Mike Lewis-Beck: “Mexican Wedding Cake”

Mexican Wedding Cake

Carlos puts the .45 automatic in the glove box, then waves as he pulls away from the Morelia cathedral in his 1957 Desoto sedan. for the banditos! he says, just married. Dolores of the river sits on his lap, head veil flowing. the rear window plastered “amor de corazon” in lime paint, they drive off to lake Patzcuaro swerving left for the little white fish and their love, as the fireworks castle ignites, and everyone eats hand-machine-peeled oranges.

Watching a play, Miguel reflects, it is watching a play, but not the Cherry Orchard. Chekhov hides the bandits, and the women are old, old maids, or married already. the violence is the purse not the pistol, testaments from a house servant. estates to be protected, land not wives.  peasants starved, but not enough. the manse to be sold, the servants to go, the orchard cut down for development.  

Whack!  whack!  whack!  ax felling cherry trees. who will nurture the land? who serve the tea?


Lorca?  what has he to do with this?  

He wants to speak.

Green. green. green. verde, verde, como te quiero verde. the land must be saved. it is dry, always dry, lost Spanish land, before and after the conquistadores. feed the land, if nothing else feed the land, it must be green.  

My little piece of earth, already it has shade and birds, it carries the green on its shoulders, in high wind and low…


There are no bandits anymore, the brides are for nothing, and the servants have gone. but the earth still wants manure.


Mike Lewis-Beck writes from Iowa City. He has pieces in American Journal of Poetry, Alexandria Quarterly, Apalachee Review, Big Windows Review, Blue Collar Review, Cortland Review, Chariton Review, Guesthouse, Heavy Feather ReviewPure Slushand Wapsipinicon Almanac, among other venues. He has a book of poems, Rural Routes, with Alexandria Quarterly Press.

Jeff Burt: “Farmer’s Market Portola Ave, For My Daughter”

Farmer’s Market Portola Ave, For My Daughter

I walk amid the market’s masked crowd astonished
I could have spent such time in hibernation.
The yellow-jacketed girls swirl
until their jackets touch like a melding of two suns,
the blue-jeaned throngs sand their legs together
as if polishing their knees or like beetles
removing scents from where they’ve been.
Old and young men’s shaved heads shine
in the early sunlight, and a bag of corn,
tassels slightly blackened by summer’s scorch
stand like photographic negatives
to bleached blondes with darkened roots.

I have missed the sight of you,
but in the market am among your people,
the young woman selling dahlias and squash
with a green apron and blue headband,
the flickering eyes of a babe
bobbing in the backpack of her mother
not knowing whether to look or fall asleep,
in the strolling and lolling of women
looking to highlight a day
with a splash of radish
or the dull green of kale
and a small bouquet of blue asters.
And now, I miss your arm, your hand.


Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, and works in mental health. He has contributed to Tar River Poetry Review, Williwaw Journal, Heartwood, and Sheila-na-Gig.

John Rodzvilla: “Port O’Connor”

Port O’Connor

A carpenter shaped the table 
A medium uses to contact the dead. 
Has she ever run her finger over a whorl 
To hear the tree sing its life?

I tried to read about the starfish that dot 
The sky down south, the ones left in tide shifts. 
The ones that crawl over lovers on beaches
In Texas, but small spots prevented
The words from forming,
Always forming,
Always foaming,
Like vinegar on an open cut.

I once tried bleach but it made our limbs too brittle.

It could have been the sun,
Or the sugar in the blood,
Or the sap in the xylem,
Or the toddler screaming in the pool,
Or the swimmers who formed a union 
To combat the entrenched disinterest.

You choose. 
I need to find my eye-patch before this 
Becomes a nightlong battle with a migraine.

Later Orion will skinny dip in the motel pool,
His sword over by the lounge chair. 
I got a little lost looking to find my way back, 
Reading the guide book under the winter sky.

When the clock strikes twelve
It has no arms to hold me.


John Rodzvilla teaches in the Publishing and Writing programs at Emerson College in Boston. His work has recently appeared in Harvard Review, gorseDecomP, and the Alexandria Review.

Rich Ives: Two Pieces of Fiction

The Way a Month Still Cares for a Year

Golden Hairstreak Butterfly

June has someone’s ocean in her closet, but it’s dried out and hangs with her blouses and old homies, the neighborhood just not the same hood anymore. The darkness has settled in but has a great deal of trouble swallowing these days.

June nibbles on chinquapin, oak, one eye on her father, his topside golden yellow with brown outer borders, wider than her mother’s. His short tail makes him angry, his underside pale yellow with a faint inner reddish brown mark like a label for what he does. You’d never guess it from looking at him.

