She massages my hands and lets me put things in my mouth
Her skin clear weather, eyes blood sucker brown, hair huckleberry opium.
Everyone needs someone they can brag to safe and strong, selfish and encouraging
As if hazardous waste can spread that thin
Or a sunset can be that spectacular through polluted haze.
Light fills a space like heat over paths of weed and wood
And she, a shadow in deadfall moving, the moon on the wake left behind,
And sometimes from a lack of doing nothing, she is the sun.


Now that everything is over,
The speed bump, the crack in concrete,
A chapbook by Steven Schletor
Open to pages four and five
Waving its torn hands in the wind.
When it rains, when it snows,
After the hail, after the heavy sleet,
After the weather breaks to a drizzle,
The staples bend and rust and break,
But this is nothing. Water has a way
With cardboard and paper, rock
And sandstone, love and ink.

                                      Michael H. Brownstein

                                      RAVELLING IT BACK

          Ravelling it back into eyes, ears, nose and
          close to whispering as the trees tree-it and
          Our Lady River rolls past the ghost past into
          a future in which we should reach back and
          thanks the Fathers, Sons and Holy Spirits
          for having given us even the possibility
          (which we bytesvillily ignore) of (vif, quelque
          fois moins vif)* of multidimentionalizing it into


              Little fatso blonde and, bit fatso
              mother, skin and bones father, I
              find an Outer Hebrides suit-coat
              for him at GOODWILL, five bucks,
              a special light-show tour through the
              zoo tonight, 2 more days before they
              go back to Ann Arbor, only an hour
              and a half away, but it could be the
              Kalahari desert.


          All the seventy to eighty+ faces, Christmas
          songs I’ve never heard before, Jesus, the
          Sun-King bringing back days-lengthening
          light, suckled by Mother Earth Mary,
          Elmwoods Retirement Community, like
          Union Station in Chicago, founded in 1899,
          lawyer-faces, M.D.-faces, GM-faces, beards,
          balds, imagining the Great Depression, WW
          II, FDR, Korean War antecedents that sketched
          out the expressions, confidence, “The year returns,
          warms before it burns, harms everywhere but
          in my arms....,” one soloist forgets his lines,
          “From William to Bill, always walking  up
          the hill, I’ve had my....,” hesitating/stuck,
          a white-haired ancient woman in the first
          row (with a toupee on top of her head....Date-
          colored, not white) fills in the line for
          him (“FILL!), remembering my mother in
          the Mount San Antonio Retirement Center in
          Pomona, California thirty years back, all the
          tribalness, sliding down the final mountain
          re-tribalized instead of just faceless walls.

                               NEVER REALLY

              Never really leaving my little cubbyhole
              room in Harry Smith Brooklyn Heights
              palace, inviting in the incarnation of
              winged desire Lynne Savitt for just a
              few centuries of rediscovering the
              antarcticness of our here-for-at-least-
              tonight bodies, “Think about it,” I
              want to tell D.A. Levy, “give it more
              time,” but sit watching him out-drawing
              the worlds inside his Himalayan mind,
              Winans and Bennett everydaying into
              my alone-world with their own eternal
              (check the bytesville card catalogue)


          The car-skittering,plane-growling,
          cafeteria-lining, microscope-
          grossing, pill-taking, evening-news
          and slice of Wim Wenders watching“out there”
          reality only fog-ishly real next to the
          sky boudoir open-roofed reality of her
          full-time day-night presencing that fog-
          clouds everything else into barely is-ness.


      Never wanting to leave Georgia (Rachmaninoff’s
      “Do not Sing, Beauty, Opus 4, #4) and the steppes,
      pines, clouds, or the bird-inhabited cherry tree
      petals that dismiss everything but themselves
      (“Here It is Good to Be,” Opus 21, #5) nor dream-
      birds beating their beyond-bliss wings, none of
      the daily news slaughters that go back beyond
      first words  into barking growls, just HERE in a
      Monetish sense of WHAT ELSE SHOULD I DO

               WOMEN Opus 22.
         Kornblumen, Mohnblumen, Epheu, Wasserrose/
      Cornflowers, Poppies, Ivy, Waterlilies,
      Walking through the blackboards and laptop
      screens, byteless for at least one lifetime, just
      rivers, allergysneezes, sore-knees, chocolate-
      covered raisins, breeze-caressed bird-watching/
      listening, hearing her pull into the driveway,
      smelling the squash and Teriyaki salmon, historyless,
      future- and past-less in the unadulterated
          Moment Actual / Present Moment.

