note from editor:

This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.” - Rumi

"things we dreamt in the fire— { #radio static as a form of modern blues}" by david tomaloff

"things we dreamt in the fire— { #radio static as a form of modern blues}" by david tomaloff

I think our secret wants act like ghosts sometimes, scaring us and driving us to wish we didn't believe in them. And then sometimes we do stop believing in them, and that's when our hearts lose sight of what we really want, and that's when we stray farther from the lives we are supposed to be leading. Because it's not easy to change your life, also equally difficult is deciding how to start a poem. Thankfully, I handle both situations the same. What I do is begin with an image that has been haunting me, and then I run towards it. Every new life I lead begins with an image, and every poem of mine lives with ghosts pressed between the pages.

Claudia Lamar,

March 2011

reproaches from the dead

pouring some blood-like whiskey into my old battered glass,
trying somehow to reach new heights of spirituality
outside, through the weak and decaying window
I could see the sky coming out of golden stars
in the neglected and stinking garden I could find
bloody buds sprouting out of the flowers left
in the distant darkness I could make out a few
angel-like persons coming out of the dead soil
my adorable grandmother,
my drunkard of a grandfather
and my brave girl
I shook my head;
was I drunk before drinking?
grandmother was surely coming to tell me
that I forgot to clean and embellish her grave last week
grandfather would ask me why I had
neglected his wife just like he did when alive,
but nothing about himself
I emptied the crimson glass in my trembling mouth
my dead girl knew that I had betrayed
the promise of never loving someone else
all due to that new girl next door
who strangely resembled her
the reproachful dead folk approaching
and stopping at the rickety garden fence,
I closed my freezing eyes,
plugged the juicy bottle mouth into
my own glass-cold mouth
and turned the bottle upside-down



The Stevedore

by Catfish McDaris


Unloading your poems
from a ship of fog, your
melody floats through
the ruby lipped prostitute's
Dreams, her long silky
legs wrapped around
the moon, a rose
Between her teeth, a
mocking heart song
Insanity rips & wanes,
blood drips saxophones,
the wind blows away
the thunderbolts.


A Ghost About Town

by Claire Huxham


In the airport I stopped all the clocks
and made an old man cry.
I had to do it eventually.  Live the dream.
They say a spectre’s haunting Europe –
well, I can tell you it’s not just one,
it’s a whole circus troop of them.
All chains that rattle and screams at night.
We’ve always had a bad name back home.
Cursed sprite, that sort of thing.
The whole of Europe’s a cliché; a haunted house
where religion and history stalk the halls
shaking their gory locks.
I don’t miss it, the Old World
with its cruel superstitions, the garlic hanging
at the window.  Here the dead don’t
crowd the streets and there’s hardly any litter.
Only once, a Comanche woman nursing
a burnt child at her bloody breast.
She slipped
around the corner of the cinema,
scalps fluttering behind her like confetti.
Here, I can be who I want to be,
a ghost about town - I can reinvent myself
like the Madonna.
O America.
I’m an open road, an empty sign,
I’m a blank cipher.
I scribble a few words on a postcard
back to the Old Country
but my pen leaves
no mark.



Eternal Recurrence of the Same

by Howie Good


He wouldn’t take off his hat. To live well, he said, you must live unseen. He had a rope around his neck and one leg already over the railing. A passerby happened to notice the bank clock said 11:11.The most mysterious thing is a fact clearly stated. I inquired at the desk. The sun will shine for another six billion years. At least.


Seven Stones

by Kevin Heaton


Gather high on a hill

at the revealing


                                 of all goodness


Awaken seven stones with igneous passion force



sacred fire ember glow                        spit sparks

through smoky mystery source


Spirit thunder west wind

grant hollow pipes creation breath


Eagle prayer, sky spirit conveyor;

transport receiver pathway sight


               north ,south, east, west,

impart the good, sweet cherry blood


Native woodwind fluted songs


                             wispy songs to happy feet;

dancing through restoration quest,

and Wopela: Thanksgiving.


Charlie Manson

by Kyle Hemmings


I once dated a girl named Charlie Manson. In the early days, we walked along glistening beaches, holding hands, or me, holding my tongue, too afraid to speak, to ruin what hadn't yet begun. Her eyes were all about swept away, swept away, that sideways longing. Overhead, a seagull's wings melted into the sun. We listened to the splash. It was the way my mother died. Charlie told me that birds such as the one that chose drop instead of flight are more common than we think. 

Squinting at the sun, she said that when someone can't forgive you, then you become that person. It was the sun that couldn't forgive that seagull. 

We spent weeks wasted on bubblegum or leaving footprints in the park after ten. We necked and felt each other's broken teeth. We listened to Black Flag and bought Petticon's ink drawings of victims. Then she admitted it. She had a collection of glass bottles in which she kept the voice of every lover who ever rejected her. She flung the bottles from rooftops or into the sea. It helped to clear her head, she said, to stay clean. 

Come clean with me, she said, making her eyes small and dirty peep-hole glass. 

