Killing time till midnight

I didn’t want to shock Ellen, but, man, this guy was gorgeous! and he was giving me the look, so I borrowed a pen from her and wrote my phone number on a scrap from a placemat I tore off the corner. Ellen is pretty traditional, naïve. I love her but she just totally doesn’t understand how life is, if it’s any different than her sheltered little corner of it. So I was sitting there listening to her describe the current guy she has a crush on but will never get up the nerve to act upon, rolling this little slip of paper around in my hand, waiting for the right time to give it to him.

Which was when we were leaving. Ellen was fumbling around for the tip, her math is atrocious, so she always ends up way overtipping because she’s afraid of not leaving enough. He came over to clear the table and asked how we liked our pizza and I said it was great and his deep brown eyes slid over me and I gave him a good look, too, and discreetly handed him my number. He glanced down at it and nodded his head, just a touch.

Ellen missed it all, of course, and I thought about telling her, but didn’t. He called before we got two blocks, and we set up a meeting for later, after he got off work. I would be standing in front of the restaurant, waiting. His name is Chris. I like a man that doesn’t let his opportunities go wasted. Yes, I do. Especially when he’s built like Chris is. Oh, yes. I couldn’t wait to get down and explore every inch of that body. Does he work out? I wondered, Or is it just how young he is?

Ellen didn’t want to go home, so we went to a bar and she bought a couple drinks. I was broke, no surprise, it’s been ages since I’ve sold a painting, so I was a charity case, as usual. Living at my mom’s house, free rent, free food. My mom’s great, but life there is a little restrictive, I guess you could say.

I was just drinking beer, cause it’s cheap. Being broke is so awkward! I wait around for the go ahead that someone will spring for me. Ellen always pays, but I know she’s not loaded so I drink beer when I’m with her and I drink it slow. I don’t want to take advantage of her. Ellen is a sweetheart, but she can get so annoying, you know? She is so damned painfully shy and she talks about how hard it is to talk to people (except me, we have a bond) and all the things she dreams of doing but is too afraid to try, and I am acting sympathetic, but what I really want to do is slap her and tell her to just do it. Don’t think about it, don’t obsess about it, just fucking get out there and try.

Sometimes it’s hard to hold that down.

She likes to go to expensive places, but she doesn’t know anyone, so we sit alone, her pouring her troubles at me and me telling her things I think she can handle. She is fine with me being gay, but I don’t think she wants to hear any details, if you know what I mean.

We compare notes on guys, but her taste is so totally different than mine. She wants them dreamy and romantic and long haired, like a Heathcliff sort. I want mine athletic and manly. At least we are not fighting over the same guys, ever.

Of course, she also wants them straight, and where I can certainly confess to an attraction to various straight guys of my acquaintance, I don’t want to waste my time lusting after one. That gets you nowhere. I’ve been there, done that, had enough.

Ellen, however, is doomed to moon over some dream guy who has no clue she’s interested, cause she’s not brave enough to let him know.

We walked over to the park at 50th so she could catch her bus, and I ran into one of my students, who was out wandering around with his friends in that way teenagers do. They don’t need a reason to go out, they make their excitement. Rather like me, tonight.

Sean’s parents are getting divorced and he is having a rough time with it, so we’ve had lots of heart to heart talks about various aspects of the situation while we’re working, so we have a bit of a connection going right now because of that. He thinks I give great advice, but all I do is listen.

He is, to be honest, not much of an artist, which is a shame, because he puts his heart into it. I do the best I can with him, you never know, after all, and at least I can instill an appreciation of art in him and ground him in some of the basics. He’s a good kid.

I like being around kids and I will confess I’ve had some impure thoughts because there is something about the innocent, careless beauty of young people that is irresistible, but I toe the line. I can’t go taking advantage of my students. My rule. My personal code of ethics. I try to tamp down the inappropriate thoughts as soon as they pop into my head. Don’t want to go there, I just don’t. I can admit an empathy for those who do. I can see how it happens. I can imagine it every step of the way. Oh yeah. I’m surrounded by temptation every day with these kids, but I don’t let myself act on it. It wouldn’t be right.

Surprised to hear me say that, huh? I do have a few lines I don’t cross. Just a few.

