JANUARY 2009

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Amanda J. Bradley

Daniel Crocker

Kristin Dombrowski

Doug Draime

Tyler Enfield

Richard Fein

Rodion Gusev

John Calvin Hughes

R. D. Kimball

Ted Powers

Dan Provost

Joseph Veronneau



Insomnia
By Amanda J. Bradley, Oct 31, 2008

Night-washed thoughts wander
crevices of skeletal ideas.
We’re bare bones here.
Our waking dream appears omniscient,
feels tangible when it’s late.
God surely exists at night.
Prowling dreamscapes,
it all seems more likely in the dark.
Loosened imagination paints
the dark with designs and desires.
Don’t pick my lock.
Reflections recall the negatively-tinged,
as if the moon’s magnetism
pulled vast secrets from within—
secrets we did not realize we were keeping,
secrets that expand
in the wild of night’s embrace.

Amanda J. Bradley completed a PhD in English and American Literature at Washington University in St. Louis in May 2008, although she lives in Brooklyn. She is returning to poetry writing, which she never entirely abandoned, and hopes to head MFA-ward next fall. Currently, she teaches and tutors at Yeshiva University in Manhattan.

I Just Wanted to Help
By Daniel Crocker, Oct 07, 2008

The lady downstairs is fighting with her
boyfriend in the parking lot of
the apartment again.
It’s 4 a.m.

When she screams, my actions speak louder than
my words, I just can’t take it.
I have to work in two hours
so I go out.

I lean over the steel balcony rail
and say nothing could possibly
speak louder than your words.
Her husband laughs.

She says, mind your own business cocksucker.
I should, but I’m on a bender
so instead I decide to help,
like Dr. Phil.

Look, I say, if he’s such a prick leave him.
He’s had two girlfriends for a year.
You just said so yourself.

But she loves him.

So she says, who are you to give me advice?
I’ve not seen your wife for a while
I say, well she’s not as
stupid as you.

Daniel Crocker is the author of two collections of poetry, and two books of fiction—all from the now extinct Green Bean Press. His work has appeared in a lot of places. He’s currently working on a PhD at the University of Southern Mississippi. In his youth, he was a thief and a gambler.

Bog
By Kristin Dombrowski, Oct 24, 2008

Chuck me into a bog
so I can revive
that old pagan and archaic sacrifice,
then let’s see what’s left of me
on exhibit
in a glass case in 3003.

Throw me in the marsh blindfolded—
             wrists tied behind my back,
             in my favorite turquoise sundress—
although that will probably disintegrate
weeks after the sacrifice.
But my last meal will remain
inside a mummified stomach—
             curried chicken,
             bits of cocoa truffles,
             and lamb with mint jams.

On exhibit you’ll see
frayed black hair—
little patches on a leathered scalp—
and my eternal smile,
my gums and copper colored lips peeled back
             exposing crooked teeth
             and an overbite—
Not even a trace of red nail polish,
nor the scent of vanilla perfumes.

Kristin Dombrowski is currently studying in Nottingham, England at the University of Nottingham, where she will receive her MA in Medieval English. She received her BA in English and Creative Writing at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut. Next year she hopes to return to the United States to pursue a Creative Writing MFA. She has been published in Black Books Press, Folio, and The Door Opener. She likes to travel, cook, dance, and read in her spare time.

The Pears of Beethoven
By Doug Draime, Oct 30, 2008

Beethoven was in his
bed suffering from
severe
jaundice, and
hearing his No. 5
in C Minor,
Opus 67
inside his head.
But hearing
absolutely
nothing
nada
outside his head.
Not a faint
whisper of the hustle
and bustle
of the chaotic streets
of Vienna.

There was only sound from
inside his head,
as his face and arms
and hands and tongue
and teeth and fingers and fingernails
turned yellow. He was
finishing
his masterpiece,
(and what a motherfucking stunner it is!)
as his toes and toenails and nipples
and ears and his balls
and asshole
turned the
color of a
bright
Bartlett pear

Doug Draime’s most recent books are Los Angeles Terminal (Covert Press) and Bones (Kendra Steiner Editions). Forthcoming is Transmissions From The Underground from d/e/a/d/b/e/a/t press. He lives and writes in Ashland, Oregon.

