Publishing a volume of verse is like
dropping a rose petal down the Grand
Canyon and waiting for the echo.
Sometimes with the business of life, work
and family we begin to feel stretched too
thin. We feel the wear of work and
occasionally wonder why we do this. We
question if it’s worth the trouble. We
wonder if anyone will notice the work we do
as artists, writers and editors.
But then we check our inbox and see so
many amazing contributors trusting us with
their work, we feel the support and
appreciation from readers whose lives are
enriched by the work that we and all Blue
Hour contributors do and we are reminded
why we do it.
The word Anthology comes from the Greek
word Anthologia and literally means a
gathering of flowers. In this case we have
carefully gathered small bits of beauty from
various contributors around the world. Each
piece comes together like a bouquet of
flowers. Like night blooming Jasmine on a
warm evening or dried Queens Anne’s Lace
next to a window on a rainy day.
When we work collectively we are able to
produce a book that can evoke so much
emotion and sensory experience, possibly
more than one author or artist could provide
“There is vitality, a life force, energy, a
quickening that is translated through you
into action, and because there is only one of
you in all of time, this expression is unique.
And if you block it, it will never exist
through any other medium and it will be
lost.” ― Martha Graham
Each unique contribution adds to this
collection and we are proud to share these
offerings with you.
Thank you for your contributions, your
continued support, and above all for
gathering with us to experience and savor
the works of others.
Table of Contents
17 David Bader – Along the Road Through
18 Jessica Miller – paint splatter blue
19 Ally Malinenko- Worship
22 John Grochalski- a flower in the spring
24 Catfish McDaris – Hippopotamus
27 Russell Streur – Blue Tree on the
28 Casey Coviello – When I Grow Up
31 Conrad Schafman – Locomotion
33 Moriah LaChapell - Diurne
35 Kevin Ridgeway – McMinnville, Oregon
37 Jeffrey Graessley – Names
38 Adena Bailey - Blue Day
39 Marc Carver – Circle & Jack London
41 Bernadette McCabe –What if
42 Adam Riglian – Chicken Valdostana
60 Miguel Jacq – Untitled & Mirrored
63 John Swain – The Low Coast
65 Gail Goepfert - Lost and Found
68 James H. Duncan - Living with
70 Gillian Prew – Moment Reflected in
71 Marlena Stewart – Mirror in Garden with
72 Joy Bye – Lifespan of the Genus
Lycaeides Melissa Samuelis
74 Frank Reardon – The Crash
79 Ivan Jenson - pink and blue woman &
82 Jon Bennett – The Emotional Desert of
84 Aprilia Zank – Dreaming of Blue &
86 Heather Minette – better days
87 Dawn Schout – Phnom Penh
89 Joseph Briggs – Night Life
90 Jeremy Nathan Marks – Trillium
92 Mari Sanchez Cayuso – Untitled
93 Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke – Sonnet 14
94 B.A. Varghese – Live
95 Michele Seminara – Was T.S. Eliot a
101 Maureen Sudlow – The Big Dry
102 James Owens – blackbirds & morning
103 Katie Gebler – Departures
105 Elizabeth Cook – Anatomy and
106 A.G. Dumas- Her New Baby Boy
108 Anjumon Sahin – On Evenings Like
110 Gina Marie Lazar- Eternity through a
111 Robin Wyatt Dunn – Newcomers
112 April Michelle Bratten – Tin Fish
113 Mark Redford – ‘at the end of the
115 Joan McNerney – The Subliminal Room
117 Ken Windsor – Heron
118 Brandi Reynolds – Comfort
120 Byron Beynon – Words
121 Bernadette McCabe –Split in two
122 Michael Keshigan – Recognized
124 Joe Donnelly – From home to home:
Driving back from DC from Jersey,
126 Dawnell Harrison – The mirage
127 Bruce Ruston – Red Kite
128 Marcia Pradzinski – cleaning fish
129 Heidi Benson – Harboring
133 Bernadette McCabe –Children of the
134 Janet McCann – Son Et Lumiere
135 Philip Vermaas – The Wisdom of John
139 Mitch Krochmalnik Grabois – Baked
141 Susana Case – Empty Street
142 Michael C. Keith – Infected
150 Rohit Gautam - Old Identity
151 Matthew Harrison – Anti-freeze
153 Marianne Szlyk – Listening to Electric
154 Nishant Verma – Beautiful Kids of
155 D.A. Pratt – Awesome…
157 Ashley Strain – In Love Again
158 Lorraine Caputo – On an Orchid Road
159 Glenn Johnson – Indian Moon Message
177 Ronald Moran – Burning Down to
178 Peter L. Scacco – Invocation
179 Susan Daniels –Keriah
180 Conrad Schafman – Inverness
181 Donal Mahoney – Moment in a
182 Ernest Williamson – Artist Delving Into
183 Susan Sweetland Garay – Better to
remember this than me
Along the Road Through
What we found in Hadensville was
affirmation in the abstract
It didn't cost a dime, but will grow ten
And nourish three generations
By David Bader
They tell me
you have to worship something.
The priests raise their hands to the sky
and remind me that this life
is just a practice run
for the party that will come later.
They tell me to worship the man at the
tells me to worship the dollar and the Dream
that it will save my life, save me from this
this yawning void of empty sadness
They tell me to worship the filled house
that comfort equals value.
tell me to worship the mind
that it is the only freedom I will know.
Worship being smart, they tell me before it
and you are left alone clinging to memories
that may lie.
But I can’t.
I’ve measured my pain,
and weighed my small joy
and realized that the only thing that I can
this single moment,
the cat on my lap,
the drink in my hand,
the violin drifting out of the radio.
The tremor that is my very life
so vivid I can feel the flutter and pulse of it.
it’s almost funny.
It is all I have to fight off the void.
And it is small, and it is silly,
but I’ve never
so hard in all my life.
By Ally Malinenko
a flower in the spring
whenever i am around someone new
they come at me with questions about
until we have exhausted everything
i always acquiesce
but then i think
well, there we go
now there is nothing else to learn about me
save what i’ll never reveal
i don’t ask people questions in that manner
although i do wonder if they think me rude
or uninterested in their life
sometimes this is true, and i am uninterested
but in most instances i like to think
that i give people the benefit of the doubt
of having tried their best to live a life
i don’t want to know everything about them
all at once
because humanity is so lacking in magic
that if someone is truly worth their salt
and the heartache that comes with intimate
i’d rather that they reveal themselves to me
like a beautiful woman undressing
so that i can savor their every nuance
as if i were drinking a fine bottle of red wine
or stopping to view a flower in the spring
opening up its petals
to the new sun and blinding sun.
By John Grochalski
She’d lived four summers and loved Snake
Alley Noodles, Delaware Punch, strawberry
ice cream, and the wildflowers that grew
along the railroad tracks, which divided the
old celery fields of West Milwaukee.
Different kinds of flowers grew each
summer, purple coneflowers, ox-eye
sunflowers, blue lobelia, Jacob’s ladder, and
black-eyed Susan, their seeds mostly planted
by birds and animals. The last two summers,
wild crazy red, yellow, and orange
sunflowers conquered the hippopotamus
colored steel tracks. Their green stalks and
roots war snaked down through the black
goo creosote coated railroad ties. The tracks
took me back forty years to an all night walk
across the vast Ft. Worth, Texas to catch a
west bound freight for home in New
Mexico. Stumbling over ankle spraining
rocks and gravel and jumping into the
prickly pear and yucca to avoid getting
creamed by an Atchison, Topeka, and Santa
Fe express. My young daughter wanted to
get a few flowers for her mom. We stopped
at the store for a few items and I pulled
around back to the loading dock area, where
there was a jungle of flowers. I thought this
is a thirty second job and opened my pocket
knife and asked her to remain in the cool
car. I got out and was almost done when I
felt the tug of a small hand on my shirt.
There was my daughter with a big smile that
pulled and stretched my heart half way to
Tucumcari. The car was running with the
keys locked inside. I noticed a semi-truck
with another behind it waiting to use the
dock. I grabbed my daughter’s little hand
and told the truck drivers I’d need to call my
lady for an extra set of keys, they were not
happy. Fifteen minutes later, mom came to
the rescue and we got out of our
predicament. That was twenty years ago,
I’ve seen Van Gogh’s sunflowers in Arles
since, but none compare to the beautiful
memories of my ladies and the
By Catfish McDaris
Blue Tree on the
By Russell Streur
When I Grow Up
I never knew the right answer to the
question, like usual again.
I didn’t want to be a ballerina or a space ship
or the men in the red suits that came to class
and we thanked them without knowing why.
All I really wanted was to translate a book
maybe a French one
make a spirit out of words out of words out
of a spirit.
And maybe I was jaded
but I never cried
like my friend who broke her leg and quit
or the ash-blonde boy that wore jelly shoes
and couldn’t throw a football
like the men in the red suits probably could
at least that’s what the other boys said
who were playing in the tunnels all together
when I found him shrinking by the slide
I never cried like the space ship that left
and got lonely, even with so many little
people running around inside it,
just like my dad, who was just like me.
I never forgot the aspen branch I chopped
for its binding
or the storm-cloud I stole for my ink
I never stopped looking for that book.
I still want to,
I finally figured out that I want it to be a
book of poems
small ones that look like a thousand Eagles
flying together if they did that
and I want those poems to be your thoughts
I want to coax your thoughts into
but really I want your thoughts to remember
by themselves, like I was their favorite meal
when they were young,
like they still had a favorite meal and big
grin and didn’t jump when the phone rang or
disappear on empty nights.
It wasn’t always like this
your fingertips insist sometimes
when they forget to touch my cold shoulder
when the distance draws upon the distance
and you’re just far enough away
that I can’t find you or forget you. so I close
to turn your thoughts
back into poems
at least the dumb ones that call themselves
they are so brave, shaking and alone like
they are the only reason I’m still here
I am just like them, your thoughts.
in love, and looking for a language
By Casey Coviello
She was meandering toward
the railroad tracks,
loving all things unconditionally
and dreaming of the freedom
adulthood fails to bring,
when the train-horn
bellowed its warning.
