OCTOBER 2009

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Eric Burke

Neil de la Flor

Adam Falkner

Nathan Graziano

Sarah Q. Morgan

Jon Sands

Constance Stadler

Jeanann Verlee

Catherine Zickgraf




His Wifeís Diary
By Eric Burke, Aug 22, 2009

     We have crossed a second threshold:
our weaknessess have become threats.
The heavy burden of being carried
into worry, into hardship,
has left us with less
stomach, less
patience
for nurturing.
Our children despise us:
we lack the generosity they demand of love.

Eric Burke works as a computer programmer in Columbus, Ohio. Recent work can be found in Right Hand Pointing, elimae, Alba, The Driftwood Review, Otoliths, PANK and nibble. You can read his blog at anomalocrinus.blogspot.com.

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Paloma
By Neil de la Flor, Sep 12, 2009

Paloma,

Iíve motioned to you I am here. I am waiting, tapping my foot on Cleopatraís headdress. After the show, Iíll tell you what happened to me.

Paloma,

To kill time, I have grown eager to dance. But I do not waltz in the chorus pit alone.

Paloma,

I assure you there are moments he puts nails to me. To answer your question, noó
I do not sing. God put tongues in my hands to chew in case madness is some form of
speaking.

Paloma,

Youíre wearing my undergarments. I told you before I donít like chrysanthemums.

Paloma,

I realize Iíve ruined your finest linens. I met a flash flood on the way home. It was a cool evening. Children had gathered to play a game of resurrection. The water interfered with the internment of the dead but one boy managed to plunk a cross into the muddy ground. Donít worry about the rest. My shoulders are tired from carrying the weight of my wig.

Paloma,

Where is my kimono?

Paloma,

Iím thinking I have a fetish for Arab men. Speaking of mujaheddins, I assure you I do not ascribe to religion.

Paloma,

I have the perfect idea. When we retire we will sit together on the porch of your beautiful mansion. In our rocketchairs I will tell you fabulous stories about what I have seen.

Paloma,

Iíve been forced to perform unthinkable acts. Lies. All lies.

Paloma,

Do you think the gentleman nurse can figure out the density of my bones during bad
weather and how to pinpoint the extent of my malfunction?

Paloma,

Iím curious about shamans. Iíve always loved ponies and acid. The woman who was
walking next to you wearing a yellow scarf told you the news. I can somersault.

Paloma,

Itís not that easy. I canít stand the oxygen bandit. You must not know how I feel when
you take your act into anotherís bedroom. There are rules we have to break now. A
simple kind of eulogy would have been sufficient. Nevertheless, I must organize my
escape. First.

For Hensar Leiva who was a popular gay singer and performer at Jamboree, a local gay dive in Miami, and a busboy at the Forge restaurant. Two men allegedly befriended then murdered him in 2004.

Neil de la Florís first book of poetry, Almost Dorothy, won the 2009 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize and will be published in January 2010. His literary work has been published in Haydenís Ferry Review, Barrow Street, Sentence, 42opus, Court Green and others. In 2006, Facial Geometry (NeoPepper Press), a collaborative chapbook of triads co-authored with Maureen Seaton and Kristine Snodgrass, was published. He currently lives in Miami and teaches at Miami Dade College and Nova Southeastern University. He can be reached at neildelaflor.com.

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Praise
By Adam Falkner, Aug 22, 2009

for J.S. and E.M.

It is four oíclock Sunday morning,
Saturday still wet on your skin.
Chemicals the color of coral floor electric

run red lights through the plumbing in your chest.
38th Avenue is an empty theatre,
your laughter momentums like beer foam

up and over the lip of a dirty glass. You lean
at the fluorescent mouth of a bodega
(the only open storefront in Queens), wallow

in the light mist peppered from a produce hose
hanging above a pyramid of oranges and wonder,
for just a moment, if the God that put you here

tonight is finished with their morning shift and
free to hit a happy hour so you can thank them
for reminding you there is more to this city

than iron and clock hands, bumping into things
that call your name and hustle, women
that call your name and skyline.

You trust your legs as if they actually belong to you
tonight when you ask your body to lean
towards Brooklyn and carry you like a lover

through the dark.

