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Poetry Summer - 2009

Page Two

Grease Monkey
Amy Corbin
From the curb
just two feet
under that old Chevy
He slides out
and my eyes burn a hole
through snug-fitting Levis

Hands glazed in grease
wipe his brow
as he looks up at the sun
wild green eyes
turn to tiny slits
and a smile takes over

He takes a swig of Coke
and I taste
the wetness on his tongue
black bubbles going down
tickle my throat in the distance

I tuck wisps of blonde
behind my ears
breathe him in
close my eyes
and imagine his voice
whispering my name

Amy Corbin has had her work published in Filling Station, The Cynic, Ascent Aspirations, Shine Journal, Every Day Poets, Every Day Fiction, Haruah: A Breath of Heaven, Ignavia Press, Flask and Pen, and The Battered Suitcase. And, she will soon be published in Short Story Library. She's thrilled to add Boston Literary Magazine to her list of publications.

David LaBounty
you spend your life dying, he said

you work, you love, you live and
no matter what, you're still dying

and he is lucid despite the pills
and urine smells that hang in
the air above the cot placed in front
of the dead fireplace that is
covered with last year's ash

that's right, he said to my
nervous nods of agreement,
you, you're dying too
and pretty soon you'll be
put in the ground and the
holes are always the same,
six foot deep and the sides
are all straight and square
like a perfect solution for
an imperfect equation

but the death comes when
no one remembers, and take
me, he said, I have dead
relatives and friends, people
floating around in my brain
that you and no one alive
knows about and when
I'm gone, well,
they're gone too and
it doesn't matter if I'm
burned or buried because
the memories will
turn to ash or dust

and he closed his eyes
and it wasn't quite the end
but I could tell that the
death of memories

bothered him the most.

David LaBounty

you stand in
front of the
crow's feet
and gravity

and you say

the breasts
didn't use to
sag and the
belly never
jiggled and
you sigh
as you cinch
your bra
and blow
dry your hair

and I smile
and say

don't be silly
you look great
and I don't
tell you that
I want to
throw you
on the bed
and do
things nor

do I say that

like the wind,
your beauty

is always shifting.

David LaBounty's recent poetry and fiction has appeared in Night Train, Pemmican, Pank, the New Plains Review and the Best of Boston Literary Magazine. His third novel, Affluezna, will be released in 2009. He lives in Michigan.

I'm Glad That You Called
Sharon Spivak
Written and dedicated to my dear mother-in-law Celia Spivak, may she rest in peace.

The telephone rings.
I'm coming! I'm coming! My legs are not good; for me, this is running.
Hello, who is this? Oh, Rachel, how are you? Oy, as for me, well, just how should I be?
My back is the same.
My bones … Oy, the pain.
But as you well know,
I wouldn't complain.

My heart's bad, I fear
And my kop is not clear.
With my legs, I could fall And my kids, they should call..."

"But, mom, this is Rachel.
Have you forgot?"

"Oy! Rachela, mein kiend,
Mishugeh, I'm not!

Of course I remember.
I remember quite clear
That today I felt faint
And I ask, 'Were you here?'
Oh, I know, that my tzouris
Are not much to you.
You are busy with work...

...What is it you do...?
Oy, the plans that we had,
Your father and me,
That you should go get
Your doctor degree.
The money we saved;
The life that we led
That you should have better...
Gevault!! Where's my head!?
I just heard today that
Mosheh is dead!
We'll go and sit Shiva.
What's that, that you said?

Who IS he? Oy veys meir
He's Mosheh, the grosheh.

Mosheh, the grosheh!
Of course, he was Kosheh!

Hold the line, I need tea
Just wait here for me.

There, now I'm done.

And when will you come?
Tomorrow? That's good
And you'll bring everyone.

I'll cook up a brisket,
Some soup and a sweet.
Of course I'll be tired,
But the kiender must eat!
Don't worry yourself
Just leave it to me.

Oh, my kettle is screaming.
It's time for my tea.
Yes, I'm glad that you called.
I look forward each day
To hear how you're feeling
For this, I would pay.

