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CC Milam

She's learning to drive this spring…
We drive round and round the baseball field
Avoiding the boys of summer
stealing bases…every chance we get…

When the Police ain't watching…
She drives the old work car…
A faded hunter green…
Pointing at every

fast back sun roof shiny new
day dream…moaning
softly…."ooooh I would look
sooooo cute in the that one…"

as the relentless sun bakes
another layer off the green…
I could say so many things…
Smile... remind her to flip on the turn signal…

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.



Handyman
Lucy Spinetti

I had the wallpaper peeled off in the bedroom
The bathroom door sanded so it doesn't stick anymore
The peeling paint on the wall next to the shower was scraped off
And the walls repainted a girly color

I had a ceiling fan put up in the livingroom
There's a new light fixture in the kitchen
The hole you punched in the wall is patched now
Painted over, too

The little cabinet we bought is assembled and stained
I sat the lamp I bought to replace the broken one on top
New slipcovers over the couch, fresh and crisp
And the carpet has been steam cleaned

The television is moved out of the bedroom
And the old quilt and shams thrown out
The handyman had a field day
Removing all traces of you from my life

Lucy Spinetti remains an avid Red Sox fan, despite the last two seasons. Almost never seen without a coffee cup, she is hopelessly devoted to her three and a half beautiful nephews. Or maybe three nephews and one niece? She's an "enterpreneur," which means she gets to work in her jammies, having her own new age t-shirt business. Oh, and she likes her two year old Wheaten terrier a little.


Short Story Workshop, March 1983, Northern Maine
Nicholas Ripatrazone

I see that you read Cheever.
Your characters speak
with understated irony, as if they
are aware of their inadequacies
yet, for the good of the plot,
they play along with you:
fight with wives, drink Chevis Regal.
They would even swim across the county
if only you asked.


Nicholas Ripatrazone lives in New Jersey with his wife and teaches literature and novel-writing at Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School. He has short-fiction forthcoming in Leaving Home: Stories of Coming and Going, published by Hourglass Books and is seeking a literary home for a novel set in the Siskiyou Mountains of northern California.




If Your Fern Talked Back
Jeffrey H. MacLachlan

You'd sit the plant atop
the dinner table and stew
about your day at work. Firings
sweeping through the office
and you just want quiet to unwind.

Soon you'd dread coming home to its throaty
smoker's voice breaking up into coughs
after every sentence -- sharing a synopsis
of the day's soaps and how you work
too much as it illuminates your faults.

Before long, it's awakened all the plants
that nap by the windowsill out of boredom.
All day they press leaves against sun-touched windows
like a lover's door and moan. All night deafening
screams from their unwatered soil.

Jeffrey H. MacLachlan received his MFA at Chatham College and his work has appeared in the Brooklyn Review , Zaum, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He hails from Skaneateles, NY.



St. Barnabus, Pa
Andy Martrich

slate tiles were armoring the outer walls
of st. barnabus church
until the early months of 1988
when it was removed piece by piece
and reassembled
half a mile up the durham hill slope

my parents would bring
my brothers and I to 9am mass
sitting in the back
where the construction had already started
and stained glass had been replaced
by double glazed windows.

I stared at my reflection all service
intermingled among
the slighting buds of sycamore trees
the winter finches and
house sparrows in the church yard
fending off the squirrels
from the thistle socks

next to an ebbing brook
a run off from a durham spring
where I would sit with the willows
the caking silt frothing in the low leaves

the sting of a spate
dragging the leaves along with it
into the current's crease
with new needles ranked
lines of white stomata following
a stream of old glory blue,
diving south into maryland
rolling west into ohio.

yet we remained in our state
frequenting mass at st. barnabus
half a mile more up the mountain
now a church with no history.

Andy Martrich is from Emmaus, PA but currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. His poems have appeared in BlazeVox, JAAM, Contrary Magazine, Barcid-Homily, Muse Apprentice Guild, Can We Have Our Ball Back, among other journals. A chapbook "I think we should lay here..."


Creeping Fire
Jeffrey H. MacLachlan

An old flame motions to see
her newborn's eyes blink away sleep's cobwebs
and reveal the color of sea holly.
Her husband hurls chopped logs
into the quiet fireplace.

Later, she takes me to her empty flower
shop and eases down on a pile of Miracle
Grow bags. The slaughterhouse up
the hill was cleaved by a storm and the animal
blood that seeped kept everyone away,
she says, but then falls quiet for a time.

Shedding her velvet coat, my eyes
wander to the places I once lightly traveled.
Sharp burn marks begin below her navel, disappear
under a soft rose sweater, then stop at the collar.
Outside, her husband sneaks a cigarette.

Jeffrey H. MacLachlan received his MFA at Chatham College and his work has appeared in the Brooklyn Review , Zaum, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He hails from Skaneateles, NY.


