Emily Black: Two Poems

We Feed Dragons to the Moon

Moon dust fuels our love madness.
Breezes etch our bodies until they feel

like sandblasted glass. Our minds give
way to passion that suspends all thoughts

and makes us one. We worship the moon,
our heavenly mother, goddess of our love,

and nurture her with rituals that send
our fearful monsters into her ample arms.



When the music stops, we’ll melt into a seawater
puddle, a puddle of tears. I’ll wear my yellow
galoshes I had when I was five and pretend I’m
a yellow-tailed mermaid.

My open arms are waiting. We’ll spin around
the room, one limber octopus, two bodies that flow
as one in a tango rhythm. Our eyes will lock
together as we follow this gaze.

Neptune leads our dance well, but he forgets I’m
not a true sea-being and he has no power over me.
I am the moon whose golden-yellow chariot lights
the night sky with deep, mysterious reflections.

Emily Black, second woman to graduate in Civil Engineering, University of Florida, enjoyed a long engineering career. She is published in numerous journals. Her first book, “The Lemon Light of Morning,” was published in 2022. Her second book is scheduled for publication in 2023. She wears “Firecracker Red” lipstick.

Thomas Mixon: “Break of Day”

Break of Day

On dark mornings I go walking in the frozen tracks
the trucks I don’t look out for made, gloves askew,
head turned down, eardrums stuffed with sticky

rhymes from skeletal verses, and hoof prints
dirt road petrified, which I ascribe to horses,
which can’t be right, it must be boars, escaped

from rich folks’ hunting grounds, game preserve
across the highway, and the broken fence forbears
its tale, not that I’d listen, as the ledge begins

to crest, and only then do I look up to verify
that I’m alone, to make sure I’m not asked
to console another passerby, that I won’t jump,

I won’t, I haven’t yet and have no plans
to start, and I’m relieved by the diluted sun
paltering with clouds, sprawling landscape

empty of a single soul who wants to sell me
hope, and it’s a joy to turn around and unexplain
myself to scalloped ground, faltering, then falling.

Thomas Mixon has fiction and poetry in Barren MagazineWrath-Bearing TreeRogue Agent, and elsewhere.

Mike Lewis-Beck “Bad Bar in Chicago”

Bad Bar in Chicago

I’m in a bad bar in Chicago but not as bad as your tarot bar. The ranter next to me explained, between bites of bone, that he now understood everything and didn’t need to explain. I said I understood. He left, not themed but he did have a lime windbreaker and I thought of a gimlet. So I ordered a gimlet although then I knew I wanted a Gibson like Chandler. Still I wonder which of your 4 cocktails are your inventions? Which two? Must be Smile cause of the calamus and Corpus cause of the Cherry Herring which broke all over me when I was hit by a biker in Guatemala City in 1967 and I thought it was The End Of The World.
But it only ended the Cherry Herring.

Mike Lewis-Beck writes from Iowa City. He has pieces in American Journal of Poetry, Alexandria Quarterly, Apalachee Review, Aromatica Poetica, Big Windows Review, Birdseed, Blue Collar Review, Columba, Cortland Review, Chariton Review, .He has a book of poems, entitled Rural Routes.

paul Bluestein: “Occasional poetry”

Occasional poetry

Most poems are weekday, workaday prose,
tucked into magazine columns
or stared at by subway riders waiting for their station.
Occasionally though, there is a poem that ascends
to escape the gravity of the ordinary.
Comet-like, it streaks across the horizon of our imagination
to give voice to a life, a loss or a dream.
The poet knows what to say when no one else does
and thus, is often assigned that most intimidating task –
speaking for all of us
when there are no words that seem sufficient.

paul Bluestein is a physician (done practicing) and a blues musician (still practicing). He lives in Connecticut near a beach where he finds quiet time to think about the past, and wonder about the future. In addition to poems and short stories that have appeared in a wide variety of online and print publications, he has had two books of poetry published – TIME PASSAGES in 2020 and FADE TO BLACK in 2021.

