Mitch Hicks


There are times in your life when fireworks claim a cool night sky
Then silent thoughts once so bright tumble humbly by
You kind of wonder why….

Snap & poem Mitch Hicks


Madness Deepens

“It Is Not Over Yet”

Today was a day when rain poured against shattered hearts

Breaking pieces like a drumroll, sinking droplets upon surrender

Thickening air against chest conpressions, loss of breath

Gasping for relief from this winding road, where footprints are lost


Gathering the strength to be strong for the battle

Yet tears flood palms, black stained cheeks of sorrow

Screams fill the mind of weakened prosperity

This load to carry, being pulled down by gravity


Now that the storm has passed, I look up

As night pushes up the day, I will take you by the hand

I will hold with all I have, here where we stand

I will not let you die, and be left there


Where God knows where…..


If I could, I would, wish it be me

To take it all away, to take this pain

Give it to my body – oh Lord – hear my plea

I will sacrifice myself for her to be free….


Burden of shifting cells, ripping away the soul

Making the thoughts become uncertain

Shaken, taken, and left out to dry

Just don’t close the curtain


Red velvet strands, dripping from incision

Tubes of filtered forgiveness, clotting memories

The great depression, lies upon whispering winds

The storm is here, pouring out clouds of confusion


There will come a time,

When the storm brings it’s rainbow

Across your heart,

Bringing sunshine, from above


On my knees, without a word from silent lips

But a loud scream, against my soul

Tears falling upon the floor, puddling

Then I saw you, there, a shining light


Sigh no more, mother, cry not a tear

For God is there to make your dreams better than hopes

He has his arms around you, tightly

Sigh no more, mother, he will help you cope…


– Madness Deepens

© 2013

Tressa Brittin Berman


Lost and Found

Balboa Park reminds me
of my grandmother’s lawn in Queens
It reminds me of the cattails
by the swamp in New England
where my brother and I caught tadpoles we brought home to Mother, by hand re-arranged with rice paper flowers
cut with Noguchi precision
standing tall in a Japanese vase

Balboa Park reminds me of
our old black cat
as I watch a feral beast watch me
steps out from the bushes to sniff the day then disappears back into the woods like God The feral cat reminds me of the time
the black cat broke the Japanese vase
into a hundred shattered pieces
glued together by Mother, by hand
the broken side turned forever to the wall

Balboa Park reminds me of things I used to love:
a ruffled black sweater, a boy too young to marry me, a sparkling silver pin.
The Maori women gave me a pin of a pugi dog
when my lover died, and they held my hand
and said te kio ora, na, na, na…
A pugi dog looks back at its tail because,
the Maori women said,
sometimes you have to look backwards to go on

I used to love a place
where the Southern Cross stretches
across the South Pacific sky
Places with names like Milingibbi, Yolungu, Woolongong below the belt of Capricorn
that vast hole of night
absorbs the daylight of New York City

Balboa Park reminds me of the dogs
in Central Park, where well-heeled dog walkers
read me the creed:

Balboa Lake lies like a curl in the arm of the San Fernando valley
shimmers with shards of memory lullaby waves that call, recall, recede

Tressa Brittin Berman

© 2013

Luci Lane



They wake me and stand at the foot of my bed. Sometimes one, sometimes two or four, depending on the day. Lately they’ve been showing up at the same time, like 3:27 a.m. They stare at me waiting to be chosen like a team in P.E. class. They talk amongst themselves, fight for attention, argue, whine, and fidget. A couple of them wander off. These are my relatives, the Worry People. Today must be a convention, the room is crowded and I can’t breathe or hear myself think.

I do a roll call: “Money,” “here,” ”Stomach pain,” “here,”…”Plumbing problem,” “here,”… , “Friend with Cancer,” “here,”…“Overdue bill,” “here,”…Impending death,” “here.” All here, together, like one big happy family. I dread these mornings and these visits, but I realize I need them as much as they need me. Me. The Solitary Creator. A slave to my people.

