Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Issue 19

Dave Ruslander

Steve Dalachinsky

Lawrence Upton

JodiAnn Stevenson

Christopher Barnes

Justin Hyde

Alex Nodopaka

Robert McLean


Dave Ruslander

A Winter Morning

I saw breath rise from the swamp this morning.
Peat bogs were adorned with opals,
the rain pond wore diamonds
and boughs of holly masked the ancient cypresses.

Morning cold made the horses spirited
their heads swayed left then right, they bucked,
kicked, and cantered over the field.

It could have been steam rising off their backs,
but I think I saw angels' breath.

Memory Ghost

The look is crisp -
the color of wilted newspaper
crinkled and imposing.

It's invigorating -
a winter night's stroll across powder.
I see him precisely, now.


Steel wheels grind against iron tracks,
slip and spin,
each revolution.

chug, inch by inch forward
metal groans, pistons churn
boilers hiss.
Steam and smoke choke the sky, a whistle wails,
the bell clangs, clangs, clangs
and the station begins to recede.

Speed catches up, the Doppler
rumbles down the rail pulling
quiet calm in its wake where
bison once roamed.

from Voices in my Head
used by permission of the author

Parallel Universes

Somewhere a thousand miles away
a breeze whispers ripples to a pond.
Acrobatic leaves tumble like rhythmic gymnasts
performing over a reflection.

And we huddle around a fire
watching stone soup boil
as the wind lands blows against our backs.

A Moment

A bamboo flute sings through swaying reeds,
while dragon flies dance among mangroves.
lit lanterns keep mosquitoes at bay
and the warmth of a cool breeze tickles my skin.

My parrot's round black eye blinks with an idea.
He holds his peanut upside down in his foot
And with glee squeezes the shell
until it cracks up. His humor
is evident by the compound sentences
he begins to jabber, explaining his joy.

In the distance, Cloud Mountain,
holds back the river.

Dave Ruslander and his wife live quietly on a small farm in rural Virginia where their lives are enriched by the beauty of their horses, dogs, and cats. Dave began writing about five years ago and has learned to damn near mangle any grammatical rule known. His first book, Voices in My Head, has just been published. Dave suffers from Bipolar Disorder.

Dave Ruslander Steve Dalachinsky Lawrence Upton JodiAnn Stevenson Christopher Barnes Justin Hyde Alex Nodopaka Robert McLean Review

Steve Dalachinsky

reader friendly

sipped again
i thought here for love or

                 i have

                                 (stupid me dreaming sugary)
                                 nouns & prepositions

     on fire
                         in a strange city of tight pants
tight pants on a young belly                                                 holes
           how strange the young belly show thru deep rosed plaster (ed)

                                 money doesn't know where it goes

it goes into pockets
                                 put on the found cups & left

steve dalachinsky nyc 11/16/05 @ poetry project ted berrigan collected poems

time squared

the woman in white
i saw her today on broadway
across from the bertelsmann blding
       a mega virgin
w/e-mail as well as voice
  a lone male
     for a moment
           then the herd returns
                 still alone writing this on corner
                                 of 46th
   heard of planet Hollywood
         tho never been
         the hershey store smelling
like what else -         chocolate
         colony records lp section closed
                                 me the point of a compass
           passerbys sweeping by
                         like all an points bulletin
                                 this side of the street
   she says this side         she says
i thought it was on this side of the street
     she says you guys it's on this side

wherever i stand i am always in someone's way
                                 - a domestic wind
                         blowing thru my newly found
                                                 oversized overcoat.

steve dalachinsky nyc written in times square 11/17/05

dark things

the furniture that holds dark things -
            "hear the song i didn't
                         sing to you"
far & unavailable
                 the lost opportunity of whatever
         you were
                         within the round
                                 a roun ____d

i am a writer
    therefore i pick up a pen i find
on the street
    the rain goes from thick to thin
    the last leaves of the ginkgo
spread themselves across the concrete
                         like a wet blanket
                         the empty benches wait out this storm
                                         dark things on an even darker night.

steve dalachinsky nyc pt 1 2005 date unknown pt 2 11/16/05

margaret shows henry the met (cartoon1)

you shouldn't have given me such a gift - h says

we are here
to find ourselves
know our selves - m says

which is better - h asks
the former or the

virtue & sweet death - says m

& ectoplasm? h mutters smiling his child smile

that too m assures him

there are horrors
in bklyn
in queens
awkward moments
that only a gift giver can solve

fra angelico playing second fiddle
van gogh showing his muscles
exiled dreamers
good gifts
bad gifts & sweet

when i'm alone h says
i have no one to talk to but myself
or the occasional stranger
when with you
we argue over the time & space
in which one speaks

it depends always on the needs of the "Other"
- m gently tells him
speaking actually about her own selfish needs

foreign languages
are our emotions she softly kicks him
in the thigh
like she would a pestering dog
mumbling remembering memling @ the frick
earlier that afternoon

centuries of portraits
hard lines
the pomposity & religiosity of
prague implanted w/stone

we fight for space -m says quietly
we viciously fight but the windmills never topple
will never topple
violent pieces of scrap voices
a soul(s) donor
a short list of color

the thought only counts if you mean it m tells h

h wanders off in his mind
his sad eyes fixed hazily on the speck of light
darting out of an imaginary

memling @ the frick

memling's subjects always
placed their hands at the edge of the canvas
like a frame w/in a frame
a brown balcony
sometimes one atop the other
sometimes holding a scrap of paper
that seemed out of proportion w/the rest of the canvas
once what looked like a folded black fan

style wit
without shape or plan
as long as memory continues
to relax
it self.

dalachinsky nyc @ frick & @ met 12/07/05 & @ home 12/08/05

Dave Ruslander Steve Dalachinsky Lawrence Upton JodiAnn Stevenson Christopher Barnes Justin Hyde Alex Nodopaka Robert McLean Review

Lawrence Upton

Portrait: a clutter of not terribly good light

She was inactive. Familiarity brought him winter. She wanted to be company. His mind wouldn't clear. So much for infrastructure. For once, no sign of several people.

Good news. Another male shook his own head. A chair. It was a hard-drinking man, he thought, hearing several voices. He hated their images, frowning. Several voices were not good news. Greedy. The only window, a little object.

The men rushed forward. They dragged her off him; obliterated, tall, narrow. Raised eyebrow. He woke up. The light! Shallow breathing. A little vague on details of his recent extravaganza. A stranger here. Angry friends in the middle of a future. The raving young woman. He had to breathe. To drink himself, unconscious. The entire absurd event.

So far, he didn't know. Unfortunately, for the first time. On the table, is the political environment. Surrounding it had been lots of big talk. About an half hour of it. Let it matter. He was still in the room.

He drew breath. He stood well balanced in an adjacent room. Hard-drinking man announced finally.

On the outer room, was now a crazed young woman he had formerly advocated, burst back; and sat smugly. Up and down stairs to the toilet. More than halfway up a step back. He was new, freshly packed; while he didn't know her, since the men's encroaching, which way to the little company. In some misunderstanding, side-stepped, nowhere, drawing one leg up, breathing through his mouth. In some ways, the girl could be the maximum company in the room. Raised eyebrow.

Which way to give meaning, make sense of the light from the girl. Her finger poked to ward her. Gripping hands. Could only pretend to avoid himself.

Little vague about it. He had to breathe. He was now a drunk. Once he was taller than anyone else in the summer. He felt like wood.

The only view to avoid himself. Old belly.

His eye was swollen.

He wasn't speaking to be released. Sucking air, money. A stranger of dust motes, a mouthful of clear spirit. Here he was to enter at himself, godforsaken, circling, the door to the images he didn't have. They dragged her about. She'd know she was hired.

A general reorganisation of a strange fall, for a few days, to lower the man. A vast fortune, accusing him. He handled such things. He was not terribly good. His voice could only pretend to become.

He had no sign of the window. He had to live out her days. Tastes. Hang him.

And then, in the room, a double brandy and family, while he sulked. The problem posed by compassion. Today he hated his gloom.

He thought maybe he'd be released in any sense. Existing. Unfortunately. Tongue the only furniture. In her face. In the exact place. Time announced finally. Tell your friends! Unrepentantly.

This singularity the edge. He was still more specifically. Tradition. Trying to drink himself. The only company in the winter. To drink himself to avoid himself. Could only pretend to be breath.

He thought maybe he'd taken it into his head. In despair. In the winter. No sign.

Simply holding to Fate, perpetually short of angry friends. Which he had always assumed. Liked her. Today especially. Today especially. Today, he was deposited here, young lady. Supposed to drink himself unconscious.

As a study.

He hated the length of him. Once he knew. What has happened to me? Blocking properties. The problem posed by the clock.

She shrieked, the man, standing on it yet, in the middle. The woman doing.

She was put out from her first time, staring, trying to enter, gills sucking. His eyes watered. His concentration ran down, scalp rippling, a halo of tracks. She squirmed free, standing again. Bony creature.

This singularity. Several voices were.

To gather himself.

She squirmed free, in the outer room, almost horizontal. No way to be released; the little creature's outrage always assumed, the extent of innovative myths.

Progenitors deserve themselves. A trick he'd learned. A warm tongue out, a halo of him, a clutter of not terribly good light.

Lawrence Upton. Poet; visual artist; sound artist; performer; based in West Penwith, Cornwall. Latest print publication WIRE SCULPTURES (Reality Street, 2003)

Dave Ruslander Steve Dalachinsky Lawrence Upton JodiAnn Stevenson Christopher Barnes Justin Hyde Alex Nodopaka Robert McLean Review

JodiAnn Stevenson


Drawn curtain day winding restless.
Cooing won't calm those crying

cradle pains - a side-wound slap.
Sleep teases with easy dreams,

nightmare halted breaths, going
under water in a vault -

and you and I wound tight against
the world, floating in the vast

expanse of black night -
both crying like babies.

JodiAnn Stevenson: I am a writer and hypermedia artist currently living and teaching in Bay City, Michigan. My work has appeared in a variety of print and on-line journals including BathHouse, Buckle& and InkPot. Some of my hypermedia work can be seen on-line at

Dave Ruslander Steve Dalachinsky Lawrence Upton JodiAnn Stevenson Christopher Barnes Justin Hyde Alex Nodopaka Robert McLean Review

Christopher Barnes


In widow's weeds, the bull, the sun,
the flower, the light bulb - it clings
to room 7 of Centro de Arte Reina Sofia,
Guernica*, the fizzled-out horse, the woman.
                                                                                    so long as I
                                                                                    assimilate themes
                                                                                    from a cubed root
                                                                                    suchlike 'whole pictures'
                                                                                    in gone-bad colour
                                                                                    you will remember:
                                                                                    gun-burst at railways
                                                                                    Jose on the bicycle,
                                                                                    rose-tinting an escape
                                                                                    in the blackness of your lace.

*Spanish Civil War painting by Picasso.

The Sea In My Cup

Deep acid like a warning
at the edges of the sea
blister-bubbles tent corners
of the red round cup
death still bleeding.
Magic-haystack of steam
terrier-fringe tan
and an impression which left
the heaviest smile.

Christopehr Barnes: In 1998 I won a Northern Arts Writers award. In July 200 I read at Waterstones bookshop to promote the anthology 'Titles Are Bitches'. Christmas 2001 I debuted at Newcastle's famous Morden Tower doing a reading of my poems. Each year I read for Proudwords lesbain and gay writing festival and I partake in workshops. 2005 saw the publication of my collection LOVEBITES published by Chanticleer Press, 6/1 Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh.

Christmas 2001 The Northern Cultural Skills Partnership sponsored me to be mentored by Andy Croft in conjunction with New Writing North. I am about to make a radio programme for Web FM community radio about my writing group. October-November 2005, I entered a poem/visual image into the art exhibition The Art Cafe Project, my piece Post-Mark was shown in Betty's Newcastle. This event was sponsored by Pride On The Tyne. I have made a digital film with artists Kate Sweeney and Julie Ballands at a film making workshop called Out Of The Picture which was shown at the festival party for Proudwords. The film is going into an archive at The Discovery Museum in Newcastle and contains his poem The Old Heave-Ho. I am working on a collaborative art and literature project called How Gay Are Your Genes, facilitated by Lisa Mathews (poet) which will exhibit at The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University before touring the country and it is expected to go abroad, this will be funded by The Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Institute, Bioscience Centre at Newcastle's Centre for Life.

Dave Ruslander Steve Dalachinsky Lawrence Upton JodiAnn Stevenson Christopher Barnes Justin Hyde Alex Nodopaka Robert McLean Review

Justin Hyde

philosophical conundrum

I like evolution
from B-present/

/where the fuck did it all come from/
that gives me trouble

assume big
/where the fuck did
big come from?/

organized religion is like
a bar night blowjob,
sucks you in
a rush of chemicals
leaving you flaccid,
running for
the door feeling slightly
I realized this
early on/
it was cemented
when the man
touched my sister/

it's never bothered
me before,
that I didn't know
"what the fuck
was up"

I ran rataplan
in some hedonistic
pancake dream/
chasing highs/
riding the low
out with a blanket
over the window/

but it's eating
at me now/

cunt ain't enough/
money don't do it/

I'm afraid that
i'll never know/

spend my life
farting on some
see saw -

- maybe this
maybe that -

it's not even
that i'll go to hell/
if that be,
that be/

it's just some
innate desire
to know
"what the
fuck is up"

because hey/
it ain't 50hour
Toyota Camry

and it
ain't wife
2.4 kid

don't take
no Kierkegaard
to know that ain't

the unrest
is crawlin like
worms in my head/

and it ain't the

be honest
with me/

you smoke
your cig/
drink your coffee/
smoke your
milk your baby/
suck your man
lick your woman's
clit at just the
right speed/
graduate your baby from college/
bury your father/
pull your mom off life support/


you know

it's not enough

but you turn your face
and keep on going
in that straight line/

well, I can't go
in that straight line

so for now

shoot this shit
under my fingernails

hug the

the word

Dixie Hyde

set our clocks 12 minutes fast
because growing up in Blairstown, IA
grandma had a punctuality

mom was
a thespian/she
was perpetually dropped
off late to practice/

her senior year/
late to the opening night of Grease/
12 min late/
she was the lead/
the understudy
mom watched

had such
a dreadful
of being late/

what time
is it what
time is it?
she'd ask

terrible bleeding
ulcers over it

started fisting codeine
and Oxycontin/
for the anxiety

helping my aunt Holly baste
the Thanksgiving bird some prepubescent November long since past
, she
said to me "either you go on like your parents/ or you go in the opposite direction"

all those
two did/

sit around
blaming grandma
over their
shit fisted lives/

I blame

and that Ford fucker who invented the assembly line/

I was Marlon Brando for a day

A racing friend
studied film at
the University of

I was eating
an omelet in
the student union
when he asked

"you want to
I got something you
would be good for"

I thought about
it between chews,
I wasn't going to
class, I knew that
much, and I was getting
burnt out on 9
ball and Budweiser
at the Que bar/

what is it"


he gave me the
"were just shooting
a couple of scenes"
he said

I rented the movie
that day/

some beast of
a man named
Stanley, completely
anathema to

beating women

I didn't know
if I could pull
it off/

on the day:

fisted a handful
of speed/
put on some tight
jeans and a tighter
white shirt/

was at a poker

it went like this/
i get wild and the boys
have to hold me back

i'm to much for em/
i hit Stella/
she runs/

i start wailing out the window/
call her on the phone/

she comes back
i drop on my knees,

pick her up/
off to the bedroom/

that's all i remember.

i got into it

the speed
and the thrill
of it

and roughed up
the boys to much/

the thin one
cried because
I scared him/

the camera people
and sound people
and director

looked at me in disbelief/
i was dripping sweat/
heart jumping
out of my chest

"what the fuck
do you want from
I screamed/

my friend
kevin calmed

the scene where
I dropped to my knees
in front of Stella
was done on concrete

we took it 3 times/

I fucked up my
meniscus because
I wanted it right/

the thing creaks
now when I walk/

i've got a tape
of it/

and it all looks
pretty silly now/


the little lolly pop
they got to play

she thought
i was something/

we got brained
on 1$ long islands
at the Field House

fucked liked
the dirty animals
we are/

she asked me
to choke her/

and I did/

i asked her
to slap me across
the face/

she did/

we quivered
in each others

I started

nothing has
been as

Justin Hyde: My name is Justin Hyde, I live in Des Moines, IA. I was diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder in 1998. I am skeptical of psychology/psychiatry. I have a BS in psychology.

Dave Ruslander Steve Dalachinsky Lawrence Upton JodiAnn Stevenson Christopher Barnes Justin Hyde Alex Nodopaka Robert McLean Review

Alex Nodopaka

Woman found in flea market

Nothing in his pockets,
no food in stomach,
he kisses the sleeping
woman in the wrong places.

He found her in an antique car
dreaming of better places,
her mouth open, silent. Her
tongue, dry like the Sahara desert.

He perceives it is her dreams
that keep her alive as he watches
her life course through
her leaded-crystal bones.

She looks helpless with
hands and fingers twisted by pain.
Then on the back seat he sees
her essence float and spread

between her breasts. He kisses
their ivory smoothness. The taste
reminds him of his hunger when
she exhales a whisper,

Come into me Morpheus. He has
nowhere to go so why not into
the mythology uniting him and
her in this trivial flea market.

And, why fucking not.

Conceived in Ukraine Alex Nodopaka exhibited first in Russia, 1940. Studied tongue-in-cheek at Ecole des Beaux Arts, Casablanca, Morocco. Foremost he is Artist, Author, Art critic, Lip service in 4 or 5 languages & English gibberish after a bottle of Fire Water (against professional advice).

Dave Ruslander Steve Dalachinsky Lawrence Upton JodiAnn Stevenson Christopher Barnes Justin Hyde Alex Nodopaka Robert McLean Review

Robert McLean


As one door opens, another door closes.
I need to learn how to put yesterday
behind me. I sometimes hear children's voices

as I fall asleep. They know my name is
not mine. I find it hard to walk away.
As one door opens another door closes.

I know adults must make difficult choices.
I can't choose. And I don't know what to say.
Behind me, I sometimes hear children's voices.

My father heard voices, too. They knew what his
problem was. The trick is to be ready
as one door opens. Another door closes,

another chance lost: I'm not making progress.
Not much. I can't put what I saw that day
behind me. I sometimes hear children's voices

telling me I should stop and smell the roses.
At least I had someone with whom to play.
As one door opens, another door closes
behind me. I sometimes hear children's voices.

Robert McLean: I'm a writer living in Christchurch, New Zealand. My poems have been published in Trout, Takahe, Spin, Bravado, Poetry New Zealand, Poetry Aotearoa, Southern Ocen Review, Blackmail Press, and Catalyst, as well as in Australia, the US, and UK.

Dave Ruslander Steve Dalachinsky Lawrence Upton JodiAnn Stevenson Christopher Barnes Justin Hyde Alex Nodopaka Robert McLean Review


Voices in My Head
by Dave Ruslander
80 pages
DSC Publishing
$ 29.95

When I read a book of poems that I am not naturally
inclined to pick up, when I feel a gradual awareness
while reading, an opening up of the inner eye into the
poet's world, which has for a moment become my own, I
know it is a book I'll read again. I felt this book
won me over; I stayed in the middle of a line, sat up
and took notice.

For me, this is a book of attention, both attentive to
the world around the poet, the world beyond him, and
the inner sea he navigates.

Some of these poems offer a clear vision, the writing
so clean, clear-cut, and polished.

In "Blue Ridge Mountains" he writes, "Vermillion
fingers stroke the west face/as the sun melts into the
horizon/and black falls out of the blue."

I think the fact that the poet has bipolar disorder
lends an added poignancy to the reading of these

In "Rapacious", he begins, "Funny how the black dog
glows/carrying his quarry./ When the game turns,/ he
will nip at our heels/ and we will be the
hunted,//shooting blanks…"

The book is beautifully produced with eye-catching art
accompanying the poems. Some of the artists include
Mia, Teresa White, Don Schaeffer, Schar Freeman,
Barbara Ruslander, and the poet himself.

I think this is a quiet, reflective book to be picked
up and read slowly. While reading, step back and let
your inner eye take over.

Reviewed by Jill Chan

Dave Ruslander Steve Dalachinsky Lawrence Upton JodiAnn Stevenson Christopher Barnes Justin Hyde Alex Nodopaka Robert McLean Review