David D. Horowitz



I’m an ounce
Of flit and bounce,
An inch
Of hop and flinch.
I chirp and chatter,
Perch and scatter,
Alert, still:
The world can kill
And think it doesn’t matter.


“Sparrow” is reprinted from ArtWord Quarterly and Resin from the Rain (Rose Alley Press, 2002).


David D. Horowitz founded and manages Rose Alley Press. His most recent poetry collections, published by Rose Alley, are Sky Above the Temple and Stars Beyond the Battlesmoke. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals, including The Lyric, Candelabrum, The New Formalist, The Smoking Poet, and Exterminating Angel. David has edited and published two Northwest poetry anthologies: Limbs of the Pine, Peaks of the Range and Many Trails to the Summit. He frequently organizes poetry readings in the Puget Sound region and in 2005 received the PoetsWest Award for his contributions to Northwest literature.

Student Poem

Sliver of a Life
by Niyathi Chakrapani

She had told the reporter,
“I loved him, I loved him,”
But the newspaper only printed it once.
There was also
A quote from his favorite baseball player;
Some clammy, optimistic Bible text;
His birthday, a mere memory now;
Awards from college, received years ago
In subjects he did not pursue;
Names of family members he had not talked to in years;
Meaningless compliments;
His job, which he hated more than one could imagine;
A blurry picture with too much sunlight and exposure;
And his love of the Yankees,
Quite understated in saying he merely “loved the team.”

She had told the reporter,
“I loved him, I loved him,”
With the tears that she abhorred
Sprinting down to her fragile chin,
Pouring down like livid rain.
The reporter feigned pity and said,
“I am sorry, ma’am. This must be hard.”
She wanted to punch his contrived smile.
There was anger and sorrow in her eyes,
The most pitiful of combinations.

And when she read the newspaper that day
She took all the liquor in the house
And smashed their bottles
Till the shards became paste,
Sprinkled across the now-chipped wooden floor
Like freshly fallen snow.

The little square of words,
A banal sliver of a life,
Or a stanza trying to compensate
For a beautiful elegy.
The meaningless banter of a child,
Repartee and badinage,
A cruel joke played with good intentions
On the most mournful of souls.

For in that little square of words
There was no mention
Of how he always got ice cream on his nose,
And laughed as she wiped it off and licked her finger;
Of his yellow, pirate-like grin
Which could light up the room
More than the whitest and straightest of insincere smiles;
Of how he refused to leave the stadium
After the Yankees lost
Because he couldn’t bear to be in his home, in comfort,
With the thought of their failure looming in his mind;
Of how he cooked Thanksgiving dinner
Because she had a fever that weekend,
And though they both ate burned turkey that year,
It was the best turkey they ever had.

As she told the reporter,
“I loved him, I loved him,”
She knew she would never drink again
For the drunkenness of another
Was what had killed her love.
After that vow she grabbed the last bottle of brandy
And threw it over her fence,
As far as her slender arms could bear,
Knowing her pain lay in that bottle
And wishing it could shatter as easily.
There was anger and sorrow in her eyes,
The most pitiful of combinations.

She ran back to the newspaper,
Intent on ripping it to shreds,
But could not bring herself to harm
That little square of words,
A banal sliver of a life,
The last dregs of a forgotten eulogy
Spoken only in her mind.

For on that paper there was printed
A quote from his favorite baseball player;
Some hopeful Bible text;
His birthday, a loving memory now;
Awards from college, received years ago
In subjects he wished he had pursued;
Names of family members who loved him;
Innumerable compliments;
His job, which he only continued out of love;
A picture taken in a beautiful meadow;
And his love of the Yankees,
Quite understated in saying he merely “loved the team,”
But stated nonetheless.
And bottommost of all there was printed
Three simple words, more innocent without repetition,
Quoted with a name:
“I loved him.”

So she clutched the paper to her heart
And let fall her abhorred tears.



