Elizabeth Kate Switaj


Career Crisis Alchemist

She'd made so many maps
wise text & newspaper patchwork lands
       with hand-drawn Fibonacci trails
    & computer-graphic fractal roads

 every monument      city    statue    mountain kami
      calligraphy with sound etymology

   she didn't recognize your glint
even when you kissed her    Gold
beloved      transform again




Jason Wilkinson


The Haberdasher

...wants a
perambulant to phone
electrodes snatch the bluff,
how this road curves
like the flat aciculate spine
of a Mayan dagger
around it
freckled & gelid
water shifting hotel candles
thrown light some say
that the old man used
butterflies to paper
his dinsome albatross
;wings clap to a forgotten trance

...on the landing she takes your coat,
demure plaits gray
wooden eyes
evaporate behind a
calamitous perfume of sliding doors
obliquely she imagines your voice
receding, into the distant rain-
miasmic fingers tug at a silvern hasp
buoyant and perspicuous
tin flowers

...there's a boathouse down the strand
its long roof scribbled against
freckles of indigo
anarchic branches heaving cleverly
tapping just above our heads
cables in their tweed
dusty jackets criss-crossed
beneath the orange lamp
our skin appears tenuous
the canonical sotto voce
of jaundiced newsprint
upholstered, scatological
its staid countenance
regarding us with anesthetic despondency
through holes in the unshod timber.



Tethered Dials

What fashion built us downstairs
amid the range of unvented
kettles we upturn
to avenge the day ruckle
plaits corseting voluptuous
teakwood globes fell me
with recurrent music
pinions uncircumcised
wilderness bleating their
dinsome flute jargon
one way dials
beyond whom leaf and
amber silhouetted eyes furrow
a loud garnish chipping
off where lighted
candles bled ignominiously,
flayed hours piqued record
store girls beneath a carapace
of idle hands.




Maurice Oliver

"& Riddled With Ambiguities" Sonnet

Start with a dog's head out the open
car window. A city that progressively 
grows westward. Any love song worth 
memorizing. Buffalo wandering the
open plains. Paper clips. Cotton candy.
A hall devoted to a chorus of clocks.
Palatial arcades. Copper steeples.
Ten words welded to a sentence. An
extra set of house keys. A leather
leach. A full water bowl. Canyons that
send your yells back to you. Empty
cardboard boxes. Sturdy wooden
buckets. A heavy snowfall worn like a
beautiful coat. Mini-skirts. Frat clubs.
A tiny shop that only sells ice cream.
Light switches. Stacks of comic books. 
Or even all-the-above will do in a pinch. 


Or Distinctly Odd Circumstances

The bed in the guest room died while I was asleep.
It must have gotten up in the middle of the night to

use the restroom or maybe to grab a bite to eat
from the frig and took a misstep on the stairs. The

runner is loose in places and I've been meaning to
get around to putting a nail or two in it. Anyway, I

woke-up this morning and saw its silky broad
mattress sprawled out on the hallway floor. There

wasn't a bruise on it and not a drop of blood to be
found. It just lay there staring coldly up at the coat

rack as if this was not so much the end of it all but
the beginning of something worse.




