Sarah A. Etlinger

Sarah A. Etlinger


The sky is smoky milk: it will rain later.
I’m thinking about the moon
and its tradition of memory
while we rehearse for evening,

for summer’s long dusks
when the grass hums in a green fermata
that stays as long as we want
and the air is filled with marbles
of birdsong,

rehearse for silence only summer
invites. Now we’re on the porch,
a piece of prairie grass in your teeth
draped lazily as your body over the steps.

Tonight the stars are heavy.
The sky bends under their weight.
We wait for rain, for tongues of wind
at the windows, stemming our wakefulness



 Sarah A. Etlinger is an English professor who resides in Milwaukee, WI, with her family. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, she is author of two chapbooks (Never One for Promises, Kelsay Books 2018) and the forthcoming Little Human Things (Clare Songbirds). In addition to poetry, interests include cooking, baking, traveling, and learning to play the piano. Find her poetry at and on Twitter at @drsaephd. 

Austin Alexis

Austin Alexis

 Austin Alexis has published in Shot Glass Journal, Danse Macabre, Candelabrum Poetry Magazine, Poetry Pacific (Canada) and in other journals and anthologies. He is the author of Privacy Issues (Broadside Lotus Press, Detroit, 2014) and two chapbooks: Lovers and Drag Queens and For Lincoln & Other Poems. He received a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Scholarship.



Australian Aboriginal Art


The human head, displayed

in various positions:

vertically, horizontally,

slanted on sly diagonals

as if the pictures wish to hide

the embedded stories they whisper.


Hands touching other hands,

a circle of hands

or a line of people

holding hands,

reinforcing the value of community

while gaining the respect of outsiders.


A language in these works

speaks of religion, of history,

articulates Creation

on rocks, on tree barks, even spread on leaves.

This oldest unbroken tradition of art

tells of the dreamtime when diverse beings

roaming in the time before time

breathed the galaxies into existence.

Emily Bilman

Emily Bilman

Dr. Emily Bilman teaches poetry in Geneva as London’s Poetry Society’s Stanza representative in Switzerland. Her dissertation, The Psychodynamics of Poetry: Poetic Virtuality and Oedipal Sublimation in the Poetry of T.S. Eliot and Paul Valéry was published by Lambert Academic in 2010 and Modern Ekphrasis in 2013 by Peter Lang. Her poetry books, A Woman By A Well (2015), Resilience (2015), and The Threshold of Broken Waters (2018) were published by Troubador, UK. Poems were published in The London Magazine, Poetry Salzburg Review, Offshoots, San Antonio Review, Expanded Field, Poetics Research, Oxford School of Poetry Review, The Battersea Review, The Blue Nib, Poetica Review, E.Ratio, Tipton Poetry Journal. She blogs on

The Virtual Child


In sole retreat of worldly direction,

The poet loved his Lady with a guilty

Conscience and the fear of unfaithfulness,

Her early death haunting him into keen

Introspection. Like a candid paper-rose

The Lady shone within her corolla

Lit with pure light. Still, the poet loved

Her other-ego, herself a concession


To Love screened by the grace of her virtue.


The virtual child pleaded Love for pity

As he passed with his Lady into Lethe.

He sublimated an unrequited Love into

The language of sonnets, the poet’s

Resolution to atone mourning and loss.

Kevin Blankinship

Kevin Blankinship

Kevin Blankinship is a professor of Arabic at Brigham Young University. His poetry has been published by The Ekphrastic Review, Rock Canyon Poets, and the Utah Horror Writers Association. He has also written essays for The Atlantic, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Jadaliyya. He lives in Utah with his wife, their two children, and a menacing gang of fruit trees.

Pruning the Apricot Tree


Thok! Thok! Thok! Thok!

There go my shears hacking through

stubborn bark, green sapwood

tender and swollen with water.


The blades meet and another limb

falls to the ground. I wipe off sweat.

It’s going faster than I thought.


Down below, two imps look around —

ages 9 and 11, their job is to find

stray branches and leaves,

apricots too hard and small to eat.


Are we done yet, Dad? In response,

I send more raining down. Groans!

They swish the bag, toe the dirt, and stall.  


I grip the trunk and pretend

they’re not getting so big,  
my mother and father aren’t dying,

the harvest will always be far off.


Almost done! Just a little bit longer!

We’re almost done. Just a bit longer,

please, just a little bit longer.



Majnuun, or To Have



Why am I so afraid
of spirit possession?

