Tim Sherry

Word Game with a Little Boy


To let him win,
or to play the big word
with five letters and a Q
on the triple word square
is too much ethics to decide–
and I make ON
up in the corner.
We show our left-over letters
and subtract the points.
He beats my by 8,
throws his hands up in the air,
and smiles all the victory
of a little boy
who doesn’t need to learn
so much about losing just yet.
When we are putting the game away,
he looks at me
and asks if I let him win.
Inside the box
there must be a big word to answer;
but I say no,
and he looks at me as if
he is adding up in his head
what just happened.


“Word Game with a Little Boy” is from the full-length collection, One of Seven Billion, which will be published in the spring of 2014 by Moonpath Press.


Tim Sherry, a long-time public high school teacher and principal, lives in Tacoma, Washington.  He earned a BA from PacificLutheranUniversityand an MA from the Universityof Chicago.  His poems have appeared in Crab Creek Review, The Raven Chronicles, Interdisciplinary Humanities, and Seminary Ridge Review among others.  He has been a Pushcart nominee, and most recently his poem “Of Fires” was a finalist for the Rash Award in Poetry and published in the Broad River Review. His full-length collection, One of Seven Billion, will be published in the spring of 2014 by Moonpath Press.



Larry Crist

While you were gone

i slept on your side of the bed
i climbed the stairs backward
i stood on the porch and howled at an absent moon
with your panties on
the red ones which i then
put neatly away
Bottles clustered like bowling pins
dishes piled like buildings
i took them down with terrorist finesse
a perfect strike

I kept the ball-peen hammer in the freezer
i chased squirrels from the yard
i consulted runes
rued the result
i scared ghosts from our pantry
got drunk three times and
cried 17
ate blackeye peas and gruel and bratwurst with honey mustard
i thought 72 immoral and lewd unlawful acts
committing several without even trying
i masturbated using only my left hand
i bathed in mayonnaise
i found your diary and your dildo
i couldn’t help myself
i read your dildo
but i did not insert your diary
somethings cannot be

with you gone
i feel i know you better
than when you are here

Hurry back
I know too much about you already


“While you were gone” is reprinted from Four Corners.


Larry Crist has lived in Seattle for 20 years and is originally from California, specifically Humboldt County. He has also lived in Chicago, Houston, London, and Philadelphia where he attended Temple U receiving an MFA in theatre. He’s been widely published. Some of his favorites are Pearl, Rattle, Slipstream, Evening Street Review, Dos Passos Review, Alimentum, Floating Bridge Press, and Clover.  He was a 2013 Jack Straw writer.


John Olson

Inventing Emotions


Sometimes I invent emotions. I make them out of neon and punctuation. Semi-colons, for instance, are seminal to an understanding of linen.
Commas are drops of hesitation. Colons are bold.
Somewhere at the end of a sentence, I rub the night. Sparks fly. I follow a pain to the end of time. I live in a palace of thought. Everything is composed of butter, chlorophyll, and the ancient molecules of midnight.
I have a Cubist tongue and a Dada nose. My haircut used to be a garage. Next time you see a ghost at the supermarket it might be me. Then again, it might also be Thomas Paine, or Pablo Picasso.
I define pain by its weight. Paintings hanging crookedly on walls.
I watch The Kinks on YouTube, and redeploy them as a proposition.
Each day I run past the house of the symphony conductor I see him holding a glass brain with a fugue in it.
Music does this to people. Makes them wonderful and cogent, like the smell of dirt in front of the radio station just after the pansies have been watered.
Do you see the way the earth grips a tree? It is actually a tree gripping the earth.
I do not yet have a name for this emotion. The emotion itself is incomplete. But what emotion is ever whole and self-contained? Ask that woman over there, laughing and eating popcorn. She will tell you that the caliber of all emotions depends on the diameter of Tucson. But that’s only because she is from Tuba City, and is watching a movie about blank-eyed underwear-clad zombies.
I hate the fourth of July.
I prefer Halloween.
Which is why I’ve never been to Texas.
But I ask you: what are your specific needs? Say anything you want. I can always use a little ambiguity. I love ambiguity.
Emotions are difficult to pin down because each word has different properties. In the Museum of Invisible Injuries, for instance, the word ‘cook’ actually means ‘combination.’ And if you say the word ‘bone,’ an Iranian woman appears from the shadows with a huge gem on her finger, a ring that symbolizes the disembodiment of gherkins.
An emotion is thick and puzzling like a forest. It takes a long time to fully feel it. What is the point of becoming president if all you feel is power? Even lawn mowers feel power. Power is not where it’s at. Where it’s at is infinity. The exhilaration of light amid the pornography of black.


