Down to the Water

I close my eyes and turn left. I feel the sand beneath my bare feet
the splash of imaginary fish beneath the drunk, full moon
the thin screech of seagulls in the wind. I open my eyes and find
I am still in my back yard, a thousand miles from any beach,
an October lawn crunching beneath my feet
thin, yellow blades of grass stiff with frost.

This is not my home. I can almost smell the sweet salt ocean air
promises of warmer weather in the sanctuary of the car.
Winding cliff roads along rocky beaches call me, half a continent away
just past miles of pro-life billboards splashed with pictures of babies
cryptic, threatening Bible verses that may or may not have anything to do with
the particular stretch of highway they loom over
past miles of barbed wire separating me from herds of cows
flocks of displaced ostriches.



The Drop

Never underestimate the power of two
beers, simple carbs, and complex
entanglements: consumption followed by
sex. February shouldn’t be the cruellest
month, but my skin hurts. You followed
me to my apartment and called me “baby.”
An endearment? Enter Hallmark holidays,
pet names. A year later you’re sick
with morning. I’m begging the bed to stop.
I can’t eat Vietnamese spring rolls
without recalling the drop. One moment
you’re sitting beside me on the couch,
and next we’re tied like helium balloons
to an Eighth Street counter. You can
fly, or you feel like you can fly. Never again.
We’re more than just friends. Engraved
on a gold ring are initials, and my initial
reaction is disbelief. We can’t fly
fueled by acai bowls and humidity. Fuck,
don’t mention “summer,” not now, to me.
We’re spending a quarter of the month
in a kinder space, but you won’t kiss
and tell anyone where we’re going.


Visit Laryssa Wirstiuk. 


POETRY: Béchamel Sauce – Robert Ford

Béchamel Sauce

Somewhere within me I rarely choose to visit,
I suspect this is perhaps not going to work, and
she’s insisting it should only ever be made
with all-purpose flour, though I’ve been
coping fine with cornflour, or store-brand
packet mixes for years, and it comes out OK
three, possibly, four times out of seven.
And everything in her kitchen matches like
it was all bought with a flawless shrug
and a customary swipe of the store card.
But then we share uncannily similar tastes
in music – Wagner, Kid Creole – and I like
the way she likes the way I smell, even if
I don’t. I’m rafted to this quaint belief that
if you put the work in, there’s no limit
to the lumps that can’t be smoothed out.

Robert Fold’s blog: Wezzlehead

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NONFICTION: DeAngelo Maestas – Untitled


On the other side of town only a fifteen-minute drive feels so distant. The one place I can always let the world go.

-The place of death,

How ironic, live green grass in the summer encompassed by death and tombstones. The still air as it seems… like time doesn’t matter.

I always know where to go in that little upper left corner. One little spec, in a wave of grey and green, spread on forever like what seems to be infinity.  There she is. The stone made into a heart.

One of a kind.


A big sunflower engraved on the front with such detail.

I always bring her peanut m&m’s. Always the king size. Never more, never less. If I can, I bring her a sunflower. One with the biggest brown center and the yellowest of petals. I make sure it faces the sun… Just like her taking things head-on.

This place is dark and somber but her pink heart gives me hope. I can still see the black lettering now:

“June 5,1970- September 26, 2010.”

Her last name engraved with the finest of fonts.


I always do things different just like her. I put the peanut m&m’s in the flower holder. I lay that one beautiful sunflower on her heart. I like to think her actual heart was this big. Loved everyone. Me, my brother, anyone kind. I still hear her voice. Her calm tender touch. I feel it embrace me.


I don’t wanna leave. The place of eternal sadness brings me true happiness. The thought of seeing her again. I run my hand across the stone, say my goodbyes and let her know I’m doing just fine.


The spec of hope in a world full of darkness. That… is who she was.




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Emily As Only If Something Specific Happens

I was wrong about women.
I thought good women were
freshwater women, leading
me somewhere brilliant
to leave me somewhere else
& when I first tasted Emily
& she tasted like the ocean,
I knew the lapping, that move
-ment was to return me
fifty-eight inches further down
the beach each time she chose
to.  I knew.  I knew.  I knew.

