Song for 3 Women’s Voices • Daniel Williams

When all my teachers tried to tell me
how the world truly is tried to fool me
When the preacher man did what he can
to prepare his man for faith in ghosts and
cannibalistic ceremony then
I stood around face a frown
looking down whispering Louie Louie Louie

When our world was green blue rivers flowed
no one knew what you’d been told of
microscopes and what they’d do to me
When patriots prayed and children played
poster wisdom meant not a thing to me then
I stood around face a frown
looking down humming Louie Louie Louie

When generals roared their whiskey poured
I spent hours at a meeting of the bored
When smoking fires of desire and roses of a bier
no longer meant a thing to me in winds of time
I quaffed the wine and burnt the forge truly then
stood I around face a frown
looking down singing Louie Louie Louie

When a circus came high wire walkers aflame
I watched as animals pranced in oversized pants
when the mini cars launched their goofing broods
and the fancy dudes pumped their oozing crudes
I wondered at life while orangutans danced then
stood around face a frown
feeling down and whimpered Louie Louie Louie


Daniel is a poet of the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite in California.

Four Poems • Lucinda Flanary

Southern Sunday Summer Dress
You sat on the steps
Of my front porch
In your Southern Sunday summer dress
Even though it was Autumn
And you were a Yankee now

Your legs spread just enough
To hold a bowl of pomegranate seeds
Your knees were bent
And your bare feet splayed out
In awkward angles

Your hair was up
And your inhibitions tumbled down
In your Southern Sunday summer dress
Your fingers were stained red
With sticky sweetness

You sat on the steps
Your knees bent just enough
For me to capture a kiss
On my front porch
With sticky sweetness

Your hair was up
With your knees bent
In awkward angles
Even though it was Autumn
Your inhibitions tumbled down

You were a Yankee now
With your lips stained red
You sat on the steps
In your Southern Sunday summer dress

On my front porch
With your bare feet splayed out
I captured a kiss
While your bowl tumbled down
With sticky sweetness
And it stained red
Your Southern Sunday summer dress


I remember the summer
That I followed you to the mountains
With my parasol and orange pekoe tea
You loved the scent of pine needles
And I loved the scent of you
It rained for days
With my charcoals
I captured your likeness
I chased shadows and light around your body
And captured the best of you
With my tongue
On the nights when I knew
That no canvas would contain you
The rains ended
All too soon
And I could only hold you with my gaze
After my arms stopped being enough


All that I can really be for you is
“There” when you want me
“There” when you need me
“There” when you have had enough of this world
Or when this world seems to have had its fill of you
You wander this earth a lone pirate
Not sure of what treasure it is that you seek
You walk with a map in hand
Looking for the place where X marks the spot
Some answer
That only leads to more questions
You dig and dig
Only to find another map
To another treasure
That doesn’t exist
And you are left with an empty trunk
To bury the latest body
Treasure Island is becoming a graveyard
But I am there
To hold your shovel
Even though it gets heavier each time
I stand
Sometimes in patience
Sometimes not
But I am still “there”
I would like to think of “there”
As the constant that you claim
When the temporaries in this world
Destroy your heart and distract your mind
I know the rewards for being “there”
“There” to hold you
“There” to encourage you
“There” to keep you sane
But I also know the realities of being “there”
Always “there”
Just “there”
And over “there”
And yet, it is where I choose to stay
Good thing that I am holding the shovel
I may need it someday


Extra Sauce
You came home with Taco Bell on your breath
She is nineteen and working the drive-thru
Sneaking you those free bean burritos
Like she knew a fat man's Viagra
You say that you don't love her
That you love me
It is just that with her
You can have a "normal go nowhere relationship"
As if that means that we may go somewhere someday
But baby, we've been going nowhere for two years
And I haven't felt normal in a long while
I can't keep being the part time wife
To a two-timing man
I know that you will try to hang on to me
Because you can't handle normal for long
Her hot sauce will soon lose its fire
And she will realize
Her potential to super size
Will only go so far
Then you will be looking
For my home cooking
And I won't be waiting at home
But don't you worry
There will always be another nineteen year old
In another drive-thru
And there is a Dairy Queen right next door


For many years, Lucinda L. Flanary was 
a retail clerk aspiring to be an artist,
then she realized that she was an artist aspiring 
NOT to be a retail clerk. She is a poet, a 
published short fiction writer, photographer, 
painter and crafter who believes in 
re-appropriating found objects and finding 
morbid beauty in the dilapidated and the abandoned.

Time-Travel Lag • Katherine L. Holmes

Time-travel lag
I should never have inquired after
I knew
                           he was not home
and sincere in saying
he could not make me happy

somewhere in the drop-off
the expanding other space
                             of dream the
blacktops and adumbrated alleys
city intimidations
third story hoverings
of the securely disheartened
traveling time in the dark.

I slept and his favorite season was autumn
his room wall-to-wall with leaves
I waded in them
                            went looking in

continuous Corinthianed galleries
where young men meandered monastically
their answers never-never:
                              “He’s not here now.”

Awakening in the clearing of catharsis.

The dream was of autumn when
it was my midsummer
                                calm and calamitous
and he didn’t tell me
                                 what was in his dream
about me
                                 that irrelevant spring.

Only that he wondered what it would take
                                  to upset me.


Katherine's poetry and short stories have appeared 
in more than 50 journals, most recently 
Wilderness House Literary Review, Blood Lotus, 
The Adirondack Review, Existere, and The Straddler. 
 In 2012, my short story collection, Curiosity Killed the S
phinx and Other Stories, was released 
by Hollywood Books International.

