Old Photograph

BY Susan  Yount

It is August, 1991 and I am in love.

                                             we become

bored while you think between cigarettes.
Still, 4 years before my first death,  
it’s summer and we’ve become ruin.
Already, your hands on my red dress.

It is 4 years before my first death  
and I am a beautiful, pantoum ruin.
Already, your hands are in my black dress.
Our best friend is about to take the photograph.

I am a beautiful, broken pantoum.
“She Talks To Angels” plays in the background,
our best friend is about to take the photograph.
If I was suffering, I kept quiet about it.

“She Talks To Angels” will always remind you of me;
we car-surfed, poured vodka mixers. We were poor.
If we were suffering, we kept quiet about it.
I am wearing your silver cross; I hope you forget,

sip vodka in graveyards. Never mind our poverty,

I hope you can forget
my secrets, the minor fall, the major lift. “Hallelujah” 
reminds me of you.

I was wrong—
I am ruin, a drunken pantoum. You can never forget
my secrets, my suffering, the major fall, the minor lift—Hallelujah.
It was 1991 when we were in love.


Ghost Ocean 11

Susan reads "Old Photograph"

SUSAN YOUNT was born and raised on a 164-acre farm in Southern Indiana where she learned to drive a tractor, harvest crops, feed the chickens and hug her beloved goat, Cinnamon. She is the Editor and Publisher of Arsenic Lobster, works fulltime at the Associated Press, teaches online workshops at the Rooster Moans and is the founder of Misty Publications. Her poetry has appeared in several print and online magazines including Elixir, Bathtub Gin, Wicked Alice, Verse Daily and The Chaffin Journal. Susan is a 2003 recipient of The Lynda Hull Memorial Scholarship in Poetry. In 2010 she was awarded first prize in the 16th Annual Juried Reading competition at The Poetry Center Of Chicago. In her spare (!) time she moonlights as the madame at the Chicago Poetry Bordello. Her chapbook, Catastrophe Theory, is out with Hyacinth Girl Press.

Things I Never Told You

BY andrew mobbs

When you sat shiva in your family's den, the lentils growing cold
on the stove,

Your father's cheekbones burning with the candles, his tears
dripping with the wax,

Prayers in Hebrew creeping up the walls, you forcing a memory
of a birthday party,

Or the time you asked her about the Dead Sea, was it true no fish
swam there happily,

And the time she responded yes, that Yahweh kept some places
just for himself,

You bending down in black poplin, angry at the white roses
for standing erect,

Because any non-wilting thing was bathetic, your bristly legs
in that drafty room,

You wondering why I never called you, never rubbed the grief
out of your shoulders,

Never brought you any words or food, though I tended
to burn everything,

You secretly proud of your stoicism, the candle melting
into a cesspool,

The single fly on the taupe-colored wall, silent while rubbing
its legs furiously,

When you endured it all, I was thinking about what suit
I should wear,

If your father would approve of it, if a store-bought cake
was too contrived,

How I love you most when you are vulnerable, when your head
limps towards my chest,

How death is most apparent through a pungent smell, a mixture
of mothballs and smoke,

I was sobbing for your entire tribe, the air conditioner droning
in unison,

I noticed the skies were between colors, could they ever
choose just one.


Andrew reads "Things I Never Told You"

Andrew Mobbs: blond-headed, whiskey-lipped, tiny Neptune eyes. Modern day Mongolian nomad. He writes poetry about things on which people step. He doesn't own a pair of tennis shoes. He does edit Nude Bruce Review.


BY Pedro Ponce

Under questioning, the subject reiterated his innocence.

Under questioning, the subject gummed ice to splinters dense with code belied by their transparency.

Under questioning, the subject predicted outcomes for several nationally televised athletic championships.

Under questioning, the subject recalled the omniscience of birds.

Under questioning, the subject recalled creating birds, the canons of nesting, the air fledging feathers.

Under questioning, the subject rested on the seventh day.

Under questioning, the subject wept for his children.

Under questioning, the subject no longer required a translator.


Pedro reads "Confession"

Pedro Ponce is the author of Homeland: A Panorama in 50 States (Seven Kitchens Press) and Superstitions of Apartment Life (Burnside Review Press). His fiction has appeared recently in Gargoyle, A cappella Zoo, and Copper Nickel. He is the recipient of a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship in creative writing. He lives in Canton, NY.

