Steve Potter

“Forcing twentieth-century America into a sonnet — gosh, how I hate sonnets — is like putting a crab into a square box. You’ve got to cut his legs off to make him fit. When you get through, you don’t have a crab any more.”           

 –William Carlos Williams

Boxed Crab

Dear Doctor Williams, with all due respect
For worlds of pleasure I’ve found in your verse,
On this account I feel I must defect.
I love your offhand lines — “so much for the hearse”
From “Tract” for one — and how you defied the norm,
Filled your poems with ordinary speech
And escaped the strictures of long-standing form
Extending by great lengths the poet’s reach.

But, gosh, the twentieth-century whole?
A crab so large should be delegged, declawed!
Who, dredging such a creature from the shoal,
Would not pull back in horror overawed?
A crab of such size must be cut to fit
Boiled, dipped in butter, eaten bit by bit.


“Boxed Crab” is reprinted from Able Muse.


Steve Potter was active in Seattle’s literary scene as board member and frequent emcee for Red Sky Poetry Theater in the ’90s. He performed at events such as Seattle Poetry Festival, Subtext, Rendezvous Reading Series and Cheap Wine & Poetry sometimes accompanied by guitarist Bill Horist or the sitar/tablas duo Bakshish. He edited an eclectic but short-lived literary magazine called The Wandering Hermit Review. While he keeps a lower profile these days, Potter is writing as much as ever. His work has appeared in journals such as; Able Muse, Blazevox, Drunken Boat, Galatea Resurrects, Knock, Marginalia, Raven Chronicles and Stringtown.

Julene Tripp Weaver

Face to Face with Audre Lorde


……..What is it you want? She asks. She
looks at me across her desk, her dark brown eyes
deep set. I st, stam, stamm….mmer and pout—
she, so full of powerful words—what do I want
but a life of meaning and telling.

……..I don’t know, honest my answer. She tells me,
go jogging, do something, anything, to move into yourself.
I know there is no perfect answer, no plan, to make life
come together well. The masters lived, went jogging even,
stumbled poorly city to city, traveled wide breached plains
to get where they’ve been.

……..Audre crosses her desk and hugs me. But,
the best thing she ever did? Throw that poem back at me,
ask, How old are you? Cowering in my chair I stammer,
Thirty-two. In her booming voice she declares,
Thirty-two, you have more experience in life than this—rewrite,
she throws back my measly attempt at a poem. Huh!?
The word inscribed.

……..Cold honest mother love. Her quest—How
does it make you feel? The response she demands
to every poem. My shock to feel! Long history of denial
suppressed grief my main reason to write—move this grief
from the deep down stuck place it hides in an inner
box wrapped, hidden even from myself. Her tough words
push all of us, I will not be here someday, you must learn
to carry on without me.

…………….Thank you for your push. The grains of sand
in my underwear uncomfortable and humbling to shake out
in front of you. All my excellent mistakes. This gratitude
comes deep from the yet closed boxes wanting and afraid.
Sharp-leaved grasses cut, the words said to me by Audre
shearing open the boxes. Her questions echo, strong internal
probes, the way I’ve learned to gauge my life.


“Face to Face with Audre Lorde” is reprinted from The Arabesques Review.


Julene Tripp Weaver has a private counseling practice in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle. Her book, No Father Can Save Her was published by Plain View Press. She is widely published in journals, and anthologies, a few include Qarrtsiluni, Drash, Menacing Hedge, Gutter Eloquence, Redheaded Stepchild, and Pilgrimage; her work is included in Garrison Keillor’s collection, Good Poems American Places. Her chapbook, Case Walking: An AIDS Case Manager Wails Her Blues, contains writing from her work through the heart of the AIDS epidemic. She sometimes does wordplay on Twitter @trippweavepoet and has a website:


Arlene Kim

Hunt, Peck


A tyro, at the keys, I start a field
with stalks, bent.
Venture in, hunting, pecking,
to see, what? —now:

chickens. Inelegant, graceless.
Beaky pullets. Pillow-
breasted, neck and caw, claw,
jab. Kernels pricked, break.
Dropped and pecked. Uneven
stabs. A nib, a nibble. Sharp pecks
per seed. Each seed a letter.
Pock. Pock.

