Two Poems by James Feichthaler

All prayers that go unheard won’t go unanswered

As conscience rummages through the trash of life
The young me wrestled to ambition’s curb —
Used notebooks, empty beer cans, microphones,
Old Nikes, several basketballs, and a blurb
(I penned way back) about some rapper’s beef –
The world is wakening to its usual sins
Of self-importance, self-neglect, self-hate,
While dead men slump into their freezing cars
And start their engines up, reluctantly;
On last legs, weeping at eternity’s gate.
Like them, I’ve longed for something better, to be free
Of bosses’ snarls and hope-starved stressful hours
That fill with meaningless and menial work,
Having screamed my silent prayers into the deaf-eared dark.


From their perspective, everything looks dead

Most here won’t notice Nature’s handiwork,
Despite an office window-seat, which looks
Out on the wintry beauty of a park,
The shimmering lake that’s just beyond their books;
Ignoring the many geese that gather there
To pluck away the remnants of a season,
The brown-leaved trees, the breeze that’s blown them bare,
As though their noting them requires a reason.
Face down in paperwork, or scrolling up
To see what TikTok star’s destroying her rivals,
Their short attention spans prefer the slop
Society offers, drawn to glowing idols
Of soulless nonsense; making extra time
For things that don’t exist in the sublime.


James Feichthaler’s poems and essays have appeared in numerous print journals and e-zines throughout the years; most recently in One Art, Schuylkill Valley Journal, E-Verse Radio, and the Mad Poets Society’s Local Lyrics series. His first book The Rise of the COVFEFE was published by Parnilis Media in autumn 2020. For the past ten years or so, he has been the host of an open mic poetry series in Manayunk, PA called The Dead Bards of Philadelphia. He is also a hip-hop artist (Taliesin aka Big Tal) with a couple of albums under his belt and dozens of songs and music videos up on YouTube.

Two Poems by Julie Weiss

To the Pre-Adolescent Boy Stuck on Top of the Climbing Rock

We´ve all been marooned
on an island of terror at one time
or another. We´ve all sought
refuge in our coiled shell
of a body, been tossed about
by a wind that wore its impatience
like some flashy pirate´s garb.
When I was your age, a pack of us
armed with explorer kits and splashy
imaginations crawled into a cave-
like opening, yards from home.
I was the only one who screamed
and screamed, convinced the narrow walls
were crushing my life into a pitiful pile
of remains, skeletons were dancing
a derisive jig on the stage of my follies,
or at least that´s what I glimpsed through
my tears, the same swells thrashing
your dignity every time you peek over
the edge. Ignore the younger children
scurrying up and down the rock,
their triumphant chirps. I, too, went
limp on the flash-quick tongue
of my friends´ laughter yet endured
to assure you, forty years on, that hollows
eventually belch out defiant children.
That no, you won´t be condemned
to spend the night outside, prey
to the owls and rats of your father´s
threats. Though he´s been circling
the base for hours, all fins, teeth
and suspense music, all ravenous for
home, remember that in his youth
even he must have been blindfolded
by bravado, jostled to the edge
of a challenge, and at the last hopeless
moment, implored his various gods
to unleash rung after rung of salvation.



Say the day steps out in an ensemble of wind,
hurtles you backwards seconds before a branch crashes
onto the path, inches from your feet. Say the wind
nestles your cheek, slips its whole body into your
dimmed memories, those times when, like a high note, we´d
rock it out on the vibrato of God´s hymns, your
eagle soul perched on the verge of your future,
larger than a soar of prayers.

Say an eagle appears, gliding on the wind of your hallelujah.
Don´t ever pluck the feathers off coincidence, son.

Sometimes, an odd sparkle in the dew-swept grass might
lead you to the coin or trinket you´d thought missing
among the scattered days of your life. Someday, you´ll
understand the planes I´ve traversed to say: don´t let my
goodbye gala trip you up like a crack in the sidewalk. No
hill of grief is too steep to scale, once you drink from
the glory cupped in heaven´s hands. If you´re lost, know I´m
everywhere, in wind, tree, dew, and bird. I´m here, watching you
rejoice in a world spun on the axis of my love.


Julie Weiss (she/her) is the author of The Places We Empty, her debut collection published by Kelsay books, and a chapbook, The Jolt: Twenty-One Love Poems in Homage to Adrienne Rich, published by Bottlecap Press. Her “Poem Written in the Eight Seconds I Lost Sight of My Children” was selected as a finalist for Sundress´s 2023 Best of the Net anthology. She won Sheila-Na-Gig´s editor´s choice award for her poem “Cumbre Vieja,” was named a finalist for the 2022 Saguaro Prize, and was shortlisted for Kissing Dynamite´s 2021 Microchap Series. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her work appears in ONE ART, Rust + Moth, Orange Blossom Review, Sky Island Journal, and Wild Roof Journal, among others. Originally from California, she lives in Spain with her wife and two young children.

Sunday Morning Service by Le Hinton

Sunday Morning Service

Kneel, then touch the white blaze on your border
collie’s black face. Absorb her expansive
eyes that hold the world’s kindness.

For today’s scripture, turn to 1 Mary Morris,
read her words slowly with intention. Most
of life is sacred, most meaningful moments are missed.

Listen to Tyler Barton’s sermon, his praise
to the those who have gone before,
for those who will be absent soon.

In your hymnal, turn to “A Love Supreme,”
the holiest of psalms. Sing out. Sing with the clouds,
the ice cream, the stillness of your own breath.

Go outside to the collection plate that is our world.
Tithe to the birds, the squirrels, the worms in the soil.
Bow your head in prayer. Pray for this very earth.


Le Hinton is the author of six poetry collections including, most recently, Sing Silence (Iris G. Press, 2018). His work can be found or is forthcoming in The Best American Poetry 2014, The Progressive Magazine, the Skinny Poetry Journal, The Baltimore Review, The Pittsburgh Review, and outside Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

It Takes a Calculator to Count the Dead by Leigh Chadwick

It Takes a Calculator to Count the Dead

The sun bakes an island on the concrete.
I wake up to the smell of sulfur.
The magnolias in the yard are refusing to bloom.
I never know where to rest my hands anymore.
Between starting this poem on a Friday
and finishing it on a Monday, there have been
at least eleven more mass shootings.
I consider praying, but I was never taught how.
I dress my daughter in camouflage
and carry her from room to room. I tell her,
I’m sorry I brought you into this.
I tell her, Pretend a miracle is on its way.
I tell her, Maybe this is how we
learn how to pray.

Leigh Chadwick’s poetry and prose has appeared or is forthcoming in Salamander, Milk Candy Review, Olney Magazine, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and Bear Creek Gazette, among others. Her debut poetry collection, Wound Channels, will be published by ELJ Editions in February of 2022. Find her on Twitter at @LeighChadwick5.

Absence by Ed Ahern


In this time of needed absence
when distant words are thin soup
and images cannot be grasped,
we offer the lack of ourselves
as a protective prayer for those
we love too much to touch,
and hope that our denial
of those we hold most close
keeps us intact and caring
for a later day.


Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had over two hundred fifty stories and poems published so far, and six books. Ed works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of six review editors.

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