Tuesday, April 23, 2019

In Between Time by Ann Christine Tabaka

Unholy night.
Darkness shrouds day.
Gone are canticles of light.

Dispeller of fears
stands tall among
despondent axioms.

Flames on tongues ignite
a faith devoid of substance.

Heralded desires
and whispering affirmations
trickle through a translucent veil.

Wayfarers among us
trod the distillate path.

No recourse,
time dissolves.
Composite dreams drift aloft.

Daybreak beseeched,
shall not answer.
“Leave a message after the tone.”
CLICK … Hmmmmmmmmmm

Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry, has been internationally published, and won poetry awards from numerous publications. She lives in Delaware, USA.  She loves gardening and cooking.  Chris lives with her husband and three cats. Her most recent credits are: Ethos Literary Journal, North of Oxford, Pomona Valley Review, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Synchronized Chaos, Pangolin Review, Foliate Oak Review, Better Than Starbucks!, The Write Launch, The Stray Branch, The McKinley Review, Fourth & Sycamore.
*(a complete list of publications is available upon request)

Monday, April 22, 2019

Christmas in July. by Gwil James Thomas

And finally there was sun… 
in the River Avon 
g l i s t e n e d
like diamonds that summer evening –
as Miles wandered outside grinning
with two fresh pints of Czech larger, 
having finally closed his kitchen
for the day –
but before Miles could say
anything to me 
his boss then stepped outside.

“Doesn’t it get boring going out
every night?” Miles’ boss
asked him with a smirk,
as Miles paused before saying –
“Well, it’s a little like hanging up 
your Christmas decorations
every single day.” Miles replied.

And I couldn’t help but laugh,
as I rose my glass like it was
Christmas in July
and I too had lost myself
and the whole point amongst
all the festive mayhem,
once again.

“Gwil James Thomas is a poet, novelist and inept musician originally from Bristol, England. His poetry has recently been featured in Expat Press, Rusty Truck, The Beatnik Cowboy and here. His fourth poetry chapbook Writing Beer, Drinking Poetry will be published by Concrete Meat Press later this year. He currently lives in San Sebastián, Northern Spain.”

Saturday, April 20, 2019


I remember balking
at having to work,
and the bar owner saying 
that Thanksgiving 
was a busy day.

“People wanna get fucked up,
get away from their families.”

And he wasn’t wrong.
I was slinging drinks 
like a madman,
and made some good tips.

Then rode my bicycle home,
across town at two 
in the morning,
and got harassed by Sparks P.D.,
for riding on the sidewalk.

The same cop 
who’d given me a DUI
a few weeks before.
(I’m not even joking)

Twenty years later,
I see it’s still true,
about Thanksgiving,
as I stroll past the neighborhood dive,
parking lot eerily full
at nine a.m.

Brian Rihlmann was born in NJ, and currently lives in Reno, NV. He writes mostly semi autobiographical, confessional free verse, much of it on the so-called "grittier" side.  Folk poetry...for folks.  He has been published in Constellate Magazine, Poppy Road Review, and has an upcoming piece in The American Journal Of Poetry.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Slumming Before Sodo by Leah Mueller

The Red Front Tavern sat a block 
from the Amtrak station for several decades, 
until it fell to the wrecking ball
during the new Seattle gold rush.

Nick and I frequented a bar named the Blue Moon, 
a haven for alcoholics who fancied themselves rebels. 
We huddled in wooden booths and discussed left-wing politics,
while pouring cheap beer from endless pitchers.
The bar’s matchbook said, “Live Conversation.”

One night, Nick asked if I’d ever gone to the Red Front,
Seattle’s most infamous establishment.
I’d passed by many times, but never ventured inside.
We drove there at once, parked around the corner.

A man perched on the edge of a barstool, 
staring at the wall as he lowered pig intestines 
towards his face. The quivering blobs of gray flesh
dangled from his fingers, like toy prizes
suspended at the end of a miniature crane.
He took his time, savoring the sight of each morsel,
until they finally disappeared into his cavernous mouth.

A bulldog lay in the center of the room,
passed out cold in a puddle of beer and floor sweepings.
Hank Williams played on the ancient jukebox. 
The air reeked of vomit and disinfectant. 

Nick and I drank one beer, then another.
We surveyed the wreckage and laughed.

A uniformed man entered the building.
He stood beside the door and stared at the crowd 
with a bored expression.  The bartender hollered,
“Hey! Detox van is here! Anybody wanna go to detox?’

The bar fell silent for a moment,
then several men detached themselves 
from their stools and shambled towards the door.
Two guys dragged another fellow from his table.

He had fallen asleep hours beforehand
with his head beside an empty pint glass.
The driver had to tie him to a stretcher.
It took three men to carry the guy outside.

“Wow,” Nick laughed. “That was great. 
Can you imagine if a detox van stopped at the Blue Moon?”
I smirked, shook my head, but felt queasy inside, 
because the honest reply to Nick’s question 
was “yes”, and both of us knew it. 

“Another beer,” I told the bartender. 
He turned around, filled a pint glass 
and extended it in my direction.
2:00 was hours away, and my liver indestructible. 
It was a good thing I was still young
and could hold my liquor, at least
long enough for me to make it back home.

Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Tacoma, Washington. She is the author of two chapbooks and four books. Her next book, "Misguided Behavior, Tales of Poor Life Choices" will be published by Czykmate Press in Autumn, 2019. Leah’s work appears or is forthcoming in Blunderbuss, The Spectacle, Outlook Springs, Mojave River Review, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, Barnhouse, and other publications. She was a featured poet at the 2015 New York Poetry Festival, and a runner-up in the 2012 Wergle Flomp humor poetry contest.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

I love you by Elena Bello

I love you
With all my will.
There are so many people 
who hate each other and live together in the same house
we are like magnets and we live in different cities.

I love you though banks won't give to me a loan
We are going to live without documents, in the woods.

I love you 
even if ours will be always
a love made of stolen kisses 
Although it will only be twice a month when we make love
because the moon covers its eyes in front of our desires
of sex and madness.

I love you
because you are poetry.
I love you
because you are able to save me
From my incapacity to live
From my incapacity to walk like a soldier

I am unable to look at the hands of the clock
Too slow
Too fast.
Save me from terror
of this life made of walls
I need
to walk barefoot on the grass

Elena Bello is an art and social media enthusiast. Her energy is the always-ready fuel for every kind of adventure she wants to start. After the graduation at the University of Milan, she decided to give a twist to her life following courses about social media marketing and other funny stuff. She wrote poems too but she has no problems to use the graphics tablet to express herself.

Liver by Darryl Graff

 It comes, in every alcoholic’s life, the ultimatum from the doctor: Quit drinking, or die.

I had always thought this conversation would take place in a doctor’s office, with the door closed.  I’d be sitting in an overstuffed leather chair– perhaps brown, or maybe, burgundy– surrounded by framed photographs of the doctor’s family and diplomas from NYU and Columbia hanging from the neatly wallpapered office walls, and the doctor’s file folders, strewn atop his mahogany desk. The doctor would speak in a monotonous, compassionate voice.

Instead, a message went to voicemail on my phone as I rode the Q53 bus over the Cross Bay Bridge to Rockaway.

 When I got off the bus, I walked– as usual– past the Shamrock Bar on 116th Street. The neon Budweiser sign hanging in the window seemed to wink at me, almost like it was saying, “Come on in, Darryl, and have a couple of beers. You can always quit tomorrow.”  Off-duty union men huddled in front of the bar, smoking cigarettes, and laughing, and spitting on the sidewalk. I could hear “Hotel California” coming from the juke box inside the bar. 

When you’re a young man– when  they send you off to war– to prepare for battle, you wear a suit of armor with  three layers:  first, cigarettes;  second,  pot, and the third,  beer and liquor. As the war rages on, those enemies of yours find the weak spots in your armor and they are slowly peeled back, layer by layer.  First to go are the cigarettes; then, the pot, and, finally, the beer and the liquor.  Until you’re left standing, naked and vulnerable and   wondering, “Where did the time go,” and “How did I lose the war?” 

My doctor said that, in a month or two, if my liver stabilizes, he will allow me to drink two beers on the weekend But, only two .

When I was drinking a twelve-pack a day, it was Budweiser and it was all about drinkability: quantity, not quality.  With a two-beer limit, I’m thinking, Heineken will be my beer of choice, available at virtually all New York City neighborhood bodegas. Quality, not quantity.

 Now, of course, I could just never go back to the doctor, and pretend I never got the test results.  I could, instead, sit in my living room and crack open an ice cold twelve- pack of “existentialism,” and say,” Fuck it all.”  But I can’t do that.  I already broke the news to my wife. 

 Besides, I don’t want to die in a hospital bed, hooked up to some machine; not if I can help it. 

 If my liver gets better, and if I do get to drink two beers on the weekend I’ll take it. It sure beats   no beer  and, maybe, someday, I’ll be able to stop into the Shamrock Bar and have a couple of beers– just like I did so many times before.


I am a NYC construction worker and writer.  My non fiction stories have appeared in Akashic Books, Hipocampus Magazine, Foliate Oak,

Da Chuna and elsewhere. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Sun Emerges Red-Eyed And Weary by Ben Adams

there is grey-dawn
once more
in the soul-institutions
of these streets

in the minds
of broken lovers
of alcoholic poets
of failed stock brokers
& bus drivers

there is grey-dawn madness
like the drunken sun
struggling for water
or more wine
or beer
as he hoists up
and over the horizon
once more,
one more time

and the ash trays are full
the record skips
on the turn-table
the frost gathers on
unkempt lawns
in the heart of our
suburban wilderness
as the sun emerges
red eyed and weary to face
the day

lighting a cigarette
switching on the news
making & drinking
with us ready
and willing
in lock 

Ben Adams is a poet, writer, servo-clerk, research assistant and festival cash wrangler, with honors in History and English. His poetry has appeared in a range of print and online publications, including Australian Love Poems, The Grapple Annual, Red Fez, Tulpa Magazine and InDaily. Recently, his poem 'Wet Leaves' was included as part of the 2018 Raining Poetry in Adelaide street-art project, while several poems were performed for Quart Short Collective’s Spring Shorts reading night. He can be found on Facebook, shares poems and photography on Instagram @bts.adams while poems and politics can be found on his Twitter feed @badbadams

In Between Time by Ann Christine Tabaka

Unholy night. Darkness shrouds day. Gone are canticles of light. Dispeller of fears stands tall among despondent axioms. Flames on t...