The Game by Matthew Ussia

The Game
Late spring day at the friar’s cemetery
I walked down to see old friends
from my college days buried
in rows of identical graves
brothers in Christ who all failed
to get me to follow them in faith
Perhaps I was their token nontheist
friend for keeping piety honest or
thought they were playing a long game
confident of my long walk towards salvation
Father Tom always told me
doubt is just a natural phase
These bodies who never knew
the sanctuary of other bodies
lay under my feet, victory uncertain
what final thoughts at the end
of lives dedicated to opening a door
that turned out to be a wall
An ending of absolute despair
before the relief of dreamless sleep
the rest of my life knowing
it’s only a matter of time before
the big reveal of which one of us was wrong
Matthew Ussia is a professor, editor, podcaster, thereminist, writer, softcore punk, social media burnout, and all-around sentient organic matter.  His first book of poetry The Red Glass Cat, was published in 2021.   His writings have appeared in Mister Rogers and Philosophy, Winedrunk Sidewalk, Future Humans in Fiction and Film, North of Oxford, Trailer Park Quarterly, Anti-Heroin Chic, and The Open Mic of the Air Podcast among others. He lives in Pittsburgh.   More info can be found at www.matthewussia.com



Happy Hour at the All-Souls Lounge by Dennis Daly

all souls
Happy Hour at the All-Souls Lounge 
Vivid sparks shoot out everywhere,
The ethereal smithy slams
Down his fundamental hammer
As I sip my jar of whiskey
And nod to that sweat-veiled forger
Of well-oiled Damascus steel,
A quickening sword telecast.
Moving toward me, the barkeep smirks
Then smiles his all-knowing welcome.
I’m early and unrepentant.
From spatial mist others drift in,
Fired metal moved aside with tongs.
A hilt with pommel now fashioned
While draft beers or iced drinks are poured,
Pockets sapped of greenbacks and coins.
Some talk on tomorrow’s subjects,
Some keep their peace, their weighted hearts
Self-contained, losing harsh detail.
The fine file and whetstone applied
To blade’s edge, creation’s prelude.
Dennis Daly has published nine books of poetry and poetic translations. He has written reviews for literary journals and newspapers. A new book entitled Odd Man Out has been accepted by Madhat Press and is due out by fall 2023. Please see his blogsite at http://www.dennisfdaly.blogspot.com

What You Want by David Kozinski

IMG_0610 (4)
What You Want
To not wish for much
in the decorating days of October
is to receive even less
than what fits in a coke spoon
and little remains for the gleaning
when December steps down into darkness.
Raised expectation is a processional;
a strand of children two by two
red-robed and matched by height
marching in hesitation step;
and along the way
more rises and falls – a ball tossed
one foot ahead and caught
on the bounce.
Fail and fall better the prophet scribed
on the side of a barrel. Pages are littered
with junkyard wealth –
a tire slung over the creek
that gleaming mornings glanced past,
chipped gems of Chambord and Crown Royal,
rusted runners that brought Rosebud to thirsting lips,
a spade that dug for loot in punishing soil
and struck something cold and smooth as a bullet
but brings up the wisdom of worms.
DPK head shot
.David P. Kozinski was a finalist for the Inlandia Institute’s Hillary Gravendyke Prize. I Hear It the Way I Want It to Be was published this year by Kelsay Books. He is Rockwood Park and Museum’s Resident Poet. Kozinski was the 2018 Delaware Division of the Arts Established Professional Poetry Fellow. Publications include Tripping Over Memorial Day (Kelsay Books) and Loopholes (Broadkill Press) which won the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize. He serves on the boards of the Eastern Shore Writers Association, the Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center and the Editorial Board of Philadelphia Stories magazine, and is Art Editor for Schuylkill Valley Journal.

The Abalone Hunt by Emily Bilman

The Abalone Hunt
The full moon ormering tide swayed the kelp
Forests on the Coral Sea. On the drop-down
From the neritic limn, I measured the limestone
Shells with their breathing pores in the selenizone
And cut them off from their rock-hosts with
A plastic knife to prevent them from bleeding.
The shells that survived the dinosaurs, clung
To their rock-hosts as if they were rocks themselves.
A shock on the coiled Cretaceous spiral and
The snail-flesh would secrete a ceramic fluid between
Sliding bricks to form a body-armour and a pearl.
On the ground above the aquifer and the water-table,
The convex shell, rough in the hand, yielded to iridescent
Green-purple-silver swathes of refracted light.
Emily Bilman, PhD is London’s Poetry Society Stanza representative in Geneva. Her thesis, The Psychodynamics of Poetry: Poetic Virtuality and Oedipal Sublimation in the Poetry of T.S. Eliot and Paul Valéry, was published by Lambert Academic in 2010 and Modern Ekphrasis in 2013 by Peter Lang. Her poetry books, A Woman By A Well (2015), Resilience (2015), The Threshold of Broken Waters (2018), and Apperception (2020) were published by Matador, UK. http://www.emiliebilman.wix.com/emily-bilman


from Decarceration by Charline Lambert, translated from the French by John Taylor

forehead of the sky
You are a countable solitude.
You are a light shattered
into beams.
You are
a barely recognized
You want to decarcerate the language from you,
cerate these words from your plexus
and every day
you elucidate a knot.
In a single movement
you don’t know if you’re taking part
in the pursuit
the reiteration.
You are full to the brim
with coagulated matter.
Ever since, you counter
the slow work
of exsanguination.
Your great fervor to forget:
too great
this tumor where
can it be cut out, where
are the healthy tissues
Joy and the other
joy you hold out
drunk with it,
a latent
blow to the forehead
of the sky.
—from Désincarcération (©Éditions L’Âge d’Homme, 2017)
French originals:


Tu es une solitude à dénombrer.
Tu es une lumière éclatée
en faisceaux.
Tu es
un feu
à peine reconnu.
Tu veux désincarcérer le langage de toi,
cérer ces mots de ton plexus
et chaque jour
tu élucides un nœud.
D’un seul mouvement
tu ne sais si tu en es
la poursuite
la réitération.
Tu es une matière coagulée
parvenue à satiété.
Depuis tu contres
un lent travail
Ton ardeur à l’oubli trop
trop grande
tumeur où découper
où sont les tissus sains
La joie et l’autre
joie que tu tends,
de tout ton soûl
frappe à la tempe
du ciel.
Charline Lambert ((c) photo by Sadie von Paris)
Charline Lambert was born in 1989 in Liège, Belgium. She is the author of four books of poetry: Chanvre et lierre (“Hemp and Ivy,” Éditions Le Taillis Pré, 2016), Sous dialyses (“Dialyzing,” Éditions L’Âge d’Homme, 2016), Désincarcération (“Decarceration,” Éditions L’Âge d’Homme, 2017), and Une salve (“A Salvo,” Éditions L’Âge d’Homme, 2020). She is currently finishing her Ph.D. thesis on the relation between poetry and deafness.
John Taylor’s most recent translations are, from the French, José-Flore Tappy’s Trás-os-Montes (The MadHat Press) and Philippe Jaccottet’s Ponge, Pastures, Prairies (Black Square Editions), as well as, from the Italian, Franca Mancinelli’s The Butterfly Cemetery: Selected Prose 2008-2021 (The Bitter Oleander Press). His most recent books of poetry are Transizioni, a bilingual volume published in Italy by LYRIKS Editore and illustrated by the Greek artist Alekos Fassianos, and Remembrance of Water & Twenty-Five Trees (The Bitter Oleander Press), illustrated by the French artist Caroline François-Rubino. He lives in France.

The Harpist by Jonel Abellanosa

The Harpist
Hymn to his prayer, reverence.
His music’s lines constellate,
moon a boat in a black sea.
Virtuoso fingers pluck the sonata,
portal taking shape like egg-shaped
mirror. Yearn deepens, her ghost
slips through. His heart echoes,
peaks like a mountain, clouds
touched. She hears his longing,
appears with her dance
by which he measures grief.
He anticipates her moves,
his fingers breezing through strings,
his love for her an abstract bird.
Her absence will again become the tree.

Jonel Abellanosa lives in Cebu City, The Philippines. His works have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Dwarf Stars and Best of the Net Awards. His poetry and fiction have appeared in hundreds of magazines and anthologies, including North of Oxford, The Cape Rock, Muddy River Poetry Review, Chiron Review, Invisible City, The Lyric, The McNeese Review, and The Anglican Theological Review. His poetry collections include, “Songs from My Mind’s Tree”

Layers of Blankets by Doug Holder

Layers of Blankets
… For my late wife Dianne
In a dream she came to me.
She had to peel
off layers of blankets.
Hot towels
were wrapped
tightly around
my face.
I could
barely breathe.
She struggled
as she always did
but like
some force of nature
she ripped them
off me
I could feel
the sudden rush
of air
the brush
of her luxuriant hair…
” I will always
be with you,
I will always be
there… “
Doug Holder is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press. He is a lecturer of creative writing at Endicott College outside of Boston. Holder’s own work has been published in Molecule, Lillipoh, Lips, Constellations and elsewhere. The ” Doug Holder Papers” are at the University at Buffalo Libraries. Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene

If you harbor in my safe house by P.E. Sloan

If you harbor in my safe house
You will cut a page from the book of life
You will walk along a highway that belches ozone
You will ignore the cars and focus on stymied lives of bare branches
You will stop mid-page
And examine a petal of memory
You will wonder where you meandered
You will turn to her as she sleeps peacefully
You will stroke her bare flank
You will inhabit her exhalation
She will throw an arm around you
Her breast will breach the coverture
You will embrace as you have for ten thousand nights
As snow falls in deformed pellets
You will remember your father
Up before dawn to shovel a path
You will toss and turn
You will remember that you miss your father
That he always seemed to know the way
The early dawn birdsong will remind you
That you did not sleep well
You will be anxious for the day that will unfold
You will consider what to write on this page that you have cut
You may question what a book of life might be
You will long for soft snow that has no need for clearing
You will think that you have crushed
The afterimage but you will remember
Too late, perhaps, that the palimpsest remains
Like your baby son’s face that holds
The emotion after it passes
You will harbor an unstruck image
You will cosset in your chimera of dreams.

P.E. Sloan is a writer who lives in Northern Virginia and Brooklyn with his wife, Donna Cameron.  Originally from Chicago, P.E. attended college on the East Coast and then worked as a reporter and photographer and, occasionally, clueless deckhand in New England and the Florida Keys before getting some additional schooling and settling in for the pleasures of the long haul. His poems have appeared in Third Wednesday, Poetica, Cathexis Northwest Press and District Lines.

Mirror by Robert Beveridge

under ice
chain studded inward
brainpan boils
heaves black rot
fist sinks into flesh
finds first
then bone
bile burns black
in black light
fingernails tear
scars in yielding flesh
swc (1)

Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Ricochet Review, Poetry Pea, and Cattails, among others.