Once Ellen told me I was her best friend in the world. I didn’t expect that. I felt sorry for her. It made her sound all pathetic, I mean, if I’m the best thing she’s got, the others must not be much at all. I’ve tried to be nicer to her since then. You know.

We met at an art show a couple years ago. She does reviews for a little giveaway paper, music, books, art, theater. She’s not trained for any of it, of course, but it’s just a little paper that doesn’t pay anything, and no one takes it seriously. We were sitting there at the gallery having a conversation, she didn’t realize I was one of the artists. She was embarrassed when she found out and tried to remember if she’d said anything harsh about my work. She didn’t, really, but when she worried so much, I figured she obviously must have some reservations and she was worried she’d blurted them out. I just let that go by, didn’t want to deal with it. So everybody doesn’t like everything I do. So what.

At first I thought she was more glamorous and connected than she is. I probably wouldn’t have bothered with her if I’d known what she was really like, to tell the truth, but it took awhile to figure out and by then I really liked her, so I guess it pays to take chances every now and then.

When we met, she had a mad crush on a guitarist in a band she was following around. The band all liked her because she gave them good reviews but the guitarist didn’t realize there was anything more going on than that. He thought she was hanging around cause she liked their music. Meanwhile, everything he said to her that could be interpreted as the least bit encouraging, she and I hashed over during countless lunches and dinners and sessions on park benches.

When he started going out with some airheaded blonde Barbie doll type, Ellen was all crushed and betrayed and despondent. We spent some months minutely examining each step along the way as she tried to get over him. It was a long, slow process.

Me, I would’ve hopped into bed with the next guy – there are plenty of rock guitarists out there, if that’s what she wants, and most are more than willing to get a good bang out of it. I told her all that and we actually went cruising around looking for replacement guitarists several times, but none of them could measure up. What that girl needs is to get good and drunk and get fucked, but will she do it? Oh hell, no. Her heart just isn’t in it. She thinks Prince Charming is going to come find her.

Sean and I talked a little bit and then I went strolling around all the usual places but I didn’t see anyone I know. I sat in the park awhile, but it was a little cold for that. I live so far out it wasn’t worth going home and coming back, and I still had a couple hours to kill. Sometimes it’s a real bitch being broke.

I decided to go see if Louis was home, because he lived conveniently close to downtown. He is another sort of odd duck, I seem to collect them. Louis wa sitting there on his couch watching tv. He offered me some Cheetos and some sticky orange pop. I didn’t tell him where I was going, because he’d want to come along and that would have been awkward. I just told him I came by to see how he was doing cause it’s been awhile. He said he was fine and we sat and watched Pawn Stars, which is a dumb show, I think, but hey, I was out of the cold so who was I to complain?

Louis doesn’t talk much, during the commercials he showed me some of the comic books he’d bought lately and the rest of the time I sat and thought about Ellen and Sean and my current situation and how broke I am and if I should be chucking the artist thing and finding a real job, although I’m not good for much and would maybe end up supervising a fast food place or something and that would be the pinnacle of my life. Not much to write on my tombstone, assuming, of course, that one of my relatives shells out for one, cause I won’t be able to afford it. This is the trouble with devoting yourself to one passion, you don’t have a backup plan to adopt when you figure out you’re not Picasso, after all.

Although I’m not trying to be Picasso, I’m just trying to be me. It would be nice if someone appreciated that, though. You would think after all this time I would have gotten somewhere by now, wouldn’t you? Is there some point where you realize you’re licked? I’m not sure how to tell when you’re there. I imagine it’s when the alternative starts looking attractive, and there’s no way in hell that slapping burgers in paper wrappers will ever look attractive, let me tell you.

This kind of life can sure wear you down sometimes.

Louis carefully handles his comics by the corners and slides them into protective bags and backs to keep them looking new. This is a ritual he’s been taught by other comic collectors and I think he is proud to carry it on. It gives purpose to his life. He buys special acid free bags and backs by the hundreds. He’s got boxes and boxes of neatly cataloged comics stacked along the wall.

I have known him since we were kids. We used to draw superheroes together. He wasn’t bad at it, but he didn’t stick with it. This never fails to baffle me, how someone with talent can just give up on it. Over the years I’ve seen it time and again. He still thinks he can draw better than me, but I have years of honing my skill, developing techniques, living the art. I don’t say anything to him, though. What do I care? If it makes him feel good to think that, let him have it.

