Ode To A Blank Page by DS Peters

Stark beauty
and vast potentiality
you are the foundation
of all that I was
all that I am
all that I ever will be
Pristine in any shade
with lines
pale grains
or absolute nothingness
you are a poem before ink
ever mars your surface
I look at you
and love you
love you
love you
for hours until my hands
shake, my spirit
bursts and I scar you

DS Peters earned his MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, and obtained his BA from UW-Milwaukee. He writes speculative fiction, earthbound fiction, poetry and odd bits of non-fiction. He is a traveler and currently resides in South Korea where he works as a professor, and observes human behaviour. You can keep up with DS Peters at http://www.dspeters.net

Number 165 by John Grey

next Christmas.
given Harry Potter horns
I even asked Santa for rakshasa –
and virgin, whatever that means.
but I expect you’d prefer something older
sketched what I imagined you must look like.
but already skinned a toad,
But, don’t worry, by the way,
defiling, fouling, deserted house, abandoned mill.
everything dermatology offers,
glory in gory newspaper details.
hellfire is safe with me.
I follow your career with awe.
the other kids in Kindergarten.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Rockhurst Review and Spindrift with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Sanskrit and Louisiana Literature.

Plastic Legs by Ethan Taylor

Thaw me as a child with plastic legs
And apprehension of a shoe box Christmas,
And I will wait for theme park dreams
And the head shots taken at track speed
To justify the birth I wasn’t there for.

Only then can I recall the great leisure
The work strives, shift by shift, to murder,
As a set of crows just left of centre,
Beating the patchwork crops sown by men
Fed by a clown with a thirsty smile.

Too many critics and not enough art
And I can’t even get out of bed
To make a living or an excuse
Or a mistitled wager on a finish line
I won’t ever cross on these plastic legs.

Ethan Taylor is a twenty year old student studying Acting at the Guildford School of Acting in the UK. He has recently taken up writing and poetry is something he immensely enjoys whether it’s reading, writing, discussing, speaking or analysing it.

Remote by Brian Robert Flynn

The most affecting crusade recalled
in waters rapid as our own embraced
a certain stillness, an immobile peace
promoted to rejoin the cosmic balance—
tottering the teeter, so to say, or acting
the counter—a real-life [PAUSE],
the blink of an eye in perfect control
[During such temps mort is when life is lived.
The optic nerve throbs. Dendrites electrify.
Dogs are walked. Pancakes get flipped. Actions
and memories linked to passion, to caring.]
if but for an instant so the shot could be had
before the blink un[PAUSE]d and the rising flood
continued pouring the day-to-day right over us.

Originally from Denver, Brian Robert Flynn is currently breathing the poetry and fiction of Washington, DC. His work has appeared in Banango Street, Epigraph, Litro Magazine, RiverLit, and theNewerYork. You can follow Brian on Twitter.

Microcosm by Gary Glauber

Inexplicably, a giant hole opens up in Siberia.
Everyone in the world feels somehow responsible.
Ice caps are shrinking; oceans are rising.

Global warming is not debatable.
This was the warmest June ever.
Yet my metabolism slowed.

While no one pays attention,
we set out to destroy ourselves.
There is shame in our actions.
As we worry about pimples,
we accidentally burn down the house.

The summer has turned tropical.
Wildfires attack certain states.
We get regular thunderstorm warnings.
My pets don’t understand the noise.
The earth rattles.

We learn to compost,
We require recycling,
but is it too little and too late?
Time seems to be speeding up
along with the trivialization of existence.

Farmers learn the concept of sangfroid.
Potable water will be the cause of future wars.
Human loneliness is a frightful noise.
And somehow we blame unions and teachers.

Mountain rages replace ranges.
Innocent children try to escape the violence
and poverty of their native homes.
They come seeking freedom, and a bite to eat.

The Middle East steams with turmoil,
destruction, and political unrest.
Unreasonable rulers seek to create
a new and more dangerous cold war.
Egos replace compassion. Again.

Blood is spilled for senseless reasons.
We delude ourselves with sports and entertainment.
The stock market rises in spite of economic woes.

Ants run frantically over to the site of a spill.
We suffer and scramble the same ways.
It seems we are no better, no wiser.

Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. His works have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. In 2013, he took part in Found Poetry Review’s Pulitzer Remix Project. He champions the underdog to the melodic rhythms of obscure power pop. New work is forthcoming in 3 Elements Review, Fine Flu Journal, Brickplight, Stone Path Review, Stoneboat Journal, The Bicycle Review, Foliate Oak, Poetry Quarterly, and Think Journal. His collection, Small Consolations, is coming from The Aldrich Press in 2015.

The Fox by MJ Duggan

On evenings I prepare the fox’s supper
on a round plastic amber dish
I spotted him on one balmy summer
large orange head peering through dewy mist.
I leave the remains of rosemary and chicken
layered with strawberry jam on bread,

waiting for the rustle of grass and snapping tin,
those night eyes painted in leering red.
Every night I left remains for my stranger
until one evening I didn’t hear his screeching cough,
I heard no passive entrance from our midnight wailer
no sighting of my neighbourly fox.

