Alexander Pushkin Dies in a Duel by Charles Rammelkamp


A. A. Naumov. Alexander Pushkin’s duel with Georges d’Anthès.
Public Domain

Alexander Pushkin Dies in a Duel

How would you react
to an anonymous lampoon
awarding you the title,
Deputy Grand Master of the Order of Cuckolds?
We were sure it was the work of Baron d’Anthès.
He’d been sniffing around Pushkin’s wife
in Saint Petersburg society,
but to my knowledge,
the beautiful Natalia’d rejected him.
Married six years, four children,
Pushkin was as certain of her fidelity
as he was of d’Anthès’s mischief.
Sure, tongues wagged as they always will
when a stunning beauty’s involved –
some called Natalia Russia’s Helen of Troy,
and no denying she was a flirt.
She had so many admirers.
But the mock letter couldn’t be ignored,
and even though the Baron denied writing it –
and face it, it wasn’t exactly Eugene Onegin, 
the week after d’Anthès’s marriage
to Natalia’s sister Yekaterina,
the two of them met at Chernaya Rekha
on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg,
a cold day at the end of January.
Charles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore and Reviews Editor for The Adirondack Review. A chapbook of poems, Jack Tar’s Lady Parts, is available from Main Street Rag Publishing. Another poetry chapbook, Me and Sal Paradise, was recently published by FutureCycle Press. An e-chapbook has also recently been published online Time Is on My Side (yes it is)

2 Poems by Byron Beynon

beaded rain
The rain’s beaded notes played
on the window pane,
as a fluid score fell
on a stave of glass.
Music forgives the ageless night,
nurturing the outline of each hour.
The adrenlaine in the blood,
a texture that survived
the wound which dragged
along unshadowed ground.
The articulation of colours,
recognized like friends,
a blossoming of sounds
growing from within.
The tree I planted
twenty years ago
has been felled
along with its shadow.
Birds that paused
on its branches
have melted away.
The wind no longer vibrates,
its notes pass by
with an undulating silence,
a silence that blooms
with the dignity of night,
as its memory reaches
towards the splintered
gleams of the most secret stars.
Byron Beynon 2014
Byron Beynon lives in Swansea, Wales. His work has appeared in several publications including North of Oxford, Agenda, London Magazine, The Yellow Nib, Poetry Wales and Poetry Ireland Review. He coordinated the Wales section of the anthology Fifty Strong (Heinemann).  Collections include Cuffs (Rack Press) and The Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions). His selected poems appeared in 2018 (Bilingual: English/Romanian – published by Bibliotecha Universalis/Collectiile/ Revistei “Orizont Literar Contemporan”, translations by Dr Monica Manolachi, University of Bucharest).


2 Poems by J.C. Todd


After the Death
After the death
she listened
to the widower
to the children wild
or silent from grief
to the whine of the pup
that brushed her leg
because the leg he’d brushed
had disappeared
after this death
which came after others
which left behind grievers
whose sorrows she had consoled
it was the cat weighing in
at 3.7 pounds,
the cat whose eye pads
had lost their fatty tissue
whose hind legs, thinned
and thinning, could not
navigate the stairs
it was the cat she stroked
to feel her sorrow welling up
Slow Reading,
                          like diving deep
into a dumpster—it’s got a shape—
oblong, and a square footage
but its contents are unknown.
Slow reading, like rummaging
with a system, following the words
that soon aren’t words but
music or flash films or
textures your body takes in,
the consciousness of someone else
you’ve absorbed. You could
consider saying like sex
but that’s only a thought, an
expectation you feel obliged
to fulfill. Slow reading’s
like breathing, autonomic,
and thinking this
you feel grateful that the muscles
and the bellows keep going on
below awareness, as reading
draws you down, below
what you know or see.
JC Todd headshot (1)


J.C. Todd is author of The Damages of Morning (Moonstone Press, 2018), a 2019 Eric Hoffer Award finalist. Other books include What Space This Body (Wind, 2008), two chapbooks and collaborative artist books On Foot/By Hand and FUBAR (Lucia Press, 2018, 2016). Winner of the Rita Dove Poetry Prize, she holds fellowships from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Leeway Foundation, Ragdale, Ucross, and Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. Currently a poet with the Dodge Poetry Program, she has taught at Bryn Mawr College and in the MFA Program at Rosemont and holds an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson.

