David E. Oprava
Mike Andrelczyk, Apr 16, 2009
strolling through the vicious meadows
as the English horses graze
everything is living
everything is dying
and we drink the Spanish wine
Vanessa in her Scandinavian sweater, I in my tweeds
the bull charges through
our veins and our loins
and the rabbits sense the red shouldered hawk
as the trees sense the wind
our senses mingle
the mouse rots away below the wheat fields
creation failing and turning over anew
(I hum a Donovan tune
Vanessa spits a stream
of blood red
Mike Andrelczyk is the co-founder of Bad Card Records, and has had poems published in The Heron’s Nest,
Frogpond, Acorn, Road Runner and Masks.
from Alex Taking Pictures
David Brennan, Apr 26, 2009
you take a picture of friends.
You take a picture of artichokes
strangling the field.
A hammock is an awkward place to pursue
a point of view. Badminton
on a Spanish hillside.
The clouds are partly
of the sky
thistle abandoned to flower.
pulped by car tire
squirming in the Floridian dirt
is the grass is the guitar
of the wind
have memorized the bee
now stinging your neck.
above the rice-paper
ripples of your back.
David Brennan’s work has been seen in places like PANK, H_NGM_N, Parthenon West Review and elsewhere.
He lives and teaches in Virginia.
Storm in the Cascades
Doug Draime, Mar 31, 2009
The moon comes up
in the middle
of the storm, just
like Beowolf fucking
Grendel’s mother; her
bent over & screaming
through a huge
Doug Draime emerged as a presence in the underground literary movement in the late 1960s in Los Angeles. Most
recent books in print: Bones (Kendra Steiner Editions), Los Angeles Terminal (Covert Press),
Spiders and Madmen (Scintillating Publications). Forthcoming are two large collected volumes:
Transmissions from the Underground from d/e/a/d/b/e/a/t press and also being released in 2009,
Farrago Soup from Coatlism Press. He moved to Oregon in 1981, where he continues to reside.
David Fishkind, Mar 27, 2009
after watching six hours of television
I feel an intense amount of loneliness
about my lack of a cast of friends
about my lack of adventure and intrigue
I’ve never solved a mystery
or gone to a party in the woods
my face is not acne free with several expressions
I like to make expressions without using my mouth
I’ve noticed that nobody uses condoms in television
it’s sad how many illegitimate television babies there must be
they probably run around and live with each other
on channel 1
my favorite programs include sad people and depressed people
they talk about death but later feel better
they always seem to find what they’re looking for
by a refreshing pool of water
or a hill that looks out over their town
I wonder who illegitimate television babies grow up to be
I think they grow up to be successful comedians
jerry seinfeld was an illegitimate television baby
jay leno probably wasn’t
if you look closely you can see them in the pixels
they’re the ones with the cue cards and the laugh track button
David Fishkind is eighteen-years-old and from Massachusetts. He spent the majority of his young childhood
living in Indiana. He runs this blog and was most recently
published by the new and exciting online/print publisher Pangur Ban
Party. His favorite food is lobster and his favorite drink is Arizona Iced Green Tea.
Zone of Exclusion
Asya Graf, Apr 11, 2009
1. What’s in a name
A name is not an empty grave.
It is an inscribed headboard,
a final resting place:
Mogilev. I told my grandmother
I don’t want to die here,
peddling vodka and milk
out of open jugs
2. On the half life of my husband’s flesh
In fourteen days a person dies
His my skin, mine his marrow
White film the skin’s coating, I peel my love
like peeling onions for the stew
in the communal kitchen in the last of Aprils
Blooming bruises the taiga of your flesh:
yellow lady slipper
cancerroot, strawberry blight
I twine them in my hair,
drink their juice. If Angela drank her lepers’ baths
how much more I—
3. On the intimacy of rib perforation
Lying on the operating table
holding Vasya’s hand—
Justinian and Isadora in the crypt
Brother I give you the heart of my bones
the pillars for the new house
one for Eve
three for your children
two for your crutches
the rest to clothe your coffin
My chest is a barn in flames
the beams collapse last
eighteen holes—the way from your heart to mine
4. On Hunger
There was sour cream,
strawberries and honey,
grain in the barrel,
meat from the collective farm,
vodka on the shelf.
Baloney’s greasy flanks, the mauve slick velvet hide.
O to lick that salt, that processed benediction, the yielding
of the flesh, cured.
