Rauan Klassnik

from Holy Land

I’m on a cloud floating by and I’ve gone mad but madness flows away in a tall shining work of Art and I’m standing in front of a fountain and the world’s ringing down through me and there are no fields of migrants mixing hair and bone into concrete. Trucks lined up and ready. Cups of cold coffee, a Rolex and a crucifix. A girl on a payphone begging.


This excerpt from Holy Land originally appeared in DMQ Review.

Rauan Klassnik‘s work has appeared in Typo 13, Coconut, Avatar ReviewThe Mississippi ReviewThe Kennessaw ReviewThe North American ReviewNo Tell MotelSentence, CaesuraSleepingfishMiPoesias and others. His first book, The Holy Land, was published by Black Ocean Press.   His second book, The Moon’s Jaw, will appear in December, also from Black Ocean Press. He lives in Kirkland.

Olivia Dresher

Ten Moments


Breathing in the space
that doesn’t need to be filled,
breathing out what cannot fill me…

* * *

I am here
hearing the stones speak
as rain falls on them.

* * *

Self-portrait: the look I have
on my face
when no one’s looking.

* * *

Between memories and forgetting
the forest of nostalgia
with no trails.

* * *

Moments pop up everywhere. Here
comes another one, there goes another
one, now they’re all blending together.

* * *

I’m not sure what her face
is saying, but whatever it’s saying,
it’s really saying it.

* * *

A purr plays with
the bubble of silence,
a meow bursts it.

* * *

Where the wind comes from
and where it goes…
It’s the same for all of us.

* * *

He’s staring at me.
He’s daydreaming his mind
into mine.

* * *

So, nothing lasts. Now what?
Just this…and the moon
growing brighter each night.
OLIVIA DRESHER is a poet, publisher, editor and anthologist living in Seattle (Wallingford) since 1981. She is the publisher of Impassio Press and the founder/editor of FragLit Magazine, and in 2012 was co-editor of the online magazine qarrtsiluni for the issue on fragments. She is also co-founder and director of the Life Writing Connection. Her poetry, fragments and essays have appeared in anthologies and a variety of online and in-print literary magazines. She is the editor of In Pieces: An Anthology of Fragmentary Writing and co-editor of Darkness and Light: Private Writing as Art: An Anthology of Contemporary Journals, Diaries, and Notebooks. She has written thousands of poetic fragments at Twitter, spontaneously, and is currently working on a selection of these for several in-print collections. Her complete Bio and select writings can be found at www.OliviaDresher.com.


Richard Kenney

Hydrology; Lachrymation


The river meanders because it can’t think.
Always, with the river, the path of least resistance.
Look: lip of a low bowl swerves the river tens
Or thousands of miles wild. The least brink
Of a ridge and its python shies… How efficient— think—
Would a straight sluice to the sea be, in terms
Computable? When’s water simpler? Cisterns
Certainly, still as a tearful blink;
Lake effects likewise, like the great circular storms,
Tornadoes, hurricanes; those lesser weather systems
Too, troubling the benthos where the icecaps shrink.
Straightforward isotherms… or is it isotheres…
But a moment ago, someone mentioned tears.
Why tears, for love? Why rivers? I can’t think.


“Hydrology; Lachrymation” is reprinted from The One-Strand River (Knopf, 2008).


Richard Kenney’s most recent book is The One-Strand River (Knopf, 2008). He teaches at the University of Washington, and lives with his family in Port Townsend.


READING:  Richard Kenney will read with Tess Gallagher, Jim Bertolino, Brian Culhane, and Laurie Lamon at Elliott Bay Books on Thursday, November 1 at 7:00 pm.

