Sunday, March 01, 2009

Issue 28

Image (Copyright © 2009 Dottie Ann Stucko)

Ray Succre

Tendai Mwanaka

Michael Lee Johnson

Steve Parker

Dottie Ann Stucko

Felino Soriano

Ray Succre

Passing the Harbor

Harbor waved at, noon, by my young son,
through a window, car-seat soon a bed,
and the tugs brawn ships like neighborly loans.

The Sun sits still, annunciating brilliance,
as I drive, remembering 7th Floor East,
my commitment, asylum, military psychiatrics.

Gown the waking of chill, dotted in floral schemes,
tied round my neck like a sweetheart.
"It's clear you're a danger to yourself, son.
We've already seen that, and maybe you're past it,
but we need to know if you're any danger to others."

Indifference there, long ago, was mostly wisdom,
a body of water through a door, down a hall,
into a chair.

"How about it, son? Would you hurt others?
Do you harbor thoughts like that?" Did I?

Desire, change the room, Summer chance
release, diverted to normality, a nature
modified perspiring the shady gown it wore.

Then crossing the years that shared my bed.
Crossing the tease, dotting the i of a nude life.

Now, the harbor brays in the all noon bask.
My son in back bickers down his window,
and the car-seat brims over, adrift atop joy,
with his copious exclamations for boats.

With the Wind in This Shirt

Fleet, lie down, pave for me across
your planks and hauls.
I wish to walk to an island far off,
and I guard you know the way.

Small fleet, lay down your masts
and bow lowly in the capping seatop;
let me walk across.

My death is far, at end in your charts,
and the village I know is port for all.
There will be ruins and storms to pilfer,
there will be catches of lightning in hands.

Let down your engines and stewards and sails—
Fleet, I’ve bled out my dream upon you.

The Downward Touch

In the rummager world,
that's where I am.
I need the fat light of items.
Together with some,
and alone, too, I am
in the rummager world,
even here with you.

I will return from lights
and trinkets at last,
but in what form do I travel?

A flat, but imperfect stone
sent three quick taps from shore.

Ray Succre currently lives on the southern Oregon coast with his wife and son. He has been published in Aesthetica, BlazeVOX, and Pank, as well as in numerous others across as many countries. He has been nominated for the Pushcart twice, and his novel Tatterdemalion (Cauliay) was recently released in print and is available most places. He tries hard.

Ray Succre Tendai Mwanaka Michael Lee Johnson Steve Parker Dottie Ann Stucko Felino Soriano

Tendai Mwanaka

Nobody Tells The Truth

When a thing vanishes
And then-
Suddenly comes back
Nobody tells it
The truth
Even when everyone knows
The shapes
In the shadows

And a cult of
Personal honesty
Leaves not shadows
But hidden shells
Within hidden shells
Of all the things
That we had felt
As the truth
All gone away.

See How It Begins To Distort

Guard every speech
That you say

Because it carries
The warmth and moistures
Of your life
See how this utterance
Begins to distort

It is a seeker
Of sensations
Knowledge is
Just a side effect
In these particulars

Tendai Mwanaka: I have published several poetry and short stories in UK, USA, CANADA, AUSTRALIA, INDIA AND SOUTH AFRICAN MAGAZINES, inclusive of the following; wordgathering, decanto, winningwriters, earlscourt, newcontrast, itch, poetrylifeandtimes,languageandculture, kota, kritya, barnwood, beyond the rainbow, curious record, mobius, mgversion2,idiom and I have work forthcoming in decanto, newcontrast, phoenix review, downtreader, sonnetart, wordgathering, snailpress, Potomac, poetrymonthly international and newcoin.

Ray Succre Tendai Mwanaka Michael Lee Johnson Steve Parker Dottie Ann Stucko Felino Soriano

Michael Lee Johnson

Phil and Betsy: Illinois Farmers

Illinois writer in the land of Lincoln
new harvest without words
plenty of sugar pie plum, peach cobbler pie,
buried in grandma sugar;
factory sweets and low flowing river nearby─
transports of soy bean, corn, and cattle feed
into the wide bass mouth of the Kishwakee River.
It is the moment of reunion,
when friends and economy come together─
hotdogs, marshmallows, tents scattered,
playing kick ball with that black farm dog.

It's a simple act, a farmer gone blind with the night pink sky,
desolate farmer, simple flat land, DeKalb, Illinois.

Betsy and Phil, invite us all to the camp and fireside.

