Stethoscopes, Mr. Potato Heads & A Pinata Filled With Marijuana

by Joseph D. Reich


One day i’ll just go back
to the deep dark forest
to witness the seasons
and suddenly like some
strange surreal reunion
see all my old pals
again in their party
hats with simple
grins and things
to say that
are pleasant
past girlfriends
hanging out by
a pile of kindling
and wood for
the bonfire
which will
never be burned
the holy sacred
hippie mothers
across the road
pondering with
heads in hand
around the pool
sisters you loved
and teachers you
had crushes on
suicide cousins
who never had
a fighting chance
come back to life
while parted lace
curtains drape right
over the shattered
window of the forest
hitchers always grateful
for how far you take them
and you thankful for
their conversation
the exact same
ceremonies
and celebrations
and awards
and trophies
being given
by the exact
same people
to people they
already know
you’d never
want to know
cause don’t
even know
themselves
in those
decadent
poisonous
gardens
of nepotism
beautiful blonde
haired country
girl and black boy
roaming through town
content in the moment
purple piano
left in the
side yard
where they
keep the
wandering
chickens…

Blueberry Picking

by Mike Jewett


Third weekend in July
I love canoeing out on Northwood
Lake, early morning hours melting
into the pines, as I head toward the
island where the wild blueberries
lie. Tiny morsels, abundant and packed with
the taste of summer and beepollen and freshwater
and snow. Minnows nibble my toes, each one
a solid worm for the biting, as I slowly
fill a one-gallon jug, berry by berry,
to use for breakfast pancakes and
Belgian waffles cooked golden from
the waffle iron. Some of the ripest
berries plop into the lake. I swipe
them up before bass or sunfish
see them; always leaving the
green berries behind.
Pausing to taste some, they
split between my incisors;
I marvel at the flavor
while a loon’s haunted red
eyes stare at nothing.
Blueberries split like
relationships
occasionally do,
sour at times, always
leaving a taste on your
palate. Families, young
lovers picnicking on the
beach lake, confused couples;
they branch off, moonlight
silhouetting their outlines;
silent elegy softly blossoming
downward as their paths skew.
They won’t cross again.
My jug filled, I oar
back to the dock,
ears filled with
humming of birds,
insects, boats;
brimming with
the bream from berries
splitting apart,
and the intense
silence of blueberry
picking in late July.

The Derivation Of The Expression “there are plenty of fish…”

by Joseph D. Reich


Do guys still have affairs
with operators & western
union girls & stewardesses
i remember i almost did
after fleeing on a ferry
to sicily after a really
bad breakup with
a borderline girl
from riverdale, ny
returning back
from naples
looking all
bronzed
& handsome
(the result of
starving for adventure)
in my fresh rumpled-up
linen suit i had purchased
right off le promenade d’anglais
& turns out she was staying
at the howard johnson’s
in new york city
knew exactly where
that was in hell’s kitchen
from days hustling a taxi
graveyard shift in nyc
& when i told her my
number which was
my mom’s temporarily
literally for like a week
before i moved in with
a buddy in the washington
heights section while receiving
my masters in social work
at yeshiva university
she didn’t believe
me & she right on
the spot all of a sudden
had second thoughts & thought
how damn sleazy & vulgar was
the notion & concept of sex
& romance & love as that
year at yeshiva did meet
my betrothed girl i was gonna
marry for better or for worse
far better looking & younger
with a better sense of humor
ironically still living with her mother

My room is in shadow chandeliers

by Jenn Pien


My room is in shadow chandeliers
Chelonian Turtle silhouettes drifting coolly past my walls
Inky black spiral into graying whales
tangle sprays stringing my eye
Wisps canter – miniature abysses consume
Her time, weeds drawn, pulled into me
His coral drifting, a lull
Tentacles slimming edges, corners, curling back and through gelatin prisons
Giant starfishes upright sapien lope, dragging me with them through the tide
We are hush, sway, hole

Wrens

by Margaux Novak


How do birds know about anything?
They eavesdrop each night at my bedroom window
their nest tucked inside my air conditioner
and, longing for the company,
I let them stay to hear
my one-sided conversations with myself.

When I grumble, they grouse.
They tolerate my odd-houred music
and various candle scents
transforming my room from evergreen woodlands
to lavender fields.

And in the early dawn, when waking is hard
they whisper me the weather
coax me with the warmth of summer days
or sigh the pale coos of snow,
call me softly from my bed
and sometimes, not so softly.

Are there eggs in that secret nest of theirs?
I cannot see in to tell.
But I imagine them, sitting, roosting
waiting for their own
and coddling me along instead.

On mean days, when I’m not in the mood for music
they forgive me
sing again.

Morning

          An Aubade
by Margaux Novak


Sometimes it’s safer to lie down.
The winter gone from my skin
my shoulders open, arms outstretch
I could ruminate on past days
but regret is fickle consolation.
Instead, I turn skyward. My freckles
the Pleiades across my breasts,
the multi-blonds of my lashes
beat back against the sun.
I press my palm to my lips, whisper
down my lifeline and breathe
wisps of salt leftover from night.

The Cabin

by James W. Spain, II


The old cabin
deep in the woods long neglected

was once a home full of love,
laughter and family.

I recall the holidays spent with
special relatives and friends.

People that passed away many decades ago
but still very much alive in my mind.

The warmth of the fire as we all
passed a dark winter evening aglow.

The smell of fresh coffee early in the morning
and apple pie in the evening.

Electricity and indoor plumbing were
a luxury that we did not know.

Our food was grown in the fields
while hunting and fishing provided the rest.

Friends were your siblings and your
siblings remained your friends for life.

This was the true meaning of family
and values were not taught but learned by example.

The old cabin
Deep in the woods long neglected.