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All poems are copyright of their respective authors. Exercise Bowler, editor, Julie Kovacs. 2010 - 2013


Table of Contents Page Fear, by Kendra Wende

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Beloved, by Gale Acuff

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Canto for Edgar Allan Poe (in four parts), by David E. Patton

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03-24-2010, by David E. Patton

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Talking Loudly to the Empty Air, by Vincent Spada

12

A Shock of White Hair, by Vincent Spada

13

Opposite of Memory, by David Sprague

14

Visiting Spain, by David Sprague

15

Bird Lady, by Michael Lee Johnson

16

Washed Away, by Marcelo Smith

17

Approbations 442, by Felino A. Soriano

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Approbations 443, by Felino A. Soriano

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Approbations 444, by Felino A. Soriano

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Consonance, by Rich Follett

21

Triage, by Rich Follett

22

Monday Evening, by Alan Britt

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After A Storm, by Alan Britt

25

Complex, by Rich Murphy

26

Couched in Modern Art, by Rich Murphy

27

Dressing in the Dark, by Howie Good

28

At the Cemetery, by Clyde L. Borg

29

Chasing High Noon, by Ernest Williamson III

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In Your House by Jodie Fox

31

Fake It, by Ivan Jenson

32

Trophy Life, by Ivan Jenson

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Loneliness Motel, by Michael Keshigian

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Fear, by Kendra S. Wende I live in the heart of all humanity, ingrained on their souls, I can make their blood race, their breathing quicken. I come in many different varieties, from a little adreneline boost, to cold black,stop in your tracks paranoia. I am the monster under the bed, that thing that goes bump in the night. I turn the sweetest dreams into your blackest nightmares, you awaken to your own bloodcurdling screams, swearing it's real. I reduce a strong man to nothing, I make a world's beauty forget her looks. run, hide, I am always there, just around that next corner, lurking in the shadows, yet you see me each time you look in the mirror, I am fear.

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Beloved, by Gale Acuff Nobody loves you like God, Miss Hooker tells us in Sunday School class, but I wish that she would, or could--I'll bet that she can. And God doesn't even have a body, no red hair and blue eyes and He can't cross His legs like she can--He doesn't have legs, at least not like a person, at least not like a lady, at least not like hers. I'm only 10 so I'm not sure what love is but I'm willing to learn. Oh, my parents love me, I know, and my dog does, and my cat--if my cat loves anybody it's me because I rescue him from the dog. And maybe my fish love me, too or my fingers that drop the food into their tank. And my sisters love me, and my brother, if I had one, and my grandparents, if dead people can still love. But Miss Hooker is beautiful and smart and knows her stuff, all those stories from the Bible, that is, and what they mean. They must mean something or else we wouldn't be here. They must mean something, else why would we talk about them? In class I don't talk much--I get enough of that in real school. No, I like to watch, and hope that Miss Hooker looks me in the eye. When that happens I screw up all my love into the center of my eyeball--what's that called? the iris?--and that's the same name as her first. Iris Hooker. She looks at me and I try to shoot my love straight out so that it hits her right between the eyes and knocks her out while she's still on her feet --in her chair, I mean. I want her to know how I feel because I don't have the words. Well, I do, but not a many as hers. So she's too smart for me that way. No, I

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have to make her feel my power--after all, she gave it to me. I wonder if she knows. Maybe I will have to tell her. I think she loves God more than she loves me. And there's Jesus, too, and the Holy Ghost, and Mary, and all those disciples, not to mention Moses and David and Paul. Sometimes I pray, though God's my rival, and in the name of Jesus. Double whammy. But I've got no choice: Please make Miss Hooker love me, I beg. I'll take good care of her and wait until I'm old enough to get hitched up, and patiently. At 18, say, and she'll be maybe 35. That's old but if it's Your will You'll keep her looking young. And we'll have babies and watch TV and go to the movies and munch popcorn and sit on the porch and count the cars and go fishing and read comic books and play Crazy Eights and Yahtzee and Parcheesi and live to be a hundred each and get our pictures in the paper. O Lord, if You love me, You'll love me like Miss Hooker ought to and make us happier than hogs in slop. Amen. Sometimes I fall asleep before I hit Amen but it's a long prayer but I need to be close to God if I'm ever going to make her mine, Miss Hooker I mean. At night I hold her close to me, even though she's a pillow, and tell her how I feel but she's silent --asleep, I pretend, and not just not real. And in the morning she's gone, though she was never there. But I'll see her for real next Sunday. I'll pretend that she pretends not to know who I am and it's our secret and not even God knows and God knows it all. Nobody loves me like Miss Hooker. Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Worcester Review, Danse Macabre, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, South Dakota Review, Santa Barbara Review, and many other journals. He has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008). He has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank. 3


