Stacie Leatherman, Angela J. Perry, Ryan Downey, Bill Roberts

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Stacie Leatherman is a student in the MFA program at Vermont College. her work has been published in The Cream City Review (poetry contest winner, 2002) and the Beacon Street Review. In addition, she's involved with the writing community in Cleveland, and attends a writer’s workshop each month at Lorain Community College. During her undergraduate studies, she was the assistant editor of Baldwin-Wallace’s literary magazine, The Mill.

It Was Noon and Nothing is Concluded (after Donald Rawley)

Not the woodland color of your eyes,
the rushing winter wind (the roaring winter wind),
a dress’s red hem, how Louis looks at Jane,
the exact color of delphinium, of sky.
Not the fine ridge of your tricep, this white slip of snow,
not the trees holding out their arms
as if for snow, servers with plates scalloped up to
the shoulder. Not the platter of your belly,
the exact shade of the dog, amber or flame,
of fear hauled up like whales, of their dead,
gray beauty, blubber like moon silk,
like a beautiful dusk hung upside down.
Nothing not even blood its shock of red sea-stain
staining the sea the open-mouthed sea, the close-mouthed sea,
loss like fossils we’ll find one day.
It was noon and nothing is concluded,
flash of a white owl huge across
the windshield, rumblings of rain
somewhere lost beyond the roof.

Postcard from March


Puddles quiver in rain, drops rapid
as silver tongues. Our trees stand wide;
I see through them to the sleek road
to the sensuous ravine. Between two trees
a cedar phone pole's driven, splitting the line.
My blood's beating like a flock of returning birds.
Insistent, heady, this rain will take long
to end. Come: last year's crimped leaves glisten
in the greening grass.

If I had my way,
I wouldn't change the death throes of winter,
those sodden fits and starts, nor its long closet of chill.
I wouldn't change the blue, shadowless dusk,
the tangerine breach of sunrise,
rasp of dim leaves on concrete. I wouldn't change
the maples, amethyst as autumn gems,
or their flaming, lantern light. I wouldn't change
the white-flowering pear, tiara of blossoms,
or the early grass so adolescent green.
Even all of winter's scullery rags--
If I had my way, all of this would stay
and turn again, I wouldn't change the things
we haven't changed, I'd almost choose
to die my unknown death.


Angela J. Perry is the resident poet at the Manhattan Theatre Source. Most recently she has had a poem appear on fashion designer 'Heatherette's' Spring '06 line. 

Happy Seedlings are not for the Toads After All

    I could see the giant sack of seeds underneath his table.  "Good macaroon"
he said wiping the purple jelly from his crooked mouth.  Funny, I could have
sworn it was evening, but that's how it works in this dark world.
    We had crossed paths many a time some years ago.  We were both big shots in
the underground toad trade.  It wasn't the most profitable business venture,
but it kept me busy and slowed my absinth usage.
    It seemed every kid in middle America was looking for a toad to lick with
high hopes of intoxication, hallucination, and what not.  I tried it once. 
It was similar to drinking a glass of champagne with a couple of aspirins in
it, no big whoop.  But these kids had to have their toads and deliver I did.
  I assure you no toads were hurt in these transactions (except for those
two in Albuquerque, but that was a cocaine gobbling maitre d's fault, not
mine).  Well some smarty-drug-pants went and discovered mescaline and that
ruined the underground toad trade.
    So, I went back to my usual business, street performer via break-dancing
mime.  One day while I was bustin' it (if you will) a wide-eyed seventeen
year old skate board dude was just about to piss himself over my little
number.  I could tell he was seeing other shit.  I get the kid to tell me
what he's munching on and his phone number (I have no morals when they are
that cute).
    Morning glory seeds!  I marched my ass right to the public pay toilet to
wash off my mime make-up.  It was time to get over to the nearest plant
depot and get myself back into mediocre business.
    Which brings me back to the present time which I suppose is now.  Anyhow
things are looking up.  I have every kid this side of Jersey convincing
their parents that they have a sudden yet harmless interest in horticulture.
  I'm gettin' laid like a chief and my garden hasn't looked this good in
years.  God bless America, I love this gig.

The Ambidextrous Sot

The damsel staggered out of the abbey
Heading for the gin mill with her clandestine cleaver.
She knew the alchemist would anoint her there.
Unhinged, slinging castanets, she yearned to quaff the fine sauce.
Upon her arrival the apothecary denied her the broth.
She would not cadge and now he is an amputee.
You cannot bamboozle a broad with the will to annihilate.
She filed a canard with the Bobbies
And is on her fifth scotch at the saloon with the nun.

Ryan Downey is a student of comparative literature at the University of Georgia. His work has been accepted for publication in Children, Churches, and Daddies literary and art magazine.

Steps is Just Another Word for Stairs

I wanted to slide down all the stairs in the world
Seated on a well waxed banister watching
And waiting for everyone to pass me by.
I still want to.
But when I reach the bottom my legs won’t break
Won’t snap at every joint real and imagined
In fact they will grow. Stronger, and longer.
Until my eyes are filled with clouds.
Cumulus, Cumulonimbus, Stratus.
And I will have become the stairs.
Climb up my calves, to my knees friend.
Make your way to the heart if you love,
Make your way to the brain if you live.
Chances are you won’t make it to either.
Along the way remember all the puddles
That you stepped in on rainy summer days.
Wet skin rubbing fiercely against unforgiving cloth.
Steam rising off the flattop we call a blacktop
And lending tears to us, though we had enough already.
Pick a few crab apples and start a war, eat some too.
The bitter taste with a hint of sour reminds all.
Those were the days when we still learned.
Doing back flips straight up towards the heavens
Learning about the need to expand our horizons
A solid bump will do that, will teach us.
We lack the means now, lack the big-wheels
Sorely miss the sidewalks, have all but forgotten
The pinecones. And this is our flaw.
Granite, wood, rubber coated, steel.
All kinds will I pass before I make my way
To the bottom of the top of this world.
I saw this on a t.v. show once so hop on
And let’s glide off this cliff.  The one everyone
Marches towards.  I’ll go first and if need be
I’ll go last, but I would prefer not to do both.

Bill Roberts has appeared in over a hundred small-press magazines over the past ten years, most recently in the Atlantic Breast Cancer Net, Bellowing Ark, Clark Street Review, Parnassus Literary Review, Red Owl, Underground Window, and Waterways, to name a few.  If he could turn back the clock, he'd strive mightily to become either an opera singer or a ballet dancer.

One Day

I didn't whine one day.
Everyone was delighted.
So, I left.
They wrote how much they missed me.

I didn't go to work one day.
Nobody missed me.
So, I quit.
They gave me a big farewell party.

I didn't make it to church one Sunday.
Everyone noticed.
So, I disappeared.
They all prayed and sang Hallelujah!

I didn't get out of bed one morning.
Not a soul called me.
So, I stayed in bed.
They're giving me a nice Christian funeral.