Lily Myers

On Loneliness

Last night I fell asleep reading One Hundred Years of Solitude
while my roommate and her boyfriend kissed on the bunk below me
which is to say,
lately I’ve been alone.
Claustrophobic in the small room of my own body.
I wonder what it would be like to have another person’s wrists.

All the nothing days—
beer in a friend’s garage, teeth chattering
not quite inhabiting this envelope of skin

Sitting next to myself on the morning bus ride
moments hanging in the air like ghosts,
forgetting to pass.

This afternoon the sky was yellow.
Patches outlined in light blue cloud.
Rain started falling from the middle of the sky.
I stood still. Stared fully. Felt nothing.
Was not a body.
Was part of the air underneath the loving yellow sky.


Lily Myers is a poet and a Sociology student at Wesleyan University, where she competes on the Slam Poetry team. Her home is Seattle. She is convinced that by sharing and listening to each other’s writing, we can better understand and thus humanize each other. She loves poetry for the way it makes us honest and vulnerable. She is looking for poetry submissions for her feminist blog:


Kim Loomis-Bennett

Marnie Clark


Every time he got to me, every time he lay on me,
I wore a path to a thistle-choked ravine.

Past the garden, past father’s grave,
when step-father got his hands up my skirt,

prodded into me—Marnie, my darling, my dove
his calluses against my raw thighs, my neck when I struggled.

I’d stare across the ravine—blue hills like frozen waves.
A stern breeze scrubbed his stench from my skin.


He was awfully quiet; how Mother knew I couldn’t say.
After he left, I saw her sharp face peering in the shed window.

I slid off an old bench, yanked my dress into place.
She stared in like I was a stranger—I stared back.

Mother ranted at my gaunt figure when I couldn’t eat,
lost my job at Hoyt’s café—mostly she missed my pay.

I paced my room at night, always a book in hand,
always a lantern glowing low, softly reading Bible lore.

Her face soft, my little sister Helen
hugged her ragdoll, lulled to sleep by my footfall.


Mother gave me pills to start my monthlies,
banished her husband to a cellar room—Marnie, my dove.

Helen asked why her daddy slept down with the spiders;
I said they caught his bad ideas, wrapped them in webs.


I was sent to work at an all-woman’s hotel, west of us in Seattle,
rode the train out, ready for liberty, even if only as a Lincoln Hotel maid.

I found amusement in foreign travelers’ voices,
odd curios in waterfront shops, the long shadows of tall buildings,

even a tinge of contentment in polishing mahogany furniture,
making up brass beds with horsehair mattresses.

The mist off Elliot Bay washed my mind. Mt Rainer’s white peak
oversaw my dreams. Outside my window in the worker’s quarters,

fog leaned against the heavy green of the cedar trees,
mellowed wagon and car traffic, held the slight light of the lilacs.


I counted how many rooms I’d clean before Helen could be safe,
counted on getting a little house—away from him.

I turned calendar pages, the days adding up so slowly.
Poured my savings onto my bed, the money measly in my hands.


Another maid showed me the new Hillside Brothel
on Tenth Avenue South—I listened in the hall,

heard the man’s moans, the short time he was in and out,
saw the cash, knew I could do that.

At first I spent the extra on a white silk wrap,
rouges, perfumes and creams, trinkets and toys for Helen.

Later, I found my way into gambling parties, lost
track of my Hillside wages, worked extra to make it back.


Mother wrote: Helen moved away for a bit,
I threw away the coat you sent. Stay away.

Making beds by day, lying on them all night,
the counted-on money never amounted to much.

The dark over the city, the dark over the ocean—
my hopes tangled up in linen.



Kim Loomis-Bennett is a life-long resident of Washington State, besides a detour into Oregon where she met her husband. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in The November 3rd Club, The Copperfield Review, Poet’s Quarterly, and Hippocampus Magazine. Her most recent work is included in The Prose-Poem Project.  She teaches at Centralia College. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University and will graduate with her MFA, January 2014. She lives in Lewis County with her family. Her work, Soiled Doves: A Poetic Sequence, published in 2011, is available as an ebook.


Sandra Meade

Elegy for a Clown

SANDPOINT –“The Idaho State Police are investigating an apparent suicide that occurred in the Bonner County jail Tuesday, September 27. Jeremy, 20, was found by detention staff.

Even at seven you were a natural Harpo,
too loose clothes, big shoes
nothing ever really fit you,
a fool too simple for reading
but already a master of gesture.