Hate • Frederick Pollack

I am not nice. I know the place
well. A featureless
concrete cube
about the size of the Kaaba
(implying no other comparison).
Around it, desert. The thing has its uses:
retains enough
of the awful day
to help you, if you cling to it,
through the awful night, and vice versa.
It will crumble over millennia but remain.
Conceals nothing, solid
concrete, has no mystery.
The mystery is everything –
everything –


Pollack is the uthor of two book-length narrative poems,
THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line
Press. He has other poems in print and online journals, and
is an adjunct professor of creative writing at George Washington

E-Mail with Variables • James B. Nicola

This is an X
an electronic X
but it too stands for more.

Just as this O—
you surely know
what X and O are for.

From here, they’re all
that I can give,
given the miles and lives.

But if you save
the X and print
it out—enlarge it first—

you can, if you wish,
place it on your lips,
cheek, forehead, anywhere.

And if a cheek
got wet a bit
it would be from the part of me that's there.


James B. Nicola's full-length collection, “Manhattan Plaza,”
will be out this summer.

Plastic • Andrew Jay Svedlow

She came to me in the evening,
As the clouds marked the moon,
I ran to catch its fading shine
And to smile that I was there still.

I don’t know the reason why,
Sated and clean I glide
To the farthest reach of time,
Still not knowing why you came.

Nothing was there
And I asked nothing in return
You came and left
Without a word.


Professor of Art  at the University of Northern 
Colorado, Dr. Svedlow was Dean of the College 
of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University 
and President of the New Hampshire Institute of 
Art in Manchester, NH. His poetry has appeared 
in numerous publications, most recently in the M
ore Issue of Paradigm Journal and Colorado Life 

Two Poems • Timothy Dyson


By one thirty in the afternoon
Linda Darnell had given herself
to the strange man with a cheap suit
And his flashbacks to a murdered waitress
had swum away on the whiskey river
What to do next, should she flee
back to Santa Rosa where everyone knows her
or should she stay, help him
clear himself from the murder rap
She could marry him,
she could be next—God helps the loyal,

those who stand by, who take
the brow-beating by the gruff detective
And Darnell was no stoolie
even after the safe deposit box
had been emptied, nothing left except
a blank piece of note paper
with a thank you crudely printed
in a gawkish shade of lipstick—

Outside Pop's joint, the smell of java
wafts down the back-lot avenue
as Darnell, wearing only a raincoat,
walks into the mist, smiling, alone
There is one small burst of laughter



A particular type of film: even in full daylight
on the beach at Barnstable, they made the bones
look like ghastly black spokes. And everybody
wears overcoats, hats and thick eyebrows.
Even, the coffee at Marie's lunceonette
seemed suspicious. Margie's hips moved
invitingly; it took the cops a while to figure
her out. The nervous glance, the quick turn
of the head when the phone rang in the wooden
booth. They already know she's involved.
Unlike some we know, the lead detective
is young, abrupt and polite. Less-than dogged
pursuit is in order. After all, the young white
female victim was a prostitute. There are eighty-six
names in the proverbial little black book.
From doctors to doormen, she met society's
expectations. We must not think ill of the dead.
The guy that killed her was too obvious.
Halfway through the flick, we know
he's going to get what she did not deserve.


Dyson is a retired HR professional, living in southeast 
Pennsylvania with his beautiful spouse. Many poems 
published in a variety of publications. Favorite poets are 
Elizabeth Bishop and Hayden Carruth.

This is the Bowery of 1938 • Herbert Woodward Martin

This is a collection of triplets, three men framed in the
doorway of a closed department store. In the windows there
are three ceiling lamps hung with light from another century.
For the sake of time these men are not friends,
nor neighbors, otherwise why call them triplets?
They are blessed to be dressed alike: three caps, shirts and
trousers and three sets of shoes, not hand-me-downs,
not terribly worn, so, they must retain some warmth.
Their trousers are unable to brace or restrain the troubling wind.
They keep their heads bowed in the presence of circumstance.

Copyright Lucy Ashjian Estate

Herbert Woodward Martin is a prize-winning 
poet and performer, an actor and playwright, 
a singer and opera librettist, a professor, 
and a scholar. He has published four 
volumes of poetry and his work has 
appeared in various anthologies. Martin 
is also an accomplished actor and director. 
His main research interest has been Paul 
Laurence Dunbar a late-nineteenth century 
African American poet.

Twos • Tendai Mwanaka



Tendai has published over 250 short stories, essays, memoirs,
poems and photographic/visual art in over 150 magazines, journals, and
anthologies in the US  UK, Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe, India , 
Mexico, Kenya, Cameroon, Italy,Ghana, Uganda, France, Zambia, 
Nigeria, Spain, Romania, Cyprus, Australia and New Zealand.

The Fictitious Glow of Distant Stars • Howie Good

We enter
the castle together,
& all autumn
& into winter
your mouth
is a garden

covered with lions
& strutting
tuba players,

& that’s why
festival lights
go on in the villages
& end times
lie just beyond
our hearing,

long & dark
& giggling


Howie needs no introduction to RBR readers.

