Raymond Keen

My Theory of the Persistence of Language-Cover in 
Science and Art

I went to the zoo to study the parallel quality
of the bars of the animal cages. I developed
a theory of parallel zoo bars for caged animals.
Unfortunately, my theory only covers the bars
of the animal cages, not the cage itself, certainly
not the animals. My theory also fails to cover
the previous three (3) sentences, as well as this
sentence which I express sans theory.
Greater men, for lesser reasons,
have given up science for art.

GREAT MEN SERIES 4: A Personal Glimpse of Our Beloved Scientist, Albert Einstein, with Photo Slides

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
(1st slide is a facial portrait of Albert Einstein)
Albert Einstein was unable
to tie his own shoelaces,
or uninterested in doing so.
Yet he was the greatest physicist
who ever lived.
(2nd slide shows full body photo of Einstein,
cut off at shoulders)
Here is a photograph of Einstein
with shoelaces untied.
(3rd slide shows view of Einstein
from ankles down)
Here is a photograph of Einstein
with shoelaces tied.
We don’t know
who tied them.
Although Albert Einstein
was not very practical,
he was very theoretical.
He was our greatest theoretical scientist.
Unlike many scientists today,
he did not deny
the existence of God.
Some contemporaries
have even referred to
his metaphysical dimension.
(4th slide shows full portrait of Einstein)
Here is the last picture that we have
of our beloved scientist.
Notice the shoelaces.

American Tourists in Europe

In Paris
You can forget about
Those gothic cathedrals!
In Venice
We bought color slides
Of the Holy Spirit.
In Germany
We pretended
(Even the girls and women)
That we were the sons of Hitler.
Some of us role-played on our tour bus.
It was fun. It was very fun!

We didn’t like Paris.
We didn’t like Amsterdam.
We didn’t like Rome.
We didn’t like London.
We didn’t like Madrid.
Too big, too dirty, too expensive,
Too many prostitutes.
Europe is, as far as we can tell,
A very dirty place, you know.
You know what I mean?

Raymond Keen has recently completed his first volume of poetry, Love Poems for Cannibals, and is attempting to obtain publication.  Five of his poems appeared in the July/August 2005 Issue of The American Poetry Review.  In 2010 Raymond’s poems were published in the following literary journals: Pemmican PressThe Smoking PoetBreadcrumb Scabs and Pismire.  In 2011 the following literary journals have accepted Raymond’s poems: Twisted Dreams MagazineUnlikely 2.0Rem MagazineThe Camel SaloonWhite Whale ReviewEunoia Review and The Literary Burlesque. Raymond spent three years as a Navy Clinical Psychologist with a year in Vietnam (1967-68); the rest as a School Psychologist in the USA and overseas.  He lives with his wife Kemme in Sahuarita, AZ.  They have two grown children.


DeWitt Brinson

Art is Very Important

Art is very important. The President of the United States of America likes art. Artists make art to promote world peace, stop hunger, spread beauty, and for art. There are many other reasons too. Most artists will gladly enter a conversation about art. Some will gladly not. Who are those artists and why? And would they not talk to the President of the United States of America about art?

Soup cans and smiles can be art. Leonardo Da Vinci was an artist. He painted, doodled, dissected, and built machines. He is most famous for his art. The art he is most famous for is the art of the smile. He painted a smile. It took one whole painting just to get up the guts to paint such a tiny smile. His shoes will be hard to fill, if ever.

Poets write art. The written way of art is as old as anyone alive today. That’s very old. Even though the art is very old, many of the poets themselves are very young. Let’s look at some.

Walt Whitman. spelled his name with a period. The period stood for eternity.

Mina Loy gave oral sex to men and women to name a few.

Wallace Stevens tried to perform fellatio on many women and ended up becoming a lawyer.

Gerald Manly Hopkins changed his middle name to manly long before cops were invented.

Gertrude Stein gave his greatest speeches in the shower.

