Vertical Traveler by Amanda Tumminaro

I will be looking over the horizon,
the sun dipping into the train tracks.
Something beyond what I know exists.
I will fall into a bed of dandelions
and that old smell will creep into my nose again.

I will eventually be a vertical traveler,
picked up by the carrying wind,
and we will meet again, ghost for ghost.
In dreams you come to me, for I couldn’t very well
come home and see you at a boiling pot.

Splitting cloud that is your magnified eye,
it’s also a map, a hand outreached, guiding and leading.

Amanda Tumminaro lives in Illinois with her family. She enjoys libraries and caffeinated drinks. Her poetry has appeared in Storm Cellar, Sassafras Literary Magazine, Hot Metal Bridge and Three and a half point 9, among others.

man with eyes like a robbed liquor store by Scherezade Siobhan

he will always try to touch you
like he is 8 and pawing
his busted toy soldiers
peeking from a silverfish-scuttle
inside a shoe-box sitting terrified
behind a stack of wrapping
paper and forgotten family albums
he will always dream of you
in shapes smaller than
the tiniest airplanes he crashed
under the tepee of his bedsheets
he will draw your face out from a crowd
– you are his bittersweet, flashlight sun,
when he pulls you close you bruise
your ears against his heartdrum
it sounds akin to a chorus of trashcans
played softly at the hands of early
morning homeless shoveling
dregs of false steps for a loaf
of bread that still crackles a little
his happiness is a piece of cinnamon
toast, a bicycle ride to a lake draped in a poncho of the last snow
he tells you how he thinks his
whole life has been two dogs
breathless in a barking spell
he tells you of the graves he dug
beneath the clay of his own wrists
he looks at you and remembers
a childhood he never had
this is why every night you lie
next to him and watch the phantoms
of those two dogs slowly disappear
inside an unstirred sleep
this is why when he puts his hand
on your chest, you learn that love
is a moment of inflection at which
the vastness of air turns
into smallness of breath
and how much you need to live
and how quickly you could die

and desire is more than a waiting room

between departures

Scherezade Siobhan is a Pushcart Prize nominee for poetry and her work has been published in over two dozen magazines including The Newer York, Danse Macabre, Whalesound, Looseleaf Tea, Mixedfruit, Bluestem Magazine and Gutter Eloquence etcetra.

Crow Commentary by John Grey

Crows sit atop gravestones and caw.
Busted angel above,
rotting one below.
An eye drips tears.
A hand drips cheap flowers.
Black cloud quells trees,
And men, women,
dressed in their own black clouds,
creep silently toward a fresh digging.
Caw says the crow,
its vintage mockery of the great beyond.
If time is the human wing, it asks,
then why are there none of them
high in the treetops.
The priest gives his usual speech.
The Lord taketh away,
he drolly intones.
Presumably, he giveth elsewhere.
More caw caw caw.
In a cemetery, every bird’s a critic.

John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in Paterson Literary Review, Southern California Review and Natural Bridge with work upcoming in the Kerf, Leading Edge and Louisiana Literature.

The Albatross by Christina Murphy

The albatross that smokes cigars is learning to tap dance

Empty streets, buildings closed down,
the heart hurts with loneliness
and only midnight is honest with the darkness

The albatross longs for the whispers of the gulls,
the sea, a wave of white caps,
majestic for a moment and then gone

But now there is only the dim light
of the dance studio and an old CD
of imperfect jazz music

Perhaps the albatross can dance across the waves
if the moonlight makes promises
and the stars don’t object to compromises.

All journeys begin again; that much is certain

The albatross can hear the music, feel the rhythm
but his feet are not wings and his heart
knows that solitary mourning
is best for the tender arrangement
of yesterday’s selves in tomorrow’s broken vases

Christina Murphy lives and writes in a 100 year-old Arts and Crafts style house along the Ohio River in the USA. Her poetry appears in a range of journals and anthologies, including most recently, in PANK and Hermeneutic Chaos and in the anthologies Let the Sea Find Its Edges and Remaking Moby-Dick. Her work has been nominated multiple times for a Pushcart Prize and for the Best of the Net Anthology.

I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke by Joseph D. Riech

I think if i was one
of those dudes
who landed
on the face
of the moon
no way in the
world i would
have planted
an american flag
but planted my ass
and kiss the ground
like a proud and dramatic
charlton heston (planet of
the apes ten commandments
you choose…) then get up
and do a mad psychotic
vaudeville song & dance
in top hat & tails as it’s
got so much more to do
with that than having
anything to do with
some idiot schmuck
competitive and
commercial race
to the moon
all sponsored
by tang and
crazy glue

they’re always talking about
discovering some original
source of life like water
well how about just
some stray owl
sitting on top
some barren
broken branch
looking off to
the stars and
solar system
going who?
who? who?