In the forests June selects the leaves for her pale blue eggs, attaches them to the undersides of leaves, often near the tallest branch on the bush. They go unnoticed all winter and open in the spring.

Chinquapin is June’s source of golden nectar and dreams. This life is not something you can do alone.

June used to be afraid of her father, but now she too has touched evil¹ and it is not the terrible thing she feared.  She’s gone deeper than damp clothing. She’s arrived at the gates one life before departure and waited, just waited.

June wants her night back. She’s sleeping in the clouds without a candle. Her angels are softer now, beginning to leave home, which scares her.

¹ found rolled up in a bullet casing beneath an empty armadillo shell shellacked to a nostalgic sepia sheen beginning to flake off 


First You Must Be Erased and Then You Can Walk Slowly Home

Golden Skipper Butterfly

It’s a frightening pleasure to be knocked down by a wave of the sea’s long hand, to find how much not dying feels like love, the male above brilliant light brass-gold with narrow scalloped dark margins, the female mixed brown and tawny-orange below with violet pronounced at the busy lips.

This is how the mind’s other reasoning works. You don’t even have to be there to participate. The happier response often creates a saddened question, vast seas minnowed with insignificant possibilities and unimaginable mortality rates.

Putting things together wrong amused Nicholas. His confidence leaked and got all over things he shouldn’t have questioned. Already I’m not drunk enough to notice something like that. It’s not your story either, is it? (The deep wacked laugh of youth still appears to be random.)

One brooding assignation is enough in the shaded gullies and valley bottoms, the grassy areas near waterways, the pine forest clearings. There were no names then for Nevada, Wyoming, the Dakotas or Nebraska and the lovers dribbled south to New Mexico, Arizona and Northwest Mexico, equally nameless. Nicholas the Name Boy squeaked alone, so softly he barely heard himself.

But Nicholas’ big bright skipper grows active in cloudier weather than most will tolerate, his wave-drawn cutter lifting and lifting, one fluid obstacle after another. The approach is the life, not the conclusion. If only we could never arrive. No one should be able to fly away now, your last wish and the one after still approaching.


Rich Ives has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission, and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation, and photography. He is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander and the 2012 winner of the Thin Air Creative Nonfiction Award. His books include Light from a Small Brown Bird (Bitter Oleander Press–poetry), Sharpen (The Newer York—fiction chapbook), The Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking (What Books—stories), Old Man Walking Home After Dark (Cyberwit–poetry), Dubious Inquiries into Magnificent Inadequacies (Cyberwit–poetry), A Servant’s Map of the Body (Cyberwit—stories), Incomprehensibly Well-adjusted Missing Persons of Interest (Cyberwit—stories), and Tunneling to the Moon (Silenced Press–stories).

Simon Perchik: Five Poems

You cover the mirror that’s facing the man
standing for hours inside a shop window
staring at your eyes  ̶ it’s a hand-to-hand place

sells jars, tubes and side by side, small tins
filled with the daily guarantee there would be
no more loneliness once the glass is shattered

by stomping the one heel kept wet for the sound
each bottle makes with its ship full sail inside
where business is business and you lay down

with sea gulls, close to shore for the cries
from stars on the lookout for someone
to shut off the light, find you in the dark.

When this pen is lifted to your lips it hears
the ink is just beginning to disguise itself as words
that will feed all night from the page pulled closer

and closer  ̶ there’s not enough room to turn back
once they dry the way a heart first learns
how much blood it lost only afterwards

as an endless sadness still pouring from one page
into the other till all that’s  left
has no word for it though it’s a fountain pen

knows all about emptiness, what will stay black
turn cold and from out your hand the wound
from a sheet stretching out for the snow.

And though you left the sheet blank
the police are still investigating it
as some make-shift wall left in place

when the day after tomorrow arrived
all at once  ̶ they’re waiting for the lab
to come up with how the ink

could have been swept away when the words
already had a place to stay and one by one
carried you off on a raft made from paper

with the pen no longer making estimates
how far the edge is, how deep the corners
the silence you finished working on.

And though it has no name this puddle
is full, was fattened on those afternoons
the rain stopped by to hear for itself

how much each splash sounds like the sleeves
as they emptied thread by thread
stripping her arms to the bone  ̶ you grieve

in water that’s kept warm :the dress
must have found room between her whispers
where water becomes water again

has her eyes, sees you’re older
are leaning over the Earth
the way the first rain was already filled

with loneliness, is still struggling to find
the sun  ̶ just one star and for that
you weep forever, constantly wetting your hands

the way this makeshift wishing well was filled
̶ rusted rings and coins to hear her shadow rising
as the arms that was your home for so long.

