Category Archives: Issue 3

I Will Not be Shouted At

by Chris Valliancourt


The lift and strain of traffic as it slides

down cool November streets.

A hustle and bustle, hurly-burly, ingested

kind of day.

A distinct flavour of of washing soap

faded in my mind.

Movement to the left, movement

to the right. Tossing my arm out

like a military no-mind I stomp

through the blaze of the grey.

“I will not be shouted at!

I will not be ignored”

Dead brown grass blowing like

spiders weaving insect repellent

parading on the ground.

The sound of shuffling feet echoes

like ice picks in my ears.

Floating in mid-sentence, I only

speak when I am inclined.

“I’m no longer inclined to want

to share with you.

I am no longer interested

in conforming to the norm.”

Saws are buzzing angrily as

they work to take the trees away.

Flies hide like lepers in the

dung hills of their alarm.

November came complete

with a whimper, a strangling

sort of no nonsense vowels.

Inside, the cough drop melts as

it slides down my throat.

I’m prisoner and jailer,

executioner and saviour.


“I’m not to be hurt.

I’m not to be insulted.”


Closing coat around emancipation.

Shutting mind to ulterior motives.

Outside the frolicsome emptiness

motivates another crowd to survive.

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Frascati Morning

by TM Tamish

Il vecchio gelataio
Has seen all passing and
Knows all kindly faces and
His grizzled features
Are creased by fleeting kisses
From Frascati balconies
Wafting to his cart.

Night is lofted gently in whispers over the Piazza
Sounds of primal intimacy mingle with a loosely fastened shutter
Across the craggy lips of the vecchio gelataio breaks a smile
What he knows, he knew long since – and tonight.

Evening breezes pull at lacework curtains
Yellowed by smoke and immemorial denial
Spifera di sera – they are inhaled again into the room
Waving silently at rumpled bedsheets moving

Your arms weigh against my chest as honeycombs
Emulsions warmed and mixing into a shifting one
In your hair, my lips find mesmerizing fragrance
And in this instant, I would consume you whole.

Into my arms, I pull your willing skin
All the world around we two repel
Hearts together drone out our only sound
I lose myself in you under soothing winds.

Frascati morning dawns in orange glow
I turn to you and smile to see you there –
And far below a creaking cart is pulled
“Sweet gelati,” cries the ancient knowing call.

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Persimmons

by Nina Romano

When I was twelve
Grandma opened a gift in her
cauliflower white kitchen—
a basket of persimmons
my Aunt Jay brought
home from the Garment District
where she worked in New York City
to my nonna’s house on 85th Street
in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Orange balls,
not quite spheres
a bit pointy at the tops
with thick skins and juicy pulp,
almost tropical,
and one elongated seed per half.
I tasted and exclaimed,
what an exotic flavor.
Grandma pulled a face.
Not sweet enough.
She said, You’ve no idea …
How this fruit can taste—
it’s nectar from Eden’s
barest tree—
golden orbs hang
from leafless limbs,
their color more perfect
than nuggets
dug from mountains,
or panned in streams—
it’s a precious sun fruit
after all others have fallen
from late autumnal trees.

Why, child,
she said, holding one
to midday light
deep and lemony through
her kitchen window,
This caccho when ripe …
is Sicily, is Italy itself.

Years later when I lived
in Rome on the second floor
of a Palazzo on Via Prisciano,
two stout, lovely fruit-bearing trees
from the garden below
greened forth in spring,
and in the fall,
when their curling leaves
had flown far and dispersed,
a diaspora,
to parts unknown,
smooth Titian globes
were left to dangle
from bare limbs
that reached my terrace.

Before the birds could feast,
and when the fruit
was still not quite ripe,
I picked them in late November
to line my windowsills.
In a matter of weeks
I had a terracotta bowl full
of Christmas balls
worthy of any gourmand,
buon gustaio, or my Grandma.

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I Have Lost It

by Miriam Poupko

I have lost it and it will never return

I seek it at half past six in the evening

When my hair comes undone over the stovetop

Shift the stirring-spoon to the other hand

To brush it away.

Lend me your ears, mother

But only one will I spare

Coiled, I await redemption in the blare

Of the inappropriate radio.

I know it is wrong

But perhaps a song, or a line

Will help me remember what used to be mine

For I have lost it, lost it

And it may never return.

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Samsara Bed

by April Pierce

perpetually waking to dream
of bed, tossing, to move
great waves of white and shadow

I feel my gravity in lines of linen
unbroken

parting, returning to die
constant
drugged, adulterous

there must be some steady pulse
or backbone
to rise again at early light

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Enslaved People of the Mirage

by Chris Valliancourt

Demons of hate soar above the hollow thoughts

cackling their insanity into the hearts and minds

of the enslaved people of the mirage. A mirror

stands smoked upon the stage and the actors

prance around it celebrating the wonder of

the great deception. Simplistic murderers

detailed the latest adventure that they felt the

toy soldiers would care to march upon. The

leaders of the unsafe world declared themselves

to be honest men while they whispered their

deceptions to their wives in bed. They stood

upon the stage and celebrated the demons

flying overhead creating scenarios of death

which they felt was necessary to trim the

population. Surely goodness and mercy

would follow them all the days of their lives.

Mystic mental morons deeming the duty

of the population which they felt was the

pattern of the soul. How easy it was to

catch the news and count the dead in their

calculator rooms. Distance from the front

lines made their speeches ring with brave

determination while the drugs of life were

fed endlessly into the television screens of

the peopled strands of fate. Freedom begins

with one voice screaming “we must have peace”.

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On Envy

by Louis Lamanna

A lot of you,
I’m certain,
say that it is green.
Indeed it is verdant,
even un-ephemeral.

But I say that it is white
like the blanched face of a frozen
pine cone
hanging from the ridges
of an evergreen tree.

Dangling
inveigling.

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