The only lives to rival those of poets in audacity are those of babies. Babies come from an unknown world into this one and often learn how to talk. Even the President of the United States of America likes babies. He kisses them cheeky to tell the difference between them and poets.

DeWitt Brinson killed the Exquisite Corpse. He uses poetry readings to hide his massive drug syndicate. No, he doesn't. Look for him now in >kill author, Mud Luscious, PANK, and soon in Clockwise Cat and Planet Formerly Known as Earth.


Elizabeth Youle

Deposed Despot’s Reverie

The waitstaff was on edge. He could sense it and it depressed him, so he had requested a distant table, nearly hidden behind three flowering topiaries. Attention had always shadowed his footfall, only now it had a syphilitic aspect. Could I get used to corners, he wondered, shielded by plants? The blossoms were pinned on, temporary silken inhabitants of the branches. He was pleased with himself for noting the artificiality though it was fitting enough, at a resort.

Ah, I don’t know, he thought, looking at the ombre sky this sunset, getting drunk. Instead of despairing at the finality of this . . . hotel, this end, I could pretend it was a vacation. All I would have to do is avoid televisions. It didn’t seem impossible.

His bodyguards were murmuring to each other. He lit up a cigar, spun the ice in the glass. Mistakes were made, he conceded inwardly, but the biggest was mercy. I was too merciful. Had my iron fist not faltered, not wavered once in 30 years, they would have stayed on their tiptoes or be swinging from them. Shrill notes of a woman chastising her son swelled and spilled over the artificial hedge. Next time, he smiled, next time.

It was strange to think there would be no lavish state funeral at the finish now; he hadn’t realized he’d been looking forward to it. Suzanne and he had planned a great deal. They were never melancholy, but excited themselves with ever more grandiose ideas; both had a talent for it, and would anticipate the thrill of telling the other when an idea came to them alone. He wondered if the thought had crossed her mind in all the furor; she hadn’t breathed word, but undoubtedly it had. His giggle upset a couple at a neighboring table, furrowing their brows.

She had wanted whole avenues of rose petals, garland-draped camels, masked ululators, and a train of sobbing elephants, each grasping another’s tail with the tender grip of its trunk. He had designed special robes shot with gold thread, specially ordered a great mahogany coffin carved with scenes from his rule in a cheeky quartzite pyramid tomb, and choreographed an elaborate ritual purification and symbolic mummification. She left two weeks ago, to stay with family in the UAE. Of course she blames me. He took a long sip. The azure sea extended on three sides of the patio.

What kind of funeral will it be? Who will speak? Could they blight out this final chapter, and instead hold selective memoriam for happier years? It’s hardly uncommon, and why not? He considered the future thoughtfully, pretending not to see a lady discreetly raising her cell phone for the shot.

Elizabeth Youle lives in Baltimore. Her writing has appeared in Deep Leap.


Thomas Andes

Three Waitresses

I liked the first waitress because I could almost effortlessly make her blush. The second waitress attended Tulane; whatever else you said about her, she wasn’t going to let anyone stand in her way. Because she actually deigned to sleep with me, I found the third waitress inferior to her friends, though later, once she left me, I would manage to convince myself she was a prize. The second waitress had started a philosophy reading group, and she asked me to join. Though I was dating the third waitress, and though I flirted mercilessly with the first waitress, I still wanted to sleep with the second waitress, so I suffered through nearly half of A History of Sexuality Vol. 1 by Michel Foucault, thinking it might afford me the opportunity; on the one occasion I attended the reading group, I didn’t have much to say, as I’d found the book lacking the sex the title seemed to have promised.

The first waitress got married and went to veterinary school in California. The second waitress got tenure someplace in Chicago. After we broke up, the third waitress spent a year hanging out with anarchists in San Francisco before she moved back to New Orleans to attend Tulane Medical School; from time to time, she sent me a letter, wanting to know what I’d ended up doing with myself. When we’d known each other, I’d just moved from the front of the house to the back of the house at the French Caribbean restaurant where we’d worked in New Orleans; by now, at 24, a recent college graduate, after a year in the Bay Area, I was working in the front of the house again.

