Monday, February 16, 2009

Editor's Note - Shoots and Vines is Moving

It's been a wonderful two and a half months since S&V first began, a thought I had while washing dishes. :)

S&V has grown so quickly: sixty-four contributors in the online zine alone since inception.

Beginning today, S&V's new home will be at Many thanks to Lynn Alexander for helping through the beginning stages of setting up the new site. I couldn't have done it without her.

New submissions addy:
New info addy:

New site:

On the drop down bar of the new site is a list of all the contributors. Each piece of work has its own page. I hope everyone enjoys the new look, still dark and disparing. :)

Take care and check out the new site. Bookmark it, tell your friends, and keep submitting!

Thanks to everyone for making this such a huge success. I never would have dreamed this zine would hit over 5800 views in less than three months, but I also didn't have any idea how many great writers were still hiding in the underground.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Featured Writer: Julie Buffaloe-Yoder Day 3

Buster Peacock & The House of Many Colors

When the city of Freeville

widened the highway,

they didn’t plow down

a single shingle in


White Pointe

Golf Crossing.

Instead, they took

Buster Peacock’s land.

A blind old black man

in a felt blue hat

with a sagging shack

on twenty acres of

scrub pine and sand.

That house was old

even in Jim Crow’s day

when Buster carried

his sweet Veleetha

over the threshhold,

felt the angles of her face

the curve of her hips,

a perfect place for babies:

Buster Jr.


Little Toot.

Buster Peacock could feel the color

of four rooms with his fingers, the tips

of his toes—the brown creak and sigh

from tired floorboards at night.

The way the feather bed felt

like cool water blue when

the breeze blew gauze curtains

over Veleetha’s sleeping face.

That little red place in the doorway

where Scoochie bumped his head

when he got so tall, the gold notches

where Buster Jr. carved his name,

the yellow dip in the hallway where

Toot liked to slide in socks.

The silver click of the cuckoo clock

exactly eight steps from a gray hum

from the refrigerator, the green smell

of the breadbox on a hot June day.

The city could not understand

why Buster cried so hard

over a broke down shack.

They gave fair market value.

But they didn’t care that

you can’t place market value

on a breadbox or children

grown or a wife passed on.

The day they moved him

to a retirement home,

the dozer crushed

through his front door.

Buster could feel color

all over again.

Waiting For Mother

Waiting for mother was easier

before autumn crackled in

and ate the days up early.

It was my job to never cry

and light the living room fire.

I was six and alone with wood

and the sharp clear bark of cold.

The wind tip-tapped

the spider crack windows

looking for a place inside

to build its nest.

I knew Mother would come,

she would come home and see

me in the big of the dark,

clumsy with wood and the room

closing its teeth around me--

the naughty buds of fire

refusing to open and grow.

The room smiled pumpkin warm

when I coaxed the fire to raise

its broken, bloody wings.

The branches fluttered shadows

like long lashes on the walls.

Those nights were yellow glad;

I could play and wait, listen

to the purr of wind against the sky.

I liked to watch the moon

scrape across the window.

I liked to tell stories to my dolls,

hold them close to the fire,

watch their smiling faces melt.

And the moon held me.

And the smoke held me.

And the long curly hair

of the shadows held me.

And the moon made me full.

And the fire ate my fever.

And the rise and fall of flames

sang me softly to sleep.

Sometimes when I woke,

the fire left burning sores

on tangled legs of branches.

Sometimes when I woke,

the moon rattled at the window.

The cold was thorny

up and down my back.

The knots in the wood

stared like bad baby eyes,

and the clock was click click

clicking its high heels

in the crying midnight room.

I knew when Mother came home,

she would come, singing red shoes,

the pretty side of her face

an orange fire glow.

She would turn off the bad baby eyes

and the meanness of the moon.

She would listen to the falling leaves

and hear the angel wings with me.

She would fall asleep, and I

would rub her small, soft feet.

I would smell her lemon hair.

I would find her missing slipper.

I would kiss her warming temple,

never ever burn.

Waiting for Mother was easier

before the greedy winter came

and chewed up all the wood.

One night, the wind slapped hard.

I only found the skinny twigs.

One night, through the click of cold,

I filled the fireplace with dolls

and books, pennies, chairs,

stale dry blankets,

And I let the room catch on fire.

Upstairs, on my mattress,

I waited for Mother

to creep up the wooden steps

and tuck me in.

She would come quickly.

She would come warmly.

I knew she would come home

and I would not be alone.

And together we would listen

to the broken goodnight moon,

the glowing wind, and babies

falling from the sky.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Featured Writer: Julie Buffaloe-Yoder Day 2

Shaqueena, Big and Tall

Shaqueena had the biggest tits

I’ve ever seen, I mean each

of those puppies was the size

of a Rottweiler’s head.

Even us straight girls

couldn’t help but stare

at them in gym class.

Soapy globes in the shower,

suntanned worlds unknown,

Shaqueena had the power

of a woman in eighth grade.

Those glamorous glands

didn’t slow Shaqueena down.

She didn’t try to stop them

with eighteen-hour harnesses

or hide them behind books.

She put them out there, honey,

for all the small girls to see.

Goddess of the braless,

large dark nipples peeking

through thin white lace.

Bouncing on the playground,

they’d hit us in the face.

We memorized her mammaries,

worshipped her jiggling temples,

wrote poems about them,

gave both of them names.

We were jealous as hell.

Shaqueena, Queen of Meat.

Sturdy, curvy, proud, loud.

When God was passing out

boobs in the lunch room,

Shaqueena took all the trays

and ran away, laughing.
Washing Away

That old shell of a building used to be

where Jeeter Davis picked the blues,

while us girls picked the sweet meat

of blue crabs to sell for market price.

We worked with red bandanas

on our heads, and boys on our minds.

Our squeaking rubber gloves

on warm, wet wood kept time.

The mockingbirds sounded

like little boats chewing foam.

The shush of shovels in crushed ice

meant supper would be on the table

for at least another season.

Our fathers were worn out

after a good night’s catch,

their boats heavy with a living.

But they kept us full

of their stories, oh Lord, that day

Jeeter Davis sang the one about

the cheating wife and the clam bed,

we thought we would die laughing.

Now there’s a big, black boot,

some old net that needs mending,

and an upside down crab pot

floating in the tide.

There’s a rotten crate

with SHRIMP stenciled

on its side, the letters R, M, P

almost faded away.

There’s a mossy brown stump

where the oyster bed was,

the handle of a shovel,

and two rusty pennies, heads up,

lying in the mud.

There’s our old crab house

creaking in the breeze, and inside,

the briny smell still echoes

like Jeeter Davis’ cold, steel blues

sliding off the walls.

There’s glass that snaps underfoot,

three rubber gloves, a pink hair brush,

a radio that might still work,

and a guitar pick crusted with scales

stuck in a crack in the ice room door.

There’s half a receipt book,

and compliments

of Bell-Munden Funeral Home,

there’s an unmarked calendar

still opened to the year

when we lost our soul.

Across the bay,

there’s a healthy row

of condominiums growing.

They call it Fisherman’s Ridge.

There’s a billboard that has

a happy family on it.

They’re not from around here.

There’s a cartoon picture

of a boat and a shrimper

hauling in his heavy nets.

He’s bathed in light and way

too clean to be working.

They tell us maybe

we can get big tips over there

if we entertain the tourists

with our watermen’s accents

or serve imported crabs

in the restaurant

or mop their pretty floors.

So shiny, so bright,

like the Whore of Babylon

like a brand new bay.

God help us.

We’re all washing

We’re all washing away.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Featured Writer: Julie Buffaloe-Yoder Day 1

Aunt Aggie and The Alligators

Aunt Aggie never had babies.
She had alligators
that floated under leaf wet logs.
She had a mud brushed shack
beside a slow moving river
downwind of Ocketawna Swamp.
She had boxes of fossils
on her kitchen counters.
Six foot long rattlesnake skins
hung as decorations
on her front porch.

Half Cherokee, half Irish,
Aunt Aggie had one brown eye
and one blue; she had two
bright silver braids that swung
past her ass when she danced.
Aunt Aggie smelled like cypress,
muddy boots and fresh mint tea.
Her hands were as loving tough
as summer collard leaves.

Aunt Aggie had no neighbors.
She had a Smith and Wesson
and ninety six root thick acres.
She had record breaking reptiles
who turned over her trash barrel
in the lapping heat
of those thick cricket nights.
She had the faded yellow skies
of August hurricanes,
not too many water bugs,
mildewed faces growing
on her window screens,
and every knick knack
Woolworth’s ever sold.

