Artwork from Giorgio Borroni

Artwork from Giorgio Borroni:


Hear an audio book from Giorgio:

Essay from Joan Beebe

Coastal Maine sunset

Coastal Maine sunset

My trip to Maine was so very exciting for me. Having experienced the coast of Maine’s beauty with my family which allowed us to share the wonders of family in this magnificent setting.
Traveling the highways through Massachusetts and New Hampshire was very beautiful and feeling as though you are a wanderer trekking through the green forest in an unknown land  it was many hours on that bus, still it was relaxing as your mind became unencumbered with stress and worries.
Our accommodations were in blue and white with a nautical theme and right on the water with  a small balcony where one could observe the many boats rolling a little with the waves.  It was interesting to watch so many people walking and chatting or just sitting to wait for a beautiful sunset. As the sun slowly started to set, it began to reflect the golden rays across the sky but soon there were streaks of soft red and pinks creating a lovely vision to keep in our memories.
After breakfast the next day, we only had to walk a few steps to a tour boat for a cruise to see light houses, rocky places and beautiful homes along the way.  Sailing along on the Atlantic waters felt like the mariners of old taking their boat to sea to find their first catch of the day.  When the day became darkened, they had the many lighthouses to guide them home again.  Coastal Maine gives you a feeling of time standing still.  The cry of the gulls, the rolling waves of water splashing against the rocks and the far horizon as in a dream brings peace and a joyful feeling to one’s mind.

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Poetry by Sheryl Bize-Boutte

Not As Sweet

This one is not as sweet

As the one before it

I was taken in by its good looks

The rich green color

The dark and perfect striping

I thumped it

Sniffed it

Weighed it in my hand

And then I took it home

With the first cut

The signs of heartbreak were there

Thick, tough and resistant to my instruments

It fought the quartering

Railed against separation from the rind

Exacted revenge by making me the fool

Tissue paper flesh should be discarded

But I am hungrily devoted

To the bland watery chunks

Tasteless and diluted as they may be

To partake is to be the same

Fighting the seduction of inviting aroma

And the whispers that outside pretty

Means the inside is just as

Because you know when they get together

They don’t always tell the truth

This one is not as sweet

As the one before it

And even knowing that

I sprinkle the sugar

And devour it anyway

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte

Poem from Dave Douglas

Snowfall (a pantoum)


When they sing in the snowfall

The words are spelled out,

Like the writing on the wall

But drifting thereabout.


The words are spelled out

In forewarning tones —

But drifting thereabout

Are the voices of gravestones.


In forewarning tones,

“Do not smell these flowers!”

Are the voices of gravestones

Crying to savor the hours?


Do not smell these flowers,

Except those held in hands

Crying to savor the hours.

Please, do not misunderstand.


Except those held in hands

Like the writing on the wall,

Please do not misunderstand

When, they sing in the snowfall.

Mike Zone reviews Richard Slota’s Stray Son

Don’t stray away: a review of Stray Son

By Mike Zone


Richard Slota manages to pile drive you, fist through the chest, through a brutal trip through time to face what you should have feared long ago but never could, as you never knew what was really there when it haunted you in unforeseen ways, your entire existence, like that of a man collecting bodies for the mortuary and speaking to ghosts, friendly and unfriendly, is parallel to you or I all of a sudden getting contemplative about ourselves without being inhibited by the confines of our working lives, finding revelation through reflection. A hell of a large sentence for a hell of a large-scale novel told on the most minor of scales, which in turn is the grandest of them all, between a father and son unable to connect in life but ultimately intersecting amid death. Perhaps it’s not too late after all to comprehend one another and perhaps none us are ultimately straying, just getting lost in a mindset.

Patrick’s a Vietnam vet, married with a wife and two kids, who long ago adjusted to the workaday routine of life, picking up dead bodies for a mortuary, even though he could be losing his mind. He’s haunted by a strange marine from World War II (I won’t even let you guess who it may be) appearing almost here, there and everywhere in-between, and the new millennium (a bit of millennium fever anyone?) brings forth the funeral of someone quite paramount to the protagonist’s life. So he road trips with his family back home, and the cosmic roadway (I liberally apply the term “cosmic”) gives us glimpse into the time-stream of the enigmatic figures of this father and son. What Patrick discovers leads to the most essential recovery of all, although absolutes are not what we actually desire, for the very nature of life and of the protagonist’s journey is the direct opposite of absolute resolution.

Contemporary fiction often forces us to hide in a candy-coated poptopian wonderland. But Stray Son basically says, To hell with all that, give us Kurt’s mindscape set to the tune of The Doors and directed by Martin Scorsese! It’s not the horror you expect or the family story you desire but the horror of the ordinary stories many families carry around. So, hop on in the car and take a drive down the road along with your own ghosts; past, present or probably soon to be. Even if you don’t believe they are there, you will find out in an endearing, savage manner that they always have been.

Stray Son is available here.

Poetry from Janine Canan



Are you drunk, yet?

If not, go away—

you won’t enjoy my ravings.

All I hear is sublime Music—

all the rest is utter waste.

Time is a tiny box of matches.

I want to strike them all at once,

flare and merge in the Most Beautiful.

I can’t settle for less!

Can’t we put an end to this farce,

rise up and join the Most Beautiful,

Most Holy and True.

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Poetry from Lauren Ainslie

The Thoughts Behind My Name


Soft, smile.

Lauren. Exotic.

Strong Woman. New Woman. Ready Woman.

Grow to be happy, Strive to be unique, my daughter. Aim to


Fear in your enemies.

Use your crinkle-eye smile, to love your friends

Your button nose, to breathe the scent of life; Lavender-Roma Tomato.

Use your curious fingertips to trace the bark of a Manzanita bush, to stroke the kaleidoscope fur of a cat, to caress the iridescent fantasia of an abalone shell.

My Buddha Baby, grow.

Mischievous smile, slow glance.

Bedroom eyes.

Yes, you are a



Taste your childhood, too early to preserve, the details fading but the aurora still

sweet and warm in your mind.

A starchy Ube ice cream, dappled with laughter and briny tears.

This name is waiting, a roseate orchid blooming behind your heart.


Olde English.

Lauren Faye. You are a scripture in waiting, my darling.

Warmed honey rolling off a silver spoon.

The Crown of the celestial sky.

My Lauren Faye D. Ainslie, my fragrant Earl Grey tea.

There has never been a Lauren in the family before.

I give Lauren to my Buddha Baby, and she will go

Wherever there is sunlight.

Write your scripture in the sunlight, my darling,

Write your scripture, Lauren Faye.

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