Side A • Mesmerine Adwalla


Mesmerine Adwalla grew up in Belfast, Ireland, but
moved at a young age to Istanbul. She attended college in
Turkey, but has alsoc ompleted a graduate level
degree through Peru State (Nebraska). Her photographs
have appeared in galleries in seven countries

Selected Jazz Haiku • Mark Jones

languorous swing
of summertime in november—
hush, don’t you cry


parker's moose the mooche,
sad tribute to a dealer
over rhythm changes


paul smith trio
playing blues for alice,
devout musicians all


résumé of art tatum:
piano virtuoso,
dream crusher


if you had not been
mean to me
I wouldn't sing this song


chords hard as granite,
the bedrock of a question:
so what?


and now the weather:
pastorius and zawinul
where late the sweet bird sang


just one volume
in this library of babel
tells the jazz story


Mark Jones is an English professor at Trinity 
Christian College, where he teaches a range 
of subjects including Shakespeare and 
linguistics. As a writing teacher and amateur 
jazz pianist, he is fascinated by improvisation 
in music and in other forms of composition. 
 His work has appeared or is forthcoming in 
Chrysanthemum, Haiku Journal, Pennsylvania 
Literary Journal, and Tenth Muse.

At What Café Did You Ask What Dress I’d Be Wearing • Lyn Lifshin

or was it you,
was it casual,
the dress?
After months dark as
the lakes behind the
black horse’s eyes,
the glass of lost beauty,
daze of knowing
what is now
is what I lived for
and still die of memory,
of the You on the brown couch,
how you came to me already damaged,
and how the way
something starts to bloom
too soon, and snow punishing it:
silence, baby.
Don’t look for another café.
There is none.
There is nothing.


Lifshin has published more than 120 books and chapbooks.

I Would Wait • John McKernan

Until the midnight church bell
Swallowed the County Hospital in Omaha

To wheel up a gurney
To the room with its corpse
To carry down to the morgue

The silence
And the shadows
Punched the corners hard
I never said a word to anyone

When that phone rang I shivered
Closed the book on Marilyn Monroe
I was reading and set it on top of a Bible
I always enjoyed hearing
Orpheus & Dionysius whistle

Before they sang about sex or love


John McKernan – who grew up in Omaha Nebraska – 
is now a retired comma herder after teaching 
41 years at Marshall University. He lives – 
mostly – in West Virginia where he edits 
ABZ Press. His most recent book is a selected poems 
Resurrection of the Dust. He has published poems 
in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, 
The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, 
The Journal, Antioch Review, Guernica, Field 
and many other magazines.

Conviction • Philip Kobylarz

It's as sincere as anything signed
Sincerely, & as real as blonde hair
on beautiful southern California mothers-
sex goddesses comfortable with children.
It's as painless as a thumb gashed open:
red puppet strings of muscle inside.
It's as serious as cancer; as hot as a dog
in heat; as wet as a toilet's constant puddle
of piss. It promises to satiate hunger
as boxes do in grocery stores- pretty
pictures of fake food made by nobodies.
It's as wonderful as a bright sun-shining day
and the songs of energy and madness the tv
and radio play, melodies flowing through
cities full of innocent bystanders while they
meander through days paved into roads,
hospitals, hamburger joints, one-stop
photo shops ( to purchase evidence),
behind saloon-like doors of the video place
into you-know-where just to look at the covers,
then to go back home to devise a meal, some
comfort, maybe a little music, a cup of tea,
the release of sleep. It's as simple as pie,
as red as a liar's tongue, as raw as a bowl
of peeled onions. It's a sudden as a hand
waving hi, a kiss in the elevator, a phone call
as an obituary's proof, as thunder, an early
evening's falling star, or any letter signed



Phillip has work in or forthcoming in Connecticut Review, 
Basalt, Santa Fe Literary Review, New American 
Writing, Poetry Salzburg Review and has appeared in 
Best American Poetry. His book, Rues, was recently 
published by Blue Light Press of San Francisco, and his collection of 
fiction, Now Leaving Nowheresville and book length essay 
Nearest Istanbul are forthcoming.

O’Keefe Paints the Desert • Martin Willits

Each morning, O’Keefe
would wake the cliffs
with the color of rivers

painting with glue
and colored sand
only with ribs

wearing a painter’s smock
climbing a scaffolding
to get a better look

each day, light changes
cliffs, become new shapes,
new colors, new silences

glue to the ribs
condensed light
upon light upon light

a woman
in such vastness
could find herself

a dry
river bed


Martin is the author of one of the most beloved
RBR poems ever. Probably much more importantly,
he has 6 full-length collections including contest winner
"Searching For What Is Not There" (Hiraeth Press, 2013)
and over 20 chapbooks of poetry including contest winner
"William Blake, Not Blessed Angel But Restless Man"
(Red Ochre Press, 2014)

Starbucks, After Closing • Larry Thomas

The wafts of freshly brewed coffee
have unraveled in air
reeking of the sanitizing agent
lavished on floors and countertops.

The hushed, intermingled voices
have evaporated: closing
deals of commerce; shoring up
the fragile walls of friendship;

gracing the pink snifters
of lovers’ ears with the brandy
of sweet nothings. But the beans
remain, steeped and expectant

in their glossy, brightly colored
sacks, each bean a dark, little
cottage crowded with its cabin-
fevered shut-in of caffeine.


Timberline Press (Fulton, MO) brought out Larry's 
first collection of poetry, The Lighthouse Keeper, 
in early 2001. He has published ten additional full-length 
collections of poems, several of which have received 
prizes and awards, including two Texas Review 
Poetry Prizes (2001 and 2004), the 2003 Western 
Heritage Award (National Cowboy & Western 
Heritage Museum), and the 2004 Violet Crown 
Book Award (Writers’ League of Texas). His poetry 
has also been nominated for the 2007 Poets’ Prize 
(West Chester University/Nicholas Roerich Museum), 
five Pushcart Prizes, a Best of the Net award, 
and has received six Spur Award Finalist citations from 
Western Writers of America. His Larry D. Thomas: 
New and Selected Poems (TCU Press, 2008) 
was short-listed for the coveted National Book Award.

