Hari Bhajan Khalsa

Eros with Pistol

The sight the squeeze the crack the
wrack the smack kickback the lick
of it the spit of it split of it the track
contact to impact to shatter to scatter
to scraps to bits that skitter that litter to
splinter rend bend strip rip apart part
the heart the heart
beats back beats back

J Michael Wahlgren



The cycle spins,

like a windmill,

generating energy.


And once,

when the dew must,

arches outwardly.

Jazz Umbrella


the trumpet squeals as if exhaling my nom de plume;

we mend the holes in the O.


The magic pose--electrifying ways of a woman

tied to verse; tied to verse; tied to verse.


Circles bend their diameters for a taste of candy.

Unleashing yourself in the rain.

Mark Cunningham

Unseen Bird of the Inner Eye
When I was seven, my body rolled out of bed, turned left at the hallway, and walked out the front door. My father shepherded me back after a neighbor called. When we visited Chicago, our ex-policeman host showed up naked in the door to the guest room, .45 in hand, to warn my parents there was a prowler downstairs. I'm not sure how they got me back to bed unshot. I'm not counting the time I woke up in the front yard (that's only half), or dreams, which is the mind playing solitaire, sometimes winning, sometimes losing. Maybe even sleepwalking doesn't count: my subconscious mind must have been guiding me. Still, the body wants to do something on its own. And it can outlast you. On her first night as a mortician's assistant, Judy turned away from a body stretched flat, eyes closed. When she turned back, the body was sitting upright, eyes open. With only a little resistance, it let itself be laid out again.

Northern Mockingbird
I was the perfect viewer of "That Obscure Object of Desire": I didn't notice the lead female character is played by two women. I still can't distinguish between the eleven or so narrators of "For All Mankind". It's not that I have ADD—just the opposite. I've heard that one way to reach wisdom is to view the world as a dream or a movie, my dream or movie. It takes concentration. I made it through the rainiest spring on record in Virginia by imaging I was in England investigating crop circles and chasing those little UFOs that look like interstellar bowling balls that have rolled into the gutter but are smart enough to fly back out. The perma-drizzle was almost bearable. One February, I kept thinking I was in Finland, near the Arctic Circle, long nights with a few hours of twilight between. The land was scoured flat or buckled into glacial warp; I ate the same fish stew for dinner; I introduced the local punk band to the Misfits. When I remember that winter, I think of how the low sun could get right in my eyes when I was trying to find my car keys or rinse a glass, and I'd have to stop what I was doing and close my eyes until it was dark enough to see.

George Fortier


Poppies I gave called lilac
your thigh's bruise called persistent you said
wait until the shower nothing washed
your eyes still called blue lips
called red here your lips called base rosette
called triangle under
your brunette nails called plum called mint
chintz on the tips of fingers we licked
meat called blackened silver
wine called Dolcetta over flameprince peaches
seed called pit inside salt and alkaline
called sweet soil
we bolted back to front again called saddle
called thus spread called gloss
called your skin shown through
cups called my hands held
to the waved loss and gain called angle
called bronze time
stung called ash pushed to the dusk's sheet's
dark across poppies that were never lilac.

Kit Kennedy

Minimal Epic with Redwing Blackbird

if all you saw was the red patch

source less
the object

would it be

red onion
Bartlett pear
eye of Cyclops
cyclamen petal
stop light
button on a favorite sweater
paper cut

or none

be patient

sound’s chisel
sculpting cold tar

bone and beak

Lisa Albers

The Eyes Have It

My eyes burn holes through old locks. Super

human, I reach up and grab planes

with my hands. Catch bullets in my teeth.

Snatch you from your hiding place, set you down

in the Hall of Justice. Now meet what they mete.

American Pop Culture

Scratch this: Scratch the itch that won’t catch: Scratch ‘n’ sniff.


on indelible decal framed


edged. Super

human treadmill scheme.

In dreams we meat our fakir.

