From Issue 13: Ode to Gasoline

George Longenecker

I love you— but I hate you.
You’ve always been so refined, and I like your aroma;
though you’re killing me, I have fond memories,
of your high octane brew; forget about CO2, oil spills—
gasoline, you and I have gone so many places.

We crossed the Kansas plains in my Triumph,
black oil pumps rocked gently,
sucked fossil fern from bedrock,
raw crude that took us
all the way to California.

You had pumps at every crossroads
I’d gas up and drive to escape city pollution
watch purple sunsets through dust and ozone haze
Janis Joplin singing…

Featured: 2.51pm in the wasteland

Sarah Grout

Listen to the poem below:


an aluminium can rolls
lacking purpose caught on an
intermittent wind, it moves
forward five paces, then dawdles
then rolls back slowly
the gradient of the road
unexpected without the wind;

misplaced, a flag flaps, torn to
immaterial pieces, but still hanging on
high, its purpose a series
of nods back and forward
across the steel pole,
clanging, asking the unwritable

graffiti in block orange letters
spelling out death to immigrants
screams across the brick
walls, crumbling from the weight
of the concerns of the before,
but fluorescent, bright …

Featured: Waking Up

Seth Jani

Listen to the poem below:


It’s where the border breaks
Into a mirage of daffodils.

Where the water shines
Like stretched metal.

Where a blue finch’s whims
Leads you on a summer’s day.

It emerges from the fog-addled eye
Of the deep circumference,

A jolt in the brain’s machinery,
A passing through.

From the dark, collective waters,
The memory-voiding sea,

It gradually appears:
Green motes, neural tinge of light,

The beautiful vehicle of the body’s motion.
We move through the familiar space

Piecing together the painted fragments:
Trees, cities, your brother’s rusted car.

The entire wavering …

Call for Submissions: Rural Writing for March Issue

Two Cities Review has a call for submissions fora special themed issue appearing in March. In light of the election, we wanted to tackle the divide between the rural and urban experience in this country. We are looking for stories, poems, and essays that capture rural or small-town life in some way, or engage with the divide between the urban and the rural. You can submit here:

Many writers these days are city mice, but that’s not all that you write about. So if you have stories about the rural, please do send!
Our podcast is also growing …

Featured: Home After Three Weeks Away

Tim DeJong

On a muggy August night
soundtracked by cicada choruses
we speak in nods and murmurs
as the children cling,
sleep-warmed weights against our shoulders.
The sprinkler system stutters its hello.

Later with drinks on the patio
we say little, if only because so
little needs saying after such
a long journey. It’s as though
these shapes in their familiarity
crowd out the need for words:
the porch lights, the gas grill, the patio stones.
Here where we left them
are the trappings of our lives,
and if whatever’s buried
under still-gleaming covers and screens
is trying to proclaim

Letter from the Editors, Winter 2016, Issue 12

Dear Readers,

We’re going home for the holidays in our December issue. But what is home? And how do we get there anyway? Our crop of writers is conflicted about the nostalgia of homecoming and the sometimes dark places the journey can take us.

Winter in the city can be cruel. The writers in this issue expose us to the small and large sadnesses of people we pass in the street, whether it’s a woman wandering, lost in the throes of dementia, or a brutal subway accident that we wish we’d never seen. A bystander exhorts us in one poem, …

From Issue 12: 3 Poems

Darren Demarree   EMILY AS THE MODERN WORLD Emily is water & the distraction from water. My mouth is always open because of Emily, but because of her I have swallowed many things. EMILY AS A RED BIRD IN A RED CEDAR Hanging here, I glow for Emily even when I can’t see her. EMILY AS THE DESERT AS A PHOTO ALBUM I wanted to find Emily again, so when I went to the desert I took many pictures of landscapes she was not in & when I came home it only took me nine years to see her in… …

From Issue 12: The Fortune Cookie

Richard Jones


At five o’clock on a Tuesday I met my friend Mark at Piccadilly. He’d been in the Scottish Highlands; I’d been in Paris. He still talks about how strange it was to be in another country and to see my young face appearing like an apparition out of the crowds. Under Cupid’s aimed bow and arrow, we stood with our arms around the girls we loved back then, as a polite English punk with spiked blue hair took our snapshot. In the evening a light rain was falling as the four of us walked through SoHo, looking …

From Issue 12: DNA

Tanaka Mhishi


At fifteen my mother curled inwards,
dredging up pearl and brine
from the sewer she kept in her stomach.
She painted worlds like liquid skyscrapers
and suckered poems onto her wrists like barnacles.

I was fourteen when I tried to die,
folding school tie into an escape ladder.
Later, I told lies about the hole in my ceiling
I still don’t think she believed.

When my father cried for the first time in years,
his own mother smooth and small in her coffin
the aunts sang their tears
into a hundred paper lanterns
their faces puckered by …

From Issue 12: Chromosomes

Robert Martin   A few months before my breakdown I sat down across from Alex in the library. Senior year. I was skipping gym; she was in a study period, studying. “Hey Dyke,” I said. “How’s being gay so far?” It’s important to understand that Alex and I were friends. Or if not friends, friendly. Still, looking back, it’s amazing I never realized what an asshole I was. She set down her pencil and glared at me. “I’m studying, Dick,” which, touché, my name’s Richard. “I don’t like it when you call me that.” “Call you what? Dyke?” She nodded…. …