I try to do the meditation thing, you know, clear mind, let go, watch my thoughts pass like images on clouds, but there aren’t enough clouds to catch them all and they collide into a huge cluster fuck of words that circle back around. It’s only eight a.m. and I’m exhausted, but the day must go on and I set out for the city, just me and my never-ending To-Do list.

Cell phone store doesn’t open ‘til ten. Off to Bed, Bath and Bullshit to buy a new dish drain. That’s all I really need, but I leave with six large bags of crap that I’ll most likely return next week and that will take half a day. Two hours to fix my busted cell phone. Two hours at the Post Office. Seven hours to do three things from the long To-Do list which is somewhere at the bottom of my bag.

Take shower, brush teeth, remove contact lenses, wash dishes, swallow supplements, study a new wrinkle, look for keys and that To-Do list, lights off, doors locked, downward dog, child pose, take throw pillows off bed, lie down next to all of my ex-boyfriends, think about clocks, stare at the meaning of life, count the parking meters before my relatives wake me again.

It could be a dream or am I still on hold with the DMV and Time Warner and T-Mobile and the Alarm company and Blue Cross and my Mechanic and Amazon and my Attorney and my Mother who can’t find a pen and I stand in line and I stand in line and I stand in line and I stand in line.

Luci Lane

© 2013

Peter J. Harris


Baby Talk

glimpse a child’s blasé rending of dimensions   witness the shape-shifting delight of a toddler shouting to her mother:  ‘mama it’s Mickey Mouse!’   shame on eyes that cannot see cartoon ears sprouting from the grain at wooden interlock of hexagonal cocktail tables in a hotel lobby
savor squeal of 3-year-old granddaughter high in a playground swing & her unstrained dismissal of chronology:
when you were little I used to push you on the swing
aha to the brash logic of her 4-year-old cousin:
think I’m fast, then I know I’m fast
childhood is fragrance not my destination
my see saw made of precision & revelations in the night
my lover’s fetal curl & breathing under cover of urban darkness
mi sueño spiced by lost attempts to make meaning from our baby talk
Mi susurro unfolding
Monk on Mysterioso
Lord have mercy of daddy’s imaginary keynote at
million man march   salsa of tires prowling streets soaked by sudden rain
timbales on the canopy sheltering the midnight hour

Neda Hakim Sarraf

swans photo: swans swans.jpg

My Beloved
In the land of swans
Under the stars of one roof
Within winged messengers
I burnt all Theories on the stake
Beyond the shell of the flesh
Intoxicated by my lovers touch
Swept off by a wink in a glance
I soared on sapphire feathers
I pledged allegiance to my beloved
willed all illusions to the dust
I dived into drunkenness
Drunken by the pearls of wisdom
I built a bridge in silence
trailed by the holy grail
I weaved a nest with saffron threads
Hidden from the claws of darkness
Guarded by lovebirds and the light
Under the robe of humanness
Inside the eternal rose
Seeds of love grew wings
Caterpillars freed the butterflies
as I slide into my beloved.
Now, I and my beloved dance as one
In the land of swans
Neda Hakim Sarraf
© 2013

Stephen John Kalinich

In dreams
where mortals slumber
in lands unknown
i reside in molecules and seeds
a fragrance
that you sense
aroused not innocent
not drawn to praise
despising mankind
at times
slow to forgive
quick to judge
as my kind
is prone too
i renounce
a separate self
i linger on the boundary
of the invisible ocean
of thought
that swims around us
into atmospheric sea
the triumph and the fall
of all
that come into existence
as sure as it dissolves
becomes the dust
one day evaporates
breaks down
our spirit
all is inconsequential
all is insignificant
all becomes more than
what it was.
My god what angel
wouldn’t long for one breath
of the beauty of this earth
that is so fleeting
yet contains within itself
the portal
to immortal journeys
In dreams
In dreams
where nightmare scream
where none can be redeemed
or given  second chances
where the etch
is the only steady
is the motionless stillness
the mark of passage
of before matter
exploded into manifestation
out of nothingness
in dreams.
(Photo by L.K. Thayer)


Luci Lane

yellow brick road photo: yellow brick road yellowbrickroad.jpg

“Yellow Brick Road”

