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Tuesday, December 05, 2023


by Sean Murphy

David Levine's caricature of Henry Kissinger.

Tainted midwife to travesty, a perverted Prometheus, bestowing agency to perfidious officials in conspicuous places.
Slick devil whispering nothing’s sweet, so many iniquitous seductions into the eager ears of meager men.
Fattened tongue sucking the leathered paws of a cur whose wet scent still befouls a nation’s hollow halls.
Aberrant principles unshackled by access to brokers of action breaking worlds like sadistic gods with glimmering eyes.
Thirty pieces of soiled silver times thirty a thousand times, it profits a man immeasurably if he has no soul to lose.
Peace through power, clarity through chaos, obedience through atrocity, efficiency through occupation, et cetera.
Malevolent proposals polluted by your corrupted seed, so much ruthless sperm seeking attainment in lethal deeds.
Grown engorged like an unkillable tick, the mother’s milk of abandoned empires a mainline to an obstinate heart.
Squatting on the shoulders of moral dwarves, the not-so-complex imprimatur of Napoleon your obscene escutcheon.
This crass pageant, at long last, expired: ignominy awaits and History’s already at work, unkindly revising the Final Cut.

Sean Murphy has been publishing fiction, poetry, reviews (of music, movie, book, food), and essays on the technology industry for over twenty years. A long-time columnist for PopMatters, his work has also appeared in Salon, The Village Voice, Washington City Paper, The Good Men Project, Memoir Magazineand elsewhere. His chapbooks The Blackened Blues (Finishing Line Press) and Rhapsodies in Blue (Kelsay Books) were published in 2021 and 2023. His next poetry collection, Kinds of Blue, and This Kind of Man, his first collection of short fiction, are forthcoming in 2024. His novel Not To Mention a Nice Life was published in 2015, followed by his first two collections of non-fiction, Murphy’s Law, Vol One and Vol. Two. He has been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize, twice for Best of Net, and his book Please Talk about Me When I’m Gone was the winner of Memoir Magazine’s 2022 Memoir Prize. He served as writer-in-residence of the Noepe Center at Martha's Vineyard, and is Founding Director of 1455, a non-profit that celebrates storytelling.

Monday, December 04, 2023


by Jerome Berglund

slashing prices
black friday

must go
black friday

fire sale
while supplies last
black friday

black friday 

and mortar
cyber monday

Jerome Berglund has worked as everything from dishwasher to paralegal, night watchman to assembler of heart valves. Many haiku, haiga and haibun he’s written have been exhibited or are forthcoming online and in print, most recently in bottle rockets, Frogpond, and Modern Haiku. His first full-length collections of poetry Bathtub Poems and Funny Pages were just released by Setu and Meat For Tea press, and a mixed media chapbook showcasing his fine art photography is available now from Yavanika.

Sunday, December 03, 2023


by Julie Standig

Vintage Judaica solid brass Weinberg dove bird Hanukkah menorah candlestick.

hooked to curtains

mylar dreidels, menorahs

glitzy glitter star of David 

dangles from the fireplace


the breakfast bar 

covered in hanukkiah,

driedels and drip trays

crafted by my children

thirty years ago


they’re asking for a truce

just two more days, two more

three hostages have died

one is a ten-month-old


dreidels fill plates

in our living room

dining room and den

I can’t spin them


the nine-month-old hostage

has yet to be released

is that the same baby that died?

how do you spin that?


newlyweds return to the rubble

of their Gaza home

a box of wedding candy 

the sole survivor of their stuff


One of my menorahs

takes the shape of a dove

I don’t know 

I don’t know


I cannot recall

the candle blessing

but those images of Israel

of Gaza burn bright

Julie Standig, a lifetime New Yorker, now lives in Bucks County PA. She has been published in anthologies, online journals, and is the author of a chapbook, and full collection, The Forsaken Little Black Book. A long-time participate at the 92Y, she loves the writing community she has found in Bucks County. 

