Get Lit, Round 1: Poetry

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TABLE OF CONTENTS 3 Alligator Wine│David Musgrove 4 Foggy Night│Todd McKinney 6 Whir│Joshua Michael Stewart 7 What About the Dinosaur Problem│Diana Salier 9 Where We Bend│Kirk Pinho 13 The Cart│Gary Moshimer 16 How It Goes For Boys│Michael Meyerhofer 18 Nympholepsy│Laura LeHew 19 Inner Voyeur and Moon│J.P. Dancing Bear 21 Last Minute (Drowning, 1943)│Kirk Pinho 25 Before the Door│Bill Yarrow 26 Falling│Gary Percesepe 27 Psych Interview with a Rape Victim│Matthew Hamilton 29 Teatime at Bellevue Hospital│Paul-John Ramos 31 No Young Man’s Craft│Michael Meyerhofer 33 Pace│James Valvis 35 Murder Your Darlings│J. Bradley 36 The Everyday Parade│Justin Hamm 38 Dropping Roses│Michael Bazzett


Poetry

ALLIGATOR WINE By David Musgrove

She came out of the bathroom, beautiful like a horse painted for war. I was sitting on the floor drinking cheap wine from a bottle. She sat down in a chair across from me and crossed her legs. The flash of panties. The strand of black hair hanging down in the eyes. I smiled. She sighed. -You are beautiful, like a duck dropping out of the dawn to land on the surface of a pond laden with leaves and light. Her hand came off the arm of the chair, slightly, as a snake’s head will rise above the coiled death rope of its body before striking. This was a gesture of dismissal. -I’m not a goddamn duck, and lay off the poetry routine, because it’s not working anymore. Are you ready to leave? I thought about this. Let me finish my wine first. I didn’t move. I was as motionless as a gator resting on the muddy bank of a creek after pulling a young doe into the water and wedging it beneath a half sunken red oak. All I had to do was sit here, and wait, for the hide and flesh to soften in the slow moving, tea dark water. Plenty of time to finish this bottle, parties and love aren’t going anywhere. Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

FOGGY NIGHT By Todd McKinney

Not even two minutes into the porn flick, the man has the woman on the kitchen table, her legs over his shoulders, both of them concentrating on feigning pleasure when my son startles me with his tired voice: “Papa, one of my dinosaurs won’t go…what are they doing?” Sure, I felt like a caught politician. And, yes, I shouldn’t have had most of the six-pack, but if the screen had been streaming mega-meta-sports show highlights, my son

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Poetry

still would have walked in on a scene from My Dad, the Neanderthal. At least I wasn’t masturbating this time. What I would most like to revise of that moment is what I said. Not that they were having sex, but after that, after he asked me what sex was. I lied when I said “It’s two people loving each other.” That’s the lie I told, the lie I had been told. Instead, I would have said, “they’re having sex because it feels good” though that, too, is not always true. Before I could explain pleasure, he said, “Oh. Well, Freddy won’t sleep.” Freddy’s an orange triceratops with chronic insomnia and a preference for a book about ants and Theodore Roethke rhymes. In the glow of his closet light, I read even as he slept. When I stopped—except for his breathing, and the wind outside— quiet filled the house the same way fog fills a late autumn night, some trees poking their pointed limbs through the haze as if evoking something dangerous. Still, that sensation of great fortune for being a parent swept through me, in a sequence of breezes, and the little plastic bag that is what I would call my soul jumped and pitched and floated in the vast air within, above the parking lot of all the roles and responsibilities I must fulfill from one day to the next. Yet, despite my luck for having arrived at this little illuminated moment, I couldn’t help but feeling I was peering at it through the cave holes of my eye sockets, the little Neanderthal within standing back in the shadows, looking out, a found plastic bag half full of rocks in one hand, and nothing in the other, his expression a mixture of fright and confusion and exhilaration, charged with an uncertainty as to how to carve on a wall, simultaneously, such joy and grief

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Poetry

WHIR By Joshua Michael Stewart

She wants to talk about the future, about having a baby, but it’s late and the quilt’s pulled up to my chin. The murmur of her voice lulls me. I dream of childhood summer nights when I’d sleep on my bedroom floor next to my brother with two box fans against our pillows, and we’d drift off, pretending we were lying in our graves.