Canto for Edgar Allan Poe (1), by David E. Patton Let what winds Will what blows Over sea or land o’er Where man stand Looking for his Forgotten God Who will a cloud Of heavenly fire Descend down To woo you and your kin. If perchance it let you in Its heart of stature gold That Moses did not know. I pose as priest yes I pose To be a dream within a dream And deem to slay the forgotten day No less gone far too soon. It is now the noon of our lives Try as much as man shall try The vision remains the same Amid the roar of wind swept shore And golden sand that Slips through the hand To tell a time fit for rhyme. The day does creep The cloud does weep And deep within all hopes Fall as grains for to small To be the composition of man.. None is more none Then we can stand To mold our God by Man’s mind and hands Carved in wood the mask That binds the face To the warer. Roar, roar O tormented soul The waves shall bare you aloft And I the priest of all your days Shall woo you to the grave.

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Canto for Edgar Allan Poe (2) When you make up your mind And find the fine command That once was grand by The precept of man Who woo the doom of earth By machines of war Then that Lord of love Shall fall from above And spite all concerned Shall ring the knell That tells the ruling angels Decked in jewels grand With satin wings and Africa hair makes their vows To stand by their man And assure no more The fleshy core that Makes a man a man. None-the-less with what Was spoken I am at peace With my reverie That I keep safe From the church-yard door Thinking the happy dead Will sigh and swell The bosom composed Of words stolen from A poem that none knows. O go yes, go your way With mind made of broken Thoughts the last token Of all your doubts. -

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Canto for Edgar Allen Poe (3) Death do not come for me I fain not to know your Restful peace. Do not come from your throne Leave me truly as one alone. Let not life’s light go dim For what I hold worst I hold best to keep dear The life within my breast. Take not away my last breath Lead me not to my eternal rest. I trouble no melancholy waters I love no holy heaven come to town. Let me stay and not lie down Or drawn in a sea lurid and rough And silent by the waves as they must That stays hugging the shores Free from the pinnacles Of spires and domes. I make of my heart A church of songs Yes, yes in deed Do not come for me.

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Canto for Edgar Allan Poe (4) If to myself I can be true I fain that I am not in love with you. I named the night that we first met And ultimate truth fled my rest. And sublime wisdom does its best To step me out of time and space And Titan floods the holy gate. Wait; yes wait you now long dead Who ills my will and overspread The chilly lake where lilies grows. The human cold of murmuring snow. When spring beams its warmth White robed the nook the travelers keep And like some fallen angel I weep Melancholy for all my friends Taken by AIDS they grown bone thin And spotted ill the disease encamped In their breast once ghouly thrilled The unholy spots ring their skin And derange their minds Till they loose track of time. Friends gone to soon into the Hell’s fire of pools aghast they Meet their memories spent. I sigh for them yes I weep Sheets of rivers mean to peace The restlessness that I seek The chilly rim surging From the sad sea. The grey wood dark and cold Enfold all my living hopes And the dead are lonely in their Heavenly clothe clothed by The hand of the only God Who swamp his shrouded form With memory of the last fall From the golden cross.

