Issue 9 June 2016

The Elements



Editor's Comments

Welcome to Issue 9 of Allegro which is the first themed edition. Poets have interpreted this in different ways: so you will find poems on weather, the elements of the periodic table, the four elements and the constituent parts of a larger whole. I hope you enjoy reading them.

Sally Long


Poems




Neptune’s Coquette

My toes throb over
hard pebbles. Waters slip 
over slim ankles. Should I stand
shivering or go swim? 
Lose my footprint?

Off I run, falling over myself
a mug of salty cider. This
wave an insecure bed.
Seaweed pillow. Carried by 
moon to an abyss.

The floor of my mansion is
not tidy. I shall have sponges
for lunch. Ride with seahorses
perhaps.

On the far shore, my gigantic lover
smiles, kisses of surf. We thread
soft waters while sunshine
dresses us in golden sequins.

Joan McNerney 




Hail

Chopped icicles from heaven; somebody's
been whacking at St. Peter's basement. Hail
like swiss-cheese ice-blades or transparent teeth:
bicuspids, maybe (it's a metaphor:
forgive us sinners, Bite me.)

Through the glass
we gaze out awestruck, or slip furtive hands
through perforated shelters, and get smacked
like children immemorial (don't touch!)
but when we turn our backs a laugh, a yelp –

And then it's over, and we all pick out
one dagger for the freezer.

“Normal” wins
because it lasts forever. Still, the man 
who says hail never made him nervous, lies
or lay down stupified. And I for one
remember when it rained down glitter-knives,
so may I never be there when the sky

does more than lightly slap us.

Kathryn Jacobs




Quality of the Day               

To affect the quality of the day,
that is the highest of the Arts.
                       Henry Thoreau

The plaintive call
of mourning doves
awakens you.

Pay attention,
feel the stirring in your loins,
even though it isn’t spring.

Set your senses on fire.

You swim
out of the mindless torpor
of an estuary
into the open sea,

ready to make something
out of nothing.

In the stillness of the moment,
without trying,
just effortless effort,

the day becomes
a work of art.

Milton P. Ehrlich




Beaufort Ten

               blowing through
     and kicking up
prismatic  dust
   it probes and
       pushes past.
          Sweeping on
             its energy
                distils and
                    forms
                      implacable
                         gathering
                     genie-like
                   brash and
                 rushing
              crash and
           crushing.
        Tiles are
      tugged
   trees
  t
    u
       m
          b
             l
               e
 fences
              fall 
        whirling scraps
      in frenzied flight
    are pushed and plucked
  blown and sucked until
a quiet breath sighs them down

Jack Segal




Snow Frieze

The shapes are barely visible.
Hints at best.
A table here.  A bird bath there.
Car roofs.  Gym set slide and ladder.
Figures with shovels flailing.  Sluggishly.
The whorling winds
Making everything curl and bend
Against form and ligature.

One cannot help wondering,
As the whiteness descends,
If it could tamp down
The world’s great angers
Emitting so much heat
But brightening up so little.
Imagine them all snuffed out,
Not even a thin steam rising.

This palest of tempests
Stopping everything cold
As it falls and drifts shamelessly
Downward and out/up,
Furies vanishing like errant thoughts,
Tempers trapped, Vesuvial, Mid-scream.
Hostilities in bas-relief,
Modern day Elgin Marbles.

Savagery becoming sculptural decoration,
An architectural chill,
A calming within the storm
Turning everything somnolent. 
Quietude laying down its laws.
Immaculate pale riders obeying
Without question.  The unsoiled landscape
Glistening.  Snowy silence marching on.

Mary K O'Melveny




Problem Child in the Periodic Table of Elements

They
want
to
know
why
I
all
ways
compound matters


Cathy Warner




On Language

Poet,
Reach down deep inside yourself.
Discover what you need to write.
Unearth it.
Carve out only the essential
(nothing extraneous will do) –
only the rawest, most crucial words
that language has to offer.
Take
what seems to be yours to take.
Let it penetrate the pages.
If blood-stained mineral her content,
then you have tasted well.

Sarah Rehfeldt




Down South

Waves of heat rise
it’s not even noon
main street is empty

yet an old yellow dog
really weaves its way
menacingly toward us

our first trip down south
I hope that dog
isn’t rabid

and my friend hopes
we meet someone
like Atticus Finch

Sugar Tobey




A Warning Sign

“What happened to your leg?”

Standing in the opposite shower,
I looked down at my thigh,
the scabbing red gash
covered by a clear plastic bandage.

