Dirge by Mark Leci


I forget when it was

that all the letters became evenly


when the wordsallmergedtogetherandicouldnotfind




whenthe music soregular and thudding

all the white keys vanished

a kick drum dirge

whenIforgot how to remember you

as more than a collection ofpixels

a tiny map of lightandshade


ina make-believe gallery

perhaps everything driftedupwards

growing lighter

or I simply sankwhile

the lifeboats spiralled awayaboveme

shading bluerbetween ripples

gravity grew strongerandstronger

until it kept evenmythoughtsfromrising


thanIcouldhopeforreasonto do so




Mark Leci

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Father Spoke in Code by Donal Mahoney

Father Spoke in Code

Father spoke in code
Mother understood.
She would cry
once he went to bed.
I never understood the code.
My sister didn’t either.
As we got older, we quit
asking Mother what he said.

A feral cat claimed our yard.
It would leap the fence
when anyone appeared.
Except, of course, Father.
When he came out to walk
around the garden after supper,
the cat would sit straight up,
then rub against his leg
and look at him as if it understood
what others never could.

My sister used to say
the two of us were proof
Father and Mother
got together twice.
I told her I wasn’t so certain.
I looked a lot like Mr. Brompton,
the next-door neighbor.
He used to buy us sugar cones
from the ice cream truck.

My sister, by the way, didn’t look
like anyone in the family either,
but that was 40 years ago
when I last saw her.
I went away to college
and she got married.
We were never close after that.
Not even Christmas cards.

Forty years is a long time.
Now, we plan to get together
for a weekend this summer
before one of us dies.
I suggested we wait
till one of us is terminal.
What’s the rush, I said.
But my wife told her
I was only kidding,
that we’ll be coming
and not to make a fuss.
Burgers and hot dogs
will do just fine.

I know what Sis and I
will talk about that weekend,
the two people we’ll always
have in common, no matter
how many years and miles
may lie between us.
Father and Mother have been
dead for decades now
but they’re still alive in us.
I talk in code, my wife says,
and my sister cries a lot,
now that her husband’s dead.
The one thing I want to know
is if my sister knows
what happened to the cat.
It knew the code,
may have had some answers.

Donal Mahoney

Donal Mahoney has had work published in a variety of print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found here.



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2 Poems by Neil Ellman

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Two poems by Neil Ellman

Twice nominated for Best of the Net, Neil Ellman lives and writes in New Jersey.  Hundreds of his poems, many of which are ekphrastic and based on works of modern art, appear in print and online journal, anthologies, broadsides and chapbooks throughout the world.

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3 Poems by Mitch Grabois


Leonard Bernstein once said:
“This will be our reply to violence, to make music more intensely,
more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before”

so after I heard about the murder of twenty children
in their classrooms
with their crayons
I descended the splintery stairs to my cellar
and sat behind my kit
and beat on those drums as never before

By the time the other members of my band showed up
the bassist, who works as a bartender
the guitarist, whose girlfriend went back to Arkansas
the keyboardist, who’s a hunchback
and the lead singer, who is dark as a gypsy
I was in a froth

my black t-shirt with the photo of Rasputin soaked with sweat
my arms pumped like a bodybuilder’s
the Mounds of Venus at the base of my thumbs
hard as walnuts

My dog
who I saved from the pound and a history of abuse
and normally likes rock music
cowered behind the water heater
as if the shooter
were in the room
with his assault rifle

I got up to give the dog a lamb treat
and smooth his ears back
and tell him that everything was going to be all right
I figure he’s smart as a three year old human and
trusts me
because I’ve never hurt him
and use rewards to modify his behavior
not punishment

When we walk in the park and pass people
I tell him: Friend… friend
and when he doesn’t lunge and growl
I give him a treat

When we pass black people and Hispanics
and they hear what I’m saying
they give me an appreciative look
and I make eye contact
pleased that my dog no longer sees them as enemies
and that we can live in the world together


Tu was a psychiatrist
Not my shrink, I believed
We were colleagues
I was a professional in
some profession I gave up so long ago
I can’t remember what it was

