Golden Fields

The night breeze kisses the amber,

coaxing it to twirl and dance

A twinkling speck of rich medallion, melting

my fingers, warming

all these downtrodden



Faceless fields of fire, voices

both green and golden, crying

for the fall of a marionette

and her puppeteer

To snip off the poisoned strings, once

and for all.


A beautiful scene to be woven

in the lies of textbooks

Calm and serene, without a trace

of crimson, yet


Where has the marionette gone when

the denouement has come?

When will all the puppeteers in the world

be rid of, cast away with their

tarnished gold?

When will all fields, scarlet and marigold, be left

to rest in peace?


These still remain, unanswered

But the streets still blossom

into golden fields, ripe

with courage and ire

An eternal blaze, kindling inside

our palms


An angel’s tune charms the streets,

lingering, joined by voices

of fire

When sorrow hangs in my heart,

drop by drop

I rise in the morning hill and

learn a little smile 1



1 “Morning Dew” (composed by Korean singer Kim Min-gi), a protest song banned under President Park Chung-hee.


Soo Young Yun 


Soo Young Yun is a student living in Seoul, South Korea. She has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Origami Poems Project, Ann Arbor District Library, and Writing for Peace. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Aerie International, The Best of Kindness 2017, and the Austin International Poetry Festival Di-vêrsé-city Youth Anthology.

Notes for an Awkward Morning

A few things you will seek
the morning after: wallets, words, contact

lenses, meaning, directions. Lessons
learned upon rising: kisses can complicate

as much as language, dividing desire
does not diminish desire, no victims

exist once the sun peels back darkness,
drink and decision. You will remember

what she was quick forget: boundaries
between teachers and students, rules

to minimise complication. You will stop
dressing up for her classes. You will not

feel the need to sit in front. But for years,
you’ll waste poetry on pointless questions,

never once raising your hand to ask.


Tania De Rozario


Tania De Rozario is an artist and writer based in Singapore. She is the author of And The Walls Come Crumbling Down, (Math Paper Press | 2016) and Tender Delirium (Math Paper Press |2013) – the latter was shortlisted for the 2014 Singapore Literature Prize. Tania was the 2011 winner of Singapore’s Golden Point Award for English Poetry, and is an alumna of Hedgebrook (USA), Toji Cultural Centre (South Korea), Sangam House (India), The Substation (Singapore) and The Unifiedfield (Spain). Her poetry and fiction have been published in journals and anthologies in Singapore, India and the USA, while her visual art has been exhibited in Singapore, the USA, Europe and the UK. She also runs EtiquetteSG, a platform that develops and showcases art, writing and film by women from and in Singapore. Founded in 2010, its current work includes the development and facilitation of art and writing workshops focused on issues of gender-based violence.

Kasandra Larsen

The Narcissist Hears What You’re Trying to Do There


Grabs your argument in a certain hand, clenches

your words in a fist,



them back at you before you’ve decided

what you were even trying

to say. Perhaps


there wasn’t a manipulative germ

or any exhumed dirty word,



what he can hear and see

is the extent of it,



but he’s perspicacious with a straight spine,

drawn to full height,



slashing, that dripping dagger

to remind

every syllable matters


in the way

it could possibly relate

to him. Admit


he wasn’t part of the intended audience,

meandering sentence

still unspooling from your lips?



Unforgiveable sin.

He has to stop you before you can begin.

Swing Song


Squeak creak squeal

squeak creak squeal: across the street,

a couple in their twenties


pumps long legs into glassy sky, bodies

flung nearly perpendicular

to the top of the bar, so high. Individual


horizons. Now she knows those sounds

last week at sundown

did not mean she was going to break



How silly to think the weight

of forty-seven years means anything


to a swing

ready to squeak all comers into the clouds

and back to thirteen,


sullen, holding a Walkman

turned up loud, back to seven,

screaming in delight, pushed


so hard she had to hold on

tight. All the way home,

their palms will thrum


with effort while their minds

fly, worries having fallen

from their pockets like pebbles


into sand,

the smell of salty steel

still kissing their hands.


Kasandra Larsen


Kasandra Larsen’s work has appeared in Best New Poets, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Into the Void Magazine, Stoneboat Literary Journal, Two Hawks Quarterly, and others. Her manuscript CONSTRUCTION was a finalist for the 2016 Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry; her chapbook STELLAR TELEGRAM won the 2009 Sheltering Pines Press Chapbook Award. She is a two-time Pushcart nominee.




Scientists call it the measure of the disorder

or randomness in a system.

Too abstract?

Then reduce it to this: it’s hard,

very hard, to make things better

but it’s always possible to make them worse.

Thus relationships, children, companies, countries.

Entropy is the clock that forever

runs forward and down until it no longer

resembles a clock at all.

Meanwhile the love leaks out of marriages

one molecule at a time,

airlines beat passengers in their seats

and drag them screaming off the plane,

and we drop bombs on our enemies so big

they dwarf our own disorder, or so

we think, or would think, if thinking were something

still within our grasp.

I must make time in my desert of a day

to visit the grave of Robinson Jeffers and tell

his silent stone that our republic

no longer shines as it perishes

and entropy is the reason.

I’m sure that will comfort his departed shade,

long since dissipated into millions of strange shadows

by that other, more efficient entropy, death.


Kurt Luchs


Kurt Luchs has poems published or forthcoming in Former People Journal, Into the Void, Minetta Review, Poydras Review, Triggerfish Critical Review, Otis Nebula, Sheila-Na-Gig, Right Hand Pointing, Roanoke Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Grey Sparrow Journal, Noctua Review, Quail Bell Magazine, and Antiphon, among others. He founded the literary humor site, and has written humor for the New Yorker, the Onion and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, as well as writing comedy for television (Politically Incorrect and the Late Late Show) and radio (American Comedy Network). In September 2017 Sagging Meniscus Press will publish his humor collection, It’s Funny Until Someone Loses an Eye (Then It’s Really Funny).

