Admission /In petto/ Driven/ I Spar by Myself – by SARAH KERSEY


“the truth is nothing more

than a puddle of clear water

dammed in ditch.”—Derek Walcott


The truth in drought, once rife with succulent

tongues, now dumb, yet not without meaning beneath diffident

gerunds, a confession so different

from ones to gods of rain, nimble and translucent

as morning mist, foreheads kissed by teasing misses, coy as blooming linens.

An inebriated sky, asphyxiated of its vapor and

even now, I do not dance for the rain as appeasement.

From above, a lone, valiant cumulus, worn out from

Distance like an ostomy releasing its injury; a downward sigh,

the cloudburst’s preponderant relief anoints me like a kingly oil.

I am repentant,



In petto

On our wavelength of light, crestfallen,

Dim and lackluster,

My king humbles himself in our queen-sized bed,

Yielding to slumber.

The warmth of the flicker off his skin

Tests my thighs for a response

He doesn’t know he called for:

An arterial mist, like perfume.

My breathing is

Buoyant, matchless;

My heart steps to the side

To make room, my love.

Walcott’s White Egrets offers a celestial exit

Tucked behind snow-stuffed skies of March, up

To the crescent moon trumpeting for an old friend.


My rib cage is driftwood to straddle;

Secure from the irresistible surge of

Blood, from many waves of blue

Liquid love effused from self-abuse.

My love is safe with me.


My love, invisible,

Heady love—halting love

Supplements my book before bed.



My crow’s feet and all

my years have elapsed in young orbits.

As I head on, the segmented rubber neck on the northbound side

beeps and lays on distress signals,

about to take a nose dive

southbound towards the detour.


The car’s cabin is tentative—

50, sometimes 45 if it drifts.

Heating coils are taut like

a flushed face. Salty back windshield,

ice crust sweats to tears.

Laws of motion run forward with ferocious veracity

while I still feel the wheel, a slippery grip on a phantom first lover’s form,

a scintillating side line. Surrender to forgetting

February; blur into rearview.

Laws of motion run backward with license and restriction:

corrective lenses for 20/20 vision.


So worn out, so tired,

what lies immediately ahead is relegated to the periphery.

Silhouettes on the roadway?

Steering askance,

I plow through them all,

under the old and over the new,

tantamount to trampling down

shadows that empathized.


I Spar by Myself

(originally appeared in Verse Magazine in May 2014)


All humans live in air, not on ground.

Formed from soil, float around.

Scattered brains, mind contains

follies of thoughts, volleyed.

Hey, she, they:

Are ideas conveyed

In terms of

Weight, in “is per are,” or is/are.

No drying, no crying.

All humans glide together.

Pulled towards one another.

If one goes home=the other goes home,

Then both are home.

If one goes out=the other goes out,

Then both are out.

If one spills…

…then the other is separate.

The one cannot flow into the other.

The other will always be dry.

It’s like when a vase gets snatched up just in time

when the wine spills across the table.  Spills always cry.  Vases are dry.

Thus, one can never assume that the other thinks or talks about him as much…

…because he doesn’t.  For, every single mention of A is equal to the half-mention of B.  If your name starts with T, he’ll only cross the smallest one when balancing his checkbook.

Meanwhile, the one is dreaming about the other every single night, and he clamors

for sleep.  As a result, one must learn to deal with the newly-acquired

irrelevance.  How to be irrelevant…without crying.

Smiling while dialing the morgue.



Sarah Kersey is a poet and musician from New Jersey.  Her work has appeared in Yellow Chair Review, Squawk Back, The Harpoon Review, Verse Magazine, and other publications.  She will soon be an x-ray technologist.  Sarah’s personal blog can be found at

*Featured Photography provided by Melissa Libbey*


Tender Thorn Wounds / When Love is a Rose – by ADAM BROWN

Tender Thorn Wounds


Melting desire

inside the cornucopia

of flourished corneas


Black on black

smeared lipstick

in the shape of

a heart


Pulled teeth

and bitter roses

stapled to the vest

of mortuaries


Sweet pain

makes for

the best




When Love is a Rose


Push the barriers

To the next phase

Of enlightenment


Love is a four

Letter word with

Thorns and a psychotic

Break in the middle


You can taste

The fresh blood

That trickles from

Your fingers


As you cling

To the last

Shreds of

the best feeling

you’ll probably

ever experience



Adam Levon Brown is a published author, poet, amateur photographer, and cat lover. He is an editor at Creative Talents Unleashed and a book reviewer for Five 2 One Magazine. He has been published in dozens of venues, including Burningword Literary Journal and Yellow Chair Review. Adam can be contacted via his website at where he offers free poetry resources.


