Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Matthew Borczon And The Irony Of Call Of Duty, Bars Filled With Ghosts, And Leaving Your Son For War


The young soldiers play

call of duty on their x-box

with the war right outside.

Post deployment

On the first night we were home

all the bars were filled

with the ghosts of every soldier and marine I served with.

Pre Deployment

When my son asked  if I was gonna die

I told him no

only mostly sure.

Matthew Borczon in a poet and navy sailor from Erie, Pa. He has published 6 books of poetry the most recent of which is The smallest coffins are the heaviest by Epic rites press. He works as a practical nurse in Erie, Pa where he lives with his wife, four kids, three cats and two dogs. He publishes widely in the small press.

James Diaz And The Total Dark Encompassing What Kafka Said Until The Last Bomb Of Autumn

Sirens, How I Miss Being The One They're After

I come from a dark so total
light itself is the accident
how air hits the open wound
how the mirror refuses to show you
what you show it
once I put the whole damn town
into that gaping hole
and when it closed
all these refugees
were just trapped inside
my broken body
and when I look a little pinched
pained in my posture
it's all these poor substitutes
looking for a way out

The Arrow's Deepest Kiss

"The weapon of choice made a hole in my heart,
a hole so deep nothing else mattered" -Annie Gallup

in my bones
I lean
toward you
thirsty from
I wear
my heart
all wrong
all these sleepless nights
I see the silver lining
go dark
around my eyes
and every ghost in this room
speaks the language
of another country
I haven't got what it takes
or what I had was taken
from me
I think you know
what I know
that at a certain point
there's no coming back
that's the point we must reach, Kafka said
well, now we're at that dark edge
and lost isn't always as lost as we think
or as lasting.

I Was Never What You Thought I Was

winter wonders how i am keeping
things from her door
i search the aubergine valley
but only orphan socks will
do, when you walk alone
you walk as you were born
this is what i know about dying
i'm better at living, for now-
in the quiet between the last bomb
of autumn, the dial tone
of a friend's voice
and static when the weeping
is all that you remember
of love

James Diaz lives in upstate New York. He is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018) and the founding editor of Anti-Heroin Chic. His work has appeared in HIV Here & Now, Quail Bell Magazine, Ditch, Cheap Pop Lit and Foliate Oak. @diaz_james

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Rus Khomutoff Is Witness To Hither Swarms, Dizzying Hybris, An Echo Drug From A Culvert, And The Blacklist Of Preeminence

3 poems inspired by Ric Carfagna

Vintage ghosts of 
joy and sadness
a saccharine statement
the highest expression of the autopoetic force
the incarnation and withdrawal of a God
declaration of hither swarms
accretion of the torrential becoming
instances emancipated from
all anxieties and frustrations
in the anagogic phase
made dizzy by the hybris
a regular pulsating
metre of recurrence

This is not a method 

O blacklist of preeminence
louder than life itself
countdown sequence
of aired mysterious booms
natural coction
the shadow of a shadow of an
obtainable new order
to bathe in the splendor
of lathe and labyrinth
as momentum grows
that bold and legitimate certainty
of endlessly repeating variations
and recollections that
erect their desire to exist
like a new sensation
articulating lifelong repeal

In this mode and vague notion
of a stay in your placeism
event horizon
a derangement of senses
dragging the echo
from the culvert

from the book of common prayer
eschewing the copula
almost like the pace of a dream
ordered fragments of a 
disordered devotion
a space we can enter
the bareness of time’s passing

My name is Rus Khomutoff and I am a neo surrealist language poet based in Brooklyn,NY. My poetry has appeared in Erbacce, Poetheah, Occulum, X-Peri and Former People Journal. Last year I self published my debut ebook Immaculate Days. I am on twitter @rusdaboss

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Connor Stratman and Fallen Angels, Harvest Seedlings, the Nantucket Light, and The Dander of Morning


Sing, fool, sing to me,
the shadow of the centrifugal
serpent. Angel to angel,
faceless face to form
and space, come with the fire
to swing the sphere into focus.
If in our song, you’ll permit
a field to crumble into weeds,
may the oil burn at midnight
as well as at the bloody sunrise.
By then, our shirts will be dry
and the cities will call to us
in shipless drowning gestures.
They’ll know then the fixtures
were never fixed nor stern.
Your motion is your negative
gorgeous twin vision of night.
For me, the moon unhinges
on the brink of demonic dispute,
something for my six lost sons
to pull towards their barren chests.


The scream is natural. It
panders, pleads
like a seedling at harvest.
Neither life, nor glass

is this, the predictor
of the rod. Now they
swish over and again.

Only the echoes
of fingernails

in the dirt.


Nothing was wrong with the light.
In Nantucket for now, my sense
of humor is now stationed. Window,
sing in a arpeggio of prismatic fury.

Show me, wall, where my limbs extend,
disappear, burn. Thread by thread,
my dead cells crowd every head that
hits the pillow. Radio’s out: asleep.

Soaplessly washed in the dander
of a morning that won’t come, soon.

Connor Stratman lives in Dallas, TX. His books and chapbooks include Some Were Awake (plumberries, 2011), Volcano (2011/2017, Writing Knights), and An Early Scratch (Erbacce, 2010). His work has appeared in journals such as Ditch, Counterexample Poetics, Earl of Plaid, Etcetera, Backlash, Moria, Dead Snakes, and Otoliths. He currently is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Texas at Arlington. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Ryan Quinn Flanagan and Things Made in China, Public Beheadings, Evel Kneivel, and a Couch Cushion Half Moon

George Foreman Grill 

Her aunt has moved in up the street.
And we borrow her George Foreman grill.
The missus swears by it and I just swear.
Not too often, just enough to make my point.
Like drilling for oil and stopping when you find it.
Anything extra is just showmanship.

And the old German across the way 
got drunk and started driving recklessly
and now they’ve deported his mail order bride.
One more thing made in China.
The first time the cops were on him, 
it was for the cameras he had installed 
pointing at his neighbour’s hot tub.

Now his license is suspended 
and he has to tug his own tuba.

What a mess we all get ourselves into.
Burst water mains that never learned to swim.

The last time I went to the zoo
all the animals were drugged.
It was like paying to watch heroin addicts with fur.
A few toppling over like ancient ruins
so the crowds snap a picture. 

Waking themselves up periodically 
and looking around like the many nodders 
on the subway.

People in Large Groups  
Make Me Think of Public  

sound like crying 
by other means.

I carve a half moon into the couch cushion 
and wait for night.

People in large groups 
make me think of public 

It is that kind of uneasiness.

Sitting in parked cars 
waiting for the lines in the street
to do away with themselves.

When I scratch my head 
it feels like excavation.
As though I am that much closer
to water on the brain.

The scalp peels away like stickers.

A large cheer goes up 
from the collection of people
on the other side of 
the wall.

Something must have happened.
I am relieved that I have missed it.

Ironed shirts have always looked 
like demolition sites
to me.

Another roar from the crowd.
The arena is demanding 

Evel Knievel Would Never Be Your Bank Teller 

The New York to London has bedbugs. 
Heathrow wont catch them because they aren’t looking. 
There is a list of Terror suspects like reading out morning roll call. 
As stupid as that sounds. 
That is all they have. 
Though I give them credit for the sexy name. 
The Cobra committee. 
Sounds lethal and immediate and final. 
The truth should never get in the way of a smashing name.
Evel Knievel would never be your bank teller.
Wondering how to better serve you today. 

It is all in the name.

The rest of it 

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, RASPUTIN, Blue Mountain Review, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Laura Carter lives and teaches in Atlanta. Recent chapbooks are out with Dancing Girl Press.


The day I remember leaving
was almost
as lovely
as a mixed-use
no use for
your face
as quiet
as a tall glass of milk,
pure eon,
the world I thought
I loved.
By the time you had
left for the other
side of the world,
I could have measured
a tactile forest
between us.
But there was
nothing left
of your cynic’s synergy
for me to pull
back into
as I moved
ahead with a
tenuous frame
around me.


was once code for poem, as if what the world knows of music could be measured in the interim that the poems provide. I wanted “my” poems to be a singular affair, but I had no proof that this would relieve others of their pain. Once, in a longish sort of dream, a man said that all poems are sugar. I thought of all the poems I know, including the yews and the horses. Sugar? Is there a place for an incorrect poem in the world that might somehow touch what a poem can feel? It’s simple, or so it seems. I guess poems are meant to convey all that is lovely or intense about a person, place, or thing. No verbs allowed. Or are they?


I always began
the world, likeso, likeso,
learning how to sayso, sayso,
keeping my hands
out of the hellmouth.


Yesterday seemed
at least as ornery
for many as when
the first morning
fell away.
No tricks.
No options.


The last time I saw
what the first brother
wanted, there
was a mosquelike
place behind him.
The temple where
only a few
would escape
without risking every-


Laura Carter lives and teaches in Atlanta. Recent chapbooks are out with Dancing Girl Press.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thena Westfall With a Description of Thorns, a Chinese Finger Trap, a Boomerang That Does Not Come Back, and Briny Mosses

Longterm Care

I.                  Body before mind

she tried to make something beautiful of his fragile body
he did not want to see it
instead he rendered a description of thorns, the smell of neglect
he wished upon himself for being weak
for not dying first
refusing a world he can no longer hear
“just leave me alone”

II.               Across the ocean

The paper boat she rode across the Pacific has been taking on water
She bailed it out
to no avail

she can no longer call for help

She musters a smile
It is enough
To keep the angles coming back

III.            Pilot

never believing in angels, she sees them now
their faces float in and out with her name
they lift her heavy bones

when flying, the most common cause of death
is overcorrection 
and now she is trapped,

over correcting
flying, arms pulled in
legs folded like landing gear

she dreams of delicate bones
muscles that respond on command
in sleep she is a bird

IV.             Nirvana

words are so long
cyclone out, a labyrinth he gets lost in
there is a girl next to him, her face a smiling moon
he remembers he has a smile too
it comes over his face like a sunrise

the people here who claim to be his wife, his son
they are disappointed, wanting something,
he tries, but lays a waste

becoming everyone, looking with silence
admiring the kaleidoscope of his name

V.                Going home

she has unwound

the ribbons of her mind puddle at her feet
a Chinese finger trap, a cocoon
a wad of memories

clogs her mouth
words escape like moths
she waits        

for her sister, her aunt, her mother
she puts ribbons in her pockets
to sew together

she makes a paper crane,
her hand crumples a flower
the butterfly has gone

she ends as a worm
in the summer
a discordant tune

she can change it
if we left her in ribbons and went away
she could fix her butterfly into a crane

and wing back to her mother
then there would be rain
and she could find her way home


I watched you fall in love
            with, what we agree, is the best thing in the world
she, a soon to be five year old fire ball,
            sleeps in your arms.
now you know
            how trust feels.
and you are afraid to stay
            to see how it feels to break it.
this is the greatest journey one can take
            it is a boomerang
and we are learning to throw
            if it doesn’t come back we learn
to throw better
            thought there is no sure way to know
if it will come back at all

Death of a Barfly

And here you stand your hand nailed to the bar in an act of crucifixion.
Your head voice ringing so we all can hear the discontent
vibrating in the palm of you hand.
Nail or
not you will find a way to drown it.
For how many can arrive so conflicted without a sorrow that bleeds
behind their eyes, worshiping with the determination of a solider
heavy in borrowed boots,
Wearing the shoes of the dead is enough to weigh anyone to the floor.
Yet somehow your back remains straight against it’s liquid cross.
I offer you something to wet your lips.
You blink back the blood and tender an idea to wash it down with,
making confession, keeping your Hail Mary’s to yourself.


            “Here we are plain. We don’t have much culture.”

Our cultures 
smells of soul:
briny fermenting thick forest mosses
sounds of salt water rain
dripping tarps, damp rubber boots

Bravado backed by a mountain range
prone to operate outside of law and limb,
Humbled treading water sheds

Observe in the fall, worship
within state regulations, The sacrifice
innards spilt, forest fertilized

we bond with knifes and silence
fiercely independent

native  peoples of the pacific northwest

Born in 1903 to an exotic slave owner, Thena West fall started her poetry career in the womb with a pokey stick of death. She witnessed the birth of Jesus Christ, and to this day it is unclear as to if she had anything to do with is crucifiction. She also helped edit the Declaration of Independence, probed Thomas Edison (if you know what I mean), and quite possibility caused the Wall Street Crash. She has a Greek God for a brother and the Antichrist for her daughter. She had 6 other children in her life, all of whom died in an exceedingly tragic coincidental bathtub murder spree the likes of which the Zodiac Killer could never dream of. Her hobbies include: belching the alphabet, stealing Christmas trees from the neighbor's yard, and getting discount steaks from an employee in the back of the Safeway parking lot. She has been known to enjoy a good tire fire. In her life she has traveled to all 12 continents, Mars, and various alternate dimensions. It is also interesting to note that her mind was so far evolved that it had to develop an electrical shock in her face to slow down the evolution process that will eventually blow up the sun. She once owned a camel, a crocodile, and a toy dog that she conducted a circus with and took to the World's Fair. She is fond of alcoholics, sinners, and the lot of humanity who likes to live a little. She is the founder of the cult of the Church of Overindulgence and enjoys watching television shows about the paranormal such as Ghost Adventures, the Xfiles, and Bachelor in Paradise. She once thumb wrestled Sasquatch (and won), became the next Dread Pirate Roberts, drew a dick on Daniel Radcliff's chin, and helped the German's invade Sequim in 2015. If you are a person who enjoys a metaphor for things that are but never were (but are most likely true somewhere at sometime) you will enjoy the works of the fantastical Thena Westfall.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Chani Zwibel At The Abandoned Shrine of Cosmic Punchlines and Saint Catherines Ready For Shadowed Miracles


