#103 – Poetry

Ari Jankelowitz
Forclosed City

You never felt the blaze
as we walked in St. Louis
under the burning moon.

Out in the wild
of the paved streets
that sang in their blackness,
we danced, gently.

our broken tapes
left behind
I could never forgive myself.



 Jack Ohms


While men with crazed terra cotta skin
exchange AK47’s
over the beds of trucks
for other contraband
in charcoal landscapes,

I mooch about swapping words
for torn-up thoughts
in a white-walled ward
pitying my companions
with their regulation smocks
and standard issue toothbrushes.

But mostly I pity myself,
because privilege is seldom learned;
it’s something that’s supplied at the start
or not at all.

And sometimes I wish
I’d never had any;
it becomes
the weakling’s right in the end.


A Brief History of the Future


Quick!     Quick!
There’s barely time to plan it,
A reputable scientist said,
We must get off the planet!

Oh!     Hell!
Jill, fix the gin and tonics,
We need a 3D model made,
Call Steve from Ergonomics!




 Ivan Jenson
Where can it be?

Ok I will look under the table
out by the shed
and over at Jamie’s house
and I will check with
the local police and
I will even place
some signs in town
and if I could afford one
I would hire a private
detective whether
he looks like Bogart
or not doesn’t matter
what matters is
that you lost
something that
can never be replaced
and we all want
to do something
about it
but eventually
someone will
have to break it
to you
your youth is gone



Dennis Barton
The Dogwood Tree on the Hill Behind our House

Standing where roots ran deep,

elbows lean on fence posts
that leave imprints on skin
like it used to make strange maps
of itself on my twelve year old back.

I can see the way the sun
would shine through pink blossoms
and it makes my hands shake.



John Raffetto

Sense of Place

volcanic light.
Anazazi ruins and dust
cover hollow eyes of Apache warriors.

In the shadows, pale lipped thieves fondle
temples and Mexican peasants.

Cattle rustlers watch cable television
on the banks of asphalt streams.
Metal roofs brace western railroad tracks
carrying Caribbean rum
on the spines of burnt field workers,
whose knotted hands hold nursing babies.

Tendril barb-wire fence
frame a post card
for a Tucson gallery.

Carefully we approach the town from
a covered wagon given to us by
Geronimo’s uncle,
who repaired his Cadillac with sagebrush wrenches and whisky fists.

All taverns are closed for Sabbath.
I bless the alkaline soil and dig
Cholla roots to place on a grave
of a slain cowboy
near the empty arroyo.



A.g. Synclair

black friday

just before the hammer falls
there is small talk
sips of tea
and moments of deafening silence
so loud it’s all you can hear
over the ringing phone
fumbling through a drawer
and a moment later
I am etherized.



Bill Graffius
Freeze Tag

I can sense him sniffing around
like some working dog seeking a point.
I smell him, too,
in the taste left from
running the tongue over a decayed tooth.
He’s seeking me, I know.
We’ve danced like this before,
a couple of times to be sure
but never with me this slow
and visible to his blind eyes.
The hackles rise at the base of my neck
and the white hot flash of ice
across my chest heralds his approach.
This time, caught in the open,
I can only freeze to immobility,
gathering each emotion that shoots
behind my eyes and soothing them into silence.
Will he pass this time? I wonder.



Weam Namou
Tangerines, Shipped to Europe from Tangier

The name Tangerine comes from Tangier,
a city I visited long ago while in Morocco,
where different religions, even paganism, are accepted.
A group of veiled woman did snicker at my wearing a sleeveless shirt…

I’m getting off track here.

Tangerines… if we could remove our
problems as easily as the pealing of this delicious fruit
and simply devour each slice to have
an unsolved issue disappear
I would place each carpel
in my mouth and prior to having anything resolved
I’d visit the world I once had as a child in Baghdad
The time before I ever knew the
difference between a Christian, Muslim or Jew
had no idea what were the meaning of violence and crime.

What I do recall is that the neighborhood
women behaved as though they were my mom.
Daytime was for school
I wore a uniform, sometimes navy
other times grey.
My hair was in braids.
I took a bag of lunch my mother prepared.

Afternoons were for a carefree play in the streets
with an ample supply of marbles and chalk,
jump robe, a carefully chosen square of rock
to use for hopscotch.

At night, I slept quite soundly,
maybe once or twice being frightened by a ghost story.
I was told never to bring up Saddam’s name
or talk to strangers or say the “A” word.
It was all so perfect
until we moved to America
in search of a better life,
and discovered that a “better life” was not
served on a silver platter at the airport upon one’s arrival.

Neither are problems resolved by the devouring
of tangerines.


On The Way Back from Pethcos

Ed Baker

on the way back from Pethcos
it came to us

cities we could almost remember

it came to us with the rain
& our walking

with wind that cracked our faces

in the morning of our walking
we discovered our other country



Too Long Have We Been With the Hills

Too long have we been with the hills
moving from rock to rock         from rock to cloud

infrequently are the rocks
so absorbing

& the clouds
not at all interested in our close inspection

We walked with those hills at our backs
thinking that clouds & rocks
were everything

down the hills
we went down the hills         & round the hills
till the quick rains caught us
& we finally touched


scratching the codpiece of a waxing gibbous
David E. Oprava

muse and I
had three decades
of waning delusions
dredging deep
at dinnertime
below the bulging belt,

a prickly swell
cautiously scribbling,
licking lithe ankles
of words,
fingertip tapping
out on chaste
intertwined thighs,
priming pump
pressure gauge glow,
blood-flushed pink
and rot-gut red.

A keening,
boom, swoon, soon,
steam of pulsing
ham-fisted meat,
meet me
in tourniquet sheets
a slap, nibble, smack
lick-bit nibs
of malleable,
soft lead.

A crowing cock,
knobbled, hard
boot nails
screaming to be
hearts and clubs
and shuffled,
tender, creased
by luring,
of another
verbose lie.

Mere modest
verbs lopsided
and passion-poor
a must, longing,
thrust or bust,
but when?

Quiet now
on the
quick truth,
bilious soup,
purple blue
the will
an ode
sounding soulful,
yet weak shinned,
thirst for ingenuity,
a precipice,
premature leap,
then collapsed limp,

tongue tip
open window
licking light in,
spilt juice on skin
quick, spat, sticky
come slick
the seed
the speed
that body
his composing need,
spit on velum,
a quaking meet,
shrunken bell-end
slinks about,
poking, prodding,
trying again,
left gruesome
a scarred
and flaccid
of onanism’s
cruel, cruel


Whole bored dry
and blind
but for twitching
fingers possessed
and bleating
ribald signs,
cyclical lunacy,
in dry spells
of deprivation
with battery-powered
new revelations
inside the convulsing
to be
gushingly bold
with quivering help
of vibrating mate,
singing sweet jesus,
‘tis often better
than the real thing.

Halfway through
the climactic rut,
prick presses
pouring proud
on puckered mores,
a hose,
a flow
fallow seed
across soiled sheets,
slip of segue
to new day
and finally
hobbled verse
is done.

Clenching slick
sheen, throb of
enduring friction,
the sound
of lost intents
an eye fuck,
a futile bed rut,
a dead-end
and ever
the uneven
passion of personality
in wane,
the way
of moon licks
to morning haze
and inevitably,
the same
and sunlit
as yesterday.

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