Greetings from...the Road to Nowhere

Greetings from...the Road to Nowhere

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Poems by Alda Merini

Translated by Claudia Rey

"I poeti lavorano di notte"

I poeti lavorano di notte
quando il tempo non urge su di loro,
quando tace il rumore della folla
e termina il linciaggio delle ore.
I poeti lavorano nel buio
come falchi notturni od usignoli
dal dolcissimo canto
e temono di offendere Iddio.
Ma i poeti, nel loro silenzio
fanno ben più rumore
di una dorata cupola di stelle

Poets work at night
when time does not press on them
when the crowd’s noise is hushed
and the hour’s lynching is over.
Poets work in the dark
like night hawks or nightingales
whose song is so sweet
and fear they are offending God.
But poets, in their silence
make a higher noise
than a golden dome of stars

"Ti aspetto e ogni giorno"

Ti aspetto e ogni giorno
mi spengo poco per volta
e ho dimenticato il tuo volto.
Mi chiedono se la mia disperazione
sia pari alla tua assenza
no, è qualcosa di più:
è un gesto di morte fissa
che non ti so regalare.

I wait for you and every day
I die down little by little
and I have forgotten your face.
They ask me if my despair
is the same as your absence
no, it is something more:
it’s an immovable death gesture
I can’t give you as a gift.

"Ho conosciuto in te le meraviglie"

Ho conosciuto in te le meraviglie
meraviglie d'amore sì scoperte
che parevano a me delle conchiglie
ove odoravo il mare e le deserte
spiagge corrive e lì dentro l'amore mi sono persa come alla bufera
sempre tenendo fermo questo cuore
che (ben sapevo) amava una chimera.

I met wonders in you
love wonders so new
they looked like shells
where I could smell the sea
and simple empty beaches
I got lost in that love as in a storm
but I kept my heart very still
because I knew so well that it loved an illusion.

Alda Merini was one of Italy's most important and beloved poetic voices. She won many of Italy’s major national literary prizes and was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize, once by France and once by Italy. She was born in Milan and died there in November 2009 at the age of 78.

Photograph by Giuliano Grittini. Use permitted under the GNU Free Documentation License.

White and Sun-Stained Flags

by Lyla Abi-Saab

There is something about it that is so rich. Heavy. Culture is cultivated into the dirt, intertwined with air and dust and piano keys of sunlight. The song sounds along tops of the mountains, sharp, cutting through the breeze and into layers of skin and bone and brick. The cracks in the stone and clay weather below my feet, the moths and mosquitos spiral slowly overhead, the clear sky is strewn with pink and orange in the distance and I can do nothing but kneel as my knees grow weak, nothing but submit my eyelids shut to powerlessness in a bittersweet surrender.

There is something about it that is so fleeting. The laughter that streams, like ripples of a stone-harrased river from opaque infant-white to the most sun-spotted wrinkles, the distance between year and face measured only in worlds, or maybe just shallow breath. The tears; unspoken but understood, fingers and bodies tangeled to one, sleepless eyes pressed tightly together holding back the blood of seas and stories away. Questions lit, ignited and burned to rubble like my father’s home in the face of no answers, the gaps in the story running deep like the lengths from wet grains of salt and sand to the most majestic of snow-capped summits. We can do nothing but breathe, the thick perfume of fruit and blossom seeping into us. The moon awaits dawn to dusk again and the dogs bark and things still go unnoticed as they do, but we are and we are anyway.

The Invisible People

by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

The people were
The way they talked
without their mouths
was strange. On their
faces a new
foot-like appendage
supported their eyes,
noses, and mouths.
The entire head
was foot-like, but
they were mere ghosts,
I was able
to see them because
I have this gift,
to see things others
cannot see.
But sometimes I
just see what I
want to see and
that is a problem.

The Bitter End is a Bar

by William Shaw

Like sex,
Is best when it’s angry.

Sweetness loses its savor,
And if you’re that sorry slick type,
You’ll last about two seconds,
Before a real man,
Decks your sorry ass,
And makes you bleed like a bitch.

So come at me son,
Come the fuck at me.

In other news,

Fat lips squirm like a red worm,
Wriggling obscenely in screaming half seen memories,
And infuriating implications.
Pulse pumping like an eel crashing through my veins,
And eyes seeing nothing,
Besides the insides,
Of my head, and the other, that bled,
A bittersweet red.