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Poetry

WHAT ABOUT THE DINOSAUR PROBLEM By Diana Salier

i wrote a poem about you once and you’ve never let me forget it do we have to talk or can we just mind meld place your forehead on my brain and set it to defrost on high for my birthday this year i want a pillow shake and a cuddle party i bring the noisemakers and you the party hats suddenly it begins to rain did you pack an emergency kit i am afraid of everything even if it hasn’t been invented i write poems in my phone and export them via bluetooth it’s like when we hum into our roommates’ answering machines or how you call me up and sing happy birthday even when it isn’t if someone were narrating the movie of my life would you turn up the color knob and give me a green face or watch it on mute and go out for cocktails instead you can even fast forward to your own scenes i promise not to bring it up when we meet at a pajama party in the next life i hope we die in our halloween costumes otherwise how will i know that it’s you if we no longer have limbs to hang from no, you’re batman and i’m robin, i thought we’d settled this before Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

try to imagine me slaying the catwoman on your behalf and what about the dinosaur problem we’ll always have godzilla i’ve got to tell you how when you are sad i want to build a fort from my tendons and bones and give you vip access you are hovering over the west and tonight i’m bringing my gameface into the bathtub i think frank o’hara said it best in that poem i can never remember its name where he talks about pizza with anchovies and a maroon robe i’m not romantic enough to dig my own grave

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Poetry

WHERE WE BEND By Kirk Pinho

01. At world’s end: hydrangeas. Transcendent hydrangeas. Blind Willie Johnson’s wet acoustics in a time capsule so slide, baby, slide: The parameters of knowledge & compass & physics. The waking, lethargic world & darkness. Triangulation is required Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

to know the distance between yourself & darkness. Little Girl, when will you be married? I’m with you in your darkness but the mud puppy is in the gutted fish tank at the end of the world with gravel, shrubbery, —please feed Him. He nudges his way around the glass but we can’t keep Him here in the middle of all this sharklessness & irrelevance. I have squandered my inheritance on cucumbers & eggs. A journey to the moon. I dotted the nebulae with crumbs so I could find my way home to Detroit: where baseball cards no longer motorize the bicycle gears. Where we have become a flippant, nonnegotiable blink. I am still a very long way from home. Little Girl, we will sit in astonishment, wondering, Who will die first? We will trek the bloodshot acreage, hold thick bottles of beer & slam their creamy undertow. Lick the teeth of wheat & barley. We are such sickle-cell laureates! We are such wicked wicked architects! The roses will be mopped from along the freeways. The sickly alphabet will go nuts with despair & while everyone is kissing all the consonants of their lives goodbye, we are moving, voweled, bending into nothingness & grace. Fourteen gallons of trash will still be fourteen gallons of trash. We are made of several different diameters & shapes. Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

02. Little Baby playing with a coat hanger in Little Girl’s womb, am I a God fearing man? What a salty world you & I meditated upon: doomed to be measured in wheels & honey—oats & lumber —the acronyms of earth— Half-step your way into false eternity, child! because we will never live our lives like acrobats. We will never waltz towards the sobbing horizon or from the forgotten orphanage to clerkless drugstore; I have forgotten to take my medication. At once, everything becomes dotless, hospitalized, lickable: I’ve got a brick back alley on my mind, a fistful of amneotics, a vial of formaldehyde. 03. In the military graveyard, Little Girl consolidates her loss into semiautomatics & knives. Twenty-one guns sing at once in reverence: The hallelujah of guns. We suspend. Like cats. Above granite. Row upon row of “Infant son/daughter of…..” Humanity’s crib death. Humanity, I watched you get dressed in the morning. Grandfather with the busted hand, how God shook you like a fish. Grandfather with the armchair,

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Poetry

this is all I remember of you: Hey, batter, batter! Swing, batter, batter. Detroit: where we bend. I have taken too many drugs to be healthy ever again so I bend & quake. So put me back on oxygen, Doctor: so let us pray. So I have fallen in that darkness called love with a girl who puts begonias in her hair but can’t spin a quarter on the bar rail. How fat & thick & relevant love is. There is love & then there’s L-O-V-E love. Little Girl, you are always in your Goddamn moods after the late shift, sucking on soft blueberries. Little Girl, what is your real name? I will call you ampersand.

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Poetry

THE CART By Gary Moshimer

Keep an eye on the death cart, they say. Laughing behind me. Nurses and doctors. Is it the shape of my head, a turnip, Chin mashed from steering wheel, My DUI, Gay blue volunteer vest? You swoop in, but silently, like an owl, to replace. This is a game to them, tongues poking cheeks. The proper name is ‘Courtesy Cart,’ doily-disguised metal like morgue slab. Chock full of goodies for family of dying. Cold and hot water coffee. Stunted cans generic cola ginger ale. Baskets of tea bags crackers cookies. Stock surrounds me. Doilies red blue green like kid’s birthday. Pamphlet in hand, stages of grief. This, they say, pertains to the cart. This woman in the bed, they say, young mother head injury, result of drunk drivers like me. Are they allowed to say it? Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