Then it was my turn. I left and didn't return her voice messages. Alone, I awoke to the new morning, the sun in stitches. In the mirror, I was glass-eyed and cracked. I wouldn't speak for years.


letter when is for wednesday; or how to count

by Elena Riley




you would destroy each other
you both read Lacan before I did


ok here:


my purple teeth streets
on your patched shoulder
when you fall over the brick stoops of nw
                  where we pretend to be afraid and important
drink as if not remembering will change the shape of things
gold fish in the green bottle & a paper crane in my skirt pocket
                   if this goes sour
but I hate sweet things,
which is why I’d rather be
sideways alongside you


this part:
        we shout sins until they form postcards
        papercut our tongues, papercut
your politics, papercut my wrist so you can
put your mouth on it, as if you charmed me, and you do
but not anymore,                                               I think.


I don’t ask this time, don’t indulge your narcissism
as you say, “you remind me of me of me, you know me?”
          or “don’t you know who I was before?”
                    “but shattering is my favorite,” you say or
did I say—saying I remember—don’t I? don’t you remember?




so when you start reading to me,
and I imagine my soft back,
                                               perfect, w the sheet
                                                               just so,
obsess, the toothpaste
                     in the left corner of your mouth (don’t you remember who I said I was?)
to remember you were disappointing.




by Matt Ryan

The sailors wanted to see eight little hands pop out of the water, eight little hands to inspire an extended version of This Little Piggy Went to the Market, because the market was where you could get milk for your honey. These hands, legend said, induced ecstasy. Afterwards, they’d sing about going home to their lover, who was waiting, not necessarily for them, not necessarily this time, with hands open hoping for a treat, and hearts slightly ajar, encased inside a container made of glass that anyone could see or break and preserved with a saline solution. There was just so much salt in the air, the men could feel it spelunking their taste buds. Salt was another gift they wanted to give, not receive. The men at sea were well aware that octopus semen out of context is disgusting. That’s not what they wanted from the octopus. That’s not the sorta love they were looking for. Meanwhile, the men cruised around praying, This’ll do. Whatever is out there, is out there, but please be out there, Octopus. Truth be known, these men might not find it. The octopus has so little control of its arms and doesn’t hear well, though no one speaks of this inside the market.


morning talk show, gentrified.

by Matthew Specht


i dream in black and white, you know

i dream of trying to run in waist-deep water

i dream of punching enemies with all my strength but nothing happens

i dream of wet hidden warm places surrounded by soft skin and gratitude

i dream of the end of the world

(i have a bag of chips, my wits, and a towel

armed thusly, my dear, we are safe!!!)

i dream of newspapers as wallpaper yellowed from the effort it took

to tell me the president is dead

and the drive-thru lady knows i'm on the floor of the front seat

and the woods are NOT lovely, dark OR deep

they are rotten

and wet

and would not burn even if you doused them in gasoline

lit a match

tossed it in

walked away and

waited for the warmth

and when i dream the dream where i fall from great heights

i wake up





if i survived



*Previously published in bending light into verse, volume I.

Marilyn and Joe


sitting in the 
Archeus café,
the bombshell
movie star and
the Yankee Clipper,
and Marilyn leans
in and  whispers,
"I think we're dead,
but isn't it lovely?"
and Joe looks
around the empty
dancing playfully
across empty tables,
says, "yes"
and squeezes her
hand a little tighter,
smiles a little wider,
tells a joke to get her
to laugh


Knitting A Ghost-Thing:

by RD Kimball


she opens her eyes and discovers a room

plain cold jellyfish entrails
plasma phantasms which whisper
white whisperings

she stiffens her skin
at the touch of phantom limbs:
for she is due to make things
from the dead

doors open from every corner of her mind-
the room an infinite polygon

stretches one side and another
and over and over
walls folded in on themselves

doors open from every corner
and welcome the beastials

she opens her eyes when they touch her
and everything is violet,
they beckon her to follow them
into the many formless rooms
from which they spawn their spawnings-

they call her a weaver

colors close their wombs around her
and in her sirensong the fading fades
across the pallor of her lips her skin
her eyes her hands

there is nothing but the ghostly thing
she knits
and gasping exhale violet mist:
she laughs her laugh in the between-place.

she opens her eyes and discovers a room
the infinite room
with the infinite beasts

and her outer world fades...
becoming a rumorghoul.
becoming an unviolet.


At the Edge of a Séance


This is the time when I think of your hands. 

The scissored path of a swallow, skimming over a field of summer grasses. 

Bette Davis, raspy and elegant, aching to light up one final cigarette. 

Your fingers skittish as an only child, your fingers as wise as turtles on a log. 

The threatened rain falls, violent, bountiful, not at all like the touch of your hands. 

I am in love with the grandmothers who are ghosts in your hands. 

A gypsy palm reader’s erotic novel, written in the lines of your hands. 

A grandmother drowsy, dozing on the sofa with the television on. 

The cook’s sweet cream sauce a ghost on your fingers. 

Like crows flapping in a thunderstorm sky, like crones, like typists, like leaves caught on fences. 

