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

Read more "POETRY: Béchamel Sauce – Robert Ford"

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.




Read more "NONFICTION: DeAngelo Maestas – Untitled"


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.

Read more "POETRY: BLUE TRAIN – Gonzalinho da Costa"

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

Read more "POETRY: Chella Courington – Lynette’s War"