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Best Beer
Tim Gurnig

Sitting on a stool peering into polished oak, my reflection faces back.
Skating the rim of a tall frosted glass, my fingertip flirts with falling
into the depths of the “Award-winning Hand-crafted Artisan beer."

My mind searches for the beer I’d award an award to.
If I could I would place the gold medal around a crushed clear plastic cup
emptied two years before my 21st birthday
not purchased, but bartered for
a few hits of our joint.

Three friends, craning our necks on bleachers
as twilight came and cooled us from the blistering day,
passed a cool foamy beer between us.

Our eyes trained on a stage the sun set behind.
Among a host of people who mirrored the sky,
bright colored t-shirts butted up against navy blue and black,
lit cigarette butts, the first stars of the night.

We waited for the stage to light up like
fireworks sliding down the sky above our heads,
like the beads of sweat dripping down our bodies.

I sipped that beer without greed, or haste.
I sipped it knowing it would bring no buzz.
I toasted our friendship with every pass.

Tim Gurnig, currently residing in the English countryside, will obtain his Bachelor’s in English from Eastern Illinois University in May 2013. He has been published in Thunderclap! Press.

Harvard Square Theater: The Last Picture Show
~ Written in response to this historic theater's closing in Cambridge, Mass.
Doug Holder

To spend the dog days
in the darkened theater
My Last Tango in Paris
a hot three hour
respite from the heat.

The midnight mass
of the faithful
the rituals
the memorized chants
to the Rocky Horror Picture Show

I will grab a beer
from the ghost of the Wursthaus
then get a seat in the back
the flickering of the dark cinema
a two hour balm
before I hit the hot street
then it's gone.....

Mrs. Plant
Doug Holder

An art teacher
At our elementary school
Her face,
A painting
That she worked on
For a long time.
An angry mask
Of red lips—
And rouge.
Sinking her cheeks,
She passed the
Mimeographed sheets.

At night
I imagined
She sat
With an arthritic cat
And a shot glass
Screaming at
The reproductions on
Her walls.

Did she recall
When she
Was clad in black
And, oh so
tragic and
taking feverish notes
by the paintings
on the Modern’s walls,
walking back to
her cold water flat
a love note
stuffed in a pocket
of her winter coat...?

Doug Holder is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press. His work has appeared in Steam Ticket, Poetry Quarterly, Big River Review, Boston Literary Magazine and many others. He teaches writing at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, and Endicott College in Beverly, Mass.

When she’s young,
A girl takes pictures of her feet
To show you the best part of her:
The one true secret of girls
Everywhere, that she has never
Been judged for. Two perfectly
Meaningless and odd little
Body parts so far away
From her embattled core and her
Wild mind.

She takes pictures
Of the feet that have gone
Nowhere yet that she
Knows of, nowhere of their
Own accord. Nowhere beyond
The hedgerow of home.

And then one day
She catches sight of them
Captures them and takes
Them as her own.
In black and white,
She stills them
And sees they are
Attached and waiting, like a
Hired driver she never
Knew she had.

Elizabeth G. Howard is a blogger, journalist, and Demand Poet. Elizabeth uses her Olivetti to create Demand Poetry, one-on-one, intimate custom poetry. She has been thinking and writing about American identity on her blog "Letters from a Small State" since working for three years as a barmaid at the Warrington Hotel in London. She is a regular contributor on the international writing community Writing our Way Home. Originally from Iowa, she and her family live in Connecticut and travel the summers in a hand-me-down pop-up camper. She tweets at @smallstate.

Still Life
Richard Schnap

I emptied the film canister
Filled with weak, green weed
Into the blackened bowl
Of the bong shaped like a skull.

Downstairs, my father pounded
His fists on the kitchen table
Whimpering to my mother
He’d kill himself if he had the guts.

And as the fumes clouded
The posters of Middle Earth and Narnia
I put on my scratched copy
Of Dark Side of the Moon.

