The Real World

Blowout along the way to work
I stop on the shoulder to change the tire
cars speeding by so fast
I felt hot gusts with
the violence of their passing.

And this violent street
seemed so serene
only moments earlier as I
navigated its easy turns
in a climate-controlled environment
listening to mid-century
French crooners on my iPhone.

Now I see the edges of the road
are littered with tire scraps and shards
of shattered auto glass
a raccoon corpse bloats in the sun.

I am changing my tire quickly
harassed by speeding sideview mirrors
which seem almost to clip my shoulder
carelessly close, I curse unconcerned drivers
such an impact would surely leave me crippled.

And as I finish mounting the tire
eager to return to my former idyll
I spot a buzzard at the tree line
patiently waiting for me to die
or else leave it to the raccoon carcass.

Wallace Barker

Blue Rain Hat

what can we do but string moths together?

in your Armageddon-slippers you say rain’s coming


in the new world bluebottles instead of hope

“you’re nothing like the virus” she said making popcorn


the homeless psychotic acts like a wardrobe

we look under the sofa for the word pitcher


right foot socks in one drawer, left foot socks in another

we buy Mickey Mouse band-aids to heal the lake


while watching Montalbano an olive falls through my I

for now we let the poplars stay outside


in my blue rain hat I fight off boredom with a stick insect

“when you’re through being a swallow you can make coffee”


before hoovering pick up the .s and ,s from the carpet

“don’t talk to the moon, don’t get it started!”


you’re not alone you have the black dog

eggs boiling and you consider adopting a cardboard box


we agree the ashtray has a hidden agenda

next to the remote there’s a remote and another remote


“Microphine”, you say like I don’t know what it means

in a yellow eternity we begin questioning needles as a concept


inflatable clouds take up half the room

the Earth is flat enough to be on TV

Johannes S. H. Bjerg

four from JD

the dallas salad of the hand warming

leeks and pie + a club card
the ace of the jungle is the spy

the wheat of the sprung national toe

now a saturned face
‎‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎to use a lariat


again with that strumming foot to decide
the bright wok of the forest is chosen


why so burger the foam, lex?
a corner of that thumb

J. D. Nelson

Postcard from the end of the world

Here, at the end of the world, the trees are skeletons. They have no leaves, no crows, no sparrows.

Around them there is only darkness and the gaping windows of long deserted apartment blocks: low cost blocks built during the communist era; boxes assigned by The Communist Party to landless peasants and unqualified workers. They came here from every corner of the country, drawn in by the newly opened coal mine; hoping for higher salaries and a better life.

Not far away from the crumbling blocks there are stray dogs and a garbage pile. Though the last miner left the town more than eight years ago it grows bigger by the day. I wonder if the ghosts of all those miners are the ones who make it grow; if it’s their discarded toilet seats, their holed bicycle tires and broken plastic buckets?

It is said that the town is still inhabited by miners, the ones who woke to find they were buried alive beneath their dreams. Sometimes, visitors can hear them talking in their sleep – they mostly talk of childhood, of days spent in some remote village somewhere in Moldova.

I sometimes wonder what am I doing here, at the end of the world? I wonder if, maybe, I am the ghost of one of those sleep-talking, sleep-walking miners.

Reka Nyitrai