Her ten-year-old vocal chords
roared spontaneous and startled
shrieks of caution
only to go unnoticed
by the elderly deaf widower
inching aimlessly across the tracks.
As his body erupted
into sliced fragments
the girl slipped under
the enveloping darkness,
of her idealistic mind.
When she awoke minutes later
the vibrant sunset had been shrouded
behind the callous blanket of night,
and the train-horn whispered
reminiscently in the distance.
By Conrad Schafman
“There must be those among whom we can sit
down and weep and still be counted as warriors.”
― Adrienne Rich
My mother died of brain cancer when I was
9. She won’t be able to read these pages, but
my daughter will someday.
After I gave birth to her we lay together in
the hospital bed and she curled her 6.5
pound body right on top of my voice box
because the world was such a cold, foreign
place. My voice became her home.
Now she’s 3 and I am afraid of leaving her
but I can’t control nature. She is like the
waves and I am not the moon. I am only her
Mother, but like the moon I am always
pulling her towards me gently like the
So this is also her page and tonight we will
pull out a fresh piece of paper and paint the
moon and ocean together. She can paint all
the stars and I will tell her a little more about
my Mother, who still pulls me towards her
gently like the moon on the silver-capped
By Moriah LaChapell
I picture her in her summer dress
makeup accentuating her delicate features
dancing on the tables at Nick’s Italian Café;
she lived there for so many years
and has told me nearly every story possible
of her days as a student at Linfield
and the savage politics of its academia,
her failed marriage to that brute art
her second marriage to a dead saint,
her early years with the pioneers of
the Oregon wine industry,
marching through the hills with them
all singing music and intoxicated
by the fruits of their labor,
and committing midnight acts
of pure debauchery and chaos;
the many trysts with tortured artists
washing the dishes at Nick’s and
the way her hair must have tasted
to them because it is still potent like
a fine regional pinot noir;
her constant aid to Twyla the local candy
spinner making the toffee that
everyone enjoyed on the holidays.
that I have enjoyed in recent years
as her man
according to her stories, it was
an endless holiday with so
many characters; these stories
are a spoken novel that has not
been written down, at least
some day we will journey north
and I will finally see this place,
breathe its air, visit the survivors of its
ongoing tale—past and present,
and at midnight my love and I
will dance on the tables with
By Kevin Ridgeway
before a shut door tore
home into reverberation
echoes of mispronunciations
before the lines cut
a string between two cans.
treetop smiles to name the birds
all the wrong things.
and i call this memory
a photograph: captured grace
in the digital paints, and a smile
that lingers, forgiven
even before the door shut.
By Jeffrey Graessley
Everything works in some big circle
the planets. the clock that never stops and
makes life eternal
birth and re-birth
people going to different places
product chasing cash
men chasing women
women chasing men
dogs chasing cats
until one day
it will all come to a stop
- like the millisecond
before the big bang
it will all start again
By Marc Carver
You have to empty everything out
right down to the bone.
Take a good look at yourself
do you like what you see
are you happy being you
you have to change what you are
find a new place
or find no place at all.
I found out about a poet
that left what he had
went into the wilderness
and built a house
from stone and lived in that.
devolving has to be better
if what you have is wrong.
you have to tear it up
and start again
the next time
you may just get what you want.
By Marc Carver
You’re going to love this place, it’s just
perfect. There’s nowhere else I’d rather go,”
Jackson said to his trailing colleague.
“Can’t we just sit down?” Paul replied.
“We can sit down when we get there. You’ll
love it, trust me.”
Jackson put both index fingers into his
mouth and blew hard. He reached his hand
high in the air and drew the attention of a
cabbie three cars back in the taxi stand line.
“Where can I take you?” the cabbie said
through a thick West African accent.
, there’s a great Italian place
there. I’m sure people ask about it all the
time,” Jackson said confidently.
“He’s not going to know where the place
is,” Paul interjected.
“Everyone in the city is talking about this
place Paul. I’m sure he drives there two or
three times a day.”
Paul planted his forehead against the cold
glass of the window and took a deep breath.
Jackson leaned forward grinning, sticking
his head up through the divider and
engaging the driver.
“Where from friend?”
The driver didn’t respond.
“Jackson, it’s important, can we please just
talk?” Paul tugged at his shirt.
“Where are you from?”
“Bronx,” the cabbie replied.
“No, I mean where did you come to New
The cabbie looked at Paul through the rear
view, probing him with weary eyes. He
wanted to know if Jackson was for real. Paul
moved his eyes from side to side, hoping the
driver would get the message.
“Sit down at least, we’ll be there in a
minute,” Paul finally dragged Jackson back
into his seat.
“Accra,” the driver said before shutting the
The cab flew down 4th
Street, flying through
the intersections with 15th
traffic lights were a flame beneath Jackson’s
“Oooh, I can almost taste it, you are going to
love this Paul,” Jackson licked his lips.
Paul had both hands over his face, rubbing it
back into shape. A thin line of pain pulsated
at the top of his balding head. He went back
to resting it on the cold glass, hoping it
would go away.
“I’m sure I will.”
The driver cruised past 19th
street, but when
it came time to turn, he found himself shut
out of the left lane. He rolled down the
window and hurled foreign obscenities at the
driver of a yellow cab who refused to yield.
“Just drop us off on the corner of 4th
, we’ll take it from there,” Jackson said.
The driver didn’t respond but he heard the
command. He continued to curse under his
breath as he bulled his way into the left lane
and stopped at the curb.
Jackson looked for cash in his pockets and
wallet in a rehearsed way, knowing he
would find none.
“Paul, I don’t have any cash on me, put this
on the corporate card alright?” he said.
Paul sighed and reluctantly handed it over.
“Make sure to get a receipt,” Jackson smiled
as he stepped out into the city. Paul scooted
out of the cab in three uncomfortable
movements and chased after Jackson,
already halfway down to the next corner.
Jackson saw Paul dragging and slowed his
stride. He held out his arms and tilted his
head to the sky, tossing his slick black hair
from side to side as he reveled in the beauty
of fall in the city. The sun highlighted the
salt in his black coif and the wrinkles around
“Sometimes Paul, I can’t believe we made it
here. It’s truly unbelievable.”
Paul just nodded and waited for the next
“Let’s hustle, I’m famished,” Jackson said,
taking off down the street. Paul trudged
behind for the next several blocks until they
reached the corner of 6th
stopped there and turned around, waiting for
Paul to catch up.
“Come on, come on, we’re so close,”
Jackson shouted with glee.
Paul drew up alongside him and together
they walked slowly down 6th
“Now I don’t quite remember the name but
I’ve still got this to guide me,” Jackson said,
pointing to his nose. “That aroma is
unmistakable. We’ll smell it before we can
“Just like Seacaucus,” Paul muttered under
“What?” Jackson asked.
“Are you sure it’s even on 6th
? Or on this
side of it?”
“Relax Paul, I promise you will not be
disappointed no matter how long we have to
Jackson’s nose took two trips down each
side of 6th
, one down 21st
and another up 7th
With each block, Paul’s pace had him a few
more steps behind Jackson. Finally, when
they reached 7th
, they stopped.
“Can we just stop here please? I’m tired and
we need to talk,” Paul said, pointing at a deli
promising corned beef, chips and a drink for
“We’re beyond that Paul. I don’t think you
realize how lucky we are. The greatest
restaurants in the world are at our disposal,
any one we choose. I’ve chosen, we’re
going. Besides, I think I remember where it
“It wasn’t 6th
, it was 2nd
“I’m not walking all the way there, that’s
nine more blocks.”
Jackson again put his fingers in his mouth
and whistled. No one stopped immediately,
so he whistled again, a shrill high-pitched
beacon that cab drivers two towns over
“Jackson, let’s just take the subway.”
“I’m sure someone will stop in a minute.”
“I don’t want to pay for another cab ride.
Besides, there’s a stop right there, it’ll take
us to 2nd
, almost there.”
Tickets for the subway were dispensed from
machines in the corner of the station.
Jackson repeated his cash-strapped dance in
front of the ticket machine. Paul rolled his
eyes and pushed him aside.
“I’ll take care of it,” he said.
“Thank you Paul.”
Paul struggled with the touch screen, having
to start over twice before finally getting the
option he wanted. The pain in his head
expanded down to his eye in the front and
his neck in the back. It pulsed with every
beat of his heart. He couldn’t wait to sit
They crammed into the train, packed in so
tightly that it was a challenge to stay
upright. Jackson smiled at the crowd,
reaching over them to grab a hand rail. The
shorter Paul squabbled with an old Chinese
woman carrying bags of vegetables for
“Don’t get any funny ideas,” Jackson flirted
with the elderly woman to his right. The
long reach to the handrail partially exposed
his abdomen to them. They giggled.
The train lurched forward. Paul lost his grip
and slammed into the Chinese woman, who
gave him the stink eye. More of Jackson
became exposed as he leaned forward,
eliciting an “ooh la la” from his
septuagenarian cheering section. It stopped
just as abruptly at 2nd
; the blue hairs
were sad to see him go.
“That wasn’t so bad, maybe I should ride the
subway more often,” Jackson remarked as
Paul tried to massage the pain out of his
As they started to walk up the steps and
back onto the street, Jackson paused.
“What, what is it?” Paul asked, walking up
an extra step to see eye-level with the taller
“How far does this train go?” Jackson asked.
“It goes straight to the northernmost part of
the city. Last stop is probably the suburbs.”
“Does it stop at 60th
“I don’t know, why?”
“It’s not 16th
, it’s 60th
Paul’s head throbbed.
“Let me ask you. You love this restaurant,
it’s one of your favorites, but you don’t
know its name and you’re on your third
guess for where it is?”
