Max Heinegg

Digging in the Wrong Place


Compromised, they call the card. My 16 digits mined

by algorithm or bunker genius fiddling,

for $1633 at Best Buy; the robbers have

all my numbers save the back code to complete

the inspired transaction, the Take back one kadam 

& so they are. Far enough away from the Nazis for now,


Boston thinks it’s annexed the assholes today

in a gazebo. Nazis in a gazebo?! Only Indy could flip

his revolver & trusty whip into a suitcase, beeline

a passenger plane & catch ‘em sneering in their insignias,

gathered like poison in standing water. In the film,

the strong backs open empty sand while our hero squints down


upon the twisting floor, asking Why did it have to be

snakes? Don’t waste breath waiting for a revelation

of perfectly directed sun. The diorama is none,

& we can’t count on the wrath of God to gather

His phantom forces to melt their brainwashed

faces one at a time, down to the skulls.



Miners in Taijuan

—from photographs by Stan Grossfeld


Perhaps brothers, these two pitchy

instruments savor warm water

in a metal bath. Beers at arms’

reach, a coal accord for labor.


In the outsider’s monochrome

any untarnished aspect of

the image is silvered. Sympathy

is less than the universal,


but still the color of deserved

rest, arms that rip the underground

asunder, later burn chunks to

boil rainwater from the sky’s well


while factories feed, the country

busy raising a colossus.

If Providence doubts its welcome,

these two tender invitation.

Max Heinegg

Max Heinegg’s poems have been nominated for Best of the Net, The Pushcart Prize, and been a finalist for the poetry prizes of Crab Creek Review, December Magazine, Cultural Weekly, Cutthroat, Rougarou, Asheville Poetry Review, the Nazim Hikmet prize, and the Joe Bolton award. Recent work appears in Thrush, Nimrod, The Cortland Review, and Love’s Executive Order. Additionally, he is a singer-songwriter and recording artist whose records can be heard at

This is not a rock-bottom poem but it was on the well-lit downward spiral

I remember I tripped

and skinned my knee on the curb,

beneath the neon signglow

and as my last bottle shattered

on the pavement beside me

and I looked at the hole

in my slacks and the wet bloodsmudge there

I said, interiorly, you clumsy fuck,

and exteriorly, just plain fuck.

Some pretty folks in day-glo evening dresses

looked on, judging a bit.


And as I sat there, failed son, spinning,

mad at my fingers for not being needles,

mad at my saliva for not being bleach,

mad at my feet for not being steady

(but how could they, really), mad at

my beer for not staying, miraculously,

in the bottle, I looked up at the

signs in all their bright rainbow,

and I remember tripping, dissociating,

thinking, interiorly- “I wonder what

the noble gasses make of it, being

caught in those tubes, hocking

beer for a living?” and,

exteriorly, just plain fuck.


And this led, inexorably,

to a little more negative self-talk

outside the bar, mad at my

creatively dressed audience,

for moving on, judgment complete,

and at myself again,

for not even knowing then

that there were blessings

that could be counted,

even while coagulating,

by whatever sordid light

there was to count them–


argon, like from the argonauts,

neon, sounds like Creon in a way,

xenon and on and on and on…

krypton, like from that Superman

stuff (wonder how he felt about

good’ol Jor-El!), radon, all the

nobles, Jay-San, no that’s not one,

all first-born sons probably,

debased into illuminating a

standard issue failing-to-please-

daddy-issue drunk thinking,

interiorly, how the nobles

have fallen so low, and finally,

exteriorly, a howl at the moon-

where is that spark

that will light me

up one night?


Michael J. Galko

Michael J. Galko is a scientist and poet who lives and works in Houston, TX. He has been a juried poet of the Houston Poetry Fest three of the last four years and is a 2019 Pushcart Award nominee. In the past year he has had poems published or accepted for publication at descant, San Pedro River Review, Gargoyle, Gulf Coast, Defunkt Magazine, Riddled with Arrows, Poetry WTF!?, and Sonic Boom, among other journals.

Power Wash

This season is  a

power wash for my arteries,

I am washed clean

and hung to dry on the clothesline.


Father doesn’t work, he sits

on the veranda,  smoking a bidi,

his friends bring him bottles of

home-brewed wine.


Arrack: they brew it with petrol

and ash, they slice some fruits,

add lizards to the pot

boil them to a sozzle-blitz.

I watch my neighbours stir it

with blood-shot eyes.


Amma kills my pet chickens every day,

Mary, Martha, Kunju have all been

cooked with spices ground at home.

Men look at amma’s blouse

as she bends down to serve them.

on a plantain leaf. They smack their

lips savouring spices, looking

at her melons and at times, at me.


Amma has purple patches all over her face,

she snores into her dreamless land.

I feel two hands pull me up by my feet,

peel off my petticoat.

No one hears me in the night

when pain washes my heart clean.


I soar up with the wind

watch  my friends smile

in their sleep dreaming

of angels like me.


I dry out day and night

on the clothesline

washed clean from

pain and shame.