But Phil is still in the field, pushing sunset to dusk.
He is raking dry the farm soil of salvation, moisture has its own religious quirks,
dead seed from weed hurls up to the metal lips of the cultivator pitting.

The full moon is undressing, pink florescent hints of blue, pajamas, turned
inward near midnight sky against the moon naked and embarrassed.

Hayrides for strangers go down dark squared off roads with lights hanging, dangling,
children humming school tunes, long farmhouse lights lost in the near distance.

Hums till dawn, Christian songs repeat, over God's earth, till dead sounds the tractor
pulls itself down, down to the dusk, and off the road edge.

It is the moment of reunion.

Michael Lee Johnson is a poet and freelance writer from Itasca, Illinois. His brand new chapbook, From Which Place the Morning Rises, is now available at and can be purchased here. He also has 2 previous chapbooks available here. He is also the author of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom. He has been published in USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, Turkey, Fiji, Nigeria, Algeria, Africa, India, United Kingdom, Republic of Sierra Leone, Israel, Nepal, Thailand, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Finland, and Poland internet radio. Michael Lee Johnson has been published in more than 280 different publications worldwide. Audio MP3 of poems are available on request.

He is also publisher and editor of four poetry flash fiction sites--all presently open for submission:

Ray Succre Tendai Mwanaka Michael Lee Johnson Steve Parker Dottie Ann Stucko Felino Soriano

Steve Parker

the night’s travel

in and now out the same door
like all knives whirling
our utter politics in collisions
of limestone pavements

across all this she travailed
with sepia sandbags
of County Clare

all sailroads to traverse
and only 8 O-clock
by the whale's chime

this big hand by the night's wild travel
points to 12
the little hand
flickers and stops

iris of heart attack hope
—love of small things
and wild places

be certain now be sure

it's that time
in between
where the hands don't count

it's okay to be scared here
to lie down and breathe
to lie a little
before waking

Steve Parker: I'm a UK poet working near Haworth in Yorkshire. I've been published in various journals and zines etc, including Underground Voices, The Chimaera, The Cleave, Ditch, Dogzplot, Cause and Effect, Admit Two, Chaos International, Machenalia etc etc, with more forthcoming. Published in a couple of anthologies, with two poems forthcoming in the Cleave Anthology this Spring. Also published a couple of short collections, with another coming soon. I was a founder-member of the Orzel Collective experimenting with transtextual poetry. I also run a poetry and critique forum ( and have a lively poetry blog ( I'm 45, originally from Liverpool, and have two young sons.

Ray Succre Tendai Mwanaka Michael Lee Johnson Steve Parker Dottie Ann Stucko Felino Soriano

Dottie Ann Stucko

The Love Poem

The worship of your soul
Along with the blind
Bathed in Complete Light

created a past

Branched into the never ending sky
the Present is now showered with gifts

Binding the future with dear Death

and so dear friend
may we never part

Dottie Ann Stucko: I had a few poems previously published in Poetry Sz in September of 2000. My bio stated that I was a diagnosed schizophrenic and art student at the age of twenty-two. I was actually misdiagnosed in the past, but do presently live with bipolar disorder. I am still a practicing artist and was recently part of an abstract surrealism exhibit in November of 2008. My goal in this life is to be remembered somehow without giving birth to children.

Ray Succre Tendai Mwanaka Michael Lee Johnson Steve Parker Dottie Ann Stucko Felino Soriano

Felino Soriano

Painters' Exhalations 23
after Edward Hopper's Room in New York

Duality of common indifference. They
conducting silent, unmusical tongues,
spreading separated bodies
farther into mind controlled remoteness, diffusing
a contingent pause in human connection.
Newspaper, holder of his eyes in cupped
palms, elaborate prose. Her lean
precious as genius, her lean
curling into nonchalance atop
the piano's luscious tone.
Art on butter walls,
an infantile landscape
crawling near the feet of
fatherly mountains. Such a
universal translation of comfort,
the mind, if it fishes in an amorous thought,
their bodies can rejoin in married,
amalgamated devotion, where distance's voice
is too faint to wrap around the wings
of fleeing embraces.

Felino Soriano (California) is a case manager working with developmentally and physically disabled adults. He is the author of two chapbooks, an e-book, and has a chapbook forthcoming. The juxtaposition of his philosophical studies with his love of classic and avant-garde jazz explains his poetic motivation. Website:

Ray Succre Tendai Mwanaka Michael Lee Johnson Steve Parker Dottie Ann Stucko Felino Soriano