• Impossibility

    by Vytau K. Virskus


    It is said there is a wall
    That is so high, so beyond count,
    Described as being far too tall
    For mind or matter to surmount.
    What can be done seems limited by
    What hands can touch and eyes can see.
    Yet what lights beyond the shadows lie,
    What truth beyond the horizon be?
    What can’t be seen seems out of reach
    To mechanism, man, or mind.
    Though edifices have been built
    By those who are completely blind.
    It’s said stars light cannot exceed,
    A time through distance that must be
    A limit which, for now, proceeds
    A constant through infinity.
    To those intrepid souls that seek
    What eyes or thoughts still cannot reach,
    And do not submit, nor remain meek
    When challenged by the chasm deep.
    A universe now may be large or small;
    Dreams but the shore of a vast sea;
    Discovery dwells on horizon dark;
    And light may speed past relativity.
    Those whose eyes are young and bright
    May be starting on the brink,
    Of a journey that just might
    Find a truth we cannot now think.
    Whatever t’is that just can’t be!
    In my own venturing mind
    Is only waiting for discovery,
    For impossibility…is yet to be defined.


    Vytau K. Virskus was born in a displaced persons camp in Tübingen, Germany, shortly after World War II. His parents had fled their home in Lithuania on the eve of the second Soviet occupation. The family immigrated to the United States on a liberty ship in 1950. He grew up in Flint, MI, where his father found work as an engineer with General Motors Corporation and later attended Michigan State University. He graduated with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and worked at MSU as an operations and energy manager until he left to attend Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, MI, where he earned a Juris Doctor degree. Mr. Virskus is the principal and founder of Millenium Engineering Co. and serves as an energy and engineering consultant with over 35 years of experience in the field. He is also an avid skier, fly fisherman, and sailor, and has studied classical piano. In his “spare” time, he enjoys drawing birthday cards for his wife Cathy, and writing poetry for his three adult children whom he hopes to inspire to great thoughts and great things.

    photo by ReaderWalker

    Language built…

    by Wes Solether


    Language built around mythological fights—a knee to the tiger’s ribs.

    The difference between epigraph/epigram/epitaph is death.

    Clocks stalking as death. A small group of farmers in Illinois losing its religious leaders to clocks following them around since birth.

    You can write about going
    only on the cusp of

    One might find a well-organized star cluster in office windows.
    One might find someone looking back at you.

    The small bridge
    only a creek deserves.

    So many names we should know and can’t remember faces.


    Wes Solether just moved back from San Francisco to his home state of Illinois to better connect with the corn that raised him. He’s reading Americana by Don DeLillo right now. He’s recently been published in Vector Press, Epigraph Magazine, and ditch.

    photo by Ines Sidel

    Die Ant

    by Jon Bennett


    I have a job babysitting
    an autistic man
    obsessed with garbage disposals
    the gas range, and ants.
    “Die ant!” he says,
    and stubs out the little lives.
    These things
    are not symbolic
    they just show
    we have no power.
    We have no power in the world
    and I myself
    can save no one
    so I sit with the ant man
    while I myself
    wait for the thumb
    of God.


    Jon Bennett is a San Francisco poet. His work has appeared in 13 Myna Birds, The Blue Hour and Horror Sleaze Trash.

    photo by Nick Fidele


    by Steven Armstrong


    Marlene entered the world with no blood in her veins. Nearly translucid, covered in fluids, her parents could barely make out her face. They huddled together holding their wailing child, noticing she weighed almost nothing. Surprising, given her healthy size.

    When her father and nurses attempted to clean her, the girl slipped away from them, slowly floating in the room as if gravity did not exist.

    None believed what they saw. Marlene’s mother noticed the fluorescent lights shining through her baby’s body as she reached out to catch her. She shared a curious look with her husband. A nurse fainted.

    Steven Armstrong lives in the Silicon Valley, San Jose, California, where he mainly works as a staff writer for an entertainment website.

    photo by Mo.


    by Jon Bennett


    Everyone thought
    it was so cute
    the little girl, 2 or 3,
    kept running, squirming
    hollering, bouncing, the dad
    would retrieve her
    an armful of earthworm
    she’d escape, holler, run.
    I watched this go on for hours
    the dad’s arms becoming limp.
    There was something wrong
    what she needed was a jungle
    to learn about thorn trees
    to learn to fear
    without those lifeless arms
    reining her back in,
    or a field of daisies,
    a field so large
    running across it
    would finally exhaust her.
    It seemed
    the only solution.


    Jon Bennett is a San Francisco poet. His work has appeared in 13 Myna Birds, The Blue Hour and Horror Sleaze Trash.

    photo by Ben McLeod

    Surprise, Surprise

    by Donal Mahoney


    The mother’s dead.
    Thirty years later
    you meet the daughter
    and realize the daughter
    is the mother again,
    poking her finger
    in your chest half an hour
    after her plane lands.
    The same laugh knocks
    folks in the elevator
    back a bit.

    Every time the daughter
    grabs your arm
    to emphasize a point
    the way the mother did,
    you want a ticket
    to the Maldives
    or maybe Bulgaria.
    Sofia in the summer
    might be nice.

    This time, however,
    you stay put.
    She found you
    on the Internet.
    You must admit
    the freckles
    across her nose
    scream she’s right:
    You are her father.
    Surprise, Surprise.
    Her mother never said.


    Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis Missouri. Some of his earliest work can be found at

    photo by Switchology

    Weep Willow – The Blues for Lady Day (video poem)

    A video poem by Indira Allegra


    Indira Allegra is a poet and interdisciplinary artist whose work explores forms of queer intimacy, text, trauma and racial identity through performance, video works and handwoven textiles. A 2012 Lambda Literary Fellow and Voices at VONA Alum, she has contributed works to “25 for 25: An Anthology of Works by 25 Outstanding Contemporary LGTB Authors”, “Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art and Thought”, “Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two Spirit Literature”, “Konch Magazine” and “make/shift Magazine” among others. Indira reads and performs work in the Bay Area and New York City. Her experimental videopoems have screened at film festivals internationally. In the Bay Area, Indira’s textile works have shown at the Alter Space and College Avenue Galleries. She is currently completing her first collection of poems entitled Indigo Season.

    Tapping Out

    by Jon Bennett


    “Listen, Jessica,”
    I told the property manager,
    “that little guy that carves
    Buddhas in 310,
    fix his sink, OK?”
    The Chinese wood carver
    had been filling milk jugs
    with tap water
    in the communal bathroom
    for 3 years
    I knew he had crazy rent control
    and was scared of bugging the landlord
    but I was sick of it.
    A week later I saw him
    being carried down the stairs
    on his son’s back,
    his things piled in the street.
    I would’ve asked
    where he was going
    but I don’t speak Mandarin
    and really
    I didn’t want to know.


    Jon Bennett is a San Francisco poet. His work has appeared in 13 Myna Birds, The Blue Hour and Horror Sleaze Trash.

    photo by Alessandro Piana Bianca

    Fucking White Men

    by Pattrick Trotti


    J.D. Salinger makes an appearance on “To Catch A Predator: North Woods Edition,”

    Charles Bukowski caught at the local OTB trying to steal someone’s winning ticket,

    James Joyce auctions off his eye patch on eBay to help him in between books,

    Ernest Hemingway argues about guns in front of a studio audience on “Piers Morgan Live,”

    Jack Kerouac admits on “Oprah” that the only reason he championed Neal Cassady was because they were lovers,

    Franz Kafka is arrested on suspicion of arson while trying to get rid of his final manuscripts before dying,

    F. Scott Fitzgerald is taken to court for his role in the death of Zelda;

    Truman Capote drops his notes of In Cold Blood and writes about the trial, rough draft title: Death in the Jazz Age,

    All the while Jonathan Franzen is secretly contemplating starting a personal Twitter account; wondering if the next great American novel can really be titled hash tag.


    Writer, editor, student, Patrick Trotti lives in Tarrytown, New York.

    photo by BookLife

    For Black Rice

    by Steven Armstrong


    The Emperor’s guards move through the village tonight, carrying bags of rare black rice as they always have every year since I was a boy. Said to have healing properties, our dying village elder could benefit from even one grain.

    I step out from my hiding place on the large bushy hill, crossbow drawn. Heavy rain obscures my vision, but I see one guard I can take.

    I pull the trigger; my quarrel sings a silent song and stings the guard’s shoulder. His bag drops. Rice spills. I run to collect some before the guards converge and darkness greets me.

    Steven Armstrong lives in the Silicon Valley, San Jose, California, where he mainly works as a staff writer for an entertainment website.

    photo by PostBear