Saturday, December 02, 2023


by Kai Jensen

Along the underside of the deck railing
1000 droplets hang
each catching the grey morning light
like a Christmas string
and a magpie’s carolling down by the lake
on and on. You’ve gone downstairs
to give your morning sessions
this first day of December, 2023.

Yesterday Shane McGowan died
that broken beautiful man. Maybe
that’s why the magpie sang so long
although it’s fallen silent now,
and why I sit here, on and on,
mesmerised by these beads of light.

Vale Shane McGowan, 25 December 1957 - 30 November 2023, lead singer of The Pogues.

Kai Jensen is a US-born Kiwi/Australian poet who now lives at Wallaga Lake on the Far South Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kai’s poetry has appeared in many Australasian literary journals.

Friday, December 01, 2023


by Matthew Murrey

“Two Turkeys ‘Liberty’ and ‘Bell’ Pardoned by Biden” —VOA, November 20, 2023

For Thanksgiving week, forty-six million, 
while the sweep of a year will reap 
over four times as many, but not these two. 
They won the lottery of born 
right time, right place: were given room 
to roam, good food, and the light of the sun.
Their beaks and toes weren’t scissored, clipped; 
they weren’t warehoused for a life of stink and filth.
They are the inverse of scapegoats: suffer liberty 
and tender, attentive care to cover for the rest—
multitudes hoisted and hacked, gutted and wrapped. 
Thankful at the table, see and smell the golden, 
roasted bird—headless, plucked, and stuffed—
and give thanks for the generous spread of luck:
you here, and not there. Surely that rings a bell.

Matthew Murrey is the author of the poetry collection Bulletproof (Jacar Press, 2019). He's published widely, most recently in The Dodge, Bear Review, and Redheaded Stepchild. He was a public school librarian for 21 years, and lives in Urbana, IL with his partner. He can be found on Instagram, Twitter/X and Bluesky under the handle @mytwords.

Thursday, November 30, 2023


by Barbara Eknoian

Why do tears keep falling from my eyes as I watch? They say Rosalynn stood by her husband for seventy-seven years, and that she cared deeply for the most vulnerable among us. Throughout my life, although I am a good person and wouldn’t harm anyone, I never did anything as inspiring as she did for others. When the choir sings “America the Beautiful,” I’m a young girl again at school singing. Why do I find this tribute so touching? The religious music playing is the old-fashioned kind, which I miss very much. Maybe, that’s why the tears flow easily while listening to all her good works. One of the speakers comments that Rosalyn would be pleased that First Ladies from both sides have come to honor her, including Biden, Obama, Bush, Clinton, and Trump, and everyone laughs. I feel like I’m at an inspiring church service, though I haven’t attended in years. I’m so glad I’m watching. Her husband Jimmy, left hospice at their home in Plains, Georgia, traveling l40 miles so as not to miss his wife’s tribute. He is wheeled into church. Their daughter, Amy, says, since her dad can’t speak, she’ll read a love letter he wrote to Rosalynn when he was in the Navy seventy-five years ago. I imagine him thinking this right now: 

Good-bye Darling, 
Until tomorrow 

Barbara Eknoian’s work has appeared in Chiron Review, Cadence Collective, Redshift, and Silver Birch Press's anthologies. Her recent collection of short stories Romance is Not Too Far From Here is published by Amazon. She lives in La Mirada, CA with her daughter, grandson, one cat, and a very mischievous kitten.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023


by Alejandro Escudé

An afternoon grading on the internet, I walk out

To the November skies of Los Angeles, warm,

A day moon more orb-like than usual in the east.

The sun a shining lake behind fair weather clouds.

I’m thinking of you. How you stalked us in our 

Classrooms for years, removing first our books.

Taking our grades and popping them on screens

That would never time out, even on vacations.

It’s you I blame whenever I can’t direct students

To a specific page, numbers eliminated long ago,

The corners, dog-eared, the scanning of the hand

Across print to mark a quote, to seize an argument.

