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Thursday, August 31, 2006


by Rochelle Ratner

And so, as she entered sixth grade, she became aware of
exactly what money could buy. A dollar a day doesn't sound
like much, but it was more than her allowance. She became
adept at finding money between the sofa cushions and the
cushions in the back seat of her mother's car, she was quick
to spot coins left on dressers, sometimes pocketing part of a
tip at the coffee shop. Then some creep squealed to his
mother and the teacher was found out. The other kids
didn't mind much, for them the fun was in cutting and
getting away with it, and most of them didn't cut every day
the way she did.

Rochelle Ratner's books include two novels: Bobby's Girl (Coffee House Press, 1986) and The Lion's Share (Coffee House Press, 1991) and sixteen poetry books, including House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003) and Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, October 2005). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage:

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


by Lee Patton

the exploded contents of her toy purse
as well as what remains of her brains
after her skull got hammered

She belongs to us,
plus videos of her prances at family picnics,
plus dances at pageants and recitals, plus
that dollar she saved from the tooth fairy

She belongs to us,
privacy pulverized like her tiny sex--
"left-over meat loaf" the reporters said--
"The right to know is sacred, sovereign," so

she belongs to us;
her mystery spices our loafin’ staff lunches
our theories about family secrets
salt to season strangers' wounds

She belongs to us
because we felt so violated, so victimized
No, we never knew her, not in person
No, we weren't there, exactly, but

she belongs to us
Why, we could snap the necks of our kids
we could fuck our own flesh and blood
but we're not that kind of people, no

Not even the killer gets final possession
She remains with us
Gimme that dollar, doll

Among several quarterlies that have published Lee Patton’s work: The Threepenny Review, The Massachusetts Review, The California Quarterly, and Hawaii-Pacific Review. Among many anthologies: Hawaii-Pacific Review’s Best of Decade, XY-Files, including the title poem in What’s Become of Eden: Poems of Family at Century’s End. Among other literary activities and awards: Finalist the 2001 Lambda Awards for best novel (Nothing Gold Can Stay), 2006 Colorado Authors League short fiction award, The Borderlands Playwrights Prize in 1993 (The Houseguest) and the 1996 Ashland New Playwrights (Orwell in Orlando).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


by Spiel

see this virgin soldier boy
stilled in his prime
bagging elbows
coding knees

come here mr. president

come here
phony cowboy
texas blueblood come here
see this virgin boy
counting toes fingers
and spines

go ahead if you must
line up for the rapture
with your clown hat on
mr. president
or better yet
come here come here
to face this boy
who could not bare
his superior officer’s stare

so he was demoted
from near-nobody
to nobody
bagging lips brains
and livers for transport
back home
to the u.s.a.

come here awol cowboy
show this kid your thumbs
the parts of you which prove
you could have lifted something
greater than a crawford chainsaw
(trimming limbs of a less bloody sort)
and he will show you bags full of
thumb-knuckles tips and fingernails
zip-coded for shipping without really
knowing who nor where they came from

this virgin kid
whose virgin sweetheart awaits him back home
this naïve boy who bought your bring em on boast
who figured he could prove he was a man
a mighty christian at war
as he watched you pray with your eyes shut

but this boy’s feet turned to sand
as you waffled on your why
and his girlfriend sent a message that you’d lied
and unlike all his buddies he’d never felt
the privilege of his sweetheart’s blood yet
here he was all smeared in the blood of thumbs
(not thumbs like yours with tidy fingernails)
plus baby’s scalps and tiny hands and too much
splintered bone splattered in human dung
of young men
just like him

come here come on
bigshot-target cowboy
forgive this virgin kid who cannot stand
to face you cannot look you straight
eye to eye
be humbled in his presence mr.
cowboy without a horse to ride
tell him that you’re sorry
that you led him so astray
admit you never really had the mandate
thought he won’t know what mandate is
he is a simple kid
a no body

do this phony cowboy
get down on your knees

sob yourself to bits and pieces

then hope     then beg this kid
can spare some space in his bags
to squeeze your fragments cast astray
with other odds
and ends to code them back
to general delivery

to see if they
(aside from all this more noble flesh and bone)
just might stand the test
for the presence of human d.n.a.

Spiel is uncommonly comfortable taking us on journeys into deep secrets many share but find too personal or too dark to reveal. His passion and forthrightness are evident in poems of conflict, curiously human short stories and odd bits of art published by scores of independent press magazines. Soon to be released will be come here cowboy poems of war, a Pudding House Publications chapbook, its third since 2003, of Spiel's poetry.