Denial The husband says, No. She’ll be fine. Little girl says, Mommy will be up soon and starving. All these cookies. Coffee will wake her. Older boy opens Oreo packet. Girl screams no and puts it back. I replace it with new. All sealed again and waiting. Anger Husband with giant fists Crushes cracker packs, Crumbs drizzle to floor, sheets. Boy stomps Oreos, grinds with sneaker. Girl makes geysers of shaken soda, popped creamers. Ice cubes thrown like hail. Husband yells at cloud bank. Why her? Housekeeper is invisible without fuss. In her wake I bear refills, no eye contact. Bargaining Fingers dip water pitcher, holy water crosses on mother’s forehead. Dear God, says girl, if you wake her up I will never yell or kick forever. Dear God, says boy, bring her back and no frogs will come. Husband silent, eyes closed, asks for what? Depression They sleep on her sheets, hand in hand, a circle. Only sound the breathing machine. Chests in synchrony, mine as well. Day four, says nurse to me, poking. Go home. Want to see it through. You haven’t eaten. I won’t. But soon. Acceptance Bruised lids flutter awake, something born. Not the mother. Hands reach for the cart, suddenly ravenous. What has dawned before daybreak? I barely keep the nourishment flowing. Mother’s face sunken overnight, opposite the way they fill. They wave the cart away, when doctors come. No longer require my services, a decision made. Other family hustles in, blocks my view. Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

I couldn’t see my mother die, either. They wouldn’t let me in. Too traumatic for a child, they said. I didn’t get to smash cookies or throw ice. I am still on step two. Why I hate myself and drink, And steer into trees. The Cart

I wheel it to the kitchen, Pour leftover coffee and drink it. Sleep is something of the past. I toss the doilies and wipe the metal. It’s not required but I refill the cart, Make perfect stacks of crackers, like bricks. A tower of creamers. I create something of a fortress, The steel decanters turrets From where death is observed, And held at bay.

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Poetry

HOW IT GOES FOR BOYS By Michael Meyerhofer

In grade school, I’d spend the night at Dustin’s house. He had a water bed and glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling. He knew sports terminology and had no interest in Star Trek. He told me that one day when he used to live in Arizona, this girl across the courtyard strolled naked onto her balcony and waved at him. Such kindness, such grace rippling that raw desert heat. In high school, we started hanging out less, afraid someone would think we were gay, both of us too shy to earn the favor of Iowa daughters with Egyptian tans and three rings through each ear. We used to argue over religion, his cherry-picked snips of Old Testament versus my budding Zen and selfdoubt. Some nights, we’d climb a ladder leaning against his dark roof and unfurl our sleeping bags, real stars crisping the country evening, Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

miles from motels and drive-thrus. Nothing out there but cow pastures, splintered fences, maybe a radio with batteries duct-taped in the groove, guitar solos and rap screeds eventually dissolving into soft rock as the moon kept slipping in and out of her blue-black shawl. And we slept, restless but free of nightmares, always careful to leave some untouched space between us.

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Poetry

NYMPHOLEPSY By Laura LeHew

Orators and hoodwinkers alike difficult times are sometimes lovely watching queer jilted foxes dress in taffeta a darling comet of naked fuchsia the squelch of the to-be or not-to-be moment when the soul is not so lemon meringue and virginal foreplay a rich—deep—dark—chocolate Hershey’s kiss his quirt spanking the yak soupy tornados return to the great plains of probability mixing motor oil with gin in the mop bucket freed high-heeled strappy moccasins discombobulated as the silt of salubrious concoctions unbuttons the pantry of plenty yo—mountaineers and flatlanders loveliest of all the caddy slammed his 13 degree loft driver hard against my juried browsed wow his slimy fish fin inching up my rice paper panties personalized golf balls left in the bag in the name of the almighty sandwich let it be known: he spelt me up and I liked it Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

INNER VOYEUR AND MOON By J.P. Dancing Bear

Love, I have a small confession to make: Inside of me the moon unravels. There are no cathedrals only the façades of cathedrals. The young bodies of our selves —the ones neither of us ever knew— embrace passion again. Their sheets bunch and snake away leaving them naked on the sheer edge of a night not unlike this one where we find ourselves now, hand within hand. Everything is neatly framed dishevelment— that is to say, I’m sure Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

within each of those smooth bodies another moon is unraveling like love itself; pulled to a final string before respooling. I love the way her (your) hand opens a gorgeous flower; petals reflecting the lunar light. And yes, they (we) unravel ourselves too. We are always becoming and undoing. We watch ourselves build another façade of a tombstone out in the valley beyond the Hollywood of our bodies. Long shadows in the moon like steps, like accounting or confessing— a measure of all the times we let go, let the chord roll off the spool and pool into something new and unnamed and just slivering into brightness we will call ourselves.