Dana Dickerson

Barcelona, Spring of ’93

He sits in the smallest room of a three bedroom apartment on Carrer de la Garrotxa. He has been left behind by his Brazilian roommates, who could no longer stand the cold Latin stares on the subway. He looks at his body like a machine, nothing more than an object composed of organic systems and chemical reactions. Outside his third floor window, women push their children across the courtyard, they gather under shade trees, smoke cigarettes and gossip in Catalan. He watches alone, aware of his every movement, his every spoken word, as if they were being compiled and documented. He considers the implications of an unspoken conspiracy. “The power of suggestion. Functions so innate, they are taken for granted.” He catches himself, unsure if he’s spoken the words aloud. He imagines Dostoyevsky in the moment before an epileptic seizure, he remembers the electric blue circle which surrounds his rolled back eyes at the moment of orgasm, he wonders at the blissful surrender of self to the dusk between sleep and dream; moments of suspicious clarity and connection with every thread in the web of life. He wants to dream in lucid reality, he wants to verify his isolation tactics, he wants to escape the Christ incinerating machines. His only guide is a map, left in a drawer, from 1963.


Dana Dickerson grew up on the mean streets of Phinney Ridge in Seattle, WA. He spent his summers covered in the fine dust, raw  wit and ancient wonder of the Colville reservation. He graduated from the Creative Writing program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. He also received a scholarship to attend the Naropa Institute summer writing program. In 2001, he graduated from the Evergreen State College. His poetry appears in Volt, microliterature.org and New Poets of the American West. He lives in Olympia with his girlfriend and their three cats.





Jonathan Johnson

Longing Is Not Desire


Longing was never meant to be satisfied.
Alone with the ruins on the grassy promontory,
low sun of early January on the sea,
I long to be alone with the ruins,
low sun of early January on the sea.
When at last I look back, I long to look back,
ruins in silhouette over silhouette of rocks,
some of what’s left of the day showing
through former windows. What desire makes
crumbles with the weight of its own creation.
But longing, longing wants most when it has. So forgive me,
when our blankets are spread before the cottage fire
and it’s been night after night since I’ve touched your skin,
if my finger tip lingers along one last seam.


“Longing Is Not Desire” is reprinted from The Missouri Review.

Jonathan Johnson is the author of two books of poems, Mastodon, 80% Complete (2001) and In the Land We Imagined Ourselves (2010), both from Carnegie Mellon University Press, and the nonfiction book, Hannah and the Mountain: Notes Toward a Wilderness Fatherhood (University of Nebraska Press, 2005).  His work has appeared in the Best American Poetry, The Writer’s Almanac, and numerous other anthologies, as well as Southern Review, Missouri Review, Ploughshares, North American Review, and Prairie Schooner.  Johnson migrates between upper Michigan, Scotland, and eastern Washington, where he teaches in the MFA program at Eastern Washington University.

Susan J. Erickson

Blue Ghazal

She redesigned her aura. Updated its faded fresco blue
with a sexy shade that matched her eyes; Marilyn Monroe blue.

Easter Sunday, Assisi chapel. Anchovy-packed pilgrims.
Is that St. Francis, high above, blessing us with Giotto blue?

The feathers of the Steller’s Jay are not intrinsically blue.
It is light refraction that turns them braggadocio blue.

Her brows grew as one. A mustache appeared, then a monkey.
This can happen to you. Paint your house Frida Kahlo blue.

Vincent writes to Theo, “[I] am … looking for blue all the time.”
Then paints himself in a straw hat and smock of Van Gogh blue.

Lord Rayleigh said light collides and scatters to give us blue skies.
He’d know why I, Susan, covet a sky of New Mexico blue.


“Blue Ghazal” is reprinted from Cascade: Journal of the Washington Poets Association.

Susan J. Erickson encountered the ghazal early in her poetic life and has been a
fan every since. Currently she is working on a manuscript of poems in women’s
voices—mostly in free verse. Susan was one of the founders of the Sue C.
Boynton Poetry Contest in Bellingham, Washington where she lives. She also
helped organize The Poet as Art reading series.

Elizabeth J. Colen




It’s an active volcano, the mountain: Shuksan. We live in an earthquake zone, calm north on the ring of fire. The house is on stilts for the waves, and rats eat tea biscuits and leave on suggestion. “We will live forever,” you say, meaning them. And the water looks brilliant from here.

Silver, pellucid, much like the sky.


None of us will notice the sunbathers, the tourists trying to surf, the tourists trying to sail. We won’t see the parade of push-pop wrappers scattered in wet sand, we won’t see the cops or the dog watching,

or the kelp strangling posts of the pier.