You're a wonderful daughter
My friends should all see
How much that you worry
And take care of me.

My tea, it is waiting
Now, go and take care.

And, Rachel, tomorrow
When you come,
Comb, your hair."

Sharon Spivak, who now resides in New Hampshire is a New England native. Sharon spent 23 years as a registered nurse before returning to Hebrew College to earn a degree in Jewish Studies in 2001. She now works as a professional Jewish Educator at Temple Isaiah in Lexington, Massachusetts where she teaches 3rd, 4th, 7th and 12th grades. While she loves teaching, writing is her second passion.

Kristen McHenry

If your mother is blithe,
swirl-skirted, with reedy feet
you'll slip into her dazzle-shoes,
and know that you were born to throw off light.

If you are born
from a lineage of the sturdy,
you won't know of champagne or Tango.
Your feet will grow
too lumpish for jeweled shoes;
your spine, too dense for dips and twists.

My mother's shoes were limp-mouthed,
sloped with wear, in reusable shades:
beige, black and navy; made for plodding
from coop to kitchen on muscular feet.

Though I was born of women
too diligent to dance,
I did not inherit vigor—
just one pair of viridian stilettos, never worn
nestled in cardboard like two shining birds.

Nights, they glow like foxfire
on the barren closet floor.

Kristen McHenry is a resident of Seattle, Washington and is a poet and freelance writer by night, and health outreach worker by day. Among other publications, her work has been seen in Wanderings, Trellis Magazine, Heart, The Pregnant Moon Review, Sybil's Garage, and several anthologies, including Meanderings and Flowers Bloom in the Moonlight. She has received two awards for her poetry granted by the Shoreline Arts Council, and won First Place in MISFIT's 2009 science fiction poetry competition. Although currently non-practicing, Kristen is a Licensed Massage Therapist and has been trained and certified in Mind-Body counseling. She is the creator and facilitator of the Poet's Cafe, a weekly poetry workshop for homeless teens at the New Horizons drop-in center in downtown Seattle. She lives in the Ballard neighborhood with two cats, two firebellied toads, and one husband. She loves to sing, but only in the car with all of the windows rolled up.

Intimacy with the Void
Amanda Bloodgood

Intimacy with the Void
Will lead to peace
The Buddhists say.

Loyal, reliable
Provocative and coy
Without shame or shyness:
This is no casual affair

The Kama Sutra would be proud
We've tried every position,
And then some.

My Love,
When will you let me sleep?

Never When
Amanda Bloodgood

Never came to When and asked her for a date.
She said, "Sure, just name the Time and Place."
Never scratched his chin.
"I'll get back to you on that."

Amanda Bloodgood graduated from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, with a BA in English Literature. She currently lives in Austin, TX, and is working on a Masters in Library Science at the University of North Texas.

It Means Much More
Pat St. Pierre

A banner often slighted
as it blows in the breeze
taken for granted
and pledged in the line of duty;
it isn't just a symbol for
and a nation proud and strong,
it means much more to me.
It's the loss of a brother,
a soldier to the end.
Letters from him
said he didn't understand
but he fought for his country
in a foreign land;
others turned
and blamed the nation,
he struggled fro freedom
and for peace.
The flag isn't just a symbol
it means much more to me.

Pat St. Pierre has had poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for adults and children published in Pens on Fire, Pond Ripples, Wind, Wonder Time, KidzWonder, The Yellow Butterfly, Penwomanship, Alura Quarterly, and many others. Her chapbook Reality of Life can be found at Foothills Publishing.

Lab Notebook
Mimi Vaquer

A blank page is a petri dish
For a common word fungus
Or a literary penicillin

In unstable conditions
The letters multiply and
Spill off the page

Where they're pushed into
Dustpans and carried away to
Reduce the risk of infection.

At times I'll place a single word
And feed it with a steady gaze—
Then try and set it off with a sigh

To sail around the page,
Its breaking wake a summons
To its fleet of friends.

But it sits alone and stagnant
And highlights the white of the page
With its scaffolding of blue veins.

