Removal By Phil Huffy

Such uneven walls,

long abided though aged.

Just look at the old place—

a snug place, a small place,

offering solace, a tepid bath,

a quiet meal

and granting the view

out back to familiar scenes.


Some cold comfort came

amid these empty rooms.

Warm nights, or lonely ones,

and sunny mornings watching

the street though grimy panes

before exiting

for a day’s endeavors,

emerging to city sounds.


A few secrets will be

left behind, forgotten soon;

some chapters closed

or locked away, abandoned.

They can languish here,

and after some paint

and such the next along will

come take up the narrative.

Phil Huffy is a repurposed lawyer from Rochester, New York.  He was formerly a hobbyist songwriter and one -man band, but he left the group in a huff.  Recent placements include Poets Reading the News, The Lyric, Westward Quarterly and Better Than Starbucks.


A Windless Journey To D by Bruce McRae

A poem about a man trampled

by starlight, his ropes creaking.

The man as a red berry crushed

between god-teeth, a blood-fat flea,

his bones carved into dice, man-guts

fluttering like flowery ribbons, the

Black Lord’s soul-clamps straining

to be purposeful, flesh creeping as

they opened up his skull that night,

the hard-as-diamond cranium, with

a titanium-coated handsaw. Do you

know that taste, our disappointment?

Here I am, the man insists,

more of a threat than an answer.

Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island BC, is a Pushcart nominee with over a thousand poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are ‘The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press), ‘An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy’ (Cawing Crow Press) and ‘Like As If” (Pskis Porch), all available via Amazon.


Detroit Apocalyptic By Devon Balwit

Come with me and tour the urban prairie—Detroit

apocalyptic—no garbage pickup, street lights out,

houses windowless, like refugees sagging shoulder


to shoulder behind wire. You can buy one if you wish,

if you have vision, a couple thousand and some elbow grease.

You can be a Motown pioneer—the next great Black or White


Hope. Do you remember, though, before Japan, before the crash,

Fords and Chryslers rolling off the line, the suburbs rippling

out on churning pistons? Or what about the Ren Cen, rising


like a stack of black Dixie cups near Greek Town to flaming

saganaki and cries of Opa! Back then, we didn’t have to sell

the art from our museum, carrying the sad frames past


the Rivera mural in the courtyard championing Industry

and The Working Man. Back then, our freeways pulsed,

our schools had children. Now we’re a cautionary tale.


People come to see what a metropolis will look like

after an event. Detroit’s was economic—what about

where you live? You know it’s coming. Wait for it.


Devon Balwit is the author of seven chapbooks and three longer collections of poetry. Her individual poems can be found in places such as: Peacock Review, Eclectica, The Ekphrastic Review, Punch-Drunk Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, Panoplyzine, Under a Warm Green Linden, taplit mag, Cordite, Rattle. 


Days of Heroes by Matthew Wilson

At night I watch her dance, the sweet village girl, how she smiles and I would give my soul to have her smile at me, but she comes here for peace and quiet from her problems, this angel.


How I wish I were brave, strong as steel to deserve such a dancer, but I have given my name to science, and I wished to save the day another way. The world of 2018 is dying, and I thought I could use my machine to go back, to be like the heroes of old days and warn the people of before.


I thought I was smarter than this, but my machine malfunctioned, and I have travelled much further than I should. At night, I creep back into the woods to untangle it from the trees and try to undo my mistakes; for the locals would hang me as a witch if they knew the truth.


But I would cross galaxies to see this angel dance, this girl  who keeps me from my work when she shouts at the stars, spitting at the tyranny back in her village when corrupt officials kill her neighbors and burn their homes.


I can see such bravery in her eyes that shame those stars, steel that I envy but know I can never have. I am a man of science and know I can get back to 2018 if I keep working, if the angel would cease invading my dreams. So, I wake refreshed with my mind on one thing.


But all I know is angels, and that idiotic part of me that got me stranded here in the first place wonders what would happen if I spoke to her, if this Marion noticed me.

Oh, what a hero it would make if she smiled at me.

Then the world would know me for something more than science.

Maybe it would know Robin Loxley for something great.


Matthew Wilson, 34 has been published over 150 times in such
places as Horror*Zine, Zimbell House Publishing, Star*Line, Alban Lake
and many more. He is currently editing his first novel


Philadelphia by Timothy B. Dodd

I feel the concrete crack

and break, a building bleeds

on lotion and cappuccino

handshakes. Soul-on-stilts


civilization lives over drained

egret land, flowing dryly away

to the sea on a bed of dead

woodpeckers. And who decided


to change the color of lips?

