Current Issue

We Are Moss

By Fred Dale

To my eyes, you arrive complete,

reaching down naturally, hands

after feet, you give up

the direction of the wind

for us all.

 

When the oak unhands you

there is another there to go,

a camellia bush to gather and

rearrange your tangles.

 

No longer jewelry at the branch tips,

the wind ignores your oblivion

within tightly wound pink flowers

cracked open on one end

and leaves everywhere,

the plurality of beauty, only to be

beaked away at this more reachable

height—sewn into nests, or packed

by hands into the walls

themselves, changing shape

in defiance of the pull that had you,

despite the wind, for so long.

 

—–

Fred Dale lives in Jacksonville, Florida and is a Senior Instructor in the English Department at the University of North Florida. He is also Co-Instructor of Arts Inside, a program that teaches art and creative writing to jailed juveniles.

Marriage House

By Fred Dale

Darkness being the flower of light,

I breathe back the candle’s flame

until it pops off the wick,

returning the house to sleep,

where you lie in love, lost

in the holding patterns of dreams.

 

We move into houses

and become them. I listen,

settling into the walls, the dark

corners. The art of light the moon

turns down disturbs

the song of budding, yet

 

the shadow limbs rise and fall,

moved by your influence,

a greater tide.

I lean on the window frame

in need of repair. My own ghost,

slipping away into place.

 

—–

Fred Dale lives in Jacksonville, Florida and is a Senior Instructor in the English Department at the University of North Florida. He is also Co-Instructor of Arts Inside, a program that teaches art and creative writing to jailed juveniles.

Donation

By Fred Dale

Good cause is the disguise

on the gift of your body.

Somewhere in this, though,

is your need to go on,

the dead man put back

to work. Know that

they will not have time

to listen to the story of your

body. Put the myth of this

on your tongue:

In the hands of students,

you will become flesh

unloved. You will lie to

them. But they will never

see the likes of you again.

 

Eventually, at some

unknowable time,

what’s left will be returned

to the lives of your sons.

When there are no more

secrets to be excised

and weighed, practiced

hands will let you go.

Your life will finally

be enough—

new memories to shake

into the soil breath

of your parents,

pinch by pinch, and one

heroic taste for the bayou.

 

—–

Fred Dale lives in Jacksonville, Florida and is a Senior Instructor in the English Department at the University of North Florida. He is also Co-Instructor of Arts Inside, a program that teaches art and creative writing to jailed juveniles.

Our Flakes of Humanity

By Jean Charles Dicharry

Exists only one word
it is repeated relentlessly
yet changing its shape
with each of its appearances.
Before it being conceived
it mutates—how mystifying—
because before birth it wasn’t,
and since then it is no more.
Yes this word expresses all—
remember—it comes from a questioning.
It wishes to be an answer—
and, like any answer, it fails
because it is fragmented
and so cannot reply to the question.

The state of things—
existence—is a fact—
hence it is the question—
hence the word—
and so the only yet failed answer.
So writing is useless
if not to erect cathedrals
to celebrate the unanswered question.
We grasp nothing.
We are content loving temples
and celebrations,
hoping to find some proximity
with what has not been
and will never be told.

 

—–

Self-taught bilingual visual artist. Paris (70’s) – teaching children through play the art of automatic writing and collages (textual as well as visual). Amsterdam (70’s – 80’s) – performances combining poetry, projected slides and painting with the medium of dancers and mimes. New York (80’s – 90’s) – large scale frescoes in international residences. New York – Paris (2000 – 2010) – digital creations for installation projects.
Paris (10’s) – putting into words all that imagery. http://www.jean-charles-dicharry.com

To Float

By Shawna Ervin

I find it in the cracks between

couch cushions of my heart

in my email inbox, a song

 

It whispers from the tattered, ripped-open

sweater of my past

rankled and frayed into a puddle at my feet

 

It is there in tears cried

to rearview mirrors in dark parking lots,

into my pillow between spaces of silence

 

I dip my toe into it

gentle

hesitate, then step in

to my ankle, knee

keep walking, treading

I let myself sink

knowing

forgiveness would never let me drown

 

—–

Shawna is a former journalist, who now stays home with two preschoolers. She is an active member of Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver where she is involved in a two-year mentoring program called the Book Project. She is working on a memoir about adopting her kids from South Korea. Her work has also been published by The Diverse Arts Project and Love Me, Love My Belly.

