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Vol. 7, No. 2 Contents

Strange Men in Bars  by LEAH BROWNING

14 June 2007
fiction, short story

Jennifer is sitting alone, nursing a 7UP and squinting across a dim, smoky motel lounge at her mother. It's a Thursday night around ten o'clock, and Mallory's already had three Black Russians and a vodka tonic. The effect of this combination is that Jennifer's 43-year-old mother—a woman who works in a bank and wears expensive tailored suits and strings of pearls, who speaks in a low, carefully modulated voice about stock options at the breakfast table—is sliding around a dance floor with a drunk man from the bar, his arms knotted around her waist and his face buried in her neck.

Tickets, Please  by D. H. LAWRENCE

19 August 2007
fiction, short story, classic

To ride on these cars is always an adventure. Since we are in war-time, the drivers are men unfit for active service: cripples and hunchbacks. So they have the spirit of the devil in them. The ride becomes a steeple-chase. Hurray! we have leapt in a clear jump over the canal bridges—now for the four-lane corner. With a shriek and a trail of sparks we are clear again. To be sure, a tram often leaps the rails—but what matter!

What Heaven Might Be Like  by LARRY T. MENLOVE

30 July 2007
fiction, short story

I started worrying about my ride home right after Dr. Thursgard told me I could put my bra and shirt back on. I didn't know it would happen so fast. Deke had driven me to the office and made sure I was signed in and sat with me in the waiting room for twenty minutes, but then he left to go get his wooling shears sharpened.

Please Don't Put That Thing on My Head—I Work for the Government  by M. E. PARKER

2 July 2007
fiction, short story

Violet eased back behind an imitation palm tree, wedging open a slit in the branches with her fingers. Just the mention of a lie detector made her squirm, almost like she had worms crawling in and out of holes in her chest, but this extractor thing, ripping truth from bowels, that was another matter entirely. She had studied polygraphs, fretting for years over how to fool one in case she was ever confronted by one. According to Sloan, the assistant librarian at the city library, lie detectors were nothing but junk science. He had given her a book, The Polygraph: Lies You Tell, The Lies You're Told, and she had studied it, even practiced the countermeasures. Lie detectors were fallible. She was pretty sure she could beat one of those if it ever came to that.

What You Know Now  by JEFF TANNEN

16 July 2007
fiction, short story

Admittedly, I should have been more dubious at the outset. But Monty had so few achievements to celebrate that I felt obligated to attend the commencement, or whatever it was he had called it.

"It's not a graduation," Carla, Monty's girlfriend, said. "That's probably what he told you, but that's not what it is."

Weed Man  by JAMES TERRY

The summer I was ten we had a terrible heat wave. You could hear the transformers exploding on the other side of the tracks. Old people were dying in their sleep. Everyone was afraid the weed men wouldn't come and we would all be devoured by weeds. I had more faith. Nothing stoked the fire of a weed man's soul like a battle with the elements. I'll never forget the time I saw a weed man working in a thunderstorm, water up to his ankles, lightning felling trees a hundred yards away, and the weed man oblivious to all but the weeds.

A Review of Rachel Cusk's Arlington Park  by ALLISON ELLIOTT

Any reader who believes the suburbs to be a cultural and spiritual wasteland will have their prejudices confirmed. And yet, Cusk's great talent as a writer is to complicate these tired notions and make them fresh and engaging. Her Desperate Housewives are not stereotypes, but unique and sympathetic characters. Cusk is masterful at capturing the ordinary moments of family life.

On Recycling – Subjects Covered: Trees, Graffiti, & Life Plans  by MICHELLE MENTING

22 August 2007
nonfiction, travel writing, memoir

The etching on the stall door said "I want to suck your kneecap!!"

There were exclamation points behind kneecap. The writing was in drunken cursive or 5th-grader cursive or drunken 5th-grader cursive. It was difficult to decipher.

I looked down at my knees, bent and peaking out of my khaki shorts. They were grubby and the skin was peeling in half-moon shapes.

A Kind of Listening Seems To Be Answering His Sight: Ralph Angel's Exceptions and Melancholies, Poems 1986-2006  by MIGUEL MURPHY

Fulfilling the promise of his early work, Angel's new book is characterized by deep consciousness, the rigors of his syntax anchoring his voice. His new poems exemplify what is true of the rest of his work collected here as he summons Self, human presence, from the collision of worldly details. If we exist in the noise of body, and commerce, and community, Angel's work captures sublimated landscapes of deep feeling and spiritual incident.

Everyday Muse: A Review of Christine Stewart-Nuñez's Unbound & Branded  by LAURA MADELINE WISEMAN

I can say honestly that Kate Moss and I have never been friends. Even when young, vulnerable, and with loads of cultural literacy while perusing slinky images splayed in Vogue and Cosmo, I simply couldn't have picked Kate Moss from a line-up. I'm not even sure I'd want to, even today. And yet Unbound & Branded has given me a different Kate Moss. A Kate Moss who can "tear down the wall," "peel back the universe," "spend your whole paycheck on yourself," and even, "tell the boss / to fuck off."

Florida Room  by ERIC BLIMAN

23 June 2007
poetry, ghazal

Might some young Einstein not re-fuse this bleak-appointed nucleus,

Retool its quarks, by Bunsen's blue-tongued flame, into Florida?

Craft-Class Ghazal  by MICHAEL BRODER

25 August 2007
poetry, ghazal

The teacher's assignment: Stop making sense.

No problem; all along, we've only been half-baking sense.