Yet I find at times my messes,
Spilled test tubes of
Cloudy word compounds across

The surface of the page,
Will seem to find the fix.
It's then I want to put it in bottles

And give away vials
Free with dictionaries
Like puppies to good homes.

Mimi Vaquer has never really gotten around to leaving Savannah, GA, where she was born in 1974. She attended Georgia Southern University and graduated with a BA in English Literature in 1997. Currently, she is pursuing her Masters at Armstrong Atlantic State University and is also an 8th grade English teacher. Mimi has previous and upcoming publications in Willard and Maple, Foliate Oak, Steam Ticket Journal, Grey Sparrow Press, Oak Bend Review and Ouroboros Review among others.

Barry Harris

at the village coffery
bustling with the living
there in high-def
are the recent dead, today Cronkite
and, because it is Cronkite, Kennedy

we wait at our tables or
wait for a table to become vacant
we wait for our names to be called
when our orders are ready

we pay little mind
to the obituary unfolding on the screen
just so much origami
and besides we heard the news already
when it broke on tv or computer
delivered not with the thud
of the newspaper on our porch step
but with a ding or a beep to our cell

the coffee shop buzzes naturally alive
Saturday morning conversation sounds
beneath a noisy espresso machine
that falls randomly silent
just when the kid at the counter
shouts out an order for Stella!
and a few of us chuckle

Edward R. Murrow flashes by
smoking like a smokestack,
the only one in this smoke-free zone,
and then it is Walter the Younger
broadcasting from Normandy, sitting with Ike
narrating over images of Hitler and the good war
(we trusted he knew a bad war when he saw it)
Uncle Walter gleefully rubbing his hands
oh boy as Armstrong hops on the moon
so many many people in the world
born after man last walked on the moon
so strange yet stranger—
the man in the mirror
now on the plasma replacing Walter
as we turn our attention back again
to Michael Jackson still dead

Barry Harris is editor of the Tipton Poetry Journal and has published one poetry collection, Something At The Center, and one chapbook, The Soul At Work: Poems From The Office. Barry lives in Zionsville, Indiana, works as a scientific communications associate for Eli Lilly & Company in Indianapolis. His poetry has recently appeared in Saint Ann's Review, Night Train, Hiss Quarterly, Cherry Blossom Review, Flying Island, Lily, The Centrifugal Eye, Flutter Poetry Journal, Wheelhouse Magazine, Houston Literary Review, Subtle Tea and Snow Monkey.

Man Hours
R. A. Allen

Let me bask
in the chill florescence
of your assembly lines
your showroom floors
your honeycombed cubicles.
Arches falling
carpals tightening
watching the clock
drool forming
at the corners of my mind,
while I shrink-wrap the
wieners that America loves.

R. A. Allen lives in Memphis. His fiction and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in The Literary Review, The Barcelona Review, the New York Quarterly, PANK, Cantarville, Trillium, Word Riot and Kaleidotrope, among others.

Ramesh Dohan

It is enough to realize that
each object in this
sunny little room
will outlive me
the carpet, radio, bookstand and rocker

Not one of these things will attend
my burial
not even this dented goosenecked lamp
with its steady benediction of light

Ramesh Dohan is a poet and short fiction writer hailing from the city of Toronto,Canada. His work has appeared in The Flask Review, South Ocean Review, The Coffee Journal, and The Ascent Aspirations.

Message from Iraq
Janet Butler

A ghost drifts the high Wyoming mountain paths,
he leaves faint shadows
on trails that wind to no where.

His bride waits.
Her flowers wilt and die,
her questions
drift the lonely mountain walls
and fall, unanswered.

But she knows.

Before he is to come
he will not.
A bullet, his name on it,
slices green airs that seem
the breath of spring
but hold instead

She waits.

He drifts the lonely mountain paths,
he leaves faint shadows
on trails that wind to no where.
She waits.
She prays.
She knows.

He will not come.