Drugs only get you so far.
Blowing a line off her bare thigh,
At the Heart of Texas motel,
Off Highway 290.
A bottle of Jack in one hand,
And the other slowly sliding,
Steadily down,
The smooth flesh of today’s freshest catch,
To where I’m sure your imagination has already led.
And then out.
Into the warm night air.
Onto the pale moonlit street.
Where summer lounges in sultry heat.

And I light a cigarette,
With a silvery flick of my wrist,
And make my way down these city streets,
My streets, though cold, graying and old.
Like the bony grasping fingers of a lecherous mayor,
Fervently clawing at the soft young body of a dead whore,
Whose glassy eyes gaze at starry skies like rotting fish scales,
Reflecting pale will o’ wisps,
Suspended amongst the turbulent motion,
Of the merciless ocean.

And I’ll traverse these city streets,
Cracking his knuckles with every clacking impact,
Of the riding heels,
Of my black ostrich hide boots.
Or singe the Old Man’s sensibilities
In my daddy’s white truck
Too big to be softy slick, but just the size for a hard fuck
And to lie in afterwards
In dizzy sex sweat drenched dazed ecstasy
And marvel at the will o’ wisps
Watching beyond the fogged windows

At the Bitter End
There’s a bar, a bogie, and a light
Once you’ve gotten kicked out of the one
And smoked the other
There ain’t much left to do
But light yourself on fire
And then drown in the gutter
Ever burning soul outliving charred corpse
Remaining in eternal, beautiful agony

Friday, April 1, 2011

Anarchy of Dusk

by Bobbi Sinha-Morey

In the anarchy of
dusk, despair returns
each minute like a
drop of moonshine
and, with less salva-
tion, the voices of
birds quiver in each
song, shattering the
stillness that swallow
a man's spirit. The
heart's rainy darkness
is no solace for my
soul, only a map of
brightness, but I've
nowhere to go. The
distance that divides
us leaves me feeling
so isolated. My anger's
been buried and stolen
back from the soil.
Trust and love is white
dust on dark furniture;
layers of the past you've
shared with me without
any sign of you in the
future. If I wait, time is
nothing but an endless
bridge. Yet your memory
remains. You leave traces
of yourself wherever you


by Tatiana Ambrose


Drawn in a red sharpie-
encased with a plastic coat,
peeling from heart break
this happened months ago.

Bed Fellow

He looked like a rich brown beard,
as yawns snuck through his torn gap-
weaving off the bedroom boards,
until I slumbered off to sleep

Fire Water

by Subhankar Das

I am too sleepy my treasure. It is not that this fragile desire of the body is too tired. Just feeling sleepy in this tiresome living. You also must be sleeping now. You do not get up this early. When did you last get up to see the dawn breaking? I only learned it from you that if I want dawn I must stay awake the whole night. You know I also stayed up the whole night and at day break rushed out in the city. I always loved the cold morning air. Just like hunting the crows on the roof top days, when I was a kid. The wooden gun never made any sound or no bullets can be fired from it. So I tried making sounds like gun firing and aimed but not a single crow would die. ‘Why they are not dying father’? I asked. And my father gave that infallible reply – ‘They will go home and die’.


by Sarah Anne Stinnet

You’re dead now.
Your life spent
celebrating with cake, cookies, candies, Pi.
Math counted when you saw the numbers
under your feet,
under your legs,
under your hips curving up to the tip
top of your head,
now calculate your sum,
you’re dead.
As bees in honey drown
you take too much, you
take too much, you take
too much.
The persistent hum of your heart
You are a tire I slashed
a penny I placed on train tracks
the paint I spilled
on a canvas of your face
so I will always know
you’re dead now.
On your tombstone, iron cast,
It reads, “Thin At Last.”

I Hide the Core Heap Under the Bed

by Jessica Poli

Balsa hands and
red sugar on hot fingers;
you used to have a hold on me.

We loved caffeine and
made love under black lights.
Teeth glowing as they crashed together.

Lint behind the washer
tends to settle on my lips. Remember,
you used to brush it away. Used to call me things.

I’ve been a lot of things -
sea monsters and bridesmaids.
You said them all while you traced my thighs.

Let me melt, I always said.
You fed me apples in the morning;
you told me not to cry and fed me apples.

Kite Strings

by Sadie Harris

Having moved easily away
beyond the vitreous drink
past perpetual reefs
where choppy, lapping waves
laugh at old tales,

Cutting through effervescence
into an aubergine vast,
there, no delineation
or compulsions
define boundaries
or deprive the existence of
one's precarious balances.