I left earlier than I’d planned, I used my mom as an excuse, like I have a curfew or something, like she sits up waiting for me. It was too depressing there.

I walked around downtown a bit, things were quieting down, there weren’t so many people out. The streets had sort of a greasy shine, it hadn’t rained in a while. The air was thick enough to make halos around streetlights.

It ain’t much, but it’s my town and I love it.

I settled myself against a doorway across the street from the pizza place to wait for Chris. Cars went by impatiently, their drivers maybe a little drunk, maybe more than a little. A woman in a turquoise dress and turquoise high heels walked alone down the street. Not a hooker, though, you can tell. Anyways they keep them out of the downtown area. They hang more over by 36th. This was just a woman walking by herself. I kept checking my phone for the time and because I kept checking, time went along slowly, but finally the pizza place shut down and finally waiters started coming out by twos and threes.

I straightened up from my slouch and stepped forward, watching faces.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Philip J Grant works in graphic design and lives in Kentucky. This is his first published story.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *


photo by Angela M Campbell



by Terin Tashi Miller

The sun was bright and hot even though it was in the late afternoon. The cold bottled water went down as well as the warm vino tinto from the wineskin. A slight breeze blew, and I smoked my Faria too fast.

Below me, in the ring, a man, a matador, stood. He stood on one end of the ring, in the sand. At the other end stood a bull. I could not hear what the man said to the bull, but I saw him lift the red small cape in front of him and, from the opposite side of the ring the bull charged across the sand, hard and fast, gathering speed before dipping its horns to lift the cape.

In the seconds it took the bull to cross the beige colored sand, the cape was still there, but the man had moved. The horns caught the cape, and the bull tried to gore and lift the helpless cape out of his way. But there was no substance to it, no jar of impact of the horns against flesh or bone, and as the bull looked it saw the cape had moved. Not only had it moved, it was now on the side of the ring, across the sand, from where the bull had charged.

Again, the matador called to the bull, standing partly in the shade. Again, the bull used the distance to gain speed.

The matador completed his entire faena, calling and gesturing to the dark brown bull from across the beige sand. The bull passed so close to the man in its quest to remove the cape that the man’s “suit of lights” was stained with the bull’s blood from his thighs to his chest. The blood was dark, like that coagulating on the bull’s hide from where it had been pic-ed only once behind its neck and from where the paper-decorated barbed dowels, the banderillas, hung. The bull’s blood coagulated fast, so fast that when it came out it formed strings hanging from the bull’s hide rather than drops.

Each time the bull passed so close to the man that, if it had looked up from the cape, it would have gored him with a sharp, hard horn in his thigh, his groin, his stomach, his chest, or his kidneys. The man passed the bull in front of him twice and from behind him once, the man’s feet motionless until the bull had tried for the cape.

You could see the toes of the man’s black slippers digging into the beige sand, but the slippers did not flinch, even when it looked like the charging bull might step on them, its 650 kilos on a hoof on top of the man’s slipper. You could look up from the sand and the slippers, past the pink socks and up the traje de luces to the man’s face and all you’d see was control. The matador, a virtual no-name who many had ignored at the start of this, was in complete control of the bull – from the opposite side of the yards-wide ring.

His across-the-ring passes of the bull, his faena with the red cape, however, meant one unmistakable thing. You could hear the bells on the bridle of the horses from inside their entryway long before you saw them. But you knew what the faena and the bells meant.

The matador walked over to his assistants on his side of the ring, opposite of where he’d left the bull standing on all fours, panting slightly, from its racing across the ring after the cape, irritated like a man by a mosquito he can’t seem to get rid of.

The matador and his assistants were arguing, hands flying into the air up by their faces and heads, near their black woolen montero hats.

The matador walked back into the center of the ring, took his montero off, showed it in a slow, sweeping circle from where he stood, and tossed it behind him, toward the section of the ring where the most critical fans sat, a couple sections away from the Royal Box.

The moment he tossed it the matador knew something had happened because of the loud, collective gasp from the crowd. Quickly he looked in the direction of where he’d left the bull. The bull stood there, still resting. The matador looked behind him. His montero had landed on its top, upside down – an omen, some thought, that the bull’s fate would be reversed.

