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Image by Patrick Fore


Poetry: Welcome


A word singed into the parchment of history's middle chapters, born

of black powder during a time of Black Death, confined

by misery, imprisoned by slaughter and war.

A word baptized in the fire of 14th century cannon, witness to

siege and plunder, bystander to falling empires, trapped

in a maze of political and social shambles.

Is it possible for words to break free from bondage, to unfurl sails

unseen and let them billow in gusts and gales, to slide across

oceans of meaning and arrive at calmer ports?

Is there hope of a future where this word, formed of hostility and hate,

can transform into something new, something that elevates rather

than demoralizes, that brightens rather than blackens?

As in: assail someone persistently, as with kindness, mercy, or love.

Poetry: Text

After the Fire

After the fire

        crawls slowly

               into the playground,

    surrounds each steel pole

         holding the whole works

in the air,

after the

    vivid yellows and blues

               blister and blacken,

           after the plastic slides

                         drip, then drizzle,

                  the swings melt

             and drop into the flames,

   and the merry-go-round collapses

                         and tilts unnaturally

to the scorched ground,

after this creeping horror

                gently decimates

                     all in its inching path,

           it disappears like smoke

                dissipates, seemingly out of

existence, and later,

when the children

         come out for recess,

                 little do they know

                     that right now, as they

     stand around the structure and

                       stare with blank faces,

             this will be the most honest

                   and seminal lesson

          they will learn at this school,

or any other.

Poetry: Text

Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle Blues

When I focus

in, when I delve

beneath the layers,

I become more confused.

Where were we

when the momentum

of our desire cooled to a

state of rest, empty of even

the most minute single vibration?

Through sleepless nights

I measure the ghostly remains

of remembrances that haunt sub-

atomic regions of a mind that is withering.

Heisenberg discovered that

trying to determine one part of a

whole will increasingly blur the rest,

leaving the verity of the entire operation hazy.

How much did

we love, really? My

calculations have resulted

in no solution. I look up at the crest of every

wavelength. I have shrunken into obscurity and loss.

I am a down quark

trapped inside

a neutron.

My electron clouds

are full of


Poetry: Text

Jug Wine

soft and silly



our heads


with dry




sinking into


with you

guys I


want it

any other

way I


you guys

are my




where are

we how

are we


Poetry: Text

Message Received

Dear Writer,

Thank you so much for sending in your poem—reading it was truly a pleasure. This was clearly an earnest attempt at artistic expression. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept your submission. We feel that your poem needs work. Although we rarely do this, we have included some suggestions:

Consider replacing every word in your poem with a different word. Try not to use synonyms. We feel that it is important to change the structure, tone, rhythm, and meaning of your poem. Replacing every word will expedite this process. We think that making this minor change will result in a better poem and possible publication (although not in this publication).

Honestly, though, publication for a writer of your "talents" is a bit of a longshot. Have you considered other lines of work? Based on your submission, we feel that writing may not be a hallmark of your current abilities. Although, again, we rarely do this, we have assembled a list of possible, more reasonable occupations that you may find more suitable to your talents:

     -Restroom attendant

     -Chicken sexer

     -Body part model

     -Self-storage unit manager

     -Elf assistant to a mall Santa

     -Toll booth operator


     -Test subject in clinical trials

     -United States Senator

We at this publication fervently believe that by submitting your poem, perhaps as a "cry for help," you are putting yourself on the right track toward self-improvement and, hopefully, some primitive form of happiness. Ideally, you will take this advice and bury your artistic dreams deep, deep underground and become a useful member of our crumbling society. Good luck!


The Editors

Poetry: Text

Half-Staffed American Flags

turn out
shut out
gun down
In the recent past American flags were lowered rarely—to honor the
passing of dignitaries or signify a resonant national tragedy—not
eulogize weekly gunshot casualties who lay bleeding and dying in
schools and churches and public squares, victims of psychologically
distraught Americans lacking any real human connection or ancillary
support for serious mental afflictions, packing semiautomatic pistols
and bump-stocked assault rifles that spray bullets like drizzles of rain;
shooters unable to cope with an unending barrage of sensationalized
media voices in their heads, grasping at any relevance available from
a mention on the 24-hour TV news, swathing other Americans with
bullets and leaving a windrow of dead to winnow in the draft of
talking heads howling and pointing fingers without a single significant
intimation to help stop the bleeding and the killing and the dying of
shout at
scream at
gun down

Poetry: Text
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