Desperate To Tell


Paul Hostovsky
( Boston, Massachusetts )
Holy Instant

The way she
looked out the window,
sitting on the edge of the bed

doing those little
exercises with her feet,
the physical therapist kneeling

on the hospital floor in front of her,
teaching her how, and praising her –
the way she

looked out the window then,
not at the trees, or the buildings
or the sky – not at anything,

just out. Just away.
The way she looked away
when the therapist praised her, saying:
“That’s very good, Marguerite.”

Alan Britt
( Reisterstown, Maryland )
Ode to Tuesday

She missed my descent completely,
mowing with her back to the western sun.

Chewing her rectangle of grass
oval by oval.

A white breeze disturbs the magnolias
this warm summer evening,
dragging behind it the smell
of finches and fresh laundry.

Marge Piercy
( Wellfleet, Massachusetts )
The curse of Wonder Woman

Batman can suffer angst in his batcave,
pester his butler factorum with doubts,
question his adoption of Robin, 
but Wonder Woman can never waver.

She must fight, fight, fight without
recompense.  No 3 a.m. nitpicking
of a festering conscience for her.
Role models can’t stop to consider.

Role models can’t whine or take
to their beds with PMS or enjoy
a headache with chocolates
on the couch.  Women are watching,

judging, waiting for the cracks
in the make-up to show.  Role
models can’t enjoy a fling in Jamaica.
They don’t get vacations or spas.

People need and resent role models
with equal fervor.  She’d like to
retire, but who else can bounce
back bullets on a quest for justice?

She’s stuck in the spotlight impaled
by duty.  Sometimes she half wishes
to fail and be replaced by some other
woman without sense to be afraid.

Allan Peterson
( Gulf Breeze, Florida )

Cruel as buttons and clicking

to get in no matter what

architecture stands to keep them out

the moths hound us  insistent

as a horror film  they quiver

at the windows  cover the stucco

each eye hundreds and dusty

as if already old

They have something desperate

to tell us  Their next transformation

requires our lights  Please

not again  not the frenzied story

of the worm that flies 

Naomi Buck Palagi
( Indiana )
lip of the cup

a lip 
the lip of a cup 
with glaze of brindled burgundy 
reminded me 

is not dead 

december Chicago clark street near foster 
frost on the grass and the metal grate 
i greet the air grey and cement  fills my chest 

there is no… 
there is no… 
there is no… 
i grab at    … 

and again 

but outside is better than 
anywhere better than 
inside is my bed is my warm dark room 
a blanket of red and a thought spiral 

with no end 
no end 
good end and so 

i walk 
hours and hours wandering vagrant pretending to life and watching 
my feet do not hurt 
my legs do not hurt 
my heart   i could not say    if it suffers 
i veer 
into a gallery of beautiful things but they aren’t they are 

surface attempts to patch sinkhole hearts sandpit souls 
of an aching, acrid populace     

these luxuries   this profusion 
i sicken, swimming in stalls of primping 
lace and sipid linens which lunge me across the room and 

face to face 
with brown 

…and burgundy 

funny, i think, such color, such depth in a glaze on a shape 
made of clay a mug a cup with a lip 
to kiss, funny, i think 

Oh! there is beauty 

at the same time as O! 

there is pain 

a lip 
the lip of a cup 
with glaze of brindled burgundy 
reminded me 

is not dead 

Peter Kenneally
( Melbourne, Australia )
the decipherment of linear B

I'm a hero to some people
but to history I'll be
a dull rogue island hopping from 
pub to pub / the check in the
lining of my Burberry is blue it
flaps in the breeze on  the embankment as the
abortionist comes to call / I have a
house a car a ship a shield a trade
a history and a calling 
but not my peace of mind
I could have had any woman I wanted
your moon eyes and your treachery
your oily hair and your loyalty
 I sail past island after island where
you are not / sirens sit and gibber at me
mouths stuffed with fig and  green olive
paste dripping down red haunches
the sweet smell of suntan lotion wafts
across the wine dark sea I drink bitter
she had to come down and drag me out in the end
 the thread snapped 
the old tricks don't work any more 
everything is exactly what it seems 
to be we sail past
another island it has nothing to take it
pays no tribute but in its mountains it 
has you and the sun beats down
you are not offered up the oars are
feathered or broken and the sail hangs
heavy we cannot tack
the old man still had a trick or two up his sleeve
there is melted wax running in rivers
all over me and I die faintly in a sea of activity
or crystallised wax rains from me in the 
thin air and my lungs crack silently in an
empty sky or the rocks rush up to  greet me
and each bone breaks on a different wave
the old man came to see me in hospital
 and ate all the grapes he brought me
'the motor's a write off'  he said.

J. B. Mulligan
( Washingtonville, New York )
my things

All my things –
meine Dinge –
my stuff –
clustered so tightly around me
that I would suffocate
if they were not my air.
The world plugs into me:
craftsmen, writers,
assembly-line workers –
even the squat grey factories
like fat lovers
pretending they still mean beauty
(and they do) –
charge me in their absence
with their minimal, important
presents to me,
bits and shards of lives
including (and making up) mine.
Like the Emperor of Antarctica,
all my subjects are somewhere warm,
and don’t miss me –
but I’m satisfied with tribute,
regal with things they’ll never miss
that will never miss me –
though I hold them
in my hand, my eye, my mind –
I read a book,
I bite into an apple,
I listen to the radio,
throned in what I am.

Joanne Lowery
( Kalamazoo, Michigan )
The Misfit Goes to Bed Anticipating a Poached Egg

It will welcome her to morning
with gooey pleasure—an unborn chicken,
a splat sun.

And it will be her fork that releases
its tremulous circle, her toast that sweeps
the amorphous edge.

It will taste like a friend
unlike the machete-bearers in her dream;
no one likes her even when she sleeps.

Or understands her love of yellow
even as life goes gray.
There will be cracking on the bowl’s lip

so she can separate what she wants,
no porridge-eaters needed
as she broods over the coming day.

II - Roads Create Probability
III - Like Violets on the Wind

Featured Poet - George Moore

Current Issue - Fall 2009