The matador slowly walked over to his montero and turned it so it sat properly on the sand, its red lining no longer visible under the black wool. The crowed cheered.

“Ha preguntao si el toro ha ganado su vida – si se merito indulto,” the man sitting next to me said in Spanish. “He asked if the bull had won its life,” he said again, in English so I would understand. I nodded as if I knew what he was talking about. “But his cuadrillo, his promoter, and God said ‘no.’”

Another gasp around the ring drew my attention back to what was happening in front of me. The matador was standing yards away – again on the opposite side of the ring, almost, from the bull. He’d raised his killing sword, shiny silver and bent downward at the tip, in an arc as if scraping the sky with it, using its blood run as a site to aim where he wanted it to go.

“Por Dios, que grande son sus huevos, hombre!” shouted the man next to me. “He’s not going after the bull to kill it! He’s going to have the bull come to him!”

“Is that good?”

“It’s very rare,” the man next to me said. “He’s got balls, this one.”

The crowd all around the ring – even in the most critical seats – grew silent. You could hear the matador calling to the bull, holding the small red cape in front of his left knee, his forearms forming a cross with the sword tip pointed in the direction of the bull.

The bull and matador stood just outside the first white line that ringed the beige sand of the arena.

“Huh, Toro!” the matador said. “Huh!”

He moved the cape slightly up, then back down over his knee. The bull watched, yards away. His ears moved, and his tail flicked.


The matador, his black slippered toes digging into the sand, stood his ground as the bull charged, all four legs pulling it towards him. The matador pushed himself up onto his toes, like a ballet dancer, leaning forward as the bull came in, putting the sword up to its hilt on the first try right behind the bull’s neck and between its shoulder blades just as the bull stopped to lower its head for one great toss of its curved-in horns just before hitting the man’s waist.

In the instant it lowered its head, the sword went in and the matador, his suit of sparkling thread matted with the bull’s blood, rolled to his left over the curved-in horn and brought the cape with him, making it suddenly disappear from in front of the bull’s face.

The bull got a few more paces before standing stock still. But it did not go down. The matador picked up his montero, quite near where he’d actually killed the bull, and formed a sign of the cross “En nomine del Padre, del Hijo, del Espiritu Santo….” At the bull’s hindquarters, then pointed downward at the sand. He commanded the bull to die. But it stood there, wavering slightly, on all four legs.

That the bull had been killed by the perfect placement of the curved-down sword – that its aorta had been severed by the curved tip of the sword as it glided in for its task, there could be no doubt. Had the sword been placed badly, puncturing a lung, the bull would be coughing up blood. But it wasn’t. Its tongue wasn’t even lolling out of its mouth, as it usually did. Nothing changed for what seemed a long time. Then, the bull took one more step forward, and almost flipped onto its back, falling over sideways, its four legs stiff as the legs of a chair.

The matador, like much of the crowd at Las Ventas that afternoon, had tears in his eyes. The crowd leapt to its feet, cheering loudly, wiping tears, and didn’t sit back down until the horses with bells on had dragged the bull around the ring and out the way it had come in. The ring maintenance crew took several buckets of sand but had a difficult time, and worked slowly, trying to cover the streak of blood from where the horses had dragged the bull.

The matador walked silently back to his assistants, and lifted the clay botijo filled with cool water into the air, pouring some from its spout onto his face as well as into his mouth. But he did not spit the first mouthful into the sand behind him as usual. He did not try to clean the bull’s blood off his suit of lights.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Terin Tashi Miller spent many of his formative years in India, the child of anthropologist parents. Since then, he has lived and worked in a variety of countries in Europe and Asia.

The author of three novels, Kashi, Sympathy for the Devil, and Down the Low Road, his writing has appeared in guide books, international magazines including Time and Geografica Revista, and newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News and The Los Angeles Times. His short stories have also been published in numerous literary magazines.

He began his writing career as a part-time reporter for Time magazine, then worked for The Associated Press in India and North Dakota and AP-Dow Jones News Services in Spain and New York, and as a reporter for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Milwaukee Sentinel, Amarillo Daily News and the Hilton Head Island Packet.

