Timothy Robbins: “Interior”


I thought he wanted to
shake my hand. And
maybe unknowingly,
desire to touch me
(like contraband in a
luxury liner) hid in the
polite hands-on obligation.

The way he twisted my
fist, I knew he had
mistaken it for a
doorknob. The way he
walked through, I knew
his grip had made me
an unlocked door.

He had a tryst with a
man in that room. Maybe
I would do. Maybe he’d
prefer me.


Timothy Robbins teaches ESL. He has a B.A. in French and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics. He has been a regular contributor to Hanging Loose since 1978. His poems have appeared in Three New Poets, Slant, Main Street Rag, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Off The Coast, and others. His collection Denny’s Arbor Vitae was published in 2017. He lives with his husband of twenty years in Kenosha, Wisconsin, birthplace of Orson Welles. Check out Timothy on YouTube.



Diane Webster: “Potato Harvest”

Potato Harvest

In the field sacks
of exhumed potatoes
line the rows
like tombstones
marking graves
now evicted
of occupants;

A many-handed
sundial of shadows
long in morning stretch,
gone under noon spotlight,
long in afternoon repose,
gone in night’s descent.

Potatoes, cool and smelling
of dirt, awaiting trucks
to haul them away,
to leave the field
to rejuvenate under snow.


Diane Webster grew up in Eastern Oregon before she moved to Colorado. She enjoys drives in the mountains to view all the wildlife and scenery and takes amateur photographs. Her work has appeared in Better Than Starbucks, Eunoia Review, Philadelphia Poets, and other literary magazines.

Howie Good: Five Poems


A day comes when the clouds somehow resemble the fingerprint smudges on touch screens; when what people think they see isn’t actually there; when headstones in the ancient Jewish cemetery have been toppled over or spray painted with swastikas; when the provincial city where Nietzsche grew up disappears into a bomb crater; when newly identified stars are given numbers, and not names; when ocean deities, debt-ridden, detested, abandoned by just about everyone, rummage in dumpsters; when hokey prayers fall back to Earth unanswered, and I say, “Oh fuck, oh fuck,” under my breath, and there’s so much so in sorrow.

Head-First into the Abyss

The appearance of a comet with a fox’s bushy tail induces piss-your-pants-type fear. It supposedly foretells an encounter after dark with a woman lying in a vegetative state. Every day or so someone else falls off a roof or ladder and gets impaled on a length of rebar sticking out of the ground. It’s all part of the new gig economy. Just ask some meth cooks what that means. Why, this very minute, while I wait at the doctor’s for my name to be called, a couple of children on the wall-mounted TV are high-fiving beside a mountain of skulls.

There’s Gonna Be Dust

NPR or Prince plays on the radio. There’s some bad shit going on in there. If I could find the map, I could go home. Where’s the map? Often you have to make things, in order to have or see them. I’ve had a long, circuitous road of weirdness. People would sometimes stop on the road, and I’d sit with them, and we’d have a good cry. Then they’d keep going. So I confused people for many years. I was like a meteor that hit New York and said, “Thank you,” and “I love you,” and “There’s gonna be dust.”

Nota Bene

The great philosopher thinks he sees a rifle aimed at him behind a windowpane. He slices up his hand smashing the glass trying to get at it. White hairs begin to sprout on just one side of his moustache. He sings, yodels, and screams through the night. In the morning he says 24 whores had been cavorting with him in his room. He doesn’t expect this group will ever be assembled again. People keep moving, people keep slowing down. He would like to embrace and kiss everyone in the street, as there’s nothing to do and a lot of time.

Stick Figure Opera

The warning sirens didn’t work. There were only these people shouting for us to run, leave, go home. Seconds after we left, it got dark. Boulders and trees were traveling at 20, 30 miles per hour down the street. I thought, “My God, not again!” Tanks rolled into the park and launched tear gas. The homeless children camping there underwent uneven and unpredictable aging. I’m older now myself, and it’s hard work. Falling asleep is the hardest part. I’ll hear what sounds like a wave dragging away everything, the house, everything, and then, just as suddenly, not hear it anymore.


Howie Good is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize from ThoughtCrime Press. His latest collections are I’m Not a Robot from Tolsun Books and A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel from Analog Submission Press.

Gary Charles Wilkens: “Forest”

green leaf
————–  red dot of legs
———————————–  —scurry

sky tapestry
—————-  –cloud of bats
————————————  –pierce

red petals
————-  –sliver drizzle
———————————  —shake

clod of dirt
————–  —white flecks
——————————–  —crumble



Gary Charles Wilkens’ book, The Red Light Was My Mind, won the 2006
Texas Review Breakthrough Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in The
Texas Review, Moon City Review, Passages North, The Adirondack Review,
James Dickey Review, and Melancholy Hyperbole. He is Associate Professor
of English at Norfolk State University.

Dan A. Cardoza: “My Red Tailed Hawk Revisited”

My Red Tailed Hawk Revisited

I have only glimpsed him
now and again.

