Seth Jani: “Forest Dream”



Forest Dream

I knelt down to touch the multiplicity
bursting from the soil. The red hoods
met my fingers. Their little figures bowed.
I dreamt of toads and the dark doors of fable,
of infectious sleep traveling the spores
of wind, of the countryside fallen into itself
forming a shadow image: inverted houses,
underground fruits, chromatic summers
blooming in reverse. And the mushrooms,
in their gnarled approximations,
running, like lunatics, through the streets.



About the Author: Seth Jani lives in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven CirclePress ( Their work has appeared in The American Poetry JournalChiron ReviewRust+Moth and Pretty Owl Poetry, among others. Their full-length collection, Night Fable, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018. More about them and their work can be found at


More By Seth Jani:



Image Credit: Vincent Van Gogh “Path in the Woods” (1887) Public Domain

Thomas M. McDade: “Puff of Eternal Hot Air”



Puff of Eternal Hot Air

Sometimes I think I sleepwalked 
Into an obliteration chamber that failed
Leaving me merely invisible

Take the time stranded in a long line
At a Dollar Tree, while the clerk inflated
A bunch of balloons and that break 

In the action gave an elderly woman time 
To take the floor to share a piece of her life 
She tells my wife, “Someday you’ll do this”

While holding up a bunch of artificial flowers
She’s going to place on her husband’s grave
I might as well have been hanging in effigy 

Off an errant balloon that the A/C 
Is bouncing along the ceiling for tots
Considering methods to go airborne

Her hubby fought in WWII and they were
Engaged before she finished high school 
He insisted on a diploma before wedding

I imagine inhaling helium and freaking 
Her out as if my voice were from a crypt
Landscaped with palms tall and plastic

Outside I say no blossoms or Mylar tributes
For me and I recall the clerk revealing that
The world supply of helium is waning

I release my some-morning-I-will-not-rise 
Fear as a mere puff of eternal hot air as any 
Man acquainted with invisibility might do


About the Author: Thomas M. McDade is a 74-year-old resident of Fredericksburg, VA, previously CT & RI. He is a graduate of Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT. McDade is twice a U.S. Navy Veteran serving ashore at the Fleet Anti-Air Warfare Training Center, Virginia Beach, VA and at sea aboard the USS Mullinnix (DD-944) and USS Miller (DE / FF 1091).


Image Credit: Carol M. Highsmith “Hot Air Balloon Jubilee Festival, Decatur, Alabama” (2010) The Library of Congress

Stephen Barile: “Engine Block”




On the Lost Coast 
in dense fog, 
from a weathered cliff
held by wildflowers and weeds,
a warning-bell clangs
every five seconds
for eight hours straight.
Boats that venture too close
near the anchoring ground 
enter a sea-churned chaos, 
Anguish of white foam
and piteous self-destruction.
On the shore at Shelter Cove,
a rusted, cast-iron engine block,
Barr Marine V-8,
valve-covers torn off
rocker arms crumbling
flywheel frozen, resting
in a cobble field
sea-grass smelling profane.
Where were the mountings
of the pleasure craft 
that surrounded you?
Way too heavy 
for the price of salvage
battered inward
with each succeeding tide,
to the land 
where it came from. 
The sea’s contribution, 
a predictable pull 
of sun and moon
in the maelstrom.


About the Author: Stephen Barile, a Fresno, California native, was educated in the public schools, and attended Fresno City College, Fresno Pacific University, and California State University, Fresno. He is the former chairman of the William Saroyan Society, and a long-time member of the Fresno Poet’s Association. Mr. Barile taught writing at Madera Center Community College, lives and writes in Fresno. His poems have been published extensively, including The Heartland Review, Rio Grande Review, The Packinghouse Review, Undercurrents, The Broad River Review, The San Joaquin Review, Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Beginnings, Pharos, and Flies, Cockroaches, and Poets.


Image Credit: “Man demonstrating ship rescue apparatus” Bain News Service, The Library of Congress, Public Domain

L.B. Sedlacek: “Higher Paint”



Higher Paint

A purple and white jitterbug – 
maybe a few times each year
exploding from the sun’s surface:
red blasts of solar flares, charged

October 2003 the sun blasts
knocks out satellites,
disrupting power grids.  The
rain was magnificent.

A northern aurora (the aurora
borealis) emerges as a glowing
ring.  It alters every 5 seconds.
The motivation – elemental curiosity:
this is what happens when the sun
collides with oxygen.