Tom Andes' poetry, fiction, and criticism has recently appeared or will be forthcoming in Xavier Review, Santa Clara Review, Bateau, 3:AM Magazine, elimae, and the Rumpus, among other publications. A chapbook, Life Before the Storm and Other Stories, appeared from Cannibal Books in 2010. The South Carolina Review will publish his interview of Thomas E. Kennedy later this year.


Marcus Slease


Scene: Milton Keynes, England. Coffee Hall. Housing estate. Near the playground.

BOMBER JACKET (stuffed with old socks)
hiya I’m a Mormon quarterback

Tootise Roll
in the pockets of a Mormon missionary

Spiky Hair
I take off my shirt to you

Little Blond Hair Mop
It’s time to go

BMX Bikes
bunnyhop bunnyhop stumpjump

Hi, I’m Wayne

I nicked this rum from my mum

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth

Out of fashion

Not yet in fashion

We’re all poofs at heart

Deflated Ball
Who? What? When? Where?

Scene: Arville Apartments. Las Vegas. Near the desert (of course).

FIVE-ALIVE (bleeding through the carton)
best mixed with now-and-laters

MEXICAN PRINCE (at the playground holding court)
HEY hombre!

HEY Amigo!

PEN TIPS (in the hands of 80’s children)

have a tent
don’t like money
challenge them
unravel tapes with pen tips

Blue Lights
Mothers. Or not. Scuffle. Boy buys cowboy boots. Other boy eats special big K

For each coin you drop you get a card with American history. For every ten
cards of American presidents you get to chew me.

No pigskin. Easier on the bowels.

Scene: Oakwood Place. Portadown. N. Ireland.

My grandmother had a mask under the stairs and my mother did not my grandmother had false teeth my mother does not my grandmother was friends with the coalman the milkman my mother was friends with the ice cream man

Blue. 1978. BAM!

Bounce. Twice

There was no bike

Are you sure there wasn’t a bike?

Boy in Bed
Bet you’ll fall asleep before I do

Scrape. Poke. Yoddle.

Here’s a new ball for your trouble

Scene: The National BOWL. Milton Keynes. England. David Bowie in the distance.

My banana kick is better than you’re banana kick

Banana Kick

Boy A
You’re lucky. You’re going to L.A. where they breakdance

Boy B
Not LA, LV

Boy A
What’s in LV

Boy B

curtains close

Marcus Slease was born in Portadown, N. Ireland 1974. He wrote Godzenie (BlazeVOX 2009). He is a nomadic poet and has lived and worked in various places including: Milton Keynes (U.K.), Seoul (Korea), Elblag (Poland), Katowice (Poland), Ankara (Turkey), North Carolina (USA), Bellingham/Seattle (USA), Utah (USA), Trieste (Italy). Currently he lives and writes and teaches ESL in London (UK).


Baltimore Orioles Fan

This sign (acrylic on paper, 24x36") was found in the first row of the bleacher seats at Orioles Park at Camden Yards in 2011. MASN stands for Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. Perhaps the anonymous creators (two young women) thought holding this anagram might get them on TV, or married to (O's right fielder) Nick Markakis. But in the end what they did was give up a wonderful phrase to the universe.


Bryce Davis

Mild Panic

Tanya came home. Larry’s truck was in the driveway. The bed was filled with dirt.

Tanya said, “No, no.”

Larry came out of the house.

When she was sixteen, Tanya was a courageous swimmer. She was especially good at diving. Not diving, she was good at jumping. She jumped off of high walls at the dam. She jumped before anyone else did. She jumped from parts that no one else would jump from, high ones. She flipped backwards before anyone else dared to. She had a good center of balance.

Tanya climbed back onto her bicycle. Larry climbed into his truck.

Bryce Davis lives in the Southwest. Her writing has appeared.


Ian White

"Get Your Boots on, Pamela, It’s Party Time!"

Have you ever been to a party?
I have been to many parties!
I try to go to all the parties that party-party.

