precious metals


Ben Nardolilli

Come and See the Show

He has prepared well,
Rehearsing his breakdown
For five sleepless years,

Pacing his defeat
Well in advance,
He has considered

All the implements well,
Which one will he choose?
Tune in and find out,

Tune out and you will miss
All the hard work
And the season’s number one

Suicide, the death
Everyone will be talking about
Around the tombstone

And the water cooler,
Don’t miss out
On his once in a lifetime

Chance, he surely
Won’t let you down,
Five years re-hearse-ing

Putting the pieces in place,
Then breaking them,
And blowing the dust away,

This exhibition won’t last forever.

Scurvy to Be Found

When the corpse is in the ground,
Old friends and wishes scurry,
Calendars bear the added weight
Of crossed out ink and the marks
Made by metal tips on soft paper flesh.

The parents set up their own ears now,
To defend their everywhere boy,
Compliments are placed as flowers,
Those who wheeze through dreams
Sing songs the cold one enjoyed.

Even the bottles saved for the coming
Are gone, consumed with a sorrow,
Yet leaving traces of content spreading
Through a liver and veins to create
An able jubilation unwillingly.

The One Beside You

The alley
I can, ought, to be ashamed,
do you feel drifting logs,
the sylvan scene
over endless plains?

Only at nightfall
the famous clairvoyant
had down the blackened scene:
“The bloom this year? Tall as you.”

What We’re Missing

Things were better in a closet
       in the last millennium,
a janitor and a student switched places,
to feel spiritual glory in the future,

we’ll plan the future better.
       believing we’ll feel settled one day
avoiding regular jobs.

You can prevent
       these crackpots
yet on deeper reflection,
       after that second bottle of scotch
The other side is only
               a constant odor

carbon dioxide lead me to embrace the pope?
help in a tidal wave
       tuned into the culture.

The Exclusive Right in the Exclusive Territory

We endeavor to be apolitical,
Remember that,

Because no one can make you fight,
If you don’t want to take arms
For poetry, it’s alright, tongues
Have grown silent and withered,
Voices have been lost to the wind
And never retrieved.

No one can make you defend
A freedom you never use,
Snore in church and keep
Nasty thoughts to yourself,
Take your own route
Of passive resistance, no
Once can force you to swim
And make waves.

All the orders in the world
Can never make you rise
And try to take your daily bread,
If others give it to you, freely,
Place it on your tongue and pronounce
Yourself saved, so be it,
No one can force you to end a hunger strike.

Remember that,
We endeavor to remain apolitical.

Many Suggestions of Clich├ęs

Ship of state is only a mother
All that glitters is the mill,
Bury the toilet seat,
Get your knickers, beat the rap
I will harness you in the ass of night
For good fate would have it,
Lips as dull as a dishwater,
Nervous in the belfry

All die in harness algebra
One brick short
Kick the dog and cat
Table your plans
Under the cover of two peas

You'd lose the meat wagon
As long as fate swallows a dog
Ha, here.
swallow it up!
Or leave it.
As a dark blue lake, you
Make like a baby and back-seat driver
A speeding love it or leave it,
Mad one sandwich short
Mad the head wasn't screwed on

Can't get a toilet seat, it pours
Can't get a toilet seat signed, sealed, and delivered
Off the Pope saying ship of state,
Bats in and down like a buttered up,

Messed up pride
Horn of plenty whore in church
Lips as red as the dog and cat

Ben Nardolilli:  I am a twenty five year old writer
currently living in Montclair, New Jersey. My work has appeared in the
Houston Literary Review, Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, One Ghana One
Voice, Baker’s Dozen, Thieves Jargon, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae,
Poems Niederngasse, Gold Dust, Scythe, Anemone Sidecar, The Delmarva
Review, Contemporary American Voices, SoMa Literary Review, Gloom
Cupboard, Shakespeare’s Monkey Revue, Black Words on White Paper, and
Beltway Poetry Quarterly. In addition I maintain a blog at and am looking to publish my first novel.


JP Reese

Oh, Hell

First you die in August or some other month
or someone kills you in Detroit, the Galapagos,
your driveway, your dreams, or you drown. But
you don't rack up points for how it happens.
Or when. Or why. Even if you suffered.
No points. No one cares. No donut. 

Then you see this woman. Funky red horns
look phallically familiar--Some kind of tail.
She waves a flowered bow tie.
A searchlight extends from her forehead.
A can of spray paint clutched between her thighs,
she points a jeweled fingernail at the wall.
You stroll, read tags from the Koran, Tora! Tora! Tora!
Mein Kampf, Lassie
, The Gnostic Gospels and
Tender Buttons in Day-Glo orange and pink.
There is a tunnel.  A sign reads,
"Gemillut Chassidim, Do Not Go This Way,"
so you don't. 

A bald Hindu lawyer wearing Pampers
imprinted with wireless spectacles
spreads his arms to block a smoked glass door
behind which you glimpse a party going on.
He smiles. His mouth swallows his head.
You eye the submarines, want to crawl inside,
become one with shredded lettuce, mayo, Swiss cheese.
No nukes here, no triage, no wounded to nurse, or shoot. 
You lick your finger, taste day-old codfish.

A stroll to the gift shop bends each minute
like a Dali watch as you wait to get this trip straight
with the ticket machine. There are pens
with red laser lights, Betty Crocker Devil's Food
cake mix, pickled jalapenos, golden nipple rings
and Ball jars filled with Ass-Kickin' Chili.
Bob Marley stands too close to you,
a red-eared slider perches like a yarmulke on his head. 
He speaks through lips dangling a massive spliff,
“Do not lose your head, you are not really here.”

Spike Lee, caped like Zorro, struts over the threshold,
his left arm draped around Lina Wertmuller.
Lina feeds a dog-eared copy of Swept Away
By An Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August
into his mouth. She tugs Spike's mustache 
because Giancarlo Gianini is not here to make her laugh.
She has strung blue eyes and rabbit's feet
from a chain around her neck

Spike hands you these things--
A metal pail with sides that rainbow
like trout flanks under water, overflowing
with stone crabs from Joe's and spiked hands,
a black leather Laker's cap,
and a rather curt note -- from God.
The postscript scrawled across the bottom
in number two pencil reads,
“Must have missed your connection, dude. 
Have a nice stay.”

JP Reese has work published or forthcoming in Writing for Human Rights, Thunderclap, Connotation Press, The Smoking Poet, Silkworms Ink, The Pinch, Forces, Eclectic Flash, Used Furniture Review, Blue Fifth Review, Gloom Cupboard, Corium Magazine.  Reese is a poetry editor for this -- a literary webzine, and she also teaches English at a small college in Texas.


Joseph Farley

Greenhouse Winter

Snow drips from the roof

half liquid half solid,

ploop in the driveway.

The snow does not last

the way I used to.

A quick thaw

is to be expected,

taxing roofs and

drainage systems.

It does not seem

like winter

with one day cold

and the next

sixty degrees.

I look out

from my window

and do not see


only rows of houses

and circling cars,

maybe a cardinal

fluttering red

against white

near a stand of trees,

a flickering hope

of future springs.


it is good

to be alone

quiet and orderly

if you can stand

being alone

no one to tell

"come see this"

"have a listen"

if they were there

they would not car

so what's the difference?

sit in silence

and clear your mind

listen for

the universe

to sing

long grass

no need to mow

watch it wave

in the wind


makes eyes itch

no matter

the wind is


with the grass

and I want

to listen

Sixty Degree Solstice

warm December rain

snowman thoughts washed away

through greenhouse gutters

moss green on north wall

beneath shade of three pine trees

house ruin no more

A Face In My Mind

in Shenzen a girl asked my name.

there was a smile, a thought, a moment,

but time made all things blur.

now there is only a feeling

of what was or may have been.

Joseph Farley edited Axe Factory for 24 years. His books include Suckers, For the Birds and Longing for the Mother Tongue (March Street Press).