Three Poems by Gerry McGrath


Gallery Space by Zachary Knoles

By Numbers

Rain dashed the window
and flushed away the view,
such as it was – clothesline,
ditch, riverine road,
the neighbour’s house and stable,
a sorry ewe.

Field, ditch, snow-heavy canopy,
ice-laced reach of water and
buoyant cloud-rich sky
were promised in traceries of line
and a gnat-count of numbers.
(Every man a Rembrandt!
The box boasted.)

Half-drunk on oils, I painted past
the season I was in, but came back
long enough for supper,
quick work with a spoon.


Buy just enough paint for one canvas,
its surface not to exceed a certain size.

Dine out on one poem
of sufficient wit to cause dessert
to melt just a bit.

Stay with the story you’ve already told
even though by now it’s growing old
and taken to the polish you’ve applied
at parties until the hostess nearly died.

Make sketches of what you intend to do,
but don’t do them. Less is more,
so less of your stuff means more of you.

When taking French, two dozen words will do
to flavour speech and mint an aperçu.

Canadian Content

Our broadcast regulator
warns our porn channels
are insufficiently Canadian.
We’re failing short
of thirty-five percent, our hard target.
The nation is not being served.
So, forget the lack of speaking parts –
we need more Canadian
lumber in the yard.
Too much truck with imported arts
will bring us to our knees.
We’ll not sow our seed at pleasure’s ports,
we’ll slip and lose our grasp
of the nation.
Is not the beaver ours after all?
Why should the Yanks and Swedes
swap in their pelt for ours?
Damn infamy, this assault upon
our shores, quotas violated,
flesh culture compromised.
Jobs, of course – gainful employment
is desired for our own
homegrown blue crew.
Why should they have to
go abroad for work when eight-point-five
hours a day of broadcast time
are theirs to fill?
Not that we’d notice in the end
the provenance of pubis or of penis,
or from what side of the 49th parallel
our fellow was fellated.
In the absence of flags,
there’s no saying how
we tell one birthday-suited citizen from another.
This is where our guardians come in.
Firmed up with fact and figures,
they’ll see us safely grown
as a country not entirely silted under
by foreign loam.

Jerry McGrath is a painter and poet has written art criticism for Vanguard, C Magazine and Parachute. His short stories have been published in the Antigonish Review. Another post by Jerry McGrath.

Zachary Knoles is an artist and visual designer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. He studied art at San Jose State University, where he earned a BFA in Animation/Illustration, and he currently works as a UI artist in the video game industry. You can see more of his work at his website,

Two Poems by Stephen Klepetar

Li Bo and the Moon of Expectation

Tonight we’re in a field, with the moon
rising, shedding its ice light where wildflowers
sleep. Meadow grasses tickle our ankles

as we wander toward the tree line. Li Bo
points to the sky. “That’s the Moon of Expectation,”
he tells me. “See how her shadow eyes open,

how her mouth breathes a hopeful song, a prayer?
It seems to me her face blurs with tears, proud as if
her fine sons had left on a voyage, sailing their shining

ship around the horn of the world.” Crickets hail us
in soft light. We expect nothing but the taste of wine.
We drink deep, toasting the hope in her ghostly face.


Li Bo Tears Up His Contract

and lets the bits fall in a soft avalanche
on his kitchen floor. He’s a holdout.

I make coffee, sit him down, push over
the sugar bowl. He says “I’ll walk

the river, following mallards as they
swim toward the dam. I’ll make

my home in mud.” I offer toast
and cherry jam. “I’ll be a bird,” he says,

“and drill clean holes into the trunks
of rotting trees.” He eats thoughtfully

at first, then with great pleasure
at tartness and sweet. Carefully we run

the numbers, his demands against risk
and time lost, the chance that some younger

voice might take his place on the team.
“Remember Wally Pipp,”* I warn.

Later I find him on the floor, folding
shredded papers into perfect little squares,

as if this act of tidying could  bring his body
into line with old rage and newfound appetite.

Steve Klepetar's work has appeared widely and has received several nominations for The Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and Return of the Bride of Frankenstein.

