Bruce Mundhenke

Finding Treasure

I used to see sounds,
Hear colors, and feel,
Quite deeply about things
Most folks thought unreal.
In those days I learned things
I never could tell,
Like ecstasy hearing
A robin bird sing,
Or the depths of desire
That a longing could bring,
Or finding an answer
That could never explain,
The caress of the sunlight,
Or the sound of the rain,
Or the feelings that come
From sensing your touch.
So much beauty 
In such a short time,
More here than any
Could see or could know,
And more to be found
Wherever we go.

A Breath Gone By

So your tears were silver,
And your smiles were gold,
And you laughed and cried,
And watched your life unfold,
And the hearing of silence deafened you,
But the silence made you bold,
But before you ever said a word,
You found you had grown old,
By the time you could have spoken,
To tell the tale you knew,
Your will to tell was broken,
And the time came that you flew.

Yuan Changming

I Hate Winds Simply Cuz 
            (for Qi Hong)
They are always bullying, preying around 
Wildly & invisibly
Upon the weak on the prairies &
   Swooping down on
Every tree trying hard to meditate
While trespassing the territory of 
My most private feel & thought 
About everything, or about you alone

(R)e.volution: Scissors of Nature/Nemesis
Not really randomly
               But always resolutely 
Ready to prune the trees of life
 Plant or animal
With one blade as blunt as the human brain
                                                      But the other much sharper than the edge of time 

Self-Semantics: a Bilinguacultural Poem 
1/ I vs 我: Denotations
The first person singular pronoun, or this very
Writing subject in English is I, an only-letter
Word, standing straight like a pole, always
Capitalized, but in Chinese, it is written with
Lucky seven strokes as 我, with at least 108
Variations, all of which can be the object case
At the same time.
     Originally, it’s formed from
The character 找, meaning ‘pursuing’, with one
Stroke added on the top, which may well stand for
Anything you would like to have, such as money
Power, fame, sex, food, or nothing if you prove
Yourself to be a Buddhist practitioner inside out
2/ Human & 人: Connotations 
Since I am a direct descendant of Homo Erectus, let me
Stand straight as a human/人, rather than kneel down
When two humans walk side by side, why to coerce one
Into obeying the other like a slave fated to follow/从?
Since three humans can live together, do we really need
A leader or ruler on top of us all as a group/众?
Given all the freedom I was born with, why
Just why cage me within walls like a prisoner/囚? 

Alan Catlin

la vie en rose

In a former life, she imagined
she’d become a rock star like Janis.
An icon with a household name but
Southern Comfort gave her migraines,
beer made her sick as a shit house rat,
and the one time dropping of acid,
made her feel as if her hair was on fire
and her fingers were tongue depressors
that needed to be continually shoved
down her throat. There was a special
place for people like her and it sure
as hell wasn’t Cleveland.

Spent six months in an alien nation
called Catatonia where bread
and water was considered fine dining.
When she finally returned to a place
she once called home, everyone asked her
where she’d been and she replied,
“Bergen Belsen.”
No one disbelieved her.

Rocío Iglesias

the human body is a nightmare 
 She said, “the human body is a nightmare“
and I thought of my body embracing,
laying relaxed on the chair like a ghastly cartoon

The human body is a nightmare
and I thought of my body waking with blood between its legs,
I see my ancestors, ghost, and spirits
my body that asks, “how else should I behave—
when I know the body is the home for our shared stories?”

The human body is a nightmare
And I stick my finger in the wound
think of my body swaying like a stuffed animal 
occupying even mundane spaces in the most fascinating ways
the simultaneous disorderly beauty and sublime embarrassment of having a human body

She said, “the human body is a nightmare”
and in that moment I almost believed her
What I mean when I say that I love you
I want to unfold
like the raft that carried me through the deadliest storm
like your mother’s face
like the everyday mug
I want to unfold and be true before you
when I tell you that I love you
I mean that I love you infinity
I love you like it’s written in the stars
I love you like I can trust that what leaves will come back
like I didn’t meet the God of my seaside city on a dark night and watch all the stars burn out in the sky
like instead I looked up and saw a smoke signal shot into the sky
and it was you and the compass of your hands
I love you like although I am perched on the very edge I do not know how to plummet
I love you despite the prepossessing tragedy that we are given this one life 
and told nothing beyond
I love you like it’s my birthright,
like I wrote you in poems before I met you
I love you like a neither one of us will ever die

