JULY 2009

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J. Bradley

Joe Clifford

Eric Evans

Christina Farella

Joseph Fasano

Idris Goodwin

Olga Pester

Tad Piecka

Jeffrey Qualls

Lee Stern

Peter Waldor




Reciprocation
By J. Bradley, May 12, 2009

You ate your sister’s ashes.
I made a pizza out of your Hot Wheels.
You laughed all through Roots.
I cut the toes off your Little League photos.
You masturbated at a monster truck rally.
I volunteered you for make-up testing.
You wasted all the Nutella.
I wooed fire ants into your bed.
You told my biggest crush I had VD.
I set you up on a blind date with a furrier.
You faked having cancer to get laid.
I sold your son into slavery.
You wrote a fake Dear John letter to my wife.
I knifed your beloved blow up doll.
You left my phone number in a bathhouse.
I traveled back in time and did your mom
while you watched as a baby.

J. Bradley is based out of Orlando, FL. His work recently appeared in November 3rd Club, Poetry Midwest, and Welter and will appear in Ozone Park, Dash Literary Journal, Breadcrumb Scabs and Right Hand Pointing. Check out J. Bradley’s official blog, Failure Loves Company, at iheartfailure.wordpress.com.

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ON THE SOUTHERN ROUTE TO PHOENIX, ARIZONA
By Joe Clifford, May 07, 2009

Rising up from the barren womb
of the Nevada desert, a truck stop dive,
the sun-drenched Mary Queen, casts its sheen
across your candy apple Mercury.
Call it a pay-by-the-hour motel,
where mystery doesn’t play past midnight
and every red dirt roadway leads to Sunday,
bathing you in early morning, hung-over light.
Angel mounts the counter, hitches her skirt up high,
fingers fish your pocket, a pink invitation,
another tattoo stitched into the night.
And in the cool of the room, you sink into her skin,
drowning on the stiff scent of oranges and bleach.

Joe Clifford’s work has appeared in Bathhouse, Big Bridge, Bryant Literary Review, the Connecticut Review, Dos Passos Review, Fringe, Hobart, Opium, and Thuglit, among others. He was the 2004 recipient of the Connecticut Review’s Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize, as well as that year’s representative on the Connecticut Poetry Circuit. Most recently he served as editor-in-chief of Gulf Stream magazine and as co-producer of Lip Service, a spoken word event in Miami.

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“Suddenly The Bees Are Simply Vanishing”
By Eric Evans, May 22, 2009

 —L.A. Times headline, 6/10/07

The bees, the bees—where are the bees?
dead by the thousands, it seems,
organs swollen and blackened,
intestines scarred with the marks
of infection, the honeyless sting
of an apiarist nightmare.

Now who will deliver the nectaric
wonderstuff? Who’ll pollinate
the nuts and cherries, the berries
and pears? Who’ll take the blame
for the less-than-round apples?
And console the unfulfilled white
buds left hanging on the branch,
lonely for a buzzing suitor?

And what of the beetles and moths?
They must know something but no
one is talking, so toxic are the
empty hives, like a beautiful woman
with a troubling sore, the story,
as always, in the instincts.

This is no ordinary die-off, no
long-shot conspiracy, no passing
reference in some ancient almanac.
It’s a bee, or a thousand bees,
splayed beneath a microscopic lens,
the infinitesimal answer jerking
us yet again around a hairpin
turn and back onto ourselves.

Eric Evans is a writer and musician from Buffalo, New York, with stops in Portland, Oregon, and Rochester, New York, where he currently resides with his wife, Diane, and son, Henry. His work has appeared in Artvoice, Blind Man’s Rainbow, Tangent Magazine, Posey, Lucid Moon, Poetry Motel, Hazmat, Remark and many other publications as well as a few anthologies. He has published six full collections and two broadsides. He has also published a broadside through Lucid Moon Press.

