Monday, June 27, 2016

Rites of Passage by Ben Rasnic

Took great pride
in supplying your first taste
of Canadian Club at age 12,
“This’ll make a man outta you”
he slurred.

Even the best of us can snap
at one time or another;

be it from stress, substance abuse,
faulty biorhythms
or simply witnessing your mother shatter

beneath one more crushing
close-fisted punch;
but the fact is
cause and effect mean nothing
when your father lies immersed                                       

in an expanding pool
of deep red blood engulfing
the linoleum kitchen floor
& you,
hyperventilating, hands trembling,

cling to the smoking
nickle plated Glock
you never wanted
but he bought you anyway
because he loved you.      

Ben Rasnic is the author of four collections of poems: "Artifacts and Legends;" "Puppet;" "The Eleventh Month" and "Synchronicity." Ben currently resides in Bowie, MD.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

In Golden Gate Park by Brad Rose

A cocoon of myself, molting
in these enormous minutes,
I have no idea what my address is.
Every day, in the same skin,
I come here to dream of something
that’s more beautiful
for having been broken.
Pockets stuffed with Karaoke money,
my clothes ache,
my face, an apology.

The clinic says I think about things too much.
I ask them how much thinking is just right?

Then I tell them I’m only thinking the thoughts I’m thinking,
not all the other ones.

Tuesday, I read in the newspaper
the Governor said the lethal injections aren’t working,
that the prisoner’s body shook like a marionette. 
Wrapped in that story, I hardly slept Tuesday night.

Did you know people are less likely to flee
an approaching hurricane with a woman’s name
than one with a man’s name? 
My ex-wife said I’m real smart,
but I’m always solving the wrong problem.

Lightning is four times hotter than the sun.
I never sleep in the same place twice.

Brad Rose was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lives in Boston. He is the author of Pink X-Ray (Big Table Publishing, 2015.) Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize in fiction, Brad’s poetry and fiction have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Folio, decomP, Lunch Ticket, The Baltimore Review, The Midwest Quarterly, San Pedro River Review, Right Hand Pointing, and other publications. Links to Brad’s published poetry and fiction can be found at:

Friday, June 24, 2016

Bloomsday's Mystery at the James Joyce Pub & Restaurant by Richard Weaver

In the bathroom today
a 20 something Japanese man
stands barefoot at the handicap urinal
American Standard. 3.8 Lpf/1.0 gpf.
wringing out his socks on the tile floor.
Once done, re-socked and re-shoeed
he walks to the sink, pulses
the soap dispenser, lathers up
and quickly washes his hands.
Two paper towels complete his visit.
Moments later I see him, seated
with three friends, all four studying
the dinner menu. No one the wiser.
Especially me.

Richard Weaver is an unofficial snowflake counter (seasonally) in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Publications include Crazyhorse, 2River View, Black Warrior Review, and the ubiquitous Elsewhere. He works as a volunteer for the Maryland Book Bank. Recent poems have appeared in Southern Quarterly and Conjunctions. Future poems in Steel Toe Review and Little Patuxent Review.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Creation by Howie Good

I hauled the stones in a wheelbarrow from the woods
behind our house, killer work for someone my age,
and dumped them in a growing jumble at the end of the garden,
and within a few days, and despite battered fingers,
I had gathered enough to build a winding two-foot-high wall,
lifting and heaving and wedging the stones into place,
misshapen pieces in a kind of extended jigsaw puzzle,
some stones as flat as dishes and others as fat as bricks,
but most as free-form as words before words form a poem.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.

Monday, June 13, 2016

True Story by Catherine Zickgraf

You’re a fire hazard,
said the elder,
stepping between
my wheelchair and
the church’s infant room,
wriggling nursling in my lap.

Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in Madrid, San Juan, and three dozen other cities—yet homeschooling her autistic youngest inspires her the most. Her writing has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, [Pank], Victorian Violet Press, and The Grief Diaries. Find her at

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Too Much Happiness by Russell Rowland

This lot was recently paved. 
The neighborhood boy has a good acre
on which to run his model racer
by hand-held remote control.  

The car circles, reverses like a live thing. 
Perhaps he was sent outside
for tormenting the housecat with it.

The toy is less interesting
than his face, its pleased private smile. 
He has learned not to look too happy.

Someone always feels called
to ruin too much happiness. 
Too much happiness invites a taunt
from a speeding, full-sized vehicle.

It sets you up to discover you left
your treasure in the driveway last night
and Dad backed over it this morning.

So smile, don’t grin. Don’t dream
of laughing. If your nosy Mom
even guesses how happy you are,
swear the woman to silence.

Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland continues his trail maintenance work and baby-sits his toddler granddaughter in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. Chapbooks “Train of All Cabooses” and “Mountain Blue” are available from Finishing Line Press.