linda m. crate

slaughtering roses

dancing sunsets
on your eyes
turned blue to orange
wish i could still
the oranges of your eyes
devour all their beauty
lay the garland of
those citrines against my heart
as i slept in the coffee
of your cup;
but things change,
and so do people but not always
for the better -
you were a rose that wilted all it’s petals
instead grew more thorns
tried to impale me
with lies,
i knew how to dodge
burned me with questions hotter than the sun
grilled me with desire and rage;
but when it’s all said and done
your lonely thorns
aren’t enough to house a love for anyone,
but yourself
you will lay alone forever
in your castle of distance
colder than a winter’s wind you erode
romance until there is nothing
but cold blue lips
imbibing ‘i love you’
before they too are blown away into some
forgetful sea,
and your thorns seek a new rose to

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R.T. Castleberry


I am not what I say about myself—Yasmina Reza

Lean with illness, lack of sleep,
anger grieving at a scarlet sunset silent in the sky,
the blossoming wind of winter’s rise toward spring,
all simple things become taunt, metaphor, measure.
As I tire, I see a fool an hour.
I hate a little more.

The lies begin mid-week—
stuttering spatter of a laugh,
a chatter of best intention
dripping like water from shaking hands.
I steer towards the damaged,
brokenness I can buy—
a landscape imagined as shattered pedestals,
wild piles of leaves igniting azalea, jasmine, gardenia,
whistling emptiness of building stakes
marking cracked sidewalk, over-grown lot.

Neatly orphaned, mostly abandoned
I revise my narrative
to fit the red and white of a revolutionary’s scarf,
to fit a French blue Oxford shirt.
Contradictions charm, whether sly or savage.
No one gets to know everything—
the cause for censure, the sibling break,
why the amusement when an aging comic fails,
why no wonder at the luminous child bride.

Breathless, a little self-absorbed,
a hard cough cracking my chest for weeks,
I adjust silence
so no messages are returned
that do not flatter.
That I’m moving beyond
the structures of easy grievances
may mean nothing.
Non sequitur retains its pleasure:
the stack of books beside the sofa
profile warfare, poetry,
the bluster of satire and sycophancy.
As I ache, illness takes over.

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Quincy D. Goss


The stars seem like dull
Old diamonds now
Not at all like when we were young
And would abandon our fathers’ cars
And run
Tumbling into the grass
At the park.
We’d look up to the night
And allow
Ourselves to dive into the moon’s craters and
Swim among the bright
Beaming stars.

When I looked up at the sky last night
I saw smog. But if I
Was to leave this city and drive out
Miles from these city lights
Maybe then I could see the
Constellations that have been there before our time

We used to sit out in that field until the cool of the night swept
All the summer heat away.
But even in the chill, we’d
Lie together
Giggling, whispering, wondering why God kept
Caring about this dot of a world on the edge of the vast and magnificent Milky Way.

I wonder, wherever you are, whatever city you live in
If you look up sometimes too, and realize how far we’ve gone from heaven.

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Tristan Franz


We stare into the dark searching
glints of light, rumbles,
the hopeful hallucinate
through that dark may be everything
but nothing
on a Tuesday pre-noon
but signal malfunctions and
rats running, umbrellas folded
in damp patience, we come together.
Wouldn’t it be something
to quit peeking and jump
trespass the forbidden edge
the quiet Authority
and walk blindly, the dozens of us,
through pitch black mystery
electrical currents at our feet
and see what it is
we’ve all been waiting for

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News from your editor

It is my great pleasure to unveil my first novel, Elaenorh.
She was published May 23rd by Double Dragon Publishing.

Elaenorh is a blend of classic high fantasy
and hard science fiction.
There is a substantial preview available on Amazon:
Just click “Look Inside”

If you love classic fantasy and science fiction
from the 50′s and 60′s, I think you will enjoy this book.
Give it a try today!

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Michael Davenport

It’s a joy to listen to birds,
red feathers and small,
green and thin,
blue and tall,
yellow, smallish fellow,
longer than black
sing their song; cheep, cheep.
Some cheep a cheep a tweet
even cheepatweetacheep.

Slow times come slower, the songs grow older;
it’s all you hear.

Days tire of colored feathers and
even the best cheepatweetacheep songs;
mornings soon melt to nothing,
feathery dawn clouds
magenta, ocher, aquamarine
scarlet and vermilion.
A monument?
life holds no joy.

