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
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 Send him a random raving and he'll certainly return in kind.

No Handles, No Tabs |
by Colin Dodds

Roads that lead to roads—
The problem is time, the problem is knowledge.

Moving like a second-hand of a clock,
On my way, I am nowhere.
On my way, every place is no place.

It’s how the world ends—

By failing to begin.

Colin Dodds grew up in Massachusetts and completed his education in New York City. His poetry has appeared in more than a hundred fifty publications, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. The poet and songwriter David Berman (Silver Jews, Actual Air) said of Dodds’ work: “These are very good poems. For moments I could even feel the old feelings when I read them.” Dodds is also the author of several novels, including WINDFALL and The Last Bad Job, which the late Norman Mailer touted as showing “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.” And his screenplay, Refreshment, was named a semi-finalist in the 2010 American Zoetrope Contest. Colin lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Samantha. You can find more of his work at

Marriage |
by Ally Malinenko

I retype my husband’s poetry
making little mistakes here and there,
adding punctuation
where he has none

and then going back and fixing it
laying my line over his
the way we have laid our lives
our bodies
our times together

in these seventeen years.

I think back to our first nights together
when I was out of those teenage
by just a breath

Back then I would come back from
peeing late night
sleepy eyed
stumbling steps
and I would lay
in bed 
watch him sleep

the straight line of his mouth
and curve of his eyebrow
like an island’s rough shores
that I had shipwrecked myself against.

and I would whisper
who are you, really?

to the stars and the night
and the sleeping man beside me.

The Poet: Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collection The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press), the children's novel Lizzy Speare and The Cursed Tomb (Antenna Books) and the YA novel This Is Sarah (Bookfish Books). She currently lives in the part of Brooklyn voted to have the best halal truck.

The Artist: Daniel Ayles is a Portland, Oregon-based artist whose work bridges the gap between the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. If you are interested in exploring his body of work further, you can see examples of his art in the 2012 August issue of The Horror Zine here:  You may also view two collaborative pieces he did with Tiffany Luna in the 2012 November issue of The Horror Zine:

Ann McCauley’s Interview with Carol Smallwood

A.M. Tell us a little about yourself…what is your earliest memory with books?

C.S. I remember the first word with more than one syllable was exciting to me in my school reading book: the word “Suddenly” after so many like See Spot Run. That words one could read and write would have rhythm to them was a great discovery.

A.M. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? When did you know you’d be a  writer?

C.S. My first job desire was to work in a flower shop. I never knew I’d be a poet until I retired from public schools and figured it was now or never. And not knowing if I would survive breast cancer was great motivation.

A.M. Who are your favorite five writers?  What is your favorite genre?

C.S. John Galsworthy, Emily Dickinson, Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, Jane Austin, are the ones that stand out the most. My favorite genre to read is the fiction of John Galsworthy. The genre to write myself is poetry: I taught myself how to do pantoums, triolets, villanelles, and other formal styles which I really enjoy and the validation came with acceptances and awards.

A.M. Where do you get your inspiration/ideas for your writing?

C.S. Driving, washing dishes, eating lunch. Juxtaposition, the rubbing of conflicting things, produces sparks/ideas.

A.M. How many books have you written? Which of your books was the easiest/hardest to write? Which of your books is your favorite?

C.S. Over four dozen mostly edited for the American Library Association, Rowman & Littlefield, McFarland Publishers. I’ve written 3 poetry collections and hopefully will have my 4th out shortly; one novel; many short stories, essays, poems, in hundreds of national and international magazines. The easiest are the anthologies if the contributors you are looking for can be found. My most recent is one about writing after retirement
The hardest to write was my novel. My favorite is probably Michigan Authors that I edited because it was fascinating to hear from so many writers. The third edition I did was the last as it was taken over by the Library of Michigan as a database online. My latest poetry collection is from Lamar University Press

A.M. What do you consider the hardest part of writing?

C.S.  Concepts, coming up with something that is different and presenting it.

A.M. Have you written anything that you thought would be controversial and found it wasn’t? OR something you thought was not controversial, and it was perceived by your readers as controversial?

C.S. My novel, Lily’s Odyssey, is on the unpopular topic of child abuse which many publishers won’t touch. Even though the statistics show domestic violence, incest, and related issues are huge, there is a shying away from such largely women centered topics. The first chapter was selected to appear in Best New Writing 2010 but the novel never became popular.