Three Poems by Nate Maxson


Astrolabe/ Autoclave

Rivers named in pre-latinate languages disappear along with the words for them
It’s possible to follow them (from the middle)
And see them go vaporous into the salt and dust
Having only an awareness of a vague center
But the following of it
No one ever does that completely
Even though it’s what you’re supposed to do,

Be a big shot, use the right tools: mapping it all out
Idolizing the stock image of Dante driving on an interstate which is gradually sloping down
Yes, yes: all that is very nice
But does the city really dream?
To build a railway for the dead and never see it’s end
Who dreams each spike and each nail?
The word escapes me like a sudden anosmic taste of rye whiskey and steam

Obligatory Weather Report

It’s raining as the room goes dim
And the rain turns to snow and the snow turns to dust
A tinnitus whisper (what comes after)
It sounds like it’s speaking in Italian
I would stay away from the windows if I were you,
Wait until this passes over
A record skipping vaguely
Like a stone
In this
One remembers from childhood
Curling up and waiting

Portrait Of A Mountain

There are no mirrors
On the Brocken, highest peak of the Harz mountains in Germany
But they bring them in, rolling them up the mountain in wheelbarrows
Covered in white cloths for Walpurgisnacht
It’s the stage for Faustian weather patterns (Mussorgsky set Night On Bald Mountain here, for what it’s worth)
And it has stone children around the world

Me, I live in the west and my predecessors ( I prefer that term to more familial titles) fled the very east whose fulcrum is the mountain in question
They say that if you stand at the top, your shadow will project along the mist: endless, massive and tall
The Brocken shadow, we must have seen someone standing up there glowering down at us though my first reference to such things comes from Elmer Fudd

It goes deep down into the earth: the proto-wall, the ur-wall (Brandenburg just an imitation split in half by another pretender), gate to the neutered aether (home of one of the earliest radio towers)
And comes back out here, not in a mountain
This flat spot in the desert, formation like an infant’s soft skull
Years earlier, Bonny Parker and Clyde Barrow grit their teeth preparing to be burnt at the stake on a pile of tires
These are things that an abstinence-only sex education won’t teach you
Some baby spiders knit parachutes just out of the egg and float away

This is how we separate ourselves from disease, a bad idea in the long run
In the far like mist and exhaust fumes being confused as astrological signs
Considering hibernation,
Before the invention of television snatched up the concept
We called it remote viewing
This is how we build the walls
How we climb the walls
I climb up on the roof and strike a pose but my shadow remains small

How the mountain vanishes

Nate Maxson is a writer and performance artist. He is also the author of several collections of poetry, most recently “The Age Of Jive” from Red Dashboard Press. Maxson lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Two More Poems By Grant Buday


Natural Forces

Behold gravity guide
your feet to the path
where trees drop limbs
like bolts of dead lightning
exposing stillborn rings,
concentric witness
to seasons lean and fat,
this deer trail a habit
of thought worn smooth
with use and shed antlers
gathered and carved
of a buck that could leap
this double-wide I call
home in deft defiance
of the same gravity that keeps
Mars and Saturn in their place.

A Higher Order of Being

No nibbler of tin cans our beloved Bella La Goatsi
makes a queenly progress astraddle a ripe and fullsome udder.
Suffering no doubt regarding her worth to the realm of milk
she selects the high road through the sheep muck,
such peasants those beasts bestuck with twigs and dags
while she wears her white coat like a royal stole,
our dowager Sanaan with the self regarding eye
brooking no insubordination or parvenus,
rears on her spindled legs and rams aside the rude
who eat off the ground while she dines high on the branch.

Grant Buday has published ten books. His most recent novel is The Delusionist  (Anvil Press, 2014) which was shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Book Award.

Two Poems By Grant Buday


Thomas De Quincey

They never mention how he was addicted
to laxatives as well as laudanum,
rarely examine the psychology of living
fifty-five years with a brown python
sleeping coiled in his colon, stirring only
with liberal dosings of bran and hot water,
black coffee enemas and green apple stews
to goad the snake from its slumber,
a life-long project he pursued like an epic,
employing an entire regimen of asanas
recommended by his daughter in India,
the prune compotes employed by Coleridge,
nor do the maestros of academe
note the fasts that generated as many visions
as the Dark Mistress herself.
No, the professors judge this unworthy
of their magisterial delvings, yielding
only an ore of darkly impacted peat devoid
of diamonds despite the decades of pressure.