Marian Kaplun Shapiro

Swimming Laps


crawl up 1 crawl down

2  up  3  down  4  up  5  how

many minutes   how fast the heart

rate   down 6   the second hand do-si-do-ing with the minute

hand of the big wall clock the beat of the rock-a-billy on

the boom box   up   7    breaststroke   down 8

up 9   down   10  flip turn   up 11

backstroke down   12     butterfly up   13 down

14 sidestroke   15  16   how long?  long enough

next crop of legs dangling swinging impatient on

the ledge, lanes a blur  up down up down bathing caps goggles

you know/don’t know men women counting strokes   times

laps minutes days (how many this week) (not enough) hot pink/

slate black FitBits blinking/sleeping pulses (up, down) calories in out…

You know nothing about the people in these bodies.  Only

their swimsuits, sliding jumping climbing getting in/out. You say hi

to the red bikini. To the floral board shorts. You/they hustle to the showers,

to the lockers, to the hairdryers.  Presto! Ms Bikini perfect in Givency suiting.

Spiked Prada’s. Mr. Board Shorts casual Armani all the way. The stay-at homes,

the techies,  the mommy/daddies, the laid-offs, the bigwigs, the retirees – headed out

in their yogapants grungy sneakers /crocs,  toting their Lululemon/Nike/no-

name duffel bags off to the parking lot.  Remotes awakening their shiny Masaratis

their slightly dented Kias,  their ‘50’s Corvette convertibles, lovingly restored.

Their Honda minivans moving forward backing carefully anonymously into the world.

Up. Down. Up. Down. Again.  Tomorrow. Tomorrow.  Again.



Suffering, Medicalized (in the ER on a Friday night)


On a scale of 1 -10, where 1 is no pain and 10 is the worst you can imagine, how bad is your pain?


How would you describe it? Check two:

Burning            ☐

aching               ☐

stabbing           ☐

shooting           ☐

lacerating         ☐

piercing            ☐

pounding          ☐

radiating           ☐

throbbing          ☐

stinging             ☐

crushing            ☐

Two isn’t enough choices

Sorry, that’s all the computer gives you.


How is your mood? Remember, just check two:

happy              ☐

unhappy         ☐

angry               ☐

miserable       ☐

anxious           ☐

terrified          ☐

hopeless         ☐

hopeful           ☐

depressed       ☐

suicidal           ☐

Thank you. Take a seat in the waiting room, and fill out these other forms. The doctor will see you in order of the time of your arrival. Or maybe the nurse. Or maybe the intern. Someone, at any rate.

May I have your insurance card while you are working on the forms?

Oh – your card has expired. Come back when it has been corrected. The 800 number is on your old card. They open at 8 AM on Monday.

Goodbye, have a nice weekend.


Marian Kaplun Shapiro


Marian Kaplun Shapiro is the author of a professional book, Second Childhood (Norton, 1988), a poetry book, Players In The Dream, Dreamers In The Play (Plain View Press, 2007) and two chapbooks: Your Third Wish, (Finishing Line, 2007); and The End Of The World, Announced On Wednesday (Pudding House, 2007). A Quaker and a psychologist, her poetry often embeds the topics of peace and violence by addressing one within the context of the other. A resident of Lexington, she is a five-time Senior Poet Laureate of Massachusetts. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2012.

Richard King Perkins II, Featured Author

Natal Motions


You blame me for rumors

floating across highways


which come to rest uneasily

among swans

and other natal motions.


The voice you claim

to speak with may be your own


or the disembodied sound

of warm intentions you thought

had finally been quelled.


Like a spin of insects

beneath an evening streetlamp


it’s useless to sleep

when you could be awake

imitating life and tracing art.


I appreciate the false existence

you’ve found in a patch of tulips


but I don’t want

an expression of your tenderness

chained to a bird of song.



The Highest Reaches


Beneath the highest reaches

in a yellow-gold field


your eyes are filled

with gestures of joy


and light-blue bends


but sadness and star grains

still cling to your hair.


I rise to my feet


even in an anatomy

of insignia and pins


obscured beneath a canopy

of crippled captivity.


The birds have ended their ostinato

and we’re left


with only a stuttering silence

of leaves.


My dream is cracking open

the egg of a white lizard,


a little girl pounding

on a locked door.


If it’s me you’re crying for

then no, I don’t want you to stop


until we’re separated again

by sutures of emerald green


and pinches of black.




Gelatin Plateaus


You’re scared to exchange words

fearing that I’ll intersperse my voice


with a disastrous elixir

designed to make you love me.


In my guise as a simple hitchhiker

with a broken guitar


you’ve driven past

at least a dozen times


coursing the roundabout

with your left foot tapping out the window.


Cast from the joke of a raven

you dance naked but impenetrable


in a tongueless world of gelatin plateaus

and abalone snow.


The sound you’re hearing in your mind

is only a mortar and pestle—


the killing powder was consumed

when you first imagined


the swollenness

of my lips around your nipple;


felt the insistence of glacial stone

opening furrows of ochre and loam.




Disconnected Flickers


Never does my mind

consider the disappearance of earth—


my thoughts go even further than that


a grisaille balance of stars

and starlessness


the high pitch of emptiness


and the decaying swingset in my backyard;

warped, brittle wood

and tattered canvas.


A calm has descended upon

morning grass


and the departure of small mammals

for more secluded silences—


the faintest trace of your instep

makes the world more


than a sequence of disconnected flickers

running in the direction


I suppose.


Richard King Perkins II 


Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.