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Imagined Cartography
By Christina Farella, May 18, 2009

We’ve cut our thumbs in C sharp minor, or we have not.
as I, the engine of my anti-engine
crusade, lay and muse eyes moulding
over my folded hips, dotted with
blue and yellow sounds—the insomniac
somnambulating (unhinged wisdom, rays
of mirthless REM twitches). Picking
through the book, I wonder if the
skin signs its signature in an
infinite number of names or just one.

we gloat through our days, crowing
because we can finally “make time
slip faster!” (picture: sieve
capturing water impermanently).
Our invention, the not-engine, it
chuffs and echoes the blue and yellow
with hollow ochres plus mauves, taunting and
nimble as sparrows on the pavement
beneath our backs. We ride, photograph
and stab the fauves; unintimate safari
to kill the king thoroughly.

Christina Farella is upcoming in mud luscious and tinfoildresses.

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TO A WOMAN WHO LOVED TRILCE
By Joseph Fasano, May 07, 2009

Tonight I can see a migration
snarled in the crown of the last oak
the migration let stand. You are there
in the threshold, thinking about my sex.
I know what you want.
You want to watch me bring the water
up from the well. You want to watch
a family of kit foxes eat my knees
while you stand close by with a candle.
Last night, you said, you dreamt
a boy had drowned in the architecture
of my chest; he had just gone
under, no ceremony, no music,
no fragrance, just the slimness of his wrists
persisting in my eyes. And now you watch my body
in the yard, picking up fragments
of something I have no reason
to vouch or care for. The bureau I carried
from your attic while you slept
is filled with petals. You watch me clean
everything you wanted me to burn
while you combed your hair, while you read
inscriptions to the dead, words
on your bronzed infant shoes. I don’t even want
to bring the child out of the lake; I don’t
even want this raw earthbound wound.
I don’t care that the petals of this plum
tree are brilliant on the ground in the last
light this day will ever lack. I don’t care
that the Sphinx Macaw is dying out,
somewhere, on this immaculate earth, or that
you want to nail my form to the bed
like a reservoir that will never give up its drowned.
Here’s what I know: Every night, in the depths
of a house somewhere, someone puts a pistol
to the clean chest of my brother and snaps
the safety left. I know that God wants you
to let him kneel in front of you
and bite down your fingernails. I know he needs you
to bury your hair in his hands like a gospel,
to read that good Braille. So the fruit is rotten
on the ground tonight. So the hawks
carry their nests above us in their mouths,
a wood loses its fragrance on the water.
You want the body to tell a story? The body
has only one story: Two boys kneel down
in a hall in summer. Dust leavens their sleeves.
One of them is a brother, the other the vague
distances in the hours that flesh is heir to.
Someone is screaming, pointing to their faces
in the new dark. Blood falls from their mouths
like hickory smoke. They are parting each others’ hair.

Joseph Fasano’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Yale Review, The Southern Review, RATTLE, The Western Humanities Review, and other journals. He won the 2008 RATTLE Poetry Prize, he was a runner-up in the 2008 Times Literary Supplement Poetry Competition, and he has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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Fight Song
By Idris Goodwin, May 14, 2009

bridge allows us to pass, so we commence with colors blazed
fire flames upon the plains, we do not concern
they catch and spread, we swig, swing our fist

rousing to the challenge that the feeble day presents
we watch the smoke turn to cloud and cloud turn into rain
we soak ‘til drenched with blackened stench but yet the fingers curl

yet the curled fingers, pressed into our palm, yet
the fingers curled tight, to feed on evening flesh

lively men and ladies, mob of chant and fury
that sleep forgot and rightly so for dreams are forged by us

we stomp to watch the candles melt before the sinking sun
and when its down we like bats visualize with sound

shriek to joy, happiness, wail and moan the blues
circumvent the reverent, punch your neighbor like a kiss
babylon is all we have, matter of fact is that

its fact of matter, matter is, like atoms crushed and split
lets await the split, division and the crisp, burnt skin of
all that was, that dies so we exists

so we may stomp towards victory, victory belongs
inside our back pockets, until the day we bronzed

Idris Goodwin is an award-winning playwright, poet and cross-disciplinary performance artist. The National Endowment for the Arts, The Ford Foundation and The Illinois Arts Council have supported Idris’s stage plays and solo performances that explore the possible hybridization of artistic mediums. Idris’s poetry was featured on season six of Russell Simmons’s HBO Def Poetry and published in the Spoken Word Revolution Redux Anthology, RATTLE Magazine, DIAGRAM and featured prominently in the forthcoming The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. Idris frequently teaches, performs and lectures at institutions on themes of arts, culture and empowerment. idrisgoodwin.blogspot.com.

