Life’s Desperate, Mumbling Patterns

Bus Escapes
by Zachary Scott Hamilton

Chow down on leaves, get
Lernaen hydra curling the hair.
Angel patterns, shoestring videos

Turned walls wallet full on magic money,
Expensive shoes, don’t listen
Magnets, attracting snarling

Tissue, revitalization, early symbolic
Month, wait, safe grey,
Turnover flowers, aquamarine, ruby, lit, cash triangle,
Rubix, patchwork, young girls clean walls,
                                              Scramble –

You’re sane, back in old old-

Mumbling national anthem
Goat flags like clouds

Hairy, yawning, nay, lipping,
Light up, water up, heart,
Grows plants, grows houses,
                         Ivy, vines desperate
Recent green unfolding down
The roof, virgin house, unique flag
Newfangled goats, unusual hair, latest clouds

Soda– I got is this
Mumbling national anthem –
These children are scrubbing corners
Of this room
Mumbling plants to life –


Zachary Scott Hamilton grew up in Oregon, and spent many years traveling, where he began a fascination for the composed word. On occasion he writes for HOUSEFIRE, and his booklet IDENTIFICACION (authored with Brandy Gump of The Miss Rockaway Armada) won an AxP award, and can be purchased at Powell’s Books, Last word Books, and Floating World.

The Lean Lines of What Comes Last

Love Lines
by Chad Parenteau

Shift’s end
one more whiskey
pours out last light.

Barstools lean, napkins
slip notes spell lines
for no one.

Last train waits
metronecked deadeyed
almost missed by me.

scrap change from fare
never cross my book.

This is always about me.
Every train eventually mine
assholes to asphalt.

Last leg half
sleeping last
first up

no one


Chad Parenteau is a poet living in Boston. He hosts the weekly Stone Soup Poetry series in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His book, Patron Emeritus, was released from FootHills Publishing in June of 2013.

The Luxury of Spring Fog


A Song for Washington Fog
by Clifford Brooks

She brings me spring
with her whisper
that sounds like the soft patter
of a pinwheel’s spin.
Her lower lip parts
from its perfect upper half,
and she brazenly bites mine.

Young pixie, you are a luxury,
and the staple of a passionate life.
Smart, svelte brunette,
keep me, stretch over
my slender sides
and stay.

for the day
does me no good
without your tender fingers
tapping me in time
to taper bad dreams.
absent your affection,
the dawn just ain’t no sunrise.
Clifford Brooks is a teacher, freelance writer, and poet living in North Georgia. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Georgia Author of the Year for his first book of verse, The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics. Clifford’s next book of poetry, Athena Departs, is currently in the last stages of editing. His newest accomplishment, with the help of many brilliant artists, is the creation of The Southern Collective Experience, who will soon have a website of their own. His online presence includes Twitter; Instagram; Facebook; and his personal website Cliff Brooks. Artistic snippets of his work (as created by Holly Holt, a member of The Collective) can be found on Pinterest here: Athena Departs; and The Salvation of Cowboy Blue Crawford.

The Freedom of Fire Crackers

8 Years Old
by Ryan Hardgrove

we were trying
to get this old lighter to work
so we could light
another one of those
tank-shaped fire crackers

his dad was inside
smoking a cigarette on the couch
lounging in the
ceiling-fanned summer gloom

he heard our struggle
with the old lighter
and called us in

he grabbed his son
and said
​don’t you be puffin’ on this
then to me
​you neither, I’ll tell your old man

he took a long drag
on his Winston
and held it out to his son
he took it
and back out we went to the porch

he bent down with the cigarette
it looked awkward and big in his fingers
the fuse caught

a bright spark
flew out of the barrel and bounced off
a half-used paint can

his father lit a cigarette
somewhere inside


Ryan Hardgrove is currently wading through his late twenties as a feckless bartender and responsible father. He is also a writer and a musician. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his common law wife and their son.

The Acoustics of Amen

Chapel Top
by Kayla Pongrac

took a train to see you and never
came home in the tearducts of my mind we are
arm-wrestling with New Hampshire and you take me
sushi-shopping and sight-seeing but she can’t stop
thinking about the top of the chapel      praying praying
praying praying praying praying      Amen.

wait, I’m not done writing you this poem yet      suddenly
we are sitting inside a club listening to acoustic and you lean
into my right ear and whiskey whisper that you love how her guitar is so out of
tune but her voice is in shape      your dusty twenty buys me a necklace that feels like a decorated rubber band around my neck and I’ll wear it like I wear my shoelaces tied:
two loops, one knot.


Kayla Pongrac is an avid writer, reader, tea drinker, and vinyl record spinner. When she’s not writing creatively, she’s writing professionally—for two newspapers and a few magazines in her hometown of Johnstown, PA. To read more of Kayla’s work, visit or follow her on Twitter @KP_the_Promisee.