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Poetry

LAST MINUTE (DROWNING, 1943) By Kirk Pinho

“The road to heaven is equally short from all places.” - Sir Thomas More 0:60 Everything dies with a false vibrato, in a false abrasion (straining the uvula) 0:59 damning the minor scales. But me? I’m clinging to a sinking grand piano, clinging to a smoking 0:58 riptide in which so many of the sticklebacks are amputating their gills but I made Katie 0:57 stay out of the ocean because I loved her so fiercely. Mom? I loved her too, but here 0:56 are the only things that can be said about maternity: it is tongue-in-cheek. It is lonely 0:55 in all of its chambers with all of their beige drapery. How can the world be filled with anything 0:54 when there are so many stillbirths daily? How did the deathsmith find me? Why is my childhood 0:53 twitching in a bag? The bag & my childhood are dead, my favorite colt is dead. He was good for little 0:52 more than lapping up the saltlick but I loved him because he was loyal only to me. Back in Sioux City, 0:51 my kitchen used to smell of cinnamon & vanilla. Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

Oh mercy mercy me: those three ghosts 0:50 in the coral, are they sure they’re not rain? Are you sure you’re not rain? Sometimes 0:49 rain dips its leaky feet in Epsom salt because they are swollen. Swollen, in other tongues, 0:48 is sometimes known as bloated is sometimes known as God. My doll-less daughter doesn’t believe in God. 0:47 She doesn’t believe in love. She doesn’t believe in the moon’s bastard children because they have no 0:46 respect for the cosmic hierarchy (the feudalism of the universe). Planets can kiss night after night 0:45 with knives between their throats because they are of the same caste, so they grab each other 0:44 by the Adam’s apple in a passion so ripe & wet that they forget they are being watched. 0:43 There is a writhing worm in the middle of everything. Perry Como is playing nonstop in my head. 0:42 He owes me a harpsichord & I owe him several bubbles & a paradox so I guess it seems we’re even, even 0:41 though he took my last skag. He kept it as a keepsake above the patchwork above his doorway. In a previous life, 0:40 I was light’s last great apprentice. In the life before that, I was nothing of great importance, or so 0:39 Dad says, but my sister still vouches that he has nothing but an agenda & a miserable lantern. She explains, 0:38 When you were younger, you tried to construct a star out of cord. They need oxygen just as much as humans. 0:37 They need someone to love them so will you love this star? Will it have a name? Or will you 0:36 mourn it when it dies & grieve like no one else has grieved before you? The grief is in you, 0:35 little one, you just have to find it & tug it out of its windows because it’s yours & only yours & 0:34 everything deserves someone to mourn for it. But I wasn’t trying to build a star. I was trying to build a dragon but I couldn’t 0:33 get past the skeleton (its guts got tangled upon more guts already on the fence) so I wept. So farewell, my beloved 0:32 almost-dragon, my beloved almost-friend, farewell. Farewell because I have cured nothing; because the more tragic 0:31 the spasms of departure, the more frantic the reunions. The more frantic the dust, the further it settles 0:30 into the bones (& into the bones of the bones) & so on & so forth, back into the dust of the ocean, where nothing Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

0:29 asphyxiates — only accepts everything as true & just gives up like a cigarette in a puddle but only half 0:28 as dead. In the war between God & man, it’s a stalemate; the battles between smoke & glass, between tension 0:27 & melody, between my voice & my name have all produced victors but no one forgives them, so Hallelujah. Hallelujah 0:26 to the water serpents tapping at the salt of a language that has no vowels so everything comes out gagged 0:25 like it’s lost in some bottled note somewhere, trying to free itself & locate the finest lily patch off the shore. It wants to rest 0:24 in the petals, to build a raft out of the stems to float in the bath but it doesn’t have the glue nor the cinder 0:23 to hold it all together, so it teaches itself only about damage. There are only so many ways one can rearrange 0:22 the letters & still have the same word. So carve it in the walls, in the trunk of an oak, scratch it 0:21 in wet cement, scrawl: forgive me because my river blindness never will because I have failed it. My socket 0:20 wrenches are in the drawer above the rug. They are yours now because everything now belongs to you: my shorthand, 0:19 my ball gloves, all my cheap joints, my memory, all liquids, the spare pennies in the icebox, so Hallelujah, but rejoice 0:18 for nothing. Who wants something so much that it aches deep in the clavicle? Who wants something 0:17 as much as I want a cigarette? Who loves something as much as I loved the brined deep? Ambassadors, 0:16 welcome me. Show me around the corridors with pictures of torched boats. Greet me at your meals 0:15 as a brother. Serve only rabbit dripping off its bones. Keep the bars open until they’re dry, pouring whiskey 0:14 like it’s water because it doesn’t matter if something is ruined, only that it doesn’t know how ruined it is & that the living 0:13 never come up at the barstools. Our wives are over their heartache. Our children have forgotten us, & such 0:12 is Hell: a gathering of the lost who don’t know they are lost (who shake in bed at night) 0:11 so Hallelujah. So I tell them to find somewhere else to crash. Find some other galaxy to admire. Find me 0:10 a bucket for my molars so I can find them in the morning. Find me some sutures for this gash 0:09 in my clavicle. Make it scab up by first light so it doesn’t leak on my pillow, so Hallelujah. 0:08 Make it burst in a few weeks. Was I not Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