Monday, August 28, 2006


by Bonnie Naradzay

In the beginning, Beirut, set like pearls
against the stunning Mediterranean blue,
could have taken your breath away.

Qana, the village where tanks gunned down
citizens in Biblical proportions:
Now ten years later, attacked again,
the casualties once more are children.

“It was an accident. It was their fault,
their own fault for hiding among civilians,”
the general chortled: “When you sleep
with a missile, sometimes you don’t
wake up in the morning.”

Life has assumed a strange and stunted
quality. A Koran lies open for prayer,
a school notebook creases a pillow.
A crushed sandal, a can of beans.
And a book, blasted into a splintered
olive tree. The child who choked
to death – what was his sin?

The shock and awe, a mimicry,
was planned for over a year.
Officials express regret.
Money and arms, a global outcry,
those involved not authorized to speak.

The killing of children:
such catastrophes happen.
The families wanted to flee
but were too poor and had no
families in cars were targeted,
and convoys carrying medical supplies,
milk factories, grain silos, the airport,
bridges, mosques, entire Christian villages.

“Death leads to a pause,
not a cease-fire. Claiming
the moral high ground,
officials express regret.”

The toll: exile and subjugation.
The 1982 invasion of Lebanon
killed 18,000 people,
the awful symmetry
of 18 years’ occupation,
the Shiites suffering most,
giving birth to Hezbollah.

Pummeling the West Bank midwifed
the rise of Hamas which begat
the bulldozing of Palestine.

The Morning After Pill reduces the risk,
ends rather than prevents pregnancies?
Pharmacies tout a Morning After Koolaid
that ensures amnesia of past calamities.

Bonnie Naradzay, a student at the Stonecoast MFA program, has poems forthcoming in JAMA and Innisfree and has published in numerous online journals. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


by Robert M. Chute

Since answers breed questions
as the bubble of knowledge swells
the border between unknown
and known also expands. So
as long as reason reigns
its motto must be "We don't know."

When reason's safe in its cage
and certainty's curtain descends,
then there'll be peace. Progress ends.
The top finally teeters and falls.

Robert M. Chute’s new book from JustWrite Books, Reading Nature, poetry based on scientific articles, is available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


by Deborah P. Kolodji

of the glamour
from meteor showers,
she hogs up the sky, wants to be
a star.

(August 2006: Annual Perseid meteor shower to be dimmed by bright gibbous waning moon)

Deborah P. Kolodji's new chapbook of cinquains and haiku, unfinished book, is available from Shadow Poetry. Her first chapbook, Seaside Moon, is a winner of the Virgil Hutton Haiku Memorial Chapbook Award. She is one of 17 haiku poets included in The New Resonance 4: Emerging Voices in English Language Haiku by Red Moon Press.

Friday, August 25, 2006


by James Penha

Yesterday . . .

We went home
after too long being
where we thought we belonged.

Astronomers voted to strip Pluto of its status as a planet.

The parents of an Austrian schoolgirl missing for eight years said a teenager who apparently escaped from a cellar prison is their daughter.

More Israeli soldiers walked out of Lebanon — some smiling broadly and pumping their fists, others weeping or carrying wounded comrades.

The German government secured the release of a Bremen resident who has been held at Guantanamo since 2001.

A huge granite statue of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II was moved from the Cairo square where stood for more than 50 years.

Today . . .

Where we thought we belonged
so long
we know we never belonged . . .

"I have a slight tear in my eye today, yes; but at the end of the day we have to describe the Solar System as it really is, not as we would like it to be," said Professor Iwan Williams.

"Honestly, I didn't think that I'd still experience this," said Ludwig Koch. "She said: 'Dad, I love you.' And the next question was: 'Is my toy car still there?' It was Natascha's favourite toy, I never gave it away in all those years.

Some sang a traditional Hebrew song with the lyric: "We brought peace to you." Others wept as they returned to their country, exhausted by the fighting.

The German foreign intelligence agency, BND, was more pointed in its discussions with the director of the CIA's Berlin office: "The guy is a harmless nut job, let him go."

"Ramses will be happy now," said Zahi Hawass.

Tomorrow . . .

stone pharaohs
and prisoners
we occupiers,
and victims,
we false stars

can return home.

The solar system will not collapse.

James Penha edits The New Verse News.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


by Sadaf Qureshi

I like the way it works its way up into my mouth,
the way it sounds when it escapes
It starts out hard-headed and proud
But by the time you get to the third syllable it has lost its staccato,
Instead it flows like thick liquid,
as though it has slipped on the wet surface of my tongue,
and when you expect it to finish off staying down,
it gets back up and regains its composure- but with a lost severity.

