Jordan Stempleman (Iowa, USA): "But the tail end is too powerful to relax..."

The slob who dates the mother
can never remember who sheared
the musical return of an unwavering afternoon, dries himself
in response to the hard fought
saying: seeing you like this means
we're here enough to begin introducing ourselves again.

c. Jordan Stempleman 2007

Adam Fieled (editor, Philadelphia, USA): from Cheltenham


Everyone knows she has about two years
to live. The blonde babe who runs shipments
sits smoking at the Esquire Bar with a guy
who still has the rat-tails he had at Cheltenham.
How do you behave when you have two
years to live? Well, you might try making
your body a weapon. You might bop around
shaking your hips so that no one might
touch. Or fellating the pickle which comes
with your sandwich. You might. But as you
dance on nothingness, someone watching
you is also watching his watch.


"They pulled a gun on him at the diner
down the street. He was halfway through
his burger. The Greeks who own the place
didn't care. They got bought off a long
time ago. I eat there for free sometimes.
He probably eats there for free too. They
don't play sides, that family. So if you
want a place that's your place (as we
used to have), you better have more
money than the other guys, which we
don't anymore. And it'll take you a year to nail this guy too."

c. Adam Fieled 2011

Kristen Orser (Chicago, USA): Three Poems


I'm balanced is something
I want to tell you. Another thing,
if you don't stop running
the water I won't ever stop considering
your halo or that which reminds me
of your halo. When I pander, push
me, and when I push just remember
the faucet's wish list.


Just imagining looking up, never realizing
the boundaries you have set for yourself.
How many ceilings can you have before you suffocate
from thinking inwardly. I have an outer shell which doesn't
remind me of anything, besides I'd rather cry on the couch
holding my arms against me, begging my arms to never let me go.
I leave because I care. I am the way planes fly.
There are reasons I have never felt tense in my shoulders,
and I keep writing them down on paper, and then forcing them
in-between the muscles and bones which make up this frame.
I ache, pray for mountains.


The view from above, far above,
as if we all sat on shoulders gazing down at what was,
beautiful, and yet fleeting. A comic
scene. Your head ballooned with a yawn, a single
yawn followed by others. Your eyes were as big
as they ever were, your eyes were as big as now,
as the remainder of the season, of the past few years.

The trees kept leaving on their own like a glass
of water sitting on a wooden banister outside,
on some porch: the water- the sky- condensation- inevitability.

c. Kristen Orser 2009

Steve Halle (Illinois, USA): from Cessation Covers

crooks on the inside means suicide
crops on the downside, pesticide
boy on the crib-side, infanticide
favor eyes over eyesight into homicide

she asked me to untie her,
chase away the lice, the worthy
few isn't me, which heaven sees-


a chain for your locket, the photo
drips from your mouthed wish,
my light oversees my greatest
pension; a shock of impatiens.

the rat beneath a Blue Line train
diseases Chicago underground-


broke Bogart, broken bone-saw,
thinned-out source, the sun capsizes
Los Angeles, and if you skip the sun
it will make you sleepy, if you count

measured breaths, you can snore
among bodies; these mink coats
paid off well; now I'm sworn off kills-


she gave in to "we," planted a house,
built a tree, still, needy, widgets belie
bees, a windy taboo, a yarn, pleased
by redundancy, Wednesday suits you.

she's the one she likes. all are pretty:
psalms and banshees like to scream
along; she likes to shoot his gun,
blown loose, left behind, if you wouldn't mind-

c. Steve Halle 2007

Adam Fieled (editor, Philadelphia, Pa): "Eris Temple"

That night I got raped by a brunette
chanteuse, I lay on the linoleum floor
of the front room sans blanket, & thought

I could hack it among the raw subalterns
of the Eris Temple, who could never
include me in their ranks, owing to my

posh education; outside, on Cedar Street,
October gave a last breath of heat before
the homeless had to hit rock bottom again, &

as Natalie lay next to me I calculated
my chances of surviving at the dive bar
directly across from the Temple for the

length of a Jack & Coke, North Philly
concrete mixed into it like so many notes-

c. Adam Fieled

Stacy Blair (Indiana, USA): Two Poems


Sky blue hangover over-hung
above my tea-top-table
this morning while you slept.
Long days set into short
nights, your sunny sheets
never want for company.

