“Out of Misery” by Mike Nichols

I want to stay,
sleeping, senseless.
But your absence
flips the lids on its
stunning baby-blues
and begins to chant
its untrue news:


“Good Morning, Good Morning,
Good Morning,”


like an abscess, throbbing.


And I cannot jam
the bloodied nibbled nubs
of my fingers
deep enough down
to staunch the sound.


I can’t continue
to accede
to the make-believe
that you
still stand,
at the stove,
scrambling eggs
in your too short bathrobe.


Your shadow
giggles and hides,
bats its lashes like some
exasperating child caught cheating
at hide-and-go-seek.


There. Behind the mustard
in the fridge.
There. Behind the bear
on the toilet paper package.


Your apparition
activates an aggressive part of me
which thinks it somehow
can get free.
Crouching, like
a wolf worrying away
at its leg twisted in the
steel toothed trap.
Hunkering in my head
its panting, an unrelenting:




When I struggle
tarnished teeth begin
stripping off the skin,
rolling it down like
a red striped tube sock.


Still, I can’t seem
to make myself
gnaw my own leg off.
Any decent woman would
put a living thing
out of its misery.
Wouldn’t she?


The drugs
and the bottles
and the drunken others
atop the glass,
atop the bar,
atop my bed,
barely blunt
the aching absence
of you,
within my head.


I guess I’ll get up,
scramble my own eggs,
and remind myself how
I don’t need a bullet
with your name on it
to cut a new track
for my
train of thought.






Mike Nichols was born all in a rush just after midnight, with no assistance from doctor or midwife, under a waning Tennessee moon on a chill October night behind a partition at the back of a tar-paper shack in which his unwed mother had holed-up for a time. Mike won the 2014 Ford Swetnam Poetry Prize. His fiction and poetry may be found at Underground Voices, Bewildering Stories, and Black Rock & Sage.

“The Dragon” by Cara Vitadamo

The scales fall away
Like memories into the dark abyss.


If there was light in this awkward sphere
There would be a beautiful shine.


But the black stigma hides the gleam
Of thousands of twinkling gems.


The beast cannot see her luster
And craves her satisfaction.






Cara Vitadamo is a registered nurse that enjoys poetry. She has been published in Torrid Literature, All Things Girl, and Mused a Bella Online Literary Review Magazine.

“Survived by His Parents, James and Audrey” by Bob Lind

The night moves by, withholding sleep.
And in the cloudless dawn
He sees the loaded gun pressed deep
Into the cobalt sky.
Its barrel, longer than the Rio Grande.
Its handle, thick as all the heat-forged
Iron in Detroit.


Even when authorities remove it, the imprint
Stays indented in the morning blue,
Embarrassing the busy sun on its way out
To pat and reassure the nervous afternoon.
“It’s over with,” the shadows say,
“Go on about your life.”


But the tabletop where his numb hands rest
– The tabletop where other, younger hands
Once bongo-ed restless rhythms –
Has as turned to ice.


Across that frozen lake, she looks away.
Looks away from him, looks away toward
The door, looks as though almost expecting,
Expecting still, her coffee cup a little tombstone
There between them.
Her smile is smoke; her hands are lead,
Her eyes deserted playgrounds in her head.


The stars are bursts of flashing fire tonight.
Bullets grow in that once-hopeful garden,
Choking out the roses that bloomed before
Beneath the clean and dentless azure.


“You loved me once,” he says.
“Love has bled out,” she says.


The dawn comes back and comes again.
The morning birds refuse to sing or fly.
And over all the tired world,
The clouds that gather
Still can’t cover
That reminder in the gun-case sky.








