Joe Albanese: “Calcium Deposit”

Calcium Deposit

simply here, in violent indifference
and crippled focus will these
days fold unto us. even the
masquerade seems staged—where
we collapse beneath, when our
denouement loses its audience.
only with shards of glass under
fingernails can the wherewithal ooze
until watered down for a proof-copied
conversation a lifetime later. so shave
down those taut heartstrings and pop
that blister—don’t worry, its scar forever
renders behind this one-eyed jack’s
sheath. we’re already somewhere else,
waiting for just one to let us bleed out.


Joe Albanese is a writer from New Jersey. His work can be found in publications across the U.S. and in ten other countries. Joe’s novel, Caina (Mockingbird Lane Press), and his novella, Smash and Grab (Books to Go Now), were both published in 2018.

Edward Vidaurre: “Men don’t sit near orchards anymore”

Men don’t sit near orchards anymore

With their knees up and head in between their legs. Men don’t write poems to women anymore, circling the plaza with an entourage of little children laughing and falling in love with love. Men don’t fight bulls anymore, they eat horse meat on fancy china with blood wine. Men don’t serenade lovers anymore, they grow beards and hide their kisses deep in their chins. Men don’t raise children anymore, they’re too busy rolling stones or laying flat on rooftops counting stars long dead. Men don’t sit near orchards anymore, they have become roots with muddy feet and senseless songs.



Edward Vidaurre is the 2018-2019 McAllen, Texas, Poet Laureate and author of five collections of poetry. Ramona & Rumi: Love in the Time of Oligarchy & Unedited Necessary Poems (Hercules Publishing, 2018) is his latest. He Lives in McAllen, TX, with his wife Liliana and daughter Luisa Isabella.

Ari Koontz: “january”


there is no kind of sadness that the ocean can’t fix

i tell myself this
after years of living among tall grasses, years of letting
that sadness build up
and i know if i just leave the house
things will be better.
if i put on my shoes
walk down to where the seagulls nest
_____on old pilings slick with algae
i will remember
how to breathe.

and even if it doesn’t work
i’ll be at the beach
where even the crabs know how
to stay
in motion and how
to stand still
isn’t that what i am trying to understand?

i used to imagine
in the bluster of pacific storms i would bloom
believed my roots belong in clay and sand
not in soil

but sometimes the truth is
i do not feel worthy of forests or floodwaters
sometimes i am just the hull of an abandoned ship
—–tucked away beneath the waves
———-sprouting anemones



Ari Koontz is a queer nonbinary artist based in Bellingham, Washington, with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Western Washington University. In poetry and prose, Ari grapples with identity, truth, and the sheer beauty of the universe, and is particularly fascinated by birds, stars, and other forms of light. Their work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Oyster River Pages, Rowan Glassworks, Wizards In Space Magazine, and Jeopardy Magazine.

Simon Perchik: Five Poems

You feed these birds at night
the way every feather they use
comes from a quarry where the air

darkens with each landing –it’s Tuesday
and you still have not forgotten
their return for seeds, endlessly

weeping for a missing child
a brother, mother though their eyes
are unsure how to close

when listening for a name, a flower
a river –you fill your hand from a bag
as if at the bottom they could hear

an emptiness that is not a night
falling behind step by step on the ground
–how open it was, already grass.


And stubborn yet these wicks
warm the light they need
to blossom as stone

then cling, smell from hair
burning inside, clawing for roots
heated by butterflies

and the afternoons coming together
to the light the fire, be a noon
where there was none before.


You stir this soup as if each finger
is warmed by the breeze
though your eyes close when salt is added

–small stones could bring it to life
overflow with branches, berries, wings
shimmering and far away dissolve

into a sea that has no word
for sitting at a table, naked
waiting for you to turn on the light

wrap your arms around a bowl
that’s empty, a night no longer sure
it’s the rim you’re holding on to

that’s circling a man eating alone
who can’t see, hears only the waves
becoming lips, colder and colder.


This thin sheet has no strength left
spread out as a bed
no longer interested in love

though the edge still folds in
taking hold a frayed promise
pulling it to safety word by word

–look around, what was saved is paper
shrinking into curls and hollows
has a face, a mouth –all in writing

has the silence, the forever
death listens for –what it hears
is the unfolding face up

the way moonlight
has never forgotten your fingers
are constantly unpacking paper

as the frail sound oars make
when bringing back a sea
that was not cared for :this note

all this time forgotten, in a box
half wood, half smoke
as if it once lit up the world.


