I Am Bound – A.J. Huffman

to this world by tethered strings,
tenuous filaments, familiar
fingers that cripple my feathers,
shave them until my skin bleeds
chaste indifference. Raw,
I am held by a gravity
I do not comprehend.
It weights me, like diamonds, uncut,
confused. I pile myself in cave-like corners,
coughing dust and spite
at every new ax that comes to pick.


Hard Liquor – Steve Sibra

I am not a drunk

but when the bottle talks, I listen.

Only a fool doubts the wisdom of bourbon on ice.

If the flames of my own fury

render me to ash – well then, whisk me away

to a quiet corner, or under the baseboard’s lip

I have nothing to offer

guests will track me all over your good carpet

so brush off my dust

from the sagging doorway of your white-washed recollection.


Above all

you must not let me sing, or play the piano

my music offends the spirits.

I don’t mean the ones in the bottle

I mean the ones who melt from the walls like apologies

to God for the Death of Love

The ones who proliferate all suffering and misery


The ones who cast out anvils like fishing lures

to crush the heads of the bleating flock

to sink the hopes of the righteous and forbearing.


The ones who bathe in the blood of the innocents

congeal on the surface of the organized mind

clot in the throat like a sunken promise


I mean the ones who distill all thought

In to purest regret

behind unlit windows of unbroken pain.

The Unbecoming – Annaliese Feininger

I don’t want to write
any more sad poems about you.
I want to celebrate
the love instead.

Sunsets, thighs,
ocean eyes.

The tides now tug my
hair like your fingertips.

I never left you my slip
to remember my face –
to give you a Murakami taste.

I know I sent you on A Wild Sheep’s Chase.

You told me last night
what a waste I was, to let you go
without a fight.
Darling, I fought
for us day and night.

Through whispers and screams
nightmares and dreams –

I won’t write any more
sad poems about you.

For the day came
when I heard your name,
turned my head,
and smiled through.

Crystal Ball – Samantha Albala

Crystal Ball

There is an elongated breath- almost like a pause, but it consumes you instead of allowing you the needed time to think. You swallow hard, line your feet up to face the moon, and begin to whisper. Confession is an ancient practice, you are used to it by now, but feel as if you’ve adopted someone else’s weight. You expose your palms, wrists, collarbone, and neck. You hope you have choices in this world—that it isn’t a predetermined mess pulling you along paths splashed with shadows and pushing you out of sleep with a violent determination.

Time moves at half speed.

You are grateful for the quiet that darkness grants but fear it will betray you.

You want to understand, but above all else you want understanding. Not eager ears swallowing every complaint and worry, but spread open arms enveloping every mistake and desire as justified, honest, necessary. Someone is perched on your shoulders. Something is lingering in your mind. Each vowel sound scrapes off an ounce of worry. Each adjective flings a few grams of doubt. Promise you will let go of yesterday—leave it in your dreams. Attempts don’t melt decision, nor do they solidify eternity. They only stretch a moment longer in a new direction you did not notice before.

Take a step, take a handful of time, it is all you have for now.

Seven impossible things – rob mclennan

Seven impossible things – rob mclennan

                    I did not know
             when I began I’d fill these poems
             with so much information
                     Heather Christle, Heliopause


Any time I open a new novel, I start by reading the final line on the final page. Only then can I start at the beginning.


She rolls her eyes. She tells me that this has much to do with my fear of the unknown. You need to know how it ends, she says, otherwise you refuse to engage with the process. You have to know everything that happens before it actually does.

But reading the final sentence doesn’t reveal anything about how the book might end. It only tells you the ending. It says nothing about what that might mean.


Fear. She claims I’m ruled by it. You barely leave the house in the morning until you know what we’re having for dinner. You refuse to be spontaneous.


What exactly is fear? Fear is about being unprepared.

I never craved the ending. I want to understand the ending, and how it occurs. I want to understand how we arrive.


What Obi-Wan Kenobi said in Star Wars (1977), suggesting his years of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”

It was only the passage of time that allowed his return.


Thousands of times over are people killed by guns than, say, Ebola. Ebola was quickly registered as a crisis. We can’t talk about guns.


Lately I’ve been thinking about the Greeks. They had a system for everything. How the Ancient Greeks annually banished a resident selected through community vote. Whomever was selected would be banished for a period of ten years, after which they were, if they wished, welcome to return.

Ten years: he could be dead by then.


They say light travels at a particular speed. The speed of light.

A fixed point. How the temperature of any room is not necessarily ‘room temperature.’

There is the optical trick of seeing the same light-object in multiple points in space simultaneously. There is the knowledge that all we see in the Heavens are stars and galaxies tens of thousands of years dead and disappeared by the time we even notice.


I am talking about how the sun always sets. How the sun also rises.

This is something we take for granted. How did we get here?


After all this time, my mother still dead. How is this possible.

Across Ghazal – Justin Million – April 30

Synapse Writer-In-Residence #NPM16

Across Ghazal

This poem detects defects;
we are all covered in hand-me-down, microscopic red lights-

I said before that I would try
to reach you: the call is coming from inside the house…

Inspire me or die already. I kiss my hands, place them and hope
in the jaws of a Geneva protest weasel.

Look me in the books
and tell me-

30 costs more than
30, so I’m spent-