Dan Jacoby



young dog

standing in the blocks

four blue bills working

in against a cigar smoke call

once more around

try to take them

tree high shots

tipped one and feathers

out of another

but the steel shot

fails me

they are gone

like mad buddists

westing to the timber

only the grey spent husks

to show for


normal heart


day has a playlist

heartfelt grooves

breaks creative logjams

emphasizes flaws

errors honored

as hidden intentions

sing into the sadness

canons for life

makes a tasty soul


write a catchy tune

about a nerve induced asthma attack

don’t miss a beat

wage a heavy peace as

going around corners is scary

see it with new eyes

get into woodworking

follow hockey in church basements

crush the capsule


life is a godzilla disaster movie

success beat you down

tough to imagine

ever being young

an original american horror story

billionaires in birkenstocks

johnny cash not being played

on country radio

teenage jesus jerks in cowboy hats


creative people don’t always turn out

to be interesting

like chance meetings in london tube

someone called amy

conversation like watching sausage

and politics being made

world just gets tinier

it used to be a stage

a private confessional


by Dan Jacoby


Dan Jacoby is a graduate of St. Louis University. He has published poetry in Belle Rev Review, Black Heart Press, Canary, Chicago Literati, Clockwise Cat, Indiana Voice Journal, Haunted Waters Press, Deep South Magazine, Lines and Stars, Red Booth Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Steel Toe Review, Red Fez and the Vehicle. He has work soon to be published in Bombay Gin, Dead Flowers, Floyd County Moonshine, Maudlin House, R.KV.R.Y., and theTishman Review.. He is a member of the American Academy of Poets.

Baking in My Sleeping Bag

You’re on the other


being abstract, acting



I have a stack of

thoughts in front of me,

unfinished; have poems to

write, poems I

should be writing; instead


I’m writing this; an


alarm goes off, it’s mine


Saturday morning, you’re

laying around somewhere,

Cootie Williams is blowing

Gator Tail; I shut the blinds


and the world outside

goes on and on and about

and out without me,


this poem is running, jazz is

dead, so are all those jazz

men playing, dead, but time doesn’t

make sense anyway; it’s

just going in circles, stealing

what it can,


which is everything,


we aren’t friends; I can’t see the



I’m hiding from the sun.


by Thomas Pescatore


Tom Pescatore grew up outside Philadelphia dreaming of the endless road ahead, carrying the idea of the fabled West in his heart. His work has been published in literary magazines both nationally and internationally but he’d rather have them carved on the Walt Whitman bridge or on the sidewalks of Philadelphia’s old Skid Row.


The time until you die

grips the top of my hand


grates my fingers against

puckered metal


collects skin and bone



into a soft pile

on the good China.


by Jane Juran


Ashlie Allen

Like lace


Itsuki always dances behind cob webs

There, he can manifest several shapes

and pick which one he likes


Sometimes I help him move,

for he has no control over his particles

He is like lace,

weightless and transparent


Sometimes I worry I will injure him

if I want to kiss his cheek bone

or cradle his hands


If he would beg for my love,

I might be happy

If he would look at me and blush,

I might feel gorgeous


Today when he performs,

I tilt against the fireplace mantel,

hands gripping my elbows,

eyes exhausted with longing


I wish I could be a ghost

and be afraid of myself

for a good reason



Mournful  moments


I imagined myself dancing,

arms out to cuddle lonely spirits,

eyes closed to feel powerless


I imagined someone told me I was handsome

and didn’t need to smile

I imagined I was in Japan,

the place my embryo developed


I imagined there was romance to my suffering

and that the pulse in my chest was a hand begging for me

I imagined the lights were off

and that my shadow was someone I liked


I imagined the room was full of demonic voices

and that I was not afraid of anything

I imagined I was dying and that my funeral

would be  beneath the ocean


I imagined I was titling into glass

and cracking my bones

I opened my eyes and saw a skinny silhouette standing

ahead of me, arms tied behind the back


I made not a sound as the figure came forward

and kissed my throat

“Stop picturing mournful moments.” a feminine voice hissed

“It is shattering my organs to see you so sad.”


I remember hearing myself laugh

Then I was unconscious, floating through lavender mist

and tiny insects


by Ashlie Allen


Ashlie Allen writes fiction and poetry. She is also a photographer. Her work has appeared in Literally Stories, The Gloom Cupboard, The Birds We Piled Loosely and others. She wants to visit Japan one day.



the necessary conditions

to create or perceive a Bonsai)





In Santa Monica, on a crowded Promenade

I stare at the tiny tree on the tilted cart

At the silent, knuckle-thick trunk

That angles impossibly down.

Bristlecone Pine. Cascading.

Dwarfed by pruning, training.


I have been told:


To see a Bonsai

Forget that branches have been wire-coaxed

That pea-sized lead has hung for years

Forget trimmed roots

Forget conifer tips

Plucked between ball of thumb and finger.


Forget the salesgirl who smokes a French cigarette

To spite her worn-out boyfriend.

He waits on the stool, my perfect mirror,

Staring into the crowd of unfamiliar faces.


His arms reach back.


Forget my mother in her bath, closing the door.