American Tourister waves to the maitre d’ while you go

where you want to

in a Yukon Canoe. The curls bounce on the moon’s

shoulders, sprinkling cheese.

Julie Strand

Tension smells of hot VCR's & cell phone sweat

you are
a quarry
I won't swim
to the bottom
might sink
shaved legs first

Barry Harris

three dreams

the oil of commerce goes on here
in office hallways
a handshake
a brief hello, a nod,
small talk about common things

something sings like a humming motor
its gears lubricated before engagement
tab a is inserted into slot b

in a darkened movie theatre Harold Lloyd
hangs from the hands of a clock
Charlie Chaplin threads his body
through the machine gears of Metropolis
Buster Keaton punches a timeclock
that punches back

in a different dream I sit with you
in our garden
I ask you the names of flowers
we tell each other stories
that come true

Pete Lee

cricket up my pajama sleeve

triggers the squish reflex
and hark,

all night my armpit sings
in its sleep.

Randy Thurman

"in time"

dogs sniffing
time to put it away
retreat into the past
until the future demands

Martha Clarkson


The day after Daniel left her, she began to hear voices. First in the rowing machine at the gym, amid the thumps of the treadmill people and the infrequent clanks of the weight machines. Indistinct, but there.
It was in the kitchen of the tiny condominium she’d inherited where he did the actual leaving. She’d had a busy day at the fertility clinic – as an employee, not a patient – and was expecting talk of dinner options. The usual: baked beans, turkey tortillas, or tuna fish sandwiches. She wasn’t prepared to hear that there would be no more dinners.
He had leaned against the vintage turquoise range they’d bought at Goodwill, his arms folded, a can of Schlitz in one hand. The range was the first major “thing” they’d bought together, a year earlier, when they’d been in the condo only two weeks. Neither had much money – then or now. At Goodwill, Daniel’d used the cash he’d been paid to donate sperm at her clinic. This was how they’d met.
Looking beyond him as he talked about someone named Jill from the Greek deli and the number of boxes already loaded in his trunk, she noticed that all the sofa pillows were gone and Lima, the parakeet, was missing.
After his leaving, the kitchen, her once-favorite room, seemed unfamiliar. The turquoise range looked forlorn and she was suddenly desperate to cook something on the left front burner, which hadn’t worked since they’d bought the range. When the refrigerator’s compressor turned on, she jumped. Its click and grumble reminded her of her crusty grandfather who had made his living selling hair gel to negroes. When she finally brought herself to cook something, the sizzle of the rice in oil sounded like a song of the Munchkins.
For three straight days at work she was asked to run multiple copies of presentation booklets called Your New Eggs and The Joy in Triplets, at twenty pages each. The rhythm of sheets being shot to paper holders and the dance of the collating trays sounded like desperate me, desperate me, over and over again. Or it could have been despise me, despise me, she wasn’t sure. On the fourth day she handed the task over to the high school girl who came in after soccer to do the filing.
She started to bring home takeout dinners and unplug the phone. Her alarm clock became a squawking mynah bird that made her fillings remember foil. Only half her carpet was clean because within the vacuum’s roar she thought she heard all gone, all gone, like mothers say to children about empty candy jars. She turned it off before she started nodding to a home appliance.
The bathroom was the worst – with the shower, sink, and even the heater coming on as she dressed for work. Every other day she took a sponge bath because the shower water chanted you’re shrinking, you’re shrinking, and the possibilities scared her. The stream of water from the sink’s faucet had a tone of admonishment. And there was definitely a message in the toilet’s flush.
She left her job in April, one month since the last time he’d picked up mail and a forgotten orange sweatshirt that she wore on Saturdays. On her last day at the clinic, everyone was gone by six and she stayed, on the pretense of bulk filing. They didn’t know she’d decided to leave. She found Daniel’s file and his donor number. On shelf five, in the back storage room, she located his frozen contributions. She put the cold vials in the skinny compartments of her soft briefcase, the ones reserved for pens. The freezer compressors had nothing to say.