John Grey: “I Have No Street Cred”

I Have No Street Cred

I’ve never been held
in a cell overnight.
Guess I didn’t protest enough.
Or spit on the right cops.
Heavy drinking’s never been
my virtue
nor has rampant drug taking.
I haven’t chained myself
to the White House fence
or written a threatening letter
to a politician.
I don’t have a tattoo
on any part of my body.
As for piercings,
nothing jangles when I walk or talk.
I have acted a little crazy
from time to time
but always in the privacy
of my own dwelling.
As I said at the beginning,
I don’t have a rap sheet.
There’s no record of me
in some hell-hole
with a cold cement floor,
a bunk and a toilet in the corner.
Without street credibility,
where am I?
I’m stuck writing romantic poetry.
So cuddle close
and I’ll read some to you.
Then you decide
if I’m to be held overnight.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Homestead Review, Cape Rock, and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Poem, and Spoon River Poetry Review.

Rich H. Kenney, Jr.: “While Moonlight Trims a Fingernail”

While Moonlight Trims a Fingernail

A violin string falls in love with a chin.
A tollbooth wins the lottery. Lightning
rips open night sky sutures. A thimble
eyeballs Excalibur. A porcupine gives
birth to a peach. Two remedies opt for
second opinions. A caboose rescues a
leading lady. A doorknob reads a palm.
A paper clip pictures a sequoia. An alibi
eavesdrops on a song and dance. A yawn
is surrounded by mouse holes. Nightcaps
picket the dawn. Confetti clogs an artery.
A lovesick bowl of cornflakes remembers
a scarecrow. An eyelash tickles a keyhole.
A mustache bathes in eggnog. A French
horn kisses a cloud. A marigold replaces
a Magnum. A volcano sleeps one off and
dreams it is a jar of marmalade. A slice of
cold pie shivers in its blanket of meringue.
Sandpaper reconsiders the hand it is dealt.
A pigsty cures a side of bacon. A mothball
and a timepiece find happiness in a retiree’s
suit coat pocket. A lone wolf contemplates
midnight while moonlight trims a fingernail.


Rich H. Kenney, Jr. is Social Work Program Director and associate professor at Chadron State College in Chadron, NE. A graduate from the University of Texas with a Master’s degree in Social Work, he received a Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Recent publications include articles in Faculty Focus and poetry in Plainsongs.

Steven Hoekstra: “Sestina: In my heart there is a fountain”

Sestina: In my heart there is a fountain

In my heart there is a fountain
a cool spring flowing apart from space and time
whose waters rinse my eyes
and bestow me with the spirit
of some ancient pagan charm
put there to soothe and inspire.

Passively I had hoped she could inspire
the chuckling of a parched fountain
but she lacked the charm
and I could not put in any more time.
There was no spark in her spirit
just a sunken brown set of disappointed eyes.

She fucked up and I shut tight my eyes.
I had to look within to inspire
the guidance of some ancient pagan spirit:
Sobek, Juturna, patrons of the fountain,
eternal ghosts weaving through time,
whose essences dwell within a turquoise charm.

I had meditated upon that soft blue charm
the night before my eyes
opened to a force beyond time
that could eternally inspire
like an ever loving fountain
that heals the raw and wild of spirit.

There is a steadfastness in my spirit
and an ancient essence in this charm
blessed by the heavenly fountain
springing forth through the people’s eyes.
Kind or unkind, glimpses of humanity still inspire
an ineffable bond that flows beyond time.

There will be a time
when I have cleansed this crooked spirit,
once I have spread enough love to inspire
a hopeful, happy charm
shared through friendly words and eyes.
In the face of despair, all will swim in the fountain.

In turn, please let your spirit’s fountain
overflow, with an inspired and merciful eye
shining like a timeless holy charm.


Steven Hoekstra is a proud WCC graduate and employee who currently studies English and Political Science at Eastern Michigan University. He is inspired by a variety of poets, including Emily Dickinson, Arthur Rimbaud, and John Donne. His writing explores themes of transcendence, transformation, unity, and recovery.



Diane M. Laboda: “The Gargoyle on D Street”

The Gargoyle on D Street

Ladies night blossomed out of a need
for camaraderie and a safe place
to unload the week’s fault-finding
by spouses and significant others.
In other words, an Ivy League
bitch session deeper than the violet
walls that surrounded them.

They’d chosen this coffee shop called Gargoyle,
the one that surrounded them with deep
indelible purples, plush amethyst chairs,
mulberry table cloths with fringe. They felt safe
in layers of risqué calm, mildly alcoholic drinks
and the license to burn their mates’ underwear
in an open fire pit in the center of the room.

There would be no solutions here,
but a calm resolve to “stick to guns,” figuratively
and to “speak truth to power.”
Not one of the ladies truly hated her mate.
No one was divorced or even separated.
They knew what they wanted
and what they wanted to keep.

They accepted their privileged lives—
they hadn’t been born in a third world
country, after all. They recognized the clash of wills
for what it was—love ever after.
They didn’t even need reassurance,
they’d chosen their mates wisely. They just needed
a purple, padded wall to pound now and again.

And the mirror of each other.


Diane M. Laboda believes poesy is as essential as breathing. She’s published poetry, short stories, and articles in Crash online literary magazine, Third Wednesday literary journal, Rat’s Ass Review online poetry journal, 3rd place poetry in 2010 and 2011 Current Magazine, WCC’s Washtenaw Voice, The Huron River Review issues 1-15, Blood Orange, The Big Windows Review, and Poetry Club anthologies. She has published two chapbooks, Facing the Mirror and This Poet’s Journey, and is working on her first book-length collection of poetry.