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by Joseph A. Farina

faux cavaliere
and belle contesse
wear rapiers and satin gowns
faces masked
white and black
masks with plumes
and daemon horns


well-heeled patrons
playing carnivale
against a backdrop
of giant photographs
— the grand canal
and st. marks square
venice recreated
in kodachromatic slides —


replicated gondolas
sit still on concrete floor lagoons
as gondoliers songs
play from speakers above the
crowded room —
all shadows of the actual
fluttering gowns —
the intoxicating liaisons
quick hands under black cloaks
lovers liquid
in the shadows of sighing bridges
above starlit canals
where waves kiss
the gondolas lacquered black
reflecting this night’s pagan moon


above San Marco’s crucifix
above the Doge’s palace
a throng of masks — black and white
moving in and out of shadows
meeting — parting — becoming shadows on the piazza
urgency in their searching
a frenzy of rustling costumes and clattering heels
ending at the coming dawn


PHOTO: Mask shop (Venice, Italy) by Joseph A. Farina.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joseph A Farina is a retired lawyer in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Several of his poems have been published in  Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine, Ascent, Subterranean  Blue, The Tower Poetry Magazine, Inscribed, The Windsor Review, Boxcar Poetry Revue , and appears in the anthology Sweet Lemons: Writings with a Sicilian Accent, and in the anthology Witness from Serengeti Press. He has had poems published in the U.S. magazines Mobius, Pyramid Arts, Arabesques, Fiele-Festa, Philedelphia Poets, and  Memoir (and)  as well as in the Silver Birch Press “Me, at Seventeen” Series. He has had two books of poetry published—The Cancer Chronicles  and The Ghosts of Water Street.

The Procession
by Edelma D’Trinidad

The little girl’s angel wings are not moving.
She wants to fly to find her parents,
newly aware that they are alive.
Balanced on a float, with papier-mâché saints,
the Virgin Mary, the orphans with whom she’d been raised,
she scans the faces of parade-goers, wondering
If she can recognize them in the multitude,
If they still live in this town,
If they can recognize her,
If they will want her.
She speaks to her wings,
ordering them to carry her to her parents,
but the wings resist.
The molting feathers of agitation and sadness
rain down on her through the warm afternoon,
while the procession continues to the cathedral,
marchers carrying their grand candles,
singing hymns of praise

PHOTOGRAPH: The author in Nicaragua at age seven on the day of her First Communion.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Edelma D’Trinidad is an optimistic dreamer living in Southern California. Born in Nicaragua, she was raised by a group of nuns in the rain forest from age two to seven, in a time of the country’s political upheaval. Her poem “The Procession” arose from memories of early childhood, and of the loving and courageous nuns who fostered the development of a little girl’s self-worth, love, and ultimate survival.

by Birdman313

Along the borderline in the summer walking down the beach,
Half-awake under a half moon as the tide rolls in reach.
The white tranquil sand soothing through the toes,
The mind is open to the wind’s gentle whisper rows.
As the sea spray mist bathed on the face,
Seagulls, fish circled to a beat of trace.
Under the sky with windblown sails,
Along the dock, toothpicked fishermen gathered around a cotton bail.
Midnight strolls lazy moon and a shadow on the beach,
Dreams casually as the wind brushed up against the trees in reach.
Stone upon stone of history stood silent along the sandy shores off the       sea,
Sending a chill that will sting like bee.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Guided” (Benton Harbor, Michigan) by Bill Frische. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Victor B. Johnson, Sr., aka Birdman313, is originally from Benton Harbor, Michigan. After receiving a B.A. in Social Science from John Wesley College in Owosso, Michigan, he tried out for The NBA California Summer Pro-Basketball League, the Eastern League, and several independent teams and spent several years playing Semi-Pro basketball. In 1980, he moved to Houston, Texas. He has four published poetry books and three poetry chapbooks and has been published in Froward Times newspaper, Storm Magazine, Harbinger Asylum Magazine, the Indiana Review Newsletter, and The Permian Basin Poetry Society Anthology PERMAIN BASIN 2014. He is a member of the Austin Writers Roulette and hosts the Spoken Word Contest at the National Black Book Festival. His awards include several Editor’s Choice Awards in Poetry, a Plaque for the Poem “She,” Gold Medallion and PENDANT. He appears in the YouTube documentary Poetry Is Dead by Weasel Patterson of Vagabonds press in the Houston area. He received an A.A. in Networking Admin from ITT-Tech and a Computer Tech Certificate from J.T.I. He is a mobile app developer for Androids and Smartphone devices and has developed two personal apps at the Google Play Store under the name of Birdman313 and Skipper313.