The fat dove’s distraction is why he visits my yard.
He worships my bird feeder like an altar.

The prey, in a feathery puff of illusion, is gone.

My Red Tailed Hawk flies like a scythe
through the deepest blue furrows in my backyard.
Anhur airline.

Midday he appears through the crooked branches,
high in the large valley oak that covers half my yard
with nervous summer shade.

He stills, glares down at me, disdaining the
gravity I cling to. He’s done this before.
I imagine he knows gravity is godless,

his dreams filled only of Ra, Anubis, Osiris.
Most of the time, I think him thoughtless,

after all, his skull’s religion is Death & Silence.

With time, the weight of gravity swells,
pressing me smaller.

More frequently I sit in the patio, under the shadows
of clouds. I fend off drowse & dream. Knowing as I become
minuscule, it’s my winged heart he will savor.



Dan A. Cardoza lives in Northern California and is the author of three chapbooks: Nature’s Front Door, Expectation of Stars, and Ghosts in the Cupboard. Partial Credits: Amethyst, Ardent, Better Than Starbucks, California Quarterly, Chaleur Magazine, Entropy, Esthetic Apostle, Foxglove, Frogmore Journal, High Shelf Press, Oddball, Poetry Northwest, The Quail Bell, Skylight 47, Spelk, Unstamatic, and Vita Brevis.


John Sweet: “cage”


rumors of rain all afternoon and so
we hide in the basement or
out in plain sight

in the fields where the poison was
poured for the first 20 years of our lives and
i kiss your wounded heart without

i laugh at the man who
says he’ll save the world

tells me money isn’t what he’s after
which is how i know he’s lying

all dogs roll in shit

all gods demand
unquestioning obedience

watch the wolves take down the child at
the water’s edge and understand
that the sun will still rise tomorrow

believe in the pills until the
morning you don’t wake up

just lie there quietly while the
humor of it all breaks like
waves across your lost and broken



John Sweet sends greetings from the rural wastelands of upstate NY. He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis, and in the continuous search for an unattainable and constantly evolving absolute truth. His latest poetry collections include HEATHEN TONGUE (2017 Kendra Steiner Editions) and BASTARD FAITH (2017 Scars Publications).

Chelsea Sieg: “bryan”


he was one of those cousins i had on facebook
but never really knew
i think i met him a few times when i was a kid.
i think he liked video games.

my mom wouldn’t tell me for months,
didn’t want to tell me.
but finally she mentioned to me
that he died of an overdose
all alone in a bathtub.
alone and blue.

i still had him on facebook.
his page was like my mother,
telling me nothing. like him,
alone and blue. like me,
letting goodbyes wash up
like empty rain. drowning in
sadness that was not my right
to feel.


Chelsea Sieg is a slightly queer, often sarcastic author of poems, interactive fiction games, game reviews, essays, and a whole bunch of other random things. She can be found at http://www.somestrangecircus.com.

Genelle Chaconas: “Catch”


Her baseball, rusty-skinned, moldy, tossed high as the sun, arches towards someone in the dead weeds we can’t see; they break him into a sea of ragged, liquid shadows. The breeze wilts. That silence more hollow than emptiness, that sound like electric insects, forms. Who are you throwing it to, I ask. She doesn’t answer. I watch her chase into the high weeds until I cannot see.



Genelle Chaconas earned their BA in Creative Writing from CSUS (2009), and their MFA in Writing & Poetics from Naropa University (2015). Their first chapbook is Fallout, Saints and Dirty Pictures (little m Press, 2011), and Yet Wave (the Lune, 2017). They serve as head editor of HockSpitSlurp Magazine.


Nora E. Derrington: “Apologies to Zelda”

Apologies to Zelda

My therapist mentions dissociative episodes, and I think immediately of the moments just after I found out about my ex’s affair.
—–I watched from outside myself as I screamed at him, shoving stacks of previously important documents onto the floor. I saw myself as a creature of anger, a furious golem of flame instead of clay. I wanted to hurt him the way my pride—even then, I knew it was just my pride—had been hurt, and I threw a paperweight at his head. It flew wide, the heavy glass ball cracking the drywall three feet away from his left elbow.
—–The watching part of myself recoiled in dread as I picked up our long-haired dachshund mix, Zelda. I held her out at my husband, crying, “You’re breaking her heart!” She didn’t struggle, just tucked her feather-tail under her legs and turned to gaze at me with baleful eyes—and that look brought me back to myself. I managed to swallow my rage long enough to set her gently back down, to feel shame creeping in to douse the flames.
—–Cancer claimed Zelda not long after, before my ex found out I had planned to leave him all along. I will never stop wishing I could take that moment back. “I know, Zelda,” I want to tell her. “I don’t know why I did that, either.”


Nora E. Derrington holds degrees from Boston University and the University of New Mexico, and she currently teaches English at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. Her stories have appeared in Pilgrimage, The Future Fire, and elsewhere, and she reviews fantasy, horror, romance, and science fiction titles for Publishers Weekly.