Wednesday, December 30, 2009


isn’t much like
you’d imagine
they’re joking
paraplegics putting
on rock n roll real
loud to bug some dudes
who just like Aida,
We were glad to be
coming out of the jungle,
not in body bags.
First day out with my
new leg and I think I’m
hot stuff, don’t know it’s
got this spring-loaded
thing and I twist on
a bar stool and my
leg spits and flings
itself out, yanks a
briefcase off this
man’s arm and throws it
across the floor. He
gave me a funny look.
Then once one foot
turned around so
I looked to be
walking backward and
forward at the same
time and a kid
pointed it out
and said look at that
as his mama was
hushing. You’d be
surprised what I can
do with it. But,
Honey, there are
some things it’s more
comfortable to
take it off for

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Waits is growling 'bout the one that got away

by Tom Blessing

and i remember
all those poems
i thought of
while driving
from detroit to
the keweenaw
those poems
that were lost
in my memory
along dark
beneath a
full moon
reflecting off
frozen waves
along the shores
of Lake Superior
while tea
cooled in
the cup holder
and Tom growled
from the speakers
and morning
seemed no
more than
a despicable
where everything
seems distant
and false

-What do you think?-

by Shannon Peil

the doctor was nice and all
bit of a tight ass
but you know the collegiate
especially from med school
he tells me 'you know
you really shouldn't drink
while you're taking percocet'
and I wince and look up
resting my broken arm on my knee
put the AA brochure
into my pocket and tell him
'yeah, yeah
I understand doc. but
what do you think about
maybe renewing my script?'

Monday, December 28, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

how she longed for
Sally Smith’s long
long legs, thighs
that weren’t always
kissing each other
but let light thru. The
mad girl hated her
fat thighs on benches
for basketball games.
Even at six she scowled
in the mirror seeing
her soft fat thighs
in a bathing suit,
belly she didn’t
believe would always
betray her. She
remembers being
weighed in front of the
class and how Mr.
Dewey belted out
the numbers, how she
weighed more than
most of the boys in the
class. “Chubbette”
an uncle with a clothes
store nagged, “the
regular pre teen skirts
won’t fit you.” But the
mad girl refused. She
would, even pared down,
lying on her bed to zip
jeans at least one
size too small, refusing
to wear anything over
size 0. But it’s the early
days when kids yelled
fat out the window,
worse to her than kike
or two eyes or kinky hair
or book worm. Now she
wishes she could dance
depression out of her,
write this one man
into so many poems in
real life she’ll be too
numb to have feelings
about him, paint him as
dull. Her legs no longer
smack each other as if
applauding or kissing
but hold the little that
is left of her, so light,
almost air, if she danced
with the one she’d
chose, he’d hold her up
and she could easily
follow where ever
he wants her to go

*Lyn's website:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lines for a Female Psychiatrist

Perhaps when I’m better I’ll discover
you aren’t married, after all,
and I should be better by Spring.

On that day I’ll walk
down Michigan Avenue
and up again along the Lake,
my back to the wind, facing you,
my black raincoat buttoned to the neck,
my collar a castle wall
around my crew cut growing in.

Do you remember the first hour?
I sat there unshaven,
a Martian drummed from his planet,
ordered never to return.

With your legs crossed,
you smoked the longest cigarette
and blinked like a child when I said,
“I’m distracted by your knee.”

The first six months you smoked
four cigarettes a session
as I prayed out my litany of escapades,
each detail etched perfectly in place.

The day we finally changed chairs
and I became the patient
and you the doctor,
you knew that I didn’t know
where I had been,
where I was then,
and even though my hair
had begun to grow in
how far I'd have to go
before I could begin.

by Donal Mahoney

Village Idiot

You can download a free copy of my new pdf e-chap Village Idiot at Full of Crow Press. Open and read it with Foxit PDF Reader.

--Ross Vassilev


by Michael A. Flanagan

it was a flea bag hotel somewhere on 43rd st.
i was high and a little drunk. i told her she
had to strip down first, then i'd pay. she
demanded the money up front. when i
refused for the 3rd time, she stormed out
of the room. a few minutes later, she was
back. she stood by the door and stared
at me. when i gave her the money, she
folded the bills and put them in a small,
dirty white purse. i laughed when she
told me she was on her period, told her,
a deal's a deal. finally, we stripped down,
got on the bed, started in. at some point i
got carried away, i began to think about
love, i kissed her cheek. she wiped the
cheek with the back of her hand, made
a face like a baby that's just been
fed something distasteful. finishing,
i rolled off. there was blood on the
condom, i was surprised, she'd been
telling the truth after all. when she
left, i sat in a ratty looking chair by
the room's only window. between hits
off a fat bottle of gallo wine, i stared at
the streets below. i got very drunk and
wept, not understanding the world at all

Saturday, December 26, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

maples, rain soaked
would blur car lights
if there were any
somewhere, the
sound of a train.
Then I was a long-
legged beauty. Then
my hair was fire.
The rain erased
the space between
our bodies. Later
you write I was
stunning. Too late,
too long after I
didn’t imagine that

*Lyn's website:


by Lyn Lifshin

flat, all the way
to Canada. 65 and the
hideous tropic rain
air gone. Some
thing over. A back
to school fall sky.
I’m sleeping in the
car to escape as if
there’d be nights with
a finger nail moon
and you again, with
that grin, my black
dress on the floor

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

suddenly there on the train
to Oslo. And me, there,
figuring it’s ok, imagining
what, an affair? A hook
up? Is it too late for that?
So he was a student of mine
in another life, not one
who made my face burn,
made me shiver like Sal
Falova but a skinny good old
boy who loved poetry so
much he salted away one of
the only two copies of
one of my books in
his military trench coat. Those
days with writing work shops
at my house, at St Rose
where I read poems too
scandalous for some
but the nuns adored them.
Summer of divorce
and George was there, often, as
if ready to step in tho it was
not for me. I got my book
back, never gave him what he
wanted. Sometimes a poem
of his in a magazine. Same
formal, almost academic
piece about a Kentucky field
or the last thoughts of a
Confederate general. So many
years in other cities, never a
thought of his stillness,
forgetting maybe he took me
home after I drank too
much to get thru a reading—
old enough to have a son the
age he was. Just a few words
at a reading back in town,
no electricity, 5 minutes talk
maybe and then I slid back
to Virginia. So how am
I hip to hip, my head on his
shoulder heading past
snow peaks? Oslo, already
with its warming quilts,
mugs of mulled wine and
this feeling a feeling, a
freshness I haven’t felt
for too long

*Lyn's website:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Beautiful And Beaten

by Doug Draime

She was hardly
recognizable sitting on
my steps
for me to come home.
It was 5 a.m. on a
Tuesday morning.
I was drinking at a bar on
Hollywood Boulevard
near Normandy, till closing time.
And then walked down
the street to Norm’s
restaurant for some steak
and eggs, sitting there downing
four black coffees, taking it slow
till I sobered up a little.
As I walked up my walk I could see
her sitting there
with her arms cradling her knees.
Her left eye was beaten shut;
blood caked on all over
her beautiful face,
and her upper lip
busted and swollen.
She was smiling under
my porch light. I got close
into her face.
“Jesus Christ, Dee, what
the fuck do you have
to smile about? What happened?” She started to cry.
“That’s two questions and I can’t
answer either one right now.” Tears
falling down her cheeks.
I stepped around her,
unlocked my door and pushed it open.
Then I bent down and gently
pulled her up by the shoulders, turned her
around and walked her
into my court apartment.

I turned on the light,
and still holding her shoulders,
guided her to the bathroom
and sat her down on the edge of the bath tub.
I dampened a wash cloth
with warm water
and gingerly cleaned her face
as best I could. She was trembling
and sobbing, with halting intakes
of breath, her whole body shaking.
Dee had been on the
streets hustling for about six months.
I met her about a year before,
when she was go-go dancer
at a place on lower Melrose.
She lost her job after slapping some
asshole for reaching up
and pinching her tit.
Not being able to find a job dancing,
or anything else, for
that matter, and desperate for money, she
decided to sell her body ...
on the streets of downtown L.A.
She stayed with me for awhile, and she
started to mean a lot to me.
I attempted to talk
her out of it many times, but to no avail.
Finding a half-way decent pimp
was the toughest part; she interviewed
them, a couple a week for a month,
like she was hiring a
trustworthy baby sitter, or a Japanese
gardener. She found one named Omar,
who set her up at the Roselyn Hotel
on 5th street. In a few months she had
enough money for
a nice little bungalow in Silverlake for her off
hours and
was saving money
for her dream of movie stardom; taking
acting lessons on the side.
She stopped by only two or three times
after that, seemingly content
with her life on the streets,
and with Omar.

