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Issue 29

Verse


Table of Contents Sadie Miller – page 3 Mark Young – page 6 Bob Heman – page 8 Aviva Englander Cristy – page 9 Juliette Klein – page 12 John Roth – page 13 Willie Smith – page 15 Brian Cooney – page 17 John Grey – page 19 Chrystal Berche – page 21 Paul Grant – page 23 David McLean – page 26 Fred Pollack – page 28 Mel Waldman – page 30 Donal Mahoney – page 34 David Mac – page 36 Giles Watson – page 39 Rich Ives – page 42 Johnny Payne – page 44 Dan Jacoby – page 46 Wanda Morrow Clevenger – page 49 Glen Armstrong – page 51 Martin Freebase – page 52 James Babbs – page 54 Michael Lee Johnson – page 56 Isaac Kirkman – page 58 Felino Soriano – page 60 Ali Znaidi – page 65 Al-Logaha Hand – page 66 Kurt Cline – page 68 Ross Knapp – page 77 Benjamin Finateri – page 79 Doug Mathewson – page 82


London By Sadie Miller

Let us put on our masks And dance around each other like snakes. This is my skin today. Tomorrow I might look different. Decisions, decisions. I think I will go to sleep in the leaves And find myself a new face. Your dirty brown eyes touch me more than fingers. I don’t want your attention any more. Retain your dignity. Filthy pigeons. One down, everyone else to go. I like the white pages, endless possibilities. So cold, I am on fire! I want to be in the water, to swim past the bones clicking together with the tides. I want to swim into the dark places that were once filled with light. So much space I can hardly breathe.


Full of clouds Swallow them down. Dreams keep us afloat. Paper bags in the river. The girl with too much eyeliner Someone on the phone. Speaking a language I don’t understand. Don’t look at me. Grooved seats Imprints of life Keep it moving Even if nothing is moving Except the trees outside And the occasional car over the bridge. Long hair makes the lady Lipstick lights the way. Eyebrow arch To shelter under. Mascara, magic wand. Add more, to start the bond. Coffee catching down the back of my throat. So much silence. So much noise. Empty seats between you and me. Keep it that way.


Author bio: “I have previously published my mother's autobiography through Aurum Press. This year, I have a short story being published as part of an anthology by Snowbooks, and have another short story appearing in a forthcoming issue of Prole Magazine.�


Robert Pattinson was planning on proposing . . . By Mark Young It has become a kind of breather between the high-tech wonders of the first act & the final 1-liter plastic bottle containing an unknown uplift of the oath-taking, flag-injustice substance. Have had experience of both, not being able to avoid the body armor that police said he wore during the techno music blasting a ballistic helmet & one & obtain measure while they waited for bomb-sniffing humanity that stays unchanging within the Games’ changing contexts — with spectacle — judges to score these performances, but legions who watch worldwide will all have something to say about them, for no man who is worthy to be called a man described him as a recluse, to their friends & neighbors. In May, he began buying a brief, proud display of folkloric arts & apparently stocking up on them hence there arose laws & mutual covenants; & that which is ordained by law is vest, ballistic leggings, throat & groin protector, a gas mask & black tactical gloves. Justice; it is a mean or compromise, between the best of all, which is to do a precautionary graduate program in sorry neuroscience. Before he left for the movie theater he booby-trapped his apartment as the lesser evil, attaching several trip wires for the


thematically unjust, but it’s still the heart of the show, a many-colored cavalcade of gorgeous unintended consequences, termed lawful & just. This they affirm to be the origin of nature & did give you steam engines, shooting, great pop music & comedy & the roots of social networking. It was ugly there for a while, but we’re all right — & everybody dance now.

Author bio: Mark Young's most recent books are the e-book Asemic Colon from The Red Ceilings Press, & The Codicils, a 600-page selection of poems written in the past four years, out from Otoliths.


Two Poems By Bob Heman

INFORMATION It actually begins the way the light began the way the woman begins the way the word will begin each time the mouth is opened. INFORMATION Something like a woman caught in a fence. Something like an animal pasted on the barn. Something like a machine inside of each chicken. Author bio: Bob Heman’s “Information” pieces have appeared in many publications including Otoliths, Sentence, Caliban online, Mad Hatter’s Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Levure Litteraire and The Prose Poem Project. His books How it All Began and Demographics, or, the Hats They Are Allowed to Wear, are available as free downloads from Quale Press.


Excerpts from the Murray Universalist Newsletter By Aviva Englander Cristy

I came across from the congregation We believe that We are being called to We are in the What could be more the fall the opening and minds present What is human purpose? Let us begin ≈ The deadline We believe that It will call forth must be generated culture, sustained Must be generated not left to slogans We are being called to must be generated with faith We are in the archaic


≈ the fall of and the opening and minds present with faith and not left to slogans ask me about it did for the tribe do for the world and the opening the highest human to reinvent Thus, the fall and minds present to reinvent or ask me that involves in the early to celebrate ≈ thus, the fall not left to with faith to a new heroic our time must be generated to reinvent of an historical integration or ask me about that involves an heroic the deadline for I came across


What could be more? ≈ We are being called to We must do for What once he purpose We are in the We are being called What could be that can lead thus, the fall and minds present is emerging this culture, sustained We believe What once, we must We are called to We are of Author bio: Aviva Englander Cristy is a teacher and writer living in Milwaukee, WI. Her chapbook, The Interior Structure, was published in 2013 with dancing girl press. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Salt Hill, Painted Bride Quarterly, Arsenic Lobster, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Prick of the Spindle, and BlazeVox, among others.


To my twelve year old self: By Juliette Klein I. Some boys will only try to kiss you to get rid of the dust in their lips. Don’t let them. You are not a vacuum. II. Stop waiting around for someone to call you pretty. Put on that silly music you love while you put your make up on how you like it, not how he does. And stop trying to stick your butt out, embrace your lack of ass. III. Some days will seem dark. Make sure you realize how much you glow. IV. Do not fall in love with your sadness. It is not beautiful to carve pain into your thigh. Skeletons are not beautiful. Let go of all the bullshit and blog about different conceptions of beautiful. V. Mirrors can cut you without being broken, but only if you hold them the wrong way. VI. On the days you can’t be a poet, be a poem instead. VII. Hit him back. Hard.