Unfixed, sentient,
the shoreline
has receded from view.
Distance, but a blur.
Silence altering,
rippling this present capacity .
But a hand flying
with the wings of paradise.

Once a Boy

by Taufiq bin Abdul Khalid

Once a boy
I was once a boy,
And I came upon the shore of a mighty sea,
I tarried by her awhile,

But soon I grew scales and gills,
And swam in her depth, as a fish,

Then I sprouted wings,
Flying high across the sea,
Skimming over her waves,
As a seagull,

Later I turned into a fisherman,
Finding rich bounty in
Her deep blue mercy
To feed my family.

Finally I returned to the boy that I was,
And into the water I peered,
To see a reflection of myself
Looking back at me, and asking
“Who are you?”

Sacrificial Lambs

by Mike Perkins

not all die
but many do
they come back
sometimes whole in body
but wounded in the mind
or maybe in pieces
missing one ancillary appendage or another
such as an arm
or a leg
or some creative combination
or perhaps all four
it is all
subject to
the vagaries of war
all based on a spinning moment
a probability
of timed confusion
the moment
which becomes the epicenter
the fall from grace
youth gushing from the man made spring
of traumatic fluids
framed by odd angles
with boundary markers of unnatural holes
from which something emerges
as if from a cocoon
in swaddling bandages
something new
yet old and unchanged
a vague resemblance of something before
but nothing stays the same anyway
during the recovery
which is never complete
just scabbed over
rubbed raw by prosthetics
chemical as well as mechanical
how do you salute without hands?
march without feet?
there is no parade rest for the deboned weary
then a medal
some recognition
awkward silences
inane comments
a jolly brave laugh attempt at humor
the bystanders feel wounded
and are comforted
by the victims themselves
in a
punch and cookie reception
then a check
then perhaps a pension of sorts
before the big forgotten

Southern Boulevard

by Alan Britt

Give blood.

That’s right.

Donate blood: O negative,
B positive, A whichever way
the windmill blows,
but give blood to future governors
and presidents in incubators,
blood enough to clot glaciers,
razor-blue glaciers crumbling
daily into Eagle Lake.

Sure, you could legislate
the gradual demise of blueblade glaciers
crumbling into the Pacific,
raising sea level by a mere
twelve to eighteen inches,
(that’s one and a half feet, to you and me),
but blood, my friends,
my terrestrial brothers and sisters;
there’s simply no substitute
for good ‘ol red and white corpuscles,
generations in hindsight, of course, that end
with a fist and a sickle spilling blood like oil
through the plaster walls and Venetian blinds
and wooden frames of Afghan, Iraqi
and Palestinian apartments.

You think oil and blood
are the same thing?

Regular citizens crucified
for another 2,000 years?

Well, friend, and I say this
with critical sincerity,
our sand, like all sand,
struggles tooth and nail
through the hourglass hips
of a black hole,
or an outdated religion,
or whatever else you
might call it.

But the point is,
this newest bullshit version
of a monarchy, planetary domination
via your tax dollars and mine,
well, I just have to say
that plain speech is sometimes underrated.

Plain speech can alert us
to a whole host of priorities
(sometimes known as periodic corrections
to the moral market);
plain speech can deliver us
from the depths of wretchedness
not unlike Rapunzel,
Hansel and Gretel, the Emperor in designer nudity,
or those train tracks revealed one afternoon,
tracks buried in the front yard
of a dingy white clapboard house
just off Southern Boulevard.

The Vending Machine

by Robert E. Petras

Life is like a vending machine
the woman with the secret wrote,
you spin the shelves around
and choose what you want
just by pushing the buttons
of visualization and self-talk
and positive thinking.
The law of quantum physics is

At an ATM machine I visualized
a return of 40 dollars
for my 40 dollars in
and a $2.25 service fee
and received enough vending power for a week.
“I am in the process of spinning
the world around,”
I told myself.
“I am Atlas twirling a circle
of quarks upon my fingertips.”
I rubbed my hands together,
I licked my lips
and stepped into line.
When my turn came
to give the machine a spin
only baloney sandwiches remained.

