Thursday, May 31, 2012


By Elizabeth Schultz
he put his family on the roof.
An alchemist rhapsodized over
Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.
He knew that after the earth
quaked, the water would flow,
but could not configure gold,
or an Elixir for Life Everlasting. 
He watched it coming,  
whirling, cascading over walls.
Scientists went further, 
creating The Periodic Table,
pushing through forests,
and the fires erupting,
naming, sorting 109 elements
from Hydrogen to Meitnerium.
When the waters subsided,
he took his family to a school.
They were organized by
atomic number, atomic weight, 
electron configuration, density, 
including two cats, his son’s gecko, 
melting point, boiling point, 
abundance, and ionization energy. 
Snow fell on the remains
and on the mourners at graves,
but no one could discover 
when Earth, Air, Fire, and Water
might explode into chaos,
how to express enough compassion,
how to express enough consolation, 
which might explode into creation
of their own contrivance.

Published with permission. 
Poem from Elizabeth's recently published Anthology "Coming from Japan"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Change of Tune

by Martin Elster

While Abbie ambles round the food emporium 
a shower of shallow ditties from the ceiling
renders her skull an empty auditorium.
She reaches for a carton of Darjeeling
and slips it in her shoulder bag. Is stealing
from stores that spew such pabulum so wrong?
As Abbie nears the apples, an appealing 
melody makes her stop. No shopworn song,

but Bach — far out! — played by E. Power Biggs.
She grabs some miso (joy of man’s desiring),
St. Matthew Passion fruit, preludes and figs,
a wedge of Brandenburg. (Perhaps they’re hiring!)
But now she has to leave, her bliss too brief:
Muzak again. And, yes, she’s still a thief. 

originally appeared in The Ilanot Review and, subsequently, in the anthology Taking Turns: Sonnets From Eratosphere. Published here with permission

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


by Elissa Gordon

The jack rabbit’s skull is held level
by special joints that absorb
the jarring and bounding
at the zigzag speed of 40 miles an hour,
Its predator,
the golden eagle,
wheels overhead,
massive wings of hollow bones, light,
the whole apparatus protected
by a tiny wishbone that diffuses
 the shock of motion.

Jack rabbit doubles back,
foils the eagle’s swoop,
the bird falters,
overshoots his mark,
camouflage coat buys the rabbit
a few seconds in the grasses
to catch its breath,  undetectable.
I always save the wishbone.
I always wish, even if I am alone.
I hold both sides, try to be equitable.

If you could choose a super power,
Would you rather fly or be invisible?

I never think twice, Fly.

Wishbone was included in South Mountain Poets biennial anthology Offline in 2010.  Published here with permission.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Amy and Michelle