You’re too old now, she says with an awkward smile.




The hand of measured fingers

that hush the baby’s mouth –

small, noisy o.


Or her ping-pong fists, pounding at my chest.




To see a Bonsai, shrink into

Its crafted grace, five-needled fascicles

Branches suspended as if draped over a ravine

As if you draped over that ravine.

Everything must go, they say.




The blue-gray light of television

Muted voices, costumes of the past

A family of three, watching wistfully.


On the other hand:


Here’s my father at my own boy’s arm:

Trying to wrest a towel my boy will not surrender.

I forgot those fingers.

How the unknown assaulted him by existing.

How much vengeance he hoped to extract.


At night, when no one was watching,

He grew very small.


Cut tongue. Stumped root. Chest of tools.


I watch him at the plumbing

Twisting against the unyielding world.


My own arms reach back

To the dinner where we talk about manners

But not the oak tree that fell in the storm

Exposing our academic life to the neighbors.


Faces screwed up from the inside.


Show of a smile

imitation of a perfect




To see a Bonsai, the Masters advise:

Don’t shake the tree loose of its crumpled form —

Shake the idea of the crumpled form loose from the tree.


As in:


My mother’s shroud draped across my face.

As if I agreed to pack

What we could’ve torched on any summer night.


I drive past my parents as they walk

Arm in arm. I call, but they do not

recognize my voice.

In the mirror, I watch them recede, vexed.


This is any summer night.

This is the overgrown pool, teeming with croaking frogs.

There is the real moon, deemed untouchable.


Like a cracked, windswept pine

at night on the cliffs

old, awake, alone—


There must be an original tree.




If only the Bonsai remains

Who then is watching?


Or a handful of pale water

content to be held

 content to flow.


Come, moon, patient and familiar

no longer cluttered with history.


My mother and father

One hand for each—


We’ll sing the old, rustling mantra:

Evergreen, evergreen, evergreen.


Here’s a quiet walk. Here’s a trackless forest.

Here’s a shakuhachi flute, unattended.


by Roger Soffer



Roger Soffer has written, and sometimes produced, miniseries and feature films for networks and studios, and is currently doing three bilingual animated features for China. His poetry has been Pushcart Prize-nominated and is featured or forthcoming in many journals, including Pennsylvania English, Spillway, Jet Fuel Review, and Euphony.

3, 2, 1…

Let it burn

until all that is left

is a black crisp

of dehydrated exoskeleton jerky.

What do I care?

I did not create this place.

I did not ask to play this game.

I did not stuff the coal shafts.

I did not dig the oil wells.

I did not clamor for the goldmines.

I did not manifest destiny

across the desert

with a mind obsessed

on material diversions of the flesh.

Let it burn

until the stars in the sky

have nothing left

to shine down upon.

Let it burn

until the sun extinguishes

from its own

existential exhaustion.

What do I care?

I didn’t build the Model-T.

I didn’t pave the asphalt road.

I didn’t plan the concrete jungle.

I didn’t send the ships

across the sea

with hopes of New Atlantis

in the distance.

Let it burn

until Sherman’s fire

pales like a glow light in comparison.

Let it burn

until the Apocalypse

rises up in molten magma

through volcanic outburst tantrums.

What do I care?

I didn’t write the Holy Verses.

I wasn’t the one

inspired by God

to lie false prophecies

into the hearts and minds of Man.

I didn’t slaughter the natives.

I didn’t enslave other races.

I didn’t stomp on Pagan grounds.

I didn’t erect churches

atop conquered lands.

I didn’t start the wars.

I don’t need to finish the job

that other animals began.

Let it burn

until the flag is stripped

of blue and white stars and stripes

and all that remains is red.

Let it burn

as a beacon

atop the flaming hill

as a lesson about the fall.

What do I care?

I didn’t taste the forbidden fruit.

I didn’t kiss the serpent.

I didn’t fuck the liar.

I didn’t drink the venom.

I didn’t suck the poison.

I didn’t breed the cancer.

I didn’t dig the shallow grave.

Let it burn

until the bones are ash

and the marrow evaporates

into a chemical combustion revelation.

Let it burn.

Let it cry.

Let it whine.

Let it bitch.

Let it moan.

What do I care?

I didn’t promise it

a single damn thing.

I didn’t ask it to love me.

I didn’t need it to want me.

I didn’t beg it to birth me.

I didn’t buy the ticket.

I didn’t sign up for the ride.

Let it burn

until the plastic faces

are melted

on the Sunset Strip

and the haughty egos

catch flame on Boardwalk.

Let it burn

from the outside in

so the rotten core

is the last space to smolder into oblivion.

What do I care?

I didn’t come here to save the world.

I didn’t offer a quick fix resolution.

Let it burn.

The Phoenix is waiting in the wings.


by Scott Outlar


Scott Thomas Outlar survived the chaos of both the fire and the flood…barely. Now he spends the hours flowing and fluxing with the tide of the Tao River while laughing at and/or weeping over life’s existential nature. His words have appeared recently in venues such as Dissident Voice, Yellow Chair Review, Calliope Magazine, The First Line, and Harbinger Asylum.

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