Jeff Fearnside...................................Adam Byrn Tritt

Charles P. Ries.................................Dorine Jennette

Danielle Maggio
...............................Diane Elayne Dees

Emmanuel V. Dumlao......................Joannie Kervran Stangeland

Allene Rasmussen Nichols...............Naomi Benaron

Stacia Fleegal................................... Richard Downing

Donald Harbour................................Niels Hav

J.R. Solonche....................................Gary Beck

Tovli Simiryan...................................F.I. Goldhaber .

Ann Cefola.........................................Marian Kaplun Shapiro

Nannett Raymon Rivera....................Lisa Suhair Majaj

Michelle Tandoc Pichereau ...............Rick Mobbs

Larissa Shmailo audio
: Exorcism


Lisa Suhair Majaj


(Beit Hanoun, November 2006)

A technical failure, terrible accident, unfortunate
event....necessary but regrettable....we had
to take action....there was no choice

Excuses pile up like body parts (gaping yellow-toothed
jaw separated from its head, neck slit open below the absent
chin, burned torso flaking like singed paper, brain spilling
from a broken child-size skull, severed hand still grasping).

Parts don’t make a whole.
Aid workers collecting heads and hands from the street in black
garbage bags lay out decapitated bodies on silver morgue trays, stack
appendages beside them like missing puzzle pieces, then go home
and hold their heads in their hands.

Maybe they pray for amnesia. Maybe they search
for answers: how many hands it takes to staunch a wound that won’t
stop bleeding, how to remember the dream of an ordinary
life. Can a headless handless body cradle a child, greet
a neighbor, plant an orchard, plow a field, sign a peace treaty?

Some of the dead kept their heads. One young mother lies
waxen, holding two children in rigid embrace, slumbering portrait
belied by the blood smearing their cheeks - infant’s mouth
slightly open, as if dreaming of a breast, the warm flow
of milk; tousle-haired girl-child turning in death’s dream,
echo of her mother’s pallid beauty.

Part of this has been screamed a million
times. Part of it will never be heard. Part of it
reflects like quiet light off the streams of untreated sewage
and pools of shimmering blood in Gaza lanes.
Part of it hides behind headlines where this shard
of the story will never be told.

First published in International Feminist Journal of Politics, Volume 9, Issue 3, 2007.

A Few Reasons to Oppose the War

because wind soughs in the branches of trees
like blood sighing through veins

because in each country there are songs
huddled like wet-feathered birds

because our bodies are soft and easily harmed
and destruction is a way of dying, not living

because we are so utterly human
and so prone to grief

because even though the news has nothing new to say
and keeps on saying it
NO still fights its way into the world

because for every bomb that is readied
a baby nestles into her mother
latches onto a nipple beaded with milk

because the tulips have waited all winter
in the cold dark earth

because each morning the wildflowers outside my window
raise their yellow faces to the sun

because we are all, each one of us,
in love with the light

(first published in self-published chapbook These Words)


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(author retains copyright)

J.R. Solonche



Over the Nahr a Bared refugee camp in Tripoli,
rises a column of black smoke.
It looks like a palm tree,
A palm tree with a black trunk and black palm leaves and black palm fruit.
It is graceful, and it looks like a black palm tree swaying in the wind.
Beneath its roots is a house.
Beneath the house is a child.
The house was destroyed by a shell from a tank.
The child was destroyed by her house.
The column of black smoke is her memorial.
The tank planted this graceful black palm tree as her memorial.
The length of the child’s life was two years long.
The length of the memorial’s life was twenty seconds long.
That was her memorial: ten seconds for each year of the child’s life.

J.R. Solonche is co-author (with wife Joan Siegel) of PEACH GIRL: POEMS FOR A CHINESE DAUGHTER (Grayson Books). His work has appeared in many magazines, journals and anthologies. He teaches at Orange County Community College in Middletown, New York.


(author retains copyright)

Danielle Maggio

Man Moves On

With a stretch of his neck he no longer sees hunger,
The grumbling of brown belly's becomes softer and softer,
The flies on dry skin become smaller and smaller,
And as a Mother weeps, a Man moves on

Placing fingers in his ears he no longer hears rushing waters,
The old voice of jazz trumpets becomes clearer and clearer,
The parades in the streets becomes louder and louder,
And as a city falls, a Man moves on

Plugging his nose he no longer smells the stink of bombs,
The skin eating smoke becomes thinner and thinner,
The innocent killed become fewer and fewer,
And as a leader declares war, a Man moves on

Taking a step back he no longer feels the heat of flames,
The stench of burning flesh becomes sweeter and sweeter,
The innocence stolen from women becomes gentler and gentler,
And as a sacrifice is made, a Man moves on

With a stretch of his neck he no longer sees hunger,
The grumbling of brown belly's becomes softer and softer,
The flies on dry skin become smaller and smaller,
And as the images remain, a Man moves on.