Stealing Capote’s Ashes • Amy Pence

Plantain leaves splash the large dark around
                              your Truman Capote.
He’s 21, eyes hardly post-war—
                              seductive instead. A Modern—not
the Truman of those Alabama
                              summers when you met
under crape myrtles, palms
                              dirty with secrets, a childhood
scouting your interior life:
                              shouldered chinaberry tree, compass
under leaf-mold, petals from camellias
                              browning with scent, creasing them
across each other’s nipples. Mortal
                              wounds and the mortality
he pretended, fake-falling
                              into a fitful mosquito sleep.
In your future you’ll talk your Tru
                              down in the dark—skittery, speed-
laced. He rides shotgun into
                              the Hollywood Hills
cosseted by swans: Babe Paley, Lee Radziwill.
                              Until one day he’ll answer
from a death no longer pretense:
                              the unsugared Capote
the one who told off Frost,
                              got fired. Every few years, you steal
his urn and the ash of who he was
                              goes missing: form / formless,
wilding a wild beauty. You miss that t-shirt lonesome
                              replenishing like a sore.


Amy Pence authored the poetry collections Armor,
Amour (Ninebark Press, 2012) and The Decadent
Lovely (Main Street Rag, 2010). Her fiction appears
in Silk Road, Storyglossia, and Red Fez. She’s
published interviews, reviews, and non-fiction in
The Conversant, Colorado Review, The Writer’s
Chronicle, and Poets & Writers. In 2014, she
won the Claire Keyes Poetry Award from Soundings

Favorite First Lines • Allie Marini Batts

So smudge me out, a hum his ear,
Jack-and-ginger drunk, dizzy cold
swaying in the parking lot.

This is the only story I know:
Hangover breakfast—aspirin and black coffee
on the fly—walk-of-shaming last night’s heels back home.

I rose from bed a watering hole, the opening line to a story
I don’t know yet—Why would I smudge you out, he said,
when I can’t even see your edges?

So smudge me out, a hum his ear; this is the only story I know.
I rose from bed a watering hole: this opening line.


Allie Marini Batts holds degrees from both Antioch 
University of Los Angeles and New College of 
Florida, meaning she can explain deconstructionism, 
but cannot perform simple math. Her work has 
been a finalist for Best of the Net and nominated 
for the Pushcart Prize. She is managing editor 
for the NonBinary Review of Zoetic Press, and 
has previously served on the masthead for Lunch 
Ticket, Spry Literary Journal, The Weekenders 
Magazine, Mojave River Review, and The 
Bookshelf Bombshells. Allie is the author of 
the poetry chapbooks, "You Might Curse Before 
You Bless" (ELJ Publications, 2013) "Unmade 
& Other Poems," (Beautysleep Press, 2013) 
and "This Is How We End" (forthcoming 2014, 

Two Poems • Aimee Nicole

The Red Sox

It never matters how angry, how disappointed
we are watching the Red Sox lose.
The next morning, we pull that
red and blue sweatshirt over our heads
and sport a goofy grin like it’s the morning after
the best sex of our lives.


Rhode Island

Living in Rhode Island, we
grow up in glass houses.
Our neighbors see the dirty
laundry strewn across the floor,
the dishes caked with mold
staking like hotcakes in the sink.
Our parents won’t talk to us about
sex because they are too busy or too
Italian or too grossed out to watch
a Tampax commercial -- they grunt
and change the channel quickly
or leave the room for another beer.
We are like mice, trapped on the
same roads, in the same house, on
the same couch as the sun rises and
We watch the channel 10 news at 5
or 6:30 like a 15 year old teenager
watches free porn -- we are addicted.
To the news, to the drama, to the chaos.
We cling to it desperately as if it is reality
TV. (And yet, isn’t it the most genuine
reality TV program aired today?)
Our beady eyes like magnets to scandal.
Because without the drugs we used to
take and the sex we used to make, all we have
is the normalcy we fake. And one stone
thrown at our glass house will shatter it all.


In addition to appearing earlier in RBR
Aimee has work in or appearing soon in
Psychic Meatloaf and Petrichor Review.

Riding Home With My Wife on Greyhound, On Valentines Day • Tim Suermondt

I want to say it could be worse,
but I realize I could say this about anything.

Sometimes the world is a burden—
Sometimes it’s lighter than grace itself.

My wife is asleep, her head on my shoulder
and her crossed legs in jeans against mine.

I want to say it’s not always as bad as I think.


Tim Suermondt is the author of two full-length 
collections: TRYING TO HELP THE
ELEPHANT MAN DANCE ( The Backwaters 
Press, 2007 ) and JUST BEAUTIFUL from
New York Quarterly Books, 2010. He has 
published poems in Poetry, The Georgia Review,
Blackbird, Able Muse, Prairie Schooner, 
PANK, Bellevue Literary Review, Stand Magazine
(U.K.), and has poems forthcoming in december 
magazine, Plume Poetry Journal and North Dakota 
Quarterly, among others. After many years in 
Queens and Brooklyn, he has moved to Cambridge 
with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

Two Photos • Winston Thule




Winston Thule is a rancher from Colorado.

Dancer • Spider Thorndal



Spider Thorndal has published his photos 
and poetry widely. He is a native of Baltimore, Maryland,
where he lives with his wife and daughter.
"Dancer" was taken near Waldport, Oregon.

