note from editor:

A little over a year ago, I was driving through the Grapevine along I-5 during the evening twilight, when I pulled over to check into a motel. I was standing in the parking lot outside of my room when I took the above picture. I stood there for a while believing something would appear, but ... nothing did. Then I decided I would walk into the field later that night, because I was sure there would be a sighting of something, but I only made it as far out as twenty steps before I ran back to my room. Needless to say, my paranormal investigation skills are not that impressive. 

A few days that night, I published the first issue of Phantom Kangaroo, and now, 12 issues later, a year away from this field, and no more closer to solving an X-file, the memory attached to the picture is still of something very eerie, and I think all I can really hope for is that it stays like that forever. 

 

Claudia Lamar, November 2011

 

Special note: This will be the last issue of the year. Beginning 2012, Phantom Kangaroo will be published once every three months, with issue no. 14 published on Jan. 13, 2012. 

 

The Last Time

by Cynthia Linville


It all starts and ends here:
a stone stairway leading to nowhere.
I recognize the touch of his hand.
Ghosts swarm the skeletal trees.
She is here too,
arms folded back like wings.
A lone broom sweeps the cold path
where we once danced.
An owl hoots thrice:
just one more who betrays you.
* * *
Just one more who betrays you,
she is here too.
An owl hoots thrice.
Ghosts swarm the skeletal trees.
A stone stairway leading to nowhere,
a lone broom sweeps the cold path.
It all starts and ends here
where we once danced,
arms folded back like wings.
I recognize the touch of his hand.
* * *
I recognize the touch of his hand.
Ghosts swarm the skeletal trees,
arms folded back like wings.
She is here too
where we once danced.
An owl hoots thrice.
A lone broom sweeps the cold path,
a stone stairway leading to nowhere.
It all starts and ends here:
just one more who betrays you.

 

Unidentified

by David Russomano


In the years following 9/11, on a brilliant Sunday
morning drive, south toward church down
I95, my sister noticed sunlight glinting  
off of something hovering over the small city
of Bridgeport. She described it as metallic, but no
aircraft remains stationary quite like that.
Though, in shape and size, it could’ve been a blimp,
they don’t have chrome exteriors or suddenly
take nose dives into city centers like bombs or
rockets. She flinched and braced herself
for an explosion that never came. Later, she
told the story that no one could corroborate.
Life goes on for her, unperturbed by what
she can’t explain. But an unbelievable account
from someone you trust is harder to dismiss
than hearsay. I still find the question slinking
around the dim corners of my mind and
occasionally barging forward into the light.

 

Breaking News (Version #1)

by Denny E. Marshall


Heard sirens continually blow
Breaking news interrupts the show
Horns sounding not a tornado
First landing of a UFO

Anchor’s voice echoing with fear
Stating, the facts are still not clear
Announcement on the radio
First landing of a UFO

Speaking into the microphone
Voice says we are not alone
Reporting a short time ago
First landing of a UFO

 

Bite

by Harry Calhoun


The seizure makes you strange.
Everyone is not like you, any more
crawling back into the mindless dark

and wakening back to substance
not knowing where you’ve been,
the green mind you’ve crawled. The weird mold

of it makes you take medicine as scary and rough
as any terrain you’ve never crossed, makes you sick and
different and hard to swallow. The spasms

make you strange to yourself, broken ribs
and savage gnawings on your unconsciously bitten tongue
a revenant. A ghost to yourself, words you choose hesitant

and frightening to you as the blood that poured
from you pure, poor lost and ancient tongue.
Chew this thoughtfully and express it as you can

through your vociferously voided self.

 

Like love

by Lee Gillespie


You kiss me like absinthe spit in the communion cup
And the worm turns and writhes in the blood loamed soil.
The rotten sweet goblin fruit of my womb falls
Into your hand and you bite.
 
Tomorrow I will feed you the stones from my eyes.
Then while you sleep I’ll gut you from gullet to groin
And let your evil loose into the world.
They are my children too after all.