Early morning at the gym,
the casual acquaintance – Mike –
making polite conversation over
the plash of water, the squeal of pipes.

I explained about the biopsy,
the melanoma, the surgery,
the stitches and the healing.

“This transparent film dressing
does it all.  Waterproof,
so I can even swim, shower.
But if it comes off,
I just have to keep the wound
moisturized with –”

The word was about to tumble
effortless as an acrobat
out of my mouth, but
all at once I drew a blank, stammered.
Embarrassed, I muttered,
“Senior moment.  It’ll come back.” 
But it didn’t.

Back at my locker, I remembered,
petroleum jelly,
scuttled back to find Mike
shaving at the water basin.

“Oh, Vaseline,” he nodded,
and it was as if my whole life depended
on that word, on Vaseline.

Charles Rammelkamp




The Bite of Conscience

“She kept getting into little traffic accidents,”
Lenny told Marcia at the funeral.
“That was my first clue.  Ticky-tack
little fender benders, cockeyed
parking in the lots at the malls,
misjudging stoplights.”

“Then came the headaches,
the nausea, the vomiting.
Loss of appetite.
So we went to the doctor.
Tumor big as an egg.
They did radiosurgery with the gamma knife,
but Hope was never the same.
Said it was the biggest mistake
she’d ever made, having the surgery.”

Lenny looked like a little boy
who’d misbehaved, a blank innocence
in his eyes, like a mask.

“I’m so sorry for your loss,” Marcia murmured.
“Forty-five years of marriage.  Geez.”

But all Lenny could remember
was losing his patience with Hope,
bullying her about the broken headlamp,
the twisted windshield wjpers,
sarcasm sharp as incisors
tearing into her brain.

Charles Rammelkamp




Flint

We still speak the silicate language of sponges
lining the bottom of shallow seas.

Now we’re cut into the cold air, sliced and fractured,
knapped into arrowheads and knives.
Time and pressure have made us
hard and sharp.

But when we glowed under that ancient water,
we had no use for keen edges.
And when we spoke,
we spoke of things alien to these woodlands:
of waves and flow, of light and salt,
of time that never passed, and never would.

Vivian Wagner




Coal

Swamps became me,
palm trees and ferns
pressing down into peat,
transforming into something darker yet:
a piece of bituminous coal
in a roadcut by the Cambridge Walmart.

This is the way of rocks:
first we’re one thing, then another,
and then a flicker of flame in a fireplace
on a cold April morning,
gone in a sleight of geologic hand,
a puff of carbon, and a whisper, finally, of water.

Vivian Wagner




Hurricanoes

Fifteen years before I heard of King Lear I walked home from a party through a storm, daring the wind and sideways rain to stop me, clenching my jaw, livid to the gills in a stretched-arm soaking.

Turns out I’d also lost a girl, I kissed her in the disco the previous week, fell immediately to lovesickness, dry-mouthed, way off the pace during 4th-form games, nights spent praying to a God I didn’t believe in that her crowd would show and I could get to know her name in order to get my tongue in her face again.

The late evening sun lit up the bus across town, but by the time I saw her in the kitchen I’d had three ciders upstairs and the sky outside was heavy as a set of black eyes.

She was sat on the stovetop wrapped round a Mod while his Fred Perry friends stared into their vodkas and orange squash. I remember my throat getting really hot though my body froze. This was no place for a New Romantic. Inner chatter took over.

Tearing up in the street I bated the wind, beckoned it over, butted it with my head for seven miles, drove into the rain with my promontory extra-small chest, a deposed king wailed his misfortune to the only gods present who ordained a fever slow to subside and the next fortnight in bed. I don’t talk to the elements these days though I often hear them whispering in my head.

Daniel Roy Connelly




Arson

Fires burned behind every window
in my first grade assignment to draw
a house. Fifteen suns blazed in the sky,
and strange flowers bloomed in the yard
where children didn’t play. Who lives
in your house? the teacher asked me.
Nobody lives there. Curlicues of smoke
streamed from the multiple chimneys.
I didn’t include a door. Someone else
might have made up a story that included
a dramatic rescue. In my story the fires
always burned. The why didn’t matter. I
only knew what I saw when I closed my eyes.

Michelle Brooks




Burning Paper

You invited our community to a ritual,
a vespers service to explore
        who I need to forgive and
        who I hoped might forgive me.

Forty people came, wrongers and wronged
into a cold chapel with sleet tapping picture windows.
We settled. You lit a candle.
You must have read to us. Maybe we sang.

You talked of good-for-the-soul,
       giving and asking.
That muddy confluence.

You handed out paper. We wrote names
of those whose chains linked with ours.
We dredged up visuals
in silence.
We folded our slips.

You collected them in a rush basket.
Your cauldron was bronze. The match flared. The names
whooshed in orange flames high up the paneled wall,
we shifted in uneasiness of seats.

If I was forgiven, I do not know it,
how I admired that frightening fire.

Tricia Knoll




Four Dollars’ Worth of Change

ching-changs in my coin purse.
It’s 2016.
What can I possibly buy with sixteen quarters?
Two gallons of gasoline?
One head of cauliflower?
Four Greek yogurts?
A cheap pair of socks?
Dear Lord!
I ain’t got much;
I’m just another punk
who finished grad school and can’t find a job,
but I got my feet in worn boots,
and I got daydreams in my notebook,
an option to enlist or the right to drift
and plenty of anger to protest
injustice
inequality
poverty
racism
fascism
fundamentalism
any -ism I damn well please!
So, I’ll sit cross-legged on this sidewalk
for a few hours more, mohawked and brooding,
contemplating and counting
my four dollars’ worth of change.
Nicole Yurcaba




The Heavy Elements

with mammoth nuclei
last only seconds.
Was that a wisp
of a silvery metal
gone in a wink?
Ephemera in our world,
they must be stable
beyond our 4D cage.
Their electron clouds
float in a midnight vacuum
of higher dimensions
where the periodic table
never ends.

Linda Neuer




White Wedding

We all came to Willa’s white wedding,  
just what she’d prayed for, fresh snow
on the holy ground, the church bathed
in light as my white-haired sister
met her balding groom at the altar.

The Reverend welcomed me back, 
asked all the Trues for donations, 
He did the marrying. I did the rings,
and placed her trembling hand
in the hand of her retired fly-boy.

Their vows were few.  They love one
another and won’t miss the lonely art
of making do on a single income,
Tom in his WW2 digs at the air base.
Willa in her attic room up two flights.

Tomorrow they will purchase a cottage
with one step in front and two steps
down from the deck in back, then buy
a king-sized bed, a dining room table, 
a stove, groceries, and a jug of wine.

Norman Klein




Chased In

Eight twenty’s choking whistle says
“Train’s late, track needs work.”
Years ago she’d have forty cars
on time running full throttle.
Today nine half-empty cars
clank and rattle on old track.

Next to the track is the river,
its geese gone, its banks gouged,
its upturned tree roots looking
on as the iron-stained river
churns up muddy blood
beneath brick-thick ice.

Here I sit on the edge of March
chased in by a ten-below wind,
an old man worrying his train,
burning wood as he waits on
a fickle sun to find its way
to his fields, and his river.

Norman Klein




March Morning

A hat on a black spiked fence.
A bus blessing waiting passengers                                                     
with yesterday’s slush.

A woman shaking her umbrella
at the ladder truck inching
back into its fire house.

A black dog walking its
old man as ship-thick fog
smothers the horizon.

A taxi waiting for
metal rain
or soot snow.

All of us locked in the lull
of today awaiting
the drift of tomorrow.

Norman Klein




Letters from Home  

Dear   V—

How quickly meaning drains from the mind and with it words. 
I reach for reasons…Maybe life is about water, I tell my heart,
passing the frozen lake, the mountain, the hairpin turn.
Transformations of water, I like that. We harden, melt and stream,
we become clouds, and rain.

Today trees wear long strands of bead pearls, ice-lace
on the branches. The lake is dusted with snow over black ice,
a checkerboard from shore to shore, the swans flown
into wooden frames.

Images in the cold glass: pipe and shoe polish – my father.
His fragrant smoke coming upstairs from the den, with its knotty-pine walls,
the one room he built…around himself.
The other day, G polished my boots and I felt little again, husband as father…

Our friend always speaks about being a mother.
But if life is water, all identities dissolve. Keats said, “I am one
whose name is writ on water.” Don’t you feel that?
Even our name ripples, the letters little specks of light
re-combining, floating, making for the opposite shore.
Or, shoreless, moving out and back in rings. “Circumference
is my business,” wrote Emily Dickinson. What would it be like for us
to stay at home – and flow from that certain center?

Write soon, and tell me how you’re settling in.
G & I wish you well in your new home ~

Love,
P

Patrice Pinette




Yelm (In alchemy, substance from which the elements developed)

The fig’s fine seeds. Bees bluster from tree to tree taking each essence
to make a single unit of honey.  The magazine says that not wearing
a bra builds muscle, so I droop.  We pick antique mason jars, put in
white tea lights, screw them tight, learning how to stay married inside
of lapse. In hiatus. In the season of white petals that flank the wind,
whist-clusters that smell like cat-piss, spackle the gravel, tiny hoarders
of beauty. Dazed.  Seeded. I stand in the drive, globe petals in my hair.
Feeling for walls of glass. Salt in a dip of water.  Lit. 

Megan Merchant:




Golden Buddha

When I found you in Bangkok,
you were lying on your side
on a marble platform in a Buddhist temple.
Your form covered in solid gold sheets,
and you, solid, golden.
21-carats at least. Maybe more.

I strolled in front of you for an hour
and behind you for another.
You, gargantuan, massive,
two hours long, front and back.
You seemed tranquil.
I wanted to be like you,
just as tranquil.

I want to be like you, still.
Solid. Golden. Tranquil.
I looked for you for twenty years,
but found nothing, 
no image, no words,
found you only in my memory.

Sayeeda T Ahmad     




Six Things I Can Say about a Lump of Gold

1. I went with my brother Stephen, a photographer, to a gold mine and mill in Marmato, Colombia.  There we spent two days and saw a pile of rock and mud as high as a one story building get crushed, sluiced, sifted, heated, cooled, burned with acid and toasted into a lump of gold, the size of the end of my thumb.  It shone in the miner’s palm as Stephen took its picture. 

2. Element: Gold
Symbol: Au
Atomic Number: 79
Atomic Mass: 196.96655 amu

3.
Gold mask in a shallow earthen tomb, death mask
It holds the tiny toenail hammer marks
Of ancient smith, commissioned in a long-gone
Court.  With grief or rage did they the mask construct,
As we feel grief or rage at funerals?
The mask still speaks, but cannot tell
If what it says is anything the same.

4.
At the restaurant Côte in New York City, you can order a chocolate cake with shaved gold on top.  You can eat the gold.   It’s totally inert, so it passes right through.  How many people died for that lump of shit?

5.
On the grey wood porch
A laughing girl points to the
 Golden sunset line.

6.
In safe deposit 1348,
Of the Cambridge Trust bank, Harvard Square branch
There is a shallow felt tray, red.  In the tray,
There is a gold coin cast in Ancient Rome,
Patrimony from my mother’s father,
A profile of a woman on the coin.
There is a tendril of hair on the woman’s neck.

The tendril shifts in the breeze from the ceiling fan.

Elizabeth Ferry




The Earth split open

The Earth split open
and everything disappeared:

The water boiling for tea on the stove,
a man tying his shoelaces,
siblings arguing around a toy,
a cyclist crossing the street,
a mountaineer planting the spike into the icy slope.
Millions of human moments stopped and devoured.

The beams and debris exposed
like open fractures,
that won’t heal for years, maybe lifetime.
People who can neither count, nor bury
all the lost ones.

Numbers are faceless, boggling statistics,
but they do not hang from the chain
around the ankles of those who still walk.
Mothers and daughters, sons and fathers,
friends and neighbours  - they will keep pulling
from the other end,
and it will be hard to let them go.

The Earth split open like a dragon
burning and tearing powerfully, monstrously .

The cavity of the flesh, still breathing and trembling,
twitching wounded, sensitive to touch.
I don’t care about the numbers,
they don’t mean anything to me,
as one is already too many.

Natasha Boskic




at Dylan’s Shed

for Mab Jones

badgers aplenty
snuffle through cliff-top garden
sniffing out apples

capsized snail sways
on spiral keel atop fencepost
tumbles into brambles — safe

heron’s descendent
still priests Taf’s estuary
stands solitary in sand
but for seagull altar-boy

silent liturgist
shoreline’s sole officiant
while poets prattle

whole families
tear up their passports
buy Syrian fakes
escape through cornfields

shall I say
I would wait my turn
in camps turned jails
among the wretched of the earth?

bad badgers & rats
pilfer sweet apples — foxes
& seagulls watch

across the Taf:  ‘church
the size of a snail protrudes
its horns’ — not ‘through mist’:
the day is clear  dry  bright and
illumines broad ‘sea wet’ sands

Helen May Williams




Alchemy

What roaring gales
yanked us by the roots,
what magnetic fields
pushed us along
latitudinal lines,
what witchcraft
stirred up
 this
strange alchemy
 of you and me—
a curious confluence
sloshing together
like borscht and bourbon.

Natasha Garrett




Sun Veneration

I am no match
for my beach neighbors
in camping chair pews.
I don’t know the words
to their gentle hymns,
the taste of bread and wine
on their table.

All I can offer
to the hazy August sun
is my own slick, darkened body
prostrate on the warm sand,
soft palms turned upwards
as if welcoming a gift
from above.

Natasha Garrett




Ignis Semina
“The world in sunlit half-sleep is a film of fire.”--Fred Chappell

Sunup. Your arms
around me, lips
against my chest. The sun
sneaks in around the edges,
yet does not penetrate.
I kiss your hair, breathe lilacs
and hundred-six-degree
sweat, yesterday's salt
and flowers. Your hand shifts,
touches the inside of my elbow.
You wrap around me tighter.
Every thought is hardening fire.

Robert Beveridge




Stone cutter

He reads the veins
of granite like a map
then hefts the rock
onto the stone table’s
sand cutting bed.

His left hand steadies
the block, his eyes
make sure where a blow
should land, and with a deft
strike, the heavy hammer
cleaves off a shard with a spark.

Hands worn and cracked
by abrasion and lime
reposition the stone.
Again his eyes search out
the hidden line,
and the hammer falls
to facet a rock.

Stone after stone,
shaped to interlock,
wear down his fingers
to calloused claws.
As stone chips pile
at his feet, sweat
darkens the rock.

Wall after wall,
sandstone, limestone,
field stone, ledge rock,
each a different look
held by hard hands,
unlocked by eyes
seeking a hidden face.

Eric Chiles




El Niño,

your warm breath,
fragrant with yarrow and salt -
beguiling these white
apple blossoms
into early bloom - defying
frost - and the uncertainty
of any other spring -

M.S. Rooney




Contributors

Sayeeda T Ahmad is a writer, poet, graduate of the MA in English – Creative Writing program at the University of Northern Iowa, and a winner of the Selina Terry Poetry Award and Muse Masters Season 2 Performance Poetry Award. Her poems have been published in Inner Weather, The Daily Star, ditch, Stone’s Throw Magazine, monsoonletters, Six Season's Review, Arts and Letters of Dhaka Tribune, Wasafiri, and by Safina Radio Project.

Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Chiron Review, Riverrun, and Third Wednesday, among others.

Michelle Brooks has published a collection of poetry, Make Yourself Small, (Backwaters Press), and a novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy, (Storylandia Press). A native Texan, she has spent much of her adult life in Detroit, her favorite city. 

Natasha Boskic lives and works in Vancouver, Canada, where she moved from Serbia in 1999. Her work has been published in ditch, Timeless voices (anthology), Quils, Alive at the Center:Contemporary Poems from the Pacific NorthWest anthology and other places.


Daniel Roy Connelly's poetry is widely published online and in print. He was the winner of the 2014 Fermoy International Poetry Festival Prize, a finalist in the 2015 Aesthetica Magazine Creative Writing Prize and winner of the 2015 Cuirt New Writing Prize for poetry. His recent work has been published by The North, The Transnational (in German), Ink, Sweat and Tears and is forthcoming in Acumen and on Uncle Vanya in Critical Survey. He is a professor of creative writing, English and theatre at John Cabot University and The American University of Rome. www.danielroyconnelly.com

Milton P. Ehrlich, Ph.D, is an 84 year-old psychologist who only began writing poetry in the last decade. His poem explore issues of mortality, sexuality, and the nature of love. He has had more than 100 of his poems published in recent years, by the Huffington Post, the New York Times, Descant, Toronto Quarterly Review,Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow, Wisconsin Review, and many others.

Elizabeth Ferry is an anthropologist and teacher. She lives in Brookline, MA with her husband, two sons, father, dog, and snake.

Natasha Garrett writes poetry and personal essays. A native of Macedonia, she lives in Pittsburgh, PA.


Kathryn Jacobs is a poet, a medievalist, a professor at Texas A & M – C and Editor of The Road Not Taken. Her latest book, Wedged Elephant, was published last year by Kelsay Press. Previous books (6) include In Transit (David Roberts Books) and Marriage Contracts from Chaucer to the Renaissance Stage (University Press of Florida. Along the way she has published over 200 books and 16 articles.

Norman Klein has published 50+ poems while teaching in Boston then Chicago, and now braves the elements in the back woods of NH.

Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet whose work appears in numerous anthologies and journals. Her chapbook Urban Wild focuses on interactions between humans and wildlife in urban habitat. Her poetry book Ocean's Laughter combines lyric and eco-poetry to look at change over time in a small town on Oregon's north coast.

Megan Merchant is a 2015 Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poems have most recently appeared in publications including Red Paint Hill, Rat’s Ass Review, Mothers Always Write, Crack the Spine and First Literary Review East. Her poem, “Filling Station God” won the Las Vegas Poets Prize, judged by Tony Hoagland. Her second full-length collection, The Dark’s Humming was the winner of the 2015 Lyrebird Prize (Glass Lyre Press, 2017). She is also the author of three chapbooks: Translucent, sealed. (Dancing Girl Press, 2015), In the Rooms of a Tiny House (ELJ Publications, October 2016), and Unspeakable Light (Throwback Books, 2016). Gravel Ghosts is her debut full-length poetry collection through Glass Lyre Press. She also has a children’s book forthcoming through Philomel Books. You can find her work at meganmerchant.wix.com/poet.


Linda Neuer is from Miami, Florida. Recently, some of her poems have been published in Jupiter, Quantum Poetry Magazine, Tattoo Highway, Lily, Sangam, Abyss and Apex, and Astropoetica.

Mary K O'Melveny is a retired labor rights attorney. She lives in Washington DC and Woodstock NY. Her work has been published or accepted for publication in various journals, including Twisted Vine Literary Arts Journal, The Write Place at the Write Time and Flagler Review. She is a member of an established women's writing group, "Writing Gals," based in New York's Hudson Valley.


Patrice Pinette is a teacher and tutor living in New Hampshire, loves writing with teenagers, leads workshops for adults, and is an adjunct at Antioch University New England. She received her MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Inspired by alchemy between the arts, Patrice dances poems, and creates poetry pastels exhibited with the Visual Poetry Collective. Her poems have appeared in The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review; The Inflectionist Review; Connecticut River Review; Northern New England Review; Adanna; Poetica; Evening Street Review; Smoky Quartz, and New Hampshire Poets Showcase, among others.

Charles Rammelkamp edits an online literary journal called The Potomac - http://thepotomacjournal.com - and is the Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore, where he lives. His latest book is a collection of poems called Mata Hari: Eye of the Day (Apprentice House, Loyola University). Another poetry collection entitled American Zeitgeist is forthcoming from Apprentice House.

Sarah Rehfeldt lives with her family in western Washington where she is a writer, artist, and photographer. Her poems have appeared in Appalachia; Weber – The Contemporary West; Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction; and Kaleidoscope. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart prize in poetry. Sarah is the author of Somewhere South of Pegasus, a collection of image poems. It can be purchased through her photography web pages at www.pbase.com/candanceski

Jack Segal is retired from a varied and fulfilling career in electronics, in the course of which he has travelled to more than 25 countries. He has since completed a creative writing degree covering most genres, but poetry is his first love. He is married, has two children and lives on the Isle of Wight.

Sugar Tobey was born and raised in Brooklyn New York. Currently resides in Manhattan's East Village . Enjoys telling stories about growing up, living, and working in New York.


Vivian Wagner is an associate professor of English at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. Her work has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Silk Road Review, Creative Nonfiction, Narratively, and The Ilanot Review, and she's the author of Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music.

Cathy Warner is a writer, editor, realtor, and home renovator in the Puget Sound area. Her short stories and essays have appeared in dozens of print journals and online venues. Her first book of poetry, Burnt Offerings, was published in 2014. Find her at cathywarner.com.


Helen May Williams is Associate Fellow at The University of Warwick. Her poetry appears in Envoi, Hearing Voices, Horizon, Raw Edge, Roundyhouse, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Three drops from a Cauldron, Allegro, Envoi, Haiku Journal, Bluebeard’s Wives (2007), This Body I Live In (2015) and Samhain 2015 (2015). ). Her chapbook, The Princess of Vix is due for publication by Three Drops Press in January 2017.
https://helenmaywilliams.wordpress.com/

Nicole Yurcaba is a Ukrainian-American writer, and internationally-recognized poet, and an English instructor at Bridgewater College. She has been published in venues such as The Atlanta Review, The Bluestone Review, Philomathean, Midway. Still, The Tishman Review, VoxPoetica, and many others. Yurcaba is also the 2nd place winner of Australia's Sans Frontieres Hemingway Contest and a finalist for Salem College’s International Poetry Rita Dove Award.