Blanks • JW Drake


After the beginnings and well
before the ends I'm out
of things. Even then my
marks are made imperfectly
apart, not really fitted to
the works.

Making them outside the plans I
steal my places, taking spaces left
or skipped in thoughtful hurry; a
blotch of blue dabbed here,
an eye made more to glare, the
black iron ring pulled back a

bit to show the scar.


JW Drake lives and writes poetry and other things
in North Carolina. He has had work published in
"Nefarious Ballerina," "Red Ochre Press," "Line Zero,"
and other small but extremely intelligent printed and

Listless • Thomas Piekarski

Constant splendor here this spring,
bluebells and purple wisteria framing
my view of a passive Pacific
from gentrified Carmel beach.

Soothing cobalt, aqua and crisp
alexandrite tidal waters squiggle
in milky ocean foam.

Life’s broad swelter lionized:
hours torqued, smelted heart,
sulfur eyes.

I’m genuinely tempted to assimilate
this craggy bay beside a bigger bay
despite no clue of local legends
snow white Doris Day
or hair-trigger Eastwood flaunting
his infamous deadly Magnum.

In the distance to my right
a peninsula on which Spyglass Hill
golf course lances and spits,
salamander aflame.

And off to my immediate left
that wily promontory Point Lobos
watches Lilith list amongst
a throng of sail boats.


Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California
State Poetry Quarterly. His poetry and interviews have a
ppeared in Nimrod, Portland Review, Kestrel, Cream
City Review, Poetry Salzburg, Boston Poetry Magazine,
Gertrude, The Bacon Review, and many others. He has
published a travel guide, Best Choices In Northern
California, and Time Lines, a book of poems. He lives
in Marina, California.

Amarillo • Misty Petrocelli


Outside South Vienna, Ohio • Barry Yeoman

Twenty years
in an apartment
on a country road

not far from the interstate.
A steady monotonous flow
of unknown souls

eastbound westbound
passing each night
in cars and rigs

following one another
across the icy flats
like slow tracers

headlights passing
tail-lights leaving
24/7 the same sounds

hypnotizing the night.
Imagine these
opposite processions

across a continent.
How many workers
in cities like

Detroit and Cleveland
the untold number
of hours

of rawboned labor
to keep the line moving
from coast to coast?

A string of metal
and humanity
carrying ruptured lives

of truckers and lovers
by the millions

the dark landscape
a constant
carbon-burning murmur.

Each passing night
an accumulation of things
we cant quite get over.


Barry Yeoman was educated at Bowling Green 
State Univ., The Univ. of Cincinnati, and 
The McGregor School of Antioch Univ., 
in creative writing, world classics, and the 
humanities. He is originally from Springfield, 
Ohio and lives currently in London, Ohio. 
His work has appeared, or is forthcoming 
in Red Booth Review, Futures Trading, 
Danse Macabre, Harbinger Asylum, 
Red Fez and The Wayfarer.

Remember • Stanley Galloway

Some thought the former mission ought to be abandoned,
others thought it an essential stand
opposing Santa Anna.

And so the rabble stood its ground
as well as any party taking shots
of Mexican tequila.

Sincerity is not a measure of good judgment
nor is right the arbiter of triumph --
a person can be worth his salt and tumble on the rocks.

Sometimes persistence is the only virtue I possess
and though I fail, no limelight on me now,
I have persevered.


Stan Galloway teaches English at Bridgewater College in
Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. He was nominated for the
Pushcart Prize in 2013 and Best of the Net in 2011 and
2012. His collection Just Married (Unbound Content, 2013)
focuses on early relationship lessons from the point of
view of a new groom. His chapbook Abraham (Sierra Delta
Press, 2012) looks at the life of the biblical Abra(ha)m
and the perplexities of his experience. A Bird’s Life
(Books on Blog, 2012) gathers poetic observations about,
and sometimes from the point of view of, various
feathered creatures. He has had more than 100 other
poems published (in such places as Boston Literary
Magazine, Contemporary World Literature, Muddy River
Poetry Review, Red Booth Review, and vox poetica) and
has also written a book of literary criticism, The
Teenage Tarzan (McFarland, 2010). He has been featured
at the Niagara Literary Arts Festival (St. Catherine’s,
ON) and the Turner Cassity Literary Festival
(Douglasville, GA). He has a determined interest
in the production and influence of poetry around the globe.

Charles • Nels Hanson

Sometimes the swinging kitchen door
shut and scent of cigarette and coffee,
bacon and eggs frying seeped out to say

Charles was there. Sometimes the woman
keeping us would step out, door closed
quick behind her. Charles is here. You kids

go outside to play. And later the hooked
door was open, air bright again, window
lifted to late breeze. Is Charles still here?

No, Charles isn’t here. Charles went away?
Yes, he’s gone. Where to? Where he goes.
Where’s that? I don’t know where Charles

stays. Will he come back again? I don’t
know. Maybe. Tonight? No. Tomorrow?
I don’t know when. We never saw Charles’

face, just high-topped shoe, door closing,
hand on plastic tablecloth, stained fingers
holding cigarette. Maybe we passed him

between her fenced yard and park swing
and slide before our mother came for us.
We never knew if Charles walked past at

Paul’s corner grocery store, or March day
along our narrow country road we waited
for the bus more yellow than morning sun.