“Teacher, Teacher, I did a trick today.
They teased me at the bus and I did a trick.
and they laughed. Watch.”

A sweeping gesture of generosity,
the open hands
and expectant smile,
head tipped sideways
one shoe up,
the grand bow.

An innocent stooge,
pockets stuffed with cafeteria food.

They found you duct-taped to a bed
your thin wrists wound motionless
to the rail. For endless days
your biggest trick, the smile, taped shut.

I tried to send face paint and books
but there was a wall
of institutional silence.
Now, at 20, your final trick:
head oddly cocked on a rope,
hands hanging loose,
a silent mime in the end.

How the angels
must have gathered
with their big red noses,
the saltimbanques, the payasos-
big shoes and soft bellies,
choirs of buffoons.
How their large hands must have lifted you,
rocked you with hilarious laughter.
Silly you, coming in with a cord at your belly
and leaving with one at your neck.

Little clown, I salute you.
My own face colored by your news,
I lift the bubble wand and blow,
perfect globes
reflecting light
float in your direction.


“Elegy for a Clown” is reprinted from Stringtown.

Sandra Meade’s poetry has been published in Stringtown and Raven Chronicles, and she recently received a Pushcart nomination for her poem “Elegy for a Clown.”  In 2012 she wrote and illustrated a children’s book, “Caty Beth Chooses.” Originally from Montana, Sandra Meade received her B.A. in Education from the University of Montana where she studied under Richard Hugo.  She currently resides in a handbuilt stone house in the piney woods near Newport, Washington with her husband Mike, where she was a public elementary school teacher for over two decades. She is founder and director of Scotia House, a Pacific Northwest Spiritual Retreat, open to all faiths and traditions. She is a member of Spiritual Director’s International and received her certification in spiritual direction from Gonzaga University in 2003.  Her hobbies include gardening, hiking, fly-fishing, cross-country skiing, and playing the bodhran.


Don Kentop

The Brown Building

We smoked cigarettes at NYU, spoke
of Eisenhower, Khrushchev, Joe McCarthy.
Before the Beats, before Elvis, we puffed
on Camels, flicked our ashes on the floor,
and rode elevators to our classes
in what was known once as the Asch Building.

There were no markers to commemorate,
or to even whisper of the fire
of nineteen-eleven. Today, three are mounted
on the building. Cast from molten bronze,
they tell the story, yet are placed too high
to run your fingers on the frozen names.
In different times, instead of sewing shirts
Molly Gerstein might have sat beside us
during freshman English; Ida Brodsky,
a sleeve setter — or a science major? —
and Jacob Klein might have been a friend.
Kate Leone was too young for college.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory sewed
the high necked blouses worn by Gibson Girls.
The shop took up the top three floors, the eighth,
the ninth, and tenth, which were consumed by flames
one Saturday in March at quitting time.
The holocaust still radiates today.
One hundred and forty-six, immigrant men
and women, were burned or jumped to death. Some leapt
in twos and threes while holding hands, their skirts
on fire, from the same window spaces
we looked through for spring in Greenwich Village,
impatient for McSorley’s nickel ale.



Don Kentop attended NYU in the mid 1950’s before the fiftieth anniversary of the Triangle fire, at a time when public interest in the fire was at a low. He writes, “There were no markers on the building at the time. The discovery, decades later, of the fact that I attended classes in the very building the fire took place, caused me to write ‘The Brown Building.’ However, there was so much more to say, and I was hooked. The next year was spent writing ‘Frozen In Fire. A Documentary In Verse.'” Don lives now in Seattle.

Ronda Broatch



Call yourself crazy, but these swallows in the eaves speak
of arriving, of settling in like flames.
…………………………It is midnight when you steal

with your daughter into the garden, blessing
a nursing bra, holey pair of panties. How you stare, amazed
as people grow from the ground, shimmery

in prom fronds, tuxedos to praise the raging body
of what moments ago you called your home, gaping
windows keeping nothing sacred. Morning you return,

…………………………………………………………………..your house a post-
holocaust sanctuary, plastic hair brush grafted to the altar
of your vanity. Fascinated, you see in the sodden marriage

of your photos a glue no prying will undo: wife to husband,
the mouth of your child an O against the ear of a relative
whose name escapes you. ….All the next year

you dream of flight, of burning and birth. ….You find
a looseness in this, and you sleep more and longer.
….wandering often
…………………… amongst the ashes where you haunt
the ghosts of your belongings: knitting needle stuck
to the baby’s doll, the hearts of sweaters eaten away by mice.

