Three Poems From Correspondences by John Lowther

It’s like walking a tightrope, to use a cliché metaphor.
Futons on the floor, that sort of thing.
Not that that makes him any different than anyone else, on second thought.
Hard to say what will come of it.
I think I’m old-fashioned in this view.
Contrivance is now supposed to be a form of honesty, like laying bare the device.
It would be nice to do that again. Hmm… perhaps a more or less theoretika meets…?
Me, staring at my eviction notice.  In the ass.
Ah, life would be so easy if everything would indeed be that simple.
And you’re right to challenge me on use of “authentic.”
How much can a writer rightfully demand from his audience in terms of attention and effort.
Yeah, yeah… they stop the flow of water at 1/5000 of a second.
I love shit like that. I might have to search it out. Which might just be cockamamie ego shit.
Let me know when you want to begin pro-seedings w/regard to the immanent discuss of  langue foibles, glee.


(fk it.)

Literary acts consciously foreground interpretive situations.
The slippery slope argument comes out anytime someone feels threatened.
Thanks for calling him and following up.
I agree that modern poetry has its dark side.
That’s probably a fair critique of my position.
But, rhetorically, I was trying not to complain.
I almost never anticipate that.  I won’t have a car.
And hey, you have an arch-enemy?  How cool. I want one!
But you’re right, I don’t think pure difference is even thinkable at all.
I’m certainly open to whomever you’d like to invite.
The barrage of information demonstrated what the future held in store.
But of course your there is not their there.
Nothing more than this?  Nothing less.
She now has a hole in her stomach you can fit your fist into, the insides of which look like the second layer of one of those transparency drawings of anatomy we used to see in encyclopedias.
Interpretation is a device, artificial surgery-like.


Yes, saw the post. The whole is the under-side connection.
It was worse than anything either of you have said, and worse than what I did.
The poetry of sex lies entirely elsewhere.
Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.
Language is a gauge.  Poetry the notches of measurement. We are the scale.
The drift.
There is, of course, no money in it…
Much easier to blab in person, which I miss, in lots of ways that are as selfish as anything else.
Snake monster was last week.  Ceiling monster this week.
Quivering meat, thumps.  Imaginary beings sealed in flesh.
How much pretending is a part of caring?
This may be a trick question, but I’m biting anyway; it has been on my mind all week.
Not too bad, really, for a quick and dirty situation.
It will never get out.

John Lowther

John Lowther’s work appears in the anthologies, The Lattice Inside (UNO Press, 2012) and Another South: Experimental Writing in the South (U of Alabama, 2003). Held to the Letter, co-authored with Dana Lisa Young is forthcoming from Lavender Ink. Other poems from Correspondences have been published or are forthcoming in Assonance, Ataraxia, Aught, Ex Ex List, Intercapillary Space, Otoliths, Star 82, and Zoomoozophone.



Sunday Sky by Tom Montag

Like the sandhill cranes
lifting up the Sunday sky,

hope flies. Every day
turns this way, that, and won’t

turn back. You choose, or don’t.
No choice, another choice.

Set your wings and rise.

Tom Montag head shot

Tom Montag is most recently the author of In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013. In 2015 he was the featured poet at Atticus Review (April) and Contemporary American Voices (August), with other poems at Hamilton Stone Review, The Homestead Review, Little Patuxent Review, Mud Season Review, Poetry Quarterly, Provo Canyon Review, Third Wednesday, and elsewhere.

