photography by Karen de la Bald

poetry by Meredith Weiers

fiction by Jen Knox

photography by Helene Fjell

poetry by Bill Yarrow

fiction by Nicolette Wong

poetry by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

poetry by Lucinda Beeman

photography by Ana Moreno

poetry by Al Ortolani

poetry by Tony Brewer

poetry by Byron Matthews

photo by Quervel Sébastien

poetry by Jennifer Wineke

poetry by Jessica Bell

photography by Beatrice Belguiral

poetry by Laura Grafham

poetry by David Tomaloff

photography by Kirsten Thormann

poetry by Rachel Mangini

poetry by Barry Spacks

photography by Marco Masciovecchio

poetry by Brad P. Olson
photography by Shlomi Kramer

poetry by John Tustin

poetry by Ally Malinenko

photography by Alessio Di Menna

memoir by Maureen Eppstein

photography by Max Malatesta

poetry by Sara Basrai

poetry by Jennifer Blair

phototography by Penny Hardie
fiction by Danny Goodman

poetry by Amanda Laughtland

photography by Annie Atkins

poetry by Darryl Price

poetry by Andrea Spofford

poetry by Susan Keiser

photography by Laurent Miaille

poetry by Emily Severance

poetry by Heather Abner

photography by Netra Nei

poetry by Tina Barry

poetry by Howie Good

photography by Karen de la Bald

fiction by Jack Swenson
review by Sheldon Lee Compton
fiction by xTx

poetry by Randi Beck

fiction by Robert Wexelblatt

photo by Stefan Randholm

poetry by Heath Corlew

About the Cover

Karen de la Bald photographed this cottage on the moors of Yorkshire, England.  Her photo In The Graveyard also appears in this issue.  See more of her artwork and photography here.
Between Us
by Meredith Weiers

Between us
there is             where
            should not be

Meredith Weiers graduated from Carnegie Mellon University and currently lives in southern Maryland. This is her first publication.
by Jen Knox

Her hair was high and stiff, her body small and slight, and she wore press-on nails that made her helpless to an itch.  She could still pile lies then like neat blocks, hide behind them without regret.  The shade could dissolve her shadow but when nights grew longer, colder, she’d wake shivering.  It was twenty years ago, rubbing her hands, urging blood into numb fingertips, that I realized it was up to me to keep her warm. 

Jen Knox earned her MFA from Bennington's Writing Seminars. She works as a creative writing professor at San Antonio College. Jen is the author of Musical Chairs and To Begin Again. Some of her short stories and essays have been published or are forthcoming in Annalemma Magazine, Bananafish, Bartleby Snopes, Eclectic Flash, Flashquake, Foundling Review, The Houston Literary Journal, Metazen, Midwest Literary Magazine, Narrative Magazine, Short Story America, Slow Trains, SLAB, Superstition Review and elsewhere.  Visit her website
Helene Fjell:
Two Photographs

After the Fire 5                                                                                       photo by Helene Fjell
Harmony                                                                                                                                          photo by Helene Fjell

Helene Fjell: "Life itself is a project that contains a lot of wonders and mysteries I know nothing about. My main goal is to reach the place where I can feel totally safe and at home in my soul. But on my way I wish to be open for the small moments and the misunderstandings that push me over the edge. In every corner of my way there may be someone or something I can learn from.  So I try to stop, as often that I can, and take that with me."

Helene Fjell is a freelance photographer and photo artist living in Oslo, Norway. Educated in press photography, she now works mostly with Fine Art photograhpy and personal projects. She also makes drawings and is exploring graphic techniques including silkskreen, photopolymer and lithography.  Visit her website.
Gabrielle In Arrears
by Bill  Yarrow

It’s 10:46 in Shreveport on New Year’s Eve.
You’re rushing to the Ramada ballroom
for an evening of kisses, hors d’oeuvres,
and darkened drinks. Someone honks.
Unnerved, you swerve to the right, side-
swipe a Buick, slide back across the lane,
flip into a ditch. Doctor Claussen warned you
more than once about the consequences of
being distracted. Well, it’s too late to resuscitate
advice now. You should be calling 911, waving
at headlights, flagging down trucks, pulling
your bleeding husband from the car. Instead,
you’re just staring at your hands, as if, somehow,
they were imperious tools capable of magic.