Janet Butler has lived in the East Bay area, California, since 2005 after many years in central Italy, where she developed her passion for watercolors and poetry. Her work has appeared in Literary Mary, Sage Trail, Rattlesnake Review, ken*again, and Poet's Ink. "Eden Fables" was published as an online chapbook by Language & Culture, 2007, Collection: Ekphrastic Poems by Robert Schuler and Janet Butler was published by Canvas Press Collection Series, 2007, and Shadowline by Gatto Publishing, Scotland (2007) as an eBook. janetleebutler@hotmail.com

Modern Philosophy
Ryan Garth Mitchell

The slippery words spill
From my lips fishlike,

Fall flapping to the floor
Like chicken liver.

People skirt the mess,
Wary of soiled treads.

And they ponder liability
insurance. I long to dump

These blinking fireflies from
My bucket head, but they

Always pour out puddles,
Though I would see them soar

Skyward. Smoking on a board,
My swordfish still finishes

Stinking carp, and I'm starting
To sense that I should stop

Watching the Food Network.
So I try to get my signs right,

My signifiers, my signifieds.
My philosophical stance.

And when I uncover the dish,
It comes out Sausage McMuffin.

Ryan Garth Mitchell teaches English in Las Vegas. His poetry is also forthcoming in Owen Wister Review, Oak Bend Review, and Ouroboros Review.

Casey Quinn

i took a walk
to escape the office

in the park
stood a man
in the grass

he danced around
and played the air guitar

i watched him
swing his arms

change the chords and
strum the strings.

after a few seconds,
he switched to drums

and banged away
at the air

i sat down
for the show

i closed my eyes,
took in a deep breath

and i heard the music

My Enlightenment
Casey Quinn

i washed
my car today

as i scrubbed
away each layer
of grime

built up from
neglect and abuse

i was struck
by a vision.

in doing my chore
i had somehow
stumbled upon

a glimpse of wisdom

beneath the layers
of our outer shell
lies what we
truly are

all we need to do

is work at it

and we can shine

just like
my car.

i smiled
and looked upon
my vehicle

of my breakthrough

one second later


a bird
on the window

and i knew

i had become

Casey Quinn writes prose and poetry. He is also the editor of the online magazine Short Story Library and ReadMe Publishing. His first poetry collection "Snapshots of Life" was published in April of 2009 and is available at the publishers website here: Salvatore Publishing.

My First Body
Janice Krasselt Tatter

The dead body in the hospital hall
with sheets mounded over it
like a new grave didn't bother me
until I saw a large big toe protruding
from the bottom.

Janice Krasselt Tatter graduated from University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a B.A. in English and from Ohio University with an M.A. in English and Creative Writing. Her book of poetry, Remembering the Truth, was published in 2006 by Temenos Publishing Company. She is recipient of Alma K. Daughtery Award for excellence in literature. She recently moved from Little Rock, Arkansas to New Haven, Connecticut with her partner, daughter, a Boston Terrier and an Italian Greyhound. Her chapbook, Communion of Voices, was released in April 2009 by Big Table Publishing Company.

My Old Man
James S. Wilk

Wyoming cowboy to the bone,
taciturn as sagebrush,
sinewed as a pronghorn,
badass as the wind,
with the rope burns and leatherneck
to prove it. Son of a
cop, Green Berets veteran, bull rider.
I never so much as saw him wince.

But when the aneurism in his belly
ripped open like the shirt
of that fellow who turns
into the Incredible Hulk,
I found him writhing
like a snake clutched in the middle.

But he held on those eight seconds
until he slackened like a lariat
that missed the horns,
gored by beef, blood
pressure and Marlboros.

James Wilk is a physician in Denver, specializing in medical disorders complicating pregnancy. His poems have recently appeared in The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, The Salt Flats Annual, The Raintown Review, Measure, The Sow's Ear Poetry Review and others. His 2007 chapbook, Shoulders, Fibs and Lies is available through Pudding House Press.