The man didn’t break stride or hesitate,
dropping a ringing Prince Albert tin on
asphalt – empty can I kept when he was

gone – one hand rolling last smoke, with
thumbnail striking wooden match, tossing
live flame over shoulder, never turning to

notice us. Charles, with oiled laced boots,
neat pipe of bedroll across his back, olive
felt hat, wide brim? We watched him go

into a white distance until one second he
dissolved, invisible as God. On summer
early evenings I imagined Charles cross

through walnut’s shade, climb back steps,
pause as if to whisper a secret, now think
better, not tapping at the dark screen door.


Nels Hanson’s fiction received the San Francisco 
Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award, Pushcart 
Prize nominations in 2010, 12, and 2014, and has 
appeared in Antioch Review, Black Warrior 
Review, Southeast Review and other journals. 
Poems appeared in Word Riot, Oklahoma 
Review, Pavilion, and other magazines, and 
are in press at Pacific Review, Carnival, 
Sharkpack Review Annual, NonBinary 
Review, The Straddler, Dark Matter 
Review, and The Mad Hatter's Review. 
Poems in Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine 
and Citron Review have been nominated for 
2014 Pushcart Prizes.

Stranded Between Destinations • Bill Wolak

Now only sympathetic embraces
and comforting words sustain you.
Drunkenness can’t relieve such loss.
Sleep only postpones it.
You’re a traveler stranded
between destinations.
You can neither settle
where you’ve been dropped off,
nor embark for the next stop.
You trudge like someone exhausted,
as if you’ve just recovered from a fever.
Your suitcase is far too heavy,
your currency useless.
Be patient as salt and watch
how time mixes perfume and ashes.


Bill Wolak has just published his tenth book 
of poetry entitled The Lover’s Body with 
Cross-Cultural Communications. 
Recently, he was a featured poet at 
The Hyderabad Literary Festival. Mr. 
Wolak teaches Creative Writing at William 
Paterson University in New Jersey.

April • Catherine Krause

The next day is always hard,
remembering chocolate pie
and the poem's meaning,
trying not to lose your gifts:

a birthday suit extension,
a new morning gown,
a top-heavy woman's top,
lukewarm coffee,
cut your hand shaving.

The computer is a tool
bred out from the earth
for higher purposes than
using the desire to lose.


Catherine B. Krause is a poet, occasional 
publisher of literary journals and vegan 
Esperanto-speaking Linux user.

Two Photos • Jeffrey Alfier

Facing North at Redondo Beach
Among the Scavengers


Jeffrey Alfier is winner of the 2014 Kithara 
Book Prize for his poetry collection, Idyll 
for a Vanishing River (Glass Lyre Press, 2013). 
He is also author of The Wolf Yearling 
(Silver Birch Press) and Terminal Island: 
Los Angeles Poems (Night Ballet Press, 
forthcoming). His recent work has
 appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, 
Arkansas Review and New York Quarterly. 
He is founder and co-editor of San Pedro River Review. 
He first appeared in Red Booth Review in 2000.

Dolly and the Tardigrades • Alexa Mergen

When I used to hear Great Smoky Mountains
I’d think on Dolly Parton, ageless idol, my blue bird
of happiness in her coat of many colors
riding on a peace train.

Now I’ve seen a sketch of tardigrades,
dot-sized creatures found in only those mountains,
those same ones Dolly’s from.

Dolly, do you wonder as you sing, voice
like a stream over sun-spotted rock,
of the sweet-faced life within a water drop
splashed over and pooled on a grain of bank sand?

Little water bears, do you hear Dolly on her barefoot mossy walks,
hilly music drifting like streamy clouds? Do you cluster in a water-film world
hum hum hum along and nod your tiny heads?


Alexa Mergen's poems are forthcoming in Nimrod and 
Virginia Quarterly Review. She’s been a finalist 
in the Loft’s Speakeasy Prize and her poem 
“Distance,” published in Solo Novo, was a 
clmp Taste Test selection. Her articles on 
poetry appear in Front Porch, HerCircle 
and Passages North. She edits the blog 
Yoga Stanza and leads workshops that 
combine poetry, meditation and movement.

Trinkets • Raud Kennedy

That’ll make me happy,
Or, they’ll make me complete.
I think I want something
Or I want to be with someone,
But when I get it I want something else
And it ends up going to Goodwill
Or we split up and go our separate ways.
The repetition has revealed the pattern.
Now I don’t know what I want
And don’t trust my desires
To be anything more than distractions
Until the next shiny bobble shimmers by.


Raud Kennedy is a writer and dog trainer in Portland, Oregon

Staying Gold • Jacqueline Jules

to everyday irritants,
gold doesn’t
chemically react
like I do
when corrosive words
touch my surface.
Gold remains untarnished
amidst tailpipe discharge
and tears.

Ponyboy was advised to stay gold
while Robert Frost warned
it was too hard a hue to hold.

Me, I’d like to be
just a bit more resistant—
to avoid turning green
like that tall copper lady with the torch
when exposed to ordinary air.


Jules is the author of the poetry chapbooks Field Trip to
the Museum published by Finishing Line Press and
Stronger Than Cleopatra, forthcoming by ELJ Publications.
Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications including
Future Cycle, Inkwell, Potomac Review, Soundings Review,
Imitation Fruit, Minimus, Calyx, Connecticut River Review,
and Pirene's Fountain. She is also the author of two dozen
books for young readers including the Zapato Power series,
No English, Sarah Laughs, and Never Say a Mean Word Again.

What the Fat Man Ate • Michael Mark

He looked over the menu, deciding
between comfort and understanding.

He was also in the mood for a little soothing, too.

The waitress was in a hurry.
He spoke slowly to keep her around.

He would have an appetizer of his mother’s hugs and
asked if they had any deep listening today,
something like
his best friend did in college?