                                                                          Hugh Fox

At first it seems a child’s sea: scribble-grey breakers;
off-shore undulations like blue crayonings
heap to a horizon where a sudden blank
flatters the plain circlet of the English sun:
a bright and blotchy idyll on a fridge door.

But once the skies clear and the winds steady,
and the Continent, sun-struck or edged in mist,
like some Atlantis, never quite to sink,
stands seaward with a power to shock us back
to having to haul our history ashore –

then the sea resumes its meaning: we hear
a Roman tread that ground the shingle down;
marching cohorts, making the waves seem ragged:
Empire landing in a geometry of spears.
Later came a Saint, who chose his hunger,

led inland his unwavering cross, his gospel
to fructify in cloisters; yet, passing, showed
a kinder god to fathers wading deeper,
fishing for youngest sons, warned, unwarnable,
whom after many days the sea brings home.


                                                        Alan Gleave



Nursing Home

Semi-circle of cheap chairs
upholstered in maroon nylon
their wooden arms touching
worn piano last tuned
the year of the congress

Admissions sister admits nothing
except the dry stained atmosphere
she can't deny
the dead and buried better-off
than these yellow ones
impaled on rubber mats
drying out
like geraniums

Statue mounted grimly on a dusty plywood shelf
plastic bucket mop and dirty tea-stained heavy delph
dried crooked yellow flowers with paper wire-supported stems
decorate the geriatric landfill



He came as soon as he could
His uneasy manner in the hall gestured
That it might be best to make haste for the patient

The air in the front room was cold and filled with piano gases
The polish of half a century
Its musty unvarnished innards leaking a gas into the house
He sat himself onto the stool
His ear listening politely to the story so far
His eye sweeping the patient for vital signs
A bag of tools rattled when he reached to let them down
The polished veneer panel creaked and squeaked
As he prised it from its dowelled clamps
Allison London and Nordell Crane Dublin
He scanned the ornamental gold and silver fonts
He played a ten finger cord and listened as the flock flew away
The Air vibrating to his short tin-can overture
He faded into a more intimate laying-on of hands
His bedside manner had filled the cold room with purpose
The warming radiator clicking and ticking like a broken metronome
A sudden deep horn blew five times and twice again then once
The right pedal creaking downwards to sustain the jagged note
Throwing uneven pyramids of sound up into the mid-morning air
The repeating Morse was beginning to sound like a proper staircase now
A fitted carpet of melody was hammered softly into all the corners
Followed not long after by a sweet rhyme of running footsteps slowly up and then down
He put back the breastplate
Turning the dark hidden hooks around and down and into their patient clamps
He dipped into the replenished well of the old upright
And pulled on its heartstrings
The finest love song softly first and then
Macushla Macushla your sweet voice is calling
Calling me softly again and again

Wee Problem

In men about the age of fifty the prostate starts to grow.
They tend to know not much about it
(when again it might be said)
there's not an awful lot to know.

The almond with its own agenda, sprouts and starts to show
how the greatest of them all have fallen prey
to the biggest (little) silent almond-shaped unseen troublemaker of our day.

It's function is to make the juice that carries semen off
and after adolescent's surge it settles down to just that job
Be praised the internet its diagrams, FAQ's and themed home pages;
the little bastard kills more men than all the World War rages.

It lies concealed in mid-crotch hiding, in the centre of the gusset.
When in aging men the almond starts to grow we don't discuss it.
It crimps the urinary tubing and torments the bladder so,
doing this and two things further all at once you ought to know:
creating bursting pre-dawn urge and unfulfilling urine flow
and after bleary stagger to the bathroom pray believe it,
the hose now dented forms a blockage all your grunting won't relieve it.

The second thing its reputation suffers from,
if cancer strikes its too late to remove it.
Notwithstanding that investigations must be undertaken
to diagnose or otherwise disprove it.
With rubber glove and grim sinuey neck
your doctor has to visit it, via the rectum;
his index finger probing like a diesel-powered caterpillar.
The fact alone the prostate in this manner grows
is probably the single reason that
you've never seen your family doctor
suck his thumb or ever stick his finger up or next or near his nose.

