Saturday, January 27, 2007


"Just a Thought."
by Jason Neese

A sweeping (for)ever
green sticky feet crunching
dirt bike trails. Little noses
dusted by pollen sneezing
through youth. Skinny dreams
pregnant on Schwinn's lost
in gated neighborhoods. Lost
to that frowning world parents
drink coffee over. Listening
to a TV argue in blacks and whites. Getting rowdy
lining up for casseroles and hand held prayers.
Dipped slices of That. Carmelized in this mind.
Lit love blazing through time burning everything
to a comfortable crisp.

Linoleum floors patterned
play rooms one story doll house. An island
nation. Realized to end like a tornado.
And everything changed
out to small bills.
Dead Presidents holding grim lines.
Only now knowing it's cause the cameras
back then took hours to shoot making
a quick smile impossible. Ice sculptures
melting to puddles.

Jason Neese says:
"21 grams lighter after most poems I write. I blame this on poor quality coffee and endless days in LA at a cubicle. My North Carolina roots are fun times in the memory sack and happen to be the inspiration for my guy in this fine publication. I'm mainly sane and hope to expand into complete servitude to the art of writing one day. As of now, I'm just mildly hackish. So, that's good."

Saturday, January 20, 2007


by Barton Smock

the birth


boy      at the keyhole.

     each rail yard
          finds a stick.

of a sailor.

     sea chained. that

note of hunger singing salt to a tomato your wife waking you in the night with your own

lips      the desperate wave


          the topmost step

               of the spiral. in mexico

a one speed fan


the heaving chest of a banshee. your mother

without a shirt. tracks that end

at tunnels      a lighthouse

     with a rope


the misshapen


     of your ear. the white


fingers      grazing the yellow


road      tracing

the land of its blood

     to the dagger



Barton Smock is 30 years old, has 3 kids, 2 jobs, and 1 wife. He believes in marriage, cold winds, and Ohio.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


"You need to turn your radio down"
by Lisa Gordon

Standard dream,
but what about that backbeat
wholly irreverent.

Mess of song - singing, sung.
Next notes a folly
of telling it straight.

We like our tunes
open like open windows
capable of closing down.

Me, you, me. Me. Me. You.
This is the way the song does
its crossword, ready for everything.

Limbs in the woods, last marches.
I don't need to be tired
to curl up under a musical willow.

When I sing off key
does it make you sad or merely

I'm again & again
& still the chorus gets away from me
spelling my ignorance gloriously.

Lisa Gordon has had work appear in various online zines as well as print journals, including Mipo, Winter's Hood, Junket, Syntax, Vallum and The Antigonish Review. She resides in Montreal with her husband, writes most days, reads voraciously.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


"Story of My Haunted Head"
by John Korn

Yes. I work in a second hand store.
There are many regular customers
and I've gotten to know them.
One is a man about forty-something
short and chubby and sometimes
has a beard, dark brown with flecks of gray.
His hair is long and parted on the side.
He often runs his fingers in it.
He looks very kind and intelligent
but once you start talking to him
you see he's very much a child.
Perhaps something happened to him.
Maybe once he had the mind of an adult
but some accident trapped him
into being forever ten years old.
He always has an older man with him.
A guardian who is obviously his friend
and who takes him around to places.

The child man always buys very random
things. Mostly knick knacks. Old bowling trophies
with other people's names on them.
Tacky tourist ashtrays from Mexico City.
A small chair for dolls.
Ugly homemade lopsided vases.
He'll often call me over.
"John," he'll say.
I'll find him pointing at something on a shelf.
Like a fishbowl filled with colored gravel.
And he'll say, "Man, look at that. That's nice.
How much is that?"
I normally sell him things really cheap.
Because I like him.
I'll say, "Aw, that? That's fifty cents."
"Aw, man," he'll say. "Can't go wrong with that."
I'll ask him what he's gonna do with it.
He'll say something like, "Well, you take that home
and put it on a shelf...
and there you go!"
He'll stand with his thumbs tucked into his belt.
Once he bought this strange ball.
It looked like it was carved from a white stone
and it had brass straps wrapped around it
and screwed into place. Like a grid.
If you were a kid
and you got a hold of this ball
it would possibly be a magic stone.
I asked him what he thought it was.
He said he didn't know.
I asked him what he was going to do with it.
He said, "Well with something like this
what you do is you take it home
and first you have a couple of beers
and then you place it on a table
and then you got your friend
sitting across from you
and you roll it around
and you talk about what it could be, you know,
and by the end of the night
who knows what it could be.
Could be anything you know."
He often talks about drinking beer.

I imagine that he lives
in a Charlie Chaplin type shack house
on a hill. Inside maybe he has a bed and a stove
but mostly tables and shelves.
And he places these things on them.
He picks them up and examines them.
Nods his head. I don't think it's about
the object so much but more
about where he's going to place it.
Like there are these empty spaces
on the mantles and he constantly needs
to go and search for something
to fill that space. Maybe sometimes
things get crowded and he has to go
and throw some things away.
And on and on. I often see him looking
at things he's about to buy
and maybe he's thinking,
"This will go next to the ashtray."
It's the arrangement.
The search. The temporary satisfaction.
Here's this trophy. Here's this figurine.
Here's this stone.

My head has become
this way.
People I've known and meet now.
Things I've said. And say
the foggy world of dreams.
Things I've wanted and want.
Desire. Fuck ups. I
think of my endless shelves
towering, reaching church cathedral heights.
Placing things here and there.
Years and still only working
on filling the bottom shelves.
Here's the old image of my father
home from work with his sleeves rolled up.
Here's my first dog put to sleep.
Here's me, eighteen, reaching up her white T-shirt.
These things were not connected when they happened
but somewhere along the line
they got placed side by side.
Here's my grade point average.
Here's my bank account.
Here's two months gone like that.
There you go.
Two years.
You find things
you don't remember putting there.
Was it there for a reason
or did you just stick it there in a hurry
on your way to do something else?
What you do is
maybe you have some beer
or wine
or tea
and maybe I reach up into your blouse.
Kiss your eyelids.
And we talk about it
and by the end of the night
who knows what it is.
Could be anything.
You can't spend too much time here.
It's like a museum.
You look.
It's puzzling,
oddly beautiful.
Then you move
before you become a display of dinosaur bones,
a surreal mystery of long ago.

John Korn is an artist living in Pittsburgh PA. You can check him and his work out at

Monday, January 01, 2007


"Post-Modern X-Box Carport Dinner Party"
by Tim Peeler


The pretense collapses
in the icy golden charade.


The yellow cat skitters
across the concrete carport.


His and hers memories
dial the plastic rotary.


The serving table is laden
with the agreement of plenty.


Somewhere else there is
one who aches to join.


Who invites fame
to say what we should know?


The whitewater rush,
the red berry lips.


Every darling I could ask
to be my rib.


The loaded dice
of explanations.


Light that strips confusion
to its bone guns.


Light that hurries cleavage
past a mirror.


The gothic mid-light waits
for cracker crumbs.


The movie made hovers
in the glum tartan death shade.


And all is sighs and
hemorrhages fantastic.


Every apocalyptic urge
fiddled dry.

Tim Peeler's latest book is Outlaw Ballplayers (McFarland & Co.), co-authored with Hank Utley. Peeler has five others including Blood River: New and Collected Poems (2005) and a forthcoming one Fresh Horses from Rank Stranger Press. He works at a community college in western North Carolina.