“Van Gogh to His Mistress” by Margo Taft Stever


“Moonlit Dreams” by Gabriel Joseph Marie Augustin Ferrier (French, 1847-1914)



Van Gogh to His Mistress

He sensed his ear,
but he could
not see it.
In the blind
this is called

The last failed
of the body
to survive—
Keep this
object carefully.

The ear rested
on the table
among blue tints
and suppressed

To present
an ear
in the middle
of the night,
an arterial flap,
flap of
bat’s wing,
wing of angel.

First published in Salamander, 2014, and, also, included in The Lunatic Ball, Kattywompus Press, 2015, and in CRACKED PIANO, CavanKerry Press, 2019.

Margo’s latest chapbook,The Lunatic Ball, was published by Kattywompus Press (2015). Her other three poetry collections include a chapbook, The Hudson Line, Main Street Rag (2012); a full-length collection, Frozen Spring, winner of the 2002 Mid-List Press First Series Award for Poetry; and another chapbook, Reading the Night Sky, winner of the 1996 Riverstone Press Chapbook Prize (Introduction by Denise Levertov).

Her poems have appeared widely in literary magazines and anthologies including Salamander (forthcoming), Blackbird, Poem-A-Day, poets.org, Academy of American Poets, March, 2016; Prairie Schooner; New England Review; West Branch; Poet Lore, Cincinnati Review; Rattapallax; Webster Review; Cadence of Hooves; Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence; Chance of a Ghost Anthology; The Breath of Parted Lips, Volume II; and No More Masks. She is the founding and a current co-editor of Slapering Hol Press and the founder of The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center. For more information, please see: www.margostever.com.

“She Waits” by Daniel Knauf

datum 24-05-2004




In her favorite wingback chair
Her beloved dog curled in her lap
For the cavalry to come
And rescue her.

The bitter cold wind of yet another winter passing
Brushes her hair

A man stands behind her
His hand on her shoulder
A gesture of fondness
Were it not for the vise-grip

The bitter cold wind of yet another winter passing
Brushes her hair

And the dog is puzzled
Because the cavalry already came and went
Trumpets blowing
Banners flowing

Yet still she waits
For their arrival

And for each year past,
He takes ten
And for each of his dreams realized
A thousand of hers are


“I Dreamed of John Gilmore” by Tina Faye Ayres

John Gilmore (photo by Ian Ayres)

John Gilmore (photo by Ian Ayres)


I dreamed of John Gilmore

last night

John had left a journal

mentioned Ian and me

we were reading it

out in the woods

there was something about

a tree it fell

to the ground

I was making it

into smaller pieces

saving every scrap

because I was building

a house out of it

it was a nice dream

had a wonderful feel

and in it

I actually knew

how to build a house

I admire people

that can do that

it has always amazed me

what people can do


I miss John

I’d been worried

so long

at one point

he had taken to

telling me

he wasn’t well

but he wasn’t

gone yet!


I love him

there aren’t many

people in the world

I am close to

an odd day

felt like something

touching my shoulder

for about an hour

which is new to me

can’t remember

the last time

I got to feel

what it is like

to be touched

ghosts are strange

seems like if you tell them

to go away

they do

evening rides

would be wonderful

right now

it is just me

and the animals

and the fog

I’ve lived far longer

than I was supposed to

I don’t think I have

any business, really

in this life thing

but I am here

till I am not


“MIST” by Jeffrey Michael Grossi



O death, O spirit, O joy.
Doth thou know that all is absolute?

The wringing of the tides wash along the shores and with it scum.
Detox of life. I must clean up.

Guilt and victim make you I.
Is that a ray of truth coming thru the sky?

Oops!  I didn’t see you hollow horseshoe crab.
Death has come with a ray of light.

Adam is he whom I love.
Naked he fell for my attainment.

Blessed is he who is healthy for sickness lies within.
Blessed is he who is ill for truth is then proclaimed.

It is not of matter to live or die,
but to evaporate and surrender into the mist.

Faith, harmony and truth is all there is.


Jeffrey Michael Grossi

Jeffrey Michael Grossi


Jeffrey Michael Grossi was born on March 10, 1964.
He died on August 1, 1996 at 32 years old.

“Van Gogh’s Ear” by Carol Barrett


Salome Carrying the Head of St. John the Baptist, c.1549 (oil on canvas) by Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (c.1488-1576)


Van Gogh’s Ear

The one Gauguin nipped off,
sword flicking easy as a fly
from a melon, the argument
bled out under a pact
of silence. Vincent delivered
his own sliced fruit
to a lady of the night.
Perhaps she, the sinewy subject
of artistic debate. Surely not
a matter of camel brush
or palette. They were friends
once, the eared, the one-eared.
Not so, the Colonel’s ears
floating in water glasses,
dried peach halves
Forche would have us believe.
(He wanted to impress her,
and succeeded famously.)
Nor that other deliverance,
St. John the Baptist’
visage on a platter
for the pleasure of a dancer,
lithe, bare-breasted,
smooth as wine. Look
to the women in these veiled
and sordid plots, these grisly
portraits. They are almonds
and apricots in the dark oil
of men. En guard.


Carol Barrett holds doctorates in both clinical psychology and creative writing. The recipient of an NEA fellowship in Poetry, she has published two books, including the prize-winning Calling in the Bones from Ashland Poetry Press (2005) and over 200 poems in literary magazines and anthologies. She lives in Bend, Oregon.



“The Other Side of the Barred Window” by Sunil Sharma


The Other Side of the Barred Window

May 1889. Saint-Paul Asylum

Through the east-facing iron-barred
Window of the second-floor bedroom,
The familiar sky grew into a revelation
That electrified a young inmate fighting
His own private demons;
The ether got suffused with luminosity
And the stars and the moon orbited
In swirls very bright;
The other side of a mundane sky!
The vision uplifted the gloomy moon
Of a self-mutilated and starved artist, and,
The scene was painted and preserved as the iconic Starry Night.
That canvas still alive, despite the intervening time
And is part of a marvelous series and it
Forms a luminous summit of
World culture, easily recognized;

The sky was always there for those living
In the Saint-Remy-de-Provence and
Still there stretched out for other mortals in the world,
Yet its mystery, its spiritual dimension could only be
Captured by someone considered nuts
By the rest of the proper and the civilized,
What arbitrary cultural and social categories
To imprison and destroy tender creative minds!

Vincent van Gogh could see vividly the other side of the
Brilliant star-studded sky, and, the
Essence of the grim reality of his time and
Could easily locate its soul pristine in meadows
Sunflowers and the sky.
Asylum walls could not restrain his soaring spirit
And he drew furiously through his inner eye.

Madness was never so lucid
So receptive to the beauty innate
In things ugly/ordinary!

Like the famous Don Quixote and the cat in the Wonderland,
Dear Vincent—and rest of us through the Dutch artist—can
See things only the crazy can see
Yes, the other side,
That the sane and practical always dislike!

Mumbai-based,Sunil Sharma, a college principal, is also widely-published Indian critic, poet, literary interviewer, editor, translator, essayist and fiction writer. He has already published three collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction, one novel, and co-edited five books so far. His six short stories and the novel Minotaur were recently prescribed for the undergraduate classes under the Post-colonial Studies, Clayton University, Georgia, USA. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award—2012.

He edits online journal Episteme: