MARCH 2009


Mike Andrelczyk

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

Melanie Browne

Amber Rose Csech

Robert M. Dilley

Christina Frigo

Duane Locke

Matthew Mahaney

Corey Mesler

Maurice Oliver

Kenneth Pobo

D. C. Porder

Caleb Powell

Constance Stadler

Jade Sylvan

The Guide
By Mike Andrelczyk, Jan 14, 2009

Usage refuse pewter pipeline mauve cocoon of lambskin
Drain-O NutraSweet and a neutered lute
rabid jargon cough syrup lame neck planetarium

the Guide is vague here, concealing himself, herself,
itself, behind the magic ink smoke of the
floating octopus cloak.

A decoy maneuver—the tricky Guide helping
to mask the path from Unwanteds—are you
sure the Guide really even exists—he won’t tell

you. The Guide instructs on how to smoke underwater
holding your breath—become invisible—disintegrate
and reform over there—the Guide motions

you to follow his course using celestial bodies
and secret information gleaned from the migration
of North Alaskan Salmon—his foxy nature

permits some mischief. Then he disappears
the signals cease, silence ensues and the
driver is left without a sign telling the next turn.

Mike Andrelczyk has had things in The Heron’s Nest, Road Runner, Acorn, and Frogpond.


By Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal, Jan 10, 2009

A prisoner without a jail cell—
A prisoner left unguarded—

Facing the wind, my executioner—

My sweet friend, up North—
The river flows along with my sorrow—

Facing the wind, my executioner—

Down South, far from my sweet friend—
The wind shouts into my sleep—

The wind, my executioner—

I sigh for my long lost sweet friend—
I feel dead without her—

Facing the wind, my executioner—

Weeping for my sweet friend, up North—
My burial is bought and paid for—

A prisoner without hope for release—
I remain here, waiting—

By Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal, Jan 10, 2009

I am the number one
gangster in Chinatown.
I am famous. Every
club manager knows me.

I am good with the knife
and better with my hands.
I could make any woman
tremble with my touch.

When I get out of this
place I’m going to stop
taking this medicine
because I don’t need it.

When the doctor reads my
love letter to her she
is going to fall in
love with me and we are

going to go on a
honeymoon and make sweet
love. I am going to
show her my boxer moves.

I’m not going to punch
her. I’m just going to
shadow box for a while
so she could feel my strength.

I will bring her flowers.
She will be humming like
a bee after I get
my hands on her. I don’t

know why I don’t deserve
a chance like the next guy.
I’m only speaking from
my heart. What’s wrong with that?

Still Human, Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal’s latest chapbook, is available from Kendra Steiner Editions.


Shopping for the apocalypse
By Melanie Browne, Dec 14, 2008

Over Thanksgiving
I notice my parents
have a humongous
bottle of shampoo

it is so humongous
in fact it slips from my
hands while
taking a shower
and bashes in the big
toe on my right foot.

they have been shopping
at the warehouse
clubs again

and its a good
thing I suppose

because when the
apocalypse comes
everyone will have clean,
and fresh-smelling hair

Melanie Browne’s work has appeared in Madswirl and Clockwise Cat. She has work forthcoming in Word Riot. She lives in Texas.


By Amber Rose Csech, Jan 11, 2009

i can’t see the sun
eye to eye at eye or sea level
‘cause there’s too much
unconstructive obstructive construction,
thick houses housing starched blouses and dead mouses
filling up basements all of which adjacent
to hell, just under three trees encased in cement frames
it’s a wonder we haven’t sunglassed the sky

Born January 23, 1987, Amber Rose Csech grew up in a small town just outside of Chicago. As an only child, Amber spent much of her youth alone with her imagination and came into womanhood while the world was entering a new century. The explosion of technological and political antics of these dynamic times has fueled and fired the small-town dreamer to grasp tightly the vivid colors and thoughts of her childhood. Her poetry perpetually challenges the dirt of the world with a mixture of cynicism and spectral imagery and is a byproduct of her passion for life, and hunger for worldly consciousness and change. An admirer of such artists and poets as e.e. cummings, Wallace Stevens, Paul Klee, and Ray Johnson, Amber enjoys a wide array of society’s commentators and aspires to be as loud as those voices have been.


Renaissance Handyman
By Robert M. Dilley, Jan 11, 2009

Her red lipstick is a brilliant facade
that glistens an epilogue of peeled trim
split shingles, worn shutters
doors unhinged
invites him in her bed and breakfast

The parlor wraps in a warm croissant
morning and flaked paint on tortured walls
with mismatched molding steeped in disrepair
aromatic assessments
her hair a dark blend about her shoulders

That curving dress a second skin
railings and attentions upon her hips
paisley wallpaper on her bottom
measurements biting his lip
as creaks follow this Victorian woman

He claims Michelangelo was a handyman
skilled but dismal until he found higher things
on his back for God and cherubs
or the same for a winged angel
ascending a flight of broken stairs

Robert M. Dilley is a new, old poet, writer of short stories, who tries to make sense of life’s experiences in his work. Focuses on family, humor, politics, things dark and unusual.