Work Ethic

Don’t think I spend my time wasting my time,
not at all, I’m inventing carbonated milk,
tea-flavoured coffee, a light fuelled by methane
that shines out your ass, the biodegradable toupee,
and of course immortality.

Naturally there is foolishness.
It may be the essence of a fertile mind that sows itself
with every seed gusting past in the wind
unedited by restraint, probity, caution, or any Christian virtue.
I advise nothing less than flying
as close to the source as possible so you see
I don’t sit toadish in my caravan
failing at crossword puzzles,
glooring doomily at the rain
and messing with syllables but pursuing
art designed to elevate us all.

Grant Buday has published ten books. His most recent novel is The Delusionist (Anvil Press, 2014) which was shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Book Award.

Three New Poems By Max Ghiara


Two Platonic Solids by the author

Visiting Ancestors

I asked old Master Herbert Z
if his ancestors had ever
come home to him,
every other morning,
looking for words

& if it had been hard
for him to imagine
the wordless worlds
they inhabited

essentially, said Master Z,
ancestors come to check if
our lives are aimed
at the dead center
of the rising sun,
where there is
no black or white
or any vari-colored wheel’s turn
& steel flows like whiskey
on the tongue,
because they know
words cannot prevent
dryness of the heart
which is all
they worry about

Recipe for Sole

As we drove across the bridge
spanning the river,
there was a blue flash
of a kingfisher’s wings,
like the red-eye making
of an instantizing camera:

       click, pause, gone: blue eyes?

I’ve been here too long,
said the old man in the back seat,
rummaging among the many
heads he had plucked over the years:

     from books, memories,
     vegetable patches,
     let’s see, here’s
     Averroes vs. Aquinas:

     Basically an old conundrum:

     soul may or may not be individual
     but serves us well enough:
     Who’s for dancing cabbages:
    my many-cheeked dervishes?
cabbage head 1: Averroes,
laid on a bed of
olive oil & red pepper;
cabbage head 2: Aquinas,
bathed in a pesto of garlic &
fresh churned butter

& all the other things we plucked that
stand scrutiny & respond to love

Aphorisms #64

(For Vasudeo Gaitonde)

silence could be a color
if colors spoke

assembled in
color swatches
of alphabets:

but colors are silent
because they’re
already complete
in themselves

like this tree
which is green
holding a roof
over earth, over hell

and a floor for heaven
above, which is basically space

with its own tantrums
its meteor showers
its falling stars

its unending vastness

all colors from a
different palette

More paintings by Max Ghiara can be found here.

On First Looking Into Frommer’s Panama by Donald McGrath

The author notes that this poem was written in response to the Irish writer Sean O'Brian in an online issue of the Guardian, which picked it as a poem of the week. O'Brian was also riffing off Keats's sonnet On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer--


MUCH have I travelled in ye realms of olde
And many bookish goody-two-shoes seen;
Round many Western islands have I trolled
In my Mini Cooper polished to a sheen
That Françoise Hardy plucked her eyebrows in, between
Renditions of Oh Oh Chéri, in a demesne
Beautiful librarians in cardigans eschewed
(Such places were, they said, so very rude).
They’d rather stay at home and write a novel
And keep mum about it in some Romantic hovel
And stare out sometimes at the sky, unlike the wren
Of the genus Campylorhynchus, which sings
Frequently from exposed perches, and spreads its wings
As eager as an Irishman for stout, a beatific
Smile on his face no less pacific
Than that Ocean that Cortez with his stout men
Looked silently upon, upon
A peak in the tapón del Darién .

National Geographic by Kristin Chang


Kiduskanski by Lukas3

National Geographic told me
that the Yeti Crab is so unique a
new family was invented to classify

Here is what I need: a family that will
make seafood on Sundays. A family
that will not steal miniature salt shakers
from airplane trays

