John Dorsey: “Poem for Curtis Hayes”


Poem for Curtis Hayes

you say that everything we can see here
was once a strawberry field
& talk about a girl
who once had a baby in the bathroom
that now has a busted sink
as we sit beside your empty swimming pool 
sipping gin & tonics in the sun

the past is a young man’s game
its bones good & strong

runaway birds in our infancy
we all make strange sounds
that pass for stories

before we fly away.


About the Author: John Dorsey lived for several years in Toledo, Ohio. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Teaching the Dead to Sing: The Outlaw’s Prayer (Rose of Sharon Press, 2006), Sodomy is a City in New Jersey (American Mettle Books, 2010), Tombstone Factory, (Epic Rites Press, 2013), Appalachian Frankenstein (GTK Press, 2015) Being the Fire (Tangerine Press, 2016) and Shoot the Messenger (Red Flag Press, 2017) and Your Daughter’s Country (Blue Horse Press, 2019). His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and the Stanley Hanks Memorial Poetry Prize. He was the winner of the 2019 Terri Award given out at the Poetry Rendezvous. He may be reached at


More By John Dorsey

Creatures of Our Better Nature

The Mark Twain Speech

Punk Rock at 45


Image Credit: Carol M. Highsmith “Used bathtubs and sinks, on display and for sale, along a road between Oxford and Batesville in Lee County, Mississippi” (2016) The Library of Congress

Alex Z. Salinas: “Pen Dream”



Pen dream

I dreamt I was a silver pen strangled by
T.S. Eliot / caressed by Pablo Neruda / left
Alone by Philip Levine / dipped in salsa by
Juan Felipe Herrera / stuck between 
Terrance Hayes’ lips like his last cigarette 
For the night / not once did anyone’s hand 
Grip my body / slide it across fresh paper / 
Gwendolyn Brooks, mama bear and auntie
Of poets, was the only one who came downstairs 
And whispered a promise in my ear / suddenly 
The party ended / I woke with a huge headache /
Realized the throbbing was actually in my heart /
That I longed to be an object of desire and, resist
As I might / be smashed like dirt clung to my feet.


About the Author: Alex Z. Salinas lives in San Antonio, Texas. He serves as poetry editor of the San Antonio Review. His debut feature-length book of poems, Warbles, will be released by Hekate Publishing in fall 2019.


More By Alex Z. Salinas:

The Great Thing About Driving With A Crack In Your Windshield


Image Credit: Diego Rivera “Young Man with a Fountain Pen” (1914) Public Domain

Martina Reisz Newberry: “Dietmar And I Talk Of Angels”




“Cherubim,” he said, “are your typical
angels–one set of wings–like people with
wings. Primary purpose? Delivering notes
from God to Creation and back again.”

He clenched his teeth and fists. “Now,” he said, “The
Seraphim are awesome, frightening. They
are tough. Picture your old Uncle Otto
(determination etched into his face)

with 6 pairs of wings and you’ve got it right.”
His eyes sparked and he lowered his voice to
a mutter. “Seraphim are indurate.
They are the bikers of the angel ranks.

They show their teeth and growl when they set down.
Some of them have spears and some have arrows
and some have stamped AK-47s.
Their bodies burn so hot you can barely

look at them straight on and you can’t touch them.”
I thought of old Uncle Otto whose face
sweated so much he carried several
handkerchiefs on his person (maybe six

of them like white angel wings), who swore so
much he was invited out on the porch
so the kids wouldn’t hear him, who ate horse
radish on his boiled eggs with beets, who had

a collection of silver dollars in
a locked box for just-in-case. He drove a
Lincoln Continental and kept a KA-
BAR knife in the glove compartment. We were

afraid of him. My mother said he had
a huge heart and that’s what finally killed him.
I wondered if an angel could be a
Cherubim and a Seraphim at the

same time. Like maybe if they wanted to
spy on each other or something. “Of course
they could,” said Dietmar. “Just depends on the
circumstances.” What circumstances, I

wanted to know. “Well, I think they might trade
places if the world blew up. Or maybe
if the Cherubim were being too soft
on sins. Something like that could get messy.”