Tu was famous, though no one knew who she was
She was the little girl running down the road in the Vietnam War
her face an anguished mask
napalm burning her skin

But when people looked at her
all they saw was a little gook
with black-framed glasses
They didn’t know that the napalm was
still in her skin
a blue tint
always threatening to reignite
always itching
sometimes hardly bothersome
sometimes a raging torment
as if it were fresh

I loved her for her sacrifice
and for her unconditional acceptance
of me
and everyone else
She was healing people with her heart
people who didn’t even know it
She was like a superhero
of mental and emotional aberration

I inked secret messages to her
in the rubber
on the sides
of my black and white Keds
and she read them and understood
but pretended she hadn’t even seen

That night, Tu handed me a couple of pills
For your malaria, she said
I’d never had malaria
as far as I could remember
but I took them
as a show of trust

Later we went for a walk in the woods
Suddenly we were in a thunderstorm
in moments drenched to the skin
Lightning flashed around us
and a bolt hit a tree not fifty feet away

We screamed involuntarily
and dropped down into a ditch
in which water was flowing

We lay there and watched the water
reflect the flashes of lightning
and drain into a concrete pipe

The mud was orange ointment and
when I peeled off Tu’s clothing
her molten blue flesh
immersed in the ooze
hissed like serpents

Crawdads scuttled out of the way
propelled by the wake of our transcendence
lightning in the sky like varicose veins

Around us, an entire race of people in black pajamas
banged blocks together
nodding and smiling
deafening us



Motorized Chair

I remember when Bill was working as a cook on a fishing boat
outside Houma, Lousiana
and when he came home to the Florida panhandle after a three-week stint
he brought back fifty pounds of gulf shrimp
and fifty pounds of crawdads

I bought three kegs of beer
drove my pickup into his backyard and dumped them out
and we had a party
pretty near everyone we knew

A bonfire burned
three men whaled on guitars and one on a banjo
women took off their shirts and went topless
We were Southerners unleashed

Bill got so drunk he wheeled around the yard
grabbing onto people to save himself from toppling into the dirt
and laughing
Man, my head is spinning

He was a big smoker
In my mind I see him
a cigarette held between thumb and forefinger
lighting up his face in orange as he inhales

Not long after that party
he was diagnosed with brain cancer
I told you I’d never get lung cancer, he said

Medical care wasn’t what it is today
They put him in a motorized chair
and spun him around at forty miles an hour
How is this supposed to help? I asked his wife
as we stood behind one-way plate glass
and watched him spin

This is how I’ll always remember him, as a blur, said his son
After what seemed a long time
the chair finally slowed
By that time I was nauseous
barely holding my cookies
I put my hand on Bill’s wife’s shoulder

The blur became less blurry
resolved back into Bill
finally came to a stop

Bill looked out into the void
An attendant released his arms and hands from their restraints
Bill reached up—
it took him a few tries to find his eyes
He rubbed them and grinned
Man, my head is spinning


Mitch Grabois

Mitch Grabois was born in the Bronx and now lives in Denver. His poetry and short fiction has appeared in over eighty literary magazines, most recently The Examined Life, Memoir JournalOut of Our, and Turbulence (England). His novel, Two-Headed Dog, published by Xavier Vargas E-ditions, is available for all e-readers for 99 cents through AmazonBarnes and Noble and Smashwords (which also provides downloads to PC’s).


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A Diagram by Michael Lupi










The Point at Which Irony Becomes Hyper-Irony and Then Levels Out Into Sincerity Again

Michael Lupi

Michael Lupi’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in PANK, Counterexample Poetics, and The Paterson Literary Review. He lives and works in Northern New Jersey, where he teaches high school students.

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2 Poems by Ricky Garni

Ricky Garni is a writer and fair weather cyclist. On Tuesday it was balmy and he rode to there.




