Alexandra Gold

We were throwing books in the river my Grandmother and I
in New Hampshire off a wooden bridge not quite Monet’s
surrounded by neighbors, hunters, schoolteachers
that girl from English class in high school Alicia though
I hadn’t seen her since graduation four years ago

I tossed in Kerouac’s On the Road and the irony wasn’t lost
as it floated raft-like downstream – the only book I could never
finish because it was about travel and everyone drove in circles
She threw in 1984 maybe it was Fahrenheit 451 – something
with a number at any rate something political and as
we watched them gather around stone or drift onward like lily pads
the woman on my right a Hemingway caster confessed

I hope someone is there collecting them on the other side before trout
Originally from Jupiter,
Florida, Alexandra Gold has been living in Philadelphia for several years as a
student at the University of Pennsylvania where she is currently pursuing a
Master’s degree in English Literature. Her poem “Water, Communion” previously
appeared in the Winter 2009/2010 Issue of Philadelphia Stories, leading her to
believe there is truly, as they say, “something in the water.”

Want of Fire

Grant Clauser

If this rain
in the forest,
then a full moon
for keening dogs.
If love,
then a dark room
fighting against firelight.
If warmth from the fire,
If wood smoke,
then time,
the patience it takes to grow a whole tree.
If dogs, curled on a rug
in front of the andirons,
then love in a forest
bathed in moonlight.
If this forest
and you listening
for trees to fall,
then me shivering in the rain
for want of fire.

Grant Clauser lives in Hatfield, PA where he works as a
magazine and website editor. Poems have appeared in a variety of journals
including Painted Bride Quarterly, Schuylkill Valley Journal, The Literary Review,
Apiary and the Cortland Review. He was the 2010 Montgomery County Poet
Laureate. This fall he’ll be teaching a class on nature writing at Musehouse in
Chestnut Hill.


Jonathon Todd

A formal apology for silence,
the emerging memory of places and scents,
Every gesture,
departing footsteps,
the fog of four a.m.
A pas de trois with a celestial gaze
to the bark of familiarity.
A place full of objects,
full of disorganized sequences.
A place with a great empty table,
full of wine and insects.
And all the cards vanish,
and the numbers structure the faces,
and the ace is a burning clock,
and the joker is seeking god,
and the king has no kingdom,
and the queen weeps in fear of:
spilled milk,
contact and empathy,
sunlight moving up dirt roads,
of coming home,
coming home.

And the ink bleeds to ash.
Everyone knows the deck is stacked,
so we smoke cigarettes and make love in the woods…
come to breath and bath in absence.

A great list, ordered sentences, summer heat,
the milky thought of repetition, blinding the eye of god.

Jonathon Todd is a poet and musician from Philadelphia currently living in NYC. He blends a love of language and performance with an ideal to “say a hard thing in a simple way,” as Bukowski once said. His work has been featured in Shakefist Magazine, Lower East Side Review, and Apiary Online among others. You can read more on his blog:  http://jonathontodd.blogspot.com


Devon Miller-Duggan

wants all your breath. Smoke so dense the outside’s disappeared, smeared, occluded

thick unbreathable stagnant distances what we will stop at. Or be stopped by what w

ill eat our hands/arms should we try to part the caramel-thick smoke. Leaning against

these breathing cedar redwood tobaccoleaf umber sepia all smudged terracotta water-

leaching clay-smeared lalala-ing brown study (it must be a Brown Study) where the b

lack lines of thoughtstudy approach the fog/fug stop, go back, comeback, run alongsid

e the fog/fug & off away into the whitewhere beyond the painting (other wall entirely)

& return, stop-going, going down exactly where the fog/fug would end if it had come s

o far and, shaking itself off, the black thinking line (it wants to go somewhere with yo

u) until it makes a dot/smudge & stops. No neednowhere further to go. Enough of thin

king. Cinnamon breathes into/through the paint & goes wherever it might need to go b

eyond/around/behind the fog away from eyes (your eyes, the wall’s one eye, Time’s e

ye). It finds your hands and gives them back. They trace the brown-thought line (what

it wants), one finger at a time, over the whole trail. Come away. You’re your own now.

Devon Miller-Duggan has had poems in Rattle, Shenandoah, Margie, Christianity and Literature, The Indiana Review, Harpur Palate, The Hollins Critic and a longish list of really little magazines. She’s won an Academy of American Poets Prize, a fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts, an editor’s prize in Margie, and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She teaches for the Department of English at the University of Delaware. Her first book, Pinning the Bird to the Wall appeared from Tres Chicas Books in November 2008.

Red Carp

Robbin Farr

I. Old koi pond

Still they swim, the light radiant
on their bodies. They bend
into faint commas
un-comma again,
again not resisting the water’s
accustomed flow but forming
it, they enter it and with the ancients’
alchemic knowledge, become gold. Always
they swim, they are swimming through
my life, creating currents.

II. Abstraction

I dream of swimming
with red carp, become,
flash into orangebloom,
sunset brilliant scales

color blown like poppies
on the silk field of a kimono
or like quickflash red slipped
from a painter’s brush

surface-bound by logic
until the crimson blossoms
watery, to seek the place
of colors felt, slippery
or cold or swift.

