Stephen Lindow, Magdalena Alagna, Doug Ramspeck, Marie Ashley-France

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Stephen Lindow earned his MFA in English from University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2004 and now teaches full time 8th grade Language Arts in Springfield, MA. He interned at The Massachusetts Review and was a poetry editor at The Old Crow Review. He's been published in Redactions and The Tampa Review.



Money For God


Brawling torrent of an Evangelist, heavy like a dinner plate gathering tablecloth when twisted. The speech loop of this soothsayer swallows honey at great speeds, smiles in Esperanza and buys narrow and deep from the IRA‘s of the elderly. His persuasion, higher than his wanting for a lighter skeleton. Zounds! How under-infected we are with his Searchlight contagion. We, trademarks of sin, live on rations in what he sees as high-octane offenses. Oh pirate-smelling us! Is prayer not an interruption of predestination? But who knows the difference between Perrier, bathwater and Holy water when it flubs down a drain like a twaddling nickel? Regardless, Evangelist, you may blink, spit, shout and kick, speak in tongues and shake, kiss snake etcetera, per se, and then some --- but one is not equal to three, not even very large values of one.






Wine Review (excerpts)


                                                            “Poetry is the Devil's wine"

                                                                                                                        ---St. Augustine



FallingLandscape Pinot Noir, 1987


In 1967 an opium-riddled acre of heaven fell into the hands ofthe Van Troos vineyard.

What crept above the river-line was a grape that became acontender in PX’s across the nation. This plaid valley Pinot rings with abouquet of sweet radish and citrus with bass notes of plum, black pepper andmillipede (if you are able to find a 1970 vintage, its finish is supposedlygospel to dates, cerumen and butterfly mint). A lush, well-integrated wine thatlingers. Keeping either bottle in the tool shed is encouraged for that failedday of sanding the Duncan Phyfe chair. It balances Prime rib, nubile whiteasparagus and grilled mango tournedos with scintillating blot. Excellent in aslushy.


GooseFoot Crepe Reserve Chardonnay, 1970


Thefruit for our Reserve Chardonnay originates from both the Hot Hatchery SulphurSpring and Dizzy Swan Hills. This exceptional vintage is infamous for itsarrogant bouquet of eucalyptus, grapefruit, Basque gorge apples, bluestem, andguano. Fruit from each source is vinified separately, with only the bottom 10%making it into the final blend. With tenors of raw almonds, licorice, potatoesand cackleberry threaded through, this winter hardy grape somersaults well withsirloin or braised beef brisket, Pad Thai noodles, Rice-a-Roni, shrimpfricassee, Ronzoni, leftover seafood chowder, and butterscotch pudding. By themaker’sfin du mondetradition ofemploying leeches who have been taught Pilates, the fermentation process isexemplary. Gossip about this wine will hum from deacon to dog psychologist.Perfect for that Saturday of installing lightningrods.

LunarRainbow Malbec, 1996


Inthe morning I woke to tiny bells attached to purple macaws. Sando was ironing myBanana Republic khakis from last night’s close shave with death by leap fromSleep’s Heart waterfall after drinking five bottles of this stellar Malbec. Mytibia was fractured in fourteen places, but my magazine will cover the expenses.This Malbec exhibits an exuberant and fat head and will engender in you theconfident feelings of a quadruple-martini driven David Niven.Buyit when you find it because much of this defenseless and delicate wine hasalready been snarfed and quaffed with dumb need by sky diving instructors andJohn Deere bulldozer drivers. Imperative if you’re stuck in traffic on theChesapeake Bay Bridge. Don’t let the chalky nose turn youoff.





Magdalena Alagna By day she's a copy editor for a children's book publisher and a freelance writer with more than twenty children's books under her belt. Magazine credits include Long Shot, The Bitter Oleander, DMQ Review, La Petite Zine, Gargoyle, and BigCityLit, among others. Anthology credits include The Pagan's Muse and Estrogenius.



Reading the Cards for Cheesecake Bill


The precision of goldfish crackers in a baggy makes him feel sad, deprived,

I know past his nappy beret, tummy patch, mouth scrolled like a music stand.


Cheesecake Bill takes a reading the way a woman gets a full-on wax.

Harmonica player, his laugh a disreputable chucka –chucka .


(How can I elucidate that Son of Wands with his foolish feather rattle?)

The café burbles and chirps around us, smelling of eggs.


The moon hovers hardboiled behind plasterboard.

I tap the 10 of Swords with blue nails


(the nightmare of sleeping in an armory, naked).

My face swings away, a hinge on a gate.





I Saw Cheesecake Bill


on Halloween on Church Street by Somewhere in Time,

a vintage boutique, dusty mannequins in the window:

He stood beside a bald, faceless dummy wearing

a yellowed lace cravat and pink velvet coat; I was dressed

as a dominatrix with whip and six-inch heels and I knew then

he would never take my advice again.





Doug Ramspeck poems have been published or are forthcoming by journals that include West Branch, Confrontation Magazine, Connecticut Review, Rosebud, Nimrod, Roanoke Review, RHINO, The Cream City Review, and Seneca Review.  He directs the Writing Center and teaches creative writing and composition at The Ohio State University at Lima. He lives in Lima with wife, Beth, and their sixteen-year-old daughter, Lee.




Even if the eutrophic memory of our youthful
headwaters has long since congealed into
the green creek behind the auto parts store
where J.T. lost his virginity and the four of us
went bobbing like peeled fruit after being suspended
for the second time from Colchester Heil School,
and even if some of us were plotting anarchy
in the same bedrooms where our mothers
left the laundry folded neatly on our dressers,
and even if, all these years later, the distillery
of growing older has brewed us and intoxicated us
and left us gut-sick in the gutter with the dry heaves,
we were still the alchemists back then, the diabolists.
Imagine what it felt like to be so cock-sure,
counting with the mystics the seventh fire truck
on the seventh day in the seventh month,
or driving out to North Point Lake on the Sunday
after Camden died and tossing one symbolic
fat pappy to the waves.  No, it never mattered
then what elemental thing we never wrought.




Marie Ashley-France work has previously appeared in Passages North, The Seattle Review, Colorado North Review, The Cathartic, The MacGuffin, as well as others.



Mothers and Daughters


You can see it in my newlywed eyes.

Speckled with blue like the red-

winged blackbird’s egg, that bird

expelling her anger at every other

hybrid passing through, crazy bitch

protecting her brood. You think I’m

a lunatic too, that I’m flying a gale

force of hormones smack against

your body, solid as oak, cracking

my eggshell-colored dress. Bleeding

all over it, even my mother knows

the stain is set. You’ll never get that

out, she snickers. When our daughter

arrives, my blood covering her,

you buy a gun and reason it

“necessary protection”. The two of us

conspiring nightly, mother and daughter,

whispering in avian tongue while

outside a sheet of blackbirds seizes

the yard in a mid-summer coup. 

Even when she kisses you she bites

your lip at the last possible moment,

her little claw-hands scratching

the pink meat of your soft stomach,

gobbling an ear when you sleep.

When she drops that first tooth

from her bloody gums, you run

from the room and shoot yourself

in the foot, blurt out all the wrong

words in your pain. But it’s too late. 

She’s already falling apart.