POETRY: BLUE TRAIN – Gonzalinho da Costa

Blue Train
To John Coltrane

I heard your blue train traveling by, coolly
As fresh waters of a brook…a cloudless aquamarine sky…
Rhythmic, not marching but a shuffle or a two-step,
Syncopated…bass, undulating river;
Cymbals, soft rain, silver pom-poms shaking;
Saxophone, lead, a composer ad hoc
Declaring a theme one way then another;
Counterpoint, trumpet, sharp, blending;
Piano, lively, solo, answering, dueling with the brass;
Saxophone, brightly, opening doors, closing them,
Mixing it up…wheels slowing, whistle blowing;
Dodging, weaving, a boxer, in and out…drums.

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POETRY: Chella Courington – Lynette’s War

Lynette’s War


Cousin Lynette says she’s tired from cleaning

East Main houses of rich bitches. They don’t even shit

like us, got toilet seats that float to the bowl,

never make a sound, & she hands me the baby

over the front seat. Days off Merry Maids

we like to drive her ’97 Trans Am to Gulf Shores—  

kd lang over eight speakers.

I’m tired too, tired of being the babysitter.

Leah, grabbing my earrings, covers me in crumbs.

She bites off the heads of animal crackers.

Only eats heads.


Don’t know why I hang with her.

She’s like the girl who cut my hair at Cinderella’s

saying I had the ugliest strands she’d ever seen.

I kept going back for more till Lynette blurted  

you don’t need to pay for that kind of shit.

And Lynette says outright

she’s sexy & I’m not. We both know it.

Junior high she called me a mutant. Boobs

like raisins on a fifteen-year old’s wrong.

Mama took me to the doctor & he shook his head.


At least Lynette is a good mother.

When the kid has fever, Lynette won’t go

to work. I’d rather lose my job

than leave a sick baby at daycare.

Guess that’s why I hang with her.

She might call me names, but let somebody else do it,

she’d scratch their eyes out. At the Sonic,

some boy from Crossville leaned in the window,

drop the fat chick & let’s go driving.  

She clawed his left cheek & screeched away,

tray still on the car, cokes & fries flying.

Son of a bitch thinks he can dump on you and have  

a good time with me. Stupid bastard.


I thought Lynette would always be the one to leave.

Good looking. Smart. She never let anybody

walk on her, or me, though she did

what Cochran girls do after getting their

driver’s license. She got knocked up.

Wouldn’t tell a soul who the father was.

We all thought it was Sonny Cruz.

He went to Iraq in August & emailed Lynette every day.

Like they were junk, she’d hit delete.

He started writing letters she stacked on her dresser—

unopened. Keeping in touch with soldiers

is talking to the dead. Sonny could come back,

I say. Lots of boys make it. Lynette turns away

he might, but he won’t be the Sonny I knew.  


After homecoming she carries his letters out to the grill.

They catch on the third match.

Every last word.


Finalist, Winning Writers Sixth Annual War Poetry Contest, November 2007

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POETRY: Jason Bertucci – Black Beauty

Black Beauty

you know you’ve hit a friendly vein
when the familiar instincts begin to ebb and flow
they travel through your body in that porcelain tub
and down your forearm, a slow sparse drip

you shuffle out into the streets paved with wine
just left there turning two nickels into a dime

holding up a lamp post, now flickering the fire
that first cigarette lit like a boardwalk marquee
all alone – thinking of the beauty with long black hair
staring like a spectre, appalling the saints

her fleeting touch and smell linger more than most
it’s just you, the poison and that rusty old lamp post

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Still Howling

For Galaxy Dancer


I see the best souls of my sex thrive despite the madness,
defiant Aphrodites rising above the sea,

naked in their wakefulness, determined to love in the charge of night
and the terror of the day,

deciding once again to abandon the search for the soulful man
after yet another set of promisepromisepromise
tips the dominos of stated love
into a dynamic display of arcane art,
cascading into a fluid falling
of each word promisepromisepromise caress kiss
from the men

who, for three weeks, call and text and relentlessly
text and change
their plans so they can drive across town
and fly across continents to see us
only to soon mysteriously forever disappear,

who devote their lives to a higher calling, meditate, pray then
lash out angrily when we ask a question,