The Movie House During A Dark And Stormy Night by Gene McCormick

Rain drips from the neon edges of the movie house marquee, patters to the sidewalk and puddles, with the entrance to the box office locked for another ten minutes while the corn is being popped and the part-time high school senior candy concessions girl, always at least ten minutes late, lines up the rows of Hershey, Jujubes, Skittles, Bit ‘o Honey bars and more, refills the napkin holder  while butter melts for the ‘corn and the cheese melts for the nachos and with its broad selections the candy counter as much as anything reminds that the theatre has come full circle from a vaudeville house when it first opened nearly a hundred years ago to flickering black-and-white silent then sound films, to Technicolor, 3-D, and Surround Sound all the while with heavy dark curtains sweeping across the stage to open and close each movie showing and now, put out of the film business by cookie-cutter modern 16-screen theatres offering the latest show, the old neighborhood movie house is an ornate, fading pop culture entertainment gilded relic back to offering live shows featuring retro revival rock ‘n’ rollers with paunches as big and hair as white as the smiling ticket taker who always, always says Enjoy the show as he tears the ticket in half and hands back the stub in case during the movie you want leave fantasyland to return to the lobby for more popcorn or candy but for now, finger rivulets of rain leach off from the puddles at the theatre entrance and meander to the thick glass entry doors as the buzz of marquee neon is over-ridden by thunder, the sign’s garish colors trumped by shards of lightning.

gene 1

Gene McCormick has written sixteen books, a mix of non-fiction, fiction and poetry, and claims to have read them all, making him the only person in the galaxy to have done so. He divides his time between Wayne, Illinois, and Paris, France, and much prefers Paris…but then, who the hell wouldn’t?

Eraserhead (the poem) by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

They turned my grandmother into a vegetable
after her youngest son
never came home from school
and was found floating in
Georgian Bay.

So docile and expressionless
I never knew her outside of what
she had become.
Many years later
there was this one in the Sudbury nuthouse
receiving ECT every few weeks,
she called it a reset.

Made it sound simple as programming
your VCR.

All her memories gone.
While other men are accused
of murder.


Ryan Quinn Flanagan presently resides in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with an acute case of cabin fever after another long Canadian winter. He dreams of warm places and warmer women.

A Ten Question Interview With The Artist…Grant Tarbard

Why do you write?

It is a need, writing nourishes me. It is my pipes and drums, communication with the world is the simplest answer. If I’m not writing then I’m hell to live with.

What books do you read?

Poetry books mainly, but I do read biographies and fiction, particularly science fiction and I have a hankering for graphic novels.

What inspires you?

Whatever takes my fancy, the muse isn’t static. I go to galleries, plays, the cinema, flea markets and pick apart the books. There’s no feeling like it when you discover a treasure, whether it be a letter in an old book or an idea that strikes you instantly.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer and when?

I wanted to be an actor when I was little, I put on plays for my family and my cousins and the pets would be the players. I would write these, this was when I was about seven. I’ve always wrote short stories as long as I can remember. I first wrote poetry when I was a teenager. I had an offer for publication when I was seventeen but all I was interested then was being in a band. I played the guitar, wore my hair long, wrote the songs. I guess I can be a bit of a control deviant.

How do you deal with rejection?

It depends on the magazine, sometimes I feel sick to the pit of my innards, sometimes the editor writes a nice rejection. They are are always appreciated. Most times I feel nauseous, writers are ultra sensitive to any rejection.

Who are some writers you admire?

Lots, I’ll give you some. Whitman, Ginsberg (although I haven’t read him for quite awhile), Eliot, Heaney, Plath, Blake, John Clare, Bethany W. Pope, George Szirtes, Angela Topping, Helen Ivory, Martin Figura, Phillip K. Dick, Dickens. Anyone that’s real, anyone who isn’t afraid to scrape marrow from their bones.

Is writing the only artistic medium you do?

Now yes. I used to paint a lot. I had a stroke in 2012 and it left my right arm next to useless, my writing hand, so I can’t doddle in my notebook anymore, or play guitar.

What would be some advice you would give to your younger self?

Read more contemporary poetry, stick at it.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read a lot and don’t be afraid if your tank is empty, it’ll fill up.

What is your writing process?

I get up early, brew some strong coffee and write everyday, even (and this is infuriating) if it’s just a line. I should go to bed early but I love the sounds of the night.