Born in St. Louis, Mo., and raised in Madison, Wis. and several provinces in India, he currently lives in New Jersey.


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photo by Angela M Campbell


The Barbie Revolutionaries

by Bill Meissner

In 1992, an activist group broke into the Mattel factory and
“switched the voice boxes of 300 Barbie Dolls and GI Joes”
–Boston Phoenix
[4/12/10 poems 2005]

How do you feel, Teen Talk Barbie, now that you can say
“Let’s go get em!” instead of “Math is hard?”
Do your slim arms and spindle legs feel
stronger and steroid-enhanced? Do you feel like you could punch
your way out of the clear showcase of your box?
Do you have the unexplainable urge to organize a commando raid
on the factories of American Girl dolls, to destroy them
before they reach the end of the assembly lines?

Equal rights, Barbie: now you can aim an M-16 at the enemy, too.
When the five-year-old girls in pink My Little Pony t-shirts
see you spring out of the box with that
black and green camouflage paint on your face,
how loud will they scream?
And what will their confused fathers say, staring at your anatomically
perfect body sheathed in a scanty dress,
when their daughters pull the voice box string and you growl:
“Dead men tell no lies!”

And Joe, does it puzzle you,
inside your explosion-bright cardboard barracks, why you suddenly
think about slipping on pink fatigues? Or when you picture yourself
browsing through a rack of prom dresses?
Do you feel your testosterone-starved triceps begin to sag?
Stacked with your platoon on the factory shelves,
you used to dream of bullets and blood,
but now it’s only lipstick cases and rouge.

Joe, you’ll permanently scar the little boys in Zubas
poised in back yard forts with plastic guns and mini-grenade launchers
when you command: “I like to go shopping with you!”

Barbie and Joe, how far will your voices carry?
In the next decades, there’ll be Baywatch Barbie, Malibu Barbie,
Lingerie Barbie, Astronaut Barbie, and if you study really really hard,
maybe even Math Barbie, but probably not Lady GaGa Barbie.
And Joe, for you there’ll be Desert Storm and Operation Iraq—
you’ve got plenty of fight left in your always-clenched fists.
You’ll have smart bombs and night vision: a whole new terror
waiting out there for you to destroy.

But until then, Barbie and Joe, you just lie
behind cellophane windows
until the tiny urgent hands, desperate for your model,
open the flaps and lift you out.
Then you’ll smile at them with pre-formed plastic lips,
just waiting for them to pull the string on all that silence.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Bill Meissner’s first novel, SPIRITS IN THE GRASS, about a small town ballplayer who finds the remains of an ancient Native American burial ground on a baseball field, was published in 2008 by the University of Notre Dame Press and won the Midwest Book Award. The book is available as an ebook from the UND Press. Meissner’s two books of short stories are THE ROAD TO COSMOS, [University of Notre Dame Press, 2006] and HITTING INTO THE WIND [Random House/SMU Press, Dzanc Books ebook].

Meissner has also published four books of poems: AMERICAN COMPASS, [U. of Notre Dame Press], LEARNING TO BREATHE UNDERWATER and THE SLEEPWALKER’S SON [both from Ohio U. Press], and TWIN SONS OF DIFFERENT MIRRORS [Milkweed Editions].

He is director of creative writing at St. CloudStateUniversity in Minnesota. His web page is:

His Facebook author page is:!/pages/Bill-Meissner/174769532541232?sk=info

Three of Meissner’s poems and a trailer for SPIRITS IN THE GRASS are on youtube, accompanied by images and music.

* * * * * * * * * * * *


photo by Angela M Campbell

(Editor’s note – When we last presented some of Bill’s poetry, we illustrated it with this photo. By coincidence, he had been working on a new collection, which includes The Barbie Revolutionaries, and here it is. It only seemed appropriate to reuse this photo.)


The Contortionist’s Teenage Daughters

by Bill Meissner
We are all high wire, all trapeze,
and he is always on the ground, wrapping himself
around himself. Come down,
He tells us. Girls can topple from those heights.
Enough tiptoeing and leaping, he says.
There’s not enough space for flying,
no room for more people in the air.

But Father, we answer, we want to be up here, where danger
holds us in its net. We love to be where we can feel
the stars, glimmering like sequins on our tights.