Into the woods I walked. I went alone.
Though I was afraid, I pretended
not to be. Every falling leaf
made a sound. And every bird, landing,
lifting again. I, too. Up
ahead in the path, a doe
emerged from a copse.
I stopped. She, too.
I stared and stared as long as she let me.


“Hunt, Peck” is reprinted from What have you done to our ears to make us hear echoes? (Milkweed Editions, 2011).


Arlene Kim grew up on the east coast of the U.S. before drifting westward. Her first collection of poems What have you done to our ears to make us hear echoes? (Milkweed Editions) won the 2012 American Book Award. She lives in Seattle where she reads for the poetry journal DMQ Review and writes poems, prose, and bits between.

Bruce Beasley

Self-Portrait in Ink


As the gone-

jet-blasts into evasion, vanishing

while its ink-sac spurts
a cloud of defensive

mucus & coagulant
azure-black pigment,

octopus imago in ink, so the shark

gnashes at that blobbed
sepia phantom,

that disperses into black

nebulae & shreds
with each shark-strike

& the escaped
octopus throbs

beyond, see-through
in the see-through water, untouched—:

so, go
little poem, little

& -print, mimicker

& camouflage,
self-getaway, cloud-

scribble, write
out my dissipating

name on the water,
emptied sac of self-illusive ink . . .


“Self-Portrait in Ink” is reprinted from Theophobia (BOA, 2012).


Bruce Beasley is a professor of English at Western Washington University and the author of seven collections of poems, most recently Theophobia (BOA Editions, 2012) and The Corpse Flower: New and Selected Poems (University of Washington Press, 2007).  He won the Ohio State University Press/Journal Award for The Creation, the Colorado Prize in Poetry (selected by Charles Wright) for Summer Mystagogia, and the University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series Award for Lord Brain, a poetic meditation on neuroscience and cosmology.  Wesleyan University Press published his books Spirituals (1988) and Signs and Abominations (2000).  Beasley has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Artist Trust, and three Pushcart prizes.  His work appears in the Pushcart Book of Poetry: The Best Poems from the First Thirty Years of the Pushcart Prize and other anthologies.



Laura Schaeffer

Confessions of a Submissions Editor


When reading other poets
I have a pen ready to underline,
slash through words
sounding disabled
or weak
or unnecessary
or common
or boring.

Sometimes, depending on the weather,
I can amputate whole limbs
with a straight line,
recalling my attachment to old prosthetics
with screws that beep in public places
such as airports and department stores—
since, and maybe because of the sludge of raining months,
the artificial has voice.

Worse than a pen though, are saws
clearing trees on ridges—
the solitary thud generating dusty clouds,
and mostly, gaps between things.



Laura Schaeffer is employed with Housing Kitsap in Bremerton and serves as the Resident Services Coordinator. She has been piling up her writing under her bed for most of her life, though she came out of the closet during her college years and earned a BA in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis from the UW. Schaeffer writes, “I’ve decided that I’m going to share my poems from now on because maybe, through my own hardships and struggles, I’ve learned something about giving.” She lives in Kingston.

A K Mimi Allin

this is a self portrait
about what constrains me
what keep me from my happiness

i’ve been at peace in a balanced place
& i’ve been wildly happy when the scales were tipped toward paradise so long as i have something to explore

i’m chasing a certain kind of knowledge
a certain kind of awake

the art of living
will flower from me one day

no matter how sparse it seems
i can alter the world to get what i need

what constrains me
is the doubt of no reply
i’m having transparent dreams again
it all means nothing

my view of myself is distorted
but perhaps distorting is defining
& defacing can unveil

what does that mean?