Bill Yarrow is the author of WRENCH (erbacce-press, 2009) and "Wound Jewelry" (new aesthetic, 2010). His poems have recently appeared in Ramshackle Review, Istanbul Literary Review, Used Furniture Review, THIS Literary Magazine, BLIP, PANK, DIAGRAM, Negative Suck, Now Culture, Right Hand Pointing, Whale Sound, and Metazen. He lives in Illinois.
The Statue
by Nicolette Wong

We have arrived at a shaft of blindness. In the backyard where the birds split and sing, in a thousand directions, against the chalkboard of a dark sky. When the wind burns and embers fall, you reach for the nylon strings to stop my silence.

Tie me up and leave me here, you say. The stone will grow and lose its color in the sun.

No one would see the hanging statue as it fades. Only the scars around your wrists would drift, dark waves of music circling the air. Houses of love; houses of hatred; houses of icicles melting in places you have never belonged.

I tie the knots around your hands. This is how we let it die.

Nicolette Wong is a fiction writer from Hong Kong. Her writing finds its way around the world and she blogs at Meditations in an Emergency. She is in the editorial teams of Negative Suck and Dark Chaos.
Perhaps A Second Sun
by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

There was no poetry today.
I had dog-eared pages in Autumn Journal
to read to you but you chose wine.
You insisted on telling me its aroma – lemon and berries.
I asked: If you don't have the words,
can you smell the scents?

I take note of your wise words:
the small liquor details one learnt
must not be rote-memorised and departed as eternal,
universal truths.

Still, remember:
This will all pass, like alcohol eventually evaporates.
You are not that good; you aren't that romantic.
You stole my ripped stockings for souvenirs.
Your bed sheet, every time, is the same blue.

…. You are now the only proper noun I care.

Morally speaking, one woman's boyfriend
can only be another's nobody. And so I've now returned
to my own home after an afternoon
in your cocoon-shaped room.

When staring at my bookshelves,
I know: my books and yours, with or without inscriptions,
will not bookend together, will never form a conversation.

The rain outside was peanut-heavy and bright.
We heard it, didn't we, this afternoon? Splashing on the ground.
We weren't imagining. How absurd, I thought
every time there must be a weather event.
Perhaps a second sun will appear in the sky,
if I go to your place again. I can better see your face,
flustered between my stiffened knees.


Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong-born writer currently based in London, UK. She is a founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. More at www.sighming.com.
Your Ironic Haircuts
by Lucinda Beeman

All my bad men
belong to each other.

My friends light cigarettes
at the windowsill, say

Not Him Again, but I am curious
mostly as to whether you would ride

your bike to me through the rain-
I want to towel you off after. He would

never, not unless I offered to buy him
breakfast and blue eye shadow. Anyway

I like those awful words in ink across
your chest. It was nice and sort of

sexy when you wondered aloud if I wanted
to hit you on the elevator and

in answer I did, hard.  That short
sharp sound, your smile. My love you are

nothing if not a good kitten. But he
is a better kitten, blue eyed, and

darling you’re never going to want
me the way he did, or even as much

as you ache for Daisy Buchanan but
that’s okay- I’m happy to call you

Jay if you can manage to make me
die in my way, twice. I’m won’t

to root against you. I also won’t
believe a word you say. 

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Lucinda Beeman is currently an undergraduate at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She studies Literature and Publishing.

photography by Ana Moreno

Barricada                                                                                                                                      photo by Ana Moreno

Formed in 1982 in the Txantrea Pamplona neighborhood of Navarra, Spain, Barricada has played over 1000 concerts and become one of the biggest rock and roll bands in Spanish territory.  The band is: Alfredo Piedrafita (guitar), Ibi Sagarna (drums), Fco. Javier Hernández "Boni" (guitar and vocals) and Enrique Villareal "the Drug" (bass and vocals).  See more of photographer Ana Moreno's work on her blog and flickr.

Al Ortolani:
Two Poems

The Gift

The old man had this car jacked up in the back yard.
I have no idea where he got it, maybe payment
For some black market job with Uncle Frank.
It was a 1935 Dodge without wheels. One day
Out of nowhere he gave it to me.
He said do whatever.
I couldn’t believe my luck,
So I bought some jet-black paint and brushed it
Carefully under the trees. You really had to look
To see the marks. Then I went down to the junkyard
And worked out a deal with Tommy. I lugged home four wheels
And four bald white walls.
One morning the old man
Took a look at what I’d done, and decided that he
Needed the car after all.
So that was that.  But sometimes in the afternoon
When he was asleep after the nightshift,
Mom would help me push it
Out of the driveway into the street. Before supper,
She would follow me back in with a rake, smoothing the gravel
Over the tire tracks. 