by   Simon Paul Wilson
  Michelle takes her seat at the table and sighs heavily.
  “He knows,” she says in worried tones. “Daniel knows.”
Amy, who sits opposite, looks at her with an expression of total confusion.
“What do you mean?” she asks, popping a stick of chewing gum into her mouth.
“He knows” hisses Michelle. “He knows about us!”
Amy chews her gum and gives a nonchalant shrug.
Michelle wishes she could reach across the table and slap the stupid look off her face.
“Don't you realise what this means?” she asks. “What could happen to us if he talks?”
Amy stops chewing, finally realising the gravity of the situation. 
“Oh,” she says. “That's not good…”
“No shit, Sherlock,” says Michelle. “We’re in big trouble.”
Amy takes the gum out of her mouth and presses it onto the surface of the table.
“How did he find out?” she asks.
“Remember that night we were working late at the office?”
Amy nods and smiles.
“Yeah, that was fun!”
Michelle bites her lip in an attempt to control her rising anger. Now is not the time to be flippant. She takes a deep breath and continues.
  “Daniel worked late that night too. He came to the office and saw us together.”
“He was spying on us? Fuck! What a pervert!”
“He wasn't spying on us!” snaps Michelle. “The door was open. He came to the office to ask a question and caught us together.”
Amy smiles.
“So,” she says, pointing a finger. “It’s your fault!”
“How is it my fault?” Michelle splutters.
“It’s your job to shut the door properly, not mine.”
“Look,” says Michelle, trying to shift the focus of the conversation away from her colossal error. “It doesn't matter whose fault it is, what we need to do is come up with a way to get out of this mess.” 
Amy peels the chewing gum from off the desk and pops it back in her mouth.
“Hmmm,” she says as she resumes chewing. “Tricky.”
Michelle lets her head hit the table and groans. 
Silence falls between the girls as they search for an answer to their problem.
“We could tell him we are in an amateur dramatics group,” offers Amy. “Tell him we were just practicing our lines.”
  “He’d never believe us,” says Michelle from the desk. “And besides, what happens when he asks if he can come and see the play?”
  “Aha!” shouts Amy, shocking Michelle into an upright position. “I’ve got it!”
“We could kill him.”
Michelle looks at Amy, expecting her to stick her tongue out or wink; to give her a sign that she is joking, but Amy remains straight-faced and quite serious.
“What did you say?”
“I said we could kill him.” 
“That's your big plan? Murder?”
  “Sure! Why not? It could be fun! 
Michelle sits and shakes her head in silent disbelief. She always knew Amy was crazy, but the idea of them killing Daniel…
That’s just insane.
 “I’ve got to go,” says Michelle. “This is too much for me right now. I’ll talk to you later.”
Amy gives her two thumbs up.
“No worries,” she says. “But just think about what I said. Killing Daniel could really be the answer.”
All Michelle can do is sigh. 
“Maybe,” she says weakly. “Let’s see…”
She stands up and walks away from the dressing table and its large mirror. 
She has much to think about. 
Published with permission

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Street Hiking

By Ted Taylor

On the day Ben-chan came to town, I had to go to Osaka to get my visa to India. Since I had hours to kill before his flight, I thought I'd pass the day on foot. I ducked into a small cafe offering cheap 200 yen coffee. The cafe was called, "Days," the name referring to what was taken off my life due to all the tobacco smoke. Escaped quickly, to the fresh air sidewalks of Osaka. Walking unfixed, turning right angles at random in emulation of that Windows screensaver. I relished this feeling, of winter sun on my face and new delights before my eyes. I've spent way too much time online this year, and was happy that I'd recently begun to "boot the computer." I really miss this aimlessness, time passing by the rhythm of my footfalls rather than on second-hand ticks; chasing the spectre of that amblin' prophet, Aaron Cometbus. I used to pass whole days this way, thumbing thru second hand book shops, people watching in parks, searching for dollar Burritos and good cheap coffee in those days before Starbucks. Walk, eat , read, write. These days, I seem to do this only while abroad, hearing the slap of my boots on the pavement take on foreign sounds. I want to reclaim that feeling of seeing the famiiar made fresh every day.
And I walked on, ducking in and out of shops to chat up their young owners, stopping often to snap a photo or jot my thoughts down in my moleskin. One common denominator throughout south Osaka is the music. For a region that takes pride in being at the forefront of alternative youth culture (and Shibuya is the same way), the theme songs are certainly commercial. It takes the monicker, "R&B," label that seems to be reapplied every decade or so, replaced by posthumous labels like "soul" or "funk." But replace that "B" with "P", throw in a "C" and an "A" and you get closer to the truth.

After two lunchs and too much caffeine, clock time kicked in once again, telling me I needed to head to the airport and pick up my friend. Feet, we should do this more often.

First appeared in Notes from the 'Nog, December 2006. 

Published with permission.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Change of Tune

By Martin Elster

While Abbie ambles round the food emporium
a shower of shallow ditties from the ceiling
renders her skull an empty auditorium.
She reaches for a carton of Darjeeling
and slips it in her shoulder bag. Is stealing
from stores that spew such pabulum so wrong?
As Abbie nears the apples, an appealing
melody makes her stop. No shopworn song,

but Bach — far out! — played by E. Power Biggs.
She grabs some miso (joy of man’s desiring),
St. Matthew Passion fruit, preludes and figs,
a wedge of Brandenburg. (Perhaps they’re hiring!)
But now she has to leave, her bliss too brief:
Muzak again. And, yes, she’s still a thief. 