There’s a picture in the paper today,
About the lives they led
And what that has all been reduced to- a muddle of paraphernalia scattered on a sidewalk,
About the living, breathing, feeling, human debris that
War has left in its path,
About animosity in action
Civilians collect their belongings from their shop
that was damaged by Israeli air strikes in southern Beirut, Lebanon
That is the picture in the paper today.
The picture has it looking as though
Animosity never had to wipe the dirt off a scraped knee,
Or bare a bruise on its shin
It looks at though it has never had that humbling and humiliating opportunity
To get up and recover from a miss because it never does miss
Never trips up
Never forgets to strike
It looks more unrelenting and nimble than it sounds.

Still, they say that looks can be deceiving
They never say anything about sounds

Born in Lousiana in 1990, Sadaf Qureshi is entering Junior year at Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood, New Jersey.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


by Leann Doyle

And here we are, already referring to devastation like
none we have ever known, wreckage rivaling, surpassing
Pearl Harbor, whose date no one in my generation
remembers anyway, replacing, upgrading with 9-11, 9Eleven,
titled like a convenience store, looping catchy like a commercial
hell, nevermind respect somber tones, we are at war, no time to
spell to say September, maybe if it happened in May, maybe, but
Christ, September, who has the time, the patience, we’re too busy
watching the price of oil rise hunting terrorists gauging
weakness surrendering privacy and finding
jobs, but it’s like the soldier said on the news,
it’s not every day you get to liberate people

and see, look at the bare-footed children, dancing in
their muddied Iraqi streets, dancing in your living room
in plasma, flat-screened clarity with their white smiles and
their mismatched, faded clothes standing ankle deep
in mud in filth in spent shells in yellow-boxed provisions
flashing a thumbs up to the camera and hey,
if they know thumbs up then they must
know high five and McDonalds and hooray American
iconography, never mind thumbs up and thumbs down
means live or die in somebody’s history, and the

soldier crying on the news, he misses his motherwifedaughter
and his breath hitches and his voice cracks
and some cameraman was extra careful to crop his shot
so that none of the anger or profanity or hatred,
none of the pledges for vengeance retaliation
jihad, none of it bleeds into this shot
so that I can empathize and sympathize and
sigh deeply at the rightness
of this shot, and fill my lungs
my head with the knowledge that
it’s not every day you get to liberate people

and I won’t care that I am supposed to hoard a three day
supply of food and water in my one bedroom apartment and
duct tape my windows closed (what about the vents the exhaust
fans, air comes through and won’t I suffocate if duct tape
turns out not to be porous and should I just go out
and buy some plants, my own private oxygen supply)
and pay four dollars a gallon for gas and be subject to
random checkpoints and be called un-American anti-American
if I don’t hang a flag tattered flapping from
the antenna of my car because, hey,
it’s not every day you get to liberate people,

and what about that couple called to duty, called away from their
newborn son for a year or two or more, don’t feel bad that this
child will only recognize his parents from pictures like a game
of memory like the alphabet and he will learn the story of his
parents at bedtime like a fable like a fairy tale
and still not know them as mommy and daddy when (if) they return but
it’s not every day you get to liberate people

and everyone has suddenly become so careful with their elocution,
taking pains to enunciate so Iraq and attack don’t rhyme in
any context because this is not an attack this is a liberation
this is a freedom movement this is not Vietnam,
this is Persian Gulf II, a continuance, a sequel,
the same but with different plot twists and bigger oil fields

a father’s legacy a government’s nepotism
and more merchandising, but look, America knows
a good thing needs to be franchised and it’s a promise, troops
will be in and out like a quick fuck like a game of ring
and run like a trip to the store for a missing ingredient
but quick really means indefinite, it means we don’t know,
it means it’s finished when it’s finished and in this lexicon
quick is calculated in years not days, weeks, or months
but it’s like the soldier said on the news,
it’s not everyday you get to liberate people.

Leann Doyle holds a BA in Media Studies and Digital Culture from Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT, but currently works full time as a secretary at a local college on Long Island to pay her bills. She is an artist, writer and avid reader with too many ideas and not enough time in which to execute all of them.


by Carol Elizabeth Owens

“The [sheriff’s] dispatcher asked again why [the female caller] needed the deputy to return. ‘Honey, I'm just going to be honest with you, OK? I just thought he was cute.’.”
– (Jul. 14, 2006)

i would savor
a moment of rescue
for the intimacy of it—
i would dial “9-1-1”
just to see if
you come.

