Lisa Berley 2 erasure poems/collages

Artwork, Issue 16

(click on images for full-size versions)






Source & Method: Source material for the poems and collages come from the New York Times weekly magazines. I have been resourcing the NYTimes magazine for two decades deconstructing the imagery to create large format mixed media works on paper. For this new work in poetry, the NYTimes articles are equally rich in words. I treat them like a canvas painting over words with ‘Wite Out’. This method of redaction allows the viewer/reader to see the deconstruction process of the artists hand in making new connections, transforming prose into poetry, while also giving a voice to the negative space.

Lisa Berley began her career in San Francisco where she received a BFA. She integrated painting, photography and CGI in digital work. Returning to NY for two decades she exhibited abstract mixed media works on paper. Berley moved to Colorado continuing to work from deconstructed found images and recently combining it with erasure poetry.


Gustavo Barahona-López

Issue 16

My presence marred
the sacred vigil
of phantom millions.
A barrier of dark
trees kissed a wisp
of startled air with ecstasy.
The colossal vitality
of their illusions
made a shadow
on the unquiet darkness
as wind does the sea.
They were consumed
with wonder at a labyrinth
of windshields
that dispensed starlight
to casual moths.
Hot whips of panic
traveled through my body
like a star to the moon. With the flash
of a waving hand,
I left the moonlight,
watching over nothing.

SOURCE & METHOD: Lines taken from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. I underlined words and phrases that I found compelling and stitched them together into a poem.

Gustavo Barahona-López is a 3rd-grade bilingual teacher from the San Francisco Bay Area. His work is forthcoming in PALABRITAS. When Barahona-López is not in the classroom you can find him re-discovering the world with his son.

Photo by Mikkel Frimer-Rasmussen

Boyd Razor

Issue 16


A good magician never reveals his plans
but a good villain always does.

I’m going to make this middle school disappear.
So glad you came.
Have a magical time.

Tonight, I’m going to make a high school disappear.
School dances are way dangerous.

What’s going on?
Something’s not quite right.
The school was there one second and then, poof, gone.
Are you from the future?

I want to serve you. I’ve got a plan.
Join us. Disappear with us, my doves!

Source: Dialogue from “Hypno! Part Deux!,” an episode of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series.

Boyd Razor is a pseudonym for the poet Boyd Razor.

Photo by Ryan Tauss

Elizabeth Hare

Issue 16


Imagine a house guilty of death,
Taken out of daylight.

Consider the deterioration of the past
And transform, observers,

One-by-one, step-by-step,
Into the aligned predecessors

Who denied the house
Its ideology of the deal

And collapsing partnership
With difficult realities.

Source: Breitbart: “Andrew Brunson Case Proves U.S.-Turkey Alliance Has Been Over for Years” by Caroline Glick (8-19-18)


President ray-gun
Wants space assets
“Up there”
To inform and guide
Our destinations

No doubt

Hostile powers and
Non-state actors need
To control assets
It’s a fifty-fifty
Dog fight

Having space

Send American space
Power ahead
Watch the U.S. dream
Owning the right to
Space itself

Source: The Heritage Foundation:  “Space Force, Done Right, Will Move U.S. Ahead?” by James Jay Carafano (8-17-18)

Method: Erasures are like unseen, adjacent worlds that exist alongside what is considered “real.” I wrote these poems following the genre’s strict rules (minus additional capitalizing) while funneling my civic preoccupations through conservative media pieces.

Elizabeth Hare is a transition designer and death doula whose poetry has been published in Bone Bouquet. She writes and works outside of Boulder, CO.

Photo: SpaceX

Scott Wiggerman

Issue 16


In the focus of the evening there is this island with
the tossing loneliness of many nights,
this tuft that thrives on saline nothingness.
Here has my salient faith annealed me.

There are no stars tonight,
so dream thy sails, O phantom bark,
you, who contain augmented tears, explosions—
insistently through sleep—a tide of voices.

Out of the seagull cries and wind,
up the chasm-walls of my bleeding heart,
the swift red flesh, a winter king
awake to the cold light.

