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Kushal Poddar, Joan McNerney, Maximillian

Heinegg, Glen Armstrong & Devon Balwit,

Artwork & Illustrations

Tilly Munro & Christine Stoddard

Alessandro Mario Powell & Samuel Rowe


From the Editors…………………3

Revolution by Kushal Poddar…………………4

Parade by Kushal Poddar…………………5
I planted my garden by Joan McNerney…………………6
Piñata by Maximillian Heinegg…………………7
White Man’s Overbite by Maximillian Heinegg…………………8
Blind (Spot) Love by Glen Armstrong…………………9
Vade Mecum by Devon Balwit…………………10


Front Cover: Untitled by Tilly Munro

Back Cover: Meadow Magic by Christine Stoddard

From the Editors

So far and suddenly, everything has gone smoothly. The poems were
securely fastened to each side of the Atlantic, and we’ve been ready for
this sixth volume of KWJ to pull together for some time.

Timing is always key. As the cardboard sign somehow stapled to a tree

outside my new apartment reads: to move the ducks, drive slowly!!!!

Since I last wrote I have settled down more, am living in Upstate New
York; surrounded by waterfalls both large and small, and shale, here they
pronounce Cascadilla with a drawl. The locals say Ka-ska-de-la. So much
of the beauty here I find remains contingent upon timing—on a moonless
night, after a fresh coat of snow, one easily mistakes the quaint streets
of Ithaca for Paris itself. We also have our own Eiffel-tower-esque
structure. Ours has got a reindeer nose. Lacking snow, however, the dead
trees are good for nothing but firewood.

In order apparently to bring some semblance of the snowfall closer to

the internet, here comes another Killer Whale Journal. We could not be
more thankful for the caliber of submissions we received this past
quarter. Every year it gets easier to cut poets out, but not because the
poems we receive are worse. Indeed, we have become exacting arbiters
of art. In the beginning cutting a solid poet felt like a war crime. These
days, we know the greater good of KWJ must needs be fed, and fed well.
We cut our poets with love. We have essentially become bankers. They
(you) create words from nothing and we lend said words out for naught
but more words, in war and peace (the same words over and over again).
Together, we like to think we generate interest.

Thank you again for sending your well worked words, and for reading.
Read slowly and deliberately, and the ducks will move. Poems, much like
the birds in Winter, live on faith.

– Alessandro Mario Powell

Vol. 6 arrived just in time. To all the poets and

illustrators contained herein: you keep us warm.

– Samuel Rowe

Kushal Poddar


By three in the afternoon

the old clerk throws
all his day's work
from the broker's
tenth floor window
and amidst the confetti
I parade
to the revolution of sparrows
in the park nearby.
I must hear their shrill manifesto.
I must join their bandwagon.

Kushal Poddar


Then I heard the parade,

a million footsteps in the milieu
trampling onward
from the window to my chest.

Summer wears a red fillet

around its head
as if years of slow bullets found its mind.

I hover over my boudoir.

My deltoids wing in the azure.
One looks up at me,
"Come on comrade.
We've killed the enemy."

I shiver and turn to the mirror.

My shadow died a horrible death.

Joan McNerney

I planted my garden

on the wrong side

of moon forgetting
tides of ocean
lunar wax wane

only madness
was cultivated
there underground
tubular roots
corpulent veins

flowers called
despair gave off
a single fruit...

I ate it
my laughter
becoming harsh
my eyes grew

Maximillian Heinegg


First the blindfold, then the bat-

the children sugared
up to whiff. A few
softball girls connect, but it’s a rugged star-
shaped lock-box. Blows glance.

At last I must deliver

the merciful aluminum.
Cardboard window smashed,
they loot toffee, red mints, ossified
nubs of gum, Tootsie Rolls—
the tribe descends, pocketing all. Not even
a Sweet-Tart cylinder remains.
Fathers fall to scour the ground,
then bribe the sibling who won’t share.

