Thirteen Myna Birds!


This is the saddest song ever written:

Nothing here is pretty,

Not really.

Your true love, though perfect,

still a wildflower drooling

crowned & plushed with

\           your messages unopened

The pictures

pure black

—my nectar burns them

your corsage of violets in quicklime
your promqueen in the limousine on fire

your promqueen hollowed out & filled with tealights

will you read this?
i haven’t been sleeping

butterfly knife folded in the oxblood
of my bed

none of us are getting past this,
not in reallife:

our teeth by the hundreds
already settled in the huge
dried-out socket
of dreams

other halves & property

this waiting for glass slipper
to break in

~Chelsea Margaret Bodnar~



One thing you should know about me (ii):

depression meds

Make me lose
or gain weight

My poems gone

Their pretty
caved in,

Concealer of
tinsel and
convex mirrors,

My big coat
full of rats.

            I scare easy, then I scatter


My horoscope
of dirt

Pays off with

Callus in
my mouth from talking

About everyone

My tongue

Cleaved to the roof
of empty house

~Chelsea Margaret Bodnar~



My biggest regret (iv):

There isn’t much good left

In me; my universe

Its stars
Dead and almost dead,

Constellation rendered
Even more meaningless.

And, made of other people,
hell is boring.

Its once-red
devils sallow
pink, cutesy

And embarrassed.  You ask

My favorite movie,
say we have

Kismet springing
from your adequate

Warm and narcotic.

My destiny

By the awful gravity

Of you

This premonition

More like

My supernova circumscribed
in void

~Chelsea Margaret Bodnar~



I should spend less time (v):

Wild and on fire,

All my bright
Snuffed to ash

And flicked in

Everything     is


in your freezer
in the middle
of the summer

Clean knives

And heart-shaped

Of chocolate

When I was wanting

When I still wanted

Whatever       it was that
I wanted

~Chelsea Margaret Bodnar~




You told me and then I told you
I wasn’t listening
No room for your words
My words had me full
I suspect it might have been something like that for you
We were spitting words out like watermelon seeds off the dock
That sank into that weedy marsh we called the lake

Then fists were all we had left
Or did I dream there were words?
Maybe we started with fists
Mute to express the complicated helix of rage
Passed down from countless generations

Now you are gone and I can’t ask
What you said and what you heard
I can only finger this scar on my chin
Your one of many gifts to me

~Deirdre Gainor~



Tending to Black

The pen was old and had not been used for many years. Its words in the diaries were wrapped in tissue and packed in the attic with the photos, crib and layette. The curvaceous sounds of laughter that had filled the cottage had soured like milk left too long on the counter. The wild thoughts that had bubbled on the stove filling the house with the scent of joy and laughter gathered dust in the cabinets, cold and tending to black. A lone mouse cruised through the rooms every evening at dusk, the scent of fresh grass on its fur.

~Deirdre Gainor~



Tied to Time

It was easier before time dictated the where and the why of her day. Time pulled at her sinews and greyed her hair, a yoke so strong she forgot to notice the hummingbird chattering in the datura, or the palm frond swinging on the telephone wire; swinging to its own rhythm, careless in its dips and swaggers as the voltage sang beneath and above it. She forgot to look for the hidden four-leaf clover waiting in her back yard to give her the luck she so longed for. Tied to time, she strained against the ticks and missed the space between them, those flashes of freedom that were hers for the taking.

~Deirdre Gainor~



Backwards Bones                                                         


This grief is just too big to put a saddle on
since I started living on the inside of your thumbnail
it's an itch that can only be scratched with dynamite

beside a river bed lined with purple lilacs.
Days with you blossom in my brain
like vanilla cupcakes
baked under your watchful eye,
cooled beneath the scissors of your wit.
If nothing else I have learned this lesson:
two doors lead into hell; one is fast, the other faster.


Everything that we love -- it grows old, withers and dies.
Just once
I would like to do it all in reverse
begin the relationship on the day that our love ends.
then move backwards from that moment; you get younger
softer to the touch, more forgiving in your heart
I watch everything as it blossoms

Until you crawl before me, a helpless squalling baby
I pick you up, cradle you gently
watch with the purest love
as you blip out of existence
I forget it all
until the fragrance of a random lilac bush
pinches salt water from my eyes.