With her chewed pen she tapped on the item.
He would have that then.

When she asked if he wanted to try
one of their homemade soups,
how could he resist his grandmother's kindness,
her wrinkled smile, nothing in the world was like that,

but just a cup.

For his main course, he went with his happy marriage,
before two years ago
when something irreversible happened.

He selected forgiveness as one of his two sides
and the other was the warmth
of his pastor’s voice.
And a bottle of forgetfulness to float him away
from his anger and loneliness.

When his plates were empty, he was not yet full.

His eyes wandered over
to what the other diners were having.
He so much wanted to have their laughter,
and their memories looked good, too.

The waitress lifted away some plates and asked
if he saved room for some of the world’s best desserts.
He had a tough choice but went with squeezes
from his children and puppy kisses.

At the register he grabbed a foiled
pat on the back.
Then stepped out into the empty night.


Michael Mark writes to break things so he can
look in and be further mystified. He is the author
of two books of fiction, Toba and At the Hands of
a Thief (Atheneum). His poetry has appeared and is s
cheduled to appear in Angle Journal, Awakening
Consciousness Magazine, Dead Snakes, Elephant
Journal, Empty Mirror, Everyday Poets, Forge
Journal, The Lake, OutsideIn Magazine, Scapegoat,
Red Paint Hill, The New York Times, 2014 San
Diego Poetry Annual, UPAYA, The Wayfarer,
as well as other nice places.

Bike Shadows • Fabio Sassi


Fabio Sassi makes acrylics with the stencil technique.
He uses tiny objects and what is hidden, discarded or
considered to have no worth by the mainstream. Fabio
lives and works in Bologna, Italy. His work can be

9am to Noon • Tobi Cogswell

People touch her.
They pet her and pat her.
Sometimes they rub
the swelling globe of her
baby-to-be, sometimes
they don’t even know her.
Only once at a conference did she
want to be touched by someone
she didn’t know.

She followed a man with her eyes,
for three days she watched as his charisma
filled the room, knew where he was,
knew when to have a brandy
in the bar—this was two years ago.
She remembers the moment
they passed in the aisle, he slid his finger
down the side of her hand, kept on walking.
They have not been in the same places since.

What would have changed if she’d
followed him? 9am to noon,
the time between getting sick,
and getting sick again.
Every day she is punished,
and touched. Don’t touch her.

Ginger ale,
candied ginger,
ginger colored hair,
spiral of hair on a newborn’s back,
newborn neediness,
needing the slight touch of his finger,
still thinking about the aisle dance.
What would have changed if she’d


Tobi Cogswell is a multiple Pushcart nominee
and a Best of the Net nominee. Credits
include or are forthcoming in various journals
in the US, UK, Sweden and Australia. In 2012 and
2013 she was short-listed for the Fermoy International
Poetry Festival. In 2013 she received Honorable Mention
for the Rachel Sherwood Poetry Prize. Her sixth and
latest chapbook is “Lapses & Absences”, (Blue Horse Press).
She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review.

Cinquain Sequence: Alaska • Neal Whitman

the Mendenhall
fragrant fluffy clover
milky white “love-me-love-me-nots”

the stars grow pale
clocks were set back one hour
our ship slides into Ketchikan
on time

black slate
Haida raven
one abalone eye
her pendant against a white blouse

deeply carved poles
stand with living cedars
a story as sharp as a knife

ice floes
instead of clouds
we each see what we see
a duck or is that a mushroom?

floats on a lake
a golf course sits on it
local rule is to let the bears
play through


Neal Whitman lives in Pacific Grove, California,
with his wife, Elaine. Both volunteer for poet
Robinson Jeffers Tor House in Carmel and for the
Hospice of the Central Coast. Neal writes to be
heard: in recital, he combines his poetry with
Elaine's Native American flute. He also writes
to be read and has over 300 Western form and
400 Japanese form poems in publication.

Evolution’s Cook • Brad Garber

When you bring everything together
mix it up, it turns gray, this a child’s
lesson in color. “Mud” is what it is
called and you try not to make it.

Turn life loose on itself and it runs
into mud flowing in all directions
blotting out the colors of unique
distinct and beautiful of worlds.

A flurry of anything distracts stuff
turning air to white or black, a tactic
until it becomes inseparable and one
component loses its identity forever.

Today a worm, tomorrow a new plant
snakes in forbidden places and fungus
everything circling the single globe
the one canvas upon which we write.

And, tonight, I am making soup
mixing flavors, trying not to make mud.


Brad lives and writes in the Great Northwest.
He fills his home with art, music, photography,
plants, rocks, bones, books and love. He has
published poetry in Cream City Review, Alchemy,
Fireweed, Mercury, Uphook Press, Front Range
Review, theNewerYork, Generations Literary Journal,
Flowers & Vortexes, Dead Flowers, Dark Matter
Journal, Gambling the Aisle, The Whirlwind
Review, Edge, Diversion Press, Unshod Quills,
Meat for Tea, Great Weather for Media, The
Meadow, Shuf Poetry, Post Poetry Magazine,
Foliate Oak Literary Journal, Temenos, Hoot
& Hare, The Ilanot Review, Third Wednesday,
And/Or, Sugar Mule, Embodied Effigies, River
& South Review, Off the Coast, Rockhurst Review,
Gravel Literary Review, Livid Squid Literary
Journal, 100 Word Story, The Muse – An International
Journal of Poetry, South 85, Emerge Literary
Journal, Stonecoast Review, Brickplight, Ray’s
Road Review, New Plains Review, The Round Up,
Blast Furnace, Squalorly, Round Up Magazine,
BASED, Cactus Heart Journal, Ikleftiko, Red Savina
Review, Fukushima, Prick of the Spindle, Penduline
Press, Eunoia Review, and other quality publications.
Nominee: 2013 Pushcart Prize for poem, “Where We
May Be Found.”

