Happy birthday Bindweed Magazine!

In April, Bindweed Magazine will celebrate its first birthday. In celebration of a successful year of three published issues and a pending fourth to complete the quarterly schedule, here are some reader and contributor photos for you to share the magazine’s many happy returns.

Remember, Issue 5 is still open for submissions for April, May and June 2017, so keep submitting!

Enjoy! 🌺

Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Sahayak

Leilanie Stewart and Joseph Robert

Bindweed Magazine Issue 1: Morning GloryIssue 2: Bellbine and Issue 3: Creeping Jenny


Bindweed Magazine Issue 1 photograph by Charles Rammelkamp


Bindweed Magazine Issue 2  photograph by Paul Beckman


Bindweed Magazine Issue 1 photograph by Olivier Cousin

Gabriella Garofalo – 3 poems 


Yes, they raped her, so what?
My soul is a shattered galaxy, down there
Comets pop in then flee off
Non-stop, in one go, some rattled captives –
When she gets laid bare at gunpoint
Meadows she dons where blue flowers
Gaze at pink shoots in awe and astonishment,
Of course they get mown, don’t they,
So she makes do wearing skies, which is nice,
At least heavenly bodies don’t move, they look fast –
Who’s the lady in the snapshot, now,
Yes, the one all high cheekbones and heavy eyelids,
Were it not for the lipstick, she might well be
The end who’s getting some rest after tearing apart
Green hope, green jotters, her unpleasant chore,
Anyway, crimson and green don’t match well, do they,
I’d better reply thanks, but no thanks, or shield behind
My friends who pass, scatter and disperse:
Poems or clouds? I dunno, oh and please don’t forget:
Light has no grammar if a bare-legged suburban Artemis
Goes strolling awhile.



They hissed she was still,
They hissed the North Star couldn’t sail the seas,
So God stepped in, tried to breath light,
But failed, sighed, then sighed again
As ravens fed up with black
Asked him to turn their feathers white –
Coffee time now, she’s dressed in black:
Insomnia is not a fashionista,
She keeps frowning at fads
When leaning on whiteness
All dressed in black–
See, the prayers she mutters
Do they look white or don’t they?
White, black, white, c’mon, who cares,
As long as she hurls at me prayers and crystals,
Those tears old fairies abduct,
So I’ll be longing for sleep
While thinking of chess, draughts,
Car parks and op art –
While feeling like a border town,
A crossroads perhaps
Where so many guys meet,
Chit-chat then die, and yes,
All doors bolted, dust gleaming
In the buttresses of dim light:
I was at home in the heart of the night,
A bunch of philosophical ‘neverminds’
Weren’t of much help, I’m afraid –
Nor are the spoils of mothers
So busy in a mist of ripped up entrails.



What if a lover by chance
Wakes up in the dead of night
And reaches for a dead lover?
No kidding, evil loves colours,
He’s always asking for stronger shades:
The blue of bruises, the magenta of blood
Against the backdrop of cozy rooms
Where long-haired minstrels are playing
Transverse flutes and Celtic harps –
Only, Sundays can’t move, can’t dance,
Ever the wallflowers at the party they freeze,
But hey ho the music works wonders
At covering the screams
From the rebel son arguing with father –
On a hill? His hands nailed above his head?
Meanwhile, in a close-by studio,
Winter is doing some research on why women
Write about trench warfare and penny ante life,
Here are his outlandish conclusions:
Not anyone’s fault, that damned fool the sky
Limped, stumbled, looked askance at the colours –
And what did he choose?
Not underground graves,
A green shade of prey and desire,
No, he chose bread mould devours
A powder blue shade of course:
No wonder you don’t see them back –
Well, prophets most of the time.


Gabriella Garofalo

Michael Brownstein – 5 poems


They told us the quality of sanitation depended on the size of the chairs.

I will no longer need to carry a gun.

They told us bottled water was safer than boiled water and not every facility had the capacity to boil that much water.

I will no longer need to murder a man, cause his heart to break and take his ear for my collection.

When they sat us in the room where the Communist Party ate, the waitress apologized when she seated us at our table.

I watched the blood coagulate into the dirt, hot and thickening.

They told us the lizards on the beams did not impact on the flavor of the food.

The murdered man did not have to be buried. By nightfall much of him was gone and by morning the bone collectors began their work.

We did not sicken and we ate chom choms and sour sop and watermelon the size of a fist.




We drove a line through our bodies,

let the winter rain bisect our bones,

the summer swamplands fill our skin:

This is our inheritance.

Summer fell in February again,

June flowers gaining strength with March,

and we woke to birdsong and crickets:

This, too, we inherited.

The mosquito crop swarmed from the brown grass

ticks found homes by the beginning of April,

dengue, zika, blood blemishes, horse flies:

What we inherit is what we are given.



What is it
–a week ago–
sleeping in the dragonfield mines?
:the breath of passion flower overhead
the jaws of the dandelion
the strength of blood tulips craning their stems through the shadow growth

how many times
–last night–
–the first week in May–
slipping through the fired lisps of dragon teeth?
:a wealth in persimmon juice
a poverty of lilies of the mountain west of
the drawback of the morning glory

And now

–no rhyme left–

a wild moon over the timber wolf trees,

the injury of silt within their branches,

plastic sawdust forced into block and stone:

Here is the arithmetic for everything mammal,

ancient trees carve out mud and brick,

one boulder leans against pebbles for support.




What makes a foot stumble into a stroke

of leaf and digestion, a currency of blood

pleasure? Nothing counts more

than the hot house of bunions, the mix matched

alliance of mismatched bone alignments.


The Jaypore witch drops a ball of thread

gently to the sleeping man on his bed pallet,

places the other end into her mouth

and sucks his blood. This was an enemy’s

enemy, a child of plums and no matter.



The composting of sunset

Blue veined sky and white haired dust

The all night conversers on the adjacent porch

Brilliant teal textured lights of Shrunken Head

The traffic of bright lights on Ash Street

Do you remember the time

You woke from an afternoon nap

And immediately worried that you slept

Through an entire day, did not call your job,

Or anything? Thankfully there is time and date.

Now you wake to a darkness that feels like dawn,

But the stars are not out, the moon is blocked,

A breeze brings in moisture.

Night has just begun and you worry

It’s already daytime. Go back to sleep.

Leave the worry to those without dreams.


Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, Poetrysuperhighway.com and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011), Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), The Possibility of Sky and Hell: From My Suicide Book (White Knuckle Press, 2013) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100 Degrees Outside and Other Poems (Kind of Hurricane Press, 2013). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

Joan Leotta – 1 poem

A Single Bloom


Petal fingers brush

mine lightly

as my hand travels

down to snap

bloom from stem.

Mother bluebird

living just above

this volunteer

rose of sharon

circles my head,

chides me

chirping, chirping

this bloom is her

guardian, shielding

her nest from

view. I surrender

to her claim.




Joan Leotta is an Author and Story Performer of “Encouraging words through Pen and Performance”, Giulia Goes to War, Letters from Korea, A Bowl of Rice, Secrets of the Heart and Historical Fiction in Legacy of Honor Series Simply a Smile--collection of Short Stories  WHOOSH! Picture book from THEAQ. You can download a mini-chapbook of her poems free at http://www.origamipoems.com/files/Books%20/2016/Joan_Leotta_-_Dancing_Under_The_Moon_2016.pdf Find out more about her work at www.joanleotta.wordpress.com and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Leotta-Author-and-Story-Performer/188479350973

Laurinda Lind- 3 poems



She put on armor

you said of a fat aunt

who hated her husband


& I think of all the big wives

slowly accumulating

resenting in secret


not at all in love

with themselves

so let’s crack them


from their casings

let them burn &

burn wild on their fuel


let their awful

husbands fear them

let them lift


their heavy hearts

flare by flare

to freedom.




Missionary’s Position, 1989


The end began in 1914,

the door-to-door missionary advises.

Look at the evidence.

Wars. Earthquakes. Sassy kids.

She shows me a picture of disco-dancing

so I fill her in about the lambada.

They’ll probably change the picture in the book.


(The Book is a different matter:

in some spots not even

particularly good. But

that’s another poem.)