Chris Crittenden

strange how electrons
skirmish in surfaces,
repellant patterns
of ornery charge

outpaced by light
yet never slack,
coiling mountain's length

around speck's core,
so wealths of texture
can woo touch.

we're hollow, after all,
a googol of slight clouds,
sinkable through Earth.

grids of ether, we should plummet,
down to savage heat
that conceived all weight.

only negatives
that bump and bustle,
wilder than satyrs,
madder than froth,

only these fig leaves
of phantom truth
flesh us.

Chris Crittenden

galloping off cliffs
never to trench

on hillocks of cotton
diademed by noon.

wings jubilant,

plundering sculptures,
jousting stupas,

banking through veils
of cool seraglios,

forelock speckled
by sylphid dews.

curvetting on gusts,

under brash hooves
which gallop mad,

joy-crazed from tempo,
till melody augurs


Chris Crittenden is a fanciful hermit who swoons over leaves and spruce trees, and delights in fierce tides that sculpt rocky Maine shores. He was recently nominated for the Best New Poets anthology by the editor of Raving Dove, and interviewed on Poet's Café, a radio show of KPFK Los Angeles. Some poems, with audio accouterments, just went up in the tenth anniversary issue of Drunken Boat.

Poets Proliferate
Paul Handley

….. going to see a poet,
He's a great poet.
I am in awe of his talent and skills.
It's the third engagement of the day,
as I would have guessed with a normal being
if offered multilple choice,
but you never know with
genius or so I've seen in movies
and read in books.
A professor does the intro and
reads a blurb I recognize,
and find on the back of a cover
when I get home.

The audience is tired, but friendly, receptive.
They fit my stereotype or I make them,
gentle, friendly career grad
students with touches of eccentricity.
They haven't sold out to the man, I
imagine, as I have. No man is as much
the man as in the employ of the Fed
Government. I protest severely,
Mellville and Rosseau both worked at Customs.
They are of course, unaware of my existence
and bathing in the immaculate poetry
and thinking of their own artistic endeavors.
I thought I would see poets I knew,
who else would come to this?
Quite a few people and no one I know.
Poets proliferate. Another assumption.

On my way over, I'm asked,
"Where's the liquor store"?
I say, "I don't know,
they're all over."
Don't you know I'm going to see
a poet? Of course not, but
something similar. A wine store maybe
with a cigar room sealed off
like a clean room without
the space suits,
but not for a six-pack of generic
piss that you will crush and bounce
off the wall in the motel room.
I hear "nerd" in my footsteps.

Often, it is difficult to tell when a
poem ends. The first read does
not stir. I like poetry better on the page,
to let my eyes x-ray the language
hear the words in my head.
reread phrases to understand.
I can't say "what"?

No one claps at the end
and do at the end of the second,
laborious efforts can be felt
to determine other endings
and applaud just to be polite
and particularly if enjoy it.
An acknowledged genius and we are not.
If we don't clap is it because
we don't recognize the breadth of the poem?
Will he tell his friends in an aside
about the provincialism of Denver?
"All they knew was that I won an award,
nothing about poetry."
We have Denver's poetic reputation in our
control and to the person
we all want the exact same thing that will
benefit us zero.

I would like my book that I have not yet purchased signed,
but the meter will run and not
willing to pay for a book and
fine for a weary signature.
At the back of the room is a person hooked to oxygen.
The room can hear her breathe
whenever there is a frequent silence.
I thought it was coffee brewing and
the author seemed to think it was some
quaint quirk of wind and shifting ceiling panels.
His picture on an earlier book cover is
good looking, younger and I suspect air brushing.
His current jacket cover more unattractive than he appears.
Walking to my car with a poetry book
in poetry bliss was indeed a geek.

Paul Handley spent a career as a student and a student of odd jobs. He has a paralegal certificate, and attended law school for a year; has an MA, an MPA, and is ABD. He has driven a cab, scraped fish guts, sold meat door-to-door, Director of a truck driving school and worked in multiple other capacities. Paul has work included or forthcoming in Anemone Sidecar, Apollo's Lyre, Burst!, Macabre Cadaver, the Maynard, Ophelia Street, Poe Little Thing, Potomac: Poetry & Politics, Red Fez, The Shine Journal, The Smoking Poet, and others.

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