While through the painted-shut window
The rays of the setting sun
Turned my room bright orange
As if it was on fire.

Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.

Lisa Badner

It hurt for 29 years.
In the '80's, it stank of decay.
(I sprayed it with binaca.)

The ache, finally intolerable,
Dr. Mashman killed most of its nerve.
Though in a compromised state

(a crowned stub),
it lived through painting pipes
on kibbutz. Law school,

Midwest feminism, 17 years of therapy,
chicken pox, rectal surgery.
Yesterday, it got scanned.

Dead, fractured, rotten,
infected to the bone.
Lower incisor left number 28.

Now a big gaping hole.
Black thread stitching,
over sprinkled cadaver grafted bone.

Subway Seat
Lisa Badner

Sitting on this train,
I don’t think about
what took place on this seat
an hour, a day, maybe even 20 minutes ago.
I don’t think about the homeless person.
The bedbugs. The spit. The urine.
Except, that there’s a faint funk.
And it seems to be coming from nowhere
but this seat.

Lisa Badner's poems have appeared in TriQuarterly, Mudlark, Fourteen Hills, Blip and The Cape Rock. Lisa lives in Brooklyn, New York, bikes everywhere, and has a day job.

Man on a Catwalk
Rod Peckman

I speculate that I’m not nearly
as fat as you think I am
and sidle my way across the bar
sexy as an articulated bus. And
I believe I might have had you fooled
until I am obligated to make
one more scheduled stop
to pick up an awaiting beer.

Rod Peckman took 16 years off from writing. He doesn’t recommend it, as he says he feels each and every one of those missing years when he sits down to write. But he’s grateful to be having another go at it now. Rod’s appeared in many journals, including Juked, The Foundling Review, Thieves Jargon, and Barnwood Poetry Magazine. Rod lives about an hour outside of Seattle, and has worked for a public library for a long, long time. As always, he thanks Allie, his Yellow lab, for her lust-for-life and steadfast companionship, and D & L for their love.

running in the morning
trees chiselled against the sky
even the gravestones
look better

Immanuel Suttner

the toffee apple of the world
turns out to be an onion
but an onion when fried
is also quite sweet.

Sometimes I long
to have everything done for me
someone else pay my bills
someone else face down my challenges
If I could just side step my life
I might be able to tackle it

Immanuel Suttner is a poet in the hours he steals from his day job as a publicist. He is naturally drawn towards non-biological sex and mysticism. Immanuel has published his work in literary magazines in South Africa, Israel, Australia, the UK and USA, and has been included in several anthologies. His first collection, Hidden & Revealed, was published in 2007 and received excellent reviews.

We only get the newspaper still
so she can do the Word Jumble.
She works on it standing
at the kitchen counter,
a black pen in her hand,
an agonized look on her face.
“Is ‘pearlized’ a word?”
she’ll ask me, sounding doubtful.
Some days it takes a while
to unscramble all the letters.
When she finally does,
she reads the words out loud
for me to admire.
Scorched. Anthem. Gazing.
Machinery. Dawned.
It’s like a poem, I say to myself,
just before it’s a poem.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Dreaming in Red from Right Hand Pointing. He is also the author of numerous chapbooks, including The Devil’s Fuzzy Slippers from Flutter Press and Personal Myths from Writing Knights Press. He has two other chapbooks forthcoming, Fog Area from Dog on a Chain Press and The Death of Me from Pig Ear Press. In addition, he is editor of twenty20 journal and co-publisher of White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely and co-editor of cur-ren-cy with Wisely and F. John Sharp.

Clouseau "Clue" Curtis
Mary Pacifico Curtis

Lie at my feet, my boy, one more time
fart if you must, lean and rest limbs
melt your liquid brown eyes into mine again
brush my leg with magic carpet ears
auburn peninsulas that hang to splayed feet
framing white fur with black and brown islands

Lumber your watered slobbered crusted
length for last strokes
rest here with me, with me
remember dusty hikes over parched boulders
muddy ruts and Sierra brush
where you, Buddy Boy, held forth
head and tail high,
happy to walk between your humans.