But I’m a gnat on a remote beach of the economic

Planet to you staring at a sea of adolescents with 

Endless passwords tattooed on their brains. Strolling,

I spot a Yellow-rumped Warbler shadowing me along 

The side of the road. An intelligence, a god, birthed

Of the moon and sun. Buffering, my human hopes.

Alejandro Escudé published his first full-length collection of poems My Earthbound Eye in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches high school English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023


by George Salamon

“‘All the cemeteries are full': Palestinians buried in a mass grave in Gaza.” —Reuters, November 22, 2023

"Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind." —John Donne, Meditation 17, 1623

On the pile of rubble
the wailing of a mother
means nothing.
On the broken street
the raised fist of a father,
The weeping of entire
populations on both sides,
The killing of the air,
the end of our oceans,
In times of exhaustion
and nihilism, values
have vanished and we
are turning into machines,
surviving to function, not
to live.

George Salamon thinks the lords of Silicon Valley have,  million clicks after millions of more clicks, succeeded into turning most of our minds and hearts into file clerks and bean counters.

Monday, November 27, 2023


by Jenna Le

Under the politician's monument,
there was a grub twisting in the topsoil,
and a topsail from an ancient ship
folded nine times,
and a mole with pale human-like fingers
prodding a tree root,
and under this,
a chest seething with stolen coins,
and an aquifer dank with depleted water,
and a cave system beading on for miles
and miles, and a vein of gold ore,
and a cache of diamonds, and a hoard
of sapphires, and under this,
a corpse moaning the name of its child.

Jenna Le is the author of Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011),  A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Indolent Books, 2017), and Manatee Lagoon (Acre Books, 2022). Her poetry appears in AGNI, Denver Quarterly, Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Poet LoreVerse Daily, and West Branch. 

Sunday, November 26, 2023


by Elya Braden

“Bereshit” print from Nireh Or

The beginning is the promise of the end.

—Henry Ward Beecher


Every Fall we rock the house,

dance & sing & lift the scroll.

Roll back to B’reishit. In the beginning—

chaos cleaved into light & dark

a man a woman a garden a fall.


Roll back l’dor v’dor—generation

to generation. 

Roll back Deuteronomy’s gifts—

Ten Commandments, Moses peering

into the Promised Land.

Roll back Numbers’ sufferings—

rod, stone, bland manna,

a wilderness of complaint. 

Roll back Leviticus’ hundreds of tiny edicts

the cost of forgiveness—

denial & purification.

Roll back Exodus’ hungry waters,

locusts, frogs, endless night,

          lambs’ blood to guardian our sons.

Roll back to Genesis—father/mother/handmaid,

multiply two sons & divide 

by one patch of desert.


So, who’s to blame for blood feud? 

Isaac & Ishmael? Or their mothers—

Sarah & Hagar? Sarah’s laughter 

withering on her lips as her handmaid 

suckles Abraham’s eldest— 

a legacy of lack & opportunity.

Or blame God—God’s two-faced 

promise: I will make of your son 

a great nation


Well, one thing we know about land 

is God ain’t making any more.

Yet we multiply like frogs, spill

from lakes & puddles & faucets & mouths, 

our hunger rises like the papery wings 

of a thousand moths splitting their cocoons, 

stripping the trees of green.


So why not drone a war on this day 

we dance & sing, raise Torah scrolls 

above our heads to celebrate return? 

B’reishit bara Elohim,

“In the beginning, God created…”


Air raid sirens the only psalms now sung 

in this land of too many Gods.

Editor’s Note: Simchat Torah, a Jewish holiday that celebrates and marks the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readingsbegan for Hebrew Year 5784 on Saturday, 7 October 2023 and ended on Sunday, 8 October 2023.

Elya Braden is a writer and mixed-media artist living in Ventura County, CA, and is an editor for Gyroscope Review. She is the author of the chapbooks, Open The Fist (2020) and The Sight of Invisible Longing (2023). Her work has been published in Anti-Heroin Chic, Prometheus Dreaming, Rattle Poets Respond, Sequestrum, Sheila-Na-Gig Online, The Louisville Review, and elsewhere. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best New Poets.