Week 55: Faiza Anum

Two tones



I would let
my index finger
swim in the residue
of red-chili sauce
and would draw
zigzag patterns
tracing the track
of my life


The flimsy
curtain of cream
that weaves
on the surface
of tea cup
is the shore
I would rescue
my being



Faiza Anum is an educationist, poet, researcher and occasional translator. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Transnational Literature (Australia), Illumen (Alban Lake Publishing, USA), Yellow Chair Review, The Lake (UK) and Open Road Review (India). Her poem “Travelling Tales” was one of the finalists for Open Road Review Poetry Prize 2015.

Week 52: Christopher Hivner

The Last Street

I take the electric,
phases change from blue to red,
hey petunias
grow until the sun shades white,
my garden flashes
all the colors.

I’m not like the others
in this way or that,
pin a medal
to my chest,
the war is over,
marching home down
the last street.

Feathers make the bird,
I’ll stay here
for the night
if the band plays the blues,
rest up
for the long day tomorrow,
finding the criminal who made me.

I survived
without your help
even though
I think of you often,
it doesn’t mean
I need you,
you wouldn’t have been around
even if I did.



Christopher Hivner writes from a small town in Pennsylvania surrounded by books and the echoes of music. He has recently been published in Children, Churches and Daddies, and Wax Poetry. He has had 5 chapbooks of poetry published, the newest is “When Science Collapses” published by Writing Knights Press. website: http://www.chrishivner.com, Facebook: Christopher Hivner – Author, Twitter: @Your_screams

Week 51: Lana Bella



Adored, adorned in tight, neat
stare with dark for hands,
she stilled the water through
clear lake spray. The sometime
girl cornered moon and air
into a mirror, dividing the calm
just past her fingertips. Blush
among viridian and frigate-
birds, she felt an island down
even as she was arc and blur,
sloughing off stars like snake in
season. But this feeling was
hard to live with long, rivering
her body as she became a gift on
the horizon line while currents
held her to this world that
was both softer and sad. So she
felt safe, safe for that instant,
a brain in a feud believing itself
embodied, by the stillest point
stoking to her darkest wounds.



A four-time Pushcart Prize, five-time Best of the Net & Bettering American Poetry nominee, Lana Bella is an author of three chapbooks, Under My Dark (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2016), Adagio (Finishing Line Press, 2016), and Dear Suki: Letters (Platypus 2412 Mini Chapbook Series, 2016), has had poetry and fiction featured with over 470 journals, Acentos Review, Comstock Review, EVENT, Ilanot Review, Notre Dame Review, Rock and Sling, The Stillwater Review, Sundress Publications & Whiskey Island, among others, and work appeared in Aeolian Harp Anthology, Volume 3.

Week 50: Tim Earley

Traveler’s Guide to Old Town and Surrounding Areas

Everywhere this Judas went a bristly grey dog followed him, red eyes as large as milk saucers. Despite its strange appearance, it was friendly to humans, would sidle and bow. This Judas drank lustily, but never lost himself. After nine or ten pints, he’d say, Fellows, I’m drunk, and go home without another word. Husbands grew worried their wives fancied him and dinner conversations sullened. Children followed as he sang a dilatory tune about an aquatic creature who lost his brother in a hurricane and swam the wide seas searching after him. The creature did not find his brother, but sang as he searched and sang so long and so beautifully that over time he transformed into a siren, and a love of his new form replaced any grief. After a few turns about town to memorize the verses, the children started signing too and followed this Judas into the woods. Days later, he returned, but the children did not. He said, This rural life is intolerably heavy, isn’t it, friends, and clapped a man on his shoulder, held him firm. The bristly grey dog ate many chickens, and even a baby goat, but no one felt they should say anything. Eventually one child, Samuel Previn, returned from the woods. Samuel did not recognize his parents and instead seemed to hold himself as the dog’s personal servant, plucking and eating its fleas and foisting baby-talk into its ears.  I do not remember if our harvests were made more bountiful by this Judas’s presence. Some said so, while others held more dearly to their ghosts. The Sunday he kissed our pastor on the cheek, this Judas pulled the dagger from his belt for all of us, not the pastor, to see, its silver flash the transom of a dream, and slid it into the pastor’s heart with such love and grace that many were brought to tears. The pastor gaped at the church’s ceiling, his mother’s face, clucking all the while in his throat. An excellent Judas, most of us agreed, and filed into the street.