“No more guesses, it’s 2nd
, I’m sure.
I maybe had too much fun that night, but it’s
coming back to me now.”
“Too much fun?”
“What we should be having every night
The next train arrived five minutes later, not
half as full as the last one. Paul rushed to a
seat and collapsed into it, letting his head
rest against the window. Jackson grabbed
hold of the railing above the seat.
“How long do you think it takes?” Jackson
“I don’t know,” Paul responded.
“Why so aggravated?”
“Because you’re dragging me around to
“You’ll see clearly once we sit down at the
restaurant, trust me.”
Twenty-two stops later they arrived. Paul
had nodded off, Jackson was still wide-eyed.
He shook Paul, who cringed as is eyes
opened and the pain returned.
“Almost there. Come on.”
They walked up the steps and out onto
Street. The sun had dipped behind the
buildings and the air had gotten a few
degrees colder and crisp. The wind nipped at
Paul’s ears and gently ruffled Jackson’s hair
as they wandered up the street. Jackson
carefully examined the menus of the
restaurants on the street, carefully reviewing
them and hoping one would reveal itself as
his place. Paul was just happy they found
“See anything you like?” Paul asked.
“It’s not a question of like it’s a question of
Three more examinations and Jackson
stopped. He walked back past Paul, back
down the street to the second restaurant they
looked at. He said something to the hostess
that Paul couldn’t hear. She nodded in
affirmation and an enormous grin appeared
on Jackson’s face. He ran over to Paul and
nearly picked him up with a hug.
“Emilio’s, Emilio’s of course, it had to be
Emilio’s. This is the place, we’re here.
Jackson skipped back to the hostess and
asked for a table. She led a giddy Jackson
and a weary Paul to the back of the
restaurant, placing menus in front of them.
Jackson immediately scanned his, searching
for the long-awaited perfect meal.
“Can we finally talk?” Paul asked.
“Ah, here it is, this is what we’ll have.”
“I don’t care what it is. Get it, but can we
“Let’s order first.”
Before Paul could protest, the waiter
swooped in, having heard the word order.
“What can I get for you gentleman?” the
Paul could hold the words in no longer.
“You don’t have…” he started before
Jackson cut him off.
“After we order.”
Jackson pointed to the wine menu as the
waiter leaned in.
“Would you excuse us please?” Paul said to
Jackson rolled his eyes as the waiter bowed
his head and walked away.
“Paul, give it a rest. We’re here to eat,
whatever you have to say can wait.”
Jackson motioned to the waiter to come
back to the table. As he walked up to the
two men, Paul’s anger boiled out of his
“We’re broke,” Paul yelled, unable to
The waiter’s face turned milk white. Jackson
furrowed his brow.
“What do you mean?” Jackson asked.
“You know what I mean. You’ve been
walking around with your head in the clouds
for months now, but I know you know.
There’s no way you couldn’t know.”
Jackson’s mirth gave way to rage. His face
flushed red as he put his elbows on the table
and drew nose to nose with Paul.
“What don’t I know?”
“The company isn’t doing so well,” Paul
said nervously. Jackson’s serious face
pushed him back in his chair.
“How not so well?”
“It’s over Jackson.”
“How the hell could you let this happen?”
Jackson nearly leaped over the table. Paul
was up to the challenge, finding his
backbone before screaming a response.
“You’ve had your head in the clouds while
the company collapsed. You were so ready
to be the big man, you never had a damned
idea what we had to do to make this thing
work. It is over, the dream is done. We’ll be
lucky if that cab ride even clears on the
“Over?” Jackson’s face returned to its well-
tanned color. His anger subsided, he had no
more barks or barbs to send Paul’s way.
The heated emotions of the moment
dissipated. Paul’s pulsating enmity vanished,
replaced with the realization that he was
going down with Jackson.
“I’m sorry Jackson, but yes. We’re out.”
They both fell silent. Paul crumbled into his
chair and rubbed at his eyes. Jackson
straightened up in his chair and composed
himself. The waiter took their silence as an
“Have you gentleman decided?”
Paul shook his head, letting out a snide
chortle as he massaged the bridge of his
nose. Jackson didn’t blink. He took a sip
from his water, batted his lips together twice
and gently placed the glass on the table. He
rubbed his hands over the tablecloth,
carefully smoothing out any wrinkles. Then
he cocked his head to the side, looked the
waiter in the eyes and smiled.
“I’ll have the Chicken Valdostana.”
By Adam Riglian
the Richmond streets
are a minefield
I'm navigating by
the brady st
to the wind
as a dead man's
I left the reaper
on the mirror -
knives on my
I want his black
on the evening news.
I'm searching for
- I guess I took
By Miguel Jacq
The Low Coast
A blue future
spread like water
with its churches
the ocean’s guard
betrayed my face
to a just charge.
I looked down
from your mouth
following the torchlit globe around
its dark form
as choirs open
back to mornings
buried over us.
The light burned
through your child
as we read
his true phantom.
The painted sky
flaked like rain
we made into a book
to walk through
mazes of shapes
like the names
to hide ourselves
within a low coast.
By John Swain
Lost and Found
Lost. One pair of eyeglasses
prescription unique, last seen
at the health club
on the shelf in the shower.
Lost. One Land’s End Grecian
like the little black dress for water
Esther Williams wore.
Lost and found. Car keys
left on a dressing room bench at Kohl’s,
Found at customer service.
Chided by rep. A young girl
turned them in. You should be grateful.
Lost. Barely a month old.
Amazon Kindle 3G
cocooned in a red leather jacket,
disappeared between the hygienist’s chair
and home with only one stop
at Austin’s Saloon and Eatery.
Lost. Six months mine.
2 megapixel digital camera
with 12x optical zoom
last used to photograph the prairie,
the Bird Girl statue in the courtyard,
at Ragdale writers’ retreat
lost between girl and car.
Replacement. Lost again.
at the Vermont Country Store.
Missing two hours later.
Drove back. Frantic.
Retraced my steps. Found.
Among the wool mittens and scarves.
Lost. The blah-looking black journal
of a year’s poetry notes.
Stopped at the A&W Root Beer
near Litchfield, Illinois.
Miles down the road, missing,
called to see if it turned up.
Does it have pencil scratchings in it?
the young man asked.
Recovered. After navigating
back thirty-two miles of highway.
Found. Not taken.
Poem and Photos by Gail Goepfert
Living with Songbirds
despite four beers left in the fridge
I’m here with a glass of cranberry juice
they joke that it’s my time of the month
they sound like birds singing when they
talk to each other, the words becoming
an indefinable song the longer I listen
but it’s not terrible and I’ve always preferred
the sound of birds to the sound of elevator
doors closing or waiting room music
the flicking back and forth of stale
magazine pages—no, I’ll take the birds
and their feminine, sometimes
warbling through the branches of my
there are so many worse thing in this world
so many knives sliding between ribs
and raised voices and sweat stained with
and motorcars and asphalt and tire chains
and so I take what I have tonight
me here with cranberry juice, a fridge with
some beer left, and a notion that tomorrow
or the next decade might bring the end of the
songbirds singing, any time now, but I hope
not too soon
By James H. Duncan
Moment Reflected in
Drool-capped crocus. My eye on it – fresh
from a doubled-up winter. My butter
- to bloom as yellow, to search for the sun.
A gust that misses me ruffles time. Its dark
sky-rise a murmuration – sifted, dropped
forgot. The upright wound that marks a
for a flowerbed. How it reeks with mirrors!
All suffering in its glass, all the dead-eye
There will be blossoms soon – I have room,
a piece of warm, my white cat.
By Gillian Prew
Mirror in the Garden with
By Marlena Stewart
Lifespan of the Genus
Lycaeides Melissa Samuelis
through the wild
coating of sweetness
from their undersides
to copulate amongst the ants
my cheeks with their lavender wings
before disintegrating as
the dark afternoon sky,
lonely liquor bottles
to the bar,
their angry wives,
of the world
full of butts,
the barking dogs
inside the head
of a hangover,
of black coffee
in the stomach,
the same goddamned
the bashful flowers
inside the heart,
of the skull,
the starving footprints
in the snow
left by the wild cats
at the backdoor,
the black rings
of creeping death
inside the bathtub,
a symphony of pills
no cards, or letters
in the mailbox,
without the money,
too many poems, too much prose;
pounding the keys,
trying to find
of running water
to calm the flames,
too many broken spines
& pages piled up
around the house;
the greatest trick
wondering if a fresh coat
will fix the yellow
that their parents
are who they say
guilt by the crack
of the whip
& relief by the kick
of the boot,
into the bathroom
where it looks
as the parlor
at the end,
if i ever tried to sleep
i would sleep
By Frank Reardon
but not hurt
"kids at play"
on the front
of first born
to the color blue
fun runs dry
By Ivan Jenson
The Emotional Desert of
It was at the auto shop
and an older mechanic named Victor
sat next to me in front of the office.
He wiped the grease from his hands
and lit a cigarette.
I knew he was worried because me and
had been doing a lot of cocaine.
“I remember back in the day
I’d been clean for a couple weeks,” said
“and I got a job moving furniture.“
Me and Darrin had gone up to Reno
and we had a lot of coke
so we snorted some
and smoked a joint with some in it
what we called cocoa puffs
but I did too much
and had a minor heart attack.
“I was jonesing bad,” said Victor,
“so I pulled to the side of the freeway
and started selling the furniture
right out the back.”
The thing is, I didn’t really like coke.
Speed was OK, but what I really liked,
and I figured this out later,
was beer and whiskey.
“Tell you the truth,” said Victor,
“I don’t remember what happened after
it couldn’t have been good.”
