Friday, March 30, 2012


the ocean-blue bowl won’t
refuse to bruise, won’t hold it back
from the gaping earth-wounds.

There will still come
water, chill wind and happy

and in the utmost corners of oaks,
leaves laughing.

About Bryana Johnson:

Bryana Johnson is a homeschool graduate with a passion for poetry, political science, and art. She has won cash prizes in multiple poetry contests, including the grand prize in one of the 2011 Utmost Christian Writers contests, and her poems have been published in several literary journals including the Boston Literary Magazine, Time of Singing, The Mayo Review and Adroit Journal. While she grew up in Turkey and lived for a time in Ankara and along the coast of the Black Sea, she currently resides in a rural community in Texas. She loves G.K. Chesterton, acrylic paints, guitar and children.

Friday, March 23, 2012


she is my sister
though I seldom speak of her

we grew up apart
in the same household

she did things
I never could

ate beetles
like crunchy granola

trained brown recluse
spiders to be more sociable

shot the dark sides
of everything in photographs

drove a locomotive
off an acrylic painting

when she swore in German
dogs followed at her heels

About Michael Wells:
Michael Wells is continuing to explore loopholes in mortality through publication of his poetry.  He is a native Missouri poet, married, has four grown children, too many pets and is the biggest San Francisco Giants fan living outside the Bay area. His work has appeared in various print and online venues including  The Rockhurst Fine Arts Review, Right Hand Pointing and Rose & Thorn Journal.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


But I can’t help wanting to walk barefoot through thorns, thistles, squishing
my toes into dark mud, then wash them clean
                                                                                in creeks that whisper at night.

I was closer to life in youth when I walked alone, the river leading me by hand,

while whippoorwills sang the coming of dusk.
                                                Some nights, I didn’t go home, just laid under a cypress,

breathing the damp air,
hearing the honeysuckle vines teeming with bees buzzing low. The bull frogs

croaking stacked on the barking squirrels and cottonmouths I didn’t see, but smelt.
I don’t want deliverance; I don’t know what that means.
                                                                        For the world to be more spacious would suit

me, instead, I watch the death of the sun, dipping low behind the oaks in the west,

then I shut the blinds, strangling the remnants of wilderness.

About James Dunlap:
James Dunlap is a Creative Writing major at the University of Arkansas. He received his Associates of Art at Pulaski Technical College. He's been published three times through PTC, one piece in the scholarly journal Milestones, and twice in the Literary Journal The View From Here. He has received awards for Best Prose and Best Poetry from PTC, as well as honorable mention in the Tails from the South Literary Festival.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Thank You So Much

At the food pantry you don't say no.
You say, 'Thank you, ma'am, thank you so much.'
And you put the offered food in your box, and you try to show
that even though you need the food, your mama
raised you right, that you've got manners.

Thank you, ma'am. Thank you so much.

For the frozen chicken, the peas and the
day old baked goods and bread. Thank you
for the cans of juice, the spaghetti and sauce.
Thank you so much.

The block of frozen chicken comes with a recipe. 

Simmer in water until the meat falls from the bones.

Add one can of diced tomatoes and serve with spaghetti.

USE TODAY said a bright orange sticker.
Use today.  So, we did.

We did simmer the chicken, until the meat fell off the bones.

The skin fell off, too. There were so many bones,
thin fingers of bone, long strings of ropy veins. Falling
off the bones.  More bones than anyone would think were
in one chicken.

The recipe said to add one can of diced tomatoes.

So, we did.  Serve with spaghetti.
So, we did. We boiled spaghetti and served it with
this - this mess - of meat and bones and diced tomatoes.

The recipe didn't say how to eat the meat.  We served it

with the spaghetti.  I left the room to cry for a minute.
Came back and told my children to eat the meat with their fingers.
To use their manners and eat the noodles with their fork,
Told my children not to eat the bones.
Just the meat.