Performing the High Wire

Before Easter a teacher sent you to the office
where the lady from the Children’s Fund
presented you with a brown package of clothes.

Walking back to the classroom, you hid
the embarrassment of carrying your
New Start in a meat wrapper. You learned early
that a joke at your own expense

put you in command of effacement. As class clown
you assumed a persona, the package like a chair
on the tip of your nose, tight roping an imaginary high wire
to your desk. You swayed above the eyes
of your classmates, teetering

like nothing mattered but the circus.

Al Ortolani is a secondary English teacher in the Kansas City area. His poetry has appeared in the New York Quarterly, The Laurel Review, The Midwest Quarterly, The English Journal and others. His next volume of poetry, Finding the Edge, is due for publication from Woodley Press at Washburn University this spring. Presently, he is a co-editor for The Little Balkans Review, a small regional journal in southeast Kansas.
Tony Brewer:
Three Poems

The Cremation of Voices

You’ll wish you had it all back, they say.
But wishing is for wells.
I had a fireplace, and I
reached in and yanked open
the coughing sooty flue.

Men have a history of building big dumb fires.
Driving everyone away from the warmth with heat.
Setting a forest on fire to rebirth it.
Burning Man. Or Hiroshima.

I made mine small, out of history
gone cold: heart-dotted i’s
and decadent initial caps in folded
grade school correspondence,
postcards dense with longing posed as brevity,
hate speeches, Dear Johns.
Birthday cards signed Dad
beneath where Mom had written love.

The taste of blue-tip sulfur behind
my two front teeth washed
down with wine.

The pyre caught and rushed
up the chimney of itself to escape
a box of me I would never see again.

Voices plumed into January stratosphere.
Cinders liberated from storage units of memory.
Attics of denial echoing
like an empty cathedral collapsing.
It’s a miracle no one was hurt.
A shame no one was inside.

The Things That Stick

Dad sits across from me.
His bruised hands hesitate.

Before the tremors
his fingers manipulated pocketknives
and chewing gum wrappers
and drywall tape and mud.

We are waiting for ribs
as he prepares a syringe and insulin.
Rolls the bottle between his hands to warm it
clicking against his wedding band.
He plunges the needle into his stomach.
Quick and practiced like a sniper
assembling a rifle blindfolded.
I was the only one who saw.

It is bearable because he remains
calm as it happens.
We even laugh at how frail he has become.

I don’t have to try anymore
to make my voice sound like his
when he says you just plain fall
apart when you get old.

The silence after the laughter dies
is broken by our waitress carrying platters.
The meat so tender
it slides right off the bones.

Whatever else happens
is happening to us all the time.

Wine Country

A hundred miles on snake-colored roads
clogged with black socks and sandals
trout print Hawaiian shirts
trophy wives riding shotgun
convertibles fast for no guard rail
life by the sip with cracker
palette cleansing chasers.

I was a tourist passing through her
spilling my guts in gravel parking lots
about how my ex-wife done me wrong.
Worrying a buzz down to drivable.
Vultures pin-wheeled in a cloudless sky.

An entire ecosystem devoted to giving
a little taste to entice then off
down sinuous curves of savannah
freckled with Mexicans
bent toward irrigated earth.

We developed a language for enjoying
something more than it deserves:
Take a swig but don’t swallow.
Suck it through purpling teeth.
Swirl it around like Listerine.

Then tilt the head toward rustic
hand-hewn tasting room beams
and pronounce Ah, Tuscany
certain we would never make it there.

Tony Brewer is a poet and sound effects artist from Bloomington, Indiana. He has work forthcoming in Plain Spoke and the anthology And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana (Indiana Historical Society Press). His first book of poems is The Great American Scapegoat (2006); his latest chapbook is Little Glove in a Big Hand (Plan B Press, 2010); and he is one-quarter of the performance ensemble Reservoir Dogwoods. More at www.IndianaPoetryTour.com.
Motel Row
by Byron Matthews

Check in, never check out!
No laugh's too cheap
for roaches, none
too darkly bought

For any but an eye that looks
out that cabin at the end,
peers through a slit
in humor's shade. 

