Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

The White Poppy
Alexandra Isacson
-after Leonardo’s lost Leda and the Swan

Between inhales & exhales
the wind turns the poppy’s crown,
gentle as a mid-wife’s hands.

She pushes,
emerges-
full flesh in ecstasies.
Egg tempera & embryonic fluff,

wet draperies of foamy skirts
sea wash with pigments
& translucent petal splash.

Colors catch in Leonardo’s
canvas snag of notorious
bird-god & cracked eggs

of infamous femme fatales:
Helen & Clytemnestra.
She shudders in feather silk flush,
winds herself in umbilicus cord.

The wind knots & bites with gentle teeth, sets Leda free.


Alexandra Isacson’s poetry chapbook, Narcotic Silks, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. She is also the author of Poetic Anthropologies, a tribute to the humanities, published by Medulla Press. Her poetry has been nominated for Pushcarts and The Best of the Net Anthology. She has published in Van Gogh’s Ear, Blue Fifth Review, New World Writing, & other awesome places.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

Overheard Conversations No. 1
Kat Lerner

Often, a star shard
dissolving with tea leaves at the bottom of the cup
crushed mint, honey ancient and immortal
the skies are noisy
heavy static sop and hum
of wishes, queries and calculations
faint cries their hands too big to catch
they don’t promise to keep our secrets
but neither theirs—
behind the gentle glint
a conflagration roars, consuming
collapsing, perhaps long gone already
and we smile at the freckle of light
take its shaken embers with cream and lavender shortbread
so may it coat our throats with starsong
make our honeyed words blaze and stun
and people whisper knowingly, “It was always
this way.”


Kat Lerner hails from the ever-breezy Pacific Northwest, where she writes fiction and poetry and teaches creative writing. Her work has appeared in publications including Word Catalyst Magazine, Bartleby Snopes, Wilderness House Literary Review, Triggerfish Critical Review, Labyrinth, and Inkspeak.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

A Dream Held In A Mouth
Dah Helmer

Feel:

When spirit is felt there is
purity. Pure.
From the inside.

See:

decay is purity;
death a sunset,
a painted flame.

Grief:

a shadow removed;
breath becomes sky.

A dream held in a mouth,
eyes closed,
becomes a passageway
that calls back
that calls forward
that crawls out.

Awake.


Dah Helmer’s poetry has appeared in many publications, and most recently in The Sandy River Review, Stone Voices Magazine, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Orion headless, Words & Images In Flight, and Miracle Magazine, and is forthcoming in Eunoia Review, Perfume River Review, and Literature Today. The author of two collections of poetry from Stillpoint Books, his third collection is due for publication in 2014, also from Stillpoint. Dah lives in Berkeley, California where he is currently working on the manuscript for his fourth book.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

Pulpo
Alejandro Escudé

The oceans are listening.
Two of them. They know how to do it.
In the listing bow, the weeping children of the world.
Waves bounding through space like giant Labradors.

“No,” he says. And the battery begins.
If only you could remember it all on the bus from the airport into Rome.
Like a corrupt Pope, you sit, water bottle in hand.
If only you could remember it in every one of your living cells.

I guess there are some trained to do just that.
On a parapet, the wailing Arab.
Second to no one else, you go about your business.
The mind once again hanging on for dear life off the humdrum trellis.

The violet octopus slipping between your fingers.
You cook the dream.


Alejandro Escudé is the winner of the 2012 Sacramento Poetry Center Award. The winning manuscript, My Earthbound Eye, was published in September 2013.

He received a master’s degree in creative writing from U.C. Davis and teaches high school English in Santa Monica, California. He is also a recent Pushcart Prize nominee and, among other journals, his poems have appeared in California Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Phoebe, Poet Lore, Rattle, as well as in an anthology entitled How to Be This Man, published by Swan Scythe Press.

Originally from Argentina, he lives with his wife and two kids in Los Angeles, California. You can find more information about him and his work on alejandroescude.com.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

There Are Men in This City Who Dress Their Sons Like Themselves
Alejandro Escudé

Lying on the lamenting table
Is wrong. The identifying principal
In the bird song. We watch it
Up in the tree, alarmed by the sky-drift.

I hand him the letter. He doesn’t read it.
No one send-off is correct.
Too many to enumerate. A fountain
In the middle of the mall.
We go there to count coins.

There are men in this city who dress
Their sons like themselves.
They make sure the brims
On their son’s baseball caps
Stay straight and rigid.

You should know how alone you are
In your weakness.


Alejandro Escudé is the winner of the 2012 Sacramento Poetry Center Award. The winning manuscript, My Earthbound Eye, was published in September 2013.