Making the Most of It
Michael A. Wells

Sorting out the allegory,
Dividing up the spoils
To which we are entitled
According to some archaic law
Of our own.

These times are not the norm
And we can't quite recall normalcy
Aside from the time the catfish jumped
A good three feet above the water,
The summer the moon froze in full mode
For two straight months.

I remember old folks telling of strange sightings
In the northern sky, and they claim the winter was harsh
That year and the women all spoke in language
That would have mortified their own sensibilities
Any other time.

It seems we all adjust to changes sooner or later.
The wind is always shifting and desires are nothing more
Than wants - not needs.

All of us are looking for chances
At one time or another.
Opportunity comes and goes,
But mostly it just hangs out
In Jackson Hole.

Michael A. Wells is a Midwest poet and native Missourian. His work has appeared in three anthologies, as well as Rockhurst Annual Arts Review, Park University Scribe, Independence Examiner and various online venues. Michael has conducted a number of readings in the Kansas City metro area over the past three years. He is married and father of four children. He has spent 20 years working in a mental health related field. When not writing and reading he enjoys San Francisco Giants baseball.


Same Day Delivery
Hugh Fulham

Sam pushes his glasses back
up his nose, kind of blinded
by the light inside the flower
shop. A rose is supposed
to make her eyes shine,
make her smile wide, plant your name
in her mind, says the seller,
just sign here. Now

the phone drops under
the passenger seat,
the engine splutters
he sweats and wishes
he was driving a De-lorean.

She opens the door
surprised, taking them inside.
She runs for a vase,
runs the cold water,
her face flushed.
She clasps her hands
like God would close
his favourite book.

There's a tiny card
with a name
that makes her shake,
and kick the cat
who smashed the vase
and lapped at the rose water
as the doorbell rang.

He sees the dew in her eyes
and changes tack, with these new conditions
he knows just what to do
like a young sailor in the eye of the storm.
and prepares himself
for the warmth of her embrace.

Hugh Fulham is Irish, he writes poetry. He has new work appearing in Juked, Ward 6 Review, Mastodon Dentist, Fuselit and Words Myth.


Seven
Victoria Clayton Munn

I stood in waist high daisies - swirled yellow in clouds
among a graveyard of skeleton cars.
I scratched at the rust coat, flaked from the closest monument
russet dust hitting stems and weeds falling into earth.

Dust piles - traced a finger through the filings, smelled
the blood on my fingertip - pushed the powder into block shapes
as the sky brightened, a map of my world in strips of grass
and mounds of sand and dirt appeared

Sun hit my shoulders, glinted sharp off worn chrome
Among the field of growth and decay
I picked flowers and wove crowns and bracelets for myself alone,
Sang lullabyes to honeybees and hid from their sting

I robbed twigs of their bark and beheaded purple clover
The world hummed around my head, I sat for hours on stones
bruised but painless, a child's condition
I studied dirty fingernails with interest and boredom

Twisted strands of straw covered my face under gray skies
Pulled a hood over my head as the fat drops hit
Ran for shelter, my kingdom invaded
Destroyed by the conquering rain.

Victoria Clayton Munn is a freelance writer and poet who will write about any topic -real or imagined - and she's proud of each and every word. Her poetry has previously been published in Poor Mojo's Almanac(k), APT and edifice WRECKED. Victoria lives in upstate New York with her husband and daughter.


User 23
J.D. Nelson

sitting
on my black octagon,
meditating --

I'm turning into a
spider

(slowly.)

I'm no computer
programmer --
I just use.

is it eight arms

or eight legs

or four arms
& four legs?

any way you slice it,
a spider would make
a great programmer.

J. D. Nelson experiments with words and sound in his subterranean laboratory. His poems have appeared in many small press publications, both print and online. He lives in Colorado, USA. Visit J. D.'s website for more information.




A Brief Refrain
Richard Fein

The easy chair most of all,
especially the one with the massage switch-
the neck, back, and feet gently rocking.
She'd make it fit into her midtown condo,
if she could ever afford a condo.
She plays in parks, on street corners, and at occasional concerts.
Few listen. Fewer still toss coins into her violin case.
She peers through the Sharper Image window-that easy chair,
a sweet synesthetic melody to her sight and skin.
Today she'll make the bow dance across the strings,
whether the muse inspires her or not.
And tonight she'll practice
until her neighbor bangs the wall for quiet.
She made her choice, most of us do.
She'll play her lifetime's theme with toughened fingers
for nickles, dimes, and occasional dollars.
But for now, right now, she'd like that chair-
that black chair massaging her,
while her callused fingers
splay across a supple leather armrest.

Richard Fein was finalist in The 2004 Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition. His work has appeared in Oregon East Southern Humanities Review, Touchstone, Windsor Review, Maverick, Parnassus Literary Review, Small Pond, Kansas Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Exquisite Corpse, and many others. He also has an interest in digital photography and has published many of his photos. Please visit: Bardofbyte