How I Feel • Charles D. Tarlton

with this finger I propose digging under
the skin to make a poem

out of blood and torn tissue, wrench out globs
of me and spread them

on paper, paint simple letters in the stain
like a wild child

and say the things most needing to be said:
I would rather live

an imbecile not knowing the how or why
of anything,

than die.


Charles is a retired university professor from NY
now living in San Francisco.

Dead End • Marc Swan

He knows places
I held close—a flame
ignited illuminating
a path through
those early years:
streets with names
I barely recall
leading to intimate
venues I haunted
in the seventies,
some of the players
still on the heart
worn highway, voices
craggy, etched
with time. Light
is bright
in this place in my
head enlivened
by images conjured
up by this
odd character
in front of me—
thinning gray hair,
deep-seated eyes,
thatch of unruly
chin whiskers like
a macho cabrío
or a poor rendition
of Colonel Sanders.
Night wears
down to a thin coat,
air outside chilled
in late autumn.
An empty wine
bottle, dirty plates,
there may be
more to say, but
once again the clock
won’t turn back.


Marc Swan lives in Portland Maine, poems coming 
out this year in Cordite, Cold Mountain Review, 
Words & Images, and The Echo Room, among others. 
Simple Distraction, a collection of his poems from 
1989 to 2009, was published in 2009 by tall-lighthouse 
in London England. He recently left the regular 
work-a-day to focus on writing, travel and music, 
not necessarily in that order.

Exchange Between Two Students Concerning the Death of Frank McCourt • Thomas Cochran

Boy: I heard about that, yeah. Too bad.

Girl: Yeah, it is.


Boy: Cancer, right?

Girl: I think so, yeah.

Boy: Man.

Girl: Yeah.


Boy: How old was he anyway?

Girl: Seventy-something, I’m pretty sure.

Boy: Okay then. Normal lifespan.

(A longer pause)

Boy: I guess he’s the ashes now.

Girl: Yeah.


Girl: It’s just a matter of time.


Thomas Cochran was raised in Haynesville, 
Louisiana. His work includes the novels 
Roughnecks (Harcourt) and Running the Dogs 
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux). The former was 
a National Book Award for Young People’s 
Literature nominee. Non-fiction and poetry 
have appeared under his name in Oxford 
American, Rattle, Gray’s Sporting Journal, 
and other publications. He currently lives 
with his wife on some acres in rural northwest Arkansas.

Yet • Charles Rammelkamp

Your fear is that one day
you’ll do something inappropriate,
maybe fondle a stranger’s ass
because you think
she’s sending signals;
you, a guy in his sixties,
too young to claim senility,
but too old for – for what?

Or take the cutie next door,
a woman thirty-five years your junior.
Maybe it will just be staring too long,
too longingly,
when she bends over in her garden,
trowel in hand.
She’ll catch you trying to peek
into the space where her t-shirt falls away.
You’ll turn your gaze,
but too late.

From then on she and her husband
will refer to you as “the perv,”
the guy they’ll warn their kids about
when they start a family –
if they don’t decide to move away first.

Here they come now.
“Hi, Pam. Hi, Brian.”

They look your way, wave,
don’t suspect a thing, yet.


Charles Rammelkamp lives in Baltimore. His latest book,
Fusen Bakudan (“Balloon Bombs” in Japanese), was
published in 2012 by Time Being Books. It’s a
collection of monologues involving missionaries in
a leper colony in Vietnam during the war. A chapbook,
Mixed Signals, will be published by Finishing Line
Press later this year. Charles edits an online
literary journal called The Potomac.

Farsightedness • Michael Estabrook

Forgot my eyeglasses again
that guy looks like Cary Grant
or Uncle Johnny before he got sick
with Lou Gehrig’s disease
rhubarb pies? nobody eats rhubarb pies
I fooled Todd once he thought
I was playing amazing harmonica
it was so silly too many beers was all
almost forgot to feed the fish again
the bus took forever going up Madison
Alan was getting antsy and angry
I didn’t mind it was fun looking at the people
why didn’t Alan look at them too?
George and I would walk Hartz Lane
all the way to 2 Guys From Harrison
drive-in movies were great weren’t they
one time we snuck Pat and Larry in in the trunk
I was jealous when she’d dance with Dick
he had such long arms and couldn’t stop staring
Doc Johnson took us up once in his airplane
Pat got sick such a drab day for photographs
like channeling ghosts the doc said
Johnny was so crazy about Lois he had photos
of her taped to the dash of his new GTO
Kerry Todd Michael Billy Linda Grammy would say
trying to land on the correct name
in the Staten Island Zoo the sun bear
paced back and forth in perpetuum
flamingos a 2-headed turtle and otters
keep your hands off her she’s my girl
and he did of course he did I was a weightlifter
hyperopia is the medical term for farsightedness
whereby distant objects
are seen clearly close objects are not


Michael Estabrook is a recently retired baby 
boomer poet freed finally after working 40 
years for “The Man” and sometimes “The 
Woman.” No more useless meetings under 
florescent lights in stuffy windowless rooms. 
Now he’s able to devote serious time to making 
better poems when he’s not, of course, trying 
to satisfy his wife’s legendary Honey-Do List.