Bob Lind is a musician whose songs have been covered by more than 200 artists, including: Cher, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, Marianne Faithful, Glen Campbell, Kingston Trio, Dolly Parton, and Nancy Sinatra. His lyrics have been taught in colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Canada.  He won the Florida Screenwriters Competition with his script Refuge.  He won the Southern California Motion Picture Council’s Bronze Halo Award for his play The Sculptors.  He also has poetry published in Iodine Poetry Journalwww.BobLind.com

“Night Ride” by Tara Dasso

The moon roof is open
A gentle breeze creeps in as we drive down a lonely country road
The scent of wildflower permeates the night air mixed with just a hint of manure
Classic rock crackles in and out on the radio
I prefer jazz but say nothing,
Content to sit in companionable silence


We are in the beginning chapters of our story
More in LIKE than in LOVE
We are tentative of what our next steps should be
Your hand is on my knee
As I trace slow circles on the back of your neck with my thumb
I look up at the stars and make silent wishes


The landscape is pitch black, flat and forlorn
Broken up only by small patches of light
That spill from farmhouse windows
From a distance they look like antique dollhouses
I have to repress the urge to sprint from the car
To get a glimpse at the people inside



We turn left onto a main drive
The bright lights break my pensive reflections
I reach over to change the radio station
You give my hand a playful slap and grin
I stick out my tongue and smile back at you as we continue on
Not sure where we are headed
Just grateful to be on the journey together








Tara Dasso is a poet residing in western Massachusetts with her son and fiancée, and teaching in the Springfield public schools as a special education teacher. Although she has been writing on-and-off since her teens, when she began to lose her hearing she began to write more frequently as a creative outlet. Her writing is inspired by interactions with her family, her students, and the world around her. She is member of the Florence Poets Society and has been published in their Silkworm anthology.

“Lesson Number One” by John Grey

My Uncle George’s right hand surely has a dozen fingers.
They spread across the strings like spiders
while his left is so precise and stalwart,
holds down the wires against the frets,
from fat E to its skinny namesake.


I listen as if in a wondrous heathen church
and the melody is its sermon,
the chime of metal amplified through wood.
He plays guitar, an instrument
invented by the Spanish centuries ago
but still so thrilling in the here and now.


My eyes can’t leave his deft plucking,
the surprisingly long nails
that sometimes stroke,
sometimes hammer.
He’s rapid, then slow,
shaking off one tempo
to dive straight into another.


Here, in our parlor,
he floods me with the joy of music,
of being.
My thoughts fill with,
“If I could only play as he does.”


He is so lost in his picking
but then looks up suddenly
as if called to attention by my mute question -
“How is it done?”


He finishes the number
then encourages me to sit beside him.
It’s time for my first lesson.
My arms can barely wrap around the instrument
and the pressure of the steel
hurts my soft pressing finger.
So that’s how it’s done.








John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions, and the anthology No Achilles, with work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Gargoyle, Coal City Review, and Nebo.


“Hope is More than a Placebo” by Joe Bisicchia

We’ve been up before the sun,
and stand here now aside the forsythia
spotlighted by ray of lamppost
here outside the hospital.


And we pause, not late, enough awake
to discover the tone of light at horizon.
So much ahead.
So much already here, we see each other.


And in the moment now long enough
we find the white fluff of spring
fall like snow here as it does at home,
like magic, but simply real as life.


Seeds take their best hope onward.
You see the rising orange hue and I do.
With a knowing smile and breath,
we walk through the glass doors.








Joe Bisicchia writes of our shared spiritual dynamic. An Honorable Mention recipient for the Fernando Rielo XXXII World Prize for Mystical Poetry, his works have appeared in Sheepshead Review, Balloons Lit Journal, The Inflectionist Review, Black Heart Magazine, Dark Matter Journal, Poets Collectives Anthologies, and others. The current public affairs professional in New Jersey is a former award winning television host who also taught high school English. He also co-invented an award winning family card game.  www.widewide.world

“Lost Notes” by Robert L. Porter, Jr.

The keys are touched, and a chord is played,

But not as he did in a past decade.

Sounds discordant; a melody is lost.

Chords are forgotten — an old age cost?


Some tunes remembered, but not the bridges;

His hands are crusted with deepened ridges.

His mind through fingers is slow to create;

Memories of tunes are hard to locate.


“These notes don’t go here; this chord not there.”

He hears his mistakes everywhere.

“Does a major or minor chord go here?”

Tough for old-timer to play by ear.


His hands grow tired, and his memory is blurred.

To forget this much seems so absurd;

He gives to himself a carping critique,

But — he’ll play again soon, perhaps next week.