a graceful mammal prior to Death? The dull blade, 0:07 and love with all of its razors. When I thought I could fly. Worshipping nothing 0:06 in its grave. A half-dragon crying father, why have you forsaken me oh why 0:05 oh why oh why have you forsaken me as he was draining on a post into the dirt that soaks up what it pleases, 0:04 so Hallelujah. So Dirt, allow what you want: worms, minerals, a couple Bibles, dirty 0:03 jazz, dirty melody, the handlebars of a bike with a back tire that is running out of air. 0:02 That is a tribute to youth: an homage to the violent discourse between science 0:01 & machinery. A brackish argument over an obvious accident in evolution.

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Poetry

BEFORE THE DOOR By Bill Yarrow

You just can’t believe your key won’t open the front door anymore. Determined to prove reality wrong, you board a flight to Budapest and walk wet streets in search of a keyhole you’re convinced exists. And when you find it on the side door of the Nicolae Bakery, your wry heart, rapt with vindication, laughs heartily. The key works! It really works! But you don’t enter. You don’t dare. Time passes. The seasons alter. The world gives birth to triplets. People drop hot pennies into your hat.

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Poetry

FALLING By Gary Percesepe

Last night I dreamed I sailed the wide sea below Amalfi the boat stood on its stern in the tall swells there was the smell of oilcloth and fish nets and the hulk of an old ship laced with foam and far from shore you came up beside me a lamppost was there and then it wasn’t snow started to spit and lemons fell like pale tears while we stood and talked of all that had passed silent between us and you laughing suggested we make love in midair over the angry Italian chop “don’t you want to fall a thousand times to drop into this murderous surf on the edge of everything tilted like this there is always somewhere to fall from.” Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

PSYCH INTERVIEW WITH A RAPE VICTIM By Matthew Hamilton

I was cleaning when the door bell rang. I let him in. I ran for the phone. He caught me, shoved me to the floor. Have they arrested him? He jumped on top of me, pinned my arms behind my back, then something strange, he blindfolded me. He tore at my blouse, lifted my skirt. I told him I had my period, but that didn’t stop him. He told me to shut up, said he’d kill me if I didn’t. Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

That’s when I felt the knife. I was so scared I couldn’t even cry. It was like I was numb, you know, couldn’t move, couldn’t scream, he had his hand over my mouth. I’m not sure, there was a noise, then he ran out the back. No, he always seemed fine, friendly, good with kids, he teaches across the hall from me, fifth grade math. Mr. Thompson, Bill Thompson. Three years, I think, moved here from Ohio, he and his wife. Problems, not that I know of. I met her at a school picnic, seemed nice enough, but was homely looking, you know, that no makeup Pentecostal look, but sweet. I think I’ll sell the house, its too big for just one person, anyway, maybe start over out west some place. I have a friend in Santa Monica, so who knows, I might do it, or travel. I’ve never really been anywhere. What do you think? I’d go as soon as school let out for the summer, no, somewhere unusual, Vietnam maybe. I saw it on the Travel Channel last week and it seems like a interesting place to visit. Yea, wild, I know, but I’ve got to get my mind off of this, and you suggested it, okay, maybe not Vietnam, but travelling some place, getting away. I think you’re right. Yea, that’s a good idea, take my friend with me, I’m sure she can get some time off. So it’s settled, I’m doing it. Shit, it’s like dying on the opposite side of Paradise.