Robbin Farr is a resident of the Queen Village. After completing her MFA in creative writing, she discovered the bookbinding arts and mastered parallel parking. In addition, she teaches creative writing and American studies to high school students in Montgomery County.


Amanda Hempel

We sailed through the evening-cool crevices of Forest Hills,
grass clippings and hawberries that popped like fire
under our sneakers, barking dogs hidden in houses
and distant shouts to invisible somebodies,
coasting into intersections on found bikes,
daredeviling down the steepest hills, pedaling toward
some road that wouldn’t lead home.
Amanda Hempel was born in Stockholm, Sweden, but has lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, since 1986. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in several journals.

She Finds a Letter From a Future City

Ephraim Scott Sommers

It starts with a war
Over a piece of candy.
The world’s split open

By the lips of butterflies. We stitch it back together
With bluebirds, pull the ocean
Like a bed sheet back onto the sand.

—I got a job selling two-dollar paper suns
To turn a twenty-five cent profit
And loved on an empty stomach.

Now we have rituals of fish, white wine,
A first name, a look in the eye.
And when there is talk of borders,

We remind each other that one day, one hundred
Years ago—your tomorrow—an orchid went off
In Times Square, in Moscow, a box of chocolates.
A singer and guitar player, Ephraim Scott Sommers has produced three full-length albums of music and toured internationally both as a solo artist and with his band Siko (see-co). Most recently, his poetry has appeared in New Madrid, Versedaily, City Works, and more. His work is forthcoming in Blue Earth Review and Columbia Review.

Gifts That May Have Made a Difference

Robbin Farr

Molted feathers of parakeets
Green sea glass
One nettle
A moss-covered twig
Rain from the hollow of a rock
A ribbon woven of winter grass
The loon’s reflection
An oak leaf pressed into my palm
Hand-strung blue beads
An empty cicada shell
A capful of rust to tint my paints
Your apology
                  on the peeled bark of a birch

Robbin Farr is a resident of the Queen Village. After completing her MFA in creative writing, she discovered the bookbinding arts and mastered parallel parking. In addition, she teaches creative writing and American studies to high school students in Montgomery County.

The Bachelor

Luke Stromberg

We imagine him sexless — this wifeless,
childless man with his false teeth
and rumpled fedora; each article of clothing
a different species of plaid, as if he hailed
from a time before there were mirrors.
How easy it is to imagine the happy bachelor
on an afternoon walk, or alone
in his armchair, his ancient television
like a Rembrandt, everything surrounded by
encroaching darkness. He seems to have never been
young. One hears of years spent
caring for his sick mother, while his sisters
married, raised families — his own life
a mere sub-plot in their on-going stories.
And most accept this image
because it is easy, because it frightens
no one. Few care
to know what his life was
really like, what he most regrets
in that long, gray hour when the day
bleeds through the night.

Forgive me if I imagine him young
in bed with a woman, also young.
It’s Sunday morning. He doesn’t feel guilty
that he’s not at Mass. Her face is turned
toward him, her cheek against her pillow,
the strap of her nightgown off her shoulder,
a softness in her eyes that says she knows him.
This is what his life had to offer.
This is his story, the one
he will tell himself over and over.
Who else will remember it?
The way the light shone behind
the blinds, the way they had no money
and bickered all the time, the way
he loved her.

Luke Stromberg received both his BA and MA in English at West Chester University. In 2008, his poem “Black Thunder” was set to music by composer Melissa Dunphy and performed at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, PA. He was also recently featured in a Philadelphia Inquirer article about promising young poets in the Philadelphia area. Luke lives in Upper Darby, PA.

The Floy Floy

Dorothy DiRienzi

                  It’s a shame you never saw Atlantic City when it had floy floy.
                                                  Burt Lancaster, “Atlantic City,” 1981

Boardwalk said Possible
             said Here 

Walked from the Inlet to Texas Ave
Salt air sand and waves thumping
barkers chanting rhyme
of Win rhyme of Easy easy
you can do it show the lady a good time
sweetheart I’m your man
let me show you how easy it is for a nickel
for a dime

Short hair pinned with a flower
sixteen and Oh my sailor girl let’s go
sailing but no time to stop
I’ve got to walk to move to
get past the storefront where Madame Xerxes
reads your fingertips mine burning
stinging in the surf           past the place
with the girl in the iron lung talk to her
for a dime dead-eyed parents
at the curtain

The diving horse drowned

              Things happen here
              You can smell it on the air

In the morning salt light                blacktop
shimmering across the parking lot
I watch a bartender
at the back door of a club
his shirt wide open shoes untied he
clutches the barmaid kisses her

I can taste it



Dorothy DiRienzi has published in Friends Journal, Poetry Midwest, The Mid-America Poetry Review, Passager, MO:Writings from the River, and more. She was a runner-up at the Tucson Poetry Festival, 2005, 2010 and a semifinalist for Black Lawrence Press poetry prize, 2008. She has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University and previously worked as an editor and indexer of medical publishing titles in Philadelphia, PA for 38 years.