Simon Perchik - four poems

These gravestones are shaped the way every avalanche
wants to enter the Earth –first as a single doorstep
then the rush though the rocks you listen for

are already moons helping you find the door
for holding on while the light under you
becomes another shadow made from wood

lays down as a room that cannot change its mind
is filled with cracked lips, the cold and end over end
the strong corners, the kisses that made it here.

Your face is covered with paper now
held in place by its words for sky
and wind –a simple love note

can keep the rain away
let you read forever in the dark
though it tastes from the salt

still on your lips –all those years
soaking up this hillside
till nothing was left to open

except over your cheeks
you have all the air you need
in the corners not yet grass.

You sleep with the coat buttoned
and though your eyes are closing
the sleeves cling by listening

sure her favorite dress
is somewhere in this room
no longer morning, named

as if these walls once were stone

Nicole Borello - No Formal Burial

No Formal Burial

I dreamt the roses died.
The shape and odor
melted into a red ocean.
I dreamt I was gnawing on
a warm piece of bread.
A delusional delicacy
disappearing from my palms.
My dead branches poked
with drought and dusted with
barren earth, bleed thin twigs.
I dreamt I was awake, that within
the dream their bellies were full.
They were different versions of myself:
skinny, fed, bloated, in peasant bondage,
feverish, tenant in a tenant-landlord brawl.
I can’t seem to escape the spiral of
my children’s limbs. My milkless breasts
lead my children into misery.
                            …guigh orainn na peacaigh,
                                        (pray for us sinners)
                                                    …anois, agus ar uair ár mbáis
                                                            (now and at the hour of our death)

And I dig the earth just to prepare.

Nicole Borello is the author of So What If I Bleed (Llumina Press, 2010), Fried Fish and Breast Milk (dancing gi…

Paul Hostovsky - Three poems

First Line

In the end of days what you need is a good first line.
To distract you from the truth with its own truth.
The way pain can sometimes distract from pain.
The way beauty can sometimes distract from pain.
The way a good bedtime story can light up the dark
side of an entire planet, given a little room
with a bed in the corner, a few right words, a child
listening. In the end of days what you need is a good
beginning. Something hopeful and trembling like a tongue.
Something open and unselfconscious like a mouth,
listening to the words, and the music of the words.
Something steeply rocking like a ship, or a sleep, heavy,
floating, viable, smelling of saltwater and infinite possibility.


I love coming back here
to this place where I was happy,
or maybe I was unhappy
and I keep coming back because
I’m not here anymore--not
there anymore. There’s a difference
between a great sorrow and a beautiful
catastrophe--beautiful for the way it
brought people together over it.

Taylor Emily Copeland - Two poems

Kala gives a tour of hell

This is the metal box he locked me in.
This is the chain he used to keep me bound.
This is where he shot Charlie three times in the chest.
This is where he buried him, like a dead animal.
This is where I was allowed to walk around,
like a dog, to smell the air, to hope for release.
This when we hear about how likeable my captor was,
how he was a great boss, a model citizen, never the
type to do this.
This is when I don't talk about my bare back against
a metal floor, about tasting his scent, about the
thumping sound in closed in spaces, and how it echoes
in my teeth and eyes.
This is when you can read about the fourteen year old
that he bound and forced, about how they released him,
gave him the chance to step up his game.
This is the hole a gun makes, a shovel makes, a void
makes when someone you love dies.
This is when I give the story an edit, a heroine.

When someone asks me what its like to kiss another girl

It tastes like cotton candy, feels
like hot air pushed…

Don Kloss - Those People

Those People

I never wanted any more than I could fit into my head- Dave Grohl, Monkey Wrench

They want a McMansion, with a pool and hot tub on 25 acres.
They want a summer home on the beach at the Outer Banks.
They want a house keeper, cook, gardener, and nanny.
They want a Land Rover, Porshe Cayane, or Mercedes.
They want the best private schools for their kids.
They want bodies and faces like gods, and a bank account
so large, the bank manager himself comes to cut their lawn.
They want Caribbean cruises, and world vacations.
They want to have celebrity actors, musicians, artists,
designers, and authors for friends. They want jewelry
that startles. One day, a chauffeur, a large yacht moored
at a private dock, a helicopter, a private beach.
They want to always be happy and healthy, and never die.

All I want is a twenty-four-hour Taco Bell.

Don Kloss is a 60-year-old poet, musician, and songwriter. He is a New Jersey transplant from rural Ohio. His poems have been published twenty-five times in journ…

Kendall A. Bell - Two poems

Like salvation 
And here is the jar of stars I've  collected - your name etched  into each glowing corner. And here is the pulse of my wrist against the soft flesh of your legs, a reminder of devotion, the Morse code of an unspoken truth. And here are the arms I travel like memory, like the record playing over and over into the deep corners of evening. And here is the weight of what I carry each day, in all of the inches of  skin, in the name of this perfect thing we cannot name, but know to be our reason to open tired eyes, to hold like a newborn - like salvation. 

Come bail me out of this god forsaken precipice
I watch her cat eyelinered eyes flutter in the strain of the artificial light at 1am. Her body, a still, pale softness surrounded by a deep sofa embrace. Her forehead tilted back and exposed. I want to make a ritual of kissing the taut flesh, watch the anxiety's release, let the glow highlight the perfect inches between the blonde waves of her hair and the exhausted, …

Glen Armstrong - Spoon Bender

Spoon Bender

But I was left alone.
Like a bent spoon.
Or a cowboy.
Boot that needs reheeling.
I walked around for a while feeling.
That I’d put too much faith.
In Uri Geller and symmetry.
My new and expanding faithlessness.
Would take me far.
I embraced that national restlessness.

That so many young men before me had.
I drove my rental car.
To Redondo California.
But I remained alone like a show dog.
Only bred when some shadowy.
Master’s needs took precedent. 
Or a discredited theory.
I would have thrown the broken boot.
Into the ocean if there had ever.
Been a broken boot to throw.

Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three recent chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit and Cloudbank.