Grant Tarbart 2

Grant Tarbard is internationally published. His chapbook Yellow Wolf, published by WK Press, is available now. His first full collection published by Lapwing and a collection published by Platypus Press will be both out next year.

Box Kick 1-5 by Christopher Barnes

Box Kick 1

…Rig out a back-and-forth approach
For unhitching or morphing pledges…

Worker Ant No.46 audaciously gate-crashes the machine.

…Rig out a glitchfart ArPp*hac
rAe tuH~in!n 0r pMroshin dgPeesl…


Box Kick 2

…Sheets on rollers,
Minting lines turn over ink effects…

Worker Ant No. 47 plays the ape on those wheels.

…Sheets on rollers,
Minting thoughtnoose runt V2er Kn; ffecste…


Box Kick 3

…Twinkling molecules cross-refer
With atoms on the fabric
Of the solid…

Worker Ant No.48 fitfully blunts the pencil.

…Twinkling molecules cross-refer
With loopsnap {n The cr;afb
O=eht i@sod…


Box Kick 4

…Internally smart carded money-spinner
With obscurantist RPM drives…

Worker Ant No.49 has nest egg tested credentials
Between dependable brain paths.

…Internally smart carded snarldeed
W^ht ?nan3U7so+,T p#M iv8drs


Box Kick 5

…A putty stick circuit board diagnosis
On system displays…

Worker Ant No.50 visors himself, spites hypnotism,
Discriminates undiagnosed numbers.

…A putty stick circuit board blowoutclock
O” :syT2m Ys|A]pd(

christopher barnes photo 1

Christopher Barnes’ first collection LOVEBITES is published by Chanticleer. Each year he reads at Poetry Scotland’s Callender Poetry Weekend. He also writes art criticism which has been published in Peel and Combustus magazines.




#marketingfail by Emma Lee

Three men, proud and smiling, individually pose,
each holding a promotional copy of a paper with a red mast.

Three men, political leaders, pose holding a paper
that will be distributed to all except Liverpool postcodes.

Three men, pose with something that calls itself a family newspaper
and puts women on page three with their breasts exposed.

Three men, party leaders, pose with a paper owned by a media mogul
who denied knowledge of phone hacking by his journalists.

Three men pose with a paper produced to celebrate a world cup
where the national men’s team failed to get to the quarter finals.

Three men, who think themselves elected representatives,
pose with a paper I returned to the sender’s freepost address.

Three men pose with a paper I will never buy.
I swallow bile.

Emma Lee’s latest collection is “Ghosts in the Desert” (Indigo Dreams Publishing). She blogs at and reviews for The Journal, London Grip and Sabotage Reviews.

I Leave My Windows Open Wide by Laura McKee

I leave my windows open wide
hope rain might come tonight
and slant into my room
mistake me for a sheet of glass
mistake me for a wooden frame
inside me find a hotblown sand
of salt and micro skeletons
roll across me
wake me up as wet

Laura Mckee

Laura McKee has had poems in various journals, including Other Poetry, Prole, Neon, The Lake, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Journal, Morphrog. This year she had a poem nominated for Best Single Poem in the Forward Prizes, and will have a poem on a bus at the Guernsey Literary Festival.

The Thirteenth Metal Spike-Excerpt from ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ by Paul Tristram

