Tia and the soap bubbles

By Maria Pavlova
Translated from the Bulgarian by Lidia Shvedova

“If each phase of an activity, say a woman blowing a soap bubble, is recorded as a series of successive images in a multiple-image hologram, each image becomes as a frame in a movie… The entire activity is always recorded in the hologram…” (M. Talbot)

The sun ran its fingers across her skin, tight and smooth as a baby’s; it fingered the small dots on her thighs, where little hairs used to sprout, and shivered from her taste, her fragrance. Tia had nothing against. She liked being a lazy lover… occasionally. She laughed aloud and the wind hurled straight away her laughter into the leaves of the tree and then sneaked into her blouse. She never wore bra, hated the constriction. She slowly unwound the cap: the wind and the sun finally met and she squinted with pleasure. “Had you only been less ethereal – thought she, – I would need nothing else”. And she laughed again.

Then she took hold of the little stick and dipped the loop into the foam, raised it to her face and blew lightly. The soap bubbles flew away. There were at least twenty of them and they danced to and fro, burst out, some managed to stay intact for a second or two even after falling down. The light coloured them fancifully and also played out, it did not stand still.

Tia’s eyes were such lively blue, as if God has taken off the cap from a tube of paint and has forgotten to replace it, leaving the colour to ooze and ooze out.

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By Larry Oakner

Vermont black bears are relatively shy animals and are seldom seen by people.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Black Bear Fact Sheet

This is not about a bear
of fur and blood and small black eyes
that slipped across my trail,
a dark apparition padding silently from woods to woods.
Despite scent and noise, I did not exist for the bear.
The bear does not exist.
Ursinity is a state of mind,
leaving scat and spoor as long as I remember.

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Ominous Moon

By A.J. Huffman

The sky divides in shades of darkness. Shades of shadow
fight for dominance, control. The sallow moon slips between
their fields. I hold my breath as I watch fingers from both
wrap around the sickly orb, squeezing last lingering hints
of light, closing its solitary eye.

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At Pass Lake

By Scott T. Starbuck

time always reveals

were never strangers at all
on a wooded trail

where names and places overlap
and insights arise

like a perpetual energy machine
or echo-rings of pebbles

booted in water
same as there were universes

before this
and will be many more after.

So what is left to know
among all these unseen birds?

To be here now.
To be here now.

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Thinking About Reincarnation on the San Diego Boardwalk

By Scott T. Starbuck

On a six mile hike between Crystal Pier
and the jetty and back,

among usual food and sex distractions
and endless souvenirs, two images:

The Giant Dipper, also named
Mission Beach Roller Coaster,

and Osiris Shoes.

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Between Night and Daydream: A Collection of Poems

By Stephanie Williams

1. Falling stone glint, made of ash, thickened
Shred- a thing too ghostly for words, flattened
Smiles, angel love- rest in peace, my dear,
as Wounds make room for tattered shakes- lost
In thresh and glove, bitter weave, sullied aches

Perforce, the amber tint and null of flack- queen
And king of sapphire clop, dwindled through and
Through the dark- dingy and bright, the autumn
Swift, gleaming wince and draining slip

She floats afar and dreams her Lord, singing
Hymns that feign her art- and whence the outer
Cling of smears make idols of murdered lair-
Angel tire, puritan ring, gifted smear for blared wing

Elemental binge and raw, she coughs and spits
And crawls for drink- passing laud and frilled
Crank, mystic wisp, fading angel- and come
To nightly sweated sting, bruise for bruise, trim
Ancient thing.

2. Tear-stained waltz, scorning paper-thin eyes-
And the word, the flat, the sparse pink tick
That somehow, knifingly, demolishes the ghost,
Her glitter-grave apparition flowing in, unnatural

But her blood runs thick, and mind bleeds cold,
Quashing rarified tongues that speak plight to
Washed souls- the immaterial bodice, the plunk
Hallelujah- hibiscus-winged dew, melting raw

And the word, she writes in whispers, densely
Scowling through martyred bones- shifting slip By slip,
gartered gown- emphasizing curtly the
“I” rather than the “You,” the trite slap of “Other,”
Curling fame by rote, erasing herbs and falsity

Contending theme by blur, she- ancient goddess Cernunnos- creates shafts that lather by the
Second, cruelly surmising breath to breath, and
Quickening the pulse that ever widens- expanding
Mock the “You,” the feral gem, silent flutter,
Whip by edge- discarding the word, but tightening
The Word, spilling ink, containing lead-
Egged and shorn, her lash nips null, swatting

Crosses, taped angel ledge.

3. The thin-lipped wren- vouching soft for every
Form, nodding daunt and loft to deep- the
Angel cry, the Prince of Peace, sweetly pacing,
Floor to room as Shepherd One He beckons to

And gaunt, He glibly spares the “I” to date,
Shirking glares in this fond chase, moving
Fleets and gallant haze, gorging breath
And beauty death- sinking swear upon her,
Upon the “I,” ever near-

Ignite this reason, this barred wing threat, nagging
Veil and breeze unfurled- and like roguish
Kiss to wind-chimed spore, her legs unwrap,
Unwind in spheres, begging make and
Dragged tulle fate

Cease the everlasting mere, O Lord- quake the
Shock, abyss of glaze, nodding near the
Glancing trope and grace of love, commence
The core, paged wisp angel and vice to grate-

She glows, secure in the wind, mutely singing
With stuffed iodine wade- waters of Aphrodite,
Marbled tongue snow, gleaming like tomb
To ashes, lit flippant scone- smarting
Serene to knowing candle, as she carries
Whispers, day by day- eternal woe and
Drug of lore, gasoline wing and frolic
Faze- crowned ever with spite, throws
All her kiss and candor to He, of heavenly might-

4. Parched limp scar- cold caress, shoulder-width blade
Shredding bits and shards of chamomile, calling lark
And crane to smile- bending down and flipping
Toward the rustic sky of ancient bloodlust

Sinking deep in sodden clothes, she deems the ache,
The candied cloak- specked jubilant in shawl
And tar, making soft to wanton sheer- and green
With pagan cuts and scrapes, her pretty gauze release-

But blown in black and curled in white, her troubled Touch and lacking trim- coarsely smearing viper thought,
Smothered tritely on fault and whim- skin-tight rouge,
Bashed plainly to douse, curves and mimes, plucked
All the while- mocked canvas clips, devil-eyed depot

How language brought her sound defeat- envy
Roaring at every pixel turn, blatant foolery
Toned and mismatched for debt of forgotten grace,
Gasoline squelching, furnace torch and dint of face,
Recoiling the quiet of each tome fate.

5. Delirium lecher, stocked frail ‘neath
Gloved shawls- of envy eradicated,
Doused nimbly in pain- smarting
Tears at pagan tongues, weeping
Gentle with eyes closed

Knife slices, with love craved in her
Wrists, owning frugal, murdered esteem-
Penny for her thoughts, she bargains at the
Touch, spare blood and loss refined-

With lips undone, she picks at scabs and
Shards of stymied crystal, quaking in
The want, the echo, the ex nihilo of
Buried burns, bite marks and thieves
At play

Drowning her throat and choking withhold,
Her smiles console- lapping silk in water,
Sweat through stone, tearing scathes and
Greased foam- as she mourns and aches,
And lulls with tease, stripping heart and
Baring bone- cracking ribs and snapping
Jaw, her limbs reject- tarried gnaw- and
Sobs, as tears limp up to God, the death
Of death, deep yearn for love

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The Pick

By Karita Belloni

PICK noun
2 a: the act or privilege of choosing or selecting: choice
b: the best or choicest one
c: one that is picked

PICK transitive verb
2 a: to remove bit by bit
c: to make one’s way slowly and carefully
4 b: to obtain useful information from or by questioning
7: to unlock with a device

Raindrops were the arsenal, a torrent of ripples the wound. The Potomac River lay under attack from the sky while Jenny’s keen eyes bore witness to it all through the greasy, rain-stained window of the train’s middle car as it slogged along the stretch of slick track, edging closer to a platform huddled with rain-soaked commuters.

The train slid to a halt.

“Reagan Airport,” the train’s driver announced. “Blue line to Franconia Springfield. Doors opening to the left.”

Jenny buried herself behind the worn paperback copy of Phillip K. Dick’s Ubik wishing she hadn’t hit the snooze button so many times this particular morning. Her first appointment Ms. Murray had probably just arrived. This particular gift of a woman always showed up half an hour ahead of schedule even though she knew they never opened shop until eight and only at eight and found great joy in tapping on the front window until the heavy bottomed receptionist ambled over to let her into the waiting room.

“Doors closing. Next stop, Dome City.”

Dome City. Did I hear that right? Jenny’s thoughts always appeared in slanty italics. The next stop should be Crystal City.

A barrage of commuters clotted the train’s doorways as new ones pushed through to replace them. They bounced off each other like bees in a hive, bumping Jenny’s elbows. Her eyes drifted past the whirl of bobbing heads to a row of advertisements. A coy-eyed beauty toyed with a diamond pendant at the base of her throat. The words “Ignite Your Fire” ghosted out from behind her form with the name of a high-end jewelry brand printed below.

Finally, the two-bell tone sounded. Shoes squeaked and slid across the muddied floor, umbrellas unfurled, and rain slickers shuddered fat drops of water as their wearers scrambled for seats. As the train doors began to rattle shut, a man drifted through like a leaf caught in wind, alighting precisely in the middle of the red-cushioned seat nearest the door. Lifting his hat, he ran a hand through his hair. That’s when Jenny noticed his Modring. This guy was a Pick!

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By Ryan Tippets

Giancarlo and Oleander watched as their friend Mingo was wheeled through the corridor of cheering townsfolk to the platform at the center of the Plaza del Sol. He was escorted by thirty-seven former paramours, some of them humbled and stooped by age, others young enough to be his granddaughters.

“You know I spoke to him last night,” said Giancarlo, looking not at the spectacle below him, but out at the waves breaking against the shore at the far end of the plaza.

“What? To dissuade him from this?”

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By Leila A. Fortier

         from the
              blade of a
                  crescent moon
                       like a floating
                           ballerina~ born
                              from earth-salts
                                scattered up to
                              nameless gods
                              in the sky~ she
                           pirouettes: a
                    crystalized star
                  a fragment
               of glass
          a totem
       for the

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By Jonel Abellanosa

My back like blackboard,
My head like ball of paper in water.
Filling her fictionalized story with Pearl, eggshells, bird bones, teeth, rock salt –
Anything to recall the tutoring days.
Picturing her Buddha statuettes, stringed
Sampaguita, joss sticks, smell of rice steam,
Food offered to our ancestors. I want to feel her
Behind me, our cheeks touching, her wrinkled
Hands enclosing mine in prayer recited
In Mandarin: I knew we asked for long life
Her salty noodles and century eggs stood for.
Gold paper burned for grandpa’s afterlife riches.

I conjure her presence with pencil and notebook –
Instruments of how she guided my boyhood
Chirography. Unless I memorized her prayers,
She wouldn’t adorn the small blackboard I carried
With calligraphy, nor reread aloud her cockroach-
Smelling books: tales from China of the emperor
Collecting disobedient children’s teeth; pearl-eyed
Peasant who ransomed the world; rain dancers
And bird bones, eggshells, rock salt.
I’d be sleepy, lulled by her voice.
No one loved me more than papa’s mother
And I keep reinventing her story
Till her ghost shows and scolds me.

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