Adam Falkner is a poet, musician, high school English/Creative Writing teacher and current Writer-in-Residence at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City. His work has appeared in anthologies and journals such as The Barbershop Chronicles, Unsquared, the Residential Review, Gigantic Sequins and others. He lives and works in Brooklyn.

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Bumblebees
By Nathan Graziano, Sep 07, 2009

On the last night of my last bender,
the lights tripped, the stools flipped
and a muscle-ripped bouncer
snarled and told me to drink up fast.

My wife lay awake with my suitcase packed,
cussing at the cat, who likes me better.

The next morning I walked to an AA meeting
and smoked cigarettes outside a church
with a statue of a sad-eyed Madonna
and a bunch of other drunks, now sober,
all of us bumblebees, hanging in a new sky,
avoiding the hive, suspended in our own smoke.

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, with his wife and two children. He is the author of Teaching Metaphors (sunnyoutside, 2007), Not So Profound (Green Bean Press, 2004), Frostbite (GBP, 2002) and seven chapbooks of poetry and fiction. His work has appeared in Rattle, Night Train, Freight Stories, The Coe Review, The Owen Wister Review, and others. His third book of poetry, After the Honeymoon, will be published in fall 2009 by sunnyoutside press. For more information, visit his Web site: nathangraziano.com.

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The Shifting Beneath
By Sarah Q. Morgan, Aug 28, 2009

I buried my favorite toy in the ground
it was a rubber bird whose beak I had tied
with a red elastic
as to dangle it in the air
like it was flying;
a perfect metaphor.

Minutes later I attempted to unearth the seagull
and it was gone.
I dug and dug but it was gone.
The next summer when I went to buy a new one
they had stopped making them.
That night I laid in the back yard with my ear to the soil
searching for a squandered cry.
The insects taunted me,
snickered at my innocent attachment,
you wouldnít believe how loud it grew
(i had to choke out some cicadas).

I got older,
I got new toys: glass grapes, wallet sized fishing rods,
safety brochures, non refundable ticketsó
real mature trinkets that required fuel or motionless kissing
or absence that made the heart grow still.

I became the inconsolable harvester.
When I scream now, my mouth is shaped like a shovel.
I am hacking through an overgrown world,
static moss lines the windows,
all the blossoms look like faces I am forgetting
paint pooling in their jaws
and bursting their teeth straight out their mouths,
necks wilting...
turning in.

The rain happens in slow motion
meandering down through the gelatin atmosphere.

I am the ingenuous weeder,
palm fat with sickles of lust,
apron loosening in the wind,
a common gardener
desperate to feel alive.

I have toiled in the field too long.
I want to love with the importance of a crop.

For a good rain
I would be a village of ready hands and hungry bodies.

There is this land
all around me,
it braids itself into my loneliness
and i begin to sweat perfect
like a horse in the sun
hooves of heavy syrupó
yes i have been guilty,
i have been adored by the flies,
heat sick and disintegrating in berry picking season.

I wish that adam & eve werenít vegans,
Iíve been stealing from the tree ever since.
I thought this was protocol.
I was taught to take.

If your bible leaves you for a better history
do not drive your truck into the swamp,
in some way they will stop making it.
The assembly line doesnít care if you were born whole
with bigger greener thumbs.

Guatemala ships bananas by the millions.
I am a continent of seeds
and swinging animals
but I cannot keep up.

In Guatemala there is a white fence in a poor town,
I go there in my dreams to unpaint it with lacquer,
there are puzzled onlookers,
they ask what I am doing,
say the structure is pure,
say the storm is rolling in and suggest I head for shelter.
I look around and wave my arms like peeling wallpaper
from a submerged cottage...

If there is water in the air
why canít I feel it?

For a good rain
I would sink into the muds forever
a loyal submarine
holding one eye like a periscope above the dirt
the very last bulb

Sarah Q. Morgan was a pillar in the revival of the Philadelphia Slam Team which lay dormat for twelve years prior. In 2009 she released her first full-length book of poetry Animal Ballistics through Write Bloody Publishing. She now tours the nation on donkey back contemplating the importance of pasteurization or showers.

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A Working List of Things I Will Never Tell You
By Jon Sands, Aug 28, 2009

When I said I wasnít with another girl
the January after we fell in love for the 3rd time,
itís because it wasnít actual sex.

In the February that began our radio silence,
it was actual sex. I hate the tight shirts
that go below your waistline.