Your bladder plays a neat and timely role,
Benign or not it's part of mid-life's growing toll.
It gathers up some extra squeeze and traps it in behind the pelvic door
(energy from all the grunt and grimace I suppose that you expend on bathroom floor),
all of this a timeworn tapestry of self-deception and depreciation.
Distracting you until the fateful day they straighten a coat hangar
stick it up and turn it like the starting-handle on a Model T.
Whipping out your little almond friend
a most undignified
and curtain-falling
painful, scary and
sorry, sad and silly little

                                                        Hay Machine (e)


Come On In

              Come, sit in my chair
              Dear spill me your misspent life
              Sing to me woe’s tune

              Mistake sun for moon
              Stars are tricks of light that trip
              Waves will start to lash

              Simmer down those sneers
              Putting glitter before hay
              All spent days decay

              Lying flat on Earth
              Balance soul with blood, dirt, skin
              And sleep awakened
              An Era of Wandering
              Light fans the day out fuller
              when trees hang leaves
              flowers do not bloom
              they shrink
              sea anemones’ instinctual hardening
              are all caught in shades of a cold day
              One more pleasure adding to this unbearable fog

              Stay in dark tones watching life
              wring itself
              since you won’t
              and won’t prosecute any ideas that come
              let life be led by our
              box office policy

              Some say it was the richest farmer who purchased color TV
              black and white strived harder
              longer and still
              No wonder this has happened:
              Our unneeded wander through “right” and “wrong”

              Path’s grey area has a new shade
              Red, white, and blue
              the patriotic hue interrupting national view

              Not the sun’s whips slow
              as we walk fast
              Blaring fluorescents that beat
              dragging work days
              But we do need light;
              I need light
              light that airs out humid times
              which has stuck to our skin

                                           Zola Hjelm

Untitled I Walk

(Psychiatric Assessment)

Untitled I walk
through life
with a shrink
from Yugoslavia,
whose as large as big foot.
With a novel in one hand,
and shaking his fingers at me
with the other,
he wants to control me with a shovel,
tie me in knot balls, emotional twisters,
and squeeze the emotional pages
out of my life like a twisted sponge.
I retaliate, control him back,
wage war in a vicarious cycle
squeeze his testicles like electrical wires
inside my mind’s eye,
cut his tongue with razors,
dull his clinical words.
Play his game, only better.
He  picks up the play phone,
threatens to call the police,
leashing me in my corner
like a trapped dog
forces me to bark
into submission
like a beagle basset bitch.
He treats me with word babble.
I tell him he is a damn Ukrainian idiot.
Peeved off I race
to the parking lot, head to the bushes,
like a blue racer snake threatened,
hop bunny rabbit into my S-10
Chevy pick-up truck,
memo pad in hand,
scribbling ruminating notes
I surrender naked till my next prescription,
untitled I walk.

Summer is Dying

Outside summer is dying into fall,
blue daddy petunias sprout ears−
hear the beginning of night chills.
In their yellow window box
they cuddle up and fear death together.
The balcony’s sliding door
is poorly insulated, and a cold draft
creeps in all the spare rooms.

Saturday Snow Dec. 10-08

Snow, snow, more snow
on Saturday morning
doves mount my birdfeeder
full of bright golden corn-
on the wooden balcony they
leave love notes tucked
down at the foot
of my sliding glass doors.

                                    Michael Lee Johnson

Easter Saturday

I hear a crow shaking out a towel
In the tree top opposite
A few sharp flicks
Then a quiet folding onto a branch.
His blackness spring-cleaned
He’s ready for courting,
He sidles along the branch
His shoulders hunched
Like a wee guy in a cap
Selling newspapers.
The soft shoe approach
Has served him well before –
Girls like a dancer –
And he has a sly neat way
With the waltz-stepped dip.
She eyes him,
Wonders about his
It’s a clean morning.
Things are in place.
She sees no harm in
Just a few steps.
Nothing else will happen today.