It’s a long ways to the hard sawdust below,
he replies. If I fell, my bones—like soft noodles—
would never break. But your bones are much too
thin, and made of glass.

We ask him: Father, how will we know what’s up there,
near the curve of the canvas sky, if we never climb?

No need to know, he replies. The air is too rare,
and the spotlights will blind you.
Look: on this solid wooden stage, I can shape my body to become
the slight waves on top of a calming pond,
or imitate the alphabet. Watch me: I can be all words at once,
but you, balanced on a wire, are only two: a gasp, or a scream.

When will we ever know how fast our hearts can race, we ask,
if all our lives we’re grounded like clumps of
children’s putty stuck to a sidewalk?

Just listen to your father, he calls:
let your spines ripple the way they’re supposed to.
Let exotic birds flutter and fly,
let them own the wind,
let them spiral
toward the sun, if they must.
You should just stay nearby, tying yourselves into bows of flesh,
soft pink gifts the world will admire.

Sorry, Father, we answer, but we can no longer hear you
with the rush of sunlight in our ears.
So we just pirouette, dancing on thin breaths of air.
Look—we turn our faces upward and smile, certain
about what we’ve suspected all along:
The sky is a place for girls,
and dreamers never fall.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Bill Meissner’s first novel, SPIRITS IN THE GRASS, about a small town ballplayer who finds the remains of an ancient Native American burial ground on a baseball field, was published in 2008 by the University of Notre Dame Press and won the Midwest Book Award. The book is available as an ebook from the UND Press. Meissner’s two books of short stories are THE ROAD TO COSMOS, [University of Notre Dame Press, 2006] and HITTING INTO THE WIND [Random House/SMU Press, Dzanc Books ebook].

Meissner has also published four books of poems: AMERICAN COMPASS, [U. of Notre Dame Press], LEARNING TO BREATHE UNDERWATER and THE SLEEPWALKER’S SON [both from Ohio U. Press], and TWIN SONS OF DIFFERENT MIRRORS [Milkweed Editions].

He is director of creative writing at St. CloudStateUniversity in Minnesota. His web page is:

His Facebook author page is:!/pages/Bill-Meissner/174769532541232?sk=info

Three of Meissner’s poems and a trailer for SPIRITS IN THE GRASS are on youtube, accompanied by images and music.

* * * * * * * * * * * *


photo by Angela M Campbell


2 poems

by Judith Steele



A meal, a table, a grandmother
forcing food into a child’s mouth.
He must eat what she prepares,
He obeys.

The grandfather sadly leaves the table,
stares through the window at the sea.
“Go out” says the daughter. “Get away”
He can’t hear anything but Duty.

A child, an uncle, an aunt, absent mother and father.
A gold puppet with green emeralds
the uncle offers the child. The aunt watches
with sad eyes. Does she want the child
to take the gift or not? The child is silent,

She is driving in the dark, looking for her sister
at the concert, at the pub, in the car
She’s lost her white coat, her handbag,
the brooch her sister gave her, and her sister.
Her fear is always with her,
driving in the dark.

Sea of Life

Childhood sea, peaceful light,
sand-castles, slippery-dip,
companion I remember
from another life.
Adolescent sea
high tide blue wave
lifts and carries
our exuberance.
Middle-age, a green line
on the horizon, few companions
We wait for the sea’s return
to soothe our aching feet.
Now all sea waves
are viewed from windows.
I can’t get out
until my ship comes in.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Judith Steele is Australian. Her poetry has appeared in Northern Territory and South Australian publications including Northern Perspective, Northerly, Dymocks Northern Territory Literary Awards, Friendly Street Poets. Poetry or prose has appeared on websites including The Animist, Four and Twenty, Islet Online (as Dita West), In other Words:Merida .

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photo by Angela M Campbell


I Asked For A Word And She Sent Me Pelican and Ten Years Ago at the Tate

by Gillian Nevers


I Asked For A Word And She Sent Me Pelican.

How was she to know two days ago
I stood on a bridge spanning the Fox River
watching white pelicans ride thermals,
like hawks. Below a group gathered on cold water,
dipping their heads below the wintry surface,
fishing for gizzard shad and emerald shiners.