I was on my knees holding her,
as she sat on the tub crying,
the tears soaking my shirt
clear through to my skin.
After a while I got her up
and walked her into my bedroom,
undressed her down to her panties
and bra.
She had stopped crying and
was thanking me over and over again
for “being here”. She quietly, slowly began
to tell me what had happened.
Omar had brought up a trick
to her room at the Roselyn.
The trick was drunk and couldn’t keep
a hard on. He suddenly got
violent and slapped her, then pulled a
knife, pressing it to her
throat, screaming foulness into her face,
as he still held the knife
at her throat, beating her with his fist.
She managed to knee him
in the balls and get away, running
down two flights of stairs
and out of the hotel. Her first thought
was to find Omar, who always
hung out at Googies restaurant
down the street.
When she couldn’t find him,
it was then she realized she left her
purse in the hotel room,
with all her money and the keys
to her bungalow. She hitched a ride into
East Hollywood, and had been waiting for
me since 11 p.m.
She said she was afraid to go
back to the hotel room without someone
with her.
I told her to lay down and try to get some
sleep, and that I would
go with her later that day.
I pulled the covers back and she got
under them like
a small child being tucked in,
still shaking a bit. She asked me to lay down
with her and hold her like I used to.
And I held her till we both fell
asleep. We got up around noon, showered;
I fixed some scrambled eggs, coffee and toast.
Her face looked worse,
especially her eye, which had swollen even
more, and was as black as coal.
I made her an ice pack
and told her to hold it on
the eye until her face was
numb; gave her some codeine
for the pain; and we set
out for downtown.

After parking in a lot off of 5th & Broadway
we walked to
the hotel. The door to her room was
wide open, but amazingly
nothing appeared to be missing;
she found her purse and
everything was there. She started
crying again out of
nowhere; I thought that that
was all over, but apparently not.
She sat down on the bed and cried harder
than the night before, nearly
hysterical. I started to move over to console
her, when I heard a noise behind me
and turned to face
a little black guy in a rumpled shark skin suit.
I knew immediately it was
Omar, from Dee’s description.
“Who the fuck are you?” he asked, trying to sound
as menacing as possible.
I started smiling, because he was such a weird
looking little guy. He had a lazy eye,
which appeared to be slightly spinning,
a huge nose, and a chin
disappearing into a chicken neck.
Before I could say anything, Dee jumped up
from the bed and ran over to him.
“This is my friend, Doug, that I told you
so much about. Doug, this is Omar.”
She was smiling like she was introducing me
to her father at a family picnic.
Omar looked me up and down like I was a bug,
and then smiled a real smile, sticking out
a small thin hand. My smile hadn’t left my face, and I
said. “Nice to meet ‘ya,” shaking his limp hand.
Dee began to unfold the story
of the night before. Omar listening attentively,
sat down on the bed to roll a joint.
I closed the door and went into the bathroom
to piss. When I came back out, Dee was crying
again and Omar was holding her
and smoking. He offered me the joint, but I declined.
He didn’t seem to like that much,
but when I explained
I was driving back
to East Hollywood and smoking
messed up my depth perception, he smiled,
and said he’d roll me one for later..
He rolled up a huge bomber and handed
it to me.. Dee was either smiling or crying
through it all, thanking me as she
held on tightly
to her pimp. Omar shook my hand again,
I gave Dee a hug and left.
On my way home I thought of several things
I should’ve done or said, like talk
her out of whoring, slap Omar senseless
and throw his ass out the window, things like that.
But she seemed happy, like I said; and
she could’ve done a lot
worse than Omar. And who was I
to come between a whore
and her pimp?

*first published in Zygote in My Coffee

Friday, December 18, 2009


by Lyn Linshin

I don’t think how the
m and m’s that soothe
only made my fat legs
worse. I’m not thinking
how my mother will
die, of fires that could
gulp a mother up, leave
me like Bambi. I’m not
going over the baby sitter’s
stories of what they did to
young girls in tunnels, of
the ovens and gas or have
nightmares I’ll wake up
screaming for one whole
year wanting someone to
lie near me, hold me as if
from then on no one can get
close enough. I don’t hear
my mother and father yelling,
my mother howling that if
he loved us he’d want to buy
a house, not stay in the apart-
ment he doesn’t even pay
her father rent for but get
a place we wouldn’t be
ashamed to bring friends.
What I can drift and dream
in is more real. I don’t want
to leave the world of golden
apples and silver geese. To
make sure, I close my eyes,
make a wish on the first hay
load of summer then wait
until it disappears

*Lyn's website:

Love Is Another Thing

Sitting at the table
spinning the creamer
running her fingers through sugar
the kids spilled at supper, Sue

suddenly says, “Don,
love is another thing.”
Since love is another thing
I have to go rent a room,

leave behind eight years,
five kids, the echoes of me
raging at noon on the phone,
raging at night, the mist

of whose fallout ate her skin,
ate her bones, left her a kitten
crying high in an oak
let me free, let me free

by Donal Mahoney

Thursday, December 17, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

Yours, honey, were so perfect,
a little rosebud mouth, not
those puffed up blubbery
things, my mother says when
I pointed out the models’
collagen petals. “Roses,” my
mother always says, “that’s
what yours were, a nice
tiny nose. That’s from your
father. One good thing. Not
a big ugly one like I’ve got.”
I think of my mother’s lips,
moving close to my hair, how
her breath was always sweet.
“Too thin lips, like your father’s,
show stinginess.” She was
right. A man who couldn’t give
presents or love, a good word
or money. I only remember
three things he told me and
all began with Don’t tho my
mother said stories came from
those lips, that he brought me a
big dog. I only remember the
thinness of his lips, how his
death meant I wouldn’t have to
leave school to testify for the
divorce. Lips. When I came home
from camp I found Love Without
Fear in the bathroom and read
“if a girl lets a man put his tongue
on her lips down there, she’ll let
him do anything,” and then some
thing about deflowering. A
strange word I thought trying to
imagine flowers down there, rosebuds
not only on my mouth, a petal
opening, but a whole bush of petals,
a raft of roses someone kneeling
would take me away on, a sea of
roses, flowers and my lips the
island we’d escape to

*Lyn's website:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

An engagement present from my husband’s parents.
Shoved in a drawer like small eggs waiting to hatch,
forgotten. They seemed like something in a high school
photograph. I’d have preferred a large wrought iron pendant,
beads that caught the sun. Pearls were for them

and I was always only a visitor, tho he said he wished
I’d call him Dad. Sam was all I could get out.
It was hard to throw my arms around him, to bubble
and kiss. And not just because they thought
me a hippie, a witch, thought I took

their son’s car and stamps and coin collections.
Pearls wouldn’t go with my corduroy smocks, long black
ironed hair. They didn’t blend with my hoops of onyx
and abalone that made holes in my ears but caught the light.
Pearls might have gone with the suits I threw away,
no longer a graduate student trying to please.
They weren’t suitable for days with a poet hidden in trees
or for throwing up wine in toilet bowls after poetry readings
where I shook and swore not to let anyone see. My spider medallion
is in at least eight poems. Pearls remind me of the way I thought

I was: studious but not wild, not interesting. But I put those pearls
on last night tho I hadn’t planned to wear them. They didn’t seem ugly
or apt to choke, seemed gentle and mild as so little is in my life
these days. I slept in nothing but those pearls, they seemed part of me

*Lyn's website:


where my car slid off the road,
where amethyst barrettes
were flung from bloody hair,
forehead scalped

I’d be late for the film
whined in siren light

And who would tell the
friend I was meeting.
stay with us a man with
blue eyes said over

and over. The night
grass, September dew.

My mustang left like
litter. I suppose my
heart took a deep breath,
If there were sparrows

I didn’t hear them

by Lyn Lifshin

Monday, December 14, 2009

sisyphus in the not for profit sector

by paul harrison

this poem is for
all the broke down
hurting people
i meet at work
trying to help with words
and the irony of it all does not escape me
it's partly why i drink alone in crowds
of young, dumb successful types
who couldn't give a shit
while the State and speakers boom
of course i was a gutter drunk
long before i stumbled into this
that's why i'm here
all burnt out
and relatively speaking
you'd think exposure
to all that pain and suffering
would help me
count my blessings
but it don't
and in this poem
you won't be hearing any of that
'empowering', small l, liberal PC bullshit
born of a Stockholm syndrome
validating a vicious system
cause and effect of it all
and in case you didn't know
it's never going away, none of it
not today
not tomorrow
not in my life-time
or yours either
so enjoy your blindness
your raucous silence
your comfort
while another child
gets thrown to the wolves


by RC Miller

This lovely wooden door
Protects me from the domination of dust.
A mechanical bull in a country and western bar
Invokes the prosperity of the wicked.
This lovely wooden whore
Keeps her shirt on.
I want to feel her splinters
Spray my insides.
By flashlight this unchanged mountaintop
Is a place where demons quietly replay
Recaps of my favorite original videos.
The wild beast has faith in riders
That will never return.
It's so lovely to be ignorant of coming or going.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

3 poems by Hugh Fox


Bringing them all back, the right Andean
chemicals, prayers to the Underground
spirits, Great-Great-Great-Grandmother
Adeline Fox coming out of the Red Cedar
River, Great-Great-Great Grandfather
Sean walking over the mountains toward
our stone cabin with a pitchfork in his
hands praising Jesus, “Not long now and
He’ll be back,” The Inquisition hovering
around in the clouds as the Great-Great-
Great-Greaters make their way north into
Celticism, the latest womb-escaper, Beatrice,
coming into my workroom, “I want colored
paper, violet, I’m making violets,” as the
Weather Devil drolls on “Tomorrow, tomorrow,
tomorrow you’ll see, see, see.....,” feeling
existentially ONE as the rest of the antiquities
slither through the cracks in the windows and
drop down the chimney into the flames that
can’t/won’t touch them.