“Yeah, I gotta watch out for that shit,” I told
and then went across the street to the 7-11
for a .99 cent hotdog.
by Jon Bennett
they had made fires
at the roadside
with darkness on their shoulders
from generation to generation
chewing the knowledge
of transient flesh
under gleaming incense
the road melts
into limpid tissue
on the bones of night
at stucco gods
feed lizards and ivy
rain washes down
onto scarlet silk
dying on rusty fences
in the cave
stare with thousand eyes
in ivory towers
By Aprilia Zank
side by side
with their growing bodies
across the cracked concrete
watching the billboards
tatter and fade
already talking about
when their parents
in the same bed
a man in the sky
when they didn’t
have to fall asleep
By Heather Minette
At dusk, when the city
has cooled to 78 degrees,
I get in the bed
of a truck without knowing where
I’m going with people I just met.
Monks, cloaked in orange,
ride on the back of motorcycles.
I’m told to hold
onto my camera and purse
so no one on a motorcycle will snatch
them. In Khmer, locals say
they think I’m French.
They think I’m beautiful.
I think they’re reckless.
They drive without helmets, weave
in and out of lanes, dart around
cars, go through red
lights seconds before
they change to green,
four or five people crammed on a
Some ride sidesaddle, don’t hold
on to anyone. Sandals
fall off feet onto the road.
No one turns back.
Cars make U-turns into oncoming traffic.
At the Royal Palace, we walk across
a four-lane street,
expect everyone to yield.
By Dawn Schout
The rain is ending
and with everything soaked
the wind turns light
fit now for flight
And through every bird
we begin our hearing
a whirl, a roar
a sprouting once more
of mud flecked
Their dirt tickling crown
loosens the ground
Their gift, a greeting:
Louder than the Trillium
than our renewed expectations
by Jeremy Nathan Marks
how delusional, the palest layer of my skin
opening, like summer, a beehive in
bravely hanging itself, enameled at last
Painting and Poem by Mari Sanchez Cayuso
All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is
-- Ecclesiastes 1:7
In the hour when cloud is not white, we take
a chance on hope, or on a thousand million
complications denying the rain. You juggle,
the skittles fly into the air and keep going,
nudging the clouds into whiteness. And a
rainbow forms—you hold out your hands
and let it juggle you into foreign skies, into
diaries God is penning while He opens shut
gates and takes away your leaf—for you are
clothed by the dawn sun, the ocean spray,
the wonder of the love of children. Dip your
toe into the sweet, eternal waters of divine
being, then fling yourself into God’s heart.
This you taught me. And that a sea is a sky.
By Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke
An unpaid bill.
A reassigned IP.
A crashed server.
A cancelled domain.
It was never there.
Not with a bang but a whimper.
By B.A. Varghese
Was T. S. Eliot a Buddhist?
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
T. S. Eliot - Four Quartets
Several years ago I taught a Buddhist class
on the profound subject of emptiness, and I
used this quote to illustrate what I felt was
our true goal in life – to consciously return
Not home in the sense of an external place,
but as an internal place of perfect inner
peace and connectedness – a state which
Buddhists enticingly call the union of bliss
Bliss refers to our most subtle and clear-
seeing level of mind, an intoxicating place
existing deep down beneath the turbulence
of our conceptions.
Emptiness is a little trickier. Essentially it is
the theory of how things don’t exist – that is,
they are empty of existing independently,
either from all other phenomena, or from the
minds that perceive them. Which is not the
same as saying that things do not exist at all!
Just that they do not exist in the way they
Of course this may sound rather strange –
our world certainly appears to be a very
solid and independent place, doesn’t it? It
feels very much as if it’s existing ‘out there’,
quite separate from our mind, which exists
But as Buddha, and now quantum physicists
have discovered, appearances are nearly
always deceptive, and our reality is far from
‘real’. Like a dream, a mirage, a magician’s
illusion… while things do exist, it is only
just, and not in the solid way they appear to.
“With our mind we make the world”
Buddha said, and while this in itself is not a
problem (in fact in the end it is the key to
the solution) failing to understanding the
world’s illusory nature is.
For when we fail to recognize the intimate
connection between mind and its
projections, we find ourselves searching
through all the world’s places for
the answer to our problems. Not
understanding the true internal origination of
our pleasure and pain, we expect more
from life than it can realistically deliver, and
are left constantly, heartbreakingly
Spiritual paths (of all descriptions) take us in
the opposite direction. Buddhist means
‘inner being’ and its practises take you on an
internal journey, returning you to your very
source, your own true nature, emptiness.
As we meditate we delve deeper and deeper
inside our own minds, exploring down
through ever more subtle levels and
challenging ourselves to redefine who we
think we are.
We try to bring our conscious awareness to
this process, even during times of sleep and
death, for it is at these times of least external
distraction that we have the greatest
opportunity to access the most clear seeing
level of mind - the clear light of bliss.
When this blissful state is manifest our mind
is naturally unclouded by the stories it
habitually creates about our world, ourselves
and others. During these moments we have a
powerful opportunity to understand our own
true nature and to reunite with our true
‘home’. Tragically, for most, this
opportunity is missed.
Like a tourist lulled into unconsciousness on
a train, we sleep through what passes by
outside the window of our perceptions,
never fully aware, and therefore never fully
able to experience it. Night after night, life
after life, our internal explorations naturally
take us ’home’, but time and again we fail
to recognize it clearly – for what it is, or for
who we are.
Hoodwinked by the dream of our own
projections, we grasp instead onto what is
not (was never) really there, except in our
own minds making…
As Albert Einstein said, “Reality is an
illusion, albeit a persistent one.”
Our search for happiness (or satisfaction,
peace, home, enlightenment) in all its
myriad expressions (as urgings for love, sex,
drugs, shoes, money, success) is really all
about this divine drive for union with our
As Eliot pointed out in the Four
Quartets, this is our real job, our highest
purpose – to return to that primordial union
of bliss and emptiness (or God, he would
call it) and to consciously know that state
for the first time. To recognize ourselves as
we really are – free of race, gender, job,
social status, ego; what’s left after all these
are gone is what there is.
But this is at least a lifetimes work, perhaps
Was T .S. Eliot a Buddhist? Being a
Christian, I’m sure he would not have said
so. And yet, unsurprisingly, it seems
our shared purpose is the same.
By Michele Seminara
The Big Dry
turned us back
from our walk
but they only spat
on the deck
better to get soaked
now they’re laughing
outside my window
had to shift his cows today
from one empty paddock
is it OK
someone else’s rain
By Maureen Sudlow
blackbirds and morning fog
By James Owens
The neighbor is clearing the front rock
garden, the tree drops prickly buds.
Today he wears clean khakis and a brown
sweater. You swear no one sees him,
sometimes he stands for a few seconds
he wants to rub his back
and you think, ah, just have a cigarette,
do it! Sit on the big rock and light one
blow the smoke high.
At the Windemere Hotel off I 10 in Tucson
you have to check in at the side window
if it’s after 10. What?
This doesn’t make sense.
There is a fire in the lobby fireplace,
there are plants, but stop- hold your wallet
open, prove who you are,
ok so the stars are not visible
this won’t matter as you cross the dead grass
and pass dirty lawn chairs,
you won’t look up.
It’s 1 am, and you think of your daughter’s
small pink bra dropping out of the opened
car hatchback as she searched
for something today,
the bra skidded across the gas station lot
the pump clicked, there were quick tears,
you want to sleep, you want to farm land,
you want to tell Peter so what,
say that back to him
50 times, 50 years ago.
In your dreams, planes stall.
Someplace near Phoenix you thought:
Pick up the bra fold it away
it is almost time to go.
By Katie Gebler
Anatomy and Geometry
Touch me light on nape of neck
Pluck my sleeve at inner elbow
Find my seams and on them breathe
In my ear, hum deep and low
Puzzle out my shoulder bones
And the knuckles of my spine
Trace the lazy whorl of hair
Swinging 'round my navel wide
Compare anatomy and geometry
Dispassionate, tell me how
These models lean on white sheets
And are drawn so simply now
By Elizabeth Cook
Her New Baby Boy
She no sooner is home then must start on a
that quickly encounters bumps, ruts and
necessitating many stops and phone calls for
crying, for help.
In time the sun comes out and the way is
and she feels more confident in herself and
crying for no particular reason excepting for
joy, for relief.
En route a tidy home has become a
warehouse of things
and all avenues inexorably now lead to a
where her little one is caged and calls out for
feeding, for love.
He grows strong and tall and she screams
out as he goes ahead
but inside she is proud and loves him like
she loves no other,
always wondering if the end of this trip she
can forestall, for her.
She wonders too if when they do get to that
she will be able to go one way and let him
go the other,
knowing while it's meant to be, she'll die
inside forever, for him.
Photo and Poem by A.G. Dumas
On Evenings Like This
On evenings like this
A cup of tea and
Is all I need.
On evenings like this
A cup of tea and
Is all I want.
Droplets of rain dissolve in my pink cup as
it stands alone on the railing.
The moist air dampening the biscuits, seated
next to it.
Warming my hands in the warm embrace of
Your gleaming eyes,
My beaming smile,
And skin soaked to the marrows.
On evenings like this
A blanket and
Is all I need.
On evenings like this
A blanket and
Is all I want.
My pink cunt blushes more than my brown
You drizzle your way through me and I
drizzle out of me.
And body enveloping infinity.
On evenings like this,
By Anjumon Sahin
Eternity through a window
By Gina Marie Lazar
Love it out, country cousin,
Mutable immutable old story in your cut
You dreamt last night,
That you drag landwards,
Name your flotsam,
Name your flotsam,
Label it serene,
Claim your country cousin,
Name him at the mean,
Of your entrance fee
Require the sigh to keep away the fears,
At your gate,
For your hate,
Under our stars.
By Robin Wyatt Dunn
Your kiss was a sweet hook clinging
to my bottom lip, coaxing the blood to sing,
to red the surface.
We read big piles of books, drank like
sea creatures, and watched one another
pound the waters.
Now we are tin fish. We swim nowhere.
You have filled my body with dead plants,
with mud and loose circuitry, but I am
not afraid anymore.