I’m used to pelicans in hot climates.
Brown birds flying in formation, low-gliding
birds swooping over sun-sparkling water.
Squadrons of them skimming over
the Caribbean. Brown pelicans rising,
falling in rhythm with waves, plunge-
diving beneath the surface, surfacing,
small stunned fish filling their pouches.


Ten Years Ago at the Tate

Enchanted by Millais’ Ophelia
floating into oblivion, her hair
fanning gold and red in the current,
evanescent in sunlight, soft rose
blushing her pale cheeks, and I—
so in love with the idea of her
singing herself to death, so caught
in a stream of romance—missed
other rooms: Turner.
Sea-scapes. Storm-scapes.
Blacks and purples swirling
grays, skies brewing stirring
wildness. Whirlwinds of light.
Clouds more golden.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Gillian Nevers, Madison, Wisconsin, became a “serious” poet in 2002. Since then, her poems have appeared in several online and print publications. Her poem, “Playing for Keeps,” won second prize in the 2008 Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters statewide poetry contest. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2011. In addition to writing poetry, Nevers is the membership coordinator for the Wisconsin Fellowship of poets and writes the Markets column for the WFOP’s Museletter. She also teaches poetry to elementary school children and poetry, fiction and non-fiction to adults for Road Scholars. For several years Nevers has collaborated with the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art organizing poetry readings in the galleries.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Art Education, Nevers had a long career working with victims of crime. Since her retirement in 2000, she has coordinated an annual conference for two national crime victim associations — a part-time job that she continues to retire from but somehow manages to sign up for “just one more year.” Why not? She gets to spend time in a different, interesting city every year, catch up with former colleagues, and still have time to write.
Every March for over twenty years Nevers and her husband have spent two to three weeks in the Yucatan. She can usually be found in the quiet beachside community of Puerto Morelos, but, every so often will take a side trip to Valladolid and Merida.

Silk Road
Miller’s Pond
Wisconsin People and Ideas
Pierenes Fountain
California Quarterly
Verse Wisconsin
Oak Bend Review
Right Hand Pointing
Architrave Press
Merida Review
Echolocations: Poets Map Madison

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photograph by Angela M Campbell


Freighter and other poems

by Andrew Taylor



Journeys that follow
old routes
invisible mapped
by satellites

freight box carried
through zones

buy the organic
and gold top milk
skipping early

lanes lead directly
to paths near rivers
charted walked

patch of grass temporary
camp quickly
assembled picnic

the place to which
to return



early hours feel
by one it will be time

enough to think through
& track

bring the birthday bottle back
open & consume

soon enough a pattern
of recognition & names

will emerge

beat in time the embrace
offers proof

a shared month

the planting of trees
it is the season

hide the widening road
blanket the ridge



11.30 a.m.
Raisin or Roisin
Post-its posters
spiced smell of cold
teapot must conform
to cleanliness
radiator off
blinds closed
clouds heavy
the blue enamel mug
Tristesse Myrrh
between glass Venetian
blinds locked open
email off Nils
photo of the inside of
a building in Liverpool
communal kitchen
door posters
travel west
sanctuary of services
if only for ten minutes

paisley French Grey
a glass of beer
clothes on
the picture rail
a case half-emptied
medical box
bare trees


Mello Mello Haiku

Lemon on Lime Street
Artists Depot Slater Street
steaming cup of tea

Counter coffee sacks
on table tops fresh flowers
window framed shadows



Cool Roller

dust shatters in wake
        trackside weeds bow
purple yellow primary colours

hidden copse activity

low tide
        canal is full

slowly release

girl in shorts connected
        tennis net like fence

under cloudy skies
        sheep shelter under oak

reverse journey blind
        evening sun creeps
across shed on damaged fields

tilt long shadows
        fade behind scattered grey
and whites

fullness of borders attempted
        crop circles

shoot into the sun
        expected flare

smattering of poppies
it fits together

curvature of Watford Gap
        southern stop

housing estate trackside
        pathways zones unmapped
derestricted band of cloud

Boil of sunset circle of sheep
        empty feeder
fuel of coolness
march of pylons

alternative route follow the ravens
        sod the canal boats
is two hours eight minutes
quick enough?

support roads empty
        steam from skirted towers

ridge non-indigenous silhouette
        plate layer’s hut

when it turns to shit shall I turn to it?

the beauty of the welfare van
        flasked tea packed lunch

take a tiffin tin

day of abstract expressionism
        stood in front of satellite view of earth

leaving of station excitement look
        for the green light


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Andrew Taylor is a Liverpool born, Nottingham based poet. He is a lecturer in English and Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University. His debut collection, Radio Mast Horizon is published by Shearsman Books. Publications are forthcoming from Like This Press and VerySmallKitchen.

