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

David James: “Experiment in Theatre #17”

Experiment in Theatre #17

A man crawls on stage like a snake, slithering army-style,
and stops
mid-stage. From the other side, a woman appears and

crawls while
singing an old favorite Christmas song, “Drummer Boy.”
She props

herself on top of the man’s body lying on stage.
The man
lifts his head and sings “Should auld acquaintance be forgot…”

as the snow
starts to falls on them. They wiggle and try to disengage
their bodies

but are stuck, hers on his, both face down, as they sing louder
with rage.
The man writhes until he turns on the floor, facing the woman

and they see
eye-to-eye. The singing stops. They pause and then kiss with gusto,

as the curtain closes. The audience hums “Jingle Bells” as they leave
on their reindeer.


David James has published three books, six chapbooks, and has had over thirty one-act plays produced. He teaches at Oakland Community College.

Desdemona Moore: “after meeting in the park I & II”

after meeting in the park I & II

how dare you make
me shy like a

schoolgirl afraid of
your response how

dare you take my
hand casual as if

it doesn’t burn as if
I don’t & blood

flows fire & electricity
favors you when you

touch my hand when
your eyes do what they

do oh those eyes w/
the canyon combined

w/cities far away &
the ocean & me


I pull my hair
back in the shower

pull my hair back
& it’s you

a spark at first touch
a clasp & I pull
my wet dripping hair

away from my face

& lift up &

cannot help myself

do you ever write
poems to people do you

still see me in your mind in your mouth in your name

& yes

spring does something wild
& winter unharsh cannot stop

fires that must be quenched
that must dry the water as I

pull my hair back
look up there you

are & I’ve been


Desdemona Moore lives near Grand Coulee Dam and has had work published in a few literary magazines.