Robert L. Porter, Jr. is retired. He spent many entrepreneurial years in the computer industries, but retired as a vice president in the financial/brokerage industry. He has written poems for over 40 years, but only began seeking publication in 2015. He had a father who read stories and poems of the masters to him; and he developed a fondness for Longfellow, J. W. Riley, Poe, and many, many others. After escaping the business world, Bob has had more time to spend with his life-long passion: poetry. Improving the style and substance of his poems is his continuing focus.

“Witness” by Daniel David

A witness to that gray moment

In Cleveland, incised in memory,

Not a requiem, a vision:

Saint Teresa pierced with her arrow,

No! There’s no ciphering it.


Not your kiss; that came

Years later, etching an entirely

Distinct resonance, a soft, heady

Andante, but never quite the pitch.


It was in painting class, mythical

Forest of easels, aped inspiration,

Spreading butter on bread, aimlessly

Pushing hues around canvasses.


You’d just returned from Kentucky,

Your little brother gone,

The last, black and white silhouette

Icon near his sisters’ rooms.


Across the studio I’m stunned

By your wild-eyed bewilderment,

Vicious puncture through the breast,

Enormous tears on deluged cheeks,

Engraving indelible fissures.


Too young, too lucky, too oblivious

Yet to hear Death’s relentless dirge,

My empathy too naïve, my words,

Leaden lumps of useless ore,


(Eventually, he noticed and whispered

sad tunes through my days.)


Still, I recognized this grim chorus,

Harsh, metallic flavor on the lips,

Your little brother, little boy reflection

To another, my butchered innocence.


In that gray moment, now three

Decades past, I comprehend the bond.

My sister, when your fingers fly

Over the keys, you play for him.








Daniel David is a writer, artist, and professor living along the southern shore of Lake Erie in North America. His poems have appeared widely in a number of venues across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. His publications also include articles in the Journal of Creative Behavior; chapbooks Close to Home and Two Buddha, and his novel, Flying Over Erie.

“Winding Way” by Robert Bartusch

The road declines to tell me
Where I’m going.


This road just winds
And takes me
Where I am.


I know that you don’t understand
Where I’m going.


You know I won’t tell you
Where I’ve been.


Would you believe me
If I told you I’m just walking up
Hills in a park,
Enjoying the sunshine this spring.


The road just winds and takes me
Where I am.


Road, we don’t have
To disagree.
I know you’ll always take care of me.
Just wind and
Take me where I am.








Robert Bartusch is a bar manager in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has a BA in English from Ohio University and has been writing in his free time while working in bars and restaurants for 17 years. He is also a songwriter for the rock band Hurricane Hotpants. twitter.com/hhpants

“Skin’s Love Note” by Andreas Fleps

As I kiss the godly curvature
Of the nape of your neck,
Tiny beautiful bumps of Braille
Protrude from your soft flesh,
Beckoning me to place my lips
Gently on you once again
And slowly read the message
You have written for me only,
Which is always this,
“I love you.”








Andreas Fleps is a recent college graduate from the Chicagoland area. He has a theology degree from Dominican University.  andreasfleps.com

“Going to a Funeral in Another World” by Joseph DeMarco

The scene is all too familiar
(Except for the purple sky).
Has this happened before?
Deja vu on the edge of a waking dream?
In another life,
Or maybe all funerals are the same?


The same ceremony.
The same casket.
(Well this casket is made of Phantom-wood.)
The same sadness, fear and joyousness,
From everybody that it is not
THEIR funeral.


We are all lined up
(Along the blue grass),
These familiar strangers.
They look like neighbors from past lives.


The lady next to me looks like
My 1st grade teacher.
(Except she has five noses.)
She doesn’t seem to know me,
Why would she?


Didn’t I used to deliver newspapers to that man?
(Except without the eyes in the back of his head)
Not in this life.
Maybe that was lifetimes ago.


On the way in
I brushed past the doorman
(Who looks like this kid I used to play hockey with,
Except he is thirty years older),
But we say not a word to each other,
As if we don’t know each other
(Or never did).


