Issue 2 January 2015


Editor's Comments

It has been a pleasure compiling Issue 2. Again there have been many good poems submitted the best of which appear below. Allegro has rolling submissions which means that Issues 3 (Short Poems) and 4 (Relationship) are well on the way to completion. These will be published later this year and there is still time to submit. Please see Future Issues page for details of themes of future issues.

Sally Long


From Light into Dark

--by following the light we are led to the dark...

they meant star light and its
dark matter— photons
and a mysterious force unseen
but pushing outward, forcing
galaxies apart, blowing
at the speed of that light
emanating, the darkness
not a void but something—
invisible, heavy as most
of the matter of the universe
would be
holding time and gravity
an empty fullness

like a wind falling silent
the leaves not shaking now
dust settling back down
and we can breathe again
tentatively in the still night
finally the stars showing
through the branches
those same points
whole clusters perhaps
surrounded by black energy
but we see only our horizon
the line between the hills
the willows by the stream
and midnight finally quiet
our own dark matter
shielding us from the fires
of morning, we are led
from light into dark
daily, the same trajectory
as the sun.

Emily Strauss

First Storm

High winds, slashing rain, and lots of it:
the weather forecast said the Pacific
throws it all at us today,
rag ends of a typhoon, kiting. 

It came on, as predicted,
the first mad turn 
of the rusty roulette wheel,
grinding away autumn nerves
steeled with misfortunes 
of summer’s crop blights
and burned out woods.

One darn thing after another
with one lucky turn:
rain glued each red and gold leaf star
to oily black streets. 

Tricia Knoll


Miss Hooker, don't ever leave me,
say to her, Miss Hooker that is, in my
dreams, especially on Saturday nights
because she's my Sunday School teacher and
one day I'm going to marry her though
she's 25 to my 10 so I'll wait
until I'm older and she's older, too,
almost too old, 33, to 18
for me, and enjoy her while I can and
she me, too, and in a few years she'll go
to meet her Maker, that would be God--I
mean that she'll die and at her deathbed I'll
lean and hang over her like she does me

now but I'll whisper to her like husbands
do their wives, I guess they do, they do on
TV, while they're dying, the wives I mean,
and kiss her and say, Don't worry, one day
I'll see you again, unless I backslide
from getting saved like I did last year and
neglect getting my soul saved again, and
maybe she'll say, Thanks for marrying me
even though I was fifteen years older
but I'll say, Forget it, I was glad to,
and so are our eight children pleased we did
and then she'll expire. And then we'll both live.

Gale Acuff

Vincent, Your Visions      
The majesty in old shoes
Waves of longing in a field of corn
A fireworks of stars
The extravagances in sunflowers

Cypresses writhing like flames
Your own tortured soul
documented thirty-seven times
Not what you saw but what you felt

High as an addict on yellow
All color stroked on thick
like words underlined
in a vehement letter of entreaty

But nothing could save you
from the crushing argument of despair
Not Theo   Not the light at Arles
Not even Art

Sarah Brown Weitzman


It cannot be a quest
because he would refuse
the hero's portion

It cannot be a circle
because he would refuse
the returning

It cannot be a river
because he would refuse
the drifting down

It cannot be an ocean
because he would refuse
the counting of degrees

It cannot be a mountain
because he would refuse
the leaving of the valley

It cannot be a crossing
because he would refuse
the learning of the languages

It cannot be a search
because he would refuse
the opening of the eyes

J.R. Solonche


flickers between the blue
and orange layers of a flame.

It ages heirloom lace
and ancient parchment

to match urine, flax
and the plush on lions.

Yellow veins of lightning
strobe a summer night sky

and lemon streaks the iris
while New York taxi-cabs vie

with canaries, buttered corn,
October’s aspens, Chinese

pondfish, saffron rice, the eyes
of leopards and grackles.

Mother of green and orange,
yellow’s caution’s color,

golden in topaz, mustard, amber,
slang for cowardice, the calm

of Valium and all we can recall
of the brick road back.

Sarah Brown Weitzman

An Accountant

During the day,
he could calculate
the secrets of ciphers
grabbling with white
ledgers and tight rows
of numbers.

He knew how statistical
data can be rigged while
cash flow double entries
could conceal trouble.
His eyes were wary
but still believed
in good faith credit.

As night grew so did his
appreciation of the
eloquence of one.
That fat place maker
known as zero. Why
mystics marveled
at the holy seven.

While he slept his
dreams multiplied.
Suddenly long division
subtracted an unknown
quantity yet sums still
added up. Where had
his equations wandered?

Joan McNerney

The Reader
She hides behind her books
of faraway places
While sitting in Geometry
She can travel to
the future
the past
A slap of the ruler
brings her back to the present
Next period
she dines with thieves
her blade crosses pirate’s treasure
She realizes
she’ll have to keep her head down
to remain anonymous
she slips Don Quixote
behind Civil Disobedience
But the teacher
slips detention
between her
and her books.
But she always has an extra in her pocket.

Shalom Ohlson

              _ For Yusef Komunyakaa
Your feet inveterately trekked soil
With a confident
Southern careen.
We said hello
your eyes looked through mine
I smiled
when I heard the music of your voice
the poetry of your name
was like flamingos flying through sunset.
My tires ate asphalt
heading towards Cambridge
where eyes eagerly awaited
your arrival at the Dark Room.
Words glided off your tongue
and awakened secrets.
Jazzman and word painter
your theme is
extended possibilities
of the imagination.
Words crawled to ears
like Thelonious' talking fingers
and images danced underneath eyelids
as you pulled Vietnam from the pages
I hope the moon will never touch metal
so language and music
can bind us together
like a trumpeter
and his mouthpiece.

Patrick Sylvain 

February 6th 2014

The world’s closing down
By the sound of it,
Vast hands of wind
Punching holes in the sky,
Flinging trees on their side,
Pushing everything out of their way,
And waves chewing up the beach
For supper. Tiles lay strewn
Around the garden, broken branches
Form a harsh carpet of story
Before me, some unseen thing
Clangs up & down the path
And leaves blow under the door
Where puddles pool & stir
Like tiny lakes, windows shake,
Doors rattle on uncertain hinges,
Breezes, blows & gusts moan
Through the house, pandemonium
Given nocturnal operatic voice.

But the world’s not ending,
The roof’s still on, the windows
Stay unshattered & when morning comes
The sound of it seems to be
The only thing that mattered.

Stuart A. Paterson 


A philosopher, waiting for the light
to change, examines his footwear:                                                       
Wing-tipped, oxblood finish—their disrepair
is too much. Scuffed toes, flapping laces, tight
front pinch. He’s not searching out a subject.
His mind won’t make a parable of shoes.
It’s just that he remembers them new—
Spit shined, reflecting his dark eyes—correct
in every detail. Car’s flow. The light’s
gone green. The curb is steeper than a flight
of stairs. He tilts forward and fails to fall
A pebble kicks up. His cane slips. He’s old
and knows it, but is time always a wall?
A horn barks. His eyes fail as knees fold.

Mark J. Mitchell


Although you didn’t notice, 
I made sure I was an ant trail
marching my way out of your home

past rumpled sweaty sheets
wet bathroom floor retreats
down ostentatious mini-mansion stairs

beyond Pre-Raphaelite reproductions
of Ophelia perpetually drowning--
as I almost had done--

my six-legged line pulled back in time
its forces retreating from front door
fountain and overhanging birches

The ants wanted something better
and sweeter; they wanted to colonize
more lively space.

The truth is they carried away
every grain worth taking
leaving not a speck behind.

The full truth, dear?
This is the unspoken one:
they found you incompatible
with their living, breathing work.

William Lennertz 

The Fairest Dawn

A clarified sun surpasses the edge of spring
as curled ribbons of chartreuse ascend
their temporary graves.
The first finch returns, showing flecks
of gold beneath winter’s drab olive plumage,
as the marmots and raccoons begin replenishing
what a season of dormancy has diminished.

All this has gone unsaid, lying hidden or distant;
I had almost forgotten the sound of villanelles
composed in my flowerbeds and nearby fields.
Not an invitation, but a homecoming,
I open the windows of my house and begin
to transcribe the earliest soft tones of earth,
lit by the first sheens of the fairest dawn.

Richard King Perkins II

Crug Mawr

At Llwchwr Welsh swords
Wreaked havoc on the foe
Five hundred Normans
Lay dead before us
Fitz Gilbert de Clare furious
At our rebellion
Returned in haste
But Iorwerth ab Owain
Silenced him forever

Then Owain Gwynedd
Came to Ceredigion
Defying all before him
With armoured horsemen
He drove the enemy
Into an unforgiving Teifi

Red the river water
When a bridge collapsed
Hundreds drowned
Fleeing from Owain
Black the skies
When Cardigan burned

So men of Gwynedd
Took the Normans’ place
One master for another
New tax for old tax
We groan quietly
And bide our time
Aching for freedom.

David Subacchi

I Am Canopic

jar, keeper of useless organs,
detached but intact.  I am vessel,
surrounded by death,
waiting for rebirth.  A hollow
body rises from darkened depths
to need me, relieve me
of my charge, granting us both passage
to begin again.

A.J. Huffman

Looking For The Dog

calling his name into the summer evening
shouting it into vacant lots
the trees returning the sound as a vague susurrance
waving their branches vacantly     the trash
blowing across the gravel road   a cup
a plastic plate a crumpled newspaper

and the lights going on in these few houses
calling calling and expecting nothing
for the children’s sake shouting again at trees
a name that has already lost its friendly meaning
and scatters its sounds across the gathering night
night with its own voices, rustles, snaps

a low sigh emerges like the wind
but not the wind   a heavy staticky burr
who in this dying light would still believe
in the glad shadow leaping   paws flying
out of the trees, whimpering wild welcome
to the dissipating ghosts of his lost name?

Janet McCann 

When the Dunes Become Nudes

My drawing instructor complains
my seascapes lack perspective.

The swells rear like shingled roofs.
I’ve lent them the weight and texture

of a roar of molten bedrock
but haven’t rendered them supple

enough to surf against the beach,
which looks surprisingly like flesh.

Have I drawn a nude and concealed
its tender parts under sand dunes?

Have I impressed a winsome smile
into a pure bravura sky

left white and untouched on the page?
My vicious charcoal strokes depend

too much on the energy
I supply, and lack the finesse

of a master. Of course I agree,
but insist the sea does rear up

sometimes on lonely afternoons
at the end of autumn, cottages

shut for the season, the beaches
spackled with wrack and debris.

That’s when surf drops to its knees
and considers other shades of green,

and that’s when the dunes become nudes,
when no one’s here to notice,

and that’s when perspective fails us,
when we’re unavailable to see.

William Doreski


Southern Anatolia, 7500 – 5700 BC                                                       

They don’t have the knack, yet,
for patriarchy. Maybe it comes
with streets. No streets –
a few lanes, shared walls;
they live on the roofs. No windows;
trap-doors in the roofs. On inside walls
those loose-limbed gleeful bowmen hunting
big animals. Mud animal heads
on walls, big horns
delimiting conversation pits (I swear)
and platforms. On the walls, the long-limbed women
gather and plant. It all seems easygoing.
There’s a goddess, always giving birth,
splayed like an ideogram.
They put their dead in the platforms,
which rise. When a house falls, it’s rebuilt
higher. Often they dig up the dead.
It’s apparently a class thing
(the only one we’ve found) when
they sever the head, let the vultures clean
the skull, then refit it with mud
and paint and, if they’re really rich,
cowrie-shell eyes. For the eye,
not the brain or heart, is the soul.
(I can see that.) But there’s not much stratification
yet, and everyone has his dead
below, and the dead have them –

except this one dude
we found under one of the lanes,
crippled from birth, starved by twenty.
They buried him outside,
without the usual cup or linen. “Such”
(as the Sumerians wrote later) “is his share.”

Frederick Pollack

Morning Moon

It is morning.
You know the moon is up there somewhere,
but the light of the sun obscures it.
This is not very considerate of sun,
a first row favorite.
Oh sure, the teachers love him.
He shines in class,
propped tall and neatly at his desk,
hands folded, all his lessons done.
A welcome prod and stimulus to others,
they think warmly to themselves or say aloud,
never thinking how the moon might feel
about all this fawning adulation.

Moon was hoping for some attention of his own,
a little praise, perhaps, for how,
unlike the others, leaning forward,
hands raised and waving, grunting me, me, me,
day after day he hovers modestly behind the light,
knowing no one knows he’s there,
or cares, waiting for those once-
in-a-gray-moon mornings when he’s discovered,
gaunt and two-dimensional,
half seen through,
a ghost of what you loved last night,
back without a word to say good-bye.

Bill Freedman

In Praise of Places Without Electricity

(Brazil: The Araguaia River)

The woman stands in the open door.
Late glowing twilight flows in,
faintly luminating the room's dusk,
touching the cool dirt floor,
the worn wooden table, the woman's
print dress, brown arms and hands,
her dark graying hair, her face
laced with lines and peaceful,
dark eyes gazing deep and thought-filled
toward the wide, slow river.

Arthur Powers


A cloak, a binary of
cotton rub,
eggshell shoulders - just as
speckled - scrub polyester,
not 100%. A self-felt
sensation, earthen and
mortal, clothed in
rhythm of amble.
Burgundy shawl droops,
a sway -
fringe brick-burnt yarn, 
pendulous. Only
wash in cold water.
Brush fabric against
marbled sky,
just as plagued 
with thunder, swinging
like willow branches.
Refrigerated air sloughs
past sleeves,
small breath, tighter wrap -
safer from cold's 
thick worry.

Emily Matthews

Something Lives
Something lives in the crawl space
Above my room: bird? Maybe rat?
Sometimes it seems to be shaking out its feathers.
But then there’s a scrabbling overhead,
And the squares of insulation quiver.

I’m not afraid of you, I tell the shaking panels.
We all have the right to be.
And I will not pursue you with poison.
Or traps. I want to deal with it,
Make a deal with it. I won’t if you won’t.

What if it’s a lost angel, or
Some Boschian beast representing
Sins I can barely imagine?
What if it’s rabid or weirdly contagious?
What if I have bats in my 6 inch belfry?

Bats or angels ? Do they appear alike
In the few random slants of muted moonlight?
Scuffling, shaking, something’s chasing something.
More life up there than down here.
Allegory, anyone? Or this stiff scotch.

I raise my glass to whatever’s up there,
If we cannot be friends, then let us not
Be enemies. I shake the ice and reach
Toward something I imagine reaching down,
Half-hand, half-claw, as from an old cathedral ceiling.

Janet McCann 

The Ghost Woods

Not drunk, not quite sober the five of us quick step
down from the Hilltop Bar, giddy and singing

in summer moonlight –
“I’m a ha-a-ha-hon-ky tonk man…”

Stirred in the same soup, we bellow
and laugh. Around us

ghost woods gather with their
shrieking and thrumming

birds piercing Pennsylvania night.
Later, in narrow bunks, each of us may dream

of fathers riding trains to the city, chalky
faces grim and old in the bar car, newspapers

folded into bricks, everyone smoking, towns
rushing past in a clatter of rails, collage

of raincoats, briefcases, hats. Breath leaks out
as clouds of ice. A terrible silence freezes each man’s core.

Steve Klepetar


If I keep answering the same thing
Someday it will be what
They’re looking for

The world just needs to
Stop mouthing questions
Like a lost tourist

And ask instead,
What’s that thing
Behind the
Missing attractions

No color
No outline
No shape


See it?
Too late.

Doug May

Letting the Cat out of the Bag: Most Useful English Idioms

Yes, Elvis has left the building
And you may be glad to see the back of
A hot potato
Jumping on the bandwagon
But once in a blue moon
You will hear it on the grapevine
Rather than straight from the horse’s mouth
Which is a far cry
From the best thing since sliced bread
Something you can see eye to eye
While cutting the mustard
By drawing all the best of both worlds
To make a long story short

Now if you feel a bit under the weather
Do not burn the midnight oil
Or sit on the fence
But just give it the benefit of doubt
And then hit the sack
Even in this heat of the moment

Changming Yuan


You hold it close
to your chest
like a hand
full of aces.

You could go places.
You're in the know.

All the time dying
to let it slip, you tip-
toe, zip-lipped,

through a minefield
of tease and wheedle.

Dream of the sly
the careless innuendo.
The sweet release
of letting it show.

Any moment,
you could let it go--
a comet streaking

through space-- 
a brief glow interposed
between what's known
and only supposed.

Antonia Clark


Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Concho River Review, Worcester Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review and many other journals. He has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse Press, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008). Gale has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.

Sarah Brown Weitzman, a Pushcart nominee, has been widely published in numerous journals such as America, Art Times, The North American Review,  Rattle, The Mid-American Review, The Windless Orchard,  Poet Lore, Potomac Review, Poet & Critic, etc.  Sarah received a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Her latest book, a departure from poetry is a children’s novel, Herman And The Ice Witch, published by Main Street Rag.

Antonia Clark has taught creative writing and co-administers an online poetry forum, The Waters. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, Smoke and Mirrors, and a full-length collection, Chameleon Moon. Her poems and stories have appeared in numerous journals, including The Cortland Review, Eclectica, The Pedestal Magazine, and Rattle. 

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and teaches at Keene State College. His most recent book of poetry is The Suburbs of Atlantis (2013). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors.  His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals.

Bill Freedman is a retired English literature prof., currently teaching part time and serving on the board of governors at the Sakhnin College for Teacher Education in the Arab town of Sakhnin, Israel. He has published poetry in APR, The Antioch Review, The International Quarterly, Dalhousie Review and elsewhere.

A.J. Huffman has published nine solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. She also has two new full-length poetry collections forthcoming, Another Blood Jet (Eldritch Press) and A Few Bullets Short of Home (mgv2>publishing). She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her poetry, fiction, and haiku have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press. 

Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He has a wife, Vickie and a daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee whose work has appeared in hundreds of publications. He has poems forthcoming in the Roanoke Review, The Alembic and Milkfist.

Steve Klepetar’s work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.  His most recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto (Flutter Press) and an e-chapbook,Return of the Bride of Frankenstein (Kind of a Hurricane Press).

Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon (US) poet. Her work has appeared in dozens of journals. Her chapbook Urban Wild is now out from Finishing Line Press.

William Lennertz is an artist who lives in Southern California. He writes and paints as much as possible. His poetry collection, 70’s Bush and 19 other poems, is available on Amazon. To see his visual art, visit  His poem "Creed for a Newer, Better Religion" appeared in Issue 1.

Janet McCann is a crone poet who has been teaching creative writing at Texas A&M since 1969.  Journals publishing her work include Kansas Quarterly, Parnassus, Nimrod, Sou'wester, Christian Century, Christianity and Literature, New York Quarterly, Tendril, Poetry Australia, and McCall's, among many others.  A 1989 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship winner, she is Professor of English. Her most recent collection: The Crone at the Casino, Lamar University Press, 2013.

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Camel Saloon, Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Spectrum, and included in Bright Hills Press, Kind of A Hurricane and Poppy Road Anthologies. She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net.  Poet and Geek recognized her work as their best poem of 2013.  Four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses and she has three e-book titles.

Emily Matthews once won a library short-story contest which inspired a lifelong passion to write. She is a runaway from retail with a young adult novel in the works and an adorably chubby cat. 

Doug May has published his work in magazines such as The Beloit Poetry Journal and North Dakota Quarterly.  He lives in a 50s ranch house on an old planting in central Phoenix.  He has a mild intellectual disability but went to school and worked.  He is currently retired.
Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz. His work has appeared in the anthologies Good Poems, American Places, Hunger Enough, Line Drives, and In a Gilded Frame. He is the author of a chapbook, Three Visitors and a novel, Knight Prisoner (both available on Amazon). A full length collection, Lent 1999 is due from Leaf Garden Press. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian Joan Juster.

Shalom Ohlson is a sixteen-year-old writer who fills her notebooks and time with writing. On occasion, she cuddles her cat. But then she goes back to writing.

Stuart A. Paterson was born in 1966 and raised in Ayrshire, Scotland. In 1992 he was awarded an Eric Gregory Award from the UK Society of Authors, & in 2014 a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship from the Scottish Book Trust. Saving Graces was published by diehard in 1997. His work has been widely published and anthologised in the UK and overseas.

Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press.  A collection of poems, A Poverty of Words is forthcoming from Prolific Press. He has many poems in print and online journals and is adjunct professor of creative writing at George Washington University.

Arthur Powers lived in Brazil 1969-2006, including seven years in the Amazon working with subsistence farmers in a region of violent land conflicts.  He authored A Hero for the People, an award winning collection of short stories set in Brazil.

J.R. Solonche, four-time Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, has been publishing in magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early 70s. He is co-author of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books).

Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry. Over 200 of her poems appear in hundreds of online venues and in anthologies. The natural world is generally her framework; she often focuses on the tension between nature and humanity, using concrete images to illuminate the loss of meaning between them. She is a semi-retired teacher living in California.

David Subacchi studied at the University of Liverpool. He was born in Aberystwyth of Italian roots and writes in both English and Welsh. Cestrian Press has published two collections of his poems. First Cut (2012) and Hiding in Shadows (2014).

Patrick Sylvain is a poet, writer, translator, and a faculty member at Brown University’s Center for Language Studies. He is published in several anthologies, academic journals, books, magazines and reviews including: Agni, Callaloo, Caribbean writers, Ploughshares, SX Salon, Haiti Noir,Human Architecture: A Sociology Journal, Poets for Haiti, The Best of Beacon Press, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. Recently featured in:PBS NewsHour, NPR's «Here and Now» and «The Story». Sylvain received an ED.M from Harvard University Graduate School of Education; and earned his MFA from Boston University Creative Writing Department where he was a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow.

Changming Yuan, 8-time Pushcart nominee and author of Mindscaping (2014) and
Landscaping (2013), grew up in rural China, holds a PhD in English, and currently tutors in Vancouver, where he co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan. Since mid-2005, Yuan has published poetry in Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Cincinnati Review, Threepenny Review and 939 other literary journals/anthologies across 30 countries.