who, while holding our hands and kissing our cheeks verbally twist
our arms behind our backs and nip our cheeks,
holding mirrors to our faces and ranting at us
that we are their relentless demanding debilitated mothers,

who have environmentally-safe companies, off-grid homes,
and work against proliferation to keep the world a place,
sitting late into the night with grieving families,

but slam the gavel to the bench in the pronouncement
that we are selfish and demanding when we ask to be held
after a day we spent helplessly watching human sacrifices by
the gods of business and have realized finally that each
sacrifice was us,

who vow they will be there for us but won’t return calls or texts
even when our closest family member has just died,

who have children they want us to raise, children whose mothers
escaped through the vacuum cleaner,

who, with blood perpetually drying under their fingernails,
doggedly beget war,
marching our courageous and caring
sons and daughters
into the family business and even into its copiers and

who bring prison with them in their assertion they were protecting
their families from invaders, dealers, and the IRS,

who visit the Dali Lama, chant on mountain tops,
embrace the dawn of the equinox on the apex of a Sedona
rock in the midst of a vortex
by running up their wives’ credit cards then vanish
into the evening mist,

who profess their love but refuse to hide their dating profiles on
matchdotcom, okcupid, greensingles, matchmaker, loveforever
dot org, dot net, dot com, dot com,
dot we do not communicate,

claiming these are mere social networking sites,
they just want to meet new friends,
and say we are selfish and have no right to expect their
profiles to be hidden, and, by asking, have now ruined the
perfect night of sex and spooning we just shared,

who meet us for coffee and after only this once, because we don’t
want to meet them again, call and text and email inexorably,
harassing us with venom and nasty,

who hit us in the adolescent classroom, calling us crater face
because we mature with pimples,

who bully with questions and accusations every time we step outside
our doors,

who tell us what to do with our homes, yards, jobs, lives, children and
claim they are just being neighborly,

who boldly ask us to come to Boulder, and we drive to Boulder, and
after we arrive in Boulder, they no longer want to see us,
and we sleep alone in a sad motel in Boulder,

who with sweet breath of desire tell us they will count the times we
make love, then
we discover they can only count to one,

who patiently date us laugh touch kiss and smile for a few months, no
sex yet, so we can be sure, then after finally making love say
this was a mistake,

who on our honeymoons say this was a mistake, no not the trip
to the tropics or the tower or the falls, we are the mistake,

who, with fatherly, brotherly, uncle-y advice, tell us we are naive and
stupid to believe what men say,
and we wonder what kind of world this is
that gives the message to males that it is smart to lie
but gives the message to females that we are stupid to
believe men, stupid, stupid, stupid, I believed him
how about the message to everyone that your word
should be true and on your honor so you can be honorable?

who see us as prey when we reach age 10, taking our childhood,
never do we get to be a non-sexualized person,

who, on occasion, stop leaking faucets, kill people-devouring spiders
but freely distribute advice, solutions, STDs . . . and babies —

ah, Galaxy, we are not safe, but we are resilient, in ways that our
mothers from forever
past must have also known,

as they forgave while being burned at the stake, their flesh
prayed before putting their heads to the block, bracing
before being slammed and ripped with the furious steel rod
which made the ripping and hand-muffled
screaming beyond the limits of what should be known,
escaping into a mental abyss before thuds and blows to the
blows to the stomachs, blows to the breasts,

and too much of that still happens to our sisters.


And what of our daughters?

The Machinery of Balls, soccer balls, baseballs, volleyballs,
golf balls, tennis balls, rugby balls, racket balls,
balls balls balls and of hockey pucks, of fucks
and of cock
built of titanium and diamond, built in the basement labs
of Los Alamos and sometimes in homes,
is nearly invisible — it takes eyes beyond the spiritual to see
it; it is easier to feel it,

and now that our daughters are allowed to run on courts and fields,
they sense this Machinery with a mixture of caution and
and even guardianship,
and we, the mothers, sisters and aunts,

want to warn, inform and protect them and to protect men, too,
because men, too, are caught in this Machinery,

and we have sons and grandsons and brothers and fathers and
grandfathers and nephews and cousins and uncles and
friends whom we love,

and it occurs to me that we are all of this Machinery, I am of it, too;
it is the world of balls, for the world is a ball, too, in a
universe of balls,
some are hot, searing, rotating, some appear cold and static,
but a Machinery of Balls like
the pitching machine, and we must
be prepared, as our daughters are prepared, to swing to
survive the blows when the