Those were wetlands.

Those were silver breaths.

Those were swimming days.


The water is still somewhere under

us, if only farther down, squeezed

between highways and sharp points

of drills. Dear powders and oil


and artificial dyes: They will return,

the marshes. They will return, silver

breaths. They will return, swimming

days. A brine to wash damaged soil.

Timothy B. Dodd is from Mink Shoals, WV.  His poetry has appeared in The Roanoke Review, Stonecoast Review, Ellipsis, Broad River Review, and elsewhere.  He is currently in the MFA program at the University of Texas El Paso.


Down by the Bay By Phil Huffy

An oyster from Chesapeake Bay

was captured and carted away

A kitchenhand shucked him

then somebody sucked him

In all, quite a horrible day


Phil Huffy is a repurposed lawyer from Rochester, New York.  He was formerly a hobbyist songwriter and one- man band, but he left the group in a huff.  Recent placements include Poets Reading the News, The Lyric, Westward Quarterly and Better Than Starbucks.


Dances with Weed Tree by Jill Clark

When spring arrives in Florida, no one safely traverses our back patio. Our camphor tree,  cinnamomum camphora, which provides plenteous shade from Florida’s searing summer wrath, nevertheless, turns on us. This tree is considered a weed in many southern states—invasive through seed transfer.

The camphor tree’s barrage of pea-size seeds pelts our outdoor back-porch entertainment area. These ground-covering turgid terrors taunt our household with the potential for a typical Three Stooges’-style pratfall. The branches of the tree move not by wind but rather from a belly laugh deep within the tree’s soul. So, as the seasons transition, I am once again compelled to dance with our beloved weed tree.

Last January, two hard freezes decided to even the previous summer’s scorching score. These wintery, icy lashings confused our Asian-born arbor as she struggled to find her regular rhythm of ripening and sloughing. The usual thrice-yearly deposit of seeds upon our patio walkway now had become a twice-spring event. Additionally, the fecund camphor berries found no mercy from the desiccating sun.

Florida’s penetrating sun had fried these granular hopefuls into dried, solid kernels whose rocky hardness then tested the equilibrium of any barefoot pedestrian daring to walk within their gritty paths.

When such copious fallout occurs, I am favored with frequent opportunities to strap on my dancing shoes to sweep the pestering pits off the porch—especially when surprised by the news of unexpected guests arriving soon.

Under such social pressure, most self-respecting wards of nature—like myself—would partner with  a large and powerful dry vacuum to do battle with these peppercorn-like irritants. However, my R2D2 clean-up-imposter proved awkward as the vacuum lumbered to learn my amateur dance moves. With the tank’s wheels hobbling over bare toes, I stumbled, the chord entangled, and in an effort to maintain ballroom grace, I sprang aloft to create a breathless beating-of-the-feet-movement, but instead landed on the concrete in a crumpled heap.

As our plush tree cheerily whirled her branches with the wind, trickles of camphor seeds tittered and rolled—hissing snide chuckles as they skittered along the hot patio pavement.

I stood undaunted by this attempt to keep me from removing the smirking seeds—determined that my impending guests would not be held house-bound to pits that lay in wait for a tenderfoot to venture out.

Awkwardly, I cast off the clumsy vacuum bloke and warily approached my prickly opponents with a less-modern, but more interpretive removal technique: the ancient Alegrias—the Spanish Gypsy bullfighting dance. I had a fool-proof but time-tested attack plan. I knew the camphor stones would be no match for my crude adaptation of the dramatic Latin rendition utilizing my fleet-of-foot, but less-than-graceful partners—ye old broom and dustpan.

In hand, I charged gallantly with straw-lance and dirt-catcher—doubting that tipping at windmills would work more successfully for me than it had for Don Quixote.

All of nature seemed to converge against me and impede my agile broom-and-pan ballet.  A sinister, smoldering cloud rolled in from the West—darkening and chilling the dance floor.

And if nature’s bullying was not enough, the phone rang: Company was on the way!

I gritted my teeth: No last-ditch, blusterous assault—no truculent gusts would stop me.

Nevertheless, in the spirit of sportsmanship, before sweeping these parched seeds into the dustpan, I bowed before these dauntless, breeze-blown nodules. As I scooped up the last gritty morsels, I teetered in giddy crescendo raising the dustpan heavenward like a sacrifice to the gods.

Subdued on the dustpan, the defeated seeds lay dormant all the way to the compost pile.

Returning to the tree, I stood beneath this immense, vanquished monarch—gazing straight up as I placed my palm upon a warm and shaggy bark.