You admire charred trees for their audacity
to reach beyond earth, think of planting beans, of attaining heaven
by climbing. You pine for simpler things,

whole days outside. Blood, as a method of expression, not a map
of your years. In the soil you find another piece of glass
and your eyes burn –

pollen, or the low morning sun – you’ve no time to question it now,
what with these seeds to tamp down, one more year rushing by
………………………………………………………………like a house on fire.


“Anatomy of a Natural Disaster” is reprinted from Linebreak.

Ronda Broatch is the author of Shedding Our Skins (Finishing Line Press, 2008), and Some Other Eden (2005). Nominated seven times for the Pushcart, recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant, and finalist for the May Swenson Poetry Book Award, Ronda is currently Poetry Editor for the literary journal, Crab Creek Review. She is also a photographer, and samples of her work can be seen on her photo blog, Ronda Broatch Photos.


Stan Sanvel Rubin



When we wake, we are a morning of despair.
We comb our hair out with crumbs,
we suck sleep from long spoons
until dizziness takes us back to the dream
we walk through all day. If we head up,
we go down. If we go down, we go
all the way down, to basements we didn’t realize
and further.  We step on stairs made of bodies,
an escalator of ruin keeps us moving.
It is so hard to want anything we can use.
Everything we want hurts someone.
Everything we answer for is the wrong thing
and our answers mean nothing. Surely someone
will recognize our innocence, and love us.

“Here” is reprinted from There. Here.  (Lost Horse Press, 2013)

Stan Sanvel Rubin lives in Port Townsend. His fourth full-length collection, There. Here., has just been published by Lost Horse Press. His third, Hidden Sequel (2006), won the Barrow Street Book Prize and was a Small Press Distribution best seller. His poems are forthcoming in National Poetry Review, Cutthroat, The Florida Review, Great River Review and elsewhere. He writes essay reviews on poetry for Water-Stone Review. He’s the founding director of the Rainier Writing Workshop low residency MFA at Pacific Lutheran University.

Gloria Burgess

The Open Door
for my ancestors and our children

i wasn’t there…..i didn’t stand at the threshold
of the open door… back wasn’t wracked
beneath a ceiling so low even children lay prone
my spirit wasn’t riven…..i wasn’t cowed
bloodied……..shamed…… one stripped me
of my name…..i wasn’t there…..i wasn’t at Goreé
or anywhere along that shore

i was born inside the golden door
and i’m here by grace standing on the shoulders
of women and men stout in spirit fierce in soul
and oh by the blessed sanctity of God
though i wasn’t hounded through that open door
or driven to cross a merciless sea i still
have the sting of salt in my soul nightmares
of a watery grave…..i still search furtively
for signs of my tribe outstretched hands a cool
drinka water calabash smile……i still tread softly
muted by the glare of ghostly strangers…….i still push back
the rising bile when a glassy-eyed elder looks too long
or wide…..i’ve learned to question all kinds of kings
to stand firm on the laps of queens…..some days
i can’t tell the difference and fall to my knees
dragged down by the tide all over again


“The Open Door” is reprinted from Gathering Ground (University of Michigan Press); The Open Door (Red Oak Press).


Gloria Burgess’s poetry celebrates the spiritual and evocative oral traditions of her ancestry—African, Native American, and Celtic. Her poetry appears in diverse publications, including The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Gathering Ground, The Open Door, and Journey of the Rose. In her latest book, Dare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside, she weaves in threads of inspirational poetry, narrative, and reflections, along with the touching story of her father’s life-changing relationship with Nobel Laureate William Faulkner.

Ben Holiday

I met Ben Holiday through the wonderful Red Badge Project at Joint Base Lewis McChord. I’m happy to have the chance to post one of his poems.–KF


The Gray Man

There are many colors that we are,
and many colors that weve seen.
The most common of these colors,
are red, blue and green.

Red is for the anger,
the fury and all the rage

Blue is for the lost ones,
and for the worst of our days.

Green is for envy and jealousy
and like a tree it grows,

But there is one color,
few have ever seen,
or will ever know.
The one color that is gray,
the one that never shows.

Amongst all the other colors he stays,
silent like a ghost
for its these other colors
that keep him hidden
in this mist,
and fog
and smoke.

The Gray Man is everywhere,
even though most dont know,
this man that is invisible
whose identitiy never shows
he sits and waits patiently
for what he knows will come to be.
The actions and the tactics,
of all his foes and enemies
that the oblivious
and the ignorant
and the blind just cant see.

