March 25, 2019

The Crimson of Spring by Carol Louise Moon

Anna's hummingbird would fit inside my pocket.
If only I could catch him with my hand. Crimson
is in the eye of the beholder this sunny day in
bloom along the curb.  A fantasy of crimson
seems to spring up everywhere.  Pockets of tiny
pink weed and red eye-winks of sweet pea--
spring's handiwork evident in our yard.

Crimson roses venture through our redwood
fence. Crimson breast of robin, brown eye-band
of cedar waxwing--Crow's eye is on the smallest
of them all.

Spring provides a bounty and a tragedy. Crimson
flow of blood--Crow's had his hand in this... and
something more.  Everywhere I sense a struggle.
Suddenly, the least of these will spring to flight
escaping heavy hand of Crow, his royal crimson
heart a pocket hole.

Though I love spring, and "Oh, 'tis grand," I see
the hand of fate--the surprise of crimson.






Carol Louise Moon is a Simulated Client Actor, and a poet who has work published in Suisun Valley Review (CA), California Quarterly, Everything Stops and Listens (Ohio), Time of Singing (PA), Peeking Cat Poetry Mag (UK) and Sacramento Voices Anthologies.

March 21, 2019

Salome at the Queen of Hearts by Michael Dittman

Nude dancing has been outlawed in both Galilee and Erie.
Something about these lake towns hates the idea 
of unclothed skin and naked resolve.  
So she ended up here dancing for the town’s 
teachers, barbers, the gainfully unemployed
Who will go home to their wives and daughters, 
grab some sleep and clean up for Sunday morning services

From the Queen of Heart’s parking lot you can 
see the smoke not rising from the stacks 
of the Trinity Steel factories.  
The closing has hurt everyone, even 
the dancers hustle customers faster 
and harder.  Before I sit down, 
Salome’s there, her veils drifting across my back.  
She makes small talk, trying to convince me
she’s thinking of going back to college.

When I offer her a five, she asks, “How about bigger stakes?”
“Stick your neck out,” she says.
I laugh and offer her a cigarette, 
then pause as I see her eyeing 
my pulsing throat with powerful attraction.







Michael Dittman lives and writes outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he also works as an English professor.  His books include Small Brutal IncidentsJack Kerouac, and The Beat Generation. Michael's writing often draws from the clash between the natural and created spaces.

March 14, 2019

Only the Unbearable Silence Travels Here by Martin Willitts Jr.

Thousands of wildflowers have come
and gone, taking their colors with them.

A small thing, this untraceable silence,
allowing me to notice
what cannot be seen:

near the water-lined beech trees,
some pale purple-blue spring flowers
of the common hepatica,
emerge from rootstalks under leaves;

they only open a week or two —
such a narrow window of time.

They are already bending without wind,
timing to open at the onset of night,
listening for the movement of water
and light.






Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian. He has over 20 chapbooks, plus 15 full-length collections  His most recent chapbook is "You Enter, and It All Falls Apart" (Flutter Press, 2019). 

March 13, 2019

Just Renters by Jan Darrow


When Louie looked out the bathroom window up into the stars, he remembered why his wife left him.

“Look Louie,” she had said while packing her things, "we’re getting nowhere. You turn down promotions at work. You’ve driven the same car for decades. We live on the bad side of town. More than half of the houses are empty.”

“But I like it here.”

“We’re just renters Louie. We could have a nicer house. We could live anywhere!”

It was true. They could’ve lived anywhere. They were just renters.

But they did live on the bad side of town, and after his wife left, Louie was alone. He didn’t even have a dog and nothing much changed. He went to work, came home and cooked dinner. Day after day. On Sundays, however, his brother Charles stopped by in the evening for dinner.

Then one night, something woke Louie from a deep sleep. What it was he couldn’t say except he was wide awake. He opened the window blind and coming from the house next door was a flickering light.