Each spring at dawn on the edge
of the riverbank, Aunt Aggie threw
leftovers, buckets of fish guts,
and rotten fruit in mossy holes
where the gators waited
for her to call them by name:
Miss Eula Belle!
Matthew-Mark-Luke and John!
Josiah Ezekiel Twain!
Old Slow Moon!
Little Bitty!

During mating season she crouched
waist deep in swamp to watch
the big ones make the water dance;
kept a two-by-four held tight in case
the young ones should try to get fresh.

Aunt Aggie had a fit that stormy day
when relatives explained the papers
that came in the mail from The State:
Eminent Domain.

They said maybe she should take
the money they offered.
Find a nice retirement home.

Everybody thought Aunt Aggie
would shoot the lawyers
and the politicians
and the real estate developers
and the police in their fat heads.
Instead, she cut all her silver hair
and let it float down the river
with the moon of the green corn.

They found Aunt Aggie the next week
curled up and brown on her porch.
The biggest gator next to her, eating
fish heads, bread and moldy cheese.
Aunt Aggie’s last supper
before her babies were put to sleep.

Snake Handling

They call him Rattlesnake,

a row of diamonds

sliced across his back

in a bar room brawl.

All the girls say he is

the best thing to curl up

on their hot back porches

since before the devil’s fall.

They say he’s so pretty

like slant-eyed danger

wrapped in gold-brown skin,

muscles the size of sin—

he smells like a man, damnit.

This laying on of hands

fathers do not understand,

this power to tread through

tall grass, groping under

the dark side of logs,

searching for an answer.

When they dare to hold him,

they shed their old souls

and are born again

beneath a thrill of stars,

dancing to the rhythm

of the rock of ages.

Speaking unknown tongues,

that ticking crescendo

of dry pinestraw is alive

like tambourines of fire.

Like strychnine shooting

through a country girl’s veins.

The sting might not kill

but it makes them feel

like it will, and even if

they swell, they don’t

give a damn—they say

it’s better than Heaven.

I've had work published in Side of Grits, storySouth, Clapboard House, The Wilmington Review, A Carolina Literary Companion, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, Grain, and Pemmican.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

When the Wolves Came Down the Mountain by Jason Michel

When the wolves came down the mountain, we rang the bells and took turns throwing rocks at the damned wild hounds. All teeth and eyes. There seemed to be no rhyme nor reason to it all, ‘cept they wanted our blood split from open wounds onto the female earth’s holy gash.
And we damn well wanted theirs.

An aged Scotsman stood next to me, the one we called Ancient Mac Cock on account of his obsession with his withered mediocre genitalia, and launched a large stone that misfired and smashed the dull stained glass window that showed Christ’s crucifixion on the grim, hunched-over Presbyterian church. When the realization of the consequences of his wayward action hit him, he turned to me and whispered, “Might wake th’ ol’ bastard up fer once, hey lad …”

As I brought down a rock and cracked open the skull of one of the beautiful creatures, watching its pale blue eyes become shot with spilled scarlet ink and its grey purple cerebral mass seep through its ears, I noticed a little girl squatting over the dismembered stomach of a lupe and pissing all over its entrails, washing the blood away. Then I knew I was nothing more than a cell in a gigantic beast that went on forever and forever. The question was whether I was a virus or part of the immune system. As I looked around at the carnage and the numbers of the dead on both sides, I glimpsed the answer and prepared for tomorrow.

Jason Michel has been turned on, tripped up and stumbled over all around the world on an eleven year(so far)self imposed exile. He now lives in France.
He has recently published his first novel “Confessions of a Black Dog” at and has had work published in various print and online magazines.
His work can be seen at

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Todd Among the Nightingales by Mikael Covey

Todd meanders down the street, scrawny, pot-bellied; I see he’s lost most of his hair now. Comes over to the guys outside the half-way house with a big smile on his face. They’re sitting there smoking cigarettes watching the grass grow, whatever. Friends of his, I guess.

I’m making a delivery, dropping off a package. “He was one of the Chicago Seven” I tell ‘em. Todd smiles, starts recounting the names “Abby Hoffman, Jerry Rubin...” Yeah, and Todd Obermeyer.

We used to talk about it, back when I was his caseworker, as if that’s all there was. Paging through the high school yearbook, pictures in black and white. Pretty girls in pep club outfits, Pierpoint Rustlerettes 1967.

Todd looks at the pictures objectively, distantly; tells me how shy and dysfunctional he was in school; even though his folks had money. A scrawny little mouse with droopy eyes and big ears, short hair cut. Like none of that ever mattered anyway. “I’m forty-eight years old y’know.”

Then in college, somehow in a fraternity, in with the bright young going somewhere crowd. The cusp of future leaders. Chicago ’68, when he had the breakdown. They brought him back from Canada, put him in the hospital for twenty years. Ten more after that on the outside, still that’s all there ever was.

Lives alone in a spotlessly clean apartment, government funded. Everything neat and orderly, very nice. “I got no food” he says, objectively, not that it matters. Just something to talk about, making conversation. We have to meet, we have to talk. What else is there to say.

First of the month his check comes in. The vultures swoop down and take it away. Tougher needier mental patients who prey on the weaker ones. Borrow things, like your money. “They talk me into it” he says “what can I do? He says he’ll pay me back, and he never does. Next time I’m gonna just tell him no.”

Aint gonna happen. I’d like to see Todd get really angry about it, just to see how far he’d go before he’d back down. Like a couple of pomeranians fighting each other. Or maybe that’s how we all are when you think about it.

Take him to the food pantry where people donate food so that others who don’t have any can come get some. Todd’s very picky. “Do you have...” this, that, the other, like we’re at the supermarket, anything you want. I’m embarrassed. This is free food Todd, just take what the lady gives you, okay? Asks if he can come back every month, his problems would all be solved.

I like Todd, he’s so different from what you’d think a schizophrenic would be. So quiet calm peaceful. That slight smile, like things are amusing to him, or beyond his control. Always so friendly, gentle, dignified in his own way. A pleasure to visit with him, to escape from the constant tension and stress of the job. Just to sit here in this spotlessly clean apartment, reminisce about old days.

When I get to know him better, he confides in me a bit. The color coded signals God uses to tell him things. He saw a man on tv wearing a blue suit. Blue means royalty, that was a good man. Something yellow in a magazine would be a warning. Don’t go out today. Orange is even more dangerous.

That was years ago. I’m surprised he’s made it this far. But I like Todd, I’m happy to see him. Later run across him meandering down the street, big fleshy bulge on the side of his neck. “Todd, how you doing?” “Well...I got cancer. Of the lymph nodes, I guess. They’re giving me chemo... I’m fifty-eight years old, y’know.”

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Photography by Jeff Crouch

Remains Day

Sense of Play


Jeff Crouch is an internet artist in Grand Prairie, Texas. Google him.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Editor's Note

It's been a great week.

S&V Print Issue 1 is at Penny Lane Coffee House. Penny Lane Coffee House is a locally owned and operated business in Evansville, IN. Local writers and musicians show up every month to read their work and play their music. Inside you'll find a reading area, fair-trade coffee, vegan muffins and soup, and great conversation. Religion and politics are not taboo here! If you are in the area, bypass Starbucks and hit this sweet spot that Heidi and Paul have nurtured into a breeding ground for underground art.

Antony Hitchen has a new chapbook out this month. It's entitled 'The Holy Hermaphrodite' and consists of cut-up poetry and one prose piece. The poems chosen all concern the over-coming and resolution of dualities (sex, race, sexuality, religion etc, etc) unified in the body of the Hermaphrodite - a symbol or physical representation of all things unified and at peace.

Shadow Archer Press has published other books by great S&V writers. Stop by to buy their books and keep an eye out for Antony's book.

Coming soon, collaborations between David Oprava and myself, and Matt Finney and myself. We selected six word prompts and went from there. I'm excited to be working with two fantastic writers. Audrey Victoria is providing the art. You can see more work by David, Matt, and Audrey in S&V's print issue 1. Both zines will be available on open book and in print. I'll add links as soon as the work is completed.

I really want to spread the word about another great place in southern Indiana which works very hard to bring quality goods to quality people.

Joe's Records in Evansville, Indiana.