One time I was at a party,
and I got drenched! in party
drinks – because that is what is a party.

Another time I was at a party,
and I found out that “two or three people kissed at the party.”
But I think that was just party-
talk for those parti-
cipating out in the party-
erre where was the “real-party!”.

In general, a party is made up of two great things: party!
and fun!. They are at all the parties.

Here is a party
favor for you at this party:
I will talk about my favorite oh!-it-was-fun!-party:

There were two party
persons: Ben and Craig-the-Party-
Boy. The Ben person hit the Craig-the-Party-
Boy person after the “Happy Birth-Party”
song, during the dance part(y).
This whole guilty party
thing started because the Ben person’s party-
girl seemed like she was absolutely made of parties
because the party
lights made her stinsel hair party-
fall up and down like a party
of water, and they drank up her part(icularl)y
lemony skin. The Ben person was much a party
to her and saw the Craig-the-Party-Boy person’s part-eyes
part-watching her party.
So the Ben person began parti
ng the crowd to the Craig-the-Party-Boy person, even part(wa)y
pushing. The Ben Person said “Hey! That’s my inamor-at-a-party!,”
and everyone at the party stopped! the party
while the Craig-the-Party-Boy said “That’s just a parti-
pris, bub, you’re just a misogynist parti-
san-poop!” The Ben person then partied

his arm to the Craig-the-Party-Boy person’s face parti-
cal-izing the Craig-the-Party-Boy person’s face apart-y
(The Tim person yelled: “Parry! Parry! OH WAIT CAN’T CAUSE IT’S A FULL PARTY!”)
The lemony blood impart(i)-
ed fun gore from out the part(i)
ed mouth of the Craig-the-Party-
Boy person. The Craig-the-Party-Boy person’s lemony hand hung down, parti-
tioning the slender cracks in the wooden floor dirt-party.

And wow! That was a great party!

Haha well now I’m floor-sleeping and ear-mouth-bleeding at the party,
waiting for mom to part(y)-
her-lips-kiss me goodnight and for it to not be anymore a party.

I am tired and want to go home.

Ian White lives in Baltimore, MD. 


Kyle Flak

* (from Documenting Everything)

the radio announcer is reminding me that i will need a passport in order to go to the montreal jazz festival / i think i’d like to be the sort of person who is “always heading off to jazz festivals” / it’d be nice if it got to the point where when people knock on my door and i don’t answer, they’d probably say, “oh that kyle i bet he’s at one of those jazz festivals again” / but it’d be sad if it got to the point where people stopped contacting me altogether / “why bother? surely he is attending a festival / one of those jazz music festivals he’s always going to” / today i almost bought a copy of the film weekend at bernie’s / i had to use much of my daily allotment of discipline in order to leave the store w/o actually buying it / even now, i am glancing @ the clock: / is there enough time to go back to the store? / could i actually buy weekend at bernie’s / and watch it tonight on my television set at home? / the truth is i don’t even know what the movie is about / i just saw two goofballs on the cover making odd gestures / gestures that said, “yes, we’ve gotten ourselves into a bit of a pickle haven’t we? but, aw, shucks, isn’t that what the joy of living is all about????” / and i chuckled out loud in the store until the clerks all turned to look at me / i was remembering some “pickles” of my own! / and i desperately wanted to watch the two goofballs on the cover / in the privacy of my own home / as they showed me / what the best days of my life / were really like /

Kyle Flak's recent books are Harmonica Days (New Sins Press, 2009) and The Secret Admirer (Adastra Press, 2010).


Matt Rowan

Money To Be Rich

I get money to be rich again. Whenever I run out of money I go get money to be rich again. If you want money badly enough, you just have to go out and get it. Legally. You go out and you get it -- but legally. It also has to be gotten “not the easy way.” I may not know what the “hard way” is, but I know what "the easy way” is according to them and how not to do it. I know how not to do it the easy way and how to do it the hard way.