“It’s a metaphor,” you say. Sun low, wet rocks roll. Your father never hit you. It was the neighborhood kids who cracked eggs in your hair, it was they who brought rocks, had quick fists. Bullets of blood on your forehead, how the scalp will leech into a collar.

But then this, too, is no longer true.


From one window I can see the water and from the other I can see the mountains. These are not real mountains, this is not real water, these are not real windows. I hold your hand and our upstairs disappears.

I think of particles exploding, coming back together like some physics experiment I don’t know the name for. “Large Hadron Collider,” you say.

But that’s not what I mean.


For a long time when you were a child you thought you didn’t exist if your mother wasn’t with you. What was this called? You were invisible and no one spoke to you and the silence supported the theory, except for the bells ringing in doorways and the tap of your loose shoelace. “But did you pass through walls?” I ask and you say this has nothing to do with perte de vue. You lay under chairs while weight creaked the springs. Your mother’s hand came into the frame—

and you were real again, visible, whole.



Elizabeth J. Colen is the author of poetry collections Money for Sunsets (Steel Toe Books, 2010) and Waiting Up for the End of the World: Conspiracies (forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press, October 2012, and launching at Hugo House on October 25 at 7:00 pm), as well as flash fiction collection Dear Mother Monster, Dear Daughter Mistake  (Rose Metal Press, 2011). She lives in Seattle and occasionally blogs at elizabethjcolen.blogspot.com.

Jared Leising



Last night you raised your hand
to speak about the speed of things

in the film—amazed at how she
takes the time to make tea, iron

a shirt—because you can’t even
take the time to make a sandwich

without forgetting to put something
else, anything, between the bread.

You also spoke of this rush as doing
violence to the self, just a day after

getting word of your cousin’s suicide.
She was a happy woman, you said,

and that you could not reconcile. This
is what I’m trying to reconcile, a thing

slower than domesticity or death: our
embrace at the end of a day—swaying

in the dark exhaust of a parking garage,
like a Muybridge flipbook—still still

still still stillstillstillstillstill still still
still still still.


Jared Leising is the author of a chapbook of poems-The Widows and Orphans of Winesburg, Ohioand in 2010, Jared curated the Jack Straw Writers Program.  He’s served as president of the Washington Community College Humanities Association and on the Board of Directors for 826 Seattle.  Before moving to Seattle, Jared received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. Currently, he’s teaching English at Cascadia Community College and coordinating 826 Seattle’s 2012 adult writing workshop series: “How to Write Like I Do.”


Sarah Zale


Diego Rivera: Industrial Detroit Murals
a pecha kucha


[Baby in the Bulb]

If a child, fetal in the womb
of a daffodil, growing heart and brain
and petals that protect with careless poison,
what will we say of spring—the world in bloom?

[Fruits and Vegetables]

During the first revolution of the human journey,
we cultivated einkorn, barley, and figs. The second
revolution: steam, gas, and combustion engines.
Now, it is coming, a great turning—a new way
of listening, of creating. Of understanding seed.

[Four Races]

It is hard work. They call themselves Fire or Air,
Earth, Water. They answer to North, South, East
or West. One says Call me Coal or Iron, Limestone,
Sand. It does not matter to the heart, the volcano,
the furnace. As they work, they are steel.


He cannot fool himself. The eyes of the Other stare
back like a mirror. He picks up his palette and brush
and paints his own face into the crowd. There he is,
the man with a hat and brown eyes.

[Conveyer Belt]

On my left you rise, I pull then lean and lift
into the wait of the pull to my right. Some hear
music. Some say machine, some say dance.
Every line of your life crosses your face.

[Manager and Worker]

I am the sound of steam and sweat.
You are ear. When I smoke after dinner,
you hear me exhale. When I make love
to my wife and she calls out my name,
you sigh.

[Poison Gas]

Workers put gas in a bomb. They put pyrethroids in a can.
Wilfred cannot pronounce it. He says dulce, he says
hissss. He says a spider will jump, run, do flips
to its back, roll back to its feet. Repeat till it dies.

It is an old story. Hands rise, fingers empty
and craggy as talons. Some formed as fists.
Others are molten and alive, and of the earth.
They fold around augite, quartz, mica, feldspar.


