Adam Fieled (editor, Philadelphia, USA): "Ode: On Exile"

No bells strike at Saint Matthew's; midnight
   means lights out; across Fayette Street, windows
send slow signals; but for hope of daylight,
   no means of evoking, painted or not, halos.
Occasional cars; the 7-11 parking lot empties
   not completely, the night crew forced to spill
     laced coffee, pills, down throats, past painted
faces reflecting gloom, as they plan candies
   passed around to kill behind, enemies
      locked in basements, unwilling dross killed.

Dull, dense, reptile-laden world- nature's phantom
   side, scarred with imperatives to destroy- I
stride past Calvary Episcopal, its handsome,
   enchanted spires, trying to forge a "who" and "why."
Caravaggio's John the Baptist, crouched darkly
   in murk, I superimpose on Conshohocken at
     night, including the succession into severed head-
knowing that in there (7-11), warnings sharply
   uttered mean nothing, less than nothing at that,
     humanity is lost, then its corpse is bled.

This is not the world I was born for- Butler
   Pike, a Honda pulls into the abandoned
Dairy Queen lot, the young male driver scuttles
   out into the apartment complex, fear-flattened-
as to what John Milton would say about these
   suburban straits, everyone changing form
     like Satan, a poet singed by lost innocence
up all night on his own pills, thoughts, caffeine-
    I divine he knew all this, putrid fires warmed
       to kill brains, rigid rules passed on, idiot to idiot.

c. 2015

Chris McCabe (London, UK): "Rotgut Whiskey"

The last teeth I count
are in the hand, not to
mouth; truth is a dog
with kittens, drunk on
winter tequila. My
mirror lost its glass,
wrote me a Dear
John note in dust. It
said, look out, & I did.
Saw the night, with its
one eyelid. Fed up
with detritus? Move
to this vacancy. Here,
light your own. The
stars go on and off,
like women turning
tricks for rotgut whiskey.

c. Chris McCabe 2009

Leonard Gontarek (Philadelphia, USA): Two Poems


The woman was talking about how she had maybe
three cigarettes a week now, cut down from twenty
on a good day, while the barista ground into earth
my French roast. She wasn't with me, she was
with the other guy in line. Yet I was lost in
the death sentence of her down-to-her-ass,
fairy-tale hair. Just as I was surprised
by Autumn moments before.


Autumn leaves rustle and crumple.
The sound heard is like earlier,
when children rolled plastic hoops (yellow and scarlet)
in full sunlight. He possesses the self-same heart
he has previously. It was broken. It mended.
It was broken. Now it is simply in disarray.
The laundry, fragrant with lemon, floats
in the first visible backyard, like ghosts.

c. Leonard Gontarek 2010