He received a master’s degree in creative writing from U.C. Davis and teaches high school English in Santa Monica, California. He is also a recent Pushcart Prize nominee and, among other journals, his poems have appeared in California Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Phoebe, Poet Lore, Rattle, as well as in an anthology entitled How to Be This Man, published by Swan Scythe Press.

Originally from Argentina, he lives with his wife and two kids in Los Angeles, California. You can find more information about him and his work on alejandroescude.com.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

Her Swedish Fairy Tales: the Girl Who Fasted Too Long
Carol Berg

There is nothing now I can put into my mouth and savor:
cloudberry lingon allspice dread.

Not the mewlings of small juicy birds
or the tender sodden spring grass.

This my salt water tale. This my liquid dress.

I open my mouth to suck in the crackily ashes
to suck in the blueberry smoke.

No tongue, no noli me tangere, no tastebud, no desire.
No, desire is all I have: desire for the crunch, for the chew, and for the bite down.

Brutal scents: geraniums: unholy vessals of a too redolent green.
Bitter mint too crisp and the white cranberry juice so much

Christmas down my throat. I fear the animals fear their fatty coats
and candy-striped hoof. I place my dog’s stick in my mouth and taste fire.


Carol Berg’s poems are forthcoming or in The Journal, Spillway, Heron Tree, Redactions, Pebble Lake Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and Verse Wisconsin. She has received a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her most recent chapbook, Her Vena Amoris, is available from Red Bird Chapbooks.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

Tiny Pond
Duane L. Herrmann

No one would know
you were there
or had been;
cattails growing
in the damp
where water stands
and banks all grassy
with some weeds.
Birds fly over
and nest,
and frogs remain.
The only sign
of the one-time pond
is the dam
still stretching
from side to side
no longer able
to retain
its water.


Duane L. Herrmann lives on rolling prairie near Topeka, Kansas. His work can be found in: American Poets of the 1990’s, BAFA, The Blue Pen, cyclamensandswords.com, Flint Hills Review, Inscape, kansaspoets.com, Little Balkans Review, LiteraryYard.com, Manifest West, Midwest Quarterly, New Horizons, Orison, the Passionate Few, Phoenix Sound, Planet Kansas, Potpourri, Whirlwind Review, World Order, Kansas Poets Trail in downtown Wichita, KS, and the Map of Kansas Literature (website).

His major collection of poetry is: Prairies of Possibilities.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

Stone
Julie Brooks Barbour

You are a vehicle for desire, a stone figure dropped
in the ocean. You are curved and white, roughness

modified by the movement of water. No hair appears
on your legs or above your lip. No lumps on or under

your skin. No wrinkles at the edges of your eyes,
in laugh lines, or on your neck. Your skin is pulled taut.

You are ageless, a perpetual girl. If a ship navigates
your waters, it will not be rocked. You will not be

the legend that folds its sails, that causes the wreck
on the shoreline. You are the easy route, devoid of rocks.

You are the way written about in logs and travel journals:
the sunshine, the stillness, the atmosphere of peace.


Julie Brooks Barbour is the author of Small Chimes (Aldrich Press, 2014) and two chapbooks: Earth Lust (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press, 2014) and Come To Me and Drink (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in Waccamaw, diode, storySouth, Prime Number Magazine, The Rumpus, Midwestern Gothic, Blue Lyra Review, and Verse Daily. She is co-editor of the journal Border Crossing and an Associate Poetry Editor at Connotation Press: An Online Artifact. She teaches composition and creative writing at Lake Superior State University.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

[iron-bellied]
Emma Karnes

iron-bellied,
carved with moon and
mothers charm. she hasn’t
caught a frog since
the night swelled bright as
scripted legend,
and the whipping steam
sometimes whispers to the
famished void
that he misses her,
yes,
he misses her.


Emma Karnes was born in Rochester, New York and now lives in Ithaca, New York. She has had poems published in Teen Ink Magazine and Word Soup End Hunger. Emma continues to write poetry and hopes to share her work with as many people as possible.

Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

[crafting the curve]
Emma Karnes

crafting the curve of our shoulders
and shame;
unlit, and impossibly
green on this dark earth. there
are no buds left in
my bones, nor on the stems
now
hiding in our dustbitten cellars:
you must paint them
to wish upon
their veins.


Emma Karnes was born in Rochester, New York and now lives in Ithaca, New York. She has had poems published in Teen Ink Magazine and Word Soup End Hunger. Emma continues to write poetry and hopes to share her work with as many people as possible.