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John Thomas Clark

A flightless eagle, I live on the edge
Of your world now. No longer can I soar
For I am not in high feather. No more
Can I ride life's sunlit thermals. The wedge

Between us widens. But I have a hedge —
Lex - who flies to me and nests on the floor
When I perch on my bedside cliff. There for
Me out of loyalty, his service pledge

Roost, at my legs, insures I do not fledge
On my own. He places himself before
Me so I cannot fall. To underscore
This, when I am on my morningside ledge

And my bird dog lights by my bedside shelf,
My heart soars for this is something he taught himself.

John Thomas Clark lives in Scarsdale, NY with his wife Ginny, daughter Chris and his black lab, Lex — the best service dog in the world. A retired NYC teacher, his poetry has appeared in or will be published in The Recorder — Journal of the American-Irish Society, Mediphors, Celtic Fringe, Exit 13, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, Lachryma and Hidden Oak. He has written "The Joy of Lex" — an upbeat romp, in sonnet form, which tells the story of life with Lex. "Othering" is his mss of 150 sonnets which recounts the journey of a person who others, who becomes "an other" as he faces a burgeoning physical disability. He has also penned "The Captivity of St Patrick" — a 700 pg novel which provides a window on fifth-century Ireland.

From the top bleachers
my grandfather and I watch
the wrestlers taunt each other.

Soon my grandfather is up and yelling,
spittle flying.

The whole arena is standing,
the bleachers shaking.

The wrestler on the floor,
his chest as bloody
as a butcher's apron,
is carried off on a gurney.

Don't worry, I tell my grandfather.
It's all staged. But he
is sure they hate each other.

Not even when we see them outside
slapping each other on the back

does he doubt their blood
lust. My grandfather
is still agitated, face red,

his faith in their feud
unshaken. In the ring wrestlers
with outstretched arms circle

like scorpions facing off.

Bob Bradshaw is a programmer living in Redwood City, CA. He is a big fan of both naps and the Rolling Stones. Recent and forthcoming work of his can be found at Eclectica, Blue Fifth Review, Apple Valley Review, 3rd Muse and Tattoo Highway. He has a terrific son, who is a drummer these days for a punk band, Mental Hygiene. The band jams in the garage. The neighbors aren't happy, but Bob is.

Channeling Life
Rex Stocklin

the day drew long and shitty
and, damn, if I couldn't
the reason I meant to get up

it's times like these that i wonder
what keeps me from walking
into traffic
or into the bead of some idiot's rage

i hope i can find a decent thought
to give me velvet comfort
or at least
some cold pizza and a good piece

perhaps it will be a good day then
i'll watch film at eleven on my
busted philco
they'll tell me if i made it out alive

Rex Stocklin is a man of many facets ... a chemical engineer by schooling, but far more entranced by music, writing, the arts in general, comedy, ethnic cuisines and wordplay. Rex, at 51, is also a 12-year stroke survivor, but turns to poetry such that "stroke" doesn't consume his entire life. He does this usually in his underwear & fedora while feasting upon green tea and dark chocolate.

Heat Wave
Joseph V. Kleponis

days of summer's heat

build and fall into dead air -

shots ring through the night

now the city's still-

blood red fingers of dawn

streak across the sky

in Boston Harbor's

cold, gold shimmering waters

waves of hope beat on

Joseph V. Kleponis is a teacher of English and American Literature who lives north of Boston. He has had poetry published in Modern English Tanka, Ribbons, and Contemporary Rhyme. A haiku will appear in the issue of moonset, to be released in May of 2007.

All I Knew about E
Laura A. Ciraolo

On urban curbs
fortune hunters
pan for gold
among bags and boxes.
My grandmother limps
in flopping shoes
she discovered with
her searching eye,
a laser sight
red dot on target.

My grandmother's car
was a junkyard
filled with treasure:
copper wire,
newspaper, rags.
Deposit bottles rolled
as we rode
going in and out
with the tide.
In the backseat
I worried,
staring at the gas gauge,
doubting E meant Enough.
But I always remembered
to push with my legs,
hands gripping
the big chrome bumper
as we got the old car
those last few blocks

Breakfast at Sunrise
Laura A. Ciraolo

It is in the early morning
when all you hear are
the clocks ticking.

It's then you can pretend
they are still there,
asleep, safe in their beds.

And the sunlight
need only touch their faces
with warm beams to wake them.

It's not until you pour the juice
and perk the coffee, put the bacon
on to sizzle in the big black skillet

That the ghosts appear
one by one to join you
for breakfast.

