Mike Gallagher

Herb Robert

The pale-pink spikes of Herb Robert

recede in hedgebank’s galaxy

of buttercup, harebell and phlox

unsucked by butterfly or buzzing bee;

one visitor alone alights

on its unfancied petal- fair

hard to tell if wasp or fly-

its pungent nectar to imbibe.

As in the case of flowers spurned,

insects that seem grotesque,

everyone and everything

is each by nature blessed

with purpose and the gift

of love and being loved;

and for their very difference,

by only fools are scorned.


by Mike Gallagher 


Car Park

Blonde:  Tall

Legs:    Long

Jeans: Blue

Coat:   Brown

Colours: Clash

Beauti: Fully

Long legs

Long strides

This way


Old man

Dream on.


by Mike Gallagher


Mike Gallagher was born on Achill Island, Co. Mayo, Ireland. He lived in Britain for forty years before retiring to Lyrecrompane, Co. Kerry. In Ireland he has been published in The Doghouse Book of Ballad Poems, Irish Haiku Society, Revival, The Stony Thursday Book and Crannog; outside Ireland, his poetry and prose has been published throughout Europe, America, Canada, Japan, India and Australia. He won the Eigse Michael Hartnett viva voce prize in 2010 and is a current nominee for the Hennessy Award. He is the editor of thefirstcut, an online literary journal.

Fishhook Moon

baited fishhook moon

trolls the thin matter of twilight


one eyelid of light

one slit scale on the fin of dawn


dangling like a silk chemise,

across the back of the night’s chair


little sawyer moon,

little snag-edge librating in river’s bed


snares from the current’s umbra                   

a kiss from those luminous lips


a falcated honesty

rising in the aureola of day


like Eos unable to sleep with him

on her mind


by Ann Dernier 

Seven Glimpses of Patti


although she nods, pats my shoulder, and says, “Don’t worry about it, Dear, I know you’ve been busy. I know you have more important concerns on your mind,” I can tell that behind those soft brown, pseudo-sympathetic eyes lurks a maniacal, mindless, slaveringly hideous female beast, already plotting her revenge for me not having noticed her new hair-do.



in the twilight I see her across the grass and the folding chairs and faded blankets talking with some friends, gesticulating, pushing the hair back off her face, and I think how very pretty she is still, and listen intently, like a fox with its ears pricked, for the sounds of her precious voice to reach me in brief, simple, unorganized tones



I always felt I should do something unusual or extreme to win her over, to gain her attention, her look of approval, like serenade her or call out to her from beneath her window like in the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet, climb a ladder, snatch her away, her knight in armor shining like the moon


first kiss

we’re up in the spotlight booth as the lights go dim in the high school auditorium, she seems so happy, yes, she does seem happy, quietly waiting with her eyes closed tight allowing me to steal my first kiss from her there alone in the night



on the steps outside the old gym, early winds of autumn blowing in from across the playing fields, I have to try and tell her, I must tell her, about her unspeakable softness, her shattering beauty, her shining brown eyes, her sweet, feminine scent, but all I can proclaim is, “I love you,” and clasp her precious hands desperately in mine



under an empty moon, I walked the three miles from my house to her house, hid in her back yard, down low in the bushes, waiting, hoping, for a mere glimpse of her sweet, pure, white form moving up in her bedroom window



she’s incredulous as I tell her my terrible dream where she no longer loves me, her eyes staring empty, so empty, into space


by Michael Estabrook  



The Unbearable Heat

It’s the usual scene – family, close friends, and distant relatives are packed into a tiny salon. Their black mourning clothes make them indistinguishable from each other. It’s hot.

The tension is extreme. It breaks when the body is carried in. Now comes the theatrics, the crying, the weeping, even fainting. Breath, sighs, sweat, and tears add to the humidity. It’s unbearable. Seated on the sofa, kneading a soaked, wrinkled handkerchief, I can hardly hide my loathing. I want them to go. I wish they would sweat blood rather than salt water.

Gradually the dark figures leave, taking their moans with them. Only a few of his closest friends remain. Attempting to comfort me, they offer me coffee. I shake my head. With disturbed and quizzical looks, they, too, finally depart, leaving me alone, fulfilling my wish which would have shocked them…had they known.

I have long imagined him like this – transparent, bluish. I see the grimace of rictus on his face. It chills me to my bones. His eyes fly open in a bloodshot flash. I feel hot. In a moment, he’ll be inside me, taking my breath away, leaving me to pant.

by Carmen Simón (translated by Toshiya Kamei)  

William B. Robison

Academic Retreat


bland ennui

podium drones

chittering cadres

splintering styrofoam


blank figures

tedium’s bones


legume enumerators


blunt stylus

medium’s cones

somnolent sputter

dreary enervation


by William B. Robison   



Divine Confection


Once my mother made a big plate of divinity

and I said to my brother, bet you can’t eat just one.

Well, we fell out laughing, thinking about the time when

we bought a bag of chips from the sexy checkout girl

and kept making jokes coming home from the grocery


cracking up and wondering how the Lays lady lays

with a cautious nod to the copyright attorney

and all due apologies to Mister Bob Dylan,

though a man who makes his living from clever wordplay

can hardly complain whenever it crops up elsewhere.


That’s especially true because he dropped his real name

for his birth certificate reads Robert Zimmerman

and I wonder: what if his favorite poet were

Robert Frost instead of the thirsty Dylan Thomas,

unstoppering by a snowy wood when he got dry?


Would he now be Robert Robert, and wouldn’t people

have confused him early on with Robbie Robertson?