Not only do they make you look too young,
but then your torso is a giraffeís neck attached to tiny legs.
I screamed at myself in the subway

for writing poems about you still.
I made a scene. I think about you almost
each morning, and roughly every five days, I still

believe youíre there.
I still masturbate to you.
When we got really bad,

I would put another coat of mop water on the floor of the bar
to make sure you were asleep when I got to my side of the bed.
You are the only person to whom Iíve lied, knowing

I was telling the truth. I miss the way your neck
wraps around my face like a cave we are both lost in.
I remember when you said being with me

is like being alone with company.
My friend Sarah wrote a poem about pink ponies.
Iím scared youíre my pink pony.

Hers is dead. It is really sad. Youíre not dead.
You live in Ohio, or Washington, or Wherever.
You are a shadow my body leaves on other girls.

I have a growing queue of things I know
will make you laugh and I donít know where to put them.
I mourn like youíre dead. If you had asked me to stay,

I would not have said no.
It would never mean yes.

Jon Sands makes better tuna salad than anyone you know. He is a recipient of the 2009 NYC-LouderARTS fellowship grant, and has represented New York City multiple times at the National Poetry Slam. He is Director of Poetry and Arts Education Programming at the Positive Health Project, a harm reduction center located in Midtown Manhattan, and is one-fourth of the nationally acclaimed electricity-fest, The SpillJoy Ensemble. Heís been featured in Spindle Magazine, as well as the forthcoming issue of the Lamplighter Review.

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Nature Walk
By Constance Stadler, Sep 02, 2009

Virgin
         dawn.

Apricot claret
Thrush strides
Through long
                     forgotten
                         wetlands.

Near the banks
of assaulting
                cattails
Grubs bloat
a gutless swan
now hive and citadel
of incremental
self-consumption.

White undulating smother
cloaks consummation in
the myriad squirm
of multitudes.

Hideous productivity,
assembly-line fecundity.
The many as one.
Indiscriminate
                       carnage.

Soon I will be the swan
As befitting
              My humanity.

Constance Stadler has published over 300 poems and three chapbooks in her Ďfirst manifestationí as a poet twenty years ago, and has just released two chaps Tinted Steam (Shadow Archer Press), Sublunary Curse (Erbacce) an eBook, Paper Cuts (Calliope Nerve). A new book Responsorials (with Rich Follett) will be released in fall 2009 (Neopoeisis Press).

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plum
By Jeanann Verlee, Aug 25, 2009

I kept him in a birdcage
in my closet for months

brought him rice and seeds (when I remembered)
sometimes water, a sip of warm soda

once, as I was pulling tulips
from the rose bed, he escaped

returned days later in silk lavender, unfurled his smile
like a clothesline full of crisp spring bed sheets

that night I cut a small incision under
my left breast, stuffed two fingers inside

pushed aside tissue, sternum, found a rock
the size of a plum, scooped it out

rinsed it, locked it
in the cage beside him

by morning, my closet
was a jungle of plum trees

saplings pushing up through floorboards, branches sprouting
from the door jam, juice streaming down the walls

I climbed the tallest of the trees, hung the cage
from its highest branch, opened the latch

as he hopped onto my finger,
I pressed my lips to his feathery face

I reached in, snatched the purple fruit
dug my thumbs into the plump

tore it in two

Jeanann Verlee is a poet, activist, and polka-dot wearer who collects tattoos and winks at boys. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals and anthologies, including The New York Quarterly, PANK, and Not A Muse, among others. Her first book of poetry will be published by Write Bloody Press in March 2010.

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Magpie
By Catherine Zickgraf, Aug 20, 2009

Monet would have seen a thousand whites in this snowó
silver prints on branches, smoke in the sky.
Behind trees, heíd see strokes of lavender
against the roofs where the sun slid down.

But snow is Hell in the throbbing cavity of a mountain.
The forest is shorn to a jagged stubble and shouldered
down steepness by bending bones.
Rabbits of the valley are crouching,
and shades return to huts for rice and rat and primal sleep.
Inside sticks and mud tonight will huddle
shaking lips and fingers.

Catherine Zickgraf is indebted to MySpace for helping her find her long-lost son whom she placed for adoption two decades agoóthus you can find her blog there, myspace.com/czickgraf. Her poetry has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association and in BirdsEye Review. She also has work forthcoming in GUD Magazine.

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