Nicole Taylor

Weakening Clouds

We leave computers to concrete to
wood bar and brew in glass canning jar,

I leave with my friend Dave who
is talking of the weather and says "These 
gray clouds looks so anemic."

I joke that they need a blood transfusion,
these weak middle aged graying clouds.

He tells me warmer summer weather may 
return Saturday.

Kevin O Cuinn

It may have been June
time itfuckingself
calmed to null & sans.
Every syllable
fifteen rounds
with Hagler

Sister Concepta
liked steak,
Shiraz, the smell of horse;
and Argentina’s stubbled gauchos.

Lee Sittler

Enter SONYA.           
            Mark each occasion with the theme blasé.
            Circle all the words that really mean blasé.
            Skin a touch of buttermilk white and dinner crème-blasé.
            A woman, for every man, makes an idle dream blasé.
            A woman, in portions, pulls away; tries for her sake not to seem blasé.
            I’m a chemical tainting the mental stream blasé.
            I’m an old friend watching the painter treat the theme blasé.
            Enter three Customers who sit at an open table.

            My concept of working as a team: blasé.
            The corrupt presentation of food can make it seem blasé.
            Disgruntled Customer, you mistook me for a woman of extreme blasé.

Enter BRANDON and BILL, side by side, cooking meats.
Brandon.         There’s love in a spatula, Bill; we’re here to create
                        something beautiful:

                                    1. I noticed a man
                                        In absent lull near the door.
                                        Then he noticed me.

                                    2. Revolving like sand,
                                        He began lulling slower,
                                        A smile like debris.

                                    3. I wrote this haiku
                                        I don’t think you understand;
                                        Now you notice me.

                        Let a grey day that wishes to stroke
with a different palette feel free to do so.
I’m the figure in its watercolor;
                        I only wait to be escorted into each day’s memoirs.

He takes a sip from his plastic cup of water.

 Enter JULIE and TATTOO ARTIST.  She sits in his chair, and he begins to tattoo her shoulder.
Julie.    Hard in a skepticism of this world’s magnitude
            to admit that you believe in God,
            or at least in a man you can’t see,
            touch, or talk to, but who
            has an ultimate authority over you,
            who tells you when to sleep,
            winds your days, peels your destiny off
            like an orange rind. 
            Hard to explain why you’d give
            anything to never see him
            but to know that he’s there
            waiting for you to rock your own life’s crib
            from its pocket of wet sand. 
The scene fades with the buzz of the Artist’s needle.


            My hands shuffle plastic

            red cups and white plates
            only a fork nearly drops on
            my way to the dish party.

            I grab the two dollars,
            tell the busser how
            one couple’s use of unwrapped
straws, their joints stuck,
forms the topography
of booth four’s littered palms.

            I blame this on hands, pale
as whipped cream, lap
the lip of this table
            like a lover in the mood
            for Philip Glass.

            I hear the jukebox pull the moan
            from Michael Jackson’s Thriller;
            He put a spell on you,
            to make you

            I’ve over six years of slip-resistance
            I’ve seen folds of wet bread
            tread my hands
            so many times under a sprayer
            that steel sinks have become maws
            in my dreams, sucking the water
            from my plates of whirled peas.
            My IBC nightmares
            where my lungs fill up with cream soda
            and I’m weeded in a pool of
            syrup to my nipples
            trying to bring root beer to more tables
than I could ever handle alone.

            In these dreams, I don’t scream,
            I just speak from the mouths of burst butter packets
            tornadoed around my ears,
            but its only when I sleep
            that these walls could get closer
            so I’m touching both sides
            with spread arms, I’m shot dead
in the chest by a ketchup bottle.

Mimi Ferebee


a metal log it is,
rushing, gliding, skating through time,
she is a generation of memories—

yet keeps such wonders to herself,
not even whispering to passengers
about the black-strapped boy on the tracks, his heart
pounding, telling him to hop
to the side, but adrenaline robs his senses,
shakes him like a friend, greedy, & yelling ready-or-not
here she comes

& she does, flying by barely missing him
at the last minute, & what of his playmates,
those cute, strawberry, mississippi girls, 
the ones with pearled magnolias braided into their hair?

that southern drawl sweeping under
their feet, swoops over platted scalps like
double-dutch phone cords

& they all pause, laughing, when he catches
his balance on the other side of the tracks

it was close this time, sure, but not close enough
for their undivided attention

& the train?
she just whistles her chain-gang song,
watching it all, being steered straight, guided gently to the right, left,
that aged growl is the hum of her rigidity scoot,
an over-ground railroad song that she keeps,
undoubtedly to herself

David Greenspan

red spray on the wall in the pattern of a hand waving

i am underwater or thrashing on a carousel
or defeated in a chair while ants swarm over fingertips.
i play hangman with anton chekhov
in an abandoned storefront: charred roof beams,
cinder, gritted fists. a bit like gravity tied to a balloon
all electric noise and sparks.

with vertebrae bent out of shape
he looks at me like folded paper, declares
this word does not contain the letter p.

he leaks like a faucet removing both shoes,
sketches the jungle inside a mason jar.
no plants, just dreadful bodies
covered in gashes and bright orange filament
keeps them tethered to the ground.
anton chekhov is lost in this jungle.

for the word i guess shaving. he mutters
about rats and shooting himself in the thigh.
how the cartridge burrows through raw flesh, howling.

will the letter p emerge from gloom in the final act,
drape a plastic bag around my neckline,
gentle as flaking skin from a sunburn?
the hangman, drunk on warm pig’s blood and human meat.
i will not make the front page, instead newspapers read:
the dog’s fur contains battery acid, a stray nucleus.