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.


Michael Schein


With what vigor we plumb the unseen world,
the spirit driving the sun across the sky,
the tug at the edge of knowing,
the homunculus behind the curtain.

What if it’s all just as it appears,
the curtain is a curtain
sewn by eleven year old girls
in a sweatshop in Shanghai,

That chair holding you up
is wood or metal or plastic,
atoms without quarks,
something solid against the pull of gravity.

What if death is just the end,
a kiss is just a kiss,
and we are mammals
born live on a beautiful planet,

Floating in an expanding universe,
bamboozled by over-evolved brains
into looking past the wisteria
for some divine plan,

Forever missing the wonder of butter
in our search for a mystery
greater than what’s on PBS at 8.
I’m bored by the ineffable,

By negative capability, liminal listening,
the poem between the lines.
What is is more than we can know,
What is is more than enough to love:

What is is the mystery.


“Plumbing” is reprinted from THE KILLER POET’S GUIDE TO IMMORTALITY by AB Bard (c) 2012 Wry Ink Publishing, all rights reserved, reprinted with permission of Wry Ink Publishing, LLC


Michael Schein is the author of three novels, a play, and a logorrhea of poems.  His novels are The Killer Poet’s Guide to Immortality by “AB Bard” (2012); Bones Beneath Our Feet (2011), a historical novel of Puget Sound; and Just Deceits (2008).  Michael has taught poetry and fiction at a number of venues. He is Director of LiTFUSE Poets’ Workshop.  His poetry is supported by a grant from 4Culture; it has been nominated for the Pushcart twice, and stuck to refrigerators by magnets.  He lives in Carnation.


John Burgess

[Ballad of James Acord]


Sometimes alone.
Sometimes in clusters. Sometimes

in parallel but a lifetime apart. Sometimes
sinking. Sometimes afloat. “There are

2 parallel paths on which human beings
seek the truth.” Sometimes tangled

in each other’s hair. Sometimes oblivious.
Sometimes replicas coming off a conveyor

belt upstream. “I wanted to be able to identify
and imagine how everything I saw was made.”

Sometimes punk. Sometimes Li Po
folded into paper boats. “Demonstrate

the ancient link between art and
technology.” Sometimes mammalian

noses just above drowning. Sometimes
a Cold War that never ended. “Science

and art, art and science—they’re
just two spokes going into the center

of the Karma Wheel.” Sometimes a rodeo.
Sometimes a Veteran’s Day parade.

Sometimes loose-cannon protons released
from larger atoms looking to start

a chain reaction. “We have not stolen
anything. We have just learned about it.”

Sometimes long stretches like nothing is
wrong. Sometimes failure takes years. “If

you want to make things, if you want to
create things, everything is hazardous.”


Samples: James Acord as quoted in “Looking for Acord,” The Observer (July 1998) and “James Acord: Atomic Artist,” Nuclear News (November 2002).


JOHN BURGESS grew up in upstate New York, worked on a survey crew in Montana, taught English in Japan and now lives and works in Seattle. He has three books of poetry from Ravenna Press: Punk Poems (2005), A History of Guns in the Family (2008) and Graffito (2011).

John will be reading from Graffito at Elliott Bay Books in Seattle on Friday, July 27, at 7:00, along with Raul Sanchez and Lana Hechtman Ayers.


Katharine Whitcomb

When Traveling in Airplanes I Always Think of God

especially circling a city before landing at night
when the streetlamps spray the invisible avenues with blown golden seeds.

I think of God when the police shoot

King Kong on the tiny screen three rows ahead of me.

I think of God in the spring because everything

finally breaks open.

I think of God when I start awake after re-dreaming a crash against the mountain.

And who have I become? A captive watching them kill the beast?

When we were a little higher up illuminated by our wing lights

the clouds looked solid and edible like God’s big cake.

Once upon a time I thought I heard words meant for me.

I believed I could teach people just by living my life but then I got so tired.


Katharine Whitcomb is the author of a collection of poems, Saints of South Dakota & Other Poems, which was chosen by Lucia Perillo as the winner of the 2000 Bluestem Award and published by Bluestem Press, and two poetry chapbooks. Hosannas (Parallel Press, 1999) and Lamp of Letters (Floating Bridge Press, 2009), winner of the 2009 Floating Bridge Chapbook Award. Her poetry awards include a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, a Loft-McKnight Award, a Writing Fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and a Halls Fellowship at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. She has had work published in many journals and anthologies, including Fire on Her Tongue, Making Poems, and Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos. She lives in Ellensburg, WA, where she is Coordinator of the Writing Specialization English Major at Central Washington University.