Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Looking Out By JL Huffman

ankle monitor
doorframe tally marks
release revenge


JL Huffman is a retired Trauma Surgeon/ICU doctor with three published poetry books Almanac: The Four Seasons (2020), Family Treasons (2021), and Voyage: Vista and Verse (2022). Individual poems have appeared in The Pharos, Asahi Haikuist Network, Haiku Dialogue, Poetry Pea, Cold Moon Journal, The Pan Haiku Review, Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, Paddler Press, and others. Website jlhuffman.com; Twitter @JoanHuffmanMD

Friday, January 26, 2024

Infernal Contraption By William Doreski

Clubfoot day of aches and gripes.
A big truck delivers a box.
Did you order this? Inside,
strange plastic and metal shapes
and several computer chips.
No printed directions. We build
something that looks serviceable,
although we don’t understand
its purpose. I attach a cord
to what looks like a transformer
and plug it in. Our vision blurs
for a moment, then reveals
a surrounding landscape featuring
sea cliffs, watchtowers, ruins
that look Roman. Our little house
perches on a hillock, pestered
by flocks of hungry sea birds.
The sky is clearly European.
Its fissures ooze elegant wines
fortified especially for us.
The machine we assembled hisses
and bursts into flames, stranding us
on this strange but dramatic coast.
We think of Thomas Cole arriving
in Italy, his sheaf of brushes
quivering with excitement.
We think of Byron in Greece,
ennobled by a fatal miasma.
He had a clubfoot that failed
to dampen his rage for incest.
The memory of that flaw lingers
in the skies Cole painted
to frame his allegorical schemes.
Now that we’re trapped in such a scheme
we can confess that our reading
failed to firmly anchor us.
We should have known better than
to build an infernal contraption
without following the instructions
instilled in both of us at birth.


William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Venus, Jupiter (2023). His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Technophile By Marc Darnell

I proposed to my cell phone
on one of our romantic nights.
I guess I just don't want to be alone

forever, with a life all undone
by humans and hideous sights,
so I proposed to my cell phone,

because I love it to the bone,
though it's just metal, gigabytes
I guess. I just don''t want to be alone

when even TV sets are gone
along with trees and natural light.
I proposed to my cell phone,

and it said yes and has grown
more luminous, strangely bright–
I just don't want to be alone;

then my lover was seized by a drone
who wanted her as his own.
I proposed to my cell phone.
I guess I just didn't want to be alone.


Marc Darnell is an online tutor and lead custodian in Omaha NE. He received his MFA from the University of Iowa, and has published poems in The Lyric, Blue Unicorn, Ragazine, The Literary Nest, The Pangolin Review, and elsewhere. His newest book is The Sower from Cyberwit Press. He has forthcoming books from Impspired Books and White Violet Press.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Self-Expression By Juanita Rey

I was fifteen,
he, seventeen,
He had no idea what poetry was
but I stupidly boasted
that I’d written some.
He said, “Let me see.”

It was a hot Summer’s day,
I remember.
Every window was open
but the sea air stayed outside.

La autoexpresion
was how I referred to it.
is what I do not call my writing now.

He read what I thought were my best.
At least he didn’t laugh.

A sudden storm
broke the steaminess.
He stood at the door,
gushed how much
he loved the rain.

I saw the folly
in all my teenage stuff.
I had to learn how
to write the rain.


Juanita Rey is a Dominican poet who has been in this country five years. Her work has been published in Mixed Mag, The Mantle and The Art Of Everyone.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Fallen By Thomas Zimmerman

Today—with sunshot reddened trees, a dog
as black as Cerberus asleep—can frame
a vision of the roof of hell we walk.
Like you, I’ve fallen through so many times,
down to the rafters. Madman in the attic.
Fish-boil of the mermaids in the basement.
Got my wings singed, cracked my singing. Pages
written: kindling for my auto-da-fé.

But in the coven of my mother’s house,
I thrived in light and shade. I had my father
and my father’s name. Those myths and maps.
In milk, in smoke, in lamplight and the daylit
mirror, fate and I remade and still
remake me: broken, whole, rebroken, healed.


Thomas Zimmerman (he/him) teaches English, directs the Writing Center, and edits The Big Windows Review https://thebigwindowsreview.com/ at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. His poems have appeared recently in dadakuku, Grand Little Things, and The Minison Zine. His latest book is Dead Man's Quintet (Cyberwit, 2023). https:/thomaszimmerman.wordpress.com Twitter: @bwr_tom IG: tzman2012 FB: Tom.Zimmerman.315

Friday, January 12, 2024

A Dusty Paper, White as a Bed Sheet By Richard LeDue

An old signature from someone dead
isn't much of a ghost,
yet it can stomp around
the empty attic of your heart
and shake the same chains
you believed cast off long ago,
leaving you spooked enough
to lie when asked what's wrong.


