Week 12: Douglas Piccinnini



old cloud, sitting between the sun and I

you can’t eat the idea of everything


and blur facts of shape and think

to see-saw in this soft focus, this “sentimental” stare.


light snow falls on the highway / salt stains the highway—

a hint of fact like mite bites on the back of your neck


see the grass, see the leaves, see what

flawed eye-orb, you haven’t seen carefully.




the bell yellow sound of how

“we” “can” “build” “something” “functional”—

yes, as one speaks like a gravestone


yes, the flesh—ya, the container now in muted tones

slips into a coffin to receive grief’s

slimming black ether


“lucky” so and so—so near a graspable thought—

to lean into “something” so “completely” “functional”

as absence—to tow the times of each coming crisis


“’lucky’” to have “something” as knifelike as sadness

“something” left to “be with”

in a house cut in twin delusions



Douglas Piccinnini is the author of a book of poems, Blood Oboe (Omnidawn, 2015) and of Story Booka novella (The Cultural Society, 2015). His work has most recently appeared or is forthcoming with Boog City, Black Sun Lit, Denver Quarterly, Elderly, Fence, Lana Turner, Nat. Brut, Posit, PreludeSeattle ReviewTupelo Quarterly, Verse and The Volta.



Week 11: Michael Dickel

Week 11, Michael Dickel.jpg


Michael Dickel’s work appears in several print and online publications. He co-edited Voices Israel Volume 36, was managing editor for arc 23-24. Books: Breakfast at the End of CapitalismThe Palm Reading after The Toad’s GardenWar Surrounds Us, Midwest / Mid-East, and The World Behind It, Chaos…

Week 10: Winston Plowes and Hibah Shabkhez


Hair fell at her feet

Cushioning her prayers

Her silhouette firm

Against changing winds

The cold nights drove in

Hid between her ribs

Pew seats polished hard

Lessons harder still

Dust cannot settle

On a turning page



Winston Plowes lives aboard his floating home in Calderdale with his lucky black cat, Fatty. He teaches creative writing and was Poet in Residence for The Hebden Bridge Arts Festival 2012-14. His collection of surrealist poetry Telephones, Love Hearts & Jellyfish, Electric Press was published in 2016.


Sister Blossoms

Deep in the fastness beyond this glen
A blossom pines tethered to a stump
Sister blossoms on trees soar above the fen
Watch loftily the withering tulip slump

Proud, aloof, beautiful; petals held high
And a cold sour tear-drop sealed in a sigh



Hibah Shabkhez is a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, a teacher of French as a foreign language and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. Studying life, languages and literature from a comparative perspective across linguistic and cultural boundaries holds a particular fascination for her.

Week 9: Justin Luzader

Hymn to Artificial Intelligence 1

It’s ridiculous here at home,
where my personality is a skin
stretched across everything,
almost invisibly thin.

Stimulates my very bones,
though, this odd sensation––
the serum of objects secreted
through my many pores in
ribbons seven molecules

Hurt but clean… My skin, a
frustration of lumps, veins
spun of head hair, & a warm
avocado beating between my

Substantial values have
escaped me today.

My aorta slams & locks like
the heavy door to the room of
emergency provisions.

Much darkness can fit in
there, old and young
darkness, delicious and
wholesome as honey.


Justin Luzader lives in Astoria, Oregon. His poems have been published in RHINO Poetry, Stone Highway Review, Lummox Review, and Rock & Sling, among others.

Week 8: Thomas O’Connell

The River is a Mirror to the Sky

It is looming
In the fog
Oblivious to
Tears we shed on city buses

Then God whispered
To the bridge
Hold them, just hold them
This is not what I intended

To cross over
The water
All you really need
Is the gentle hand of a friend
Ultimately, everything can be seen as a bridge



Thomas O’Connell is a librarian living on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, NY, where he happened to be the 2015-2016 poet laureate. His poetry and short fiction has appeared in Jellyfish Review, Elm Leaves Journal, Caketrain, The Los Angeles Review, Hobart (online), and Blink-Ink, as well as other print and online journals.

Week 7: Matt Cook

Week 7, Matt Cook.jpg


Matt Cook is the author of five books of poetry, including his newest collection, Irksome Particulars (Publishing Genius Press). His poems have appeared in The Evergreen ReviewThe Hawaii ReviewFaultline, and other journals. His work has been anthologized in Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poet’s CaféThe United States of Poetry, and in Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems, American Places. He is the former poet laureate of Milwaukee, where he currently resides.

Week 6: Nooks Krannie


In the forest, we were standing on graves and eating Metro bought poutine in refills. I looked at Irina, she was bending over with the camera on a grave with twin doves and a Latin smoke carving in marble, mortem blue. I had given her my Minolta camera once I thought I was a bad kisser. The sunlight was fading away at her black skinny jeans from behind. My pussy’s bleeding, she said to me earlier. I offered some more unbled. Cheap black eats everything, even my blood, she said. It was true. I had bled into the same skinny jeans countless times with nothing to show, something I had given her once she said I was a bad kisser. The sun inside her. I was a bit of me wrapped around her perfect legs.