Published with Permission

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Ice Cream Cone Face

by Andrew Stancek

It was that ice cream cone that made it all happen. The memory of Father laughing, as we stood outside the sweets shop in the August heat with cherry ice cream dribbling down our chins, filled my mind. This was no day for a piano lesson; I had to go there again. I meandered through leaf-strewn streets towards the Danube, peeked into store windows, admired the miniature train running through the toy store, glanced at sweaty classmates kicking a soccer ball around the Dunajska playing field. I threw a crown coin into the hat of the accordion player waltzing and grinning at his usual corner. The sweets shop across from the National Theater yawned empty while a black-clad waiter swept and the wind whipped the half-rolled umbrellas at the deserted tables.

I went in, and as before, ordered a cone, “Make it a double, please.” The dimple-faced server’s chubby arm scooped again and again planting perfect half-balls as I searched for a clever line, even Father’s clever line, to make her laugh. Looking at her I ached, throat dry, tongue paralyzed. My eyes ticked around the cavernous shop, ending in a corner that was not empty like the rest. Mother, smiling, leaned into a man who was clasping her hand in both of his, as she stared into his eyes. The peonies on her familiar blood-red scarf winked at me. The girl called out “Your change” to my back, as I bolted out clutching the unmelting cone, suddenly unappetizing.

I ran to Father’s work, desperate for his laughter. I hurled the cone towards the bin overflowing with smelly mysteries. It splattered on the ground where pigeons hopped to the feast. At Father’s office he was, as always, surrounded by cooing women. I wanted to scream at him, to cry out but instead pretended to read the sports scores, watched and listened, as a hundred times before. The women laughed at Father’s jokes as Mother had laughed in the shop. No one was alarmed.

“Father.” I cleared my throat. He looked up. “Tonight, at supper, you’ll be there?” He nodded, grinning. I dragged my feet walking home. The rain was coming harder; my face was wet. Going by the sweets shop again I peeked in. It was totally empty except for the server. She looked up; her smile dazzled. Maybe tomorrow I could come back. Maybe I’d have a line. Maybe I could clasp her hands in mine. Tomorrow.

First published in Apollo's Lyre  Published here with permission

Thursday, May 24, 2012


By Elizabeth Schultz

Dark rushing river, pushing 
through the frigid night,
agitated by rocks and roots,
swiftly swishing, swirling 
beyond me, and I am soothed.
Sitting amongst boulders
in still waters, I steep, 
soaking, dissolved in passivity 
as volcanic heat rises, burbling, 
as I am bathed in a solution 
of minerals from the earth’s core.
Through tree boughs trembling
overhead, plum blossoms just 
opening, stars scintillating
a millennia distant, I reach,
connecting rings of fire.

Published with permission. 
Poem from Elizabeth's recently published Anthology "Coming from Japan"

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I am the Consumer

by Elissa Gordon

I stare at the flowers until they blur, the sky until it tilts toward me, the clouds until they drift back again. I close my eyes and make a wish: One last drink, please. Prone on the ground, I am leaning over that Vermont stream. I cup my hands, bring the sweet water to my lips. The leaves stir, the weeping willow sways against me. Swallows fly and dip closer, the water laps at my feet, and I take it all.

First published in Short fast and Deadly. Published here with permission

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Sun Rising - Book Trailer

A huge thank you to Lisa Scullard of akaVoodooSpice for creating this beautiful youtube book trailer leading up to the launch. How hauntingly beautiful is the song, gifted to us by Daniel Christian?

Sail Away

"Sail Away"

Acrylic Painting by Dianne Stephenson.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Off the Rails in April

By Ted Taylor

"The conductor was having a hard day. During nearly every announcement, he's made a mistake, quickly followed up with "Shitsurei shimashita." Forgive me, I've committed a rudeness.