Thank you so much.

snapshot, 1970

there is a snapshot of my little sister
drinking a coke out of a green glass bottle
in the back seat of our gold dodge dart.
she can't be more than three, so there is a little thrill
of "Jesus, should that little tiny kid be drinking a coke?"
but I know my dad handed her that coke
and that it was a nice cold one right out of a gas station cooler.

I want to wash my mouth out with that cold coke

and sit back with my head on the headrest
and ride down the road without a seat belt
listening to a preacher on AM radio
telling us that Jesus loves us.
I want to ride in the back of that car
with my dad at the wheel
and my sisters beside me,
my mom up front nursing my brother on her lap.

I want that snapshot to hold all of us

in the coke colored amber of that moment.

About Wendy G. Ellis:
Wendy G. Ellis was born and raised south of the Mason Dixon line and now lives just north of it.  Her checkered career includes professional knitting, working in state parks, full time parenting, writing, and, most recently, editing the online poetry journal Unshod Quills. Her work has appeared in Housefire, HALiterature & Unshod Quills.  She is working on a collection of stories and poems about a fallen tree.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Writing poetry, it would seem, is one of those things that every living, breathing, American thinks they can do, and do well. In reality, most cannot. While that statement is not intended to sound pompous or pretentious, it likely will be taken that way by some, and I am fully prepared to accept that. As the editor and publisher of a popular and successful literary review, I am privileged to read some very good work written by those who actually can and do capture the nuances of life in those small paragraphs or stanzas that we call poetry. One such individual is Los Angeles poet Mike Meraz. In his new book, Watching It Burn (Dog On A Chain Press) Mr. Meraz takes the reader on a journey through life’s hits and misses, navigating effortlessly through forty-one short, punchy, poems that should resonate deeply with even the most hardened reader among us.

In The Great Poets, Mr. Meraz channels Bukowski through a metaphor-free ode to hard working writers and the often demeaning submission process. On Viewing a Painting by Jackson Pollock accomplishes the rare feat of being both sympathetic to its subject matter, and free of the sort of trite, fluffy, language that is too often used to illustrate admiration. In fact, Meraz goes one step further here in describing Pollock’s art as effortless, while he himself effortlessly documents a poetic thank you to an artist and his work. This kind of successful juxtaposition is often missing in the work of less accomplished poets. Raw at 63 veers into some familiar territory, and any fan of the beats will surely appreciate straight ahead urban poetry, tempered with a tip of the hat to Ray Heinrich. Street-wise, haggard and damaged folk inhabit Meraz’s world yet, these broken souls become sympathetic creatures, rather than objects of scorn and revulsion, thanks to the author and his deft pen. One of the strongest pieces in this collection, The Life of a Writer, is quite atmospheric in both tone and temperament, weaving in and out of almost allegorical colorations to end as a simple, yet powerful metaphor.

Watching It Burn is a fine collection of contemporary writing that can stand proudly alongside anything produced by the small presses in our modern age. Anyone who appreciates the often overlooked and under-appreciated art form called poetry should check out Mike Meraz’s work for a gracious sampling of what modern day poetry can offer.

A.g. Synclair
The Montucky Review
6 March, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

You descend like rain
on fleece and I am
a second hand circling
nights around your
face. Bowed in sleep
you form in clusters
past the window ledge
and burrowing deeper in
the sheets set fires.

About Charles Bane, Jr.
Charles Bane, Jr's work has appeared previously in The Montucky Review, and other print and online journals. His second book of poetry, New Poems By Charles Bane, Jr. will be published by Curbside Splendor in March, 2012.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


It’s been raining indoors for days.
There’s a depression
beside her in the bed.

Raw fires once merged there.

Cold, she keeps her back turned now.
Sometimes she spins and looks—

hoping to find a body of water
to name after him.

About William Crawford:
William Crawford is the author of Fire in the Marrow. He has been published in numerous journals and anthologies. William lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is an animal rights activist.