Difficult to imagine how, as art-lit-theater-film-
centric as I always was, with Hugh and Connie
in the same body, an only child unused to having
anyone around but Mom, Dad and ancient Prague
grandma, getting totally involved with doctorates
and jobs in Hollywood, Caracas, Florianópolis
Brazil, ever managed to get married three times
and father six children who produced six grandchildren
all ending up in the same town with my three wives
so that holidays/everydays become as holy as the Thou’s that
wave their wings around us in reproductive-speculative
joy as they see the universe , if only at times like these,
fulfill the expectations of creation.


If you look at the rest of her it’s all
Spring legs, arms, belly-button, only
the face that’s late Fall, but Beethovening
into the Kreutzer Violin Sonata there’s
a certain agelessness that surfaces, like
all the students walking around campus
tonight, Bernadete lamenting “I wish I
could start all over again..the upswing
optimum instead of...,” two sisters dead
within the last six months.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Welcome to Bedford Falls

by Melanie Browne

You can probably get drunk here.
Maybe find a woman to do the reverse cowgirl with.
You might find an Angel named Clarence here,
but then again, you probably won’t.
It’s a nice place,
but watch out for the bank examiner.

I Can Feel Teri Smiling

by G David Schwartz

I can’t see up to heaven
And I can’t even see to Cleveland
But I can see my sister
Sitting at the gate
Smiling down on us
Making love in the day
Where everywhere else outside
There is war, as always
And deaths as before
And I feel her shy laughter
At the wooden door
Oh Teri, the sweetest of us all
I just stand here awaiting
For and upon your call

*G David Schwartz's new book, Midrash and Working Out Of The Book, is now in stores or can be ordered here.

Friday, December 11, 2009


by Chris Butler

I drank so much
that my brain cells
one by one,
each screaming,
around the rounded
tub of the bottle’s
broken bottom,
in the whirlpool
of backwashed
beer and flicked
until I finish
the final
and drive
myself under
the influence
to the store
for some


by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Biting your nails watching the sun slide
behind the smog grime of evening,
city surrounding your tight rags
hanging on you like limp fingers, white cotton
over your tanned breasts and hips,
legs smooth in the gleam of the long alleyway
you travel nightly, hiding from the man monsters
always peeking,

moon soothing,
getting off on its light against your skin,
walking through the night's breath,
the animal coming
out of you,
backs of buildings with staring windows,

you slowly begin
tearing tugs of rags,
dropping pieces of fur on the pavement,
until you're salaciously raw and smiling
on another of many
night walks.


by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Such a fine tummy,
you must do your sit-ups daily,
and your long legs muscled,
you must swim laps,

but I'm stronger in my sins than you,
you're just a beginner, an amateur
in my bed under the glow of a false moon,

your curves craving,
rubbing them as you moan for more,
licking you into a ready pose,

then standing over you,
leaking magical drops over your skin
gasping for me...

I settle in,
a torpedo
ramming you into the underworld.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


by Hugh Fox

Listen to what the sub-, not terranean but
consciousness voices say, how to trill the
hands across the keyboard or slosh out into
the winter backforest, light the fire and
mind-draw the faces that will turn into
smoke-bones, Ellaraine now far away fifty
Pacific Palisades cliffs years old, and the
lipsticked lips still oatmeal and cranberry,
and bedtime it, if it’s to be as it’s never
been, BE it to the power of infinity,
the ancient Notre Dames and Nefertiti-
tunnel mummies, Machu-Tiawanaku
sacredness in the Name of The Now,
The Now and The Now.

Sitting Shiva in a Hotel Lobby

For a year this image has haunted me.
Over and over I hear on the gramophone
Cohen put in my ear
“Feature this:
On a crowded elevator
a strange woman in a baseball cap
unbuttons your fly.”
That image is on the ceiling every night
as I sit shiva in the lobby
of this small hotel,
a hookah, like a tired cobra,
coiled at my feet,
a shamrock in my buttonhole
dead from the last parade.
Night after night,
I think about this strange woman
as each hour I watch
the doors of the elevator
part and give birth.
I observe each new guest carefully,
hoping the woman in the baseball cap
will tire of the rain and ride up
in the elevator and register.
I want her to sit in the lobby
and talk with us.
We who are guests here forever
have eons to hear
what she has to say.
We have paid our rent in advance.
We can afford to sit here and see.

by Donal Mahoney

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

My mother’s and mine were
velvety chocolate, a doe’s
eye in candle light, enormous
over a table. But we couldn’t
see, what was ahead was a
blur. What was behind was
haunted. I hated glasses,
pink plastic frames I had
by six, sliding off my nose
and making my too round
face rounder. In photographs
I’m plump, my dark eyes,
even under glasses, like
my mother’s while the new
sister’s were blue, pale
and her hair blond, her legs
skinny. “Adopted,” I often
thought. She was fearless then,
danced in those blue eyes
for strangers while I curled
close to my mother on the
couch, our dark eyes, our soft
bellies. Or I worked quietly,
alone in a room the water
fall hid, painting, or doing
science projects. Even with a
film over her eyes, she scanned
the length of my skirt, how
I “ruined” my hair, dying and
straightening, saw things
I didn’t want her to see. “Your
father’s nose,” everyone said
but in photographs now I
see my mother looking back
at me, not her presence,
like everyone said I’d feel
being so close but that dark
glistening polished bark, a
reflection of who I’ll be

*Lyn's website:


by Lyn Lifshin

Otter Creek lulling, spitting damp air
where lilac curtains were taken down. My
mother, older than my grandmother was
when I dreamt and shook in this room,
sits on my old bed, the dusty jewelry
boxes spread open. “You lost so many
of my earrings, honey, but like the
Lindberg doll you ruined, I let you.”

Rhinestones tangle with pins of horses
in the box where a ballet dancer used
to twirl to “Dance Ballerina Dance.”
My mother pulls a silver dollar to her,
tries to read the date with the one
eye she can. Remember the leaves in the
whirlpool? I held you in this bed when
you moaned with chicken pox she says

years after the Nazis I still dreamt they’d
sneak into the house. Rhinestones cloud over
like an eye, the bracelet of Cuban coins from
David before he said “suit your self” when I
asked if I should wear the yellow evening
gown strapless, then didn’t say a thing.
Hearts of rhinestones, silver ballet dancers
for ears, lavender hoops, lavender flowers.

Fraternity pins from loves whose names I
don’t remember, rhinestone spray Ron
Agasipour tried to peal from me, like the black
dress of transparent lace in the Middlebury Inn
over where the Junior Women’s Club dance
droned on. My mother untwists silver chains
pimply boys thought would make me want
them, says her fingers don’t work. “Take them

back now or throw them out,” she says of these
fake jewels in their worn cocoons of silk and
velvet as if they were dead babies I could bury
under the floor of my house to wait for their spirit
to bring back what’s gone

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Weeping Tree

by John Swain

Vanish your name
with oceans breaking
on the rock shore
in semblance of praise.
The room quiets you,
arms twist to conceal
the baring of legs
and breasts and hair
like the knotted vines
on a weeping tree.
I won't pretend for you,
instead I open my ribs
to your teeth, then
we curl like a beast in the sun.

motivating joshua

by Derek Richards

joshua nails the door shut with a rolling pin
scratches the bruises beneath his eyes
steadies himself with a quick hit on the joint
slides his head against the door
and listens

we can't continue to support you like this, josh
you haven't worked in months
you always smell like beer and dope
we've told you a thousand times
that linda is not allowed in our home
so that's it, okay, you've got two weeks

They turn off the living room lights at ten
the master bedroom lights at ten-thirty
wash the mercedes on sunday afternoons
and cut the lawn once a week
the morgage is paid and there's enough in the account
to pay the bills for two or three years

what happened to you, josh, we're concerned
you have no motivation, no passion
you don’t change your clothes
take a shower or talk for days
when linda blows you off you sulk
when she decides she needs a warm place to drink
we simply become obstacles

this is exactly what linda wants
a house of her own to raise the kids
as soon as judge davis gives her a break
she and josh will share the morning newspaper
sip coffee and plan their day
between her disability check
and the pot growing out back
they'll even have enough
to vacation up at the lake house
she'll finally fall madly in love
all it took was a rolling pin, ten nails
and a little motivation

old salem style

by Derek Richards

in old salem we hang witches
then sell t-shirts,

the harbor drifts alone,
isolated from telephone
poles and promises.

everytime you smile, my dear,
i see bullets and misled angels;
handguns and hallucigens
teach one manners.

the really pretty girls wait
for someone to make them ugly,
worthy and homesick, carefree
and degraded. like a daddy
wasn't poison enough.

wishing i was still young enough
to fake the blues, desperate to peruse
expectations. when did i get fat
on smooth leather and blonde hair?

there is always a plan, I’m a cannibalistic
poet, an intellectual eating his young.
you are comfortable, busy reading,
hidden behind a force field of alarm codes,
watching "gangland" on the history channel,
sucking down maple-walnut, complaining
about weight-loss commercials. dying bland.

and so here we are again, in old salem,
remembering witches and dollar draft nights.
tonight, it's all about me.
i am mad and drunk on kerouac,
vodka and hollow points.
you, my sweetheart, my aching love,
you must forget everything
and shut your mouth.