The funeral is sad and I cry,
Even though I never knew the boy in the coffin.
I cry because things have to end.
Why can’t they be endless?
I cry because death is heart-breaking.
I cry for his family’s pain.


And I am glad to go back to my world,
Where we never die and love is endless.








Joseph DeMarco was born in New York City; he lived most of his life in Buffalo, NY. He now teaches seventh grade on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. He is the author of the novels Plague of the Invigilare, The 4 Hundred and 20 Assassins of Emir Abdullah-Harazins, At Play in the Killing Fields, and Blind Savior, False Prophet. He is currently working on several new projects.  (authorsden.com/josephdemarco)

“Silverfish” by Scott Thomas Outlar

Away from the light,
dancing antennae
scutter past spiders
to hide in the shadows
where silvery scales
can wait in the bathtub
for the house to fall silent.


Creeping and crawling
while the world is asleep
the pests of the night
head to the bookshelf
for a feast.


With the dawn
in the morning
we are early to rise,
and head to the office
to wake up our minds…
only to find
that the words
which our eyes
seek to read
have been devoured in full
by our foul enemy…


that has slipped away
without a trace,
leaving only
torn and shredded pages
in its wake.







Scott Thomas Outlar spends the hours flowing and fluxing with the ever-changing currents of the Tao River while laughing at and/or weeping over life’s existential nature. His chapbook Songs of a Dissident is available from Transcendent Zero Press, and his words have appeared recently in venues such as Words Surfacing, Yellow Chair Review, Dissident Voice, Section 8 Magazine, and Void Magazine17numa.wordpress.com

“Dead Eyes” by Tom Pescatore

A soft summer rain,
clicking of some insect or
raccoon or squirrel off in
trees, purple-orange sky
haze in the distance, beyond that,
the city, I walk out into scene
swinging trash bag, cutting down
invisible spider-webs,
the dumpster looks at me
with dead eyes like the dead
eyes staring out wet
tree branches, like the dead eyes
leering under cars, like the dead eyes
from the million cold bodies
buried in all the cemeteries of the world,
and I toss the bag into the
gaping black mouth weary of stepping
any closer,
walk out into the street
where I feel somehow I’m safe,
for a moment, before turning
back toward the old brick
apartment building
with its dark windows
and its own dead eyes








Tom Pescatore grew up outside Philadelphia, dreaming of the endless road ahead, carrying the idea of the fabled West in his heart. He maintains a poetry blog. His work has been published in literary magazines both nationally and internationally, but he’d rather have them carved on the Walt Whitman bridge or on the sidewalks of Philadelphia’s old Skid Row.

“PsychoLogic Soliloquy” by RJ Wasser

“By the way, you don’t mind if I smoke do you? Gee thanks; you’re aces pal.” I slowly take the butane lighter from my pocket and hold it to the Chesterfield I’ve retrieved from the antiquated holder I keep in the back pocket of my jeans. What’s the rush after all? The smoke dances in the sunlight that pours through the stained glass window opposite us in the kitchen and I can’t help but admire the feel of this particular home. It’s almost dreamlike, positively surreal.


The opulent paint scheme and the stucco walls set a very distinctive mood and everything matches from the curtains down to the brass appliances. It’s one hell of a house and it’s safe to say I’m a fan of whoever was responsible for the design. I’m especially fixated on the custom set of kitchen knives on the butcher block. There’s a lot you can tell about a person from the decorations of their home and the condition they keep their cutlery in. “Honestly I don’t think there is any other way to look at my life; I’m just horribly misunderstood. That’s the long and short of it and to my knowledge it’s always has been that way. Seriously, let me just run a few things past you, I’m sure you’ll see it from my point of view.”


