you are

the spring in my limp
the depth of my shallow breaths
the shattered melancholy
of my being broken

from before I knew you
sweet smoke
my dad loved to hide behind
dark eyes of an early crush
summertime grass warm
against my bare feet
first real kiss

black-veiled mourner
standing alone
beneath gray rain
clenching teeth and fist
dropping muddy earth
into my grave
smearing what’s left
across your face
hiding your crying
downcast eyes

enduring the disappointment


in all that I am not 


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 work has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals such as Naugatuck River Review, Avatar Review, Burningword, Pirene’s Fountain, and Verse Wisconsin.

Benjamin S. Sneyd

[what you’ve done here]


what you’ve done here,

you’ve done in the rain.

bitter, brick building,

the rapture of memories:

old and young men.

you cried on the stairs,

listened in the lobby,

kissed by the narrow back door.

they settle into mildewed

            hardwood floors


walk the grass, oak trees,

soggy mulch in empty flower beds.

what you did there,

you did in the presence

of a thousand leaves.



We Were Nuclear, Darling


I got fixed up at the barb shop, the ink

don’t fade anymore than on paper, a thousand

satin-faced silhouettes I drew on résumé linen,

watermark strapping mouths like duct tape,

our words keep us down like soot always falls to the bottom

of bourbon, unfiltered eight-year brew.


We saved the needle for another day,

ascended onto high stools and hummed unversed jazz in the lamp lit corner.

Eleven beers sent us straight down the bent road,

the alley out back where steam crept under the doors

of a hundred bistro’s kitchens. Somewhere, we got hassled

by lipsticked strangers prying answers in the street—but none to go around, gave

a litany we swapped words to recall, gapping episodic

memories from Catholic childhoods.


I’m just this decade’s lost and lonely boy,

too far from Portland—where The Sex Pistols hang like opiate in fixed-up long-gones

the punk underground of fame where Caruso’s still a legend for

I’m in love with you in love with me.

We were nuclear,

split atoms on the freeway,

burned down towns just out past train tracks,

memories of unfulfilling midnights and unsolved rhythms in Radiohead songs,

how we stepped on one too many cracks in the concrete

and you remarked that all the dirty bums looked like sailors.

Again, we saved the needle for another day, put it in my pocket for some late second,

too late to call the decade a waste of our predictions, on the damp lit street,

the savor of places that are gone, places that I barely remember.


Drunk in the City, Remembering Home


My dad talks too much when he drinks,

and the pain I’ve felt is feeling

like a child, asking a hundred questions.

how can I judge when a man’s

become another man?

I threw him every wrench.


We found our only common ground in the bottle

and motorcycle. We’ve got leather vests

could keep out all the things we feel.

Nothing’s as sweet as feeling nothing


Papaw died two years back

and we still cry

never together

but in the lull

that falls at night,

three in the morning

when I’m drunk

and he’s driving to grab coffee

before work.


We dance,

in some ways, in some lives, we’ve lived

more than most. He’s shrunk four inches

slaving in the plant. I’ve shrunk too,

forgotten the way

a shingle scalds my hands, how

a twelve hour shift burns the ends of cigarettes

down to filters, down to the only life

we’ve got left

by Benjamin S. Sneyd


Ben Sneyd is a writer an assistant editor at The Tusculum Review.


At the Southern Museum of Archaeology, I find

Homo heidelbergensis, the last common ancestor

of man and Neanderthals.


A skull with a sloping forehead, pronounced brow ridges

and no jawbone, a skull that, coupled with a heart,

once contained techniques of ecstasy,

esoteric knowledge of joy, gained,


perhaps, near a gentle soughing stream or

at dawn, sunset, night under the stars or

after a successful hunt or

at his joining with his woman or

at the birth of his children or

at the death of an enemy—


I am much more simple, now.


Tonight, the android Gypsy woman in the glass booth

will awkwardly lay out my cards and discern my future through plastic eyes

and with a resolute smile egest  a slip of printed paper 

telling me generic-happy-specifics.


I really cannot ever make myself believe

a common augury. Chinese fortune cookies

do not change my life though I have tried.

Benny, a homeless street prophet at 5 Points, tells me

every time he sees me “You are bound for greater things.”

Elijah, my fundamental Christian neighbor, constantly warns me about

a hell that “invades the land of the living and takes prisoners.”


The cards will yield no ready clues.

They must be interpreted by an adept,

a possessor of occult knowledge

concerning past and future.


Heidelbergensis is the first species of the Homo genus

to bury its dead.


I am a middle way Catholic.

I like historical criticism too much, or

I want to like it. In the Church galaxy, hell is a “mystery”

beyond my ability to understand, to understand

the rightness of it, the justness of it

and how God can yet be love.


I believe in geologic time, carbon dating, archaeology.

Homo heidelbergensis could probably ferment a beverage.

