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.