Author bio: Juliette Klein is a young writer who questions everything and always carries a journal with her. She is from New Jersey, but will, with luck, be fleeing soon. If you're reading this on Clockwise Cat, this is her first publication. Yay!


Making a statement By John Roth It was 5:05 p.m. (right outside of the office building where I work), when I got jumped by these three white guys. No wait, maybe they were black (it was pitch dark, I couldn’t see them). I know they were tallish, but one of them I might have accidentally mistaken for a short, stocky pit-bull, circling the base of a fire hydrant (the images are still a little fuzzy). But what I can remember is that one of them wore a do-rag (either that or a pantyhose face mask). They dressed in nondescript hoodies / blue jeans, and I think one of them had a tattoo of a thorn piercing his lower lip. I swear, my head was smashed so hard against the shouldering curb that my eyes rattled in the back of my skull like hollow ping-pong balls, reeling in the jaws of a lottery cage, and my brain plopped out like wet cat food. Alas, no luck of the draw for me, but at least I can still see straight (thinking requires a bit more focus) and count my bruised stars, although in the past hour I’ve seen enough of them to fill a galactic swimming pool. It was horrible really, the way they turned my organs inside out like a pink, cashmere sweater while grinding slick tailed phlegm into the pavement (this was after they were done displacing every imaginable bone in my body). I wasn’t even carrying anything of value


(for I am a man of nothing). And when they demanded that I give them all of my money, I just laughed In their faces and told them: "Please, take everything, these things I’ve never had."

Author bio: Some of John Roth's latest attempts at writing have appeared in The Orange Room Review, Red Fez, and The Blue Hour, among a few others. Yes, he noticed the strange, coincidental color pattern too.


Felix Eleison By Willie Smith Your eyes encrypt the day into Monongahela monsters. A river of eels and snakes

to drain the lizardbrain. When the whiskers fancy your tail twitches orgasm tale. 1,001 knights joust for the honor of our aleph. My lady around your midriff loops a scarf. You stagger across, by her silk betrayed, the room. Struggle to contain the infinite. Care to break a lance – rhyme to rhyme, line by line? We face off – ecstatic statues with smiles erased. With word I you unhorse. But


once I dismount, and to swords we fall, a beam in your pupil’s mote blinds me off my feet, jolts me everytime to defeat. I think I know no poem crueller in dream, swifter in picture, sharper in act, than the cat. Author bio: “[Here are some] Horrifying stories that stick the f back into funny: http://www.amazon.com/Nothing-Doing-WillieSmith/dp/0956665896/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=134335 2354&sr=1-1&keywords=nothing+doing+willie+smith”


Scumming the Bullion Dross By Brian Cooney

Milton, we have no further use for you. Please Exit to the right. There are two kinds of people Anymore: those on the Learjet, and those Whose hands shake on their coffee when Sonic booms roil their Starbucks. Stocks Are sold and bought by algorithm faster Than the human mind. Really. One can Drop from 30 to .03 before you have this thought. Take my broker. Please. There is no way To dress that up, no way to put lipstick on That pig. Things slip away, they really do, Not like sand through fingers or whatever, But wet potatoes you try to wash for fries. Funny today, you-can’t-be-serious today. All the “likes” or “ases” have just lost most Of their market value. It’s hard not to feel The stress between your shoulder blades Ergonomic chairs be damned, hunched

Over your computer, watching Miltie shuffle


Out, good man fine fellow just got caught In a downturn gonna miss keep your eyes On the screen keep typing write anything Author bio: Brian Cooney is originally from New York, but he now lives in Spokane, WA, where he teaches literature at Gonzaga University. He earned his Ph.D from University of South Carolina. He admires writers from Byron and Baudelaire to Berryman and Seidel who tend to be against it, whatever "it" is.


Body Talk By John Grey The body out of clay and into spine, sunbaked strength, mindless weakness, a stunning shiny vase of weary flowers, bugle calls in winter, sorrow in the heat. The body, mass-produced cells, dime a dozen sicknesses leading to the diabolical big one, amphitheater for churlish plays or tuneless concerts, not recommended for children. The body, frozen head-shaking view of us, singular in its hunger to be plural, ammunition dump, wagon puller, sometimes stalked, most times, unattended. The body, cantankerous wheel-house, border-line junk food, a miracle when walking, a sorry explanation when naked, camouflage,


lint collector, crude temporary shelter. The body, a smile informed by a fart.

Author bio: John Grey is an Australian born poet. He was recently published in The Lyric, Vallum and the science fiction anthology, “The Kennedy Curse,� and has work upcoming in Bryant Literary Magazine, Natural Bridge, Southern California Review and the Oyez Review.


Unending Song By Chrystal Berche

The spiders weave the darkness Tendril thin threads of stars in rich velvet Creep like talons to rend my dreams rend my flesh stroke my cheek ‘till beads of blood well up and ooze lines of crimson on alabaster flesh glowing ruby flames in moonlight heighten the emerald hardness of your eyes watching through stone fire the gaping jowls of the abyss where I slid smiling laughing


caressed into complacency by silken touch of curved claws your leering grin bone daggers in mother of pearl shimmers of color hypnotic phantom directing the puppet strings of my battered soul you wait a fell beast of longing fey spirit ancient before time was formed one both grandfather and brother life giver and dark killer singing the execution song but know I will rise again into the darkness into the silver woven patters of an unending song Author bio: Chrystal writes. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other things she knows and loves. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing she’s taking pictures, or curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.


Two poems By Paul Grant It is all the way through Some men Pull insects apart For no reason But Others Seek out violence As if the blood That flows From a head From a heart Is oil Waiting to be drilled What I’m saying Is that I'm restless, Pacing back And forth Across the page, My thoughts Counterpart To tarantulas dancing A single word Seems so alone But then What are words Without green eyes Moving like cool water Over them?