Lay your tumored torso here, just here with me
stretch your massive doggie paws anticipating new patrol
baritone woo-woo-woo at full ring
to echo and irk new celestial neighbors
as your tail circles, limbs loose again
in new pursuit along paths and hillsides
heaven reserves for beloved dogs.

Mary's poetry and prose have been published by LOST Magazine, The Rumpus, Longstoryshort.net, Clutching at Straws, Los Positas College Literary Anthologies, Boston Literary Magazine, Unheard Magazine, Pitkin Review, Naugatuck River Review and The Crab Orchard Review. When not writing, Mary runs Pacifico Inc, a leading Silicon Valley PR and branding firm. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College.

Pink Crocs
Oleh Lysiak

My muse wore red stilettos
once to pooch her goddess
ass out to advantage. Now
she sports pink Crocs to putter
in her garden in dirt smudged
sweats that drive me crazy still.

Red sang lead in a country band,
worked clubs around Austin,
took me to a bar with worn
horseshoe pits out back.
An old guy, black cowboy
hat, black vest, black glove
on his left hand played me
shoes for beers. I figured
I was pretty good and would
kick the geezer cowboy's ass.
He launched his shoe with
a practiced angled arc, rang
steel on post, relentless.
Nobody living remembered
when he last lost. I bought him
musta been a case of long neck
Lone Stars. That was Willie
Nelson's daddy showed you
what happens when your mouth
overloads your ass, Red laughed,
last time I saw him. He got run
over by a semi on a dark Texas
back road pissing, on his way to
one last redneck extravaganza.

Oleh Lysiak has a writing Jones. Reasonably unruly after six plus decades, he keeps writing not because he wants to but because he has to.

Losing Track of Time
Danny Earl Simmons

I’m an old-fashioned watch-tapper
with a peptic stomach
and a recurring nightmare
of all eyes turning slowly my way
as the scowling man at the podium
begins pelting me with condemnations
over my lazy procrastination.

You could say I appreciate punctuality.

If I was a woman, I’d be a bun-headed,
red-lips-pursing, battle-axe
of an I-hate-late-people person.

Still, I just love losing track of time with you.

Acrostic: Pumpkin Pie
Danny Earl Simmons

Pure autumn color bursts
under snow-white whipped cream.
Memories of Mama and family and noisy
people gathered to eat and laugh and casually
kindle the ties that bind
intensify as the aroma of sweet savory
nutmeg crowds the kitchen and my beloved
parents' house becomes a home again—
in spite of the year's long

Danny Earl Simmons is an Oregonian and a proud graduate of Corvallis High School. He has loved living in the Mid-Willamette Valley for over 30 years. He is a friend of the Linn-Benton Community College Poetry Club and an active member of the Albany Civic Theater. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various journals such as Naugatuck River Review, Avatar Review, Summerset Review, Boston Literary Magazine, and Pirene’s Fountain.

Medical Update
Doug Mathewson

To cure a ganglion,
folk medicine tells us,
hit it hard with your Bible.
Really whack it!
Try that with a Kindle,
never mind a Nook.

New Posting
Doug Mathewson

My rock caught him above the eye.
He called me a “ little fucker”,
said he'd kill me.
I screamed back,
“ catch me first asshole,”
Then he threw a rock,
hard and fast, almost got me!
Not bad,
so far new Priest seems okay.

Doug Mathewson as a writer he is best known for his mixed-media sculptures. The art-world remains unimpressed with the exception of his “Head-of-Goliath-a-Day” series. Using modeling clay and found objects he portrays the image of young David with the severed head of the giant Goliath. The tiny dioramas (inside walnut shell halves) portray men, women and creatures from across the ages as David. David could be a robot, space squid, pop-star, house hold pet, or just someone on the bus The artist is always the head. Gratefully none of this involves The Boston Literary Magazine, where the author is very flattered to appear, nor < ahref="http://www.Blink-Ink.com">Blink-Ink which he edits.