There are Hundreds of Ways to make Pierogies
By Christina Frigo, Dec 15, 2008

There are Hundreds of Ways to make Pierogies

despite this,

I take back my

previous declaration of our definite soul mate-ship.

Forgive me, I jumped

the gun.

You are annoying

and fried-in-butter

is one of the more common methods,


Christina Frigo has a degree in English and a job that is (not surprisingly) totally unrelated. Hopefully she’ll be in graduate school soon. She lives in New York City and has a poem about it forthcoming from RealPoetik. Her likes include dogs, photography, movies, smiles, bicycles and drums. Her dislikes include writing bios.


By Duane Locke, Jan 01, 2009

It might be that our contemporary existence
Is circa-circuitous
Without cognizance


What is being gone around, or a circumference
That is not a circle, but a disjunctive swirl,
And has no center.
Or creases in corduroy.

An alchemist, who had studied under Paracelus
And Carl Jung,

Forlorn and hungry, picked the pocket
Of a musical composer

And found a tape of tapes,
The sounds of horn and motor
Of a red BMW roadster
Played backwards, overlaid
With an alligator's Spring mating sound,
And the sounds
Of a South Carolina wren
Singing a Chanson de Geste Aubade
Accompanied by a Balinese gamelan
And a language game.


A credit card.

He decided more circumspection
Is needed
If old-fashioned, traditional crime
Is to survive.


The old alchemical procedures
Written in the old scrolls
Will not work to turn plastic into gold.

Duane Locke lives by an ancient oak, an underground stream, and an osprey’s home in rural Lakeland, Florida. Future: A 400-page book of his poems, YANG CHU’s POEMS, to be published in April 2009 by the Canadian publisher, Crossing Chaos. Present: Featured poet and interviewed (23 pp.) in Eviscerator Heaven #4. Past: 6,160 poems published in print magazines and e-zines. The entire issue, Vol. 10, No. 1, of The Bitter Oleander contains his poems and 92 pp. interview. For further information, type Duane Locke on Google Search, 138,000 entries.


By Matthew Mahaney, Jan 15, 2009

Tell me the story again. How the boy swam endless laps in warm, brackish water.
How desperate he was to keep his distance from the shallow depths by the shore,
where giant spiders scuttled like lobsters—or was it the other way around—
on tar-flecked lily pads.

Remind me again how there seemed to be more of them on each pass, and closer,
the largest testing the water with a thin, mottled leg each time the boy’s forced orbit
brought his pale meat near.

Tell me all of this again. Speak softly, wrapping my wrists in your gnarled hands.
Just one more time, and I will promise to finally remember.

Matthew Mahaney is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a degree in English & Creative Writing. He lives in Madison, though will hopefully be moving somewhere warmer in the fall.


Everything Sticks
By Corey Mesler, Jan 14, 2009

“Everything sticks like a broken record.”
- They Might Be Giants

A rusted chain, a TV that goes in and
out. A man with a tie on, a
woman in a robe. This is the late night
crying jag, the round robin
game of lust. I want you the way a man
wants a mess. A house with no
address. A road that narrows, narrows.
The reasons why we still look
to each other for comfort. The reasons
why that works or doesn’t.
I want you the way want melts away,
the way it turns to lip service or love.

Corey Mesler has published in numerous journals and anthologies. He has published two novels, Talk: A Novel in Dialogue (2002) and We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon (2006). His first full-length poetry collection, Some Identity Problems (2008), is out from Foothills Publishing and his book of short stories, Listen: 29 Short Conversations, will appear in March 2009. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times, and one of his poems was chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. He has two children, Toby, age twenty, and Chloe, age thirteen. With his wife, he runs Burke’s Book Store, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores. He also claims to have written “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” He can be found at


Miles Davis on Peyote
By Maurice Oliver, Jan 12, 2009

She says her garden has no gender.

Our conversation spends a quiet evening at home. She
is dressed in only black pepper and I’m wearing red hot
coals. Our romantic road map has been unfolded in an
irrepressible posture, recoiling without heels or a top hat.
Creatures of mud. Apples of flaky crust. Shipwrecks
painted on her back. And the royal wedding takes place
on a water-bed or once leaves rustled in the trees. Ear to
the estuary. Gentle thigh kisses that profess to be pre-
revolutionary. The midnight sky marries the sea or my list
of desires stuffed into a tiny velvet purse. Until the scent
is unmistakable frontal. Teeth. Nails. Elbows. Arms. Moving
up the vine in the rain. Then, in July the ancestors return
famished and we turn out the light. With a slice of lime.

