by John Dutterer


Blackberry dirge factory
a trumpet solipsistic
invasions imperceptible
to middleclass Medici perhaps
mowing thistles jammed
with dandelions industrial
wisps of despair airborne

Lionizing magazines of
bulls-eye headed
Hollywooden sacrificial goats
nightly spilling genetic code
under stratosphere spiked
with cancers extra fancy

Vendettas mapped via
text messaging graffiti
the pageant bulldozerly
bite-size fireworks the
fearsome aphrodisiac
dancing around the
crater with its
secret copyrighted name
the crater that
we all carry


Declensions of Exist

for Amy

by John Dutterer

With the nostalgic glamour of turquoise necklaces
In the always mild glow of bakery marquees
Under clouds as superfluous as childhood’s pillows
Inside the whale of small-town doubt
On a calendar splattered by rumors of recession
While our processions mirror the orbit of Pluto
Until the rumored rebate from even more distant spheres
Above the snowy exhalations of gravity
Because unscribbled laws have an answer for everything
Within the regal taste of certain chocolates—distances blossom
Wherever their diagrams fall short,
let’s be there,
my love, let’s be there.

by John Dutterer


The four presidents
of the Apocalypse woefully
under the purple
cloud wafted by the colossal
head of Crazy
Horse Imperator

So…as the hills flex
terrestrial muscles and
the rain ushers in
a haze, nay, an era
of such dawn-of-time darkness (um…so
we drive on wordlessly)

Region that needs
us not, every tree an
irritable ghost;
sky stacked in sedimentary
layers of purest
hypothetical bile

We shall encamp
at a sloth of a hotel named
for any cowboy and
sleep a hopefully dreamless
sleep (us, with our pale heredity
of the potentially wicked.)

sam has never said

by Anthony Liccione


he was gay,
just said he likes
his morning coffee
with twinkies and
butternut crème,
the mixture of daisies,
and bees and sweet
honey, going busy
in his garden,
but sam never said

his was gay,
just the other day
I heard he was hyped
up at the homo allegiance
throwing cans and nuts
into the gathered crowd.
and cording a box of
kool menthol in his
shirt pocket,
smoking them down,
cool as james dean,

eating his
cottage cheese
mixed with peaches,
he once told me a joke
about a black,
a jew, and a gay
in a bar,
and something
about the black
being on top
the food chain,
the jew screwing over
and the gay going both ways,

but no, sam
has never openly
said he was gay,
he’ll still shoot darts
over bottles of
löwenbräu bier
with the guys,
crack an eight-ball
symmetrically perfect
into the corner
of the table and
win a twenty,
keep the goatee
on his chin nicely
and act like his eyes
could strip down
the statue of liberty,

all the while, grinding
down five automobiles
and mature
at the hammermill
in a day at the job,
as five men working
at the demolition ball,
swinging quietly
in the storm of impact,
and making great shatter.

the many hopeless

by Anthony Liccione

are against the rail
at the subways station,
carving their name
in stench, wine and
against the grave
sidewalk of their
bags and newspaper beds
begging for the last few
drags of smoke,
dangling from someone’s
or a quarter to spare
for some deodorant.

never paid much
attention to them
while they tipped their
pint bottles of whiskey
bottoms up for a swig,
while I wait
to drop my few quarters
into the next metro
to take me home.

just wonder where,
what had placed them
there against the cold
wind in the first place-
did they have a vendetta
against paying taxes
to uncle sam?
did one become a lawyer
then lose his trust
in the judicial system?

what brought
them here by choice
was it a gun,
a drug,
a marriage
to a bottle,
an invisible God
that drives
the many to insanity?
what made them give up
the ghost of promotion?
was it the devil
slouched in the closet
of their childhood,
or the severe beatings being
served by a strange daddy?

it was my learning
of bukowski
in creative writing
I took in college,
that gave me a different
view of the drunks
at 14th second street,
and the heroes that died
in the whores.
I know there is a brilliant
story somewhere in there,
if only they too knew-
a story that’s burning
with song and triumph,
but revelation
to all of us
that never knew
what it is like to struggle,
that never cared
about the dead bones
on the foot-level sidewalk,

that they brush by
avoiding to touch
with eye contact.

DeKalb County, Illinois

by e.vega


1 (Shock is Selfish)
Don’t be alarmed when at 17 your great grandma says, There are no good Mexicans in the world. You will want to look directly at your father or one of your uncles or your grandpa. Your mom will bring more sweet corn to the table to distract from what is about to happen. She knows you better than you want her to.

2 (Farming is Necessity)
Mom buys sweet ears at a Butera that sells Iowa corn. Your dad will find this ludicrous (You’ve been living isolated in a sea of Illinois stalks since fifth grade though none of them belong to your family.) and will begin a garden in the backyard which will later be dug up by your dog.

3 (Fertility is Magic)
The corn will never grow in your soil though it is in abundance in DeKalb Co. Tomatoes. Jalapeños. Those grow. Your dad will jokingly say, We have made this land too Mexican. He will spend four growing seasons working on the corn. Tilling the soil. Watering the seeds. In the end he will have spent more money trying to grow the corn than your mom will have spent buying it.

4 (Home is Relative)
The corn will have distracted you as your mom had wished. Look up to see your great grandma going on about Mexicans. You look at your boyfriend. There is nothing on his face, nothing in his eyes. You must dump him soon for being passionless but will keep him around long enough to make a point. You decide to just look at your great grandma. Say, Sicilians are the scum of Italy. She will slap your face. Hard. You will walk away and mourn at night clawing your skin like the stalks that shove their roots into the ground clenching every inch of Earth for security.


by Howie Good


I’m standing in the crooked window of a feeble yellow house drawn in crayon by the child I was. Friends disappear like incautious snowflakes. Hearts hunch their thin shoulders against the cold.

You don’t know who I am or what happens next. If an underworld informer told you, would you believe it? There’s a “s” as in salt, there’s a “n” as in November.

Office girls visited on their lunch break. The flowers were leaking blood. Children couldn’t stop sobbing. You can still see the marks where the nails went in.

No need for thorns. Thorns are obsolete. Fire, fire, madmen scream and stab themselves in the neck and arms with dirty needles. Got a minute? Shine a light down the abandoned Turkey Fat Mine. Summer shines up from the bottom.