It was funny at first, until I remembered last weekend. On Sunday, I was on another train, just behind the conductor's window. From within, I could hear a second voice, belonging to the train driver's senior, who bitched out the driver throughout the entire run. I imagined that on this train too, there was probably some big scowling bully standing over this rookie driver, cursing at him once the mike was off. No wonder that some of the Japanese rail system's biggest accidents have occurred in April, when the new hiring is done.

The train passed over a narrow river. Tethered to the bridge were three swan boats, all missing their heads. This is how this conductor will turn out, able to perform well the function he was designed for, yet losing that which gave him character."

First appeared in Notes from the 'Nog, June 2009.  

Published with permission.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Leda McGillicutty and The Swan

William Butler Yeats was born rich, and studied the classics in school.  But what if Billy had been Irish poor?   Such was the lot of fellow poet, Art Bupkis*.

     Leda McGillicutty and The Swan**
   Art Bupkis
A sudden blow: The great wing-beating stills
Beneath the fallen axe.  Soon legs are dressed           
To the dark webs; and relieved of its quills,
She holds his de-boned breast before her breasts.
See how her countrified, sage fingers push
Gelled clots from disarticulated thighs?
And why not a turd, dropped from that white tush,
Be but sponged off his stilled heart as it fries?
His buttered, roasting loins engender dares
To steal choice bits; the strong will soon but glower, 
And snag a pinion, head.
Being so cut up,
So rendered by the brute Gael as by bears,
Did he vomit on her gaunt hands puke sour 
Before his worthless beak in the mud she dropped?

Leda and The Swan by Wm. B. Yeats
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?
** This swan may have been poached from a lord's pond, but were I an animal transmorphing god, I'd mind my manners around hungry Celtic women.  At least take the poor winch to dinner first! >;-)  >   
Bupkis, Art (L. R. Baxter):  “Leda McGillicutty and the Swan”.  in, Sixty-Six :   The  Journal of  Sonnet  Studies Vol. 11, #2,  2009.  Copyright L. R. Baxter
Published with permission.

Friday, May 18, 2012


By Michelle Goode
A finger sweeps across
cherry red lips
unnoticed, uncared about
as the sweet scent of 
nourishes the sparkle 
in the eyes of
A hand held tentatively
to savour a stray
beneath soft, stained
cheeks she smiles
padding barefoot
to the rhythm of her
Toes entwined beneath
trickles the stream 
the feet of 
a thousand steps to
Yesterday's journey painting
new paths to follow
Together in spirit they stand
hand in hand lest she
The gift of new life within
forever a symbol of their
tattooed upon her fragile
but forgiving

Thursday, May 17, 2012


By Elizabeth Schultz

After earthquake, tsunami,
radiation scare, it was like 
old times in Idaho, me
hanging outside the bar 
in the dark with the guys, 
cigarettes our only light, 
flitting like fireflies. 
Speaking Japanese now, 
I could talk with them about 
traveling less, staying home 
more with the kids, and together
we watched the stars overhead, 
listening for their stories, 
me thinking how my Ohio 
grandparents on the farm 
explained God gave us night 
to tell us it was bedtime, and
the sun to tell us it was time 
to wake up, and I remembered,
and went back to dig 
in the savage earth.

Published with permission. 
Poem from Elizabeth's recently published Anthology "Coming from Japan"