Mr. Dobson
Brian Fanelli

We called him Mr. Magoo
when his geezer wagon wobbled into the parking lot.
We slouched at our desks, yawned away his lectures
about European kings and queens from ages
where everyone dressed funny to us.
If we flicked paper footballs, or laughed
at ink blots on his shirts, chalk streaks on his pants,
he halted the lesson, hissed, Off to Siberia!
We had to sit alone and listen,
suffering the steely gaze of other classmates
if we caused extra homework.
As a senior, I sat in another history class
when Mr. Dobson entered, his face as somber
as someone sharing news a friend or relative had died.
He whispered to our teacher both Twin Towers collapsed.
That year, some students readied to enlist,
others completed college aps.
Mr. Dobson sent me to mazes of books
when I asked about Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine,
names I noticed scroll across the screen on network news,
countries I knew he covered in lessons I slept through.
That year, we learned of color-coded terror threat levels,
mailed anthrax attacks, but Mr. Dobson remained the same,
dressed in reliable blue khakis,
button-down shirts with pens poking out of pockets,
his office door always open to me
when I had pages marked, questions ready
like the eager student I never was.

After Working Hours
Brian Fanelli

She comes home to a husband
just as bone-tired, slow to the kitchen
for a snack before sleep.
In dreams, she sees her hair streaked gray,
her back hunched from years behind a counter.
She still hears her manager's screeching voice
call for clean-up in aisle 9.
Her husband also dreams work sounds—
buzzsaws grinding down wood, hammers pounding nails,
the site boss bellowing, Move your ass, boys!
When they wake, they speak nothing
of his blistered fingers and swollen knuckles,
her headaches caused by nagging customers.
He pours her coffee with two scoops of sugar,
his demeanor as pleasant as a well-tipped waiter's.
She picks up the paper, then slips her hand over his,
feeling warmth beneath his callouses and cracked skin.

Brian Fanelli is a previous contributor to Boston Literary Magazine. His poems have also appeared or are forthcoming in Red Rock Review, Harpur Palate, The Portland Review, Word Riot, San Pedro River Review, Third Wednesday, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, and elsewhere. Brian is the author of the chapbook Front Man (Big Table Publishing), and his first full-length book of poems will be published in 2013 by Unbound Content. Brian currently serves as contributing editor to Poets' Quarterly, resides in Pennsylvania, and teaches writing at Keystone College. Find him online at www.brianfanelli.com.

The Orange Line
Robert Goodman

I saw them on the Orange line
Young lovers in a clung embrace
Like climbing ivy on the vine,
I studied, in each, their face.

He looked blankly out the window
She looked sullen behind her hair.
He sensed something wrong in her now;
She bled despair in the open air.

They held each other so very tight
As emptiness filled their aching hearts.
Not wanting to let go or to fight;
Love lost in all its broken parts.

But not this moment, yet, to disband
As the train stopped, they did alight.
And on they went hand in hand;
So certain into the uncertain night.

Robert Goodman is an aspiring poet and short story writer who lives along the Jersey Shore. Much of his writing work revolves around the human condition with influences from history, myth, faith and observation of the inner journey. His short story, “Charon’s Cross” was recently published in the lifestyle literary magazine, The Mindful Word. Additionally, his short story “The Felix Redemption” was signed to an anthology publication going to print in the autumn of 2012.

We don’t throw ourselves at the world
like we used to, scaling the elaborate
monkey bars, dangling
by the knees,
flinging off swings mid-
air, as if we craved gravity,
couldn’t wait for the crush
of our small frames
upon the earth.

Now, the world hurls
itself at us instead.
The sky’s a royal
purple cloak tonight,
draped over the lake
at the old playground,
briefly cradling
moon and sun
at the same time.