A.M. How personal is your writing?

C.S. We filter everything even when editing so in that sense it is all personal.

A.M. Do you outline? What do you think makes a good story?

C.S. It is easier working in segments which I think of like carriages of a train all linked together. Even with poetry, a few words start things going. A good story is how true to human nature it is, if it is unmasks glimpses into the human condition. People are complicated creatures with many contradicting strands.

A.M. What is your writing routine? How long does it take you to write a book?

C.S. I write soon as I start the day until early afternoon and go out for lunch, work till dinner. It takes about a year to do most anthologies. It is hard to tell about poetry collections because most of the composing is not actually writing time: it is the thinking, brooding, the endless revision. Things come together in their own good time.

A.M. If you were to start your career as an author again, what would you do differently? Why?

C.S. Probably nothing. I believe John Galsworthy is correct when he wrote: “Live first, write afterwards.”

A.M. Do you have any suggestions to help beginning writers become better writers? If so, what are they?

C.S. Follow the advice on one of my children’s clothes rack: Stop, Look, Listen. It had a picture of a red train climbing a hill. In other words, be observant and be willing to work hard. If you are a woman, it will be harder climbing that hill.

A.M. What do you do to relax when you are not writing?

C.S. Watch TV series like NYPD Blue; The Rockford Files, while making patchwork quilts with my cat on my lap—programs where good wins out.

Ann McCauley is the author of Runaway Grandma, (2007), and Mother Love, (Revised-2012). She’s also a contributor to the anthologies, Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing, (2012), Writing After Retirement, (2014). She does freelance writing; her work has been published in magazines, journals and newspapers.  Ann has degrees in Nursing, Psychology, and a Master’s in Creative Writing.  Learn more about Ann at and follow her on Facebook

Review of Judith Skillman's "Angles of Separation" |
by Carol Smallwood

     Buying a new poetry collection is like investing in a travel ticket—the excitement begins when a book arrives with shiny cover and unexplored pages; the cover art of Angles of Separation is Edvard Munch’s oil painting, “Separation”  from the Munch Museum in New York. There is an epigraph from Osip Mandelstam’s Tristia about separation; a dedication; acknowledgments. There isn’t a foreword or preface and the fifty poems are divided into four parts with a page of Notes at the end, followed by an About the Author page, and a page of titles by the poet. I avoid the back cover, blurbs, author page, until writing  the review.
There is great energy in Skillman’s work, cosmic power as in “A Sliver of Heat”: “At night the earth collided with comet hair/ and you wanted to tip the Milky Way/ into your parched throat.” In the 3 page poem, “Thrum and Goad” are the lines “I hunger for what is true” and yet the last stanza begins “I yearn for the cessation of wing beats.”
Some of Skillman’s work reminded me of T.S. Eliot’s meditative darkness of modern life, his examination of time and meaning such as in her short narrative poem where emptiness is echoed in the last line: “But when I return to the kitchen, nothing lives there, nothing fills the saucepans fitted like Russian dolls one inside the other inside the other.” This search for meaning is repeated in “Cause and Effect” where things mock, cruelty thrives and there is a pattern of violence to those who listen, those who want to hear and have enough courage.
This is a poet who bravely addresses the brevity of life and is a close observer of nature from animals, birds, trees, the water lily, grasshoppers, and the wind. This American poet’s sweep is wide: from shingles on skin, eating tongue, bluebells, starlings sitting on wires, seasonal affective disorder, Shakespeare’s characters—and her look is clear, economical, without sentimentality or illusion. And yet she also notes that the world has too much beauty to be understood.
I would have liked more on the back Notes page to explain words such as Kore, the Judas tree, Macabee trap, geodes, and the passages in French; giving the four parts names would have been helpful to me as a reader. I’m looking forward to her next collection—the travel time with Angles of Separation, seeing her landscape, was a memorable trip.

The most recent books of this multi-award recipient are: The Phoenix: New & Selected Poems 2007-2013 (Dream Horse Press, 2014); Broken Lines—The Art and Craft of Poetry (Lummox Press, 2013). Some of the poems in this collection have appeared in: Prairie Schooner; The Aurorean; Athenaeum: Best Indie Verse of New England.

Carol Smallwood’s recent books include Water, Earth, Air, Fire, and Picket Fences (Lamar University Press, 2014) and Writing After Retirement (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014). Carol has founded, supports humane societies.