 

softly as they leave us

by Melissa Bobe


“softly as they leave”                                                           you

beatbeat out
beatbeat out
beatbeatbeatbeatbeatbeat
in      in      in      __
Obscured, she //bound/, was somnambulant in her wooden bed. His approach, slow(sustained—) up [to the open grave.

And,
Will you join me in a pas de nocturne?
I will.

One grave, one shrouded, one treading, one box. A body//a body. Two. There are two. There are absolutely two in [this duet;                                                                             it is a duet.

But.

(Can you trace the places where the hands graze the sweat and breathing flesh? Can you find the shadow in the shadow in the empty and abandoned grave? Can you hear the tap and turn, sinew under suspended skin? If you can, you are surely watching someone else’s pas de deux.)

 

Haunted

by Richard Cody

 

Dead men linger ‘round your window
most nights
as you lie in bed, sleeping.

Unaware of the dead,
you divide the dark between dreams and oblivion.
You never hear them creeping.

Once, flickering into consciousness,
you mistook a pale face for the moon.

When morning comes they wander
into bar rooms, alleys,
the bushes beside the freeway.

They mingle and hide as best they can,
haunted by your sleeping face
all through the burning day.

 


*Previously published in “This is Not My Heart.”

 

The Fifth Season

by Robert E. Petras


Misty snow dabs pale make-up
upon the brown stubble.
The cattle trough is drained,
the creek bed dry.
Through gauze of white
an island of headstones appears,
gray, flat, canted,
wreathed inside spires of iron.
Steam rises from the fresh, warm soil,
the grave open like a wound,
silent, hollow, seeded,
awaiting the harvest of the fifth season.
A crow caws.

 

 

The Rush of Silence

by Sam Downum


If I could silence the rush
With more rush
The din of a hundred crashing
Disfigured machines
Consuming each one’s bodies
Devoured by the dark light
Of the bastard suns
Those forgotten angels
Spread across the dirt splay
Of man’s dwelling (not property)
And wandering with empty
Scarlet eye sockets
To and fro
Of dead childhood memory
Places we were alive
Before we were
One eyed impostors
The black suns forsaken in the
In between – where love
Is course and severe
Flowers with mouths, smiling
And we are whispering
To ourselves

 

Sleeping Like a Widow

by Sheila Hassell Hughes


She sleeps like a widow, says my mother
who in two years of living alone
has grown fond of the lonely old name
for the way it pins the wings of
her pain so precisely under glass.

She can point to each variation
in shape and shade and coloration and
mark the meaning in the widowed
body of her life, preserved.


She sleeps like a widow, observes
my mother, huddling neatly to her
edge of the bed, mostly empty;
see how she's clung to the ledge
barely moving, covers unrumpled


so careful not to disturb the dead
so bold in her flirtation with the long dark line.


That, she says, is how we widows sleep.

 

Beating a dead horse

by Vivian Bird


Because it was the only thing to me,
I didn’t realize it was gone a long time ago.
Even a close friend said, “Think about it.”
But I decided not to.
I had thrown out everything I’d owned.
Moved halfway across 6,000 miles.
I’d gotten new friends.
A new job.
Even started drinking vodka
and going by a different name.
But every other good night,
I took my cane out and began beating that beast again.
It wasn’t really there anymore, but I still was.
Deep down.
Just me and the wood splitting on the roadside.

 

contributor bios

Cynthia Linville is a Sacramento native who has lived in London, New York, San Francisco, and outside of Washington DC but keeps coming back home to live in the San Joaquin Valley.  A former pupil of Dennis Schmitz, she has taught in the English Department at California State University, Sacramento for over ten years.  She is active in the local poetry scene, hosting readings for The Crocker, The Vox, and The Sacramento Poetry Center, and reading with the group Poetica Erotica. Cynthia served as Poetry Editor of Poetry Now from 2008-2010 and continues to serve as managing editor of Convergence: an online journal and poetry and art (www.convergence-journal.com).  Ms. Linville regularly contributes her poetry to the Sacramento News and Review, Medusa's Kitchen and WTF. A music aficionado with a theater background, she is usually out and about supporting the arts.