It survives because it cultivates bacteria
and eats it. That is something I can do, cultivate
bacteria and then eat it. Flagella knotting into

actual moons behind my knees, families are terrible
because they are a way of practicing pain, of
seeing what you will one day do with a bb gun
and a full-scale collage of sea animals, soft human

some fish remind us that sound is so much
slower than light. You hear their dying
only after the fact, only after their bodies
open flame. Some fish eat their children.
I am so proud of my upper lip, the way it
can be an act of war, a thing of destruction,

that you can look at it, the breadiness,
the pink, and tell that it comes from some place
of death. When my abu tells me she wishes
she had recorded my birth

as proof that something happened

Some say birth has an echo but I don’t hear it

What I do hear is the tasty teethy crunch
of a midday car crash
the sound of a swordfish through a fatty house
the swordfish that hates getting confused with the Yeti Crab

All the Yeti Crab wants is to be acknowledged by
something bigger than itself something
not National Geographic

It’s always bright in certain parts of the ocean
the coral bright and the fruitiness of its constant screaming
birth and the fish who are there
just want to forget

When I saw in you the tendency to spread your guns into thin cities
to knit a child out of your wet hair and name him something like famine
the old flagpole of pretending those mouthfuls are part salt anyway
the salt jingling our bodies as we stand there like
bent hours clutching the jellybodies of everything
we can eat
in the ocean
can we burn us clean
let’s start with the kind of fish blood that runs clear, end with
the doctors saying we need more sodium, iron,
4 fully functioning chambers
after emailing back those millionaires in Nigeria
you know more than me. About what to do with a mouth
and all that water. The answer is to swallow
all birth rooms and spit them out
perfect cyclical food chains

I called the hospital to listen to your mechanized exhale
the slap of fins in your throat
so neatly audible I felt compelled to leave an
answering voicemail that was only
my exhale, my drippy hum hardening and hardening

This is how the Yeti Crab dies: slowly,
in full possession of its white hard self
and hoping someday to

drown the sea
in something bigger than itself

Kristin Chang lives in Cupertino, California. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Word Riot, Winter Tangerine Review, BOAAT Journal, Voicemail Poems, and elsewhere. She loves aquatic mammals. You can visit her at

Photo by Lukas3, courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

A chapbook excerpt by Kathryn Jones

Kathryn Jones, Grand Central
Grand Central, Photo by Author

the water is too hot but you do not change it. you sit and curl your shoulders inward. the water is too hot. it is scalding. your skin is becoming mottled- bright redness peppering your shoulders. you can hardly breathe.

later on you light a cigarette. you do not like to smoke but you persist at the habit. the cigarette dangles from your fingers lifelessly like an unnecessary appendage. you do not know why you started or why you have not quit but it is perpetual. in a few pulls the cigarette is exhausted. you light another and it makes you feel disgusting. you finish it too.

lately you have felt outside of your body. everything is too crowded. there are too many people. you start to panic

one day you walk up from the subway and realize you are at Ground Zero. you did not mean to be there but you are there. again there are too many bodies. you breathe the air deeply. it is thick with sorrow, but soft. there are too many bodies.

you feel like an insect. you do not know where you are going but you are following an instinctual drive and the gleaming hub of bodies.

please take your time.

you begin to breathe too quickly.

please take your time.

your body does what it accustomed to doing—stutters—and your chest begins to come undone. you feel too open.

you remember the conversation you had in the kitchen. it was a long time ago. you were trying to explain what it felt like to him—you had the burning sense that he did not know—all he had to say was:
   let it soothe you.

your body slows. everything is green and you have found the river.

you are very tired, but you do not need to rest. it is not unpleasant.

Kathryn Jones is an American writer living in Boston. She is particularly fond of haikus and dead stuff/taxidermy and rescues animals in her free time.

Tale of the Knife & the Heart by Chen Chen


On the balcony my mother raised her meat cleaver
to chop watermelon. I was with her for a moment,
then back into the apartment, no purpose but summer
& speed. & so my head met a desk corner.
& so the sharp echo of the meat cleaver, the gleaming
cry of the watermelon—my senses wanted to fly
out my head, but gritting my teeth, I kept them in.

My mother chopped everything with her meat cleaver.
Except, over the years, meat. I’m becoming such a vegetarian,
she said, like she needed an intervention.
In fact she was trying to intervene with her high cholesterol,
high blood pressure, stress. You’re making my heart bad, she said
when I did bad things. Stop running around, or one day
you’re going to have an extra hole in that head.

The meat clever had a hole in its head, so you could hang it up
in the kitchen. To me it was also an eye. Keeping watch.

Entering dreams: my mother walking the hallway
to my room, her feet loud with intent, her hands with
the glinting knife. She’d brought both of us
all the way from China, but unlike me, it
stayed Chinese.

She was getting closer. I could almost feel
the meat cleaver’s eye. No. Look
I’m writing the characters for broccoli. No. Don’t

It always ended as she was still approaching.
As it was. I woke in a sweat. Curled up in a ball,
like a watermelon that had been spared.

Chen Chen’s work appears/is forthcoming in Poetry, The Massachusetts Review, DIAGRAM, [PANK], and Twelfth House, among others. Recent honors include being a finalist for Narrative's 30 Below Contest and the second place winner of the Joy Harjo Poetry Award, from Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts. He is currently finishing an MFA at Syracuse University, where he is a University Fellow and a Poetry Editor for Salt Hill.

Image by W.Bagg from Jones Quain’s The viscera of the human body, 1840. Via the University of Liverpool Medical Archive.

Posts by Chen Chen.

Two New Poems by Zachary Horvitz


Image courtesy of the British Library’s Canadian Colonial Copyright Collection, via The Public Domain Review

Béla, Planting

Béla is planting mushrooms. He stole them
from the kitchen. “It is a political move.”
I do not doubt him. At dusk he moves
in silence beyond the fields. His bicycle
is blue, his sweater a crepuscular color.

Four Octobers

Although there was culinary lavender in a plastic bowl
on my night table, quite literally my nose fell
instead into the tight crease of a black book.
Although you were waiting for me across the distance
of exactly four Octobers, quite literally you had fallen
each separate season on all fours, and not for me.
Although there was a purple vase for the unspecified
if not plastic houseplants you gave me, I put them in a bottle
of coke. I put them on my night table, in a bottle of coke.
Four Octobers ago you promised the tight crease of your
lavender cunt. When it is cold, I take the flower buds
from the plastic bowl, and brew them in a tea.

Zachary Horvitz is from Newton, Massachusetts.

Last Friday Night by Nathaniel G. Moore

This is the Zodiac speaking in answer
to your asking for more DEETAIL
about the good times I have had
in the vallejo area, I shall be veryy
happy to specify the rolly polly deets
of my last FRY night at CIRO’S the slut
bar cocaine den where the Thorncliffe strangler
and his family go for their weekly
alcoholic rage banquets

On the 2nd DECEMBER I raged war with several patrons
over their immoral ingestitude & my pontification
was met with laughter then patron policy revisionism
of less things ingestitude all-attitude down it like fawn
to stream; a hostile capsule from an overflowing corruption
pond while I pen fake experiences on stall wall:
your wife did a bump in the bathroom then bloomed
and wrist watches were left behind
but the ATM still slits your throat
the bartender lifts a pharmacy fingerprint.
I am now in control of less things.

More work by Nathaniel G. Moore
Encore posts by Nathaniel G. Moore

Marla Maples, Stepmother September 1865, by Nathaniel G. Moore

I was seventeen, newly widowed
when I first put a family of pheasants
to bed, in a deep silk linen crib,
damp with talcum.

Reliving so much death the country tallied,
we attended in total 3,977 funerals.
In those days, ‘GROCERY CLERK’
had been my eminent title.

At the civic centre, three months after
The Civil War gravy had all but dried up,
I left your stepmother crying softly, my
elbows covered in soot, riding away
by carriage as she faded slowly and scale
amongst the bologna.

Missive, a new poem by Donald McGrath

Hi bro’, brief note just to say
Mahler auf der Couch a complete washout.
Vaseline light glancing off canal water, off Freud’s white linen suit.
Mahler a haunted crow, Freud a loping buffoon.
Abrupt cut-ins of the bellicious Alma
royally reamed by Gropius who was, moreover, well named for the role.
Well suited too… when clothed.
Left early—sweet dreams, Sigmund.
Picked up Bartelby & Co., smoked a spliff,
entered Dudedom und the book. Best reed
since the slow onset
of the Cabanne-Duchamp dialogues,
post hash brownie.
Had coffee this morning with a Ministry colleague.
He’s giving me the Bianco steely eye
and gabbling without pause of
Catch 22 and Milo Minderbinder.
I just want, love o’ Christ, to finish
my egg-on-muffin in peace.
But that was me, was it not,
tripping downstairs in Halifax
and perorating on Camus at breakfast.
So payback, then, in karmic coin,
small change, life in the Buddhaverse.