What you do to be rich is, if you’re doing it the hard way, is, if you are also legally minded, is you go to your big safe. You go to your big safe and you, and here’s the tricky part, you, and you need to have a combination, you use the combination, say it’s 1-2-and lastly-7, and I’m not saying that is the combination to my safe, and you go into, walk inside, that now-open big safe and you take out money, or you take out gold, or you take out the jewels, and you can turn those last two into money, and that is how you get money to be rich again: you go to your one big safe, not the smaller ones, and you get money, gold or the jewels.

And you take that money and et cetera and you buy things. I’ll tell you. Like one thing is the doctors who will be paid to remove the tumor from your nostril or nostrils, as I have had. Or to support your exotic sharks and their robust eating habits.

After this you may need more money to be rich again, but now you know what to do.

Matt Rowan lives and works in and around Chicago, IL. During his free time he edits Untoward Magazine (, which he'd love for you to check out sometime, if you've got a minute or two. Previous works have appeared in Metazen, Jersey Devil Press and Bartleby Snopes.


Chella Courington

Eerie Copper Light

Diana didn’t know love but she knew Faulkner. From Alabama to Mississippi, Lena Grove walked so she could be with Lucas Burch. Until Emily Grierson died, she slept with Homer Barron’s corpse. Sacrifices to the extreme. Diana had never met a man who made her want to give up much of anything. Her marriage in training to the CPA was convenient. He was the right age, her age of twenty-eight. He was the right family, the Schilles of Birmingham. They had owned a department store by the same name for four generations up to the day Macy’s bought it. But she grew tired of his sticky yellow demands on the bathroom mirror, refrigerator, and front door. You will have the clothes washed by tomorrow, you will come in before 7 p.m., you will eat Sunday dinner with my family . . . you will, you will. His manner of insistence evoked the Ten Commandments on Post-it notes. After five years and untold paper trails, she felt herself fading. On a late afternoon in August when an eerie copper light covers Alabama, Diana walked out on the CPA.

Nominated for the 2009 Best of the Net Anthology and the 2009 Best New Poets (University of Virginia), Chella Courington teaches literature and writing at Santa Barbara City College. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, Lo-Ball, Gargoyle, Opium Magazine, and Pirene’s Fountain. Her first poetry chapbook was Southern Girl Gone Wrong and her second, Girls & Women, was released by Burning River in March.


Zack Haber

Man and His Glasses

A man lost his glasses so he looked for his glasses. Without his glasses on. Everything was blurry.

So he picked up this and he looked under that. And he looked behind those things. And he picked up one of these things and he put it on his glasses. And they shattered into pieces. And he stepped upon the pieces.

The blood dripped from his feet and past the clear unto the floor. He decided to run to a hospital.

He ran into this. And he ran into that. With his bloody feet. Now nose. Now ears. Now eyes. Now mouth. Body.

And the trees are so bloody now and so is the grass. The cars and the street, the poles that hold up signs.

And the floor of the hospital. Such a bloody mess. Who will tip the janitor?

Zack Haber lives in Oakland. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Moria, Inch, Margie, Plain Spoke, and the book To Carry You Being.


Jesse Tangen-Mills

Alienating Space
(from Chapbook Genius)

Click the book to read in full-screen.

Jesse Tangen-Mills is a writer and translator in Bogota, Colombia.


Marit Ericson

In Which I Realize What I'd Written Sounds Like a Double Entendre

I said the syntax, like taffy,
stretches and stretches,
and, with a little more
stretching, prolongs the
point, the felt truth, and
what else does this do,
in a potential email to
a cordial-but-not-close
colleague, than create
tension? Or is it the release
that makes it taffy? my
polite brain, to my on-task
ego, taking a sip of oolong,
not even erasing a nip slip
or a rude tab, thought.

Marit Ericson is from New England but will probably find herself somewhere in Canada, is what she honestly wouldn’t mind. Her work has appeared in a couple handfuls of journals including The Monongahela Review, Umbrella Factory, and Segue.


