A Literary Publication

Poetry - Fiction - Art - Photography

Sunday Aug 31, 2014
An Introduction:
This is the religious, political, pretty poetry free zone. Here the words bleed as the
ugly truth speaks from the depths of its darkest, rawest heart; exposing scars 
the still fresh wounds of the imperfect flesh most 
beautiful in the humbling flaws
of the human unmasked, 
confessing secrets, thoughts and realities most haunting...... 

"Of Flesh and Other False Things" *from, "Kill The Messenger, Conversations in the
Dark," a fifth collection in process.by Debbie Berk


Featured Contributors Spring/Summer 2014




                                                  Click on photo to view bio, poetry, etc; 

Top Row: Left to right, Ashley Dioses, Peycho Kanev, Stella Santamaria,
Craig A. Hart, 
Mark Burchard, Venger As'Nas Satanis 

Bottom Row: Left to right, G. David Schwartz, Anthony J. Langford, 
Richard Hartwell, Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino

Featured Artist:Tomasz Wieja



As random and "illogical" as they are, dreams always refer to the viewer's
hidden world.
Mandalas - ilustrations of dreams – are shortcuts to the
subconscious Self.

© Tomasz Wieja, all rights reserved



Tomasz Wieja is a photo illustrator. His photographs are bridges between
the subconscious and the fgurative.
They serve both as symbol and form.
The Author is strongly infuenced by traditions of surrealism
and psychoanalysis.


The Dreaming is the realm of both questions and answers.

Current Issue and Features

Artwork 2014

Spring/Summer 2014 Artists 

Janne Karlson
Rex Sexton 
Tomasz Wieja

Photography 2014

Spring/Summber 2014 Photographers 

Mark Burchard  
Samantha Seto
Shane Armstrong 

Featured Contributor Spring/Summer 2014 

Poet / Ashley Dioses

 Ashley Dioses is the author of a couple short stories; one published in Tales from the River
Vol. 1
 ezine called ‘Out of Reach’ and another soon to be published in The Horror
 ezine in the summer edition called ‘Infused Realities’.  She is also the author of
several poems, which can currently be found in
 The Horror Zine and 
Blood Moon Rising.  She has also had several poems published on the now
closed ezines of
 Dark River Press and Horrotica.  


Ashley Dioses started writing horror and fantasy poetry and short stories since the age
of 12.  Edgar Allan Poe was a major influence in writing dark poetry and Stephen King
was a major influence in writing short horror stories.  Her poetry has been previously
published at The Horror Zine, Horrotica (now closed), and Blood Moon Rising
and a horror short story and poetry at Dark River Press (now closed).  
When she’s not writing, she enjoys practicing Soo Bahk Do,
a Korean martial art, and delving in esoteric studies.  



Blots of blood across the ceiling 
Suddenly set minds in motion; 
Silent snaps sent brainwaves reeling,
Feelings benumbed to that notion.


Little sisters felt it in sync,
Careless of the red stain overhead: 
They set their backpacks down of pink,
And raced up the stairs without dread. 


Playfully entering a den,
The color red drifted away; 
Next, memories were of strong men,
Carrying the stench of decay.  


Vivid red changed to bright chartreuse
As the tiles blinded their eyes--
The coroner’s words were so abstruse-- 
Those green shades were of tiles and flies. 


Strange words like “trauma” and like “shock”
Were quickly whispered here and there;
The two little girls watched the clock,
Waiting for Mother to come care. 


Limply lifted on the gurney,
Mother lay there dead, gone, and green--
Chartreuse, the color of decay
Left by Father who’s not been seen. 

Obstructed visions of the fight
Quelled memories for protection--
Until reality comes in sight,
Their brains will block those horrid sections. 


Such horror blocked the memory
Of their mother’s death, and instead
Of blood red, chartreuse tiles they see,
And then their mother is not dead.  


Forever mentally ill,
The girls will never know a thing.
But what happened, though their hearts are still,
Can be brought by a triggered ring. 


Chartreuse, the only reminder, 
Will long be sketched into their minds. 
The brain can do nothing kinder
Than erase memories of all kinds.   

To view more great poetry from this issue, get your copy here.


Featured Contributor
Fall/Winter 2013
~ Mark Burchard ~



Mark Burchard, a former Motion Picture Costumer, was inspired by the slaphappy moments in his 29th film,
“The Silence of the Lambs,” to try his hand at writing comedy. He quickly moved on to include poetry,
fiction, and memoir. His work has appeared in THE BATTERED SUITCASE, WESTWARD QUARTERLY,
Mark’s photographs were shown at the launch of Little Episodes in London,
and can be seen on the covers of The Stray Branch and 
WestWard Quarterly. They also appear within
the pages of Audience Magazine, The Battered Suitcase, and The Stray Branch.
Mark’s filmography
can be found at IMDB.com



An Illustrated Poem
Mark Burchard

After the bells sound midnight
When shadows no longer fall
Hallowed figures look down on us
From their lofty stalls.

