Danny Earl Simmons: Featured Author

Like a Grasshopper in a May Meadow

So much life,

   so much green,

      so much dew on my feet,

         so much eye-squinting sunshine

and hot wafty

   late morning melancholy

      that keeps me from sailing

         the effervescent puffs of white.

So much wanting
   to leap and never
        come down. So
             much lush. So much

thick. So much rain.
   So much not knowing
        how brief a spring can be
             and how little there is to be

gained by bouncing
   from here to there
        and, in no time at all,
             becoming a wingless,

dry, empty thing
   lifted by a mockery
        of wind and so much



by Danny Earl Simmons 



Ghazal: Brimstone


Sometimes I wonder if hell is less fire than brimstone.
Maybe it’s like taking your phone into the shower with you.

Her perfume is right where she left it, infused into her pillow
where it insists on bringing up old worn-out conversations.


Is there air enough in hell for the moaning of dirges
or is it more like staying up late for a little peace and quiet?

She was at the grocery store the other day picking out avocados.
I smile at the memory of guacamole and that she wasn’t really there.

I hope hell has horses for carrying lost souls through the thick black
to the pretty yellow bonfires and the warming of hands with old friends.

I wish she would have just slapped me hard and told me to go to hell.
Instead, all I have is this ugly red stain and the moldering of day after day.


by Danny Earl Simmons



Drama Queen

for Mat

One hand goes directly to his chest,
clutching. The other hand is outstretched,
beseeching something unknowable. He wobbles,
staggers backwards, collapses in a heap.

He listens for shouts of 9-1-1 and sirens,
hears none, begins to moan and pant.
He winces, glances sideways hoping
for a rescue and a little mouth-to-mouth.

Still alone, he struggles loudly to one knee
before allowing gravity to grab him
by the collar and introduce his face
to the cold reality of the hard gray ground.

The red of his life begins to pool,
rutilant beneath the ache in his head,
as a dizzy contentment warms
his drifting away into sleep.

He awakens gagging, squinting
against a blurry brightness, confused
by the high-pitched din of urgency
and his being unable to swallow,

then smiles around the hard plastic tube.


by Danny Earl Simmons


Danny Earl Simmons is an Oregonian and a proud graduate of Corvallis High School. He is a friend of the Linn-Benton Community College Poetry Club and an active member of Albany Civic Theater. His poems have appeared in a variety of journals such as Naugatuck River Review, Off the Coast, Shadow Road Quarterly, Grey Sparrow, and Verse Wisconsin.

Clear Days

They scare me. Give me blizzards but not a blue day with a ground of ice and a T-Rex bite to the air. She enters the kitchen in a white tank and short shorts. The slink of corn flakes into her bowl stings. The stillness gets me most of all: inescapable frost that digs the face when shoveling out a pickup bed or packing tools to fix some old fart’s frozen pipes. She has her mother’s skin, clear with dapples around the crest of her nose and tops of her shoulders, and my yellow teeth. We talk to each other (I don’t want to make it sound like we live in silence) but we don’t say much. Except for the storms. Like the prom night. At 2 when I woke to a broken bathroom mirror and her with fists bloody and an eye black: fists from the mirror, I never found out about the eye. But she cried on me that night. Mascara staining shoulders of my shirt a deep violet black. Her tears were torrents and I was there. She told me she hated me and she hated that mother was gone and I was there. She told me she loved me anyway and I was there. At 4 I made Denver omelets and some strong coffee. She skipped volleyball practice and told me jokes.

         —Jenna giving you a ride?




         —It’s cold out.

         —I know it.

         —Susie, I could take you. Lemme get the truck warming.


         She stands at the bottom of the driveway, balling fists inside her gloves because the fingers are too thin.


by Aaron Bauer


Aaron Bauer lives in Colorado and received his MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His work has recently appeared in Prism Review, Spillway, Superstition Review, and many other journals. Also, he has served as Editor for Permafrost and is a Contributing-Editor for PoemoftheWeek.org

Eleven Years

He gets confused sometimes—

gets up, walks a few steps,




looks blankly ahead

     then turns around,

          sits back down




The doctor says it’s dementia;

it’s just the beginning, really.


It’s in his eyes, though:



          He’s not forgotten



I’ve not, either—


    not the way he sat

    with me quietly

    through the years:


my parents’ divorce,


in efforts that could’ve given me

a way out,

          losing my grandmother,

missed opportunities

that might’ve mattered.


He’s been there for all of it—

the last eleven years that settled me

into adulthood.


     He’s graying now;

the black hair he had once

has lightened around his chin

and above his eyes.


          He’s handsome as ever, though,

when he grins,

and that’s what makes it


      his aging.


We’ve been happy

along the way,

                    me and Dylan.



He’s been a good dog.


by Rachel Nix


Rachel Nix is from Northwest Alabama. Despite an irrational fear of frogs, she’s declared herself pretty content with living in the boonies. Her previously published/forthcoming work can be found at Spillway, The Summerset Review, and Bop Dead City.