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Across the Ocean

By Lily Mulholland

Love waits for me across the ocean, abandoned more than once. Once I promised her there would be no more voyages, I would turn my hands to farming instead. Instead I sailed away from her. Her fidelity undiminished despite this broken pledge, she waits for me, a beacon to guide me back to land. Land is now but a memory, adrift I have been on these seas, a compass without a map, a star without a night’s sky for weeks, nay, months.
Months slip away until I know not when I last saw my heart, alone, waving from the headland as my boat left the bay and entered the turgid seas, black as the clouds that hovered above, threatening to engulf her where she stood, with an arm raised in farewell.
‘Farewell, my husband,’ she said to me that morning, tears sparkling in her eyes the way sunlight shimmers upon dappled waves. Waves of regret assailed me, forcing me to my knees to encircle her waist with my arms, to bury my head in her burgeoning belly, fecund and full with my child. Child of mine I am yet to see, to smell, to hold. Hold on to the thought of me, for I shall return to claim you as my own, teach you what I have learnt of the world, guide you through the narrow straits of life, give you the father you have met only in your dreams.
Dreams guide me across the water, filling the wind-whipped canvas with snatched images, ballast to the torment in my mind. Mind tricks prey on the unsuspecting sailor, visions of death drive out the living. Living day to day, I mark notches in my soul, chipping away piece by piece the nourishing memories that sustain me until the day the ocean is behind me and I can return to my waiting love.
My love dies a little every day I am left unprotected on these untrustworthy shores. Shores bearing witness to many a ruined marriage, a coast of familial shipwrecks, teeming with cunning and hidden shoals.
Shoals of abandoned wives swim through town as one, pitying and despising each other in equal part, united in their simmering rage, forsaken once again. Again I join these widow crews, helping where there is need. Need I see firsthand the pain that is coming when alone I birth this child of yours? ‘Yours’ is what he is – I can sense the wanderlust, the way he pummels me from the inside out, demanding to be freed. Freedom is what you guard so jealously, as you scud across the ocean. Oceans of gold, onyx, sapphire and jade you will never let me see.
See the way they swallow you. You drown each night in my sleep. Sleep brings no rest, choking me with terror. Terror that my love will die.

Published with permission

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


By Art Bupkis
many new dead       
at Obon this year      
too few to dance
--Art Bupkis
First appeared in: Bupkis, Art (L. R. Baxter):  4 Haiku. Paper Wasp.  Winter 2011. Copyright reverted to L. R. Baxter on publication.

 Obon is the annual summer festival where the dead visit their families.  The living dance for them.  This was written summer 2011.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Offunato’s “Yesterday”

by Oonah V Joslin 

satellites show yesterday
neat blocks of homes and businesses
a matchstick-math of devastation

5 p.m.
like an ice-cream van
and “troubles seemed so far away”

to let the children know it’s time for play
in this deep debris field
now all disorderly
a change of tune 
now lessons done

a half life and a half life and a half life away
there were reactions 
there is fallout 
but hope never spent

(Offunato was devastated by the tsunami that hit Japan . Let us not forget the people there or the lives wrecked by that event.) 

Published with permission
Offunato’s “Yesterday” was first published in Static Poetry IV 2011

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Monday Morning Kurashiki

By Ted Taylor

"Walking Hondori as it awakes. Light snow falls on storehouses whose beams were purposely blacked by flame. Pass a small temple, apparently empty. Yet just inside the doors, someone has left tea and mikan and rice crackers for those who may come by to pray. Stop for coffee in a jazz club at 10a.m. Itself a former storehouse, thick beams bisect white plaster walls. 

In the morning, jazz clubs have a completely different atmosphere. Sunbeams hang instead of smoke. It feels open and airy, rather than the usual dark, jazz-hovel feel of night. A cloud passes and the light coming thru the window is suddenly cut as if the slatted shutters were closed. 

When the sun returns, the stained glass throws blue and red shadows on a fern. And the recorded sound of jazz is pure, without the additional nighttime treble of tinkling glass and bass of laughter. "

First appeared in Notes from the 'Nog, December 2005. 

Published with permission.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Thin Blade

By Jennifer Domingo

the thin blade is warm
as baby and hubby snores
red lines on my skin

Published with permission

Friday, May 11, 2012

Out of tune

by Brigita Orel
The cracking of her body doesn’t stop
the music in it
the fugue with notes set out darkly
against her pale skin
Her navel a trumpet’s wail
Echoed in the clavichord sounds of her
Broken ribs
Lunate, capitate, hamate,
an orchestra of cacophony
directed by his assertive wrist on hers
her belly and hips add a tone
of a purple-grey fado de Leukitanea
to the jarring tune
that cries to the audience to listen
and remember the heartbeat
once it stops – – –

Published with permission.

First published in  Rose & Thorn magazine  (2010)