I take the baby into Joe's a couple of times a month to pick up music or games. Just the other day, I was looking for Ingrid Lucia's album that has the song 'Down Home', and Joe found it for me. Although I could have just as easily ordered it from Amazon or some other store, there is something special about ordering music from a locally owned and operated record store, especially when the owner sold me my first Cocteau Twins CD when I was about thirteen. Joe carries a large selection of music by local artists. If you are in southern Indiana, stop by to see Joe and tell him Crystal sent you. He'll probably tell you all kinds of stories about me from back when I wore ripped up fishnets and combat boots.

Comment, comment, comment! Let the writers and artists know when you like their work. Not only is it a good push to keep writing, but it gives us direction so we know when something works, when we connect to the reader.

This week's lineup

Tuesday: Jeff Crouch
Wednesday: Mikael Covey
Thursday: Jason Michel

Featured Writer: Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

Have a great week!

Calls for Submissions

S&V will now be publishing a monthly zine on open book. Each month will have a different word prompt or topic.

March - Darkening of the Night

Send subs to and add March to the subject.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Featured Writer: Doug Draime Day 3

Attending A Poetry Reading At The Local College

What good does poetry do? Can it stop the
wailing of the tormented? Can it end
the continual political slaughter of
millions from war, starvation,
abortion, capital punishment, racial
genocide, or territorial domination?

Poets still sit in the coffeehouses and
bars in America,
talking like badass street fighters,
though few
have ever thrown a punch
and probably wouldn’t know how to make a fist:
publishing in the
little mags only
they read, and,
to each other. They’re
content like everyone
to get drunk and
talk shit.

In other countries they lined poets up against the wall
and shot them down
like wooden ducks in a shooting gallery
or imprisoned them like wild animals

for speaking out against
the State,
for publishing poems of
and dissension,
for standing up
for truth
and human

Poets in America suck on the tit of academic,
curdled lies, defending the “artistic freedom”
of submerging an image
of Christ in a bottle of urine.

*Reprinted from Doug's book: Transmissions From The Underground
Watch for it at deadbeatpress sometime in February 2009.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Featured Writer: Doug Draime Day 2

Burning The Complete Works of Sylvia Plath

The suicidal Muse ran up and
down my walls screaming for
Sylvia Plath. It wasn’t my
Muse; it came with her. She warned
me about something like this
happening if my writing
became too positive or
encouraging. So, I called her
“Look,” I said, “it’s running up and
down my walls screaming for
Sylvia Plath.”

“Calm down,” she said, “just turn the typewriter
off and it’ll stop.”

“What?” I said.

“Turn the Corona off and it’ll stop.” she said

The Smith Corona was a gift from her when my ancient
Remington bit the dust. I told her to hold on a minute and
went over and turned off the machine. She was right, the
thing just disappeared with a puff of smoke. Back on the
phone, I told her it worked. She was silent for a moment.

“What are you going to do now,” she asked.

“What do you mean?” I said.

“Well, I mean, you got the thing stirred up
somehow and now every time you turn
the typewriter on the Muse is going to get
out and cause havoc. Each time it gets worse.”

“No shit?” I said, shocked.

“No shit!” she replied.

I thought for a moment. “Will burning the
Complete Works Of Sylvia Plath work?”

She was thinking now. “Well, you could give that
a try, probably wouldn’t hurt to burn all the Ted
Hughes stuff while you’re at it.”

“Thanks I appreciate the help,” I said and hung up.

I didn’t have the Complete Works Of Sylvia Plath
and nothing by Hughes, so I went out and bought
them. When I got home I went outside, threw them
in an empty trash can and was about to torch them
when something like a spiritual revelation hit me.
I grabbed the Complete Works Of Sylvia
Plath out of the trash can and ran inside, turned on
my oven and baked her with the oven door open for
an hour. Then I gingerly took the smoldering books,
holding them with a pot holder, outside and threw them
in the trash can with her former old man, and torched
them good. I watched the books burn to ashes, then
emptied the ashes in my septic tank. I felt something
lifting from me and I knew it was over.

I went in and turned on the machine. It purred
like a kitten. I waited for a moment and then
typed my first line: The Suicidal Muse ran up
and down my walls screaming for Sylvia Plath.

*Reprinted from Doug's book: Transmissions From The Underground
Watch for it at deadbeatpress sometime in February 2009.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Featured Writer: Doug Draime Day 1

Someday I Will Write A Poem That Will Flood The World

And I will own all the
arks, boats, ships,
rafts, and canoes,
and tug boats, ferries,
all forms of water transportation.

People will have to come
to me for their means
of survival.

The stubborn and destitute ones
will drown in my poem
sinking to the bottom,
screeching like anchors on

The rest of humanity will plead
for cut-rate discounts. But fuck them,
I’ll make them pay out
the ass. No rainbows
this time.

4 a.m. Reflection

If I say it was
torrid, what of love?
As my mind tosses
in memory like a
violent sea,
settling for the
compromise of
touching the stars
climbing the ladder
of lust. Meaning?
Love? What aches
in the heart?
Familiar images of
erotic passion
and the comfort of
someone being there. Knowing
the emptiness
and sting of
ambivalence. Why do we betray
the intimacy?
Why do we betray
the giving?

Doug Draime emerged as part of the underground literary movement in Los Angeles in the late 1960's. Most recent books: "Bones" (Kendra Steiner Editions) and "Los Angeles Terminal" (Covert Press). Forthcoming, "Transmissions From The Underground" (d/e/a/d/b/e/a/t/ press) and "Farrago Soup" (Coatlism Press). He moved Oregon in 1981, where he stills resides.

Order Doug's book and support small press: d/e/a/d/b/e/a/t press

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Belt loops by Crystal Folz

We go to a party at a friend's farm. The moon sits in the sky, as bright as the Skoal ring on the back pocket of my husband's blue jeans. I carry food into the house. He totes his guitar and cooler out to the weathered gray barn.

Moths whirl in the spotlights set up around the table. Laughter stirs the tassels on the corn. They play Hank Sr., Waylon, and Kristofferson before meandering into that harmonic southern rock they quietly strummed in their rooms when learning to play the guitar.

Sometimes on date night we take the pickup. Before we leave, my husband cleans out the truck. Tool belts and safety glasses and shotgun shells are placed inside the garage door. He gets a sheet from behind the seat, one that has holes cut for seat belt buckles, and tucks it in tight. I prop my foot up on the dash, and he lets me take control of the radio.

I've always wanted men, not boys - gruff and greasy men who seem to have been born knowing how to weld, whittle, and eye which socket they need to loosen a bolt.

There's little things I've stopped thinking about for a long time: the way he plays with the back pocket on my cutoff shorts when I sit in his lap; how he tucks the sheet between us on hot nights so we don't stick together; how he says my accent is sweet, secretly knowing I've spent years trying to shorten those long vowels and remember the 'g's at the end of my words; and those calloused hands, fingers that snag strands of hair when he brushes it over my shoulder.

I lean up against the truck, fixing to grab him another beer, and wonder if he wants me to be hard enough to take care of myself, or soft enough to let him drag me back by my belt loop whenever I walk away without kissing him first.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What I Saw by D.C. Porder

when it first happened
dad wasn’t really that blind.
what he saw were (in his words)
“black columns” on both sides
of his vision. each day
they encroached further
towards the center
of his blue eyes like curtains
across stained-glass.

the day he lost his sight completely
we ate chocolate cake.
dad thought it would
be funny. then long strings
of tears rushed down
his cheeks. dad

cried through the night.
his eyes were worthless
except for that.

D.C. Porder studies writing at The New School. Read more at

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Two Pieces by George Anderson

On the Seine

it's raining in the
French Quarter as
we eat delicious

skewers of prawns
& mussels smash our
greasy white plates in

the fireplace later
sit under umbrellas
sipping Veure Clicquot

Yellow Label from plastic
champaigne glasses & in
the dark follow the brightly

lit tourists' boats trying to
forget Gaza where militants
fire make-shift rockets &

where schools & hospitals
at this very minute are being
bombed by the Israeli Air Force

the general election only three
weeks away our bottle dangerously
nearing the end of its usefulness.


She was born
on that late Friday evening
without lips
without a nose

her left foot attached
to her knee

six toes on her right foot

her heart & lungs
sweetly pumping

the neon grey noon
a slowly understood beauty
the handwriting describing this
barely legible

god's attempts at perfection reconfigured,
her colostomy bag one day attuned
to life's tragic appendage?