“Inventing Emotions” is reprinted from Larynx Galaxy (Black Widow Press, 2012).


John Olson is that author of eight books of poetry, the most recent of which is Larynx Galaxy, which Black Widow Press published in 2012. He published Backscatter: New and Selected Poems in 2008. He is also the author of three novels, including Souls of Wind (Quale Press), The Nothing That Is (Ravenna Press), and The Seeing Machine (Quale Press). He is the recipient of The Stranger’s genius award for literature in 2004 and three Fund for Poetry awards. In 2008 Souls of Wind was shortlisted for a Believer Book of the Year Award, and in 2012 he was one of eight finalists for the Artist Trust 2012 Innovator Award. He is currently at work on another novel tentatively titled My Other Car Is A Bed In Paris. His blog, Tillalala Chronicles, may be accessed at www.tillalala.blogspot.com.




Terri Cohlene


I’m wearing my
hey big boy
come ‘n get it
hoochie mama
Saturday night
go to town looky here
goodie bag
neckline to my navel
hem hiking to home plate
jungle red silk

He’s wearing his
cool breeze
I don’t think so
not in a million years
even if you were the last woman on earth
crease up the front
frayed at the edges
high water
medium tan

We triple lock the door behind us,
silently ride the elevator to the lobby,
glide through the turnstile door.
He sits on the edge of a park bench,
feeding this morning’s burnt, twelve-grain
toast to the pigeons.

I hail a yellow and black checkered, up town taxi.



“An Unlikely Couple” is reprinted from Pontoon 8.


TERRI COHLENE grew up in Skyway, a suburb of Renton, Washington.  She is the author of eight books for children and Clique, a stage play for young adults.  Her poetry has appeared in the anthology, America at War, and journals such as Pontoon 8 & 9, Floating Bridge Review, and Switched on Gutenberg.

Sarah Koenig

Ransom Note

To Whom It May Concern:
We have your pet rabbit. Meet
Us at the corner of 65th and Spring
And we’ll hand it over, no questions.
OK. Maybe we’ll ask a few questions.
Why can’t birds fly backwards?
I have seen their ragged feathers
Sometimes and I know they want to
Do it. I have seen them resting
In the eaves, weary from long days
Of flying. Why do rabbits crawl into
Holes? Where do ants build a nest?
Would you come home with me?
I’ll make you a pot of tea.
We’ll sit by the window, safe from
The rain, and talk for hours,
Like two encyclopedias meeting
For the first time. And your rabbit
Can hang out on the kitchen floor,
Chewing grass from the backyard.
He will be utterly contented.



Sarah Koenig has a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Connecticut and has taught English and writing at home and abroad. For over 10 years she was a reporter and freelancer. Her stories have appeared in City Arts magazine, Seattle’s Child magazine, Overlake Hospitals’ Healthy Outlook magazine, the Weekly Herald, the Enterprise Newspapers and the newspapers of the King County Journal. She now works in the Workforce Education Services office at Highline Community College, where she helps students obtain funding and other support to retrain for a new career.


Anita K. Boyle

When I Went Past My Prime Last Wednesday


Oh, sweet dove, the morning is mine
today. You’re cooing in the wrong window.

Every day, you look more like the swollen hands
of one who’s pared the peels off a hundred

and sixty-three potatoes forty-five minutes
before dinner. Take a seat.