The wind rips the lips off the smile of the trees Seven years And It's sort of fine And sort of not All your woman Parts Placed In some other room The wonder Of your left breast That I ignored Now comes At times When thoughts Align with all The gentle places A lifetime


Of dust Piled up On the lampshade That has only ever Cast light On the same damn Shadow Seven years And still Just your name Makes my stomach A drunk fool, Tumbling into the Blissful car wreck of Those Old times When you walked Naked across the room And smiled at me. Author bio: “I'm 36 years old and still have no idea how the sky can possibly be so goddamn wondrous.�


Two poems By David McLean

some things the sun is not the sun is not Plath's watermelon or the insistent memory of music sleeping under these absences we have grown into like babies grow into blankets; there are no fables in particular growing shade around these houses, friendly as a talking tree in some psychotic history where no voices are liars, not even the ancient generations who are the ancestral and forgetful death; the sun is not quartz and a warning, a warming, and she is wrapped still in her evident death; the sun is not forever and arrows, just stories and why they end


invisible scars it is invisible scars or tendentious memory, not the simple injured skin that smells like children here, all the bizarre and impossible abortions, the souls no body ever wanted; so Bodhidharma was a wild barbarian with brutal blue eyes and all that damage under an archaic sun, he knew where mind is supposed to vanish like instincts to live us, sweet taste of knuckles and nothingness; and this the improbable certainty like water is, the flux and the loving, Bodhidharma under his loveless sun barbaric, and night boiling down to nothing, knuckles and implausible history coming Author bio: David McLean is from Wales but has lived in Sweden since 1987. He lives there with his dog, Oscar, and his computers. In addition to various chapbooks, McLean is the author of seven full-length poetry collections. The last four of these are from Oneiros Books and called Nobody Wants to Go to Heaven but Everybody Wants to Die (June, 2013), Things the Dead Say (Feb, 2014), Of Desire and the Lesion that is the Ego (May, 2014), and Zara and The Ghost of Gertrude (Oct, 2014). More information about McLean can be found at his blogs: http://mourningabortion.blogspot.com/ and http://davidcmclean.wordpress.com/.


Hiccup By Fred Pollack Often a piece of popular crap, some thriller or movie using an off-the-shelf moral makes you think (if you can call it that) how you could give up the past, resentments, any narrative of self and simply be nice to people: listen to them, care about them, discard prejudices, categories, wonder who they are, what they need, and what you could do for them. Without having to recall Levinas’s “sacred Face of the Other,” Buber, Gramsci, the class struggle, or even praxis and the pratico-inerte. You imagine your face as they would see it, the kind, urgent eyes; then think that that is exactly not the point: you wouldn’t have to think of, wouldn’t think of, yourself. By now this abrogation of self has begun to put you off – a frozen waste with a few blowing papers – but you try to regain enthusiasm: if you lost Self in Others you could also forget death: it would merely, briefly, surprise you. But then you think of religious types, who talk this sort of line,


who smile knowingly and are after your ass: parasites, ghouls of any humane impulse; and by this point the moment has passed, the problem being that you were only thinking.

Author bio: “Author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press. Other poems in print and online journals. Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University. Poetics: neither navel-gazing mainstream nor academic pseudo-avant-garde.�


Two poems By Mel Waldman My Floating Bio

Inside the mirror my face dissolved slowly, at first, a sliver of my upper lip, a strand of my left eyebrow, a small piece of my olive skin above the bridge of my nose; all this occurred after I discovered my floating bio on the web, & now, 100 days have died, sucked into nothingness and devoured by nonbeing or perhaps, in an S & M style of crossing over, the lost days slithered willingly into oblivion, the whirling cannibal of time; &


I have found 100 impostors in virtual reality that possess and brandish my bio, like pointing a .45 Magnum at my head; & when I gaze into the mirror only one gold eye remains, and most of my skull and face are gone, and perhaps tomorrow, my whole being will dissolve inside the mirror and only my virtual remains will flow in my floating bio, curiously owned by an ever-growing cornucopia of thieves that stole the identity of a nonbeing, a myth, a dream, a shadow The Season of the Dead In the season of the dead, I plucked a flower from the swirling snow; clutching its blackness, and stepping over bloody corpses, I trudged through the crimson-stained whiteness; the expanse & the deepness & the infinity of the merciless season shattered my spirit; a wounded healer, I couldn’t save the sick and the dying;


watched them die a horrific death; didn’t know its name, but it wore a black & red mask; & this mysterious disease swept rapidly through their bodies, even the young powerful ones, and devoured them; & I watched in disbelief and despair, and when they transmogrified into the ghosts of ghosts, their death and dying drilled a gaping hole in my brain, and even now, there’s a vast death inside me; & in the season of the dead, which seems to last forever, I still hold the memories and images and traumas of the dead; & on eerie nights, I exist in Dali’s painting, The Persistence of Memory, & a Bosch-like dreamscape of monsters and demons and a mysterious disease that devoured the dead and the healer who watched them die.


Author bio: Dr. Mel Waldman is a psychologist, poet, and writer whose stories have appeared in numerous magazines. His poems have been published in magazines and books including Poetry Pacific, Poetica, The Jerusalem Post, Hotmetal Press, Mad Swirl, and Haggard and Halloo. A past winner of the literary Gradiva Award in Psychoanalysis, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in literature. He is author of 11 books.


America in 4013 By Donal Mahoney

Is that lava or simply mud dripping from the cheeks of this old woman asking me why this library has no books. I ask her where she's been for the last 2000 years. Under a rock? In some cave? After all, the year is 4013 and now the only book extant is the Bible and the only copy of the Bible is in Rome where a few monks older than she is sit in catacombs all day copying pages of it onto yellow foolscap, hoping to create another Bible no one will read, as was the case,


I'm told, when dusty Bibles were in almost every home and computers were a luxury. But then I soften up because I can see this woman was born without a cell phone in her ear. I tell her if she wants to read something wonderful online, as soon as a computer comes free I'll call her even though she has no cell phone in her ear. First, however, she must show a number, not a name, tattooed above her navel, the only form of identification accepted in America in 4013. Author bio: Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in a variety of publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com/