Time Wears Away The Stone

by Patrick Walsh

net of fishes shores of plenty
cast of blind hooks for foolishness
words from farside going crazy
you mustn't look I mustn't see

so once you gave though I doubted
the song of truth if that's what was
others couldn't grasp your lightness
yet raged to live in fire's doublet

now the bells toll these old church stones
for message dulled need not be lost
years are fossils as hearts stonecold
no dreams indulged on hard life's coast

Wednesday's Soliloquy

by Emma Eden Ramos

Closing Wednesday's soliloquy in a pine box,
August's heat afflicts only the living for whom Demeter's willowy hands hold parched pupils.
Wednesday's lyrics have gone underground with black martian dresses and a sterling silver pentacle.
Above, Sunday's Arian daughter is tap dancing on grandpa's hedge stone.
Now words are pretentious and black is a flavor.
Funeral dresses taste like expired breast milk while an ancient tree lends her branches to horny pigeons.
A Catholic service.
The dead excrete only evaporated flesh and calcified bone.
Wednesday's words can't remember their meaning; they've simply become anorexic.
The trees are rapists and the wind has SARS.
A beggar's banquet, this here graveyard.
Wednesday swallows the cemetery pollution like a heavy sob.
The alphabet has now rearranged itself and there is a strong odor of mango shaving cream.
Words are useless because people are hollow.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Spirit Rock

by Peter Magliocco

It is whatever hardens
the nocturne of beauty
eluding you like a Tennessee Williams
heroine. Making your own play
up during life's boring moments,
at work in the pedestrian pawn shop
dominated by amber mugs & ashtrays.

Rising like pernicious Indian spirits at Red Rock
fast as febrile airs
perambulating through Vegas streets
you loved to cruise with boyfriends,
even your dialogue was premeditated
& meticulously scripted for
any routine noir felon

to emulate.
Long ago you figured out
the perfect crime
all thieves dream about
casing the expensive jewelry
so many customers ogled, daily.
Despite how common in-house theft is,

"we'll get away with it," you winked;
"we'll kiss this rat race adios, man,
& travel the Caribbean beaches forever."
Far from these deserts where scorpions
lurk under a plethora of chiseled rocks,
waiting endlessly, their crooked tails
yellowing from venom's excess.

One bit you in the form of a real policeman,
& whatever spoils esthetic distance
did you in, whatever illusions
real existence unkindly disseminates
to draw down a curtain on
a wannabe porn star
whose dreams

some disease vitiates.
Then security cams
catch you, red-handed
clutching diamonds,
to portray your final role
stealing a forbidden stone
eternal deserts burn.

Digging My Way to China

by Isabel Kestner

We dug holes. Before the home computer,
when there was only one TV in every home
and video games were only machines at the arcade,
we dug holes. Shovels went missing.

Constantly, all the kids in the neighborhood
taking their unscheduled turns dug into
the sandy dirt of the vacant lot three
houses from where I lived.

Sometimes we had several holes.
Not everyone always agreed on where
to dig and occasionally there was some
competitive digging. Our useless dent
in the earth is bigger than your useless
dent in the earth.

But they weren’t really useless.
Sometimes, scrap wood would cover part
of a bigger hole and they would often be
six or eight feet wide. It was not a useless
hole now. Now it had a roof. Now the
temporary runaways seeking shelter from
beatings for a few hours had somewhere
to run to, somewhere safe to call their own
and rest for a while.

We dug a lot of holes.

When they got so deep that the really
little kids couldn’t crawl out on their own
someone’s mother always made a few
older kids fill in the hole and thus
we had to start digging another.

We were going somewhere with our stolen
but sort of barrowed shovels. The kids my age
still thought we could dig our way to China.
We didn’t know anything about China.
I didn’t care about China. I just knew it
wasn’t Jersey and I wanted to get away.
I was digging to China. I thought
it would be better there.

We dug a lot of holes.

No one ever got to China. But every once
and a while one of the big kids would hand me
a broken shovel. Big kids never dug with little kids.
Age determined status. But every once and a while,
the big kids would let me dig a hole with them.
They knew I was trying to get to China.
They knew why I wanted to dig my way to China.
They knew I couldn’t dig my way to China.
But they gave me a shovel and hoped for my sake
I would find a way to dig my way there.


by April A.

I'm riding the cloud of bright blanket dreams,
The coconut smoke entwines with the mist,
The potion of madness in violet streams
Is carving the urge that I cannot resist.

The mysteries find me still lying in bed,
Enjoying the pleasures of drunken grapefruit.
Just several gulps, and a room painted red
Will turn to a princess' incredible suit.