Rodney Nelson

Song of Yo Mismo


                                      you started wiv it
                                      Wal Witmin
                                      ess spanish
                                      oh company arrow
                                      all vat shee
                     I tried to do the opposite, sing everyone not me and
                     be the one in the song, in youth an
                     writer of
                                      classical music
                     until I got it that
                     had not yet heard of
                                      Harry Partch
                     or the
                     alternative, in my long postyouth I turned to the
                     written word
                     not knowing what
Thomas Mann to
Ernest Hemingway to Karl Kraus
you had to find room in between
                                      oh company arrow
                     meantime I learnt a popular
                                      married man
                     with a verb
                                      to nest
                     which helped me divine a wisdom in the acquiring of
                     unneeded expensive furniture with checks that bounced
                     and to piss on it
now the times made or let you
modulate to a new key in
another scene the Golden Gate
                                      change you chune
                     as parahippie I did it loud in the streets that led to
                     the enforced harmony of a Maoist commune where
                     the words were both unpatriotic and antisoviet
you would not stay in it but did
not return to the
                                      gee major
triads that you had
                     trained on, a next role
                                      licensed psychiatric technician
                     had me sing to the mad not the masses and paid my
                     warble therapeutics well, then I got it that
                     not what I did was in the coming
                                      treatment model
                     had to switch costumery
regionalizing Dakotan
a not very prodigal son
but anyway home to hymn it
                     in which I edited a Dakota
                     read on radio, acted as
                     in hearty local publications and somehow turned to
                     in the
                                      eastern bloc
                     the refrain both antisoviet and patriotic, until I got
                     it that all my audience were dead or fled, took the
                     to  Arizona
a Mogollon transposition
pine woods in which you would climb high
alone forget the concert stage
                                      back to school
                                      all vat shee
                     however, in university
                     I intoned the cantos of the                       
                                      Chicago manual
                     to an unheeding gallery but went more of the time to
                     the wild with a sidetrek into
                                      radical environmentalism
you were too old to sing lead in
a redwood tree yet did have a
part in the abetting chorus
                     the wild way did not head toward deeper
                     though, went it seemed to the very
                                      yo mismo
                     my song had avoided
                                      Wal Witmin
you have found in now what had been
remnant in memory the sound
of whom you had tried not to be
                     imposture had brought me to self, I get it that I was
                     on the tongue of the child age three who organized a
                     kindergarten runaway to the open road, that
you were in the words you hummed to
her in Golden Gate Park only
wrote so that she would remember
                     I reclaim this moment
                                      yo mismo
                     belated or not
                                      oh company arrow                                  




Island Park

Flooding river used to engirdle it
before the dike went in and now there is nothing
more to do
                     the city cannot turn this
one into a playing field or a storage lot
and will just have to leave it to tennis
but mainly oak
                     if it had not happened to be
so hilly and downtown the park might have
taken in more than the
                     the pool
                     the community theater
all on its periphery
                     too bad and too late
though the city may think of something yet
                     might as
well not move the statues in the meantime
                     only two remain
someone vandalized
the third
                                       Miss Liberty
that a crew took away
in grief and rage maybe
                     had stood in view
                                       Fourth Street
                     you would have to walk to see the
lesser damage to the one of
russet from time and weather toward
the island's high middle
                     a man on a
rock plinth in what they used to call a frock coat with
a weird tilt to the head that does not look
down the intervening apron of snow at you
                     the vandals
have snapped off the walking stick
he holds behind to nightstick length and given a
cigarette to the mouth
                                       who was this guy
                     oh a
                                       poet champion of
                                       the weak against
                                       the strong the father
                                       of Norwegian
                                       literature he opened
                                       Norway to the Jews
                                       lived eighteen eight to
                                       eighteen forty-five
you read on the rock
                     and an incut name at the
base of the statue
                                       Gustav Vigeland
that you do not know either
                     this poet would look
like what they called a hobnobber if it
were not for the cigarette which makes him fit in
here almost
                     with the bums of your boyhood
                     when the word
had an old and half-romantic
                     you have another memory
of the park on such a January forenoon
                     young attractive
girl in an unfitted
band uniform
                     her trumpet case
                     the snowy walk
of whom you would watch the fledging into
a beauty that hurt
                     why do you think of her now
who would not have looked up at
or you
                     she was only living
                     it would not have
had to be here among the dormant oak
                     the low gray sky
was over the whole region
and the man on the plinth means to say
                                       only lived
nothing matters but that to the men
of the park district or to you either





Andrew Burke


poem beginning with a line by Fanny Howe
and ending with a line from Reuters

"Those born on the last day will have no name"
and come swimming out of one language
into the rocky mouth of the next    out of
some lingua franca of muttered remnants of
father's post-coital snore and mother's desire
amphibious tongues licking wet wombs
"feel that! did you feel that? he moved!"
shouting out at the first fresh breeze
the art of Mandarin is in pronouncing it tonally
"Israeli PM to visit China on heels of Iran official"





Maxianne Berger

These Are the Particles

You'll notice these particles when the ice
melts inside a plastic tumbler. In space,
those possessed by integral spin cannot

be distinguished from the ones standing
alone in the dell. Like modest wall flowers
they shrink from the music of spheres,

producing visible auroras when their orbits
cross the Earth's. Their blush shrieks as purple
as a meteor's. Scientists use a sweep magnet

that traps and holds particles which standard
filters cannot catch, in order to gather specimens
for Show & Tell. Field operators dissect them,

rearranging protons and neutrons, wanting
to create and annihilate particles that can't be
sorted, classified, or coloured inside the lines.

