Iambic Ixplosion

“That Yellow Pepper”

by Mike Berger


Tears streamed down my face

and fire belched from my nose.

The juices cauterized my throat

on the way down. “Don’t eat that

pepper”, the waitress said. Her

refrain bounced around in my mind.

I woofed it down anyway.


My kids were laughing and hooting

to see their dad cry. My wife rather than

trying to help shook her head and

hysterically laughed. I couldn’t speak.

The fire had seared every membrane

In my throat.


I took the family to dinner at a classy

restaurant. The chef stuck that evil

pepper on the top of my salad. It was

waxy orange-yellow and it beckoned

me on. I picked it up. It’s stubbly gnarled

end gave me a double dare. I bit off the

end below the seeds where the smoke

and fire resides.


My nose dripped, my eyes were

crossed, my toes were curled and my

tongue swelled. The waitress brought me

a grundel of napkins to blot the tears.

She reached into her pocket and handed

me a business card for a  nose and throat




“When in Rome”

by Emma Sovich


The angels of Castel Sant’Angelo

protect each parapet, courtyard, and hall.

The grandest, bronze, ignite in sunset’s glow;


the dullest, overlooked on lavish walls

within the papal suite, are soft grisailles

that stand in pairs beneath bright frescoes Paul


the Third admired. These allegories, high

but bland, have solemn eyes, long hair―stranger,

bare Amazonian breasts protrude, belie


dark penciled-in mustachios. What angels,

androgynous or no, sport such attire?

Their wings, their mouths, are stiff. They don’t anger


the tourists watching heroes who expire

above. The pope’s bizarre boudoir instead

will crease more brows. What holy man desires,

needs, near-naked virgins above his bed?




“Work of Art”

by Mike Berger


Gnarled hands were a blur.

Her hands had taken wing.

Stopping only to change the

color of the yarn, magically

the tapestry unfolded.


She tapped each strand to

tighten the weave. A deep

Vermillion background was

so tight, individual strands



Massive black block letters

next appeared. A testament

to the weavers art, the lines

were even and straight.


Row by row the tapestry

emerged. At the bottom, she

used some kind of binding



With a broad grin, she held

up for work for me to admire.

This was a rare work of art.


My bowels were filled with

warm feelings as I touched

the weave. I laughed a little,

the block letters read, “Kilroy

was here.”


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