I'm a swift errand girl of my fortunate fate,
When my fantasies leak, the reality hides
In the weirdest world I could ever create
With my eyes tightly shut, with my heart as a guide.

A rose with sharp yet invisible thorns
Will bloom in my gardens in endless July -
The country of fairies and pink unicorns
Beneath the enchanting and welcoming sky.

I trust in the might of the element Earth,
However, the Air attracts me much more.
I'm hovering free, and I feel the rebirth.
This madness is tempting like never before.

I'm a swift errand girl of my fortunate fate,
When my fantasies leak, the reality hides
In the weirdest world I could ever create
With my eyes tightly shut, with my heart as a guide.

I giggle and slap the reality's face,
I found salvation in madness' embrace.

I'm a swift errand girl of my fortunate fate,
When my fantasies leak, the reality hides
In the weirdest world I could ever create
With my eyes tightly shut, with my heart as a guide.


by Claudia Rey

At five in the morning the sky is black and clear over Amelia’s courtyard, and peppered with a million stars. Plastic chairs are arranged in front of a niche, where the Virgen de Guadalupe stands surrounded by flowers, palm leaves and candles. Bananas and oranges are scattered on the floor among the candles, red and green plastic balloons hang overhead – the pagan token in an otherwise Catholic celebration.

We sit in the first row, huddled against the cold. Other people smile their greetings, or whisper a shy Hola. They know who I am, but the moment is probably too solemn for the occasional chit-chat.

A scrawny dog wanders around, and today no one chases it off. But when sacred music blasts all of a sudden from two loudspeakers arranged on a windowsill near the statue, it runs away with a yelp.

The music sounds like popular songs rather than hymns, and after a while I realize that they are songs: they tell the legend of La Virgen appearing to a Juan Diego six centuries ago, or they wish her happy birthday, or ask for her blessing.

“Todavía esperamos los Mariachis”, We are waiting for the mariachis, explains Amelia. Apparently they have been singing in the nearby village but should be here any minute. And they soon arrive, four men with guitars and four more to sing along. No black costumes studded with round knobs, no gold trimmed sombreros. Today they wear civilian clothes.

As they start singing – beautiful tenor voices – everyone stands up and joins them in an impromptu chorus. “Tu crees que yo puedo cantar con ellos?” I ask Carlos. His face brightens. “Claro que sí!” So I do, and sing the lines that I’ve learned earlier: Desde el cielo una hermosa mañana – la Guadalupana – la Guadalupana – bajó el Tepeyac... An old lady near me smiles approvingly.

When the music stops half an hour later, the same lady steps in front of the altar and collects from a vase a branch of small white flowers. She murmurs a prayer, then chooses someone among the crowd: a pregnant girl, a boy wearing a SALVAVIDA sweatshirt, a kid. She brushes the branch over them, from head to toe – a sacred metal detector against misfortune – chanting what must be a special blessing.

The spell breaks when Amelia starts handing around glasses filled with hot chocolate and big, oblong brioches obviously called guadalupanas. I nibble at mine, I drink some chocolate, then Carlos, my son-in-law, decides that it’s time for him to go to work. Amelia gives me a second guadalupana for my daughter, and I thank her with a hug. It’s nearly seven, and in the pink sky hundreds of birds sing and chirp.

In spite of my cynicism, I feel a sort of peace. And I will sing La guadalupana, la guadalupana... for the rest of the day.

Cry African Girls

by Handsen Chikowore

Up in the azure sky
Shoots the sun’s rays
Rises to meet another day
Another promise
To me it’s not yet any hope
As each day brings more problems
Which trouble a thirteen year old girl
Setting alight fire early morning
Sweeping the sheets of dust and dirt early morning
A beast of burden for firewood so I am bound

All those long distances I have to walk
A throbbing ever throbbing pain to my foot
With the baby clinging on my yonder back
The thorn infested forests
The meandering long walks to boreholes and wells
The back breaking dreary buckets full of water
It's so tiresome my body sweats
It's so punishing my body cannot endure

All African girls
Cry for your rights
The rape, torture and victimisation
Our life an eerie furnace of denied paradise
A sad song of denied education
I am so weary, Oh weary, So weary
A breath for fresh air cometh not
Don’t fall African girls
Up and fight
Yearn for another life

(after William Blake)

by Rachel J. Fenton

I drive wrong way on one-way streets
along the harbour front and docks
and note the locals in bare feet
and tourists in white sports socks.