But dont think that The Gray Man
hasn’t seen any other colors in his life,
thats the reason he became gray
because thats the color that survives.
Surviving all of the trials,
all of his enemies schemes and plans
and this survival tactic
is called being The Gray Man.

There are many colors that we are,
and many colors that weve seen.
Most other colors out there fight dirty,
but they dont know
that one color is aware
of the scam, and their whole plan,
the one color that isnt “there”
the one they call …….
The Gray Man


His name is Ben Holiday, some call him Buzz. He is from Spokane Wa. He is ex military and always thinks twice about what he says….The majority of the time he is quiet, he believes it’s far better to listen than it is to speak. He first started writing poetry while injured in an overseas hospital. He doesn’t speak about about what or who he is, instead he’ll use poetry….Poetry is his only voice. Through writing he gained a freedom of perception, which became his salvation….”In his opinion”

Kevin Minh Allen

Down Here


The thick of it,
the strange of it,
the crux of it.

Everything around here
glows red, even the faces
on brick window ledges.

Old women smile and look ahead.

Bubble tea,
and noodle shops,
one on every corner.

The trash bins are full of people looking for work.

The alleyways echo with the clatter of sudsy dishes,
coughing fits and gobs of spit.


Kevin Minh Allen was born Nguyễn Đức Minh on December 5, 1973 near Sài Gòn, Vietnam to a Vietnamese mother and American father who remain unknown to him. He was adopted by a couple from Rochester, NY and grew up in Webster, NY with his two younger sisters. In 2000, he moved to Seattle, WA to pursue a life less ordinary. Kevin has had his poetry published in numerous print and online publications, such as Aileron, Lantern Review, HazMat Literary Review, Chrysanthemum and, most recently, Eye To The Telescope.


john defuca


To judge by outer detail is frail n will fail most don’t see souls so I close my eyes n sail through my dreams connecting to different galaxies to me complexities appear simply split personalities make me learn quickly the downside though is the same thing that I love hurts me, the same I love hurts me, what hurts me I love why I question why, look up in the sky see one figure holding my heart n see numerous ones holding the broken side, god is here, god is here but something in me loves these devils inside.. Soon as I get the first opportunity to escape I will ….see my people killin ourselves everyday off the alcohol n pills… I wish I could tell y’all it’s a movie but This ish is real….lemme show you how danger feels don’t get addicted to the thrill….. Sounds entertainin looking into our lives but this pain n sinnin is never endin man I ain’t pretending… Lemme take you to the beginning…. Young bucks down on they luck drinking in smokin before the age of thirteen where in the world did life get so mean we used to be running around playing now pay attention to what I’m sayin……last night there was partying n wildin come home from school flirting with the girls smiling ….enter the room yo mommas eyes black n blue the violence is constant man why she stickin with this fool…swear when I’m bigger imma pay him back frustrated as hell no time to relax… Oh no they on a binge sneak out the window go stay at your bestfriends… Next mornin same thing again all the adults past out see the drugs in the syringe…man I’m starving no food in the cabinet… So you start to steal n that becomes a bad habit…so now your stealing got the feeling it’s easy thinking you made a big score… So you give money to your older homies to get as much from the alcohol store…drink till you poor.. It’s surprising you Not realizing your doing the same thing your tryna hide from…life goes by life goes by damn now you gotta son! Who with… who with? The girl you used to love now you only refer to her as a bitch! Wasnt you just innocent?? Now look at him you don’t care bout buyin diapers you’d rather get high huh? Now watch the cycle begin! I hope he escape though I hope he escape though find someone beautiful n be faithful work hard so the innocent won’t turn fatal..


john defuca writes, “My name is John Robert Pritchard III, however I am one of those guys with a million nicknames. I am grateful to be labeled a Makah, I love my culture deeply. Anywhere I go in the world, I know only I will know my language, songs, and dances. My dream is to see the world and witness others perform theirs. I fight for what I believe in, whether I’m right or I am wrong; it’s going to be righteous in my spirit so may the lord forgive me. Don’t place myself above or below anybody, ultimately I believe in equality. That’s impossible to most but scientists could tell you stars are just dead rocks however they are still beautiful to me. Muhammid Ali hands down is my influence on performing slam poetry. Too many words to explain why, I am always amazed of how strong he speaks and stands alone because a lot of people are scared to speak their truth. I am not, I had a rough childhood. I never play the victim role, it made me who I am. Only thing I despise are cowards, God bless.”