You have to understand death whets hunger:
at the hem of lust tugs our undoing.
Our weakness for beluga’s eggs
and for the Lenin medal
spills from one starved flesh
5. Amor fati
Radiation smells like iodine,
the sourness of dust and milk,
rotten eggs in the ice box,
dust in the storm’s first blaze.
The lilac is in bloom while all we smell—
blank and blank: thunder without rain.
The corrosion of the ordinary—
next morning we packed our Easter cakes,
our pastel eggs,
rye and sweetgrass swaying and a cerulean sky
stung like nettle, like iodine.
Easter that year came late, bled
into May holidays.
You eat cucumbers, tomatoes, sorrel,
your stomach is fine, they taste
of spring and loam.
That spring I learned that when the soil is scraped
yellow sand remains,
dust billows, buds swell like nymph nodes,
apples blossom and swallows nest while this thing—
* fragments of this poem were spoken by Chernobyl “survivors” as recorded by Svetlana Alexievich in her Voices
from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
Asya Graf has previously published poetry and short fiction in DMQ Review (upcoming), Boxcar,
Anderbo, and Vestal Review, among others. She teaches high school English in the Bronx and will be
enrolled in the MFA Program at Boston University in the fall of 2009.
David E. Oprava, Mar 25, 2009
is slow steak cut
by years of you.
The id will mend,
but the mind?
I’m not sure
Smith and Wesson,
or strict cold turkey
but it begs for trying.
David E. Oprava writes, because he has to. He is terrified of what will happen otherwise. It makes him
prolific. He has been in over sixty journals online and in print and his first full-length book of poems VS.
was released in October 2008 by Erbacce Press. He is also the founding editor of the tiny poetry press,
Grievous Jones. When he isn’t writing he is battling against his raging sobriety and trying to live up to the
high moral expectations of husbandhood, fatherhood, and humanhood. Not necessarily in that order and not
For the Record
Paula Ray, Mar 18, 2009
If a man told me
his loins lust for my labia
I’d administer medicinal laughter
to his face
then sketch his dumb look
with my claw point pen
and post the caricature
in the ladies room
with his phone number
scribbled on a fringe of perforated tabs
beneath a Sharpie headline that reads:
Will say corny lines for sex
Why you think I’d want
a signed copy of your cheap cologne poetry
dressed in a Lulu pressed leisure suit
is beyond me
Paula Ray is a musician from Wilimington, North Carolina, where she teaches band, gigs about town on her
saxophone, and writes music, poems, and short stories. Her work has appeared in DOGZPLOT, Heroin Love
Songs, and Gutter Eloquence, and several other zines both online and in print. For more information
about Paula and an updated listing of her publications, check out her blog:
Seven Station (Dis)Equilibrium
Sarah Wetzel-Fishman, Apr 06, 2009
A man with a briefcase and unblinking eyes enters the train.
He speaks softly into his phone: “Do you mind if I go down on you?”
A woman pushes her skirt aside,
makes room for him.
Below ground, a real river quickens its pace, illustrates
the pattern in another material.
Each piece of train falls and bends, a nail
holds the track in place (it can’t fall further or differently).
An engine pulls the passengers forward, a river
pushes them farther.
The river moves deliberately through aquifers
and underground lakes.
The blind white fish caught in the current
are hungry. They get on.
They get off.
They get on again.
The woman presses a hand to the shuddering wall of the train.
The man sits across from her.
He watches her.
The train takes a breath, slow
as through a subterranean chasm.
Then, a river, gives in to its wide open mouth.
A man in blue uniform checks their tickets.
They carry nothing suspicious.
Sarah Wetzel-Fishman is a poet, essayist, and engineer. She grew up a daughter of the American South, but
somehow ended up in Israel after job-hopping across the Americas and Europe. Sarah graduated from Georgia Tech in
1989, and in 1997, received a MBA from The University of California, Berkeley—both degrees proving completely
useless to her life as a poet. Sarah completed a MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College in January 2009.
Nominated for a Pushcart Prize for 2009, her work has most recently been published or is forthcoming in US
publications including Rattle, Stirring and Eclectica, and in Israeli publications including
Voices and Cyclamens and Swords. Sarah currently lives in Israel with her husband, four
step-children, and one needy dog.
After Killing The Monster
Robert Wexelblatt, May 02, 2009
Are you interested in knowing what you
know for sure? Is inference less reliable
than axiom, axiom than revelation?
