JD DeHart… Getting’s Good


Getting’s Good

the shade of green
drives them on, animals
chewing on some bit
of promise —
what will they do
with the stacks and piles,
the eventual refuse
and detritus?


J.D. DeHart teaches English to middle grades. He enjoys the process of writing and reading literature.

Copyright © 2015 by JD DeHart







Hey Man …. Come Back Here… by John McKernan


Hey Man …. Come Back Here

The child

Screamed to the man

Walking away
With sure steps

Faster each minute each hour each day each week

I take it all
I don’t hate you

I won’t try

To kill you
If I ever get the chance
In a dark alley
Like tonight
To kill you twice
Like right now


John McKernan – who grew up in Omaha Nebraska – is now a retired comma herder / Phonics Coach after teaching 41 years at Marshall University. He lives – mostly – in West Virginia where he edits ABZ Press. His most recent book is a selected poems Resurrection of the Dust. He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Journal, Antioch Review, Guernica, Field and many other magazines.

Copyright © 2015 by John McKernan







Joanna Conom… How I Finally Learned to Make Fruit Salad


How I Finally Learned to Make Fruit Salad

children of the victors have heroes and flags but no tales

children of the victims hold the memories in hearts and stories

in the christian genocide which was not so named a man could watch

his children tied limb by limb to four horses while dismembered or

tossed in the air and shot the women used in all ways not be returned

men did and were done to with what they did in war

my grandfather told me these stories even as I covered my ears

houses burned while owners escaped then disappeared anyway

all they retained was misery suspicion grief and story no one wanted to hear

all the shiny things were kept by the victors to be digested by sunny children

who heard only fairy tales of things past victors who seemed

when I first met one to be of oddly good cheer a friendly generous soul

who had never heard of genocide in school had lots of

friends at his table spread thick with foods I had never tasted

and could not help myself we all stuffed ourselves with

the forbidden talk and food and music of childhood tales

all night I could not sleep wondering how I had eaten

the food of others memories without poisoning

from such indulgence so I called the next day begging for recipes

to be prepared with a big dash of story and small sprinkle of guilt


Copyright © 2015 by Joanna Conom






Evan Guilford-Blake… Cowboy Nocturne


Cowboy Nocturne

Let me tell you about love: About real love. About being in love. With a butterfly.

I met Bobby when I was 20; he was, oh — older. Bobby’d been around the block a few times. Me too. But goin’ around the block was what you did in those days, what everyone did. It was 1983. Hey: didn’t none of us know no better; then.

Olivia introduced us; she was his roommate back then. O and me, we met at this club, a bar, really, where she danced and served drinks. There were lots of places liked that in New York in those days.

Bobby, he was a butterfly: Light, delicate. Beautiful. Seemed like he floated. Like music; like his music. And, he was a cowboy — and before you break out the Brokeback Mountain jokes, he never set foot west of the Hudson; but, y’ know — we both were: I mean, I always liked boots and chaps and spurs and leather vests. And ropes; and – stuff. And he really liked me – in them.

The other thing he really liked was music, all kinds but ‘specially the music he wrote. So did I; once I learned a little. Once he taught me; a lot. First time I met him, he was playing; at the bar where O worked. Blues. Not that he had the blues — I was dark; Bobby, he was all light — just, he favored the music. Me, I grew up on C&W; moved to New York when I was 19 and didn’t know much of anything else, then.

But Bobby introduced me, to a lot of things. I guess you could even say: love. Being in love. I came home this one night, little while after I moved in with them, Olivia was there, dancin’. Not the kind she did at the club, but this slow, swayin’ kind, the kind I didn’t really understand. Bobby was playin’ his piano, and he just raised his one hand, real slow, to his lips. “O’s dancin’,” he mouthed, and he kept playing till he finished it, three or four times; and O kept dancin’. Big smile. On both of ‘em. And when he finished, they smiled at each other and he got up and came over to me.

“That’s for you,” he whispered. “Like it?”

“Yeah,” I told him.

“Good,” he said. “I hoped you would. I call it Cowboy Nocturne.”
And he put his arms around me and held me in this, kind of dance, kind of swaying. And Olivia, she danced around us.

“Like a cocoon,” he murmured. “My little butterfly.”

Course, he was the butterfly. His wings were his music, Olivia says. Yeah. And, y’ know, butterflies don’t fly very long. But he still – visits me. In the dark; and when I get darkest. I can feel him, his arms. We sway. And, I still got the music; his music; maybe it’s not the same. But I still got that.


Copyright © 2015 by Evan Guilford-Blake