Denny E. Marshall has had art & poetry recently published. An example of this is cover art for the August 2011 issue of “Scifaikuest.”

David Russomano graduated in 2006 with a BA in creative writing from Messiah College. His poetry has been featured in Write from Wrong, This Great Society, and Red Booth Review. It is also scheduled to appear in an upcoming issue of Women in REDzine. He currently teaches English in Turkey.


Harry Calhoun has been published at odd poetry whistlestops for the past 30 years. Last year, his poems were published in the book The Black Dog and the Road and his chapbooks, Something Real, Near daybreak, with a nod to Frost and Retreating Aggressively into the Dark. He’s had recent publications in Chiron Review, Orange Room Review, Gutter Eloquence and many others.

John Joe Loftus originally started out in life as an alternate persona, but has since taken complete control of the biological unit. He has a growing interest in poetic composition and has recently acquired a taste for strong drink and women. He shows no sign of relinquishing control of the unit, formerly a student of marine chemistry at NUIG as well as a highly accomplished tree-feller in a misguided desert nation. His hobbies included cookery, hiking and the ruthless enforcement of his will. He is dearly missed by his family and friends.


Lee Gillespie despite being both an advocate and an avatar for the trickster god Coyote somehow ended up as a mother of 2 and being owned by a black cat that hates her socks. When she was young she wanted to be just like Lord Byron -"Mad, bad, and dangerous to know." Unfortunately, she failed to notice that unlike her, Byron did take the occasional break from general debauchery to actually publish something. Usually something better than what she could up with. She’s hoping to make up some lost time now or at least make up something interesting now and again.

Melissa Bobe holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Translation from Queens College of the City University of New York. In the spring of 2011, she was a writer-in-residence at the Louis Armstrong House Museum Archives. She founded and taught a creative writing workshop for teens at the Rockville Centre Public Library for six years, and has also taught nonfiction prose writing as an adjunct instructor at Queens College. She is currently pursuing a PhD in English Literature at Rutgers University.

 

Michael Andrew is a full time student at NUIG studying Philosophy and Celtic Civilisation. His work has appeared in Blue and yellow dog, shamrock, mancini press, guerilla pamphlets et.al. He can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=622160272. Or alternatively you can visit him for a cup of tea in Galway.

 

Richard Cody, a native Californian, has been known to write poetry and fiction. His work has appeared in many and varied print and virtual journals, and been rejected by many more! You may have seen his stories or poetry recently in Pulp Metal Magazine, Daily Love, The Carnage Conservatory, a handful of stones and Microstory a Week. He is the author of The Jewel in the Moment, Darker Corners, and This is Not My Heart – all available cheap at Lulu.com and/or Amazon.

 

Robert E. Petras is a graduate of West Liberty University and a resident of Toronto, Ohio.  His poetry and fiction have most recently appeared or is forthcoming in Haunted Water Press, Dark River Press, HeyDay Magazine and The Second Hump.

 

Sheila Hassell Hughes is Associate Professor and Chair of English, and former Director of Women’s and Gender Studies, at the University of Dayton. She earned her BA (British Columbia) and MA (Toronto) in English and her PhD (Emory) in women’s studies.  Her research foci include gender and religion in American Indian women’s writing and the voices of girls in urban schools, and her poetry explores modes of loss, recovery, and connection.  She has published scholarly articles and poems in journals such as MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the U.S., SAIL: Studies in American Indian Literatures, African American Review, American Quarterly, Religion and Literature, Literature and Theology, Mused, and the Lullwater Review.

 

Vivian Bird loves palm trees and Old Hollywood. She writes everyday.

 

 

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