Babitha Marina Justin

Babitha Marina Justin is from Kerala, South India and a Pushcart prize nominee, 2018. Her poems have appeared in Eclectica , Esthetic Apostle, Fulcrum, The Scriblerus, Chaleur Magazine, Into the Void, Trampset, Inlandia , The Paragon Press, Adolphus Press, The Punch Magazine, Rise Up Review, Constellations, Cathexis NW Press, Silver Needle Press, About Place Journal, The Write Launch, Trampset, The Four Quarters Magazine, So to Speak journal, Kritya and Journal of Post-Colonial Literature. Her first collection of poetry, Of Fireflies, Guns and the Hills, was published by the Writers Workshop in 2015. She is also waiting to debut as a novelist with ‘Maria’s Swamp’

My Veteran of Iraq

His heart gave out two nights ago

at 29, four years out of Iraq.


In war, with mangled vehicles,

mechanics strip the intact parts.

Fuel pump, clutch, perhaps an axle,

roof hatch, carburetor, clutch,

random gauges, a machine gun mount.

Whatever works.


Back home in Pinson

Tennessee, he heard cicadas

saw his head

around the clock.

A jobless drift of smashed chairs.

A son meandering the fence

around my sister’s yard,

tremors in his vision as he

spat accusations in the grass.


Meth: a gnashing chatter.

Heroin: molasses in a moan.

His Purple Heart

lying with its recovered bullet

in a satin-lined box.


A year of VA rehab lockdown,

with a Johnson City keyhole view:

him, his eyes lost in the mountains,

from a bench out on the lawn.


Two nights ago, his heart gave out

at 29. He’s on life support

until they harvest organs.


Eric Forsbergh

Eric Forsbergh’s poetry has appeared in The Journal of The American Medical Association, Zeotrope, Artemis, The Cafe Review, and other venues. In 2016, he was awarded a Pushcart nomination by The Northern Virginia Review. He is a Vietnam veteran.


In January, we headed south.

First, a road trip, then a new place to live…


Never eat Chinese food

in Birmingham, Alabama was

one lesson learned.


At our destination, each of our myths,

so carefully curried, was sucked

into February, then disassembled

and poured, like an old man’s ashes,

into April’s mud puddles.


Unlike dear Lazarus, these were

ashes never to be resurrected.

There wasn’t enough love

in all of the world to make them

whole and bring them back to us.


Another lesson learned:

Sometimes smoke does not

indicate a fire.


We watched the souls of our loved ones

flow steadily from stubby Palmettos and

were introduced to insects larger than our

imaginations. Once, we saw geese in the sky

coming towards us and, once, in a park,


a swan bit my bare heel. The mark looked

a little like a lipstick imprint on the edge

of a glass. When I wrote to a friend

to tell her about the swan, she giggled,

“They are mean little fuckers, aren’t they?”


We felt 1000 spirits in the south, pleading

for bodies, longing to extend themselves

as soon as the signal was given. While we

waited for pulled pork at a barbeque joint,

the twilight grew gray and empty


and heat-treated rain began to fall.

Something about the atmosphere made me

feel tangled and more shy than ever. The

nights were ripe with nightmares and

visits from my dead father. The air…something…


In July, in yet another new rental, Barbara Goldberg’s

words sang out in every room: “The world is ripe with calamity,”

she said in a steady alto. Once the entire apartment

was taken over by beige and gray, we made our decisions

and drove back to Los Angeles—unfiltered, certain.



Martina Reisz Newberry

Martina Reisz Newberry is the author of 6 books of poetry. Her most recent book is BLUES FOR FRENCH ROAST WITH CHICORY, available from Deerbrook Editions. She is the author of NEVER COMPLETELY AWAKE (from Deerbrook Editions), and TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME (Unsolicited Press). She is also the author of WHERE IT GOES (Deerbrook Editions). LEARNING BY ROTE (Deerbrook Editions) and RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press). She has been included in “The Sixty Four Best Poets of 2018” (Black Mountain Press/The Halcyone Magazine editorial staff). Newberry has been included in As It Ought to Be, Big Windows, Courtship of Winds, The Cenacle, Cog, Futures Trading, and many other literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. Her work is included in the anthologies Marin Poetry Center Anthology, Moontide Press Horror Anthology, A Decade of Sundays: L.A.’s Second Sunday Poetry Series-The First Ten Years, In The Company Of Women, Blessed Are These Hands and Veils, and Halos & Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women. She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts. Passionate in her love for Los Angeles, Martina currently lives there with her husband, Brian, a Media Creative.

Last Day

Blue suit, pressed

white shirt, red tie,

trimmed hair,

camouflaged lump

where the bullet

went in.


Mourners follow

the tearful track,

mother leaning

on father’s long arm,

siblings swamped

by the stark face

of death, young

men in dreads

as he would have been,

friends of the family,

one by one.


The church fills

with gray winter light,

dissolving faces

like spirits in air;

the color of grief is

the same everywhere.


There is no anger,

no vengeance in sight,

just acceptance,

defeat, despair.


Mary Hills Kuck

Having retired from teaching English and Communications, first in the US and for many years in Jamaica, Mary Kuck now lives with her family in Massachusetts. She has received a Pushcart Prize Nomination and her poems have appeared in Connecticut River Review, Hamden Chronicle, SIMUL: Lutheran Voices in Poetry, Caduceus, The Jamaica Observer Bookends, Fire Stick: A Collection of New & Established Caribbean Poets, the Aurorean, Tipton Poetry Journal, Slant and Main St. Rag (both forthcoming), and others.

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