Nick Ripatrazone

Mom Likes Her

Lucy left her teeth in my cranberry juice glass again. I leave it on the counter next to the fridge. I got the glass when I was eight--Thundercats are stenciled, in motion, around the sides. Their faces are fierce. No one else should use my glass. Mom’s glasses have pink giraffes. Doug only uses colored plastic that feels frosted to the touch. And Lucy prefers Styrofoam. Before my father left he used to have scotch on the rocks with breakfast. He called it “Morning Glory.” The sound of the ice clinking against the sides was the same sound Lucy’s teeth made when they jostled around.

Last night I woke at 3:00 am. My stomach turned but my mouth was dry so I paced down the hallway to the kitchen. The open fridge burned me with light. I poured a healthy glass of cranberry juice--squeezed fresh from the berries Mom bought at the Farm & Horse show (she trampled through the house with manure and I had to clean the mess but it was worth it for fresh fruit)--and when I got to the bottom I realized I was a swallow away from teeth. I had almost kissed Lucy. The woman who moved in with us after my father left. The woman who shaved her armpits in the garage while listening to Tone Loc. The woman who said my father was the most handsome man she had ever seen: what a shame that he had no self-respect. The woman who, when I walked into her room with the tooth-heavy glass, was doing yoga on top of her desk, arms swirling like she had extra limbs. “Lucy.” I held up the glass. “This is disgusting.”

She opened her mouth. It looked huge. It looked like I could fit my foot inside. Or a wine bottle. She kept her mouth open, and I kept on staring into it. Then she stopped swishing her arms, hopped down, fingered her teeth from the glass, and put them in. She said she liked orange juice, too.

Her mouth puckered as she sucked the juice from the teeth. I turned to see Doug in the doorway, his khakis folded to his calves. He’s been wearing them non-stop recently since we found photographs of my father at Colby during the sixties. He even bought a lacrosse stick at a garage sale and tosses the white ball against the outside of our chimney. Mom goes outside and moves the brick chips in the grass with her painted toes. Doug can’t play for shit. He doesn’t know how to cradle and his shots are soft. He bought a Chatham Lacrosse sweatshirt from the Good Will and tried to pass it off as his own. He even made up a story about the number on the back.

“Can you stop talking?” He tapped the doorframe overhead.

I wanted to say he was a fake. Instead I held out my glass.


Nick Ripatrazone is the author of Oblations (Gold Wake Press 2011), a book of prose poems. His writing has appeared in Esquire, The Kenyon Review, West Branch, The Mississippi Review and Beloit Fiction Journal.


Patty Yumi Cottrell

The Sufferings of David Robinson

After Hakeem Olajuwon annihilated David Robinson in the Western Conference Finals, they sat in the Houston Rockets’ sauna together. Hakeem had invited David. He had something important to say. David wore a towel around his waist, because he was shy. Hakeem did not. Robert Horry stuck his head in. “Am I interrupting something?” he asked. Robert was so polite. “Yeah, it’s kind of private,” said Hakeem. Hakeem went on to say a number of important things, things of such a bewildering nature, David was stymied, once again. “Fuck it,” David said, getting up. He wanted to strangle Hakeem. David thought about it. Strangling Hakeem would only serve to increase Hakeem’s legend. It wasn’t worth it. Hakeem felt a lump in his throat as he watched David leave. Hakeem brimmed with a magisterial pity.

Meanwhile, David stopped eating and his physique shrank. He stopped going to movies and he gave up chess. He no longer sang in the shower. He had once loved singing in the shower, but not anymore. Not after Hakeem. There was a pre-Hakeem David and a post-Hakeem David. “I don’t like this post-Hakeem David,” David’s wife said. “In fact, I hate him."

Hakeem had destroyed him, except in David’s dreams. In his dreams, David had a normal life, things were the way they had been, pre-Hakeem. In his dreams, he played chess, he went to movies, he sang in the shower. He made dazzling moves in the paint, moves of such exquisite, painful beauty, the NBC camera was unable to capture them. David went on to have a number of these wonderful dreams, while Hakeem’s stature flourished, expanded and took over David’s waking life, until pre and post-Hakeem David were both totally, completely, and relentlessly obliterated.

