educator whose work has been published in Burning House Press, Rumble Fish Quarterly, Adroit Journal, Terror House Magazine, Former People, Blakelight Magazine, Visitant Lit, Ink in Thirds Magazine, Indiana Voice Journal, Foxhole Magazine, Yo-NEWYORK!, BONED Stories, Yes, Poetry, and The Writing Disorder. His work attempts to capture life from the vantage point of someone in the backseat of a stolen car running on fumes. His poems are a play on words in the form of political, satirical, surrealist, tongue in cheek rants that often border on stream of consciousness ramblings that are a last-ditch effort at taking it all in before we get taken out.

the shallow ocean floor

by Mark Young

Make your own website, quickly.
Reconcile such a dramatic economic
year. Forget that planned journey
to Damascus on Monday; instead
visit the Angel City Bookstore in
Santa Monica. Has anyone tried
& was successful at Globalization?

The pedestrian bridge

The female goes nude
to bed, wears wire
mesh in the hope she’ll

morph into a docuseries
in which four men con-
template colonialism &

wonder if they’d feel the
same about it if it came in
a variety of pastel shades.

The Wanted

A woman appeared behind
the man. The necklace glittered.

They laughed. Dinner was
coming. Its eyes were fearful.

The smoker drew deep. I won-
dered what she was thinking.

Answered. Solved. Expired. Invalid.

The innate immunity of pigment
& nomenclature can not only be
seen in every land-based casino
in Mumbai but also in the third
studio album of Realizing Beebo.
Stigma may be attached to the
disparity in the access to & use
of fishing & fun; but this is an

exhibition, not a race, & will
change Generation Y more than
a shift to a daytime cable. They
are broke & can no longer be re-
lied on as an alternative to horses.
Perl hashes are so case sensitive.

A line from Joni Mitchell

I add the instrument. It doesn’t
play back as it should, gives
me an error message to tell
me there is no pause present

in global warming or climate
change. Claims that it is other-
wise come from standardized
files with text & formatting

created by people unwilling to
upset the status quo or the donors
of their research money. I find
a new starting point, one that

recognizes truth no matter how
politically unpopular that may
be. I add the instrument. Now
I can clearly hear the castanets.


Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry since 1959. He is the author of over fifty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. His most recent books are The Perfume of The Abyss from Moria Books; A Vicarious Life — the backing tracks from otata; taxonomic drift from Luna Bisonte Prods; Residual sonnets from Ma Press of Finland; & The Comedians from Stale Objects de Press, all published during 2019.

Cowgirl Buys the Ticket

by John Wiley

Over jumps, around barrels,
gliding fast over ground
that might come up to meet her;

but just now the ground behaves itself
just like her horse does, and anyway,
falling is the price of the ticket.

Get up, push the hair back,
find the hat, catch the horse.
The hair gets in her way and she’d

probably cut it, but forget that – cowgirls
have long hair, plus it’s the only thing on her
that really says “girl” (yet, anyway),

and she’d say “girl” loud and high and yippee-ky,
(if anybody actually said that), and if there was
a girl here she’d say it to;

not the English saddle rich girls, or the buckle-bunny
cowboy groupies watching the guys from the rail; the bunnies
are good for recreational fights at tailgaters, though

(she kissed a girl’s neck once when they were
tangled up in the dirt and got away with it,
like she just did it to piss the girl off).

But one of the Latino grooms,
his daughter picks him up every day;
never gets out of the truck,

but when they’re eyes-on…

What if she said, hey, Diego – tell your daughter
I’ll take her riding sometime if she wants to go –
what’s her name?

She’s pretty sure Diego’s on to her, and a
girl just up from Mexico is gonna be so deep
in the closet she’s in a trunk in the attic.

But that girl’s eyes burn her to the ground …

“Hey, Diego – tell your daughter I’ll take her
riding sometime if she wants to go –

what’s her name?”

Midnight at the Well of Souls

Bodiless, floating,
feeling like nothing
will ever feel, our faces
are drawn up like water

as full Moon’s light,
carefully touching down
and down the slick,
brick wall, realizes us.

She stops, a bright coin
in a dark circle,
to watch us quicken
in her rippling image,

and she looks lovely
over us.  She knows the Well
is a wishing well;
she breathes in, out –

and plummets to us,
her bright-coin body
flipping bright side/dark side,

and we fall up,
headlong through her

to the Mouth
as she tumbles down,
and her splash
is heavenly below us.