Niyathi Chakrapani is a 15-year-old poet from Sammamish, Washington who received four regional gold medals and a national silver medal for her literature in the Scholastic Young Artists and Writers national competition, as well as several local awards in the KCLS library system’s Rhyme On! competitions and the Issaquah Youth Board Poetry Slam. Niyathi loves to write poems about her deepest feelings and observations about the world, as well as to put herself in the shoes of other people and write poems from their perspective. She also loves to write and perform songs, volunteer, and eat chocolate.

Ann Spiers

Bunker Trail, Vashon Island


……..New Year’s Eve (8 p.m.)
His body is well dressed
in wool coat and heavy gloves.
His body rides the currents
from the Narrows
north up Colvos Straits,
passes our iced windows
to beach on Dolphin Point.

His body is covered
with care in wool and knit.

……..New Year’s Eve (Midnight)
Sandbags are a mesh of smell,
dormant in stacks of dozens.

Each beach has a load of sand
that migrates back and forth.
We shovel load after load
into bellies of sandbags
in the night and north wind.

Sandbags have a rough stink,
hemp, creosote, and sea mire.

……..New Year (3 a.m.)
For decades, I did this dream,
waking deeper, blacker into its hole.

The cabin splinters, waves work
dark rafters and pilings akimbo,
exposing chairs, children’s bunks.
The fire settles to a fizzle.
Elated to get the task over,

I lean in, pulling our sons
up and up, by the wrists.


“Bunker Trail, Vashon Island” is reprinted from 13th Moon, then Nature of an Island, and is forthcoming in Bunker Trail (Finishing Line Press).


A Washington native, Ann Spiers is the current Vashon Island Poet Laureate. Her recent chapbooks are Bunker Trail (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming), What Rain Does (Egress Studio Press, Bellingham), A Wild Taste (May Day Press, Shelton), and Long Climb into Grace (FootHills Publ., New York). She leads workshops developing poem cycles for chapbooks.

Darby Ringer

O Thou Small Opening, O

For Macy, at seven days


Your small mouth,
a circle of light reaching for milk,
opens, perfect as the well-formed
O of a chorister singing,
or the complete roundness of the moon.

We cry an O of adoration,
and trace the shape of your ear.
We skate on winters of deepening ice,
forgetting our own firemaking wonder.
We take the blurred path, a slender line,
an O we share between us,
and like the geese flying north,
follow the snow of our beginning.


Title taken from the poem “O Thou Opening, O” by Theodore Roethke
King County Poetry and Art on Buses 2001


Darby Ringer’s poems have appeared in Pontoon #1, Floating Bridge
Review #5, switched-ongutenberg.org, Poetry and Art on the Buses, 2001,
among others. She has received bachelor’s degrees from the University of
Washington in French and Landscape Architecture. She is a landscape
designer and lives in Seattle, Washington.

Deborah Woodard


I can play each part, be Hamlet, hands in pockets, and then the bikers disappearing over
the lip of the grave. Plus, the dog’s four legs. There’s a cold gold light, everything shaking
and Ophelia newly dead. My initial schlep toward Hamlet and the tannic depths of the glass      cap
cast glitter, the plaid shorts stayed snug over the leggings. Let inspiration toss more               confetti:
sky turn apricot, mind crack down the visor. Raise the visor. See both sides of the dunce.
I found a little more strength. Summon the dream. Be quick! (Difficult in sun.)
There was the most serene sky with peaks, blue sitting up there awhile with white.
Was there another place? The teabag withers inside my cup, its little paper flag
bumping gently in the air. My long jacket—well, that’s the kind of ease that comes
with green and brown suspenders. The tipsy birds were insects in the distance.
It was déjà vu to clear my throat, begin. My son, dig yourself out. Move. Displace.
The burgundy hedges stayed unruffled, despite Hamlet shambling in and out of them.
I’d like two pairs of legs, please. My son is not very bright. He’s fully leafed, well, almost.
The holly never drowses. Let it scratch out notes on the sky’s paper.
How is hell going to be? Well, hell. What’s the difference between a violin and a viola?
A viola burns more slowly. (There’s more of it. Heh, heh.) Uncover the berries.
The little bits of scarlet make us feel safe, like the grey of bare branches, truisms.
Ah, and now there’s my son Hamlet again. Ophelia guides him with her ungloved hand.


