First Contact

A poem by Holly Day


The dolphins at the zoo have begun to realize
the errors manifest in trying to communicate
with humans. Too many attempts at peaceful negotiations
have been met as requests for more fish.

The people in the cages have begun to realize
that the aliens regard them as only
pets or fresh meat. Any attempts to engage in serious conversation
have been met as requests for more corn chips
and snack cakes.


Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Tampa Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities (Wilderness Press, 2009), Music Theory for Dummies (Wiley, 2015), and Ugly Girl (Shoe Music Press, 2015).

Art for the People

A poem by Gary Beck

(Originally featured in the unpublished collection Too Harsh for Pastels.)


Before abstract painting
people didn’t always know
what the picture meant,
especially the Impressionists,
but they generally figured it out,
or didn’t worry about it.
After all, culture seeking
is a middle-class phenomenon.
The rich do not pretend
to understand art,
only acquire self-enhancing,
important works of art
often at prodigious prices,
applauded at auction
by the cheerleaders of greed,
clapping for record prices.


Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks and 3 more accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Conditioned Response (Nazar Look), Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press), and Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications), as well as Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, and Fault Lines (all published by Winter Goose Publishing), plus others. His upcoming Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will also be published by Winter Goose Publishing.

Beck has also published novels, as well as one short story collection, with another collection forthcoming.

His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.