Lightning bolt, my hair has grown as long as
a bridge. It lights the people up. It makes
them feel alive.
I welcome the foot traffic.
By April Michelle Bratten
‘at the end of the day…’
at the end of the day
past my window
weaves and dives
into the scuddy grey
from a chimney
roof at one side
By Mark Redford
The Subliminal Room
That weepy October
marigolds were so full.
I made an omelet with
them. Do you remember?
All November, leaves
mixed with rain, making
streets slippery. We
listened mostly to Chopin.
Leaves droop in September
too ripe and heavy for
trees. I was careful
not to slip, dreading
when leaves would grow
dry and crumble.
Some live all winter
through the next spring.
Chased by winds, they
huddle in corners,
reminding me of mice.
I confessed to you
how I loved Russian
poets and waited for
a silent revolution,
revealing my childhood
possessed by rosaries
and nuns chanting Ave,
Ave, Ave Maria. "Your
navel exudes the warmth
of 10,000 suns", you said.
We still live in this
Jonah did not want to
leave the whale's stomach.
We continue trying to
decipher Chopin. Your
eyes are two bunches of
morning glories. Sometimes
the sky is so violet.
Will we ever live by the
sea, Michael, and eat
carrots? I do not want
my sight to fail. Hurry,
the dew is drying on the
By Joan McNerney
River Kelvin. Glasgow. Scotland
By Ken Windsor
What they don’t tell you when you’re
Is how beautiful the struggle is
How one day you’ll look back on those days
As the most gold tinted of your life
What they don’t tell you when things
And you don’t have to sweat and reach for
every little thing
Is that comfort is insidious
That it puts up walls painted in pretty colors
To hide the institutional grey underneath
How tendrils come up from the couch
Pretty little clinging vines that tighten when
you try to move
What they don’t tell you is the walls are
made of cardboard
That bend and mildew when it rains
That the tendrils grow tiny thorns that
irritate the skin
That soon the embrace of comfort becomes
hands around your neck
When that happens, you have two choices
You can stop resisting and accept your
Convincing yourself that you aren’t settling
That really, this is such a nice little life
And comfort just likes you a whole lot and
doesn’t mean to be suffocating
Or you can begin the process of
disentangling the vines
And knocking down the walls.
I suggest your motions be covert at first,
Snipping away thorns when comfort has it’s
Tiny movements to prepare for the break
But soon, you’ll just have to take that leap
Wrench comfort’s hands away
And kick the walls down
I promise you, it’s the only way you’ll
remember that your alive.
By Brandi Reynolds
At low tide
we crossed a path
cloaked from water,
listened to the island’s memory
conversing with a marinade of alphabets.
the last breathing
riot of day
escaped into stars,
rock pools spangled
with a midnight sky,
seeking the imperishable vein
the blood of words
motioned into light.
By Byron Beynon
He stood there,
staring back at me,
odd expression upon his face,
he smiled after I did
from the other side
of a huge pane window
on the newly renovated office building,
appearing a bit more disheveled
than I remembered, more wrinkles
supporting his grimace
and receding hairline,
when I nodded hello.
I use to know him well,
athletic, sculpted, artistic,
a well defined physique,
but his apparent paunch
negated any recent activity.
This window man
I thought I knew,
musician, writer, runner, dreamer,
now feasted off the stale menu
of advancing age,
aches, excuses, laziness,
failing eyesight and an appetite
for attained rights
decades seem to imply.
Yet I accepted him,
embraced him for who he was,
aware that he would be the lone soul
to accompany me
toward the tunnel’s light
when all others have drawn the blinds.
“Walk with me,” I say.
He stays close.
By Michael Keshigan
From home to home:
Driving back to DC from
Jersey, Sunday evening
Roll down the windows
It’s humid, a breeze lays over the dashboard
all the cars slow down along the B-W
No alarms and we’re creeping along,
while the tree branches let the last bits of
This weather, all wet and clogged,
Keeps a motorist awake
A change from air conditioning,
Pleasantly sticky, like whip cream,
There are moments on the road,
That you want to preserve in mason jars,
Old music of NPR evening radio,
Bop from the big band,
Patting the wheels,
Padding the wheels,
As you turn toward the city,
Johnny Dollar is at it again,
Stay tuned for Dragnet,
My favorite type of criminals,
With the choppy dialog of Joe Friday,
Brisk from the speakers,
And the dusk light,
Glowing in the horizon,
A strange comfort washes over me,
As if the words will never stop,
And the light, the light of the evening sky,
Will never turn to black,
By Joe Donnelly
I am married to a mirage.
The moon rises under
The meat of your tongue.
Forty five years now I have
Worked to pull the muck
From your mouth.
Still it is all exit signs
It is unbearable out here
In the desert having
To endure this intolerable
Heat while you dream up
Your next big mistake.
By Dawnell Harrison
my father scrapes
scales from the fish
his callused hand cups
the shimmer of skin
finds the ruby-bead
button of the belly
that the knife splits
what filled the body
to cold white porcelain
the knife alone remains
By Marcia Pradzinski
Longing to step away from the world,
we bought a house in a rustic beach town
where weatherworn picket fences were
buried aslant by migrating sands and where
people moved through their days in a
brightly-illuminated present. Soon we did,
too, and we felt some relief as we became
similarly unworried by the past. But no
place is without ghosts, and eventually we
learned the troubling story of the house
across the street.
A generation earlier, this house had
been headquarters for a small but violent
political sect. For years, no connection was
made between bombings in the capital and
the remote cottage tucked behind a
flowering hedge. When police finally raided
the house, they found a library of plastic
explosives, neatly marked and shelved. The
meticulous subversives were never found.
The house remained empty. Few people
knew the barest facts of the case.
We had only just learned them
ourselves on a day we spent in difficult
telephone negotiations with mother’s
caregivers over how much morphine she
should receive and when. Finally satisfied
that she would rest comfortably, we
prepared to view the moon, which that
evening was expected to reach a spectacular
perigee. After our evening meal, we retired
to the broad, south-facing porch, and rolled
up the bamboo shades. The moon could not
yet be seen, but it was rising quickly behind
the eucalyptus windbreak that flanked the
house across the street. Already, the night
world was brightly lit by its white beams,
which seemed to reveal more than the sun’s
had by day.
We stood silently, sharing the sight,
when a movement within the hedge captured
our attention. The head of a creature
emerged – large, spoon-shaped, and
reptilian. Having pulled itself to the top of
the hedge, the creature paused – its green
marble gaze intent upon us -- before
beginning to glide soundlessly downward, as
if gravity had no pull. The animal touched
down. That gaze again. He was coming our
We retreated to the rear of the house,
locking doors, checking windows. But
somehow, and against any logic, the creature
had gotten inside our house. We could hear
his claws on the kitchen floor. How
impossible it seems now to explain what
came next, but at the moment we knew the
creature had joined us, we also realized that
he meant us no harm.
Time passed and we simply shared the
house, at first moving from room to room to
ensure our mutual privacy. Friends offered
advice. One said he could arrange to have
the creature taken away and killed. “No,” we
declared, “it must be preserved, it must be
studied.” We rushed our friend out the door,
promising to call an animal-rights group.
And although we have spoken to no expert
and engaged no animal wrangler, from then
until now there has been harmony in the
moonlight and beneath the eucalyptus, and
the creature sleeps curled at the foot of our
By Heidi Benson
Children of the graveyard
By Bernadette McCabe
Son Et Lumiere
and this is the history
of Quebec, this tiny landscape.
red dots flash an army’s advance.
a puff of smoke, a flare.
history of a country I never
knew, our neighbor North.
all I thought I'd learned
was in Evangeline but that
was vague and draped in spanish moss.
now it is 1759 and we are in
Quebec, the plains of Abraham
and both generals are dying,
(see the blue lights) the English Wolf
and the French Montcalm,
this is where they drew their last
breaths. the wars blur at the end
when we invaded. lights go on now
in the mini-theater,
the smoke diffuses,
the little soldiers rest.
By Janet McCann
The Wisdom of John in
John lives on the farm with Alice and their
two boys. John is a calm, talented man, full
of ironic humour and strength. Alice,
talented too, does domestic chores, while
John takes care of the machines, plants,
vegetables and fields. When necessary they
help each other and both adapt readily to
anything the farm needs.
It’s winter and the trees are shedding swiftly
and John is more frequently raking leaves
that fall around the main house; it’s become
a daily chore.
“The trees are like the geese,” he tells me in
his deep, calm voice. “While I rake,” he
demonstrates with big gestures, “leaves fall
right behind my back.”
“But how are they like geese?” I ask.
“The geese,” he says, bending forward,
“they eat,” he points to his mouth, while his
other hand waves at his bottom, “and while
they eat, it goes out the other end. Just like
John and Alice work hard. He has also taken
on the role of farm security, and has, more
than once, chased a gang of crooks on his
own with two pangas and no fear.
They don’t drink during the week, not a
drop. They drink on the weekend, and drink
wine till the big box is done. A drunken
night, Alice screamed for help; John was
trying to hang himself from a tree. It was
suggested it was in his character to be
dramatic, after a few drinks.
But he hates the crooks, whom he sees
everywhere in the new South Africa, from
the squatters to the top of the ANC. He
won’t let his sons be schooled at an English
school. He is proud of his Zulu roots, and so
doubly beset by the new world misery.
Many wise men, surveying their country,
must have thought to hang themselves from
John is raking again today, and, as is our
custom, we have a brief talk. He’s looking
out for his eldest son, due back from
school. John suspects his son has been
hanging out at a local arcade. John dislikes
the local arcade, which is frequented
by youths from the squatter camp. “At the
camp,” he says, “they are not like us.
Everything is quick there, they build a tin
house and dig up the grass to have a dance
space while good music [he smiles
ironically] comes out from four big
speakers, so tall. The women fight there,
they lift up short skirts and go so,” and he
does a jig as if he’s hiking a skirt and
prancing into a boxing ring. Like the geese
and trees, it makes him smile. “In the camp
you have a friend today, he is your
neighbour, and then tomorrow he’s not your
friend. And blood solves everything there.
