When Nebuchadnezzar Ran Away

When Nebuchadnezzar ran away the earth neglected to spin,

the mockingbirds whispered elegies and the indigo clouds caved in


but then it was once again summer

(and summer came back just the same)

with pop songs and poolsides and popsicle sticks

and neighborhood baseball games,


yet we would all stand at the window,

watching the skyline burn,

wondering where on earth he’d gone

or if he would ever return.


They say that cats, in their wanderlust, have a constant yearn to roam

yet, in their hunt for food and warmth, eventually come back home


but maybe Nebuchadnezzar

tired of mindless pats,


maybe he was a beatnik beast:

a Vasco de Gama of cats,


maybe, beneath his wiry frame, there lived a secret romantic

who longed to nuzzle the Golden Gate Bridge or lick the rolling Atlantic.


Sadly, though, my family thinks that his life was all too brief

and he met his end on the razor edge of a young coyote’s teeth,

especially when a neighborhood mom

informed us that she had found

the flesh and whiskers of her very own cat

in pieces

on the



and it scared us to think of his gentle meow

muffled in frightened breath

as he glanced through the chasms of cold green eyes

in the moments before his death.


But Nebuchadnezzar never came back

from wherever he went that night,

though sometimes we would see his face

in the dusty midnight light,

or in the ink of a newspaper page

that one of us has sighted,

describing an owner and run-off cat

who, somehow, were reunited.


These happy reunions were tabloid myths

and our other cat was brought

to live for nothing but tuna and sleep

and the moles that he sometimes caught.


His flowing fur filled up with knots.


His stomach grew long and dense


and he hardly dreamed of bygone days,

scurrying by the fence.


On August mornings, he wouldn’t hunt,

but only look through the screen,

and wonder why there was empty space

where his feline friend should have been.




Though Nebuchadnezzar ran away the earth continued spin,

autumn fell in with a see-through splash, like ice in a glass of gin;

months continued to peel away, like strips on wooden chairs,

and I watched them disappear,

perched on concrete stairs,


searching for creatures beyond the grass,

creatures I thought could be


now returned

from a corporate hotel in a tree:


a suitcase of rabbits around his back,

a credit card in his paw,

the crooked grin of the Cheshire Cat in ridges around his jaw


but all of the other cats that passed

at night, when the lamps were dim,

were fat or thin or fierce or weak,

but not at all like him.



Once Nebuchadnezzar ran away

we never were the same,

our nights grew distant

our voices; soft

our wild hound dog; tame


and, all of us,

in our collective grief,

agreed that it was a shame,

to lose a cat with a blazing heart

and an incomparable name.



By Jonah Dratfield



To further comment on the way
your eyes dismantle me,
I sometimes feel my heart’s little beak
pecking at the inside of my ribs
like it wants to rip its way out
of its repetitive, dead end job.
Leave me hanging,
aorta sputtering
like a leaky garden hose.

Again, in regards to
strange behaviors of the cardiac variety,
it likes to burrow down deep
within my warm thrumming tummy
plucking holes in my gastro-tract
trying to find you from that time
a few weeks back when
I swallowed you whole—
I told you, I’m a snake.
I squeeze till you’re blue.
Unhinge my jaw and—
once I thought I was poisonous.
The kind that kills quickly, but
instead, it turns out I constrict.
I am slow death and cradling
I am lulling you to sleep and
forgetting you exist
and you, blue
I digest you for months.


By Daniel Godwin


Unforseen Problems with Large Cups

This morning I woke up to find Bobby Vinton
had moved into a studio apartment
in my head. He sang all day but only one song
about a girl I know. Ever since I met her
my poems have sounded like stories
that overuse the word become.

Mr. Vinton I understand
she wore blue velvet I was there.
I saw her lit by foreground lamps
over a smoky game of beer pong
at a party I mostly remember. Her smile
was resplendent. Made you consider
what it would feel like to miss her.
I dread the day I miss her.

Mr. Vinton I’m going
to file a complaint with the landlord
if you do not quiet down.
Many of the neighbors have thrown their windows open
to let the summer evening in and I’m afraid
because your singing brings them to
their windows—so starry eyed.
Please, Mr. Vinton—
I have not been able
to get my reading done I just
can’t think with you
singing about rapture
or whatever
and I’ve almost fallen out my own window
once or twice because
your voice has charmed me so.

Mr. Vinton you’re a menace—
crooning long into the night as in
the one that was bluer than velvet I know.
I know. She’s everywhere.