Waiting for the Butterfly
by Diane Funston

I creep into the butterfly habitat,
dappled with perfume.
Wearing my most colorful,
flower-full blouse.
Ready for filigree butterflies
to cover me.

I stand still as a park statue.
Silent as the pious in prayer.
Occasionally I drift
toward a new feathery squall—
offer myself,
passive altar,
a turned-down bed.

Amazed, I see whorls of wings
flicker and flutter past me,
to settle instead upon
silver-haired shrieking tourists,
corpulent camera man in a sweat-logged suit,
chocolate-smeared children waving their arms,
calling, “Come here, butterfly, come over here.”

I watch amidst chatter and clutter,
silent, scented, open-palmed—
still waiting.

IMAGE: “The Queen of the Butterflies” by Salvador Dali (1951).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Diane Funston splits her time between a home in the mountain town of Tehachapi, California, and the high desert of central Nevada she shares with her soul-mate husband Roger and three boisterous dogs. She has been published in various journals in California and on the East Coast. She is the founder of a weekly poetry group that has been meeting in Tehachapi for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Literature and Writing from CSU San Marcos. She once heard Lawrence Ferlinghetti read in San Diego, and has visited City Lights Bookstore several times. She writes frequently of longing and loss.

by Magdalena Ball

On the bridge of time
I waited in a dream
toes curled, lips pulled back.

It could have been anywhere
scanning radio frequencies
cold and bright
as if this alien moon were the moon.

Enceladus spouting water
against a frozen heart
in need of heat.

Open strings ultrasound
pressure waves infrasound
an unheard symphony played
in the vacuum of space while I wait
at right angles to the brane
in the middle of nowhere
alone, nothing picking up the signal.

In place of mourning, I found myself
laughing silently, hysterically
a synecdoche
for all those things we pretended were real.

That big open mouth
the echoing void
your waving hand.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Waiting is such a charged verb – conjuring hope and anticipation, along with the notion of a lack – whatever you might be waiting for you don’t have. A new kind of meaning is created in the permanent waiting space — you neither despair nor are you satisfied that things are as they should be. Following from Ferlinghetti’s “I Am Waiting,” I attempted to capture that sense of longing, and its accompanying mingling of sorrow that comes with knowing that what you’re waiting for cannot happen (lovers will never kiss on the urn, aliens won’t contact us, and ghosts don’t exist) with a forced optimism (“renaissance of wonder”).

IMAGE: “Under the Mirabeau Bridge” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti—a painting that features lines from a poem by Guillaume Apollinaire. Learn more about the painting and artist at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Magdalena Ball is the author of the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Sublime Planet, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs and a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at

by Edward Hirsch

I wish I could find that skinny, long-beaked boy
who perched in the branches of the old branch library.

He spent the Sabbath flying between the wobbly stacks
and the flimsy wooden tables on the second floor,

pecking at nuts, nesting in broken spines, scratching
notes under his own corner patch of sky.

I’d give anything to find that birdy boy again
bursting out into the dusky blue afternoon

with his satchel of scrawls and scribbles,
radiating heat, singing with joy.

SOURCE: “Branch Library” appears in Edward Hirsch‘s collection Special Orders (Knopf, 2010), available at

IMAGE: “In a Land Far Away,” painting by Carol Berning. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Edward Hirsch is an American poet and critic who wrote the national best seller How to Read a Poem. He has published eight books of poems, including The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (2010), which brings together thirty-five years of work. He is president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in New York City.

