2 Poems by Jean LeBlanc

Snatching the Body
If you are lucky, the night is coolish and dry. Especially dry. At least the ground is not compact, amenable to being moved yet again. If there are stars, you do not see them.
If one falls, blazing a trail across the heavens, it does so unnoticed. You have brought
at least one helper, but all mouths are mum, silent, tight-lipped, mute. Only the spades converse, an untranslatable slate, slate, slate in the receiving earth. And then the lid.
And then. A sign of the cross, or perhaps just brushing away a clod of dirt.
thousands of them each spring on the hillside high up where the snow melts slowly and there on the edge of snow/no snow did I say a thousand it’s more like stars on a clear night a sign of spring a promise though like any promise breakable shepherd’s tears it’s also called or shepherd’s folly because they are so beautiful these thousand thousand little blooms that we forget and a lamb wanders off or a wolf oh little lily this cleft of stony ground I sleep beside you and awaken crushed
Jean LeBlanc
I teach writing and literature at a community college in northwestern New Jersey. Teaching informs my poetry, inspiring me to imagine other times, other worlds—and the connections to our time, our world. My poems have been published in several collections, most recently A Field Guide to the Spirits (Aqueduct Press, 2015). Art and photography also complement my writing, pushing me to see in new ways.

Old Bones by Lou Gallo

Old Bones
When I swivel my neck now I hear
cartilage popping and although it feels good
I think instantly of old Hasdrubal of Carthage
leading elephants across mountains
and I think of the bones in our back yard
on Columbus Street that my dog Spottie
buried, dug up, buried again, sucking
out that sweet marrow, and I think too
of the catacombs in Mexico City
that terrified me as a child—and
still terrify me—and of course who could
not think of Ozymandias . . .
oh I think lots of things because
how intimate is ossification and better
gather the memories while you can
before the neck becomes less a conduit
and more a fossil, not grainy like Lot’s wife
but solid, I like to think, marble,
a work of art some sculptor might carve
into a skylark or turtle or tiny peacock
that winds up on the family mantle.
At the moment I stare at the meat
placed before me in the Ancient Steak House
and can’t help poking at the bone
with my fork fancying it might emit
a signal of sorts explaining the difference
between its situation now and before when it
lived inside a cow . . . and I think of angels
and ghosts and sprites and how one
might thrive without the bones
always left behind, eroding into dust
eventually, the skull and teeth and
fingernails and ribs and elbows,
the structure collapsed,  the thinking
over, the old bones, old bones.
Louis Gallo
Louis Gallo’s work has appeared or will shortly appear in Wide Awake in the Pelican State (LSU anthology), Southern Literary Review, Fiction Fix, Glimmer Train, Hollins Critic,, Rattle, Southern Quarterly, Litro, New Orleans Review, Xavier Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Texas Review, Baltimore Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Ledge, storySouth,  Houston Literary Review, Tampa Review, Raving Dove, The Journal (Ohio), Greensboro Review,and many others.  Chapbooks include The Truth Change, The Abomination of Fascination, Status Updates and The Ten Most Important Questions. He is the founding editor of the now defunct journals, The Barataria Review and Books:  A New Orleans Review.  He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.

Electric Life by Henry Stanton

Electric Life
It doesn’t matter
someone else’s rage or pain or violence
you say to yourself
as you wait for the one you dread
to ascend the stairs to the bedroom in the dark
the keys are in the garden
somehow he has found them
The dream you awaken from is terrifying
yet in there
you were not terrified.
A yellow-green spotted beetle drops on your neck as you sink heavily back to sleep
you pinch    at    it
  leap to frightened consciousness
flick on the light
it is on its back among the carpet fibers
you start it scurrying with your finger tip
you leave it running across the screen
while a cricket floats lifelessly in your toilet bowl
while your sore eyes glaze over and the light goes out.
A voice in your dreamscape calls to you:
electrify your life dreamer back and
return to your rare language
I call you to awful combat
you are awake again.


Henry Stanton’s fiction, poetry and paintings appear in 2River, The A3 Review, Avatar, The Baltimore City Paper, The Baltimore Sun Magazine, Kestrel, Outlaw Poetry, PCC Inscape, Pindeldyboz, Rusty Truck, Salt & Syntax, SmokeLong Quarterly, The William and Mary Review, Word Riot, and The Write Launch and Yellow Mama, among other publications.

 His poetry was selected for the A3 Review Poetry Prize  and was shortlisted for the Eyewear 9th Fortnight Prize for Poetry.  His fiction received an Honorable Mention acceptance for the Salt & Syntax Fiction Contest and was selected as a finalist for the Pen 2 Paper Annual Writing Contest.

