Chasing the Tail |
by JD DeHart




Frantic and fervent, the creature
attempts to attack its offender, the self.
The poor creature has not learned,
as we have, that is can never escape
its own body.  The move to warmer climate
did not matter, the devoted promising
fell short of true change, and the figure
staring back in the mirror is an assemblage
of the same fears and half-truths.
The result of not wrapping my arms around
that poor insecure being, is dizziness,
perhaps a sudden fall due to the exhaustion
of the mindless, absurd chase.


___
The Poet: JD DeHart is the author of The Truth About Snails, a chapbook.  His main blog is jddehart.blogspot.com and he is a staff writer for Verse-Virtual.

The Artist: Mark Zlomislic's art resides in the tension between the eternal and the temporal. It explores the human need for security and the inevitability of an impermanence he has difficulty accepting. He paints to capture moments of time that reveal frailty and vitality, joy and sorrow, decline and glory. Born in Rakitno, Hercegovina, he has lived and studied in Vienna, Paris, Munich and Zagreb. His influences include Bacon, Balthus and Tom Thompson. His work is included in numerous private collections throughout North America and Europe. His gallery and studio are located in Cambridge, Canada. Contact: zlomislic@hotmail.com

JD DeHart is the author of The Truth About Snails, a chapbook.  His main blog is jddehart.blogspot.com and he is a staff writer for Verse-Virtual.

Voices |
by Blake Lynch

Man:

I fled.  On a flat tire, I fled. 

Woman:

Early summer,
I couldn't hear the herons
only the ball game on the radio,  
when he unsnapped my jeans
by the orange sand.

And now,
he wanders Virginia
with the letters tucked in his pockets,
the same blue eyes,

his beard grown red.

And this child, this
thorn in in my side,
thinks a stork left him by the waters,
I will break before I bend. 


___
Blake Lynch is a young lawyer whose poems have appeared in The Foundling Review, The Brooklyner, Chelsea, King Log, 2River, The Stray Branch, The Oakbend Review, Stone Highway Review, The Potomac, Zygote in My Coffee, Forge, 491 Magazine, Pif Magazine, and Shampoo, among others; and whose plays have been performed at Tisch School of the Arts in New York City and The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, England. 

Inside This Bar |
by Jim Creston


He sits at the small round wooden table
with his back against the wall,
and the gray hoodie pulled over his head
during this rainy summer evening.

For the longest time
he sits here,
quiet
and alone,
his head down,
maybe catching a nap.

I'm thinking,
he could be homeless.
It's nice of the establishment
allowing him to lie low,
off the streets,
with a place to quieten the mind
and rest his body.

The sound of sirens grow stronger
as the vehicles rush in behind the building.
Are they here for him?

He gets up and
walks across the floor,
goes behind the bar
and in front of me he takes the soda gun
making himself a drink.
His reply to a patron,
“A cook tripped the back door alarm.”
Obviously he works here,
and I think again
not to judge from appearances.

Inside this urban bar
nestled among Nicollet Mall,
a group of guys are singing,

“Country roads, take me home.”


___
Jim Creston is a contemporary poet residing in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Some of his recent works have been published in the online magazines CUIB-NEST-NIDO and In Your Face Radio. Jim has released his first book of collected poems titled Don't Swallow The Toothpaste.

The Paperboy’s Exclusive |
by Ian C Smith

Wrenched from alarm-pierced dreams
I pedal past milk pale in bottles,
cigarette sparking in the windy half-dark,
the inky future surrounded by silence.
The insides of my knees scrape in rhythm
against the sheer bulk of the classifieds,
thick slabs of Saturday’s sport and scandal.

A reader lurks behind his front gate,
dressing-gown, pyjamas, uh oh, cock
standing tall as if he has just woken up,
adding a perkiness to the neighbourhood.
When he asks me to admire its girth I do,
naïve, but not enough to linger,
no longer allowing him doubt’s benefit.

I report the hot news to my outraged mum,
cigarettes hidden, selecting details,
the lewd suggestions, his ragged breathing,
my plucky non-compliance, projecting
this crime for school, gathered mates hushed,
my language less circumspect,
blowing a thin stream of smoke between my teeth.