The rapids flowing through your hand
takes in tow this day-old bread
̶ from the start impatient for the end

is already sliced the way every waterfall
tries to bring its river with it
become the cry in that faint echo

it needs to find the shattered
̶ it’s not a rock you’re holding
though what’s inside the splash

was left out to dry on this round table
as a lone crumb for that ancient necklace
you still glue to a fingertip for later

 ̶ you need bread that’s a year old today
has mold whose shadow stays green
lets you sit where there is no grass

in a chair each night smaller, sure
it hears her when you close your eyes
to put out the light, use the other hand.


Simon Perchik‘s poetry has appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.

William C. Blome: “Untitled”


There was a coyote that had no trouble in the world safely grasping in her teeth the hanging wire on the back of this framed photo, but what she was not able to grasp, of course, was that because her love for Franz Joseph was so great that she forever lugged around his cottony-faced portrait and always propped it close to her as she dozed in daytime hours, nasty folks who wished her harm eventually came to understand they had only to locate this much-scratched picture of the Emperor to know approximately where in their community the coyote was sleeping and dreaming during the late morning and afternoon.


William C. Blome wedges between Baltimore and Washington, DC, and he clutches a master’s degree swiped from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has appeared in PRISM International, Fiction Southeast, Roanoke Review, and The California Quarterly

Martina Reisz Newberry: Two Poems


When they talk about “living in the Now,”
they mean you, Love, with your highland pipes,
smiling a faint smile towards me
while your fingers dance on the surface
of your instrument. Your Now
is palpable; it’s that small gathering of
music dancing in your head, your fingers
finding the dance and joining it there on
the pipe’s clear spine, and the light and shadow
surrounding all of it—the entire Now.



Traffic is backed up for a few blocks
and busses are being rerouted.
All very inconvenient.

It’s the woman
in the middle of the street;
she holds a knife to her
own white throat.
Two cops are reasoning
with her and the lookers
look from all sides of the street.

She wants to be where everything
stops including her life.
She tells the short Latino cop
that she’s out of money,
no place to live,
can’t get even a bit part in
a lousy B movie.

The knife flashes
and the other cop,
the one with the mustache,
puts his hand out—
Give me the knife;
give it here, he says.

Her boyfriend kicked her out,
took back his ex—
they have two kids;
she can’t even get a bit part
in a lousy movie,
can’t get her hair or nails done—
her life is over.

The short Latino cop offers her a smoke—no;
he puts out his arms for a hug—no;
he tilts his head to one side
the way his ex-wife said was cute—no.
The lookers are quiet,
waiting, looking.
The lights change and
change again.

The other cop fingers
his mustache,
shrugs hugely and
walks away.

The woman drops the knife
and follows him.
Don’t turn your fucking
back on me
she shouts. Fuck you!
Don’t walk away from me!

The short cop shakes his head
and begins taking down the barriers.
Lights change. Traffic resumes.


Martina Reisz Newberry’s newest collection, BLUES FOR FRENCH ROAST WITH CHICORY is available from Deerbrook Editions. She is the author of six books. Her work has been widely published in magazines and journals in the U.S. and abroad. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Brian, a Media Creative.

Diane Webster: “Moment Revealed”

Moment Revealed

Moment revealed
by alert cat
slinking through tall grass
laid flat by journey
toward crabapple tree
poked by two woodpeckers
up, down trunk
while resident hummingbird
twitters territorial rights,
and dove flaps a grip
on chain link fence,
flies as old neighbor
bully cat enters gate
for perfect place to poop.


Diane Webster grew up in Eastern Oregon before she moved to Colorado. She enjoys drives in the mountains takes amateur photographs. Writing poetry provides a creative outlet exciting in images and phrases Diane thrives in. Her work has appeared in Old Red Kimono, Home Planet News Online, Salt Hill, and other literary magazines.

Joey Nicoletti: “To Paul Blair”

To Paul Blair


Dear Mr. Blair, 
when you asked me
if I wanted you to sign 
my baseball, bat, 
and your rookie card, 
my spirits were as high
as a moonshot smacked
by Reggie Jackson: Mr. October. 
We conversed as you signed 
everything. You said 
it was almost as great 
to be Mr. October’s teammate
as it was to talk with fans 
“like me,” who treated you
“like family.” I don’t know
how or why I didn’t faint,
but this memory is why 
I want my body to be viewed
with the baseball you signed 
in my cold, stiff hands, before 
I become smoldering ash.


Joey Nicoletti was born in New York City. He works in Buffalo.