I guess it’d be too easy to blame this kind of thing on my mother although she’s most likely the root of my specific peculiarities. Saying my childhood was “abnormal” would be anything but an exaggeration. “Did you know that my mother, outside of being a lawyer and a doctor was also a representative on the city council? At least that’s what she’d tell the newspaper in her bi-monthly rant to the editor of the local newspaper. My doctors may say I’m imbalanced but if they’d of had the chance to meet her then they’d really know what crazy looked like. She’d of made Pagliacci look like a normal balanced individual.” The fact of the matter was I barely saw my mother, save when she’d come by to take me to the local magistrate to renew her child support documentation and whatnot. I was raised by her brother, my uncle, who happened to be a very artistic man. And for as much of an artist as he was he was twice as eccentric. Maybe those traits rubbed off on me more than I’d care to admit, but I’ll leave that discussion for another time, as that’s an entirely different rabbit hole of equal measure and depth.


As I inhale the cherry on the cigarette glows red, then an intense orange before settling back into a cool ash-grey.   “Control issues; that was the first thing that got on my nerves when people would attempt to analyze me as a child. What was it they used to say? Oh yes, they said I was “aggressive-aggressive”. Sure I might have been a bit bossy but some children are naturally like that aren’t they? The whole incident with me tying the other kids up? That was just a joke, and apparently one that some parents just couldn’t take. I always thought it was funny seeing what other kids do especially if you leave them alone like that for a while.   Besides, I learned an important lesson from that whole debacle; bungee cords are infinitely superior to rope when it comes to restraints. Keep another child tied up in a janitors closet for long enough and they’ll look forward to being locked in their parents car trunk like it was Christmas, rest assured.”


The look on my new friend’s face contorts in discomfort; it’s painfully clear that he’s not following and considering the position he’s in I guess I can understand that. He seems worried. I can tell because his eyes keep darting around the room Maybe I should get more personal. The doctors always said that was something I should try and right now is as good a time as any to give it a shot. “Would you believe after that they sent me for counseling? For the most part I still don’t understand what the fuss was all about; everybody likes a good fire after all. Hell, I’d even say it was art, and who’s got the right to deny me my God given right to make my art a reality?”


Yes, I do believe I’m starting to lose him; he’s drifting and that’s upsetting me quite a bit to say the least. “I guess, in retrospect, I may have had a bit of a violent streak in me but then again at the time it seemed perfectly reasonable. It’s not like I was a looney or something like that; I’d always assumed if I were Big Brother would have had me locked up. And in my defense those kids were bigger than me so they had it coming. Besides, it’s not like they ever found the baseball bat… or the bodies for that matter.” The embers begin to singe the base of my fingers and I take one final drag on the nearly finished cigarette.


I guess it’s true what they say, nothing lasts forever, not my Chesterfields, much to my dismay, and not the surprisingly enjoyable conversation I’ve been having. Sure it’s a bit one sided but when somebody like me finds another person who’s willing to listen it means the world.   My hand caresses the forged handles of the knives on the cutting block and rests gently over the smallest of the bunch; the paring knife. I remove it from its place of rest and run my fingernail over the blade to test its keenness. “Ahhh…. just what I like to see, the edge is nice and sharp.” I admire the workmanship of the solid steel knife in my hand; my friend on the couch certainly does have an eye for detail and quality. “Oh, and about your cat; there’s just no way around it, the cat HAD to go.”


I begin to move towards the couch, slowly, but purposefully. I’d like to say that I didn’t do that kind of thing intentionally. I’d also like to say that doing so didn’t make the situation all the more exciting for me but if I said that I’d be lying. Delay the moment for as long as you can, that’s what I always say. Besides, the slow stroll towards my host gives me a minute to admire the rich Corinthian leather of the couch he’s “sitting” on. “You know I just wanted to say, before we get on with it all, I absolutely love what you’ve done with your house; you’ve got style, panache even. It is, by far, the nicest I’ve been in a while and the fact that you were nice enough to spend some time listening to my problems, well, that’s just plain neighborly of you.”


He struggles against the bungee cords that I’ve used to tie him up. If I didn’t know any better I’d think he was trying to bite through the duct tape. “Sorry about that friend. Honestly if I thought you wouldn’t scream I’d take the tape off but considering I know full well we’re about to make a mess I just can’t take ay extra chances.” His eyes widen as I produce the knife and begin to hone it on the leather strap I keep in my pocket. “Now, do me a favour and try to stay still. It’s more for your sake, honestly. Either way, this is really going to hurt.”