“These days” you say, “are dangling tomatoes, ripe
yet frozen on the vine.”

I’m standing alone on the alpine heights,
echoes engraving the stones.

You can ride my blind horse
far as she’ll go, but then get off,

let her come home.
Just leave my dark mules alone.

Anita K. Boyle is a poet, artist and graphic designer, and the author of What the Alder Told Me (MoonPath Press, 2011) and Bamboo Equals Loon (Egress Studio Press, 2001. Her poems have appeared in Conversations Across Borders, StringTown, The Raven Chronicles, Crab Creek Review, Clover, Spoon River Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She is lucky enough to live near an inspiring pond outside Bellingham, Washington with her husband, the poet James Bertolino. This fall, they will spend a little time in Italy, where they will see the small Alpine town where Jim’s grandparents came from (Locana), and which will be her first adventure outside of North America.

Kenn Nesbitt

I Didn’t Go Camping
A Funny Summer Poem for Kids

I didn’t go camping.
I didn’t go hiking.
I didn’t go fishing.
I didn’t go biking.

I didn’t go play
on the slides at the park.
I didn’t watch shooting stars
way after dark.

I didn’t play baseball
or soccer outside.
I didn’t go on an
amusement park ride.

I didn’t throw Frisbees.
I didn’t fly kites,
or have any travels,
or see any sights.

I didn’t watch movies
with blockbuster crowds,
or lay on the front lawn
and look at the clouds.

I didn’t go swimming
at pools or beaches,
or visit an orchard
and pick a few peaches.

I didn’t become
a guitarist or drummer,
but, boy, I played plenty
of Minecraft this summer.


Copyright © 2013 Kenn Nesbitt
All Rights Reserved
From www.poetry4kids.com


Kenn Nesbitt was named the Children’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation in 2013.  He is the author of numerous books of poetry for children, including The Armpit of Doom: Funny Poems for Kids (2013), The Ultimate Top Secret Guide to Taking Over the World (2011), The Tighty-Whitey Spider(2010), Revenge of the Lunch Ladies (2007), Santa Got Stuck in the Chimney (2006), When the Teacher Isn’t Looking: And Other Funny School Poems (2005), and The Aliens Have Landed at Our School! (2001), among others. In addition to writing books, Nesbitt has also written lyrics for the group Eric Herman and the Invisible Band. His lyrics are included on the CDs What a Ride (2007), Snail’s Pace(2007)Snow Day (2006)Monkey Business (2005), and The Kid in the Mirror(2003). Nesbitt’s poems have appeared in hundreds of anthologies, magazines, and textbooks worldwide, and were included on the television show “Jack Hanna’s Wildlife Adventures.” Nesbitt is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. His website, Poetry4kids, is an online “Funny Poetry Playground” that features poems, lessons, games, and poetry-related activities. He currently lives in Spokane, Washington with his wife, children, and pets.

Larry Laurence

for J.W.


Three angels manifest themselves at a bar. They make it known
to the mind of the bartender, This day is our birthday.

No. Three baleen whales, a gray, a blue, & a humpback,
swim into a bar. They sing in high-pitched vocalizations & clicks,
This day is our birthday.

No. Three rocks, an igneous, a metamorphic, & a sedimentary,
roll into a bar. In Morse code they knock against themselves
to the bartender, Today is our birthday.

No. Three weeds, a sheep sorrel, a redstem filaree, & a Canada
goldenrod, seed themselves at a bar. Utilizing the slight air
currents available they rustle to the bartender, Today’s. . .

No. Three trees, a Jenny sycamore, a paw paw, & a blossoming pear. . .

An anaconda, a coachwhip, & a Texas blind snake. . .

OK, a swift, a chicken hawk, & a blue jay. . .

OK, OK. Three subnuclear particles appear & do not appear
simultaneously in various unknowable interstices of realities themselves
barely conceivable at the bar & outside the bar. They harmonize

in vibrations at once audible & inaudible to the bartender
in such a way to at last, at long last, prove senseless the dichotomy
of the observer & the observed, Today’s our birthday!