Monday, December 7, 2009

In Break Formation

The indications used to come
like movie fighter planes in break
formation, one by one, the perfect
plummet, down and out. This time they’re

slower. But after supper, when I hear
her in the kitchen hum again, hum
higher, higher, till my ears are

numb, I remember how it was
the last time: how she hummed
to Aramaic peaks, flung
supper plates across the kitchen
till I brought her by the shoulders

humming to the chair.
I remember how the final days
her eyelids, operating on their own,
rose and fell, how she strolled
among the children, winding tractors,
hugging dolls, how finally

I phoned and had them come again,
how I walked behind them
as they took her by the shoulders,
house dress in the breeze, slowly

down the walk and to the curbing,
watched them bend her in the back
seat of the squad again,

how I watched them pull away
and heard again the parliament
of neighbors talking.

by Donal Mahoney

Sunday, December 6, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

lying awake all night.
If there was a full
moon I wouldn’t
know it. Rain all
night. Later maybe
the girls in their
summer dresses.
From midnight
to 4 AM going over
the places you touched
me. A hell of a way
to exorcise this
ghost when what’s
unreal seems
sometimes all there

*Lyn's website:

Saturday, December 5, 2009


the real one, hardly
bothered with,
being a girl and then
five days later, the
one we grew up
believing, like other
lies, wasn’t true.
The first year I wrote
post cards to her
in my head. She
filled poems with
her absence. When
I was in a strange city,
I still waited for her
call. Tapes I made
of her huddle on my
desk, I still can’t
play them. I never
thought anyone
I saw on the street
was her tho winter-
green and Joy
perfume haunt. Tho
I’ve heard the
dying have a smell,
but her breath her
skin was always
sweet. When I
open her pocket
book still in the
closet for years,
the scent of that
sweetness is
still, my mother

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:


“In moments of great joy we’re confronted by the knowledge that tragedy lurks around the corner:”

“I will miss you especially,”
that last hug before Japan.
This clear Sunday light
early on the metro to
ballet, always trying to
keep what I can’t,
stumbling thru paper,
clothes, the longing.
The lost birds and horses
with their nests in my
heart and my mother’s
last words, a cove
of the lost, a tangle
of what’s discarded,
camouflaged maybe,
waiting for some
thing to grow there

by Lyn Lifshin

Thursday, December 3, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

the week’s a
river of lost days
with little
taking me out
of myself
except what’s
not real. Still,
I can’t stop
trying to make
the word
flesh. And baby,
tho this is
the last page in
the notebook, I
think I’ll still
need a few
poems before I
can let you go

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

he's fifty

and we're not too different
but he's been cut by management
cost of living rises
and the pay keeps going down
yesterday he was complaining about not making enough
today he's being walked out by a fat lady
with a little box full of his shit
and tomorrow he'll be complaining about not making anything

and that's just the way of the world
isn't it
the weak and old who don't get paid enough
get fired in an instant so the young can pick up the slack
while he's
twenty grand in the hole for medical bills
but they didn't fix him, never will
they just gave him pills
to keep him alive long enough to buy more

but enough about him
I'm twenty-four now and I should be making more money.

by Shannon Peil

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


and why shouldn’t she be,
so sheltered and on a very
short leash until the ex con
poet saw her picture and
wrote he wanted to take
her down the Mississippi
hollering poems and blowing
weed. Suddenly everything
inside her started melting.
For months, little gifts. Ok,
so maybe he stole them.
But it was seduction
on paper with wine and
gorgeous letters better than
his poems. But that’s another
story. One friend of hers is
shocked, an ex con poet
behind your house
living in the weeds, how
could she be so bold, do
something so crazy? The
mad girl bristles, this
wasn’t hooking up which
to her seems more like
being a hooker but not
getting paid. Even tho he
had no money, he taught her
more than anyone had. It
helped she was a virgin,
that she feared she might
never not stay one. Hook ups
don’t want to spend much
time with their prey. The
mad girl and her ex con
lover talked and read poetry
from dawn till about five
when the husband was
due home. A little detail
she forgot but since
they’d lived from the start
like brother and sister,
it felt right, slow afternoons
behind filmy white drapes
in the white bed seeming
nothing like a hook up, not a
one night stand but as if
she was a new bride

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:


by John Swain

I choked on your silver,
metal necklaces drown me,
the rust taste hermetic
sealed over our faces
like blood on the blade on my tongue.
I rifle through delicate silks
hid in wooden drawers
for vials of whatever fleeting comfort.
The sky slept on the ground,
throngs of my weak arms salute the day,
waking with my back bruised
beside the green wall.
I fell against pyramids of myrrh,
the smoke castles calm nothing
so I numb the portents desiring
a common portion of assurance.
But you are tired
and I am so tired,
my heart fell out of your locket.
Then in the heat of day
I rub ointments
after the bath of fire,
maiden please close the shutters.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Whiskey and tooth pain

by Melanie Browne

The crown on my upper
Right molar is throbbing
And so I take
A few extra strength
Some advil,

Then, finally,
a swig of whiskey
and swish it around
Because they used
To do that in the movies
When they had a toothache

Then again, they used
To pray for death
Because dental care
Was a little
More barbaric than
Today, but only

“whew” I say
but that doesn’t seem
quite right
“ah” I say
But the pain is still there.

"Well, hell"

That seems better
And I take another swig

The Peahen

A dream wrought by curry

Somewhere in Mumbai
great fans whir against the ceiling

as the old madam reigns
from her rocker and has

the girls come out, one by one,
picks this girl for her own

won’t let me pick mine
from those she has parading.

by Donal Mahoney

Sunday, November 29, 2009


a man writes of his mother born
in Poland a few weeks before the
Germans came. That it was because
his grandparents fled 200 miles on
foot he can tell this. They left
after trains were shut to Jews and
after all the bank accounts and
businesses were stolen but before
Lodz ghetto was shut. Along the
way they were often refused aid.
People knew who you were if you
were running. Germans controlled
the whole country by then and few
people would take risks. So, hungry,
with a baby months old, they
trudged on and by luck found a
farmer who agreed to give them a
ride in his cart. Buried under scratchy
hay, they traveled safely. On the
third day a German soldier saw the
cart and ordered it to stop. He
searched thru the hay, poking with
his rifle and discovered my grand
mother and grandfather. The solitary
soldier ordered them out, threatened
them. He cocked his rifle and
pointed it at them. They did nothing.
The baby cried. The Nazi continued
yelling, trying to get a response
but they didn’t answer him or move.
Time passed. Maybe minutes. Then
he turned to the right and left and
seemed to realize he was alone. No
one would know what he did. Then
he put his gun down and told them
to go. They’d only gone a few yards
before the soldier ordered the cart
to stop again. The Nazi said he had to
do what was right. He was going to
take them to the trains. My grand
parents knew what the trains meant
or would come to mean as they were
led away to the stations. When
he saw them, the Germans cursed,
threw stones at my family. The
soldier began waving his hands
and shouting “no, you don’t under
stand—they aren’t Jews, they are
Russians, they are trying to run
away from Stalin. Germany and
Russia were still allies. Because of
this lie, my family was forced up
on a train and made to go to Russia.
Now, I’m thinking, he said, even
when the world seems monstrous,
when you least expect it, a
monster can turn out to be
an angel

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:

Saturday, November 28, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

anticipating darkness.
Let’s say you were
what brightened
Mondays, that false
light like some
efflorescence in the
sea, a mirage that
stays, vivid as
fireflies my sister
and I shared when there
still was something
the two of us

*Lyn's website:


by Lyn Lifshin

next week the days
will already be
getting shorter,
the dark starting
its way back in.
Past the pond,
wood ducks and
geese, fireflies.
That glittering my
sister and I reached
for in the dark. If
we still talked,
we might remember
those scratchy
army blankets.
How the night sound
merged with the
clink of ice in a
glass. How we’d
never have supposed
there would be
more years not talk-
ing than the ones
when we did

Friday, November 27, 2009

"Just Remember to Translate Your Hand Movements Into Square-Shaped Objects"

by Eric J. Brinovec

Just call me grandmaster depression..., a master of impressive depressive twitchings, that's what I am..., I was locked in a dark room with myself, and I wouldn't compromise, so I kicked myself out..., I didn't get along with myself... a lightning bolt is getting the shit kicked out of it by some rogue moonlight flying in the window..., so I put some glue on it and let it continue to fly in..., It had carved it's own little landing-strip into my floor as I crawled over for a better look..., the moonlight reminds me that I wanna look back..., but when I percieve it again, I want it to be something better, I want to see my life boiling in a bath of colder pain...

Thursday, November 26, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

It was as if we
were thrown into
a smelting furnace.
My friend had skin
hanging down like
the meltings of a
candle. Many ran
to the cool of any
water they could
find, hurled them
selves into sewers
or headed for the
River Ota that
soon was thick with
the dead and dying.
Some died on the
river bank, their
heads in the water
having used their
last surge of earthly
energy for a drink


Hiromu Morishiti found
her father later that
day lying in a grassy
field. He’d been on
a street car near
downtown, on his
way to work. She
cremated him in
her garden that
night, his eyes
like those grilled
fish. Others slept on
Hijiama Hill, looked
down on the place that
once was their city,
lay calling for
mothers, calling
for children, calling
for water then not
calling at all

*Lyn's website:


by Lyn Lifshin

When she saw them
squabbling over a
crust she started
shivering. But in
the light she felt
the shadows, how
on their knees, in
the camps the young
and old battered wildly
in mud, for the dry
bread. A mouthful
thrown for hundreds,
the smallest,
the frail trampled.
She said the corn
slid thru her
hands. She couldn’t
move, toss a crumb.
They weren’t geese,
only men and women,
someone dressed in her
sister’s clothes,
clawing and scratching
blood and dust

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

You wouldn’t believe
the jokes, we were
all glad to get
there and not in
body bags, at least we
could sing and ogle
blondes, those of us
with eyes still and
lips that could move.
I’d have been out
sooner than 12 months
if it wasn’t for the
skin grafts. No one
felt funny because
nobody had everything
they’d been born with.
Even the quadriplegics
would go on about girls.
Even in the copters
with blood filling the
cockpit, matting
hair, the first thing
those who could talk
whimpered or moaned
was “Hey, mate, do I
still have my balls?”