Louie wasn’t much of a trespasser, but he put on his robe and walked into the long unkempt garden next door. He found the front door unlocked. The flickering light had stopped. He pulled out a flashlight and looked around. No chairs, no dishes. Nothing in the closets. The house was empty except for one table in the living room upon which sat a dated movie projector and a roll of film. He threaded the film, flipped on the switch, and saw images projected onto a blank white wall. To his surprise, it was a home movie taken long ago of the very house he was in and the people living there. He saw birthdays, anniversaries, first days of school, proms and neighborhood parties all fused together.

The neighborhood was full of life; how different the houses looked all painted and clean.

Louie went home after the movie had finished, but he had a lot to think about.

When Charles stopped by for dinner the following Sunday, he found Louie’s house empty. No chairs, no dishes. Nothing in the closets. In fact, nothing anywhere except a table in the living room upon which sat a dated movie projector and a roll of film. He threaded the film, flipped on the switch, and saw the images projected onto a blank white wall. To his surprise, it was a home movie taken long ago of the very house he was in and the people living there. He saw birthdays, anniversaries, first days of school, proms, and neighborhood parties all fused together.

The neighborhood was full of life; how different the houses looked all painted and clean.

And then he saw Louie up on the wall. And Louie waved.







Jan Darrow is a poet from Michigan who connected with the natural world at an early age.  She has been published online and in print and finds abandoned places utterly beautiful.  You can see more of her work at jandarrow.blogspot.com.

March 12, 2019

Present by Joan McNerney

You gave me
five brown pods
to grow in
my garden bed.

I put them
in a glass jar
with my locket.

Five brown pods
winding through
heaven.  Weaving
night with winter
wishes for wisteria.

In a flower dress
wandering over
perfumed fields
I sleepwalk
searching for
my golden locket
and your embrace.






Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Warriors with Wings, Blueline, and Halcyon Days.  Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work.  Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations. 

March 11, 2019

The Attic by Krikor Der Hohannesian

Tapestries of gossamer
festoon rough-hewn rafters.
Knotty old floorboards
groan under a century’s burden of
memories, dust-coated secrets,
buried shadows in decaying chests,
hearts stilled and gone frigid.

A shaft of skittish sunbeams
pierces a grimy window,
spotlighting crazed sepias
of austere gentlemen
in over-starched high collars
and ladies bedecked
in lacy décolletage
and frilly hats, looking
quite prim and proper.

In a dank, dusty corner
where the sun never visits
a doll lies long-abandoned,
naked, crumpled, eyes
rolled back in a face
of fractured china.






Krikor Der Hohannesian lives in Medford, MA. His poems have appeared in over 150 literary journals including The Evansville Review, The South Carolina Review, Atlanta Review, Louisiana Literature, Connecticut Review and Natural Bridge. He is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of two chapbooks,“Ghosts and Whispers” (Finishing Line Press, 2010) and “Refuge in the Shadows” (Cervena Barva Press, 2013).  “Ghosts and Whispers” was a finalist for the Mass Book awards poetry category in 2011.

March 8, 2019

Snail Mail Cursive by James Walton

concrete cures forever
I was told by a builder
not in the medicinal sense
but strengthening over time

then a letter caught up with me
on this winter’s day
so cold two ducks are on the chimney
billing complaint into the ornate mooring

the words came from before death
of our joke about moths in his wallet
he was too cheap for his shout
and how it really happened that day

at the Duke when one flew out
and we were on the floor laughing
just the carpet between infinity
the underlay of worlds

a vibrato stitch of things
hand writing filtered by sand
conversations with an albatross
hanging endings in final saliva

the stamp his last touch
when he reached for us on earth
taking three years to berth
with wings from a tropical butterfly






James Walton was a librarian, a farm labourer, a cattle breeder, and mostly a public sector union official. He is published in many anthologies, journals, and newspapers, and is the author of three collections. He is now old enough to be almost invisible.