Or perhaps to avoid that, he would have a nickname:

not Boss or King or Slowhand, but something evoking

a singer of poetry—maybe Oral Roberts


But, oops, that would be even worse because there is that

pompadoured Oklahoma preacher, once the healer

of arthritic elbows and the occasional plague

of boils afflicting the odd Old Testament martyr

to whom Bildad appeared with a shopping cart laden


with lizards, locusts, and stinging scorpions and said

Take this, Job, and shove it, but the tiny wheels bogged down

in sand, leaving him lamenting to leprous laymen

I’ll bet you this never happened to Jeremiah!

Meanwhile, in the eighties, Dylan found the messiah


But it was floral moral Oral who said he saw 

a hundred foot Jesus saying: raise me more geetus.

Now, I’m no dyspeptic skeptic, but I’ve never seen

Jesus at all, though I feel his presence at Christmas

Still, if his standing height in yards was the same as his


age when he hung on the cross, you could get him to hold

up your TV antenna, and I’ll bet you would get 

immaculate reception. Of course I’d be cautious,

though I’m not sacrilegious, about standing too close

for fear of the lightning . . . but really I’m not worried


If God hurled thunderbolts like mythical Zeus, He might

take a shot at preachers for profit, who fudge truth and

fiddle the books like Nero selling fire insurance

But God lets us make our  mistakes and have some fun, too

Ben Franklin, our frequently foundering father, said


beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us

to be happy, and I would hasten to agree, though

Franklin’s faith was not my own, for he was mere Deist

not a Eucharistic fellow with chips for his brew

and thus never tasted my Mother’s divinity


by William B. Robison 





boney anorexic soul has no breath

no intake at all, its exhalation

is only the gasp of the punctured corpse


stake in the breast of the vampire yielding

a pitiful puff of fetid staleness

even the putrefaction half-hearted


too little essence for a full-fledged stink

skin like the sun-dried membrane of bat’s wings

stretched out thinly over bones so tightly


that a pinprick, unleashing fierce surface

tension, might fling fleshless flaps skittering

o’er skeleton, ripped cello-wrap beating


hasty retreat from desiccated meat

balloon stuff fraying round a vacuum void

vaporless vault of the leathery shrew


no sweat, no tears, no mucus, no moisture

none of the warm wetness of womanhood

blood congealed, condensed, evaporated 


even her venom a fine dry powder

her slithering the sound of sandpaper

scraping crass across a rough surfaced stone


so little like women damp with desire

or kissed with chastity’s milder juices

lachrymal in laughter, languor, or lust


dabbed, licked, lapped up, but never wiped away

unafraid to lactate, expectorate

perspire, no bleached sinews or oil-less hair


breathing visible heat in the chill air

tiny droplets of spirit escaping

ectoplasm distilling its essence


lovers soak up this liquor like sponges

in the meantime, seedless, the arid husk

parches in her non-porous poverty


by William B. Robison 





the woman drinks milk

in a Chinese restaurant

says Derrida is

becoming an ethicist

barely touches her

dish of spicy lobster sauce

crawfish and onions

deconstructed for nothing


by William B. Robison 





At dusk

in the dirt

near the mouth

of the tomb


the wrappings

of Lazarus


in ecstasy


A slight figure


whisks them



in the current

till fingertips

are sanguine

spreads them

on a rock

to dry

in the morning


Later she


her brother’s bowl


the cup Martha


on the table and


up the crumbs


by her visitor


by William B. Robison 





The troubadour has got no horse

so he rides to his gigs on a minstrel cycle

to fortnightly ovations and

all the roast meat he can carry on a dagger


The acrobats hang upside down

tumblers half fool, naked juggler vainglorious

fat clowns send up tight wirewalkers

the ragged trampoline springs a trapeze artist


In the land Budapest controls

at a mineral spa for well-hung Aryans

Dan’s ignoble Lord of Gdansk

shows his steps to ill cons on Lion Tamer Lane


Full tilt a whirling dervish

curves nervously, swerves, observes no perversions but

ecdysiasts in Gaza strip

and Persian rug rats scare Indian elephants


Through the door comes the troubadour

jester in the vesture besmirches the churches

misrule measures its meter but

the inverse poet is averse to reverses


by William B. Robison 


William Robison teaches history at Southeastern Louisiana University; writes about early modern England, including The Tudors in Film and Television with Sue Parrill; is a musician and filmmaker; and has poems accepted by Amethyst Arsenic, amphibi.us, Anemone Sidecar, Apollo’s Lyre, Asinine Poetry, Carcinogenic Poetry, decomP magazinE, Forge, Mayday Magazine, On Spec, and Paddlefish.



Singing in the Shower

The fragrance

of lavender soap envelops me

like the song’s lyrics.


Wherever I travel I carry

songs with me, lost for the moment

in the Appalachian hills


as I walk through a gate

at San Francisco International,


as I walk past the lobby’s guard

and then up the elevator

to a cubicle on the third floor.


All day I walk in and out

of woods carrying the songs

of owls and bluegrass.


They are as close to me as the scent

of lavender in a shower.

“Art is useless,” a co-worker says.

“Give me a bridge, something



Defiant I stride away humming,

waving an air baton.

A 100 piece orchestra

brazenly joins in

as I walk down

to HR.


by Bob Bradshaw


Bob is a huge admirer of the Rolling Stones. Mick may not be gathering moss, but Bob is. He hopes to retire soon to a hammock. Bob’s work has appeared in Stirring, Pedestal, Mississippi Review and many other publications.

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