A Stagehand

By Shawna Ervin

Inspired by “A Traveler” by Denise Levertov

 

If it’s an act or truth,

I’ll take truth.

I like the flamboyant cheers after the act,

the large audiences, the fame

always one step in

front, too far away

but I want to live

in honesty, real

and be content with backstage

lights and ropes.

I don’t want to

be stuck in suspense, callbacks,

makeup, cuts, chorus. I want

to step away from animation.

I’ll risk

the meek truth.

 

—–

Shawna is a former journalist, who now stays home with two preschoolers. She is an active member of Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver where she is involved in a two-year mentoring program called the Book Project. She is working on a memoir about adopting her kids from South Korea. Her work has also been published by The Diverse Arts Project and Love Me, Love My Belly.

Tuna

By M Krockmalnik Grabois

After the car crash

in which my wife lost her leg

I noticed, amazed,

half a tuna sandwich

sitting unmoved on the dashboard

 

My wife had been sleeping across the back seat

of our Civic

She was quite short

 

and got really mad

when she was a kid

if anyone called her a midget

 

I had to wait for the Jaws of Life

to get me out

 

Meanwhile I ate the sandwich

It had too much mayo

and the bread was stale

 

—–

M Krockmalnik Grabois’ poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in poetry and fiction. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for 99 cents from Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition.

Eve

By Nancy Hightower

the last glance you gave me

melted into dark branches,

and i felt the firm body of fruit

sink into my hand.

 

now we’re muted in ivy,

my stomach, stretched and empty.

your back still glistens with sweat.

at night, i become a blind puzzle,

voluptuously divided—

lips, breast, thigh,

a weight to be laid down and tasted.

 

in this only, death seems welcome—

that you may once again look upon me

with eyes un-cursed.

 

—–

Nancy Hightower’s short fiction and poetry has been published in Strange Horizons, Word Riot, storySouth, Gargoyle, Interfictions, Prick of the Spindle, and The New York Quarterly, among others.  Her debut novel Elementari Rising came out with Pink Narcissus Press in 2013, and her poetry “The Acolyte” will be published by Port Yonder Press. She currently reviews science fiction and fantasy for The Washington Post.

doppelganger:

By Nancy Hightower

i wore her favorite dress, the one

you accidentally stained with wine the night

you met her parents and babbled

about love at first sight. you wanted

to believe my body was hers, called me

by her name over and over again

once the dress was off, and I held on,

believing that perhaps by morning,

your words would come true.

 

—–

Nancy Hightower’s short fiction and poetry has been published in Strange Horizons, Word Riot, storySouth, Gargoyle, Interfictions, Prick of the Spindle, and The New York Quarterly, among others.  Her debut novel Elementari Rising came out with Pink Narcissus Press in 2013, and her poetry “The Acolyte” will be published by Port Yonder Press. She currently reviews science fiction and fantasy for The Washington Post.

Gethsemane

By Nancy Hightower

this fear      flesh-chained,

sweated beyond the taste of salt, blood dusted.

you feel the body like never before—

broken into pieces, four quarters,

a diced game where you are passed around

from one soldier to the next

before you’re hanging from a tree,

naked as Adam

and just as dirty.

 

even this garden holds shame;

the bent head, silent begging for cups to pass,

be filled with someone else’s drinking.

now you are the orphan, the sinner.

your men huddle together, already widowed

while angels flutter about like birds soon to die.

above you, the barren hill,

broken skull, rusted nails.

a myth in the making, but always yours,

the dying.

 

—–

Nancy Hightower’s short fiction and poetry has been published in Strange Horizons, Word Riot, storySouth, Gargoyle, Interfictions, Prick of the Spindle, and The New York Quarterly, among others.  Her debut novel Elementari Rising came out with Pink Narcissus Press in 2013, and her poetry “The Acolyte” will be published by Port Yonder Press. She currently reviews science fiction and fantasy for The Washington Post.