Poem by Richard Brautigan

When we were children after the war
we lived for a year in a house next
to a large highway. There were many
sawmills and log ponds on the other side
of the highway. The sound of the saws could
be heard most of the time and when there
was darkness trash burners glowed red
against the sky. We did not have a father
and our mother had to work very hard.
My sister and I got our spending money
by gathering beer bottles that had been
thrown along the highway or left around
the sawmills. At first we carried the
bottles in gunny sacks and cardboard boxes
but later we found an old baby buggy
and we used that to carry our bottles in.
We took the bottles to a grocery store
and were paid a penny for small beer bottles
and two cents for large ones. On almost
any day we could be seen pushing our baby
buggy along the highway looking
for beer bottles. 

PHOTO: “Baby buggy” by Jill Battaglia, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at

by Stephen Dunn

Six people are too many people
and a public place the wrong place
for what you’re thinking–
stop this now.
Who do you think you are?
The duck à l’orange is spectacular,
the flan the best in town.
But there among your friends
is the unspoken, as ever,
chatter and gaiety its familiar song.
And there’s your chronic emptiness
spiraling upward in search of words
you’ll dare not say
without irony.
You should have stayed at home.
It’s part of the social contract
to seem to be where your body is,
and you’ve been elsewhere like this,
for Christ’s sake, countless times;
behave, feign.
Certainly you believe a part of decency
is to overlook, to let pass?
Praise the Caesar salad. Praise Susan’s
black dress, Paul’s promotion and raise.
Inexcusable, the slaughter in this world.
Insufficient, the merely decent man.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in New York City in 1939, Stephen Dunn is the author of 15 collections of poetry, including DIFFERENT HOURS, which won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His other honors include an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, three National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship. Dunn is the Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Richard Stockton College and lives in Frostburg, Maryland, with his wife, the writer Barbara Hurd.

by Richard Brautigan

I guess you are kind of curious as to who I am,
but I am one of those who do not have a regular
name. My name depends on you. Just call me
whatever is in your mind.

If you are thinking about something that
happened a long time ago: Somebody asked
you a question and you did not know the
That is my name.

Perhaps it was raining very hard.
That is my name.

Or somebody wanted you to do something.
You did it. Then they told you what you did was
wrong — “Sorry for the mistake,”– and you had
to do something else.
That is my name.

Perhaps it was a game that you played when
you were a child or something that came idly
into your mind when you were old and sitting
in a chair near the window.
That is my name.

Or you walked someplace. There were flowers
all around.
That is my name.

Perhaps you stared into a river. There was
somebody near you who loved you. They were
about to touch you. You could feel this before
it happened. Then it happened.
That is my name.

Or you heard someone calling from a great
distance. Their voice was almost an echo.
That is my name.

Perhaps you were lying in a bed, almost ready
to go to sleep and you laughed at something, a
joke unto yourself, a good way to end the day.
That is my name.

Or you were eating something good and for
a second forgot what you were eating, but still
went on, knowing it was good.
That is my name.

Perhaps it was around midnight and the fire
tolled like a bell inside the stove.
That is my name.

Or you felt bad when she said that thing to
you. She could have told someone else:
Someone who was more familiar with her
That is my name.

Perhaps the trout swam in the pool, but the
river was only eight inches wide, and the moon
shone on and the watermelon fields
glowed out of proportion, dark, and the moon
seemed to rise from every plant.
That is my name.
“My Name” appears in Richard Brautigan‘s novella In Watermelon Sugar (1968), available at

Photo: ”Forest’s Edge” by Holly Northrop, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


  1. To get started, write one true sentence.
  2. Always stop for the day while you still know what will happen next.
  3. Never think about the story while you’re not working.
  4. When it’s time to work again, always start by rereading what you’ve written so far.
  5. Don’t describe emotion—make it.
  6. Use a pencil.
  7. Be brief.

For details on each point, visit