February 2012


Comfort At Last

They build fences
around graveyards
to keep the dead in.
Yet we trespass
with offerings—fistfuls
of daisies for grandma, a tulip
for great uncle Henry,
a fifth of whisky
for dad who was so, so good
at making anger sing
with the arc
of a belt buckle—
the dead watch us.
We are
a yellow flame
in the dark,
around which they flit
like moths. They cling
to our clothing,
to brush their blurred edges
against our glow. To leave
the graveyard
we must sweep
them from our sleeves,
or the dead will ride
our coattails
home, where they will stir
up the dust,
crawl over the piano keys,
hover at our shoulders
to read the Sunday paper
(though they no longer
know the words).
As we sleep
they will whisper
to our eyelids
soft as a draft
from an open window,
and curl up
at the foot of the bed,
at last.

Andrea Blythe lives in Los Gatos, California, where she writes poetry and fiction. Her poetry has appeared in several publications, including Chiaroscuro (ChiZine), Strange Horizons, Perigee, and Bear Creek Haiku. If you would like to learn more, you can visit her webpage: www.andreablythe.com

Rely on the Spider

At your feet is the spider
a simple tarantula, staking space
in the prow of our canoe.
His legs are light on the fiber
glass hull, but if you listen
you can hear all eight of them
trotting toward your sandaled toes.
He announces himself, waves
and winks half his eyes, but we
are watching the cliff and clouds
above the horizon, the sky
bluer than any spring fed river.
When you see him, you scream
and fail to jump from the canoe,
your feet caught on your seat,
you oar tossed back, our craft
rocking so it gulps water. The spider
scurries to keep his book lungs dry,
each page of spider flesh
a place to suck in the world.

Marcus Goodyear is Senior Editor of TheHighCalling.org and author of the
award-winning poetry collection, Barbies at Communion.

Dancing With The Moon Man

She tied her sneakers
with rattlesnake laces,
danced love notes of tra la la la,
wore leggings of purple
with red woolen diamonds,
skipped over mountains,
sang chandelier  crescendos
sparked riots of comets
in a love-cracked universe.

Her lover was the Man in the Moon
who leaped over the Himalayas,
drank rivers of latte
laced with copperhead venom,
swirled clouds into fiery fandangos
and kissed like a cloud
or a bulldozer.

Together they danced mango tango,
banging out thunder and rock and roll,
singing “Great Balls of Fire,”
splashing the cosmos
with galaxies of passion.

Rosalyn Marhatta loves writing and performing poetry. She’s published in “Dead Mule,” “Referential Magazine,” “Eclectic Flash.” She was nominated in 2011 for a Pushcart Prize for “Ocean Flight” in “Vox Poetica.”


The Woman
walks ahead on the woodland trail

in her hiking shorts,
backpack firmly affixed like a cocoon.

The Man
follows a few paces back,

dragging two wooden kitchen chairs,
carrying a smaller pack around his neck.

The trail grows rockier, starts a steep descent,
and the man gives up in frustration,

leaving the chairs behind.
Feeling sympathetic,

I do my best to add them to
my own burden, but have to give up, too.

The Man looks sheepish,
but not ungrateful for my efforts.

The Woman stands scornful,
wading out into a stream to cool her feet.

All men love lederhosen ,
she says, with firm conviction.

I start to contradict her,
recalling a childhood friend to mind.

All men love lederhosen ,
she repeats,

while small minnows dart in and around
her firmly planted legs.

M.V. Montgomery is an Atlanta professor and the author of two poetry collections, Joshu Holds a Press Conference and Strange Conveyances.

Ifs, Avoided

If I’d taken the initiative,
all of this would have been over by own.
Your eyes would be hanging off a chain
around my neck,
for once blind, cold.
Your lips would have learned to cry
a name alone,
syllables in competition with each other.
You would have learned to speak
with door and windows.
You would have tumbled
over and over
on a thrilling line of wooden colors.
You would be someone else.
And I would not bother to turn.

Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time either writing or reading. Her works have appeared in Exercise Bowler, Blinking Cursor, Theory Train, Cartier Street Press, Berg Gasse 19, Precious Metals, A Handful of Dust, The Scarlet Sound, Tuck Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review, Lady Ink Magazine, White Masquerade Anthology and Perhaps I'm Wrong About the World, and so many more. You can find her here: http://carabosseslibrary.blogspot.com  


Everything is really cool,
My life is going well.
This was the shit that you would say,
These were the lies you’d tell.

Who wants to hear the sorry truth?
Who wants to hear your blues?
So you would smile and tell your lies,
And then go out and use.