*Lyn's website:

Night Moves

by W.B. Hurst

The sound wandered in at night
as my eyelids were giving up
their fight for life,
that 90’s lull, a dull lullaby
which filtered through cracked bedroom
doors and puffed up the night
with nostalgia for something
I’d never heard before.

Dad used to sit on the bed,
one leg propped, and turn on
the stereo, the only music that
ever filled that shotgun cavern
of ours. The smoke that spilled
out of his room would make
the whole house moan like
a séance to the gods of cheap pickups.

The bluesman gave the tonic
and the shadows in the wood
skipped around with the joy
of an 8 to 5
with 2 sick days.
It was the last call, and Dad
was always ready to fill himself
with anything he could coax
out of that cassette.

And he and Pat had a long talk,
and they always agreed that working
2 hours overtime was worth
2 kids and an overdue light bill.
It was the sound of calloused hands that
made the blues not seem sad anymore.

I lay there in my four-post, two-sheet
bed and listened, and tried
to snatch pieces of my Dad
out of the chords that trailed
out of his bedroom.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ten Gallon Hat Dance

by KJ Hays

what so at twilight i cries a yeeha all melancholy & so
deep blue lugubrious like cuz i forgot all about my sense
once those hairy skank-roots bounced lively thru
our dude ranch turning our quiet desert rose home
to one of the thorniest, green tumbleweed factories
ever to take root in this Gust slinger’s Okay Corral;
i’d been rollin’ so fast my blisters chapped under
the sun all grinning sinister yellows on us till we
flipped bitch-like, all of us ranch hands with long
silver pistols licking tight wads of so long cowpoke
ever’ which way cuz this gaga Ms. Lala of the Huge
Hacienda tosses a rodeo sombrero into the midst O’
the SHIT: bullets clanging louder than the game of
horseshoes rattlin’ around in my head afore i’d got
so spanked on peyote i saw myself countin’ the air
ripples spinning off those wads of so long cowpoke
as Ms. Lala throws off her raiment so white she must’ve
skinned lightning & poured all the whitehot grease on
some ungodly spool cuz’ that ten gallon hat glittered
with them panties so wild with knotty filigree i ‘bout
flooded the ho’ damn garrison with jizzum while she
swang those glug a lug jugs like dos round, cheek-soft
rockpiles capped with snow made to glow a warm pink
under the late night motel sunrise creeping up o’er the
snake-neck curve o’ the valley in her glad ass a-workin’
circles in the air lasso style with all us cowboys trigger
skipping our six shooters making that raspberry liquid
squirt out in hog-snot uneasy streams into our leather
boots this serious night the firefight blasted the handle
bar mustache clean off my choppers along with a hunk
of my shoulder as Ms. Lala kept dervishing as if she were
a whorehouse fountain gushing all gifts of sick life to
me, the one hombre covered in the blood of the dead
and the still breathing, who set out to lay in the dirt
with all that good woman-ness & forget ‘bout what
the hell ever’ one thinks the goddamned mornin’ is.

cribnotes for paradise's tribunal

by KJ Hays

lay it out. lay out all of the blood.
take no wrists with your earnest savagery.
go alone.

tell about the fat girl nice enough
to hump you on the edge of a futon.
tell 'em it fell over. tell 'em
you said lean & she leaned & the
two of you didn't budge a single inch
like witnesses to a drive-by stabbing.

love the others there.
love their wound up guts out.
love them with lies from your
past. the good ones that use
words such as happy/love/please/
weep the tears not possible
when you were alive because
of numbness & coin & quiet.
weep 'em on her shoulder hard.
sob them on his shoulder hard.
cry long after they walk off.

do not take their shit about
opening up your body to play
the rows of golden harp strings.
crumple to signal your wholesale
emotional shutdown for your time
in the wheelchair, for your time
being called a callous monster,
for your time going so so cold,
for your time when no one kept
their broken trust with you for
a short while until their car &
pancakes lives came down soft &
sticky all over the conversation.

pant under the hot scrutiny of
their disgust at your not crucifying
yourself, at your not starving yourself,
at your not marrying the first thing to
fuck at you, at your not listening when
the one tender voice wanted to help you
& all you did was get mad for having to
wait for your inner ear to stop wiggling.

hold your hands to them. show 'em the
cuts from the dishes, from the weights
in the yard, from the broom handle, from
the rats you tried to keep; from the slips
with the hammer, from the fingernails that
wanted you awake way past two in the morning.
tell 'em they can take that line of yellow
wires and shove it around their necks until
their big bloated lips match the night sky.

fail, at your goal of resting, by greeting death in your bed &
you should be able to sneak by the way the promise that this
will not hurt disburdens you of the fact that pain is all the time.
lay yourself out. lay yourself down softly under the snuggle covers.

Monday, November 23, 2009


hitch across country
to get into your pants,
astonished they are
the first one. Some
will make a dash
exit in the middle
of the night on your
birthday hissing you
are too needy and
then, for decades,
gasp, in letters, then
e mail, how your
body enchanted as
no other’s had. He’ll
want to meet in
Paris or Madrid.
Some are in for the
chase, see you as
prey, a wild doe they
wouldn’t know
what to do with
except shoot

by Lyn Lifshin


Sunday, the metro, this
late summer. The tangle,
stations shut when a
man leaped from the
platform. Cool and dry
enough for my hair
not to curl like child’s
hand curls about a finger.
But September curls
back to that first time I
heard his voice. Upstate.
Enough years back that
his daughter, calling the
all night radio show:
she couldn’t find peanut
butter, is old enough to
have a daughter her age
then, visiting her father.
It was an afternoon, clear
like today when driving up
the Helderg mountains
to do a reading, when I
heard his voice. Not the
first man I fell for before
I met him but something
in his voice, what he was
saying, I knew I had
to have him

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:


want you to touch
there and there, some
hardly want you
near them. Some
expect you to score
cocaine or weed
tho you don’t use
them, substitute
nutmeg that keeps
you in a daze. Some
marry you and still
won’t touch you.
Some try but can’t
really touch you.
Others haunt after it
is over, their voice
on radio air. Others
have hearts that
aren’t right, some
are heart broken.
Some break your heart

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Down at the J and Flying"

by Joseph M. Gant

Something strikes romantic in a truck stop troll
For pussy, dope, the night crawl stroll into that other—
The goin' in the 2 a.m. hours of the morn.’ Diesel
Pump perfume trails lead me to my hand picked ladies—
Prices never change (forty straight up, sixty half and half),
No internet escorts, craigslist scams - trannies love to mug
You ‘till you learn to love it too. You just pull in slow
Between two trailers, flick the lights off and on and pray:
no dick.
Lucking out, take home twenty minutes worth of woman
Names like Valentine, Afroditey, Joy parade; you try to hold
Your face straight, count your cash beneath the wheel
So she can’t see what you can’t pay -- look her over (just a glance)
For new sores, fresh tracks . . . fuck it, ya say to save your eyes—
Pick the dish and pay your bill. Tomorrow -- you tell yourself broke
Spun and driving her back — tomorrow gonna get me some Joy.

*first published in Sex and Murder Magazine

"Words of the Unprofound"

by Joseph M. Gant

These notes are just obscene.
To feel that no one listened
or ever understood your words,
you force them all to read your mind fuck
of grievances threaded with apology.
They’re really all the same— these swan songs to enlighten
them. These things are not profound.
You said it all without a pen, without
a word spoken
to all who walked into that motel —
Shower stall walls crying red,
strange feelings 'neath the feet of
those not navigating well the mind
field left before them. Screams.
Yeah, you said it all,
and still you left this note.

What exactly is your deal?
If you'd have said it outright yesterday,
even I would have listened to you.
Or did you want to be a writer,
forever published in tile grout, lacking
what it really doesn't take to do well, you opt for this—
A captive audience finds this shit so . . . moving,
but only for a while. You were no fucking Dickens,
and your final words will one day be filed under "T."

If I had to do it . . .
I mean, if I had to write one
just to show you how it's done
and kill eternity's time a while
I'd write, "The only thing I'll miss is beauty."
But I already do, and so am done.

*first published in Sex and Murder Magazine

Friday, November 20, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

The screen door
shuts under dream
water and stars
fell from the sky
like wind blown

By dawn deer
browse in
abandoned orchards.

Dreams blossom with loss
as winter grass
dissolves and I can

almost feel fingers
I won’t, that you

sleepily touch
my hair. The summer
grass of your dark

hair, a ring, a locket
of longing

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Duck Hunt

by Jessica Myers

The year we got Mario Brothers
was also the year Jen
learned how to shoot things.
Duck Hunt, with its artificial ducks
and dog with the computerized giggle,
was the reason
my sister was convinced
she could go hunting with Dad.
She asked him and said I got good aim.
He laughed but took her anyway.

