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Issue 5: Phoenix

Bob Sward's Writer's Friendship Series

Book Reviews

Need to Know



A quick list to poets featured in this issue:

Bei Dao

Frank X. Gaspar

Carol Frith

Muriel Zeller

Dee Cohen

George Wallace

Tom Daley

James Lee Jobe

Mary Zeppa

Daniel A. Olivas

Hannah Stein

Lynne Knight

Walter Pavlich

Derick Burleson


Walter Pavlich

Walter Pavlich


The afternoon you fainted in the drug store,
(an episode of cerebral ischemia)
You conked out into wordlessness
Amongst unsucked lozenges, glucometers,
Calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Disposable gloves did not reach
For you; cotton balls would not
Pillow your fall.

It is the agoraphobic's worst
Needy needless fear.

It is the alcoholic's self-given mission.

Wooziness is a seasick tide.
A rickety carousel walk
Into the centrifuge of animals.
Nicking a chin on the oncoming
Up-and-down stallion, stallion.

Some report epileptics drop in
On God.

But this was simple dizziness
Finished in transitory oblivion.

A measuring cup of blood unpumped
From the twin wells of your feet.

You woke from the embarrassing nap
Under the dark lamps of strangers' faces,
Trying to recognize some lips
Or a voice in all that muddle.

Something orange
In the pharmacist's cup.


A hand to hold in this otherworld.



After the bars close
Male mockingbirds sing on

The cat finds my hand, taps me
Awake. I walk at his pace

Toward the kitchen, to cheese
Maybe, or a tongue of milk.

Something on the floor
Has exploded, or shattered.

I squint through the light
Of a screen door moon:

A mockingbird in scraps,
As one might pull apart

A pillow in rage, the feathers
Mere stuffing, raw chicken-liver-smell

Of blood. I'm what the cat
Dragged in, to see what he had

Pulled from the sky or
Swiped off an aerial.

A drunk rolls his car over
In a ditch, beer cans

Tumbling thin aluminum bells.
I gather what I can

Into a lunch sack,
Stow that in the freezer.

Bird, pie, tamales.
What a good idea I thought

(last summer) to saw a rectangle
into the back door for Doc

(the cat) to come and go
on his own. Just whom would I scold?

The bird that spent its life
Scanning for other voices?

Doc? No, he reaches for certain
Beings, the way I reach for a drink

In a dream. A water glass trembles
In my hand. Out of the faucet

Pours nothing
But beaks and wings. ___________________________________