Ralph Monday




Ketchup on Okra

A quaint southern diner, throwback to the 50s.
Football and country music star posters dotted
the walls. I splashed ketchup on fried okra.
You were horrified, couldn’t believe it.
No one does things like that you said.
Here in mid-December I looked at you,
considered the irony between bites of grilled
catfish, its dead white flesh nourishing me.
How strange that we live on the dead.
Two years ago you betrayed me,
your Christmas present.
Found trash online, a religion professor
that you flew to using the GPS I bought
because you were terrified of driving long distance.
Did he preach to you of love, convince of Cinderella
dreams? What took me a year of patience, consideration,
took mere days with him. He must have been Prince
Charming, for you opened your legs to him on
meeting for the second time. Had the gall to email
me later that the whole time he was fucking you
all you could think about was me: you were in
the back of my mind. How sweet. The front of you
was moving back and forth under him, the back of
you thinking of me, special.
How he must have preached imagery from Solomon’s
song before impaling you with his crucifix, how his
sermon seared your carnal soul.
You knew me, not him, where I had treated you with
kindness, care, you were just the latest online plaything,
for aliens like him do not love girls like you.
Discarded like a broken, ugly toy, you returned to me,
contrite, pulled the fool from the Tarot, and though I
knew you were a dark angel I embraced the horror.
Now, in this diner, splashing ketchup on okra,
I see in your eyes my reflection.
This is the meal that I have paid to eat.




 Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses. He had been published widely including The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review.  He was represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of Poetry Repairs. In winter 2014 he will have poems published in Dead Snakes. Summer 2014 saw a poem in Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology of Best Present Day Poems. He was featured Poet of the week May, 2014 Poetry Super Highway. Forthcoming: Poems in Blood Moon Rising and Down in the Dirt Magazine. His first book, Empty Houses and American Renditions will be published by Hen House Press in Fall 2014.

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Susan Evans




Silly Shoes

I rushed home from work for him
I went totally berserk for him
I wore silly shoes for him
I sat and had the blues for him
I laughed at all his jokes for him
I ignored all other blokes for him
I went with the flow for him
I stopped saying no to him
I opened my heart for him
I wrote a special part for him
I stopped being late for him
I laid awake for him
I went the extra mile for him
I wore special smiles for him
I stopped seeing my mates for him
I started baking cakes for him
I cleaned out my flat for him
I totally lost track for him
I danced drunk in the street for him
I threw up and I reached for him
I gave thanks and praise for him
I thought I’d end my days with him
But it wasn’t really happening
It was just a fling to him.

Susan Evans is a Brighton-based Arts Therapist, Lecturer and Performance Poet, from East London, of Anglo Indian/Irish parentage. Susan is currently developing her solo `scratch’ show, A bit of Oral. Silly Shoes is published in Brighton Stanza Poets Anthology, 2013. Find her here: www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Evans-Performance-poet

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Allison Grayhurst


Walk Low

Walk low in case I forget
the roots of my deliverance.
Walk low so my head knows it is human,
and my heart touches daily the earth I will
return to.
Walk low in days of joy, in hours toil.
Walk low when leaping over burning fields,
into a relentless hunger.
Walk low on the land and café corners,
kindled by the sun’s yellow grain.
Walk low, remembering how I turned from
another’s need, held a dead starling
with eyes unable to weep, and thought
myself good for getting through.
Red wagon on its side. Red dream filling my
mouth like fire. I love the water that you pour on
me, the water that you are.
Walk low for whatever in me
that is true, was given by and belongs
to you.



Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. She has over 390 poems published in international journals and anthologies. She has eleven published books of poetry and four collections, as well as six chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com

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Gale Acuff





I love everybody but most of all
it’s Miss Hooker, my Sunday School teacher,
we’re going to get married one day, don’t
ask me how I know, I guess God told me
somehow, whispered in my ear when I was
asleep, which was good of Him because I
love Miss Hooker more than I love
Him or Jesus or the Holy Ghost, which
I think is what they call blasphemy, she’s
something like the Golden Calf but let me
explain in case God’s listening or reading
over my shoulder, if He can read, I
think He can write anyway, didn’t He
write the Ten Commandments, at least in that
movie and I think in Technicolor
but anyway I was going to say
before God catches onto me and damns
me to Hell that I love Miss Hooker
more because somehow together we can
have babies but come to think of it she
and God could, too, it’s called the virgin birth
and it happened to Mary and lo and
behold she had Jesus. What’s a virgin?
I’m not really sure but then I’m only
ten years old to Miss Hooker’s 25
and after class today I asked her if
she is one, a virgin I mean, and she
went all red in the face, it’s called blushing,
it’s as close as you get to blood without
the bleeding and that should tell me something
but it didn’t. She said a gentleman
doesn’t ask a lady such a question,
not if he wants her to respect him. So
I said Yes ma’am and when I got home from
Sunday School, I felt like I was baptized
again, I asked Mother the same thing and
she chuckled and said, Yes, and Father burst
out laughing, so I joined them. There you go.


Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Concho River Review, Worcester Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Arkansas Review, Carolina Quarterly, Poem, South Dakota Review, Santa Barbara Review, Sequential Art Narrative in Education, and many other journals. I have authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse Press, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008).   He has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.

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John Hawkhead





gravel in my knees
from the pilgrimage to you
your gentle tweezers
gradual rain
pattering the willow leaves
her hand slips from mine
purple night clouds
buffeting under moonlight
her lingering scent
under winter clouds
the old rook pecks at bent straw
through the scarecrow’s hat
an acorn
split from cup to tip
the newborn’s hare lip



John Hawkhead is a writer of haiku and other short poetry forms. His work has been published all over the world in small press magazines and the Internet. His book of poetry and haiku Witness is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

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