When they got home he said
She hit the ground
at the first shot
then wanted to go home.
He laughed between wheezes.
She laughed too, as she paled.
She face was white like Star Gazer lilies,
with their red stripes down the center
of each petal, cheerful mistakes that smile
in their ashen canvas.

A few weeks later,
he brought home
what looked to be a duck,
she cried.

It took him two hours
to pluck it, clean it, and roast it
in the scarred black pan he made
pot roast in all through winter.
He ate a few bites, wrapped it up,
and it sat in the back of the fridge
growing mold for weeks.

Jessica Myers is editor-in-chief of No Teeth: a Digital Poetry Journal

That Person

by Jessica Myers

I wouldn’t call that living, my father said,
his hands open, as if it were obvious
to my mother, who’d asked,
How can that person live that way?
She asks this because two nights before
that prostitute, red with blood,
knocked on our front door, Can I use the phone?

My parents made her stand outside, alone
while they dialed 911 and told the cops to hurry.
Blood pooled on the edges of our porch,
dripped down the side, syrup in a movie.

Eventually, the cops took her away.
My mother asks,
when she looked across the street.
Saw the prostitute’s face sewn in patches,
sitting on the pimp’s porch, proud,
a drink in one hand, a cigarette in the other,
her arms draped with his as if it was meant to be.

Jessica Myers is editor-in-chief of No Teeth: a Digital Poetry Journal.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Honeymoon in the Garden Apartment

Lacking in the expertise of those
accustomed to the practice
my wife and I completed
for the first time
what we later would perfect.

Afterward, my wife arose,
excused herself, and padded
through three rooms.

Through three rooms,
as I lay back,
I could hear the porcelain
singing to her urine.

by Donal Mahoney

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


by Sayu Tera

I will not violate my covenant.
O repressed love,

I'm wrong to savor your sin.
I awake him putting it where I want.

The world is all that is in this.
Years of life are soon gone

And we fly away.
My love he tickles my clitty with the lip

Of a dreamer.
Please, I cannot violate my covenant

Or God shall deliver onto me a terrible pestilence.
I awake to the voice of the Word.

My love his foot slips, my love his wrists slit.
He has never felt any way.

*Sayu Tera is a former Zen Buddhist monk living in Kauai, Hawaii.

Monday, November 16, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

There, like a tongue
any place you can
imagine it could go.
Before, e-mails
were hotter than
Austin nights.
Electrical, I know
what burned could
scorch. You were safe
in paper. In reviews,
it’s an e mail
affair. They can’t
feel the flame of your
thigh after three
margaritas. Or that
I shook that my
body wasn’t
perfect enough. A
hunk others
gasped and of
course there were
the bare armed
young girls in their
summer dresses.
You write, “missing
in action love, and,
indeed, why
didn’t we?” and
this slick grey I slog
thru shines and
now, as if seven years
hadn’t dissolved.
I imagine the ache
in La Rosa bar,
drunk on lust or
wanting, that
longing for what
those thick musky
nights I haven’t
felt since

*Lyn's website:


by Lyn Lifshin

in your e mail
years after. Catalpa
sweaty nights
and the margaritas.
Your thigh touching
on the brown velvet
couch. An “e mail
romance” a review
says of one poem.
She couldn’t have
known how skin,
how the margaritas
were tied with black
roses. Or how when
I was no longer my
leather jacket,
something he could
casually toss on
the bed, asked
did I want to shower,
ice filled the stifling
small Austin room
and tho everything
inside was saying yes,
yes, I didn’t

Sunday, November 15, 2009


now dust under
the same maple
years after they
didn’t talk. Too
dazed to notice
it’s July, June’s
gulped. That
night in Vermont,
her suitcase with
a camisole she
bought for another
man who would
threaten suicide
hearing of my
other’s sudden
move. Letters on
palest blue paper
with blue ink, how
in his grief he
fell off a hay wagon
and, if not death,
he’d escape to
Paraguay. His blue
blues colors my
mother’s life
long after her
rash move

by Lyn Lifshin

Saturday, November 14, 2009

get it together

by paul harrison

when you piss the bed
for the second time
in twice as many days
and your hands shake
and the beers don’t work
and you call in sick
and the neighbours across
from the lodging house
you ain’t getting out of
install a swimming pool
and you're sick and overhung
dehydrated, dry as soup mix
scattered as the jacaranda bloom
already falling down
when your kids live in different towns
and their mothers hate you
when the last time you came
you came alone
when the phone never rings
but the bills keep on coming
and your head hurts
and your kidneys don’t work
and your gut's getting ready to spill
when the pretty girls
behind the windscreens
smile then disappear
when you're kicked to the curb
and the black dog's licking your hand
wants walking to the bar
when the day's more humid
than any cunt you ever sucked
so long ago
and there's a storm brewing
and everyone else looks better
seems to live better
writes better
it's nice if even for a moment
to think how maybe, just maybe
you'll get your shit together
or published in a cyber-zine
walking out the door
for more misadventure

Friday, November 13, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

it’s that way with
him. I think of
mothers starting
to fade as their
daughters blossom
where time is
churned and
telescoped and
someone in 2009
can fall in love
with a man born
in 1620. In
another life, I’d
be your muse
as you’ve been
mine but then,
without this
wild longing
for what
isn’t, what
can’t be, no
would happen

*Lyn's website:

Thursday, November 12, 2009


by Phil Lane

Don’t care
if you wait for me on Hope Rd.
I will meet you in the middle of I-99
beyond interchanges of sterile desert
the carnal crunch of wrecks
on the highway

Don’t care
if you see me in the clouds
young naked toeing the tightrope
dancing on the storm
above your seething garden party

Don’t care
if I never reach the mountain with you
the peak obscured by my dancing
love poisonous in this climate and
my fear of heights suddenly returning

Don’t care
about the blood on the bathroom tile
the rat inside the ceiling fan
my convenient disease helps me
forget to remember—


by Phil Lane

The more I drink
the more I enjoy these
orbital hangovers,
A dangerous proposition,
to be sure

the same thing happened with
opium and women
I once believed myself
a shaman,
swimming in the river
behind the river

but it’s not the drug
that makes the man,
awake in pools of lithium
with my tangible demise
Fun, Fun, Fun
‘til morning takes my T-Bird away
and the lizard is sick
in some hospital ward
wrapped in yesterday’s newspaper

gotta get something strong
before it all comes to life
and the adding machine cuts me
with her steel erection—

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Once Southbound

by Melanie Browne

I was southbound,
I was southbound
but love turned me
right back around,
right there on the highway,
and now I'm northbound.
I’m traveling all day.
Traveling all night
ears popping right here
on this long-ass
stretch of road
some son of a bitch
with a glass pack,
some son of a bitch
with an 18 wheeler but
I’m like a god-damned
Road cannibal
That’s what I am
my feet feel
heavy like an
Undertaker's van.
Love turned
me around
Now I’m northbound.

*Melanie Browne
Co-editor of Leaf Garden press

*Heaven is a Giant Pawn Shop/ Poems by Melanie Browne

Country Cafeteria

in Shelby County,
Illinois, 1989

The two weeks
I spent in that small town
on assignment, I saw no blacks
except for two older women
regal in every way,
hair coifed in silver gray,
working in the Country Cafeteria.
They walked like pastors’ wives
as they bused their 20 tables.
White badges on their uniforms
announced in red their names,
their years of service.
They never said a word,
not even to each other.
They just took the cups and plates away
and wiped oil tablecloths pristine.
I took three meals a day in silence there,
the only place in town to eat.
I was the stranger in a suit and tie,
a city weed among stout farmers in old coveralls
who came to town each day to note
“no rain yet” and “the corn is dyin’.”
Before each meal instead of saying Grace,
I wanted to stand and ask these ladies
as they bowed before the clutter on their tables:
If you have worked here all these years,
and lived in this town also,
where in the Name of God,
other than at home or church,
are you free to talk or laugh or sing
or clap your hands in emancipation?

by Donal Mahoney

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


by P. B. Lyons

to look back
I saw you
and you vanished
as I forgot
and remembered
the promise
I had made to
years ago
and I call
your name
and Hebrus

The Freeway to the Interior

Many of the men of old died on their travels
– Matsuo Bashō

Time is pissed in torrents
Over the edge of the world
And into a plastic barrel
At the foot of the universe.

The weather is shit,
And the city looks as though
God wiped His ass in it.

See-through plastic bags mostly,
pastel shades: makes the desert
seem pixilated as it zooms past:

a beach without sea, not ochres
and browns, nor windblown dunes
and ridges as you'd imagine,

but tussocky, silty sand, that’s pale,
bilious green, significantly silica,
and respirable in rasping doses.

In the desert there is no recurrently
Flowing water—hence no Heraclitus:
You can step in the same wadi
Again and again and again.

by P. B. Lyons

Monday, November 9, 2009

Private Moon

by A. J. Kaufmann

for she loves still
humble beauty
no time no apartments
drying these grounds of departure
memories forward the taste
years - dewdrops
served early
private moon
the guardian
arranged and arrived
on eastern waves
without home
of miserable
color her flames

spiders and crows

by Derek Richards

ellen was my older sister
for two hours
of slush puddles and stinging promise.
upon learning my poetic intentions,
she carved a question mark
into a snowbank,
you'll need this alot

when i am able to imagine ellen,
sharp winter rain
resembles falling spiders,
leather boots trudging through silk,
belly-up flies exposed
as patches of asphalt.
i'm reminded often of the siblings
i've lost with each season.

when you find somebody,
somebody who comforts you,
dig in your heels

it's this voice, smooth dirty ice,
knotting my throat with
an articulate ache,
as familiar as crows perched on wires,
black warnings for bad days.

my last impression of ellen
colored me old-man pale,
she was red-knit hat, yellow stockings,
a memory preceding departure.
odd moments catch me tearful
over question marks
and the slow fade of children.

