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Kristin Garth

Only Love Traverse the woods, your hands clenched in fists to rap upon air you are convinced harbors the portal to an alternate state in which he returns to the object of your ardor instead of your hate. They say it exists, some women in town, between two oak trees, discernible by fingers and sound. It empties the heart of its guile, all enmity. When you walk through its invisible frame, you are set free of the past, the weight of wrath-riddled bones. You smile at a name without any pain you’d once known. Only love is admissible in this dimension. You’ll knock forever to get there again. Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Rhysling nominated sonneteer and a Best of the Net 2020 finalist, the author of a short story collection You Don’t Want This ( Pink Plastic Press), The Stakes (Really Serious Literature) and many more books. 
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Jeff Weddle

The Truth About Cats It is just as you have always suspected: Cats compose poems in their heads most all the time, poems so beautiful we could not hear them and survive. But they are wise enough in their indifferent love never to share them with those who provide food while dogs poor things think of nothing but baseball and magic and don’t give a damn who knows. Jeff Weddle loves cats but is more or less happy they do not recite their poetry to him. He teaches at the University of Alabama. 

Steven Croft

War in Iraq in Seven Vignettes Diesel exhaust from snow-topped Humvee, revving in winter darkness to leave Al Asad Marine base, ice crystals on the mouth of the turret gunner, blowing water vapor through pulled up black neck gaiter. We stop in traffic. I look left down a dusty street of houses. On the curb, a man with a thick black mustache bends to kiss a shamefaced girl-child on the mouth. She's held forward by extended armsof a white-robed man in red-checkered headdress. Cheerful medic cleaning the meat of a soldier's exposed bicep, exploded out like an anatomy diagram. Soldier sits in sand in pain, rolling the back of his head against the metal tread of an armored carrier. "You'll be fine," says the smiling medic. We all truly believe him. After the shock of IED blast, in an upturned vehicle four slack bodies with unconscious faces are slowly consumed by licking fire. We watch through the smoke-fogged, unbreakable bulletproof glass of

David Oliver Cranmer

Not Just Another Playlist Often, I sit in my swivel chair looking out the window, while jazz, country, or rock music plays. This pleasure goes on for many hours a mystic trance of sorts streaming—the glue maintaining my soul. I turn the best songs into playlists (once we called them mix tapes) puzzling over the perfect order. Does Satchmo’s “What a Wonderful World” kick off my latest list or make it the big soulful closer? And does “Mack the Knife” go higher in the set than “Summertime?” That’s an Ella Fitzgerald duet! “Foolishness? No, it’s not” whether you are climbing a tree to count all the leaves or tapping to beats. These are the joys that bring inner peace and balance (to a cold universe) lifting spirits skyward. David Oliver Cranmer ’s poems, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared in publications such as Punk Noir Magazine , The Five-Two: Crime Poetry Weekly , Needle: A Magazine of Noir , LitReactor , Macmillan’s Criminal Element , and

Max Heinegg

Anamnesis 1. I pushed off with permission from the Electric City to Brooklyn. Broome’s green & dying sedan, Big Ed, rolled out of the slush, down I-90. Familiar roots dozed while winter sun lured me to a chastening, back to the city of my childhood from which to remember. 2. - For R. In his cups, my roommate, the professional dancer could grab a subway pole & pull parallel to the ground. He pocketed women & vested pleasures, secreted smokes, & taunted subway strangers with drunken melodies. He taught himself to drum just to join the band. For a week, he’d leave for Africa, returning with curios. He kept his room in a way I did not understand, owned an iron & several pairs of shoes. 19, I didn't decorate as much as find places to deposit myself. The day we met on 172st, we passed Washington Heights, & the hospital where a cop was killed, then drank good whiskey with ice. I plotted from a window how to start my l

Brenton Booth

The Pianist At the piano recital she started tapping her fingers on my shoulder. I thought she was measuring the bars until I noticed the articulations, glancing at her hand. For the rest of the concert she continued in time with the virtuoso soloist: never missing a note. Tears filling her once hopeful eyes, thinking of what could have been, before he broke her finger a few weeks after she was accepted into the famous music school in New York. To stop her from leaving. Brenton Booth Lives in Sydney, Australia. Poetry of his has appeared, or is forthcoming in New York Quarterly, Chiron Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Naugatuck River Review, Van Gogh's Ear, and Nerve Cowboy. He has two full length collections available from Epic Rites Press.

Corey Mesler

  I think of you tonight, my Beats I think of you tonight, my Beats, and I am grateful.  I walked the narrow lanes of Academia and never felt at home. There were men and women in the flowerbeds, their heads full of theorems and poems. There were teachers who could lift their own weight in prose.  I was lonely. I was too loose.  I was a lad from the faraway country of Smarting. But I had you as so many before me. I had you and I knew secret things. I could count on you like a percussion. And now I want to say: I love you.  If not for you, what? I want to say. If Allen Ginsberg did not exist it would be necessary to invent him.  COREY MESLER has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South . He has published over 25 books of fiction and poetry. His newest novel, The Diminishment of Charlie Cain , is from Livingston Press. He also wrote the screenplay for We Go On , which won The Me