Living beats you on the head; ennui times two
for one, times four or even seven for two.

Another sky is born cold gray, the wind not yet,
when a thin wavering note ripples the grass;
your pulse swims like Orpheus to his flute.
You sell all you have, shoeless;
through cold barren bushes to a living tree
where a small gray bird throws back its head
and sings.
The heavens glow splendidly
green twig and leaf wave hello, blossoming
dazzling colors,
white, magenta, scarlet and sparkling hallelujahs;
warbling birds dancing on new leaves.

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Thomas Piekarski

Lover’s Point

Along the path where families ride rented surreys
and dogs with strained leashes stray across
adjacent lawns, the lay of the land is the law of the sea.

Green Gables Bed and Breakfast booked to capacity.
Pebble Beach packed. The whole Monterey Peninsula
jammed for the annual motor car extravaganza.

Millionaires roam Carmel streets coveting sexy
classic vehicles while thick exhaust chokes brine air.
But at Lover’s Point the air is clear, crisp, pristine.

It is Lover’s Point where land, sea and air converge,
where when one stands defiant against a tough wind
twisting in off the Pacific, paradoxes become extinct.

The Point a mini peninsula comprised entirely
of granite attacked for ages by ocean waves, boulders
like Godzilla feces piled haphazardly. For the randy

or simply inspired hiker, it’s a challenging goal
to climb up and around the massive rocks and sit
at the very promontory of world’s western edge.

At Del Monte Beach skin divers peel off wetsuits.
Live jazz on Cannery Row upstairs at Blue Fin
Billiards. But Lover’s Point is sheer invention.

And what does invention give if not freedom?
And what does freedom invent if not love?

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John Grey


There’s no true return.
What survives is what my grandfather
couldn’t imagine.
I can hear his words but the sea of leaves
is a rain-squall of rooftops,
the glorious and rich are slate red and brown.
The grass is cut level with the toes
and, where it’s not, it’s a target for trash.
Stand here, he said, and watch the sweeping
elm like the skirts of a giant debutante,
the oaks, tall and splendid,
the true American royalty.
And the maple of course, and the linden,
their upper branches woven together,
one huge bed of green
for the sun to recline as
clouds thicken with jealousy.
I speak his words and I describe a vanishing,
a distance the size of a tear,
I can hear him describe even the lesser foliage
with a rough delight,
the parsimonious birch, the wall-flower aspen,
modest nut-woods lauded over
by brute bragging pines.
Now, the conversation is between
myself and ghosts
or white picket fences,
malls and huge pipes
tree-tall underground.
A tiny stream remains,
cuts through a series of backyards,
like a chip of marble from an old monument.
A leaf floats atop the water,
spiraling off in a direction,
south by its reckoning,
nowhere by mine.

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Gary Langford

Earth’s Torso

Ancestors are embedded in the earth’s torso.
Buildings break up as tiny ideologies,
tremor dust, gas thoughts, fire esteem.
Blame is on the seat. We talk endlessly.
Ghostly years drift by in a stream.
Earth is on the the universe’s smallest hair.
In the wind of those who know little, lie.
Towns slide into history, cities a nightmare.
of the earth’s war. Truth is at the table,
chuckling in disbelief. We are oddly linked,
to music, crooning in the earth’s arms.
We shiver, unable to shake laughter.
We are small children in love with the earth’s foot.
Knowledge is drought. We are trodden on.

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Timothy M. Perez

as if he had power over certain elements

they banged like prisoners on the iron
door yelling for you.

but you hardly hear—anymore. so you put
your good ear to the ground like the Native

you wish you were. your oldest boy behind
you rattling deep pockets of change.

and my children continued to clang and bang
on the bars calling you.

your daughter-in-law cracking open the door
so you could see the face of your granddaughter—

her eyes shining like small coins in dry grass.
and you called her by a name you wish she had.

and your older boy began to shuffle heavily from
foot to foot calling storm clouds—

as if he had power over certain elements.

and when the sun began beating harder you
watched him throw a tantrum, making thunder

bleed from knuckles he cracked himself
by the force of his very own nature.

my daughter giggling at the ruckus. my boys
now chanting,

and you began to knock your head side to side to loosen
the river of tears sloshing around behind your eyes.

and my boys continued to chant in short low whispers:
in a tone too deafening for anyone to ever endure.

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