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To buy a copy of Joshua Michael Stewart's chapbook send a check made out to Joshua Michael Stewart for $10.00 This will include S&H fees. PLEASE DO NOT make check out to Big Toe Review.
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             181 West Street Apt. D-3
             Ware, MA 01082


Sample Poems:

I didn’t notice the little girl
speaking to the headless doll
or the ghosts drawing war plans in the dirt
I'd barely lifted my head
when the corpse in the burned-out jeep
called out my high school nickname
and when the old woman
with the right side of her body
melting like wax
raised the tin cup of her children’s ashes
I crossed the cratered street
careful not to scuff my new shoes
Things happen separately, simultaneously
A man carts his dead son in a makeshift wheelbarrow
A woman sings Gershwin weeding her garden
Is it cruel to go on living
crueler to taste someone else’s blood
as you wipe the cherry pie from your mouth
Sitting at this desk
watching budding trees bend
in the mist and crow of a gray morning
I know nothing about war
except my father’s yellowing photos
a smooth faced boy in a cocked sailor cap
I know nothing about war
except his complete silence
when preparing a roast or planting tulips
I know nothing about war
and those hearts built out of spent matchsticks
belong to those who dream in flames
I am to remember this
I am to keep the mirrors unveiled
I am to keep a room I never enter   
Like God you create mountains without much effort.
Tracing the arete with your godly finger
you envision your journey through the terrain, taste
the chalk and granite dusting your teeth.
Even the bighorn you’d toss the
crust of your sandwich is perched
on that third line in the second stanza.
Then there’s fire. One can’t label himself Almighty
without being willing to burn something:
a small forest of pines, leaving only thin, charred
trunks to spear the white sky?
But what is a god without a congregation?
So there’s the poppy field where Eve and Adam first
realized that sinning wasn’t such a horrible thing.
Which leads to the embrace, the interwoven bond
between joy and sorrow, something only mortals
understand. And there you are, your complete
human self, standing alone, squinting out at sea,
the black sails of Theseus
in the amber light of the desk lamp.



Out of all my instruments, the most prized,

the one I allow no one to touch.

The color of sunlight and atmosphere,

and when tilted the right way,

as if you were going to play it like a violin,

you’d notice the faint hint of turquoise.

I perform more dexterously with the blinds

drawn and the lights turned off: the electric

lime of the Pioneer Reverberation Stereo Receiver

is enough to keep bare toes from jabbing into coffee table legs,

knuckles cracking against doorjambs while windmilling.

After work, after I’ve uncorked the bottle,

the wine granting my first wish, I slide under the strap

and unravel my fingers on Wes Montgomery licks.

It’s well past midnight that I staccato through the house,

chugging on Hell’s Bells as I rock on my heels,

balancing on flame-tips. And it’s long after

the bars on Pleasant Street have closed, the sidewalks

overflowing with feedback and faces bent out of tune

that I play along with the song they’re humming,

the one about home, and how it’s a quartertone,

somewhere between C and C#,

and how we still manage to find the right key.