They were men, their faces half shadowed
from flickering firelight,
I was a boy on soft ground, two old hounds
between me and the rocked ring of the pit.
Leonard would holler and a glorious sound would come from his red fiddle,
but I imagined it was the forest’s song
and my eyes would close from exhaustion and the weight of dreams.
I would warm my hands on the belly of the Bluetick,
his eyes never quite shut, always watching while resting,
ready for the chase.
“David, you ain’t sleepin’, are ya?”
Hot chocolate and pipe smoke,
the smell of coonhound and
Two old Fords with round hoods stood darkly
at our backs, facing home
where morning would pass slowly
where faults and cold rain
David Magill, born in Kansas City, Missouri, moved to Minnesota as a young boy and grew up on a hobby farm in Afton. He has been married to his wife, Patti, for 23 years. His work has recently been published in Metonym,The Esthetic Apostle, Cagibi, Swimming with Elephants, Dreamers, Wanderlust, Sky Island Journal, and Rock & Sling. He has also been nominated for a Pushcart prize in poetry for 2019.
We live within a universe so vast
we never will perceive its full extent.
Because there are horizons that are past
the span light can speed in the firmament,
parts of the cosmos will be forever
beyond possible communication.
As fast as light, we’ll still reach them never,
for they have greater acceleration.
We here who are within it
can’t exceed light’s pace in space,
such efforts will be vexed.
Our universe grows faster than light-speed,
so isolates one portion from the next.
We cannot know that,
physical laws apply or
still follows cause.
James Ph. Kotsybar
Chosen for special recognition by NASA, James Ph. Kotsybar is the first poet to be published to another planet. His haiku currently orbits Mars aboard the MAVEN spacecraft, appears in the mission log of The Hubble Space Telescope, and was featured at NASA’s Centaur Art Challenge at IngenuityFest, Ohio. Last Summer, he performed his poetry before an international audience of scientists, journalists and actual Troubadours in their founding city of Toulouse, France, at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF2018) by invitation and has been invited back to ESOF2020 to be held in Trieste, Italy. Most recently he has had poems published in The Bubble, Askew, The Society of Classical Poets, LUMMOX Press, Sixfold, Mason’s Road, Encore and Scifaikuest, and has received honors from The State Poetry Society of Michigan and the Balticon 48 Poetry Competition. He especially enjoys science poetry, because of its extended shelf-life.
Big day at the Fun Show. At the AUCE (All You Can Eat) buffet—I swallow RG (Ray Gun) piece by piece, then automatic ammo. Awesome my reassembled sub-waistline. Not for gatling do by-standers gawk at me—female with humongous ghost-load, hubris muzzle, Preakness Envy. My FAFS4EmoO (First Amendment Fitness Statement for Emotional Ownership) yes-checked on background check, off to shop till I drop for killer red high heels. No more late-night specials for this chick w/chopper prick & phony asp hasps passing as concealed bra clasps.
AUCE is fighting back. I’m burping bits, barfing metallic reflux on my bib. You try walking the town, 5’4 ½”, 115 lbs., semi-automatic heater between your thighs. Wives follow me for package peek. Guys at bars fondle my epic bundle. Thrift shop, my next stop for jock strap, higher heels & folded grey carpet pad—felt, past tense of feel-good playschool mat for shooter-drill.
Charlotte M. Porter
Charlotte M. Porter lives in an old citrus hamlet in north central Florida. She is winner of the 2013 Talking/Writing flash fiction contest and the 2014 Bacopa Literary Review fiction contest. She has been top finalist for the Rose Metal Press flash fiction chapbook contest and the Calvino Prize. Look for her poetry in Baseball Bard, Burningwood, Confrontation, SLAB, Light Ekphrastic, Pea River Journal (Moby-Dick project), and Bacopa. Her poetry has been exhibited in galleries in Baltimore, MD, and Palatka, FL. For her recent fiction and creative nonfiction, see Kansas City Voices, Duende, Axolotl, Bacopa, Colp, and
At kitchen table, I regard my young self
gazing on purple bush.
Chewing sugared walnut,
I’m back savoring Gram’s delectable bread
that disentangled, soothed early years.
I devour another slice under lilac canopy.
Is this a figment, a veil that will soon dissolve?