Carol Elizabeth Owens is an attorney and counselor-at-law in Western New York (by way of Long Island and New York City). She enjoys technical and creative writing. Her poetry has been published in several print and virtual publications. Ms. Owens loves the ways in which words work when poetry allows them to come out and play. The poem "taste of an emergency" is written in a form called eintou (which is West African for "pearl," as in "pearls of wisdom").

Monday, August 21, 2006


by John Newmark

Mickey sits amidst the rubble,
And my mind wanders to Gavroche,
Singing as he gathers bullets.

Hugo describes him as mystical.
Mickey is mystical, too.
There's not a speck of dust on him.
Fresh from a store,
Or playroom
Of a photographer's child..

Hugo tells the story
Of a failed revolution
Through his invented characters.
He kills Gavroche,
For he knows it will elicit a response.
But he is writing a novel.

The propaganda is passed off as real.
The real pictures would be horrible enough,
But the photographers can't resist
Adding toys, stuffed animals,
And mannequins to the mix.

The hardened reader
When he sees Gavroche die,
Doesn't cry,
Because he refuses to be manipulated.

By staging these pictures,
The photographers
Are unintentionally
Providing an excuse
To ignore the reality.

John Newmark lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and has performed at open mics for thirteen years. His poetry and fiction have also appeared at Newspoetry, EOTU, The Landing, Bewilidering Stories, MillenniumShift, and Scared Naked Magazine. More information can be found on his website.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


by Robin Shepard

When hope is dead and buried with the rest,
A great gladness wells up across the land.
The devils of history spring out from their nest.

Voices of crackpots contend with the best,
And legions of militants strike up the band
When hope is dead and buried with the rest.

Heroes and deserters are honored with zest
At a feast of carnage on blood-soaked sand.
The devils of history spring out from their nest.

The slaughtered innocents still are blessed
to die before the flames have been fanned.
When hope is dead and buried with the rest,

The old gods are treated to a proper inquest.
Their towers topple and they leave the grandstand.
The devils of history spring out from their nest.

Good becomes evil and evil’s a lovefest.
The world turns round as if it’s been planned.
When hope is dead and buried with the rest,
The devils of history spring out from their nest.

Robin Shepard has had poems in The New York Quarterly, among other journals. Shepard received an MFA in Writing from Vermont College in 2006 and is at present a development officer for a California community college and a collector of mid-century arts and crafts.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


by Rochelle Ratner

99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer; if one of
those bottles should happen to fall, 98 bottles of beer on the
wall. 98 bottles of beer on the wall… And what seemed like
98 campers piled in the nauseating yellow bus, pushing and
punching one another, going on some stupid field trip. God,
he hated camp. Years before he reached adolescence he
wanted to just curl up in his room with the door shut. Well,
he's grown now, he's got his own apartment, and for seven
months he actually held a job as a stock boy in a huge
discount store. Too many people there, half of them asking
him questions, the other half pushing some brat in a
stroller. At least they taught him how to stack and balance.
99 bottles of beer on the wall… Hell, 99 bottles don't even
scratch the surface.

Rochelle Ratner's books include two novels: Bobby's Girl (Coffee House Press, 1986) and The Lion's Share (Coffee House Press, 1991) and sixteen poetry books, including House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003) and Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, October 2005). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage:

Friday, August 18, 2006


by Ann Tweedy

In the front loader, among other
displaced limbs, ride the legs
of the mayor's son, traveling
one last time, from leveled house
to cemetery. See, cries the mayor,
pulling one out, this was my son,
a sportsman who practiced tae kwon do.

Of all the ends love could come to,
why this one?

Ann Tweedy grew up in a small town in Massachusetts. She has been writing poetry ever since she moved to the West Coast in 1996. Over fifty of her poems have been published or are forthcoming in publications such as Clackamas Literary Review, Rattle, Avocet, Harrington Lesbian Fiction Quarterly, Berkeley Poetry Review, and Stringtown Review. For her day job, she works as a lawyer on behalf of Indian tribes and divides her time between Seattle and Skagit County, Washington.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


by Bill Costley

We report. You decide.” (FOX News)


(FOX News) Steve Centanni, (60)
was kidnapped @ gunpoint in Gaza
as he & his cameraman, Olaf Wiig,
drove through Palestinian territory.

FOX News called the Centannis early
Monday that he’d been kidnapped:
“We’re a little bit nervous right now
because we haven't still heard anything
one way or the other from the kidnappers;
we talked with the FOX News negotiators
last night, who haven't heard from the kidnappers.''

Centanni left excited for his FOX News assignment in Israel,
after Iraq & Afghanistan; “He thought Israel would be
a safer place than going to Iraq. A gentle, peaceful man,
his passion, reporting from overseas, is what he’s all about.
You can't keep him away from telling human stories. He’s
hoping his work will do some good to stop this madness.''