Compassion of the Sentence  by LAYNIE BROWNE

29 June 2007

Today is ten days, which are one week and three days, of the Omer

Be compassionate for no reason

because you live in the middle of a sentence

at any point suspended…

Eternity of the Sentence  by LAYNIE BROWNE

26 June 2007

If you love the sky as you become vastness, blue is no longer

a color separate from expanse. You have only to remember

to enter this aerial sanctuary.

I should be sorry to transport myself so carelessly.

Summer  by JOHN CLARE

28 August 2007
poetry, classic, rhyme

Come we to the summer, to the summer we will come,

For the woods are full of bluebells and the hedges full of bloom,

And the crow is on the oak a-building of her nest,

And love is burning diamonds in my true lover's breast…

Hex of Six Lines  by DAVE DE FINA

13 August 2007

It is found in everything given,

that the parts of our everything

are more than ever less in form

and only more in number.

Aphorisms for Frida Kahlo  by NEIL DE LA FLOR

4 August 2007
poetry, prose poem

In 1972 Stephen Hawking postulated the existence of bone-crushing black holes where nothing could escape, not even a gizzard, or light. Hawking has changed his mind. Now he proposes that information can escape, a radiation of a peculiar sort, one that can transmit bursts of black light like a Britney Spears concert.


2 August 2007
poetry, prose poem

Because his penis was there in my hand as a butter knife would have been in my hand if I was about to butter bread. I wasn't about to butter bread or say no but I was happy nonetheless. It was a little weapon, a toy.

What was it like?

It was like he wouldn't listen to me but listening to me the way our father would listen to us with his eyes closed nodding yay ya, yay ya.

Works of Mercy  by NEIL DE LA FLOR

6 August 2007
poetry, prose poem

The fisherman threatens to climb philodendrons with daisy cutters. Threatens to mount his motorbike barebacked. Ursula emerges from behind stacked bricks. Like hyenas they thrash in ghetto-rage.

Sexual Illiteracy  by JOHN W. EVANS

24 July 2007

For weeks, the visiting priest raged about the love of Cain and the sins of Adam

while, on break at the drugstore, I read letters to the editors of pornographic magazines.

So many young and horny housewives, so many sodomized waitresses!

High, I climbed Jim Corder's roof and watched his older sister skinny-dip.

Parted Blinds  by JASON FRALEY

17 June 2007

Somehow, my organs are ordered and operating. But I always carry this

briefcase in my right hand.

Burning trestle, a refuge for prayer and grieving  by TODD FREDSON

8 June 2007

A patrolman approaches. I pull a seam of sod underneath

the picnic table and hide the stash I was given. All of the milled

wood is rotten. The boardwalk is dark and spongy.

Contrition  by TODD FREDSON

11 June 2007
poetry, editors' select

This match-head's

halo of flame

is another, sudden wall. Outside the barn's

now lit follicle, you are face down

as if you had fallen without instruction.


5 June 2007

Panic-lodger, flush in the rafters. I didn't realize

I had been watched so well. The faces

my mother used to make

down at me…

An Internal Chord  by ROBERT GIBBONS

20 August 2007
poetry, prose poem

Watched the dark come on, landing on rooftops, the civility of apartment windows & streetlights emerging with it, accompanying it like some harmony, which could only be imagined, or painted, by a Whistler, say, as far away from Lowell as he could get…

some hazards of the course  by TONY MANCUS

10 July 2007

I wish I could make you come

near, not worrying about fish or what your father

might think about the size of whatever's in anyone's pants. Our skin

peeling back like winter's slow walk across a continent.

you and mornings  by TONY MANCUS

13 July 2007
poetry, prose poem

In the morning my face wears wrinkles. Pants face. Sleepy pants. Face of demonic possession and lack of caffeine. God then is the sound of the faucet, the coffee dripping.

Ni Te Cases, Ni Te Embarques  by DIDI MENENDEZ

11 August 2007

I wanted to tell you there are mushrooms

sprouting from my toes

You said you were going to mow the lawn

I wanted to tell you there is a foot of snow

outside of Miami in the summer

A Flock of Iagos Waiting in the Wings  by FRANK MONTESONTI

2 June 2007
poetry, editors' select

I saw the story of a man with a condition

called the Capgras delusion who believed

all his loved ones were carbon-copy imposters.

He wasn't frightened; he didn't think his parents

were reptiles in rubber suits or Iagos…

An Eighth Lesson in Magic  by KRISTINE ONG MUSLIM

19 July 2007

In the living room is the built-in weather

from the air conditioner. The walls are

swollen in certain places away from her

reach. In the absence of miracles, the pot

simmers a new husband in the oven.

Ghazal for a Comfort  by AMY O'HAIR

27 July 2007
poetry, ghazal

Wrinkled new red body, startling in the empty air, once blanketed

by mother flesh, now swaddled tight in an imitating blanket.

Sticking to the Form  by ELAINE OLDS

29 August 2007
poetry, ghazal

Unlike the dress her mother wore, with long lace

sleeves and buttoned to the neck, a polite dress,

hers has a scoop neck not too low, filmy

fabric swaying with each step, a not too tight dress…

Book Lover's Club Minutes  by KEVIN SIMMONDS

17 August 2007
poetry, prose poem

The minutes were read and we dealt with all at hand: the Club tea, Wright and his "Black Boy," alms to the poor, and the Urban League's request that all Negroes stay away from the State Fair.


15 August 2007

We huddled in the fallout beneath the house

like we'd done each time before.

My brother and me.

The bass droned long enough for him

to unbutton my jeans.

No me juzguen si me gusta el vino  by CAROLINA VARGAS

5 July 2007
poetry, translation

Don't judge me if I love wine

if I like fire

when it's alive.

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