PoetryIssue 20 | May 2014

hands off

by John Amen

leave things as they are
dead batteries strewn across the floor
a wet glass that gnaws a ring
on the mahogany table

no bargaining with my next inhale
might be my last exhale
stalking me through proteins & a high-octane chaser

it’ll be like this
until there’s no more

others’ll continue the tradition
an accountant yanking the trigger
the killer’s daughter braving cold green depths
resurfacing with a key
that fits some generic lock
in a funhouse across the desert

take all this
the impulse & boredom
with me when I go
wherever it is I go

when the time comes
I’ll have a better sense
what’s being said
who’s calling & why

beyond the houses & desires I can name
one more highway flowing out behind me

About the author

John Amen travels between a small apartment on the left bank of the Cocytus and a bungalow at the base of Olympus. He’s the author of four collections of poetry, and founded/edits The Pedestal Magazine.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok