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May 2008

Issue Highlights

Bitter Clean Dirt, The Stalls of Power, Book Flaps = Existential Nausea, Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, Norman Ball Watches the Watchers, The Tree-Killing Poet of Santa Cruz, Suffering The Consequences of Reagan, The Animal Girl, Most Wonderful Poetry, and more ... Read More


One Child to Raze a Village
When one individual—armed only with inalienable rights and a book of matches—can set fire to half of California, the necessity for round-the-clock, one-on-one surveillance becomes all-too clear. Norman Ball Watches the Watchers. Read More

Book Reviews

Cruel Poetry
"Alligators eat severed body parts. The sex—and roaches— are heavy and constant. The air is brutal; the blood is bad. The heroine is a prostitute." Ryn on Hendricks' new noir novel. Read More

Suffering The Gipper Legacy
Reagan is so revered that few are willing to question his legacy. But there is no better time to revisit the history of Ronald Reagan than the beginning of the 21st century, as we begin to suffer the full consequences of his policies and the revolution that bears his name. Mike Z explains! Read More

Double Time
"A Washington, D.C., bank robbery goes hilariously wrong and sets three unlikely people on a cross-country journey that redefines each character’s life.  Billy T. Pickle, first time bank robber and jilted husband, plans the caper to impress his spoiled and cheating wife." Harrison takes on Cogan's latest. Read More

A Savage Struggle Between Relatives
What one sees on stage is a savage struggle between relatives to assert their egos at the expense of the others, to gain small advantages and to jar the others into recognizing each other’s existence ... Joseph Bertolini investigates Pinter, Hobbes, and American foreign policy. Read More

The Animal Girl
"The characters' struggles, though often uncomfortably awkward, are tempered by—if not exactly patience—then by a fortitude and persistence that comes only with age and experience." Paula Kolek shows us how John Fulton has grown up. Read More

Color Tyranny Green as a Blue Gum - CA Pirates Rooted
Yes, I was once politically correct, a stoned, well-intended, holier-than-thou innocent ... That was back before I became “an enemy of the people.” A new piece by Robert Sward, the Tree-Killing Poet of Santa Cruz. Read More

The War on War
Gregg Mosson, editor of Poems Against War, rails against "U.S. literary publishing’s silence—for, against, or solely documentary about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars." Is American poetry betraying the spirit of Uncle Walt? Read More

The Nausea of Book Flaps
Women must have something better to do than this journey business. All books are going to have some element of this, but it shouldn't dominate. I mean, surely someone must have arrived at their destination by now and can report back so we can move on. Some notes on originality, by Chris Stewart. Read More

After the Fall
"Field’s Jewishness is the key to his role as Jeremiah. It means he not only affirms and embraces the American ideal of democracy and holds America up to that standard, but he addresses Jews and Israel in the same measure." Charles Rammelkamp on Edward Field's poems, old and new. Read More

Great Bowels of Fire
Old but good news! Astounding as it may seem, public restrooms house the last remaining cubicles of free expression in America. Norman Ball reports. Read More


The Twitch
by Alison Morse

We saw ourselves in his greenish pallor, hunched up shoulders, thinning hair, in the paunch beginning to develop above his belt, the red-rimmed lids from too many wide-eyed nights spent worrying about his sub-prime mortgage ... Read More


It Isn't the End of the World
by Pamela Painter

The Ivory Coast is on the brink of civil war, genocide is happening in Sudan, a Senator who dared to be a liberal was killed in a plane crash, global warming has created a dust cloud in Australia so large it can be seen in outer space ... Read More

Small Places
by Eric Goodman

He floats in fluid, content in his sack.  He is at the start of life, not even in his own life yet. But he is wise, wise enough to know that he needs nothing more than the little bit he has to be happy ... Read More

Find the Poem
by Roger Castleman

It was the first time I’d gone to a mass.  There was a huge emphasis on life-after-death, described variously as “in Jesus” and “in love.”  I wasn’t sure if this was just to comfort Sally and my mother and the kids ... Read More

Bitter Clean Dirt
by Jen Michalski

The wind rattles against the window, and we both search the drained landscape with different eyes. I have dirt deep under my fingernails. I have broken more bones than bread, than hearts. I love her. I fear her. ... Read More

by S. Craig Renfroe, Jr.

The trash compacter was like a mini-trailer set in one of the loading bays so level with the stockroom floor, an opening in the front for all the refuse. The button operated the compacting wall that pushed everything to the back, making a crushing noise I was begrudgingly delighted by ... Read More

Simon W
by L. D. Brodsky

Simon W had gone from being a semifunctional entity to a broken soul naked to the flesh and bone, a creature more feral animal than man ... Read More


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