Can you still tell a hawk from a handsaw?
The catbird mews angrily at the cat;
sparrow hawks fasten fiery eyes on sparrows.
It seems you see what you are built to see,
the sea, the saw, the cell, the seer, see cause
in effect and light your matches with
confidence, arrogantly shave your chin.
Beauty is not statistical, chaos
not a sum. After the monster has been
slain, the election won, checks deposited,
climax satisfactorily achieved,
the essay proofread and awards bestowed,
you can count up your blessings with your saw,
tooth by bloody tooth, but the matchless wretch,
that monster, will be missed somehow, I think.
Go around the corner where Apollo
waits and just tell him what you told me.
You’ll find him in disguise, of course, with a
swollen lip, Yankees cap, torn blue jeans, his
empty hands lacking bow or lyre but he
can still slay pythons with his golden gaze.
In the water nothing’s safe.
In the water are the dead.
In the water you can’t breathe.
In the water nothing’s pure.
In the water there’s beneath.
In the water plunge your hand.
From the airplane the world is still flat,
not crawling with monsters, chiefly water
including vain twinkling swimming pools.
You look down and think, everything is tame.
Real estate means battlefields and bowers,
in every car intelligence, colors.
Did the gods belittle or ennoble
us with their caring and ennui,
their immortality that didn’t last?
Did we propitiate them to death or
turn them into Pythagorean theorems?
Would we want them back again, the old
ones, the bright and lusty all-too-human
gods who once accounted for everything?
Is one god enough or more than enough?
The sound of a firm thigh under silk is
knowable, the lilt of shampooed hair;
have some coffee, maybe an earned cigarette
just to unbend after the monster is dead.
You can see the coffee fills the cup but
smoke, oh smoke, what spaces must it fill?
Killing the creature was hard, ought to have
been finale, retail dénouement,
shouldn’t be followed up by washing off
acidic blood in yellow suds of surf or
evenings in carpet slippers with TV.
The monster wanted so much to live, to be
a monster or not a monster but to
live if need be with corpses stinking up
its sodden den without even radio.
The monster had only half a dozen
stolen books—what does a monster read?
The monster was monstrously strong and in
its dying would have pulled a temple down,
pillar crashing on to plinth, disaster,
had it not expired on the gull-loud beach.
You felt, what? lucky? delivered? redeemed?
Perhaps you’ll guess, maybe you’ll infer, but
you’ll never know for sure what the monster felt.
Robert Wexelblatt is professor of humanities at Boston University’s College of General Studies. He has
published essays, stories, and poems in a wide variety of journals, two story collections, Life in the
Temperate Zone and The Decline of Our Neighborhood, a book of essays, Professors at Play, and
the novel Zublinka Among Women, winner of the First Prize for Fiction, Indie Book Awards, 2008. A new
collection of stories, The Artist Wears Rough Clothing, is forthcoming.
Delay of the Herd
Evan White, Apr 21, 2009
We lock eyes naysaying, a question of
what the hell are we doing
swimming these head-high drifts, and I can’t help but see
how the snow looks like a crumbled crown
in her black hair.
There are no terms for “the way back,” the thought
is a drive, the preference an instinct, the one
through-thing in this blizzard.
The world on the threshold of homogeneity, trees
I feel everyone:
sense-heightened, fatigued, faces in haze,
hands in soaked pockets—simply habit.
I feel them
feeling for a cue from me, from a
home-conscious twitch in my stride,
but I’m not there. Her snow-crown has
massed, condensed into a bruised white-
on-black helmet. Feeling for me.
But the great sprawling hall
with its drifting ceiling of pale frieze
seems to want no master—
the whitewash on the ether seems to need
no brush, no painter,
no gallery or crowds.
We come upon a thicket of pines incessant with sameness—
battered, precarious as old stilts, tripping on uncertain bloom.
And all this compounded
by not knowing quite how the dune will break
upon the path home, and by the singing of pine needles
in the blizzard wind
that tastes of firewood char and smells of soil-threaded snow.
Now the sotto voce overhearings of helplessness
get passed around, as around a campfire that
rages for lack of gasoline.
rise to incoherent heard flickers,
flame into exclamation, hardly
words at all.
In the absence of words come
sudden movements, then
stamping of feet against the freeze
becomes a surging somewhere.
We course up the ravine walls
like a pack
of drunk dogs,
with fattened instincts
to get on home now.