It would probably be okay

between a husband and his wife,

she ponders. See, we’re not against dancing

so long as it’s modest.


I get up and fetch the baby

who is stirring in the next room.

What a sweet baby, she says.

The product of dancing, I warn.






It’s all right

to shake out

the fireiron

of your anger

once in

a while

so don’t

be shy


the bastard


it’s stronger

and stricter

than you

can see

& sometimes

it’s scary


to sear you

into sense



Laurinda Lind feels a little chilly in New York’s North Country in the U.S. She and poetry split up in 1997, but are on again. Some previous publications/ acceptances include Antithesis Journal, Communion, Comstock Review, Deep Water Literary Journal, Earthen Lamp Journal, Far Off Places, Liminality, Mobius, Off the Coast, Paterson Literary Review, Ship of Fools, Sonic Boom, and Timeless Tales.


Gary Hoffman – Fiction

Don’t Mess with J.R. Bunting


We weren’t really expecting anything exciting to happen. We were just a bunch of mostly veteran reporters sent to cover a story in south Florida that looked like it was going to be much less than interesting. Of course, our job was to make it interesting for the folks back home. A story about a good murder would have been something to make us want to write it. Four of us had gathered in the Blue Heron Lounge of the Victory Hotel in Miami. Now, the Victory wasn’t known for being the hotel with the most five star ratings, or any star rating we knew about, but it was cheap, and all our editors liked that.

We were all there because Jolene Harding was running for mayor of Miami. This in itself was not remarkable, except Jolene was an openly professed, gay, twenty-two year old transvestite. Her name had been Joel, but she changed it for political purposes–at least that’s what her press releases said. She was supposed to show up at the Victory for a press conference, but none of us were real sure why she chose this venue.

We were all pretty quiet and busy concentrating on our drinks, when somehow Buzz Lucas got on the subject of the guy his daughter was living with. “The guy’s a jerk,” Buzz proclaimed. “He doesn’t even read newspapers.” He took a long slug of his drink. “Hell, for all I know, he can’t even read. The dud will probably be a bum for the rest of his life. Won’t earn a dime!”

“You mean he won’t become rich like all us journalists?” Leo Mantis said.

“Hey, maybe I missed out on something,” Walt Burbis said. “You mean you guys got rich doing this, and I didn’t even know about it?” He laughed and took a pull on his bottle of beer.

“Well, some people have done pretty damned well putting words on paper,” Buzz said.

“Name one,” Walt challenged.
Buzz got a serious look on his face. He stared right in Walt’s eyes. “J. R. Bunting.”

“Looks like he’s got you there,” Leo said. “J.R. found how to work the system, somehow.”

“J.R. was a genius,” I told them. “He was very good at many more things than just writing.”

“You talk like you know him,” Walt said.

“Oh, I know him alright. Have known him since he was twenty-six years old and had just gotten out of the slammer.”

“The slammer? J.R. did time?” Buzz asked.

“Oh, yeah.”

“What’d he do?” Leo wanted to know.

“Well, he was just a kid, sixteen, if I remember the story right. He was growin’ up in Butte, Montana, and his parents didn’t seem to care about him. Kind of let him grow up like a tumbleweed driftin’ around town. There was a little ole store there that was open late at night. J.R. and a couple of his buddies decided the old lady who worked the store evenings would be a easy target, so they went in to steal some beer. J.R. went back to the cooler to grab a couple of six-packs while the other two stayed up front to divert the attention of the old lady. Well, she caught on real quick and tried to stop them. When she came out from behind the counter, one of the guys pushed her and she fell. She hit her head on the corner of the counter and died.”

“Holly crap!” Leo said.

“Yeah, holly crap,” I continued.


“Everything was caught on a surveillance tape. The kid who pushed her got thirty years. J.R. and the other guy got ten each for just being there. J.R. spent two years in a juvenile facility and was then sent to Montana State Prison. Being a young guy, he had to do a lot of fighting to keep the older men away from him. Cost him time he could have gotten off for good behavior. So, he spent the whole ten years locked up.”

“Boy, never heard that story about him,” Walt said.

“Well, it ain’t somethin’ he advertised, but I never heard him deny it, either.”