These carry the push and pull of gravity, slog
along the bottom of the human mind, clogging
DNA with off-key sing-song. Buildings provide

no refuge: air indoors is permeated with modified
particles as stale as smoke. Health effects include
(but are not limited to) perma-grin and premature

death. On Earth, nearly all known matter
combines protons, neutrons and electrons.
Long-lived particles known to bear grudges,

they damage spacecraft, and some say,
in a parallel universe, a red shovel
idles in a sandbox where no children play.



Somewhere Between Maroon and Indigo

A gargoyle sputters, uncouples from its drainpipe,
cobbles its desperate way across the flagstones.
An owl swivels, ears marauding beyond its gaze;
treble flickering, the hourglass fills with moths.
Violets, breathless from the moon's touch,
wonder where nightmares go to rejoice.

A cross gargoyle uncouples pipetones. The way it flags,
drains a sputter from the cobbles, it's desperate.
With flickering ears, marauding moths treble.
An hour swivels beyond glass; the owl fills its gaze.
Breathless nightmares go to the moon
where violets rejoice from wonder's touch.

Moths rejoice across the moon's ears where
a gargoyle swivels with nightmares. The hour
fills pipes; its glass violets drain; its cobbles
go from breathless gaze to flickering sputter. 
Way beyond the flagstones, a marauding treble
uncouples from wonder, its owl-touch desperate. 




James Davies


Film (268)

Man on sofa, in considerable agony, lifting left leg
(amount of lifts and speed of lifting variable)

He says –

(number of times said and duration of film variable)




Study of Manchester Bus Numbers






Sally Van Doren



Sugar and Benadryl
coast along the capillaries
opening the barking ache
which fertilizes every dogged
acceleration in this hesitant,
honking, weedy mound we
call talking.
  Listen to
the white oak's skin, the recording
you just missed.  Ignore
the starched cuff tightening
on the hirsuit.  Breathe,
chirp and tick.
 A drawer slides out.
Wind animates the maples.
In the shower you saw it
and it spoke, reminding you that
darkness and heat take want from you
leaving you wet, innocent.



In quest of a question
Caroline carved lines
in her back, beckoning
reflective responses
flecked with vespers,
the sponges of the sage,
jeopardizing only the only,
the pejorative dope-
pushers, supine, rushing
to kept tactics, pet
kittens caught in nets
meant for fish. Amen.
Soffits high and low
hid the owl's gift.




Simon Perchik


Into this headwind
easily, my strut
reminds each bird how it first danced
and the sky from everywhere at once

as if a wing resting too long
won't remember the paws
or swipes :I'm circling

to retrieve my feathers
to gather the sky closer :a gesture
a swath and the headwind
—a few top branches
all that's left from claws
from leaps I never forgot

and those who stayed aloft
recognize this circle, they hear
my knees :that contagious stroke

would become their song :gusts
still imbedded in my knees
in these branches filled with streams
that overflow then dry :my shadow
too heavy, follows forever and the birds

—in my knees the Earth
still hears its first bird
roots and all
circling higher, wings
as if my heart
weighs more than its shadow
more than the night and these fields.




Michael Young


That Once Was

Habit urges me down the block,
the same side each morning,
walking to work, stopping in the coffee shop
where the ease of cliché keeps me
in the bounds of  "hello" and "thank you"
and months of repeated visits mean
that now I don't have to give my order
but their kindness has it ready beforehand
and I can absently pay and leave
to finish the walk down Broadway
sipping the warm coffee
that once was the drink of monks
to help them remain attentive
through nights of meditation and prayer.





