Tuesday, November 28, 2023

My Majority By Ben Nardolilli

We hurts he, he drinks she,
she thinks he ought to fix me

Me? Reading about how we
ought to condemn he

We, meanwhile, are free
despite the war of he and she


Ben Nardolilli is currently an MFA candidate at Long Island University. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Door Is a Jar, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, The Northampton Review, Slab, and The Minetta Review. Follow his publishing journey at mirrorsponge.blogspot.com.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Jealous Much? By Ruby Mohan

Wonder what happened?
The sun torched summer,
Dismissive of a July rain;
When the wind’s sundress of breezy chiffon
On sudden damping turned see-through

All worked up, radiating heat.
Demeanor prudish, stern.
Star ablaze with existential angst
Wildfires informed us of
Jealous love in hiding.

Raindrops braved sparks singeing fingertips
Charry ash drift graying broom and gorse
Meerithic impulse ignited; still, I waited
for psithurism to whisper clues.
Who can ask the wind who her heart favors?

The raindrops trickling
suddenly silenced.
Weighting down languid air
Humid heat clawed out, ripping open
Its heart birthed a dark emotion.

Unappeased, Sol ablaze
Speared through tree canopies
Reiterating, “I burn, burn, burn.”
Who for?
How do I help it?


Ruby Mohan is an American writer, humorist and poet of Asian Indian ancestry. Her cosmopolitan literary works are informed by transcendentalism, science, logic, and ethics. Her award-winning poems, admired for their feminism, are published in literary journals worldwide. She straddles two continents with homes in Chandigarh (India), & Texas (USA). Twitter: @RubyMohans Instagram: rubymohans Facebook: Author Ruby Mohan

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Milos' Mischief By Eric Chiles

It's career day at the local middle school,
and the guidance counselor wants me
to talk to eighth graders about journalism.

Newspapers are folding. Even TV news
worries more about ratings than
substance. The President tweets

to dodge the press corps. What kind
of future does journalism promise
eighth graders who TikTok?

Hardly any of their parents subscribe
to a paper. When I was their age,
my dad got two - morning and evening

- which meant I got two different
comics sections to read before school
and after doing homework.

But, what the heck, if anything,
one Prez has proven we need
a vigilant corps of watch dogs.

Someone, somehow has to put
a bite on all this foolishness.
So I put AP's website on the screen

and google Milos Novotny,
an IU chemistry prof I interviewed
as an acting science writer

while in grad school. Interesting
guy. Refugee from the Prague Spring.
A grant abstract on my desk said he got

$1 million from NASA to build
something called a gas chromatographic
column for the first Mars lander.

Something from Bloomington was going
to Mars! There's a story. Almost as big
as a planetoid named for Herman B Wells.

After explaining the small, glass spiral,
Milos opened his desk drawer and
pulled out what looked like unfiltered

cigarettes in a plain white pack
with FDA across the front - except
the tobacco was a familiar green.

Even the eighth graders guessed
what it was. Milos piggybacked
an FDA grant on NASA's to test his device.

And he found out that marijuana
has way more carcinogens in it
than tobacco. Guess which story

went national? Wait, says the only
black kid in the classroom, you mean
smoking trees can cause more cancer

than cigarettes? Why are states
legalizing it then?
Ah, some kids
can still cut smoke with questions.


After a newspaper career, Eric Chiles began teaching writing and journalism at colleges in eastern Pennsylvania. He is the author of the chapbook "Caught in Between," and his poetry has appeared in Allegro, Blue Collar Review, Chiron Review, Main Street Rag, Plainsongs, Rattle, and elsewhere.

Friday, November 17, 2023

“Will We Ever Be Really Happy?” By Ace Boggess

                                            question asked by Andrea Fekete

Burned by pink
of a sunrise,
soothed staring
at a lunar eclipse,
holding a hand,
receiving a gift.
Happenings carry us
out of ourselves.
A brown fox
races from woods.
We watch it go
behind the house,
elated with its
unknown purpose.
The jangling
of an ice-cream truck
reminds us of times
we were content
with creamsickle
bars, no napkins
to dry our lips.
In each pause,
there’s happiness.
It passes as suddenly
as it arrived.
We try to reclaim it,
throw in on a pile,
dance around it
while it burns away.


Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, most recently Escape Envy. His writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble. His seventh collection, Tell Us How to Live, is forthcoming in 2024 from Fernwood Press.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

It Starts to Rain By Curtis Blazemore

I scatter ashes from my cigarette like memories of home. One more drag, flick it into a puddle gathering at the curb.

I am standing, not turning, the downpour now crashing into the swell of awning above.

Someone across the street, hood pulled over a smiling face, waves her right arm, left hand clutching at the collar of a green coat.