My father fought unpacific isles,
mustered lucky home intact,
but even so could not evade
a last indecency

Of chance, a stray decree: Go
swaddled into deepening night,
dark slump descend to suckling

Defilement disallowed a pet
who fails her perch, lost his wheel,
foul slow burlesque, exits nailed,
piano falling out of tune,
of dignity, of grace.

Where were the heroes striding
from the seats to cry Enough?
Voices mislaid? Forgot, again,
to bring our pillows? A foot to kick
a plug out of its socket?

In the dead floral air in this
last dim room,
truth clicks like a hammer
pulling back, clear
as vodka shimmered over ice:

I toast the inn at the edge of light,
mini-bar, spa tub, amenities galore,
and reliable, ready, oily bright,
your valet there
in the right-hand drawer.

Byron Matthews left Iowa for graduate school in North Carolina, later gave up a tenured faculty position in Maryland to make furniture for ten years in Santa Fe. He lives now in the mountains east of Albuquerque with his wife, a cellist.
photography by Quervel Sébastien

Famille                                                             photo by Quervel Sébastien

Quervel Sébastien is an experimental photographer from Normandy, France. For more of his work, visit his deviantart and flickr
Jennifer Wineke:
Three Poems

how to eat a grapefruit

in the passenger seat sitting

cross-legged. take a bite
to make a tear and then unravel
slowly, carefully, make sure
to keep it all in one piece round
and full so you can use it as
a bowl for the thick white skin
you’ve got to use your fingernails
really dig into it try to get it all
tender-bare, smooth and delicate
stick your thumb in it, pry the rosy
pink in half  and make your choice,
peel off the plumpest little juice pillow

and then

when he is speaking his most

stuff it—hard

into his mouth
so that he cries
out and lets go
of the wheel to
catch the liquid running
down his chin and sticking
to his fingers and the smell
he can’t wash off and though
he’ll make a fuss,
he loves it,
you can
be sure
of that. 

remember that time

you leaned

over the couch
to give me
a kiss from
behind as I
was eating my
ice cream and right
when your lips
warm and soft
met my sloppy
the spoon
cold and metal,
I did that
on purpose.
I’m sorry it’s just
I get a kick
out of


our love motif. flickering like half moons

above our tangled bodies in the park,
landed on my blue-jeaned thigh, you picked one
from my hair. peering slyly from their seats
along the telephone pole as we dug
up the ring, notebooks, you and your shovel
and me in your hat but my boots. and then,
finally, resting on bayou lampshades,
drinking beers in cabins with sam cooke. on
the drive home i found one on your collar.

Jennifer Wineke grew up in Louisiana, was educated in California, and currently lives in Prague, where she works as a copywriter. For more of her poetry, please visit her website.  
By Tongues
by Jessica Bell

My friends adored you.
When you’d pick me up
from school they’d stare
at your eyebrows—logos
of gothism—fake lesbianism.
You were a like a big sister;
rock ‘n’ roll baby!—the woman
they all wanted to be.

You’d invite them over
for afternoon tea.
You’d coax them into talking
about sex, masturbation,
homosexuals; you’d express
toward the boy who
tried on my school dress.

You’d trick them into
betraying my secrets—the girl
I pashed behind the shelter
shed; the one with epilepsy
who liked to lie and got
pregnant from my tongue.
My friends never knew
what happened after they left.

Jessica Bell is an Australian who lives in Athens, Greece. She's a literary women's fiction author and poet whose debut poetry collection, Twisted Velvet Chains, has just been released this May. Her debut novel String Bridge is scheduled to be published by Lucky Press LLC in November, 2011. A list of published works can be seen on her website, www.jessicacbell.com. She also posts four days a week on her blog.
photography by Beatrice Belguiral  

Night                                                                                                                                   photo by Beatrice Belguiral
Beatrice Belguiral is from Paris, and currently lives in Barcelona.  See more of her work on her website and flickr.
Laura Grafham:
Three Poems

To the Person in the Doorway

Tonight you look lovely,
   your stance by the door,
ringlets walking round unsuspecting freckles
that didn't know but to attach to your face.