Tired Poem

We've traveled to foreign land before
Wiping salty sweat from the eyes that will witness faithless crimes
and the ears that will hear innocent screams
and the fingers that with one bend will end lives

We've invaded these homes before
Arriving in helicopters to play the Domino game
and leaving in them, back to the states to have your loved ones look over you
in a wooden box

We've cried these tears before
Letting go of our sons and daughters yet again with hope there is truth
in the recruiting officers promises, while loosing a minute of sleep for every life lost because of them

We've swallowed these lies before
Attaching ourselves to the media's strings and becoming a chorus of puppets
who won't speak out, finding silence especially hard when My Lai Massacre-like events are reported

We've used these excuses before
Explaining that Communism will indeed spread and terrorists will in fact
bomb again, keeping the nation on Red alert to birth fear and hatred that is necessary for war

We've fought this war before
Our nation has again been divided, no longer by Hawks and Doves but simply the Cruel and the Peaceful
As smiles and nakedness once acted as protest, we now join together to walk with our banners and raise up our signs

and Dylan's question fails to be answered
for the cannon balls still fly
people still die
and until that wind blows on through our Administration
we will continue to oppose war
because we've sung that song before.

Danielle Maggio is a twenty year old Liberal Arts & Science major concentrating in Psychology, Creative Writing and Religion at Hofstra University. Originally from Pittsburgh Danielle wrote poetry for The NewPeople, a publication of the Thomas Merton Center, reporting on the issues of war, poverty, racism and oppression. She also wrote a one-act play, The Best Minds of Their Generation, which was performed at The Pittsburgh City Theatre's Young Playwrights Festival in Fall 2005. Drawing from Beat, Buddhist and musical influences Danielle expresses her freedom through written word and hopes to one day influence others to raise their voices.

(author retains copyright)

Marian Kaplun Shapiro

link to


Ann Cefola


Open Season

I plead with pine trees. Cry
like the day my grandmother was gone.

Can’t stamp the cramp out of my left foot
or forget the black truck outside the neon diner,

the cross-eyed man’s mistake:
that we were rurals who rejoice in another’s kill.

Look in the back. There’s a big bear he’s shot!

If I were native, I’d chant the stilled ragged breath
below the silver rim into heaven.

How not to hate the marksman or dull-witted man who wanders away?
Oh what do the Buddhists say? Om mani padme hum.

There must be a great bear who gathers the wounded into whole.
I’ve often looked for her but even the night sky has a hunter.

Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Ursa in the backbed:

Find your sure path, as I have,
in the dark and limitless spaces between stars.

Ann Cefola is the author of
Sugaring (Dancing Girl Press) and the translation Hence this cradle (Seismicity Editions). A 2007 Witter Bynner Poetry Translation Residency recipient, she also received the 2001 Robert Penn Warren Award judged by John Ashbery. .

(author retains copyright)

Tovli Simiryan

The Day Papa Surrendered His Passport

for Haim ben Ben-Tzion who survived Stalin’s gulags and lived to pray with a strong voice in America

i like the small letters
they chose to type our names.
they’re self sufficient,
wise, and make speech crow
with the high pitched
fervor of abandonment.

i want to decide what’s safe;
pretend stalin stored water
with an inner wisdom seldom murderous;
dislodging dirt beneath fingernails
as an act of good hygiene
the afternoon he forgot to
lock prison doors.

i want to endure, finish last,
learn new adjectives
for what grows indigenous
even in sand.
i’ll give my money to strangers
and imagine the names
of their children twenty years later.

i want to move through the world
like a holy beggar;
pack my own sandwich,
quote sounds rebbenu whispered
while swaying in prayer:
begging to give; not receive.

i want to return,
when the seeds of patience
blossom into reality;
spit-out the old language,
cause russia to swallow my accent
or pretend she’ll miss me
if I crawl through too many windows.

i want to exchange your blank stare
for a relief map;
one soviets molded from cotton bed sheets,
while sleeping late on monday mornings
instead of planning for work,
besarabian fabric and orchards.

I want to watch you hide dreams
inside poems that read slowly,
as though a light rain of words
establishes prominence,
sounding—g-d forbid—
like a damned herd of camels
lost in the desert.

Tovli Simiryan is an award-winning writer living in West Virginia with her husband, Yosif. The family came to America as refugees from the former Soviet Union (Moldova) in 1992. Ms. Simiryan’s short stories, essays and poetry have appeared in a variety of publications. She has published two books of poetry. Ruach of the Elders—Spiritual Teachings of the Silent, a collection of stories will be marketed by HDM-Publishers in 2009.

Haim ben Ben Zion “Pappa”—1908-1995

Pappa was one of many—a simple man
who believed in hard work and survival.
Most of his life was spent avoiding war.
He survived the Holocaust only to be
imprisoned in Stalin’s work camps and
gulags. He was one of the few to
return to his beloved Moldova and spent
years avoiding war and hatred. In 1992,
following Perestroika, the family left for
America where he lived in peace for
three years.

