Winter issue 2019

Ode to the manipulative

                    Indebted, however willing to
                    work under these conditions.
                    Apparently a simple knock off
                    alarm silent like a parable.
                    Murals of psychedelic wallpaper
                    distracted songs of the burglars.
                    Someone's point of view was an arrow
                    simplifying any choice.
                    The safe however big, humongous
                    drawers of diamonds and the like,
                    set forth with pure thoughts.
                    Pay a few debts, winter in the Bahamas
                    until our lookout flashed his wining smile
                    justifying even the doubters to quit on us.  

                                                                   Colin James


                                      Fads created to a prissy gnomic 

                                       On weekdays the
                                       somersaults on our street 
                                       take precedence.
                                       Have their own lane marked
                                       with capricious orange barrels.
                                       Unmoved themselves, 
                                       belts and no pockets
                                       hang a sign out even,
                                      " FLIPPING HECK!"
                                       all over the proximities.
                                       This is why a road fears.
                                       Its back taken up
                                       reclaimed, troughed
                                       into the uncommon.   

                                                                             Colin James


I am waiting for the moment
when I no longer have to speak.
That precise second when my voice
becomes obsolete, when the idea
of utterance seems as
quaint and ridiculous as a
pair of spats on my
newest shoes. Conversation
can be a minefield. Little wonder
sages hold their own counsel,
communicating in half-smiles,
crinkled brows, and mercurial
glitterings of the eye.
Nearly clairvoyant, their discourse
is profound.

Somewhere, an island
awaits me.

Somewhere, brother monks
speak in sign.

                                             Robert L Penick

Seven Days Sober

After a week, the alcohol gets nervous.
He hasn’t heard from you, not a peep.
Thinks you’re an ingrate, after all
he’s done for you, all you’ve
been through together. Like the time
the two of you went to jail
for sleeping in the playground area
of the local park.

He’s a buy here pay here car salesman
who hasn’t moved a unit all week.
He’s your wing man, your backscratcher,
your warm blanket on lonely nights.
He’s a devoted lover
and you’re the only thing
keeping him going.

He wants to come home.

                                                     Robert L Penick

Previously, Robert's work has appeared in well over 100 different literary journals, including The Hudson Review, North American Review, and the Hawaii Pacific Review.  Lots of reviews out there.  He edits Ristau: A Journal of Being and, in 2018, won the Slipstream Press chapbook contest. 


septembers' songs are for the chosen
only, in school yards and their halls-
not for those too thin
too fat, the gimps, the lame
the geeks, the different, the lonely-
not for those whose year of fear
and loathing begins on schools return-
not for those who must learn
survival skills, camouflage, 
avoiding the radar of the merciless
who hunt them -
not for the introverted who
avoid mirrors without friends
or confidence -
not for the trembling braniacs
whose books are sport
for those too dumb to understand them -
not for the silent poetically inclined
who steal away early,
hiding in their rooms
one more island rock, among 
the archipelago of losers
waiting for summer to release them,
behind their fortress of solitude
made of comic books and dreams
that border on the darkness
and the allure of blue gillettes.

                                                    Joseph A Farina 

The body acting upon the mind
Across 4 city lanes, a jukebox kicks up
a barmaid’s call to morning drinkers:
King of the Road following Seventh Son.
Summer sweating, standing in stone-scuffed boots,
I’m choking on gravel dust at the edge of a ditch
Deeper is darker is damaged—
donation clothes, foster home years,
county clinic Gold Cards.
The dream where my father
rages in the next room
replays six times a month.
First loyalty is seeing myself protected.
I go silent, grow anxious when given a gift.
I quit praying after three years without response.
Roadwork trenches empty the stores.
I squirm on a broken bus stop bench,
juggling tokens and library books,
the hazards of a parent’s promise,
long rides to retrieve VA meds.
Deeper is darker is damaged—
Friday fight, weekend chill,
apartment moves at the first of the month.
Bitter is a child shoplifting for his lunch.
If I avert my eyes,
it’s to hide suspicion.
In the car, I keep a copy
of Time Out of Mind, of Late For The Sky
as language sharing the limits of survival.

                                                                     R.T. Castleberry

RT Castleberry's work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, Pedestal Magazine, Comstock Review, Green Mountains Review, Silk Road and Argestes. Internationally, it has been published in Canada, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand and Antarctica. I’ve had poetry in the anthologies: Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice, The Weight of Addition, Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen, Kind Of A Hurricane: Without Words and Blue Milk’s anthology, Dawn. My chapbook, Arriving At The Riverside, was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2010. An e-book, Dialogue and Appetite, was published by Right Hand Pointing in May, 2011.

Honest Enough

You ask me how I am, how I feel, 
what I’ve been doing,
if it is me that I write about.
Is it honest what I’m saying.
Well, what is honest and how would I know.
There are many sides to honesty.
It’s impressionable.
My impressions, yours, someone else's
all joined up by me.
Redesigned in the selection process
to fit that moment only.
Is that honest enough?

                                              Lynn White

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. Her poem 'A Rose For Gaza' was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition 2014. She has been nominated for a Pushcart and her poems have appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Indie Soleil, Light Journal, Snapdragon and So It Goes Journal. Find Lynn at: https://lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com and https://www.facebook.com/Lynn-White-Poetry-1603675983213077/

Celebration of body

I want to celebrate my body
Not in a way others celebrate
not in a way as if
Someone draws a line of unseen images
with the touch of fingers  and lips
then he or she might ask to reveal
the mystery of the images-
symbolizes love and hatred

I want to celebrate my body
Not the way others do
But the way 
With the freedom of choice
With the freedom of voice

                                                            Shafinur Shafin

Shafinur Shafin is a Bangladeshi poet, research scholar and academician. She has published her debut book “Nisangam” which is a collection of Bangla poems in 2016. As she cannot paint, so she wants to create image with the power of words. She writes in Bangla and English both language. Her Bangla poems have been translated into seven different languages including Nepalese, Hindi, French, Spanish, German and Italian language. Her English poems have been included in two anthologies published from New York and Philippine, and also her poems appeared in several international magazines. 

Room For Crazy?    
A crazy guy came into
the coffee shop today.
He  tried to hide it
but it stuck out
like a rodeo clown
in a monestary in Budapest
on Good Friday.
From his first sentence
to the barista
about the flat tire
that started his day
crazy spilled forth
and began consuming
all rational thought in the room.
It was a parasitical form
of crazy – feeding on sanity
like a tick bloated with crazy.
I recognized it immediately
as did others enjoying
their lucid, coherent coffee
with a dash of cream.
I managed to deflect
his interruptions
of craziness
by not establishing
eye contact, coupled with
a pair of ear buds
and a laptop
as my forcefield.
I was sporting a look
that said,
A sane couple
sitting nearby mistook
his introduction for simple
friendliness and spent
the next ten minutes
on the far side of crazy.

                            Jim Landwehr

Jim has two books, Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir, and The Portland House: A ‘70s Memoir. He also has three poetry collections, On a Road, Written Life and Reciting From Memory. His nonfiction and poetry has been published in many different journals. Jim is Poet Laureate for the Village of Wales, WI.