Remember a night they were twined in yours: my fingers little monks cloistered in your hands. 

Come forth like Lazarus, move like swans. 

Valentino manifesting with a turn of the wrist. 

Think of a ship filled with all the heroes. 

“Night” is a hauntingly beautiful installation. 

Tell me anything: tap it in code on the kitchen table.




one time i was sad
and another time
so, so sad
i couldn’t tell the difference
between any-
or another thing


i thought of waking
then thought better
didn’t have the strength to dream
stars glued to the ceiling
and shrank and
pulled away from me


after i lost sight of them
i tumbled through a
trap-door floor
where you were
and your eyes
your mouth
o, even your cold heart
were melting


something told me
to ask
if you could show me
the way out
but something else
--i’m guessing you—
“leave him alone”


contributor bios

Amit Parmessur hails from the heavenly island of Mauritius. Aged 28, he has been writing for the past 8 years. He has been accepted and appeared in several magazines including Ann Arbor Review, Yes Poetry, Leaf Garden Press, Burnt Bridge, Calliope Nerve, Catapult to Mars, Censored Poets, Clockwise Cat, Clutching at Straws, Damazine, Gloom Cupboard, Heavy Hands Ink, LITSNACK, Mad Swirl, Orchard Press Mysteries, Puffin Circus, Shalla Magazine, Shot Glass Journal, The Camel Saloon, The Houston Literary Review, The Scrambler and Word Slawamong others. He is also busy with Golden Apple Ezine, of which he is one of the editors.

Catfish McDaris is a journeyman New Mexican bricklayer in Milwaukee. He has been published widely for 20 years. His most infamous chap is Prying with Jack Micheline & Bukowski. His works have been in NYQ, Rattle, Louisiana Review, Chiron, Haight Ashbury, Pearl, Main St. Rag, Slipstream, & Cafe Review. His last big reads were in NYC & The Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore in Paris.

Claire Joanne Huxham’s fiction has appeared in Monkeybicycle and The Molotov Cocktail. She lives just outside Bristol, UK, and teaches English at a local college. She can often be found obsessing over Buffy and Battlestar Galactica, cats, sushi and cheese. This is her first poetry publication.

This is Elena Riley's first published poem. She's bashful, so instead of telling you more about herself, she's going hide in her room and watch TV.

[d]avid : [t]omaloff (b. 1972) | racine, WI, US | author, LIONTAMER’S BLUES (six eight press) | likes: jazz | hates: jazz | photography: yes | his work has also appeared in: Ditch Poetry, Otoliths, elimae, and/or, Counterexample Poetics, BlazeVOX 2KX, the Delinquent, and Calliope Nerve | see:

Howie Good is the author of the full-length poetry collections Lovesick (Press Americana, 2009), Heart With a Dirty Windshield (BeWrite Books, 2010), and Everything Reminds Me of Me (Desperanto, 2011).

Kevin Heaton writes in South Carolina. His latest chapbook, "Measured Days," has published at Heavy Hands Ink Press. His work has appeared in: Elimae, Nibble, The Catalonian Review, Bananafish Magazine, and many others. His is listed as a notable poet at: More of his work can be seen at:

Kyle Hemmings is the author of three chapbooks of poems: Avenue C (Scars Publications), Fuzzy Logic (Punkin Press), and Amsterdam & Other Broken Love Songs (Flutter Press). He lives and writes in New Jersey.

Matt Ryan is the author of Read This Or You’re Dead To Me:(forthcoming from Hopewell Publications). His work has appeared in numerous journals, including Pindeldyboz, Word Riot, Mud Luscious, Ghoti and Opium. He is the publisher and editor of the poetry press, Lowbrow Press, the fiction editor of Best New Writing and teaches creative and academic writing at Concordia St. Paul University.

By day, Matt Specht is the Harbormaster of Reefpoint Marina in Racine, WI. By night, he is tired, and cuddles with a local chupacabra of some repute..

Melanie Browne likes to eat crispy creme donuts while watching the third class steerage dance scene from the movie Titanic over and over again. She also has an online literary journal that you should check out:

R.D. Kimball is a religious scholar, a Hawaiian shirt enthusiast, and one hell of a model American. His short stories and poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in places like decomP, Yellow Mama, and The Red Cedar Review. He enjoys fishing, black coffee, well-stocked haberdasheries, vinyl records, and a good cigar. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Online, you can find him at

Robert McDonald's work has appeared recently in Court Green, Pank, elimae, La Petite Zine, and The Prose-Poem project, among others. He lives in Chicago, works at an independent bookstore, and blogs at  While he has never seen a ghost, he heard footsteps once in an old hotel in Germany, footsteps in the room when no one was there.

Walter Conley got his start writing comic books. His poetry and fiction appear in the small press, anthologies and at such websites as Danse Macabre, Gloom Cupboard and In Between Altered States. He draws banner art for A Twist of Noir and a monthly comic for Pulp Metal Magazine. His current project, as editor, is the e-book series Flashdrive. Walter lives in VA and his blog, Back Again and Gone, is at