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Adam Phillips-

Log Jam (Former Presidents Chapter #53)

Black tips of the long hooking white horns cut
The roof of the forest like twin dorsal fins.  Breathing
Heavily, boots unlaced, Paul Bunyan stumbled in the
Mindless, pulverized wake of the ox.
Its blood and ash flecked snout
Spewed smoke.  Where the hell’s
My hat, my ax, he asked
Out loud.  He sat, mopping the great pale cliff
Of his forehead, listening to distant explosions, choking
On gasoline fumes.  He’d known this would happen
Eventually.  Nothing lasts forever.  An army
Transport came flying out of the forest
Into the clearing, catching him right
On the ball of his ankle.  Goddamn it he hissed, limping off a
Distance as the truck’s engine exploded, bodies drooping from
The windows like drying wash.  A couple of soldiers
Hopped out the back and ran into the forest.
As of now, he thought
Or said out loud,
there’s no way back.
This, he thought,
Is a much different story.
He could hear the beast
Roaring in the distance.
The rest of the story unfurled
In his mind like acrid smoke.
He’d been recast.  No longer
Did the wilderness need tamed.
He saw how it would end, and shrugged.
Paul Bunyan stood, ground his heel against the smoking heap of tin,
And went to reap the brittle souls of men.

_______________

Dutch

Darren Daulton crouched behind
the plate, ligaments in his knees
crackling like campfires
in a primordial forest.

he’d been pulled from the shadowed alleys
of Philadelphia and pushed
squinting into the Miami sun,
like a broken nose on a mannequin,
like glass on the beach.

warming up he caught without a mask, spitting black
through splintered teeth. at bat

he ground down like an old man
fighting with a rusted lugnut
on a tractor wheel, muscling
the ball
into the right field stands.

whyn’t you do that in the game, asked the gawky kid, the
million dollar kid, the kid
just back from the
All-Star game.

that ain’t my job, he said, looking
like a tree stump in a coastal forest.

looking like a man-shaped patch
of forest.

like molded loam and ligneous
clusters and the moving shadows
of living things.

like a man who the woods
had eaten. a frog
in the throat
of the woods.

what is your job asked
the kid, looking back to the other kids,
the kids
who knew enough
to look away,
to fiddle with the laces on their mitts.

my job, said he, and the sky went black, my job, he said, and the blackness
bulged, like bulbous eyes…

my job is
now or never.

and the kids, their eyes
like coins, for the first time then
they saw

the thousand dawns
like burrs
in your eyes.

like handfuls
of your hair.

like a thousand
staggering dawns staggering
up off the beach at midnight.

do this now
said Dutch Daulton. do this now
or die. you will die. you will
do this, do this now, and/or
you will die.

and those boys, these
pretty pretty boys grew teeth and took
the field with hearts and eyes

already punctured in their minds.

_______________

half love

they cut you
off of me- lightning twitched in a hot black sky-
the face of the sky snarled- He

wrapped a strop around my heart, threw
it like a stone- my heart
tumbled slowly, a stone through blood, for you my

missing half, I spun with one
big eye, half lips, I dread

to think

what you may have

been going through.

Somehow,
I traveled a great distance

to a swamp- I sat, my

half, watching lightning strike
germs into fish and
fish into men- The gods felt bad. I heard half

my name. You

had a son- I had
another one-

The sky unfurled
and slapped the ground-
an altar, a cistern, a man
in a robe the light

shone on- I felt exposed, my half, my

bad side- your half
of the universe called

my name- I fought
through a cloud- where did all

these people come from-

my hair
burned- I kicked in the air.

you were a blade
fulgurating on the horizon- my story

has gone on too long

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My name is Adam Phillips, and I make my living in Boise, teaching at-risk junior high kids how to write, read, and dominate on the basketball court (these are three separate things…the kids don’t write and read on the court).  Every non-living-making moment is spent in Rockaway Beach on the Oregon Coast.  Everywhere, I’m outrageously lucky enough to hang with my disproportionately fantastic wife and two small sort of bizarre sons.

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Masthead

Editor, Lisa Zaran

ISSN: 1095-732x

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2007

January - Roger Humes
February - Jimmy Santiago Baca
March - Graham Burchell
April - Ruth Daigon
May - Anne Fraser
June - Corey Mesler
July - Scott Malby
August - James Keane
September - Maurice Oliver
October - Robert Pinsky
November - Louis Daniel Brodsky
December - Bill Duvall

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2008

January - Kelley White
February - L. Ward Abel
March - Maura Stanton
April - Dr. Charles Frederickson
May - Peter Magliocco
June - Penny Harter
July - Gary Beck
August - Jéanpaul Ferro
September - Fish and Shushan
October - Kenneth Gurney
November - John Gallaher
December - Carmen Alexandra

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2009

January - Karen Rigby
February - A.D. Winans
March - Donald Illich
April - Stephen Ferreira
May - Tracee Coleman
June - Ernest Williamson
July - Sally Van Doren
August - Nanette Rayman Rivera
September - Gianina Opris
October - Judson Mitcham
November - Joel Solonche
December - Peycho Kanev

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2010

January - Louis Gallo
February - Buxton Wells
March - Labi Siffre
April - Regina Green
May - Howard Good
June - Carol Lynn Grellas
July - William Doreski
August - Sari Krosinsky
September - Ben Nardolilli
October - James Piatt
November - Robert Lietz
December - John Grey

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2011

January - Robert Philbin
February - iolanda scripca
March - Tad Richards
April - Katie Kopin
May - Jacob Newberry
June - George Moore
July - Rae Spencer
August - Jim Richards
September - Antonia Clark
October - Tannen Dell
November - Christina Matthews
December - Charles Clifford Brooks III

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2012

January - Anniversary Issue
February - Jim Davis
March - Ivy Page
April - Maurice Oliver
May - Lori Desrosiers
June - Ray Sharp
July - Nathan Prince
August - Robert Klein Engler
September - Jenn Monroe
October - John Grey
November - Andrea Potos
December - Christina M. Rau

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2013

January - Maria Luisa Arroyo
February - Journal on haitus

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2014

April - Rebirth
May - Timothy Walsh
June - Brian Fanelli
July - Carol Smallwood
August - Elizabeth P. Glixman
September - Sally Van Doren
October - Sherry O'Keefe
November - Robert McDonald
December - Gerry McFarland

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2015

January - James Keane
February - Liza Hyatt
March - Joseph Reich
April - Charles Thielman
May - Norbert Krapf
June - Lynne Knight
July - Sarah Brown Weitzman
August - Tom Montag
September - Susan Palmer
October - Holly Day
November - A.J. Huffman
December - Tom Pescatore

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2016

January - Richard Perin
February - Linne Ebbrecht
March - Sheri Vandermolen
April - Molly Cappiello
May - Caleb Coy
June - Paul Lubenkov
July - Domenic Scopa
August - Adam Phillips
September - Timothy Gager
October - Bruce Lader
November - Holly Day
December - Al Rocheleau

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2017

January - Robert Lietz
February - Jocelyn Heaney
March - David Brinkman
April - Lana Bella
May - Kaitlyn O'Malley
June - Ruth Kessler
July - Chanel Brenner
August - Darren Demaree
September - George Moore
October - Joshua Medsker
November - Ralph Monday
December - Howie Good

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2018

January - Simon Perchik

Artwork

Image of bird by contemporary artist, Courtney Smith
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