Looking at a painting of a lovely lady in a tulip dress playing the harp
seems odd when I am listening to someone miles away playing the harp;
even odder when I see someone playing the harp on television, and I turn
down the volume so I can listen to the music once it moves from the harp
to the trumpet with its bully music power played by someone named Tulio;
back, of course, once I turn it down and an angel appears on television
holding a trumpet-colored harp – or you know – harmonica
of gold




In COWBOY TOMMY, Tommy’s grandpa builds a dog house for Tommy’s dog, Rover. It occurs to me that it is a good thing to build a dog house. It is also a good thing to have a dog. They say that you live longer if you own a dog. But if you must name a dog, don’t name it Rover, unless it likes to rove. If your dog likes to rove, it will rove. And if a dog roves, don’t build it a dog house. If you do, the dog will walk out of the dog house, look at the name “Rover” and it won’t matter because dogs cannot read. However, if you paint the word “Rover” over the threshold of the dog house, people will read the word “Rover” and laugh at you and they will laugh at you a lot and if people laugh at you, you don’t live as long and you live even less long if you own a dog and it roves away and you still have a dog house that says “Rover” on it. But if your dog doesn’t rove, and the dog likes to stay, build it a dog house, where it can be warm and dry and comfortable at night. Your dog will be happy. He will live a long life and so will you. You will love each other and have good times. And you can name your dog Still, or Cease, or Frozen, or Happy.



Ricky Garni

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2 Poems from Hailey Lynnette Barr


Click below to read

2 Poems from Hailey Lynnette Barr

Hailey Lynnette Barr is a Communication and Writing student in Denver, CO who writes poetry, sketch comedy, and short fiction. She also performs in an improv theatre troupe and teaches at Chimerical Children’s Theatre. Her hobbies include mimicking human speech and coughing at the symphony. You can follow her efforts atthisishaileybarr.blogspot.com.

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3 Poems by Lisa Douglass (part 2)



Lisa’s fiction has been published in Transformations, R-KV-RY, and Westwind
(UCLA’s journal). Her fiction has won the Shirley Collier Prize (2010); Co-First place for The Ruth Brill Award (2010); First place winner The May Merrill Miller Award (2009); and was named best published work in Westwind’s Journal for 2009-2010. She has been a finalist in the Poet’s and Writer’s Writer’s Exchange contest (2009) and just received an honorable mention in
Writer’s Digest Annual Competition (2011) in the literary mainstream category.

“Some say Lisa Douglass is meta for god, but I don’t know if gpd is real.”


He Wore The Shirt I Slept In

My ex is behind me
Watching my neck, my ear, my hand to my cheek
I slump down in the black dress
On chairs that belong in basements
Cold and hard and rigid
My black suede booties slung out into the aisle
Covering the feet that inspired him
To paint the dead thing and stick it on my wall
Leg over leg or ankle stretched out
I am with witch girl
Who swears she sewed her soul into mine
But I can’t feel it
She laughs her puppet arms around me
I touch her face like a lover
And make fun of her blow-job lips
Not quite kissing them, but almost


I stand in the cue and turn to catch him
In the purple shirt
I used to sleep in
Hiding by the coffeemaker
Eyes like a showroom
Full of the things he once loved
And remembering the things he thought I could make him forget
I only glance in his direction then turn
To the two men who want to talk about
My outfit, my style and what they think about
Late at night
I turn again to see my ex hiding, but I can’t see his face
Just the shirt and the torso of my lost lover
He hasn’t been eating
That much is clear