Adhering to the pack-stem,
who would speak
of the way back? Only the body
of our bodies asserts anything.
like sand in our eyes.
seem to fuse,
like pulling through notches of rope
we scamper and scatter down
our line of flight.
Evan White is studying poetry at the University of Chicago (MA ‘09) with Suzanne Buffam and James Shea (mighty
MFA Iowans both), and has a couple of pieces due to be published in the spring issue of The Adirondack
Review. He enjoys trying, with sporadic success, to memorize the names of Michigan’s beautiful and diverse
flora (he’s still trying to work “forsythia” into a poem), and has found a surprising sense of peace in the fact
that he has had three bikes stolen in the past year or so.
stop asking me
Steve Young, Mar 18, 2009
I had a baby and he was
better than I could have hoped
for. He was fat and healthy and had
his mother’s eyes. He was also very
smart and by the time he turned
one year he was walking and had quite a vocabulary.
Daddy was his first word
Beer was his second
At twelve-months-old he could
very clearly ask Mommy if Daddy wanted a beer.
Mommy and Daddy were
very naive so everyone told
them how blessed they were. A child
this bright and well behaved is
a one in a million shot. He slept
through the night almost immediately
only to awaken laughing and smiling.
Daddy was amazed to find that he
was a good father and enjoyed it very much.
Mommy was relieved to find she had very strong
maternal instincts after all.
At two years he looked like a miniature
linebacker. He was in the highest
percentile for size along with intelligence.
His hair was a darker blonde than
mine and we would use Mommy’s
hair gel and Daddy’s clippers
to fashion it into a high mohawk.
We would take pictures with disposable
cameras and wait impatiently
for them to develop at Walgreens.
We made as many plans that involved
as many children as possible under
the pretense of developing his social skills.
The truth was that we loved to watch
him with the other kids. He was a superior
specimen and we knew it. We spoke of it
constantly. Thus far, the only hand we had
in it was having sex. Nevertheless, we
were very proud.
Then Mommy cheated on Daddy
with a guy from work. Daddy lost
it and burned Mommy’s arm with cigarettes.
Daddy kicked Mommy out and scheduled
a DNA test. Mommy cried a lot and Daddy
discovered new ways to fall asleep. They came
to an agreement on child support and custody
without any help from the courts. Daddy kept
working and Mommy started dating again.
Mommy moved in with a man
who refused to meet Daddy.
Daddy thought this was a terrible idea
and told her so. Mommy assured Daddy
the young boy would be fine.
Daddy let it happen.
I had a baby and he was
better than I could have hoped
for. Just over two years later he was
dead in a downtown hospital. There was
nothing anyone could do and I watched
a nurse with short red hair pull tubes
covered in blood and brains through
a hole in the top of his head. He hiccupped
as his body starved for oxygen. Mommy wailed
He’s Fine, Can’t You See He Has The Hiccups?
Daddy put him down and walked away.
So, the next time you meet a man or woman of my
age, or any age, who does not have children
instead of raising your fucking eyebrows perhaps you
would do better to bow your head.
Steve Young lives in Phoenix, AZ, and works construction. His work has been published or is forthcoming all
over the place, so keep an eye out. He is currently a co-editor at Thieves Jargon, a pale shell of his
former self, a journeyman resin scraper, and is trying hard to love every minute of it.
The Hour Before Daylight
Fredrick Zydek, Apr 11, 2009
The hour before the sun arrives
has its own work to do. First
the gray that is no longer
darkness must bloom. The world
begins taking on form again—
an outline here, a shape there.
Light will spread out like a mist
along the edge of the world.
Things will start stirring
that have been still or sleeping
for a while. Blossoms will turn
toward the light and open, birds
will greet the changes in song.
Soon the first bright spark
will appear on the horizon. It will
stretch its pink hue across the land
and sea as it lifts into the morning
sky like an idea whose time has come.
Fredrick Zydek is the author of eight collections of poetry. T’Kopechuck: the Buckley Poems is
forthcoming from Winthrop Press later this year. Formerly a professor of creative writing and theology at the
University of Nebraska and later at the College of Saint Mary, he is now a gentleman farmer when he isn’t
writing. He is the editor for Lone Willow Press. His work has appeared in The Antioch Review, Cimmaron
Review, The Hollins Critic, New England Review, Nimrod, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Yankee,
and others. He is the recipient of the Hart Crane Poetry Award, the Sarah Foley O’Loughlen Literary Award and