“So he gets out, becomes a major journalist and starts racking up the big bucks? Never even finished high school?” Buzz said. “Maybe there’s hope for my girl’s boy friend yet.”

“Oh, he finished high school alright,” I said. “In prison. He also picked up some pointers on a few illegal things along the way. Guess that’s just part of being there. But, he got a degree in journalism by correspondence through University of Missouri.”

“That’s one of the best in the country,” Leo said.

“Damned straight! J.R. never wanted to settle for anything less than the best. Course that also got him in trouble later on,” I said. “So, anyway, I was knocking around the country at the time trying to land some sort of a writing job that would pay me enough money to live. I ran into J.R. at a bar in Omaha, Nebraska, one night. Course his name wasn’t J.R. then. It was Randy Osgood.”

“Randy Osgood? Where’d J.R. Bunting come from?” Walt asked.

“That’s another part of the story. So he tells me he’s working as a reporter in Omaha and thinks his editor might be willing to take on another reporter, if the guy can write. He tells me to bring in some of my clips the next morning, and he’d introduce me to his editor. Well, he was good to his word as he always was. He made the introduction and left me alone with the editor to sell myself. I got the job. ‘Bout six months later, J.R. asked for a raise. The editor in Omaha laughed at him, and that pissed ole J.R. off. He started lookin’ for a better job the next day.”
“One of the people he contacted was Sid Roanstein. Sid was managing editor and the owner of the Trib in Chicago. After a week or so of haggling, J.R. got a new job and a small raise. He said the raise wasn’t worth moving, but he was mad enough at the guy in Omaha to do it anyway. But, that was J.R.—once he got his mind set on something, he did it.”

“We up to the place where he changed his name, yet?” Leo said.

“Not yet,” I told Leo. “I think we need another round before we go on with the rest of this story.”

Everyone agreed with a fresh drink, so we waited while the waitress brought us more booze. “Okay,” Walt said. “Let’s get to this. I’m learnin’ things I never heard of before.”

I smiled at him. “Of course you never heard most of this before. It was a little before your time. How old are you, Walt?” I asked him.


“Well, much of this happened before you were even born. Where was I now?”

“J.R. had just moved to Chicago,” Buzz said.

“Oh, yeah. As soon as J.R. gets to Chicago, he gets introduced to this show girl, Lily Branovich. Lily was a looker. She had tits big enough she probably couldn’t see her feet if she was standing up straight. Ole J.R. falls head over heels for her. They were seen together in some nightspot every night after she got off work from her show. So life became very good for J.R. and Lily. He was doing well at the Trib, and Lily was photographed more than at any other time in her life. People at the paper started calling J.R. Judge Roy Bean and Lily was his Jersey Lily.”


“Lily had one major flaw in her character though. She not only liked all the attention she was getting, she especially liked the attention from men. It didn’t take too long before she was steppin’ out on J.R.. ‘Course, J.R. didn’t know anything about it, at first. Everyone else in Chicago seemed to, though.”


“While all this was going on, J.R. was developing another idea for a column he thought would be good for him and the paper. He talked to Sid about it, and he was willing to give it a shot.”

“That’s when J.R. got into the letters to the lovelorn business?” Leo asked.

“Yep. J.R. thought it would sell, but Sid wanted him to change his name. He wasn’t sure a man writing such a column would be taken seriously. Sid wanted him to take a name that could be taken as a woman’s name. J.R. always thought the Judge Roy Bean thing was funny, so he came up with the same initials, J. R. The bunting part came from baby’s clothing. He thought women would be drawn to that. Sid also agreed to give J.R. a few extra bucks per column, if it did well. J.R. was so convinced it would do well and he would have extra money, he slipped off and married Lily one night.”

“Well, it sure as hell did well,” Buzz said.
“Thing was, Sid didn’t really bother to tell J.R. how well it was doing. Sid was getting inquiries from other papers wanting to carry the column. He saw the chance to make a great deal of money, so he called J.R. into his office and offered him a good raise to keep writing the column. There was a catch though, but all J.R. saw was the money. The catch was Sid wanted to copyright the J.R. Bunting name. That meant he could control who got the column and what price they paid. J.R. signed the papers.
“J.R. got the first hint of what he’d done when he was traveling around the country covering other stories. Other journalists all over were talking about his column and what a splash it was making. It was also about this time that he began to hear rumors about what Lily was doing. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he heard that Sid was running around with Lily.”

