Of Ducks and Drakes

Of Ducks and Drakes
by Kie Borsden

Such stones exist for simple pleasures,
sped across the surface of the sea—
hunted and claimed for their smooth finish
the years have laboured by calm and rage.

They bounce forth with ease from a flicked wrist,
cast with care into the distant view,
and pass without a reclaiming thought:
forgotten, they sink to the abyss.

Just as words are cut into headstones,
just as we rest them on our pillows—
whatever those words we choose to skim,
they skip across our smiling façade.

Sunsets, holidays, long journeys home,
every minute was a stone I threw.

An Astounding Perimeter

An Astounding Perimeter
by Richard King Perkins II

It’s not a dream
but a slightly bygone world
covered in frozen mist.

Sparrows alight on the small shoreline
of an astounding perimeter—
a sanctum whispering in white.

I study the icebound bracken and reeds,
gazing past the embankment
to this vacancy of snow where your car once slept.

In the old meeting place, I still look for you—
where our conversations spilled upon gentle light;
simple confessions of twigs and soul.

But we’re left with only a few desperate sentences;
having spoken of things to deny or embrace,
the evergreen ghosts of our endless north country.

Now you’re stranded on a bridge in St. Louis
with no money and no credit cards
and your passenger side window broken out.

I’m in the bristling pines laced ivory
where someone once wrote a song about you;
how your eyes extinguished sensibility,
how your eyes painted light into every corner of darkness.

Can you recall how desperately we believed
that the return of robins and sharp shadows
could change everything;
that crocuses would ignite life in themselves?

Berberian Sinfonia/ Sliced-and-Diced from Aphasia to [Inflectional Hints of] Eternity

Algeria: Most Serious Threat of All?
by Cocteau

…les premieres elisions du jour nous furent telles que defaillances du language. –Chronique, St.-John Perse


She perfumed her breasts with rosewater. As certain.

As certain as if the narrative of moonlight was bourne through great whirlwinds, from more than half the distance of an entire meteor shower.

Sixteen/ coaches long.

Idylls continue.

True, as it may be, that intensity is paramount– for a sense of time and deep space drift in remembrance. Si, how are we to balance the anguish and ecstacy of these polar indeterminates?

Widening sky,

this changing fire

and its innumerable ashes. Protocols mock. Glory, as it may be, comes in dark clouds, never on white horses.

Barely covered as if a yellow scarf enumerated by true/ blue flowers.



The Hole Story

The Hole Story
by Dan Raphael

”Every now and then I know it’s kinda hard to tell
but I’m still alive and well” — Johnny Winter (for Mark Sargent)

So much treasure in my intestine I knew someone would eventually come looking for it

When the mountains shadow spreads like a happy vulture, when the hospital hallway

is as long as the grand canyon and I know better than to look up, to try and find the water

i hear passing nearby like an interstate of mumbling baleen.

Your health is your wealth, your illness is international business’s pocket lint,

your death could be someone else’s college degree or vacation home—

cash it in, plow it back, ignore the smell & the flies in expensive suits

Holding onto holding onto: not sure what comes next and i have nothing else

to grasp when the floor opens, when my walls are carried away and i have to pay the freight.

All those empty apartments in central china calling to the disenfranchised, the dead,

those who don’t know what real chow mein tastes like, how chickens in beijing

are all dark meat because of the air, the coal, the history:

our ancestors could afford to be sloppy with fire

but were miserly with shit and secrets that had little value

in a big city in a bigger country—just say you’re canadian

snd you’ll be as invisible as pigeons and potholes

As a country evaporates

populations evacuate

the lucky viruses fly trans-continental

while the mediterrenean returns to its historic role as graveyard

Can a gated community secede,

the first rocket cars hopping from enclave to enclave

lakes turned into golf courses, people who’ve never seen cash

or vacuumed a floor, while soon the only clothing i can afford

comes from a 3-D printer fed with tanks we don’t want to know the origins of—

we’re cycling & recycling as fast as we can but can’t get there in time

for the job, the damaged free stuff, the barbed assignation.

and usually need to replace something by the time we get home—

a left shoe, a right thumb.

Would you give up your arms to have wings

would you give up your teeth for an affordable liquid industrial diet.

take two of these every hour until you can’t take any more.

Remain a moving target and never stop to it, circling the take-out window

While the chameleon-gened soylent becomes what the jingle imprinted

My house has been replaced with a medical bill

my mirror’s obscured with clouds while the sky is garish with advertising

how does the machine draining my bank card make me feel grateful & pleasured

while everything i eat leaves me hungry and slow


by Robinson Jeffers

The broken pillar of the wing jags from the clotted shoulder,
The wing trails like a banner in defeat,
No more to use the sky forever but live with famine
And pain a few days: cat nor coyote
Will shorten the week of waiting for death, there is game
without talons.
He stands under the oak-bush and waits
The lame feet of salvation; at night he remembers freedom
And flies in a dream, the dawns ruin it.
He is strong and pain is worse to the strong, incapacity
is worse.
The curs of the day come and torment him
At distance, no one but death the redeemer will humble
that head,
The intrepid readiness, the terrible eyes.
The wild God of the world is sometimes merciful to those
That ask mercy, not often to the arrogant.
You do not know him, you communal people, or you have
forgotten him;
Intemperate and savage, the hawk remembers him;
Beautiful and wild, the hawks, and men that are dying,
remember him.

Remarks and Responses; Mistranslations

Remarks and Responses; Mistranslations
by Thomas Pescatore

After all that was done. To make it right. Put out
in plain words. Carefully constructed.
Deliberate periods. Marked commas. Translated into
French. I sent in the email the original english question.
Copy pasted. Without my name after thanks. It was
answered back in perfect english. Clearly, and
with brevity. While reading during my lunch
I imagined Razumihin larger than the
door frame from which he appeared to
Raskolnikov’s mother and sister. Everything was
so cleverly laid out in my head. I laughed to
myself. The giant. My tea was cooling beside me
in the winter sun. Was I wearing a russian’s hat?

Plain Girl Pretty

Plain Girl Pretty
by Donal Mahoney

Rose was a plain girl
from a small town.
She sang in the choir,
never missed Bible study,
left for the big city
after high school.

She worked nights
in a shanty diner
next to a bar where
working men gathered.
Depending on how much
the men had to drink
Rose looked appealing
but she ignored them all,
said they wanted what
she had to keep in case
she got married.

Marriage never happened
and the years soared by.
In her thirties Rose
became pregnant
to everyone’s surprise.
No one knew who
the father was and
Rose wouldn’t say.

Rose raised the boy,
put him through school.
On graduation day
her son asked her
who his father was.
She said his father was
the only man
she ever saw put
on a hamburger.
It made her laugh.
And he was the only man
who ever told her
she was pretty.
Much better
than any tip.
His father
was a blind man
and he meant it.


by Marc Carver

There are a pair of pants on top of the small roof next to my toilet.
I know because I threw them there.
Sometimes people walk by
Talking about them
Like there were some tourist attraction.

Some people have flags of their country flying from their roofs.
I have a flag of underpants from the country of crazy crazy
And it is the only country for me.