After an “amazing grace” by Sarah McCall

Issue 4



Source text: Facebook post

Sarah McCall is a poet, yoga teacher, and student of all things wordy and spiritual.  She has spent many years as an English teacher, bartender, list maker, and lover of clean, bright things.  She and her husband and their two dogs live in Norfolk, VA, where Sarah is an MFA candidate at Old Dominion University.

In the Dim Lobby by Sarah Key

Issue 4

we saw many large black birds

(vaguest recall of an elegant cockatoo at dusk 14th St.)

All of a sudden they all vanished;
their descendants threw out the trash.

The dim lobby with potted palms is
everywhere there are vending machines and
mirrors in the labyrinth
four or five still-unknown objects that belong together–

-a small white ball in a bare, whitewashed room with a QUIET sign
-a pebble becomes a human being.
-blue is the color of your yellow hair.

I’m looking for the mechanical chess player|
with a red turban in his secret toy,
an abstract feeling of geography and
voyaging, watching the world through dark glasses
on a rainy evening
of incommensurable meanings: three mismatched
shoes winding the watches of their souls.

Source text: Charles Simic, Dime Store Alchemy

Sarah Key‘s poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Naugatuck River Review, InPatient Press, and elsewhere. She also has eight published cookbooks and eight essays on The Huffington Post (

This Should Turn Out by Tom Snarsky

Issue 4

Ariadne has hung herself. She cannot fall from Earth
undifferentiated as a concept of tired Nature.
Again and again the “nows” are monstrously
indeterminate, the communication swarms,
the square deceptively deviates from straight lines,
and hieroglyphics presuppose a prisoner glimmering
with dew. The level areas of the even plain of Death
may, in fact, be after death: the entire world is an egg.
Consider her whole body, wandering to a widely-
wandering possibility. What can be meant within
intuition? How much more exemplary love seems,
replete with sharp roughness. We see thunderbolts,
rain, and the beginnings of Time itself. Leveled off,
the “nows” get shorn of distortion, dissolved in that form
of a broken Earth. Habitus lifted itself up and in its lightness
lifted acorns and wild strawberries, a pure sequence of “nows.”

We could be criticized for unrolling the Etruscan divination
books, but if the world can be lit up, then the child-
player can only win. We feel fog at night, we are
ennetted as we go, we feel every crawling as resistance.
Acts are fractional numbers: the charity of Joan of Arc,
so large, mortal in all its parts. We have deferred
transparency. No doubt her words depart
like a banqueter sated with life: even the historian
understood the analogy. The terrors of war
bore and open only ocular ways of ascertaining, aloof
from all such rubbish as positivity, novelty, good sense, love.
Matuta scatters rosy dawn through the investigations,
and spatiality becomes orgiastic. The eye is an implicated light,
the ear a possible sound. We see what we are after.

I am traversing death, a dramatization coextensive with the world.
Now I will explain the fracture, under the same sky.

Source Texts: Being and Time by Martin Heidegger (tr. John MacQuarrie and Edward Robinson), On the Nature of Things by Lucretius (tr. Walter Englert), and Difference and Repetition by Gilles Deleuze (tr. Paul Patton). After “The Smile on the Face of a Kouros” by William Bronk.

Tom Snarsky is a Noyce Teaching Fellow at Tufts University, MA. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Unbroken, Maudlin House, After the Pause, Shadowtrain, and elsewhere. He lives in Braintree, MA.

Too Early To Drink & one other by Nathan Wade Carter

Issue 4

Too Early To Drink

You have no idea what to do with yourself
Too early to drink
Your friends
One by one
Have an intrusion
Human contact
You think you are alone
You unpack your name
The boat
The boat
The boat
A rooster
The boat
Words are useless

Source text: “Burning” by Jonathan Kime in The Sun, March 2010, p.18

Return the Empty

We put our beards back on
The night was colder
Most melancholy leaves
I tried to
Return the empty
I didn’t know how much had burned
Change seemed a miracle
Our plan was flawed
I rang the doorbell
The expression “It’s OK”
Is a second reaction

Source text: “The Stove” by Howard Luxenberg in The Sun, February 2007, p.40

Nathan Wade Carter is a poet, musician and artist living in Portland, Oregon. His poetry be found or is forthcoming in Potluck Magazine, Souvenir, Powder Keg Magazine, and elsewhere. He writes and performs songs under the name Purrbot, and is recording a new album called DNR. Find him online at

The Horrible Terrible Day Harry Spooner Junior Lost his Used Tube Sock by S.J. Crane

Issue 4

Be s t

Huh!                                 ridiculous s agg  ing





peering through               the thigh

stuffed with



running     inept

dabs of

not-quite-right                      sir, that’s the         place

we t                         sp outs and                     leftover seeds

in the warm slap of  his

scraggly hillock


Source text: Michael Derrick Hudson, “The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve.”