Two men find money together to share one
beer and one man drinks it all down, quickly
down, like so, and then they fight. They
fight to blood over one beer. This is man,
not like the dog or the cow or the horse or
He spots his son coming home, and secretly,
carefully, seriously, watches him, looking
for some sign of guilt or defiance, and I
realize then that John is a good father.
He shakes his head as one resigned, lest he
become angry, but resignation, as has been
said to me, might be an expression of
resilience. He didn’t, after all, hang himself
from that tree.
Many good fathers, surveying their country,
must have thought to hang themselves from
May this country come to summer, when
only weak leaves fall from trees.
By Philip Vermaas
I selected Baked Alaska for dessert
My waiter was small and jolly
but I wonder if
in his cabin
he pierces a voodoo doll
made to look like an American passenger
We were on the Holland America line
The waiter was Indonesian
Once colonized by the Dutch
those islanders have found a new way
to be of use
The waiter tells us that once
he makes enough money
he will rejoin his family
but the years pass
his son grows up
and moves away
his wife dies
one cohort of passengers
is replaced by another
the boat passes through the canal again
he is hardly cognizant of where in the world
he is jolly as he serves us
By Mitch Krochmalnik Grabois
Physicians of the utmost fame
Were called at once, but when they came
They answered, as they took their fees,
‘There is no cure for this disease.’
–– Hilaire Belloc
It was a momentary lapse in judgment––a
split second impulse with grave
consequences––that impelled Connor
Hickman to breathe his germs into his wife’s
If she gets my bug we may not have to go to
her parent’ house, reasoned Connor, as he
exhaled. The last thing he wanted to do was
spend three days with his in-laws in upstate
Only seconds after his thoughtless attempt to
infect Clare Hickman, she sneezed. Now I’ve
done it. How stupid and selfish of me. You
know she has a weak immune system.
The next day Clare had a fever and felt achy
“I think I caught your cold, honey,” she
informed Connor, without accusation.
“Bound to happen when we’re so close to
Connor felt terrible. Yes, maybe she would
have gotten my cold anyway, but maybe not
if I hadn’t placed my bacteria on her lips.
He felt like a criminal for behaving so
incorrigibly and chided himself for his
unconscionable behavior. Let me be the one
who gets the most sick, dear God . . . please.
* * *
Two days later, he took his wife to their
longtime doctor, who prescribed an
antibiotic for what he termed a “nasty
“Some really strange bug out there,”
observed Dr. Corman. “Making people feel
real odd. Won’t believe some of the things
I’ve heard. Wildest symptoms.”
“Like what?” Connor asked.
“Sorry, doctor-patient privilege. Can’t say,
but take my word for it. Most unusual.”
“I hear off tune violins and then some things
look real flat as if they’ve been pressed
down by a big weight,” commented Clare,
out of the blue.
“Like that,” responded Corman, looking at
Clare. “Just lay low, take the pills, and drink
lots of liquids. You should be better in a
couple of days. You don’t sound all that
great yourself, Connor.”
“Yeah, I’ve had something, but I feel pretty
good. Maybe a little funny, but generally
okay. She probably got this from me,”
replied Connor, sheepishly.
“It’s possible. You never know. These
things do jump from host to host, so
proximity is a factor.”
I knew it. I gave it to her. You’re such a son-
of-a-bitch. God, make her better, pleaded
Connor to himself as they returned home.
By evening, Clare appeared improved, and
Connor was thankful, but he still felt
culpable for his wife’s illness. Why’d I do
that? he asked himself over and over, his
sense of guilt undiminished.
* * *
What ground Clare had gained the night
before she had lost by the next morning. Her
symptoms were twice what they had been
and now she was vomiting. Connor called
Dr. Corman, who advised taking her to the
ER where he was presently on call.
“I don’t like the sound of this, Connor. Get
her here as soon as you can.”
It took every once of energy Clare could
muster to put her clothes on, and at one
point she nearly fainted.
“You’ll be okay, honey. They’ll clear this
thing right up,” Connor told his wife as he
deposited her into their car.
“You’re so good to me, Connor. I’m so
Not that lucky. You have a creep for a
husband. How could I have done this to
you? The one person I love more than
anything, and I deliberately make you sick.
What’s wrong with me? lamented Connor,
his foot pressed hard against the accelerator.
Minutes after reaching the hospital in El
Centro, Clare was undergoing a series of
tests. Connor sat anxiously in the waiting
room. Directly across from him was one of
the loveliest women he had ever seen. While
Connor mindlessly thumbed through a
ragged and ancient National Geographic, he
found he could not keep his eyes from
drifting in her direction. To his surprise and
considerable satisfaction, she glanced at
him. Finally, he gathered the courage to
speak to her.
“My wife is here with the bug . . . or
“My husband, too,” responded the woman,
smiling beguilingly. “Guess it’s the season.”
“I suppose,” replied Connor, returning her
smile. “Just getting over the grip myself.
Think my wife caught it from me.”
* * *
For several more minutes they lingered in
each other’s warm gaze, and Connor felt his
“You look familiar. Do I know you?”
“Funny, I was just about to ask you the same
thing. By the way, my name is Linda,”
replied the shapely brunette with piercing
“Connor . . . Connor Hickman. Linda
“Nice name,” replied Connor, completely
“Yeah, real unique,” laughed the captivating
“I mean Linda. Always loved that name. I
had a crush on a Linda when I was little. In
fact, she kind of looked like . . ..”
The woman rose and took a seat next to
Connor. Her perfume aroused him, causing a
stir in his lower extremities.
“There’s something about you . . ..”
whispered Linda, feeling light-headed and
“Exactly how I feel. Like something is, ah . .
.” muttered Connor, the ground seeming to
roll under his feet.
“Should we . . .?”
“Yes . . . yes let’s,” said Connor, clutching
her arm and standing tentatively.
“What about them?”
“You know… them,” said Linda, nodding in
the direction of the emergency room doors.
“Oh, them. They’re sick,” said Connor
“Of course, I forgot,” chuckled Linda.
The blissful couple clung to each other and
made their way out of the hospital.
“Nice sunset,” observed Linda pressing
“I’ve never seen both suns look so
beautiful,” he agreed.
“Do you fly, Connor? I mean really high?”
“Yes . . . yes, I do,” he answered, extending
By Michael C. Keith
bob in eddies
spin in debris,
of the old
I am told
what I need
when I point
I love the soul
By Matthew Harrison
Listening to Electric
Tiny ants invade your house,
spilling over the window sill.
The ceiling fan stirs the air
until it’s as warm as your beer.
Ants speckle the sea-green tile floor.
The organ swirls
as the girl in the lemon dress
steps up to the mic.
Glowing, she sings in Khmer.
It is 1967.
She has no worries.
She is sixteen
and will not live to see thirty.
By Marianne Szlyk
Beautiful Kids of Turtuk
By Nishant Verma
I promised to make her breakfast
and I’m sure that's what convinced her
to stay ... we slept together last night,
because I didn’t want her sleeping
on my couch and she didn’t want
me sleeping there either … we slept
together but didn't "have sex",
because that isn’t what we're about ...
I gave her one of my shirts to use
as a makeshift nightgown so she
wouldn’t have to sleep in her own clothes
overnight and I noted with some delight
that she emerged from the bedroom
this morning wearing just the shirt …
I thought this was nifty, since it said
something but I wasn’t sure what ...
Still sleepy, she was genuinely grateful
that coffee was ready and she sat
at the kitchen table wearing just my shirt
with the coffee mug she’d chosen close to
just like Sally Duberson did years ago
when she was fully nude as Miss January
in the greatest centerfold pose ever ...
For a micro-moment I had a fleeting fantasy
about her inviting me to kiss her intimately
but that isn’t what we were about,
as I've mentioned ... I asked her what
she would like for breakfast and she said,
“I would really like waffles but I know
we’d have to go out for waffles and you
promised to make me breakfast.”
I looked at her, sitting at my kitchen table
being not as nude as Sally Duberson once
and replied, "I actually have a waffle-maker,
so we can indeed do waffles."
"Awesome!" she said, responding
like so many of her generation
would surely have done in the same
Yes, I’ve heard the word before
but not from a muse being as tempting
as she surely knew she was,
sitting where she was, drinking coffee
the way she was, wearing only what she was
and that was indeed awesome ...
By D. A. Pratt
In Love Again
Out of the brutal pain
Comes sudden peace
Out of the utter chaos
Comes sudden cease
Out of the loneliness
Comes a sudden friend
And suddenly, out of nowhere
I'm in love again
By Ashley Strain
On an Orchid Road
On this rough-hewn road
through jungle mountains, my breath
is snatched away by
the ivory, by the lilac
orchids swaying in the rain.
My thoughts drift to my
father—these, his favorite
flowers—& I wish
to gather them into a
bouquet to gift his Spirit.
By Lorraine Caputo
Indian Moon Message
If you ask the government, they'll probably
deny it. If you ask the Navajo, they'll laugh
and say it's so.
The April morning air was brisk. A gentle
breeze from the east nudged cloud wisps
across the turquoise sky. Johnathan Etcitty
kept as close an eye on his 10 year old
grandson, Greg, as he did on his sheep. Full
of a grandfather’s pride, Johnathan thanked
the Creator for giving him a strong and
respectful grandson. Greg’s first ever
journey to summer sheep camp and
Johnathan’s first time without his fourteen
year old grandson, Peterson, Greg’s older
brother. Just the two of them would make
the long trek through the western part of the
Navajo reservation to the coolness and
abundant buffalo grass of the mountain
Johnathan smiled as he remembered Greg’s
recent ninth birthday. Greg had tugged at his
shirt and looked him square in the eyes, so
serious, so full of confidence and had said,
“Grandfather, I’m ready.” Johnathan had
been puzzled by the announcement. “What
are you ready for my grandson?” he had
asked. “I’m ready for sheep camp,
grandfather. Remember, you told me you
went to sheep camp when you were nine.