food water purpose
that’s what i’m looking for

the buddhists ensure me
i come readymade with purpose
but sometimes it seems unso

no is not a happy place
no is a hole in a trampoline
yes is about freedom choices time
yes is an engine

what keeps me from making
the work i know i need to make?
the inevitable thing?
the only thing? the way forward?
confidence single mindedness definition

lack of focus holds me back
20 things i feel lukewarm about
or the one thing that sets me on fire
i try to listen to the nagging thing
mongolia mongolia mongolia

since wealth denies me
poverty will have to define me
without money i make different art
use fewer materials
an artist doesn’t need to make a thing
an artist can suggest a thing
i’ve learned to be suggestive
to take people partway
which leaves them work to do
for which they must move & grow

what do i fear?
i fear getting rid of everything
& walking away like a penitent
so that’s exactly what i want to do

i fear stasis & wasting time
& that is not what i want to do
but i know it is good for me
boats grant me that
so i have a boat

i fear not being brilliant
& there is no cure for that

i want to have nothing to take
so i have nothing to lose

boredom is also freedom
but boredom is a luxury
that must be bought

i want the freedom that comes with poverty i want a red sweater & time to see it unravel one peach should matter more than a crate full of peaches

i make meaning to correct the world
does it need correcting? no
what needs changing? i do
what resists change? i do

when i feel myself getting diluted by society i retreat & ask myself who am i? what do i want?
i quickly realize i do not want
what others want
this helps

what stalls my art?
a never ending trip to the mirror
trap doors falling floors
the committee of should
expectations lovers nostalgia misunderstandings these same things drive my art

i do not wish to make of my art a business i can live without everything but meaning though i do need to see a dentist

to what am i bound? on what do i rely?
where are my buffers? am i too comfortable?
ease heat music walls the known thing.. get rid of these

the stuff i found in the center of my spirit took away my reasons for making art for 6 months i made nothing why would i do this or that superficial thing when i knew what i knew about spirit?
it might be good & clever but who cares
this isn’t about clever
this is about growth

my art
is it pure?
is it relevant?
does it change anything?
what needs changing? i do
what resists change? i do

i have trouble making connections
between my emotions & experiences
there are no real lines between money & work a vocation is a vocation is a vocation

what constrains me defines me
thank you for seeing this



A K Mimi Allin has twice crossed the Pacific Ocean by boat, has worked as a climbing ranger on Mt Rainier and has served in the Peace Corps. Allin lives and works as an artist in Seattle WA. She holds an MA in Writing from The City College of New York. Her performance-installations have premiered at the Seattle Art Museum, The Olympic Sculpture Park, Bumbershoot, Smoke Farm, Tether Gallery, Artscapes, ArtSparks, Arts Crush, Guiding Lights, ACT Theatre and Litfuse in Tieton. In 2006, Mimi became a household name for her yearlong project “The Poetess at Green Lake.” In January 2010, she fulfilled a self-designed residency at NBBJ Design & Architecture Firm to become the nation’s 1st Corporate Poet. And in the summer of 2011, she drew a line around 14,410′ Mount Rainier with her body to effect “Tahoma Kora,” a 36-mile, 65-day prostrating circumnavigation. At the heart of Allin’s work is the pursuit of home and the search for the sacred. She is interested in the potential of ritual, inquiry and quest to act as catalysts for personal growth, inviting her audience to transform by transforming herself. Her art often takes her outside and involves physical labor, time spent inhabiting, activating, redefining spaces. To sate her desire for feedback, and because she believes it is through the community that we know ourselves, she builds triggers into her work that ask the audience to speak and participate.

John L. Wright


for Jack Cady (1932-2004)

I was well on my way to essays
when you unexpectedly assigned the class a poem.
A love poem, you said,
twenty-five words or less, don’t use the word god
or the word love, and make it honest.

As if conspiring, on the edge of vision a smudge
of green in a wooden bowl—
Granny Smith apples my wife bought for our son,
coming home from college.