Two Poems By David Mac Right The church bells are ringing as I pour my black wine The alcoholic lady is down below outside the shop begging people to go in and buy her a bottle of cider The sun is shining A young girl crosses the road We are all trying to get there We are all trying to make it I smile For no reason I am no different The bones move The body steadies itself The flesh is weary now They predicted rain today They got it wrong They said the world would end 2000 AD They got it wrong So we keep on doing what we must


taking our fill letting the day suck us dry Perhaps one day they’ll get it right? We used to stare at skies We used to watch the stars Now we look at our feet or check our dirty nails or scratch the back of the hand Now we look inward deeper Perhaps it’s right here all along The Reason Cats Are Wise The reason I tell you to look at the cat on the windowsill and the birds in the mean branches is simple: because they are content quiescent and lucky They do not need to ask Why? all the time or How? or When? or What? They just Know what is and now and that it seems is enough You silly girl


Today at work I asked myself why I was born to do this and it tore me up It made me feel like I was burning

Author bio: David Mac is a 34-year-old wino forklift driver whose work can be found in many journals, mags, sites and zines, including: Streetcake Magazine, Bone Orchard Poetry, Ambit, Purple Patch, Ink Sweat & Tears, Monkey Kettle, Clockwise Cat, Heroin Love Songs, Neon Highway, Antique Children, Danse Macabre, Mud Luscious, Burning Houses, This Zine Will Change Your Life, Obsessed With Pipework, Howls and Pushycats, Word Riot, The Delinquent, Black Heart Magazine, Broken Wine, Horror Sleaze Trash, Negative Suck, Naughty Girl X, Mad Rush Magazine, Gloom Cupboard, Yellow Mama, Welcome To Wherever, Thick Jam, Instant Pussy, Camel Saloon. and many times in Clockwise Cat. He has collections out with Erbacce Press, Knives Forks & Spoons Press, Ten Pages Press, Writing Knights Press, and Like This Press, plus various self-published chapbooks. He walks upon the planet in a state of worry.


Two Poems By Giles Watson A Watchfield Girl

I stare into the orbs that housed your eyes – Am sucked into the slots for optic nerves, And try to inhabit the mind of a sixth-century Girl aged twenty-five: how you treasured That coin strung about your throat – a gift From your husband – and your brooches, Paired, polished, at the height of fashion, (Twice as far apart as those sockets), adorning Your cloak of herb-dyed wool, fastened At the neckline with an iron pin – and how You carried little implements for plucking Hairs and trimming nails. But it is the knife All gone to rust, with its soiled memories Of paring roots, scaling fish, cutting yarn – And that rash of algal green upon your right Cheek and jaw – that let me reach you: One who lived, loved, died in a fall, writhing On the ground with fractured spine. I see Those eyes cast down, thinking private things: Distracted, diverted by some kinder man


Who had no coin. One last and silly lapse In concentration. Rivets

The rivets sang, suspended. Flesh and timber were long-gone, but the iron scabbed itself over with rust, and hung in soil: nail-headed crotchets with their staves erased, making a mute concerto. Worms formed treble clefs, the score punctuated with chafer-grubs, leatherjackets, maggots – and the rivets soared into chorus, whirling up toward the prow. Someone thought to strain the soil out of them, and keep them hanging: a Richterrewriting strung on filaments of sound; order from chaos – but on the ground, a cacophony of shadows, echoes, ghosts of drowning notes.


Author bio: Giles Watson was born in Southampton, but grew up in Australia. In addition to poetry and painting, he writes essays on natural history and mediaeval visual culture, is an avid walker, photographer and amateur naturalist. Until November 2013, he lived in rural Oxfordshire, where the landscape, archaeology, flora and fauna provided continual inspiration. He has written several volumes of poetry, a horror novella, The Butcher's Wife, and many songs. He now lives in Albany, Western Australia.


A Decision to Make a Decision By Rich Ives

Time tried to give itself away but remained too obvious. Its secret held out for drama but played only itself departing. The children too must learn to live with themselves in winter, like the one not quite remembered smell among the frozen, like the word for maybe. I should know this. I’m the one that escapes each time we try to say yes. The rudderless boat means experience contained us without forethought of the shore.


Now is a generous intercession between yes and no, an offering with its toes sticking out of its socks as if we already knew how to wiggle them. Author bio: Rich Ives lives on Camano Island in Puget Sound. He has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation and photography. His writing has appeared in Verse, North American Review, Dublin Quarterly, Massachusetts Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Iowa Review and many more. He is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander. In 2013 he has received nominations for The Pushcart Prize (2), The Best of the Net and Story South. He is the 2012 winner of the Creative Nonfiction Prize from Thin Air magazine. Both Tunneling to the Moon, which is being serialized with a new story each day on the Silenced Press website for 2014, and Light from a Small Brown Bird (poetry––Bitter Oleander Press) are scheduled for paperback release in 2014.


Malediction By Johnny Payne

On the killing floor straw, still wet. A slick calf carried off by rough hands. In the pawn shop a ring, one size too small Sold in a panic not yet reclaimed. A locust floats in chlorine too light to drown Until the skimmer brings relief. Milk just shy of sour may be drunk. The film on your tongue protects it from a curse. In the cabinet sits a jar


holding a chit to be spent at a store counter where under glass smudged by fingerprints lies a grocery list you wrote which over time became a poem about hunger. Author bio: Johnny Payne is a poet, novelist and playwright. He co-founded the Bilingual MFA in Creative Writing at UTEP and served as its director for 8 years. He teaches creative writing at the University of Alaska. Current poetry projects are Purgatory Chasm and Bad Penny. Follow his reviews of current small press poetry on his blog johnnypayne.com.