The Centannis take heart that FOX News’ representatives
& Palestinian leaders are working for Steve’s release.
“That's what we’re hanging our hats on right now."


Mahmoud Abbas & Ismail Haniyeh
are working to free Centanni & Wiig.
Small groups seeking personal favors,
a job/release of relatives from jail
often kidnap foreigners in Gaza, all,
released w/in a few days unharmed.
No group has claimed responsibility
for kidnapping Centanni & Wiig, but
his family worry Steve’s kidnapping
is different; 2trucks of armed men
stopped the car Centanni was driving,
forced a Palestinian to the floor & took
the FOX News journalists away. “This
doesn't seem like small-time criminals.”

Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco chapter of the National Writers Union.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


by Aaron Schneider

On the national, morning radio show
Thousands crowd onto ships,
tourists and dual citizens together,
frantic together in terror and Beirut
the foreign minister says
we are concerned about certain individuals
people who hold Canadian passports
but do not live in Canada.
Certain individuals. Of course, they have a right...
Do we judge them by the dust on their boots?
Driven into the pleats of their skin?
It is the dust of Lebanon.
But Canadian residents
must be our first priority.

He does not say, must not say,
No! he cannot think

A woman calls in. She is Canadian.
She does not say. The host does not ask.
It's understood. Eh!
Fear has its own accents.
tearing vowels and sharp, sputtering consonants.
Horror is the only universal language.
She says, I think those people
who have homes there,
who have lived there,
over there, for years.
How do we assign them origins?
How do we take the measure of their hearts?
They belong to what they long for.
These people should not expect
our government to spend
our hard earned dollars
saving them.

She does not say, must not say,
No! she cannot think

A roving reporter interviews
the customers eating breakfast at Tim Hortons.
She does not ask them where they're from.
They are from Tim Hortons.
Trauma tastes of bile,
adrenaline is murder on the stomach
and food does not go well with flight.
The customers agree,
we have limited resources.
We are a small country.
We have to make hard choices.
We can only do so much.
How much for salvation, for safety?
How much for his life? For hers? How much for yours?
How do you put a price on shame?
The customers agree,
someone, not them--they are humble,
they defer to higher authorities--
someone should decide.

They do not say, must not say,
No! they cannot think

The prime minister addresses the nation.
He is sober and comforting.
He has made hard choices.
The bombs do not stop for speeches.
The diplomats are drowned out by explosions,
the runways are broken, the roads are out and bridges down.
He says, we must
help those in need,
help those we can.
To do otherwise
would be unCanadian.
What are we, each and every one of us,
born here or elsewhere, at home or abroad,
if not citizens of the human country of suffering?
But we must be on guard
against those who try
to take advantage of our hospitality,
exploit our generosity.

He does not say.
No! He does not have to say.
We are comforted and confident that

Aaron Schneider is a graduate student and good for nothing. He is Canadian for the moment.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


by Charles Frederickson

Stop look and listen yielding
To humankind same blood type
Pressure mindful hearts viscerally pleading
For immediate warmonger ceasefire dead-end

Tattered social fabric rent asunder
By decades of despotic conflict
Rebuilding its entire bombarded infrastructure
Dashed hopes daunting uphill task

Rest of civilized world demands
That Israel tear down wall
Audacious concrete monument to inhumanity
Yet zealots refuse to comply

Simmering anger has reached the
Boiling point lost temper meltdown
Powder keg about to explode
Short fuse gunning for revenge

As quaking fault lines deepen
Devastation falls into cataclysmic abyss
Huge reservoir of pent-up wrath
Surfaces from bottomless pit darkness

Too long deprived of homeland
Palestinians deserve genuine national integrity
With true Arab identity distinctive
Future of its very own

Adapted Thai poEtpourri structural scheme
4-line 20-word write on stanzas
Befitting offbeat reason without rhyme
Un-author-ized style consciously punctuation free

Dr. Charles Frederickson is a Swedish-American 4midable, 10acious, cre8ive 1derer who has wandered intrepidly through 206 countries, an original sketch and poem for each presented on Spreading revitalized roots and fine-feathered wings in Thailand, this uniquecorn has devoted the past year and a half to volunteer tsunami relief and child-focused educational support. 100+ publications on 5 continents.