It Couldn’t Have Been a Song / This Bucket of You / Autopsy/ Upon a Valentine’s Day which landed on a Saturday for once. – by LARRY D. THACKER

It couldn’t have been a song,

a somewhat obscure tune
with a low randomness
for creeping up on a station
and reminding me of you.

No, it ended up being some
daily task, some unavoidable
thing that would never let me
go: the simple act of ironing.

Being in the Air Force you
were more obsessed with
nicely pressed uniforms
than even the army was.

Volunteering, you gladly
pressed my camouflage shirt
as I mused on your blonde
sweetness, your feigned

blue-eyed innocence. I was
enraptured. God, it’s just
impossible to get rid of
a wrinkle once you iron it in,

you huffed, with a smile
that would melt me down.
And now, these years later,
believe me, I’m well aware.

This bucket of you

You’re a gradual something missing
and un-sudden, subtle in your own
ghosting manner of:

maybe I’ll see you later. Or not.
It’s hard to say, isn’t it? We’ll see.

You were lightly excusing yourself
from the noise I’d become, weren’t you?
Fleeing this relentless distraction I’d invented
and branded as your bothersome memory,

drip, drip, and dripping away,
over-spilling with each ripple along
the delicate edge of my running over,
rolling off my skin and soaking everything
in a fine lovely poison I learned to lap up
in my dreams and mistake for love.

I could feel you, instant by instant,
filling up a portion of me with every
fucking drop, heavier, a burdening mix
of tears and sweat,

something cumulative and anchoring,
trailed behind me in pools I hoped
you’d never track me with.

We’ll see.


The last time I saw your face it rippled
and unfocused through watering eyes

I could not contain. I felt no manly
hesitancy for revealing – there in daylight

at the barracks smoke pit in Monterey,
forgotten cigarette dying in hand –

that my heart was cracking and permanently
emptying of you, your lingering still fresh

in my mouth from a last, deep, stubborn
nearly forgotten kiss. I think I knew

this tear-flavored kiss would never
die, some masochistic invitation, that

I’d be cursed by what you left behind,
my body and mind giving up for a time,

heart mud-caked and discarded for years
along the too comfortable river bank

of your dangerous, unrelenting memory.

Upon a Valentine’s Day which
                                      landed on a Saturday for once.

He works all week in the love-hate career
that keeps them physically from each other,
living for Friday afternoons, the two-hour

detoxifying drive to her embrace, leaving
a stretch of resentment, finally dissipated
by the time he meets her company where

he can breathe again, having held his breath
since pressing a soft kiss to her drowsy lips
at half past 5 am every Monday morning.


8 years it’s been this past October, with
this May their 4 year wedding anniversary.
How do you do it, people ask, amazed.

Maybe that’s why you all get along so well,
others venture. We do it because we have to.
And no, it’s not why we get along, I think.

I don’t think the world is ready for us to live
together all the time quite yet. Just look
what we’ve done with what we have.


How would the world ever handle the love,
this endless shine of happiness and trust,
we would vibrate out into the Universe?

Why would we choose to put some distant
beings through the frustration of solving
such a mysterious resulting supernova flash

when it finally reached them millions of years
from the day when I finally live with you?
Is the world prepared for the threat of such love?


wvw pic of me

Larry D. Thacker is a writer and artist from Tennessee. His poetry can be found in journals and magazines such as The Still Journal, The Southern Poetry Anthology: Tennessee, Mojave River Review, Harpoon Review, Rappahannock Review, and Appalachian Heritage. He is the author of Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia and the poetry chapbooks, Voice Hunting and Memory Train. He is presently taking his MFA in poetry and fiction at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

I Like This One – by ROB TRUE

I Like This One


I like this one.  Feeds me the same old shit out of a can every day, but at least I eat regular.  He lies down a lot.  That’s what I like about him.  I’ve seen him heating powder up in a spoon, with water.  He draws it into a plastic tube, through a pin, ties his arm with a belt, smacks it a couple of times with his fingers and carefully pierces it with the pin.  After that his face slackens and he slumps back.  This is when he lies down.  My favourite thing is to climb up and sit on his chest.  So warm and tranquil.  Once I know he’s drifting, I settle down all stretched out, with my face close to his.