The Monday After
By Tyler Enfield, Oct 16, 2008

This is your brain
In a sock, the bottom of it,
Swung in a glittering arc
With the bunched, balled force
Of a gorilla’s biceps,
Into a cement bowl of red paint
In a white room
Of naked black acrobats.

Tyler Enfield recently won the 2008 Writers Federation Of New Brunswick Literary Prize. His work is forthcoming in Grain, The Nashwaak Review, Oregon Review, Avenue, SUB-LIT, Dead Mule, Mississippi Crow, and elsewhere. You can reach him at tjenfield@yahoo.com.

GLORIA, FRESHMAN, HIGH SCHOOL
By Richard Fein, Oct 28, 2008

Teacher went down aisle by aisle handing out her verdicts.
I can’t recall the title of my term project,
but Gloria’s was “Shephardic Jews in Medieval Spain.”
Over her shoulder I saw an A minus on the title page.
Dark hair, dark eyes, olive skin, pouting lips
that muttered in an exotic Shepardic accent,
“I deserved at least an A,”
Last day of class, finally I found my voice
and could say more than hello, goodbye, and pass the attendance sheet.
Afterwards, a dialogue in the schoolyard, finally a real conversation.
She accused Mrs. D’Ambria of indifference to the plight of the Jewish people.
Brimming with confidence I revealed that D’Ambria’s maiden name was Goldstein.
She laughed and her eyes also smiled at me.
It was time for me to ask, a movie? lunch? a walk in the park?
But a car horn honked. She turned her eyes from me. “Mom’s here, gotta go.”
It was then, right then, last day of class and my final, final exam
but somewhere in my throat my voice again lost its way.
That sophomore September she never returned.
Gloria, A minus-A plus Gloria, dark hair, dark eyes, olive skin,
exotic lips that curved from pout to smile.
Decades later and I can’t recall what I titled my final term project,
but I got an F

Richard Fein was a finalist in The 2004 Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition. He will soon have a Chapbook published by Parallel Press, University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been published in many web and print journals such as Southern Review, Morpo Review, Oregon East, Orange Room Review, Southern Humanities Review, Touchstone, Windsor Review, Maverick, Parnassus Literary Review, Small Pond, Kansas Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Exquisite Corpse, Terrain and many others. He also has an interest in digital photography and has published many of his photos. Samples of his photography can be found on pbase.com/bardofbyte.

INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
By Rodion Gusev, Oct 23, 2008

Before we only spoke in broken glass,
we took that tattered Lincoln

all the way to Newark.
Colorado Bulldogs in the front seats.

An artificial tree was dancing,
dancing in the air-conditioned wind

to the music of another clicking Coke.

When the warmth engulfed our bellies,

we traversed the dirty concrete.
Walking past the Mexican residences,

inside a garage stood
a Virgin Mary shrine and a battered muscle car.
I said the car was definitely holier,
and that vein flared up in her neck.

At last I saw the factory,

cracked the hinge and took her in.

The rats scurried with delight
back to the dusty hollows in the walls.
The machinery was gigantic, resting atop
warped linoleum floor, a semblance

of efficiency drowning in mote.

The spiral staircase shuddered
as our feet took to it. There,

inside some manager’s office,
stood atop a gnawed padauk desk.
She blushed as the sun’s light

refracted off the sole pane of glass,
shining on the scar just below her collarbone.

Rodion Gusev is currently an undergraduate student at Rutgers University, and resides in Fort Lee, NJ, where he maintains an extensive Pez collection. For more of his work, contact him via Facebook.

THE GRACELAND HISTORICAL SITE
By John Calvin Hughes, Oct 08, 2008

Graceland is an empty aquarium.
We press our noses to the glass, pungent,
flakes of fishfood in hand—but there’s nothing
to feed or feed on. The bubbly rhinestones,
the greeny-gold records, the scaly, sequined caddies
are pointless without Him.
In our mind’s eye, he is eternal, his immutable
pompadour flipping like a fishtail, yin
and yang, paisleys on a garish shirt,
twisting sperm locked heads ‘n tails in mortal combat.
It’s said that one twin in the womb
may kill the other. After all, a mother’s love
stretches, like her belly, only so far.
Was there place in this roomy world for two?
What would we do with two Christs, two Buddhas,
two Gods? The Manicheans knew—
it was heresy. Which did we get?
Which did we want? Did one sing
“Love Me Tender”? Did one
fight like a hooked fish
when he felt the evolving, elvish
fingers close around his throat, as if
his brother were chording
the neck of a guitar?

