Game Theory, By Brenda Butka

Game Theory
By Brenda Butka

Jet contrails tictactoe across the sky.
These days
X  marks killshots,
O is for bullseye,
no marks for near-misses.
Hopscotching toward the monkeybars,
tag you’re it for one teetertotter minute
of deficit attention.  No marks
for near miss.  No marks.

There should be no monopoly
on O’s and X’s.
Even bully boys throw down their toys
at dark
and head back home and hope
for hugs and kisses.
Brenda Butka practices medicine and poetry in Nashville.  She has had poems published in numerous journals, including The Threepenny Review, Cortland Review, Slant, Alimentum, and others.

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How Billy Writes A Play, By Ron. Lavalette

How Billy Writes A Play
By Ron. Lavalette

He chooses a theme and a pen.
The nib is crucial, especially
by the time he hits the third act
when he makes a fine point
on a dozen or so pencils for back-up.
He exposes the characters by stages,
methodically spilling ink on the script
here, blood in the storyline there, and
as their hearts resolve themselves
from paper into flesh, he beats
them into submission, his manuscript
their master, his work their play.

Ron. Lavalette (Barton VT) has been widely published, both in print and online. A reasonable sample of his published work can be found at Eggs Over Tokyo. Ron. blogs at: Scrambled, Not Fried.

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Can’t Go Home, by Mercedes Webb-Pullman

Can’t Go Home
By Mercedes Webb-Pullman

Totara stands defiant.
Behind him, my old home;
he still shadows night onto day,
my father the night man
my mother ruler of light.
Tree roots make caves for play.
My sister climbs up, away
as new baby cries. The tree stays
doesn’t go rushing inside.
We sneak from the yard.
No earthquakes happen, no fires.

From Reservoir Hill we

can see the tree. Home is
a dolls house, nappies flapping.
Ant people, pushing
toy prams, hurry along.
That can’t be our mother!
She’s so tiny! We lie
to roll down the hill laughing
clouds and ground swirl
in a giggly giddy dance.
We land in a helpless heap
at my mother’s solid planted feet.
Anger picks us up, shakes us
makes us hold her skirt

tows us home again.

The tree still stands there
larger, darker, my father dead
my mother old and weak.
From Reservoir Hill
I watch as sunset
makes a shadow finger of me

pointing home.


Mercedes Webb-Pullman: IIML Victoria University Wellington New Zealand MA in Creative Writing 2011. Published in: Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, poetryrepairs, Connotations, The Red Room, Otoliths  and her books Numeralla Dreaming, After the Danse, Food 4 Thought, Looking for Kerouac, Ono and Bravo Charlie Foxtrot.

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Hockey Fever, Even in a Cafe, by Shannon Rayne

Hockey Fever, Even in a Cafe
by Shannon Rayne

At Roasting Bean Cafe:

On the flat screen TV above the Poker Pro magazines
and to-go lids

Canucks are down 3 points

My Americano arrives with a thick cloud of foam
the size of a hockey puck, fans cheer from the TV

I feel like I have scored




Shannon Rayne is a MFA student in Creative Writing at The University of British Columbia, currently studying poetry with Ken Babstock and Karen Solie.  Her poetry has recently appeared in Poetry is Dead, filling station, and “Alive from the Center,” an anthology of west coast writers from Ooligan Press.  She is currently assembling “Coffee Stained” – a manuscript about coffee culture through the lens of poetry. find her at

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Competition in the Key of S Minor, by Patricia McGoldrick

Competition in the Key of S Minor,
by Patricia McGoldrick

The oldest sister
leads the way
first to walk
first to run
first, the piano, to play

first to hear
the youngest sister
play those notes so clearly
without a minute of practice…





Patricia A. McGoldrick is a Kitchener, Ontario Canada writer. Poems published in  anthologies, including: Animal Companions, Animal Doctors, Animal People; Beyond the Dark Room, an international collection of transformative poetry, proceeds to Doctors Without Borders/MSF; Poetic Bloomings–the first year. Recent titles include: Potato plus an acrostic fiction piece, Best in the Bruce! Poem, Girls and Green Apples, was selected as Monday’s poem for week of June 2 2014. Patricia is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and the League of Canadian PoetsPatricia A. McGoldrick–Author Site



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Poem Starting with a Line by Stephen Crane, by Pamela Sayers

Poem Starting with a Line by Stephen Crane
by Pamela Sayers

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
dancing with a rapier in hand,
folding the sky and clouds in lacy
patterns, I was curious and followed,
falling into an elixir of moon and stars.




Pamela Sayers is an English teacher living in Mexico. She traded in her city high heels for Doc Martens and a different, spicier life thirteen years ago. She writes mostly about what she sees going on around her. She now lives a stress-free life with her happy animals (2 dogs, a cat and a parrot).


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Ollie, Ollie, by Carl Palmer

Ollie, Ollie
by Carl Palmer

Giggling, she runs from the family room couch
where I sit and count, both hands over my eyes.
“1,2,3,4,5 and 5 is 10. Ready or not, here I come.”
First, in the kitchen, opening and slamming cabinet

drawers and doors, “No, not here. Not here, either,”
repeated loudly lifting all four corners of the tablecloth,
again as I look under a chair cushion, behind the curtain,

then seek into the living room to flip pages of a book
on the shelf, “She’s sure hiding good, where can she be?”
Muffled laughter in the closet, ever her same hiding spot,

as I pass the half open door, again not seeing her crouched
smiling presence as I continue my search into the hall.
“I wonder where that girl can be, I’ve looked everywhere.”

A tug on my pant leg, I turn around in wild surprise,
“Here I am, Papa, right here. See. You couldn’t find me.”
“You certainly are a wonderful hider, much better than me.
Now it’s my turn.” She counts with covered eyes as I slip
into the closet, same place I hid when her mommy was small.




Carl “Papa” Palmer, retired Army, retired FAA, now just plain retired, lives in University Place, WA. He has seven chapbooks and a contest winning poem riding buses somewhere in Seattle. Carl is a Pushcart Prize and Micro Award nominee. MOTTO: Long Weekends Forever


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I Am, by Nelle Lytle

I Am,
by Nelle Lytle 

I Am
and I despair
of understanding god
whose every revelation
is a puzzle
set around
a vacancy.




Nelle is a creature of earth and air. She is unabashedly romantic. A player, a lover, she was born a masked maiden, knows she will die some day, lives now. Nelle is a sometime poet. Her work may be read


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Playing Santa Claus, by Walter J Wojtanik

Playing Santa Claus
by Walter J Wojtanik

It smells of mothballs,
Red velvet with soot stained fur.
It looked much newer
when it fit better. It was
much redder when it was handed down.
But, the bells still jingle,
a sound that soothes and placates,
it resonates from rooftops
and hillside, taking it in stride.
Taking pride in the mantle, a duty
to take the beauty of a season
and spread it far and wide
all in a one-night ride.
I know what is expected,
I have never rejected this position.
It is a terminal condition,
I would expire without Christmas.
Even if I retired, it wouldn’t be the same.
It is a game I play every year
from way up here in the frozen North.
I don the garb and slip into my routine, of course.
I mean, who WOULDN’T want to play Santa Claus?


Walter J Wojtanik has been writing poetry longer than dirt. Walt’s
collection “DEAD POET… Once Removed” has recently been released. He’s returned
to basics; writing poetry for poetry’s sake and steps away from what he calls
“full contact competitive poetry. Find him at Through the Eye’s of a Poet’s Heart

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