Powder Puff • Stephen Kopel

Jayne Mansfield
hoped the world
would find her desirable,
only Mickey did .. and,
his muscles were enough

Her cinematic diversions
publicized as "Fun Family Fare",
Edward R. Murrow pursued her
as did paparazzi hoards
who admired the parenthesis
of hips ..quoting her
hyperbolic quips

In private, she dove
into dictionaries,
breast-stroking through etymologies
buoyed by words' multiple meanings
whose phosphorescence shimmered
as she let herself sink into sleep

In private, imagined herself
a typical housewife,
a Mamie Eisenhower,
aproned, bending over a
sheetpan of gingerbread men
shaped to resemble
a doughy Mr. Universe -
the real one usually in their back
yard troweling Narcissus to bed

Fancied herself charitable,
Cadillac convertible ..
Mickey driving block after block
past winos, their saggy women,
fortunate they were able to catch
a glimpse of the actress,
demanding to be seen, admired
by losers, who, she never doubted,
would become drunk .. on her


Stephen Kopel is San Francisco's 'pedalling poet' with perfect abs who depends on the frequency of vibrations emanating from the attic of his head...whose work resides in academic journals like Red Cedar Review, Antigonish Review, Harpur Palate, Birmingham Poetry Review and others.

Farrah's Hair • Fran Markover

It could float through air and kick ass
It could translate Hollywood-ease
It was poster girl, haloed
It was nippled, giggled, posed
It skinny-dipped as Barbie
It was center-folded, air-brushed
It got split ends, fatigued
It bristled for papparazi
It cried catcall, cancer, chemo
It was shaved, shameless


Mine was teased
It counted bad hair days
It got feathered for date nights
It brushed against my red swimsuit
It befell teen-age wands, dye boxes
It parted amicably, lost its roots
It sported stretch marks
It bought Star Magazine
It dreamt neophyte angels
Waves of Texas wheat


Fran lives in Ithaca, NY, where she works as a psychotherapist. Her poems have been in journals including: Calyx, RATTLE, Runes, Karamu, Sow's Ear Poetry Review, Cider Press Review, Redactions, Harpur's Palate, among others.

Legend • Cassandra Baliga

You glitter and crack
Snapping bright
Like flashbulbs as each
Generation opens new eyes.
Elvis, Marilyn,
Your flesh, embalmed
Rests while your images
Sing and smolder
Their way through time.
Ever growing, colossal they
Crushed you, left you
(Small and dead)


Cassandra Baliga is a college student who lives in Indiana with her family.

At the Museum of Celebrity Authors • Howie Good

Here’s the empty room that lived inside him. Here’s the key he used to lock it. Here’s the black moon that burned in her window. Here’s the leaf she heard vibrating all night. Here’s the TV he kept as a pet. Here’s the bottom-shelf booze he fed it. Here’s the elusive word that popped & whistled through her dreams. Here’s the twisted sheets in which she woke up choking. Here’s the trigger he pulled with his big toe. Here’s the fragment of Idaho the police dug out of the wall.


Howie Good is a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, and one of RBR's favorite authors.

Kurt Cobain in the Vegas Afterlife • Ellen Kombiyil

"I thought you died alone a long, long time ago." 
-- from "The Man Who Sold the World," Nirvana, Unplugged

He comes as he is, comfortable
in T-shirt and frayed jeans, mismatched
with the tourists wearing His & Hers
tracksuits trimmed in aqua-marine,
or the sequined almost-bare teens.
Glances, askance. His hand to his
two-day-old stubble. Whispered mutters.
He's been spotted, he knows. Above him,
a disco ball lamp patterns the floor.

The lady at Reception checks his
reservation. He prefers to take
the stairs, stares his gazely stare as he
passes his reflection -- different shirt,
same hair -- on the third floor, descending.
He glimpses another exiting
the emergency door, beyond which
Elvises swirl, the backs of them
leaving the building.


Ellen Kombiyil is a native of Syracuse, New York and a graduate of the University of Chicago. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Cider Press Review, Cordite Poetry Review, Poemeleon and Spillway, among others. She is currently working on the manuscript for her first book. She lives in India with her husband and two children.

On the Road Where Hank Williams Died • Tony Reevy

Rain pelts against the windshield—
a line of paired lights
stares into me, through me.

Kelly-green mountains,
newly clad, press
on either side.

A tunnel through life,
a tunnel of life, this lost
highway leads home

or away from home,
north or south,
to mountains or flatlands,

depending on
which way
you go.


Senior associate director of the Institute for the Environment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tony Reevy is a graduate of North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill and Miami University. He is a David P. Morgan Award winner (2006) and a Pushcart Prize nominee. His previous publications include poetry, non-fiction and short fiction, including the non-fiction book Ghost Train!, and the poetry chapbooks Green Cove Stop, Magdalena, Lightning in Wartime, and In Mountain Lion Country. His latest non-fiction book, O. Winston Link: Life Along the Line, is pending publication from Abrams Books in fall 2012. He resides in Durham, North Carolina with wife, Caroline Weaver, and children Lindley and Ian.

Marriage Straight to Video • David Whippman

When it was obvious things weren't working out
(neither of us good on the other's cue)
of course we tried to talk. But I mean
we just weren't scriptwriters. But this nomination!
Yes, the role was cathartic.
I have to thank the director, for knowing
Exactly how much grief to cut.


David Whippman, who spent his life working in healthcare, is now retired. He writes nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. He is from England.

Me and Larry King and His Wife • Eleanor Levine

Mrs. King is angrier than
the Earth’s smallest man,
for I, her Jewish maid,
use Ajax, not Mrs. Meyer’s.
She prefers free trade rags,
Mexican housekeepers in pink
aprons who diligently assent to
cleaning toilets.


I am demoted to “baby-sitter,”
have sex in their basement,
peak through bottom windows,
where ground meets weeds,
my boyfriend letting me suck
his big lollipop in the midst of
Larry’s Ethan Allen furniture.

The Kings know not the
sanctimonious acts
committed against them
and their expensive refrigerator
where ham and Worcester sauce meet
lipstick and herring.

Mrs. King puts me on probation,
Her boys yell: you need Zoloft!
I whine in their reality show,
protest to Larry’s lapin ears;
he is busy with Michael Jackson’s
ghost and celebrities from the screen.


Eleanor Levine’s work has appeared in Fiction, The Denver Quarterly, Midway Journal, The Toronto Quarterly, The California State Quarterly, Prime Mincer, Happy, Penumbra, The Coachella Review, OVS Magazine, fortyouncebachelors.com, Milk and Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry (nominated for a 2012 Lambda Literary Award), Downtown Poets (anthology), New York Sex (anthology), The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Blade and other publications. She has work forthcoming in Prime Mincer, Gertrude and The Evergreen Review. In 2007 she received an MFA in Creative Writing from Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. Eleanor is currently a copy editor and lives in Philadelphia.