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03-24-2010, by David E. Patton Poets employ your tongue With wit and joy Admit the though thought Of he who amour All your art apart To enchant with gallant breath Of joy that yield and reel in The view of nymphs who plays harps Acquired from the Gods. Frequently bend your Proud back to the observation Of all your cares ware the Robe of friendship to forgive The passing of the years embroider By the God mars who pursed The making of your pure art As something thousand fold And mark the hour of your coming Into the spirit that in life shall prosper Its informed wit of the savage who Is closer to God then your skin He who dictates to Bacchus that lay The nymph in her chamber of love He who flew with Daphne From his fixed sex of learning To rest beside the light Of all our might and rake The guess of all our success To meet and greet what Overtakes our most profound Footsteps leading to where we Have been as kin of the animal Kingdom. My dear love cause all we know Is by the precept of the human soul.

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Find this true of you Find in the pace of my face That I who excel and once held The ancient tale the poets tell Beautifully in the race of my Dark face of a fine mind Full of grace and grandiose. Find that I have yet to Discover a God as lover Calm in his frame as to make Virgins weep to see him and I Entwined in sex of superior minds. Some make of God who looks like Phoebus in his make full of grace. Some God of wit and virtue. Some God’s merit of character Born to retrieve what is chief Among men who woo with fancied Grace of long lost resemblance held By the glittering crown all proud And struck by a vain chain As to never aid the maid of Black locks like some Medusa Stupefied with stock viewed In the dull, noisy lewd light Of the red light distress. It is the God of poetry who Purifies the world of all its ills It is the combined nature of God And men mind that birth The formal arts set to music Of various tones fresh and Some what terrestrial as to choose Who will come to refuse the poet’s call To honor and duty of pride waiting The wars that rage across nature’s Face yet it is the God of earth That has placed us all here, yes It is God of war who Weep bullets and booms of bombs Busting their load

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Deadly as to kill the descending Notion of human motion stalled In the throat of manly pride And so men, young in their skin Died the death of indignation And who but the poets shall Report, why the dull indignation Why the peeled back skin Of our human kin, why Teach the skill of how to kill. It is misplaced human will of pride That roasts the eyes With flame throwers That cause mothers to morn And moan for youth Who advanced to the killing line And was proudly ravished by death’s Greedy lust. Blame not death for death is not To blame when man’s sanity is measured by His will to kill, to kill, and yet again The blood spilled stains the land. Mortals are sinful in their nature Upon the sphere of earth They kill even the dirt That shepherd silver chariots Across the Aurora flame’s And call blushing virgins To swear the name of God. Who is to blame, who will Show their face to the way when My arms has no Gods to infold To hold with speed of aspiring Earth full of birth and over used Who is the who is to woo the beautiful Endymion, the handsome one

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Beneath the blue moon Who shall held the God’s call Who shall fall as some bloom Faded soon and full of the faith of spring Who teaches the boy to play his wars In the class room of industry. David E. Patton writing has appeared in Mad Blood, The James White Review, Rocky Mountain Arsenal of the Arts, Bay Window, 7, and Guide. His chapbook, Milk Bowl Moon over St. Louis appeared in 2003 from Perisistencia Press. Also an accomplished painter and sculptor, Patton currently resides in his hometown of St. Louis, having spent much of the pass quarter century living in Denver, Boulder, Milwaukee and Boston. His book The Trinity was published by Turkey Buzzard Press in 2008 and his fore coming book will appeared in 2010.

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Talking Loudly to the Empty Air, by Vincent Spada Down the street he went, his hands waving wildly above him Hair all messed and matted Crazed, like a lunatic Shoes falling from his feet Jacket split and frayed and ripped Face with a beard deepest brown Fingernails, full of the dirt Seeing and hearing no one Walking quickly in his direction Going where nobody knows Talking loudly to the empty air

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A Shock of White Hair, by Vincent Spada Look at the carnage and see what is there 1,000,000 bones and a shock of white hair Camps all over but no one to care 2,000,000 bones and a shock of white hair Slaughter and chaos The blood everywhere 3,000,000 bones and a shock of white hair Smell of the gas Ashes in the air 4,000,000 bones and a shock of white hair The piles of ghosts Nothing can compare 5,000,000 bones and a shock of white hair Look at the carnage Go look if you dare 6,000,000 bones and a shock of white hair Vincent Spada is a writer and poet from Methuen, Massachusetts. He has an upcoming book of poetry published in June. He has authored One Under the Sun by Brambleby Books and Said the Kitty to the Cat by Top That! Publishing.