I’m nine too.” Gratitude and happiness had
filled Johnathan’s heart and soul. His
grandson wanted to follow in his footsteps--
an answered prayer. He had laughed, tousled
Greg’s obsidian black hair, and said, “Yes,
you are ready, and you will go to sheep
On their way to sheep camp and shifting
from memory to sun shimmered sand,
Johnathan looked for Greg and soon spotted
him cradling a lamb as he walked slowly
around the outer circle of grazing sheep.
Another memory, this one painful, Peterson,
Johnathan’s right-hand-man, and only other
grandson, was not with them. He had to stay
back at boarding school in Ganado. He
recalled with disgust the day he and Grace,
his wife, had gone to the Bureau of Indian
Affairs boarding school to tell the teachers
Peterson would go to sheep camp.
Johnathan had been deeply offended. The
teachers had shown him no respect as their
elder. Had rudely said Peterson would not be
going anywhere. He must and would stay
with them at boarding school. Johnathan
saw a huge sign by Peterson’s dormitory,
large, red, Whiteman’s words. He had asked
Peterson what it said. He remembered
how Peterson had got real quiet, his head
down, feet scraping the earth. He had to ask
him twice to answer. Not the respectful of
elders grandson Johnathan knew. In broken
Navajo, Peterson had said, “Grandfather, it
says: “TRADITIONS ARE THE
STUMBLING BLOCKS OF PROGRESS.
The BIA made every Navajo child go to
boarding school to be educated in the
Whiteman’s ways. Johnathan shook his head
at the thought of Navajo children, not
allowed to go home to their families;
punished for speaking Navajo or praying in
the Navajo way. The teachers cutting their
beautiful long hair, took away the clothes
made for them by their mothers and
grandmothers, and made them wear
Whiteman’s clothes. Christians, they forced
them to be Christians, as if that was the only
right way to believe. And now a whole
generation of Navajo grandchildren couldn’t
even understand or talk to their
grandparents. The Navajo language and
traditional ways were being wiped out
because the Whiteman thought he knew
everything. What they didn't know or care
to know was that a Navajo family's heart
was broken every time their children were
stolen from them.
Johnathan drifted back from his thoughts
and looked for Greg. His heart began to
pound as he looked in all directions but no
Greg in sight. He strode towards the sheep
milling in confusion at the top of the sand
dune. He could see his grandson's tracks
disappear over the top of the next dune but
no Greg. He ran to the spot where they
disappeared. Just as he neared the crest of
the sand ridge, Greg exploded over the top
waving and babbling about men from the
skies and stars. Greg was so disturbed he
ran headlong into his grandfather and they
both tumbled down the sand dune, feet and
sand flying into the air until they flopped to
a stop at the bottom.
Greg immediately jumped to his feet and
tugged at his grandfather’s shirt pulling him
towards the dune. Johnathan gently but
firmly grabbed Greg by his elbow and
pulled him in the opposite direction toward
the shade of a nearby sandstone boulder. He
had to get Greg out of the sun, into the
shade, and cool him off or he could
die. Johnathan was certain he was sun
sick. To his grave consternation and
amazement, Greg threw himself onto the
sand and refused to go anywhere but back
up the sand dune. "You're sun sick. You
must get into the shade." Still, Greg refused
to budge, begging his grandfather to go and
see “the men from the sky.” Now Johnathan
was scared. He had heard of sun sickness so
bad that people saw things that were not
there. They were so weakened of spirit and
mind that evil spirits took control of them
and made them go crazy.
This sun sickness had never happened
before to anyone in his mothers’ clan, the
Folded Arms People, his father's Red
Running into the Water Clan, his wife's
Bitter Water Clan, or her father's Bad
Lands People Clan. It must be that
Cherokee blood of his non-Navajo mother
that made him susceptible. Johnathan knelt
down beside Greg who was still raving
about Star People. He pulled his canteen off
his hip and poured water over Greg's face
and mouth. Greg sputtered and chocked,
wiping the water from his eyes.
"Grandfather, you’re drowning me," Greg
said, "I'm not sick, the star people are really
here. Please! Go look grandfather."
Johnathan began to pray much harder.
He needed all the spiritual help he could get,
so he took out his pollen pouch, sprinkled
the pollen over Greg and prayed for his
ancestors to forgive his Cherokee weakness
and make the Navajo blood within him
strong so he would overcome this
sickness. With the first drops of pollen,
Greg closed his eyes and became quiet and
still. Johnathan was relieved. The medicine
and prayers were working. After what
seemed an eternity, Greg slowly opened his
eyes and said, "Grandfather, I am not sun
sick; there is something very strange on the
other side of that dune. Please, go and
see." Reaching down, Johnathan took
Greg's hand and pulled him to his
feet. Together they trudged up to the crest
of the dune.
There, at the bottom of the dune, were two
legged beings walking around in strange
clothes of silver as shiny as a newly polished
concho belt. Johnathan saw one of the
strange beings driving an odd contraption
like no pick-up truck or fancy tourist car he
had ever seen. Greg looked up to his
grandfather and whispered, "Do you see
them?" All Johnathan could do was nod in
astonishment. "What are they?" Greg asked.
"Are they the Holy People? “Uhhff, don't
think so,” Johnathan replied. "I never heard
of Holy People driving around like that."
Johnathan stared straight ahead at the
strange sight, searching for some
explanation of what he was seeing.
Johnathan felt a hard tug on the back of his
shirt. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a
young Whiteman in camouflage fatigues
holding a large weapon. The soldier said
something to him in English, a loud, rude
tone, not respectful of Johnathan, his elder,
so he ignored him and his rudeness. Two
more soldiers quickly appeared. One with a
rifle, stopped next to Greg. The third, with a
holstered pistol on his hip, stood in front of
the soldiers and stared hard at Johnathan,
looking straight into his eyes in a very
disrespectful manner and barked out words
in English. Johnathan spotted the single
silver bars on his shoulders and knew the
pistol carrier was an officer, a Lieutenant.
Johnathan continued to ignore him, “I’m not
in your army,” Johnathan thought.
The officer then spoke to Greg in English
and Greg began to answer him in the
English his Cherokee mother had taught
him. Greg spoke fearlessly. Johnathan felt
proud of Greg’s self assurance. After a few
minutes and a lot of words, Greg stepped
towards Johnathan. He told him in Dine that
the soldiers wanted Johnathan and Greg to
go with them. Greg looked very seriously at
his grandfather and said, “We have no
choice, grandfather, they are angry with us
and they have guns. We must go with
them." Johnathan and Greg walked with the
soldiers down the side of the sand dune
towards the strange silver men and then
right past them and over the next sand dune.
Hidden behind the dune was a trailer. The
officer led them up the steps of the trailer
and then inside. More Whitemen were inside
but they were not wearing uniforms. A man
in a white shirt and a tie stepped forward
and offered his hand to Johnathan. He was
tall with glasses and greased hair where he
wasn't bald. His eyes were friendly. He said
something in English to Johnathan but he
only understood a few words, so he did not
reply. Then glasses man turned to Greg and
spoke to him. Then the glasses man talked
with the officer, and chairs were pushed
over to Johnathan and Greg, and the soldiers
left. He offered them water and food. He
seemed to know how to be respectful.
Johnathan started to think that the man with
glasses could be a good man. The glasses
man spoke to Greg for a long time looking
over at Johnathan and nodding and smiling.
“Grandfather, remember when we looked at
the T.V. at the trading post. Remember
when we watched the man in the big can
flying high in sky above Earth. One of those
men out there in the silver suit was the one
we saw. They are practicing here because
our land is like the moon and far from cities.
They don’t want the Russians to find out
about how they do things. He says if we
promise to never tell anyone, he will let us
go" Johnthan said to Greg, “Tell the man
with glasses, he has my word. "Tell the man
I want to send a message to the moon from
the Navajo.” Greg looked puzzled. “Do as I
say,” Johnathan said with firmness. Greg
shrugged his shoulders and turned to the
man and translated his grandfather's request.
The man looked very serious, leaned back in
his chair, held his chin in his hand and
seemed to be thinking real hard. Suddenly,
the man broke out in a broad smile and
started nodding his head and saying, "Yes!
Yes!" And other words that Johnathan did
not understand. The man spoke very
excitedly to Greg, making many gestures in
the air. Johnathan was very puzzled with so
much being said about something so simple.
Just put down in writing a message for the
moon. Take it up there in a jar, and leave
it. The man jumped up from his chair and
went into another room. While he was gone,
Greg explained to his grandfather the man
liked his idea. Greg told his grandfather that
they had a recorder machine that could
remember his grandfather's words and even
speak his message in his own voice.
The man with glasses came back, sat down,
and placed the tape recorder on his lap. He
plugged in the microphone and tested it,
recording his own voice and then listening
to it. Satisfied, he turned to Greg and
said something to him. Greg turned to his
grandfather and said, "The man is ready to
record your message. He wants you to
touch your chin when you are ready to speak
and he will turn the machine on." Johnathan
immediately touched his chin. The man
slowly touched the machine. Johnathan
spoke clearly and firmly in Navajo. The man
shrugged his shoulders, turned off the tape
recorder, and leaned back in his chair, and
then said something to Greg. "Grandfather,
he wants to know what you said. What
should I tell him?" Without hesitation,
Johnathan said, "Tell him it is a Navajo
greeting for the moon people. Tell him no
one will ever know what we saw and we
need to go to our sheep and take them to the
next water hole before the night comes."
Siegfried, made it his personal crusade to
make sure the greeting from the Navajo
people was included in the time capsule the
Apollo mission took to the moon. He kept
his own personal copy of the message. Over
time, he regretted that he did not have a
translation of the grandfather's message.