Two poems By Dan Jacoby Millennials venus rocks in white denim in the bowry did the apple juice jump drank signature cocktails marked a tortured backstory with self guided tours getting back to what they do best anger, brooding, depression this is the batshit version of god playing guitar trying to find sobriety in a break between spirit and body tried working construction but was sacked after three weeks now in the twitter age with a bottle of patron in hand and a tenor sax in the other sporting a flat top wing like shoulder pads hear it every day in the barbershop sitting there like hollywood squares passionate, inspired, original eternal sunshine of a glue huffer sons of music teachers know that the future is leaving nothing to relate to


having to walk home alone on seedy barrio nights looking for a persian rug with cherubs while face down in bong water

national anthem turned them down he did asked him to masquerade as a war hero daily he fights alienation from his former self his ghost past makes a misfit at home disengaged public finds war wildly popular at sporting events somehow finding themselves undeserving of the effort with every bar sung mind is reopened every pat on the back makes


you want to burn everything down history distorts war authors work well to find plot and meaning sorting out the fragmentation there is not enough room for what is brought home and no one seems to know what he is being thanked for Author bio: Dan Jacoby lives in Illinois on a very old family farm. He is a former student, special forces soldier, spy, steel worker, teacher, coach, mentor, and principal. He has published poetry in the Shore Review, Deep South Magazine, Lines and Stars, Red Booth Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Red Fez. He has work soon to be published in Ascent Aspirations Magazine, The Vehicle, and Steel Toe Review.


necrosis is a bony bald bitch by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

five months into the pancreatitis my hair started falling out my primary doctor said rapid weight loss wasn’t to blame, just stress he said, how some women will lose some hair after giving birth stress, he said unconcerned, while updating the computer file while my pancreas ate itself


Author bio: Wanda Morrow Clevenger lives in Hettick, IL – population 200, give or take. She has placed over 260 pieces of work in over 100 print and electronic journals and anthologies. Yes, she keeps records of all that stuff. Her debut book can be found here: http://edgarallanpoet.com/This_Same_Small_Town.html Her blog of random published work can be found here: http://wlc-wlcblog.blogspot.com/


A Brief History of Nudity By Glen Armstrong

The figure drawing model is both empress and aesthetic trickster, donning her nudity and challenging the class to see it. They have neither the skills to recreate what they see nor the imagination to tell her story, to map her skin. For sixty minutes they fumble their charcoal or hold too tightly that weird, oily crayon, humbled in her kingdom, hobbled by their own starchy shirts. Author bio: Glen Armstrong lives and writes in suburban Detroit. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters.


Sad By Martin Freebase

a stretcher, no longer parasite to hymnal stalking blonde, wounded turn, a clear pure evil alien eyes, chained down there counter dreamed, cohabitation obsessed photos, passed through cannibal blue detrimental body, this world harvested smear, a whirl sit with signs and razor blades hands of death that touch me everywhere they always say no to your dreams these nude arms are so long and they bend past two-story cats with whiskey smiles and elevator knees that swoon, sucks you down your tongue purring, as a fishmonger dark crying, in my hands, more real holding to the lambs as they scream tolerate longer sadness, making bones stretch lone fingers, like coins, take this misery tornado dramas, static dead skin, emboldened wolf


totaled as stench, a named junkie throw off the chance, the wait for death you say to any and all to always to gather only you and dream electric lies lost with the doom, human eye mischievous archway, burn fecund agnostic freckles, resistance, a pour moving towards breathing, misdirection exotic dirty, and any way you can take it your shapes, have all been sold echoes of decay, say it all so well solitude between my fingers, and a dancer most days lost, most days not feeling Author bio: Martin Leonard Freebase lives in Dubuque, Iowa with his wife, daughter, and cat. As a graduate student in Sociology, Martin became interested in culture “as meaning making.� Martin believes that people employ a tool kit of habits, skills, and styles from which they craft meaning in their lives. Through our interactions with others, we create and recreate meanings that allow us to make sense out of a chaotic world full of contradictions. Martin’s stories involve individuals who struggle to make meaning in their lives and the consequences of their attempts to compensate for the meaninglessness of life.


The Light By James Babbs

I died but I came back again I didn’t know how long I’d been away I thought it was summer time but the wind felt so cold when I walked around the streets of this town nobody knew my name but I didn’t recognize anybody either everything had changed even the houses I saw all looked different to me when I strolled into the dark horse saloon I felt the stares burning on the back of my neck I ordered a beer and asked the bartender if she knew of any place


where I could spend the night but she just wrinkled her nose up at me and shook her pretty head before she walked away the sun was going down I sat there drinking my beer through the front window I watched the light slowly starting to fade Author bio: James Babbs continues to live and write from the same small Illinois town where he grew up. He has published hundreds of poems over the past thirty years and, more recently, a few short stories. James is the author of Disturbing The Light (2013) and The Weight of Invisible Things (2013).  


Two poems By Michael Lee Johnson South Chicago Night Night is drifters, sugar rats, streetwalkers, pickpockets, pimps, insects, Lake Michigan perch, neon tubes blinking, half the local street lights bulbs burned out.

Alberta Bound I own a gate to this prairie that ends facing the Rocky Mountains. They call it Albertatrail of endless blue sky asylum of endless winters, hermitage of indolent retracted sun. Deep freeze drips haphazardly into spring. Drumheller, dinosaur badlands, dried bones, ancient hoodoos sculpt high, prairie toadstools.


Alberta highway 2 opens the gateway of endless miles. Travel weary I stop by roadsides, ears open to whispering pines. In harmony North to South Gordon Lightfoot pitches out a tone"Alberta Bound". With indepenence in my veins, I'm a long way from my home. Author bio: Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era: now known as the Illinois poet, from Itasca, IL. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and a small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 750 small press magazines in 27 countries. He also edits 8 poetry sites. Michael is the author of The Lost American: From Exile to Freedom, several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems. He also has over 70 poetry videos on YouTube. His work can be found here: http://poetryman.mysite.com/.


Horoscopic Holograms (excerpts from a poetic sketchbook) by Isaac Kirkman

I. And the old woman made of wind and roses said to the young boy: "And the day is coming for you to be unsubscribed from the seasons and all that will remain is the love you gave." And she lifted her hat and became a spiral of ash. II. The wandering spirits stopped by the girl crying on the stoop of the empty lot where her family and house once dwelled and soothed. "One day you will disappear into the imagery, and they will find someone else to cordially deform. A lover, a dream, whatever form it takes, they'll sanitize the strange. Until then be as revolutionary and adaptable as the rain, and exist in the place where the sun never separates from the shade."


III. Beneath the serpentine tunnel where time thins life with its waters, the spirits gather. "It's not a crime if nobody cares," whisper the ghosts as she passes. She stopped, and opened her sternum where her heart beat obituary ink and invited each spirit in and said, “The pigeons can sing themselves to sleep; your songs are better served inside of me."