*originally published in Cantaraville

Sunday, November 8, 2009


by Danielle Searby

The dirt under my nails has turned them black.
My nails begin to rot and fall.
Scratching at the bottom of the barrel has calloused my hands.
The nicotine fingers are pretty compared to this.
The lines of time outlined on my hand
seem to move with every passing year.
Sometimes they move like rivers overflowing but
they always return to the same place when the flood subsides.
My fractured wrists have let me down.
I can't pick up anything to help myself.
My hands betray my desires.


by RC Miller

spread out on your couch and playing with myself
as if I'm real. My mother used to push me in my stroller, but
she grew tired of paying ridiculous property taxes. She dug
deep into that nativity scene and made exactly the piece of
art that enables rampant pedophilia. It's one of the things
my boyfriend tries to hide. There's nothing even remotely
Catholic about his cock now buttward and not been in
America for long. I stick it to the back of my mouth and
feel cuter than a puppy without a nervous system.

R.C.'s blog:

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Poem For A Political Poet

by Doug Draime

What honor is there?
The lie creates idols of
Why hang the grave clothes of the
‘old man’ on the new man?
And, from where, brother poet, does your
new man emerge?
Ideas? Concepts of Cultural Global
Political Revolution?

Politics is a grotesque lie.
Politics is a vexation of the spirit.
Politics is an affliction of the mind.
Politics is the “devil’s” street game.
I see the rage in your face.
I am grounded with the brilliant rage of your poems,
into the sense of your sensibilities..
Your language has always been my language; your
words I know from the very blood of my soul.

Often we react to the
oppressor with stupidity. When we
don’t acknowledge that stupidity,
it becomes iniquitous, and the psychotic
barbarians resume their dance in
praise of the dying atmosphere,
as once intelligent men
and women
pay homage to dictators, liars, butchers,
who promise equality, liberation; men
who would cut the throats of your children for
an idea.
Men whose souls rot and stink with
the hatred of innocence and regenerated life,
men who collectively tortured, enslaved,
and murdered millions upon millions of people,
men who would pour wax over poets and
burn them as candles in the bloodied moonlight.

emily dickinson’s attic

by Doug Draime

they tell me in their mimeo letter
that they can’t consider
my poetry unless i send $2 for
their magazine. “those serious about
properly placing their work with us
should first examine a copy”
is how it read. i didn’t have $2 to spare
right then & if i did, the last thing
on god’s green earth i’d spend it on
would be a literary magazine
which demands money.
“we automatically reject poems with
cummingesque affections and any moralistic
poems” it went on to say.
some poems
i write
are in
indeed considered
you are living in emily dickinson’s
attic for
the sake of literary
her freshly
bleached lace
with a muse
with tunnel vision
who is
wearing a straight jacket.
i send these
just to piss ‘em off,
some more lower case/

June and July 1968 Revisited

for Brenda Z.

Handing me the fur preserved inside
crystal, you said it was the fur of
Mozart’s childhood dog.

Shouting obscenities from inside the
mausoleum of your perverted Uncle Stach.

Your name written all over Brooklyn in bars
from Sheepheads Bay to lower Flatbush, written
with a shaky hand, by a guy who once worshipped
the ground you walked on.

Inside that taxi with the pretty Mexican girl driver
in Vegas at 4:30 a.m.; you with your head in my lap.
How could I stop you? How could I ever want to?
I caught the taxi drivers eyes more than once
observing your delightful and shameful exhibition;
at times her eyes looking deeply and lustfully
into mine.

On Venice beach slapping you awake again and again,
valium and Mountain Red wine heaving from you like
a rusty kitchen facet. Afterwards, you screaming Jim
Morrison’s name for half an hour out over the black midnight

I stood there and stared down 4 Satan’s Disciples,
their bikes revving 5 feet from me. They said you
belonged to Russ. They knew I had the .38 against my back,
and they knew I meant it. Now, she belongs to me, I said.

You found me at The Carolina Pines with Tina and then
you threw my plate of spaghetti at the waitress, who
had asked you to leave for yelling and kicking at Tina.

You buried a medallion deep in the red earth of
Topanga Canyon. Telling me crazed Rasputin once
wore it, then masturbated on it before giving it to one
of his followers, who smuggled it out of Russia and
it’s been in your family ever since...your family of
crazed Russian Jews.

I stood with you on the corner of Sunset & Vine boulevards
that night you ridiculed Johnny Mathis and one of his
friends, as they walked out of the Sunset Towers. He
threw you the finger and said he was calling the cops.

And your tears which fell on hearing about the death
of Sadie, who fixed up one too many times. You cried for
hours. I sat in that bean bag chair in your apartment on
Hoover Boulevard holding your shaking body, your
trembling soul.

by Doug Draime

Friday, November 6, 2009

my folks

if they could see or hear me now
would probably ask are you okay son?
are you depressed again?
drinking again?
are you talking to someone about it?
why don’t you call that nice man frank
did you ever thank that nice lady bev?
she was so good to you. you should. etc.
& i'd probably get angry, lose my temper
& shout down the phone
stop talking at me like i'm a child
i'm a man for christ’s sake. jesus.
but i wouldn't tell them about this gig
& how i need to write it out
get to the truth of something, mine
like a dog sniffing its shit
in the park or the streets
& really
if i have any relationship
with these good people
it's a strained & distant one
with lots of pain & grief
concerning stuff i never said

by paul harrison

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

I think of my mother,
small suitcase packed,
the ride down steep
Barre hills to the Catholic
hospital. I’ll have my
first child here she
vowed when the nuns
brought her mother back
from near death, dead
in the newspapers, almost
dead under a cross where
later the nun would
say “you pray in our way
and I’ll pray in mine.
Did my mother think of
her mother on that
day? My father, unread-
able probably in a
dark derby. Did she
think of the man she
truly loved, eloping
instead with my father,
she’d heard the Lipmans
made good husbands
and fathers. Plus, he was
Jewish, had a job.
When I am older than
she got to be, if I do,
will I still long for her
to rub my back, bring me
a glass of water, promise
if I can’t sleep to
call her?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

against forgetting

by paul harrison

i read their verse and weep
the ones who loved and fought
and struggled on
the ones who were disappeared
often, forever
who suffocated
in the cattle train corners
licking parchment tears
from splintered planks
who wrote poems
in their own blood and feces
on torture cell walls
or if they were lucky
tobacco leaves
smuggled out to dawn
who wrote completed works
in the libraries of their soul
to recite in camps and gulags
for blackest dread and ghosts
who even wrote for future's hope
on paper scraps
hidden in the pocket of a corpse
unearthed on judgement day
from massive graves of insane death
who wrote against forgetting
and the dying of the light
who wrote for life
as napalm and ordinance
scorched and shook the screaming earth
who declaimed behind the barricades
the check points and walls
who were arrested at gunpoint
in monstrous swoops
interned, beaten senseless
then dangled by their heels
from colonial roofs
words falling like pennies
from their silent screams
who still sang their poems
of home and freedom
in the desert camps
lips stitched and torn and mute
who witnessed then resisted
with all their words and soul
who were expelled and exiled
for expressing conscience
and critical faculty in the blinding light
who wrote by candlelight
in the ghettos and cellars
of Palestine and Poland, emaciated
the barrios, the townships and slums
who sang from the rooftops
the tunnels and trails
of death by Capital and fascist lies-
indomitable poets all
of life, revolt and love
uncensored and unrepentant
and not forgotten now.

“Kingless Days”

by A. A. Veitch

There are no true kings among men in this time.
No empathetic rulers with authentic hearts that aren’t
on cards to play with in the political field.
Greatness seems to have died in the older age.
No justice to be dealt to the bureaucrats for
knowable transgressions against their own.

No fears instilled in the rich of the poorest
class rioting for their entitlements.
And the downtrodden, laying down to keep where
the higher ranks dictate a poor person to reside.
There is an immense lack of reverence for the
working class in this foible-sword-blade society.

Humility has long since decayed on a wire.
You’ll find none of it in the hollow White House.
None of it in any political house of any color.
Emotions and ethics have expired in the era
where anything is acceptable, tolerable.
These are the days the government takes money

to make something pliable and legal.
This is a farce parodying as democracy; don’t
mistake what your eyes are witnessing.
You will never see these contemporary dictators
fighting the battles they began and standing
on the front lines with their own

wrists outstretched alongside their men.
We are standing on the face of the sun, yet others
will lie and tell you it doesn’t burn.
Where is the dream of One to inspire a nation
where nobody has to die for its birthed
and wed realization?

Monday, November 2, 2009


by Kenneth Radu

Last night, sleek with surfeit,
I read a disquisition
about sex and death.

The scholar, whose ancestors
burned witches and locked
their loins against

stray desires, footnotes
my perversions, annotates
the unconscious drives,

writes elegantly about
the bite in the neck
and transfiguration.

The fun’s in the piercing,
it seems, alluding to Sebastian
of the ambiguous arrows,

or the way men and women
spread their legs when
the moon announces dinner.

But before, between courses,
intercourse is the last desire
on my mind when I whet my teeth.

Poisoned by denial, only Calvinists
concoct theories of kinky sex
out of dead bodies and folklore.

My purpose is the poetry
of resurrection, the power
of living longer than God.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Living with Jesus

by Lyn Lifshin

Living with Jesus

A Typical Weekend in the Country with Jesus
Jesus and the Lilies and Apples
My Mother Always Wondered Why Jesus Wouldn’t Get a Job
Jesus and the Rich
In Jesus’ House
Jesus and the Food Stamps
Though Wild to be Known as a Healer, A Lover, for His Madonna Poems, Jesus (see Question #2)
Jesus was a Charmer
Jesus in the House with Only Lemons and Blueberries
Jesus Loved the Poor

Jesus in the Modern World

Jesus Wonders About Going Into Partnership with the Mayflower Madam
Jesus Meets the Mayflower Madam
Jesus Does the Motel 9 Advertisement
Jesus and Barbie
Jesus Sends an S.O.S. to Elvis
Marilyn and Jesus/Jesus and Marilyn (see Question #3)
Jesus Goes Out Shopping in the Mall and the Feed Store (see Question #4)
Jesus Does D.C. Night Spots
Jesus Goes to the Poetry Slam (see Question #5)
Jesus Hears the Flat Tax Will Come When Jesus Christ Comes Again
Taking the Red Line with Jesus
Jesus Tries to Get Into the Movies
Been There, Done That, Got the Shirt
Jesus Gets to the States in the Middle of a Snow Storm


Jesus Walks Out Among the Flowers
Jesus Meets Leda

Sex with Jesus

He Could Get Rid of a Fever, He Could Make a Woman Come
Jesus and the Garden
Jesus and the Ring (see Questions #6 & #9): this version starts with “When I gave myself…”
Jesus and the Pitcher
Some Say Jesus Had a Foot Fetish (see Question #7)
That First Weekend With Jesus
When Jesus Did His Miracles
Jesus Wanted Me Down on My Knees (see Question #8)

Jesus as Savior (author as other’s wife)

Walking in the Wheat Fields With Jesus (see Question #9)
Out in the Country With J.C.
It’s True, I Clung to Jesus Like a Lost Sheep That has Found Its Shepherd
Jesus and the Ring (see Question #10): this version starts with “I never expected…”
Jesus Came to Me at Starbucks on Valentine’s Day

Jesus and the Beasts

Jesus and the Beasts (see Question #12)
Out in the Country with J.C.
Though We Met in the Spring Before, I Got Together—It Was What You’d Call a Union with Jesus (see Questions #13 & #14)
Jesus Goes to Feed the Geese the Night It Is 60 Degrees Below 0

Outside Perceptions

In Those Loose Robes, Some Say Jesus Was a Flasher, An Exhibitionist, I Suppose
Jesus and Madonna

Wanting More

Jesus’ Communion Wafer (see Question #15)
I Was Caught in Jesus’ Web (see Question #16)


Kind of Living With Jesus (see Question #17)
Doing New York City With Jesus
Getting Close to Jesus Was Like Having an Affair With a Shrink

Jesus of the Bible

First It Seemed a Trip Having Jesus as a Lover, Exotic (see Question #18)
Jesus, The Shrink and the Man Who Was Leaving (see Question #19)


1) Are titles intended to be in all CAPS?
2) In the poem “Though Wild to be Known as a Healer, A Lover, for His Madonna Poems, Jesus” should there be an ellipsis at the end?
3) Re. the poems “Jesus and Marilyn” and “Marilyn and Jesus”: are these two completely separate poems?
4) Re. the poem “Jesus Goes Out Shopping in the Mall and the Feed Store”: should we delete the word “Out”?
5) Re. the poem: “Jesus Goes to the Poetry Slam”: should the title use “a” instead of “the”?
6) Re. the poem “Jesus and the Ring”: I have two different versions (one has 7 stanzas): which one is correct?
7) Re. the poem “Some Say Jesus Had a Foot Fetish”: I have two different versions (one has 6 stanzas): which one is correct?
8) Re. the poem “Jesus Wanted Me Down on My Knees”: I have two different versions (one has 7 stanzas): which one is correct?
9) Re. the poem “Walking in the Wheat Fields With Jesus”: I have two different versions (one has 7 stanzas): which one is correct?
10) Re. the poem “Jesus and the Ring”: this title is used for two poems, for a poem in the “Sex with Jesus” section and a poem in the ”Jesus as Savior” section.
11) Re. the poem “Jesus and the Ring”: I have two different versions (one has 14 stanzas): which one is correct?
12) Re. the poem “Jesus and the Beasts”: I have two different versions (one has 7 stanzas): which one is correct?
13) Re. the poem “Though We Met in the Spring Before”: I have two different versions (one has 7 stanzas): which one is correct?
14) This poem could also be placed in the “Jesus of the Bible” section.
15) Re. the poem “Jesus’ Communion Wafer”: I have two different versions (one has 7 stanzas): which one is correct?
16) Re. the poem “I Was Caught in Jesus’ Web”: I have two different versions (one has 6 stanzas): which one is correct?
17) Re. the poem “Kind of Living With Jesus”: there are handwritten notes on it and a couple of typos within.
18) Re. the poem “First It Seemed a Trip Having Jesus as a Lover, Exotic”: I have two different versions (one has 11 stanzas): which one is correct?
19) Re. the poem “Jesus, The Shrink and the Man Who Was Leaving”: I have two different versions (one has 12 stanzas): which one is correct?

*Lyn's website:

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Unrequited Dreams

by Paul Hellweg

The dead see what we don’t.
The empty sockets of their skulls
hold the answers and
the knowledge we all seek
while magnolias whip in the wind
fueled by last breaths and
the flapping away of
all those dreams
the dying leave behind
like flattened beer cans
along Interstate 5.

The Game

by Paul Hellweg

I’m 64 going on 15,
all I fantasize about
are women
with Catalina butts and raspberry nipples,
and I understand
most of you
think I should dream
more age appropriate,
to which I just gotta say
if I or you
or any of us
aspire only to what is expected,
then please tell me
why the fuck we entered this game
only for a loss
or a tie,
no hope of
anything better?

Friday, October 30, 2009


by Stephen Jarrell Williams

You always had a way of squeezing
the sanity out of me

all of those you held
to your heaving breasts

then bashing your lovely dolls
against the bed frame and ceiling

waking in the morning on the tile floor
grinning like a fiend

I had you and you had me

could it last?

your answer swift
over a waterfall

splashing all over my room
flooding with floating photos of you

taking yourself to the limit with so many

until one too many formed a line
you couldn't stop

all those leathery guns

their bullets finally leaking
out of your orifice.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Surprising you

the towel off your body

you squeal
then smile displaying

in front of the steamy mirror
the wet of your flesh

shower dripping

I'm waiting in the dark
your latest boyfriend

playing the deviant
you crave to drive mad

pushing me back
falling on the bed

spinning your tits
like propellers laughing

the cops coming
here again tonight

flashlights searching
for the drug in your eyes

finding nothing after a thorough search

you give them a wink
leaving the door half open

down the hall all the neighbors
peeking out with one eye

hard they bleed
on their lonely matresses

while I have you
for a whimper of remorse.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


maybe, mementos that
left a hole. Saved from
boxes and boxes, only
a few, a letter from one
or two, as strange to
another as whether the
moon has a smell. These
words with their own
taste. Letters from the
man I’d marry and
couldn’t stay with. The
California one, ghost of
another who said Albany
like Aeeelbaenie,
another looker but most
lost, the letter, the one
a friend of the one who
mattered too much
wrote: you know Lyn,
as I was miles away in
Virginia taking ballet
before grass became his
quilt at Arlington
cemetery. The one I
banged my knuckles to
blood on, couldn’t
imagine without in my
life, slammed into my
T bird to stalk night at
WGY, begging for a
slice of him. "I’ve never
done this before or since.
And then his "it's not
you Lyn, it’s me" and
so that letter, lost now too,
from his friend saying
it was me, in his last
months over and over,
the one, the only
by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Tour

by Michael Grover

It was a cold gray day,
The warehouse stood in front of us
Like a monster
Waiting to consume us.

Before entering we stopped.
The beautiful red haired woman
Told us there was not a lot of money,
And the union would take some of that.
We all stayed so we entered.
Passed through the security.

At the door a worker stood.
Once the guides were out of range
He told us to turn back while we still can.
My financial state
Would not allow me to debate this,
So I walked on.

Inside there were boxes
Flying everywhere
Going different places.
We listened as they explained
What was happening
And pretended to be interested.

At the end of the tour
They called us each individually.
The red head called me last.
She asked why I wanted to work here.
I told her I was a writer that needed an income.
She asked me if I had done physical labor.
I said I had dug ditches on a pipe crew
In the Florida heat,
And I was an electrician's apprentice.
She handed me a card
Told me to think about it.
Then call for a final interview.

I passed back through security.
Was spat back out of the beast.
Back into the streets.
I bought a tomato to make a salad.
Thought about the cardIf I should call.
I passed the mission on the way home.
Desperate men sittin’ on the curb out front.
People in the lobby trying to get in for the night
Out of the cold.
I saw my future there.
Said to myself,
“Yes, I should call.”

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