He knew about certain mood-altering roots and herbs and flowers.

Did his people suffer from addiction? They had no package stores, no bars,

no coffee shops, no rave clubs.


In Nazi Germany, alcoholics and addicts

were deemed to be “life unworthy of life.”

They were sterilized during America’s early 20th Century eugenics purge.

Now the health insurance companies and hospitals say

it is a disease, a heritable disease

expressing itself on the level of genes.

Chemical dependency is a malady, an unfortunate state

which comes upon us. Like diabetes.


Recovery nets billions of dollars per year in America.

The illegal drug business nets 350 billion dollars per year,

worldwide. And so on. (Alestair Crowley called himself “the Beast 666.”

He died a heroin addict. Did he also require heroin in the afterlife?

Did he need to detox there?)


The next right thing.

I would readily see the lesser secrets.

I would readily see the greater secrets.

I still need help to do this,

to look for the defining arcana

in a random array of circumstances. And

I will learn to interpret the circumstances.


by Bryan Merck


Bryan Merck has published in America, Blast Furnace, Camel Saloon, Conclave, Emerge Literary Journal, Hiram Poetry Review, Literary Juice, The Rusty Nail, Stoneboat and others. He is a past winner of the Southern Literary Festival Poetry Prize and the Barkesdale-Maynard Poetry Prize. He lives in Moultrie, Georgia with his wife Janice.

Flailing Empty Capillaries

You were there from birth,

passed down from father to son,

waltzing through my veins. My muse.

We embraced, perfectly on pitch,

a song, and then I found


and I left you.


I see you

tattooed on my wrists. Thick

black lines, a G

and an F.

My former muse, permanent

over my veins,

under my skin,

a perpetual reminder.


I stare at you, remembering.

Wanting still

to create with you. After all,

you are in still in my blood,

but you’ve left my heart.
Empty capillaries flail

like strings waiting to be plucked,

longing to resonate,  

but I’ve forgotten the tune. 


by Justin W. Price


Justin W. Price is the managing editor at efiction Horror and for The Bridge online newspaper. His first book of poetry, Digging to China, is available for Amazon Kindle. He has been published in the Hellroaring Review, The Bellwether Review, The Rusty Nail, the Crisis Chronicles, eFiction Humor and eFiction Magazine. He maintains a blog (http://pdxjpricefirstblog.blogspot.com) and is an active writer on Hub Pages (http://pdxkaraokeguy.hubpages.com)

It’s Fucking Winter in New York City

It’s cigarettes and coffee

between worries and words.

I could be talking to you

instead of myself,

but you’re allergic to smoke

and I can’t step outside

every 10 minutes.

It’s winter in New York City.


I won’t make any sacrifices.

I’ve come far enough in life

to know when to give in

and I won’t give in to you.

I don’t have to.

The thing inside of me

that can radiate for miles

will bestow its warmth

only on the hands of those

who know how to touch it.


And it shifts.

It twists and turns and

sits angrily deep within me.

It rages against the lampshade

I’ve been living under

since I came back home.

It curses the shade’s weight

and girth, and then

it shakes.

And the only thing I can do to still it

is find a worthy pair of hands,

or bathe in the sun.


But it’s fucking winter in New York City.


So it’s cigarettes and coffee, then,

and conversations with myself.


by Tonianne Druckman



Geometry of motion: the pinpricks of stars behind
moving clouds reforming into instants of fungus.
World’s tallest building in the revolving foreground.



Player piano script unrolled on the green park bench
near boulevard Magenta. Strawberries for sale in the market,
three coins a pound. The butcher is disassembling a leg of lamb:
his left hand is a hook. Still lifes of meat in the window.



“. . . in the grotto of Our Lady of the Cripples, a girl
placed a plastic rosary around a statue’s wrist
that melted in the hot light of the votives. Her prayers–
balls of burnt wax at the figures’ unclothed feet.”




Maps to everywhere lead to nowhere where there’s
the always of never, never again. Cave housed
with bats unfolding like tricky scissors, or airs of night time.



Stamps on a letter canceled by mascara.




Black and white of a photograph of the canal
and the train station behind. The engine house switching
round like the handless arms on a watch.



On the inside cover of a matchbook there’s
an advertisement for a new set of teeth;
dentures sent through the mail, echo of Van Gogh.



Woman at a loom weaving a canvass of henbane. The spool
turns and flax is taken up onto wooden beams. The thread
passes between her lips– dragon flies land ringleting the pond.



Stitchwork of concentric circles left by the skipping stone . . .



by Philip Kobylarz


Philip’s recent work appears or will appear in Connecticut Review, Basalt, Santa Fe Literary Review, New American Writing, Poetry Salzburg Review and has appeared in Best American Poetry. His book, Rues, was recently published by Blue Light Press of San Francisco.

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