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Opposite of Memory, by David Sprague Handcuffed to a chain of handcuffs chained to a chain-link fence surrounding a spruce, I feel alone. Truth is always the same old lie, various bouquets. Dim the lights, let her sing. Dim the lights, let her sing. * I’m running out of * I’m on a rollercoaster, sitting beside a turkey—worst thanksgiving ever.

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Visiting Spain, by David Sprague The world’s fastest red car brakes hard. Sunset on the rocks…a leaf falls, a light beam tries to be heaven— but photons are not even phantoms, yet alone lifelike wingèd angels. When the atoms said no, the scientists said yes by stabbing the atoms to death… We belong in arms. Lonely man. An invitation to Barcelona but he had to be somewhere else. If he had gone he would’ve seen the matador bow then blow off the head of the bull. Victory for a second, then an encore of boos. (We stare at you.)

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Bird Lady, by Michael Lee Johnson They call her old maid Misty, as in fog, she misses the sun. She runs a small pet store, more for the injured and lame, alone and half the light bulbs have burnt out. In the backroom everything smells of dust and feathers. The cockatoo is cuddly and named Brenda, but has bad toiletry manners. The macaw is well hidden, and fetches a high price on the open market, called Ginger. Misty is surrounded by wired bird cages, jungle noises in unfamiliar places, and sleeps on a portable cot. When parrots or parakeets shout shrills in the night, her eyes squint and flash out in the dark but no one sees it. Squinting is a lonely habit. Misty works alone and is getting old. On a wall, near her cot, hangs a picturebut is it Jesus, or St. Jude Thaddaeus carrying the image of Jesus in his hand or close to his chest, difficult to tell darkness dimmed at night. Misty sometimes sleepwalks at night from small room to the othershe bumps, sometimes trips and falls, her warfarin guarantees bruises. Misty tosses conjectures: “I’m I odd, old school, or just crazy?” Her world is eye droppers, bird feeders, poop in cages, porcelain knickknacks. Love left Misty’s life years ago, when World War II ended and so did her marriage. As she ages everything is measure in milliliters, everything seems short and smallmedications in small dosages day by day. Early in morning a young homeless boy knocks on the store front window desperate for a job, he lies about credentials. Misty desperate for help asks for no references. Today is dim, raining outside, and old maid Misty still misses the sun. Michael Lee Johnson is a poet and freelance writer from Itasca, Illinois. He is heavy influenced by: Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Irving Layton, Leonard Cohen, and Allen Ginsberg. His new poetry chapbook with pictures, titled From Which Place the Morning Rises, and his new photo version of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom are available at: http://stores.lulu.com/promomanusa. The original version of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom, can be found at: http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?isbn=0-595-46091-7. He also has 2 previous chapbooks available at: http://stores.lulu.com/poetryboy. Michael has been published in over 23 countries. He is also editor/publisher of four poetry sites, all open for submission, which can be found at his Web site: http://poetryman.mysite.com.

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Washed Away, by Marcelo Smith Let the ocean wash me away and let me float among the waves drifting ever so slowly out to sea for I am alone with my heart shipwrecked among the splintered rocks it is here I float in silence not a word muttered left alone with my abandoned thoughts for my love is lost somewhere among this world and I deem to find her for where has she gone? I cannot feel her invigorating presence has she fell off the end of this world? traveled into the next ? no....no I will not lay in wait I shall swim the deepest depths and venture treacherous waters across the seven seas to find my love dear god I pray light the sky's and lead my way bring my love back into my heart for if I do not I shall become part of this vast ocean drifting alone a renounced phantom until the day I find thee.

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Approbations 442 —after Vijay Iyer’s Helix, by Felino A. Soriano Of butterfly wings wearing ballet’s hexagonal bouncing holding an eye’s visual afterthought, harboring elegies of dead air’s voiceless harmonies spoken into various hallways, darkened by more than dusk’s virtuous pathways, said to behold more so landscapes of unseen tomorrows delineating sections of altruistic angles.