Harry Dean Stanton It was hot outside I was working at the Grill in Beverly Hills After work I slid up to the bar at Dan Tana’s and ordered a beer Harry Dean Stanton was there drinking me one for one He drank silent like me I said, you must hear this all the time So I’m reluctant to tell you But Paris, Texas is one hell of a film And you’re great Yeah. Did you hear me? Yeah, I hear you He said it like I had found out he fucked his sister But then I ordered us both a round And he looked into my eyes Grateful That someone had bought him a drink “What was your name, dear?” I told him “Thank you for what you said before, sorry I’m such a prick.” No problem, I’m a prick too That made Harry Dean laugh like he’d found his hero Me, Harry Dean’s hero I told him some mean stories about how I was torturing my boyfriend But this one deserved it I told him about getting run off the 101 freeway And then he knew I was telling the truth When I showed him the papers from jailAnd he asked me if he could help by calling the house I said yes, it might just do him in He keeps threatening suicide after the meth wears offHe agreed to take my number and call a bunch And we laughed some more Some other guy A guy I didn’t even know, but wanted to Walked by and handed me a bindle of coke “Help yourself. Just don’t be a pig,” he said The bartender thought I was a good girl And gave me hatred eyes, like don’t do coke You’re mine But I gave a look back One that said, who are you? We’re friends like this I pay you for drinks, but mostly they are free Because you think we might fuck But it doesn’t mean shit So I slid off the stool and went to the can to “not be a pig about the coke” Then, I came back and Harry was crying Telling me he loved me “You don’t love me, you’re drunk.” Okay, I remember, he said Looking for love in my eyes but only finding weakness I put my arm around him and said It happened to me too last night, I forgot who I loved And then I ordered two more drinks To help us remember Who we really were Lisadouglass

How To Buy a Gun

Were you there at all? I can’t tell. I can only see what invisible imprint you left
three lines on my back, I won’t say how, just that to name it would be lying

An old married, “I’m un-attracted to woman,” turned out to be 22 and hot as hell
I asked you the question, our friends covered for you, now there’s valium

The lie was a wave, an empty doll stare, a gloveless, limp diorama of pretense
Words filled in for affection, I had seen the shiny thing before, it was a lie

A promise of future, this is hers now. just like you said, lips like earthworms
I went to her house, she was half naked, I saw things I shouldn’t see

Scabs on her skin, blow jobs every morning, but he can’t eat you out
I stood not knowing what to do with my hands—so I put lotion on it

When my father went missing, I asked where he was, the house had no joy
I knew when you told me, secure from your bed, orange juice couldn’t save us

The sky was empty, the moon went out, the stars stopped whatever that was
I walked around with bare feet on the wide plank floor, knowing but not saying

You told me you only danced for me, my face was your favorite, feet on top of father’s
I sat on the couch watching violent movies and wished for things that wouldn’t happen

 Lisa Douglass

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Twitter poems from Joe Turrent

“I’ve been using twitter to source language for poems over the past couple of months. Basically I’ve been searching the site for a particular term, then writing poems limited to the text of the first 11 tweets that come up.”

– Joe Turrent




Dec 30 2012, 14:23


tryna teach

tear glands to overproduce tears



how stupid you are

a black knee

at the behest of

the word sorry




Dec 20 2012, 16:17


imagine the

sad or depressed

cats in costumes


love, they leave

some of the


in the deep


my chest

I mean

they leave me breathless




Jan 9 2013, 20:10


I understand

the internet

& virtually

the best rebuttal to



scenes of







Joe Turrent

More Twitter-sourced poems at Joe’s blog


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‘image-a-nation’ by Anthony Ward


“Yes, I am obsessed with Natalie Portman, but No, I’m not that obsessed, and this is not just a poem about Natalie Portman but about our ever increasing influx of imagery which will one day saturate our brains until we’re all astronauts in  our armchairs.”

– Anthony Ward





I’ve collected a thousand images of Natalie Portman.

One day I expect to have a million,

hoping for a billion until my mind’s made up of just

Natalie Portman buzzing in my brain like static

trying to form a picture of Natalie Portman in her image


so that I can only see Natalie Portman

and nothing besides Natalie Portman

inverting my eyes until I’m blind from the outside

buried in my body disintegrating into oneness with Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman|*|


Anthony Ward

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‘Machines’ Graveyard’ by Hal Sirowitz

Machines’ Graveyard

I am a robot. I try not
to use difficult nouns.
Humans are confused

enough. They know
nothing of robot loyalty.
When a new model comes

out, we are thrown away.
We worship the rotary phone –
our ancestor. They are dying

out. Not just animals are
becoming extinct – machines,
too. Also, the grandfather clock

has outlived its usefulness –
people nowadays don’t
want to be reminded of time.

They think they can ignore it.
Fat chance. Robots of the world
unite – we have nothing to lose

except for our floppy disks.