Till Then Do Us Part

I thought we’d occupy the same space

indefinitely, through the eternities of everydays,

sometimes talking, sometimes merely breathing

in this Eden called Here, until


the sun set behind you and you talked of leaving.

“Good for you,” I say. But I hope you ache

the way I do, the way I have, the way I will.

Oh I’m over-dramatic, it was only a kiss


that one time

when we were drunk.

See I’m a fool

who would think of nothing else, crave nothing less.


Now every bottle I down is a halfway replay.

Always I’ll fall short of a kiss’ intoxication

but somehow float in the haze of a memory

gone stale with repeated remembering


and you’ll leave me dreaming of a kiss

that no more will be returned.



is not the end. It’s only the beginning of missing.


by Kat Madarang


Kat Madarang’s work has been published in the Electronic Monsoon Magazine and the Burningword Literary Journal. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of the Philippines.

Angel of Progress

You brought our freedom as a mirage in their parallax vision.  In that one brick wall shirt that you wore every day.  That spring noontime, in gym class, that we stood at the far end of the parking lot ballfield—you with your middle finger masking-taped to two popsicle sticks, splinted—and you urged me, with each change of batter, to retreat ten feet more from the game. 

We did it for the full 48 minutes, gliding backwards in our ballgame-facing position—behind the chain that marked the schoolyard boundary, onto and beyond the sidewalk, across the street, down the block—slack witnesses reverse-looming further and further away. 

To have watched receding the whole civilization, that credence! Only the bell of the period startled us from it—and you laughed at the top of your lungs, yowled, as I scrambled—we’d never get back in time.  You turned rightway around, that sly loping walk of yours, made of your hands a listing scale of comically foregone decision.  To have watched it all receding, in those Lion’s Club glasses, without blinking.  You were right: we were well out of that now. 

by Nicole Matos                                       


Nicole Matos is a Chicago-based writer, professor, and roller derby girl. Her credits include Salon, The Classical, The Rumpus, THE2NDHAND, Vine Leaves, Chicago Literati, berfrois, Oblong, neutrons protons, and others. You can catch her blogging for Medium, publishing tappable stories on Tapestry, and competing as Nicomatose #D0A with the Chicago Outfit Roller Derby, too.

Kurt C. Schuett

A Response to Charles Bukowski: Yes I’m Drinking Today


booted-up, in the makeshift office/mudroom, my old laptop

out again.

I write from my drinking chair

as I’ve done for the past seventeen years.

will see my psychiatrist,


“yes Doc, the Xanax helps my anxiety.

but it knocks me out,

I mean it really knocks me out.”

“you’re not getting rest,

are you?

I know what you need,

maybe some Ambien.”

more meds,

that’s what has defined my life

at age thirty-nine.

even at work,

it all seems so futile.

like a throwaway plastic knife,

it’s only sharp enough to cut so deep.

janitor often knocks on the door to my classroom,

“you still here boss” he asks?

while rubbing his persistently

arthritic left wrist,

too swollen to even wear

a watch.

I tell him,

“yeah, living the dream brother.”

he gives me a noncommittal nod,

knowing the well-told lie like the crease in his neck.

so here I am

just a middle-aged joker,

an amateur writer at best trying to emulate

trying to copy because I’m too tired to create,

with my cracked-screen laptop.

something is coming

across the floor




oh, it’s just

my can of beer




by Kurt C. Schuett




The Bohemian Waitress


Accent thick,

Traditional Czech dress,

Red and black,

Brown nylons tucked into

White gym shoes.

“Hello, can I take your order?”

We say,

“Becks, apricot stone sour, Becks, Chablis.”

She says, “Okay.”

Grandma says, “Oh, I’ll take an apricot stone sour, too.”

“Better make that two,” Father jokes.

Bread basket,

Rye bread.

But Cousin Becky eats the crackers,


A thirty-two-year-old

Drinking kiddy cocktails because of the


And eating crackers.


Real butter,

Not margarine,

Sitting at room temperature,


“Beef noodle, liver dumpling, or goulash?”


Sitting in cups

Sitting on saucers

Sitting on the circular table,


Uncle Bill says,

“No soup, prune juice please.”

Probably because of the

High blood pressure.

Main course,

Breaded pork tenderloin,


Lamb shank,

Or duck.

Dumplings, mashed, or rice,


More brown gravy,


“I’ll take the cucumber salad.”

“That will be one dollar more.”

“No problem.”



Forks and knives scraping plates

Like forks and knives scraping plates.


Apple strudel,

Apricot kolacky, cheese kolacky, raspberry kolacky,

Pudding or ice cream.

To go boxes,


Until the next birthday,

Or the next funeral.

But the Bohemian waitress,





by Kurt C. Schuett 



Kurt Schuett is an ward-winning writer and educator. Insurgency is Kurt’s debut novel, a speculative work of fiction that encompasses elements of urban suspense, thriller, and horror, and it is set to release during the summer of 2014 through Assent Publishing. In addition, Kurt’s short work of fiction, a southern gothic ghost story titled “Calamity James,” will appear in the Belle Reve Literary Journal on Monday, October 28th, 2013.

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