To read more about Pappa visit:

(author retains copyright)

Gary Beck

Homo Homini Lupus

In the lowlands of Mozambique

a new technology of war,

the child soldier, swept Africa

and later the rest of the world.

The immature killing machines

sliced their way through the villages

bringing fire and destruction

to the innocent in their path.

For the warlords seeking plunder

children were the perfect weapon,

fearless and manipulable

and the most important reason,

they came in an endless supply


Once the young killers were unleashed

on the local population,

who were only considered prey,

they murdered relentlessly,

never concerned with hearts and minds,

not needing popular support,

just approval from their masters

for carrying out their orders,

to inflict bloody massacres

on the targets they selected.

These were not hallowed warriors

respected by those they protected.

For them there will be no parades.

No trumpets will sing their praises.

If they are even remembered,

it will be with pity or hate.

Gary Beck's poetry has appeared in dozens of literary magazines. His chapbook, 'Remembrance' was published by Origami Press, 'The Conquest of Somalia', was published by Cervena Barva Press. A collection of poems 'Days of Destruction' is being published by Skive Press. His recent fiction has been published in numerous literary magazines. His plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes, and Sophocles have been produced Off-Broadway.

(author retains copyright)

Richard Downing

Brian Avery’s Face

.... Human shield, Jenin, ........ April 5, 2003

Our faces become us.

When they change – collisions with windshields,
...............................burns of varying degrees,
...............................attacks by animals armed with tooth or gun – we change.
It’s simple really:
Those who see us.... change us.
We have become .... different.
(Why did he want to be a human shield in the first place?)

So you say I will be careful to keep the face
I’ve got. I will keep my eyes straight
ahead, know what’s coming directly toward me. But what’s not direct can
........bounce.... off
the intended target.

Brian Avery was struck in the face – an apparent ricochet bullet from an Israeli
armoured vehicle, officals said. It must have first struck something in one of his hands,
which were both raised
................his head. Yes,
that would explain his wounds,
........ the person he’s become.

More information about Brian Avery is here.

Richard Downing's bio/recent poetry publications/contests: The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Award Winner of New Delta Review’s Matt Clark Poetry Prize Tacenda – featured poet, Potomac Review, and the anthologies Hunger Enough: Living Spiritually in a Consumer Society and The Dire Elegies Nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Co-founder of the Florida Peace Action Network, PhD in English

(author retains copyright)

Joannie Kervran Stangeland

Ali, Unable to Leave the Bakery

I remember stirring yesterday’s ashes,
lighting the new fire for the day’s work.
I remember the warmth from the ovens,
the smell of yeast,
the dust of flour on my palms.

This was the taste of my mornings,
my sons working beside me.
The neighborhood came for bread—
young wives with their gossip,
Abdul who lost a leg
in the war against Iran—
and for old Rasha, we left a loaf
out back, as though we forgot it there.

I remember the heat like it was yesterday,
but I smell burning, the sear
of bullets in my flesh,
the singe of screams,
fire licking at the clay.

How long has it been?
Now I am less than ashes,
yet I sift through the ashes,
try to forget the heat, the smell,
the taste of bread and fear,
the way to breathe.

After You Go, How Can You Get Back?

War is so unjust and ugly that all who wage it must try
to stifle the voice of conscience within themselves

......................................................................—Leo Tolstoy

A woman sits by the road for a heart beat,
three beats, a full minute of pulse
while the stream of people seeps by.

In a room without corners,
a man signs another document.
Ink flows easily across the heavy page.
The pen feels smooth in his fingers.

A bird song is picked up
on an afternoon wind, carried past
husks of burned-out cars, charred trees,
earth stained by the residues of life
and dying.

The young foreign men
and women swallow themselves.
The hooded men swallow themselves.
The officials wipe their palms
and swallow themselves.
An acrid taste, the fear lingers
in their hollow mouths.

Their eyes, empty—
chests, empty—
minds clicking like tiny clocks,
hands flapping like crows.

The people on the road keep moving,
the woman one
with the current.

Joannie Kervran Stangeland’s chapbook Weathered Steps was published by Rose Alley Press. A Steady Longing for Flight won the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award. More recently, her work has appeared in Pinyon and The Cape Rock and on the New Verse News and The Smoking Poet websites.

(author retains copyright)

Naomi Benaron


Before I left Kigali

I went to the Genocide Memorial

to buy a purple bracelet

It was just before a grenade

exploded at the entrance

killing a policeman

My friends and I might

have passed the man

who tossed it –

I might have even waved

muraho through the window

at the moment our paths crossed

I said goodbye to my friends

and got on the plane

before any of us knew

The bracelet says

Never Again

It goes well with my green one

that says Darfur: Not on My Watch

But it is on my watch

And it is Again

and Again
............................ and Again.

Naomi Benaron’s short story collection, Love Letters from a Fat Man won the 2006 G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for fiction. Her novel was short-listed for the 2008 Bellwether Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Cutthroat Journal and Flashquake. She writes, teaches, and protests in Tucson Arizona.

