Category: Issue 23

Third Month

Witness to the mast year.

Witness to the drought.


eighteen bluebirds at the peak of the tree

sibilant, more cells sloughed on,

sloughed off, stuffed

into a duffel bag


plants always want to grow: remember


descending spike due to the leaf out, ascending

to the atmosphere, warming up out of the leaf

loss, the annual, cyclical


The future will be warmer.


Each trunk out my window is orange, and the feeders need filling.

We all want to bask like a dozen turtles,

write our wrongs as slips



Paige Menton grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and earned a bachelor’s in comparative literature from Brown University. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in KestrelFourth RiverLVNGSpiral OrbClade Songecopoetics, and other journals. She teaches writing and naturalist studies to homeschoolers near Philadelphia.





they are found to have lied about the details




something comes back that they lied purposely



the superintendent wants to make clear he will

seek their termination




The two cops, Detective

David Marsh and Officer

Joseph Walsh, were placed


on desk duty. Walsh was the partner of Officer Jason Van Dyke, who faces first-degree


murder charges for shooting Laquan 16 times in 2014.

Walsh backed up Van Dyke’s


version of events that don’t jibe with the shooting caught on the now-viral dashcam video.




Van Dyke said that Laquan, 17 had swung a knife at him, a claim the video does not support.


Marsh, lead detective on the case, signed off the reports – the dash cam video “was viewed – found to be consistent with accounts of all witnesses,” police reports. The

reports were also approved


by Lt. Antony Wojcki, who supervised the case. Marsh,

Walsh and Wojcik were all

called to testify before a grand jury related to the shooting of Laquan.




At the time, the police spokesman said it was “premature to speculate

on any action against the officers”


due to ongoing disciplinary investigations which had been “held

pending the outcome” of the criminal


investigation that lead to murder charges against Van Dyke. That

position changed shortly after


Escalante received and reviewed the city inspector general’s memo — which was a preliminary suggestion


rather than a final ruling on whether the accused officers violated Rule 14,

a provision in the police code related


to making false statements, written or oral. Two other officers at the

scene who claimed to witness VanDyke


shooting Laquan — Dora Fontaine and Ricardo Viramontes — each

gave official statements of how events


transpired appeared to contradict  sevents caught on dashcam video. Viramontes and Fontaine each said Laquan ignored verbal direction to drop the knife and instead raised

his right arm toward officer Van Dyke


“as if attacking Van Dyke.” Fontaine reported that Van Dyke fired in rapid

succession “without pause.” Viramontes


added that Laquan “fell to the ground but continued to move attempting to

get back up, with the knife still in his


hand. … and Van Dyke fired his weapon at [Laquan] McDonald continuously

until McDonald was no longer moving.”




The dashcam video showed

Laquan walking away from

Van Dyke when the shooting


started, and the injured teen didn’t appear to try to get back up after he fell to the ground.


Both Viramontes and Fontaine remain on unrestricted full duty.


-found from Fire Officers If They Lied About Laquan Shooting, Police Supt. Says

By  Mark Konkol and Paul Biasco | January 22, 2016



Denise Miller is a professor, poet and mixed media artist whose publications include poems in Dunes Review, African American Review and Blackberry: A Magazine . She’s the 2015 Willow Books Emerging Poet, an AROHO Waves Discussion Fellowship awardee, a finalist for the Barbara Deming Money for Women Fund, and a Hedgebrook Fellow. Her newest book, Core, released from Willow Books in November 2015 has been nominated for a 2016 American Book Award and a 2016 Pushcart Prize. Additionally, one of her poems from a collection in progress has also been nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize. Miller has also been recently named the Fall 2016 Willow Books Writer In Residence in conjunction with the Carr Center Detroit and NEH. More of her work can be found at


The Fool

Look at the clouds in the sky featuring

me, me, me and my many mistakes.


I was the one who bought their lies online in the movies at the mall

Buy two tenents get the third, free


Tenets of the school of heterosexual girls


  1. it’s okay to drink the blood of boys and men
  2. subvert your own pleasure to avoid pain
  3. dehumanize subject and object, and repeat




I was the one who thought lightning, the kind you see in het porn

full of its valley inhabitants, was the only spark.


I was the one who sent the idiotic email to the muse:

you are amazing


or I am here waving, drowning

in the preordained dead sea of sex.


I was the one who married the two wrong men;

the one who bled on the published poet’s floor pillow.


I was the one gone, flipping over

the seal in a sea of oil.


I was the one who spent a life’s work on worry.

I was the one who learned that evading authenticity


drains marrow from the bone .and that the shiny black rock

in the center of the heart is meant for a ring you can put on another finger.


I bought the plot of heterosexuality and then closed the book.



Rachel Tramonte lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her partner and their two daughters.   Her poems have appeared in Third Wednesday, GFT, The Alembic, Jelly Bucket and other journals and magazines.

Bright Stupid Confetti

We see burning embers falling. We see bright stupid confetti. Can anyone come up with an innocent explanation for this? Hmm?  I should close my eyes. I really should. When there’s blood and fire all around you, that’s war. I’ll be lucky if one of my house’s walls is still standing. Look up there. There appears to be exactly one person standing under an open black umbrella. That’s not quite what I want. It’s not the same as a normal night of sleep.


