Hilary Hares /3 poems/

At the Brass Rail (in conversation with Henry’s better half)

after John Berryman

Why Henry, Mr Bones?
…………. – You? Always but here you are.
Grease paint, the scent.  Lip whitened,
gloves, that mask.  You ask, why Henry?
Because, strolls the world Henry, the lyre;
at his throat, ballads.

At doors, knocks and is let in … “Come in,
dear Bones.  A little pasta?  Al dente done?”
And whores for all the world, does Henry.
Journeys to Palestine; me, at home, left.
Why Henry, then?
………….– Henry, because … & peeping out, his little eyes,
at storm his mind & flailing.  Because, all of them,

up he counts up, is missing no-one, to God speaks.
Me, puts into drink, safe, the door shut.  Watches
him load the gun (smirks) again counts.  Here all.
Why Henry, John?
………….– Well, here’s the thing,
it sat down, once, on Henry’s heart.


Home III

When it broke
it broke like an egg

which goes straight from fridge to pan,
the fat already alive.

Tap, like an egg on a rim, like a knuckle
on a door, like shell against steel.

Time synches itself through the waist
of the glass …

a man walks in, doesn’t wash his hands.
Sit, she says.


if they ask

I’ll say: feed the birds, become a poet, live alone.
I doubt they will.  They think I’m keeping busy,
making the best of it, glad they weren’t dealt
clubs instead of diamonds.  They think
you’ve been dead for twenty years.



Jim Bennett /this doesn’t mean anything/

this doesn’t mean anything

I hate strange poems
especially those that pretend
they dont mean anything

In summer she made snowpeople
I had to save the cardboard tubes
from toilet rolls  

she saved the cotton wool
from inside the neck
of the aspirin bottles

someone wrote a strange poem
about her    I refused to read it
it didn’t mean anything

after she died   and it took a while
that winter she was cremated
I built a snowperson in the field

spread her ashes around it
waited a month for it to melt
that didn’t mean anything either



Chris LaMay-West /Thoughts on Viewing the Façade of a Vietnamese Restaurant, Post & Larkin/

Thoughts on Viewing the Façade of a Vietnamese Restaurant, Post & Larkin


Every day and every day
we are confronted
with vast shadowy apparitions

Plane in flight
painted on the side
of a Vietnamese restaurant

Car parked in front,
its rusted blue roof
caved in

Legs of a furtive dream spider
spread on the wall
in the alley

And with us upon whom
the fulfillment of the ages
has come

lies the duty
the pressing, imminent need
to decipher

the Talmud of the mundane





Chris LaMay-West believes in the power of rock music, Beat poetry, and the sanctity of Star Trek. He has appeared in Kitchen Sink and Morbid Curiosity, in various online venues including the Rumpus and Opium, and in the Mortified reading series. A California native, Chris recently expatriated to Vermont, where he writes, works for a college, serves as the poetry editor for Mud Season Review, and lives with his lovely bride, two cats, a dog, and several chickens. His literary exploits can be followed at: https://chrislamaywest.com/

Nick Allen /2 poems/

dawn haemorrhaged

as if some great artery
had been severed
emergent day prov d itself
b yond staunch ng

dawn haemorrhaged
and what remain d
of n ght faded
to fever d   membrance
of cosmonauts

dawn h emorrhaged
some dire morning
un sutr able
twisted and it ble d
landlay cramp ng

dawn haemorrhag d
what come wh t
come now
l ttle but fear rid s
before us

dawn haemo rhaged
there are no angels
nev r have
been   we re on our
own at last

d awn h emo rhag d

I lay my only skel eton
down to r st
nd sang let us make mus ic
of th s death

the great circle of life

already lost   I was drunk
already drunk   I was lost

Grace Black /Senseless Routine/

Senseless Routine

I hold my mouth
with each swipe
of blackest-black.
Mascara that makes me feel
like more of a woman
is just as useless
as my open mouth—
but I employ both at any rate.

…………swipe, swipe

Does she breathe
while you hold your breath?
I hold mine because
my mirror fogs if I forget.

…………blink, blink

Do you smell the city
in her hair,
like Autumn
you found in mine?

…………swipe, swipe

Her mouth’s much larger
and I wonder,
do you watch her
apply the ink
to her lashes
and whisper your words,
the same that caused
my blackest-black
to bleed midnight
down my face?

…………swipe . . . blink . . . swallow . . . breathe

Memories that make me feel
like less of a woman
are just as useless
as this war paint—
but I employ both at any rate.



Grace Black bathes in brevity. She writes poetry and flash fiction and prefers them both like her coffee—dark. When not writing, she edits Ink In Thirds magazine. Find her on Twitter @graceblackink

Eric Fisher Stone /Ulrikke/


On my fourth birthday I got a balloon
so red she could not have come from this world.
Leashing her through a field, I thought there might
be redheads whose hair burned like the balloon
so I named her Ulrikke and we scurried
in love through pastures shivering violets
and we danced between the heron and the owl
singing grasshoppers from slender grass,
kissing her face I could never see
behind the cayenne vines of her hair.
I proposed and she crooned Yes I will Yes
and I taped her drifting head in napkins
for a wedding dress and we got married
beneath a live oak older than America
before I kissed the bride and lost my grip
and she floated off and died and I died.

My mother tried to give me another balloon
to end my tears but I just wanted Ulrikke.
She entered the naked blue firmament
swirling with the south wind above all birds,
maybe falling towards a jade forest
where she lived with deer and rabbits
who, like Artemis, never saw a man
and with white napkins for wings gone again
until a poor child in Rio found her
weeping for me in sewer pipes with rats
bloated from scraps near black mobs of beetles
and the child let her fly beyond the slums
drowning in the Atlantic a mile
down and now I hear her sweet blue moans:

Remember my hair, my flaming hair.

I swim through your dreams
from anemone labyrinths.
Hell is separation from you
where you cannot find me when my helium
sings like a whale in abyss.

My rubber lips still taste your mouth
that no doubt has covered others’ sailing breaths.

Another field swells, a foam shore
lugs me each full moon
where you shall dissolve when our blood
filters through the deep’s primordial water.

Oceans echo shells forever by porpoise choruses
when we enter a lobster-prancing darkness
adorned with starfish and a billion pearls
born in pallid nacre,
the ballooning, whelk-jangled sea.


About Eric Fisher Stone
My name is Eric Fisher Stone, and I live in Ames, Iowa, USA where I am a graduate student at Iowa State University’s MFA in Writing and Environment program. My poetry has appeared previously in Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry, Jersey Devil Press, The LyricYellow Chair ReviewThe Hopper, Eunoia ReviewTurtle Island Quarterly among others.