Author bio:

79797 Born in Greenville, South Carolina, Isaac Kirkman spent part of his youth in Sicily and part in the American hospital system, where he was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. He spent the following years lost in the streets before finding salvation at the Tucson Branch of The Writers Studio, which was founded by 2008 Pulitzer Winner, Philip Schultz in 1987. The training and discipline Kirkman received at The Writers Studio helped him develop what he has dubbed Holy Noir-- super-lyrical, socially conscious, Chillwave/Dreampop-style crime fiction. His prose and poetry have appeared in Thuglit, Out of the Gutter, Shotgun Honey, Menacing Hedge, Apeiron Review, Counterexample Poetics, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. He is a regular contributor to Zelmer Pulp Anthology series. Kirkman currently lives in Arizona where he spends his days devoted to dancing, spirituality and border-related human rights issues. He's an affiliate of Zelmer Pulp, The Southern Collective Experience, and The Last Ancients.


from Forms, migrating by Felino Soriano VI —after Mischelle Ramos’ painting Internal Universe In believing one’s identity to be an owning affirmation of the self and dedicated description as to why the face displays multilingual facets of internal aggregation then, with what each emblem of what the mirror’s violating voice articulates records I’s in perceptive motions and obligated features to dissolve of the eventuality of disparate anthems drawing from where elation hovers equating waiting with timed fractions of perfect’s tonal principle: intuitive designations of what hides and harmonizes upon windows of speculator advancing toward will and the will’s evaporating pressure


VII —after Olimpio Pozo’s painting Subliminal Presence Ovals speak contoured syllables spoke continuous sails toward what can land or, not through figments and fallacies of imagination’s multi-toned deliberations. Clusters form habitual landscapes, meandering to alter signatures and their lazy styles of impersonating their owner’s good side rendition of articulating name. We’ve a beneath version of good words. Trust is forwarded in thinking comical presences reside and abide into where good-fitting dusk, the way or pluralized fashions it hides physiognomy well enough to call upon unfamiliar tapestries and no one, not a singular exhibition of breathing will realize the subconscious devotion worded braids involve intuitive wisdoms proceeding into spatial articulation and


reinterpreted fathoms of an existential wing-harmony. VIII —after M.C. Escher’s woodcut Circle Limit IV

Promises of spherical centeredness of oscillating life-song mathematics multiple ordinances and ontology of trust

this

goes and the quietness of believing these creatures mirror radial experiences of leading elsenowhere and the blending of wisdom3 amid a taking of sections


fract ioned monopoly of same (or, are these flying emblems a satisfactory facsimile of echoing gray?) size thrills and evolutionary smiling someone’s query of can a brand of happiness be when silences of swinging circular languages conducing contagious movements obtain song in the dichotomy of discovering memories are the now’s presence of tonal reverberation?


Author bio: Felino A. Soriano is a member of The Southern Collective Experience. He is the founding editor of the online endeavors Counterexample Poetics and Of/with; in addition, he is a contributing editor for the online journal, Sugar Mule. His writing finds foundation in created coรถccurrences, predicated on his strong connection to various idioms of jazz music. His poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Anthology, and appears in various online and print publications, with recent poetry collections including Of isolated limning (Fowlpox Press, 2014), Mathematics (Nostrovia! Poetry, 2014), Espials (Fowlpox Press, 2014), and watching what invents perception (WISH Publications, 2013). He lives in California with his wife and family and is a director of supported living and independent living programs providing supports to adults with developmental disabilities. Links to his published and forthcoming poems, books, interviews, images, etc. can be found at www.felinoasoriano.info.


Refraction of Light By Ali Znaidi

That demented fly needs no light. Nothing turns her on but the refraction of light. Oblique angles constitute her response to the world. You never know where there might be a cure. Through the prism of darkness the wounds of the memory might be healed. Author bio: Ali Znaidi lives in Redeyef, Tunisia where he teaches English. His work has appeared in Mad Swirl, Stride Magazine, Red Fez, BlazeVox, Otoliths, streetcake, and elsewhere. His debut poetry chapbook Experimental Ruminations was published in September 2012 by Fowlpox Press (Canada). From time to time he blogs at aliznaidi.blogspot.com and tweets at @AliZnaidi.


In the realm of the surrealist dream Page turner

By Hala Hoagland Calling on eyes to see through knowledge To walk separated by a box of time Elongated hearts phone up the next generation My iris senses your presence Willow men take walks Striding with passion’s peace Raging against the sky The giraffe is high Smoke bewilders the text of my mind Gathering storms in a linen embrace Naked to the honesty of mountains Still the desert prevails Taking souls who would confront unnecessary technology Headless Far away from text indigestion is the necessity to notify a soul tornado is coming If only my legs would not forsake the violin playing sound waves to rock the world


It is a blazen truth when the ectoplasm of my heart prevails Perhaps a symptom of creative weakness A sign of temperate bare bodies making a box car salutation Ring me up so the curls of hair that fall on your beautiful back can shine Where will the giraffe go when you step your feet back on earth again I suppose you will lose network connection when the handle of your phone drops into an earthen existence My feet jump off the landing point and I recall passion is a pie times two Smokey cloud remains my compass and I find that I don’t need what is never present but only recall love in a screened distance Author bio: Hala Hoagland studied Middle East History and Telecommunications in Colorado and loves everything francophone, although only fluent in the love of French culture. Her work is centered on the sublime whether Ekphrastic, Surrealist, Dadaist or just plain philosophically experimental. She is heavily influenced by Islamic culture as well and lives like any other North African. Her work seeks to show a lifelong poetic vein and to bleed through the pages a sense of love for the intrinsic beauty of art itself. She is hereby a dedicated life-long learner, former ESL teacher and into coding and decoding life, hence, the use of her name anagrammed for artistic temperance. Overall, she seeks to commune with other artists and hopes her work is a tribute to those she hopes to honor.