Tim Earley has written four books of poetry, including Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery (Horse Less Press, 2014) and Linthead Stomp (Horse Less Press, 2016). He lives in Denver and teaches online courses in literature and creative writing at the University of Mississippi.


Week 49: James Walton

Birthday Stereophonics of the Elder Kind

At times my body heat
presages combustion,
but we’re in the Eye of Us
this constant iridescence,
my VU bright lit
in the red corner.
Going off like radiation
a heart ticking boom,
an amplifier out of mode
but so mellow,
the bass specific
no matter how the EQ is justified.
A kid’s month is a summer tortoise
the day a year of beach towels,
before the lift off
sheds stages of experience,
and you get to look back
at things beyond iteration.
Anniversary on a sky flipped decanted day
a virtuoso blue eclipse,
three sides of the circle
disappearing to bloom,
a lifetime production
full staves at intersect.
I know you prefer baroque over romantic
a cello in tune the piano pride of place,
the storm passing
but I couldn’t help myself,
and not being Jim Croce
I couldn’t say it in a song.



James Walton is an Australian poet published in many anthologies, journals, and newspapers. He was a Librarian, a farm labourer, a cattle breeder, and mostly a public sector union official.

Week 48: Debbie Collins

Please Leave 


The sky is in a hurry, rain beginning
to rush from swollen clouds.
The stars won’t come out,

not tonight. By morning you’ll
be gone and I’ll wonder why
I even cared.


When not writing about unredeemable people in bad situations, Debbie enjoys letting her dog drag her around the block in her neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia. She also likes cooking and reading tiny novels on her tiny phone. She has been published in Third Wednesday, The Lake, Flatbush Review, and the River City Poets’ Anthology, among others.

Week 47: artemis lin

Three poems


What does he mean when he says, don’t come back here no more?

(Every time we get to the same place
Through a separate descent.
We row back and forth.
Our arms strong.
Our oars faithful.)

What does he mean when he throws you,
What does it mean when he disappears
An act of pure witchcraft
Even though you cast no spells

And every horse is a slaughterhouse

And home is a den of thieves


Tell me how the end of Donnie Darko goes. You’ve seen it —
not me, I’ve only seen the beginning where the car

speeds away and the kids are screaming. Tell me if the boy
dies. Tell me if the rabbit not a rabbit is really a demon

and tell me if he convinced the boy to give up his soul. You
see the Faustian metaphor here; you see what

I’m trying to get at. You in your armored car, rattling towards
the exit. You’re in your death throes, now. Every

teenage boy is you throwing in the towel thinking a wound
is a rabbit’s foot — some holy charm to carry.

I get hit by the car; I’m losing a lot of blood. You drive away.
You drive away. You drive away.


Is this morning, is every
morning like this? Or else

every unturned tortoiseshell,
looking for tortoises? Is

every valediction a rose
water cake? Find me a

body who will do it for
free. Find me a body

who will say no. Time
has an uncanny way

of handing you yes’s —
the spookie ookie, the

shit that makes you scream
like you’re living. Did you

ever shake down such
a thing? I can tell you,

I did. I figured it out.
To walk comfortably between

two people without
disturbing the force of

the universe


artemis lin is a queer writer and filmmaker currently residing in Los Angeles, CA. She is the editor-in-chief of the critical film journal RABBLEROUSE, and will be or has been published in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and loves me | loves me not.

Jean in marketing
requested a few days off
for ‘personal time’

Stephanie Barber is an American writer and artist. She has created a poetic, conceptual and philosophical body of work in a variety of media. Her videos are concerned with the content, musicality and experiential qualities of language and her language is concerned with the emotional impact of moments and ideas. Each ferry viewers through philosophical inquiry with the unexpected oars of empathy, play, story and humor.