Patty Yumi Cottrell is working on her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Brett Elizabeth Jenkins


If home is where you hang your hat, maybe it all depends on what
sort of hat you've got. A ten gallon hat falls easy off a nail in the wall.
No home for that. Grandma had an old church hat, hung all the time
in her face. Grandma's home is in her face.

If home is where you hang your head and cry, cowboys might live
forever in dusty saloons. Lots of people would have just a bed
for a home, and some would push suitcases into church confessionals.
No water in the desert, except for all that crying you're doing.

But you could hang your hat from a cactus if push came to shove.
If home is where you push and shove, lots of my old houses were homes.
If home is where you push, there would be more home births, more midwives.
If home is where the heart is, my home is somewhere behind bone bars.

If your hat is where you hang your heart, don’t get a ten gallon hat.
Your little heart would be swallowed in the emptiness.
If your heart is where you hang your hat, your heart is a rusty nail or tall
and wooden, lacquered, pronged, which seems would never fit inside a little body

Brett Elizabeth Jenkins currently lives and writes in Albert Lea, MN with her husband and no children. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Potomac Review, PANK, elimae, and elsewhere.


RM O'Brien

New Verses to Gregory Corso's "Power"

     A hat is Power
     —G. C.

Power is not threatened by the speed of light
Power is powered by immutable limits
excited undarkling movement towards the limit
I am talking about Power

Greatness is not so much Power as it used to be
Greatness is old Power
Emptiness is the new Power of choice!

Once I was Power for a whole year
I slept under my brother's bed in his dorm room
I own'd nothing but a computer Chester found in the dumpster then it broke
I lost all my poems
then I quit my job and I really had nothing—
All the while I was dogg'd by a godlike Power
saying Come home to me & claim me as yr own true self
& sometimes speaking my name in public places
making me look crazy

Melanie got a boot on her car and then she really had nothing
crying upset nervous broke down sitting in her Volvo—
going nowhere in boring parking lot Power!

We spent all our money on a round-trip jet airplane ride
Now that is Power!

Flying home struck by a heavy turbulence Power child laughing at death
Lights going out Melanie chanting for divine saving Power
Me singing quietly Take me Death Take all my Power
I will come home to Death's lasting Power—I sang this to whichever gods were tuning in

O but such a Power as hangs an airplane in the sky
desires not to snip the strings
with man seated fast among the clouds

& now six years later typing these belated verses
trying to wrestle Power back from the transhuman imagination
Corso's slow-winking cloud-eye scanning everywhere for Power
& I say It's me I am yr Power
I am the Powerful one you have been waiting for if you'v been waiting
I am the hip modern Power & I can see Power
Power fixes her hair in a car's sideview mirror
Power carries nothing in her pockets walking late at night through Baltimore alone
I see her now beautiful Power!

Dogs that never stop barking is Power
Quitting yr job in a recession is Power
Writing new verses to an old perfect poem is Power
Absurdity is Power
Giving away all yr Power to Death or a charlatan is Power
The body is Power
& abandonment of the body is Power

RM O'Brien lives in Baltimore with his wife and son, subsisting solely on Mountain Dew, a multi-vitamin, & fruits from the Tree of Life. When he wakes up his face is radiant with the light of the True Guru.


Greg Santos

Presidential Address

The president was on TV
and told us all to act normal.
Nothing’s going on.

See, my wife said,
I like the president.
He’s not freaking out
like the rest of us.

I turned to my wife.
That man is not
the president,
I said, knowingly.