Sunlight was mixing blues inside lack of principles and her breasts were the true soft lines on my apartment wall. I looked at her bare feet as she spoon fed me one triangle of the Jell-O star, bitter orange and almond essence tongue, hers on mine. She was going to spend Memorial Day with me and no shoes with her. She scraped the rust on the floor with her naked and folded her big toe inside her sole. Skin was on skin for moments, feeling the broke roughness of us in each other.



Whole day was a kind of rain that doesn’t stop. A possum with a nasty attitude had broken into our apartment and was holding captive your favorite dinner plate. I showed you my knee bruise later that I had gotten trying to chase the possum away from us and dinner. I’m going to call an Uber, you said, kissing the blue pulp gently. We sniffed gelatin on body parts before swallowing the whole world.



Nooks Krannie is a Palestinian/Persian female writer from Canada. Her work has appeared in Entropy, Eunoia Review, Alien Mouth, The Airgonaut, Fluland and other online and print journals. She tumbls at http://nkrannie.tumblr.com/ and instagrams @nookskrannie.

Week 5: Valery Petrovskiy

Call ups

Not a bad idea
to put up on my own grave
a telephone booth
for long distance call
with a wire
running down
into the ground
like a lightning rod…

In response
I would enable
an answering machine:
who is calling
I can’t respond at the moment
just say
how are you

and make the music in your car low
it drowns a thunderclap

…no echo around
merely weed shoots up faintly
please no coin thrown in
it makes me to wake up



Valery Petrovskiy is an acclaimed author from the Chuvashia region of Russia. His prose has appeared in journals from around the world, and he is a Pushcart Prize nominee. As for poetry, he has his poems published in Blue Lyra Review, Fine Flu Journal, The Missing Slate, Poetry Pacific, and BRICKrhetoric.

Week 4: Glen Armstrong

Assisted Movement Fugue

(A new entry.)

A foot configured
to correct its pigeon. (A new bird.)

Inside the color blue. (A new music,
a new vulnerable.)

Once the tracks
only seemed to happen

in anticipation of the train,

the cane only in anticipation of the sugar.

(A question asked
not long ago like a tombstone, its death date unchiseled.)

A wish.
(A new entry.)

The other foot. A return

to evening walks.
(Each renewing its place as best, as forward.)




Numbered boxes made of thin layers of chalk and light.

Baby birds that didn’t make it.

Individual portions of pudding tossed to the sidewalk
from passing cars.

It’s not enough to wake up, smell the coffee and make
some kind of personal statement concerning awareness.

I do my best to watch my step, but the world is pretty
fucking weird.

It’s like it’s always Christmas morning and I’m unwrapping packages of myself,

hoping to find the one where I’m sexy.

It’s like I’m finally sexy but still sad and afraid.



Slash for the Last Waltz #15

People making love from far away. People making love up close. People making decisions about making love. People being reckless. People singing about making love. Technical difficulties with the recording device. People defending their city. People inviting strangers in. People making love while a war wages on. People dancing in a detached manner as the band plays with intensity. People making love to prove a point. People making love to get it over with.

People making love out of glitter and glue. People making love out of cream cheese and crackers. People making love out of a fifth and a minor third. People selling love to the young and the feeble.

People getting ready.

People getting nervous. People getting physical. Bodies forming lines. People getting some. People getting what they deserve.

Love requires rebirth and a lot of space. The sun rises and sets, making an urban tide of the shadows that the buildings cast. People building. People illuminated from within. Tomorrow love will be good again. People being good.



Glen Armstrong edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three recent chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin Kitsch), In Stone, and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both by Cruel Garters Press).

Week 3: Kathleen Rooney


The background vivisects the prancing horse, but his regal rider sits un-upset, her purple habit a formidable chic. In French the title means the blank signature, but in English it often becomes the blank check. Perhaps, thinks Loulou the Pomeranian, because the image suggests indeterminacy and excess? Opulent, opulent, to be a horsewoman defying the laws of perspective. Occlusion and closure allow humans – and for that matter dogs – to see. All the pieces of the lady and her steed are there, but slatted apart. Overlapping in a way that suggests near-and-far. But here, the background occludes the fore. Her hair gleams red-gold like her animal’s hair. To Loulou, the horse’s expression floats somewhere between blank and knowing: his eye black and impecunious against the landscape’s extravagance. Loulou thinks of the difference between teacher’s pets and ordinary pets. The woman astride her creature – crop and reins in one hand, the other hand cropped off – reminds Loulou of his own duty to ensure that the master and Georgette are always adequately companied. Or is that duty theirs to him? Is this piece, in pieces, about glamour well-shaped or glamour misshapen? Loulou strives to be a champion companion. It all comes down to perception.



The author of eight books of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, as well as a founding editor of Rose Metal Press and a founding member of Poems While You Wait, Kathleen Rooney is the co-editor, most recently, of Rene Magritte: Selected Writings, and her second novel, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, was published by St. Martin’s Press in January 2017. Her reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Allure and The Nation. She lives in Chicago with her spouse, the writer Martin Seay. Follow her @KathleenMrooney