John McKernan

The Beam Of Blue Light


Will devour

The yellow glow


To create

A zone of

Green light



The stars

Which always

Say  Here I am


Until they bounce

Off the Earth  

With quark-size


Of you and your shadow


You did not know it

But there you are

In the universe

Riding some beams

Of light from Earth

Next to a moth & some rust


By John McKernan



Things Live Inside My House





And move at night

With the silence

Of a spider web


I want to hear

The mouse trap snap

And not listen to the color yellow

In a thimble full of cheese


The fish in the tank

Are swimming too quietly

I want them to wake me up

Crunching the skull

Of a drowned fly or a cockroach


By John McKernan



Under The Stone Moon



Multiply In West Virginia


On the dark side

Of this black walnut

Leafless in March’s iced lilac midnight


Miles beneath  my feet

Sleek new Japanese  half -track  Cats

Chew a new seam of old forest

High-sulfur New jersey  power-grid light


The fossilized eyes

Of extinct birds & flying fish

Embedded in chunks of coal

Roll their  stone retinas

Into the floodlights of Wolf Pen tipple


By John McKernan



John McKernan – who grew up in Omaha Nebraska in the middle of the USA– is now a retired comma herder after teaching 41 years at Marshall University. He lives – mostly – in West Virginia where he edits ABZ Press.  His most recent book is a selected poems Resurrection of the Dust.  He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Journal, Antioch Review, Guernica, Field and many other magazines.



Goodbye sound of sliding screen door, and the look of your skin under those lights, dainty and dangling overhead, blues fading green and soon, or at least I thought, soon—you’d come waltzing out to that song we always play, always sing, always saying remember this one, and take from me the last I have to give.

Goodbye sweat-born ache, small apartment smelling of iridescence, and goodbye hand on my chest, slap across my face, kiss on the lips when I ask for one on the cheek.

Goodbye, goodbye, like a hymn, something slipped from the side of my mouth as I’m pretending not to watch you change. Nothing explicit, no nudity or pale revealing under shaky lamps. No, I’m often with my fingers before my eyes, you’re half spread just beyond me, like we’re dancing two separate edges of the night.

Go on now, pull closed the window, check the locks tight, until morning there’s only cool reflections across the pavement; go on now, good night, ease under your sheets, keeping time like a train station, and soon there’s only secrets left floating, a journey out of sync, I hear you whispering one step ahead of me,

Soon you’ll be calling to ask where are you now? Soon there’ll be nothing to explain, to mumble; nothing to slip beneath the cracked door.

Goodbye back stairs, natural curve as we pressed our mistakes together; goodbye look in your eye, sting of poison, shaved ice and two fingers vodka in a rocks glass.

Goodbye, soft call into the empty night;

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye—

by Douglas Sullivan

Douglas has returned to the West, after years exploring the South and Northeast coasts. Besides a Bachelor’s degree in English, his experiences range from managing a boutique coffee shop to fitness video production. He prefers not to be in one state for too long, and maintains a keen respect for accuracy of statement. He has recent fiction publications in: Crime Factory Magazine, Sleet Magazine, and with Vagabondage Press.

Keith Moul

A Heart After Childhood


Grainy snaps show her circled by smiles,

sons and local spirits, with ample hoist

through the hot effulgence of summer light.


Photos did no justice to her knotted neurons.


She quit childhood too early with a heart

like an empty sack.  A girl, she abjured thought

of her future, as short on time as expected.


A photo cache weighted forgotten albums.


Marriage scarred her edges: her dissonance,

her children entertained her.  So often weather

lilted curls, muted voice, or silenced evening wings.


History in song and pictures passed around her.


After barren years, she saw better how

things should have gone, but she did not act:

new generations grew smiles amid the old.


All around her bore the pall of somber fate.


She sulked.  She raised intolerance in status.

She bored her friends, off center of respect.

At last, she lined her walls with mollusk shells


sent her to excite the hollow breath of song

and sat alone until her body in disuse ached.

She wanted much more, but pretended less.


Until she dies, this account is unauthorized.


by Keith Moul  



Painted Face


Like a planet in a cold orbit, rarely

did he need the sun.  Stay on course,

rotate at an awful pace, shed your ice


into the unlived silence of black space.

He fished catfish to see them dangle

helpless on a line.  Waste their fish souls,


eat them panfried, wash them down with beer.

At private moments, with his lover in his arms,

he dreamed punishments for enemies.


Pile them on a heap, take your spoils,

mark your face with battle blood you won.

Passing within a whisper of home he did not hear.


Coming into old territory, he did not veer.

Leaving his mark on bushes, he felt gods in stars.

Steal children in pairs, in ritual gag them, then watch.


by Keith Moul 



Rebellion Takes Up Conspiracy With Mankind


Howard Thomas had grown engagingly human.

He nurtured Harry S. Truman, his heretical cat.

Howard, who had many, often invited

friends to visit him for bracing conversation

about what it meant to be engagingly human.


Howard provoked his friends to act feline;

occasionally, his friends engaged with claws.