Urbane Shoelift
By Maurice Oliver, Jan 12, 2009

Lilacs are like that.

As for me, I used to be dangerous. I don’t
know what happened. But I do know that
I watched American Bandstand when I
was a kid. I used to do the Twist across the
black linoleum floor of our living room.
My mother would dance with me too. She
never really believed in rugs. She said they
were a good way to slip and fall and end up
knocking your brains out. Well, I managed
to survive the linoleum floor and all that
dancing and went on to college and then
married a blindfold twice my age. Not long
after that it began to rain between our words
with half a pear in her palm. She told me to
take my perfumed mustache to the nearest
cliff and jump off the red nose. The divorce was
a nightmare wearing a knotted silk tie. Now, I
live alone and watch my feet fall asleep. I pass
a past life low in sodium with a lampshade
landscape in my patriarch. My eternal toes
communicate in sign language and I might be
dead, even though I’m sure my memorial service
doesn’t know it yet. Anyway, whatever reminds
me is a handsome thug, slightly entwined in
sawdust or a noisy Italian scooter. Either way,
the whole thing appears to burn but is a fake fire.

After almost a decade of working as a freelance photographer in Europe, Maurice Oliver returned to America in 1990. Then, in 1995, he made a life-long dream reality by traveling around the world for eight months. But instead of taking pictures, he recorded the experience in a journal which eventually became poems. And so began his desire to be a poet. His poetry has appeared in numerous national and international publications and literary websites including Potomac Journal, Pebble Lake Review, FRiGG Magazine, Dandelion Magazine (Canada), Stride Magazine (UK), Cha Asian Literary Journal (Hong Kong), Kritya (India), Blueprint Review (Germany) and Arabesques Review (Algeria). His fourth chapbook is One Remedy Is Travel (Origami Condom, 2007). He edits the literary e-zine Concelebratory Shoehorn Review at: He lives in Portland, OR, where he works as a private tutor.


By Kenneth Pobo, Dec 31, 2008

To block the sun,
I put the cover of
Barbra Streisand’s

Barbara Joan Streisand album
in my window, her face
ghostly—when people drive up,
they wonder who’s staring
from my study. Few expect

to meet a diva here—
except for me. I do
diva-like schticks,
can wail over too many
cupboard pots,

overtake a room
when I’m furious
about some dope
at work or in politics.
Barbra takes it all

in good stride. Some divas
do stick together,
but when she begs me
to free her from
the window

I play her version of
“Mother“ and make
calamondin marmalade.

Kenneth Pobo had a new book of poems out in 2008 called Glass Garden from WordTech Press. Also published was his online chapbook, Crazy Cakes, which can be accessed at Catch his radio show, “Obscure Oldies,” each Saturday from 6-8 p.m. EST at


Toy Store
By D. C. Porder, Jan 07, 2009

i worked at a toy store
and had to smile at
2 year olds and pat
their heads a lot.
every day i woke up,
put on the dumb red hat
and purple suit they
paid us to wear, the big
fluffy boots they shackled
us in, then hit the bong, the bong
the bong. this is nice, i said.
then i walked 14 blocks
to work. work was never
nice. some days though
i’d smoke myself deep
into the past, shrink
to my hands and knees,
romp around the shop,
snatch hotwheels and legos
off the shelves and
play, play, play.
some days i was 2
years old and people
dressed like toys
patted my head and i
loved my purple suit,
my red hat, my fluffy boots.
this is nice, i said.
then i smiled.

D. C. Porder has one gray hair. He works with dead animals. He never sleeps. Spy on him at


Love: An Etymology
By Caleb Powell, Jan 04, 2009


Caleb Powell was born in Taiwan and studied Chinese at the Taipei Language Institute. He has also lived and worked in South Korea, Thailand, The United Arab Emirates, Denmark, Brazil, and Argentina, and is the author of The World Is a Class, a book drawing on his experiences overseas. He has placed essays, stories, and a novel as finalists in the Faulkner Competition. Recent poetry and fiction are forthcoming or published in descant, elimae, and flashquake. To see his related poems, “Yin Dao: An Etymology,” and “Cao: An Etymology,” check out The Pedestal Magazine and Word Riot, respectively.


