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Charles Rammelkamp

  Doped with Religion, Sex and TV “ Working class hero, my foot,” Darleen spat. “Pampered British rock star’s more like it. He don’t know nothin’ about no working class,” she sneered, “and that Jap witch he married. She’s probly the one who put them ideas in his head.” Darleen and I worked on the assembly line at the Capitol Records plant, putting fresh-pressed LPs into sleeves, the packaged albums into cardboard boxes, the boxes onto pallets for the forklift guy to take them away to the loading dock. “I used to like some of them early songs. ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ but you can have this stuff. Working class hero! Who does he think he’s kidding?” I stuffed my impulse to defend Lennon, point out his poverty in postwar Liverpool, the broken family, the absent sailor father; mainly offended by Doreen’s naked racism, pitying her for the misogyny she’d absorbed from generations of farmers on the prairie. I was a college student, workin
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Daniel Edward Moore

John 1:1 In the beginning was the word and the word was tired, but even half-conscious I was seduced by the slurred speech of the holy. Oh, Christ the carbohydrate chased by twelve shots of whiskey, take me to thy church. Be gone from my lips, oh, demon expresso, oh, CPAP hose making love with my airway to keep my oxygen happy. If the word becomes flesh, something I can kiss, with a glassblower’s flaming tongue, summon me quick, so the dead in me may rise from the heart’s silent ruins. Daniel Edward Moore lives in Washington on Whidbey Island. His poems have appeared in Phoebe, Southern Humanities Review and others. His work is forthcoming in Action Spectacle Magazine, The Meadow Journal, The Chiron Review and Delta Poetry Review. His book, “Waxing the Dents,” from Brick Road Poetry Press.

Paul Ilechko

 Inheritance A lack of paperwork an emptiness of filing cabinets  a distinct lack of manila envelopes   he was born unwanted  learning at a pre-verbal age  to tolerate the hot-potato shuffle  his budget plywood crib cheaply painted with angry rabbits following him from house to house  the aunt with oversized teeth  would peer for a time  from above a severe absence of chin  and the very next day  the hairless uncle who lacked even eyebrows  would fail to appear surprised  he didn’t care much where he went as long as he was fed  his taste in adults supremely inclusive  but at some point in time  the ball had to finally stop rolling  and life then settled into an equilibrium but everything now is upside down again all interested parties reappearing  as lawsuits drag anxiously on an inheritance contested  the entire clan eagerly awaits to see how poor or rich he might be and every last one of them is prouder than they ever were before to be recognized as his kith and kin. Paul Ilechko is

Mike James

 The River’s Architecture for Louis McKee, d. 11/21/11 The river has a shape you follow with your whole body: shoulder, footstep, and ear- those who know how to listen hear how river wind is like breath, alive in lung and line. Mike James makes his home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He has published in hundreds of magazines, large and small, and has performed his poetry at universities and other venues throughout the country. He has published over 20 collections and has served as visiting writer at the University of Maine, Fort Kent. His recent new and selected poems, Portable Light: Poems 1991-2021, was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His last collection, Back Alley Saints at the Tiki Bar, was published in April by Redhawk. He currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Murfreesboro, TN.

Agnes Vojta

Tattoo She stands like a statue, arm raised, her wrist rests on top of her head as the artist draws with black marker on her naked body. The tree with the dragon will cover her side from breast to hip. A friendly dragon, she had insisted when they looked through the sketches. The needles of the tattoo gun etch art into her flank. She bites her lip. Closes her eyes, thinks it will be beautiful. Heart felt I put the laundry in the dryer and remember the day we strolled through the town after lunch, not ready to say goodbye. The years of absence had fallen away like dust in a breeze. Confidences came easy. We wandered into a store that sold soaps and wooden brushes. A glass jar with felted dryer balls stood on the windowsill. I told you how the dogs had claimed my old one as a toy. You picked a ball with a rainbow heart and bought it for me. I watched your car disappear down the road. We forgot to take a picture. But I smile and think of y

John Tustin

Peppermint I was walking the frozen food aisle and I saw her in front of me, Loading up her cart with frozen dinners. She was just the right height and not a tattoo in sight. Dressed in a thin jacket, blue jeans and sneakers, She turned and looked at me as I stood there And she gave me a smile before going back to her business. Her eyes were something else, as grandma used to say. I imagined she was forty years old, probably had two kids in high school or college And she divorced her husband because he was unfaithful. I imagined she was alone most nights and she painted them away while drinking wine. I began imagining a lot of things standing there While she read the ingredients on a box of Stouffer’s Lasagna. I finally turned my face away, put my head down And walked right past her. She wore size seven sneakers. She smelled like peppermint. I went to the next aisle and then the next And then I paid the cashier. I didn’t see her again. When I got to my car I sta

Chad Parenteau

Morning Talk I dreamed of a conversation boring like this one where you failed to convince that I’m not repeating mistakes. Nothing learned. No one changes. Thank me for listening. Chad Parenteau hosts Boston's long-running Stone Soup Poetry series. His latest collection is The Collapsed Bookshelf. His poetry has appeared in journals such as Résonancee, Molecule, Ibbetson Street, Pocket Lint, Cape Cod Poetry Review, Tell-Tale Inklings, Off The Coast, The Skinny Poetry Journal, The New Verse News, The Rye Whiskey Review, Nixes Mate Review and anthologies such as French Connections and Reimagine America. He serves as Associate Editor of the online journal Oddball Magazine.