Curtis Blazemore has been on the planet far too long, publishing various works in between having bad luck and making people rethink their faith in humanity. No matter. He sees sentences in the exhaled smoke and scribbles furiously. He hopes someday to be able to afford a Greyhound bus ticket to Graceland.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Hope Came in April By James Lilliefors

When I was a boy, my father took us to see the Senators
play in twi-night double-headers at D.C. Stadium.
He wanted us to see the greats – Mantle, Maris, Yastrzemski – 
and we did. But I was always more interested in the home team 
– in men named Pascual, Howard, Valentine, Brinkman.

I brought a No. 2 pencil to those games keep score, 
and a freshly oiled glove for foul balls, just in case. 
I knew all the player stats, could recite them like a secret
code – batting averages, RBIs, home runs, ERAs.
My little brother often fell asleep during the second games,
while my father sat quietly, occasionally scolding the players
to do better, the way he did my brother and me.

The home team always lost more than they won,
but we had something the other teams didn’t have.
Our team’s greatness, my father once said,
was its potential. And, with time, I began to see that, too
– to recognize flashes of greatness out there
under the warm lights at D.C. Stadium.
It was how, as a boy, I came to define greatness:
as something that flashed, that appeared sparingly,
unexpectedly – but that could change
the world in an instant, with one thunderous crack.

The year that riots burned our city down,
the home team won 65 games and lost 96.
Opening day was postponed that spring
from April 8 to April 10 because a great man
had been killed in Memphis, and angry people
were rioting in our city. My father told us about it.

The funeral for that man was on Tuesday, April 9.
By then, D.C. Stadium had been turned
into a “staging area,” my father said,
for the 82nd Airborne soldiers
who’d come to town to restore order.

The troops pulled out on Wednesday,
so the Minnesota Twins could take the field
for the home team’s 2 p.m. season opener.
We lost that game, 2-0. And the next two as well.
But a week later, our team began a four-game
streak, and it felt as if something was beginning.
Hope was like that back then. It came every year
in April, when the tree branches thickened
with buds, when the breeze carried smells of cut grass
and hyacinth, and the whole city seemed to be waiting
to see what the home team would do.
If you listened closely on any of those afternoons,
you’d hear the sounds of fathers and sons, tossing
baseballs, back and forth, generation to generation.
Our team never showed us how to win back then,
but they gave us that other thing, and for a while
it felt just as good: they taught us how to hope.

Fifty-six days after the season opener, another
great man was killed, this time in California.
Our team was in the midst of its longest streak
of the season at the time (five games).
Seven months later, they renamed D.C. Stadium
RFK Stadium in his honor.

I think of these things on a hot summer night
fifty-four years later, and a thousand miles away,
after reading the news online.
Remembering the luminous circular stadium on the
Anacostia River, whose lush green outfield and
dusty clay basepath once seemed as wondrously
alien and self-contained as a small planet.
Where my brother, my late father, and I sat at twilight,
eating salty popcorn from cardboard boxes, drinking
watery Cokes from tall, waxed-paper cups.
Where I learned to pay attention, to hope,
to recognize what greatness looked like.

The news story said nothing about those things,
of course. It didn’t even mention the season
our city burned down, and opening day was postponed.
It said only that RFK Stadium was about to be demolished.
The news felt surprisingly personal, as if I was reading
the obituary of someone I had known,
and loved intimately, years earlier,
whose death notice somehow left out
all the important details of her life.


James Lilliefors is a poet, journalist and novelist, whose writing has appeared in Ploughshares, The Washington Post, Door Is A Jar, Snake Nation Review, CandleLit magazine, The Miami Herald and elsewhere. He is a former writing fellow at the University of Virginia.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

sympathy for me By JJ Campbell

i’ve never asked
anyone to have
sympathy for me

not after the
suicide attempts

not after the
car crashes

not after the
blood clots
that should
have killed

not after my
useless father

not after the
truth of being
molested as a
child became
poem after

sure, i’d
like it or

good luck
down this

i’ve been
trying all
my damn


J.J. Campbell (1976 - ?) was raised by wolves yet managed to graduate high school with honors. He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Cajun Mutt Press, Synchronized Chaos, Horror Sleaze Trash, Mad Swirl and The Beatnik Cowboy. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (https://evildelights.blogspot.com)

Friday, November 3, 2023

Nature By Richard LeDue

The leaves are yellowing
earlier and earlier each year,
but I don't blame them
for believing winter
is closer than it actually is.


Richard LeDue (he/him) lives in Norway House, Manitoba, Canada. He has been published both online and in print. He is the author of nine books of poetry. His latest book, “It Could Be Worse,” was released by Alien Buddha Press in May 2023.