In Arabic, the word crazy

is majnuun

the feeling that something


has come to be inside you.


Another word, haunted,

is maskuun,
inhabited, occupied

but not by yourself. 


Why am I so afraid
of being possessed?


Long ago, a prince fell
in love, but he couldn’t

have her
and it drove him mad.

He lived in the
woods, talked to
animals, ate bark and leaves.
The Arabs call him

Why am I so afraid?

When I occupy, I
possess. When I possess, I
have, and when I
have, I am. But if I

don’t occupy, possess,
or have,
then am I? Who is
possessor and

Why am I?




Ouroboros, or Writer’s Block—a lover’s spat with his poem


I gaze in horror at the glowing screen

while the fan hums harshly, cooling circuits.

Slouching to write you, dear poem, the keys grow

stiff in hand, without even typing a word— 

did I say it all sometime before now,

or just forget to write down my unsaid?


Why write? it seems to ask, or not.

Words are slippery eels between the reeds, so

don’t try to grab us with your hands and shake us

into a basket by the river’s edge,

fry us in oil then serve it all on toast

to lusty readers aching for a meal.


But wait, I cry, if utterance has no sense

nor conversation worth, then tell me how

we can dance our serpentine tango step,

how we squabble using words you say can’t

say or do—how do you deny your own speech

when speech is all, all that there is of you?


Give it up it groans, your talk is tied in knots

like a jumbo snake eating its own tail, or

a swirl of mud and soot run down the hill

after a sudden aphasia cloudburst,

and soon enough your own tongue betrays you

to the cavern of muffled void you fear.


My dear poem, I reject your resignation,

take heart, rejoin me at my plastic desk

and say a prayer with words that, though unpraying,

waft upward on gusts of vaporous devotion,

as I heat your self-eating snake into gold glass,

changeling, changeless alchemy: the word made flesh.


Barbara Brooks

Barbara Brooks

 Barbara Brooks is a member of the lesbian writing community

Top of the Bridge


I climb onto the bridge’s railing,

toss your name into the wind

but it revisits me like the swallow. 

I think I have captured you but

then you shift away like the fog

underneath the bridge. 


The mist net will not catch you.

I watch you float down the river.

I think I am done with your memory.


But I am not.  Grayness mists

around me.  I shiver in the dampness.

I will forever be cold.



Looking into Silence



The quiet of the house when the dog

is gone rings undisturbed.  Wind

purring through the pines is another quiet.


So is the crunch of a horse’s hooves

in sere autumn leaves.  Evening has its

own calm as night bugs begin their chants.


Perhaps the quietest is snow sifting through

branches, settling on winter’s Little Bluestem. 

The silence of a closing door.

Natalie Campisi

Natalie Campisi

Natalie Campisi is a journalist and fiction writer currently residing in Los Angeles. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in fiction and her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Auburn Literary Journal, and Writer Magazine. She was recently awarded a writing scholarship to the Chautauqua Institution in New York. Currently, Natalie’s producing, directing and performing in a fully improvised play based on the work of Wes Anderson, which is running at ImproTheatre in Los Angeles.
“In 1998, you could practice your French in France”


In 1998, you could practice French in France. The new and old words were still distanced by water and paper and games of telephone.


It was the year of the Euro. The year of Kosovo. The year of Sampras and the Yankees.


The bus wobbled on steel-belted cartoon wheels toward Montpellier from Paris. Not Marseilles where they steal your money at knifepoint. We had little money and no credit cards and no gold to sell in a pinch.


In 1998, you relied on maps and eyes and lips and eyes.


In 1998, old lives couldn’t be accessed through an app and unrequited loves could remain in amber, forever lithe and limitless, forever ​Lotte ​ — not living in Haddonfield with four kids and a mortgage.

<<Je voudrais ​deux billets, s’il vous plaît?>>


With paper maps and paper money, we packed on the packed bus with skinny people who mumbled grunts and slip n’ slide words, a potion of sweet and mildew. The wheel was too big for the driver’s hands. The mirror too small to see.


The faded baby blue bus was peeling-paint old.


The windows were trimmed in white and had curved corners.


A man pressed against me. I sent this postcard of the man pressing against me to my older self, and I received it — perhaps in the middle of the night — and realized he had assaulted me. He had pressed his body against mine on purpose. It wasn’t just a packed train. Assault is a big word when time gets between action. Too big. But, memory remains. I hated it.