About the Author: Martina Reisz Newberry’s newest collection, Blues for French Roast with Chicory is due for publication from Deerbrook Editions in late fall, 2019. Her latest book is: Never Completely Awake (Available from Deerbrook Editions). Her work has been widely published in the U.S. and abroad. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Brian Newberry, a Media Creative.


More By Martina Reisz Newberry:

Venerating the Transitory


Image Credit: Master of Sir John Fastolf “Saint Francis” (1430-1440) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

Mike Acker: “Ex”



is said with such ease, such nonchalance
when what’s meant is the once beloved
the once esteemed once revered

before the universe decided to test the bond
and the bond failed, before the tear, the rip
sometimes terse, often sustained

regardless, the ex, a two-letter word
packed tight like a small, thick scar
long after the slash


About the Author: Mike Acker lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has lived in various parts of the world; his early education was in German and French. While living in California, he worked as a professional translator. Mike enjoys writing short poetry, especially with the intent of exploring the possibilities latent in a single image.

More By Mike Acker:
Image Credit: Jacob Byerly “Portrait of a Woman” (1852) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

Cord Moreski: “Understudy”



Margery always loved theater.
In fact, she was an understudy
at the local playhouse on Clark Street.
From time to time, she’d fill in
as Kim MacAfee from Bye Bye Birdie,
or Sophie Sheridan from Mama Mia,
Dr. Frank-N-Furter from The Rocky Horror
Picture Show, or the several other parts
she played for whenever she got the call.

At home, it was a different situation.
From day to day, she’d fill in
as the provider of the house by working
extra shifts waitressing after her mother
got lung cancer, and the keeper for her
five-year-old brother, Cade, who had
just learned how to write the alphabet
in his kindergarten class, the protagonist
to her drunk father who appeared
at her front door each night
despite his restraining order,
and the several other parts she mastered
at the ripe old age of twenty.

She always dreamed of some big break
that would get her out of this town
and into the lights and life of Manhattan.
But one day the cancer closed the curtain
on her mother, so Margery left
the understudy life behind
to take on a more permanent role.


About the Author: Cord Moreski is a writer from New Jersey. His work has been previously featured in Silver Birch Press, The Pangolin Review, Philosophical Idiot, The Rye Whiskey Review, In Between Hangovers, and several other publications. He is the author of the chapbook Shaking Hands with Time (Indigent Press, 2018) and is currently working on a new project for 2020. You can follow Cord here:


More by Cord Moreski: 




Image Credit: Frances Benjamin Johnson “Dock Street Theatre, Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina” (1936) The Library of Congress

Lynn White: “We Should Have Seen It Coming”



We Should Have Seen It Coming

To begin with the dark parts were small
tiny black squares in the brightness,
we should have seen it growing
recognised its full potential
noticed the blurred edges
allowing it to creep
almost invisibly.
And now
there’s hardly a space between the black parts
and little space for brightness around them.
Even the red no longer looks dangerous
however vibrantly it tries to intervene
the darkness is winning
slowly but 
covering it all.
We should have seen it coming.
How did we not see it?
I think it’s too late
to halt it


About the Author: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud ‘War Poetry for Today’ competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Peach Velvet, Light Journal and So It Goes. Find Lynn at: and


Image Credit: Fédèle Azari “Airplane and signal tower” Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

Geoffrey Heptonstall: “Changing Viewing, Passing”




This much is known of art:
in the gallery a book of imaginings
reads the world as shape and colour.
It surely is the wisest counsel
that water is drawn from the well.
All else elaborates the earth-bound
fact of roots found somewhere down
Art has a life of shade and light,
seen to change at every viewing,
like landscapes in their seasons
where life resides at source.
All shall be found within
arabesques of experience,
original but human.
And there begins time passing.
That much is known, but not well.


About the Author: Geoffrey Heptonstall has published a novel, Heaven’s Invention [Black Wolf 2017]. Recent poetry appeared in The Drunken Llama, La Piccioletta Barca and Runcible Spoon.


Image Credit: Claude Monet “Nymphéas” Public Domain