The Eagle Has Landed by JeFF Stumpo

So the thing you need to know about Americans
Is that we’re taught by popular media
That when a bald eagle opens its mouth
It sounds like a heavy metal guitar riff
And a hair band singer screaming
But actually the noise they use for bald eagles
In all the commercials and movies and things
Is a red tailed hawk
Because bald eagles sound like
There’s a seagull nearby throwing its voice
And the other thing you need to know
Is that Benjamin Franklin
Wanted our national bird to be the turkey
But obviously that didn’t happen
Probably because nobody could tell
Whether Ben was working on some complex metaphor
Like Declaration of Independence level shit
Or if he was just trolling everybody
Because you should also know
That Benjamin Franklin fucked with everybody
A lot
And he wasn’t actually an inventor
Or much of a scientist
He was just really good at branding
Also he went to France as a diplomat
And spent much of his time
I shit you not
Playing chess in the bathtub with a noblewoman
And/or porking French babes
While wearing a coonskin cap
I’m serious, y’all, he loved wearing that thing
And not the tricorn you see in the Disney mouse cartoon
And while we’re at it
Ben ran a printing press
And the printing press was not invented by Gutenberg
The Chinese invented the printing press
Like, centuries before that
Gutenberg invented movable type
So that you didn’t have to carve an entire page
Into a single block of wood or metal
You could take apart the first page of the Bible
And reassemble the letters to make the second page
Or whatever
I’m working up to some sort of complex metaphor here
Declaration of Independence level shit
Where Franklin and the other Founding Fathers
And a healthy dose of Abigail Adams
Keeping John from going off the fucking deep end
“Remember the ladies” and all that
Spoiler alert: they forgot the ladies
Anyways, so Adams and Jefferson and Franklin
Are all, hey, here’s these systems of government
From Rome and Greece and the Iroquois Nation
Let’s gumbo the fuck outta this stuff
And then call indigenous peoples savages
To keep street cred with the Old World
And gumbo is mostly a Louisiana thing
Which was French territory around this time
Until Jefferson completely undermines Congress
And cuts the Louisiana Purchase
What I’m saying is that give or take
A couple hundred years
Thomas Jefferson is responsible for turducken
This is the least of his sins, y’all
I’m just saying
Some people wrap a chicken in a duck in a turkey
And some people wrap themselves in the flag
I guaran-fucking-tee you Benjamin Franklin
Would have flipped his shit for turducken
He would have proposed that as the national bird
What is more American than that
A bird in a bird in a bird
We’re three times the country
America is a shit-ton of countries
Wearing each other as hats
Ben Franklin in his coonskin cap
Pounding away
Like he’s got a heavy metal soundtrack
Its in our national DNA to put each other over the barrel
Every year we give thanks
By stuffing a turkey
You’re welcome for ruining dinner
Somebody is going to tell me this is too extreme
That there’s gotta be an America between
Porn star Ben-jammin Franklin
And whatever serious shit they taught you in school
Fine, fine
Just remember that sometimes compromise looks like
Halfway between two extremes
And sometimes it looks like
3/5 of a person
I’m just saying
That it was illegal to kill bald eagles
Before it was illegal to kill Native Americans
I’m just saying that wrapped up in all the insanity
You just find smaller madnesses
I’m just saying
That I’ve been rearranging these words all week
And hoping they say something different this time

JeFF Stumpo has been a lot of things – part-time professor, slam poet, bookstore owner – but these days he’s mostly the prologue to his daughter’s novel.

Photography by John Goyer

John has been involved in photography since the days of film and manual focusing. He free-lanced for an upstate NY paper in grad school and much more recently was the President of the Northern California Council of Camera Clubs. He judges photo competitions in California and spends his days working as a physicist – hence the ties to Albuquerque through Sandia Labs. He enjoys green chile and spending time visiting with his model and photographer friends in the land of enchantment where he has a home/studio on the west side.

Ballad for the Bad Guy by Mark Antony Rossi

When I watch television I usually root for the bad guy. Not because I’m fascinated with evil. I’m just disgusted with hypocrisy. I despise the so-called good guys turning grey. Don’t bulldoze me with blurring the edges baloney. Being half good is like being almost pregnant. Ambition in the bureaucracy is deadlier than any naked crime. It’s one of the reasons I cheer for the law breaker. His motives are purer. He is playing one side of the street. He’s less mean spirited than the family man willing to rationalize misdeeds in the name of private school tuition. It’s hard to be on the side of the angels when the angels have bigger horns than the devils. Yet the complexity of the human condition traps us outside of the garden of Eden. We murder our brother and claim self-defense. We sell our sister and seek a tax deduction. We ignore our children but demand their respect. Perhaps being a bad guy is less stressful than the baggage of a hero. His wife stopped loving him ten years ago. And carries more guilt than a catholic priest. The bad guy needs no confessor to knife his successor. It’s an easier life than rich guy rules made for paycheck fools. I’m not naive enough to believe the bomb he put under your car is not personal. However; visiting danger zones with loved ones is similar to walking in a zoo without cages. Body parts and broken hearts mark the heavy loads hauled by hypocrites.

Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and host of the literary podcast “Strength To Be Human”

Zanzibar Night by Ana Fores-Tamayo

Insufferable sleep
burdens the intoxicating odor
of vagabond nights,
as the broken eyes weigh heavily,
mirrored images
of eternity succumbed.
The endless touch of passion
hears its celestial innocence
and is silenced.
So I smell the tacit reek of smoke
clogging my every spore,
Spices of cloves and nutmeg
infusing my dreams,
choking that annihilating vapor
of Zanzibar and lust.

Being an academic not paid enough for her trouble, Ana Fores-Tamayo wanted instead to do something that mattered: work with asylum seekers. She advocates for marginalized refugee families from Mexico and Central America. Working with asylum seekers is heart wrenching, yet satisfying. In parallel, poetry is her escape. She has published in The Raving Press, Laurel Review, Indolent Books and many other anthologies and journals, both online and in-print. Her poetry in translation & photography have been featured at home and internationally too. Through poetry, she keeps tilting at windmills.

Photography by Arun Kapur

Charismatic. Enigmatic. Passionate.

Lover of life and all truth in it!

Arun Kapur is a UK based visual artist, poet and mental health advocate. He uses the power of the arts to promote mental health awareness, wellbeing and community building!

He has always had a love for the arts for it is his voice!

He believes that we all have purpose and never fear to be heard!

we can face anything by Linda M. Crate

had a tête-à-tête
with my dark
she’d been clawing at my
door all my life;
but in fear and ignorance
she had been shoved aside
because i was afraid
she was evil—
but she taught me that
she is just another puzzle piece
in the tapestry of me,
and that without darkness
there can be no light;
she taught me that i can be both
maleficent and aurora
both mina and dracula
& persephone who was both
flowers and death—
she taught me that she wasn’t
here to destroy or tear me down
from my heaven,
she was the magic i had been missing
all the years as i laid in a numb whisper
of pain;
together we can face anything.

Linda M. Crate’s works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of six poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: More Than Bone Music (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019). She’s also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018). Recently she has published three full-length poetry collections Vampire Daughter (Dark Gatekeeper Gaming, February 2020), The Sweetest Blood (Cyberwit, February 2020), and Mythology of My Bones (Cyberwit, August 2020).

3 Poems by Patrick Meeds

Honestly, It’s Not for Everyone

After the operation every bump we hit on the ride home
from the hospital made my incisions remember being made.
You know it’s not like you see in the movies at all.
Getting punched in the face hurts way more than it looks.
The same goes for punching someone in the face.
It’s like punching a bowling ball. Knuckles strike bone
or get torn open on teeth, revealing a whiteness
rarely seen. Like a sky full of ice. Like the morning after
a new snow. It’s easy to assume everyone knows everyone
these days. Bicycles are being made from bamboo.
Necessary changes. A hip check to the psyche.
A gut punch to the soul. Layer after layer of overdubs.
Who can tell what’s real and what has been manipulated.
Soon we may all be extinct,
like the Passenger Pigeon, the Pyrenean Ibex, the Golden Toad.
I wish I had taken the chance and asked you to marry me
even though I knew you would have just said no anyway.

I Can Hear The Light

My father was a carny barker.
My mother was an astronaut.

I was born in a funeral home.
I refused your apology for naming me.

I played slide whistle in the choir.
I divined the meaning of the tap dance.

I invented long distances.
I swam the english channel wearing a three piece suit.

I drank the clever solution.
I poisoned the memory of a crow.

I cast an anchor into the soil.
I let the crying sky cry.

I brandished laughter on demand.
I revealed my tiny trebuchet.

I punched a hole in you.
I split your seams.

I baptized you with brine.
I waxed your brow with turpentine.

I barrel-housed with you baby.
I rotated with you wisely.

I sang your silent song.
I memorized your melody wrong.

I repeated several sins.
I travel in drops of rain.

My father was a carny barker.
My mother was an astronaut.

A Life Unsweetened (Oh Yeah!)

The poetic thing to say would be
my blood is the color of a fine red wine,
but I don’t drink. So the more accurate thing to say
would be my blood is the color of Hawaiian Punch.
But I know even that’s not true.
Because every time I do, the Kool-Aid man
comes crashing through the wall
and he’s not bellowing Oh Yeah!
He’s crying Why? Why must you hurt me?
Why do you tell these lies?
Because he knows.
He knows that the guilty blood
that runs through my veins was mixed
up from packets of cheap unsweetened
colored powder. He knows that my childhood
was sitcoms and hand me downs.
Fast food and a derelict Chevy Vega
on flat tires in the side yard.
Some people are money.
Some people are art.
I am textbook.
I can bend spoons with the power of my mind,
but I won’t.

Patrick Meeds lives in Syracuse, NY and studies writing at the Syracuse YMCA’s Downtown Writer’s Center. He has been previously published in Stone Canoe literary journal, the New Ohio Review, Tupelo Quarterly, the Atticus Review, Whiskey Island, Guernica, East by Northeast, Door Is A Jar, and is forthcoming in Jokes Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, and Doubly Mad.