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photo by Angela M Campbell


Donde Estas Amor?

by Fernando Izaguirre

Donde Estas Amor?

El Amor sueña
Abajo de la luna
Que miraba desde mi ventana
Where lagrimas fall
And the reflection
Of memories stay.

Donde estas mi amor?
You taught me how
To love with the edges of my fingertips
That traveled down the slope
Of your spine.

Donde estas my beautiful angel?
You took care of me when
My world got heavy and my
Arms were waning from lifting

Mi Amor,
You are my completed poem
That bites the tongue
That wants to roll but the wheels
Are flat.

Come home my love
And the seagulls will
Surely fly again and arrow
Themselves into the sea
Where they found us.

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Fernando Rafael Izaguirre, Jr., was born in 1993. He is an Honors student at Lee College in Baytown, Texas, majoring in English. His poetry, essays, and articles have appeared in various online and print magazines such as The Ofi Press, Weber State University Metaphor, and the Rio Grande Review. Fernando plans to obtain a Masters Degree in creative writing at the University of Houston. Eloquence is his first collection of poetry, has been released in September of 2014 by Editorial Trance. Poetry lovers can purchase his book on amazon and other outlets. He is currently working on his second poetry collection.

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photo by Angela M Campbell


Assemblage on Kim and the Buffalo & Panagyric

by Christopher Prewitt


Assemblage on Kim and the Buffalo

When she kisses me, she leaves
rubies in my cheeks.
I sit here with the risen
white buffalo baby.

He forgives the man who killed him
for his pelt.
It is good to be nuzzled by the spirit.
I wish you all could feel what I feel

right now.
Between tongue and roof
the blueberry’s juices are everywhere.
I love my now purple teeth.

I feel that I love everyone
now and the sky isn’t full
of everyone who told me
I’d be sorry.

This is the precious fortune, the secret poorly kept.
I sat once miserable

for a job interview (eating rocks) and watched
men outside the boss’s door
trying to get a golf ball into a red plastic cup.
I thought in my short time this is

what I’ve done:
I’ve made my resume my gospel.
But my resume is not my gospel—
this is.



There is so much to love
I don’t care
how stupid
or pointless
I sound

Four legged animals with soft bellies forever
Heavy blue and red curtains that keep out the sun forever
The light of the Citgo on the county line at night forever
Synth pop and trip hop forever
Nicanor Parra forever

Sugary glazed pastries with strawberry mostly sometimes winter forever
Sweet chewable vitamins forever

I could go on
I will

Soft kisses at first forever
Then the tongue gets involved and it’s magic forever
New Year’s confetti in the pockets of a tweed jacket forever
My dad winking smiling and bumping my fist forever

The red guitar and someone to play it forever
Carbonated soft drinks forever
Maria Bamford forever

Driving away from Blacksburg forever

What else
What else
What else


League of extraordinary gentlemen forever
That rainy Tuesday afternoon in October 2011
with my cat sleeping a mechanical pencil
and a one subject notebook forever

Yokohama, California forever
Skeletal Lamping forever

Kim making me a better man forever
a little braver
more forthcoming
with my imitation moonlight

Everyone else
check the liner notes
I’m kidding
where your names are written
that greasy stone (organ)
I need it
to pump blood

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Christopher Prewitt is a writer from southern Appalachia. His poems, fiction, and reviews have appeared in The Four Way Review, the NewerYork, The Cafe Ireal, Ghost Ocean Magazine, Vinyl, The Iowa Review, among others. His awards include nominations for the Best of the Net anthology and the Pushcart Prize, as well as the Billie & Curtis Owens Creative Writing Award. He is a former poetry editor at Inscape and Minnesota Review. He is at work on a novel, a full-length collection of poetry, and he has a chapbook ms. under review by editorial staffs.

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photo by Angela M Campbell