We hover as full
Moon’s light shines
up out of water,
shines on our faces,

on the soles
of our feet;
and we set our
soles on Earth

as she rises again,
roaring joyfully past,
stopping clean
over our heads,

dark, and new –
not shining, brightly,
on us.

Lanky Girl

Linky, lanky,
slinky, strong,
arms thin, legs long,

sleekly swift –
sling shoulders, slung hips,
rainwater wrists and fingertips,

hips drip drowsy,
easy angles,
gangly gangles,
sweepy circles,
elliptical elan.


John Wiley started out as a ballet dancer and began writing when his knees finally gave out for good. (It is harder to write poetry well than it is to dance well, but it’s much easier on the knees.) His work has appeared in Terror House Magazine, Outsider Poetry, Montreal Writes, and Detritus. He lives in Carpinteria, California, and works in his wife’s audiology practice.

Broom Dance

by Dilantha Gunawardana


Someone complimented me, saying
That I have beautiful hair; which either falls

From my ankles, or rises above my forehead.
Depends on which way you hold me….

I collect dead cockroaches and gecko droppings,
Like a spiky comb catches trespassing lice,

While dust, seemingly like dandruff, lifts
From a body and is assembled in

To a little collection. I’m no genius though!
I keep the little sorrows, or my melancholic blues,

Of seeing my hair fall, strand by strand, deep inside,
And still the floors, are like autumn earth,

Filled with fallen leaves. I pray piously,
That my days will not be numbered,

As I look at a partially-dead cockroach,
Frantically struggling to get back up

And I like a merciless guillotine,
Coming down on it, crushing the gauzy wings.

Sometimes, I see my tall dark master,
Dance with me, his hands curled like

A skipping rope around my waist, and I drifting
In and out, like a broomstick flame,

Braided locks, radiating around my ankles,
Those metatarsals lifting, and grounding;

My little toes at the very end, sliding
On a surface letting my feet – and heart –

Be led, knowing that a man who
Can take a woman places, on the dance floor,

Can take her anywhere, la la land, Emerald city,
Xanadu, orgasmic utopia, or the moon and back.

I let him take me away slowly, his hands
Going deeper down my slender hips, his grip

Gentle enough to yield, like a kite string from
A kite runner, and not as adamantine, as God’s hold,

Letting an electric feeling enrapture me,
Like how a kiss sends a current down the spine,

To the quiet whereabouts below a navel.
You can say, I’m a perennial woman

On a dance floor, my meadows of goose bumps,
Giving away secrets I try valiantly to hide,

Like a brilliant moon behind cumulus clouds.
How I let myself be glided on a surface,

My little toes like the front line of a war party,
My fingers, convulsing with feeling,

Letting a man with unassailable wrists,
Sweep me off, my featherweight feet.



Paper Boat Dreams


Tumbling down in a rush, in panic,
broken clouds, as white and loopy,
as Santa’s cotton wool beard, while in Africa,
conga drums are being played by zesty palms,
while dancers, do their magic around an open fire,
Calling upon the rain gods, to intervene.
The pitter-patter, the growl from the heavens,
the neon flashes, the evergreens turning greener,
while, beads of raindrops, on jade surfaces,
are funneled down a tubular leaf, as a child
with Gene Kelly shoes on, looks at a kaleidoscopic rainbow,
with a sense of glee, like a prophetic Noah,
who looked at seven bands of parallel running color,
on the heavens, as a harbinger, a beautiful sign,
that the floods were now finally over.
How that man, Noah, cut the boughs of Cedar trees
In modern day Lebanon, to build a sturdy boat,
while a little child of 7, folds an A4 paper, to build the softest hull.
How beautiful, that a miniature boat,
inside a child’s palms, made of commonplace paper,
can carry something more exquisite, than a timber body,
holding a cargo of paired animals.
How a little ragamuffin, carries on his paper ark,
a consignment, many folds richer,
than the merchandise on board
Noah’s cedar hull.



Wooly Mammoth Tusks


How tons of ivory, are found,
deep beneath Siberia and Alaska,
as the worst kept secret of the Arctic tundra.
A reminder that being big was a casualty
10000 years ago, and is now.
While the modern day elephant
plods on the savannah, knowing that
their distant cousins, paid the ultimate price
For being too conspicuous, for
being too gargantuan.