A selection of Henry Stanton’s paintings are currently on show at Atwater’s Catonsville and can be viewed at the following website www.brightportfal.com   A selection of Henry Stanton’s published fiction and poetry can be located for reading in the library at www.brightportfal.com

Ally, aka Advisor Resigns by Stephen Page

Ally, aka Advisor Resigns
You have exchanged the blue coat we gave you
For a red one; or is it just reversible?
Don’t snarl at me, you are not a lion,
You have the eyes of a glass serpent.
You taught me how to be a Godfather,
Not a father, or a leader.
You taught me how to destroy land,
Not build a ranch, or a reputation.
You think only in percentages,
Yours of course, not ours.
It’s no wonder you stink of cancer,
You are rotting from the inside out.
Don’t project yourself into me,
I am not your lost pocket mirror.
You shaped yourself through self-debasement,
But I will not lose my edification.
You will never spark cognitive dissonance,
For consensus on your chagrin.
You weighed the cows wrong, admit it,
Your florid three names will not save you now.
Trenchant are the ineligible, who wish
For nothing more than what they work for.
Your resignation was up for reprisal,
But only half-heartedly.
In the end you have saved me,
You have engendered my independence.
You are like a senator who asks a general
To win a war, then banishes him.
Empirically I have judged you
From the throne of my office.
Stop whispering in my ear,
I will not listen anymore.
I would like to name you Rasputin,
Except, you did not succeed.
Stephen Page phot with muse (1)
Stephen Page is the Author of The Timbre of Sand, Still Dandelions, and A Ranch Bordering the Salty River. He holds two AA’s from Palomar College, a BA from Columbia University, and an MFA from Bennington College. He also attended Broward College. He is the recipient of The Jess Cloud Memorial Prize, a Writer-in-Residence from the Montana Artists Refuge, a Full Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, an Imagination Grant from Cleveland State University, and an Arvon Foundation Ltd. Grant. He loves his wife, reading, travel, family, and friends.


The Child Who… by Maria Keane

ant trail 2
The Child Who…
I am the child who smells earth after rain,
who watches trails of ants that go nowhere,
who plucks the air just after
the monarch leaves its milkweed.
Who kneels in moist wells
of fern below
a ceiling of leaves
beneath a bruising sky.
Tangled in a thin layer of dust
I watch the falcon glide
above the mottled hologram of earth.
I dig small hollows in the shadow of the oak
that cover the limp green garden snake.
The Child Who…
I am at the velvet edge of exploration.
I listen to beats beneath the earth
separating groves of blood roses.
My garden dance
becomes redundant.
I look beyond a patch of grass with stringy roots.
where uncertainties never pierce the spine.
The sun is winking between the clouds.
I shrug off origami cranes attempting flight.
                                          Thin promises  of paper,  my blueprint.
Maria Keane, visual artist and published poet, served as Professor of Fine Arts at Wilmington University, New Castle Delaware from 1984-2009.  Her book of poetry, Being There, is being published in October, 2018 by Page Publishing, N.Y.  She was awarded a Professional Fellowship in Works on Paper in 1997.)

The Teacher by Joan McNerney

The Teacher
Had hoped some would leave,
rise above dirty factory gates
past plumes of smoke spewing
from the cement plant.
Occasionally when discussing
great American novels, the walls
shook. Ravines were being blasted
for more rocks to crush into powder.
She wished they would not become
clerks for soul-less chain stores or
cooks in fast food joints where
smells of burning grease lingered.
What was the use of teaching literature
and poetry to these teens who would
soon grow listless?  Their spirits ground
down like stones in the quarry.
Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Halcyon Days.  Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work.  Her latest title is Having Lunch With the Sky.

Dry Spell by Ann Christine Tabaka

Dry Spell
Fissured mud,
dry, hard, gray.
So many interlacing
fingers reaching out
in every direction,
crumble to the touch.
Arid summer,
sucking the breath from life.
Languishing thirst.
Wilted flora bow their heads.
Fallen warriors lack resilience
to withstand the furnace blast.
Parched earth,
crying out for sustenance.
No clouds in sight.
Not a drop of compassion
to be found.
Cruel season of drought,
unexpected curse.
Farmers pass their hats
and lay low,
hands folded in prayer.
Rotted fruit.
Tiny shrunken globes of despair.
Shrunken heads
hang limp and forlorn
upon dying hosts.
Time stands still.
Torrid air strangles all
within its grasp.
I exhale the dragon
from my lungs.
Scorched clay drifts from my hand,
dispersed into the atmosphere.
Well of hope, dry as dust.
Foreign to some years,
a vengeance in others.
All promise lost,
walking away
faces turn upward
in disbelief,
as forgiveness rains from the sky
Ann Christine Tabaka has been published at:  Pomona Valley Review, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Synchronized Chaos, Pangolin Review, Trigger Fish Critical Review, Foliate Oak Review, Better Than Starbucks!, Mused, The Write Launch, The Stray Branch, The McKinley Review, and Fourth & Sycamore. She lives with her husband in Delaware, USA.