Laura McCullough
( New Jersey )
What We Leave Behind

Windowís edge breaks light
across the faces of nameless
dreamers. We wait in the spaces
weíve carved for ourselves.
If you give me the thing
you most want, I will eat
what I need and leave
enough for you. I dream
of a place where she 
lives and you speak
of the place she dreams
of. Together, we outlive
the only thing that matters:
the senses are the window
panes on which we rest
the cups of our knowing.

Danna Jae Botwick
( Las Vegas, Nevada )

I lie in lavender,
the French field
tucking me in
for the night.
I touch the back
of your neck,
and I am.

Nicholas Manning, Two Poems
( Paris, France )

hidden * down 
of a smooth of a
chocolate (splits) the velvet
while * the canyons of a savoured
which * melts so globing
with smooth the hazel ball in a lethargy
of ice . . . * with chops of bronze 
knit (now
haphazard) it so stands * of its own
accord : the tresses woven where waves
lumber * to make me think 
of * you my own * hazel 
of such haughtiness
embellished !



is the slush
such of strawberries * infused ?
as in a sunset of snow * never yet 
known to the buds . . .
surprise ! *
as penetrating the very
watery fibres * as in the lychee
of its whiteness 
to console me
of * your presence . . . passing now
in the dark lane * conceited !
while me like a child
in the almond night
my adorable * fragola * to spite
with her
hidden * sweetness

Heat Soleil by Leslie Marcus
( Ojai, California )

Susan Elbe, Two Poems
( Madison, Wisconsin )
Waiting for the Green

Sated with supper and talk of our bodies,
the firm breasts and slim hips
we once had or wished for,
we walk down to shoreline where
the sun like a great red stone
rides just above water, straining
its muscle at the greased pulley of night.
Somewhere behind us, obscured by thick forest,
the moon begins its long climb.
And the red stone, as if cabled to
the moon's rising, inches down into water
setting off its alchemy to gold.
Like a quick, micaceous fish, the light rolls over.
The lake flattens to bronze
and we settle in, waiting for the green
they say comes just after sunset,
our bodies against the darkening,
tarnished and tensile as metal.


T'ai Chi

As if my spine did not already burn
with the hot bead of him
caught there from the first,
I find him in the late-September woods
trying to catch rain in the crook of his arm.
A fine drizzle colors the light.  Yellow
leaves bristle and a grey wash of sky
fades in the spaces between.
How still he stands, holding the trees apart.
It was the men I needed, and needed
to push away, all of them
wanting to bend my ribs, cave me
to the shape of themselves,
all but this one who fit himself
whole into my holy bone.
He is the stone and I am the silver.
We are the ring no one can wear.
In the hollow of my open palm,
a clear bead of water drops,
heavy as mercury and cold
as any jewel you've bought and paid for.

Chuck Forester
( San Francisco, California )
Knowing What to Do

You said to wait under the canopy 
while you got the car; you said something
about a surprise.  It was raining as hard
as the night we listened to Wagner on the porch
and I held my breath the way a child waits for surprises, 
almost blue to scare you.
Iíve tried writing it down, the surprise, 
but what felt like God touching Adamís hand 
looked mechanical on the page,
what flowed like syrup stuttered and failed.  
Believe me, I was surprised. 
I thought you were the cautious one,
not me, but when you began your monologue, soft, 
the rain became the Sonata in A  Flat, and when I stripped 
and stood outside, the air filled
with a chorus of prayers from the sea.
Everything goes too far, I told myself, 
a small gesture becomes the force of wind,
then lapses to lull, just rain, the palms no longer bending,
and they say falling in love doesnít happen twice, 
like lightning hitting the same dock, but there I was, 
buck naked on a warm wet night, 
and what had been carefully wrapped unfolded.  
I donít remember the sex,
what I remember is you squeezing lemon
on the calamari at dinner, your knuckle raw
from catching my bag when it fell,
picking the flowers from your plate
and placing them in a circle
with my tagua nut  in the middle
 to keep it from evil.
I do remember knowing what to do
when we got back into the room,
once again a  32  year old man 
as another opened his heart on velvet cushions 
in the Haight.   This time no haze
of incense, no water pipe,  just you 
sitting across from me, toe to toe on the bed, 
and air that smelled of rain and oranges.