Sometimes, when he comes round a bit, he strokes me for ages, just the two of us, lying there together, me purring and him breathing slowly.  His hand, massive and firm, gently gliding from head to tail.  Ecstasy.  In that state, he behaves a lot like me.  Staring into nothing and dozing off now and again.


We’ve got a lot in common.


I hate it when he has to go out.  I always know when it’s going to happen.  That machine with the quiet voice makes a horrible repeating bleep, shattering our harmony, until he picks it up and says, “Hello.”  Then I can hear a tiny voice talking and he always says, “Meet me at the same place, ring when you get there.”  I watch him measure out small amounts of the same powder he puts in the spoon.  

He carefully puts it in the centre of a little square of plastic torn from a carrier bag, brings the corners together above it and twists them to make a bulb with the powder in it.  He heats the twist with a flame ‘til it melts a bit.  Sometimes he makes a few of these capsules, if the quiet talking machine bleeps and speaks with him more than once.   I watch him put on his hat and coat and feel sad that he’s going.


When he returns, I know it won’t be long before he performs his ritual with the spoon, belt and pin again, so I can snuggle up with him another time.  It happens several times a day.  We lie like that for hours and hours of peace and I feel like I become a part of him, as though I melt into his chest, rising and falling slow and shallow.  I watch his face turn pale, lips a bluish grey and his breathing seems to slow to nothing sometimes and I wonder what would happen if it stopped?


IMG-20160607-WA0186 (1)

Rob True was born in London; he left school with no qualifications, got lost in an abyss and spent a decade on another planet. He returned to earth just in time for the new millennium and married a beautiful, strange girl. She taught him how to use paragraphs and punctuation and his writing has been a bit better ever since.


The Fish That Fell in Love With a Wave – by MICHAEL O’SHAUGHNESSY



your skin

keeps yr

ocean in


yr oceans didn’t enter you

you didn’t swallow yr oceans

or fall asleep in the rain


no one added water to create the broth

you serve anyone with a thin hunger


the salt you taste is your salt


and they’re not going to leave you


you can hear yr ocean

we can hear it

but only you can feel it


the waves of them

their depths

those fathoms may seem phantom

they must be phantoms



No. Full oceans. No facsimile.

No simile.


I paused.





Michael O’Shaughnessy co-edited a literary zine in the ’90s called Report to Hell. From 2007-2010, he and his wife wrote a gonzo cooking column called “In the Sellwood Kitchen” for a neighborhood newspaper in Portland, Oregon. He runs a semi-fictional net label called Sleeping Brothers Records, releasing lo- to mid-fi albums recorded over the last 30 years by a small circle of friends. He lives with his wife in Southern California. You can find him on Twitter at @mroshaugh.



The Text

“Did Cory text you? They say, He slept with your cousin and everybody

in the church is gossiping.”

I say he fucked Tammy

and acted like Claudius.

While I was Hamlet.

Eyes red like red hot peppers,

sobbing and rubbing my eyes like the soap

operas, and attacking with my beak like the parakeet.

After the text, a volcano erupted.

I was a puffed up marshmallow

better yet a puffed up bird.


magazine photo

Quanesha Burr is currently a graduate student. She strives to be an inspiration through her writing and her future career. She can be contacted at

*Featured image courtesy of contributor Brian Michael Barbeito*

Forever My Love – by VOIMA OY

Forever My Love

Voima Oy


My mother used to say I was Dracula’s daughter. Her first love was Christopher Lee.  She fell in love with his intense dark eyes and sharp white teeth. He was the one she longed for in the darkness of the balcony; at the movie matinees on Saturday afternoons. She bared her throat to the high school boys on hot summer nights, gasping for air at the drive-in.

She wore her hair like Morticia; I was her Wednesday child.

There was a darkness in me, too, a longing.  

I liked tight black dresses and bare skin. I became a creature of the night, haunting the dance clubs, drinking with the boys. Forever my love, I would promise, before I left them at dawn.

Now, my daughter has her own desires. She’s old enough to know her heart. If she says she wants to chase the girls and get a tattoo of deadly nightshade up and down her body, who am I to discourage her?

After all, it’s in our blood. Like mother, like daughter, I say. My beautiful daughter, her sharp white teeth.



Voimaoy lives on the western rim of  Chicago, near the expressway and the Blue Line trains. Her writing can be found online at Paragraph Planet, Visual Verse, 101 Fiction and Unbroken Journal.  Follow her on Twitter, too— @voimaoy

*Featured photograph: art from Toby Penney*