Just the fat tom cat from number forty-two
helping himself to the fox’s chicken stash,

floating in pickled rain half chewed
scared off by the sirens and the curfew flash.

When the evening tired and slept
the fox returned to the stillness of the night,

leaving a damp feather at my doorstep
among the mossy snail cases in yellow and white.


MJ Duggan hosts AN EVENING OF SPOKEN INDULGENCE every month at the Hydra Bookshop in Bristol, UK, and his first collection of poems, Making Adjustments for Life Expectancy, was published this year. His poems have also been published by Sarasvati, Roundyhouse, Decanto, The Delinquent, Seventh  Quarry, Turbulence and many more. You can follow MJ Duggan on Twitter.

Old People by John Garmon

Old people playing hooky
From rest homes came
Offering to sell me secrets
In brown envelopes
Stashed for years
I told them I was broke
They said I could pay later
One said she knew me
Or someone she forgot
Who once danced with her
And told her she was
One of the prettiest girls
Back in high school
When cheerleaders jumped
Over goal posts
And fullbacks fell down
Clutching footballs
In elusive end zones
I ordered her secrets
And promised to pay
She looked at me
Harshly and said
She wasn’t sure
I was a good risk


John Garmon is a writing assistant at the College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, and he once was president of Berkeley City College in California. His poems and stories have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, Clackamas Literary Review, The Oregonian and many more.

Last Night in Little Rock by Hunter Wright

And don’t you know that the whole city gets hotter when the lights turn on, and all the shit in the world won’t make a stink as big as one fart from God, and when you chew a little tobacco and spit it out that’s excrement of soul, and the blackest black you ever sawwas one you couldn’t see?

That’s what he said when the lights turned out, and I swear, I swear he was staring right at me, hovering, hand cradling cheekbone and held steady by elbow, chest naked and calm and my own heart heaving – don’t you?

Hunter Wright was born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley of California. She is now pursuing a degree in creative writing at the University of Miami in Florida, where she hosts a literary talk-show on the radio and dreams of mountains. You can follow Hunter on Facebook.

The Collector by Jeffrey Zable

I was lying completely nude face down on a block of ice
in the market with my arse sticking up in the air. A woman
walked up to the seller, pointed at me and said, “How much?”
“Oh, that slab is very expensive!” he said with a smile.
“How much?” the woman asked again.
“For you $3,550, including shipping!”
“I’ll take it!” the woman said, and handed him a credit card.
When I got to my new home, the children were very excited.
“Can I have a piece of it now?” asked her son.
“Can I put an apple in its mouth?” asked her daughter.
But the woman had me deposited onto the living room table,
over a nice clean cloth.
“Aren’t we going to eat it?” asked her husband when he
returned home.
“No we are not!” the wife said emphatically. “This is a valuable
piece of art. I want him to stay right where he is and give some
life to the living room!”
But as time passed, and I began to rot and stink up the room,
the only one who would go in there was the wife, who never
seemed phased by what was happening to me.
And when I was finally nothing but bones, she hung me
in her closet along with her furs of hedgehogs and wolverines,
she’d collected over the years.

Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro-Cuban folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. He’s published five chapbooks including Zable’s Fables, which has an introduction by the late Beat poet Harold Norse. Jeffrey has been published or is forthcoming in Toad Suck Review, Thirteen Myna Birds, The Alarmist, Skidrow Penthouse, Snow Monkey, Kentucky Review, Uppagus, One Trick Pony, Clarion, Lullwater Review, Dum Dum, Edge and many others.

Tasting Notes by Tracey S. Rosenberg

Trauma on the Ward
Cask no. 257.13

The nose transported us to a back-alley dental surgery where we found extracting forceps, bone curettes, retractors and orthodontic pliers. Then a cabal of unlicensed medical professionals approached – some transplanting grey-market kidneys, some railing against ethics committees, others forging prescriptions for Vicodin and mocking malnourished ward sisters. The unreduced palate brought cramps to our fingers, forcing us to curse and impotently scrape at windows.

We added lemon juice (painstakingly) to find the nose now had torture devices with leather straps, cat o’nine tails, imperial executions and nipple clamps – very drawn-out and seductive. The reduced palate had dry heaves, emesis (causing gastro-esophageal laceration syndrome), and bleeding out.

The distillery was licensed in Ceausescu-era Romania by an alcoholic abortionist.

Drinking tip: With a codeine chaser

Colour: Pale urine
Cask: Refill ex-bourbon barrel
Age: 8 years
Date distilled: October 2003
Alcohol: 70%
Outturn: 17 bottles


Tracey S. Rosenberg is the author of a historical novel and two poetry pamphlets, and recently won the Brontë Society Creative Competition’s short story category, judged by Dame Margaret Drabble. Active in the spoken word and literary festival scene, she’s a member of Edinburgh spoken word groups Inky Fingers and Shore Poets, and in March 2014 she attended the Spoken Word Workshop at the Banff Centre.You can follow Tracey on Twitter, and on her personal blog.