Holes folded over on the map
 for the pathways back to this abandoned shrine.
Pushing the paper boat back out into the pond,
hoping the November wind won’t bring it around again. 
The weight of sadness always dwells like a specter,
 like a little black shadow crouching in the basement.
 A cat down there should catch this mouse.
 Thoughts having a drunken party in my head won’t shut up.
They’re talking and walking Pomeranians
 and shouting randomly
even though it’s rainy and dark
 and like 10:30 at night.
 “Go home, drunks!”
 I want to scream but never do.
Why I came down to the basement in the first place:
 to use the Pittsburgh Potty in the back corner,
 and try to calm the inner vision sensing these ghosts.
One memory of panic
 will rip through the tranquility
of a cold fall’s morning sleep.
I want the back yard,
the tangled jagger bushes
 all the way up the hill.
Give me the mythic long hall in the forest.
I shall suffer no more these fools. 
The children of the forest honor the domain of the crone.
 You can find many deer in cemeteries
and sometimes antlers they’ve dropped. 
There’s many old home plots up on these hills,
full of leaning marble slabs,
etched names rubbed smooth
by centuries of wind and rain.
In the end, none of our hurt feelings matter.
 None of our attachments matter.
The love we share with others,
 families and lovers and friends and dreams and wishes
all have been hooks to tether us to this ball of dirt.
When asked why prayers for peace on earth
have not been answered by God, I think:
maybe this whole time they've just been praying for pieces on earth.
Or peace on earth does exist,
but we are too wrapped up in our attachments to accept it
I can’t always find peace within my own heart,
let alone the heart of the world. 
Guess that’s the trick of it,
the punchline of the cosmic joke:
Peace in my heart is
peace in your heart
 and peace in the world’s heart.


 Shadows creeping up the wall,
 Shadows sneaking into
 your conversations.
Pierced and rolled
on a wheel of spikes,
Saint Catherines,
we bleed.
Rain soaks the scorched
 soil of a forest razed. 
Voices say “believe”.
Other voices say “lie”.
It is all the same.
 So are you and me. 
Horses graze in the high
 mountain meadows.
 Grief sits heavy,
a gruesome gargoyle
carved in stone
 on the parapet of my heart.
 Everyone you’ve ever
 known or loved
 will sleep in the dust,
as will you.
 These few mad,
frenzied years,
 a moment only. 
Breathe in.
Don’t watch the shadows. 


Big bundle of love,
 Student Loan Debt,
 you are our BABY!
Some of our friends
 never went to college.
They got married
 (or didn’t get married)
And had BABIES!
But we went
and got some English Degrees.
They cost a lot of MONEY!

Chani Zwibel is a graduate of Agnes Scott College, a poet, wife and dog-mom who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but now dwells in Marietta, Georgia. She enjoys writing poetry after nature walks and daydreaming.  

Sanjeev Sethi Speaks of Anhedonia While Universe Treading And Wool-Gatherering At Caravans


It takes years
to locate words 
that represent us.
Sample it:
This stemmed 
in abstemiousness
of feelers
at pupilage.

Those with
are fortunate.
There is little
to fret about
when sentience 
is silenced.


In the warmth of wainscot I reach where Erato
and her avatars rev me to. Be my farrier. Let
me and my playmates in word leap. Mansuetude
of memory sires a smile. Memos from outturn 
in emotional ventures enhearten me to hum.
You debauched my bitty coop with images
of bad faith. We relit other registers. Floret
of fidelity chose not to charm my boutonniere.



Accumbent, our favorite pose: while my palm
strived to cover your contours: it seemed I was
treading the universe. Your quirky postures
marginalized my moves, magnifying the distance.
I had to alter ploys. These many years later my
bibelot: was that innocence or artifice?