George Anderson lives in North Wollongong, Australia. Erbacce-press in July 2008 published a chapbook of his poems 'Dancing
On Thin Ice'. Check out his new blog:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Editor's Note

S&V Issue 1 has been well received. Copies will be floating around this week in Evansville, Indiana. Stop by Penny Lane Coffee House, and River City Food Co-op to pick up a copy - while supplies last. It will be printed and distributed until April, when the second issue prints.

All contributors were sent copies last week. If you haven't received yours, it's because I don't have a snail mail addy for you.

If readers would like a copy of the print, please contact me by email: I ask for $1.00 to help pay for shipping.

Coming this week, a printable Outsider Writers mini-zine which provides a mission statement and links to the group. Check out my blog on Outsider Writers later this week to print off a copy.

Kristin Fouquet just interviewed me for the OW zine coming out this spring. Keep your eyes open for more information about S&V and why I love it.

Small Press Information:

Andromache Books is a small, independent press publishing literary fiction and poetry of the highest quality. We are dedicated to the vital and delicate art of literature. We are not in it for the money. (What money?) We are in it for truth and beauty and all that. We are decidedly not the mainstream.

Andromache Books is a cooperative, not-for-profit venture, run entirely by the authors themselves. We seek to bring only the best and the brightest to light. For further information about our books contact us

We are:
Grace Andreacchi, managing editor
Nikesh Murali, poetry editor
Edward Hadas, business manager
Andy Scheuchzer, mascot

Out titles so far include:
Mark Edwards, Clearout Sale
Grace Andreacchi, Scarabocchio, Poetry and Fear

Coming soon: Poetry from Robin Ouzman Hislop, and our Contemporary Poets Series, edited by Nikesh Murali.

Call for Submissions:

Shoots and Vines is looking for poetry, prose, flash fiction, art, and photography for the April 2009 print issue.

The Legendary:

Team -

Jim Parks is a newsman, deckhand, farm hand, truck driver and ramblin' man. Keep him away from the fire water and don't mess with his food or his woman.

Katie Moore is a mother, writer, and that order. Sorry, husband. She has been known to plan an orgy and occasionally she feels the need to dance like Kevin Bacon in Footloose.

*Calls for Submissions and information about small presses are posted every Monday in the editor's note. If you'd like to submit your mag or press, please email Add mag or press in the subject line.

Have a great week!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Featured Writer: Alan King Day 3

Saturday Morning

And the Boulevard wakes
like a child -- rubbing its eyes,
stretching to greet first light.
But you're wide-awake with

the other silhouettes inside
a darkened theatre, and
all around you -- the loud
snapping of cellophane wrappers,

cookie dough candy and gummy
bears sweetening the air.
"How come you're always by yourself,"
your father asked once. His mind

so one-track women only exist
as cure-alls for everything, even
a work-week that pounds you
like a heavyweight.

But how do you explain the rush
you get from conquering that near-empty
dark space -- the throne-sized seats,
and jesters on a screen fit for a king?


Fred picks at his batter-
fried onions, shakes his head:
She said it would never work

with me; that I know too many
An ex told you the same thing
before demanding you either
cut your play sisters loose or lose her

for good. And why does it always
come down to the final proposition,
as if life had a limit on possibilities?

And what happens when neither party
stops fighting the forces of arbitration?
Maybe you end up dateless on a Saturday night,
sharing appetizers with your boys

in a log cabin-style restaurant –
considering the symbolism
of a talking moose head on the wall.

The Meek

…the angels fall from heaven
…the day the earth stands still

-The System, "Don't Disturb This Groove"

like that night, skating around
a darkened rink with several
other silhouettes and Tanya
gripping my nervous hand

her skin glowing from
the purple "Couples" sign
and popping Bubblicious
behind her thick pink lips
was all I knew of beauty

and would probably be
the only time this chunky
12 year old would get
so close to divinity

to think this moment
seemed impossible,
or would be the closest
thing to knowing a man's
frustration for obsessing
the unattainable

but Tonya locking her
fingers with mine and smiling,
I'm convinced God grants
the meek a small taste
of their inheritance

like your cool older
cousins along the rail,
watching – grinning
and nodding: Yeah
I see you, playa

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Featured Writer: Alan King Day 2

3 a.m.

An hour before, we were laying
in your bed -- your fingers trailing
my spine, finding the pool

at the small of my back. I laughed
when you said we'd be a married
couple holding each other

on a night like this -- rain drumming
your windows, the flash of thunder
shining our slippery bodies;

my calf sore from a charley horse
pulled when we wrestled earlier.
The night breeze cooling

our bodies. Will it always be
like this?
you wondered, as if
this is all it takes to keep you

here before you lose interest
and move on. All I have is how
we indulged in one appetite

after another -- the first a craving
between bodies, then the other
that's brought us to a near empty diner.

Your smile, as I call this
a "late night caper," the only
lit spot on a darkened road.


Cosmic Girl

even now, knowing
what you know,
you still can't shake her
from your head

almost six years since
you've seen her curvy
imprint under a sundress

when the breeze was a friend
lifting her hem and showing her
flexed calves ablaze in sunlight

you ignored your friends'
warnings, even after the third
time she'd introduced herself
by another name

now, she was Aurora Borealis –
a band of renegade stars
streaking the dark sky

and what a way to sum up
this woman of light with fiery hair
and a glass-blown body

a woman who, despite your
pleading, quit you cold turkey
and left you whimpering
in the arms of friends,

recalling the obvious signs
of trouble, like her pointing
heavenward when asked
about her hometown

and the fact her previous name
was a number reserved for God

3 a.m. and Cosmic Girl will be published in the inaugural issue of the San Pedro Poetry Review.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Featured Writer: Alan King Day 1

Spin Cycle

Warm clothes out of the dryer --
the scent hooking its aromatic
arms around my neck,

like a college girlfriend
before a kiss in the laundromat.
And something, long-buried, rises

like a serpent when Seduction
blows her snake charmer's flute.
Is this why the sight of a fresh

line speedbags my heart,

like that of a child's
before summer break,
or why the smell of detergent

calls me like a lover into
the laundry room before
she pulled me between her

open legs? Her lips --
warm and wet -- ready
to take my tongue.

What It Is

"Good Goodness" is what Derrick
calls it. Fred says it's "The Rub,"
how lovers work at each other –

tensing in an arch, bracing for
a succession of tiny explosions.
Moist lips, interlocking legs,

blood boiling and steaming
through skin. It's laying
the rod of God on non-

believers, who switch faiths
after glimpsing nirvana in
a climax. The sore, slackened

muscles – a reminder of Fred's
wisdom: All I'm sayin', yo. Is be ready
when she put the good thigh on you.

Alan King's fiction and poems have appeared in the Arabesques Review, Warpland, The Amistad, and Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDS, among others. A Cave Canem fellow and Vona
Alum, his work was also part of Anacostia Exposed, a collaborative
exhibit with Irish photographer Mervyn Smyth that showcases the life
and energy of Anacostia.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Two Pieces by D. Garcia-Wahl

The Blind Girl

She has blessed
all that has vanished into her evernight
and made forgiveness of eyes that have creased into surrender
gifting her, however,
with scraps of light and shadow.
By the cane of an arm, she stirs
and transfers patience.
By the dry weep
she gathers
the veils that make up her memory.
It is the release
of a beauty she’ll never know by mirror.
How exquisite, the gallery of shadows
museum’d in her head.


-for Jerry Tomlinson

“Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, doctor, and I'm
happy to state, I finally won out over it.”
-Elwood P. Dowd

an archipelago of breaths
Reels –
or years
purposed and propelled by memory.
The theatric boast of life the eyes parade,
a silent camera, ever behind, focusing.
In patchwork scenes: childhood, middle years, old age,
death – then birth
played out

Nothing known at the fade in
will be felt in the fade out.

Leaving nothing to predictability,
except pardon,
the film is christened and ages
in sensitivity and texture.
The stir of the heart
scripts the direction of purity,
cleaving to what we cast off,
never playing tomorrow as the strains
of another day.

What of the actor?
His lines are his to forget
-his audience to recall.

D. Garcia-Wahl is the author of ALL THAT DOES COME OF MADDEN’D DAYS and ASHES OF MID AUTUMN. His new collection of poetry, BECOMING is due out shortly. He is putting the finishing touches on three more novels, another collection of poetry, and a collection of short stories. He was recently interviewed for a new HBO documentary. He divides his time between America and Paris.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Six Month Check-Up by Constance Stadler

Flashing enameled perfection

in response to my whine


she lowers the light.