“Hmmm…. I’m starting to regret not doing this outside. He certainly was a gusher. But on the bright side, at least there won’t be a whole lot left over for his huckle bearers to carry.” The blood on the curtains beads up and rolls down the magenta fabric like wax on a candle. Ikea; they just have to be from Ikea. Those Norwegian bastards were absolute geniuses when it came to murder-friendly housewares and there isn’t another a group of people on Earth that would make drapes in a gaudy colors like that.









RJ Wasser is an English Major at West Chester University. He previously completed two enlistments in the US Armed Forces; one in the Air Force and the other in the Army.  wasserrj.wordpress.com

“Tyvek House” by Ruth Z. Deming

(Tyvek is an insulation material applied to the interior of buildings before application of the final material such as wood or stone or siding.)



Take this old house by the side of the road.
Walk past its leaf-filled ditch and muddy garden.
Rip out its walls and doorways.
Stay there, don’t move.
Walk among the heaps of plasterboard,
the piles of rubble still unswept.
Let it sear you, rush like water through you,
and bring you no peace.


Don’t come and fetch me,
I’ll stay here among the ruins.
Quiet, dream-filled,
lonesome as a stairwell,
ringing like a bell,
one of a kind,
the house where I live.


Did you mark the days when they
hammered the outer boards
across the falling rot of splintered wood?
Did you see how frisky they were,
those laugh-aloud fun-finding fellows
stationed so effortlessly
on tall hinged ladders?
Three of them I counted, workmen,
bouncing words from roof to roof,
or were they manly jokes,
nails echoing clang clang
as they went in,
thick-soled boots snug on tall rungs.


How we couldn’t help but laugh
the day the letters appeared – TYVEK -
blue, dark as mountains,
you’d know those letters anywhere –
ponytailed Y,
take-me-along K pointing off,
off in the distance at some lonesome star.
How we rejoiced and continue to rejoice
at the coming of the words.


Leave it to us to notice from our
one unstained window
the predicament of the motorists
and the ditch-leaping joggers passing by,


each one waiting,
querying among themselves,
when will it be finished?
When will the Tyvek be covered up for good?


Didn’t we fool them?
Didn’t we cause consternation?
We simply couldn’t do it.


We let the Tyvek stay.








Ruth Z. Deming has had her poetry published in literary journals including Metazen, Mad Swirl, River Poets, and Eunoia Review. A psychotherapist and mental health advocate, she runs New Directions Support Group for people and families affected by depression and bipolar disorder. She lives in Willow Grove, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia.

“Sesame Street” by Mike Nichols

We were both born sick.
Hospital stays and needles
jammed into my skinny thighs
had made me well
by the time she arrived.
But her sick was worse.


Her years were spent in hospitals.
Odor of iodine, rubbing alcohol,
anticipated pain. Lab coats
made her shrink into herself.
Their wearers bearing needles
stabbing and stealing
or sneaking in unwanted gifts.


When she was home and not sick
the Sesame Street song
made us romp around and sing along.
“Sunny day, sweepin’ the clouds away.”


That day she is home
but she is sick.
Her face is tired and mad.
She is lying on the couch
sucking her finger. I know
that finger is fat and red.
It always looks like hurting feels.


Quiet – on my tippy-toes
I peek over the couch.
I drop to my hands. I giggle.
Carpet pushes up
between my fingers.
I sneak on hands and knees
around the couch
past the torn flap.
Tingles are in my tummy.
I peek over the cushion.
I do a silly face.


She looks through me,
above the fireplace
where painted ladies
(that I mustn’t touch)
stand under umbrellas.
Her eyes look through
the painted ladies too.


I quack. I stick my tongue out.
Her cheeks suck in around her finger.
I wobble my head at her.
I poke her. I shake her.
I grab her wrist and pull.
Her fat red finger pops out.


Now she can see me.
Now she is screaming.
I am in trouble. She-Is-Sick.
I only wanted her to play – with me.


If I could go back to that day
I’d wrap her hand with mine
and set them, soft,
upon the raised flower pattern
of that couch like crushed velvet
against our skin.


And silent, I’d memorize – her face.