Now the children stand like commuters,

pretending not to hear others muffle tears.
We return to what we have gotten,
do not care how we came by it.

Maximillian Heinegg

White Man’s Overbite

The hallway youth say I got you

& then, reluctantly, wear the class’s trammel.
After bells, four students walk the halls-
a teacher addresses them as collective.
I’m not with those three. He isn’t.

At lunch, teachers debate what words students should use,

language one of many controls, I know
some of us love the word bestow.

I teach Countee Cullen’s “Incident” nervously.

Brianna digs the lesson on the infantile rhetoric

of Trump, learns me smh. I number the bars
of the prison state for the students, diagram
the uniforms of defeat & privilege.

I greet Ellis by complimenting his haircut.

He asks me Is it fresh? I tell him I see new lines
angling into a well-kept fade. I see form
emerge from what we take away, but more
daring to leave it out there, as he is fond of saying
there are levels to these bevels, so much good ish.

I admit I used to wear out the UTFO Crew’s

“Real Roxanne,” &“The King of Rock” on a Walkman,
untying fat laces in shell-toed ADIDAS in 1985,
& that I carried my own cardboard box
to breakdance at my Catholic school. After
such disclosures, what awkwardness remains?

He’s started drawing from his lyrical well

& is obsessed with Kendrick, so we talk
about where lines end & what power there is
in pausing. I teach him who Kunta Kinte was,

how where there’s skill, there’s jealousy, & why

a man should read Roots & perhaps be more
judicious when saying bitch. Later, he emails
a Soundcloud link to a rap he’s working on,
& again, I cancel my fantasy of leaving the profession.

Glen Armstrong

Blind (Spot) Love

I can’t see you, so I will beep

as I back into

the space around you.

Some days it’s hard to tell

the conventions of forbidden love

from the conventions

of driving a dump truck.

Some days the blackest clothing

fails to cultivate
a severe personal gravity.

Some days we simply do

as the cigarettes wish.

We use “Robert Smith”

as a verb.

We can hear someone’s mournful

“Robert Smithing” as he barrels

down the highway,

his lungs full of hairspray

and Djarum Black smoke.

Devon Balwit

Vade Mecum

At first, I could still see my son’s shovel tip above the trench, backyard earth
up-flung in mounds, relics poking from each pile—walnut shells,
marrowbones, army men melted in old campaigns—then only hear the
distant skerch of digging in blackness. My husband went next, clear patches
in shelf dust telling which books he’d brought, and the Jimadór, missing
from the freezer. Both girls followed, bathroom counter cleared to powdery
foundation, a single bobby pin. Extension cords trailed a long umbilicus.
Every day, the dog sits by the back door and whines. His nose whiffles to
their scent, frets at its thinning bouquet. Soon, he will grab his Frisbee and
slip past me as I reach for the mail or collect the paper. Then I, too, will have
to choose.


Kushal Poddar
is widely published in several countries and presently lives at Kolkata. He is editor of the
online magazine ‘Words Surfacing’. He has authored The Circus Came To My Island (Spare
Change Press, Ohio), A Place For Your Ghost Animals (Ripple Effect Publishing, Colorado
Springs) and Understanding The Neighborhood (BRP, Australia), Scratches Within (Amazon)
and Kleptomaniac’s Book of Unoriginal Poems (BRP, Australia).

Joan McNerney
‘s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press,
Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Halcyon
Days. Three Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and
numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work. Her latest title
is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations.

Maximillian Heinegg
‘s poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, Tar River Poetry, December Magazine, and
Columbia Poetry Review, among others. He teaches English in the public schools of
Medford, MA. He is also a singer-songwriter whose records can be heard

Glen Armstrong
holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches
writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel
Garters and has three recent chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin Kitsch), In Stone and The Most
Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press).

Devon Baldwit
is a poet / educator in Portland, OR. You can find her poems in Anti-Heroin Chic; Off
Course; Lemon Quarterly; Sweet; Rat's Ass Review; Front Porch; The Journal of Applied
Poetics, and more.