No matter, says the bartender. We, all of us,
gallop terribly against each other’s bodies.



“INCLUSIVE OF HELLO AND GOODBYE” originally appeared in POOL, A Journal of


Larry Laurence lives in Seattle and works as a rehabilitation counselor. Books are Life  of The Bones To Come, Black Heron Press, (a National Poetry Month selection by NACS, National Association Of College Stores) and Scenes Beginning With The Footbridge At The Lake, Brooding Heron Press. Poems appear in the anthologies How Much Earth: The Fresno Poets, Roundhouse Press, Jack Straw Writers, Jack Straw Productions. Awards include grants from Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture and Artist Trust plus a residency at Squaw Valley Community Of Writers. He studied poetry (and growing up) under Philip Levine.

Hans Ostrom

Emily Dickinson and Elvis Presley in Heaven


They call each other `E.’  Elvis picks
wildflowers near the river and brings
them to Emily. She explains half-rhymes to him.

In heaven Emily wears her hair long, sports
Levis and western blouses with rhinestones.
Elvis is lean again, wears baggy trousers

and T-shirts, a letterman’s jacket from Tupelo High.
They take long walks and often hold hands.
She prefers they remain just friends. Forever.

Emily’s poems now contain naugahyde, Cadillacs,
Electricity, jets, TV, Little Richard and Richard
Nixon. The rock-a-billy rhythm makes her smile.

Elvis likes himself with style. This afternoon
he will play guitar and sing “I Taste A Liquor
Never Brewed” to the tune of “Love Me Tender.”

Emily will clap and harmonize.  Alone
in their cabins later, they’ll listen to the river
and nap. They will not think of Amherst

or Las Vegas. They know why God made them
roommates. It’s because America
was their hometown. It’s because

God is a thing without
feathers. It’s because
God wears blue suede shoes.


“Emily Dickinson and Elvis Presley in Heaven” is reprinted from The Coast Starlight: Collected Poems 1976-2006 (Indianapolis: Dog Ear Press, 2006).

Hans Ostrom is Professor of African American Studies and English at the University of Puget Sound, where he won the President’s Award for Teaching.  Ostrom grew up in a small town in California’s Sierra Nevada.  Later he attended the University of California, Davis, where he studied poetry-writing with Karl Shapiro.  Ostrom went on to earn a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in English from UCD. He has taught since 1983 at Puget Sound. His publications in poetry include the books The Coast Starlight: Collected Poems 1976-2006  and Clear a Place for Good: Poems 2006-2012. Hans’s poems have appeared in Poetry Northwest, Ploughshares, the Washington Post, and a variety of other magazines.With Kate Haake and Wendy Bishop, he wrote Metro: Journeys in Writing Creatively (Longman), a textbook about writing fiction, poetry, and drama. Ostrom has also published books about the work of Langston Hughes, and he is co-editor with David Macey of The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature (5 vols.) He is a novelist and a screenwriter.   His YouTube channel, Langstonify, features over 800 videos of poems.

Jason Whitmarsh

History of MacGyver


MacGyver, aged 17, escapes a locked car using a toothpick and a can of aerosol. MacGyver, aged 8, plunges twelve stories into a dump truck. He emerges unscathed, carrying a nearly translucent umbrella. MacGyver, aged fourteen months, establishes contact with a friendly behind enemy lines using a pacifier, an English muffin, and a Glock. MacGyver, in utero, counts his possessions: ten soft fingernails, a fine, potentially braidable hair covering everything, any number of already vestigial parts: the muscles of the ear, gills, the tail bone, the tiny appendix.


“History of MacGyver” is reprinted from Poetry Northwest.

Jason Whitmarsh earned his B.A. in mathematics from the University of Chicago and an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Washington. His poems have appeared in many literary journals, including Yale ReviewHarvard ReviewPloughshares,and Fence. His book, Tomorrow’s Living Room, won the 2009 May Swenson Poetry Award. He lives in Seattle with his wife and children.