S.J. Crane is a physician with a private practice on Coronado Island. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in or are forthcoming from The Beechwood Review, the light ekphrastic, Unbroken, and bottle rockets, among other places.

The Moon & three others by Carol Shillibeer

Issue 4

The Moon

The last stage of winter is a dreadful madness
cleansed by venom. The wild howls
louder than any beast. Each of them relies
on an occurrence of the hills and their black towers.
The mandible of the sun, the beetles that bear
on their backs the silence, each of them derive
one formula from another, one latter from a former.

A scope line—a metal that echoes in the throat
of iniquity. Baulked, the will: dead traditions
fill with ancestral loathing. A justification
for the new and yet illegitimate 11, 14, 15, and 16
are not in themselves wrong but nevertheless
the only still place—their threshold. What may excite,
what may become of the heart, an assumption
introduces the sacred abomination—a genuinely
contradictory pair. Strictly speaking, the main operator
tries to use a second horseshoe, but both places
plainly exhibit the art of producing rather than a point.

Before the human eye, darkness conquers air.
The benign intoxicates and terrors assail.
At midnight the morrow buds, the back of the head
resurrects. The nameless, the moon
transits through a poisoned darkness.
A Glance. A Formula. A Barrier. An Elimination Rule.
How splendid this adventure!

Source texts: Simpson, R.L. Essentials of Symbolic Logic. Broadview Press, 1999. Crowley, Aleister. The Book of Thoth. Weiser Books, 1974.

The Sun

White spruce will not do.
A novice could dig a set of cobbler’s stitches,
a strip of sand and even a pebble beach,
if terrestrial matters are valid. It’s just that
an idea is like a rose thorn. An idea with 12 rays
where children twin symbolism with dancing,
the ancient ones, those outside the wall
where the fertile earth speaks are dead
and remain; nothing aspires to the heavens.

Once there had been a chosen belt,
a girdle to render infinite space. Like sacred
signs on their feet, the strange, the formula
of a close and definite alliance, our
ancestors were bewildered enough
to gain a foothold. Upsetting as it is,
the pioneers can put nothing right.

We tied almost nothing. Thongs, ropes,
and strings, It seems to slide on oil.
There is no sign of It. The arrow of a wake.
The riparian forests temper. The wind
ruffles our shirts with It. The surface of It
appears scratched with the end of the Eagle.
A cruising loon leans forward and gives
to It. As a consequence, the land widens again
under the sun. The narrow waters lead on,
and the lake comes at us hard
down the solar alley. After a swift execution
Green rose, time leaked from the sun, and thus
sanity flowered from freedom. It burnt Itself
on the 13th ray and then flew past, laughing.

Source texts: McPhee, John. The Survival of the Bark Canoe. Farrar, Straus, Giroux: New York, 1975. Crowley, Aleister. The Book of Thoth. Weiser Books, 1974.

The Star

To live sweetly on the verge of the unbelievable
It is nothingness with twinkles
there is distance and oil and blood
there is ethereal water
there is the land and the water
there are roses, the Grail and the Alchemist
continuous and omniform, smoke is not measured by clocks

years are not numbered by wars
a bell rings for every thought in Its head, a light goes on
for Its approaching words
out of the rain and the darkness and the depths
there are fires of glory, of fury, sudden and lingering
put It on the wings, arouse the coiled splendour
to It the rich headdress
to It the secret temple, the flame of drunkenness
to It the rich jewels of the night

It wrote in and out of the anatomy of the word
the word that became genteel, then self-conscious
finally dying of contempt, It said
snow is measured by winters

there is a definite formula for the attainment
of truth, but ‘ware, the new revelation
is not Euclidean. Know this,
the veil before the face, the picture spirals
what is conceived is mathematical

there are roses growing with thorns angled toward the sea

Source texts: Merton, Thomas. Raids on the Unspeakable. New Directions: New York, 1964. Crowley, Aleister. The Book of Thoth. Weiser Books, 1974.

The Universe

Nothing is fully expanded and yet the universe of discourse
signs Itself as a fold. The beam of light integrates. Portable
immersive technologies are 22 paths pendant from the symbol.
Space self-compensates for the slowest of planets. Strain
and stress radiate: coldness, dryness, immobility, dullness—
this chemistry returns to the beginning. We are all driven
by inaccessible mechanisms. Neural landscapes are graphic,
pill-like entities. Particles are written in Sicily. The eeries
of letters begin and then end. In the end of It all The Fool
compliments the place where feet fall upon the material.
The beam of light disintegrates. The Modern—the Now—
a museum interior whose hard-edged geometry is nothing,
fully expanded.

Source texts: Stafford, Barbara Maria. Echo Objects: The cognitive work of images. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago & London, 2007. Crowley, Aleister. The Book of Thoth. Weiser Books, 1974.

After a wildly productive life as an alchemist, Carol Shillibeer retired to read tarot, stalk Hierocholoë odorata in the lands west of the Pacific cordillera, and consider the implications of post-human materialism.