I sensed the tree’s imperious aloofness to my arduous labors with her royal gems—her movements syncopated solely to the currents of the wind.

Forgetting the knock on the front door, and transfixed by her towering majesty, I felt faint—swooned by the promise of future dances laced with seeds.


Jill Clark is a freelance writer who writes for adults and children. Recent publications include the folkloric-horror short story series Machete published through Lyonesse Press: The Silver Empire. Forthcoming poetry will appear in Pocket Change Literary Magazine and Poems for the Night Sky S.R. Savage Publishing.



Busking by Luke Samra

I slept with my guitar last night.

It was the closest thing to you.

Closed a cafe down

In a sleepy town


I may be poor but

I’m making tips and a half

Leave them in my hat.

5 o’clock shadow tells me

It’s time to go home

I fight rush hour traffic both ways.


I don’t need deadlines

For you,

You don’t need to make

Headlines in the news.


I don’t care how much you make.

I don’t care if you make mistakes


My fingers have travelled miles

On my guitar for you.

The only spotlight is the moon

The wind sounded like cheers


Luke Samra is from Kalamazoo, MI.  His work appears in The Tipton Poetry Journal, FishFood Magazine, Local Gems Press (Bards Against Hunger), The Charleston Anvil and Flying Island.  Luke is a tennis instructor and musician.

Don’t Miss It By Blake Garlock

I crept south on Brush Mountain, sneaking over and under the encroaching laurel hoping to hit a clearing where I could sit and wait on a buck. After several hundred yards, I approached the edge of a south facing ridge overlooking a large hollow resembling a soup bowl. At the edge, I dropped to a knee to avoid sky lining myself and scanned the bottom of the bowl for any discrepancies in the landscape: the twitch of an ear, the tip of an antler, or even a black blob requiring a little more caution. Satisfied, I slumped down next to an old white oak and reached for my lunch. A quick glance to the sun confirmed mid-day’s presence and stimulated my appetite.

After three days of scouring the southern Appalachians for a hooved meal, tired was an understatement. Either the deer were failing to cooperate, or I was hunting poorly, most likely the latter. Nonetheless, enjoying the hunt was becoming difficult. As I sat on the edge of my ridge contemplating an early retreat to camp’s confines and munching on a ham sandwich, I caught a glimpse of movement on the adjacent ridge. Only after dropping my sandwich did I raise my binoculars to my face for a closer look. Through the lenses—on the opposite ridge—I observed a Red Fox hunkering close to the forest floor advancing on a nearby oak tree as quiet as possible.

Still staring through the glass, I saw the occasional twitch of an Eastern Grey Squirrel’s tail hovering at the base of the tree—only feet from the fox’s nose. It took me a second, but I managed to piece together what was occurring.

Stopping just shy of the unknowing squirrel, the fox reared back onto its hind legs and leaped forward pouncing on the squirrel and killing it instantly. Picking its prey up and carrying it between the teeth, the fox pranced over the next ridge and out of sight with pride.

After the fox cleared the area I lowered my binoculars and reflected on the scene. Thinking back as far as my memory allowed, I confirmed that this was my first predator prey interaction; and upon the realization I was overcome with shame. As a self-proclaimed conservationist, hunter, and observer of the natural world, it dawned on me that over a decade’s worth of trips afield lacked the raw relationship between predator and prey; the purest interaction occurring in nature. And after scrutinizing my own faults, I discovered that if I spend a great deal of time in the wild and have only witnessed predator versus prey once, then the occasional wanderer must be unexposed to it.

Blake Garlock is an English major at HCC. In his free time, he enjoys hunting, fishing and writing.

Completely Dependent by Jeffrey Zable

On the streetcar heading downtown, a woman around my age is doting over a little boy who’s sitting in a stroller in front of her. “We’ll first go to ‘such and such’ a store and then we’ll go to ‘such and such,’ and then we’ll go to the park.” she says, and he responds, “I’m hungry. I want to eat!” With that, she takes out a graham cracker and holds it for him while he takes some bites. She wipes his lips with a tissue, then takes out some juice and gives him a couple of sips. She tells him something else, then looks around at the faces watching the whole affair. Realizing the expressions are sympathetic, she smiles at everyone, as I try to imagine what it feels like to be 2 years old again, housed in a stroller, on my way to some place without having any say in the matter, completely dependent on someone who I haven’t really known for all that long.


Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro Cuban Folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. His recent writing appears  in MockingHeart Review, Colloquial, Ordinary Madness, Third Wednesday, After The Pause, Fear of Monkeys, Brickplight, Tigershark, Corvus, and many others.In 2017 he was nominated for both The Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.