All She Wrote

He triumphed
over the sound
of his own name
held hostage
in the back of his throat
I was here
wasn't all she wrote
there were maps
with star points
like a compass
tilted north
and when he thought
of love he thought
of empty parking lots
at night, guarding hot tubs
from would-be-thieves and laughing
newly clean with the bawdy
tales of the Pittsburgh bandit

he remembered so much
of what he didn't want to remember
and there was no way to shut if off
all of the screaming and the blame
and how the years piled up
like so much garbage
spilling out into the street
the sun sat low
building monuments
of amnesia
in his rib cage

he'd free the trapped thing
if he could
he'd turn it all around
if only, but it's only words

one day
the song
stuck in his head
would implode
and oceans of light
would pour through
him like a sieve
and drown him
and the Pittsburgh
rambler and no one
would ever know
they were even here

that's not all she wrote
but it's pretty damn close.

James Diaz

The Old Man

Dawn creeps in.
The cock crows,
scratching our heads.

Wondering what just happened.

Embers fading,
ashes flying,
eyes like a smoke filled room.

Morning dies like a flower,
petals dropping to the ground,
shriveled, dry, brown.

Brown, on second thought,
his eyes were brown,
and sparkling like topaz.

Words still gushing from his mouth
like a swarm of angry bees,
the story continues on, and on.

Checking watches,
packing up,
it was time to leave again.

Another night of eerie tall tales,
that no one else could tell quite like he,
and the old man knew them all.

Ann Christine Tabaka

Air on a Heart-String

For Sandor Feher (1974 – 2012),

violinist, who after playing in the string quartet on the Costa Concordia cruise ship, died when the ship started to sink after returning to his cabin to fetch his violin.

If you’d known it were the calm before the storm
you might’ve noticed something uncanny or unreal
in the way the light reflected back and forth
a thousand times between champagne flute and chandelier

You might’ve seen in the fine, red, wine-red
wine-sloshed posh-clothed soft furnishings
messages of warning, painted in blood
and you might’ve known that the to and fro
and to and fro and to and fro
was not the gentle lilting of a lolling ship at sea
but its lulling you into a false sense of security.

But there were no storm-clouds
no warnings or forecasts or blood-red skies
no distant rumblings or omens from on-high
nothing sinister in the ‘ching!’
of glass-on-crystal glass
or ring of laugh on cackling laugh
or string of bow on violin, and so
you only felt the calm

Perhaps if you had known that you were sounding your last notes
you might’ve played a different tune to keep their hopes afloat;
something poignant, something perfect, something truly virtuoso
plucked upon a heart-string, pizzicato lacrimoso
oh-so soulful-sweetly you’d have spilled into their ears
the slow-fast, fast-slow, last-slow-dance romance flow of your bow
like salt-water weeping into pores, chords falling
like waves crescendo-crashing under skin;
the last tune you would hear before you
diminuendoed deep back down within
where your heart-beat double-stopped, and you
were rhapsodied in blue
raptured in a shroud of sound.

Genevieve Carver

The closeness

The first time, I’d held her, in years,
and it had to be like this.
Huddling together on the ground
like a pair of folded cards.
I held her hand, too weak to take the strain,
‘Sorry Mum’, I said, ‘I just can’t lift you.
My stuffing’s knocked’.

I wished I was a different kind of girl then,
an Artemis or Freya;
a Viking on the field of war,
eviscerating Saxons.

Claire Sexton


Walls look closer with humbled eye
the room falling in on itself like bent acrobats
of a peeling hardhat demolition
and she told him not to be a flake
and he asked her if she meant like a snowflake
and she said he knew exactly what she meant
and the way she looked at him made him sigh,
dropping his head like a condemned man,
promises had been made, though never in writing
and now he had a choice which he knew
would doom one or both of them.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Felix Culpa, or Child’s First Fall

The ghosts linger there,
In edges and centres of that place.
In centres, they lie as trace
And in those standing distanced
The first impact is shared.

He knew it was written on him
Before he had become
The person he always was,
Just as he always was.
Soft splintering of the stem.

The blameless child, born into crime.
He wants to lie underground,
Hide from that which founded
His one memory of drawn blood.
Remembered touch, sown into time.

No longer innocent eyes,
Now that the glass has smashed,
And as the lightning cracks,
He waits for thunder’s roar.
Yet again, nothing will be the same.

Elliott Mills

Tomb for fears

The pond filled with pike and others without names,
silvery, golden, slithering through the water soiled with tears.

Hidden in the meadow, between the manmade hills,
in grass, and reeds, and would be poplars with a chance.

And a little spot marked in the green, brown, earth uncovered,
where he sat for the long hours of so many days.

Fresh air, cool breeze, and the occasional song of a friendly bird,
made for a little heaven when things above were rough enough.

He fed the watery surface with the heart-shaped drops,
little boy trying to be what others commanded on him.

A refuge in the murky depth of algae, a mirror to the future,
possible if he only took a decisive run into a final dive.

The wheel of the fallen rusty bicycle still spinning nearby,
the race just ended as he broke into unfathomable chagrin.

Chin on his knees, the mind of a child wonders:
how he can hurt so much, when he does so little?

He watches the tear to stream, to river, to torrent as
it dies in the pond, his lake, his ocean, perhaps his escape.

The wheel keeps spinning, friend of a sorrowful childhood,
his stallion to a world private, away from the screams the punches.

A light sob echoes through the weeds, for a moment time is still,
fauna, flora, they all listen to the shattering of the little breast.

It is but a moment now forgiven, never forgotten in a pasture
where everything grows, nothing dies when love exists.

The tear, of infinite rainbow hues, vanishes in a ripple on the sheet;
to this day, throughout the universe, the wave continues its course.

Be safe little one, I know you never really grew up;
keep that little soul in your treasure chest, the universe awaits.

Fabrice Poussin

after image

when you close your eyes and fall asleep
your mouth changes
your lower lip sets back
like the life holding it in place has let go
can't help but imagine this is the face whose cheek
I'll tenderly kiss
when your body ceases

behind this thought comes another
I desperately hold

your beautiful face not defined by age
rather your brilliant smile and eyes
infused with the will of a thousand newborns

AM Roselli