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.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Best Friends By David Sydney

Does a friend eat whatever falls onto the floor and then throw it up? Frodo, Ralph's Labrador retriever, did just that to a frozen mac & cheese in its microwavable container that Ralph let slip on Monday night. By definition, as a dog, he was Ralph's – and man's – best friend.

Ralph studied the retriever, drooling. What kind of friend soaks another's shoes with saliva? Or barks at every doorbell ring as though it were an emergency?

Ralph looked from the Labrador to his goldfish, Zeus. The fish had spent its two years so far in the kitchen. That is, in the fish tank with a miniature sunken treasure chest, plastic weeds, and an attractive mermaid. If Zeus jumped from the tank to the floor, no doubt Frodo would eat him. There was no way Ralph could match Frodo for speed in getting anywhere, including to a rescue.

Did the goldfish have any conception of a world outside of the fish tank? A kitchen world of refrigerators, microwaves, and doorbells sounding? Or, how about an even larger world of bushes, trees, and dog walkers? Frodo was an impressive urinator as well as a vomiter. He didn't miss a rhododendron nor spare an elm tree in the neighborhood.

Zeus darted into the red and green artificial weeds. He was a terrific swimmer and camouflager. Had he evaporated? He minded his own business. He left well enough alone. Did he ever vomit? Living in water, did it matter? Or, if he peed? Or drooled, if that were possible? Still, no one ever considered a goldfish man's best friend.


David Sydney is a physician. He has had pieces in Little Old Lady Comedy, 101 Words, Microfiction Monday, 50 Give or Take, Friday Flash Fiction, Entropy Squared, Grey Sparrow Journal, Bright Flash Literary Review, and Rue Scribe.

Friday, January 5, 2024

Three Mini-Haibun By Joshua St. Claire

Another Mandela Effect

enjoying a rewatch of What’s Eating John Malkovich

Sinneslöschen dog-toothed violet



we all thought Fiona Apple’s 1998 version would be it

mother telling me it’s a magic spell temple bell


Copyright Expiration

As a poet, I am hypersensitive to issues of intellectual property, but I must admit that there is something delectably decadent about getting my sticky mitts on something in the public domain.

Steamboat Willie
spread out against the sky
like a patient etherized upon a table+

+T. S. Eliot “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”


Joshua St. Claire is an accountant from a small town in Pennsylvania who works as a financial director for a large non-profit. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Lana Turner, Sugar House Review, Burningword Literary Journal, Allium, and Ligeia Magazine, among others. His work has appeared in the Dwarf Stars Anthology and he is the winner of the Gerald Brady Memorial Senryu Award and the Trailblazer Award.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Lyric By Curtis Blazemore


She insists whiskey’s for whores, numb cunts, translucent stick insects who always hang by the edges, crawling out of conflicted faces, looking for a taste. Because they have none of their own. If Lyric’s going to drink and fuck, then vodka. Chopin. She prefers salon to saloon. Bleeding to doting. Removal of her muslin blouse an instrumental ballade. Let the big gulping sluts chug on bottles. Lyric is drinking herself into a story. Technically demanding, emphasizing nuance and expressive depth.


Lyric dreams a memory. Tsunami washes blonde Malibu doll houses against bleached foothills. All the clocks turn black. The days after float in receding water. Long-stemmed dolls bob around and she pulls off their heads, their paint blue eyes in a dangling smile, to siphon the succulent goo. Salt water beads on Lyric’s skin. And she is wading in. So tall she sees over the mountain, into the desert, and far at the muddy star-tinged edges where she knows a secret made of everything but words.


She hates feeling whole, the What’s left now? of it. Lyric shatters. Dish, arrow, trust, contentment. Lyric is smashing herself into memory. Taking aim. And ecstatic about pieces she’ll need to pick up. Put together again, but not quite like. It’s missing pieces she treasures most. Like absent lovers. Like silence between Basie’s notes. The empty that binds blind chance to fate.


Lyric riffles songbird feathers. Skeleton-shape grey dotted red with open beak. She feeds the pink window. From worms and stones in her collection, of collected memory, of sporadic chime and wind clacks, of box and bone, crescendo so high on flocks of cloud that muscle and men die of heart attack and atrophy. Women fall weeping before her. She insists dull song is dumb constellatory consciousness, frightened rabble, an opaque death mask plastered-on in the womb, so if Lyric is going to think and fuck, then it’s going to be a story, and one we can’t forget.


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.