You make
A picture without me
And without saying, tell me
That tomorrow, though only the light changes,
You will have moved on
Jumping from the perspective of almost
To a still life that is untouchable.
I thought to paint us in dots of colour
Careful and distant
Trying to find a way to us
Without being spotted.
You, you wanted paint splashed and dashed
A passion-flooded sea storm
Without a care to anything
So now I am
A solid block of colour
A dark red
Twisted and torn
Past all expression.
                                        Ron Olgilvie



Hooded underneath a freeway overpass late-night, Arthur brags in
East Los limelight, “I ain’t never been to no college, but I got a MFA
in spray,” feverishly shaking the Krylon can relishing the rhythmic

ticking tickling his ear, as if readying to empty the psychedelic stream
of his 17 year-old psyche onto the parched wall. But if this were a
college course, it would be called something like Advanced Appreciation

of Our Song: Words White America Doesn’t Want to Hear or Read.
The prerequisite—to hurl oneself into a maelstrom of 80’s gangsta’
rap, head bouncing up and down affirming gritty lyrics chronicling

real-life ghetto hardships. Nurse a 40 oz. while viewing a 90’s movies
marathon where the signature line of each film is, “Either they don’t
 know, don’t sho’, or just don’t care about what’s goin’ on in the hood.”

But to Arthur college is as far off as Iceland, or the distance from his
street moniker to Wall Street. A voiceless life of invisibility, just another
lamenting Latino held down by The Man with sunny skin and a fat grin

destined to a life of leaf-blowing, or laboring in fields adjacent to So Cal
freeways picking strawberries for upper class’s cornucopia. But maybe
the class is basic Philosophy, or Humanities, as Arthur says, I think ants

are a test from God to see what kind of people we are. Check it. If we
expect them to take from us and smash them assuming they’re gonna’
steal our comida, we’re going to Hell. But if we accept them believing

they have as much right to the table as we do (especially por que they
clean up the mess people leave), Heaven. Except for red ants. Them
Mother Fuckers are the devils teeth, before spraying an American flag

on the wall, a white stick man in the middle, eyes closed like death,
palms compressing ears sealing in status quo, ensuring no bug will
ever crawl in.

Smoke and Mirrors

“Chisme is the devils’s teeth,” Aunt Lucy told me and my cousins
every time she caught us congregated in her garage gossiping about
our 6th grade classmates.

Aunt Lucy—who formerly worked in Vegas as a “lovely assistant”
to David Copperfield (getting sawed in half at the head and hips,
disappearing from black boxes with tight lips) once cracked a raw
egg on my head when I was nine suffering from a 103 degree fever,
mashing it into my scalp with her fists claiming, “The energy from
the chicken’s kulo will calm the savory spirits simmering in his soul.”
Dientes del Diablo, Mijo.

Who once lifted her third husband by the greasy v-neck of his
chorizo-stained undershirt (the man we weren’t allowed to talk
about) hurling him down a flight of stairs, then soared from the banister,
serrated elbow leading the way like a luchadore unmasked by the foe
sprawled semi-conscious, two cracked ribs, and one story below.

Who spent Saturday nights guzzling Coronas cursing the TV
during heavyweight fights, and Sunday mornings lamenting the loss
of her only lover we ever referred to as our uncle; rocking back and
forth in the chair he built for her and my cousin who died before we
ever met. Who kissed my forehead from her deathbed and simply said,
“Don’t believe everything you hear.”

Someday during someone’s birthday party, or wedding reception, or
funeral, I’ll catch my nieces and nephews huddled together talking
about something I got reprimanded for talking about when I was
their age. I’ll be the pious Uncle of Profundity voicing sage sentiments—
“Hijos. Breadcrumbs are the Lord’s dandruff.” They’ll look at me,
bewildered, arched brows bridges to Aunt Lucy’s being.

                                                                                                                                                         Daniel Romo

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, After Hours, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review and others. In addition, he has eight poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004) and What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005).

Brownstein taught elementary school in Chicago’s inner city (he is now retired), but he continues to study authentic African instruments with his students, conducts grant-writing workshops for educators and the State of Illinois Title 1 Convention, and records performance and music pieces with grants from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the Oppenheimer Foundation, BP Leadership Grants, and others.