And though this bottle is empty
it drifts on by as if the grass
puts its trust in the thirst

for sunlight and butterflies
–drop by drop you water this grave
till it smells from salt

then sent off, comes back
night after night as a wave
telling you where, what happened.


Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Osiris Poems, published by boxofchalk, 2017. For more information, including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities,” please visit his website at To view one of his interviews, please follow this link:



Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal: “La Llorona (The Crying Woman)”

La Llorona (The Crying Woman)

Who is that woman
dragging herself
throughout the city
well after midnight?

The closer she gets
the woman is
not what she appears.
She is a shadow.

Her head is a cloud.
Her feet are roots
of a diseased tree;
her hands, gnarled branches.

As she touches you,
she feels like sand,
like sawdust, and her
horse laugh terrifies.

She is not human.
She is all fog
and dew. She weeps and
hollers by the creek.


Born in Mexico, Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal lives in California and works in the mental health field in Los Angeles. His first poetry book, Raw Materials, was published by Pygmy Forest Press. Kendra Steiner Editions out of Austin, Texas, has published 7 of his chapbooks, including his latest offering, Make the Light Mine.


Doug Hoekstra: “Interstate 65 Revisited”

Interstate 65 Revisited

Eating dinner on the veranda
While waiting for Bob Dylan
The server rearranges
Silverware on an empty table
After bringing me a plate of
Fried green tomatoes
She touches my arm lightly
Answering a question as
Smoke from mountain fires
Drifts into the city like
Gauze over the burning sunset
And factories, some
Abandoned. Fade.
On the highway, where
Signs read “no burn zone”
Drought. Of the mind
Creeps in like the haze
Of lost faith.
Lost practice
Misplaced trust, and
Rusted manhole covers
Rattling through
Burnt Orange America


Doug Hoekstra’s short stories, essays, and poems have appeared in numerous literary journals. He has two book-length collections to his name: The Tenth Inning (2015) and Bothering the Coffee Drinkers (2007 Independent Publisher Award finalist), with another one on the way (Unopened, poetry, slated for 2019). As a singer-songwriter, released eight CDS on U.S. and European labels, touring extensively throughout the US and Europe in support.

ayaz daryl nielsen: Eight Poems

beside the highway
leaping into the river
frog who safely crossed


this city’s
harsh night life—
morning sun
nervously probes
gutter and alley


Lonely as a grave is
six feet deep. Maybe
much deeper. Measure
my loneliness at six-and-
a-half and still descending.


just a beer
or three
(and a shot)
and we’re
no longer
guys howling
the Stones’
Beast of Burden


“now that’s gross,”
she states, “zombies
with chicken pox”
thinking to myself,
who’s gonna notice



when being embraces
what a page can bring
white within black
and light within dark
a timelessness beyond
electronic uncertainty


my breakfast table
maple syrup’s sweet-talking
the blueberry pancake


someone I want to know

list of books checked out
by prior library patron
left in a collection of
poems by Bukowski:
A timbered choir: the sabbath poems
No shortage of good days
Fly fishing the seasons in Colorado
Given: new poems
Tao te Ching
Zen living
Betting on the Muse: poems
and stories by Bukowski


ayaz daryl nielsen, veteran and former hospice nurse, lives in Longmont, Colorado, USA. Editor of bear creek haiku (30+ years/145+ issues) with poetry published worldwide (and deeply appreciated), he is online at: bear creek haiku poetry, poems and info

DS Maolalai: “Malahide. Work.”

Malahide. Work.

from outside the office
the view goes away,
and all the way to the ocean.

and the office
with the view
is on top of a shopping mall.
downstairs people buy
white wine,

all exotic things
brought from past the horizon.

and from the window
you can see the planes coming in
with their deliveries
and from outside
hold even more.

there are islands out there
and brewing with potential.

I would like to take you
to any island
and lie down on a beach in summer
and watch the boats coming in
while our hands shift through the warm sand on top
searching underneath
for the cold.


DS Maolalai is a poet from Ireland who has been writing and publishing poetry for almost 10 years. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press, and he has a second collection forthcoming from Turas Press in 2019. He has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize.