By Dusty Wallace

I cry out to the universe but it doesn’t respond.
Particle­-accelerating physicists monitor its vitals;
temperature, pressure, entropy.
I plead for something simple,
a cosmic squeeze of the hand.

Not even a flutter of the eyelids.

It’s been like this for too long.
When will they pull the plug?

Just like John Friend’s Blues

By Eugene Goldin

My love
is caught in my own delusion
so, I can’t let her be.
She might be an angel
or a scoundrel.
Whatever – she is,
she frequently flummoxes me.
Yet, she might not even want me to learn
exactly who she might really be,
though, I’m not sure if even she knows
the answer to her own life’s mystery.

My love rides on waves of
pagan promises
not made specifically to me.
She won’t go there
in my presence.
She keeps me guessing
I fear she ridicules me
and wants to bring me misery
as karmic payback for her misfortunes -
leaves me twisting
on the rope
that hangs from
her own true lover’s tree.

Where the two of them
sit in sordid splendor
watching as the wind
twists my heart ‘round
again and then
drink a toast of pure green juices
mixed tart apple
and cinnamon.

The Shadow Sisters

By Eugene Goldin

I have come to know
The Shadow
They have struck me
between the eyes
leaving a tiny nearly
imperceptible scar
on my forehead by Ajna
exposing the entry point
to my inner wounds.

And, while others
play their dark, little
graceless games
to draw upon my
these Shadow Sisters,
who fully get
the joke,
play the songs
of the great tragic operas
that I know
only too well.
They play them out
in stentorian cadence
driving me into the drink
that I keep in pill form
by my unsteady night

The Shadow Sisters
have maintained their
by withdrawing my ego
as their own hearts
lay unzipped
and placed
in the palm of my right hand
in parity – for my tiny
wounded inspection -
as they and I have found
that remarkable state -
of grace.

Eugene Goldin was born in Manhattan and grew up in Queens. He is a professor of counseling at Long Island University and a Yoga teacher who appreciates a glass of good wine. He was most recently published in The Artistic Muse, The Gambler Literary Magazine and “eleven to seven.”


By Bryan Merck

There is no conventual fall.
It is more of a shrouded awakening
and a not knowing who you are.
Knowing this. Such pain is egregious.

Then years and concupiscence,
a faulty heart, a weak will. There
is something to this original sin business.

I struck like a hammer foreboding concussion.
I am strung along a course of days. Evidence.

We came in force after Hiroshima.
Ours is a gentle mission. Every object
in the universe falls through spacetime.

My home is in good proximity to a binary star.
It is not a place you would define as place.
The scheme of my existence is flawless. I
am flawless and do not die in your sense.
I have no need of “Good News.”

With you, the thing simmers, the destruction.
It is almost inevitable. I have a technology
of the soul.

I live here, now, for a season, between the sleeps.
The portal is birth. The exit is death. Just your being, here,
changes the universe. Nothing is frivolous. Some things
matter, everywhere.

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Alien Slapstick

By Bryan Merck

I wake up for some reason,
and they are standing next to my bed,
in a knot, staring at me with a proprietary intent.
They come into my room on a beam of light.
I hear their thoughts.

Often at night, I discover myself up for no good reason.
This morning, in the wee hours, I found an uppercrust fellow, in a bathrobe,
sitting at my kitchen table. He asked me for Oolong tea.
I went back to bed.

My house has always been a fairway for this.

The little gray people with the big black eyes
appeared one night in my nursery room.
I got up and crossed the hall and climbed into my parents’ bed.
I put my hands on my father’s back and lay against him.
I felt I was safe there, surely.
Not so.

These beings tell me they were with me
all through my gestation and my indignant newborn wailing.

I started watching the Three Stooges when I was around 5.
This comforted me greatly. I began to encounter other people
in my house, late night, then, too.

I dearly wanted to be Batman. I had his comics.
He was human, so I could become him.
I really wanted to be Superman.
I knew this was not possible.

I wanted metamorphosis, a nuclear ray-gun
thing to happen to me, a transmutation away
from the human, like it did to Bruce Banner, or the Flash.
I became interested in chemistry.
I had chemistry sets.

I carried vague ideas of being safe in prison, or
even a hospital, sequestered, finally secure around so many
guards and nurses and orderlies who would watch me while I slept.

They come into my room on a beam of light. They
take me out through my wall on the same beam.
There are others on the ships, humans, hybrid women, beings
with white bleached skin and the eyes.

Up there, we go through the “lab rat” scenario in
a room with metallic walls and tables and a corrugated-metal type floor.
There are pneumatic sounds.

Once, when I was 40, I found myself disembarking in like a bay area.
I had some friends there. We greeted each other.
One friend was naked. I found myself in a “philosophy class”.
A woman with a face like a blend of human and visitor was the teacher.
I had been drinking beer before I passed out on my sofa.
She knew this. She was not amused.

I am not in Kansas anymore
and I cannot go back there. All of this has a gimcrack immediacy.
They played Glen Campbell music the last time.
They are sort of pitiful, obtuse,
like the song they sang to me as a child.

Adam gave names to all the animals.

There is a replica of “the woman clothed with the sun” on a wall
of their examining room. I’ve met several Franciscans and Poor Clares
on the mother ship.

Once they showed me the nature of their workings
with humankind. “We have a similar relationship with you
as you have with cattle,” they said. And so on.

Some of them have a face like the Red Queen in Wonderland.

If I want this to scare me it does.
They showed me my adult body
when I was a very young child.

They often treat each other and me like Laurel and Hardy treat each other.
There is an obscure pedagogy in all this. They over-teach in obvious ways.
It reminds me of the 1st grade.

If I were a deer in the wild, and some humans came at me
with veterinary motives, it would just be my nature to be frightened of them.

One night I found a friend who had only lately died of drunkenness sitting
on my living room sofa. I sat down and we talked. Then he shook my hand and stood
and walked out through my closed and bolted front door.

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The Space Between

By A.J. Huffman

the structure has its own 
	  A force that is more
than just a holding.  It is
iconic in its silent necessity.
It does not waiver,
only waits.  Stoically
echoing the perfect [amount
of] absence.

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

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Planets Move Like Mountains

By A.J. Huffman

across a make-shift chessboard in the sky.
Stars smile as they make it across, grant
them mythical crown. Intensity does not
change, just trajectory. They bounce
off of rings and moons that turn like children’s
mobiles, flicker like fireflies before flying off
to bump another asteroid from the field,
make Orion’s belt a little lighter,
a little easier for astronomers to check
off their nightly list. A few twinkle twinkles
and an ignored wish or two, and the game is called
on account of glare. The sun strikes fire
against the east. The universe stops
in respect of her burn.

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The Gaia Proposition

By David Landrum

The stage was set for a battle over Monteef Hills, and Winona Baker found herself in the forefront on the opposition side. The area had been a nature preserve but, as urban sprawl brought the city closer to the protected area, development companies began looking for options on the land that adjoined it. Ecology groups went into action to stop the development companies. The crux of the controversy was not over the preserve but over the land surrounding it.

A corridor of land ringed the preserve. Houses, a few farms, one or two small businesses lodge there. Houses, a few farms, one or two small businesses lodged there. Isolated and unobtrusive, hardly anyone even noticed them. Developers, however, began offering large sums of money for the properties, bought out one of the farms and several houses with substantial property attached to them, and drew up plans to construct a housing area that would ring the preserve with up to 500 units. Winona Baker stepped up to lead the fight against the development. Besides being an ecological activist, she led a weekly gathering that some said she constituted a worship service for Gaia.

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