“Phantom” first appeared in Chelsea.


Deborah Woodard was born in New York City and raised in Vermont, and currently lives in Seattle. She holds an MFA from the University of California at Irvine and a PhD from the University of Washington. Her first full-length poetry collection is Plato’s Bad Horse (Bear Star Press, 2006). Her second collection, Borrowed Tales, was released from Stockport Flats in December, 2012. She is the author of three chapbooks, most recently Hunter Mnemonics (hemel press, 2008), which was illustrated by artist Heide Hinrichs. Her translation the Italian of Amelia Rosselli, The Dragonfly: A Selection of Poems 1953-1981, was published by Chelsea Editions (2009). She teaches hybrid creative writing and literature classes at the Richard Hugo House.



Michael Bonacci

–Gerard Manly Hopkins

My mother’s on the mountain,
a seventy-five year journey

joined to deadfalls and blowdowns –
the Romance of fallen trees.

The stuff of her, golden dust
in the candy jar that always held lemon drops,

flung to the breeze, lighting on
licorice ferns, salal and salmonberry,

frenetic fronds of fireweed.
Father followed a year later,

asked for the river, the alluvial fan
at the edge of the flats

around the islands and out to sea.
Flipping through field guides

and fingering topographical maps
I try to conjure them,

buds of the earth’s bounty
briefly grasped, and from a distance.


Michael Bonacci‘s collection of poems, The Former St. Christopher, won the 2004 Floating Bridge Chapbook Award.  Michael.writes poetry, adapts historical documents for the stage, and is still shopping around that first novel hoping to find an agent who will bite.  Artisan bread baking is another way to keep his hands busy, and now that his Japanese style landscape is maturing, he’s learning how to edit with pruning shears. He and his fiancé David Bricka, and their amazing wonder dog Buddy, live in Mount Vernon, WA.

Karen Bonaudi

Editing a Vapor Trail


Especially if I’m young,
scatter me
anywhere it’s legal.
For I have not lived
by land, but by stars.
Describe the trajectory
as a warm cave
of eternal friends,
as mothers singing
over webs and bones.
Hear my voice
down a long reed.

Cast me like a net,
that I shall touch
at last
echoes of first light
and my children
shall make their pilgrimage
to the wind.


“Editing a Vapor Trail” is reprinted from the Bellingham Review and the chapbook Editing a Vapor Trail  (Pudding House Press).


Karen Bonaudi has led poetry workshops in elementary schools, taught adult creative writing classes, conducted workshops and critique panels, and performed with the All Bets Are Off troupe.  Among other publications, her poetry has run in the Bellingham Review, Salal Review, South Dakota Review, Pontoon 2, on-line whispers & shouts and others. Her chapbook Editing a Vapor Trail was published by Pudding House Press.  She lives and works as a private contractor in Moses Lake and publishes www.theheroicself.com/blog/ and www.sirensrock.com on the web.

Jack McCarthy 1939 – 2013


(Seattle, WA)  Jack McCarthy, one of America’s celebrated slam poets, died in Seattle on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at the age of 73 following a brief illness.

The author of thousands of poems, numerous audio recordings, and eight books of published poetry, including Almost A Remembrance, Good Night Grace Notes and What I Saw had recently completed his latest book, Drunks and Other Poems of Recovery, which will be published in the spring of 2013 by WriteBloody Publishing. Recovery has been an integral part of his life, having been a grateful and loving member of Alcoholics Anonymous for the past fifty years.

McCarthy is a legend in the slam poetry community. In the 1990’s he was named ‘Best Standup Poet in Boston.’ In 1996 he was a member of the Boston poetry slam team that went on to the National Poetry Slam Championship.  He was named ‘Best Standup Poet’ by the Boston Phoenix in the 1990s.  In 2000 he was a semi finalist in the individual category of the National Poetry Slam. And in 2007 he was the winner of the Haiku category at the World Poetry Slam. Jack was also featured in the documentary SlamNation, produced by five-time Emmy filmmaker Paul Devlin. SlamNation premiered at the 1998 SXSW Film Festival and was awarded best documentary at the 1998 Northampton Independent Film Festival. It was broadcast on Cinemax/HBO and Starz/Encore.

