July 2008


Sofrito | Fred Arroyo

Sleeping In | Micah Bateman

On The Road Again | Tyson Blanquart

Kohlrabi | Rebecca Bodicky

Chili-Mac | Michael Castro

Breakfast with the New Madrid | Ian Dorward

Delicious | Hilary Hitchcock

Transmigrated Duck Heart | Thom Fletcher

Improvising | John Garcia

Lines in the Van, Lines in the Sand | Chris King

Hermetic Rice | K. Curtis Lyle

Don't Forget About Your Veggies | s.c. truckey

Mastication | Brett Underwood

Tables | Justin Visnesky




Chili-Mac | by Michael Castro

For Allen Ginsberg

Poets want Irv’s Good Food
not because of the sight rhyme
but because this is a real diner,
white tiled exterior
& spinning counter stools –
the last of a dying breed
in South St. Louis.

Greasy menus,
Nehru capped cook,
lone gray waitress,
winos & investment brokers –
all bow & nod
to its egalitarian fare.

A genuine place.
Bus stop pacers get invited in
out of the cold.
Everyone knows everyone – if you’re new
you’re soon known. No need
to introduce yourself.
Irv & his crew will name you.

came in & tried the Chili-Mac Special,
grilled the cook
about how to make it,
for who, & why.
Is it popular? The interrogation
went on & on. Social

It all boiled down
to three words.

Cheap and filling.

Allen looked at me.

More for less, I said.
Like good poetry, he smiled.

We ordered some & it filled the bill.
More American than apple pie.
Yankee Doodle’s Italian pasta,
the feather in his cap,
tickling Native American beans & peppers.
Multi-cultural dialogue afloat
in the gastric juices.
Irv asked, "Is it good?"

It was a good year
before I needed to go back.
Allen long gone
from Burrough’s home town.

I walked in the door & was greeted like a regular.
“Howyadoin Bud?” asked the chef.
“Well, well, well. Mr. Budget,” chimed in the waitress.
“Where’s Mac?” asked the chef.
I looked at him weird.
“You know,
your friend with the beard,” he said.


Michael Castro is a poet, translator, and performance artist. He is the co-founder of the literary organization and magazine, River Styx, in operation in St. Louis since 1975. He has hosted three poetry radio programs, broadcasting poetry programming over twenty years and has published ten books of poetry. Castro teaches at Lindenwood University, where he founded the MFA in Writing Program.