Don’t accuse me of being a lexical brainiac. Words
aren’t your ally, the footlights are. Without sennet or
tucket you exited. Hushed partings too create havoc.
Peccavi is hard. One can’t jaculate the fescue.

Decree Nisi 

Graced by a clump of guisards
with an arietta as earworm, I
am a cambist on a caravan. So
I wish to believe while wool-
gathering. The truth: I have
divorced my body. I live in it
but we aren’t compatible. I
have accepted the differences.

Sanjeev Sethi is the author of three books of poetry. His most recent collection is This Summer and That Summer (Bloomsbury, 2015). A Best of the Net 2017 nominee, his poems are in venues around the world: The Stray Branch, Ann Arbor Review, Empty Mirror, First Literary Review-East, Right Hand Pointing, Grey Sparrow Journal, The Synesthesia Anthology: 2013-2017, Rasputin: A Poetry Thread Anthology,  
Scarlet Leaf Review, London Grip, Peeking Cat Anthology 2017, Communicators League,  and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.  

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Paul Koniecki Delves Into the Miraculum and the Japanese Forest as the Typewriter Keys Open the Jarmusch Scene

harry dean stanton says i 
can remember him anyway i want

my maternal grandfather's
given name was jerome

but everyone called him harry
grandma ann sang i want that man

i cant answer for the dean part or
anything beyond my own bad choices

but if you knew ann then you'd have
seen he never stood a chance

it's an understatement
to say that i am jealous

of the painters and the actors
and the sculptors self-evidently

covered in each day's miraculum
knowing i'd give anything

for a studio of my own
to have something to come out from

i even put on a bowler
and an eye patch before

i sat down just now only to find
nothing helps this poem


witness to the spectacle 
of fearsome acts 

tonight came in one
door and out the
next you said the
moon is a rock

in the sky i
keep hearing her call
to me the heart
is a japanese forest

of echoes gathering encircled
so loosely it holds
when the enemy is
all that they want

of you next they
tried killing us by
double knots untied
doubt and rope nightmares

where their pillory has
grown up beyond our
means to contain it
murder of ravens unkindness

of doves they have
ordered me to stay
i tried to imagine
kind birds softly floating

over a black-sand beach
as hard work dropped
three honest hammers in
the long grass behind

the barn and you
sing to me of
riding over a green
field by horseback or

levitation fog crowned mountains
on either side
sending a little holiday
joy your way sticks

clubs righteous blessed mean
right hands friends ready
for the fight and
honest enemies watching our

great great grand-dad
reading a thirty-five
hour poem standing on a
shoebox where corners

meet is the strongest
place this is how
the word promissory will
die in the future

making our own shoes
tables plates abomunists coming
later sailing up through
new orleans i burn

the shape of your
lips into light the
thing about silence
is the end

rolling hunter/killers dodging
the tectonic percussion of
plate shift and toothpaste
accusation a distant memory

of enamel the oculist's
revolt eye-teeth and broken
shards of art glued
to a squat wall

the movie 'children of
men' saved on your
phone we dyed our
hair cherry kool-aid pink

long soft hours short
hard days i need
more black of night
with you we echolocate

for water and love
my fingerprints draw the
shape of your lips
into light the thing

about silence is the
end so they will
know we were earthlingers
i read from grandma's

big no big country
big enough book of
socialist recipes for the
hard trip west california-

pennsylvania' so they will
know we were collateral
nov '39  july '71
shred feelings tamp blues

and ownership papers into
a cup hot water
for tea steep paper
drink ink boiling like

steam goes up like
tears in your eyes
come down when
they approach for your

lands or your squat
break the service raise
shards to bloody lips
porcelain patent leather high

heeled boot confusion smooth
reshape ceramic melt arrowheads
and fire accordingly gentility
and full sentences lost

to time to too
many moves batteries tred
worn tires water gambles
lost survival prima prima

prima the shadows swallow
everything parallel lines never
meet to make a
circle you have to

bend to love or
hate hungry is a
god thirsty is a
devil oxygen and comfort

a mother and a
child the thing about
silence is the end
in one door and

out i love you
i love you prima
prima prima survival survival
is always the thing