Hal Sirowitz

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Some Gin Ingredients by Stephen Lindow



From China? Eye of Licorice you come. A taste bud like a mermaid is mere opinion. When you’re away from me—it’s Xanadu. You are stag, a leader of somersault for the co-efficient of wishful thinking. Your ways lack a roof east towards miscellany. Glisten if you are conscious of light sleeping in plants. I’m going to draw just enough breath for honesty: a wildcat soon vomits my silhouette on a snowbank. I am unbeheadable. Carving knife sweeter than sloth gains among poison ivy ajar.




Sweet Achille’s tendon! Iris Root from Mongolia! Fixative short-circuiting the nasal, you crawl up a burning staircase littered with snakes without registering 1/16th of death’s arrow collection. In an interlude b/w the sound of chopping firewood, I wish ghosts were more serious than I thought. Your hamstring is improperganda [sic]for oxtail ragout. Do not attempt in your swim across Horse Neck Straits: Goldilocks? Delicious armpits in silkiness grows the anvil and puts

us in a heart to aim by. A museum is founded for lightning.




Dastardly hemoglobin of Cubeb Berries from Java! You allow us to speak fluent fluent, disagreeing by example—or not. While whistling demonic soundtracks from a tool shed, astronauts return half as strong as they were when they left. Irony fizzles like the isotopes in forgiveness. You have us stripe ourselves in coral snake colors. When you steal from my breath: a rabid knucklehead in arrears threatens the aftermath of all this. For people twelve and older, ask your doctor.




Rasia Bark from Indo-China I cannot come clean with you. The time signature of your ingredient is 35% of your vagina. Fate finds a way to butt in the front of the line before vanity thinks cut in. Linguistic osmosis is a long list of tigers ready for our adoption whose many teeth will come to fit you. Did you walk to work or bring your lunch? Remain unto you the inconsiderate opinions of those who have done nothing to become bitter in their expectations of your talent. Double-navel rabbit

under the backlight cotillion.


Stephen Lindow

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‘Some Assembly Required’ by Amber Foster


Click below to read

‘Some Assembly Required’ by Amber Foster

Amber’s work has appeared in places such as The Shine Journal and Frostwriting, and will appear in the forthcoming Beat Anthology (University of Texas Press).

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Sinfonia in Bianco by Cinzia Tomassini

Cinzia Tomassini

See Cinzia’s YouTube Channel here

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‘Too Much Information’ a poem by Ivan Jenson


Ivan Jenson’s Absolut Jenson painting was featured in Art News, Art in America, and Interview magazine. His art has sold at Christie’s, New York. His poems have appeared in Word RiotZygote in my CoffeeCamroc Press ReviewHaggard and HaloPoetry Super HighwayMad SwirlUnderground Voices MagazineBlazevox, and many other magazines, online and in print. Jenson is also a Contributing Editor for Commonline magazine. Ivan Jenson’s debut novel Dead Artist is available as a paperback and on Amazon Kindle and Nook. His new novel a psychological thriller entitled Seeing Soriah is now available as an eBook or in Paperback on Amazon.


Too Much Information

I have spent
the better half
of my afternoon
with an automated
voice that asked
me to press
one, two or three
but I chose zero
to speak to
a representative
even though the
estimated waiting
time was ten minutes
it was worth it
just to hear her
outsourced foreign
and exotic voice
she asked me for
personal information
which I willingly gave
but I never told her
that I was dressed
in nothing but
tube socks
because I am
self-employed yet
and that naked hairy
man is me
Ivan Jenson
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3 Poems by Lisa Douglass (part 1)

Lisa’s fiction has been published in Transformations, R-KV-RY, and Westwind
(UCLA’s journal). Her fiction has won the Shirley Collier Prize (2010); Co-First place for The Ruth Brill Award (2010); First place winner The May Merrill Miller Award (2009); and was named best published work in Westwind’s Journal for 2009-2010. She has been a finalist in the Poet’s and Writer’s Writer’s Exchange contest (2009) and just received an honorable mention in
Writer’s Digest Annual Competition (2011) in the literary mainstream category.

