Ian C Smith

Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in Axon:Creative Explorations,The Best Australian Poetry,Chiron Review, Island, Southerly,& Westerly His fifth book is Contains Language,Ginninderra Press (Adelaide). He lives in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, Australia.

Heart Problems

Our hearts’ chambers surge
when we feel avid swelling
surge as clothes are ritually stripped
to the words of some ridiculous song
and the tastes of arousal converge.

Ah yes mutual yearning overlaps
then we lapse work grieve get drunk
delete our needs sad-eyed unable to let go
infect using words as blow darts
flesh still slapping together slap slap.

Signs point accusingly from the start
erratic wasps’ nests of moods
a certain archetypal ecstasy
but crumpled sheets always a comfort
and sleeping children those works of art.

We must listen for their hearts’ blood
their sweet breath in the night
compensation for love’s linen stained
yesterday’s fervour now tepid silenced
swept downstream like rivers after storms.

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Ben Rasnic

Ben Rasnic is originally from Jonesville, a small rural town in extreme southwestern Virginia, population <1000. Currently, Ben resides in Bowie, Maryland and earns a paycheck as an accountant for a paper recycling company in Alexandria, Va. His poems have appeared in numerous online and print journals including Bird’s Eye Review, Camroc Press Review, Flutter, Gutter Eloquence, Ink, Sweat & Tears,The Orange Room Review, Quantum Poetry, Right Hand Pointing, The Rusty Truck and Short, Fast and Deadly.

Road Kill (Appalachia, Va)

streets so narrow
you can barely squeeze thru—
careless pedestrians breaking blind bargains
& parked cars scraped against sidewalk.

Young & old gather on the corner
drinking cheap red wine
from brown paper bags.

Ambition went with the bottles,
broken, tossed into the gutters
of past generations

watch as you drive by,
weaving intricate
paradigms across networks
of graveled highway,

mountain men driving drunk
& the dead by the side of the road.

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Michael Atreides Lair

Michael Atreides Lair lives and writes in Springfield, Missouri.

Infinite Drive

We watched the distant stars

becoming more distant.

What we saw was years apart

from this moment.


And I wondered aloud about

death and all her shattered hour glasses.

A man spoke

of an infinite drive,

of traveling, light with light,

for some unknown amount of time,

still alive

and yet still: dead.

Somewhere our illuminating past

could meet another’s bright future.

Refections of moments lost

had never seemed much darker.

I watched and wondered to myself,

“Who else has lived and seen us then?”

And I watched and wondered,

“When will it end?”

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Perry L. Powell

Perry L. Powell, who lives with his wife in College Park, Georgia and works with the other side of his brain as a systems analyst, has appeared in Quantum Poetry Magazine, The Lyric, The Foliate Oak, Indigo Rising, The Camel Saloon, Lucid Rhythms, A Hundred Gourds, Prune Juice and Haiku Presence.


Carefully we tread deeply shadowed light
in a noon forest of crackling pines.
Summer winds drift around from nowhere to
nowhere, taking their time, even as we
might imagine the tramping of traders
and soldiers, of diplomats and killers,
of would-be saints, of those too clearly sinners
and of the frightened and the almost dead―
when the opening of a green meadow
with a shower of sun-dropped red poppies,
like the blood of a god spilled over all,
proposes another answer to that
question that clutches like cigarette smoke
around every head that seeks to breathe.

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Deonte Osayande

Deonte Osayande is a young poet, a two time Dudley Randall Poetry Contest Winner, a former Presidential Ambassador of the University of Detroit Mercy and co-winner of the Howling Wolf Chapbook Contest at the University.



My hometown is a city of drains.
I am an empty bathtub myself,
an expendable drink
stained with no one’s thirst.

When bathing I submerge myself beneath ear filling water.
My last lover’s moans drown beneath the pipes.
For far too long I have been a glass of lemonade
in a house without sugar, the bitter taste.
It lingers when I read the newspaper.


After the first month everyone forgets missing babies


After the second nobody recalls women thrown about like baggage.


After the first year can anybody remember little girls
who die while dreaming on their grandmother’s couch?

My hometown’s tragedies never washes out.
I can’t forget the scabbing scars,
scum my soul bathes in, a ring around a tub.
It has a tart taste like the regularity of murder.

Bathing, I don’t come up until I don’t hear her anymore.
I hold my breath until I can remember the first cries
of the daughter I imagine having,
the wife I want to carry with me on my finger,
the child I want to watch movies with on my mother’s couch.
When bathing I don’t come up until I don’t hear.
When bathing I don’t come up.
When bathing the ruin never washes out.

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Sally Franson

Sally Franson is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing and graduate instructor at the University of Minnesota. Since her undergraduate studies at Columbia, she has enjoyed experimenting with both form and content. Her poetry has been published in BAP Quarterly and Apparatus, her essays have appeared in elimae and The Wisconsin Story Project, and her reportage has been featured with Isthmus, The Daily Page, The L Magazine, Daily Candy, and REACH, among others. Recently she has been awarded the endowed Gesell Prize in Nonfiction from the University of Minnesota and an Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism award from the Milwaukee Press Club. She also was a 2011 finalist for the Eva Kriseova Fellowship for the Prague Summer Program.

Pistil Gift

The grass tickles. You are lying
on your stomach with your cheek
pressed to a thin-lipped

flower. There are secrets
within. He wants to know,
to hold the key: Do the stars hang

themselves? Or did invisible
hands hold them, coax them to light,
till each one sighed and settled

her legs, lulled by the pulse,
her own reverberant silence?
You don’t want to tell him

yet. The words blow apart
too easily, like dandelion seeds
on a cotton mountaintop.

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Bryana Johnson

Bryana Johnson is a homeschool graduate with a passion for poetry, political science, and art. She has won cash prizes in multiple poetry contests, including the grand prize in one of the 2011 Utmost Christian Writers contests, and her poems have been published in several literary journals including the Boston Literary Magazine, Time of Singing, The Mayo Review and Adroit Journal. While she grew up in Turkey and lived for a time in Ankara and along the coast of the Black Sea, she currently resides in a rural community in Texas. She loves G.K. Chesterton, acrylic paints, guitar and children.



Don’t use words too big for the subject: don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”;
otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.


Never say savor when you only mean taste –
one is a holding on the tongue and an intoxication
and the other is cursory, a sampling, connoting
reluctance to bask. Never say a thing you don’t mean.

Never say agony for pain or vast for very big or
love for the agitated chemistry of bodies unknown
to each other. If you say eternal for longevity, how
will you ever convince us of undying things?

Never say always for most of the time, or downpour
for the dribbling of hesitant rain. If you say you
believe in something you only hope tremulously to
be true, how shall we be made to understand faith?

Never say never when you only mean, “not at any time
in the past or the future as far as we know.
” Because you
might not know. And when you truly need to say,
I will never leave you, nor forsake you,” you will hear it
echoed back at you: the riotous mockery of a world
hungry for reasons to doubt. Tell us the whole truth
and nothing but the truth, so help you God.

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