We make the same mistakes
we did then, thinking beauty
and awe as simple things,
simply appreciated, yet
you can’t look at the sky tonight
without crying, without hating
beauty that masks
the earth’s pain.

You talk of your friend,
the lung infection,
the hospital bed’s pale blue sheets,
and how you felt
that morning
when the rumpled covers
that once held her
were suddenly smoothed
and tucked taut
beneath sterile metal bars.

How were we to know
in childhood that each time
we visited the playground
something had shifted?
Even in hindsight, we can’t fully explain
the change in us—
when it happened or why—
as we mount the old swings,
push our feet against the ground
preparing to launch but
stopping short, hesitantly
rocking back and forth,
burying our toes deeply into dirt
and swiftly
unearthing them again.

Anne Champion is the author of Reluctant Mistress, a poetry collection forthcoming from Gold Wake Press in 2013. She has a BA in Creative Writing and Behavioral Psychology from Western Michigan University and received her MFA in Poetry at Emerson College. Her work appears in The Minnetonka Review, Pank Magazine, The Aurorean, The Comstock Review, Poetry Quarterly, Line Zero, Thrush Poetry Journal and elsewhere. She was a 2009 recipient of The Academy of American Poets Prize at Emerson College and was recently nominated for an Emerging Writer Grant from The St. Botolph Foundation. She currently teaches writing and literature in Boston, MA.

Laura Rodley

Without looking for it,
I spotted two crows
dive bombing a bald eagle
two street lengths away from me
at eye level, since the tree he sat on
grew just below the road bank.
Eagle tossed back his white head
to snatch the catapulting crow.
The crow veered left within reach
and the eagle kept his mouth open
in case he tried again.
Then squawking and dive bombing more
they chased him up the river,
a course he flew
as though it were a road,
the only way home.

Laura Rodley’s is editor of newly released, As You Write It; A Franklin County Anthology, a collection of elder's memoir. Her chapbook Your Left Front Wheel is Coming Loose was nominated for a Pen New England L.L. Winship Award and also a Mass Book Award by the publisher Finishing Line Press. Her chapbook Rappelling Blue Light was also nominated for a Mass Book Award. Her work has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She loves all wildlife and the ocean.

American Made
Laura Kathryn McRae

the candy machine at my father's
garage dispensed pairs

of gumballs for a penny
down its rust-stippled slide;

dad would hand us each a coin or two
and we'd chew vigorously while he

chatted with mr. davis the mechanic
until they'd agreed again

that American Made was superior
to those foreign models

and allow that nothing was
as it used to be;

dad would buy a big pack
of red licorice for the stroll home

along the sycamore lined sidewalks
and we'd gnaw at the long tough strands

Last Days
Laura Kathryn McRae

I whip up
some green lime jello
boiling water, whipped cream
that little packet
of green powder

I add the grated carrots
you love
though it makes the mold
look mutant and diseased

I still can't stomach tapioca
never told you the staring
fish eyes made me nauseous
when you presented the cure-all
with warm, flat seven-up

and sat on the edge of my bed
stroked my hair
as I clutched your largest mixing
bowl to my roiling gut

I lay the plate
on your bedside table
next to the spittoon
and the morphine button
sit on the edge of your bed—

Laura Kathryn McRae is a teacher in Toronto, Ontario where she lives and writes. Her work has appeared in The Antigonish Review, PIF Magazine, Northwind Magazine, and Room Magazine, and is forthcoming in Emerge Literary Journal and in Contemporary Verse 2.

We are waiting for the doctor,
who has made us sit
on butcher paper
for a time identical
to the length of the movie
we were thinking
of seeing instead.

We are waiting to learn
which will arrive first,
stacked on pallets and
wrapped in cellophane—
the next Cormac McCarthy novel,
or the DSM-5, both due
in a year unnumbered
by the Mayans

And for the right
configuration of numbers,
we are waiting—
ocean temperatures and
planetary albedo;
economic indicators,
leading and lagging;
T-cell and platelet counts,
shopping days left until
all the stores close for good.