Our Day
By Constance Stadler, Jan 12, 2009

Your sodden form,
A Disembowelment
Unwashed, unwiped
Beer can triptych

It is Sunday, Daddy!
Sun-Day, Fun-Day
                 Our Day!
But you didn’t come
In your blue-tiful
              Shiny Suit

To take Your Baby “Date”
To this week’s
             John Wayne
And Moo-Shoo pork
             To Die for...

Breaking free of Her

I bolted up Tremont Avenue
And dashed, high-hey!
Up the urine-brine staircase
Skippin’ round the steamy

I surprise you
A whole hour early!
To be swung and cradled
In that lion lap
                 Of ‘Safe.’

But you did not expect me,
Or any human being.

And the more I shook you
The more grating
                 More bestial
The Sound.

How could you forget?
Sun-day, Fun-day...

The only day that mattered.
In a starless

Constance Stadler has been writing, publishing, and editing poetry from the ‘prehistoric’ epoch of print journals to modern e-times. She was a former editor of South and West and is currently a contributing editor to the e-zine Eviscerator Heaven. She has published over 250 poems and three chapbooks in her ‘first manifestation’ as a poet, and is currently in final stage prep of her first chap in twenty years, Tinted Steam (Shadow Archer Press). Her most recent work appears in such zines as ditch, Parasitic, ken*again, Pen Himalaya, Rain Over Bouville, Clockwise Cat, Hanging Moss, Neonbeam, and Gloom Cupboard. Some of her work as well as most recent publication links can be found at As a political anthropologist, specializing in North Africa, and a violinist, her influences are multiform. Work in formative years with the late poet Gwendolyn Brooks was seminal, but no less so than Sufi Dervish dancers, and the challenges of mastering Bruch’s first concerto.


Sidewalk Saints
By Jade Sylvan, Jan 05, 2009

Do the abortion
protesters who gave
me the plastic rosary
on Commonwealth Avenue
ever wonder about the
diaspora of their trinkets,

picturing each
hand that grasps
the petroleum crucifix
trembling and sweaty
with contrition—

guilt of life lived
for the ruby eyes
of Mammon, riding
the lateral silver
crosses of jet-planes
to high-rising
bloodless temples;

over love of
the body, inching
like a closet-fiend up
the bed post, pulling
hands away from
from the tenuous bondage
of the prayer position,
into the moist clefts
of earthly things.

Their Mary-Hailing lips
smug and incorrupt
in gracious smirks—

could they imagine
us on Saturday
wearing their fetish
over breasts pressed
by corsets,
swinging the charm
in cheeky circles,
hips cocked and winking.

Perhaps, one
or two out there
really has a case
of that earnest conviction,

and fancies each
one a talisman
shifting the steps
of potential mothers
and fathers, mystic
force-field around
some fetus-to-be’s
incipient heart.

But I hope
they don’t think
of anything
as they allot,
the god they
have to give.

I hope they
just give it out
to anyone,
anyone at all,
arms scooping
to inviting concavity,
their minds wide,
standing and waiting,
like clean bowls—

how I’ve always
imagined faith.

Human Dimensions
By Jade Sylvan, Jan 05, 2009

Hair spiked misanthrope black Clark
Kent thick eyewear and a forearm tattoo in
Sindarin Elvish, highest tongue of Middle
Earth, he stutters through Gray’s Anatomy,
studies dissertations on variations of
consternation in the gestures of Rodin’s
Calaisian Burghers. Favorite dessert:

strawberry shortcake. Unsettling dark
chocolate too salacious for his taste,
he prefers the spongy gold beneath
plump crimson orbs, leaking sugary red
juices into pooled pillows of white cream.

Women smile at him like you would
at a three-legged Labrador, watch him
eat his child’s dessert with a soup spoon.
They nod at names like “Michelangelo,” but
start to get squirmy when he mentions
cadaver studies, the only real way to
understand the ribcage-pelvis relationship
in the figure, contrapuntally posed.

When he drops his spoon and the check
twice on the floor and bumps off his glasses
during their second reclaiming, voice cracked,
he proffers a tour of his studio just up the boulevard.

Has once one of these rainchecking nymphs
pictured him inside and at work—hands
dragging earthen flesh to shape hips creased
by agelessness, the notched spine of curled hunger,
the digging of robust fingers into thick grooves for
the delicate clavicle, the naked sternum,
ashen skin pulling into swollen stupas of breasts
reaching numb and biddable into the warm palms
as they tremble over the edge that separates forms
of animation, both perfectly filled and alone.

Jade Sylvan is a novelist and poet who can most easily be found at She has been published in Word Riot and Zygote in My Coffee, and is the current poetry editor for CRIT Journal. She has performed as the featured poet in many venues in New England, and is a regular performer at Boston’s famous Cantab Lounge.