Structure you have,
the iambic lines of your body
carry you up and firm,
straight and strong
   the shutters to your blue
   eyes close their blinds sometimes;
 open for a few

close shut
the curl upwards of a brown lash or two,
the brow rippling sand dunes,
making the dotted waves of your ginger skin
unsettling, earth shattering. Quaking, though

I just said hello.


I haven't had a sip. I see steam.
Not yet. Until I do
I flirt at the wide eyed little girl,
hand in her pink mouth,
sneakers pointing up from the floor
and out the foggy windows.

Her sneakers have shark teeth on them.
She's cooler than I am.
I don't know why but
the american poetry I read
and the Neil Young they play
are better early in the day;

I read places I haven't been
into rolling scapes
invading the little shop,
crowding red-eye patrons against walls,
the breezy dry grasses doing their thing
in front of me.

The barista with his tribal tattoo
changes the CD and goodbye:
John Wayne and Neil Young vanish.
Now Bjork complains through the speakers.
Icelandic whining and piled high black
hairdos do music. The people grunt disgruntle.
I note the nearest exits.


I like my land made
not of fire and ice
but of rain and fog
made of misty fabric
that evaporates when it turns corners

A place with piles of wet paperbacks that can't sell
with old Norwegians and Swedes in sweaters
where I can kiss your chapped lower lip,
lick up the blood I made.

I like the land to eke outward,
expanding from the earth's core
up and in, out
eating us up because it can,
not because we want it to. 

If I Could Inspire Jealousy

hey, up there, see that yellow light in the window;
it is he who tells the story
the story of the bear and kai-oat-ee
taking the grain at harvest time.

All of our friends came
to the fireside,
see, and they all gathered round,
told me how much they loved your ways

they loved the way your words made magic
at twilight, among the searchlights
and the birthday of your city.
I don't drink beer to escape

but to get it up, get the story up
get the grasses up and active, working.
If my hair were sage brush
damn, would it smell good,

and men would love me, and women would envy,
want my wampum bracelets and belts.

Laura Grafham is a senior English Literature major at Seattle Pacific University. She has published in her school's student-run arts journal Lingua, of which she now is a staff member. Currently, Laura is writing her senior thesis on Leslie Silko’s novel Ceremony. Having lived in the Pacific Northwest all her life, and having worked as a bartender and waitress on Orcas Island in the San Juans, she dreams of climbing mountains in the Rockies. Laura is currently applying to MA programs in the Mountain Time Zone. See graciethebum.blogspot.com for more poetry and nonfiction excerpts.  
by David Tomaloff

to explain this
temptation as if
it were a must

set sail and return
emptier now than
is in fashion

lilac, and blue,
untied, and adrift

the quietest places
in our  hearts

don't laugh
as they once did


David Tomaloff (b. 1972) | is a musician, writer, photographer, and all around-bad influence | likes: jazz | hates: jazz | photography: yes | his work has also appeared in publications such as: DOGZPLOT, HOUSEFIRE, the Sixteenth Letter, elimae, Phantom Kangaroo, Ditch Poetry, Otoliths, and BlazeVOX 2KX | see: davidtomaloff.com.
photography by Kirsten Thormann

IIIIII                                                                                                                                photo by Kirsten Thormann

Visit Kirsten Thormann's website
Repeat After Me
by Rachel Mangini

How do I say how I feel in Portuguese?
English cannot amplify   sad.   We curl it
into a tiny space. Tuck it tight to contain it.
Give me a word. Make it mean ugly
and messy and ripping my heart out dripping with tears.
Make it mean my head is blown open. My nails feel
good scraping on my skin.

What is the word for full to bursting with regret?

What do you call the sum of this:
one day in Montreal when I smiled in photos, cried in between,
three police cars, one strong rope,
the digits of another man’s phone number dialed twice,
185 miles, me growing smaller in the rear view,
the slope of your back when you sleep alone?

The worst thing is: miraculous.
My body, so much soft flesh, goes on,
needs water, dresses, gets on a bus.
Opens its mouth and says “at the close of the third quarter.”
When what I really want to say is:

The rhythm of your breath is what I fasten mine to. 

Rachel Mangini loves to travel, and to bake. Both her husband and her dog can attest to the fact that she is a great kisser. On her blog you'll find lots of things she likes.