I send a postcard back to my 22-year old self: “Push him away. Disez: ​Arrêtez! Arrêtez!”


But, no. It’s in amber now. The bus keeps moving.


In 1998, Montepellier was a college town. Probably still is. With old Roman light, and curved streets and corners that spiral around into other universes. A Pasolini dream of youth and sex and light and infinity.

Where was la plage? ​Où est la plage ​ ? Open sesame. Another bus, this one with kids our age. College kids. Skinny, loud college kids. Backpacks, not ergonomic like American backpacks, in mismatched colors — feminine, like this country.


Accidents are scientific phenomena that are caused by destiny. They are caused by magnets that pull us. Invisible air marshals. Waves that we hop on and ride by hunch, a temporary tunnel of force until we get to our destination.


Whoosh. Gasp. Ding. Palavas Les Flots! A spit of beach that was handspun out of blue cotton candy and pale yellow gauze.


A wave. A magnet. A marshal.


In 1998, the streets of Palavas are thin and lean.


Maybe it was late morning or late afternoon, it was late something. The end of some section of time. This is important. Because it was Sunday. And nothing is guaranteed on a Sunday. This is a rule of life.


The Sea and Cake Hotel was vertical and lean like a dancer who smoked.


And the windows, long and narrow and open, let through a breeze that blew sheer curtains toward us, the wind choosing a shape.


Let us take a moment to think about drapery. There is drapery meant to conceal. And drapery meant to adorn. And drapery meant to give dimension to the outside. A windowless frame provides a clear picture. A window provides a view with distortion. A sheer drape over a window on a frame provides a tease.


On the beach, the circles of young bodies hunch like hooks and smoke hashish rolled into small cigarettes with some tobacco mixed in. They motion and we sit.


Across the Atlantic is a blonde Hungarian disguised as an American. His skin is pink and his eyes are blue. His hair is curled, down to his shoulders. His teeth are big and his smile is venomous. He will go to Samoa. She will never send him a postcard when she’s older.


In 1998, under this vertical sky, under a happy film of hashish, the Hungarian in American accent has vanished. It’s just now.


A whirl of half-naked bodies pack into a small French car. It zooms sideways down beach-town roads.


The day would be the sea. The night would be homemade pastis: anise, licorice root, and boiled sugar poured into a bottle of vodka. Steaks and green beans. Ketchup for the Americans. A song about love. A song about AIDS. Kissing in French and speaking without words.


Sleeping bodies tangled up. Sleeping bodies on a beach. Sweetness in the breath that comes from the gut. Everything is smooth. Everything is bright.


In 1998, you could practice French in France. You could hang your underwear off a rucksack to dry. You could kiss sweet breath in $2 flip flops without feeling self conscious. You could be naked in the sea and know that this moment is ​Le Morne Brabant ​ .


You can take it with you for later. There are always leftovers.



Lenny DellaRocca

Lenny DellaRocca

Lenny DellaRocca is founder and co-publisher of South Florida Poetry Journal-SoFloPoJo. He is honored to be among a stellar one-up of poets at the 2019 Miami Book Fair, where he’ll read from his latest collection, Festival of Dangerous Ideas (Unsolicited Press, 2019). His chap, Things I See in the Fire won the 2018 Yellow Jacket Press contest. His work has appeared in many small presses since 1980.


Do Not Read This Poem



if you sneeze at the mention of pantoums, 

get hives in the presence of puns 

or sweat at the sight of imagery.

If you are pregnant or would like

to become pregnant, see your workshop facilitator

and ask if this poem is right for you.

Rubbing out words from this poem

can allude to deconstruction and reference

erasure poems of ill repute.  

Should you feel faint when certain 

likenesses appear, 

seek a simile immediately.

This poem has been tested in blind

clinical trials where some readers

suffered from not getting it, thoughts of

why doesn’t it rhyme? or seizures

in an absence of meter.

If you or someone you know

suffers from symptoms such as

liberal language, intellectual iambs,

loads of laughter at alliteration or

an erection for more than

two consecutive readings of this poem, 

contact your English professor.

Marc Darnell

Marc Darnell

Marc Darnell is a facilities tech and online tutor in Omaha NE, and has also been a phlebotomist, hotel supervisor, busboy, editorial assistant, farmhand, devout recluse, and incurable brooder–  leading to near auto collisions.  He received his MFA from the University of Iowa, and has published poems in The Lyric, Rue Scribe, Verse, Skidrow Penthouse, Shot Glass Journal, The HyperTexts, Candelabrum, Quantum Leap, Aries, Ship of Fools, Open Minds Quarterly, The Fib Review, Verse-Virtual, Blue Unicorn, Ragazine, The Literary Nest, and The Pangolin Review among others.



