Two Poems • A.J. Huffman

Midnight Waves

ripple like darkened rainbows, roll
along moonlit breath, glow in shades
of shadowing gray. The sparkle
is mesmerizing, I cannot blink
away the steady rhythm of inching tide
as it slowly devours the pallid gold
of sleeping sand.



It makes sense
you would want me
to. I am that which you cannot
punish. My skin – mental and
physical – is fashionably calloused.
Your razors are irrelevant, and do not scare
me. I am already scarred.
Your hands grow knives,
scissors, try again
to carve me (into something less
desirable?). Each shatters in turn
to my shrug. My laughter haunts
you. Hollow
echoes force you to cower, cover
your ears to the truth I live by:
if it is not broken, it is not
breakable . .

Hole • Philip Wolff

I’m searching the sky
(as I do)
for hints of dull rain
or that beautiful blue
or scents of her pie --
when I step into what must be a deep
in the earth at my feet.
And I fall for so long --
light fading above,
dark thick at my toes --
and touch down
in a place neither blue,
nor rain,
nor, for that matter, ground.

Bad News For Bunny • 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

The Girl From Hazard, Ky • Charlene Taylor

I reluctantly walk in your room
to repair the damage
but I’m left
to pick up the pieces
of trash and scattered ashes
loose threads etched in the floor.
A kaleidoscope of abandoned fragments.

I think of the paint on your jeans and
markers without caps
how you’d stomp around the room
like a kid / I knew you were happy
on one toe to pirouette down the hall
your arms up to hug the ghost that led you
heel toe spin – heel toe spin again
and again until you spill your high,
stumbling with a smile.
A kaleidoscope of abandon fragments.

A clean void paints a silhouette where your dresser was
and I can taste the antique grime that caked its mirror.
The moment I saw the boxes
I became the candle wax on the tv,
the cat piss snuggled on your pillow.
I became the mold in the coffee pot,
the starved ball python that stunk
for a week – until you noticed.
Trash and scattered ashes.

When your smirk mimicked my pain
I became the flame reflected in your cold eyes,
the memory of the heat they once held –
Extinguished by the smoke you blew in my face.
The weight of your memory
latches on to my heavy heart –
The harder I fight
the deeper I sink
into the sand carpet.

Loose threads etched in the floor.
A clean void paints a silhouette where your dresser was
and I can taste the antique grime that caked its mirror.
Even vanity refused your reflection.

Two Poems • Ruth Bardon


I try hard to be
That woman in the movie
Whose life has just been saved
Only she doesn't know it.
She's walking down the street now
And the audience exchanges glances.
She's annoyed at the man
Who's blocked her way,
Answering his phone
In the middle of the sidewalk
And we want to shake her.
There's a world between her world
And ours. We know; she doesn't.
I want to slide like ice
Down the cool beam
Of projected light,
Landing where I belong.



Let's slam the door
On that whole world.
Let's look out the windows
Of the car we once drove.
Let's be boss
Of the company.
Up here, the wind
Is sweet and cold,
And the waterfall
Is a slippery trickle
Like the fur of an otter.
Let's look at the rocks
Being slowly carved--
Look at the boulders
That fell centuries ago
In a world of animals, a place
Of shifting plates and cracks in the earth
And frightened nameless creatures.

Madeleinne • Marc Swan

She looked very cool behind the wheel of her 280ZX,
sunroof back,
window down,
long brown hair flying.
She had perfect teeth,
a small tight body—
later almost anorexic,
but when I knew her she was just right,
and her smile—
well it was warm and natural and often.
She prided herself on two things:
her name with the two Ns,
her body heat with an extra degree,
kind of like the Kathleen Turner character,
which may have been the source of this attribute.
I’ll never know.
We never played the thermometer game.
She had an older son from a previous marriage,
a younger son from the current one,
but the marriage was rocky.
She didn’t choose well it seems,
but she was young
and wanted to be on her own,
escaping a brand of poverty I’d never known.
She was from East LA and had gotten away
to Woodland Hills,
a comfortable life,
except for that yearning.
On our last date we went to a show
with a John Lennon theme,
a month after he was shot.
She wanted to dance all night,
I was partied out.
She never did seem satisfied.
That next curve in the road loomed ahead
as she took the wheel of her red ZX,
dropped into first,
slammed down
the accelerator
roared off—
long brown hair
blowing free,
left hand waving out the window.

Two Photos • Spider Thorndal

Two Photos • John McCluskey

Ladies • Mesmerine Adwalla