Changming Yuan


Chinese Chimes: Science or Superstition:
The Ancient Theory of the Five Elements Accounts for Us All

1 Metal (born in a year ending in 0 or 1)
/-helps water but hinders wood; helped by earth but hindered by fire/
he used to be totally dull-colored
because he came from the earth's inside
now he has become a super-conductor
for cold words, hot pictures and light itself
all being transmitted through his throat

2 Water (born in a year ending in 2 or 3)
/-helps wood but hinders fire; helped by metal but hindered by earth/
with her transparent tenderness
coded with colorless violence
she is always ready to support
or sink the powerful boat
sailing south

3 Wood (born in a year ending 4 or 5)
/-helps fire but hinders earth; helped by water but hindered by metal/
rings in rings have been opened or broken
like echoes that roll from home to home
each containing fragments of green
trying to tell their tales
from the forest's depths

4 Fire (born in a year ending 6 or 7)
/-helps earth but hinders metal; helped by wood but hindered by water/
your soft power bursting from your ribcage
as enthusiastic as a phoenix is supposed to be
when you fly your lipless kisses
you reach out your hearts
until they are all broken

5 Earth (born in a year ending in 8 or 9)
/-helps metal but hinders water; helped by fire but hindered by wood/
i think not; therefore, I am not
what I am, but I have a color
the skin my heart wears inside out
tattooed intricately
with footprints of history




R. L. Swihart


Honeypot Ants and Plate Tectonics

Minus the body and clothes, the chair juggles only a pair
of glasses, a keyboard and a Rubik's cosmos

Haunting a Borgian library, panic hands empty shelves
looking for a rumored book

Tired of harnessing the Gulf, engineers play capture the flag
or jigsaw the moon's obverse

The Kennewicks of the world unite, demanding more than
a proper burial

Ribboned to blue Sea-Monkeys, Vernal Regard will disappear
because the night is black and white




Roger Day


At night I lie on a neat stack of mustard-wrapped bundles
I fold and re-fold a Jackson
foreseeing disaster
at each turn of a leaf
the White-house is splattered
with jam
Jefferson smiles benignly as Erdinger bitter
spots his forehead
the walls are covered with Lincoln and Grant
Shiloh burns and young men cower by an unknown riverbank
I plink one string ... again ... again ...
the single C vibrates alone at midnight
rowers sweep up C-notes with their dark blue blades
birds line their nests a bright green shade this year
Jackson — who remembers him now? — lines the aircraft hold
the new order of the ages comes to the banks of the Euphrates
He will favour our venture in the depths of the sands
a sussurant wind catches the green-backs and the sands sing sang-froid
foreskins stacked like trash at the foot of the believer
here, Mother, wipe your eyes with this sawbuck
it won't bring him back but he died for the cause
thirty bucks for your youngest
enough for a Dragunov
may Allah be with you
and death to the Infidel!




Mary Rising Higgins


Two Sections from ShoreTrace


Each day waves respin me
           none of this where exact lets up
                       to seal off or transform lavish with wound centers

The page performs beside an empty chair
                                       sounding out and not while
                                               what I don't yet know writes you


Sunvapor calligraphs colordrip and stoke
                                        where I borrow my time
                                                 through heartbeat thrive dharma

Fear and equanimity bow to never ready
            complete impossible a natural course events
                        red squirrel and Howler climb the pole together


In sleep a self not folded
                     but lifting off by
                                    brookbrink step away guesswork counts


Freeway entrance truckrace morning
              blackbox channel technosignatures the
                            same tunes backmeasured overthetop disguises


Today the water heater tunes winter strings to
                          wild voicetilt towerfields while the
                                   furnace blasts deep bass against the cold


Create your own wave of
             ready at the crowded intersection
                                           flashing a borrowed mood ring


Step toward not what you knew then
                   soul drags no actual history out on
                                       dusk's moonstone schorl accelerating


Zigjog walk evening cellphone shout
                             under a cloudclipt moon basket 
                                           through burning tire bouquet 


Give up to what does not abandon
                            where lookstep paths thicketing neutral
                                                              imagines at rest 