Illusion (After Liu Yong) by George Freek

Illusion (After Liu Yong)
It is the early hours
before day breaks like ice.
The wind blows
through the shivering trees,
and brings them
to their knees.
I stare at blank walls.
I hear dead leaves
falling from those trees.
My heart ticks slowly
like the drip of a water clock.
I stare into the mirror,
where I see nothing,
but a strange image,
where I should see me.
George Freek is a poet/playwright living in Belvidere, IL. His poetry has recently appeared in ‘The Chiron Review’; ‘Torrid Literature’; ‘The Adelaide Magazine’; and ‘Off Course Review.’ His plays are published by Playscripts, Inc.; Lazy Bee Scripts; and Off The Wall Plays.

The Ghost Pass by Jonathan Douglas Dowdle

The Ghost Pass
The ghosts pass, and say nothing;
They pretend to be alive, but breathe
Nothing; their laughter is an echo of
An old, infirm sorrow, returning;
They glance their eyes like ships
Trying to touch the sea of tomorrow.
Still; there is no ship that acts like hand;
There is no sea, like spine, beneath its touch;
They are staring at the dreams of eternity;
They are watching the sky split open and
The stars fall to the earth;
They are already crawling back into the earth.
All that remains on board is blood, is wine;
All that cuts through the currents, is a whisper;
A voice, soft and sharp like a knife;
Parts the thought like a cloud and lets it give way;
The sky is open, like a mouth, waiting;
The only vision remaining, is a man of board;
Sipping his drink.
Jonathan Douglas Dowdle
Jonathan Douglas Dowdle was born in Nashua, NH and has traveled throughout the US, he currently resides in South Carolina. Previous works have appeared or are appearing in: Hobo Camp Review, 322 Review, The Opiate, The Right Place At The Write Time, Blue Hour Review, Whimperbang, After The pause, Midnight Lane Boutique, Visitant, Adelaide, Blue Moon, Bitchin’ Kitsch And The Big Windows Review.

Find and Seek by David P. Kozinski

Find and Seek
I call you but you are out in the yard
where dragonflies flit and mate in midair
and ants patrol the peonies,
where you overturn shovels full of earth,
bury bitterness in a scarf
like one you draped over the violin
when you tucked it in its case.
I call for you and from your sickbed
a response quieter than the hum
of streetlamps. A puzzle, an answer
arrive in headlights curling
around a shadowed bend in our road.
I call out for you
and you are there for me
until you are not.
There are more rooms in our house than I knew.
Each door opens to another room,
another door; cupboards of implements,
summer garments from another time
hanging in a closet with a window,
drawers with files of records
and little mysteries—- a whistle, cufflinks and studs,
a long letter that urges reason and rhyme.
“One place for this, another for something else,”
I think aloud, moving through them
all in dimming light.
I called to you at dusk and again this morning
and you were next to me, the fragrance
of your chest, the smooth
skin of your limbs.
I called out a warning, a prophecy
and it was a claim cordoned off
and conveyed, an alias
of ill-fitting clothes.
DPK Headshot
David P. Kozinski received the 2018 Established Professional Poetry Fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts. His first full-length book of poems, Tripping Over Memorial Day was published by Kelsay Books in 2017. He received the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, which included publication of his chapbook, Loopholes (Broadkill Press). Kozinski was named 2018 Mentor of the Year by Expressive Path, a non-profit that encourages youth participation in the arts. He serves on the Boards of the Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center and the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference.

Live at Cafe Improv

Our contributing editors recently performed at Cafe Improv in Princeton, New Jersey. Here are the videos and we hope you enjoy.