You are a Burning Planet

BY Sara June Woods

I woke up and looked for you. You weren't there. There was a pile of nickels. Everything was in sepia still. My dear! My destroyer! My cat-face! Even when we are walking on early saturday mornings I can see leaves and feel them each dying. They are not tree-parts! They are thickets in plagueface, drowning like they don't know what words mean. I am in my room and I am a child and I am making a pilot. You in your room and you are a child and you are breaking erasers into piles of broken erasers. There are 10000 hornets inside an abandoned tree and I am hitting it with my tee-ball bat. There are 10000 hornets inside an abandoned tree and you are hitting it with your tee-ball bat. My mother is calling us. My mother is the ocean. She is up to our knees. The salt makes us float. There are birds kniving clouds and clouds falling on their knees! Their knees! All the world is wound in us like clock-springs.


Sara reads "You are a Burning Planet"

Sara June Woods is a poet living in Chicago. She edits Love Symbol Press and Red Lightbulbs. Her first collection, Wolf Doctors, is forthcoming from Artifice Books. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Barrelhouse, Diagram, NAP, Mudluscious, [PANK], and iO.

Put on a Suit When the Ship Sinks

BY Sky joiner

Put on a suit when the ship sinks,
one dusted of churches in southern summers
when the honeysuckles first yellowed
your hidden kisses. The shirt with every button
in every proper slot; the vest (always the vest);
the pants ironed and hanging beside the bed.
Shoes hint at the intention:
to saunter up to the pearly gates
with the side-tilt of a con artist. 
The laces thin like the aristocratic fingers
who surely once shined them, tied
like those same fingers clasped over crossed knees. 
Yet the body is scuffed, understanding. Slight cracks
reveal green and black glimpses of checkered socks
or the tiny hole on the bottom. The shape is jazz,
but the soles groan like the blues. Exactly how God
always requests trumpets, but alone, in his room, 
pulls out a harmonica. Shoes that know
with intimacy the contours of cobblestone ways,
how to sidestep the puddles, the piss of dogs.
For after one arranges the cuff links on the table,
seeing them tumble off one by one
when the ship tilts; puts on a hat (always a hat);
slides each arm into the sleeves of a jacket—
then one must step outside
amongst the panickers, the mouths
stuck on one obnoxious note as they dodge
the sliding furniture of the deck. Then one must lean
against the wall, looking down to check the time,
and calmly begin humming. 

Humanity is a Punchline

told in a seedy bar
around intimate friends.
Even the bartender

That life
is a blinking contest,
and the formless monster
sitting across the table
has no eyelids.


Heather Cox reads "Put on a Suit When the Ship Sinks"

Sky Joiner is a southern poet currently teaching in South Korea. His poems and essays have appeared or are appearing in Crab Creek Review, Marco Polo Arts Magazine, Spillway, The Pinch Journal, and Aura. 


BY Bryce Emley

It wasn’t the acute bite of pleasure when the blood pooled at the surface, wasn’t the soft release as flesh peeled or the surprising quiet of it all. She wanted to shed the years like a small skin, collect the days like dust beneath her fingernails and drain the memory from her marrow and pour it all into a furnace. 

When their faces reddened at the sight of her, clenched hard into despairing lines and cries, she squinted their features into watercolor. They asked her where they went wrong, asked each other where they went wrong, asked her how she could do it to herself, but she knew they were too far away to hear her say that not all pain is wasted, not all death means dying. 

They called a priest, and when he came to her she watched them watch him and the leather of his bible was cold on her forehead. She felt his syllables fall like hot rain on her skin when he said This too shall pass. He told them there were no demons that could touch her and that God Himself would cradle her like a chick in His hand. He poured oil on her head and it rolled down along her neck. He called for the evil to come out of her and the whole time she watched them watching him.

When he left it was quiet, but they stayed by her bed.

If they could hear her she would tell them sometimes you have to set the old self on fire and bury the ashes in the backyard.


Susan Yount reads "Watercolor"

Bryce Emley has edited several publications, including The Florida Review, H_NGM_N, and 12:51. His writing can be found in NANO Fiction, The Pinch, Yemassee, Orange Quarterly Review, Measure, Pleiades, and other journals and anthologies. In 2012 he received a Pushcart Prize nomination in poetry.

Nasty Things, Those Hearts

BY Kristin Abraham

              —for Matt

In the first room, he fishes for the moon in the water.  He writes a roundup: his words bringing the old-boy dog to heel, his words like choking in her storm. He writes. He forgives.