Time and distance profuse
                   this you in question along
                                      starlimb scramble grasps unanswered


And while I am doing nothing at all
                                      lie with me of
                                                      news that stays new


What I would tell you
                     braids an invisible spiral
                                                             clause wires arch


Seismic events will moment a country    
                                weapons of afterward project      
                                               following targets crossed off  


Plummeting time backcomb rakes the
                            inextricable what am I when
                                                and whether you know it or

Quickfacts mesh how to
          turn around oilslicked waters in freefall
                                                      corrupted towers clutch 


Nothing entitles arrogance here
                         amid home helled flaws that
                                               sometimes asks too much of 


To do what you are necessity builds
                    like a business of hopes with
                                       four more corners to travel from


Incomplete arrives at
               prepare for try again's gateway the
                                        millennium once here takes a chance


Jazzlit trope shears
             cutting as it is whether or not
                                        loose catch burst diamonds band

Political names for war sustain
                           lifewaste trauma voteflip spoils                                                                  alongside jetstream drama rounds


When breakthrough pain waves
                        tin sheetwork along the spine
                                                             nothing to do but


At Shackleton Crater we'll meet
                                   to talk real estate in 2021
                                                                one dialect of here


Line point gesture spoke art
                        the primitive timeless reads
                              snowfired permafrost methane pools


Weapons of collateral
                      weapons of afterward
                                            to whose art of mattering then


A coat of orange red pulp tanning
                                           at fulcral snap
                                                             transliterates precise


So little sense walls off the typical
                             we're all collateral river
                                            where floodlands depending upon

Unanswered through problem disguise the
                                     latest gadgets repair to
                                                  go over those old questions



Whitespace hostage stake slant ribbons    Speedread fans    Worldcodes bar according to retail king
              nostalgia realms groom
                 &just when I think I've


Reality tags the snowlapped yard   Angelroll   ,armsweep   Snowheaps figure someone to remind
       me of you 
           an us  
                   as this
                          ornamental yardlap
                                                              a whitebent daymirror


How the pilgrimage will look from here depends upon which preference we project you framed
               to arrive later
                                   where used copy also images  
             as if I messages
                                        present or not


                        The encyclopedic barcodes 
                                                      predates edge crossing
                                       at the if this
                      then in case
             it is the last along
sentiments we offer inhering   Entrancefire villageworld relays along tent remnant soma


            Settle for
                      never enough time
                                         we wouldn't see earlier  
                                   loss logics 
thread displace along the bright prismwise path slope smolder   Over softer raincolors promised


                                                                     stack here  
             where the cede sketch diverges from our own 
weft legend   Lathed engines unfurl   Myth libretto stream forge   Funhouse jam queries airtorch


Waketrail sway under weight of gypsy moths   Shoretoshore adharrows glossdrench salestretch
                                                         dollarcults babybrand 

                                                                              homegirl spraypaint

                                                                                                  sentiment nexus


                                                                    eraseply scrawls





Bypaths loosen out of doubtstream escapes I tell you   Inyourface agreement hindsight overthrow

           belief counts on

                                  remembering easily  



                                                                    builds the

                                                                                 tall bluestem fringe



In constraints of given circles   You must find yourself where kickwire rush hooks hedge
obliteration risks
                                                                 indirect steps out of
                                                                                         a triangle or

                                                                                                 for example


                                                                                                              to offer the


Flatscreen scratchcodes who you are thenthen easeflash forage   One wrong word burns down
        a house  
                      the evening star climbs
                                                     new onto
                                                               December's cobaltplane  
                                                                                      how fine a net each
                                                                                                      beatbrace sets out


          How much we knew then

                                          tagtiers layer  

                                                       image debraid

                                                             sedatepoint curveslips 

                                                                               freshwater ships in

rope scale side catch   The extent to go through makes personal   Raspseige weightgrips refract


Everything is asked of you   Deep wood roads twining may not exit   Lazegaze lessonskip balance
                       tastetouch fragplunge where 
                                                                                     by means of
                                            does not unlace  













H A M I L T O N   S T O N E    E D I T I O N S

p.o. box 43, Maplewood, New Jersey 07040