Pitching Machine starts pitching softballs slowly, in the fragrance
of the morning air, dew still freshening the space around the
cage, we still slender in our short white shorts,
we are ready to learn the game,

Pitching Machine quickens as balls spin toward us, we batting at
them, deflecting some and dodging most, and the Machine’s
arm shoots, then shoots, then shoots
more rapidly, balls shoot at us ballsballsballs
ballsballsballs and what has happened to this fucking machine
it is broken and relentless in throwing balls at us
and these are hard balls, balls of iron, of steel, of stone, of
titanium and muscle, rarely of diamond,

thud thud thud thud thud to the head and we are locked in the cage
and bruised by balls but we are still standing

thud to the breast, thud thud thud to the heart, thud again to the

thud to the thighs, thud to the pubics, and now red
stains our white shorts and we start to howl,
and I am still howling as the

Pitching Machine pitches more hardballs, then it starts pitching
soccer balls, tennis balls, racquet balls, golf balls,
and everything spherical —
marbles, oranges, furiously at us comes balls of yarn,
snow balls, and a planet called Cockland, pitched at us,
and we take it, the world we know,
the whole planet of Cockland,
absorbing Cockland into our blood,

and my daughter says there are too many balls in my poem,
and she’s right, that is exactly the point,
there are too many balls in my poem.


Galaxy Dancer! I’m with you in Cockland
where you’ve stayed saner than I have

I’m with you in Cockland
where we love men yes we do
and we love their bodies geometric hard muscular
the safety of chests and the thrill of erections

I’m with you in Cockland
where I spend one more night in bed
with my computer and my cat and with Allen and with Walt
and his loving bedfellow God

I’m with you in Cockland
where I thank Allen and Allen knows
that I am grateful that he gave us this form to express
ourselves and my bra’s off to you Allen and this is an
homage for I am alive serious and I know you will cheer
for me from Heaven where this poem is published with
yours and many others because you gave us the form
that I at this moment christen
The Howl Form
and you gave us the right the freedom to howl so that we
too can howl

And don’t you reader or listener in the audience
have at least one thing to Howl about? So let’s sing our
praises of thanksgiving
to Allen by howling which I am doing by Still Howling

I’m with you in Cockland
where I thank Walt and Walt knows
don’t you Walt that I am thankful for the free long-legged
long-winded long-armed lines circling and hugging our
waists and embracing the expansive freedom to express
freely and expansively in repetitious verse

I’m with you in Cockland
where the system and its people and our
fathers husbands brothers uncles co-workers supervisors
bosses lovers and friends still have 525,600 ways
to tell us to shut up which is one way for each minute of
each day of each new year

I’m with you in Cockland
where men and women have given and continue to give
their lives in courtrooms and prisons and to death so that
we can be free
to write and speak and howl even if
the words are about Cockland

I’m with you in Cockland
where we love men love men love men
love them love men we do
but just because we love them so much doesn’t mean
we need to be quiet

I’m with you in Cockland
where once a famous male poet
after hearing me read poems now in my debut book of
poetry said You are writing a new kind of female poetry:
It is obvious you’ve been hurt by men, but you love them.
You are not writing angry poetry
and it is true: I am not angry
I am just saying

I’m with you in Cockland
where I am just saying where you are just saying
where he is just saying where she is just saying where we all
can just say though I once was quiet and still as a little
mouse while inside I was howling but because of
Allen and the City Lights that are the brightest I am now
howling and I am no longer still for I am loud howling and
with this I am Still Howling

I’m with you in Cockland
because for now this is the only place
to live our lives and life is amazing incredible beautiful
regenerative exciting shining and glorious
and even in Cockland this is my moment
this is your moment and no one can take the glory of that
unless we give it to them

I’m with you in Cockland
where I will die and I am not afraid to die
I just prefer to live

I’m with you in Cockland
my sister
where you persevere
come what may
without real health care with few opportunities
with no more than minimum wage yes still working harder
than our male counterparts for less
recognition and less pay
we survive on crumbs falling from the master’s table but we
are not lap dogs and we are making our way
to speak at the banquet and to remake
the table so that it is round

I’m with you in Cockland
where we hug and kiss and caress our men
in the beds they’ve made
the men who snore all night and won’t let us sleep

Men, keep your underpants on, we’re free! We’ve had enough of
Cockland. Try giving us something new and find within you a
nakedness and love that manifests in ways beyond the body,
way beyond the cock.