In the second room, she is seizing.  He holds his hands to her head, presses her skull and its scratching frenetic bird; he tethers her with tent hooks and trumpet vine. 

In the third room, she tears from her skin those hooks, lets loose his pulleys.  Her wreck is personal, some such nowhere.  

This is the room that holds her other room.  Her room of piled purchases, phrenological maps, papers, papers, purloined pills, a folded argument, a folded love. This room hides her greatest fear.

In the fourth room, his fingers lock together, look like brains.  He is taller than Jesus in hat and boots, worn and flannel. He persists.

The fourth room hides his greatest fear. In this room he dreams up trees and windfalls, hollers boom in his sleep. This room is endless, windowless. Is jugular air.  

In the fifth room, his lungs are lost in saguaro.  He is miles and miles, wire topography. In the fifth room, he works harder, ribs along, listens for shhhh with his bad ear. 

The end room is a spill of light, an abandoned lantern, a white hundred. The worst smile is a repetition.


Susan Yount reads "Nasty Things, Those Hearts"

Kristin Abraham is the author of The Disappearing Cowboy Trick (poetry, forthcoming from Horse Less Press) and two chapbooks:  Little Red Riding Hood Missed the Bus (Subito Press, 2008) and Orange Reminds You of Listening (Elixir Press, 2006).  Her poetry and lyric essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Best New Poets 2005, Columbia Poetry Review, LIT, and American Letters & Commentary. She teaches at a community college in Wyoming, and lives in Colorado, where she serves as editor-in-chief and poetry editor of the literary magazine Spittoon.

All the Lost Ones

BY Gay Giordano

doors are scripted with curses
faces under torn paper roll their eyes
announcing things already happened
children wipe noses on strangers' skirts
then run off to eat the night

a mother spills from the bricks
swaying against an alley wall
buttery hands grab her waist
moons are clamoring from their cages
to leave this little slice of universe

it doesn't matter who's under her skirts
as long as it deafens the city's roars
pale hands toss a vague astronomy
like dirt on a grave and she is left behind
to lick up the glimmer

The Butcher 

every day he watches blood
run down the grooves of nails
to a floor matted with footprints
the dust of everyone's passage

a smell of hostile and hostage meat
oars out of the freezer's mist
to remind him he is still here
rowing in emptied veins

he drags his wounded honor around
like a defeated heavyweight
papers innumerable breasts flanks tongues
all the parts of a woman he imagines  

succulent under their wraps
he is clumsy with unspent longing
a springtime's noisy birth
wet with unraveling fists


Gay reads "All the Lost Ones" & "The Butcher"

Gay Giordano got her BA from Carnegie Mellon University in creative writing and her MA in philosophy at The New School for Social Research. She has been published in Mudfish, r.kv.r.y, The South Carolina Review, The Oakland Review, Lullwater Review, Illya's Honey, and several other journals. She has been a resident at VCCA, The Martha’s Vineyard Writer’s Residency, the Banff Center for the Arts, Bennington College, and the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony. She lives in New York City with her husband, who wishes she'd spend more time helping him with his translations of German literature despite her knowing about 10 German words.

A Short Film on Melville

BY Mark DeCarteret

Your tongue long-censored
with both honey and gravel
sought only gratitude—
the critic saying better
what from critics you wanted, 
but the quill and its belly of ink
weren’t unlike some whaler’s tool
with little or no mind for healing.  
Another squirrel starts the day
in the shadow of your thoughts, 
a luminous accent once put to paper
now is scrapped by your eyes—
this was ocean they said
seeing ocean in everything, 
other words carved
into the soles of your shoes, 
more cursed passages.  
Even with the pigs deified
still the stalls will need mucking.  
After days without any light sighted
your wife’s curtsy of coal—
whose mouth would no better
that blackest start of your fire?



Mark DeCarteret's work has appeared in the anthologies American Poetry: The Next Generation (Carnegie Mellon Press), Thus Spake the Corpse: An Exquisite Corpse Reader (Black Sparrow Press) and Under the Legislature of Stars—62 New Hampshire Poets (Oyster River Press) which he also co-edited. Flap, his fifth book, was published in 2010 by Finishing Line Press. From 2009-2011 he was the Poet Laureate of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. You can check out his Postcard Project at pplp.org