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Poetry

TEATIME AT BELLEVUE HOSPITAL By Paul-John Ramos

The white-coated doctors and blue-smocked nurses Gather at four-thirty for afternoon tea Beyond the ceilings of peeling pipes And wall grates rusted like tomato sauce. The kettles are bestowed on white metal trays; The colleagues sit on tangerine cushions, Twiddle stethoscopes, check for marks on squarish shoes, Amidst frowns and thoughts of far-off beaches. Early spring unkindly drags on – The skies outside are dampness-laden, The river ebbs a tired gray, And cars speed on the parallel drive. Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

The granite-bricked school on an opposite street Is feeling the throes of daily dismissal; The junior high students flee their Petri dish And scurry like ants, in pairs or alone. Nurses gaze outside a window, stir their cups, Pluck at a tray of raisin scones; their ears Are out of distance from Lunatics’ Row, Left to the aides of ox-like strength. A few cracked minds are left in solitude, At all hours overturning their cot – Straight-jacketed to frantic oblivion While others manage on six tablets per day. And all those procedures for keeping in line The scared faces, the angry, the blank – The haggard fellow who is afraid of breathing The middle-aged widow who loves to swallow nails The handsome devil who stands in one corner Reasoning with people who aren’t there. Afternoons set on the human zoo Like thin omens, neither kind nor funny; The shock-tub ripples its straggling current, A punching bag vaguely sways on its chain. In the grates’ shadows, far from the clacking china, Faces twist into miserable smiles, awaiting The next wave of minds lost – from the streets, The offices, the factories, the schools. The ward’s doors are shut and a guard Sits in his booth, minding the entrance. Medicine acts with cool indifference, as if There won’t be an incoming class. All cups have been emptied, the afternoon shift Again winds down. Somewhere else, physicians claw For doorknobs in the human hallway. Wind is heard On an iron latch, pigeons soar above the water towers

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Poetry

NO YOUNG MAN’S CRAFT By Michael Meyerhofer

Good, but maybe not so good as he thinks he is, says the retired professor sipping merlot at the Fickle Peach in answer to Rob’s query, set to the dull smack of billiards: So, how good a poet is my little brother? To prove him right, I wander free of Yeats’ Sailing to Byzantium, which this Greek-bearded professor quotes rhyme on rhyme from memory, my ears slack, my eyes drawn more to the doggerel of a passing cleavage line. Then for no reason, I start to think about the Tibetan singing bowl I bought, how I tried to write about it Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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but spelled bowel instead of bowl, so days later, I still smile at the thought. My little place alive with the hum of Tibetan bowels—great ones shaped from hand-hammered bronze. Mine come from Nepal and weigh 188 grams. On the inside of my bowels, someone wrote om mani padme hum. Cherry blossoms wreath the outer rim. With the help of a mallet, my bowels produce multiphonic and polyharmonic overtones. My bowels also came with a free cushion, kind of beige with golden trim, and were designed to align my Chakras by emitting a steady C note. According to customer reviews, my bowels possess antique charm, good sheen, and a gentle, mellowing spirit. They can also be rung like gongs with the aid of a wool-wrapped striker. But this requires almost no skill.

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Poetry

PACE By James Valvis

For K My early morning walk at 6 a.m. The sun ascends over the dark trees and the houses with their fences. I want to tell you I’m happy. Hard as that is to believe of anybody. I know when I was miserable I thought happy people were stupid. They were ignoring the world of pain and the pain that exists in the world. Now I think just the opposite. I was ignoring all the good. But being happy is still new to me. I nearly can’t believe I’ve gotten here. I like to walk at a crisp natural pace. In the army they made you march each step in time with everyone else. The guy at the front kept the pace and invariably he was too short or tall. Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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His pacing would mess with my gait, make my steps stutter, knees ache. I guess that’s why so many people cannot find the happiness they want. As we soldiers walked at another’s pace they’re trying to win another’s happiness, a limping happiness not their own. Me, I’ve you, our daughter, and enough. Though it’s also nice to be walking under this sky that bathes in fireworks coffee drinkers defrosting gray cars that pull out quickly into the street, merge into the slow flow of traffic.

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Poetry

MURDER YOUR DARLINGS By J. Bradley

My back, the water slide, waits for the gaggle of middle school girls that are your fingers to queue up around my hips. I want to know the taste of your days as it washes off your face, down your chest and stomach. The steam muffling the mirror erases our amputated sentences. We’ll keep revising the letters.

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Poetry

THE EVERYDAY PARADE By Justin Hamm

But of course the damned old pickup won’t start again, and they miss the marching bands in their bright uniforms, the Shriners tiny in their go-karts, the waving Santa and the hailstorm of Dum-Dums and Laffy Taffys. So next morning he calls them both in sick, no loading the fish trucks today, none of that endless tracing of loopy letters on wide-ruled paper. She helps him swap out the fuel pump Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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Poetry

for one from the junkyard delivered by goateed uncle on motorbike, and all afternoon they sit uptown, a pair of grease-covered gearheads in the white sunshine, watching the long slow procession of the Everyday Parade. The mother who waits until her daughter leaves the restaurant to light a secret cigarette, the men through the window of the bridal shop telling with animated hands what must be jokes or whoppers. Three stray dogs locked in tight formation, the mangiest and most loyal-looking mutts ever to slink along a stretch of city street. A beerkeg hauled by big enthusiastic boys in shorts and grimy ballcaps from truckbed to duplex door. And finally, not St. Nicholas but a gangly old splotch-faced drunk tripstepping up 4th Street and crooning Sinatra from under his Victorian mustache, singing just the way a catfish might, if he believed no one could possibly hear his notes swimming or sinking flat beneath the spread and weight of all that muddy water.