But the ones who really cared,
They didn’t have to ask.
They could see right through your bullshit,
As if you were made of glass.

They’re the ones who feared for you,
They wanted you to live.
But you were in denial,
So the same old lines you’d give.

Until the day they found you cold,
Your blank eyes open wide.
Sadly, there’s no way you can
Pretend you haven’t died.

Julia Slaughter lives in Casa Grande, Arizona; is a student at Central Arizona College where she lives and writes reflective works about surviving everyday life. This is her first on-line publication acceptance, but has been seen in CAC Cactus review and won a Norman Mailer Crystal trophy for short story.


Undead raven on
the poet's head, picking
his creative brain.

H. Edgar Hix is a Minnesota poet who has been publishing poetry for around 40 years. His work has appeared in over 100 journals, including recent appearances in bear creek haiku, Waterways, Time of Singing, Priscilla Papers, Crack the Spine, Mutuality, FutureCycle, and Vine Leaves Literary Journal . He has published one poetry chapbook, The Saint Cloud Café and Motor Inn . Hix blogs as Hubert Edgar for The Scroll , the blog of Christians for Biblical Equality. His poem, “I Have Known Enough Saints,” published in Priscilla Papers , won second place in the poetry section of the Higher Goals awards given by the Evangelical Press Association in 2010.


Tokyo Girls in Science Fiction: Anoraksia

I’m the geek you meet on a train. A head full of hex code and sac spiders, I’m obsessed with things out of sequence. I can tell by your fairy tale mini skirt and high collar frill that you’re a train spotter, getting off at Tokyo, but wanting California, or you, switching signals, causing fake blue-eye lovers to crash. I must be the first car you’ve jumped all morning. We chance a berth, a cube of first-class darkness. Up closer, you almost look cute in a beret. You tell me that speed is the answer to everything. Love them and leave them in a blur. Kyoto still wants you. By nightfall, at speeds approaching 150 m.p.h., our porcelain bodies, bones rigid with memories, press against each other. Or maybe we are two sheets of paper, unevenly lined up, torn from different notebooks. I’m always taking notes and reading them back in a mirror. Your breasts are A) silicone B) Portabella or C) real human. After a cross town climax, the two of us cradled by some spurious silence, you tell me how you once slept with the deaf boys from the back alleys of Ura-Hara, just to spite some humanoid more experienced than you. Once a member of a death cult, he was an artist you nicknamed Wan-ton. His hands spaced then framed you. It’s so Britney of you to whisper dysfunction in your own Valley-Girl-DirtySpeak. Maybe your artist and I are distanced by only six degrees of separation and some blanched islands in the sun. Maybe in his dream or mine, those deaf boys scream louder than trains.

Kyle Hemmings is the author of three chapbooks of poems: Avenue C (Scars Publications), Fuzzy Logic (Punkin Press), and Amsterdam & Other Broken Love Songs ( Flutter Press). He has been pubbed at Gold Wake Press, Thunderclap Press, Blue Fifth Review, Step Away, and The Other Room. He blogs at http://upatberggasse19.blogspot.com/

The Brink

What brings you to the brink? You have everything going for you. You have a lithe graceful beauty--captivating and inspiring, an intelligence which holds its own against many opponents, and the luxury of the ease of life. Are you slumming with the low-lives for a cheap thrill, or is it something deeper than that?
You are not one of my kind. I shouldn’t trust you, yet I find myself enamored with your easy nature.  You seem at one with yourself; an appealing confidence which draws me in more than I should allow.
I question your motives because I cannot fathom anyone wanting to come to a place like this. A place where every vice can be had, and every trouble found. I watch you with weary eyes because such grace is beyond the world of my heart.
Are you here because you feel like you don’t belong with the other genetic lottery winners? Do you feel alienated amongst them? I can’t help wonder why you stand on the precipice of insanity with my kind. The forsaken lands are no place for a woman like you.
I hold as much contempt as I do respect for your brilliance. If I never see you again, know you have been a pleasant escape from the self-hate and loathing we breed in spades beyond the land of no return.
Something in you brings out the nurturer in me; an abandoned aspect of rusty ability. It bids me to shelter you, but that is more than I can give. I give you this warning. Don’t stray too far into the depths of hell. It’s an empty existence among us demons. You wouldn’t be the first to fall, nor the last. Go back to the safety of your family before you get hurt. It would be a great loss, and a truly empty tragedy.

G. Paul Stevenson is from Salem, Oregon, and this is his first publication of what he hopes are many to come. You can find him and his other works at www.gpaul.net/