Monday, August 14, 2006


by Karl Kadie

Each bomb experiences a little death
but only fulfills its destiny
when it captures other deaths with it.
Welcome to the battle of the bombs.
Can you keep score?
Hezbollah attacks are called terrorist raids.
Israeli attacks are called military operations.
Hezbollah shoots rockets called Katyushas.
Israel drops cluster bombs.
Katyushas have ball bearings in the warheads.
They fan out upon impact
damaging everything within the range of a football field.
Katyushas are condemned by Human Rights Watch.
Cluster bombs blast over a wide and imprecise area.
They spread hundreds of bomblets -
little bombs that become
de facto antipersonnel landmines.
Cluster bombs are condemned by Human Rights Watch,
Amnesty International too.
Hezbollah hides rockets in apartment buildings,
then fires the rockets on northern Israel.
Some people die, many flee.
Israel bombs the rocket buildings and some others too.
They kill the families and the soldiers
who live in the rocket buildings.
Hezbollah captures Israeli soldiers
and wants to trade them for Hezbollah soldiers.
Israel invades Lebanon and wants to keep the land.
Hezbollah fires rockets on civilian areas and people die.
Israel adds chemicals to the bombs
that kill people and turn them black
but leave hair and skin undamaged.
Hezbollah kills 100.
Israel kills 1,000.
Who wins?
If death equals winning,
does the side that dies the most win?

Karl Kadie holds an MA in English from San Francisco State University and is a native Californian. He has been writing poetry for over thirty years, and published poems in Haiku Headlines and on poetry blogs. His poems reflect a powerful concern about the political events of the new century. Karl earns his living by providing marketing for high technology companies in the United States and Europe.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


by Tamara Madison

How I envy
the furry black
yellow striped
that climbs
the lush stems
of the basil plants.
Sheltered within the deep
green redolent canopy
it spends its days
of the fragrant leaves,
that with each
delicious bite
it destroys
its gorgeous habitat.
By the time the leaves
are all reduced
to lacy stubble
it will be time
to find a resting place,
pull a shroud over itself
and wait for the dawn
of the next life.
How I envy
the furry black
yellow striped
that can destroy
its world
and retreat
to the succor
of a regenerative

Tamara Madison teaches English and French in one of those "failing schools" in Los Angeles. She has published poetry and short fiction in various literary journals in the U.S. and U.K. She is the winner of the 2005 Jane Buel Bradley Poetry Chapbook award for her chapbook "The Belly Remembers," which was published by Pearl Editions.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


by Regina Nervo

Flipping through August's Vogue,
The Age Issue
I discover the secret to tight toned arms
is a surgical procedure done on twilight sleep
ending with a visible scar in the pit of your arm.

I discover that "before 40 women" are waiting,
waiting to become wiser, smarter, sexier
and well dressed.
The mate finding, career hunting,
having children days over.

I am advised that all women must "pause" for menopause,
fess up to the loss of libido and heart palpitations.
Put away the "nasty" T-shirt. Buy lingerie.
See a cardiologist. Keep things interesting.
Exercise and pay attention to how you look.

At mid-life, I am urged to harness the power
of the hormone induced change,
in order to be transformed.
It is a second round of poker.
I have a whole new hand to play.
This, the scientific conclusion.

So I pause and accept the fact
that I too am becoming sexier as I get older.
I pause at the checkout stand.

Say yes to being "helped out"
with my loaded down grocery cart,
say yes to the handsome young box boy.
I pause flirtatiously and indulge
in this coming of age opportunity.

Regina Nervo, lives with her husband and two children in Southern California where she teaches and writes. Her first collection appears in City by the Sea, which received the 2005 Jane Buel Bradley Chapbook Award and was published last year by Pearl Editions. Her work has appeared in Sheila-na -gig, Rip-rap, Pearl, and The Union.

Friday, August 11, 2006


by Carol Elizabeth Owens

“[T]he plotters were ‘getting close to the execution phase….There were very concrete steps under way to execute all elements of the plan’.”
– U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff [ (8/10/2006)]

Even the FBI has conceded that the so-called Miami 7's plan was ‘more aspirational than operational’.”
– [“Minority Report” (7/15/2006)]

is more liquid
now and the thought of it
appears to have gotten stronger
over time. contemplate
this quietly—

black men
did, and at once
their dreams seemed explode
into a full-scale indictment—

even a spectre
of some substance
so what

should we
think about this?
today, london’s bridging
the great gap between justice’s
international teeth
they’re combing thru
more than

evidence of
a potential bomb plot
their targets really got started
again, what should we think?—
perhaps nothing
at all

Carol Elizabeth Owens is an attorney and counselor-at-law in Western New York (by way of Long Island and New York City). She enjoys technical and creative writing. Her poetry has been published in several print and virtual publications. Ms. Owens loves the ways in which words work when poetry allows them to come out and play. The poem "don't even think about it " is written in a form called eintou (which is West African for "pearl," as in "pearls of wisdom").