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Poetry

DROPPING ROSES By Michael Bazzett

“Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.” – Don Marquis Actually it’s like a lot of other things more than it’s like that. I can think of at least six or seven. Like throwing feathers in front of an oscillating fan, or putting a penny between your back teeth and holding it there all afternoon. Atticus Review│Get Lit: Round 1

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But what is utterly beyond me is why the Don had rose petals at the Grand Canyon in the first place. Maybe you can purchase sachets of dried rose at the Visitor Center. That would be a nice touch and rather unexpected from the National Park Service. Or maybe he spied a lone petal on the floormat of his rental, discarded after a night of continental passion in the desert. And that waiting for an echo business? That is just the Don being silly, I think. Because everybody knows that when a poem enters an open space it is designed to make a catastrophic, almost incomprehensible sound.

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About the Poets Michael Bazzett’s poems have appeared in West Branch, Beloit Poetry Journal, Best New Poets, Green Mountains Review, DIAGRAM, and The Los Angeles Review, among others. He was the winner of the 2008 Bechtel Prize from Teachers & Writers Collaborative and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. New poems are forthcoming in Boxcar Poetry Review, Bateau, The Collagist and Sentence. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two children. J. Bradley is the author of Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE, 2011). He is the Interviews Editor of PANK Magazine and lives at iheartfailure.net. J. P. Dancing Bear is the author of nine collections of poetry, most recently, Inner Cities of Gulls(2010, Salmon Poetry). His next two books will be Family of Marsupial Centaurs through Iris Press in 2011, and Fish Singing Foxes through Salmon Poetry in 2012. His poems have been published in Mississippi Review, Third Coast, DIAGRAM, Verse Daily and many other publications. He is editor for the American Poetry Journal and Dream Horse Press. Bear also hosts the weekly hour-long poetry show, Out of Our Minds, on public station, KKUP and available as podcasts. Matthew Hamilton is an MFA candidate at Fairfield University and a poetry reader for the online literary magazine, Mason's Road. Prior to graduate school, he served as a U.S. Peace Corps Voluntee r in Armenia (20062008) and the Philippines (2008-2010). He is also a former librarian, Legislative Assistant on Capitol Hill, and a Benedictine monk. Matthew's works of fiction and poetry can be found in many electronic venues. His chapbook, The Land of the Four Rivers, is forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press. Justin Hamm, originally from the flatlands of central Illinois, now lives near Mark Twain territory in Missouri. He is the author of Illinois, My Apologies, a chapbook from RockSaw Press. His work has appeared, or will soon appear, in Nimrod, The New York Quarterly, Cream City Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and the recent anthology The Captain’s Tower: Seventy Poets Celebrate Bob Dylan at Seventy. Justin earned his MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His latest project is a free creative writing course for writers living in and around the small community of Mexico, Missouri. Laura LeHew is an award-winning poet with over 300 poems appearing in over 150 national and international journals and anthologies. Her chapbook, Beauty, Tiger’s Eye Press, 2009 is in its 3rd printing. Laura received her MFA in writing from the California College of the Arts, writing residencies from Soapstone and the Montana Artists Refuge, interned for CALYX Journal and was nominated for a Pushcart prize. She was a guest editor for The Medulla Review and edits Uttered Chaos. Todd McKinney lives in Muncie, Indiana, where he teaches writing at Ball State University. His work has appeared in Puerto del Sol, The Greensboro Review, Smartish Pace, and Border Senses, and The Cimarron Review. Michael Meyerhofer’s third book, Damnatio Memoriae, won the Brick Road Poetry Book Contest. His previous books are Blue Collar Eulogies (Steel Toe Books) and Leaving Iowa (winner of the Liam Rector First Book Award). He has also won the James Wright Poetry Award, the Laureate Prize, the Annie Finch Prize for Poetry, the Marjorie J. Wilson Best Poem Contest, and five chapbook prizes. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, North American Review, Arts & Letters, River Styx, Quick Fiction and other journals, and can be read online at troublewithhammers.com.


