person Jessica Dawson, three poems

Jessica Dawson is a modern-day Wendy, currently struggling to remain sane in America with her Peter Pan. She abhors self-promotion but requires an audience at all times. She is a poet on pause, an editor, and the author of Fossil Fuels (verve bath press, 2008), from which the below poems, with permission, are taken.



He was
twice the mirage-

a plainclothes
circus clown,

a blank bird
scrawled on the face
of a balloon.

He was
a tale within a tale
from a foil-covered book.

I dissected him
like an elephant painting
posing as a masterpiece.

His words
began to warp
under antediluvian vows.

Beneath the heft
of tangibility
(oh those fingers!)

he crumbled like
sugar cubes.



My markets have been corrupted
by hands
so easily tempted,
by heads so easily turned.

You’ll find naught more than
empty stalls,
bits of rubble,
husks of eaten things.

This is the death of dying.

Hold your breath
against the face of these gales-
they are neither gentle nor sweet.
They won’t fall
softly at your back…

Yes go back!
Go back to the place
from which you came.
Cleave to your mother,
her skin not so repugnant
at your homecoming.

I am not an ocean
I am only the illusion of ocean,
a ripple on the face of a lake
an underwater current in a dirty river

more vulture than falcon, really.



He blew the bombing of vacant buildings-
from the square shatter
of broken bricks
to the tinkling of the smallest glass slivers
crusting the concrete.

His notes were bunches of lilacs,
were handfuls of river stones.

He pressed the metal gently
as a big-palmed doctor
lightly counting the toes
of a newborn child;

like if hummingbirds
were the size of dogs,
or if dogs discovered lightning.


person Jim Zola, three poems

Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children’s librarian. Published in many journals through the years, his publications include a chapbook — The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press) — and a full length poetry collection — What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC.



Sometimes a word is like the sound
a wind chime makes in the neighbor’s yard

where all you ever hear is barking,
a dog you never see but imagine —

a mutt with one black eye, one brown
and a dusty snout snuffing

at the bottom edge of the privacy fence
that keeps him in. What evidence

is needed? One plus one plus one.
Look through the wooden slat, whisper

loving sounds. Somewhere there is an empire
and a miracle and a hound,

head back, baying at the truth.


I am Just a Colorful Rattle

Begin with the heartbeat
of faceless angels.
I meant to say angles,
obtuse wings, gossamer geometry.
There are reasons to mask the appetites.
Fumed birds see what we can’t.
Killdeer chase hawk across the quarry sky.
Da Vinci spent 12 years painting
Mona Lisa’s lips.
Yuan Mei obsessively washed his feet.


Your Other Life

What does it matter what reality is outside myself – Baudelaire

You want to live your other life in a room
with blue bottles, where the light outside
is understood, where words filter through the blueness
and cover you with a new kind of need.


Inquisition – poems – Kazim Ali

poetry by Kazim Ali
Wesleyan University Press, 2018


Do strangers make you human – {from} Drone

This odd exactitude. This thisness. These inhabited levitations. These spiritual hashtags for the redactions of Babel. This poetry….found, founded, in Kazim Ali’s Inquisition.

To know there is always another text.

In a different book Jesus
never suffered, never was flogged or died
went whole into heaven without passion – {from} The Earthquake Days

To command, with embodiment, form.

do swear oblivion
Has its own markers but where the buoy
Of being clangs its stellar ore – {from} All One’s Blue

This is a searching work, a locating text, and its voice is one that makes of ground a hymn to some future itinerary. Ali is a believer in, a writer of, histories unmade by a record-breaking presence. If he wanders into the loneliness of the long distance runner, it is to appear as the clocker of isolated sprints.

(I weep like a stone)

(Really close to) two – {from} Forgotten Equations

Sail or spin I endless ember – {from} The Labors of Psyche

These are verses, redrawn, from a borderless awe. Unmothered anecdotes that fact-check the paternal past of the overtaken visionary. Were poem to erase all I pretend to love, I could live hearing such a speaking as is here, with how it addresses the now with a deepened next.


reflection by Barton Smock


book is here:

person Andrew Kozma, one poem

Andrew Kozma’s poems have appeared in Blackbird, Cave Wall, Subtropics, and Best American Poetry 2015. His book of poems, City of Regret (2007), won the Zone 3 First Book Award.


Song of the Coming to Terms With It

First, the bargaining. Then the begging. And, at last, the realization
there’s no one in the room but you.