Mike Nichols was born all in a rush just after midnight, with no assistance from doctor or midwife, under a waning Tennessee moon on a chill October night behind a partition at the back of a tar-paper shack in which his unwed mother had holed-up for a time. Mike won the 2014 Ford Swetnam Poetry Prize. His fiction and poetry may be found at Underground Voices, Bewildering Stories, and Black Rock & Sage.

“Sensory Experience” by Gary Beck

Radio compelled people
to pay attention
to what they heard
and listen carefully.
Movies isolated people
who sat alone in darkness,
glued rapturously
to the silver screen.
TV chained people at home
watching the revealed world,
a paltry substitute
for imagination.
The internet erased
international boundaries,
allowing users
world-wide exploration
mostly for trivia,
sometimes for science,
too often for evil,
unleashing new dangers
on the unprepared world.







Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press); Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press); Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines and Tremors (Winter Goose Publishing); and Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). His published novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Acts of Defiance (Artema Press), and Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing), as well as his short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes, and Sophocles have been produced off Broadway. His poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

“Like Fire” by S. A. Gerber

The moon

in half shadow,

crimson, like


Demons in my

head sing low and

dance with


What can such

a sign portend.

Harvest or smooth

sailing, or a harbinger

of the end.

The same moon,

over time,

has been glimpsed

by many.

Speculated and


not understood

by any.

This appearance

causes disquiet,

as the unenlightened

have a glance.

It only fills my head

with the music,

to which my demons

love to dance.








S. A. Gerber is a native and resident of Los Angeles, CA. His work has appeared in such diverse publications as The Blue Collar Review, Desert Voices Magazine, Subtopian Magazine, Talking Sidewalks, Sediments Literary and Arts Journal, Black Heart Magazine,Mad Swirl, Poetica Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles, and The Linden Avenue Literary Journal. His two volumes of poetry, Under the Radar and Inventory, are available from Barnes & Noble and Amazon as well as Amber Unicorn Books in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“A Cowboy’s Lullaby” by Cara Vitadamo

We gathered on a true Sabbath,
When the distant sun was high
And our breath misted in the air.
We had carried a sorrowful burden for miles and miles
Ready for the inevitable task of carrying the mournful.


Oh! But your love; your pride
She met us with a smile and open arms
And the strong determination of an oak tree standing in a violent storm.
She then opened the door to her old country home
Where your boots were still lined up like soldiers
And your Stetson still on its hook.
She cocooned us in her love.
All the while, she sang to us a song
Like the song you sang to her so long ago—
A cowboy’s song.


Then, as the sun got closer to its meeting place with the earth
She taught her children’s children
Love for horses
And pink Cowboy boots
Singing to them—
A cowboy’s song.


That night,
She held a baby
As he slept a peaceful sleep.
Her unshed tears a clear glass pond;
While rivers rushed down my face.
I clung to her like morning glory vines.
Yet, her unwavering soul peered out into the world
Like the moon dimly lit in the day; refusing to go down without a fight.
And she sang to me—
A cowboy’s song.


Now, she sits by your bed.
You upon your horse
Slowly stepping into the setting red, orange sun.
She sings a soft melody.
Words of strength, love, loss, and acceptance.
For this is her song.
Her song to you.
A cowboy’s lullaby.








Cara Vitadamo is a registered nurse that enjoys poetry. She has been published in Torrid Literature, All Things Girl, and Mused a Bella Online Literary Review Magazine.

“Patient” by Joe Bisicchia

Window would see
if eyes weren’t stuck


When I was young
I used to dress myself
and go where I wanted.


But now,
with dull wall
and nurse down the hall,
I stretch out my hand
and wait.








Joe Bisicchia writes of our shared spiritual dynamic. An Honorable Mention recipient for the Fernando Rielo XXXII World Prize for Mystical Poetry, his works have appeared in Sheepshead Review, Balloons Lit Journal, The Inflectionist Review, Black Heart Magazine, Dark Matter Journal, Poets Collectives Anthologies, and others. The current public affairs professional in New Jersey is a former award winning television host who also taught high school English. He also co-invented an award winning family card game.  www.widewide.world