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on walking in the park on a cloudy sunday evening on a cloudy wednesday night on a day that is any day in october
By Olga Pester, May 17, 2009

the tree should green
the walk should pave
the moon should fill
the bed be raised
the tide should low
the house be flown

an oak tree   elm
a doorbell   palm
a nose hair   smell
an earth bed   worm
a dust mote   fan
a woman   man

the axe should cleave
the baby smacked upside the butt should cry
the daffodils unroll themselves
the fever being bled subside
the old dog’s heart should find its way
the name when called be recognized

the name when called be recognized

Olga Pester’s poems have appeared in Other Rooms, Two Review, and 42Opus.

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From Wood to Wain
By Tad Piecka, Jun 01, 2009

  A scrap of post—
salutations from the north and deep lakeside
split tiptail by the conversational scalpel
  with which we cannot
      mend to manage,
but lastly cut a sigh unique.
Blessed I and flora you,
 Calcutta’s finest fix and train,
   my ears and eyes, they hath no chance,
no fighting sliver—a care
          a can.
Call me, call my name and
  boundless beating back, I say
    you’ll never switch my fever from
         ten to tannage,
    ‘cross to querist’s quay, by hand.
Softest sentiment, quail down,
  pixie darling, perform trick for treat
     and love me:
    love my debt and garden
fast asleep, a tuck behind the ear,
and short breaths slide ‘tween teeth.

Tad Piecka is a writer and composer currently residing in Los Angeles, where he works and teaches at Campbell Hall School. In addition to several musical projects, he is currently developing an ongoing poetry series inspired by Matsuo Basho, entitled Minimize Us. His work can be viewed at tadpiecka.net and minimizeus.net.

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Green Onion Center
By Jeffrey Qualls, May 13, 2009

“You are the roast beef I have purchased...”
 —“Buying the Whore,” Anne Sexton

with inconvenient lust,
we slipped
away to urgent backseat
fumbling husky cigarette
whispers sour wine kisses

rough tree bark against delicate
parchment—the same almost

peeled back your wrinkled white
linen to expose green onion

center you bound me
with damp hemp
rope that smelled
of old catches raging
breath filled creaking sails
knifing through salty
waters onto mossy rocks

clammy rock
hands sucking warmth

caught your cold
hard jackpot in my jeweled bucket

of indifference with spit
swallow down
the evidence and the shattered image
of yourself

Jeffrey Qualls is thirty-four years old. He was in the Air Force amidst the “don’t ask, don’t tell” culture. After leaving the Air Force, he spent ten years navigating the complexities of Corporate America politics. Jeffrey is a full-time student at the University of Texas at Dallas majoring in Creative Writing (AP).

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A PATH WORN SMOOTH WITH MY HANDS
By Lee Stern, May 03, 2009

I’m not entirely sure of the best way to proceed.
We can go in this direction and miss finding the goats.
Or we can go over there where the water is
and walk straight across the area to which the goats never returned.
In which case we’ll end up probably losing our bearings.
I suggest we walk where there will be less obstacles.
In the direction of that gilded monument
through which the goats were said to be pulling their systemic needs.
And if I’m wrong, I’m wrong.
And I can only be wrong once
in spite of what you have always indicated,
if the people doing the counting are walking
not behind me, but running in front of me forever on this day
on a path worn smooth with my hands.

Lee Stern lives in Los Angeles, hanging on for now in this economy as the manager of a Lincoln Towncar service. He’ll give you an update in three months. Most recently in jubilat. Soon to appear in RATTLE and TERMINUS.

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Owl
By Peter Waldor, Jun 01, 2009

The tongue is an owl
in its hollow,
all eyes and off it goes
to touch the surface
of a hardcover book
with two silver letters imprinted thereon.
Saliva runs down a shining G
and in the air a smell
of wild onions
trampled.

Peter Waldor’s book of poetry Door to a Noisy Room was published by Alice James Books in 2008. Recent work is appearing in the Iowa Review, the Colorado Review, the American Poetry Review and Mothering Magazine.

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