About the Author: L.B. Sedlacek is an award winning poet and author with poetry and fiction appearing in many different journals and zines.  Her latest poetry books are “The Adventures of Stick People on Cars” (Alien Buddha Press), “The Architect of French Fries” (Presa Press) and “Words and Bones” (Finishing Line Press.)  She is a former Poetry Editor for “ESC! Magazine” and also co-hosted the podcast for the small press, “Coffee House to Go,” for several years.  She teaches poetry at local elementary and middle schools and publishes a free resource for poets, “The Poetry Market Ezine.”  In her free time, LB enjoys swimming, reading, and taking guitar lessons.


More By L.B. Sedlacek:

The Moon’s Trees


Image Credit: “Aurora Borealis over the US Navy Ice Camp Sargo” Public Domain

Jonathan K. Rice: “AAA”




My car gassed up, 
oil changed, 
tires balanced and rotated.

all I needed 
was roadmaps. 

I approached the rep
at the counter, 
a young woman

with a Gothic look −
black hair, pale skin, 
black nail polish,

silver nose ring. 
With a smile she asked
how she could help me.

I told her I needed maps. 
Maps of states, cities,
the Eastern Seaboard. 

A few west of the Mississippi.
She was curious where I was heading. 
I told her at the time I wasn’t going that far

but I didn’t trust my cell phone, GPS,
computers and satellites.
What if there’s a Zombie Apocalypse?

What good will technology be?
And who can even read a simple roadmap these days?
Her jaw dropped. She slapped the counter

with an open hand. Exclaimed, 
That’s what I’ve been saying! You never know!
Here, take all the maps you want!

Her coworkers looked on 
as she gave me one of everything.
I left arms full, bottled water,
nonperishable food and can opener next on my list.


About the Author: Jonathan K. Rice edited Iodine Poetry Journal for seventeen years. He is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Killing Time (2015), Ukulele and Other Poems (2006) and a chapbook, Shooting Pool with a Cellist (2003), all published by Main Street Rag Publishing. He is also a visual artist. His poetry and art have appeared in numerous publications, including Cold Mountain Review, Comstock Review, Diaphanous, Empty Mirror, Gargoyle, Inflectionist Review, Levure Litteraire, The Main Street Rag, Wild Goose Poetry Review and the anthologies, Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race and The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina.


More by Jonathan K. Rice

“Springmaid Pier”


“Stravinsky in the Shower”


Image Credit: Arnold Eagle “Three men work under the hood of a car” (about 1940–1942) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

Larry Smith: “Union Town”



Union Town

Once a month for decades
he brought home the Catholic Worker
folded gently and laid it on kitchen table,
where it would be picked up, read, 
folded, and laid back again.
A fabric in their lives,
like the Catholic missals
she kept in rubber bands
folded in her dresser drawer.
He spoke little of the mill,
except of friends, left it
at the mill gate where others
might stop in bars to drink
their bitterness away.

Their children are taught by Catholic sisters
of Charity, Franciscans who share
Christ’s preference for the poor by
having them bring cans of food each month,
and at some secret signal near recess
gently bowl them forward on the wooden floor—
twenty cans of green beans, corn, tomato sauce
reaching the blackboard with sweet laughter,
as the Sister feigns surprise, then bends
to gather them up, and they all
bow their heads in thanks.


About the Author: Larry Smith is a poet, fiction writer, and editor-publisher of Bottom Dog Press in Ohio where they feature a Working Lives and an Appalachian Writing Series. He is also the biographer of Kenneth Patchen and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He lives in Huron, Ohio, along the shores of Lake Erie.


More By Larry Smith: 

No Walls

The Story of Rugs



Image Credit: Lewis W. Hine “Furniture Factory Worker or Printer?” (1930s) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

Mike James: “Saint Jayne Mansfield”

(click the image for a bigger size)


About the Author: Mike James makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee. He has published in numerous magazines throughout the country in such places as Plainsongs, Gargoyle, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Chiron Review. His fifteen poetry collections include: Journeyman’s Suitcase (Luchador), Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), First-Hand Accounts from Made-Up Places (Stubborn Mule), Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle), and Peddler’s Blues (Main Street Rag.) He served as an associate editor of The Kentucky Review and currently serves as an associate editor of Unbroken.


More By Mike James:


Paul Lynde

Oh Daddy, Give Me A Quarter For The Time Machine


Image Credit: Digital Photo Art of a public domain photo of Jayne Mansfield by Chase Dimock