Mike Acker: “Unholy”



About the AuthorMike 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: Vincent Van Gogh “Starry Night Over the Rhone” (1888) Public Domain

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal: “Beautiful Mournings”



Beautiful Mournings

Do you object
to beautiful mournings?
The path to the
cemetery with stones and

roses. Do you like
the fumes from open graves?
Who are you to
whine and complain? You’re dead.

The rotten sun 
is the cook of your skin.
Nature’s gift for
one and all. Keep your dead 

eye on the sky.
Watch the flowers bloom as
your stench 
perfumes the collapsed trees.

The flies buzz on
not worrying of health.
Their stinking breath
worsens in summertime.

In this world the
babbling mouths speak and shout.
The dead man sleeps
soundly and with such ease.


About the Author: Born in Mexico, Luis lives in California and works in the mental health field in Los Angeles, CA. His poetry has appeared online and in print over the years. His poetry has appeared in Blue Collar Review, Kendra Steiner Editions, Mad Swirl, Pygmy Forest Press, Red Fez Publications, Unlikely Stories, Yellow Mama Magazine, and ZYX.


More by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal:


Eat Rain


Image Credit: Caspar David Friedrich “Graveyard Under Snow” (1826) Public Domain

Matthew Borczon: “In 2010”



In 2010

the war
in my
chest like
a pacemaker

I still
feel the
cold metal
every time
I salute
the flag


About the Author: Matthew Borczon is a writer and a Navy sailor from Erie, Pa. He has published widely in the small press and written 12 books of poetry; the most recent the PTSD Blues was released through Rust Belt Press in 2019. He works hard as a nurse for developmentally disabled adults and works even harder at forgetting the war he served in in 2010.


Image Credit: Carol M. Highsmith: “A colorful rendition of the American flag, painted on the side of a large utility shed in the town of Carbon in Eastland County, Texas” (2014) The Library of Congress

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 (www.sevencirclepress.com). 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 www.sethjani.com.


More By Seth Jani:



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

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

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.