Moneygram by Donald McGrath

Let’s start, why not, with Nanny O’Rourke
who slipped me a furred 50
the day I left for university.
“Spend it well,” she said.
The optimism of that bright phrase
has grown somewhat shopworn with the years…
Once I found a $20 bill
in the pocket of a dirty shirt—Christmas,
College and Grace, streetcars
grinding by fern-frost windows.
So I kept the tribal faith and bought
a mickey and a steak.
Fast forward now a bit: I’m rolling
coins at a table where a spouse
who’s come into a sizeable inheritance
sits drinking tea. She’s not, let’s say,
a fan of my special brand of equity.
And I’ve waited on benches outside banks
until midnight when my account
swelled briefly like a cankered pumpkin
before collapsing on its own rot.
I’ve walked with a toddler on my shoulder
through driving sleet to sell
books for diapers.
And I’ve survived attempted shakedowns
by the provincials and the feds.
So believe me when I say I’m lily white.
I’ve been spared the stain of filthy lucre.

A new poem by Cory Lavender

Mother’s Harbour

A bracing sea comes on and I revive, plunged in reverie.
At dock’s edge, I grab onto this life preserver to get hauled back on deck.

Son of a fisherman’s daughter raised on choppy
Atlantic succour, I tread the length of a Halifax wharf,
drift between distance, detachment and eyeing
a wallet-stowed picture of her, young, down Port Mouton,
curled up on beach stones, hair windblown, smile broad as the whitecaps.

My boat’s anchor rope billows. I descend from a line of fishers,
caught in a sea-tossed gill net. This womb guts then buoys me.

A new poem by Cory Lavender

Warning: The ossuary tour could make a strong impression
on children and people of a nervous disposition

I spiral five storeys into the earth to an inscription that translates “Stop!
Here lies the Empire of Death!” Entering the dank tunnel I descend
stone steps into the hand-dug cellar under my mother’s parents’ house.
Nervous as a kid to go down there, I’d test myself on how long
I could stand beneath a bare bulb among deep-seated shadows.
Glancing up at the quarry sky, at torch-scorched arrows,
I hear family clomp across kitchen floorboards overhead
like horses’ hooves clickety-clopping nights for two years
down cobbled city streets carting skeletons disinterred
from overspilling cemeteries to be heaped in these catacombs.
Entering the abandoned mine, my wife beside me, I’m alone,
a tourist never before exposed to human bones,
a little boy in his long-gone grandparents’ cellar.
Among pell-mell or painstakingly stacked piles of skulls,
thigh and shankbones, the remains of six million Parisians
and engravings of morbid French poetry, I see shelved
the preserved flesh of Grammy Roy’s stores, cobwebbed
mason jars of pickled herring, solomon gundy. Beets still blood red.

A new poem by Jerry McGrath

Walser in Nolita

I came upon it this morning,
walking down Elizabeth Street.
Last night it poured so nothing
would’ve happened there.
People were gardening so
I talked with them, feeling the fit
of the place. Later, on the bus
I met a red-haired beauty
called Emma Day. Southern accent.
Said she was a nomad.
Gave her my card.
Said she was also a twin.
Second twin in four days.
First was Tiffany, a waitress
on Spring Street. She poured me
generous glasses of wine.
Oh, NYC!

Gale by Richard Outram

Encore Literary Magazine is extremely proud to have permission from the executors of the estate of the late Richard Outram to present work by one of Canada’s great poets. Poems by Outram will continue to be featured here, thus helping to keep alive the singular voice of, in the words of Alberto Manguel, “one of the finest poets in the English language.”


You huddle against my shoulder
In the lee of a mauve quartz-
Birthmarked granite boulder,
A grain of sand of sorts.

One of Zeno’s arrows,
An indivisible tanker
Crosses the wild narrows.
Eternity may canker

Love like the vast rust-
Roses along the hull.
Time of course must.
Lightly, a glutted gull,

Into the wind that stings
Tears to our eyes,
Lifting dihedral wings,
Rises, flies.