On every corner buskers sing
while people wait at traffic lights
and hear the crossing buzzer ring
but do not know their human rights.

Free of children, free of prams,
not for infants or the old
and the stores do not have ramps:
cripples left out in the cold

though one in seven claims to have
some form of disability.
Auckland's pride rests on the grave
of pioneer not charity.

The Temple of Poseidon, Sounio, Greece

Photography by Panos Panagiotopoulos

The Childless Couple

by Margaret Beaver

The oceans lap lovingly at their feet, gifts of
a white froth; sea birds converse in the distance.

She stands by his side; small transparent fish curl
in the rivulets around their toes.

There is a distance between them the size of a
small child. She is a photograph never taken:

by her absence, a presence. His youth is gone
as the wool from the heel of his socks.

He holds a slight shell to his ear, listening for
the child's voice as if a contained wind.

The sheer sash of the woman, wrapped loosely
about her body, lifts lightly in the air so like

freedom. She opens her mouth, embracing the
ocean, wraps her arms around a body only hers.

Hiking to Goose Lake

by Michael H. Brownstein

threads of grass
thin as hair,
breath thick with light,
a path, stone,
one dark green river
silk weed and thorn.

light snuggles into the green,
rough hewn and knotted,
thick and crusted,
the softness of color,
the threadbare,
threads of grass.

Earthquake in a Glass House

by A.J. Huffman

He comes
in the darkest hours
of the seventh sun.
Carrying the sweet black candles
that sweep through my soul
like a half-finished dream.
And whispers the softer touches
of a forbidden god
across my lips.

The moonlight frees his hands.
And I am left
with a stone tongue.
And too heavy
to weep
for a broken world.

The Seamstress

by Len Kuntz

Our bathtub is filled with buttons--
mother of pearl and metal,
plastic pea coat shapes with
embossed anchors,
wooden toggles from Holland,
horn and hemp.

Your hair is a gray dandelion gone to seed.
Your eyes flit like a startled squirrel
and saliva webs your mouth when
you open the door.
“What on earth?”
you ask.

In bed that night
I listen to your coarse breath, your frail bones moaning when you toss and turn.
But we were young once,
and you stitched beautiful things then.
You dressed queens and saints,
men with money.

I slink off the mattress now,
and click on the bathroom light.
As I slide inside the tub
the buttons chatter and gossip,
their color shimmering.

Perhaps you clipped them
because they reminded you of better days,
or maybe you overhead me on the phone.
Either way, I grab handfuls and watch them clatter
across the great heap.

When I look up,
you’re there,
naked but smiling.
You ask, “Is the water warm?” Then,
“Got room for two?”

This, This is an African Moment

by Amit Parmessur

Lighting a crooked cigarette in a bus overfed
with bushed Sunday people. The young conductor
too effeminate to bring back order, with the smoke
stirring silent angry looks.

Sipping some stale
Coca-Cola while being already drunk, with the
body swaying to every whim of a hungry bus driver.

Watching then the tragic landscape
for a bit of elusive escapism.

Feeling too hot, and a bit frustrated
with someone’s beautiful wife sitting just in front.
Trying to swear in a language not resembling the
mother tongue but that of a faraway father’s habit.

Falling asleep after a few drags on the cigarette
that rebels and falls down
after being left alone between stinking fingers
as good as dry ladyfingers without balls.

Being laughed at by neighbors,
by well-dressed and perfumed neighbors
with intentions darker than lethal black ants.

Waking up to have a second drag on a cigarette
that is missing. Starting to
swear heroically, searching for the cigarette that
has rolled into someone else’s temporary territory.

Aggravating the situation by releasing
from the pocket a handful of stolen,
old and bent coins onto the ground, with them rolling
everywhere like the rapid shells of paralyzed tortoises.

the fall

by walter conley

i had a friend
named tim
who shot up
with his brother
then woke
in a
coachella vineyard

thought the
crosses bearing
stripped-out vines
were rows
of people
eyeing him

scared to move
he stood stock-still
till he couldn’t
hold up
dropped again
back down and gone
a false dawn
paler than he was

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Facing the Uncanny in the Chow Kit Market

by Anna J. Fitting

I have kept that first sensation of thinking
That I had existed a whole six years
Not having met
a grin so extensive as the cow’s skull
resting on the metal tabletop of the wet market.

the intrusive stare of the cow’s head,
now attended shoppers with his itching grin,
of teeth as sparse and left-over seeming
as the struggling patches of vegetation on
an August stricken lawn.
Neither gums nor lips remained to dull it.