Thursday, August 10, 2006


by Mary Saracino

The color of money’s the only skin-tone sanctioned
by the Feds. Green with envy, green-eyed monster,
eat your greens, grow strong on the green, green grass
of corporate greed; we’re green-as-all-get-out here
in the good ole U.S. of A. where freedom’s just another word
for privilege; if you got greenbacks, you got access.

The ones they call illegal seek greener pastures, too,
places to grow families, reap a prosperous future.
Cough up enough cash and bypass the militia-manned
borderlands. Legit as legal tender, there’d be no need to
cross crushing rivers, endure stench-filled sewer tunnels,
the suffocating trunks of rusty cars, or play dodge ball with SUVs, Hummers,
mini-vans on teeming highways — to gain entry into the land
of free enterprise, the home of the so-called brave.

America averts its eyes from the huddled masses.
Our melting pot boils with rage; somebody’s gotta pay.
How dare they think they deserve a chance to scrub our toilets,
pick our crops, tend our gardens, build our over-priced condos,
change the linens on our ritzy hotel beds, steal sub-par wages
from our citizens who refuse to clean up the mess we’ve made of democracy,
refuse to piece together the tattered remnants of our country’s
most precious commodity: justice and liberty for all.

Mary Saracino is a novelist, memoir writer, and poet who lives in Denver, CO. Her newest novel, The Singing of Swans, is to be published in October 2006 by Pearlsong Press.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


by Russell Libby

I read the report from that bureaucrat, he claimed,
but it was only the daily press clips, a summary of summaries.
W wished he could remember what the scientists had said
as his Texas ranch burned in the unending sun.

Russell Libby writes from Three Sisters Farm in Mount Vernon, Maine, where it's been raining a lot more than normal the past few springs and way too hot in the summer. He's heading out now to let the chickens wander and take care of the apple trees.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


by Mike McCulley

A leader without a following is just
a guy taking a walk, listening
to voices in a dream, listening
to music in his head, watching dancers

hop around on the grass. A leader
without a plan is just a mug
looking for something to do, listening
for change in the grass, watching fog

clear, scuttling around showing a wave
and grin. A leader without direction
is just a guy looking for sheep
to follow, looking for a parade

with a bigger band and more elephants,
skipping through the grass
looking for a place to hide.

Mike McCulley:
Retired from educating
rewired for recreating
pastime birding,
part time wording.

Monday, August 07, 2006


by Robert M. Chute

These savages may not have
a written language, but this
they'll understand, Miles Standish said,
as he mounted Wituwamat's head
on a pike by Plymouth's gate.

For terror unto others, Gov. Bradford notes.
What we'd now call, making a statement,
or diplomacy by other means.

Robert M. Chute’s new book from JustWrite Books, Reading Nature, poetry based on scientific articles, is available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


by Rochelle Ratner

A guard dog has ripped apart a collection of rare teddy bears, including one once owned by Elvis Presley, during a rampage at a children's museum. Authorities struggled to explain what triggered the attack…
– CBS News, August 3, 2006

First off, there was his name. Barney. Even though his
breeder insisted he’d been named for the expensive New
York department store, whenever he heard his name he
imagined children laughing in the background. So he hated
children. Then, there was his trainer, who happened to be
an Elvis Presley maniac. Brushing Barney after a run, he’d
be singing: you ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog… Barney was
fairly certain a Doberman wasn’t a hound, but it still upset
him. Songs such as Love Me Tender or Heartbreak Hotel
he could shake off his fur like dried gravel, but sometimes
at night when he couldn’t sleep there would be other
Pretzel lyrics going through his head: Let me be your lovin’
teddy bear, put a chain around my neck and lead me
anywhere… Well, he didn’t think much of the chain part,
but at times he was so lonely he might have agreed to that.

Rochelle Ratner's books include two novels: Bobby's Girl (Coffee House Press, 1986) and The Lion's Share (Coffee House Press, 1991) and sixteen poetry books, including House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003) and Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, October 2005). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage:

Friday, August 04, 2006


by Mary Hamrick

"I thought we were fighting for God.
Then I realized we were fighting for wealth and land."
--from the motion picture "Kingdom of Heaven" (quoted in _The New Yorker_, May 9, 2005)

I mimic your hate.
I am capable of this.

I am a fish
eating fish.
No regrets.

I am a flying fish,
hitting and slapping,
breaking you down and

breaking myself into pieces.
These are my bloodiest days.
They say forgiveness cleanses the soul.

I cannot cleanse myself.
I will not cleanse myself.
You are my launching platform of revenge.