Yourself dispassionate,
disappearing come September
beyond distant barren fields.
Melting mountains mighty since
time spared their angled edges.
Alliterative, I am consuming;

pretty poetess all the while
presumes ignorance.


This gender-bender of a city
has me dealing in androgyny.
How am I expected to see
bliss beyond these words
of war poured out of your
mouth? I lie livid at the feet
of news, magazines,
not finding reasons why,
forgetting every second
that God did exist before Nietzsche.

c. Stacy Blair 2008

Andrew Lundwall (Illinois, USA): "Chicago"

chicago wind hair
spontaneously making noise
out there it's out there
plucked me from crazy wilderness
the sticks sniffling stoogey
o wild flower inebriated as a loon
what is it that spiritual graffiti
that follows you big lettered "poet"
through halls asteroid
upon halls asteroid hellishly
what in what gentle way
will i fuck her tonight?
in her prime my twilit dancer
this place these prancing people
among these demonically cupie
my pulpit is shabby like dolls' shaved balls
i'm ultimate lush reverend drunk
the killer the pubic hair
caught in your coffee
so irish feel my name kiss me
swim around you in august heat
and the one who asked of me
where's your girlfriend at
what's her answer
where's her tropic where are you
this alliance these vague conversations
about studliness and self-reliance
kerouac i wish i were free too
my lowell my crop my lover so pre-
occupied me i'm so so pre-cummy
and there's this everything hooking up
and you should be too harbinger
warped by your binge wrapped around
spooked in your haunted closet

c. Andrew Lundwall 2007

Stacy Blair (Indiana, USA): Two Poems


A circle is what we talk in
and the hole in which our
words bury us; the bulging
blueberries I add with soymilk
to my matinale Grapenuts;
or the gears in my grandfather
clock, circling through time only
to double back. It is the hug
around my waist made by Elea
before she left for France; the sphere
of space made by lovers touching parted lips.

Multiple circles of time form from repetition;
circles circling into generations make
five-dimensional slinkies,
our faults repeat like History while
new mornings wonder at our perseverance,
curious hearts.

A circle is the top of my water bottle
cap removed on the night-stand,
shapes my dreams take as I
circle back from sleep to
the same hour I rose yesterday (it was yesterday).
A perfect circle is a blueberry and the shape of us going nowhere.


We peaked together atop
this snow-covered mountain,
rolled down its spine,
whereupon a creamy
blue fog covered my glasses.

Now we repose in the field,
backs up against cherry-bulbs;
the suspended poplar,
eyes drifting to the coast.
From across that field of

cherry-bulbs, suspended
poplars, the cemetery jogs along the coast.
Honesty, weeping, chills my lashes.
Oak-rich-ebony, your eyes match
your hair, block my view.

c. Stacy Blair 2008

David Prater (Australia): Two Poems


he was the star that floated in water, lacking
            space (& she was an astronomer in hawaii, or in
lower case (she’s the satellite’s document of a
            dreamy eclipse (he’s like a word once lost, now
formed by her lips (when she says goodbye – oh!
            that word & all the stars go out (& it gets dark:
he drives through the night with just a radio &
            his doubt (the elegant simplicity of life & her,
of their separation (caused snows from november
            to fall across the nation (never does, we never
knew that the stars could dream (the reflection
            we’ll never see; the white flakes’ mist a panic
beam (that lonely message across a face we call
            the skies (cry or close your eyes