By Daniel Godwin


In Us It Lives


By Andres Villeta


in pursuit of oblivion

I remember I remember you, I remember faces, I remember much too much. I remember like a trawl-net, I remember fathomless and clear.
I remember —though I’d rather forget.

I remember until I am consumed. I remember with tenacity, remember regardless of resistance, I remember in spite of it. I remember tight teeth. I remember why
I remember.


By Sxm Wxng


Mask of Mano

“The mask made me do it,” said the young Liberian. He was tall for his age, slouching his sweat-glazed head to his chest as he stood in the musky odor of the hut. Incense and blood tickled his nose.

The boy shuffled forward, his barefeet padding softly against the arid soil which served as a living room carpet. Smoke clouded the hut, obscuring the boy’s visibility. His toes knew the way, and they carried him across the dirt “living room”, past the “kitchenette”, and into the family’s ceremonial space. On a gnarled wooden table (next to several small chairs and a goat’s carcass), sat the family’s ceremonial mask. A weak flame from a nearby brazier flickered in the shadows. The mask came into detail.

It was carved from a single piece of wood, smoothed to a shine. Gonlekpei, that was its name. Luogon, the barefooted boy, liked that name for the mask—“Man under the Hut”, it meant. He thought it fitting, Gonlekpei’s high cheekbones, elongated nose, and coarse beard reminded Luogon of his Colonel.

Luogon bent over and picked up the mask, a small wedge of hashish escaped his pocket. Gonlekpei glared into Luogon’s dilated eyes, bloodshot and vacant. A woman’s scream erupted somewhere behind Luogon. His eyes never left those of Gonlekpei’s.

“My boy!” screamed the woman’s voice, shrill and quivering with grief. “What did you do?!”

Luogon searched for an answer in Gonlekpei’s empty sockets.

“Too old…” whispered old man Gonlekpei. “Bullets…”

Luogon returned Gonlekpei to his throne on the altar. Then he found his kalash and shot the woman six times. He went to investigate the body. His foot struck against the wedge of hashish, which had dropped from his pocket moments before. He smiled at his good fortune, retrieved his treasure, and gently secured it back into his pocket.

On his way out of the pungent tent, ripe with decay, Luogon almost forgot to check if the woman still drew breath. The Colonel always rewarded due diligence.

“She’s dead,” Luogon thought to himself.

One of his rounds had struck her just below the left eye. Her lifeless body had collapsed into a heap on the dirt, her arms draped over the skinny frame of her eldest son—his skin porous with bullet-holes. Among the gore and spent cartridges, Luogon almost didn’t recognize the faces of his mother and older brother.

He smiled. “The mask made me do it.”
(Luogon can be translated as “boy born after the death of a sibling”.)



By Austin Treat




By Brittany Fay


Fall Spirits

Fall Spirits - Version 2

By Brittany Fay



[This page is under construction.]

I’m trying acrylic on particles restless with transferable skills.
I’m drying acrylic on articles of stress and conferrable bills.

Stumble: shy from a spotlight. Flood lights. Motion
sensitive and twitchy.
The focus of this, why this patch of grass over the other?
And I’m beveled and ashy. Brilliant angles, plays — culture
Leveled. Scumbled. Glazed.

What is silhouetted starkly is
kind of hard to see with my astigmatism. And my glasses slipping down.
It’s any after, night and predilection
Give me every right direction for contrast.
Finances, and keeping the lights on
Even in a dark room. And I’m kind of out —
Little eggs, streetlights, little currents boiling that presciently predict the tick rhyme my stomach roiling. From lack of
But I don’t gotta be in service of the bigger picture.

As a rule I’ll love magnetic fear, the pull before the snap, the hup
before the heart-droppingly short stop and the new line behind the
enter, except when I don’t.
Can’t. Cues and lines to remember, fill out, snake in
or out clutching my papers. It’s a lot of work trying to be discrete.
I pretend to hate smooth transitions.
And I don’t feel comfortable with smooth transitions, like

What’s at stake? Slow drips on duckwing tips,
Straight up living and coming to grips.
A solid dissolution I’m reflecting on here is lack,
slack for ropes that might be important and may be too far away to consider.
Thinking of what’s said about knots and fraying and ties on purpose — I’m just nervous about feeling too loose to adhere to the whatever the hell connects and look
Polarization? I’m graduating, and
I’m done with introspection, I say to myself and the world.


By Ria Geguera