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.

Stephanie L. Harper: “Winter Poem”

Winter Poem

Stephanie L. Harper lives and writes in Indianapolis, IN, where she earned her MFA from Butler University. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Night Heron Barks, The Dodge, Crab Creek Review, Resurrection Magazine, and elsewhere.

Jakima Davis: “Talk to the Politician About Tea and Poetry”

Talk to the Politician About Tea and Poetry

I’m a natural reaper
I till the land
My harvest was taken away from me
Trade in my fruits
For the blood of the enemy
Tea and oil
Slaves and politics
The drums will come

I was told to go back
Where I came from
From New York to Africa
This is my land
From the goldmines
To the diamond mines
Pick the cotton and sugarcanes
Cut down the trees

This is where I come from
From the honeybees
To the bridges and mountains
The mothers and fathers
Sisters and brothers
The seas and oceans
Tug at my coat
Coat of Many Colors

Somebody talk to me
Electric love and peace
Haters keep on hating
Crack a grain in the bottle
Tears and fears
Put a grain in my mouth
But I don’t taste anything
This is where I come from

Jakima Davis writes, “I made my debut in 2000. Published three chapbooks and a broadside. I’m working on a haiku manuscript, and expecting a full volume soon. I’ve been published in underground publications. This is my fourth appearance in Big Windows.”


Holly Day: “Attempt”


I had just stepped into the street when I felt myself getting yanked back
thought someone was trying to save me from getting hit by a car but no
the kid I’d been talking to for the past block
was trying to steal my purse. I grabbed the strap
threw my weight into it
tossed the 20-something onto the ice where he almost fell
before running off.
“You shouldn’t be so friendly with strangers,”
my husband said when I joined him on the other side of the street.
“You might get hurt next time.”
When we got home, I ordered a set of knives
all different sizes, to wear around my neck and shove in my pocket
because next time, I’d be the one on the offensive
I’d cut the hell out of the person trying to steal my purse
send them to the hospital
or at least make them easy to identify.
When the knives came in the mail, I practiced how I’d carry them
wore one around my neck for a week just to get the feel of it
practiced drawing it quickly out of its sheath, made stabbing motions
I would be prepared.
After a while, though, I started worrying about the person
who might try to rob me, wondered what would happen
if I accidentally killed them, some kid my son’s age
slit their wrist and let them bleed to death
put out an eye and blinded them for life.
“I just won’t talk to strangers anymore,”
I promised my husband, without mentioning all the knives
I’d been hiding in my purse, wearing as jewelry
slipping into my pockets whenever we left the house.
“I’ll just be super unfriendly, and it won’t be a problem.”

Holly Day’s writing has recently appeared in Analog SF, The Hong Kong Review, and Appalachian Journal, and her hobbies include kicking and screaming at vending machines.

John Dorroh: “Distortion”


I want to know a little something,
why no one understands how the build-up
of wax in an ear clouds what they see in the bottom
of a tea cup

those clumps and frays of wet leaves
mean everything to those who know how
to read. are the instructions not clear? too cryptic?
for the sighted only?

i beg to display what the doctor pulled out
how he laid it on a tiny metal plate
for me to see. There’s the problem, he said.

John Dorroh continues to write poetry about dreams, snippets of conversation, deaths of his dogs, being a nosy neighbor, and other unexplained things that pop into his head. Three of his poems were nominated for Best of the Net. Others have appeared in journals such as Feral, River Heron, Shark Reef, and Selcouth Station.