Catfish McDaris

Her Taco Tasted Like Rain
Our love making was like a spaghetti
western; good, bad, and ugly
Her freckles were devil’s kisses
showering down from purgatory
She used to striptease, while a monkey
played viola and the organ grinder did just that
Stumbling through time, I wished I’d never
eaten her shit sandwich lies
She drove stakes through my
obsidian oblivious soul  
Slipping and melting through my fingers
like mawkish snow and raging wind.
My cheeks were wet rivers,
tears swimming from Nagasaki
My heart imploded and exploded
in the fiery pain of Hiroshima
Blood in the salt, lime, and tequila
I know now I should’ve cared more for you.

Sushant Thapa

Now and Then

Getting inspired 
From the old childhood days
When we did not search for the hiding clouds
But wanted to cage the waking sky. 
Mind was not tamed
It was free like a mad waterfall. 
Idle locks and keys 
Meanings and complexities 
Have opened the doors of personal chaos 
Today, from the lens of youth it is seen that 
Old age wears a spectacle and smiles back. 
Time is too obvious to talk about 
Let it pass. 
Gears and shields pave the track 
And the train of passion finds its only way
My love, your rose was too delicate
But the colour it washed me with 
Has still not faded
Maybe I should call you again. 
Whatever our love meant
I am ready to walk on the dusty road. 

Ian Copestick

Beam Me Up Scotty

It's really weird,
I decided to treat
myself today, so
I bought myself
a bottle of Jim 
Beam. I'm about
three quarters of
the way down it,
but I feel kind of
sober. Until I
try to stand up,
then it feels like
someone has
stolen my legs.

They just won't
work, I'm all
over the place,
staggering and
stumbling, and
bouncing off the

It's really strange,
if I'm that pissed
then I really should
know about it.
It's  weird how
different drinks
produce different
effects, you would
expect all alcoholic
beverages to be
the same.

But no, my legs
will bear witness
to that. 

Howie Good

Past Due
Quit stalling, will ya? You were supposed 
to be here by now. Your mother is so anxious 
for your long-anticipated arrival she’s been
bouncing on an exercise ball to urge you on. 
What fun times you’re missing! What sights! 
Just today I saw the sun go down in a profusion 
of toxic colors like a ship full of chemicals 
burning intently at the edge of the world.

Daniel S. Irwin

Rabbit’s Foot
I had a lucky rabbit’s foot.
Somewhere there was 
An unlucky rabbit missin’
One foot…maybe more.
I lost it, so much for luck.
Maybe some lucky fool
Found it and went lookin’
For the rabbit it went to.
In that case, the finder
Was probably more nutz
Than lucky.  If he went
Lookin’ for the poor rabbit
Down a gator’s gullet,
There might be a gator
Out there now with a
Lucky rabbit’s foot and
A lucky arm inside him. 

J.J. Campbell

back at the old farm
and in my dreams
i'm back at the old farm
love of my life smoking
a joint on the front porch
i sip on the oldest bottle 
of scotch i have watching 
dark clouds roll in yet again
when you are no longer
scared to die, thunder and 
lightning and any rage from 
mother nature never fills you
with any ounce of dread
ease back into the easy chair
and grab an old book
we always wanted to 
take down the world 
on our own terms
sometimes you have to take
a step or two back to recollect 
yourself and allow the view
to completely come into play
she passes me the joint and i 
kindly open my third eye
they warned me when i was
younger about taking drugs
i now understand they simply
wanted to keep the good shit 
to themselves
a unicorn will graze in the back 
pasture and we'll drift off into 
the ether
comfortably plotting 
our next move
listening to old nina simone records
it's a harrowing voice
out of an old speaker
you can recall the days
you used to lay around
naked, smoking cigarettes
while listening to old
nina simone records
the poems would come
faster than teenage boys
watching their first porno
you knew right away about 
genius and greatness
and all the editors that
rejected this brilliance
were fucking fools
now with hindsight
you realize that asshole
couldn't write worth a shit
but this asshole here,
he can lay down the words
like a fucking madman
like some cleanup hitter
that never fails to drive
in the runs
the great ones re-invent 
themselves every few years
not out of some necessity
but out of pure fucking 
when that trick goes away
there is only one dark corner
left to stumble upon