The poems go here

Colin Dodds

Colin Dodds

Poets biography

Beside the Treadmill


A tense and charming woman in a café

has her own confused intentions

written on her hands


A severe woman with elaborately braided hair

and a sweater more knotted than knit

slumps in a restaurant window and chews wrathfully


A woman on the sidewalk impersonates serenity

so the effort shows, mouth taut striding

like she has a full teacup in her vagina

Women in Williamsburg daydream

a thousand ways off

the virgin-mother-crone treadmill


The moonfaced nymph with pixie ears

and tattoos climbing her neck as if ravished

by calligraphic beasts of the imagination

loiters and reconnoiters for a man who believes


that the sweat of musicians

and the blood of martyrs is a fair price

to free one half-suspicious woman

from the prison galaxies

of summarization

Alethia Drehmer

Alethia Drehmer

Aleathia Drehmer was the one time editor of Durable Goods and In Between Altered States, co-editor of Full of Crow and Zygote in My Coffee, and art editor of Regardless of Authority. Her work has been published in print and online for poetry, fiction, and photography. She’s writing her first novel, The Secrets of Womanhood, and working long hours in an Emergency Room. Aleathia writes a blog called The Forked Road: A Journey of Friends which can be viewed at Her listing of publications, online and print, can be found at


Jackson Pollack

The Deep, 1953


It would be better
            if I didn’t know
the story of your life,
            if I didn’t fully
understand the disparity
involved in your demise
            if I couldn’t allow
myself a shred of forgiveness.


                        But there in the shallow
                        center of your soul
                        bears the mark
                        saved for misunder-
                        stood genius

                                    In the depth
                                    of the paint lies
                                    secrets only you
                                    and the devil
                                    will know.

                        I am left wanting
                        to fall face first
                        into this black-holed
                        universe you’ve created.


It would be better
            if I didn’t know
the story of your life.


R. Gerry Fabian

R. Gerry Fabian

Nautical Miles



He moves with

the instinctual wisdom

of alley cat balance.

His doctrine follows

an iceberg principle.

His eyes see more;

his chapped lips say less.



 he takes his trawler

 deep into the ocean –

 a simple apostle

 of the earth’s last frontier.

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Work by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois appears in magazines worldwide. Nominated for numerous prizes, he was awarded the 2017 Booranga Centre (Australia) Fiction Prize. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and as a print edition. His poetry collection, THE ARREST OF MR. KISSY FACE, published in March 2019 by Pski’s Porch Publications, is available here. Visit his website  to read more of his poetry and flash fiction.  






When I return to my village in Africa

I always go to the round clearing 

where the wooden man stands eight feet tall


We atone for our sins by pounding nails

into him

I have done so myself

many times

every time I return from America


to rid myself of the

contamination I carry

I feel the need for deep cleansing

so I pound nails into the wooden man


and cry in a loud voice:

I’m sorry I’m sorry

Forgive me


He is riddled with

thousands of nails

mostly pounded in by

villagers who have never been to America



they all want to go

I cannot convince them otherwise


The wooden man stares steadfastly forward

He does not cry out as I pound in

the largest nails I can find

Jack Henry

Jack Henry

My name is jack henry and i am a california based poet/writer.  while i have been on hiatus for 10 years i have recently returned to writing and my first lover, poetry.  in the last several months i have been published in red fez, dope fiend daily, winamop, dissident voices, horror sleaze trash, bold monkey, and others.  i manage and publish heroin love songs.

a green flash across a settling sea,



i remember

sitting in the sun,
watching light change;
watching the sun
evaporate & fade,
            an old wino finding
            a dusty spot to spend the night;


when light blinks out,

green flashes across a settling sea,
i smile, my day complete;

young and foolish, want of nothing,
the world in my hands, or at least
a small part, my part, wrapped
in my quivering hands;

and yet i could feel the shadows grow;

even then;
an icy hand of time and death
touches my skin as i clench my
fists tight;


and when i opened my hands,
under the lustful gaze of fluorescent light,
the world, a small part, my part,
drifts languidly into a darkening night;


as i grow old it lingers, still out of reach,
something i will never hold tight, not like those
early days when i knew no better and
nothing appeared out of reach;

Kathleen Hogan

Kathleen Hogan

Poets biography

Kathleen is a graduate of the University of Connecticut. Her poetry has been published in Panoplyzine, Indolent Books What Rough Beast, Above The Bridge: The First Decade, and the Nancy Drew Anthology published by Silver Birch Press. She is a member of the Bloom Reading Series committee in her Washington Heights neighborhood in New York City.