If you decide to pass through the first door you will have no other choice
but to open every other door which may lay upon the other side. There may
not be any more doors upon the other side of the first door, there may be
nothing but pleasures and wide open spaces. Of course it may be the exact
opposite, there may be millions of doors; you could spend the rest of your life
walking through hallways, opening a similar looking door time and time again
until you simply explode with frustration or the other possibility is that I could
change the subject and tell you about something else, just like this.
It was midnight; she awoke as usual, stripped, showered, dressed then leapt out
of the living room window, she stole through the shadows, using mostly
back lanes and alleyways until she eventually arrived at the park.
She stole a glance in each direction as she made her way to the little footbridge
which passes over the little stream, upon reaching this she walked to the right
hand side of it and grabbed a-hold of the first of the metal spikes which make up
the boundary fence.
She counted the metal spikes one by one with her left hand until she came to the
thirteenth, she then glanced from side to side again and seeing and sensing that
no one was about she reached into the inside pocket of her dark and mysterious
coat and pulled forth a metal file.
At this particular moment the cloud which had been hiding the spiteful moon
fucked off out of the way, a silver light instantly came down and bounced off
the thirteenth metal spike which stood before her.
She had come to the same spike every night for the last three weeks and
sharpened it carefully with the file, the tops of all the other spikes were covered
in a peeling black paint but hers shone like mercury.
She smiled with delight as the moonlight lovingly caressed its shiny surface, she
stepped forward, kissed its cold, smooth almost damp surface, whispered
something weird in Latin and then set about filing the top of her beloved spike.
This will be the last night spent on the top, she happily thought to herself,
tomorrow I can start on the shaft, then that will leave just the base, ah but don’t
worry my dear spike when I have finished filing I will still come every night to
polish you.
You see, four years ago her best friend stole her childhood sweetheart from her,
they married almost instantly, for they had apparently been having an affair for
sometime. This all completely destroyed her and she spent the first two of those
years on various forms of medication, with several spells spent in secure units.
Three weeks ago her ex-best friend and childhood boyfriend had been riding
their bicycles through the park when suddenly the handle bars of the girls bike
became entangled in the metal spikes as they were passing, she was standing up
while riding and when she became entangled her throat bounced off the thirteenth
metal spike.
The police who attended the scene declared that she was in fact lucky to be alive,
that if the metal spike was sharper or she had hit it with greater force she would
now in all probability be dead, she managed to get away with only bad bruising
to the neck and a sprained ankle.
But she and her husband have both sworn that the incident would not put them
off riding bicycles in the park as they simply love it, which is why the spurned
lover is there right now as I’m typing this, either sharpening or polishing the
thirteenth metal spike in hope that the accident will repeat itself.
Hey, let’s leave the crazy fucking bitch to get on with her work;
we’ve got better things to talk about. (Really?)

paul smoking

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight; this too may pass, yet. Buy his books ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ (Lit Fest Press) ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at And a split poetry book ‘The Raven And The Vagabond Heart’ with Bethany W Pope at You can also read his poems and stories here!


I Imagine by John D Robinson

That he works as a labourer
in one of the local factories
and almost at the end of every
working day we exchange
snatches of verbal greetings and
facial gestures; he is about
5”4 and a little over-weight,
his face is permanently flushed
a red wine and beneath his
balding head, his cross-eyes
stare at one another at all
times; he is always dressed
in tough-man working boots
and army surplus camouflaged
jacket and trousers and he
smiles constantly through bad
teeth and he talks to
everybody that nears and
it is difficult to understand
his words as they struggle to
leave his throat and sound
muted and mumbled, but
he always appears ‘happy’
At the weekends I often see
him seated at a table outside
a local bar drinking a pint of
oblivion; dressed in his weekend
denims and yellow T shirt and
soft shoes and I imagine
that he lives alone in a small
rented room with a sofa-bed,
a microwave oven, a fridge, a
shower and shitter cubicle and
maybe a portable TV or radio
and not much else;
I imagine that he doesn’t
feel lonely and that he is a
hard working loyal employee
and that he’s never known
the love and sorrows of women
and the joys of children or the
strength of friendship but he
hasn’t missed anything, his time
and journey precious as any
and I don’t know his name or
anything about him or how
he would feel about this poem;
but I would imagine that
he’d smile anyway.

john robinson

John D Robinson was born UK in 1963; began writing poetry aged 16, 1st poem published a year later; over the years many of his poems have appeared in the small presses; of recent, his work has appeared in Bareback Lit; Red Fez; The Kitchen Poet; Dead Snakes.