(author retains copyright)

Emmanuel V. Dumlao



the wind
yearns for the wings
of colorful kites, for the laughter
that used to roll over the clouds
and hills.

no, not even the crows
dare disturb
this hallowed playground
of helicopters and bombs.


a kite lay tattered
on the broken rib of a hill,
waiting for the touch
of those children
whose fingers now embrace
......the triggers

that skew their smiles
and numb their minds.


in this land of plenty
the grass don't grow green
...... no more:

a mass of spreading gray,
heavy with the sulphuric
dust of hell – the grass.

on their leaves cling
no beads of dew
only blots of blood
...... crying

'we are your brothers.'

Prof. Emmanuel V. Dumlao, 46 years old, teaches Philippine Literature and Creative Writing at the Universtiy of the Philippines Los Baños. He is a member of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) where he worked as human rights educator from 1990 to 1998. An organization of grassroots and professionals, TFDP has been in the forefront of human rights struggle in the Philippines since it was established in 1974. Prof. Dumlao is also a member of bukalsining and Artist Club Philippines. Both of these organizations aim to promote humant rights through arts and literature. At present, he is taking up his PhD in Creative Writing in Filipino at the Universtiy of the Philippines Diliman.

(author retains copyright)

F.I. Goldhaber

Consumer Temple

Welcome to the warehouse, temple

of consumer excess. Fill your carts

with ten-pound boxes of sugar

cereal, hundred-pound bags of flour.

Batteries by the dozens; soap

in ten-gallon jugs too big to lift.

Enough food fills the shelves to feed

a small country, but it parades out

the doors for the SUVs to

swallow while shoppers waddle through the

exit sucking in pizza, ice

cream, and hot dogs too big for their buns.

“Consumer Temple” appears in F.I. Goldhaber's second poetry book, Pairs of Poems published by Uncial Press. F.I. has written professionally for more than a quarter century and has won a number of awards for her fiction and poetry. She has had short stories, novelettes, poems, news stories, feature articles, editorial columns, and reviews published in magazines, e-zines, newspapers, and anthologies as well as two erotica novels published under another name. www.goldhaber.net

(author retains copyright)

Donald Harbour

Shi Tao

Shi Tao your thoughts are as water,
They will always find a way out.
Your suppression is a cotton gag,
Soon to rot and disintegrate.
Despot leaders and jailers all die,
Their passing the cleansing of stain.
Their trial against your humanity,
Rust on the steel of human rights.
History's repressive governments,
All of them are footnotes in time.
The poets, the writers, the teachers,
Their words the soil of expression,
They pay the price for our freedom.
Your penned words etched on paper,
A killing field of social injustice.
The world's authoritarians fear this,
Their minions the truth eradicators.
Shi Tao, unlike you they are fools,
They never learn the pen's strength,
The weight of your written words.
They cannot dismiss freedom's voice,
For your brothers and sisters speak.
Your indignity poison to the corrupt,
The gall that spills over black deeds.
Nothing exists forever except,
The verdant fields of knowledge.
The poetry of your life, Shi Tao.

Donald Harbour lives in Maumelle, Arkansas where he is an Environmental Code Enforcement Officer. He spends much of his time in the forest of the area from which he draws inspiration for his writing. His prose and poetry have been published in numerous newspapers and magazines nationally. He is a member of the Poet's Roundtable of Arkansas and presents his poetry on his website The Poetry Tree

(author retains copyright)


Adam Byrn Tritt


Jesus Christ went to prison today.
He was resurrected outside Washington DC
And immediately attended an antiwar rally.

Jesus finally appeared and
When they took him away,
Fox News didn’t know what to do.

So they pulled the story

And ran one instead
About a celebrity who forgot
To put her pants on.

Tritt—"Adamus"—is an award-winning poet whose work has appeared in a number of books and magazines you’ve never heard of, and is well known for numerous children’s works you haven’t read. He’s a frequent guest in elementary school classrooms where he can be found surrounded by children begging him to read Bud the Spud just one more time. He was so self-conscious after his first attempt at a poetry reading that he next read his work at a clothing-optional fundraiser. (“Once you’ve read your own poetry in public, naked, you have nothing else to fear.”) Tritt has a bunch of academic degrees, lots of initials after his name, manages to hold a responsible job teaching your children (with his clothes on), and lives in Palm Bay, Florida, with his wife, daughter, son, and a ridiculously large alligator, all under a very big tree.

(author retains copyright)

Nanette Rayman Rivera

we will speak

in this city spilling
over with cockroaches and rules, the smell

...................of blackmold and riverteeth
...................surpasses the free fragrance of speech

in a world written on a tripwire,
see the lonely, the misplaced, the impecunious

...................writhing to be heard. grounded in a raintight
...................vat, they will rise one day and break

the sound barrier. they will corral the cronies
into small peripheries, move 'em out- rawhide.