~Steve Sibra~



Emergent Phenomena

So I’m digging in the back of my sock drawer, looking for that cool pair with the blue and orange stripes that I wear only seldom (despite their grooviness) because for those socks, you need the right ensemble.
Anyway my fingers feel something stiff like paper, and I pull it out. Turns out it’s a photo – an old photo – a little yellowed and crinkly at the edges. So I’m like, why is there an old photo in the back of my sock drawer?
And I look at it, and it’s like this greenish flash goes off in my head behind my eyes, because I know, right in that first instant, what I’m looking at. It’s a photograph of the moment – the exact moment – when life first emerged on earth. When that first self-replicating amino acid was synthesized In a steamy tidal pool as thunder crashed above. (I couldn’t hear the thunder of course – it was just a photograph.)
And I’m standing there thinking, how could there possibly be a snapshot of the moment of abiogenesis in the back of my sock drawer? To this day, I honestly have no idea how that happened.
But this morning my kid sister comes into the kitchen and she’s like, all right, who recorded over my Demi Lovato album with this grunting? So I say, hey can I give that a listen? And she’s like, sure, whatever.
And I listen, and it’s like this sonic boom goes off in my head between my ears, because I know, right in that first instant, what I’m listening to. It’s a recording of the moment – the exact moment – when consciousness first emerged on earth. And as my ancient ancestor hoots and squawks about the fully-formed thoughts she just had for the first time maybe in the entire universe, I can’t help but think…wow, man. What’s next?



Diamond Salamanders

Decorated with roadrunners and buffalo
Porterhouse surfed the green rivers of
New Orleans while Little Queenie stood

On his shoulders naked for the world to
see, her beauty was an unsurpassed cloud
mountain and lagoons of verdure reptiles

Waiting for, po boys and gumbo with sweet
human meat, the younger the juicier, Port
bought Queenie diamonds for clothes.

~Catfish McDaris~




I hardly ever dream, but last night I did. I was at the post office at lunch and they play Sheep’s Head for money, I didn’t want to play, the stakes were steep for me right before payday. My jeans were so worn, my butt was hanging out, so I went and bought some. This mean woman talked me into their game, they were cheating, but I couldn’t figure out how. She said you lose, I said I have 87 cents, I spent $18 on new jeans. You owe us $11. I said wait until payday.        The other dream I was in a boat in India with my 5 wives, there were lots of crocodiles around, one wife pissed me off, I told her to jump in. The crocs were on her ass, the other 4 wives got scared.




My eyes died tonight, heavy and dulled, like
teabags soaked and used and forgotten, left to lump in
the bottom of an ill-used mug, as if a sunken corpse lost
in the darkness of vagaries...

Turn me over, make me seek out countries of love,
Continents of passion.

Let's make a memory, play with lives past until we detest
Our very confessions.

The tea bags burn.  Blister as I drift off into an unconscious
dance of dreams.
Boil me, darken the color of my leaves,
Take me raw.
~Susan Mahlburg~


I want to drink the mango.

I want to drink your mango
Peel away the firm flesh hiding
In the shadows of your mango grove.

Orange tonalities of warmth mixed
with a lightened brown of your skin.
Firm, supple, suppliant, inviting.
A hint of green whispering of the forbidden.

Why don't you drink my mango?
The ripeness begging to be eaten,
For a tiny bite to release the juices of the heart,

Sweetness disguising its meaty center.
Mix me with a cup of gin, sip on it
As I devour you whole, a tinge of Orient
Smooth as a shot of Montgay Rum.  Deadly.

~Susan Mahlburg~
Ruined Doggerel

I have built a house of concrete things,
Of syntax, where we can place ourselves and our
Becoming; but you are drawn so to abstraction,
You refuse to sprawl across the floor,
And find the proper station in the garden,
The overgrown and tongue-speaking night
Where we will speechless suck the sweet and earthy
Milk from honeysuckles, not yet fallen
To digging earth and yelping pain then we
Will pluck the fruit, the color of our fate,
And stain our hands, our skin with dye and dirt
And we will lie prostrate in the center.

~Susan Mahlburg~


No Rain Will Fall

In this dream, no moon rises
and clouds do not descend

and obscure the chained
dogs waiting behind the rusty

gates. The odor of burning
oak will not greet your opened

window, nor will the knife’s
whisper enter your thoughts

a micro-second before your
eyelids lift to see the pooling

below. The last breath-rattle
won’t disrupt your sleep

but you’ll hear it as a distant
wave withdrawing, and wonder

why the world no longer
presses against your heels,

thinking that light floats
ever gracefully around your

hands so far away, receding,
diminishing, darkening, gone