My soul-full infinite sister,

I’m with you in Cockland,
where I see you dancing above me through the galaxies,
weaving barefoot tracks in the cosmos
and in the celestial sand
as you continue your universal global coastal dance
to my skiff, moored on the shore
of the un-navigable ocean of hegemonous men.

Albuquerque, 2011 – 2016

Endnote to Still Howling

Forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive,
forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive.

The body needs forgiveness, the mind needs forgiveness, even
the good ole soul in all its devoted goodness, lamenting and loneliness needs forgiveness, and the spirit,
crazy journeyer, needs

Forgiveness is a different Realm.
We are here to populate that Realm.

Forgiveness helps everyone, the world, each cell of our being

For what are we without forgiveness?
Yes, what are we without forgiveness?

Beasts that tear at one another, digging for the heart with our
incisors, digging to destroy the heart of the other, digging
and tearing
into our own hearts?

And in spite of being trained to believe otherwise,
humans do not have to be beasts —
we are not animals; we are human, meaning humane.
Break training: Forgive.

We hurt one another; in spite of our best attempts to do otherwise,
it happens — we hurt one another, so

Forgive and create a space for connection and for breathing
and for not walking on a planet of broken shells;
let’s walk on oceans.

Humans, let humans be human.
Man, Woman, the human step is compassion.
The superhuman step is forgiveness,
And then, Superman, Superwoman, we fly.
We’re closer to the divine than we know.

Forgive and forgive.

Forgive everyone, and everything, that makes you want to

Forgive everyone, and everything, that makes you howl.
Forgive Cockland in all of its self-made glory.
Cockland, forgive.

Forgiveness is the vehicle to the Land of Miracles —
Forgive and be
the alchemy.

Ask to be forgiven.
Yes, ask others to forgive you.

Forgive life and what it gives you.

Forgive God.

Forgiveness releases you
and gives you song.

Practice forgiveness with every breath
so that at the moment preceding death
you will be forgiving.

look into the mirror and say,
I forgive you; I love you,

Then live in the miracle
of love’s reflection.

Albuquerque, 2014 – 2016


Poet’s Note: “Still Howling” and “Endnote to Still Howling” are an homage to Allen Ginsberg and to his poems “Howl” and “Footnote to Howl,” in celebration of their publication 60 years ago, in 1956, and are a tribute to his publisher, City Lights Publishers, and to Allen’s influences, namely Walt Whitman, but mostly to Allen and what he gave us —the right to howl.

“Still Howling” and “Endnote to Still Howling” are the First Place Winner of the Best Beat Poem Contest, 2016, sponsored by Beatlick Press.

They will appear in the soon-to-be-released book
Still Howling, Poems by Mary Dezember.



POETRY: Adam Phillips – Half Love

Half Love

they cut you
off of me- lightning twitched in a hot black sky-
the face of the sky snarled- He

wrapped a strop around my heart, threw
it like a stone- my heart
tumbled slowly, a stone through blood, for you my

missing half, I spun with one
big eye, half lips, I dread

to think

what you may have

been going through.

I traveled a great distance

to a swamp- I sat, my

half, watching lightning strike
germs into fish and
fish into men- The gods felt bad. I heard half

my name. You

had a son- I had
another one-

The sky unfurled
and slapped the ground-
an altar, a cistern, a man
in a robe the light

shone on- I felt exposed, my half, my

bad side- your half
of the universe called

my name- I fought
through a cloud- where did all

these people come from-

my hair
burned- I kicked in the air.

you were a blade
fulgurating on the horizon- my story

has gone on too long

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