The leaves are erupting in morbid colors, Dragon’s Blood, Uranium Yellow, Mummy Brown. Everything else has failed. I can’t remember now why I ever thought it wouldn’t. I’m afraid of human beings. There’s just too much about them that’s hidden and unknowable. I don’t belong here. I need to go. My grandmother when I was little would pick up a spider she found in the house and put it back outside.


Strange that all these years later I still can’t bring myself to watch the YouTube video. The sadness will last forever. I’m told sugar can help if you have problems with shaking or trembling. It’s nighttime, and this is who I am. I can hear them – I can hear the gas grenades all up and down the streets. The crowd is being pushed back, and the gas is coming. A third jump in, a third resist but soon give up, a third try to hide. I’ll just make sure I get some rest whenever I can.




Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize for Poetry from Thoughtcrime Press. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.

Night in My Country

Night in My Country-page-001 (1)


John Sibley Williams is the author of nine poetry collections, most recently Disinheritance. A nine-time Pushcart nominee and winner of various awards, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review. Publications include: Yale Review, Atlanta Review, Prairie Schooner, Midwest QuarterlySycamore ReviewMassachusetts ReviewColumbiaThird Coast, and Poetry Northwest.

Church of No Christ

Tonight I can’t remember

the date, November 25,

2017, which I write

at the top of every page.


Nobody who doesn’t worry

about getting paid on time

is worried about the same things

I worry about, and that’s the


subject of my next poem

in which I forget every address

and wander around central New

Jersey, sneezing,


until I meet the ghost

who asked me questions

on the highway

about why am I so interested in ghosts.


“Why do you have a ghost thing”

asks the ghost.

“Why do you think”

I reply, sweeping my arm


to indicate the totality of capitalist social relations

which I have made my subject

over the years, patiently. As for

the landscape, it’s the same deal:


big but not too big,

metaphysical but not too metaphysical,

irradiated but not too irradiated,

impractical but not too impractical.


The poem is a building

I drum up as proof of this.

Immediately I dream I am

transformed into a town house.


David WPritchard is a member of Negative Press, a gay Marxist poetry collective. He is the author of the chapbooks MORE FRESH AIR (with Greg Purcell) and IMPROPRIA PERSONA (with Kay Gabriel). Recent writings can be found in Tripwire, Crap Orgasm, and The Brasilia Review. David is currently working on a dissertation about New Narrative writing and avant-garde poetics. He lives in Amherst.

Ethnic Arithmetic

Ethnic Arithmetic (2)-page-001


This poem is meant to be read as a contrapuntal poem, meaning that it can be read three ways: the left side, the right side, and together. As in a musical composition, there are two distinct melodies and the third is compilation of the movement back and forth between the two resulting in a new harmonic relationship.


Sara Burnett’s poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Poet Lore, The Cortland Review, PALABRA, and elsewhere. She is the author of the chapbook, Mother Tongue (Dancing Girl Press, 2018). She holds a MFA in poetry from the University of Maryland and a MA in English Literature from the University of Vermont. She is a recipient of Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference scholarships to support her writing.


TV lists the names of the dead, their slow

halos burning.

In the flickering, teeth break off

in my head and

rattle around like jellybeans in a

plastic egg.


At the end of someone else’s pointed finger,

I’ve never made a decision

it would seem,

end over end in light.


Kyle Vaughn’s poems have recently appeared in Adbusters, The Boiler, and Vinyl; his prose in English Journal; and his photography in Annalemma and Holon.  His book A New Light in Kalighat, featuring photos and stories about the children of sex workers and crematory workers in Kolkata, India, was published in 2013 and featured by Nicholas Kristof’s Half the Sky Movement.  His book of poetry writing exercises, The Genesis Writing Project, is forthcoming from NCTE.


Hallelujah these hearts won with ordinance.

The latest reports say the ICBM is


If the approval rating dips,

we’ll fly sorties over

the cribs of sleeping children

in machines we name Hornet or Blackbird or Mustang.

They will carry blood-red rubies in their mouths,

rain under wings,

and ghosts in their manes.


Kyle Vaughn’s poems have recently appeared in Adbusters, The Boiler, and Vinyl; his prose in English Journal; and his photography in Annalemma and Holon.  His book A New Light in Kalighat, featuring photos and stories about the children of sex workers and crematory workers in Kolkata, India, was published in 2013 and featured by Nicholas Kristof’s Half the Sky Movement.  His book of poetry writing exercises, The Genesis Writing Project, is forthcoming from NCTE.


I have been there, briefly.

I can tell you they watch us

through a scope they use to make us

appear, as we go about our business,

very near. At other times,

for reasons I don’t understand,

they watch us through the other end.

“They are far from here today,”

they tell themselves then

when it seems they need us to be

elsewhere. They might easily see us

with the naked eye, but they appear

to have lost that ability; perhaps

it is forgotten or forbidden.


Richard Hoffman has published four volumes of poetry, Without Paradise; Gold Star Road, winner of the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize and the Sheila Motton Award from The New England Poetry Club; Emblem; and his new collection Noon until Night. His other books include the celebrated Half the House: a Memoir, published in a 20th Anniversary Edition in 2015, the 2014 memoir Love & Fury, and the story collection Interference and Other Stories. His work, both prose and verse, appears in such journals as Agni, Barrow Street, Consequence, Harvard Review, Hudson Review, The Literary Review, The Manhattan Review, Poetry, Witness and elsewhere. A former Chair of PEN New England, he is Senior Writer in Residence at Emerson College in Boston.