Stoic figures
Of famous men,
With eroded faces
That cannot grin.

In cemeteries,
With out-stretched wings,
Stifle the dirges
They dare not sing. 


Ancient scribes
Keep the toll
Of atrocities fashioned
From human souls.

Wrought from steel
Or carved from stone
From ancient Greece
Or noble Rome
Forged in the East
Or places unknown
Rest assured
You are never alone.

Forced by the Fates
To keep watch by night,
Enslaved by the madness
Of human delights;
Murder and thieving
Raped and bleeding
Stabbed and dying,
For their lives
They are pleading.    


To close their eyes
And look away,
It’s what effigies ask for
As they pray.

But the gods hold at bay
The pleas of those wrought
From stone and clay.


So throughout the ages this stately band
Will, for as long as there’s a grain of sand,
Watch humanity and rightly grieve
And silently lament on bended knee.



For twenty-four years I didn’t see him
There was plenty of cause and lots of reason
Face-to-face he was on the attack
He beat me with a belt on my back

The first of his ten to take a stand
I grabbed that belt right out of his hand
“Kill me if you want,” I shouted with dread
“I’d be better off cold and lying here dead!”

Screams in the night of impossible deeds!
“You’re nothing more than a mouth to feed!”
Women and drinking were his kind of play
As the dreams of my childhood drifted away

I couldn’t abide his swaggering ways
Or the guilt dealt out on holidays
That house never felt to me like a home
I had no choice but to leave and to roam

As a young man I was out on the run
Not many choices, what else could be done?
Trembling for hours in the cold drifting snow
I searched and prayed for a place to go

I moved to a city along side a lake
No more reasons to cry or to quake
But when that fair city proved much to close
I flew to the Apple on the far Eastern Coast

Heaven on earth, nothing could compare!
A whole new world opened for me there
Yet after those years without hearing from him
I’d weep at the thought of what could have been

But today I’m no longer in mourning,
Since I stepped from that stifling haze,
On the day I tossed the ghost of him
Into an all-consuming blaze




Was it your precious ego
Or were you too much of a man
That caused you to reject me
When you found out who I am?

Your mind was very narrow
For a guy who knew it all
For a man with all the answers
‘Cept for one thing that’s so small

There are no carbon copies
Of anyone I know
So what’s wrong with being different
You angry so and so?

You were a married ladies’ man
On that you had no peer
Is that what gave you the right
To name me your, “Little Queer?”

I never got inside your head
So I guess I’ll never know
What caused the hate to buildup
In your lone and callused soul

Unchained today from all the shame
‘Bout what you thought of me,
Cause on the day you met your maker
I’m the one who was set free

Contributors for the Fall/Winter 2013 issue of The Stray Branch #12 Vol 9

Poetry By……

A.J. Huffman
Amber Koneval
Annie Neugebauer
ayaz daryl nielsen
Brendan Sullivan
Bruce Millar
Catfish McDavis
Dana Stamps, 11
Daniel J. Langton
David Lawrence
Denny Marshall
Elizabeth Swados
Erren Geraud Kelly
Frank De Canio
Frank S. LeRose
G. David Schwartz
Ivy Page
j.p. Christiansen
James Dye
Jay Dardes
John Muth
John T. Hitchner
Krikor N. Der Hohannesian
Mark Burchard
Martin Willitts Jr.
Matt Dennison
Matthew Raynor
Matthew Rodgers
Michael Lee Johnson
Michael M. Marks
Michael Mc Aloran
Patrick Sugrue
Paul David Adkins
Peter J. Grieco
Philip Tinkler
Robert E. Petras
Roger Singer
Sarah Anne Stinnett
Simon Perchik
Timothy B. Dodd
Valentina Cano

Fiction by……

Eric Bonholtzer /Body Bag
Lily Murphy /Tuesday Night Bowling
Mark Slade /The Swarm
Ron Koppelberger /Far From It and The Pumpkin
Shane Armstrong /Action Spurs Creativity
Simone Martel /In The Night Kitchen
Terence kuch /Hands

Artwork by……

Amanda Turco
Rex Sexton

Photography by……

Sally Burnette

Cover art by Rex Sexton

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