Larry Rapant, Alex Wolff, Michael Gurnow, Kenneth Pobo

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Larry Rapant has been a college writing and literature instructor for thirty years. He's been published in more than sixty literary journals, and last year his manuscript, Say, was selected as a finalist in the annual Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize competition. He's presently retired from the State University of New York, employed part-time as a writing instructor in the Marist College prison program and continuing as the editor of the Empire State College literary magazine, Many Waters.


I Have No Friends


I think it’s because of the blackheads.  It might have something to do with my pet Reader’s Digest collection.  Or the fact that I always pull the wrong lever on election day.  Even when I try to pitch in and bag my own groceries, I wind up accidentally snapping open the top of the dish detergent and getting the slimy stuff all over the checkout counter.  I eat small shells for breakfast every morning.  I let my nails grow until the toes start to bleed.  I connect the age spots on my hands with a magic marker.  I never go anywhere without my shoehorn.  I notice the waitresses never give me enough cream but I feel blessed to be living across from a tanning salon.  I’m the guy who when you accidentally drop something near him thinks it means you want to have a long-term relationship with him.  If you say hello to me on the street, I have a thirty-minute speech about toothpaste all prepared, and then I’ll tell you all about my imaginary family.  There is a sense of urgency about me.  A memorable must.  Crows follow me wherever I go.



From the 9/25/05 Poems


It’s 2:05 a.m., but before I can find a pencil and pad to write it down it turns into something else, something more concrete like the body of a beautiful black woman with nipples and birthmarks as stars.


Alex Wolff is a senior at Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge TN. This is his first published work.



Uncertainty creeping up from the confusion of the new,

Happily turning down side streets

Trying to get to the highway,

Old red barns and second stoplights blur together

Meaning nothing except

The absence of a way forward.

So you go sideways and backward following

Your whims and your not so straight ways.

Ahead concern about the destination

Could trap the adventure, and distort it into purpose,

Stress. Carefully avoiding that hazardous pothole

Is as easy as floating over it, or taking a detour

Into a field of daisies.Problems there too,

Easiest just to float over. Hardest just to float over.

The confusion, the looming pothole of stress,

The field of daisies distract from your happy thoughts,

But after the confusion, the potholes, the Daises,

The labyrinth of side streets, It’s just a boring ride

In your own suburban mini-van.


Michael Gurnow has work that can be found in Maelstrom, Plain Brown Wrapper, Idiom, M10K, Skandalized, Fuzzclog, ShadowShow, Digizine, and in The Modern Word.

Genesis:  Statistics

A fly is laying her eggs carefully
with the Holy maternal caress
into a mutt
not quite dead
drags himself down the road

Kenneth Pobo has had work appears in FORPOETRY.COM, Three Candles, Plum Ruby Review, and elsewhere. His book Introductions came out from Pearl's Book'Em Press in 2003.


Ethel Mertz Today


Ethel still misses Lucy, talks about the great fights—more fun than fixing Fred’s lunch, collecting rent, watching Ike on TV.  When Fred died, Ethel remembered her goldfish in Albuquerque.  She was six.  Her dad scooped it out of the bowl, tossed it, dinner ready at six sharp.  Ethel married again, Bernie, but he was gay, closeted.  She’d marry him again if he’d leave Marty.  He won’t.  They’re activists and map collectors.  Ethel isn’t an activist.  Her world, nylons drying in the bathroom.


She watches fifties sitcoms.  Bob Cummings in Love That Bob.  Eve Arden in Our Miss Brooks.  But not I Love Lucy--the jokes make her weep.  Ricky, Lucy, Fred, all gone, turned into digital celluloid.   


Ethel says, “I look for laughs.  I’m lonely.  I surprise people who see me dressed well.  Death isn’t bad.  It’s fast-moving clouds.  A pretty park, but the benches need painting.”