Kristy Bowen
( Chicago, Illinois )

So say these rooms are darker than
you remember, the windows narrow,
shadows lengthening beneath shabby desks.

Rows of alphabets line the walls
like glyphs; perennially,
A is apple, B is ball.

Still in 6th grade, early fall,
your wrist snaps beneath
the jungle gym. Lilacs burst

against the fence while your best friend
wears a bra and kisses the preacherís son
in the woods behind the cafeteria.

At night, in the tub, you slough the day
from your body, a milky chrysalis.
Meanwhile something has been mislaid,

or taken, the chalkboard dialectic
of knee socks and cartwheels,
these schoolyard casualties.

How do we remember except
by gauging what we forget?
Indian burns and snakebites.

The word cunt scrawled across a bathroom wall.

Robert Reece
( California )
Ballet effluvium

A sinewy desert rat
Mojave court jester
in service station blue collar
layered underneath
hounds tooth blazer
size 14 work boots
flopping around like a
gill hooked salmon
death throe
convulsing violence
to the bass narcotic lie
that creased his face
in front of the amps
he spilled across the gum
stained carpet attempted
the splits on a bouillabaisse
of popcorn vomit beer
mouthing the words to
the James Brown cover that
the band churned out
stay on the scene
like a sex machine
his queen was a
butterfly blue dressed
in burnt toast fairy regalia
eyes of whisky colored heaven
pirouettes and toe rings
pulsing below his waist
and for that ephemeral eternity
they drew monarchial air
starring in their own
napalm Fred & Ginger movie
a bacon grease prom court
dancing coke tinged mucus
tickled the back of her throat
gyrating cheek to cheek now
stay on the scene
like a sex machine
tragic like tears and lipstick
on a payphone.

Kris Raido
( Washington )

You make me your whore
without laying a hand on me.

Lust sacrifices. Lust is
sacrifice. I give up

shield and lock and chain,
the key to the belt Ė

laid bare, so bitter
that you will not undo me.

Dianna Henning
( Janesville, California )
Having a Cigar with an Intellectual

Donít put me at the table with menstruating women.
My insides are raw from births and menopause.
Instead, fetch me a table with the wool trousered men,
their cigars and matches politely set aside on the table.
Place me next to the most influential, for that is where a woman
such as myself must sit. Iíll nonchalantly converse with the buffoon
seated directly across from me, laugh at his hideous jokes,
slap my leg with boisterous gaiety. But youíd better bet
your sweet trousers, itís the intellectual to my left
whoíll be watching, chomping the insides of his mouth,
bidding his time before he gets nerve enough to ask,
Want a cigar?ó the very finest mailed directly
from Cuba; gold foil the size of a robust ring
bound round its center, embossed in stately design.
Iíll accept, let him light me up, clear my thoughts,
fan them out in front of me before asking would he agree,
disagree with stem cell research, and what does he think of Hesseís
The Glass Bead Game, is it written in mathematical time?
By convivial agreement weíll consign ourselves to a future
rendezvous. Iíll nod to the buffoon, drop him from sight, turn
as though turning were return, something you get back on your thoughts.

Michael Estabrook
( Acton, Massachusetts )
Fire Escape

Early gray morning sun,
a smudge in the sky,
nudges the city awake,
men bearing attachť cases stride along
in business suits, women carry purses,
a garbage truck throbs,
a tired bus spews smoke,
an occasional taxi horn honking.
I cannot yet hear any birds.
But I know there will be some
soon hopping about in the patches
of dirt beneath the few trees
guarding the street,
pecking, pecking, searching for food.
Yesterday in a crisp sky,
above a clutter of old buildings
I saw birds, a formation of ducks flying,
or maybe they were geese,
so pretty nevertheless, symmetrical
and precise as a Michelangelo drawing.
Out along the fire escape I notice
Lynnís row of flowerpots
with their dead flowers, brown leaves,
shrunken, wilted, hanging
lifeless and limp,
on this February morning in the City,
and think about spring,
wondering where the ducks, or the geese,
were going so early in the day.

I - Clenched Fists and Clouded Metaphors
III - Guesting in the House
IV - In the Dusky Hours
V - Finding Favor with the Muse

Featured Artist - Leslie Marcus

Featured Poet - Lynne Knight

Current Issue - Summer 2005