Twenty-four words and three couplets later
you couldn’t budge a word or line I had scribbled
on that chalky green-board.

Then came the grateful lover’s remorse: Oh,
where have you been all my life?
Then poetry moved into my files, onto my shelves.
Then my obituary changed.


John L. Wright is a retired physician who wrote his first poem in 1988 at the age of 58. His poems have appeared in eleven anthologies including, Floating Bridge Pontoon Four, Eight,Ten and Review # 5. He has published three collections: Through an Old Wooden Bowl  in 1999 (The Swedish Medical Center Foundation); As Though Praying: Poems from Decatur Island in 2003 and The Beginning of Love in 2005, both self-published by Bluestone Press.  John and his wife, Lanita, have lived on two wooded acres in Woodway, WA. since 1964; here they have raised two sons, five dogs and too many cats to count; here, too, while gardening or landscaping many of his poems have had their beginning.


Ed Harkness


Saying the Necessary


I read of a Montana man
whose pickup
stalled in the mountains.
Cross-country skiers
found him next spring,
their skis rasping
on the top of his cab
just showing through the snow.
His engine dead, no map,
he’d apparently decided
to wait for help.
His diary calmly records
his life of being lost.
He describes the passing days,
how he rationed his crackers,
an Almond Joy,
built a few small fires at night,
ate his emergency candles,
ice from a pond,
a pine’s green lace of moss.
He hoarded every spark
from his battery.
There’s evidence he wandered
up a nearby ridge.
He might have noticed a marmot,
gold and relaxed on a rock,
or spotted mountain goats
wedged high in grey basalt.
From a pinnacle of broken
lichen-colored scree
he watched the world bend away blue,
rivered with trees.
He might have heard
the whine of a plane
in the next valley,
looking, looking.

Then the cold came.
Frostbite settled the matter
of hiking out.
He wrote detailed accounts
of the weather,
noting the clear, icy air,
little flares of stars
drawing no one’s attention.
Not so frigid this evening.
A later entry read:
Ribbed cirrus clouds moving in.
Then tender goodbyes
to his wife and daughter–
my lilac, my rose.

When the blizzard buried him,
he wrote by his interior lights,
and when the battery failed
he scratched in the dark
a strange calligraphy,
covering the same pages,
the words telegraphic,
saying only the necessary
as he starved.
In the end,
his script grew hallucinatory–
…toy train…  …oatmeal…
…farmhouse lights just ahead…–

illegible, finally,
like lines on a heart monitor.
Several pages he tore out and ate.

He must have known
even words wouldn’t save him.
Still, he wrote.
He watched the windshield
go white like a screen,
his hands on the wheel,
no feeling.
He listened to his heart
repeat its constant SOS,
not loudly now,
but steadily–
a stutterer who’s come to love
the sound of his one syllable,
at peace with his inability
to get anything across.
He must have pictured himself
wading through the drifts,
traversing the heartbreaking distance
between voice and any ear,
searching for tracks,
a connector road that leads
down to everyday life.
By glow of moonlight filtered
through snow-jammed windows,
his last act was to place his book,
opened to a page marked Day One,
on the passenger seat beside him.


Ed Harkness is the author of several poetry chapbooks, including Fiddle Wrapped in a Gunny Sack (Dooryard Press, 1984), Watercolor Painting of a Bamboo Rake (Brooding Heron Press, 1994), and most recently Syringa in Twilight (Red Wing Press, 2010). Pleasure Boat Studio has published his two full-length poetry collections, Saying the Necessary (2000), and Beautiful Passing Lives, (2010). His poems can be found in print journals including Fine Madness, Great River Review, The Humanist, Midwest Quarterly, Portland Review, Seattle Review and others. His work has also appeared in several pioneering online literary journals, including Mudlark, Switched-on Gutenberg, and Salt River Review.  Harkness’ poem, “Kaylyn, Hermiston Elementary,” was featured on the Writer’s Almanac radio program. He lives with his wife, Linda, and teaches writing at Shoreline Community College.