Alan Catlin: “The Eggs of My Amnesia”

The Eggs of My Amnesia

are all broken in a dream
scripted by Brueghel night-
mares, dwarf legs scampering
like insects searching for a body,
nude adults of both sexes collared
by black cylinders, discs that
capture filthy rain, the offal that
drips from a putrid sky; a torn
backdrop, partial wall hangings
are composed in mixed media:
cloth tapestry, oil-based portraits
of demon children, underworld
lovers completely deformed, burnt
offerings behind sheer skin curtains,
howling monks, the voices of the
damned trying to remember the pillaged
feast, remnants scattered about this
cluttered studio floor: the empty
flagons, eviscerated bones, skulls
and mirrors, mirrors and skulls.

Alan Catlin has several new books out in the past year including, Exterminating Angels, a full-length book by Kelsay Books channeling Noir and art movies. His How Will the Heart Endure, a labor of love about the life and art of Diane Arbus, was just accepted by Kelsay Books. His long-lost book Altered States, a cross country trip of a United States of the mind will be out in 2023 from Cyberwit.

John Sweet: “like false kings growing fat on the corpses of children”

like false kings growing fat on the corpses of children

a different assassination in a
later century, but
the idea remains the same

history written lightly in pencil
in case the
names need to be changed

one small step in someone else’s
idea of the right direction

you invent a cause, and then
you figure out
who needs to die for it

John Sweet sends greetings from the wastelands of upstate NY. He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis, and in the continuous search for unattainable truths. Recent poetry collections include HEATHEN TONGUE (2018 Kendra Steiner Editions) and A DEAD MAN, EITHER WAY (2020 Kung Fu Treachery Press).

Sharon Scholl: “Change”


Fall comes whistling softly
like one who wants to be felt
but not yet seen. It’s like holding
and holding a door ajar,
hoping the cat will choose in or out.

After long, sweaty months
with night settling in by ten p.m.,
dawn knocking us awake, 
a flash bulb at six a.m.,
the long dusk folds its gray curtain,
shaking out cool morning mist.

Time that held its breath
for days while heat rose in waves
expels it with a sudden wind
that causes windows to fly open,
houses to inhale, cough out mildew.

We shed a season’s lassitude,
gearing up brain and bones
for some slow forward movement.
We are on the verge, perched
between skin and sweaters.


Sharon Scholl is a retired college professor (humanities) who convenes a poetry critique group and volunteers as editor of local literary journals. She serves as her church pianist and maintains a website of original music compositions at www.freeprintmusic.com for small liberal churches. At age 90 she is still active as part of a piano duo. Her poetry chapbooks (Remains, Seasons, Timescape) available via Amazon Books. Individual poems are current in Gyroscope Review and Rockvale Review.


Terry Trowbridge: “Atropos”


When I cut my hair I will bury it
in the stream behind my parents’ house
so that the bog will digest it.
It will lace together the
dreary bacteria and cold peat
and be the anchor for frog eggs
and the hibernating smell of toad holes in the winter.

When I cut my hair I will leave it
under a tall tree so that birds
will weave their nests from it.
Embryos will grow in my wooly warmth.
Later, abandoned to the branches
crows will pick at it, wasps will pack mud
on the balled up clogs, squirrels might tie
them around packages of walnuts.

After I cut it and find a spool,
I might count my hair, one a day,
to find out if I have more hairs on my head than days left to live.
Or I might string them over a loom in a ritual
with some disregard for colours and a need for earthy smells.

Terry Trowbridge’s poems have appeared in The New Quarterly, Carousel, subTerrain, paperplates, The Dalhousie Review, untethered, The Nashwaak Review, Orbis, Snakeskin Poetry, M58, CV2, Brittle Star, Lady Lazarus Experimental Poetry, The American Mathematical Monthly, Canadian Woman Studies, The Mathematical Intelligencer, The Canadian Journal of Family and Youth, The Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, (parenthetical), Borderless Magazine, Fine LInes, and many, many more. His lit crit has appeared in Ariel, Hamilton Arts & Letters, Episteme, Studies in Social Justice, Rampike, and The /t3mz/ Review.