In court my man looks different in a suit,
no gaping flies when his character witness,
our C. of E. minister who teaches R.I.,
offers asthma as an extenuating circumstance.
Here on Earth life isn’t as it is in Heaven.
A good behaviour bond ends my stop press.
So much for all that ragged breath. 


___


In Preparation For The Long Emergency |
by Dustin Orin Talley

Flint flakes fall on leaves
It's Fall, well, the beginning of it. 
The leaves are dead and that's good. 
I'm at a camp site with my son. 
The sun is beating down on us
because I reserved site B13 instead of B14.
A mistake. 
We just found out that he will soon have a sibling
and I'm not sure why we're here. 
My wife is working. 
He, my son, has finally taken my advice 
and instead of having words with leaves
he whittles flint with steel patiently. 
He's working and I try not to think about work. 
I instead study his labor. 
This is preparation for The Long Emergency. 
Soon, and for reason's that I do not know,
there will be shortages of food. 
Diapers will need to be changed. 
The electricity grid may go down. 
Who knows? 
My son, I am teaching him to live with all of these things. 
I showed him how to hook up the solar panels to the batteries
how to feed the chickens and change their bedding,
how to turn the compost pile. 
Right now he is intent on the pile of metallic combustible goodness on the leaves. 
Later on tonight we will go fishing and I will catch one tiny catfish. 
My son will insist we eat it, though I will protest
claiming that one small fish is not enough to make a mess
And besides a pocket knife is all I have with me. 
He will win and we will be brutal to the fish not on purpose
but because we are not prepared with the knowledge for a clean kill. 
We will kill, however,
and we will get meat and we will cook that meat over the coals
that are the remnants of the fire
that my son is flaming into life right now
as the flickers follow the flow of the blade 
traced into the eternal flame of wow. 
So proud!
Stand up son, take a bow
and as the fire brightens his face
I try not to look beyond at threatening clouds. 



___
The Poet: Dustin Orin Talley lives with his family in Durham, NC. 

The Artist: Faun Scurlock is a digital artist/photographer born and raised in Vancouver, WA. The constant weather changes of the Pacific Northwest bring her plenty of opportunity to capture landscapes, action shots, and abstract photographs. Faun's been published in multiple journals - The Phoenix and Salmon Creek Journal - and included in a student art show at Clark College.

The Ticking Measure |
by Scott Thomas Outlar

You beat upon the ancient drums of hidden knowledge
while I seek desperately in search of occulted wisdom, blind,
deaf, dumb, and mindlessly
losing all sense of focus as the eternal quest continues in perpetuity,
hoping to be rescued from the depths and pulled ashore
by an invisible hand from above, yet there is no raft available in these waters, deep below in the murky subconscious river.
The source soul just floated by in a bubble;
thoughts metaphorically magnificent in scope, then gone in an instant;
blips on the screen of a newly tuned station.
The channels are turned off and volume gets lowered
as everyone gathers round to cast dispersions,
judgments, and righteous cat calls.
Or possibly to dance with frenzied
fervor
as a fire in the belly of the Nexus Gut.
Stomach aid protection of virus defilement,
undefined with risky parallel associations,
gets caught on the upside of a toppling scale.
The draught didn’t matter as we dried up,
feeling petrified, frozen, and stagnantly static; not stoic,
nor standing,
but laying low, playing it quiet, keeping
a good safe distance,
watching from the shadows until the proper time to strike.
You’re the one who invented space and time,
so fuck me if I decide to use them
however I damn well please; I plead; I panic,
knowing that the best is yet to come.

And who in Heaven knows what that entails?


___
Scott Thomas Outlar hails from the heart of Atlantis where he kneels atop intricately designed rugs produced from prediluvian cloth and prays to The Holy Spirit Vibration for humility, guidance and discernment during this epic moment of time at the epoch of a rising New Age. When not caught up in such passionate fervor, he enjoys writing poetry, essays, fiction, rants, and experimental, existential, hallucinatory, prose-fusion screeds on subjects ranging from the outer limits of the stars to the innermost depths of the soul. His work can be seen at such sites as Dissident Voice, Daily Anarchist, Ascent Aspirations, Oracular Tree, and Loose Change Magazine. Scott can be reached at 17Numa@gmail.com. Send him a random raving and he'll certainly return in kind.