El Cartamantico By Kurt Cline In this town I walk around Carrying an umbrella under my arm Nobody calls me by my right name But that don’t mean I ain’t the same King of banjos master of the card trick Juggling nine chalices of hemlock in the silence I’m El Majo, the Magician, a little unshaven A little bit craven. My friend the raven Machine-guns the wind. In the turning The blowing of a trumpet, Adjustment/Judgment, La Justicia Rattles the shin-bones of a grinning Skeleton, La Muerte, Death El Mundo, the World the Universe A puddle of shadow Basking in the sun Lovers (Los Amantes) Dancing the cha-cha-cha But a long black Limousine (El Carro, The Chariot) Waits in the alleyway With the engine running & that means yesterday & today Have collided into tomorrow I grow the wings of an eagle As I walk past sacrificial flame In my hair-suit I’m well suited For the Hermit, El Ermitaño’s holy calling.


My liquid lantern spews forth Silvery flames & I guess no one’s to blame It all ended up the same Seismic shock: a time To turn the cards La Luna: The moonPale dogs yip & yowl & the lobster Wheels a quadrille While the monkey Plays the fiddle Fifty fathoms full There is a fire burning


On the shore a driftwood cross & flat stone altar The mixing Of wind & sand & salty water Leads the bindlestiff replete w/stick Over shoulder & gloved Fingers missing like in Dickens & all along—all along— What could I have been thinking— That there’s anything other than—what? And it’s true I’m alone now— But someday someone will mourn me A beautiful woman will write A book of my misdadventures. A bit of an enchantress perhaps? She tells a good story For 1001 nights now I’ve been following the rather Circumlocutious twists & turns Of her narrative turned inside out Looking-glass clock Turned into a pocket perspective & the secret was in a book & the book was in a library & the library eluded its catalogue & had a stairwell right out of Escher & that is all we could rightly make out & so we searched but to little avail


Since even if we were find it Our eyes would not be able To discern the words written A little blurrily w/out-of-focus Illustrations by William Blake & Salvador Dali & anyway our quarry Had long since flown one late afternoon Just before closing While Swedenborgian Angels sang through the skylight & the key turned in the Turkish lock With a satisfying clackety-click Only heard by one itinerant mountebank (El Mago again, a little Down on his luck, throwing three-card monte on a blanket on the sidewalk) His friend, La Empresa, a ballerina riding a unicycle El Diablo, the Devil laughing El Emperador, the Emperor in rags, rattling a tambourine & the ventriloquist (El Loco, The Fool) muttering gibberish I once heard echoing from the loudspeakers In the caverns of the Chicago train station Before fading into the dreamscape Featuring an electric horse & a telephone asleep in its cradle: Hey, if you wanna hang upside-down For all eternity that’s allright with me Señor Ahorcado (The Hanged Man) I’ve been In such a position myself Before something told me something Was not right the cup tipped over


Moon canoe swamped by the human race Whispering at the edge of a far sea. The now cool Numbness of proletariat flesh Earmarks my pillow with another recurrent dream A dream I know I am dreaming But is so perfect in its semblance To the Ionescoesque & very real World in which we live As to be absolutely indistinguishable From the actuality of me lying in bed With my eyes closed dreaming Of lying in bed with my eyes closed Dreaming & into the dream The sound in the next room Of familiar footsteps—hers— Perhaps bringing a bag of groceries Back from the store. And because I know I’m dreaming I know it might— indeed must be a trick of my mind— Since the footsteps reside On the other side the world & she wouldn’t take a plane Without phoning me. But now The highheels grow closer & I hear the door open & I wonder If I should open my eyes But then I say Inside my dreaming mind None of this is real—it’s only here


To fool me as it has a hundred times before & anyway I never want it to stop Because—after all—this really Could be her. Maybe a case of amnesia & coming to semi-consciousness In some other future time. It’s Happened before. When skies Were different & my 1001 dark nights Were at last at an end—were about to begin & indeed I feel Her weight sinking into the bed Next to me her body’s warmth Radiating into my own & I don’t want to but— Slowly the muscles Of my neck engage As I must finally Take a glimpse & see If this is or is this not Really she & she fades— This phantom wife of mine— She fades quite away. Each time I play the game A little more cautiously: keep my ear Pressed against pillow do not Open my eyes & somehow Manage to speak. “Are you Real?” I inquire in a deep voice Quiet so as not to awaken myself. Careful


To avoid the slightest muiscular movement. “Of course,” she replies. & like Buster Keaton slipping On a bananapeel he’s accidentally thrown there I inevitably—once more—turn my head toward her. And once more thou art gone Riding a green seahorse into the sun Going down under the volcano Where the chilly winds blow Oh absent wife why hauntest thou me so? Why these clanking chains around my heart? I’m a poor man a sick man I’ve had a hard life Hard for me anyway— As difficult as I could stand. Although I know plenty of people Have far worse—don’t get me wrong. I just don’t envy them that’s all. Awaken heart pounding in sweat soaked sheets Having in all actuality just seen a ghost—albeit Living but just as gone to me As memory will never allow me to forget. Cannot sleep but also Cannot walk around the room Which spins vertiginously In the lamplight. There’s a single coin In a nest of swords That the Golden Man Will pluck when the time’s ripe.


But until then? No can never let go The Children’s Fairyland dream We built together in the backyard. It’s the kind of thing they only let you Draw out of the dream-bank once. A blue unicorn whinnying After that, one must Go fishing in the river like everyone else. It’s the last day of Tomb-Sweeping season In Taipei, Taiwan, which happens this year To be Easter too. A little weird. Firecrackers sizzle People grow dizzy. Deities & chimeric creatures parade Freed from their glass cases To ride on flat bed trucks in a honking-of-horns parade Beating drums scaring spirits away— Anccestors of this spectral day Last day of Tomb-Sweeping Season Last day of Christian holy week too & I never really liked Christian Holy Week before & the chimera was passing Away before my eyes. Every time I walk those stations of the cross Something bad happens & now I turn back through the Double-doors of my balcony & stagger into my bedroom & Fall down on the bed I‘ m La Torre the Tower of Destruction Rueda de la Fortuna the Wheel of Fortune


