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Mike James

Ted Berrigan’s Sonnet I, Erased

sleeping hands which play for warmth

still
among
sleeping fragments



Ted Berrigan’s Sonnet II, Erased
              hello
     books


     the day is bright  feminine          the sun      up


                          late to work                                         I should know better

Mike James makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee and has published widely. His many poetry collections include: Red Dirt Souvenir Shop (Analog Submissions), Journeyman’s Suitcase (Luchador), Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), First-Hand Accounts from Made-Up Places (Stubborn Mule), Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle), and Peddler’s Blues (Main Street Rag.) He served as an associate editor of The Kentucky Review and currently serves as an associate editor of Unbroken

Recent posts

Gale Acuff

Discovered
I'm carving my initials on a tree with a pocketknife my father gave me yesterday. My first tool. My first weapon. I'm leaving a hint of who I am here by force. I'm not killing the tree but what was that cry I just heard? Probably just a bird but it's a new one on me. Crow? Pigeon? No and no. GA--that's me, or part. I know who I am but if someone comes through these woods and doesn't know me then he won't know I cut these clues. But he'll know why, I suspect, and that's enough: as if I've put my mark on Nature--my copy -right. Yes (mean my initials), I own all you survey. Not just this one tree but all its brothers and, by extension, the earth and sky, bushes and briars and flowers, birds and squirrels and stray cats and dogs and whatever other creatures wander through, including the character who pauses here and finds the owner of this forest. Not that he would know where to look. Chances are he won't stop here at all but at some strange tree. If I'm…

Sarah Sarai

The Antichrist's Mad Skills
     on The Omen

Don’t lie to your wife, Gregory Peck. That unholy son is a doozey.
Hormones are scheming delivery mechanisms of the Devil and yet Lee Remick is delivered.
To England!
Remind me, has the cake been served? Nanny ties her noose for you! Damien appears morally ambiguous.
Honors the child-mother bond of comfort and hate, tricycling Mom to hospital.
Photos. Mystery mark of death. You got it, you goner.
Nanny murders. Peck battles. There is no happy ending unless you favor fear, as I do.
That red-eyed coot keeps me company most nights.

Sarah Sarai’s poems are in DMQ ReviewMom Egg, Zocalo Public SquareThe Southampton Review and many other journals. Her second full-length collection, That Strapless Bra in Heaven, was published by Kelsay Books. She doesn’t think clouds are lonely. 

Tim Suermondt

JOB HUNTING
I’m overqualified for this. not qualified for that.
And when I inquire at the local pizzeria the manager says,
“Tim, I can’t hire you. You’d eat most of the pies before
anyone else could get a bite.” I buy a small pepperoni pizza,
twirling the box over my head in my apartment’s kitchen,
aping the way the old pizza makers used to treat the precious dough.
The sun trickles through a light rain, the first slice I take shines.
A PHOTO OF MY WIFE
WHEN SHE WAS A TEENAGER
You can detect the determination even then and you swear you can hear her about to declare “I love you, Hong Kong, but I’m leaving for good”— her lips savoring the words she’s always wanted to say. Unseen and a number of streets down on the right her father is returning from work, stepping off the ferry, passing the fishmongers clustered like star snappers from one end of the pier to the other, a light rain sizzling under the hot sun, and a number of streets down on the left her mother is preparing supper, an egg dish she’s made her own, …

Tobi Alfier

Litany

I am mercy’s wayward apprentice.
I am the dubious truant of grace.
I kneel at the Stations of the Cross,
then climb through the shreds of a fading downpour.
I am the late sun that flames through a window.
I am a cityscape of wind through the alleys.
I am a desert highway fringed by meadows
where fields and blossoms unfold into radiance.
I am a clock that needs to be wound.
I am a cello that plays in the evenings,
ushers in nightfall’s infallible silence,
and the sweet scent of creosote in the pitch dark.
I am a love you may almost remember,
your mind lazing loose in imaginary elsewheres.
There is no amnesty for ancient sorrows,
I am the galleon, sinking, still vanishing.

Winter Tourist

Once, in another winter, in a village
by a seaside with different accents
than mine, waves crash dark against
the shore and over the breakwater,
a woman in a red coat hurries through
her realm of kith and kin:

fishermen just docked—nets and boxes
brim with still moving catches for pubs
and homes, …

Kevin Ridgeway

The Last Time I Saw My Father's Face


My father was bearded and zoned out on psychiatric medication he could not pronounce behind the glass from us in county jail, where he awaited trial. He and my mother argued over why he did what he did until he could only slur insane gibberish. The guards treated us so much like shit we could still smell it on the drive home, when we both agreed never to visit my father in jail or prison again. Neither of my parents were there when I got locked up in the same madhouse that swallowed my father whole, but it choked on me and spit me out in a demented miracle no one prayed for but me.


Kevin Ridgeway is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press) and nine chapbooks of poetry including Grandma Goes to Rehab (Analog Submission Press, UK). His work can recently be found in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Plainsongs, San Pedro River Review, The Cape Rock, Trailer Park Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Cultural Weekly and The American Journal of Poetry, among o…

Stephen J. Golds

4:48 In The Morning R.I.P Sarah Kane
It arrives
like a yellow taxi swerving into a parking lot with warped flickers in the windshield.
An insect crawling mindlessly up a concrete wall with five legs and the sixth dragging broken behind it.
The small stone trapped in between the tread on the worn soles of sneakers that are too tight.
The clerk behind the counter of the liquor store with the eyes like broken street lamps and a smile like a street fight.
The doctor in a Christmas sweater with a handful of pills but a mouth with no answers.
An empty coat on a hanger hung in a darkened window in the apartment building across the empty street.
A broken umbrella, it still seeps in, soaks and dampens these fragile fabrics at 4:48 in the morning.

Stephen J. Golds was born in London, U.K, but has lived in Japan for most of his adult life. He enjoys spending time with his daughters, reading books, traveling, boxing and listening to old Soul LPs. Glamour Girl Gone his debut novel will be released by C…