My Cross

by on Aug 10, 2016

“It’s him again,” my elder brother complained. We all peered through the window to see who he saw.

The man from our church came again to the house. Dad wasn’t back from work. Mum gathered the four of us as usual──my brothers, my sister and me before the man. We sat beside her as she flipped through the black King James Bible. The man spoke. They listened. I observed him.

The other day, before this day, he talked about sinners, sins and saints; hell and heaven. The word “sins” particularly reminded me when mum called me a sinner after flogging me ruthlessly on the day she met me holding an egg, the only one left out of the three crates kept in the house── I was barely four years old. When she questioned me, I said innocently:

“Mum these balls are not bouncing like tennis.” I broke almost all the eggs in the crates as I mistook them for tennis balls.

The man talked about the end of the world. He said a big trumpet would be blown on the last day for everyone to be judged before the Maker. I looked at him, the type that suggested disbelief and fright.

I imagined how mighty the trumpet would look to sound to the world on the last day and the number of Angels that would carry it. The Angels, I was sure, had been to the gym. The particular Angel to sound the trumpet, I knew also, would have a mouth as wide as that of a hippopotamus. I knew too that that Angel would vomit enough air into the trumpet for enormous and resonate sound to reach all the peoples of the world even the deaf.

Because no one knew the exact time of the last day, I was deeply worried. I worried because I might be caught unawares when I might be filling the Five Alive juices stored in the refrigerator with water after I might have had my fill from a tiny hole I often perforated at its side or when I might be at the kitchen at night stealing meats from the soup pot (mum always had blamed my acts on witches that she believed was one of our neighbors) or when I might be adding more salt into papa’s food before serving to punish mum for always flogging me for bedwetting.

“…carry your cross and in this way can you follow Christ truly. Lets us pray,” the man said. I examined him as he concluded, prayed and left.

Thursday passed, so did Friday and Saturday. Sunday came. We were ready for church.

“Where are you going with that?” my mum asked me in bewilderment.

My posture was slanted and imbalanced. I was exactly that way anyone could see in those pictures or calendars bearing Jesus Christ’s images. What I carried was my yesterday’s construction done with pieces of wood I stole from a nearby carpenter’s shop.

I didn’t understand my mum’s reaction; I thought she heard what the man from the church said the other day.

“Mum, this is my cross. I want to follow Christ.”


Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto studied English Language and Literature at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria. He is a lover of literature and expresses himself in writings.

Once Upon a Time

by , , , , on Aug 9, 2016

(Watch Cristina Ortiz’s video of “Once Upon a Time” on Vimeo)

about “Once Upon a Time

The city of the dead, constructed by the living as a silent and still image of a restless and bustling city.

It has its houses, small, damp and dark; some more spacious and sunny; It has its individual apartments where the tranquil inhabitants crowd each other; it seems that they lack room … but no, what they lack is movement, why would you want more room?

Also this city has streets and gardens through which visitors pass, the future dead, amongst the present dead.

Dead people of all ages, with dead children and their dead dolls.

The schedule of this city is regulated so that essential work, crafts and ceremonies are arranged in a map corresponding to the firmament on that date: thus the days and nights on earth are reflected in the sky. Or conversely, the days in heaven and the nights on earth.

—-I understand well that you, that you feel part of an unchanging sky, meticulous clockwork gears, you bring nothing to your city and your habits change little. Yours is the only city that suits you, you remain motionless in time, the moving image of eternity… You have departed from time, you’re already in eternity, why would you want to change? Yes, I know, man prefers to want for nothing instead of wanting for something… but the sky, inspiring laws, cities and calendars, must be heard; maybe this is why you are so quiet?—

You deserve to be remembered for two virtues: secure in yourself, because nothing affects you, you tell me in your faces from those black and white photographs of serene gestures, even smiling; and prudence, convinced that all innovation in the city influences the design of heaven, before every decision you calculate the risks and benefits for themselves and for the whole city … and worlds.

–Consuelo Arredondo


Cristina Ortiz (Barcelona, Spain): Photographer specializing in using old photographic techniques and film producer. Since 1992 doing courses on techniques and creative photographic development. Since the early 1990s, her work has been part of numerous individual and group exhibitions. Web:

Consuelo Arredondo (Santander, Spain) graduated in Barcelona in philosophy and philology, has devoted her professional life to teaching philosophy and also poetry writing.

Ferrie = differentieel (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) started making music in 2006 after years of painting in the expressionistic style. Around 250 tracks for art installations, dance performances, film, video and commercials. Web:

Luis Rojas (Bahia Blanca, Argentina). Composer, documentary filmmaker, researcher and instrumentalist. He has released many works for various groups, soloists and orchestra, plus electroacoustic works. Web:

Johann Mynhardt. Web:

In a Dark Room

by on Aug 8, 2016

It’s so simple, this waiting
in a dark room, its air
perfumed with lilac and mold.

Every breath springs to your
chest like a white moth
flitting in a garden of ash.

Once there were sounds
of many voices, and silver
pictures flickering on the walls.

That was long ago in the days
of heat. We were carried off
by strong hands into rough cliffs,

where we learned a new set
of prayers. But now the walls
are painted over with signs.

One points to the road that runs
past this house, winding its way
to the city of our birth

with its traffic and children
and dogs skirting rubble and glass.
Another points inward to the ocean

of our blood. As our lungs fill
with the water of dreams, we touch
each other lightly, just before dawn.


Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared widely. His poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press, and Family Reunion, forthcoming from Big Table Publishing.