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Approbations 443 —after Terumasa Hino’s Stella By Starlight, by Felino A. Soriano Exhale from exhale, moment’s surrogate example of beautiful otherness, her weight now weightless wandering with walking eyes beneath acclimated tableaus of city’s vibrant systems serenaded by the unlikely visitors gone toward a history of flashing absence, asking her to repeat syllables cascading cadence of inviting ambiguity.

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Approbations 444 —after Masahiko Togashi’s Sketch 4 Wetland visitation, dissipating purpose pleasing section of an hour’s gradual fatigue. Moths drunken aerial, lavender horizon halo born simplicity sacred in the solitude of an image’s organic composition. Retreating clouds bathing section of sky’s stilled manipulation segregating whispers of unspoken dialogue cataloguing virtue’s necessary leaving. Felino A. Soriano (b. 1974), is a case manager and advocate for developmentally and physically disabled adults. He has authored 29 collections of poetry, including “Construed Implications” (erbaccepress, 2009) and “Delineated Functions of Congregated Constructs” (Calliope Nerve Media, 2010). His poems have appeared at Calliope Nerve, Unlikely 2.0, BlazeVOX, Metazen, Otoliths, and elsewhere. He edits & publishes Counterexample Poetics, an online journal of experimental artistry, and Differentia Press, dedicated to publishing e-chapbooks of experimental poetry. In 2010, he was chosen for the Gertrude Stein "rose" prize for creativity in poetry from Wilderness House Literary Review. Philosophical studies collocated with his connection to classic and avant-garde jazz explains motivation for poetic occurrences. His website explains further: www.felinoasoriano.info.

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Consonance, by Rich Follett for one moment arm in arm, gazing skyward (who knew that stars could actually form a canopy?) for one heartbeat-optional moment bathed in twinkling chastity we lived wholly within each other, you and i – perfect friends, god-given for one resplendent, montane midnight moment we held one breath in two bodies beneath Orion with Philotes smiling down for one unstained moment of divine grace, twin exhaled awe-spirals danced a November paean for one immortal moment (that one was enough) agåpe was ours ‌

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Triage, by Rich Follett today my jubilee begins; half a sentient century – five decades extant, sextant eyes seeking event horizons ... today my jubilee begins; i am surrounded by revelers expecting a speech. certainly a marker is warranted, some shred of sagacity to eulogize youth amidst encroaching nitre and rheum. obligated by longevity; resigned to the impossibility of reprieve; peering inward and steering a poetic course; returning to scylla and charybdis armed with shards of battle-scarred outrage, i steel my newly wizened, hoary spirit for apocalyptic confrontation only to discover a child’s laughter – tintinnabulation from armageddon’s crater. three truths reverberate: i am here, (far longer than i ever thought i would be); i am happy (far more than i ever thought i could be); i am hopeful (a mockery of reason, and yet …). my thoughts now are of daisies in reckless profusion – an ebullient garland of undreamt tomorrows. 22


bereft of appropriate thanks, i giddily chart a course toward home and my well-meaning friends – returning to their jocular gibes and black balloon bouquets with unprecedented equanimity. today my jubilee begins; sagacity will have to wait until the child has finished singing. Rich Follett has recently returned to writing poetry after a thirty-year hiatus. He lives in the sacred and timeless Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where he joyfully teaches English and Theatre Arts for high school students. His poems have appeared in Paraphilia, Calliope Nerve, Sugar Mule, Four Branches Press and Counterexample Poetics, for which he is a Featured Artist. He is the co-author of Responsorials (with Constance Stadler) and the solo collection Silence, Inhabited (Summer 2010 release date) for NeoPoiesis Press. Most recently, his haiku/photo combination Aurora's Adieu received first place honors in the first international iPoetry Poe-Tography Competition.

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Monday Evening, by Alan Britt Maples hiss when a May wind rubs her hips against their thick green leaves. Every bird in the neighborhood: Springs winding, metaphysical pulleys in need of religious oil, melodic rivers flowing past thin reeds, all weightless as Mozart flutes.

