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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.
Recent posts

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.

Ken Gosse

Happily Never After His vow until death; hers, until her final breath— her mind not consigned once something inside had died. No, she hadn’t lied but stopped trying to fake it, which, for her, meant quit. Not denying that’s a death, both had bated breath. Before either died they’d find, since she had resigned, they were no longer aligned. She’d fulfilled her vow, avowing the time was now to make an ending longed for long before sending that shot through his head. Though he ignored what she said, the one became two and though neither departed, both broken-hearted, their domicile now askew, she ended their nights, terminating all his rights. His days in a daze; hers, stuck with but not by him, they lost to her whim. Each now pondered, worse to worst, whose death should be first? Ken Gosse  usually writes humorous, rhymed verse with traditional form and meter. First published in First Literary Review–East in November 2016, he is also in Lothlorien Poetry Jour

R. Gerry Fabian

Counterfeit Consequences The voices always spew the appropriate verbiage. They encourage my participation I make my tongue slow, resistant and cautious. I travel in their numbing rhizoids. They shake my hand with reptilian cold scales. They grin with blinding white teeth soaking in clotted blood just below their gum line. I am covertly calculating. They instinctively erase their enemies. R. Gerry Fabian is a published poet and novelist. He has published  four books of his published poems, Parallels, Coming Out Of The Atlantic,  Electronic Forecasts and Wildflower Women as well as his poetry  baseball book, Ball On The Mound.

Timothy Gager

Into the Silent Sea It’s so quiet down here, so quiet you can’t hear the rage on the seawall feel the twisting turn of your stomach, the nervousness of nobody home. The moon was not full today; it was shaped like a heart seen from the bottom. light diffracted in a way that made you nauseous spun down amongst lantern fish, cookie cutter sharks bristle mouths, anglers, and viper fish, some sort of eelpout. Nobody likes you, you say to them, but you are here too, like an incredible ship sunken and abandoned. Timothy Gager has published 18 books of fiction and poetry, which includes his latest novel, Joe the Salamander. He hosted the successful Dire Literary Series in Cambridge, MA from 2001 to 2018, and started a weekly virtual series in 2020. He has had over 1000 works of fiction and poetry published, 17 nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work also has been nominated for a Massachusetts Book Award, The Best of the Web, The Best Small Fictions Ant