“Wow! A double whammy!” Leo said.

“Yeah, and no one was going to get away with doing that to J.R. Bunting,” I said.


“He knew he’d get back at Sid and Lily, but he just wasn’t sure how. But, J.R. was patient about this situation. He waited until the right time came. He did hire a private investigator to follow Lily. What was found just made him more determined. It seemed Lily was now spending most of her free time with Sid.”

“A few months later, Lily’s mother got real sick, and Lily wanted to visit her. At the same time, Sid concocted a scenario to get J.R. out of his life once and for all. He would have Lily all to himself, and he figured he could find some flunky to continue writing the column. He gave J.R. a story to work on, told him he wanted it the next day, but that he couldn’t work on it at the office because a cleaning crew was coming in to wax the floors that night. J.R. thought the whole thing sounded fishy, but he went along with it. That night, J.R. went out on the town. He posed for pictures with local politicians and anyone else who was half-way notable. He got into a scuffle with bouncers at Club 29 when they wanted him to leave when the club was closing. J.R. insisted they call the police to straighten things out. They did.”

“The following morning, Sid was found stabbed to death in J.R.’s apartment. Of course, there was a big stink about it, and several local politicians called for hearings as to what had happened. After all, Sid was a prominent citizen in Chicago. J.R. was immediately ruled out because he had hundreds of witnesses, as well as the police themselves, who could place him somewhere else.”

“How the hell did J.R. get away with that?” Buzz asked.

“Well, like I said, J.R. had a perfect alibi. During the hearings, many things were brought out, including Sid’s relationship with Lily. It was theorized that Sid had come to J.R.’s apartment to kill J.R. so he could have Lily all to himself. A police captain testified his theory about Sid’s death. He figured Sid came into the apartment carrying a knife, which was found with a couple of Sid’s fingerprints on it, to kill J.R., but tripped over the edge of a rug, fell, and stabbed himself. The only unanswered question was why Sid also had a gun in his coat pocket. The captain said he thought it was a backup for Sid. He really wanted to use the knife because it wouldn’t make any noise.”

“So did J.R. have anything to do with it?” Leo asked.

Buzz slapped him on the arm. “Sure he did! Hell, he’s J.R.!”

“So what really happened?” Walt asked.

“First, two weeks later, J.R. marched into the new owner’s office and showed them a paper Sid had signed a few weeks before giving all rights to the column back to him. The new owners were Sid’s sons, Barnaby and Ernest. They really didn’t have a clue as to what was going on, but since it was J.R. wanting to change something, they had it looked into. The signature on the document was taken to a handwriting expert and was guaranteed as being authentic.”

“How did J.R. do that?” Leo asked.

I smiled at him. “One of the skills he learned at Montana State Prison University. He could take anyone’s signature, and after three or four tries, have it down pat.”

“So he got the rights to his column back?” Buzz asked.

“Yep, free and clear.”

“What happened to Lily?” Walt asked.

“She stayed around for a time while the divorce was going on. She was pretty much shunned and left Chicago draggin’ her good-looking little butt behind her,” I said.

All of them were sitting silent, looking at the table that was anything but well taken care of. Buzz sloshed his ice cubes around in his glass. Leo was turning his glass on his coaster.

“So how did J.R. do it?” Walt finally asked.

I cleared my throat. “More training from Montana. I ran into J.R. one time in a bar in the Village in New York. He had quite a few drinks under his belt, and he started talking. He said they used to spend their time in jail thinking of ways to kill people and get away with it. Like I said, he got suspicious when Sid told him he would have to work at home that night. Before he left his apartment, he turned the light on in his home office and just left the door open a crack. All the other lights in the place were out. He left a tape recorder running with sounds of a typewriter coming from it. He then strung a piece of black wire across the hallway, right at the edge of the rug, so if someone came in, they would trip on it. He took a butcher knife and froze the handle in a pan of water. He could then set the block of ice on the floor with the blade pointing up. He figured Sid would come in, trip on the wire, and fall on the knife. He also figured Sid wouldn’t die immediately. He would probably grab for the knife and leave his fingerprints on it somewhere. By the time J.R. got home, the ice was melted. He took down the wire, scuffed up the rug, and called the police.”