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After a Storm, by Alan Britt Green smoke licks the muscular ribs of an algae-covered, split-rail fence. Finches, slashes of white across their foreheads, sharpen their lexicons against the feathery branches of a giant blue spruce. Humidity’s fingertips warm the pulse against my neck. Alan Britt teaches English at Towson University. His recent books are Vegetable Love (2009), Vermilion (2006), Infinite Days (2003), Amnesia Tango (1998) and Bodies of Lightning (1995). Essays recently in Clay Palm Review and Arson. Interviews and poetry recently featured in Steaua (Romania), Latino Stuff Review and Poet’s Market 2000. Other poems in The Bitter Oleander, Christian Science Monitor, Confrontation, English Journal, Epoch, Flint Hills Review, Fox Cry Review, Kansas Quarterly, Magyar Naplo (Hungary), Midwest Quarterly, New Letters, Pacific Review, Puerto del Sol, Queen’s Quarterly (Canada), Sou’wester, Square Lake, plus the anthologies, For Neruda, For Chile (Beacon Press), Fathers: Poems About Fathers (St. Martin’s Press) and La Adelfa Amarga: Seis Poetas Norteamericanos de Hoy (Ediciones El Santo Oficio, Peru) Alan occasionally publishes the international literary journal, Black Moon, from Reisterstown, Maryland, where he lives with his wife, daughter, two Bouviers des Flandres, one Bichon Friese and two formerly feral cats.

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Complex, by Rich Murphy Having ignored or misunderstood the voice behind the couch, Europe’s depressed and defeated streets slouch into the 21st Century. Freud’s poems and paintings, the antidote to corkscrew pedigree, smelled like mirrors or hard work to a middle class population. Claiming its independence from history, America climbed upon the shoulders of Suus Dame and beats its chest. While the cathedral of the baggage-burdened continent wobbles beneath, the feet of Whitman’s bridgeburning ape dance as though on stage. Anthropologists wonder when the world’s improviser will notice his ancestors quaking before his feat. The relic tourist mocks with a jig for ol’ time sake.

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Couched in Modern Art, by Rich Murphy Of all the talk therapy published in 1922, a novel threaded the eye of ancient Greece, while attempting to draw a second Renaissance from a resistant patient. The ink blot dream analysis strung history’s axe handles to Penelope’s fingers to mend the Mind of Europe. Few readers were cured of their wish to die, but two poets’ collection of ancient abracadabras made so inclined stomachs revolt. Depression distracted itself with violence. The state of art nor its tyrants could muster an army. So much for art as medicine! The 20th Century Ithaca of sexual communion remains visible from here, holding the world together for the schizophrenic communities where truth is faith in the reality of process. Upon leaving our father’s house to seek misfortune, we traverse everything not ourselves without a resting place to justify a smile on our mirrors. Rich Murphy's credits include the 2008 Gival Press Poetry Award for his book-length manuscript “Voyeur;” a first book The Apple in the Monkey Tree; chapbooks Great Grandfather, Family Secret by, Hunting and Pecking, and Phoems for Mobile Vices; poems in Rolling Stone, Poetry, Grand Street, Trespass, New Letters, Pank, Segue, Big Bridge, Pemmican, foam:e, and Confrontation; and essays in The International Journal of the Humanities, Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning, Reconfigurations: A Journal for Poetics Poetry / Literature and Culture, Fringe, and Journal of Ecocriticism. Derek Walcott has remarked for the cover of my book Voyeur: “Mr. Murphy is a very careful craftsman in his work, a patient and testing intelligence, one of those writers who knows precisely what he wants his style to achieve. His poetry is quiet but packed, carefully wrought, not surrealistically wild, and its range not limited but deliberately narrow. It takes aim.” Rich lives in Marblehead, MA and teaches writing at VCU.

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Dressing in the Dark, by Howie Good 1 I am a man of no importance, an empty sleeve pinned to a shoulder. 2 Dusk. On my knees in the garden as if praying. While the peonies fluff their ruffled cuffs. 3 It’s there every morning, like a shadow that carefully knocks snow from its boots before coming inside. Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of 19 print and digital poetry chapbooks and a full-length collection, Lovesick, published by Press Americana.