A manager in the aviation capital of America
hires a worker to build a plane. A woman flies
to Chicago to see her daughter. An army pilot learns
to drive a “tin goose.” A dove enters the open eye
of the engine fan, beneath the center blades.

[Half Face, Half Skull]

Sometimes, in the dark, I look
into the mirror and see my death.
I am not afraid. I offer my hand and we go
back to bed.

[Stamping Machine]

No longer listen to wind through tall grass
nor ride the pull of ripples across water.
So says this god, our creation. We miss
Coatlicue. She with her head of snakes
only asked for human blood.

[People on Tour]

People enjoy the zoo. They say
the animals act almost human. Men in fedoras
talk to their watches. The Katzenjammer kids
pull another prank. Foolish, say the monkeys,
and never laugh.

[Engine Dog]

The ancients used a guide for passage
to the next world. Charon ferried the dead
across the River Styx. Pre-Columbians chose
a Colima dog. My brother plans to drive himself
behind the wheel of a 4-valve, V-8 engine.

[Predella Panels]

During the Hunger March, he saw
even blood in shades of grey. One day
someone will paint his story. The world
will know more than the grisade of his life.

[Spindle Machine]

My job is about boring holes
in engine blocks. After work, I go out for beers
with Quetzalcoatl, Muhammad, Krishna,
Siddhartha, and the new guy, Jésus.

[La Raza Cósmica]

The Census Bureau does not list
el espiritu as a race, yet here we are,
working side by side, of one blood.
Por mi raza hablará el espiritu.


Whether a child is the son of God
or the son of a scientist, aviator, inventor,
we look at him with hope. We are sure we have time
to do good things. We are sure we are forgiven.

[River to Fordlandia]

Some men like to tame the land, some like
to tame other men. They forget they are only men
and others are not clay. On the third day, he created land,
and a river from Detroit to Brazil.

[Night Foreman]

I am 45th on the assembly line of 84 steps.
The guy next to me places an engine. I add a bolt.
It is a game of interchangeable parts. Bricker says
93 minutes is too long to build a Tin Lizzie.

[Miller Street Bridge]

It is the end of March and bitterly cold. I count
the stairs to the bridge: one, two, three–Joe,
Joe, another Joe. Four, Cole. Shot and buried
with union on their lips. Black Curtis, five.
His ashes like snow dot the cemetery soil.


“Diego Rivera: Industrial Detroit Murals” is reprinted from Sometimes You Do Things (Aquarius Press; March 2013).

View the murals.


Sarah Zale teaches writing and poetry in Seattle. She holds an MFA in poetry from Goddard College. The Art of Folding: Poems was inspired by her travels to Israel and Palestine. Sometimes You Do Things: Poems will be published March 2013 (Aquarius Press, Living Detroit Series). The title poem appears in Floating Bridge Review 3. Naomi Shihab Nye awarded “September 24, 1930: The Last Hanging in Michigan” as a finalist in the 2011 Split This Rock Poetry Contest. Zale’s work is in the anthology Come Together, Imagine Peace, a finalist for the 2009 Eric Hoffer Award. She lives in Port Townsend.

Student Poem

Ode to S
by Kate (3rd Grade)

S swirls around each star,
it dances on the rain cloud of the
you hear it coming
when S streams by,
as if it was late for something
almost as important as a new
born baby stepping into the light of
the universe.
S has the texture of dew
in the morning,
as the mist streams out of
the night before,
S dives into the depths
of children’s words


Kate wrote her poem, “Ode to S,”  as a third grader at View Ridge Elementary in Seattle. I had the privilege of working with Kate through Writers in the Schools, a wonderful program that inspires students to write creatively and powerfully by placing professional, passionate writers in the classroom.  In the 2011-12 school year, 24 writers-in-residence taught poetry, fiction, comics, memoir, and playwriting to 5,520 students in the greater Puget Sound region.  WITS will celebrate the publication of a new student anthology on Sunday, September 30 at 5:00pm at Benaroya’s Recital Hall, with a reading by student contributors.  The event is free, open to the public, and unforgettable.

WITS is part of Seattle Arts and Lectures, who will be honored with a Mayor’s Arts Award on August 31 at Seattle Center.  Congratulations SAL!