It's not until you sit down
and bring that steaming mug
up to your face,

When you remember
that yours is the only chair
pulled out from the table.

Speaking for the Dead
Laura A. Ciraolo

For Rose, Edna & Eleanor

The old ladies on my street
lived into their nineties
and saw a whole century
unfold before them.
They showed me
pictures of themselves
as young girls,
playfully costumed,
smiles caught in a slant of light.

Rose, Edna, Eleanor,
old fashioned names
of the early twentieth century,
that lived to see the
gassed soldiers return from
the first war and married the
men going off to the second.
They raised their families,
buried their parents and
put their great-grandparents'
moldy portraits out in the trash.

Tenacious, stubborn,
they played cards for pennies
as if they were hundred dollar bills,
and could carry more groceries
walking with a cane than anyone
driving a mini-van or SUV.

And I watched each time
the ambulance came
and one of them never returned,
refusing to be bullied into
unnatural extensions of their lives.
Rose went first, fast, as her heart failed.
Edna was next as her bones broke
and crumbled into dust.
Eleanor is still alive, but one day
her sons came, and she was gone.

I send cards to a new address
without response, and I imagine
that while her body is there
she has already joined her friends,
the girls from the block
who played and stayed
almost one hundred years.

I speak for them now,
as new families move in
who never knew them.
I remember them
each time I look into Edna's
mirror, rescued from the day
her son came to empty the house,
a huge dumpster out in front.
The mirror is etched with
leaves and flowers and
hangs in my entryway,
so that when I leave
and look at my reflection,
I am not alone,
because they are there
behind me, smoothing my hair,
waiting for me to join their game.

Laura A. Ciraolo has poems forthcoming in the New York Quarterly #63, iota (UK) and the Long Island Quarterly. Her poems have recently appeared in MiPOesias and Orbis (UK). She lives and works in New York City.

No news
of her dying father...

Just playing the waiting game now
we slept last night
we were so tired
just... both... crashed
into a million different pieces

and awoke this morning
in each other's arms

such is life... and death

CC Milam is a reclusive poet who practices Ceremonial High Shamanism in the tradition of the Tang poets. He was profoundly influenced by the writing and philosophy of Han Shan, and believes that poetry is an ancient magickal process.

No Quickies Here
Levon DeBranch

Let's assume
for a minute,
that I honestly believe
you're coming to see me
on the third,
once I can afford
to bus you down here.

Let's assume
for a minute,
you truly mean
what you say
when you say
you can't wait to meet me
once the money's wired.

Let's assume,
for a minute
we're going to have days and days
of unbridled sex
in my grandmother's bed
to celebrate
the arrival
of her Social Security

We've already spent
the better part
of three minutes
about what very well
could be
the greatest weekend


It's too bad
the first bag of
and the twenty
which will follow,
will become
more important
on the third
and by the fourth,
I won't even have
enough money
to bus myself down
to the corner store
the Western Union is.

Let's pretend,
for a minute,
that the only thing
more appealing to me
than the idea of
screwing you
is the familiarity
of all notions of me
totally and completely

screwing myself.

We've already spent,
the better part
of five minutes
talking in circles
about the inevitable.

You have to admit,
since we've been chatting
even thought we haven't
actually met
this has been some of
the best sex
you've ever had.

Levon DeBranch is the fiendish alter ego of a poet who lives in Connecticut, who shall remain nameless. The dishearted poet feels he has been "marked" as a publication junkie, and what poet would want that? Levon DeBranch is merely a way of still being able to get the poetry out. As one editor responded to him: "Are you going to just die if I don't publish you?" The poet's answer? "Probably."

The World
Jon Ballard

As if I had critiqued aloud the wild maneuverings
Or hygiene habits of our taxi driver, though

I'd only observed how the city was lit against
The night, as if against an enemy or a stranger.

I could tell by the dim corners of your mouth
That you wanted to speak, to tell me

For instance what a miracle the world is
Even here, now, huddled together in this

Taxi, shuttled toward some get-together
For which you needed new shoes and I—

According to you—a new silk tie, a trim, a new
Attitude. Outside, I could see the dark treetops

Only as a blur, then blotches of light that might
Have been stars or stones in a far meadow echoing

What the moon had just said about the world
Being overrated, all the cities, all the little parties.

Jon Ballard is a poet as well as an occasional literature and writing instructor for Oakland Community College in Royal Oak, Michigan. His work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Blue Earth Review, The Valparaiso Poetry Review, Boxcar Poetry Review, Soundings East, and many others. His first chapbook, Lonesome, is due in 2007 from Pudding House Publications. He lives in Mexico City, Mexico.