It Was So Easy To Be A Bird by Dan O’Connell

It was so easy to be a bird.
I lived on the outskirts of the city
in a tall, top-crooked tree not far
from a field of corn.  In winter,
I raided garbage bins for bread
and found seeds scattered on the snow
as if left just for me.  My wings
took me to rooftops with splendid views
and to wires that swung in the wind.
It was so easy to be a bird.

It was so easy to be a bird, though
people think it must be a constant
struggle to survive, but after rain
it’s no work at all to find a worm
and my body and mind were hard-wired
for patience and the berry’s bloom.
It was so easy to be a bird.

It was so easy to be a bird
but still I worried about cats as soon as
I touched the ground, and shotguns and
slingshots and I never got used to cars.
In spring, I was never quite sure I
built my walls well enough to withstand
storm and squirrel and neighborhood kids,
but it should have been easy to be a bird.

It should have been easy to be bird
but after my nest with three perfect eggs
fell as if – it seemed – for no reason at all
I never recovered and chirped
incessantly that the sky was
full of satellites
that could track a beeper on the feather
of a tail and target any place on earth
with smart winds and who knows what
designed to shake our homes apart.
I knew the government geese were lying.
It wasn’t very easy to be a bird.

It wasn’t very easy to be a bird.
As a man, I can’t say things are any better
or worse, or the same, but I’ve been diagnosed.

Dan O’Connell is a four-time award winning poet whose work has appeared regularly in small and large publications since 1986, most recently Big Bell Magazine (2016) and America Magazine (Foley Poetry Prize, 2015). Dan O. is a former Philosophy and Rhetoric professor. He currently lives in San Francisco, where he has his own law practice and occasionally teaches law.


Dawn Creeps Across The Land by Kim Whysall-Hammond

Dawn creeps across the land
Shining her pale light into nests
Causing baby birds to call for food
Dormice to rub their eyes and blink
Ants to speed up their hurrying and scurrying
She reaches up to wash the sky with pale blue
And a hint of rose at the east
And , as a special treat today, the west
Smiling  to herself as the world awakes
She feels a certain self satisfaction as the Sun
With a near audible plop
Detaches itself from the horizon
Then like any other woman
Readies herself for a busy day

Kim Whysall-Hammond is a scientist and a poet. She has found that she finds beauty and wonder in places that others find a tad strange. She shares her poems at

Tendril by R Soos

a single shoot sprouts from my chest
and grasps hold of the desk before me
as I wait for the jury to decide

the pressure in the air has deafened me
the pressure in my mind has blinded me
the pressure in my throat has muted me

the vine from my heart alone can breath

r soos is one of those old poets who hasn’t learned better, and intends not to. He blogs several times a week at . His books are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. His life has the same aches and pains as all the other old folks he knows.

#2 by Gabriel Hadad

Sounds of sirens impending yet predictable disturbance
sitting at a McDonalds second time this week
That is two more times than the entire last year
that is precisely how I depict depression
no shit Sherlock
a clean soundsystem
clear bass lines in the back and sides
high hat & cymbals to the right
toms and bass drums to the left
and the cold plastic lyrics in your face
no one is responsible for your happiness
other than you and what you do about it
no matter what the internet says

Gabriel Hadad. I work doing translations and stuff in the North East USA.

10th Street by PW Covington

10th Street hangover morning
Contraband post office visit
Nuevo Progreso, Mexico

Pharmaceuticals and Cuban tobacco
Sent by mail, away
To a mountain state
In a cardboard box
Hair of the frog, soaking in
Blood Orange and Vodka
Edinburg in early December
Post election overcast
I only feel old
On mornings like this

I should have died decades ago
In aircraft wreckage and African smoke
What do the empowered young women see
When they look at me
Do they look at me?
Grey hair and a 38 inch waist
Leonard Cohen and Lana Del Rey
Coffee shops on mid-week days
Too close to call
Yet, too far away

Reflections are not reality
Ambitions do not defy gravity
But, those eyes
I want to drink her
Swim in her depths
As she reads James Baldwin out loud

She should leave me
With her taste on my face
For dinner with her fiancé

My knee never used to hurt like this
My country never used to elect fascists
10th Street, all the way to Trenton
Past Ferguson, past Standing Rock
Past galactic check points
In time eternal
Curling back to someplace
Left behind for good
Past the prisons I refused to let control me

And what of youth?
And what of you?
And what of her?
And what of truth?

