A Cruel, Cold Weapon

Poem 4.
Joseph Altamore

[A Lost Metaphor]

didn’t really ever
hit us

there was the occasional
or shove, the spit
in the face
but for
a man with
anger that weakened
the pillars of hell,
he was surprisingly in control

he did, however, have a
weapon of choice:

a cold glass of

she would
cry, scream, cry, scream,
and all at once
he would pounce upwards
out of
his desk
the couch
their bed

she always
where he was going
“don’t you dare, you fucking
bastard! don’t you fucking
but he had already made it
to the sink
by then

as the terrible
shot out of the nozzle
it was as if
he was a demigod
of sorts
as if
he had channeled the
powers of
as if
all of the elements
of nature collectively
rallied for him:

“smite thy woman, albert!”

and he would
chase her
while the food was cooking
chase her
while the morning news was playing
chase her
while the phone was ringing

and that
was no longer
that water was
truth serum, love potion
sulphuric acid
whatever he desired it
to be

but for
it was just



Joseph Altamore is an emerging poet from Rockford, IL. His work is usually prose style poetry. He has been writing for four years but only very recently decided to submit his work for publishing. So far, he has been published in an online publication named Dead Snakes.

The Wrist-bound Judgment

by Darius Stewart

In the early Sunday morning drowse
of the Travis County Jail,

paired off, handcuffed,
each to another & shuffling

in our over-sized flip-flops, we make our way
to court, waiting for the judge to appear

in his choir robe, yawning & wringing his eyes
of sleep between reading, one by one, the charges

we each face. I’m handcuffed to a man
who’s light-skinned—redbone we’d call him

in the ghetto—who insists on scratching
his balls each time the judge pauses

to allow Spanish translators to repeat charges
the non-English speaking are facing,

whether or not the court should contact the Mexican
consulate, & so forth, & it seems redbone

has made a game of this—at once enticing & irritating—
like so many men I’ve met outside these court room walls.

He might as well be any one of them, except the tattooed
tear below his right eye suggests he’s not

one given to sentimentality—a perpetual crier—but he’s a murderer
—yes, that’s what the tear means—& I wonder

what circumstances brought him to such depths
of human frailty—to kill a man & have forever

stamped on his face the night it all went down—
a drive-by shooting, a knife wedged between someone’s heart

& lungs somewhere in a black alley, the possibilities are endless—
& I shake my head, chuckle, knowing the crimes

he’s committed far supersede the drunk-
driving charges he’s now facing, & no one’s the wiser

save those who can read symbols on a man’s face
& know he’s completed a rite of passage,

a Bar Mitzvah of the ghetto variety, though
how does my second-degree felony charge stack

against his crimes, I wonder—me, who prefers Pinot Gris
to malt liquor, me who sautés & brines, writes

the moon into a story of unrequited love, me who witnesses
tufts of pubic hair wiring their way upward each time

he scratches himself, pondering
if it could ever work out between us.

Or is it the bond of incarceration that bonds us
as we are wrist-bound to one another, as if

we are indeed a portrait of perfect compatibility
—his Eliza Doolittle to my Professor Higgins.

Though of course, this is mere fantasy,
synapses snapped in the brain preventing

mind’s access to rational thought—
though in bearing this, seeds of regret blossom

in my throat & I’m choked with grief, knowing this is the end
of our courtship, & I must touch everywhere but where

our wrists are communally bound,
kiss his lips, that lone tear, awaken him

from the life that’s led him to this place.


Darius Stewart was born in Knoxville, TN, in 1979. He holds degrees from The University of Tennessee and the Michener Center for Writers (a B.A. and an M.F.A., respectively). He has been previously anthologized in two volumes of The Southern Poetry Anthology series, The Best Gay Poetry 2008. He’s been published elsewhere in Callaloo, The Seattle Review, Meridian, and dozens of other journals. He has authored three chapbooks: The Terribly Beautiful (2006), Sotto Voce (2008) and The Ghost the Night Becomes (2014). He bartends for a living because it makes more money than teaching, and lives with two dogs: Fry (his) and Waffles (his housemate’s, who doesn’t think he’s an artist, but he is).

Gravity’s Twirling Reach

by Darren C. Demaree

There are days when fervent Emily
is bored of her own gravitas
& as I watch her twirl above me,

paying attention only to her
own height, I am reminded
that gravity always wins. Not today

she tells me, as she strips down
to only her ego, which keeps her
warm enough to pirouette in the nude

& warm enough to spread to reach
the ceiling with one finger raised.
As I look, I can see inside of Emily

& I wonder out loud to her if this
is the kind of story that ends with
new understanding. She says it isn’t.


Darren C. Demaree is the author of “As We Refer to Our Bodies” (8th House, 2013), “Temporary Champions” (Main Street Rag, 2014), “The Pony Governor” (2015, After the Pause Press), and “Not For Art Nor Prayer” (8th House, 2015). He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.

better left sealed

canned heart
by j. lewis

falling is so easy
and we try so hard
to make love more
than it should be
than it need be

better to keep it simple
like your hand in mine
walking down the canned fruit aisle
talking about supper
or next wednesday

i remember those moments
like they happened today
and every single time
knowing you chose to walk away
rips the lid off my heart
like pulling the ragged top
off a can of peaches


j.lewis is an internationally published poet, musician, and nurse practitioner. His poetry and music reflect the difficulty and joy of human interactions, and often draw inspiration from his decades of experience in healthcare. When he is not writing, composing, or diagnosing, he is often on a kayak, exploring and photographing the waterways near his home in California.

Nostrovia! Poetry’s 2015 Chapbook Contest: Submissions Have Opened!

Jeremiah Walton:

Nostrovia! Poetry is preparing for its third round at the NYC Poetry Festival by hosting a free Chapbook Contest. Three winners will be chosen, each with a chapbook debuting at the NYC Poetry Festival + the option to hit the stage to represent Nostrovia! & themselves. Submissions are being accepted 3/23/15 + 3/24/15 only. This is a two day flash submission call. Poetry + prose + hybrids & experimental are accepted. All entries are free. Contributors receive 25 physical copies. More info below:

Originally posted on Nostrovia! Tavern:

Hi Everyone! Jeremiah and I are thrilled to announce that the floodgates have opened for Nostrovia! Poetry’s 2015 Chapbook Contest!  It is free to submit your manuscripts for print publication + debut at the 2015 NYC Poetry Festival, where you will have the option to represent yourself & Nostrovia! on stage / our vendor table.

Full details here (main site sub guidelines) and here (Advanced Submission Call write up).

Deadline: You will have until the end of Tuesday, March the 24th (at midnight, PST) to submit your chapbook!

Send your excellent work to nostroviachapbooks@gmail.com

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