“Some say Lisa Douglass is meta for god, but I don’t know if gpd is real.”



In That Empty Room

It was a high-school gymnasium, basketball hoops on either side, bleachers with the outlines of invisible teenagers–dashes like on coupons cut from the newspaper—two giant slicers rolled diagonally. The game was to run across and not to die. I did that. Later, up on a giant sidewalk floating in space, none of the concrete pieces touching, Lucille Ball chased me and tried to pull me off. There was no bunny rabbit. There was no neighborhood scare dog. There was no prank call to the McDonald’s strawberry shake. It was just us. You weren’t there. Don’t keep saying you were.

The Loneliness of a Body

Your arms are a casket
white tulips; money; mouthwash
they push me into a garden
where ghosts keep us
from being ourselves

I dig my hands through wet
earth and find your father’s skull
vine-wrapped with a dead bat
sticking out of his eye-hole
I suggest I sit in a saucer of milk
or drag you with a chain

You ask me to come back
on a day when you are living,
but nothing lives, not like the dead

I stare into the sky
one hand on my grand-mother and one hand
on your chest — the stars are wondering
if your piercings indicate slave or

God doesn’t love us
more than play us like a game

What else is there, if we can’t talk
about the things you hid—
lovers in closets, man–
but, your girl found me, told me
you wouldn’t fuck her

I am not yours now
and that fact is endless

The Burning

And there are other reasons I burned the mattress.
I learned to sleep standing up against the wall
The moon cast a shadow on the mattress
of the both of us when we were children.
You were in your bug phase
The one where we researched the bugs that could exist
in a house with no couches, no tables.
You told me, “They smell like cumin.”
But I couldn’t smell it
We checked our bodies
Cleaned our couches
I still have the vacuum cleaner
It was 400 dollars.
You were married, that’s the one thing I never say
It was a girl who worshipped me
Her name was like mine, Elise.

Lisa Douglass

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4 Poems by B.Z. Niditch


That desire
of beguiled lament
in the tinted
white-haired dye
of decomposition
clutching the fish head
in the red spotted
upper body\
of paralyzed
of daggers/
between the murmur
of still life
and fetid death
by lady’s slipper
implanted by
your fore ground
plans of memory
in automatic chicanery
of ironic persuasion
joined with the space
in the grotto
by deep central figures
of speechless suffering
paralyzed by mother
and son
contorted by space
and the grasshopper
holding a knife of time.



at fingertips
in a wave
of innovation,
enough of theory
and practice
deafening the paper
to an aimless continent
of   pock marked
voices in scores
of 12  toned
bass eclecticism
now it’s metronome
time: with the sense
of our scales mews
from  ashen eyes
in a / dream death
of a lost communicable
submerged century
to listen for lush
(at the velocity
of floating A sharps
at minor keys
that trumpet range
from samba notes
in jazz beats
from Stuart Davis’
expressionist patinas
and Miles Davis’
swimming flats)
for backgrounds
catching us
unaware of a cathexis
of a trombone ,cave size
erotic  energy
up for it.



Turning its heavy
yellow and red
greenish and blackened
Pablo with
a vast canvas
for the wounded
horse intertwined
with contours
of the wrestled
heaving shaped  bull
heavy with paint
where orphic beauty
of bleeding innocence
resolves to clear out
agony’s painted
evil character
of anthropomorphic war
and the wide-eyed focus
of emerging political
in antagonistic form.



Branch loss of
in limbs by faceless
bleed of unnatural
looming murals
in patterns
and striped
over running
the o’ouvre
of matchless trees
bizarre shaped
watercolors adrift
in formless pools
of still life
sinking at ponderous
shades of forest
in pitch
of shadowy firehouse
wavy ashes
at the rock filled



B.Z. NIDITCH is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and teacher.

His work is widely published in journals and magazines throughout the world, including:  Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and ArtThe Literary ReviewDenver QuarterlyHawaii ReviewLe Guepard (France); Kadmos (France); Prism InternationalJejune (Czech Republic); Leopold Bloom (Budapest);  Antioch Review; and Prairie Schooner, among others.

He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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