He was tormented.
torn to a hanging, peeled sinuousness.

Here is what a cow can be, I thought,
that once lived fused to rough minute hairs,
crooking legs, mobile feet,
set stationary,
an accidental spectacle of blooming mottled pink,
the discard among the butcher’s spread.

spinal tap

by Panos Panagiotopoulos

so bring your wings on me
make each flutter meaningful,
make it matter to yourself,
it's possible that I am one who should not
be trusted or relied on,
I am not your friend nor lover
but still, talk to me, pretend I am either
talk to me, I'm fed up with all this crying
all I read about is tears and hearts enduring
bodies under word and dot stampedes
I'm tired and I need to see
a crack, somewhere,
the foramina of days
as they press their patent grim against my skin,
the sun retreats and I'm more or less sitting
by my self,
writing radioactive verses
[for us]
on my self
I wanted to be the book you'd read one day
handed to you by a friend or lover
or sometimes both, you'd lick your fingers and
rummage through me
because your life is the party I'm crashing
observing your guests from the coffee table
until their rude potential sits on me
so quiver and make it matter
make it meaningful, if only
to yourself

The bars are closing

by Mathew Richard Carter

and only stranded patrons
linger along with all this
precipitation, like the remnant
petals of a peony following these hours
of darkness caused by pervasive tempest.

I’ve never seen such torrential waters
forcing down its weight, its power,
an ambitious fountain cascading at
warp speed. We’re mere ants who scramble in an empty
bucket’s bottom, filling fast, faster. No choice aside from

punching forward, each direction is entirely
identical. The splash of rainfall over blurred
pavement – ah, too much, washing the scene
to black and wet. Drawn side-to-side with

sweeping charcoals. Our sodden clothing established
presence by its drape, we scamper to the car
misplaced in labyrinth-city quadrants.
Still, no regard in this most beauteous

of waterfalls – imagining these pools
below us foster fish … as profound as
ocean gullies – with depths to imbibe
the rest of this deluge.

The Devil, A Long Spoon, and a Serious Error in Judgement

by Carmen Taggart

She said come dine with me,
I hold the answers to a more vibrant life.
She was rockin’ the red dress and the stiletto heels.
Who could resist?

We discussed a contract over tea and cakes.
I didn’t need my really long spoon,
She tasted sweeter than honey.

Whispered promises, unslakable desire,
Our entwined bodies reflecting in the window glass,
Her reflection craggy, wrinkled, and withered,
The darkness of her soul no longer contained within a youthful facade.

She turned as red as her dress, heels stomping, you can’t walk away from me!
Oh, but I can, you have no power over me.
Yes, I do!! You need me! I am a celebutant! I hold the answers! Only me!
I laughed as I walked away.

The Rain

by Zaina Anwar

The wind
has spoken tonight.

Stars shudder
while the moon

has quietly
slipped away.

Soon, the sky
is swallowed

by savage clouds.
A thick film

of moisture
heavily clings

to every leaf
and languid root.

Children laugh,
their tiny feet

caked with sludge.
Through the streets

they run,
half naked

and oblivious

'The rain has come,
the rain has come.'

Sunday, January 16, 2011


by Bryan Murphy

The envelope disgorges a faded photo:
my erstwhile drinking buddy’s younger bro’,
aiming a pre-draft grin into the future
as though he had one.

Whatever did you do
to those choiceless defenders of our freedom,
chosen to manoeuvre apartheid’s army
into check?

Were your jeans a shade too western?
Did you hand them to the sergeant too slowly?
Was your accent not quite right, an exile twang?
Did they just loathe your love of life?

Or was it your large, city-boy’s body, so easy
to pierce with pen-knife, machete, bayonet,
so light to lay out, silent, torn,
unable to accuse, or dance?

They all had a share in your murder,
the other new recruits. Your blood
bound them deeper than any enemy.
Those who lived “won” that war.