El Papa, the Pope, the Hierophant rolled into one Fall down on the bed & dream A mansion of many windows Where rectilinear colors cluster Like monarch butterflies La Papisa, High Priestess Only thou can assist me now Ariadne, lend me That little bit of thread, silken pulled aside her diaphanous veil & revealed herself to me naked & unashamed & spoke quite candidly Just my shadow talking to itself My echo answering back Like dogs in the early evening During dog-barking hour. Author bio: Kurt Cline has been a poet and performance artist for the past thirty years. His poems have won awards and appeared in numerous smallpress magazines in America, Europe and Asia, and his performances have garnered media attention and many positive reviews. His full length poetry collection Voyage to the Sun: Poetry and Translations was published by Boston Poet Press in 2008. Cline’s folk-punk CD, Alien Shoe came out from 12 Studio in Taiwan in 2013. He is currently Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at National Taipei University of Technology. Scholarly articles have appeared in Anthropology of Consciousness; Tamkang Review, Glimpse: Phenomenology and Media; Cuadrante and Communication, Comparative Civilizations and Cultures: Journal of the Jean Gebser Society.


Cyclical Subliminal Continuum By Ross Knapp

Dadaist dissonance Deliberate deference Surrealist sublimation Smacking of Dali and anarchy The choice is yours Or is it? Unleash unconscious Free the flesh Screw society Civilization controlling Me need Me want Me must have You. Not now you say? Too bad. Anyway


Saliva drips off the lips, sickening choking gurgles cry out Occasional gasping for breath. Both wet. Next next. Mmm hmm mmm hmmm Awwww! Mmmmm uh, uh, uh, uh, there we go, right there! Fuck yeah, right there! Pat pat pat pat. Sloppy slaps of sweaty skin slamming in and out Thighs touching and receding Oh god oh god oh god, yes, yes yes yes yes yes! HUH! UHHH! Awwww. Cleaning and wiping of sheets. Beast temporarily fulfilled and standing still Rome must refill and slowly rebuild Use Russell’s aristocratic predicate logic Wage Wittgenstein’s early war Logic and obscurity your bright omen Unpack unconsciousness Join Joyce and Daedalus Control and conquer Exclude and exhume Poetry for Anglicanism and Mussolini All angelic artistry Next disillusioned Dadaist dissonance Author bio: Ross Knapp is a recent college graduate with degrees in philosophy and literature who's also an MFA graduate student in creative writing and poetry. He has an experimental literary novel and various poetry publications forthcoming. Originally he was planning on law school or a PHD in philosophy before deciding to pursue poetry and writing. Some of the poets he admires most are Sappho, Virgil, Li Po, Hafiz, Francois Villon, Dante, Keats, Whitman, Akhmatova, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Eliot, Pound, Crane, Millay, Thomas, Sexton, Lowell, Ginsberg, and Plath.


Two poems by Benjamin Finateri A Piece with Two Parts

One You’re cold, affectionate only in private, when you’re certain you’re alone with her because you’re frightened and insecure. At dinner parties you make obscure references to movies from the 50s no one’s seen, spin tales to strangers about 13” penises and anal sex, tell uncomfortable anecdotes about punching some punk’s girlfriend. You always win at trivial pursuit, lord your good memory over your opponents, and at the moment of your triumph shout, “put the lotion in the basket.” It’s weird, and nobody wants to play with you anymore.


You rip your so-called friends when they’re not around to defend themselves, then wonder why you’re not invited out more. You stay home, get drunk on horse's necks. Your knees hurt because you gorge on meatball hoagies and cupcakes, your sore back’s the product of 30 years of bad posture, and please, enough about tumors. Your obsession over the tumors you do not have is an insult to cancer patients. You gossip about your neighbor’s probable mental retardation, and her boyfriend’s rap sheet. How dare they exist without your permission. You wake up every morning already in the fray, calculating the odds today’s the day you just give up. You lie in bed, coughing up last night, call your bookie and put a grand down against yourself at -150. You close your eyes and go back to sleep. Two You’re respectful, affectionate only in private, when you’re certain you’re alone with her because you’re honorable, a gentleman. At dinner parties you enlighten on hatlessness as a signifier of drunkenness in classic Hollywood film noir. Your crassness sings like Pavarotti, turns offensiveness into hilarity. You always win at trivial pursuit. You’re smart and you know it. Opponents compliment you on your play, and look forward to challenging you again. Your friends cherish your advice. You share CDs burned with personalized play lists, throw the best birthday parties, give away bottles of homebrew. You eat organic strawberries and spinach salad.


Your joints are limber from proper stretching and you walk 2 miles everyday. Viruses kill themselves when they see you coming. Yes, you still gossip about your neighbor’s probable mental retardation, and her boyfriend’s rap sheet. But you’re an Irish-Catholic New Englander, so you’re forgiven. You stay up late, get your wife off, play with words. At 2 am you drink a mug of pot-infused tea, enjoy a guilt-free dish of chocolate ice cream. You read about the Roman Empire, write, build electric guitars—your time too precious for sleep. Author bio: Benjamin Finateri lives in San Francisco with his wife, Gretchen, and their two cats. He has previously published two e-books: a novel, Find a Hero, and a collection of stories, Who’s Watching Who? His writing can also be read at Fiction on the Web and Every Day Fiction. He teaches ESL at City College of San Francisco.


Reprieve By Doug Mathewson

Unexpected early dismissal from jury duty left me on my own midday midweek midtown used book store cafe near the court tantalized me in juror parking was free so I still had ten bucks clerk with race-car tattoos and vertical hair took my six of my dollars for a poetry book and a scone scone was pear and almonds book was Richard Garcia both were great reading and eating in a sunny spot playing out my own alternate lives with sailor me lost at sea when cowboy me moved to town disco me died too young astronaut me who never took off royal me without a throne monastic me who suffered alone the afternoon was passing time to head home


the evening was still open for us to decide who to be Author bio: Doug Mathewson has rejected the advice “write what you know” since he knows nothing. Most recently his work has appeared in The Boston Literary Magazine, Right Hand Pointing, Cloud City Press, Postcards Prose & Poems, riverbabble, and Jersey Devil. He is senior editor of Blink-Ink and runs Special Ops. for Ms. Kitty Wang.

 


Clockwise Cat Issue #29 Verse