I hear them
honing their Lilliputian weaponry

the sterile cabal

plans a frontal assault --

I soil myself.

The coleus on the window sill

is on its last legs --

I take it personally.

Constance Stadler has been writing, publishing, and editing poetry from the 'prehistoric' epoch of print journals to modern e-times. She was formerly an editor for South and West and is currently a contributing editor to the e-zine Eviscerator Heaven. Her most recent work appears in such 'zines as ditch, ken*again, Pen Himalaya, Rain Over Bouville, Clockwise Cat, Hanging Moss, Neonbeam, and Gloom Cupboard. Her chapbook, 'Tinted Steam', will be published in 2009. 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.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mama's Fancy Christmas Shoes by Misti Rainwater-Lites

After the funeral I put on Mama's fancy Christmas shoes.

They were black velvet decorated with bright symbols

of that Christian holiday that had become so unabashedly

commercialized and cheapened. Colorful glass balls.

Candy canes. Cowardly yellow stars. Balls break,

candy canes rot teeth, yellow stars portend nothing

while pretending instant holiness. It's enough to

make a cowgirl want to shoot out her horse's eyes

and hang herself in plain view of the whole goddamn

peanut munching corral. I put on the shoes, though,

because I was naked otherwise. I put on the shoes

because I wanted to feel closer to Mama who was

gone to a place I would never see. I put them on

and did a dance.

I felt like tapping even though there were no taps

on the soles of these shoes.

Suddenly I wanted to cook breakfast

for most of the world.

I wanted to marry a man who would

expect me to bring him peach cobbler

and ice cream while he sat on his ass

watching Westerns on the plasma television.

I wanted to put blinders on and trot my way

through the Valley of Denial.

I was the most ambitious cheerleader

since Eleanor Roosevelt.

I took the shoes off.

There was no one around to kiss the sores.

"Family Tradition" was on the radio.

I threw the shoes at the radio.

I missed.

Misti Rainwater-Lites is the poetry editor at decomP, the editor and publisher of Instant Pussy and the art editor at The Poetry Warrior. She has chapbooks available through Kendra Steiner Editions, Erbacce Press, Scintillating Publications and Deadbeat Press.

Ebullience Press

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Editor's Note

I hope everyone has enjoyed what they have read so far. This group of authors, writers, and artists have wonderful working spirits.

The schedule is changing around here at S&V beginning in February.

Monday: Editor's Note which will include call for subs at other publications, small press information, and updates on the S&V prints.

Tuesday - Thursday: poetry, prose, flash, art, and photography
Friday - Sunday: Featured Writer/Artist/Photographer

I was originally going to have a separate day for regular contributors but have decided to keep posting their work in the mix. Regular contributors will have a tag because there won't be a bio each time I post their work.

I know some are questioning my decision to post calls for subs by other magazines, but I started this zine because I wanted to read more work by my favorite authors and find new authors I hadn't seen around, not necessarily become an editor. In keeping with that idea, I'm asking online and print magazines to send information about their publications to with mag info in the subject.

I want to encourage others to utilize what small presses can offer: beautiful books and most importantly, control over your work. Small presses may send information to with small press in the subject.

I want more work. I want poetry, prose, flash, art, and photography. Doesn't matter if you have submitted here before, be it yesterday, last week, or last month. My schedule runs in a way that I can keep posting you without it following something of yours I've already published. Send submissions to with online submission in the subject.

Shoots and Vines print Issue 2 will be released in April. I plan to add more pages with the second print. Send poetry, prose, micro flash, art, and photography to with print zine in the subject. I'd like to use art this next time for the cover (must be able to be downsized to half of an 8" by 11" sheet of paper). The zine will also be available online in PDF and open book.

Shoots and Vines Issue 1 will be ready for print this week. In next week's Editor's Note, I'll include a PDF which can be printed and distributed. Issue 1 will be on display and free for the taking at River City Food Co-op and Penny Lane Coffee House. If you want a print copy snail mailed to your door, please send an email to I'll ask for $1.00 to cover cost of mailing.

Issue One in PDF viewing:

Issue One in Open Book:

And some of you have asked where my new writing has found a home. Truth is, I haven't written anything new since I began S&V. In the upcoming months, I'll be working on print collaborations with some S&V writers, and a print zine of my work. Keep an eye on S&V's profile at ISSUU to see this work. I'll update you in the Editor's Note when they become available in print.

Thanks again for submitting and reading. Keep up the great work.


Featured Writer: Christian Ward Day 3


Landing on a photograph
of my father, it must have thought
the bulb of his scalp was a source
of light; just as for years I thought
the transmissions from his heart
was love.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Featured Writer: Christian Ward Day 2

The Source

Now that grandfather’s tumors have started

collapsing the timbers of his organs, his body

has started to stink. Nurses hold their breaths

when changing his sheets, giving him food

and water. The daffodils in the vase by his

windows have turned away, shut their petals.

I ignore them when sitting down by his side

to read him the newspaper, tell him of daily

happenings. When it increases in intensity,

I smile and remember reading how the ark,

filled with putrid smells from 151 days

of travelling, beached itself on the summit

of a mountain and all known life crept out

from that foul smelling source.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Featured Writer: Christian Ward Day 1


You cannot dream of winter

happening because it is always

there in the background,

whatever month it is. Walking

along a pier in August you

will hear it grinding against

the iron legs, in the gulls’ mews.

Sitting on the porch in April,

you will feel it rubbing against

your legs, turning your skin

white as milk. Fake a surprise look

in November when snow falls,

ignore the glimpse of ice behind

your parents’ eyes.

Fulton Street

After Walker Evans' 'Girl in Fulton Street'

This is not the city Frank
wrote about. There are no
hum coloured cabs or men
stopping for a cheeseburger
and malt shake. Lana Turner
has not died and the sky
has not worn its funeral coat.
This is the city made of glass
where people wear alien nouns
like Fedora and Cloche Hat
and sniff the air like gundogs,
eager for the scent of their identity.

Christian Ward is a 28 year old London based poet whose poetry
can be currently seen in journals such as Thieves Jargon and Origami
Condom. His chapbook, Bone Transmissions, will be released in March
courtesy of Maverick Duck Press.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inside the Snowglobe by Paula Ray

You shake me up to watch
my mind fall in flakes,
your amusement.
No longer content to be
the drowned figurine,

feet glued to winter scene
never changing season.
You always churn my world
into a blizzard of thought,
unless I cry my dammed tears

all over this shelf I have allowed myself
to be placed. Among your other souvenirs.
I wait for you to toss me aside, unwanted.

The impact of the fall
will bust me

Specks of glitter
will no longer be my bad luck,
my shattered reflection,
but your mess to clean.

Before I'm released, gaze at me
one last time and watch this
pretty little fantasy land piss
all over your open palm,
like your future's sprung a leak.

Paula is a musician and emerging writer from North Carolina where she teaches band, gigs about town on her saxophone, composes, and feeds her literary addiction. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in such publications as: Word Riot, Mad Swirl, Oak Bend Review, The Orange Room Review, and A cappella Zoo. For a more extensive list of her publications with links, check out her blog:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Believe in Public Transportation by Ben Nardolilli

I Believe in Public Transportation


I can’t listen to the music,
The sweet flowing music
Because of the trains,
The goddamn trains
Which shake and rattle and stroll
Right through my room
And never stop for me.
The goddamn trains
Which are always moving,
Always shaking
Coming like earthquakes
Magnitude 6 I believe, and green,
But not friendly to my environment.
Shaking me up and down,
Throwing everything off
A millimeter every day,
So that every month
I am losing inches.
And sanity,
Because of the goddamn trains,
The metal beasts below me
That wind up and down the stairs
Pass through the tub when I bathe,
Making waves,
Passing through my head when I sleep,
Making ripples in my mind.
Coming into my dreams, the goddamn trains,
I want to kiss the girl but her lips tremble and I cannot,
Goddamn trains,
I want to hold her
At least a little while longer before having to wake,
But I can’t,
Goddamned trains
They wake me up and shake me up,
They toss me like dice in my sleep, in my seat.
I believe in public transportation,
It’s a good thing to reduce the dependency on burning black gold,
For if we dig precious things from the earth,
We invite disaster upon ourselves,
(I heard a Hopi say,
I wonder what he would think of the goddamned trains,
if they ran through his pueblo.)
And it brings us together,
Gives us the touch of others,
The occasional acrobats on steel bars,
Children who sell candy,
Which is better than them eating it,
What with,
The epidemic going around.
The trains,
Yes the trains are a good thing,
Yes, even the goddamned trains.
In general.