Super Moon

by on Aug 5, 2016

June 22, 2013

Because I don’t want my neighbors to think
that I am doing nothing except watch the moon

rise between the maple and the evergreens,
I place a book in my lap, put on headphones,

inch my chair a few degrees north just
to keep the moon positioned cleanly over

our little slice of suburbia. Soon a neighbor
will join me, place his lawn chair next to mine.

He sits down and begins to whittle, slicing pale
curls from a hickory branch which pool

around his feet. After the man in the moon
clears the telephone lines, misses the maples,

my neighbor asks, What are you listening to?
Nothing, I reply. Hmmmm…he says,

Maybe you should learn to whittle?
Are you going to teach me? I ask.

Sure, he says, you begin by looking
at the moon…


Cathryn Essinger is the author of three prize winning books of poetry:  A Desk in the Elephant House, My Dog Does Not Read Plato, and What I Know About Innocence.  Her work has appeared in a wide variety of journals, from Midwest Gothic to The Southern Review, The Antioch Review and Poetry. She is a retired Professor of English and a member of The Greenville Poets, from Greenville, Ohio.

Moon Kisses

by on Aug 4, 2016

I love the moon’s craters,
how they appear like bubbles in pancakes
or gaps in an alligator’s smile. The moon
does not know how to love,
but I’m content to blow kisses at its
slowly revolving merry-go-round face.
Moons don’t pulse for love,
but they do tuck snugly into orbit,
sighing pleasantries into our ears,
nuzzling against our bare skin
as we lay in bed awake, hoping
to learn how to spin.


Kelsey May’s poetry has recently appeared in The Maine Review and damselfly press and is forthcoming in Barking Sycamores, and Pine Hills Review. She has also received numerous grants and awards, including a nomination for a 2016 Pushcart Prize. She loves grilled cheese sandwiches and reading novels about Central America.


by on Aug 3, 2016



Olivier Schopfer lives in Geneva, Switzerland, the city with the huge lake water fountain. He likes capturing the moment in haiku and photography. His work has appeared in The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2014 as well as in numerous online and print journals. He also writes articles in French about etymology and everyday expressions at Olivier Schopfer raconte les mots.

Sea Song

by on Aug 2, 2016

When my lover went blind,
He touched my stains, my teacup skin,
He took my thirst and drank it in.

When my lover went blind,
He followed the waves, nose to the wind,
We salted our toes by dipping them in.

When my lover went blind,
We cracked oysters, thick with sin
And fed on their liquor, dripping it in.

When my lover went blind,
His ears could see and his hands were finned
I climbed on his back, we dove in.


PJ Wren writes poems and very short fiction and has had work published in The Lake and After the Pause. More of PJ Wren’s writing, including non-fiction, poems, and stories, can be found at (or through) Inside the Glass Tunnel and PJWrenWriting.

Talking You to Sleep

by on Aug 1, 2016

   We are all midnight swimmers in a cosmic sea.
   – Robert Van der Cleave

I lie down on your bed and talk you to sleep.
It’s easy now.  Already your arm under your pillow
is pulling through brine shrimp by the billion.

Around you the jellies gently pout and pulse,
their umbrellas hauling along ghostly ribbons,
breathing and eating being the same ballet.

Soon I will slide down this continental shelf too,
past twilight blue mussels swaying with the waves
and oysters licking their pearly wounds.

I’ll meet you among the ships flying their kelp flags
through submarine canyons.  Down, down I go,
my nightgown a see-through swim-bladder,

the Pleiades twinkling in my wild hair.
I might be almost beautiful again, as I soar
among undersea peaks, my face free of its mask

of worry, my arms open wide as if to pour
the entire shimmering Andromeda galaxy
at your feet.  Who taught us to love like this?

To slip out of ourselves into this long current
breathing us so easily in and in and in,
then out again, imperceptibly new.


Margaret Holley’s fifth collection of poems is Walking Through the Horizon (University of Arkansas Press).  Her work has appeared in Poetry, Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, and many other journals.  Former director of Bryn Mawr College’s Creative Writing Program, she currently serves as a docent at Winterthur Museum.

Geography of the Dream

by on Jul 29, 2016

We seek our houses, we swim, we fly, we lose
Our keys, misplace the car, find our beloved dead
Wearing fedoras and hats with veils.

We ride horses, we arrive in class
Unprepared, our notes missing,
We appear on the avenue of the naked.

We make excuses, solve mysteries we are pursued
By spies, we climb scaffolds, panic in elevators.
We are not ourselves

Or we are young again and passionate.
The images dissolve in feelings so intense
We wake shuddering. We write down

What we can remember. The lover faceless and nameless
The university of discovery.
The boiler room where bad things happen.


Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, etc. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She has published 16 books including Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and Ribcage from Glass Lyre Press which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. She has two books forthcoming in 2016 and 2017. One of her poems is among the winners of the 2016 Atlantic Review International Poetry Contest. Colby is also a senior editor of FutureCycle Press and an associate editor of Kentucky Review.

After Ekphrasis

by on Jul 28, 2016

the net collapsed around us
fibers of rope burned our skin

where was that old stove
the one you wrote about
or was it me

the class clapped as you read
your long machine
would you call it automatic

the algorithm of your evenings
or do I misremember

the time we read Barthes
pages from Jabès

was that pleasure that you gave
the back of the neck a place to settle
or was it bliss

the paper cuts around us
fibers fixing on the pen

when did you write me out
the margins stretching
then folding over—

where do you keep
all our blood-red ink
made black


Marie Landau is an editor at the University of New Mexico Press and a member of Dirt City, an Albuquerque-based literary collective. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Red Paint Hill Poetry Journal, Yellow Chair Review, SOFTBLOW, Bird’s Thumb, Eunoia Review, and elsewhere.