On 10th Street

  PW Covington’s work has been published by academic journals and underground ‘zines, and he has been featured as a reader by venues and festivals across the Western US, including at The Beat Museum in San Francisco. He was recently the recipient of the Literature and Latte Scrivener Award for poetry from Hourglass Journal (Bosnia and Herzegovina). His third book of poetry, titled “Sacred Wounds” was published by Slough Press in 2015.  Covington is a 100% service connected disabled veteran of peacekeeping duty in Somalia and a convicted felon.  More info can be found at

Treat Yourself To A Jag by David Spicer

Forty years is a hell of a long time
to know anybody, especially a poet.
Most poets—as you and I both know—
are so flighty and super-extra-sensitive
you can’t sneeze without a crying jag
or a fit of hysteria, narcissism,  paranoia.

Yeah, I know, you’re reading this, paranoid
this sestina is about you and the time
you barfed on the floorboard of your boss’ Jag,
but he forgave you since he knew you as a poet
with a reputation of being so super-extra sensitive
you could sniff an atom of hostility with that nose

of yours, and then there’d be purgatory to pay and no
way to prevent narcissistic, hysteric, paranoid
antics from you, a soul so super-extra sensitive
that you forgot one day how to set the timer
for the concoction everybody knows as Poet’s
Pie in the shape of a book with a picture of a jag-

uar in the middle of a sneezing and crying jag.
No, this poem is not about or for anybody I know,
except that person who lurks in the ditch of every poet’s
head: the mush of narcissism, paranoia, and hysteria
all of us inhabit over the decades from time to time,
especially if we’re super-extra sensitive,

rather than what my mother called my siblings: sensible.
No, what’s sensible is never to step iambic feet into a Jag
or any other sports car unless it contains a bag of time
in its trunk and you, the driver, can say no
to your fixes of narcissism, hysteria, and paranoia
that you must have if you call yourself any kind of poet,

because you’ll do just about anything for another poem,
and you’re what’s termed super-extra sensitive,
also—you guessed it—narcissistic, hysteric, and paranoid,
even driving that birthday gift you bought, a candy-apple Jag,
for yourself, because you grew tired of telling yourself No,
and just couldn’t resist a motorized poem this time.

Thus, if you call yourself a poet, treat yourself to a Jag,
but remember that it’s super-extra-sensitive and has a nose
for narcissism, hysteria, paranoia, and—most of all—time.

David Spicer has had poems in The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Gargoyle, Mad Swirl, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, The New Verse News, The Laughing Dog, Chiron Review, Easy Street, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., Dead Snakes, among others, and in the anthologies Silent Voices: Recent American Poems on Nature (Ally Press, 1978), Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing From Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003), and A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Best of the Net twice and a Pushcart, and is the author of one full-length collection of poems, Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke’s Press, 1987), and four chapbooks. He is also the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.



An Air Steward Performs the Safety Demonstration by Simon Cockle

Standing there,
you were an anxious prima donna,
waiting in the first position.
I noticed the scarf around your neck:
tied in a hurry, it looked like a failed air-kiss.
After capturing our attention,
you began the performance;
the carefully choreographed tale
of the tailspin, the landing at sea,
how we oxygenated ourselves into delirium
to minimise the horror of it.

I thought of Yvonne Rainer –
the humdrum gestures, a fever
of repetition – while you showed us
the emergency exits like the Jesus of Rio
in the vivid livery of a budget airline.
We saw your mask fall as you made
the life jacket float us to
an undiscovered country.

Behind you, your partners
mirrored each move you made,
like Russian dolls, receding,
between the headrests.  At the end,
we were left in no doubt; it was a dance
we would all perform, sooner or later.

Simon Cockle is a poet and writer from Hertfordshire. He writes as part of Poetry ID, a Stanza of the Poetry Society. His poems have been published in iOTA, the London Progressive Journal and Pantheon Magazine, amongst others. He was invited to read at this year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival as part of the Poetica Botanica event. He teaches English in a local comprehensive school, and has a wife and daughter who nod reassuringly when he reads them his poems.