...................help. now they are drowning. and I
...................am one of them, trying to breathe

my lungs into poetry. Is silence a coda for madness?
validation something for the birds? somewhere

...................beyond sound, beyond this overcurrent, overload,
...................megaohmmeter, we will speak. all those

fallen away buttons, opening bodies.

Nanette Rayman Rivera, two-time Pushcart Nominee for non-fiction and poetry, is the author of the poetry collection, Project: Butterflies by Foothills Publishing and the chapbook, alegrias, by Lopside Press. She is the first winner of the Glass Woman Prize for non-fiction and has poetry on Best of the Net 2007. Her story, Puhi Paka, was best of issue in Greensilk Journal. Other publications include The Worcester Review, Carousel, Carve, The Berkeley Fiction Review, ditch, Prick of the Spindle, The Wilderness Review, Pebble Lake Review, Mannequin Envy, Dirty Napkin, MiPOesias, Pedestal, Lily, Wheelhouse, Stirring, Snow Monkey, Wicked Alice, Tipton Poetry Journal, Dragonfire, Arsenic Lobster, Three Candles, Velvet Avalanche Anthology, The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Red River Review, Flashquake, A Little Poetry, DMQ Review, Her Circle, grasslimb, Barnwood, and Chantarelle's Notebook. Upcoming: The Blue Jew Yorker. She is shopping her memoir around to agents, a true story of what really goes on in the New York City's homeless, welfare, food stamp and public housing system. She graduated from The New School University.

(author retains copyright)

Rick Mobbs


Sigh, child, and sink into the world you know.
Let butterflies appear in snow.
So what, if the rains come back to Nicaragua?
They always do. Would you add your wishes
to the weight of ignorance
that presses down upon the world?
I don't think so. There's work to do.

You stand inside a world that moves on wooden wheels
and as you watch the chirping cart
roll across the concrete cobbles,
a child up-ends a bucket,
and wears it on his head, and laughs for you.
Can you remember, and paint that laughter?

And those trucks that died beside the road
and all those tools that proved so useless.
The way he threw them down and hiked the mile,
and then on top of that, the extra mile
to walk along with you.
Can you paint those colors, too?

Try to find the spirit that inhabits an abandoned truck,
and you'll have found the trick to universal language.
We know that face, that truck, that walk.
Just like we all spot the places
where the city keeps her secrets safe
and where the forest ties the secret love-knots in her braids.

Listen, it's good you burn the candles
for the children of the dawn,
and all the men and women
laboring in Chinese prisons;
it's good you recognize that we are one.
But what did Broadus say about the meantime?

Crack the word and drop its contents on the frying pan,
and listen to your mornings start to sizzle.
Think about that old black man who took the time,
(before he left to do his dying)
to send you north to find your father and your son.

You brought them home. Paint that.
You'll find the recognition that you want inside your bones.
And who knows, friend, who knows?
You may find your brush has known the grip of other men,
and other women. Their hands will lead your hands, if you will let them.

The rains will come. The hurricanes, the liquid eyes
of thirsty, starving, children. Will these things change
for all your writing, all your painting?
Perhaps the best that we can do is celebrate, and honor them.
Ask the dancer. What he knows is he must spin and spin and spin,
and after that he has to practice spinning.

Don't think you are the first to wonder at the questions.
That's why we came. Feel sadness when you lose your friend,
and you may truly wish to die if you should lose your lover,
or your children. We are mated to illusions real as frying pans,
as eating. Grief is spelled out in our bones
and we are issued names to lose, at the beginning.

Didn't Broadus tell you? I think he must be grinning.
You didn't know he died? You have missed a thousand things
I would have shared, but gave up trying.
Now, the time has rolled around again.
I revise my gift and place it on the table as my offering.

In the meantime I build shrines, and travel.
I talk to cats and listen for their names.
I bear witness to small miracles of pleasure and of pain
and sketch them out, and write them down in long-hand.
I charge the little world I know with color,
I store milagros on computer.
One day, I'll meet the spinning dancer who can dance them.

For now I watch the river run.
I work, and do these meantime things.
Paris and New York? It's you I am committed to.
The children begging in the streets of Rio, the kids in Guatemala
huffing fumes and solvents, people running for their lives,
and all the cats and dogs we lose…

The way that politicians try to eat our children…
even as they promise us our safety, even as they promise us
our freedom, and the nightmares that daily feed upon us,
breathe and eat us, one by one.

The bridges that collapse beneath the best and worst,
that do not hold the weight of love,
that do not hold the weight of hope.
And the sleep which brings relief from these assaults,
and brings relief from their amazing weight,
or we should truly die from grief. This is the raw material
of our meantime. This is where our art comes from.

My words are marked, and handed down from trees.
What should I eat? Should I wear leather?
Should I buy this thing if it was made in China?
Plastic, or paper? How much does it matter?

I have a small gift to offer: I would see you dressed in rose petals,
sprays of hyacinth, lavender and lilac, covered with mother-of-pearl,
with diamonds, with the painted shells of almonds.

I would brush your skin with feathers, with starlight, with small pebbles.
And I would see your daughter learn to dance, unashamed, entirely naked,
across the universe, the seas, and stars and flowers.

Because the gift of the heart is one gift, it's breath one breath,
its word one word. It speaks with one tongue,
in one language, one idiom.
And love sits on her throne. She seats herself, and listens.
She is easy with the world. She relieves us of our burdens.

a little note of explanation... I wrote this upon the passing of my friend, Broadus Evans, from AIDS, just before the medicines that would have saved his life were introduced. He was a long-time activist in the African-American community in Wilmington, NC. He was an educator, counselor, a concert pianist and an activist in the gay and recovery communities there. He was valedictorian of his Williston High School class, the designated Black high school in the city. He graduated in the 1950's (?) but he was not allowed the honor of speaking to his class at graduation because he was already "out" as a gay young African- American male. This, in the South, in the '50's was no small thing. He also made his own clothes and sometimes wore a black cape. When I met him he scared the daylights out of me. I am grateful to him for a lot of reasons, one of them being that in a very short while he also started to shake the homophobia out of me. He was an interesting and wonderful, beautiful man, and I still miss his friendship. My wife and I named our son after him.

Rick Mobbs

(author retains copyright)

Charles P. Ries


You told me dark truths
We drank our beer
Lit up on acid
Crossing Death Valley
In a cherry red “69 mustang.

You were a parody, a melody of
covert and apparent things.

The Mojave’s red dust suited you,
made you opaque and revealed you
to be obvious.

You loved the stifling heat and
felt comfort close to brimstone.

Red blood shot eyes,
White t-shirt,
Blue jeans.

An American patriot with the stars
and stripEs tattooed on your fat white ass.

Comet with a devils tail.

Young Republican.

Undercover agent corrupting a flower child.

Charles P. Ries lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His narrative poems, short stories, interviews and poetry reviews have appeared in over two hundred print and electronic publications. He has received four Pushcart Prize nominations for his writing. He is the author of THE FATHERS WE FIND, a novel based on memory and five books of poetry — the most recent entitled, The Last Time which was released by The Moon Press & Publishing. He is the poetry editor for Word Riot . He is on the board of the Woodland Pattern Bookstore and a member of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission. But most of all he is a founding member of the Lake Shore Surf Club, the oldest fresh water surfing club on the Great Lakes.

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Diane Elayne Dees

The Truth About Kudzu

When you're passing through the South,
the sight of kudzu overwhelms;
Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina
all protected from erosion.

The sight of kudzu overwhelms,
wrapping around the trees and walls--
all protected from erosion--
devouring columns on the courthouse.

Wrapping around the trees and walls,
clinging stubbornly to the past,
devouring columns on the courthouse
until justice fades from view.

Clinging stubbornly to the past,
choking all the other growth
until justice fades from view;
it spreads at an alarming rate.

Choking all the other growth
in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina;
it spreads at an alarming rate
when you're passing through the South.

(originally published in HazMat Review)

Deconstructing the Picture

There's Matthew tied to a fence.
Notice the pallor of his waxy skin,
how it accentuates the deep crimson
splattered across the canvas.
The bruises and lacerations
look so real, the limp body
so close to death, but not quite there.
That's James Byrd on the road,
blood the color of jasper,
his head rolling on the shoulder.
Take note of the white space
surrounding Abner Louima;
there is no grieving crowd.
Brandon's eyes are soft and dry,
his shattered body frail and small,
like the bodies of Carole,
Denise, Cynthia and Addie May
in their just-pressed Sunday dresses--
you can see them there,
under the stained glass, where
the face of Jesus used to be.
Those other children, the very little ones,
hide beneath the empty chairs.
See how the chairs appear to float,
how well illusion is used
to portray evil intentions.
Touch the canvas if you want;
get close, observe the density of color,
the dissonance of context, the irony.
Better still--step back and look
at the big picture: It has almost everything
except a bearded man in sandals in a cave.

(originally published in Out of Line)

Diane Elayne Dees has published poetry, fiction and nonfiction in many journals. For five years, she published the progressive blog, The Dees Diversion, and she also blogged for a long time for the Mother Jones MoJo Blog. Diane currently publishes Women Who Serve, a blog about women's professional tennis.

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Dorine Jennette

Notes on Logistics, Scene 10

Ask the boys in the sound booth
for a boom mike over

a screaming woman. Her age
does not matter. Nor her race.

Whether she is pretty
or not or loves her husband

or is already missing an arm.
Whether she will be penned

with the others, or her mother
bent over the plough.

Whether the flame
in the lieutenant's hands

or a button on his coat.
Whether the crops catch.

Whether the smell of the smoke
reminds her or her children of hunger.