Joseph Reich has been published in a wide variety of eclectic literary journals and has been nominated four times for The Pushcart Prize. Some of his recent books include, The Derivation Of Cowboys & Indians and The Housing Market: a comfortable place to jump off the end of the world (both Fomite Press). He has also been published with Skive Magazine Press, Flutter Press, Brick Road Poetry Press, Thunderclap Press and Broadstone Books.

Jack in the Pulpit by Corey Mesler

Her breasts swell inside
me now like the
last string of dream.
My hands, ready at last,
want only to pull the string,
to unwind the dream
and have it all go forward,
like the song we used to sing, the
one about God, about not dying.

Corey Mesler has published in numerous journals and anthologies. He is the author of eight novels, three books of short stories, three full-length collections of poetry, as well as numerous chapbooks of poetry and prose. John Grisham once blurbed one of his novels, as did Lee Smith, and Marshall Chapman. He and his wife own Burke’s Book Store in Memphis TN.

Ponderous Things by Olivia Olson

I am clogged with things, with plastic
artifacts. I am mothering them,
rummaging through them. I roll these droppings
of time between my palms, sniffing
out the only deity who remembers me.
I carefully follow her tracks down the long, arching
phallus of the sun, kiss the yawn of the stars
and awkwardly stumble upon her. We will sit
in reminiscense, etching lines into our bald palms.
I imagine she will beg me to stay, persuade me
to drink from my grandmother’s cup of tea
and make potpourri from my long dead birthday
roses. We will grow corpulent together.
Before long, even my skin will get soggy
with sentimentality, and I will drop
like a midsummer rain. This body I have loved
will become a breath, a blink,
and I will have nothing to remember it by.

Olivia Olson lives in Rochester, MI in her secret identity as a spinster librarian. Her poems have appeared in Miller’s Pond and are forthcoming from Bird’s Thumb.

Ocean Envy by Nikita Hernandez

She swallows your words
and craves your mouth.
Kiss her salt lips and forget
the peppermint sting of mine.
Chew on seaweed
instead of my tongue.

Forget my fingertips
and fall into her watery embrace.
Taste the salt,
choke on her foamy cum
and don’t fight when she throws
you face down on the shore.
Swallow the sand
and be on your way.
We all know you like to be bullied.

Don’t look back for the words
you meant for me.
The Atlantic will drag them into the open
grave of her mouth,
blow you a kiss
to keep you coming back.

Born and raised as a military brat, or “professional gypsy” as her mom likes to say, Nikita Hernandez grew up in the Deep South drinking sweet tea and plucking pecans from her next door neighbor’s tree. She spends her time accumulating books for her future library, daydreaming, and delusionally hoping for snow in Florida. Her poems have appeared in The Fredericksburg Literary Review, Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, BLACKBERRY: a magazine, and as runner up for the 2013 Peter Meinke Prize For Poetry.

Bad News For Bunny By Bruce McRae

The bad news is
you’re not one
God’s little ponies
or an old hit
on the radio.

You’ll never be
a clever trick
that they drag out
at parties.

The sun will never
come from you.

I’m sorry that I have
to be the one
to tell you,
but it’s a short ride
and it’s a fast one.

For those of you
with aspirations —
aspire. But you,

you the one in the back
looking decidedly
sick at heart:

that feeling that you’re feeling
is right on the money.

You’ll never be one
of Heaven’s shiny pennies

Pushcart-nominee Bruce McRae is a Canadian musician with over 900 publications, including and The North American Review. His first book, ‘The So-Called Sonnets’ is available from the Silenced Press website or via Amazon books. To hear his music and view more poems visit ‘TheBruceMcRaeChannel’ on Youtube.

Haiku of the Synesthete by Kristina Butke

Did you know your voice
Sounds like salted caramel
Fluid, thick, and dark?

The vowels are slow
And the consonants, tender.
Your words stain my ears.

Whenever you’re gone
I escape to the South Bend
With Jeni and Fran.

But they aren’t you.
Their voices convey silence.
That’s when I decide.

I devour them.
One by one they disappear,
And as they’re swallowed

I pretend I hear
Your voice echo inside me,
A noise like candy.

Kristina Elyse Butke writes fantasy and horror, and occasionally dabbles in the world of digital art and comics. She has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and is an adjunct English professor at North Central State College. When she isn’t writing or arting, she indulges her geekiness by cosplaying at fan conventions. Say hello Kristina on her website or follow her on Twitter.