He is flawless and I will possess his heart, but he can’t know the truth, not yet. How I like a cold, fresh stick of butter, no crumbs, no residual jam smeared across the corner. I need my toast crunchy, and if it’s slightly burned, I start over. I like my bathroom sink dry, no splashes of water or toothpaste stains on the mirror. I don’t wear earplugs because I can hear my brain working, the crunch of bones and the echo of my swallow, throat clearing and nose sniffle is deafening, more deafening than the sounds I’m trying to cover up on the outside. When I sleep, the pillow between my lower legs has to fit from just above my knee to just below my ankle. It’s not the chalkboard or the dentist’s drill, but the excruciating sound of a paper napkin or a dry towel rubbing between fingers. My peace of mind comes from an empty trash bin or a sandwich cut evenly, no tomato slipping out the sides. No stains. No blemishes. Put it right. Straighten the stacks and layers. I hear my neighbor flossing his teeth again. He’s not doing it right. There are 59 black gum stains on this stretch of sidewalk. A homeless man is sitting in a pool of his own urine eating a hamburger. Don’t make eye contact. Hold your breath. Knock on wood. Wipe it off with alcohol, All of it. Wash my yellow brick road with Murphy’s Oil Soap all the way to the temple that is mine, where I sit cross-legged, quiet, focused, and perfectly clenched inside. Flawless man takes me in his arms like they do in the pictures and whispers something in my ear in a foreign language I don’t understand. He smells like cotton candy. Suddenly his voice is drowned by a galloping in the distance as he vanishes like they do on the transporters aboard the Starship Enterprise. The big sky opens up (sigh)…not him again. That Knight in unpolished armor keeps showing up. Take a number. Press eight if you’d like to hear more options or remain on hold for the next Unavailable man. Unavailable. Unclean. Unhitched. Seriously, I know he’s out there, but he can’t see me buried under these filthy loads, behind the clutter, over the heaps of things, through a thick coating of muck and 2.6 trillion pounds of waste in a massive landfill.

Luci Lane

© 2013

Kira Bey Wallace – Age 8

Artichoke photo: artichoke artichoke-fairy.jpg


“The Artichoke Man”


When I was eating dinner last night, I got served an artichoke.

I don’t like artichokes so I started playing with it.

I had other vegetables that I did like

and I started playing with them, too.

My mommy said, “Don’t play with your vegetables, sweetie.”

but I didn’t listen so I used my artichoke as a man,

my peas as eyes, my carrots as arms and legs,

my corn was off the cob so I used it as a mouth,

 seeds from my tomatoes as nostrils,

 finally I used a red pepper as a scarf,

a green pepper as a hat

 and a piece of tomato as a feather in the hat.


Kira Bey Wallace

Age 8  

Mary Fae Smith


What Woman Wants

“Go deeper, Go deeper, Go deeper”

He told her.

He questioned her.

He begged her.

He pleaded her.

Not her. Him. Him Him. Always him. Deeper into her but never into him. What did he want from her? WHat was he excavating inside the mine field of her soul?

Entering through her womanhood and moving in.

Out…out. Out! She wanted out. She wanted him out. Out in the open. THat is where she wanted him. No longer insider her.  In front. Standing. Staring. Revealing.

He was no longer allowed to hide in the Woman.

She forbid it. Gave him no respite. Gave him no solace. Gave him no home until he built her one first…

And let her go inside. Go deeper and deeper and DEEPER into he man.

All the longing in her soul craved entry within.

How does woman enter a man?

How does she penetrate and plant her seeds?

How does she build a life within his love?

Serious now. She meant it. Meant it down to the fibers holding her together suspended in time.

“Leave me. Leave me be. I want you to go. Go far away. I can no longer be your home. You must find your own. I cannot replace what’s been lost in your soul. You cannot infiltrate mine and play parasitic host to mine either. Be yourself for once, you slob. Be Man. Not A Man. Be Man. I need Man. All of Man. In one man.

Let me enter into that.”

She cried in her pillow.

– Mary Fae Smith

© 2013