Where is God? You say He is with you.
They say He is with them. I know He is with me.
Well, who is He with? Who does He love?

What color of animal does He favor?
What texture of hair is He partial to?
How does He measure our cultures?

Does He love Islam more than Judaism
and Sikhism more than Animism?
Does He love Hinduism more than Christianity?

I am only a flying fish,
hitting and slapping,
breaking you down and

breaking myself into pieces.
In the name of God,
we have the right to torture with skin-bullets

and to decapitate with our blood-battalions
and to instill the act of taking one’s own life.
I mimic your hate.

I am capable of this.
I am a fish
eating fish.

Maybe God wears a buffalo robe
and sadly watches us from a horse
as we demolish one another.

Mary Hamrick was born in New York and moved to Florida when she was a young girl. Her writing often reflects the contrast between her Northern and Southern upbringing. Current and forthcoming publications include Arabesques Press, Architecture Ink, Cezanne’s Carrot, Howling Dog Press (OMEGA 6), On the Page Magazine, Pemmican, Poetry Repair Shop, Poems Niederngasse, Potomac Review, Scrivener’s Pen, Tattoo Highway, The Barricade, The Binnacle, The Subway Chronicles and others.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


by Charles Frederickson

Shear madness wild and wooly
Deep pile fleece bombastic stealth
Cover-ups perpetrated by rapacious carnivores
Remaking tigers tame sheep ferocious

Too gentle to live amongst
Ravenous wolves howling moon predators
Lascivious rabid foam spitfire drool
Bleating for mercy Allah willing

Cunning and conning silver foxes
Fierce hunted creatures demon haunted
Vixens cannot hide luxurious bushy
Tails furry pelt scraps entrapped

Black sheep are biting beasts
Straying from flock lost found
Rams protecting flock fighting back
Gelded horny wethers shagging man

Ewes bearing hundreds of guileless
Sacrificial lambs led to slaughter
Tenderized mutton marinated in blood
Lesser god forsaken altar offerings

Dr. Charles Frederickson is a Swedish-American pragmatic idealist, chronic optimist and heretical believer who has wandered intrepidly through 206 countries, an original sketch and poetic impression for each presented on Having spread rejuvenated roots and wings in Thailand, the past year has been devoted to providing volunteer comfort and supportive relief to children and families affected by the tsunami. 100+ publications on 5 continents.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


June 21, 2006

by Erle Kelly

Janet Jackson made
the Congressional Record.
Or, her nipple did.
Right there with Roe v. Wade,
the 2000 mile fence
to keep the Mexicans out
and the resolution to invade Iraq
because “they gotta have WMD.”
The incensed House is making sure
no child will see a mammary gland
after suckling it for their first two years.
Nintendo and Play Station horror:
fast-action hero dismemberment games
slide under the radar screen.
Sex is taboo.
Violence gets PG-13, a pass.
A national referendum
on bra tensile strength?
Legislate. Go on the stump.
Whip up the base.
Stay the course.
Let’s nip this nipple
in the bud.

Erle Kelly lives in Long Beach, California, attended Cal State University, Long Beach where he received a BA in Business Administration. He retired three years ago and has been filling his time traveling, gardening, volunteering and attending a poetry workshop conducted by Donna Hilbert, a noted published poet and writer both in the US and England. This is Erle's first published poem which came out of the workshop.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


(a note on spontaneity
of combustion)

by Carol Elizabeth Owens

“The current crisis is part of a larger struggle between the forces of freedom and the forces of terror in the Middle East…[a]nd as we saw on Sept. 11, the status quo in the Middle East led to death and destruction in the United States, and it had to change.” George W. Bush [New York Times (on-line) Jul. 31. 2006]

it’s real--
this big theory
wherein the religious
(whether left or right) wait in wings
while airy peacekeeping
missions station

at flash-
points & guns blaze
as the sun has its way
with the tender skin of safety
chafed, a bomb is long sought
wars cost, of course

are mixed
with gilead
as israelis, arabs
iraquis and americans
start locking their hot stocks
of explosive

loaded barrels
are often expensive
when exchanged in the battle’s heat
maneuvers must be smooth

call them
balms, whether smart
or stupid — it’s dirty
to drop folks like flies or bad words
they serve us at arm’s length
and we’re not one
leg up

Carol Elizabeth Owens is an attorney and counselor-at-law in Western New York (by way of Long Island and New York City). She enjoys technical and creative writing. Her poetry has been published in several print and virtual publications. Ms. Owens loves the ways in which words work when poetry allows them to come out and play. The poem "bang (a note on spontaneity of combustion)" is written in a form called eintou (which is West African for "pearl," as in "pearls of wisdom").