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  • Robert L. Giron

Issue 92 — Carl Boon, Joseph Buehler, Alex Duensing, Marianic & Jean-Pierre Parra

Carl Boon

A City of Men

I live in a city of men

retreating into alleys. Their wives

hold notes as weapons, harboring

what was said in anger

in the folds of their skirts.

But she looks at me

the way you used to.

What happened?

The city drowns us

passersby with discord, old

allegiances fading into pubs,

women and men with nothing

but receipts that were promises.

I don’t believe you.

Even the ghosts

are more courageous.

He scoffs. He motions

for a beer and moves

to the next booth to avoid her,

to chat among taxi drivers

who’ve memorized sunsets.

We kissed in Southgate

as the sun disappeared

below the buildings.

In the minutes after midnight,

much later, they’ll kiss

each other’s cheeks

and pretend to be one again.

In the morning she’ll make tea.

Copyright © 2016 by Carl Boon.

Seeing Hussein

Fire and time, twin enemies, took his books away.

As a boy he held charred pages, smudges

of Nazim Hikmet and Orhan Veli—

poems of love and love’s

imprisonment. The fire took his furniture,

too, and left scars inside his retinas

only the doctors could see.

But his hands grew strong, so he held women

and other books, Hemingway, Dos Passos,

Orhan Pamuk. He dived into the sea at night

and brought up starfish, then drank and read

in the moonlight over Thrace. Eventually his babies

grew tall enough to wipe the dust

from his library shelves.

One morning in September the words weren’t words

anymore, just strands of language and abstract

lines. He cried on the balcony and began

to listen: his daughters’ voices

played syllable games in the kitchen.

His wife sang. By November

there was nothing left to see.

Copyright © 2016 by Carl Boon.

About the Author:

Carl Boon lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey. Recent or forthcoming poems appear in Neat, Jet Fuel Review, Blast Furnace, Kentucky Review, and many other magazines.

Joseph Buehler

Escape Plan

Bruno: any escape plan will have to be approved by the committee—

you know who they are—whose stamp of approval at this time would

hardly seem possible under the circumstances being that this is the dead

of winter with the fierce prevailing winds howling in from the southeast

or the northwest. Also the trains are not running anymore—as you should

surely realize—because of the snow, ice and sleet and even the chance of

blizzard conditions. Ezra pointed that out yesterday in his weekly report.

Maybe when spring comes around—that would be a much better time for

a run. As you know, Evan attempted a run recently and I understand he was

captured and imprisoned on the island. So what did it get him? It came to

nothing, just a harsher and longer sentence and an occasional beating in the

Torture House. So spring is the obvious choice or even summer. You could

try it on a work detail. The guards have a tendency to doze off in the warm

sunshine and of course you’d be beyond the walls.

Still if you are determined to try and escape now, all I can tell you is to go for

it. What have you got to lose except your freedom? Still, Peter says—I must

quit writing now—I think I hear a guard. Still, if you should make it, please

remember me to your mother. She’s really a dear woman if there ever was


Copyright © 2016 by Joseph Buehler.

Atlanta (Or Substitute a City Name Here)

A man is shot to death in the parking lot of a bar at two thirty-four in the morning.

A teen aged girl (boy) is picked up by a pimp at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (or

write the name of an airport here).

A woman is stabbed to death in her apartment on the east (south, west, north) side

of the city.

A white (black, Asian, Hispanic) prostitute services a john in a cheap motel (apartment,

house, car).

A man (woman) is shot to death in the parking lot of a bar at one fifteen in the morning.

Two men return to a bar, hand guns drawn, after a verbal (physical) fight and shoot four

people, killing two of them.

An apartment fire results in the destruction of sixteen units (everybody gets out safely)

because of the dropped cigarette of a careless drunken man (woman).

In a fashionable home in Buckhead (or insert a similar neighborhood of your city here),

a man rapes his eight-year-old daughter (son).

A baby wails in discomfort; its mother’s enraged boyfriend shakes him (her) to death.

A man cleverly murders his wife for the insurance money; a woman cleverly murders her husband for the insurance money.

A bright spring morning begins under a peaceful azure sky filled with slowly moving clouds.

Copyright © 2016 by Joseph Buehler.

Stone Boat

A middle aged farmer is driving his tractor.

He is hauling a stone boat made of flat wide heavy nailed-together boards;

its rectangular dimensions are about four by eight feet. It skims over the

ploughed field and a wide shouldered blond teenaged boy is riding it like

you might ride a surfboard. He rides on the back of it with already picked

up stones in front of him.

The man is bald on top with fringes of brown hair around his ears. A

cigarette dangles from his mouth. He is the boy’s stepfather.

They stop for a large heavy irregularly shaped stone and the boy lifts it up

onto the boat. Sometimes the stone they are after is too heavy for the boy

and the man dismounts the tractor and helps him lift it and throw it onto the

boat. They work in bright Michigan sunlight and they are aware of the pun-

gent scent of newly ploughed earth.

They haul the stones finally, after the boat is full, to a huge stone pile, one

of three in the field. They lift and heave the stones, aiming toward the top

of the pile. The stones make a dull clicking sound when they strike other


They seldom talk to each other as they work. They are usually not on the same

wave length together. Though he lives on a farm with his mother and stepfather,

the boy is not really a farmer. He has other interests.

The boat is finally emptied and the farmer climbs back onto his tractor again.

There are more stones out there to find and remove. The boy also gets back

on the stone boat and braces himself for the tractor’s lurch and pull.

Copyright © 2016 by Joseph Buehler.

About the Author:

Joseph Buehler has published three short stories in the "Kansas Magazine" and a short story in the "Canadian Forum" long ago and since then has published poems in such journals as Fredericksburg Literary Review,The Tower Journal, Two Cities Review, Unbroken, The Write Room, Mad Swirl and elsewhere; poems will be published soon in Nine Mile Magazine, East End Elements and Blue Bonnet Review. He lives in northern Georgia with my wife Trish.

Alex Duensing

"Making Form"

Copyright © 2016 by Alex Duensing

Marianic Parra & Jean-Pierre Parra

Silence Unguarded

Copyright © 2016 by Marianic Parra.

Silence unguarded

you force

tamed by sleep that leaves

the cry

into the dust of death

Copyright © 2016 by Jean-Pierre Parra.

About the Authors:

Marianic Parra and Jean-Pierre Parra live under the sun of southern France and close to a shore of history and stories from Greek myths and Arabian tales; they want to be part of the poetic and mythological reality of the Mediterranean Sea.

Marianic Parra presents her work in solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe and United States and has published several catalogs. Her studio is located in Beziers, France.

Jean-Pierre Parra through many books of poetry expresses his worldview; he is haunted by two extreme themes: beauty and evil which are the two great mysteries of human adventure.

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