Jack and his wife Carol relocated to Seattle, Washington in 2003 and he has been active in the local poetry community throughout Washington. His last public appearance was at South Seattle Community College (SBCC), as the featured poet at the 18th Annual Poetry Reading. Mike Hickey, Seattle’s Poet Populist and an instructor at SBCC, praised Jack’s contribution to the poetry community, “He was not only one of the best slam poets this country has ever produced, but also one of the kindest, gentlest, and most compassionate. To those who loved him, from Boston to Seattle and countless points in-between, he was a legend on the page, on the stage, and in life.”

Taylor Mali, one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the national poetry slam movement and one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series Def Poetry Jam praised his countless contributions. “Because of the way Jack McCarthy bridged the divide between academic poetry and the poetry slam, it’s possible for poets like me to actually make a living in spoken word. I’m not sure I could do what I do if it weren’t for Jack.”

“Jack McCarthy’s poems tap you on the shoulder, buy you a cup of coffee and start telling you a story,” said poet Hope Jordan. “Before you realize it, you’ve laughed, you’ve cried, and you have understood the perfectly visible relationships between things you never before dreamed were connected. Things like longing and lawn chairs, cars and Catholicism, navigation and newfound love.”

“Jack hopes to be remembered as an integral member of the movement to restore poetry to its rightful place in everyday American life,” said his wife Carol. “He believed that when Americans think of poetry, they don’t think of school and homework, but of laughter and tears; a shortcut to the heart.”

Born in South Boston on May 23, 1939 to John and Hannah McCarthy, Jack is survived by his loving wife Carol McCarthy, his children Megan McDermott, Kathleen Chardavoyne, Ann McCarthy, stepson Seth Roback, his six loving grandchildren, and sisters Hannah McCarthy and Judy Winship. His brother Leo preceded him in death.

There will be two memorial services to celebrate the life, the love and the words of Jack McCarthy. On Saturday, February 9, 2013 friends will gather at Follen Unitarian Church in Lexington, Massachusetts at 2PM. It will be followed by a reception at the church and an ‘open mike’ at Chelmsord Library.  In addition, there will be a memorial service on Saturday, February 16, 2013 in Marysville, Washington at the Evergreen Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 2PM, followed by a reception.

Additional information about the memorials, as well as some of Jack’s more popular works of poetry can be found at www.standupoet.com

In lieu of flowers Jack has requested that donations be made to the Evergreen Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1607 Fourth St., Marysville, WA 98270.

An article about Jack in the Worcester Telegram.
Tributes for Jack McCarthy on his
Facebook Page.

Jack McCarthy on The Far Field.


Christine Robbins

Waiting-for-a-Diagnosis Suite

1. Burn Pile

Trees speak the language of your silent wood.
Ashes are meant for everywhere and set
a wing-dust on the leaves, enough to fill
the empty lines of another’s fingertip.

2. Loam

There are weeds in the garden
and your diction’s gone.
Relax. There is nothing here
that won’t eat you – that would not
take you up against itself.
All that’s housed under the slice of moon
wears the lobster bib, for no part of you
isn’t full of sweet white meat.

3. Night Storm

Air rises to a pitch
that sticks in the throat.
Wind is sharking the huge pine
that leans toward the roof, and you wait
for the snap. Then, the soft rain.
It all falls in time —
another air, another weight,
another voice.

4. And After

You will open either way
to find what your sore arms
can bring, like a warm
golden orb against the chest.
The answer is nothing,
a nameless stagger
and a voice going silent, less yours
with each day. You will always wait
for the right word.


“Waiting-for-a-Diagnosis Suite” was first published in The Georgia Review.


Christine Robbins grew up in Northern Virginia and has lived in Olympia,Washington for most of her adult life.  She is a graduate of The Evergreen State College and received an MFA in creative writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop in 2012.  Her poems have been published in The Georgia Review, Talking River Review and the And Love… anthology (Jacar Press).