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Experimental & Form Poetry 

                                                  The Correct Use of Words


First voice                                                                     Second voice


When words are all you’re left with . . .

                                                                                      But words can be shaped into a lullaby

                                                                                      Or used to plead with a hurt lover           

Or write a Request for Payment                                                      

Or spell out the Cruelties of a wrongful Law                                  

                                                                                      When words are all you’re left with, 

                                                                                      You are forced to sing ever more sweetly

My words are mine, to give or to keep, as I see fit



My words are the songs of my father                                               

As he walked the darkening hills with me

My words are the tales of my Mother

As she hid me from the spirits on Fairy Hill


Then let us walk together, you and I

                                                                                    Then let us walk together, you and I

Long step and short step

                                                                                    Side by side

And talk in our own tongue                                   And talk in our own tongue

But sing in the language                                                              

                                                                                    Of a friend

Ann an Canan                                                          Ann an Canan

Caraid                                                                        Caraid



Ashby McGowan lives in Glasgow (Scotland). His multi-voice work has been featured on National Radio and performed at the Scottish Parliament. He has written for Amnesty, DoveTales, and for the United Nations.

A Rank Invasion


Henbit, a green and purple blanket of nature’s tumultuous

tossing, cuts a wide swath through my winter lawn. My

dormant St. Augustine grass has lost its former smugness,

now lies in a brown study as this phalanx of subterranean

secrets shouts to my neighbors. The flowers, their tubular

throats like heralding trumpets, are tiny double-lipped faces—

like lewd strumpets, hungry maws. Innocent. The greenery,

all scallop-cupped cascading fountains, all calyxes and

feathery bracts, has leaves velvety and hairy. As veined and

finely ribbed as Adam. As animal as I. Unpedigreed Caliban,

spawn of hag seed in wicked morning dew, would have

littered the lands with his rank undisciplined kind until

chained to his rock—servile, curtailed, and colonized by the

crushing spirit of the liberal arts. He could hold no real

estate. Across my backyard, hordes of menacing miracles

march their rank invasion—full of curses and determined

to dream again.


Adapted from a piece originally published in Suddenly: Prose Poetry & Sudden Fiction V and in Mslexia Magazine.



Pamelyn Casto has articles on flash fiction in Writer’s Digest, Fiction Southeast, Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, Critical Insights: Flash Fiction, and more. She is associate editor for flash discourse for OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters.

I wasn’t Involved in Any of These Things


I remember being a baby hedge fund

                                                           ripening on speakerphone

between dinners

                                       all the tier tops leering

teaching me about being

                                                                            numbers in boxes buried alive

                                                                                            by trial preparation

                          2005 gas and oil Montel Williams

Valeant lending

                           outfits, storefront shops

                                                          I’m expected to burn my files


I was always told that everything we were doing was

                                                                                      at times in Oklahoma.


I was routed to Aspen and Ferrari, the fucking moon

                                                          to mutter in parking lots

repackaging pride to reporters

                                                identify myself like a body in various state


               The black vest men swamp the lawn in ghillie suits

tap warrants on windows

                               I wasn’t involved in any of these things



Dylan Emmons is an author and educator who writes and speaks about his experiences living with Asperger Syndrome. His work has appeared in WordGathering, Embodied Effigies, and Autism Parenting Magazine. His memoir, Living in Two Worlds, was published in 2016.


Absence of Desire


Incredibly tired.

Painfully far beyond strained.

Absence of desire.


Fields of intense drought

Amidst acres of plenty.

Absence of desire.


Stark, spiderweb limbs,

Leafless, sporting icicles.

Absence of desire.


Worn, run, overwrought;

Unplowed, never left fallow.

Lifeless until Spring.



Ethan McGuire is a healthcare information technology professional and a writer near the ivory sands of the Gulf of Mexico, though originally from the mystic Ozark Mountains, and a proud member of the West Florida Literary Federation.

Alyssa Nuckols is from Alabama and will graduate with a BS in Secondary English Education with minors in creative writing, history, and philosophy in May 2020.

Raindrops on Window

Better than Starbucks began wholly as a creation in my mind. Now the wonderful collaboration of dedicated editors is creating a magazine that I could have only dreamed about when I was starting out as a one person organization.


Having said that, there are no direct connections between U Penn, Al Filreis, KWH (Kelly Writers House,) ModPo (Modern & Contemporary American Poetry,) or any of the actual affiliated programs to ModPo and this magazine, other than I have been a part of ModPo for several years now. There is, however, a strong spiritual and intellectual connection between BTS and ModPo.


If I had not gotten involved in the larger community of ModPo, I don’t think I would have restarted a literary publication. I am certain I would not have added a Formal & Rhyming Page, and probably not a Translations page. I have a pretty narrow preference for poetry, but the course and the people at ModPo have expanded my view of poetry to the point that I decided if I could find good people to help me do it, we would make BTS as broad of a source of styles and genres as possible.

Thus, it seems fitting that we dedicate a page to my fellow students at ModPo, and/or anyone who wants to share experimental poems. The thing about experiments is, they often fail, but as the point is to learn, not to create perfection, even failed experiments in the lab or on this page, will offer something for us, if we will find it. and when the experiment doesn't fail . . . well, you will see! - Anthony Watkins

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