The goddamn trains never stop,
They only pass through.

I am a twenty three year old writer currently living in New York City. My work has appeared in Houston Literary Review, Perigee Magazine, Canopic Jar, and Lachryma: Modern Songs of Lament, Baker’s Dozen, Thieves Jargon, Farmhouse Magazine, Elimae, Poems Niederngasse, The Delmarva Review, Clockwise Cat, Heroin Love Songs, Literary Fever, and Perspectives Magazine. In addition I was the poetry editor for West 10th Magazine at NYU and maintain a blog at

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Crossed Eyes by Matt Maxwell

Crossed Eyes

The rivalry blossomed over time, as they became aware of the other's deficiencies. It led to a murder-suicide (which doesn't have the rhyming snap of homicide-suicide) and the man couldn't identify the killer.

The left eye could wink. Quickly. Furtively. The right eye couldn't. The right eye rarely took a punch, never stagnated a black bruise. While the man kissed Cassie, the left eye opened and drank her skin, and the right eye looked beyond, at a blank wall or the game on tv. They couldn't decide who to score the advantage.

The left eye glittered gold flecks, and women cooed. The right eye whorled gray storm clouds, and women swooned. It stood as a tie.

The right eye couldn't decipher text at arm's length but could pinpoint a thong outline at twenty yards. The left eye lacked strength to decode billboards but read without squinting, managed fine details on Photoshop.

They bantered. Mocked. Went criss-cross, meeting at the nose, to punctuate contentions. Stood at polar opposites to shun the other.

What prompted the homicide-suicide was debated, but the man's interview proves jealousy ignited the feud. The left eye read a selection of poems—horrendous, trite, inane poems. The right eye peered over the book at two high school girls in mini-skirts. The left eye cussed for having to bother with painful drivel. The right eye curtly ridiculed the whining. The left eye reprimanded, demanding equality in all sights, insidious or heavenly. Accusations became spiteful. The right eye ogled what the left saw as a blur. The left eye railed, refused to quiet. It escalated to the homicide-suicide, with the deaths seconds apart. Painful. Bloody. Too quick for the man to recall which eye first went black. The blind man blamed the deaths on horrid poetry.

*First Published in Mad Hatters' Review*

I am a schizophrenic writer, a haphazard photographer, an obsequious malcontent—tripping and sprinting and moshing to my own multi-limbed drummer. Some of my fiction has found its way into Mad Hatters' Review, Noo Journal, Sein und Werden, The Salt River Review, Flashquake, Eyeshot, Cezanne's Carrot, Defenestration, and others. I am also an associate fiction editor with Mad Hatters' Review.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Father's Advice by Howie Good


Wear hunter’s camouflage.
You don’t want to be
one of those people,
do you, whose goal in life
is simply to stand there
and look good?
Your grandmother was,
and the soldiers tore
a crying baby from her arms
and flung it on the fire.
Therefore, every day,
practice invisibility.
Plunge through intersections –
the busier, the better –
just as the light turns red.
Move often and without regret,
and leave no obvious trail,
no broken twigs and such, to follow.
The devil is upstairs humping
a pillow, pretending that it’s you.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University
of New York at New Paltz, is the author of six poetry
chapbooks, including most recently Tomorrowland (2008)
from Achilles Chapbooks. He has been nominated three times
for a Pushcart Prize and twice for the Best of the Net

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Featured Writer: Alan Kelly Day 3

The Sun is Dry

The sun is dry
streaming through my
that soft
oh so warm adulation
wanting to drive on forever


In Respite

grabbed the bulk of a sweetshop

Barely able to fit in my back pocket

Brought this sweetshop

Back through our kitchen window

To the kids all smiley like

An eternity in respite

They hauled it all down

their eyes all stalks

Tongue hangin’ in spite

A good thirty seconds

A fuckin’ lifetime in


Lie on the sofabed

Listening to people

Fuckin’ their veins

Fingers wrapped around

My dick


20 seconds in respite

Impartial motherfucker,

Kids go nuts,

Sit with cheap beer

In respite

10 fuckin’ years,

To the fuckin’ day

In respite



Saturday, January 17, 2009

Featured Writer: Alan Kelly Day 2

The Bell I hear Now

There is a


That I

Hear now


Far off

But i


If it

Will mark



Or summon

My executioner


First Love

I walked alone by the quays,

Leaning on a wall that overlooked the river

There was a boy

Swimming alone in the grey strip,

He looked at me (do I know you?)


A fist clenched by the cold water

He smiled,

the smile grabbed my shoulders

shaking me out of my reverie

He drowned

Friday, January 16, 2009

Featured Writer: Alan Kelly

You have to Dig Deep to Bury your Daddy

Walking past reception was always such a task for Mary. The group of heifers from admin, who engaged in regular routines of pampering, pruning, pigging-out and petulance, would all be gathered around discussing their weekend and would invariably attempt to engage her. Mary looked at the floor and walked by quickly . She had never been the kind of woman easily tempted by novelty and catharsis.

With her neck still red from the noose’s kiss, Winnie Ferns, a gangly, flat-faced, dreamy nut of a woman, shouted Mary’s name.

“What is it, Winnie?” Mary asked in a quavering, fragile voice.

Winnie dangled a large envelope at Mary like a fisherman teasing a fish. “A note was left at reception for you.”

Mary gingerly pinched the edge of the offering with her thumb and index finger as if it might bite her. “Thank you.”

Later, Mary sat on a park bench and looked at the envelope. Enclosed within were two curious items. The first was a photo of two children, emaciated and lying face-down with their blond hair matted with dirt. The second was a press-cutting which was about the apparent murder of a teenage boy found in Phoenix Park.

Then Mary noticed a third item: something folded up in a piece of white parchment. She opened it and discovered a Union key with a ragged blue tag containing the letter C and the number 165. A message written on the parchment:
“Failure to adhere to this custom could result in serious consequences”

Mary furiously crammed the items into her bag. There had obviously been further developments in the death department. Mary saw that the rain had started.

Alan Kelly has contributed to 3:AM, Pretty Scary, Penny Blood, Film Ireland, Butcherqueers, Bookslut, GCN and The Laura Hird Showcase. His fiction has appeared in Dogmatika, Beat the Dust, Gold Dust, Sein Und Werden, Six Sentences, Parasitic, The Beat and Shoots and Vines. He works as a film and arts journalist and resides in Ireland.

Call for Submissions

Shoots and Vines is looking for more work for the online zine. Send poetry, flash fiction, prose, vignettes to

If you have been published here, submit again. The purpose of this zine has always been to give readers a place to read work by their favorite writers and new writers.

I am also looking for more photography and artwork.

Shoots and Vines Print is off to the copier this weekend. In February, I will begin working on April's issue: poetry, prose, micro flash, art, and photographs are needed. Send subs to the above mentioned email, but please put print zine in the subject.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Two Pieces by Wanda Campbell

Illinois Traveler

When I see Kentucky sunrise,
when fog rises over hills or
rain falls on the knobs,

when I see an out-of-state license plate,
when the moon is full and clear
or the wind blows from the north,

I long to hear your voice,
soft like prairie breezes and
I wish to hold your hand,

weathered by years of
farm boy days. I think
maybe, we could drink
a simple cup of coffee,

but even then I fear the world
would end.


The Jungle is no Place for a Fairy

I knew a word weaver
who wandered away

from her woodland home
in search of shiny tokens.

Lost and disheveled,
foolish and floundering,

she walked alien beaches
and bleak city streets, begging

for foreign bread crumbs
and strangers’ appraisals,

Barbarians stole her wings
while cannibals ripped her dress.

Vampires lurked in shadows,
waiting to taste her blood.

She fled beneath a rock
where she dreamed of home.

In dawn’s light she scattered
tainted tokens in the dust

and left only her footprints
for the vampires to drink.

Wanda D. Campbell, alias Nochipa Pablio, is an elementary school teacher, award winning poet, novelist and freelance artist who makes her home in the Appalachian foothills. Her work has appeared in various publications such as StorySouth, New Madrid, Mid-South Review, Pegasus, Other Voices International, Coal: An Anthology of Poetry by Blair Mountain Press, Instructor Magazine and many others. Preserving a heritage for future generations is to Wanda, therefore, proceeds from any sales made on her poetry go to help fight mountain top removal and to enrich the lives of the peoples of Southern Appalachia.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Two Pieces by Ray Succre

The Talk

The Talk arrived late, six months in,

and the question I dreaded rode in on fairly pure wings.