Burning Bush in Effigy

For first, it is a fine Revolutionary tradition,
and I a patriot. For second, it will glow.
For "We the people" was authored by an editor--
Gouverneur Morris, to replace a list of states--
and I too believe in hard pruning, and I say
fire is a form of punctuation.
For the Bush spoke, and God ordered "Fire."
For far is the reach of the arm that clears
brush to keep water for grass on a ranch
where a few cattle fill the dry eye of God,
while in strange sand it sets imaginary fires
to call the still, collateral children to real bunkers,
throwing the voice of God down holes
to anoint the babes in arms and the grandfathers,
calling flash fires to scorch in place
the circles of the uncles' open mouths
before the crooked white tiles above the metal rolling tables
upon which women wash the limbs returned,
calling the current of God from the storms of the sky
to the wires of the dungeon earth to speak
in the voice of a dog to a hood, commanding the hood to nod
like an Amarillo oil derrick. The wind of the nodding hood
fans the flames on a ridgeline half a world away,
sunflowers in the fields below curling in the smoke.
From the incandescence of the Bush's straw face,
the falling embers hiss like rain.

Dorine Jennette's poems, essays, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as The Journal, Ninth Letter, Coconut, Court Green, Memorious, and the Georgia Review. She earned her PhD at the University of Georgia, and now earns her keep as a copyeditor for university presses. She lives in Davis, California.

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Jeff Fearnside

Memo to Potential Donors from a Nongovernmental Organization in a Corrupt Developing Country

The previous minister
built a very nice house
on a small salary. If you want

the current minister to build
a nice house, please
give a grant

to the Ministry of Education.


Sitting in a small cafe in Kazakhstan, watching Turkish TV,
Speaking in broken Russian and eating a decent imitation
of an American cheeseburger (though it tastes like spiced lamb),
I feel strangely at home. The sign outside says “Fast Food” in English,

but, like those you know to get a job here, it’s all relative.
I like this place because it’s not fast, it doesn’t give me diarrhea,
and because the Turkish men wear their hair
a little longer, like me, wear mustaches and even beards

so that I look like them and not an American.
I’m glad that I can’t find American TV here,
that the mumblings of commercials—
that the rumblings of war—are dubbed in other tongues.

Tonight I’m happy to watch the scantily clothed singer
swing her mama mia hips, those hips my bearded brothers
would do handstands for to get a handful of.
Shakira. The remote lies flat on the counter.

This is Address, my new favorite cafe. But which address is my home?
My parents’, though half a lifetime has passed since I lived there?
My brother’s, my stateside contact where all my junk mail goes?
Or the crumbling Soviet-era apartment building I call my own?

Shakira stops shaking. The immobile remote is picked up
and a new channel picked out, first the European CNN, always good
for brushing up on my cricket, rugby and soccer,
then—quickly—a German cooking show,

then back to the Turkish channel Haber,
where a man speaks to a group of serious-faced men.
I enjoy thinking he’s saying, “What the hell
are those Americans doing?” and I’m half-afraid he is.

But I blend in here with my bearded brothers.
Even on the street, I’m often asked if I’m Turkish,
Greek, Indian, Spanish, Italian. I always answer yes.
They don’t ask me for money then

or what I think of the president. I sometimes give
a few coins to the widowed babushki at their makeshift
sidewalk homes, but even when I see their noses
running down their faces, I never give my opinion or advice.

Please don’t bomb Iraq. I met an Iraqi family last summer—
we played soccer together, swam in a glacial lake,
and when our group ran out of water, they gave us theirs
and delicious fresh apricots. They spoke perfect English

and were learning Russian, too. They sounded just like us.
I remember this now amidst shaking hips,
cheeseburgers and half a dozen languages.
I live in the world. Please don’t bomb my home.

Jeff Fearnside lived and worked in Central Asia for four years. His creative work has previously appeared in such journals as Rosebud, Permafrost, and Many Mountains Moving, among others. He is currently a writing instructor and managing editor of the literary journal Alligator Juniper at Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona.

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Stacia Fleegal

The War of All Against All

After Hobbes and a line by Glenn Sheldon

The day before we signed the social contract,

we are all at the anarchists' picnic

trying to figure out why no one

showed up. I bring egg salad sandwiches.

We are all at the anarchists' picnic

to learn Latin—bellum omnium contra omnes.

I showed up with egg salad sandwiches

but they were just smooth, fist-sized stones.

My Latin omits bellum, contra. Omnes

I understand. We can't all agree on

whether they're smooth, fist-sized stones

or bats or bludgers used for beating rebels.

I understand we can't all agree, but

let's at least eat. No (yes)? A food fight, then?

Bats for bludgeoning and beaten rebels

abound in states of nature and of war.

Let's at least eat our words like food, and fight

tomorrow, the day we sign the social contract.

Is it a state of nature or of war?

Who tries to figure it out, and why? No one.

Instruction Manual for a Revolutionist

Don't be afraid of paper cuts or bullet holes,
or people who don't consider these the same.

You carry the cosmos in your eyes and ears.
It is they who should fear you, pilgrim.