How African elephants have more
tusks than the Asian counterpart,
the former called by the genus name Loxodonta,
Which means slanted tooth, of which,
there are two extant species;
africana, the bush elephant, and cyclotis, the forest elephant.
While the Asian elephant, walks
in troupes, less threatened by modern-day poaching,
Although they too fall easy prey
to man’s lust of ivory.

How paleo-indians brutalized mastodons
In the Americas, while hunters in Siberia,
killed wooly mammoths, to the point of extinction.
How ivory, in the contemporary,
is a prized item at auctions, and precious memorabilia
for collectors. While a businessman in Shanghai,
impatiently awaits, for the delivery
of two wooly mammoth tusks,
to embellish his study.

How the behemoth phenomenon
scientists call climate change, has bred
a new form of ivory trade;
how wooly mammoth tusks are found,
below a melting permafrost, like,
a milk tooth beneath a pillow,
waiting for the riches,
of a magnanimous tooth fairy.




DILANTHA GUNAWARDANA is a molecular biologist by training, yet identifies himself, as a wordsmith, papadum thief, “Best Laksa” seeker, poet of accident and fluke, hoop-addict, a late bloomer on all fronts, ex-quiz-druggy and humor-artist, who is still learning the craft of poetry. Dilantha lives in a chimerical universe of science and poems. His poems have been accepted for publication /published in Kingdoms in the Wild, Heart Wood Literary Magazine, Canary Literary Magazine, Boston Accent Lit, Forage, Kitaab, Creatrix, Eastlit, American Journal of Poetry, Zingara Poetry Review, The Wagon and Ravens Perch, among others. Dilantha has two collections of poetry, Kite Dreams (2016) and Driftwood (2017), published by Sarasavi Publishers, and is working on his third poetry collection and a book of haiku poems. Dilantha was awarded the prize for “The emerging writer of the year – 2016” in the Godage National Literary Awards, Sri Lanka, while being shortlisted for the poetry prize, in the same awards ceremony.





by Steven Ratiner


The plural, tongued by Latin.

Tight-lipped like oysters,
a muscular desire holding fast
to their brined solitude.

Just the tip – the pleading of
ten thousand thousand smooth-
cheeked boys – but, with a quick
thrust and twist, the fervid blade
shucks the universe.

And where does that leave us?
Sun horned like a minotaur, still tethered
at the center of things.
The wavery desire of revolving stars.
And homeward sailors with
full sails on turbulent seas,
longing to sleep again in their own beds,
leaning into the Pleiades.

Vulvae is what the Roman gods
murmur, pretending to say love,
preparing to rain down
disaster via bolts
of priapic lightning. Vulvae,
the weary sigh of those open vowels,
that oldest of mortal odes from which
all worlds, sacred and profane,
are ushered into being.

Vulvae, I am old now and
seasick with fever. I close my eyes,
let memory slip its moorings,
and count them like sheep.



Old Satyr in a Second-hand Tux


I don’t care to belong to any club
that would have me as a member.
He’d cribbed Groucho’s good line,
made it his gospel. And copied,
as well, the black smear across his upper lip
as if he’d been gobbling darkness.
Like it or not, Member in Good Standing of
The Fraternal Order of Breathers and Weepers.
Late night – his breath a miasma of
good scotch, bad snatch, rancid tears – he’d
mope by the wrought iron gate of the cemetery,
thinking: look how damned pristine their
marble pillows! Mossy beds laced in moonlight,
how goddamned beautiful! I’d
lay my head there in a heartbeat if only
that tight-lipped quiff would let me in.



King David


wielded both harp and sword, and guess
which did the most damage? Which
one’s flourish yielded the most tears?

As sovereign, he could make love his guest,
conscripting the loyal husband for a sandy ditch
beside a battlefield. (Psalms have tongues but no ears.)

Between rivers, between a woman’s legs – the surplus
by which kingdoms flourish and kings touch
history’s bloody hem. The old gods are buried here.





STEVEN RATINER has published three poetry chapbooks and his work has appeared in scores of journals in America and abroad including Parnassus, Agni, Hanging Loose, Poet Lore, Salamander, QRLS (Singapore) and Poetry Australia. He’s featured in the new anthology Except for Love – New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall. The poems appearing in The Writing Disorder are part of a new full-length manuscript entitled The S in Sex. He’s also written poetry criticism for The Christian Science Monitor, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Washington Post.  Giving Their Word – Conversations with Contemporary Poets was re-issued in a paperback edition (University of Massachusetts Press) and features interviews with many of poetry’s most important figures.