More than ten feline friends are hard to herd.

But Howard rationalized that his humanity

could resist even the bloodshed of rebellion,

that as long as his friends stayed in his parlor

and did not spread their cat insurrection outside

the rest of Mankind would embrace their differences.


Harry S. knew better.  Harry S. would have preferred

that his instincts led the cat skirmish, from atop a cabinet,

a favorite place.  Harry S.Truman got exact terms

he wanted when human rebellion

took up conspiracy with Mankind.


Afterwards, Howard came to believe

that humanity will not be engaged

nor be well served by soothing purrs.


As a hermit, Howard expanded

the biography of notable cats.

Harry S sought other comforts.


by Keith Moul 


Keith’s poems have been published widely for almost 45 years. Recently two chaps have been released: The Grammar of Mind (2010) from Blue & Yellow Dog Press and Beautiful Agitation (2012) from Red Ochre Press. He also publishes photos widely. In fact, in 2010 a poem written to accompany one of his photographs was a Pushcart nominee.

december figurines

so arctic
they stand
Matryoshka dolls
for tiny words
of hope
in each other’s

but then
the breeze
blowing red
into their
creases around
their eyes

it feels
so cold
they can’t
each other’s

by Andy Kubai


Andy Kubai is a writer and dreamer living in Austin, Texas. He is pursuing a BA in Creative Writing from St. Edward’s University, and a well-examined life. His fiction and poetry have been featured in the Yahara Journal and Inkstains and Heartbeats (as lifeencoded). He is working on a collection of loosely connected flash fiction.

William L. Alton

An Old Man’s Day

Now is not the time for love. She’s only been gone a year. I wear black to mark her death. I visit her grave every week. I cannot bring a woman into this.

She brings me coffee at the café and offers me breakfast, though I never eat. I drink my coffee and read the paper, looking for my wife’s face in the pictures. It’s never there, but I have to look.

I walk through town now and watch the cars on the street. All it would take is a simple mis-step and I’d be done. I’d go to my wife at last and we would be happy.

It’s time to move on, my therapist says. You need to find someone new. But I’m not ready. My apartment is full of her photos. I can’t take them down. They keep me safe.

On the bus, a woman sits next to me. She asks where I’m going. Home, I say. She nods. Me too. We sit silently for awhile before she asks my name. Isaac, I say. She is Miranda.

The sun has fallen now. Streetlamps are hazy in the fog. I walk the last couple of blocks to my apartment and pour myself a glass of wine. I sit and stare at my wife’s face on the wall.

Miss you, I say. I want you back. The silence is heavy here. The apartment grows dim with the night air. I finish my wine and go to bed. At least in my dreams I’m never alone.


She is an ordinary woman. She works a job and comes home to her ordinary home and makes an ordinary meal. Her son is late from practice at the pool and she waits for him while washing dishes. He comes home and they talk about ordinary courtesy. They do not yell or fight, but they talk of ordinary things.

When we were in love, she did all of the ordinary things and I watched her working all of the ordinary hours of the day. At night, we went to bed and had ordinary sex, but it was an obligation. We were married. This was what married people did.

Now we are not a couple anymore. We do not talk or touch. We see each other at our son’s meets and games, but we stay away from each other as best we can. It’s awkward as a broken stool. We balance on the legs left to us and do the best we can. This is an ordinary divorce, only without the ordinary fights.

An ordinary night falls and she goes to her bed and lies there thinking ordinary thoughts. I miss her. It’s that simple, but she has no time for me. Our ordinary lives have gone separate ways and we have nothing left, but ordinary loneliness.

by William L. Alton

William L. Alton was born November 5, 1969 and started writing in the Eighties while incarcerated in a psychiatric prison. Since then his work has appeared in Main Channel Voices, World Audience and Breadcrumb Scabs among others. In 2010, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has published one book titled Heroes of Silence. He earned his both BA and MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon where he continues to live.


The storm brought the ocean into our home.

Even after the worst of the blowing was over, mother’s body couldn’t survive in the cold and the wet for long. I could only wrap her in a quilt, put her to bed, and wait.

The rainfall had become gentle, and the thunder sounded like a back cracking as I stood over her, knee-deep in seawater, watching her breath slow.

Tiny fish swam between my toes. I remained motionless, my skin puckering as I watched her breath slow, then slow, then stop.

When she died, there was a flicker of lightning, and her soul went into this mouse.

She stays dry by hiding in the ceiling and lives on the cracker crumbs I leave for her on a rafter.

I’ve started a shoebox apartment for her, for when the water goes down. I have a folded sock, which will eventually dry, for a bed, and a threadspool for a table.

Her body, I’ve kept just as she left it – in case she gets homesick.

The rain is now a mist. I sit in a saturated armchair and play solitaire on her quilt by candlelight, waiting for the water to go down, as teeny, tiny fish swim between my toes.


by M. N. Hanson

Listed at Duotrope
Listed with Poets & Writers
CLMP Member
List with Art Deadline
Follow us on MagCloud