i feel bad for time
to never have an

the floodlight on the porch
is a motion detector
i crash

at this girl's place black
black hair variant variant
skin raspberry

lips amy wine house around
the eyes wonder woman
around her

lasso-intellect india pale ale
in my mouth jim
jarmusch movie

in the air every time
she pulls me down
again with

her golden rope with her
fine body and her
mean hands

the flood light on the
porch goes off angels
lose their

wings i see your face
i see your face
your face

the scene opens with the
sound of typewriter keys
being pressed

i don't think they are
real typewriter keys being
pressed i

think it is an app
there are five pink
roses on

the card table in a
chipped mint vase those
are real

she wipes my chin with
her forefinger the spoon
is cold

lifting another scoop of butter
pecan to my lips
i freeze

the scene opens on piles
of rock i don't
think the

sound of typewriter keys being
pressed is an application
inside she

wipes my chin with her
forefinger the spoon is
cold lifting

another scoop of butter pecan
to my lips i
freeze the

flood light on the porch
goes off angels lose
their wings

i see your face my
clock is a clock
my hands

are clock hands the ticking
seconds are dogs held
back by

strangers in the dark we
made a tent god told
me to

sing to the rattlesnake as
i held it in
my arms

and felt the snake's head
turn and it's eyes
were god's

eyes and it came for
me and i died
like a

soufflé in the oven with
the door open too
fast letting

all the flies in there
was a class explaining
it all

bow ties and cummerbunds we
couldn't afford cake anyway
boris karloff's

final words were walter pidgeon
the floor shook like
a conductor's

baton drawn and quartered is
a rough go pessimism
isn't creation

and it isn't wisdom when
the rain falls there
is water

and there is gravity i
misunderstand the starting place
green is

happy it isn't gray gray
doesn't know stone can
be beautiful

the valley is a huff
the horses come over
the hill

and the hill shakes like
a lost patch i
don't see

any dogs i hear the
drums plug in the
mic plug

in the mic bring me
everyone bring me every
every one

Based in Dallas, Paul Koniecki's latest books of poetry are, "After Working Hours" from NightBallet Press and "Reject Convention" by KleftJaw Press. His poems appeared in the Richard Bailey directed movie, "One of the Rough" AVFF Cannes at the Berlin Experimental Film Festival in December of 2016. Together Paul and his wife Reverie Evolving facilitate poetry workshops, readings, retreats, and non-traditional publishing in the Dallas area and beyond.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Tara Lynn Hawk Up the River of Babylon With the Ghost of Modigliani Like a Pilfered Cadaver by the Felled Golden Spruce

On Viewing The Liffey At Midnight With The Ghost Of Modigliani 

If only he would push her in 
Filthy water always runs 
And it’s going, it’s going  
it’s gone 
Oh yes he knew 
how to paint them 
All blue and black 

Discordant Adagio 

I am a bit overwhelmed with suicide bombers and harp seals  
clubbed and dog meat eating festivals and women stoned to  
death for falling in love with the “wrong” man with homeless  
veterans….or homeless anyone for that matter, kittens taped  
into a box and thrown on the side of the road my family thinks 
 me a nut with my 
hippie clothes and  
library of beat poets 
At least I am not that woman who locked her kids in the trunk  
of her car so she could go shopping 

The Not Bright Future (Currently On Hold) 

They will not admit us so we remain abandoned  
and unclaimed 
We’ll go ask the Church of Saint  
John Coltrane to take us to the river 
of Babylon once removed or some other river or stream we don’t care 
Campfires to dance around in a mummified haze of indifference 
Spines tingling, nail beds raw 
Yes we will fit in 
We have to  

Overworked Medical Examiner's Assistant 

We are always shorthanded here in this 
cold, dated building of tile and  
sterile stainless 
Made for function not visual harmony 
Daily I see the unnecessary cruelties inflicted by one being onto another 
Often for no reason at all 
than the a rumpled twenty  
The so-called “natural” deaths much fewer 
I  photograph mottled bruises and gaping wounds and pilfer  
the blood from the cadavers 
Not so meticulous tissue sectioning and the spending 
of much time moving my work around, in and out and  
around the fridge where some  
unwanted bones stay for years 
From the long window I see the park outside 
Birdsong permeates these walls as formaldehyde 
does my violent, intimate tasks 
Life goes on amongst all these mortal cells in  
slow decay  
Last fall they cut the tall golden spruce down 
Diseased, they said 
Dead trees felled, dead  
bodies incised 

Tara Lynn Hawk is a poet and writer whose work has appeared in Occulum, Uut, Spelk, Spilling Cocoa, Ant-Heroin Chic, Social Justice Poetry, etc.  Forthcoming In Idle Ink and Midnight Lane.  Her first chapbook, The Dead, is available on Smashwords.  "taralynnhawk.com