Inquisitive mood dances festive
when my ears bend to dad’s glee-filled voice
hopping from one Croatian word
to the next sonic utterance.
I open unlocked door to his enticing vibrato.
My dinky feet shuffle, joined hands, clap pure glee.
Can this be real right now, right here?
I know that it is, even as my hair thins silver
looking more like her every day.
These visions, these sounds ferment in me,
sooth as a cradle song.
Some may call these illusions, memories,
nonsense, living in the past, but she is here
so is button accordion on his happy knee.
His slippered feet bounce like gossip at family picnic.
Incandescent images sober me,
when her quiet voice speaks to scatter silence.
“You only live once” resounds.
Eyes look through me as if through a pane of glass.
I see reflected future self as hers.
We sit at long-ago kitchen table,
she uses elegant gestures,
exaggerated movements I recognize as mine.
Understand her molten tenderness—
a hope for my vintage self.
In comfortable drowse we peer out window.
Sprawling sunburst afternoon warms flowering lilac
exactly like it was— pungent and comforting
many years ago, like today, or maybe tomorrow.
I overflow with miraculous zest,
Transfixed into wondering if “we only live once”
is but a slip in time?
Inspiration from “Brief Answers to Big Questions by Stephen Hawking
Marianne has been a music teacher for 43 years. After teaching in Hong Kong, she returned to the Napa Valley and has been published in various literary magazines and reviews including Ravens Perch, TWJM Magazine, Earth Daughters and Indiana Voice Journal. She was nominated for the Pushcart prize in 2017. She is a member of the California Writers Club and an Adjunct Professor at Touro University in California.
The Great White Way looking north,
February 21, 1964.
The smoke hangs over the street
drifting north from Times Square
where the Camel sign reigns
and the man exhales and exhales
the unfiltered cigarette. My father
burned through three packs a day.
Butts would float on top of urine
in the toilet, evidence that he could piss
and smoke simultaneously. I remember
the unending stream. Here the billboard looms
over Hector’s, a cafeteria, one of many
scattered across Manhattan.
Feb 21 1964, a year my father was alive.
It must have been late when this photo was shot
given the lack of traffic. Two dim headlights
in the foreground. Shadows head downtown.
A record store lights up the lower
right corner, but it’s that rhythmic
smoke, the steady beat of the lungs,
that uninterrupted puff of a man in a cap,
a postman, a policeman, Everyman who sends
a plume into the air like a wish, a halo
reimagined over and over. It just killed
everyone who saw it, even my father.
“Interrupted by the Sea,” Paul’s second collection of poetry was published this year. (What Books Press) His first collection, “Chemical Tendencies,”(Tebot Bach) was a finalist in the MSR poetry contest. He also received an honorable mention in the Allen Ginsberg Contest. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Paul produces and hosts “Why Poetry” on Pacifica radio in L.A. and Santa Barbara. Guests have included Poet Laureates, National Book Award Winners and many known and lesser-known poets. Paul’s poems have appeared in The Moth, N.Y. Quarterly, Patterson Review, Askew, Poemeleon, Alimentum, and many other journals and anthologies. He has taught creative writing in poetry, short stories and playwriting at Loyola Marymount University and facilitates the poetry workshop at Beyond Baroque, the oldest literary institute in Los Angeles. Paul works as an actor and has performed on and off-Broadway and in numerous films and TV shows. paullieber.com
I read somewhere that
Mozart had a pet starling
He called the starling singvogel
or was that an old German toy
He taught the bird to sing a song
or was it the other way around
And did the bird really come
when Mozart called or did it
secretly wish it belonged to
Constanze of the soft breast
instead of Wolfie (Johannes
Theophilus Mozart to give
the man his proper name)
If I had a starling I’d call it
Constanze and ask it to sing
a song about the brief musical
career of Mozart’s starling
an avian concerto from
one composer to another
Sally Zakariya’s poetry has appeared in some 75 print and online journals and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her most recent publication is The Unknowable Mystery of Other People (Poetry Box, 2019). She is also the author of Personal Astronomy, When You Escape, Insectomania, and Arithmetic and other verses, as well as the editor of a poetry anthology, Joys of the Table. Zakariya blogs at www.butdoesitrhyme.com.