There was again silence around the table as the men digested the story.

“So he got away with murder?” Leo said.

“God, what a story this is gonna make,” Walt said.

“What story?” I asked him.
“You mean you’re gonna keep this under your hat, and you want us to do the same?”
I took a drink of my Scotch. “I’ve kept it a secret for over twenty years. You try and turn on a colleague like that, and I have enough connections to see you never work in journalism again.”

“You serious?” Walt asked.

“Wouldn’t test the theory, if I were you,” Buzz said with a smirk across his face.
Another journalist stuck his head in the door of the lounge. “Hey she’s here!”
“Well, gentlemen, looks like it’s time to go to work,” I said.
We all were draining our glasses when we heard two shots fired in the lobby.

“Sounds like we might have a murder story after all,” Leo said.




Gary R. Hoffman has published over three hundred short stories, non-fiction articles, poetry, and essays in various publications. He has placed over one-hundred and fifty items in contests. He taught school for twenty-five years and lived on the road in a motor home for fourteen years. He now resides in Okeechobee, Florida.

Bänoo Zan – 1 poem

The Dance


You tell me

you don’t want to dance—


dance with others

when I’m out—


You don’t ask me

to dance—



come from me



come from me


Turning away

is yours—


I catch your gaze

dancing on

breasts and bodies

out there


while your mouth

dances words

with my ear—


This dance


my stomach.


Bänoo Zan is a poet, translator, teacher, editor and poetry curator, with more than 120 published poems, etc., as well as two books. Song of Phoenix: Life and Works of Sylvia Plath, was reprinted in Iran in 2008.  Songs of Exile, a collection of her poems, was released in 2016.  A second collection, Letters to My Father, was released in January 2017 by Piquant Press in Canada. She is the founder of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), the most diverse poetry reading and open mic series in Toronto. It bridges the gap between poetry communities, bringing together artists from different ethnicities, nationalities, religions (or lack thereof), ages, genders, sexual orientations, disabilities, poetic styles, voices and visions.

Twitter: @BanooZan

Gareth Culshaw – 5 poems


the hawthorn hedges, kerb sides
of the fields. trees full of life

now black with damp and rain

I watch him melt into the view
as the woods migrate from the trees,

leaves let go, their colours on the floor

this is his time, perching on the horizon
keeping away the light as prey run, fly

away. his feathers are just scraping the sky

when he takes flight, not wanting to wave
back the sun. he waits on the hawthorn

in his long brown cape, not really alive

until he flies.




She brought him up at the top
of a hill, allowing him to see the

world below.

She took him down in her car
as they saw the doors of people

pass them by.

But today he is still up there
his hands in her pockets,

doing the things she cannot do anymore.

He is jailed, believing coming to work
makes him free, but her tongue

settles in his mouth.

His time is governed by her hand
passing numbers he does not know

does not tick tock.




Spoken words now in the carpets
crumbling to pieces like skin dust.

Windows agape, dead mouthed.

Paint flicking off in winds, tiles
slipping in rain. Doors aching to be

opened, locked, left ajar.

All footsteps gone, lost in the sun
dial of life. Swiped away when

the shadows left.

The building now waits to be buried,
name forgotten as the gravestones

of the people who had once slipped there.




you can tell they
are getting older
more leaves than

ever have fallen

the year lost
another ring added
more creaks to the joints

splitting in the bark

the garden is covered
in loss, leaves left
to the wind, to be blown

away, another forgotten year




our soil is just dead meat
crumbling of the earth

below our feet

miles away the concrete
and tarmac suck out the land

taking away hands we need

once vibrant hills now carry

lagging behind tractors

stone buildings sink into the view

barns vacant of touch hold
the winds for comfort

farms are just pens for lost people.


Gareth Culshaw