Poem by Michael Collins



Slave Castle

When I seek to see      my soul as solely         comfort, 
she drags me back to the ghost-
damp stone walls
I know from the dungeon       built under the chapel:
On the far side a slender door lies
open, and sun              lashes through the dark room.
Once valuables were trans-    
posed, one by one,
through this needleye, packed into vessels.
But she will only be                perceived         in all
of time, only                in an image that includes
both the sun-
burnt merchant who has forsaken her
and cargo flogged beyond her ransom.
She chains my death-              sight to the way          the sun chased
waves across bluegreen ocean-
shades.  They run
out of space, one         by one. Give                themselves to warm sand. 
As if nothing had happened, as if       no one
had ever glimpsed this serenity in a pure
horror              I cannot see beyond.

Michael Collins is a graduate of Kalamazoo College, the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers, and Drew University. He teaches creative and expository writing at New York University.  His work has recently appeared or will appear in BlazeVOX, Dressing Room Poetry Journal, Red Savina Review, Blood Lotus Journal, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Grist: The Journal for Writers, Kenning Journal, Pank, and SOFTBLOW.  He lives in Mamaroneck, New York, with his wife, Carol.






Poem by Candace Polson:



dreaming the book
           Or you become someone else,
           one of the people in the story,
           doing dialogue of your own
                   -Don DeLillo
                             The Body Artist
he’s done this to me
this man
who drips diction
on my chin only
to lap me back in
the hallows of his tongue
the couch of his cheek
he’s done this to me
his peppered beard knows
the end of this red hair
the tightly curled s’s
left on the page
he’s done this to me
he slides out into
the hall
reaches for glasses
heavy door latches
my fingers caught
in the lingering hinges
of his voice

Candace Polson has a BA from Oregon State University in Poetry and Literary Theory. Her work has appeared in Cirque, New York Quarterly, and others. She is currently working on her first book of poems.




Two poems by Stephen Philip Druce:



My Sunset
In the distant horizon, a lava latent
has spewed its molten creatures in every colour,
sprawling beyond the shifting precipice in its tender atrocity.
To us - the immortal canvas, where the delicate hands of the gods
in their infinite measure, could never cast such a rich disarray
of raging splendour, bathed in a spiteful dusk that is not worthy.
There is an intimacy in the lurid,
an icy turn to a torrid story,
like ash falling from a cigarette
in the stillness of a travellers lips,
where a breath through the mist of a silk-carrying ship,
is now a wave of galloping messengers
with hushed secrets, that crash like symbols
onto the honoured land of the softly trusted.


Stephen Philip Druce is a forty nine year old music teacher from Shrewsbury in Shropshire.
As a schoolboy Stephen was nicknamed ' The Real Fantasist ' by his literary tutors - such
was the vivid imagination he displayed in his fiction-based essays. Stephen studied at music
college and went on to teach guitar, simultaneously writing songs he hoped would one day be
published - but it wasn't to be. It wasn't until the age of forty six, he decided to embark on a career of poetry writing. Stephen ( The Real Fantasist,) is also published in Fade Poetry, Pulsar Poetry, The Screeching Owl and Bareback Literature ( Canada ).