One day in June, four years after the Moon
mission, NASA needed a project manager to
attend a meeting at Los Alamos National
Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Siegfried happily volunteered. He knew the
Navajo reservation was only a short drive
from Los Alamos. When the meetings at Los
Alamos concluded, Siegfried drove the 65
miles to the reservation. At the first
reservation service station he came to
Siegfried excitedly grabbed his tape recorder
and strode quickly to the gas station office.
A group of Navajo were lounging in chairs
laughing and conversing in that
indecipherable Navajo language. They
became silent as soon as he came inside. He
asked the Navajo clerk if he spoke English
and Navajo. The clerk, a Navajo man around
25 or 30 nodded, smiled broadly, and said,
"I can sell you anything you need in English
or Navajo." Everyone but Siegfried
laughed. He had the feeling that he was
very, very, out of place, as if he had entered
a foreign land. Siegfried hesitantly replied,
"I don't want to buy anything, I just have
this tape recording I need translated. It is
very important. I hope you can help
me." The clerk nodded as he motioned
Siegfried aside to wait on two Navajo
women who had approached the counter.
Siegfried had seen both women get out of
their truck as he was getting his tape
recorder out. Both Navajo women had been
in the cabs of the trucks and Navajo men
were in the pick-up beds. In between female
customers, Siegfried asked the clerk why it
appeared that only the women were driving.
"Because they own everything," the Clerk
replied. “We are motherarchal like the
Earth." Siegfried frowned for a moment.
"Oh, you mean matriarchal. Your people are
matriarchal," he said to the clerk. "Yeah,
like I said, motherarchal. You aren't from
around here, are you mister." Siegfried
began to feel uncomfortable. He was
accustomed to being in charge and sure of
his ability to intellectually and
authoritatively take command of all
situations. But this was completely different.
He was completely surrounded by Indians,
not another white face in sight. He realized
that for the first time in his life, he was the
minority. “What is it you want again?" the
clerk asked. Siegfried, smiling awkwardly,
stepped up to the counter and set his tape
player on the counter. He fiddled with
the controls, adjusting the volume as he
spoke to the clerk. "I have a tape recording
of a Navajo man who gave me a message
that was sent to the moon and left
there. This message is very important to
me," he said as he pushed the play button
and the voice of Johnathan Etcitty filled the
At the end of the message, he pushed the
stop button and looked nervously at faces
expressing what appeared to be
astonishment. In a slow sputter of snorts and
then uncontrolled laughter, the Navajo's
surrounding him laughed until tears were
running from their eyes. "What's so funny,"
Siegfried asked in exasperation. Each and
every one of them waved him off as they
laughed their way out the door and back
to their trucks. Turning to the clerk, he
emphatically asked, "What's so funny?" The
clerk struggled to stop laughing long enough
to say, "It’s a top secret Navajo message."
And he continued laughing as Siegfried
picked up his tape player and walked out of
the office feeling thoroughly baffled and
Feeling frustrated and angry, Siegfried
decided he could only stomach one last
attempt. He pulled into the parking lot of a
building with a sign identifying it as a
Bureau of Indian Affairs office. He walked
into the reception area, tape player under his
arm, and asked the young female Navajo
receptionist if there was someone on the
staff who spoke Navajo. She disappeared
into the hallway behind her desk, and
returned with an Anglo man. Siegfried,
introduced himself, and explained his need
to have the taped message translated.
The man introduced himself as Herb Cook, a
staff Anthropologist. They walked back to
his office exchanged pleasantries for a few
minutes until Herb, who seemed to be in a
hurry, asked Siegfried to play the tape. With
much hesitation and anxiety, Siegfried
clumsily fussed with the tape player. After a
few looks of impatience from Herb,
Siegfried pushed the play button and stared
intently at Herb’s face which immediately
cracked a broad smile that exploded into the
now all too familiar uncontrollable laughter.
Siegfried now really and truly felt like the
odd man out.
Tears streamed from Herb's eyes as he
gasped for breath and asked, "This was sent
to the moon?" Siegfried impatiently replied,
“Yes! It was sent to the moon. What does it
say?" After much effort to catch his breath
and control his laughter, Herb replied,
"Literally, this is the message you sent to the
moon.” The old man said: “Don't believe a
word these Whitemen say. They are here to
steal your land and steal your children."
Art and Prose by Glenn Johnson
Burning Down to Ashes
I burned down to ashes once too often
for my age, advanced; but since blame,
like guilt, demands yet another lopsided
amount of our time, given cable news
networks, like Fox, setting programs
up on afternoons to be like prizefights,
I am trying to adjust my lone lifestyle
to be more harmonic, like the cooling
vibrations of my wind chimes that hang
down from the eave of my porch, caressing
each other so lightly you'd think they were
celestial, not a term to define our culture
or me, my singularity with self and wine,
until tonight, when I rose out of my ashes.
By Ronald Moran
The ancient woman
sings her shrill monody
in the distance
splintering the calm
that stab at life
like nocturnal howls
from the pack.
There is survival
within that wailing voice
as it drowns out
the songs of the doves
and all the blood-red leaves
that line this soft path
By Peter L. Scacco
There are mornings
whose blues are unspeakable,
whose yellows are far too dandelion
to dilute under sun.
You should have died in November.
I could count you in raw clouds,
reflected in reds rotting to brown.
I could paint all color siphoned to straw,
brighten it with blood kissed from my
caught on the skeletons of roses.
But there is room for loss
even in blooming. I can mourn
you vineless, thornless,
worn open as the hole I tear
over my chest, where my heart was.
By Susan Daniels
Delusions are thieves
under cover of darkness.
Though you may hear faint crashing
from the downstairs of your subconscious,
pretending the footsteps are a dream
is much easier to do.
But sooner or later the prowling scrounger
tiptoes to the threshold of your door,
twists the knob with silence and arrogance,
steps into the moonlight cutting through
your bedroom window,
and freezes, wide-eyes
searching back through your retinas in fear.
A finger rests on the trigger
of the revolver beneath your pillow.
What you stand for means nothing
until you can fire a round
between the eyes of self-deception,
for surrendering allows
the delusion to plunder
the fabric of your soul.
By Conrad Schafman
Moment in a Marriage
After all these years
my wife at the ironing board,
perfect in panties.
By Donal Mahoney
Artist Delving Into Her
by Ernest Williamson
Better to remember this
I found an old book
with a photo inside
of the ocean and a
pair of bare feet
and an inscription
that wasn’t meant for me
but that I love.
“Better to remember
this than me” it says
and I think how a gift
from a stranger can be
so much easier to treasure.
You give gifts. But they
are not what I asked for.
Not what I need.
But this is not what I want to say.
It is grey outside today
full of clouds and rain
and it makes the earth
seem like it holds more
color than ever before.
The soil is the brownest
brown I have seen in ages
and the grass a most vibrant
It’s almost not to be believed.
It makes me wonder if some
other force is at work in
our heads and eyeballs,
but I know the truth.
You can’t see the green without the grey.
I am like the green
and often go unseen.
By Susan Sweetland Garay
ADAM RIGLIAN is a Boston-based writer who
recently ended an unrequited seven-year love
affair with journalism. Newsprint and pixels left
behind, he is plodding along as the writer of an
occasional short story. You can perhaps one day
read his debut novel, Nonstarter, if he can ever
finish revising it. Until then, enjoy his day-to-
day musings at adamriglian.com.
ADENA BAILEY lives in Oregon with her two
children. She works in health care and enjoys
taking pictures and writing.
A.G.DUMAS is a longtime writer who lives in
New Jersey. He, like many of us, resorts to
poetry when he has an emotional upheaval -- and
doesn't know how else to express it.
ALLY MALINEKO has been writing stories
and poems for a while now and occasionally she
gets things published. Her second book of poems
entitled, Crashing to Earth is forthcoming from
Tainted Coffee Press and her first novel for
children Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb was
recently published by Antenna Books. She lives
ANJUMON SAHIN is originally from Assam
but has been residing in Delhi since 2007. A
passionate lover of books and animals, she is
pursuing her M.Phil degree in English literature
from the University of Delhi while working as an
Assistant Professor there till the winds fly her to
a new land.
APRIL MICHELLE BRATTEN currently
lives in Minot, North Dakota. Her first full
length poetry collection, It Broke Anyway, is
available now from NeoPoiesis Press.
Dr. APRILIA ZANK tutors Creative Writing
Workshops at Ludwig Maximilian University of
Munich, Germany. She is also a poet, translator
and editor of poetry anthologies. She writes
verse in English and German, and was awarded a
distinction at “Vera Piller” Poetry Contest,
Zurich. She is also a passionate photographer.
ASHLEY STRAIN has been writing poetry
for several years and has been featured in literary
magazines at her alma mater, Rutgers University
as well as on several poetry websites such as
Vox Poetic. Most of Ashley's work can be found
on her blog, The Intermediate Poet. Ashley
resides in Woodbridge, New Jersey with her
fiancé and two pit bulls.
B. A. VARGHESE graduated from Polytechnic
University (New York) in 1993 and has been
working in the Information Technology field
ever since. Inspired to explore his artistic side, he
is currently working toward a degree in Creative
Writing from the University of South Florida.
His work has appeared in Rose Red Review, The
Camel Saloon, Foliate Oak, and is forthcoming
in Apalachee Review, and Eunoia Review.
BERNADETTE MCCABE was born into a
family of alternative thinkers and actors in the
heart of Johannesburg South Africa during the
early 1970’s. She studied drama and
experimental dance and later traveled around the
UK. She has worked in the film industry for the
past 18 years. She has found that looking
through a camera lens, capturing moments in
time, tops everything else & brings untold joy.
She has a strong desire to bring about positive
social change and through photography
document the stories of individuals &
communities, aiming to be the voice to those
previously overlooked. She has traveled
extensively throughout Africa and Thailand,
reaching into the lives and landscapes of her
surroundings. Many of her journeys have been
shared with her beautiful son Leander.