Where You At

by Jerry Tyler


Childhood dreams. Play acted without boundaries or borders. Destination unknown. Past perspectives. By design or default. Dreams can come true. Children are true believers in dreams. Relay and rewind your dreams. Design. Past dreams/future designs. Dreams may feel “gone” but not forgotten.

I see the future as yours, already arrived. Time planning, for seeing fortune as reality. Define. Definite dreams can become goals. Goals are achievable dreams. There are no restrictions on the yet unseen. If you believe, you can conceive your future.

Where you are may not be “where you at.” If you want change to where you want to be. Shift your present self. Today! If it’s in your power. If you are “where you’re at.” Congratulations your future is infinite. Refine. Where you are today is fluid to change as desired. Push hold not stop. Present is fluid.



Kyomi and I were leaving Asakuma Sushi at dusk. As we walked up the hill to my car, Kyomi turned toward the South. UFO Jeremy-san. UFO.

There they were. Five UFOs. Four colors apiece. Spinning between the stars and LAX. Flight pattern. Jetting and dancing. Oblivious to our startled gaze. Other diners joined us. There is a flash and they eject and disappear. Silently we drive to drop Kyomi at home. Goodnight, Jeremy-san. Goodnight, UFO.

Why are you so late. What do you say? UFO. Really. Yes, really. You really expect people to believe that? No one believes me save my parents who saw them during WWII. 1944.


The Inside Job

The you only you know. Stripped bare. Your deepest, purest being. The you nobody knows. What do you see in the dark? The you when no one is looking. Purely you. Straight, no chaser.


The Us Factor

How you relay and interplay with those close to you. Ideally 1+1 = 3. Synergy. Synchronicity. What you want and seek in others. Give and take? Do you lead or follow? Game observer, player or gamechanger. What do your players look like? Interpersonal intimacy. Honest exchange.


The WA

Public person. Who is your fanbase? Perception versus reality. Public versus private. Alignment or disparate. (Polar opposites). Collective persona en mass. The super you. Image/reflection. What is your “we?”

Personality multiplicity.




Jerry Tyler is a “Contemporary Classic Writer.” His background ranges from LA Noir to Interpersonal Growth Counseling and is reflected in his style of writing. He is an in demand educator and facilitator for creative writing at Studio 526 as well as a world published contributing columnist in various genres.






You Are My Brother

by George Cassidy Payne


I don’t give a damn about Ancestry.com.
You are my brother.
And I don’t give a damn if it’s on a census
or family tree.

You belong to me and I belong to you.

We are both spear points among the found
bones of our children’s great grand-children.
We both work to figure out the clues of expansion–
those notions of what may exist if we are not afraid.

We are brothers.

We are mapped out by a shared cosmic background,
both sculpted by the same glowing sheets of bodies
bathed in big, solitary, Texas-sized machines called egos.



The Same Sorcerer


It takes light about
a second to travel
from the Moon to the Earth.

It took me less than
a second to know that

I was in trouble by the way
you hold a cigarette.

You hold it like a wand
of lit magnesium.

In your index finger it has
a snap to it, and I wonder why
I am suddenly chasing my own tail.

That’s not red
you are wearing.

Red does not fit like that.

That is a color painted
on the wall of a pyramid.

Rust-hued and magnificently
unfamiliar, it is brighter than
the gold shining off the handle
bars of a king’s royal tomb.

And then there is that look in
your eyes. They throw sparks like
two nickels thrown into a campfire.

Smiling like a blowtorch, your gale-
roiled black waves blow up
in a magical black mushroom cloud.

I believe we are cursed by the same sorcerer.





George Cassidy Payne is a poet from Rochester, New York (U.S.). His work has been included in such publications as the Hazmat Review, Allegro Poetry Journal, MORIA Poetry Journal, Chronogram Magazine, Ampersand Literary Review, Pulsar, The Angle at St. John Fisher College and several others. George’s blogs, essays and letters have appeared in Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, USA Today, the Toronto Star, The Havana Times, Nonviolence Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, the South China Morning Post, The Buffalo News, Rochester City Newspaper and more.