Greg Santos is the author of The Emperor’s Sofa (DC Books, 2010). He is the poetry editor of pax americana and is on the editorial board of the Paris-based journal, Upstairs at Duroc. See his blog at


Tess Patalano

Reality TV I Love What You're Doing For My Hair

When I say I don't want these bones anymore
I mean destroy the lifeboat's remnants

When I say aggravation, worsening, or exacerbation
I mean uneasiness entered through a fish eye

When I say I miss my mother
I mean what a strange door

When I say arm sex
I mean continue sewing

When I say the associates are sick
I mean graffiti strewn throughout the Hamptons

When I say I'm death's daughter
I mean I'm thinking about kissing you

When I say hooks and eyes
I mean eyesores and blinds

When I say grey soaks into white
I mean a raging, pumping, heap

When I say kill me already you black masked freak
I mean if midnight were a color it would be a forest

When I say I'm fine
I mean less honey, more salt

Tess Patalano received her MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She has been published in Transfer, Generations and is forthcoming in PANK. She lives in Brooklyn with a male human and a female dog.


David Brennan

Dark Passenger

They were driving from New York to Europe.

A large wave tossed them out

of the car. As they laid on the water

they saw a cat crossing the ocean. They saw a little old lady running after the cat. Not
stopping to look both ways, the woman was struck by a truck.

At the hospital they found the family gathered, crying. He wanted to say something to

“The storm is over,” he said.

David Brennan is the author of the poetry collection The White Visitation (BlazeVox) and the chapbook The Family Flamboyant (Brickhouse Books). He lives and teaches in Virginia.


Philip Sultz

Arnie calls late one night. He says, you want to go for a hotdog? I say, yeah, sure. We drive out of town for quite some time. I say, so where’s the hotdog? He says, I got to pick up something first. He pulls into a driveway. A guy comes out of a small house with a cardboard box. Arnie opens the trunk and they talk for a minute. Now there’s three boxes in the trunk. He pays the guy, and we go back. Arnie says, the guy has a pit in the back. I buy stones from him every few months. I say, what kind of stones? He says, they’re little white stones. They’re considered semi-precious. We get to the hotdog stand. He opens the trunk and shows me the stones. I say, Arnie, as far as I know, semi-precious stones are polished, and these are just little white stones. He says, there’s a market for it, Sultz. He says, there’s a guy with a store full of smelly candles and beads and stuff who’ll buy them. He sells them to arty people. He thinks they’re special. I make good with this. They glue them on to metal, like pendants. Arnie says, you got to keep your eyes open, Sultz. You could have a potential oil gusher in your back yard and not know it. I say, how did you know about the stones. He said, I sold him the house. We were walking around and I see a few white stones. So I told him, if there’s more throw them in a box, I’ll shell out a few bucks. So he does.

I find an apartment on W. 71st street. I call Mel. He says, I’ll come up sometime. I say, how about next Monday? There’s a bakery nearby. I’ll get a cake for breakfast and a quart of milk. Mel says, make it mocha. I’ll be up about nine. Mel arrives. He says, the room looks familiar, Sultz. I say, yeah, it’s like the Van Gogh painting with the bed and the French window. Mel looks at a small painting I’m working on. He smiles and says, this is the painting you’re working on? We finish the cake and milk and walk to the university he goes to on W.12th. Along the way, Mel talks about books and stars a lot. He says, many of the stars you see at night actually broke up millions of years ago. He lost me there, but I enjoy listening to him.

A few weeks later, Mel calls. He says, how’s the painting going? I say, okay, I’m working on another one. Mel says, look, Sultz, I got a philosopher friend. He’s blind, and he wants to meet you and see your painting. I say, what do you mean, you want me to come down and talk to him? Mel says, no, can you bring the small painting? He can see with his mind. He’ll explain it. I say, yeah, sure. I bring the painting down to the school on Sunday and meet Stan. He’s a big guy like Mel. We talk for a while, and then Stan says, can I see the painting? I say, sure. We sit facing each other. He’s got his hand on the surface of the painting, and I talk about it. He’s looking up, above my head with a half smile on his face.

Philip Sultz, is a visual artist and writer, represented by the Allan Stone Gallery in New York since 1977, and the Saatchi Gallery website in London. His writing and poetry has recently been on literary websites, Percontra and Blazevox. He taught studio art at the Kansas City Art Institute, Rhode Island School of Design, and Webster University, St. Louis, where he is professor emeritus.