John Calvin Hughes has published poems, stories, and criticism in numerous magazines and journals. He is the author of The Novels and Short Stories of Frederick Barthelme, from the Edwin Mellen Press.

STAND THERE AND BLEED
By R. D. Kimball, Nov 03, 2008

a line of dialogue
from a spaghetti western
removes itself from the oven
as if to kiss her forehead
she attributes herself
to the wisdom of the ages
distilled into vodka-sheen and
sprayed across dance floors
her body is a broken temple
she does not care to rebuild
her mirror is a jaded source
of calypso hammers
which knock at her temples
as if to remind her of something
drinking too much and joking
about suicide attempts
she makes herself known to
the pot-smoking jazz philosophers
in order to harvest some meaning
in scythe-blades of tarragon
alas, her mirror follows her
block-to-block in a rented ford
tailing her to an alley
where it whispers
a line of dialogue
from a spaghetti western
to remind her that the fate
of the world depends upon her actions
after this unfortunate incident
she takes up shooting heroin

R. D. Kimball is a student of Religious Studies at Michigan State University. When he’s not writing poetry, he dresses up in suits and reads theology. He’s a sucker for good cigars, funny hats, and vinyl records. He is also an expert at knowing what the capitol of South Dakota is.

a deaf man mistakes a yawn
By Ted Powers, Nov 04, 2008

The drive begins as about half of all drives do; I take a left.
I pass a bus stop where rose bushes sprawl onto the sidewalk,
and I consider swerving, they’re an eyesore,

but the car wash is well off the beaten path. So, I take a left
and slow just long enough to glare at a squirrel and then
I’m off again, speeding through a stoplight and banging
a left pretty hard. I pass too many

full playgrounds where I yell every obscenity I can think of
and some I can’t. A row of trees catches on fire as I skid
into my address. The inauguration has gone relatively well.
Tomorrow I will grip the steering wheel tightly and push
a tape into the deck, thirsting for something familiar.

Ted Powers is a student at UMass Amherst. He has work forthcoming at DOGZPLOT. He wishes he had a dog.

Warren Haynes at 3 a.m.
By Dan Provost, Oct 27, 2008

3 a.m. boozy Gov’t Mule music plays while
staggering words dilate in and out of a dream.

The guitar riffs bounce off walls of lonely loveliness as
one figure...one man or one woman sits at a table
pen in hand—praying to the poetry gods for the
bewilderment to be over.

And off in the distance, where even the devil won’t stay, are
tales of long limit stares and showdowns that bleed the
soul of thousands who write, think and die a bit each night.

The bass player strums...
The drummer keeps the solid backbeat...

Warren Haynes breaks into another directed solo...The Babylon Turnpike takes no prisoners

So bold.
So bold...

Dan Provost’s poetry has been published throughout the small press. He is a member of the beards, likes football and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Deer
By Joseph Veronneau, Oct 15, 2008

We were in love and her uncle
had a farm.
He hunted and took me with him
to try to make it even stronger.

She wanted me to have what she had:
coffee, though caffeine drives me nuts, toast
with no butter (a raw slice of life)

then the evening light at the truckstop
watching the snow fall into the hills
like a woman stepping out of her dress.

Taking the deer apart, the knife he used
was bigger than needed, but he enjoyed
carving the dead a new asshole.
After that, anyone could just reach in
to pluck out whatever wasn’t needed.

When we parted,
I stayed far away from the farm,
opting for yet even farther backroads
with the mailboxes smashed out.

Joseph Veronneau runs Scintillating Publications, which publishes chapbooks and the literary magazine Agua. His poems have appeared throughgout the small press, including Chiron Review, Word Riot, Ken Again and many others.

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