"How many?" she asked in a squint of chaste suspicion,

whereafter I was expected to profess a certain something

near virginity, my own chaste integrity with the past.

I had moved about in some horrid shade, however.

Woods of shade-makers. No denying it.

So I stated.

She winced.

"I had no idea you were like that." she said.

"I wasn't. They were."

"It's disgusting."

A freeborn man knows once is once again,

shade outstretched to roll in his flames,

until he considers but one, holding this tightly,

the great one after all the once-more ones, a finality.

The official proposal came later, and to great tolerability,

marriage, and all throughout it, other sorts of talk.


Eventually I Stopped Believing in Myself

Naps aren't my thing, but I had one. When I woke in the afternoon,

there was fruit rotting in the mesh basket in my kitchen,

the air was horrid hot and reeked of pits in the earth,

and I found an eel twisting about in my bathtub—

you know, horrific imagery to welcome my new self.

Perhaps most upsetting was that my clothes no longer fit,

for my legs were covered in goat hair and my feet had transformed

into hooves.

"Oh hell. People will think I'm sinister, now. There'll be no more

trust to be had, no parties, no coffee shops, no cheer. I'll seem evil

because of this, and up to no good."

My wife returned home and shrieked.

"You're the Beast!" she shouted, leaving me.

"I didn't mean it." I muttered, alone in my apartment, the new Hell.

I decided to be a social beast, then.

Devil or not, alone or not, I still wanted to hang out in town.

Perhaps I might be able to change the general view of me.

They ran all directions, terrified.

This made me a terrorist, one who caused terror,

and some brimstone piddled down.

I didn't feel as if I'd done this, invoking brimstone,

but supposed I must have. Who else?

The first person to try and follow me was an entertainer.

He told me he was a poet, would serve me with wicked rhymes.

I kicked his khaki sack high onto a roof.

Had the world made me a great foe,

or had it ignored me so much I had grown to work against it?

My hooves clopped the streets, my breath rotted the air.

History had built my form from pagan gods,

to convert people religiously, and the name of my home

was stolen from the Norse.

I didn't do any of that; they did. I chose to abandon evil, then.

Becoming human again, and thought good, turned out to be

simple enough:

I just started believing there was a devil for me, as well.

Ray Succre currently lives on the southern Oregon coast with his wife and son, as a stay-at-home dad. He has been published in Aesthetica, Gloom Cupboard, and Pank, as well as in numerous others across as many countries. His novel Tatterdemalion (Cauliay Publishing) was recently released in print and is available most places. He tries hard.

For inquiry, publication history, and information, visit me online:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Wrath of Provincialism by Colin James

The Wrath of Provincialism

Take two pens
and hold them in your left hand.
Let the ink lines
move lightly over the page.
Pretend you are in a village
in the north of England,
and pray that fat gentleman you created
buggering anything that moves,
is accepted here
as one of the locals.

Colin James has had poems published recently in the following magazines, Ditch, Waterlogged August, The and Snow Monkey. He works in Energy Conservation in Massachusetts having migrated from the north of England which he revisits whenever the Scottish landscape painter, John Mackenzie, has an exhibition of paintings.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Two Pieces by Harry Calhoun


The first few fires upon the hearth

beneath our belt in our warm winter

comfort-food belly

the coffee ready in the morning-timed

pot ready to please us again

the warmth we know is arising

planned, set or just ready

for some warmth, fire in the evening

coffee in the morning

we need this and want this

a planet cannot go around without

somebody chopping, working,

setting fire to something

maybe something we hadn’t seen before

and noticing what warmth



or, what keeps me writing

the only security is in security

is in keeping yourself sane and happy

with your security blanket poems

keep bangin’ ‘em out

again and again and if

it’s the same thing over and over

well isn’t life like that anyway

except if you don’t

speak up you have no voice

and that’s how it is

when you die, they tell me

and I can’t remember but I’ll bet

it was that way before I was born

Harry Calhoun’s articles, literary essays, book reviews and poems have been published in magazines including Writer’s Digest and The National Enquirer. He has had recent publications in Abbey, Chiron Review, Still Crazy, SNReview, Abandoned Towers, Dante’s Heart, Yippee! and Word Catalyst, for whom he writes a monthly column. He also has poetry forthcoming in LiteraryMary, The Dead Mule, Nefarious Ballerina, &c, A Common Thread, Buk Scene, Neonbeam and others. Harry writes an online wine column about quality affordable wines called Ten Dollar Tastings.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Featured Writer: Audrey Victoria Day 3

Thoughts of the overworked

Whatever reason aside,
I am tired of pulling the wagon of everyone else's skeletons, still.
The goats escaped from the ropes but one must still be around, somewhere.
One day, as I lower my stick into the wet, weakening ground below,
I will dress the goats up in satin! The skeletons will rightly be placed underground,
next to their erupted, blossomed
skin bag brothers and sisters.
Skeletons are only material but yet some continue
to carry them, afraid to leap into the abyss that which they
pray upon and think about continually. That invisible post
which has all of the answers yet none at all.
As virtual reality overtakes your senses and it becomes more normal
to be stabbed in the chest, I continue to eat apples in the morning.
Bodies, desperately trying to stay alive, soak up the liquid from
coffee filters. The bleeding caffeine is trying to run the heart again.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Featured Writer: Audrey Victoria Day 2

Seeing red

today i am red. i am a bull's target
a charging ram, a walking witch's brew
bubbling with charm and interpose and
calm, quiet shuffling, light rose
fragrance and the docile demeanor of
a fantasy-ridden dandelion.

hark! the light has gasped and the clank of the hooves
comes with a waddle and a yellow-beaked version
of fly me to the moon while running out of gin

sold! the last of my patience, my temper, to the wind
it goes through the red rocked cliffs
tobacco smoke rings and love from
my living room.

wherever you go, my dear, my love
my honey, brown-sugar
a trail of empty red hooves will follow you.
the last of the mirrors will meet you
along the way. your reflection will be
entirely too vile for your own, inflated ways

for the bull who forgets he is alive
is a child cowering the midst of a
crisis in slavery where all of humanity's treasures
were born. sloughing, pain and suffering
of your animal siblings has brought
you memories of your perceived freedom.

do you feel like a cave now? you were not free.
turn off your fucking phone before the charge.

if emptiness for emptiness sake
makes you feel alive
then the dawn, the mist of rising
primrose will beckon any last rounds of

Friday, January 9, 2009

Featured Writer: Audrey Victoria Day 1


if i could watch the sun rise pavement
on your rested pores

if i could meditate on these words instead
of brilliance coming while sitting on a toilet

if i could make sense out of finger waves
and a myriad of choices in the movie aisle

i would dump this life smelling of my
mother's bad, coffee in the morning breath

i would settle in the lush white of
missouri winter's dappling skin in the morning

i would quiet the guilt of spending my life
separating from my reflection's responsibility

(because i know what's good for me)

i'd watch heaven instead
i'd drink less
because i made up a lie

if i could find solace

i would dunk my white lies in horseradish

if i could watch you undress
because of me, on repeat
then i wouldn't wait for the grass to get greener
to grow, to feed the birds in the winter

i'd sit maiming my hair
in born satisfaction to break open
a small, new leaf in this mid-location
of dreams, never fulfilled for normalcy

if my feet touched the ground and my skin
wasn't still contracting hives from this new paper
i'd brush my hair with winter grass instead

(all awful, this trembles me to the bone
as the last of us receive our awards to flood out into a new world
gasping like infants, we pray we receive enough to
even favor someone with a minute of advice)

i would quiet the guilt.
i'd separate from my reflection's responsibility

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Two Pieces by Puma Perl

t shirts

I knew his clothes were still there
It had been almost a year since
I bought him the packs of white t shirts
It was right after I did his laundry and
Threw a navy blue sweater in with the whites
I lowered my head when I told him
So I wouldn't keep laughing
Figured he'd never ask again
But then I felt a little bad, not much
So I bought soft velvety white towels
And the t shirts, size medium
Then I called him and ended it
He never wore the shirts or
Felt how soft the towels were