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At the Cemetery, by Clyde L. Borg I always stand there, Sweating, shivering With flowers in hand, A cross of palm, A bed of ribboned branches. I come to respect And for remembrance. Their spirits Invade my soul And fill my thoughts With what used to be.

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Chasing High Noon, by Ernest Williamson III while White I made the verdant earth cower at my wealth my fame was indifferent like muck on the banister of Rockport shoes allusions illusions both were the same in this erratic spinning top this paucity of life slipping and dripping with complaints and love while white I was a tad bit better than reality while Black before and after the birth and death of my soul I went from the disposition around the Ethiopian sundial kissing and being kissed in scarlet lipstick in fervid dank dark dens layered with gaudy diamond and gold plated walls a dream a lie a frustration a word but not a reality until the lead slipped from the lips of tired old reminders cursory looks of day and night. Bio: Ernest Williamson III has published poetry and visual art in over 250 online and print journals. He is a professor at Essex County College and ABD at Seton Hall University. Visit his gallery at http://www.yessy.com/budicegenius/

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In Your House by Jodie Fox I am afraidafraid of the curtain's orange beads dangling from their necks, afraid of the helpless gray carpet, exhausted with defeat, the naked Christmas tree with its desperate tinsel trying to fatten shameful gaps, afraid of the heavy wooden TV, the lack of a fireplace, afraid of how the 4 o'clock sun barges ungratefully into the dusty living room just before you get home. I fear the putrid pea colored couch, your prickly beard your eyes laughing, your mouth, lips, stained yellow teeth, your breath. My head on the bathroom floor, I fear the coolness of pink tiles, so tiny and close together, while your finger sticks callously in my ear, in my warm mouth. I fear the smell of chicken soup polluting the kitchen air, I fear the linger of a silence so loud it keeps me awake nights. I fear footsteps above. I fear to walk, eat, pretend, feign ignorance that I could make myself bloody again. Yes, I am afraid. Afraid of becoming one of your cigarettes. Jodie Fox writes for 2 local magazines in the Bonita Springs/Naples Florida area and have taught English/Literature classes as well.

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Fake It, by Ivan Jenson approach the future with fretful optimism and take tentative leaps and bounds remain true to your fabricated integrity by all means posture spineless against the windbag of change like Mickey Rooney on an MGM mountain top stay forever short snappy yet always in tune

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Trophy Life, by Ivan Jenson if you have survived the abrupt shifts of tone in the figure of other people’s speech and been sucker punched by events which further messed with your already unkept plans and if through all this you have remained only slightly altered and surface wounded then I take my hat full of rain off to you and congratulate

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you on winning the lost cause of being alive Ivan Jenson has enjoyed success publishing his poetry in the US and the UK and he has received recognition for his bold Pop Art. His Absolut Jenson painting was featured in Art News, Art in America, and he has sold several works at Christie's, New York. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Word Riot, Poets and Artists O and S, Zygote in my Coffee, Camroc Press Review, Word Catalyst Magazine, Poetry Super Highway, Alternative Reel Poets Corner, Underground voices magazine, Blazevox, and many others. He now writes novels and poetry in Grand Rapids, Michigan. http://www.ivanjensonartist.com/

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Loneliness Motel, by Michael Keshigian His little hole in the Boston skyline, one window lined with soot facing Fenway Park. In the room overhead, there was a clarinet that stalked Stravinsky’s Three Pieces every evening. During the day it was mostly quiet, the crowd on the sidewalks resembled the spiders in the room, preying with thick overcoats to catch the unsuspecting in a web woven with smog dimly illuminated with the little light that penetrated the building alleys, so dark, he could only shave with a lamp in his face. Every morning at 7:30 A.M., students clamored on the staircase, rushing en route to classes at the universities and colleges around the corner, the clarinet player would flush the toilet then turn on the shower. Once in a while, a bird chirped or tweeted, like a bell chime, so close to his door, for a moment, he believed he had a visitor.

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