Through torrid entrances, past icy poles,
we make our meek adjustments:
tenderness and resolution
sinuously winding through the room.

I had come all the way here from the sea.
Above the fresh ruffles of the surf,
among cocoa-nut palms of a far oasis,
forgetfulness is like a song.

Source & Method: Each line in this cento is a first line from a poem by Hart Crane as found in The Complete Poems and Selected Letters and Prose of Hart Crane (New York: Anchor Books, 1966).

Scott Wiggerman is the Albuquerque author of three books of poetry, Leaf and Beak: Sonnets, Presence, and Vegetables and Other Relationships; and the editor of several volumes, including Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry, Bearing the Mask, and Weaving the Terrain.

Photo by Peter Fogden 

Lisa Zaran

Issue 16, Uncategorized


After a day or two,
lilies sprout the shape of my tongue.

I spill sad. Miss the garden,
fold over fold with inner knowing.

Don’t stop at the mouth,
the world outside is vast and intricate.

SOURCE & METHOD: As most of my peers I have often found solace in reading Rumi, felt a spiritual connection, discovered that God (my God as I have come to know him) can be a pleasurable part of my existence. My method in this piece was to build a relationship between two people based on hints throughout the words I chose to include and the direction I wanted to take. I sourced these fragments from The Essential Rumi translations by Coleman Barks with John Moyne.  The muse was certainly Jelaluddin.

Lisa Zaran is the author of eight collections of poetry including Dear Bob Dylan, The Blondes Lay Content, If It We and the sometimes girl. Lisa is founder and editor of Contemporary American Voices. When not writing, Lisa spends her days working for a Community Service Agency serving individuals with substance use and mental health disorders in Arizona.

Photo by Jelena Koncar 

Janet Ruth

Issue 16


—A cento in homage to Mary Oliver
using 45 lines from 45 of her poems in Devotions

The witchery of living
 ……. is my whole conversation with you, my darlings,
though time is draining from the clock.
The world has fallen out of reason.
These are the hours with the old wooden-god faces.

Be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world,
the sun rose up like a pot of blood.
Put your lips to the world. And live your life.
Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it,
standing around as though with your arms open.

There is only one question; how to love this world.
This is a poem about the world that is ours, or could be,
the perfect, stone-hard beauty of everything.
Nothing’s important except that the great and cruel mystery
 ……. of the world,  of which this is a part, not be denied.

Just pay attention, then patch a few words together.
You don’t ever know where a sentence will take you,
the pencil haltingly calling up the light of the world—
scalding, aortal light—in which we are washed
 ……. and washed out of our bones.

I don’t know exactly what prayer is.
Maybe such devotion, in which one holds the world in the clasp
 ……. of attention, isn’t the perfect prayer, but it must be close.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles
like a woman who is balancing a sword inside her body.

Sometimes I need only stand wherever I am and be blessed.
Holiness is visible, entirely.
Said the river: I am part of holiness.
I lay on the grass listening
 …….to his dog voice, crow voice, frog voice.

I tell you this to break your heart.
The world is full of leaves and feathers,
 ……. and comfort, and instruction,
All were shriven, as all the round world is.
It tastes like stone, leaves, fire.

I was made of leaves,
the reckless blossoms of weeds,
old twist of feathers and birch bark.
The glittering pandemonium leaned on me.
I had vanished at least a dozen times into something better.

Do you love this world?
Have you changed your life?
Who will chide you if you wander away
 ……. from wherever you are, to look for your soul,
when those white wings touch the shore?

Imagination is better than a sharp instrument,
looked at me with his gravel eyes,
He has a gift for you, but it has no name.
Joy is not made to be a crumb—
still ready, beyond all else, to dance for the world.

As long as you are dancing, you can break the rules.

Janet Ruth is an emeritus research ornithologist, living in New Mexico. Her writing focuses on connections to the natural world. Her first book, Feathered Dreams: Celebrating Birds in Poems, Stories & Images, is a finalist for the 2018 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards.

 Photo by Ahmad Odeh