                                                         (i am a child


He was a jealous husband without a wife.
            I needed security and he gave me bullets
to rain down upon those discreet affairs
            (which came, and passed. We settled in
to our familiar routine: me with my cats
            and he out stalking prey. At night he’d
return with greenbacks in his ochre eye,
            demanding fidelity, abstract truth and an
Amerikan way of life. I don’t understand
            how it came to this. I trusted him with
my life savings. He didn’t believe in ‘me’.
            I see it now (with the clarity of sight
denied the blind. I sign divorce papers.
            Mistrust could not

                                                (a coalition make.

c. David Prater 2007

Melissa Severin (Chicago, USA): "Ars Amatoria"

My life repeats,
bobs in and out
of water, misses

nights' seaward
drag against stomach. Lungs
take no prisoners but this mouth
that sops kelp slush; an open window on my face.

                  Here is the thunderhead.
                  Hurricane. If the ocean turned
                  to snow we'd have an avalanche
                 of pine needles to sew shut our jaws.

Tug-of-war with breath,
lassoed voices, deteriorated word-ropes.
 Against the molars, Morse code

of my name once spoken. Becomes it,
once spoken, untrue
for the grave love made; soliloquy
stuck in the tongue pit, monstrously

                   Said yes too much,
                   licked clean plates clean,
                   watched skin go slate,
                   made specious excuses,

for failed concoctions best left to chemists,
undertakers and impressionists. They see
a thing distantly: heart beats in calligraphy,

on a compass, the measure of a termite wing
ductile and trapped among cilia, taxidermied
dromedaries just to show us
what they're made of. Sequels scalpeled,
 into skin like secrets now obsolete.

                  Call brush strokes obvious,
                  the use of plastics, morose.
                  If he gives you a rose,
                 do not knit him a blanket.

c. Melissa Severin 2007

Brooklyn Copeland (Carmel, Indiana, USA): Two fragments from Kerosene Series

Behind Washington the alley,
the rusted tracks.

Once, I disappeared for an afternoon.
I came back

with resin under my fingernails.

My Mother didn't know if she should be angry.

I could only tell her
that it'd been bleeding from a tree.

I didn't know the word resin.
Neither did she.


Unblemished flesh wasted

on the modest

(parse, mince, parse, mince)

Molest: The way you sing
an alphabet

The page's sincerest commands
sound us out; don't be scared

en plein four
en plein air
(ended up

I married
a man
allergic to orchids)

c. Brooklyn Copeland 2009

Nick Moudry (Philadelphia, USA): "Victoria, High Quality"

I never speak to her anymore
I think when I am hello this is
a new notebook do you
like it yes I like & enjoy it
because I am supposed to because she
bought it for me because
when you call me it is easy to slip
into our familiar form of conversation

The neighbors above me are getting restless
it's cold I am sitting by the window it's cold
who reads letters or writes them
I write sound when I mean love or am
forced to write she says I love you
every minute of every day I
am forced to write I love you because my belly
hurts because she says I love you best

at night when you are not
forced to say goodbye I have too much
stuff to do & the hum of the
refrigerator is just that a hum
should I eat some cereal yeah cereal that's
good people don't need to fill
space with talking or feel longing when
no one is there or is

pretending to write letters she says
she loves me only when I am standing up
I am supposed to enjoy it
when she says she only loves me when I am
restless I am forced to write her letters nobody reads

c. Nick Moudry 2006

Stacy Blair (Indiana, USA): "Vieille fillette nocturne"

6:30 a.m. is when my heater keels over;
dried up somehow from the ice storm
which punctuated the night's prose on my

attic windows. This is where I live: the attic.
By 9 a.m. it's all slush, and my furnace is
hot and wet again. Cold shower: I need

one- present tense, of course. I will stop
not moving and wriggle a bit under covers,
twisting my body up in the blankets like

a fork in spaghetti. Three of them: not forks,
blankets. Three second-hand covers collected,
collect hair and skin samples from their human

domains: past, present, future. Who knows
how many have come before me, but I'll burn
this when I'm done. Maybe then, I'll light

a match to my own epidermis.

c. Stacy Blair 2009