Cubist Dreams

Steaming water hits my neck,
runs down the center of my back.
I quiver as it flows over
the spot where all
lonely moments hide.

Mosaic rays shine
through flamingo curtains.
In the time it takes
for an eyelash to fall to a cheek,
a few pink glints skip
over the blue tiles
and I want to tango.

I have walked with Picasso
down the Gothic Quarter’s
cobbled lanes, secretly attempting
to stay just a fraction ahead of him.
Not enough so he’d notice
but enough to know I won.

And I said, “No!”, when he asked
me to bare one breast,
afraid it would end up in a casket,
painted purple with a yellow nipple,
and that I would never be the same.


How do you find
your shadow in the dark
when you are afraid
of the spotlight’s shine?

I have been a barren earth,
whose clouds unleash
teems of water, moisture
that hits like the death
of a child with rosy cheeks.

Fear touches
with skeletal fingers
that paint undecipherable
symbols on my face.
I try to imagine they tell
of how I stood tall under
the hanging tree
with eyes wide open
but know they are
the air that passes
through a window.

Ed Jay

Ed Jay

Ed Jay (AKA/Ed Parris) holds an MFA in poetry from Eastern Washington University. His work has appeared in Poetry, New York Quarterly, Hawaii Review, Colorado Review, Blueline, and many other literary magazines. His website is



What dream


recedes to this dark shape?

Chicago’s lake shore museum

Where naked wax homo-erecti

kneel over plastic fire,

dinosaurs remembered in stone. 


But take mountains,

and put modern insurance man

(homo-and-auto) between mountains

where water tumbles over rock

streaming to tall grass meadows—


Twigsnap / parting brush:  an elk

drinks there. In the weight

of his antlers, the family tree,

cervus canadensis, comes down

to Him to wake man from His


nightmare, move gently

through tall grass, brush into stone,

and when the last shuttle lights

cross the dark sky, even Chicago

is lost to the memory of stone.





Never mind


that breed of folk
who see art without labor

and victory without battle,

who suckle on your success
and carve failure into your skin.
When all love, labor and art are done,

they will stand at the well of your soul
praying for clean water
with no ladles of their own.




Lay me down


naked beneath young cedar. Let

me decompose to food for the trees,

the carbon they need to exhale


clean air. Let me be

resurrected molecule by molecule,

released by old cedar to the sky,


to float gently back to the universe

of stars where all life begins, loved

in those divine mother arms.

Arya F. Jenkins

Arya F. Jenkins

Arya F. Jenkins is a poet and writer whose work has been published in numerous journals and zines such as Agave Magazine, Blue Heron Review, Cider Press Review, Dying Dahlia Review, The Feminist Wire, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, IO Literary Journal, Otis Nebula, Rag-Queen Periodical, The Ekphrastic Review and Voice of Eve. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks and a collection of short stories, Blue Songs in an Open Key (Fomite Press, 2018). Her poetry chapbook, LOVE & POISON, was published by Prolific Press in November 2019.



Trying to let go the oppressive shroud of anger I felt

About being loved by someone I did not love in turn

I veritably threw myself into the streets of the city

A wanton whore, my senses and sometimes camera

Capturing all I could as if by swallowing the city of monuments

Unconquerable as an eternal palace, its baroque art

Never to be mine, refusing the conscriptions of time

I felt even then I could shape something still out of my other life and its Residual longing and let loose finally in search 

Not of otherness or union with anyone

But only of returning.




The rose he walked miles to find

Lay like a whip on the table for two in our small Parisian studio

Where he sat arms crossed eyes fixed on the outdoors through the  

Open flower-potted window 

Where sunshine flirted with his frail promises in the alleyway


Still a wanton woman the morning after 

I blew dry my long hair not far from his shoulder 

Letting the dryer’s hot air blow across the table 

Quivering the solitary rose 

Forcing it to skip elsewhere.




Do I need to remind you about the sunlight of Paris in September?