Gary Moshimer's work appears at Pank, Word Riot, Emprise Review, Blue Stem, and many other places. David Musgrove lives in a shack on the banks of the Alabama River about ten miles upstream from Montgomery. He is currently suffering through law school, after quitting the English teaching profession upon determining, after four years, that compensation in said profession would be inadequate for his meager needs. If you need a lawyer, you may contact him after one more year (and passage of the bar) at DavidMsgrv@aol.com. If you need to know how high the Alabama River is on any given day, you may contact him now. Gary Percesepe is Associate Editor at BLIP Magazine (formerly Mississippi Review), and a Contributor at The Nervous Breakdown. His short stories, poems, essays, reviews, and interviews have been widely published or are forthcoming in Story Quarterly, N + 1, Salon, Mississippi Review, Antioch Review, Pirene’s Fountain, The Millions, Houston Literary Review, Westchester Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Rumpus, Pank, Bluestem, Bull, Word Riot, Moon Milk Review, Fogged Clarity, Necessary Fiction, Frigg, Twelve Stories, Negative Suck, and other places. He is the author of four books in philosophy and an epistolary novel with Susan Tepper, What May Have Been: Letters of Jackson Pollock and Dori G, (Cervana Barva Press). He recently completed his second novel, Leaving Telluride, set in Telluride, Colorado. Kirk Pinho lives in the Detroit area, where he is a newspaper editor and teaches English at a community college in Michigan. He received his MFA in poetry from the University of Alabama in 2010 and his BA from Western Michigan University in 2005. His work has been published in The Offending Adam, Comstock Review, Copperfield Review, Laureate, Word Riot, Hot Metal Bridge, and Tuscaloosa Runs This: An eBook of Tuscaloosa Writers. Paul-John Ramos is a freelance writer based in Yonkers, New York. His past articles have appeared at Suite101 and Classical Net, while his poetry has appeared in Steam Ticket, Westchester Review,Bumbershoot, and Hobble Creek Review. Diana Salier’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Every Day Genius, The Scrambler, 3:AM Magazine, Red Lightbulbs and Yes, Poetry, among others. She thinks a lot about space travel but has never been to outer space. She lives and writes in San Francisco. You can talk to her about dinosaurs at salier.diana.a@gmail.com. Joshua Michael Stewart has had poems published in Massachusetts Review, Rattle, Cold Mountain Review, Georgetown Review, William and Mary Review, Flint Hills Review, Pedestal Magazine, Evansville Review and Worcester Review. Pudding House Publications published his chapbook Vintage Gray in 2007. Finishing Line Press will publish his next chapbook Sink Your Teeth into the Light. He lives in Ware, Massachusetts. Visit him at joshuamichaelstewart.yolasite.com. James Valvis is the author of How To Say Goodbye (Aortic Books, 2011). His writing can be found in Arts & Letters, Atlanta Review, LA Review, Rattle, River Styx, and is forthcoming in Anderbo, Crab Creek Review, Drunken Boat, Hanging Loose, New York Quarterly, Slipstream, and others. His poetry has been featured at Verse Daily and the Best American Poetry blog. His fiction has twice been a story South Million Writers Notable Story. He lives near Seattle with his wife and daughter.


Bill Yarrow is the author of WRENCH (erbacce-press, 2009),Wound Jewelry (new aesthetic, 2010), and FOURTEEN (Naked Mannekin, 2011). His poems have appeared in many print and online magazines including Poetry International, Confrontation, Rio Grande Review, Ramshackle Review, Istanbul Literary Review, BLIP, DIAGRAM, Pif Magazine, LITSNACK, Now Culture, Right Hand Pointing, Whale Sound, Pank, and Metazen. He is one of the poetry editors of THIS Literary Magazine. He lives in Illinois.


Photo/Art Sources Alligator Wine: South Florida Water Management District Foggy Night: pelewanabesega at LiveJournal Whir: William Holman Hunt, A Flood, 1870, A Polar Bear’s Tale What About the Dinosaur Problem: Rare Fossils Where We Bend: Smith Writing Blog The Cart: RENWL How It Goes for Boys: Missionary Ideas Nympholepsy: Jungle8 Inner Voyeur and Moon: Ffffound! Last Minute (Drowning, 1943): Travis S., Flickr Before the Door: Harvey Images Falling: Ivan Aivazovsky, Shipwreck, 1856 (Public Domain) Psych Interview with a Rape Victim: elycefeliz on flickr Teatime at Bellevue Hospital: vesuverita on flickr Pace: Paul Slade on flickr No Young Man’s Craft: Tibet Spirit Murder Your Darlings: 123rf The Everyday Parade: Alphabet Dropping Roses: Ace Clipart