In the closet there were
Two pair of black socks
Two sets of underwear
A thermal shirt that made me sad
A worn pair of levis that fit me exactly right
He would have hated that they fit
He didn't want me to lose weight
An attractive feature in a man
I held his socks and underwear
Wrapped them in an old blanket
Felt like I was about to drown kittens
The t shirts fit the man I'm waiting for
He'll be happy that the jeans fit me
He never questions
My endless supply of white t shirts
I always give him the soft white towels
At first he didn't want to use them
Said they were too nice
I told him they were just for him

in the mayor’s house

I planned to leave the
golden man's house at
7:45 He lived
ten blocks and five dimensions
from gracie mansion
He didn't want me to go
He loved my tall walk
down his hallway
I left at 8:15

In the mayor's house
on world AIDS day
there is an open house
by invitation only
guests devour
sandwich triangles
bland, tasteless slivers
served on silver trays
tired red ribbons
wilt fresh pressed shirts
are you anybody?
narrowed eyes wonder
no, they decide
i'm nobody

everyone takes pictures
on the good side
I find new friends quickly
through the common language
of provocative subversion
the mirrors hang high on the walls
we bounce without reflection
irrelevant as promises

the line creeps listlessly
little mayor mike b poses
looking only into camera=2 0eyes
as he shakes my hand
hot gold morning cum
runs down my leg
staining my appropriate
black suit

Puma Perl lives and writes in NYC. Her work has been published in cause & effect, MadSwirl, Trespass, Red Fez, Gloom Cupboard, the Oak Bend Review, and other publications and anthologies. She has been a featured reader in various New York City area venues. Her first chapbook, Belinda and Her Friends, was recently published by Erbacce Press. She is a firm believer in the transformative power of the creative arts.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Three Pieces by Joseph Goosey


There are holes in the walls
of my mouth. I get nervous, well,
not nervous but frightened
of conversation sometimes
as though the other person
will immediately, without warning,
begin to list in chronological
order everything shameful
I have done or
will do and it is night and
cold and a good time
to observe cars passing
and old deteriorating women
stealing the companies' petunias
from the pots. The wind sounds
a bell and I might not be around
to bury my two cats,
Oscar and Katy.


Bookstore Credit

It is 9:20AM
and I am scurrying along
the walls
of downtown.

There is a crate in my hand.
The crate is filled with hardbound books.
Some books were purchased
for one dollar, others for thirty.
Some books were found,
others stolen.

I am going to see
if maybe I can sell
any of them
back to a used
from which I take
free beer
in exchange
for reading poems

It is raining.
I don't think I have ever seen
so much fucking rain
on a Florida
I am shielding the books
from the rain with the shirt
off of my back.
I might be crying but
I wouldn't know
one way or another
of the rain.

There passes a lawyer,
here a doctor,
a gallery owner,
a maker of sandwiches.
Some look in my direction,
others pretend
not to.

I walk into the bookstore.

A bell sounds
to signal
my arrival.

The man, the dry man,
puts most of the books back
into my crate.

He says
we have


He asks
cash or book-


I want the credit
so badly but
I need the cash.
Without it,
I may not make it
home and
my girl might go

He says
9 dollars

I say OK but
it really is not
OK at all.

My crate and I
venture back out
into the rain.

There is nothing, really,
that can be written
in response
to such


No Family

Cars go streaming by
with Church
cut Christmas
tied firmly
to their

There is a hole
in my lip

I spit pink upon the bricks.


Yes. You do the same.

No. No family coming in.

Yes. It will be

Joseph Goosey recently discovered how little joy can be found in the
fruits of literary labors. Also, he has a chapbook available via
Poptritus Press.He thanks you for reading.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Might? by Felino Soriano


If the garden could tongue a
circle around the human, the
specific one who too often yanks
without conscience
roses for the cliché symbolic
photographic embrace,
might the vernacular be
a begging to conjure newly formed
gifts, a manmade devotional plan, a finding
elsewhere without scented thorn or without
burgeon meant to dangle loosely
within the wind's altering direction?

Felino Soriano (California) is a case manager working with developmentally and physically disabled adults. He is the author of two chapbooks "Exhibits Require Understanding Open Eyes" (Trainwreck Press, 2008) and "Feeling Through Mirages" (Shadow Archer Press, 2008), an e-book "Among the Interrogated" (BlazeVOX [books], 2008), and has a chapbook forthcoming "Abstract Appearance Reaching Toward the Absolute" (Trainwreck Press, 2008). The juxtaposition of his philosophical studies with his love of classic and avant-garde jazz explains his poetic motivation. Website: felinosoriano

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Featured Writer: Matt Finney Day 3

miles end

the streets are leaking blood and i'm here waving goodbye. a cage in a forest or an amputee camp. the television is on in an empty room and i all i dream about is your skin. winter fading and some endless war covering this town. the days are thick with fear and i've forgotten my father's face. all i'm trying to do is explain who i am. what i want is for it to matter.



you're here or somewhere else. these dark houses and the way the clocks run backwards. how long it's been since you were immortal. your face pressed hard into the ass of a god you never believed in. the windows break but not the fever. any faith in the future is steadily diminishing.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Featured Writer: Matt Finney Day 2


contrails hanging as the skyline and the walls are burned black. misshapen crosses and the streets have lost direction. the pills have wore off and we've reached a point where nothing is beautiful. where we hate no one more than ourselves. the truth is what we've always been afraid of.


rumors of war hanging and everything you know has turned to dust. these moments that never come. dead flags and moving cars. breathing poison and trying to understand emptiness. waiting for an ending while i get married, mortgaged, and divorced. the lights are sucked from every room. the walls are collapsing. the weight of these words and how i'm ready to give into silence.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Featured Writer: Matt Finney Day 1


the sound of my heart in these claustrophobic spaces or a dark wind blowing. my hands without anything to offer and these words are distortions. lungs full of ashes and who i dream about is mcveigh. all of this gore in the name of freedom. the violent ease of one century moving into another.



the war torn towns and abandoned cars. all of the miles that were driven in silence. our small addictions and dying religions and i can't make the clocks move forward. every action is driven by greed or fear. the blankets hold infection. the machine's stomach is bleeding out. this is the end result of history.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

&(forty-six) by J. A. Tyler

The girl, flying, she mingles with the white of doves and clouds, the blue, her lithe arms swinging, the spin of oars, moonshine eyes in motion. She smiles, charms at them, their flapping wings, the tongue of sunbeams. Her mouth the shape of the earth, the tilt of an axis, her pelvis reclined invisibly, soft back on sweeping, the billowed air, the sky. She flies.

Inside a womb she was an egg. She was a circle. She was a sphere. She was a ball. She had a shell made breeze gentle. She was she was she was.

Now she is flying. Clouds and blue. The iris.

Her mother was a statue of reproduction. It was this, her mother’s womb, where she existed as an egg, a circle, a sphere, a ball. It was her mother’s womb that entrusted her with a thin exoskeleton, the luster of potency. Her mother had tangled hair and slick fingernails, the shine of beauty. Her mother was beautiful. Her mother was never her mother. Her mother was a woman who nodded back to a man who nodded to her. Her mother was a woman shaking her head at a shaken head. Her mother was a woman, was not her mother.

Until now she is sky, she is blue, dipping fingers in clouds, flying.

And the man was her father, was not her father, was the man who nodded at the woman who was not her mother. A handsome man. Knuckles of his father’s, sawdust coming wrinkles. He never touched her, this man to this woman, this father to this mother. They nodded heads to one another, passing footsteps on the dirt of a road, almost daily, enough to know, enough to get, but they never said a word. His mouth opened in the gape of fish breath, but he did not speak. She did not hear anything. She did not turn a word into a phrase, a sentence into a long running paragraph, a day into a daughter. They did nothing.

And she flies now, this girl, their girl, this woman and this man, this mother and this father, stumbling past each other’s calves, pushing on. And she becomes the sun. She is the sun. She is a circle and a sphere and a ball. She is a gentle breezing shell of a girl. The imagining. She is imagined. She flies, rowing oars, swinging arms, speaking sun-tongue to the white of flapping bird wings, clouds, the blue sky iris of her mother, this woman, this womb, the one who walked past another, her mother and her father, not her mother and her father, tripping down, stuttering beyond a girl of blue and clouds, flying, rowing oars, unliving.

J. A. Tyler is the author of THE GIRL IN THE BLACK SWEATER (Trainwreck Press), EVERYONE IN THIS IS EITHER DYING OR WILL DIE OR IS THINKING ABOUT DEATH (Achilles Chapbook Series), & SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE (Ghost Road Press). He is also founding editor of MUD LUSCIOUS and ML PRESS and was recently nominated for a Pushcart. Visit for more info.