Walking in the 1st Arrondisement along the right bank of the Seine

I selected postcards randomly so distracted was I by the bereted strangers going by I could not pretend to really register the slim presents bought that filled my purse


Here and there I paused to watch painters set up on the grass as if I might suddenly see my very destiny unfolding on their canvases, my breath held all the time because I was here, back where I had always been since the first moment I ever dared to write, feeling like a writer wanting to intrude myself into the history not of what I had experienced but what I desired. Even shadows that day supported the dance of history and art all around, and music escaping cement crevices stained the frames of easels, fluttering the pages of open books everywhere, ringing the bells of trees watching as my heart went by.

Robert S. King

Robert S. King

Robert S. King lives in Athens, GA, where he serves on the board of FutureCycle Press and edits the literary journal Good Works Review. His poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, including Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, Chariton Review, Hollins Critic, Kenyon Review, Midwest Quarterly, Southern Poetry Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review. He has published eight poetry collections, most recently Diary of the Last Person on Earth (Sybaritic Press 2014) and Developing a Photograph of God (Glass Lyre Press, 2014). Another poetry collection, Messages from Multiverses, is forthcoming in 2020 from Duck Lake Books. His personal website is

Alternate Reality



My shadow is a shell

of my other self

who sees me as his shadow,

his other self.


We act alike but not the same.

Clouds erase us both.

Light only casts more shadows,

more doubts, outlines of all that is

and all that could have been.

In this land of division,

our souls shred in the eye’ s prism,

and nothing, it seems,

can put us together again.



Darkness Shaping Light


For now it flickers,

the porchlight left on

for the return of our souls.


We fear the bulb may crack

in the weight of darkness,

and not that far away

the lighthouse pulse

grows dimmer,

its revolution slowing down,

ghost ships in the night

wailing blindly for shore,

the light from our eyes

not bright enough

to lead them home


P.A. Levy

P.A. Levy

Born East London but now residing amongst the hedge mumblers of rural Suffolk, P.A.Levy has been published in many magazines, from ‘A cappella Zoo’ to ‘Zygote In My Coffee’ and stations in-between.  He is also a founding member of the Clueless Collective and can be found loitering on page corners and wearing hoodies at



Window Pain


my sodium silicate face

that holds a shear dissection of your

ghostly reflection



as my voice vibrates at the mention

of your name and our words

that now fall around my feet

cluster bomb fragments slashing at a false peace

little jagged weapons of self-harm



at the end

thoughts turn to the beginning

i first saw you through a broken window

counting grains of sand

Michael Minassian

Michael Minassian

MICHAEL MINASSIAN is a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online magazine. His chapbooks include poetry: The Arboriculturist (2010); Chuncheon Journal (2019); and photography: Around the Bend (2017). For more information:


In Petra, we walked along

a rocky path towards the rose

colored stone temple—

just outside the entrance

beggars sold ancient coins,

swords, and bits of pottery

rubbed and weathered to look old.


The woman I loved smiled

for the first time that day

our last together—

like the god Dushara

and his consort

we faded into the shadows

of rock and sand.


Poets may speak of loss

and regret but the next

day brought only

knives of zero

and the dawn’s empty hand.





My father was a drunk;
my father never touched alcohol.


My father wrote poetry;
he hated poems & poets.

My father composed his own dictionary;
he could barely write his own name.


My father took me to my first baseball game;
he left me alone at Yankee Stadium.


My father often quoted Shakespeare;
he called me Ophelia behind my back.


My father worshipped Freud;
he buried Jung in his dreams.

My father loved Audrey Hepburn;
he called Marilyn “that skinny blonde.”


My father lived in the basement;
our house did not have a cellar.



Mark J. Mitchell

Mark J. Mitchell
Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Starting from Tu Fu was just published by Encircle Publications.

He is very fond of baseball, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster where he makes his meager living pointing out pretty things. He has published 2 novels and three chapbooks and two full length collections so far.





Si l’on pouvait seulement goûter son néant…

              If only you could taste your nothingness.

—Antonin Artaud

                                                          The Nerve Meter



                        The loose magic of Artaud in his cell:

Emptied by electroshock, never quite cured.

His knowledge straps him to the cold table.

Saint Joan leads him a long way down the hall.

She watches his feet, shifting cables,

sharing him with fire. She smiles as he burns.


Taut fingers casting Tibetan spells.

He prays dirty prayers while green corpses churn

yak butter in sterile rooms. Unstable,

he knows, but doesn’t care. Holy shoes still

pray for him. Angry angels haunt the curves

of his brain. The saint blesses him with bells.