Do they still stab conscripts to death
now that peace and playstations rule?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

my gods!
and other theories on the origins of man

by Mike Foldes

just add water

a very large man in a white coat
and glasses, a very large man who
somehow resembles einstein, or
your favorite 8th grade science teacher type,
attaches a patch of solid material
to a plastic orb and sets it spinning
like a tiny top. only up close
it looks much larger. up close
it doesn’t look like it’s moving
at all. and in fact the large man
in the white coat who set it spinning
can slow it down and even stop it,
and at one point he does this
to check out how the patch
of solid material on the plastic surface
held up under the centrifugal force
of the spin and finds that several pieces
have split off and formed related
shaped masses here and there
upon the plastic. and with a very
long and finely pointed pair of shining
titanium tweezers he carefully places
fourteen items of genetic code
on different facets of the developing
project, and with a warm breath
of humid air that quickly condenses
onto the plastic surface of the orb,
sets it spinning again so fast
it no longer appears round, but
kind of flattened at the poles.
and that’s about the time things
really begin to change.


by Anita McQueen

Falling from
night sky


my head back

eyes open

water from the gods.

The Imperfect Guitar

by Amit Parmessur

Sitting on the wild rocks I marvel at the periwinkle,
fully forlorn in the nearby receding tide pool.

The whistling of the dry coconut leaves in the wind
has been accompanying my pregnant thoughts of you,
with the large and strenuous pelicans surveying the sky,
right above my bewildered head.

I have never ever thought you would leave the
land of our bond and ships would become my enemies.
How dare that elderly ship steal you from me,
making my eyes scarlet in the indifferent crowd.

Sitting on the rocks with my wild guitar I
sing sweet songs of your improbable return, sometimes
dreaming of you dancing, dancing lithely in a ring
of violets, with frisking lambs, piping shepherds.

This evening I have broken a string
as my fingers are a bit too drenched in anger. I close

my eyes and imagine of you sleeping
on a bed of daisies in our favorite valley over there.

I secretly cut a hair from your peaceful head,
fixing it in my excessively grieving guitar.

I start playing again but the other remaining strings
cannot be as melodious as your versatile holy hair,
rendering my guitar uselessly imperfect.

When I open my briny and heavy eyes,
the tranquil sea surface has turned orange,
the sand is a stretch of yellow lawn
and the periwinkle is gone,
leaving the tide pool as good as a forlorn desert. I go
home like a brave camel ready for an endless journey.

What's On Television?

by Julie Kovacs

Grunting and braying
two donkeys fought over
who was in control of the remote
for the plasma screen.

both wanted to watch one or the other
sitting inside the spacious
living room
next to the Nile.

Eyes glazed over from
reading the Rosetta Stone
mistaking it for a television schedule
they finally decided to
give up and use the remote
to change the weather
clicking buttons
and more buttons
until they saw rain on television.

Pirate Night at The Space Pub

by Nicole Taylor

Friends call him
Awesome Austin,
and his Hair poem
and about his brain as a toy prize
and it was an awesome tale.

Tip or Die reads the jar on the bar.
Brutal Brutus stickers on the
cannon ball Moe is turning.

Bondage in my Brain reads
another poet, another freeing soul,
not a stealer of words, stories.

You can say fuck you, and it may not mean anything.
Angst not anger to a person.
Why do we get so offended by these words
or the middle finger?

Ashley reads a great tale, poem,
Wanting, and I am.

Instigate the ones I hate,
reads young Nick.

Candace reads, Dead men tell no tales.
in her pale dress reminding me
of the illustrated man, the heavily tattooed man.

Her guy Moe reads, sings
Fertile Floozy, Sea Hag Wench.

Row, row your boat, matey,
reads Rich
with his pirate arr style.

Time to leave soon but the stickers near me read
Never Sleep. Almost Friday. (But it's Monday.)
Breaking Death. Gladiators Eat Fire. (No
Gladiators or Fireeaters Here.) Dumb Free
Liberty For All and No Moral Chords.

BC Woman

by Paul Vincent Andrews

When she first arrived upon the scene

before the loquaciousness of the crowd
before raspy metal machine music
before the bone yards of fallen empires
before Gods
before I

her feet must have felt strange
planted in the hot arid sand

her eyes compelled to focus
on distant green lights of ancient
phosphorescent plankton
dancing on the rim
of a purple sea

did those green lights spell hope

Or, did she look upon this stage
as the worm devours it’s love the rose

the scrubland behind her
harboring megafauna
with bored opaque eyes

looking down with machinations
of the potential of the rock
next to her

as she skipped
the smaller disc shaped
stones in the sea

the first numbers

I imagine she turned
and looked back

hard eyes squinted
hungry, and fixated
upon the small furtive
creatures dancing
beside still pools