Dale Wisely is a clinical psychologist and writer who lives in Alabama. He founded and edits Right Hand Pointing and co-edits cur-ren-cy and White Knuckle Chapbooks.

Needed Rain
Jason Fisk

The storm will be here by nine he said
so we should be at the bar before that
We can get a few drinks
sit in the upstairs patio
and watch it roll in
One long island and three beers later
the rain fell big
and the sky blazed blue

Then, a text from my wife
Wife: stay as long as you need to I know about his mom.
Me: ?
Wife: she has cancer.
Wife: brain.
Wife: please don’t say anything.
Wife: unless he does. his wife told me earlier this evening.
Wife: it’s bad.
Me: he’s said nothing about it…
Wife: sorry. he won’t even talk to his wife.
Me: he’s just carrying on…
Wife: he probably just needs to get out.

On the way home
I opened the windows and sunroof
and drops of old rain landed on our heads
we laughed
He reached over and cranked the radio
Dylan: there must be some way out of here
said the joker to the thief
there’s too much confusion here
I can’t get no relief

His driveway
He shook my hand
got out of the car
and walked into
his dark house

Jason Fisk is a husband of one, a teacher to many, and a father of two. He lives in Chicago. He is the author of Salt Creek Anthology, a collection of micro-fiction published by Chicago Center for Literature and Photography; the fierce crackle of fragile wings, a collection of poetry published by Six Gallery Press; as well as two poetry chapbooks published by Propaganda Press. For more information, feel free to check out: www.JasonFisk.com.

TM Man

inhibitions lowered
as garments fall
floating to the ground
autumn undresses summer

TM Man was born in Boston MA. He works a blue collar job by day and writes by night. He loves to inundate Boston Literary Magazine Staff with persistent poetry submissions.

Story of a Dress
Anne Whitehouse

I remember that sleeveless summer dress
with wide stripes of mauve,
magenta and blue Marcia gave me,
loose and comfortable
with deep pockets and no zipper.
I slipped it over my head,
pulled my arms through the armholes,
and that was it.

But one day my daughter said,
“Lose it, Mom. I hate that dress on you.”
So I packed it with me to Cartagena
and in the Hotel de Tres Banderas,
wore it to breakfast one morning.
Lidia, who worked there, admired it.
I returned to my room, reappearing
in pants and a tee-shirt
and gave her the dress on a hanger,
happy at the thought
of it swaying gently over her hips
as she crosses a sun-dappled plaza
shaded by palms.

Anne Whitehouse’s forthcoming poetry collection, The Refrain, will be published by Dos Madres Press in the fall of 2012. Other poetry collections include The Surveyor’s Hand, Blessings and Curses, Bear in Mind, and One Sunday Morning. Fall Love, now available as a free ebook from Smashwords and Feedbacks, is being translated into Spanish by noted Colombian author and translator Manuela Canela. Her short stories have appeared in literary magazines throughout the English-speaking world, from the United States to India. Her book reviews and feature articles have been published in major newspapers throughout the U.S. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Rock Harbor Chowder
It's Better in New England
Bob Zappacosta

Clams, Mussels, Shrimp, Haddock,
Corn, Potatoes, and Cream.

She says
she loves the taste
of my Rock Harbor


But she really
doesn't know
how good it can be.

The way it tastes on a beach
at night with the moonlight
shinning on the water,

the sound of waves
lapping against
the shore.

She says
she loves the taste
of my Rock Harbor


But she really
doesn't know
how good it can be


Bob Zappacosta's poems have been published by The Aurorean, Boston Literary Magazine, Bowersock Gallery, Pasco Arts Council, PEARL, St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Tribune, Verdad. And the soon to be published poem , "Eve and Artemisia" in Ink Sweat and Tears.

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