This is about waiting: watch the dollar fall,
the sun rise, all things certain. In the meantime,

learn a trade. Religion is helpful only
to those who can't do magic, who huff

and puff and gasp, then call it sin. Eat
with gusto. Sit in coffee shops and people-watch,

hear inanities' ease, slow-drip anger—stay
with me, here, I've seen what you'll say

kills, but I've seen it save. Rage can rage on
against age and playing safe, silence and chafed

lips bitten straight. Seek not to build bombs
in these folds, but to change into your kamikaze

cape and be one, or a dragon. Study.
Make love. Memorize the constellations, then

chart new ones with pegs on which to hang
this list, so when you've finished, you can

burn these pages. They'll never think
it was you, pretty decoy: flammable flesh.

Stacia M Fleegal's first collection of poems, Anatomy of a Shape-Shifter, is forthcoming in 2010 by WordTech. She is a graduate of Spalding University's brief-residency MFA in Writing program. In 2007, Finishing Line Press released a chapbook of her poems called A Fling with the Ground. Individual poems have appeared in many journals, most recently Comstock Review, Inkwell, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Minnetonka Review, 42opus, White Pelican Review, and New Verse News, and are forthcoming in Dos Passos Review and the anthology Women. Period.: Women Writing About Menstruation (Spinsters Ink Press, 2008). She is co-founder and managing editor of the online literary journal Blood Lotus, a poetry editor for New Sins Press, and the coordinator of the journals department at the University of Nebraska Press.

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Allene Rasmussen Nichols

Silence is not an Option

(For Alexandr Solzhenitsyn)

Your words sliced like jagged ice
from East to West
through cold war temperatures
and government denial

of your gulag.
I remember your voice like drops
of water in monotone on my face
with the sound of distant whips,
and no hope of salvation.

At fourteen, I shrank
from your steel sharpened words
but returned again and again
to the blows and bruises

until I fled
into the cool Illinois afternoon
breathing deliberately
because I could breathe.

The shroud that clung to me
like a spider web
glistening with agonized

still clings.


Allene Rasmussen Nichols lives in Arlington, Texas, where she teaches English at Gateway School. Her poems have been published /Philament/, /Ariel/, /Sylvan Echo/ and other journals and the anthology _Dance the Guns to Silence: 100 Poems for Ken Saro-Wiwa_. Her plays have been produced in California, Dallas, and New York.

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Larissa Shmailo

Link to


Niels Hav

You Know - It

It happens that I am suddenly hit by, you know – it -
when we're watching the news with children in the room.
Their serious restlessness at the sight of murder
and the sound of crying condenses
into a big question mark hanging
above my head like an axe
or a dirty cloud.

I switch it off. I attempt to erase
it all, shift the mood. In vain.
Smashing the TV won't do it either.
The truth about the state of the world seeps
in through the walls; the children know,
of course, it's their world –
the only one I have for them.
You can see it in their eyes;
they will not acquit us. Never!
Our jokes are without effect,
cynicism builds minus points.
Each day ever more is piled up
of, you know - it.

Translated by P.K. Brask & Patrick Friesen


Can the world be improved? First we'll have to change
human nature. There's cause for pessimism.
Evil triumphs and hate appears clothed
in religion, or in the latest political uniform.

But it is more difficult yet to give up on the idea
and to resign oneself to the world as it is. So we must
let go of the dream that our descendants will meet
a happier future. Genetic inheritance.

And none of us can imagine killing off our children's
expectations, even if we are ashamed of our own
confusion and ignorance. Joy is such a frail
material, and physical happiness is no crime.

Admitted; I'm groping in the dark. There's a shortage
of words with real validity. Concrete
suggestions or a solid sentence with a foothold.
I cannot offer firm arguments.

But I'm affiliated with the naïve who mosey on
and want the impossible.

Translated by P.K. Brask & Patrick Friesen

Niels Hav is a poet and short story writer, living in Copenhagen with his wife, pianist Christina Bjørkøe. He has travelled widely in Europe, Asia, North and South America. His work has been translated into several languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish and Italian. His credits include five volumes of poetry and three short story collections. He's also been the recipient of several national awards. His forthcoming book is an English translation of Here We Are, published by Book Thug.

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Michelle Tandoc Pichereau

If Only Asking Led to Something

Why aren't we storming the streets?
Why aren't we pledging hunger?
Why aren't we sending missives,
waving banners, raining flyers?
Why aren't we crying our eyes out?
Why aren't we pounding our fists?
Why aren't we shouting until our voice
is not just ours, but somebody else's?
Why do we still sleep at night? And why
in these darkest hours do we still tremble
from the prick of a needle, a speck of dust
and not even flinch from the sound of

Michelle Tandoc-Pichereau's work has been published in numerous print and online journals, including Wigleaf's Top 50 Microfiction 2008, The Humanist, and GUD Magazine. She was a finalist in the 2008 Sean O' Faolain Short Story Competition and Smokelong Quarterly's 2008 Kathy Fish Fellowship. Tandoc-Pichereau has lived in Manila and Los Angeles, and currently resides in Bretagne.

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