There are no terms to be had. No concessions to be won. Waiting for death
isn’t as lonely as death, but only just.

In Wales there is a pot they put the dead in. The dead boil and twist
their limbs into life, but are still dead.

And then there’s that philosophical fear that you’re the only real one here,
everyone else an automaton. Dead.

When every tree laces the ground with the dead. When the tall grass frays
and refuses to die. When storms don’t rain.

There is no it. Nothing to fear. Nothing to fight. Just the possibility of absence
and, eventually, its absence.


person Tim Kahl, one poem

Tim Kahl [] is the author of Possessing Yourself (CW Books, 2009), The Century of Travel (CW Books, 2012) and The String of Islands (Dink, 2015). His work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Drunken Boat, Mad Hatters’ Review, Indiana Review, Metazen, Ninth Letter, Sein und Werden, Notre Dame Review, The Really System, Konundrum Engine Literary Magazine, The Journal, The Volta, Parthenon West Review, Caliban and many other journals in the U.S. He is also editor of Clade Song []. He is the vice president and events coordinator of The Sacramento Poetry Center. He also has a public installation in Sacramento {In Scarcity We Bare The Teeth}. He plays flutes, guitars, ukuleles, charangos and cavaquinhos. He currently teaches at California State University, Sacramento, where he sings lieder while walking on campus between classes.


The Child of God

Seven years of quick strides calm the morning session at the wanting gong
steam rises from the gutters and from farther down in the sadness

where the sentimental klutz has fallen off Mt. Tamalpais into anguish
his slacks at the bed’s edge just after the peeing that redeems him

he is the Child of God dislodged from the mud by a million tiny stones
the fine mesh of his great premise riding the angstroms of the waves of light

his flame become form remaining cushy in the mid-day world
but not bored by the blood coursing through an existentialist

he rehearses the Dublin kiss in the once world of melancholy
rides a blue bicycle from Copenhagen to autumn

he is not the birth of tolerance nor the middle manager of minds
he holds hands with the trudgers through a small hole in the age of clowns

intercepts the Sunday voodoo of the road gang at Motel 6
where the blotches of love stay awake and inching towards alive

it’s drinking time with the splintered Catholics and their liver problems
hello there Mephistopheles the ginger full of grace across a bright surprise

the son of a creator is not very good at inheriting political messes
so instead he beats a hamhock against a bucket and calls it dance music

he trained most of his life convincing others to give him things
the boy in him bends to a white wave of books and bursts into dead words


person Paul Koniecki, three poems

Currently based in Dallas, Paul Koniecki‘s latest books of poetry are “After Working Hours” from NightBallet Press and “Reject Convention” by KleftJaw Press. His poems have appeared in movies and anthologies all over the world and in 2018 Koniecki will have three new books, “Tom Farris is my Safe-Word” from CWP Collective Press and a split collection of poetry with Matthew Haines from Spartan Press, being two. He is the founder and co-host of “Meet Me With Curiosity” Poetry In The Park at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas.



-for Adam Rainer the only recorded adult little person and adult giant in history

The next tent held a loveseat
and a different pair

of attached twins who were
for the moment gone.

A letter in my pocket, dated when
Adam and I visited five years ago,

still reads, “do
you want us both to come?”.

as now I keep asking if this

is where my son should live.
Touching their note I know

there are
many types of loneliness.


out past sleeping

is a broken

yellow is thicker
parts strewn
on a tarmac

of obsidian disks
floating in colorless

catalog of dreams
i touch your thumb knuckle
i drink your heart

inside a rock
at the river’s bottom
i find your fortune

a slip of wet paper
the consistency of marrow
rub the paste on my skin

and become the words
turbulence rising from my mouth
a secret adverb held in

the motion of a blink
memory is virgin incomplete alone
absolute only in its mistakes

waiting to be unseen
inside a rock
at the river’s bottom

i lose your face
and photograph


A confluence of words,

the silence of snow and unread lines,
graupel, city-slush, the way cold air
and water meet to make winter.

Gravity conscripts an object of subordinate mass,

life also lashes us to one,

like rivers in the sky falling to pieces
outstretched tongues, and urban
towers spinning in a fog of exhalation.


person John Grey, one poem

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.



We live near a graveyard
where children play
among willows and tombstones
and the ghosts don’t seem to mind.

Our neighborhood is a democracy of sorts.
The sun shines on the living and the dead

This place suits me.
So does that cemetery up the street.
It’s where I will end up someday
but there’s never any pressure.