Child Discipline

by Jason Visconti

I wish its scars were an imaginary friend,
the trotting of my feet alongside a welcome wind,
the pride of my sleep while lying in love’s covers.

I wish they were an unexpected recess
Toting my conduct as sweet–
Their salutations planting in my garden of innocence.

I wish the belt buckle were
A raised hoop
I could throw my body into
And circle back again.

I wish each violent slap
Were a kiss on a whim.



by   Juan Pablo Duboue

 Pain is a part of me as much as writing is a part of me

Sometimes it’s bloating and unbearable,

Though at times it is quite manageable.

Migraines come and go like the jasmines in my garden.
Summer intensifies and
Winter harbours grudges.
Blame it on the rectified cervical lordosis
Blame it on my insomnia
Blame it on you, on me, on them
On them, on me, on you.
Psychosomatic disorders
you name them.
I know the Rorschach by heart
and the inkblots dye my mind.
Imagination’s running wild
as the oil spills on the butterflies.
Not a penguin, but a butterfly
Not a penguin, but a butterfly.
Haunting crows circle
my sheets, an orgy of feathers
and cawing at midnight.
They tear my limbs apart
My intestines open
My aorta bleeding poppies in July.
I do not see myself as fat
I am not overweight
It’s the eating that I dread
For food makes me gag
I cannot seem to hold it.
Body rejects what mind decides is past.
Bags have transmuted from a grayish green to black
People seem to stare at me
As if I were a terminal patient
There’s nothing terminal in me
My conditions are chronic
They let me rest
They let me have my days
And then the cycle starts
Again and again and again.
An episode here and there
When life’s good it’s every four months
Otherwise it’s every month
A cramp
A shock
A needle stuck into my neck
A syringe plunged into my back.
It’s dying and resurrecting every time
Every four months, lucky me.
Doctors say it’s in my mind
Shrinks say it’s in my blood
Daddy says it’s on his family’s side
Mother says just stop the nonsense
You’re fine.
Thank you for your insights
But the pain is still concrete
I can touch it
I can grab it
I can chew it
Feel it twisting me
From the inside out
A thousand claws
Toying with my insides.
Feasting over me.
A common depersonalization,
fear of a heart attack,
a nervous breakdown.
The acute onset
cradles me to sleep.
I am one with the attack,
a sisterly feeling
of impending death;
Pain is a part of me as much as writing is a part of me.
I know the Rorschach by heart
and the inkblots dye my mind.

How Can I Use This Pain


by  Emeniano Acain Somoza Jr

That you so unsparingly issue                               
In cups of blighting blows                              
Laced with acid the corrosive breathe               
Of aphids on petals of hope quivering                  
On cusps between one secret longing                   
To another – these sick little Hannibals,               
How they latch on the doorknobs, nipples             
Of these all my throbbing unknowables?                
Or, if you can tell me please in what copious         
More ways  can the heart be bothered too           
To listen to the dying voices, of words snuffed       
Out of a poem’s frame, unwelcomed                      
The hairy surprise                                                
Of Kafka’s cockroach?                     

Old, Shadowed Wit

by Kevin Sampsel

Stone crumbled or split
By slow marching time
And the serious whine
Of old, shadowed wit
Impresses, like wine
Or the careful design
In some chemist’s eye
Could never quite hit.

Heaps, mountains of earth
Tower higher than words
Of sullen old worlds,
And even though terse,
Nature lets loose
Simple, elegant curls
Of beggars and fools,
Of rhyme with true worth.

Sprinkling of spells
And histories for sale
Ever whirl and swell
Like blood splattered pearls
As shadows play games
And fully unfurl
Upon gazes upturned
And gleefully twirled.


Kevin Sampsel grew up writing poetry and fiction in East Tennessee. He currently makes his home is Norfolk, Virginia. His first book of poetry, Vibration and Swaying, was published in 2012. He blogs here.