Hugh Fox .Born in Chicago, 1932,polio at age 5,cured with new pre-Saulk experimental medicine,childhood immersed in opera, violin, piano, musical composition, art by his ex-violinist-turned-M.D. father, and frustrated actress mother, then 3 years of pre-med and a year of Medicine, dropped out of medical school and got a B.S. (Hum.) and M.A.(English) from Loyola Chicago, first trip to Paris,London,Florence, Rome, Amsterdam, etc., then a American Literature from the U. of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign).Married Peruvian poet Lucia Ungaro de Zevallos. Prof. of American Literature, Loyola University in Los Angeles (now Loyola Marymount University) , 1958-1968,Professor in the Department of American Thought and Language, Michigan State University (1968-1999).Now retired,  Professor Emeritus . Fulbright Professor of American Studies/Literature, U. of Hermosillo, Mexico, 1961, U. Católica and Institúto Pedagógico, Caracas, 1964-1966,  U. of Florianópolis, Brazil, 1978-1980. Married Maria Bernadete Costa M.D. 1 yr. studying Lt. Am. culture at Mendoza Foundation (Caracas) with Mariano Picon-Salas. Organization of American States Grant to study Latin American Studies/Argentinian Literature, U. of Buenos Aires, 1971. John Carter Brown Library Fellowship, Brown U. , 1968 (Studies in sixteenth and seventeenth century Spanish economics and avant-garde literature). OAS grant as archaeologist, Atacama Desert, Chile, 1986.Lectures in Spain and Portugal 1975-’76. Founder and Board of Directors member of COSMEP, the International Organization of Independent Publishers, from 1968 until its death in 1996. Editor of  Ghost Dance: The International Quarterly of Experimental Poetry, 1968-1995. Latin American editor of Western World Review & North American Review,  during 60’s. Former contributing reviewer on Smith/ Pulpsmith, Choice etc. currently contributing reviewer to SPR and SMR.105 books published, the most recent Defiance (Higganum Hill Press, 2007) (poetry), Finalmente/Finally  (Solo Press, 2007) (poetry), Opening the Door to French Film (World Audience, 2007) , Rediscovering America (World Audience, 2009) (archaeology), Alex (poetry chapbook, Rubicon Press), Peace/LaPaix (Higganum Hill,2008, another poetry chapbook), The Collected Poetry (World Audience, 2008...540 pages), Icehouse & The Thirteen Keys to Talmud (Crossing Chaos Press in London, Ontario. A novella and sci fi novel, 2009), Revoir (s.stories, All Things that Matter Press, 2009).

Alan Gleave was a secondary school teacher in Liverpool for thirty years. Taking early retirement, he wondered whether it was too late to turn to trying to write poems and short stories of his own. Encouraged by Deal Writers, he has had poems published in The Reader, and the international academic journal, Dante Studies. One of his short stories was short listed in the Meridian short story competition of summer 2009.

Zola Hjelm  lives in San francisco.

Michael Lee Johnson is a poet and freelance writer from Itasca, Illinois. His new poetry chapbook with pictures, titled From Which Place the Morning Rises, and his new photo version of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom are available at: The original version of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom, can be found at:   He also has 2 previous chapbooks available at:
Michael has been published in over 22 countries. He is also editor/publisher of four poetry sites, all open for submission, which can be found at his Web site:  All of his books are now available on  Borders:   Now on You-Tube:   E-mail:
Follow Michael Lee Johnson On:

Chris Major lives in Staffordshire , England where he works as a Staff Nurse.Poetry has been placed in over 100 print magazines and numerous Ezines.

Free to download Echapbook 'Concrete & Calligram' at

Ron Ogilvie is a member of the Deal Writers Group in Kent. Ron is a Scot by birth but has been out of Scotland since 1984. He is a husband and father and trained as a scientist. He now works in the pharmaceutical industry. Ron has been writing poetry since he was a lad and has grown in confidence since joining the group in Deal in 2008. 'Horses' is a recent piece, written on Islay in the Hebrides in August 2009.


Daniel Romo teaches high school Creative Writing, and lives in Long Beach, CA.  His recent poems can be found in Praxilla, Connotation Press, and The Acentos Review.  He is an MFA candidate in poetry at Antioch University, and will be featured this spring in an anthology of up and coming Southern California poets published by Moon Tide Press titled Pop Art: An Anthology of Orange County Poetry.  More of his writing can be found at