Friday, May 31, 2019

ONE LAST WHISKEY by David Spicer


My middle name’s Harry, I’m a bartender,
everybody’s best friend: filmmakers,
flashlight salesmen, cabinet carpenters,
the lot. After they sip a beer at supper time
and bite into oysters and escargot
in the local bistro, they stumble out secrets
about ex-wives who stung them worse
than a mutated bee, leather love affairs
I’d defy Danielle Steele to invent,
or blackjack losses that toppled their honor
and compelled them to burn Corvettes.
What am I, a mirror on the roadside
of lonely hearts? Sporting new pinstripe
suits, they crawl my way, brood
about the boat that went up in blazes,
and think I’m mesmerized. One schmuck
named Tyler barged in at closing time,
waved with manicured fingers, and begged
me to drive him home. After I arrived
at his backyard, we leaned against the fence
and he swung at me. Fucking ingrate.
Why do I imitate them? Well, I thought
I’d charm you to serve me one last whiskey,
and invite you to a party at my bungalow.







David Spicer has published poems in The Santa Clara Review, Synaeresis, Chiron Review, Remington Review, unbroken, Raw, Third Wednesday, Yellow Mama, The Midnite Lane Boutique, The Bookends Review, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Gargoyle, and elsewhere. Nominated for a Best of the Net three times and a Pushcart once, he is author of one full-length poetry collection, Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke's Press). His latest chapbook is From the Limbs of a Pear Tree, (Flutter Press). He lives in Memphis.




Thursday, May 30, 2019

Haunted. by Ken Allan Dronsfield



Why, why do I stare at the dark man
he's back in those black, dreary shadows.
Down those thirteen steps, into the cellar.
I see his eyes, a chalky white, staring, glaring;
his teeth crooked and stained, glistening.
He fades in and out, like an old tv signal
I see him there, with his acrimonious grin.
On Sunday's, before our big family meal,
sneaking to the basement, a peek at the corner
he's there, he's always there, always staring,
always glaring, forever daring me; come closer.
But no, no, no, I won't, I cannot. I have neither
the strength of heart nor pious virtue to oblige.
Now, tis a game of wonderance, I go to the cellar;
watch the dark man staring back at me, glaring,
beckoning, "come closer". Never, never say I;
but, never is a very long time, perhaps today?




Ken Allan Dronsfield is a disabled veteran, prize winning poet and fabulist from New Hampshire, now residing on the plains of Oklahoma.  He has three poetry collections, "The Cellaring", 80 poems of light horror, paranormal, weird and wonderful work. His second book, "A Taint of Pity", contains 52 Life Poems Written with a Cracked Inflection. Ken's third poetry collection, "Zephyr's Whisper", 64 Poems and Parables of a Seasonal Pretense, and includes his poem, "With Charcoal Black, Version III", selected as the First Prize Winner in Realistic Poetry International's recent Nature Poem Contest. Ken won First Prize for his Haiku on Southern Collective Experience. Ken loves writing, hiking, thunderstorms, and spending time with his cats Willa and Yumpy.   

REMORSE. by Terrence Sykes

having spent
your beer money
on a cheap whore
who didn't even
pop your lid







Terrence Sykes is a GASP Gay Alcoholic Southern Poet & was born and raised in the rural coal mining area of Virginia.     Although he is a far better cook &  gardener – his  poetry - photography - flash fiction has been published in India, Mauritius,Scotland, Spain and the USA. ..Other interests include heirloom vegetable research & foraging wild edibles .


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Our Own Music by William Taylor Jr.

It's late
and the bartender's getting mean,
ready to make good on his threat
to unplug the juke
and not refund our quarters,

because I keep on playing
that one fucking song
again and again.

I guess from here on in
we'll have to be our own music.

If you sip your drink just so,
the feel of it becomes something
like sad old jazz drifting
from a Greenwich Village
dive in 1962,

long and meandering,
with ancient melody
buried somewhere
deep within the noise.

Let it fill the air
as I discover the previously undiscovered
symphony of your face beneath these Xmas lights.

The bartender frowns

as the lipstick on your cigarette
sings like a melancholy love song
on worn out vinyl,

so sad and pretty
down here beneath
whatever's left of the moon.




William Taylor Jr. lives and writes in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. His work has been published widely in journals across the globe, including Rattle, The New York Quarterly, The American Journal of Poetry, and The Chiron Review. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, and a collection of short fiction. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee and was a recipient of the 2013 Kathy Acker Award. To Break the Heart of the Sun is his latest collection of poetry.


Fashion by Ian Copestick


It's strange how in different times
What is considered beautiful, or
Desirable has changed. Look at the
Female form in the paintings of Ruben.
Now we'd say that they were obese.
Back then they were the sexiest form
Imaginable. Even as recent as the
1920's for a man to have a large penis
Was the height of vulgarity. He was
Thought of as a beast. I am waiting
For the day when being bald, ginger
Wearing glasses and having a tiny
One comes into fashion. Then things
Will start to go my way.





Ian Lewis Copestick is a 46 year old writer (I prefer that term to poet ) from Stoke on Trent, England. I spend most of my life sitting,  thinking then sometimes writing. I have been published in Anti Heroin Chic, the Dope Fiend Daily, Outlaw Poetry, Synchronized Chaos, the Rye Whiskey Review, Medusa's Kitchen and Horror Sleaze Trash.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Darkness Unfolds by Ann Christine Tabaka

It’s Friday night.
The wolves have devoured their
portion. Now it’s time for the
scavengers to come out and feed.

Ignoring a distant storm,
eyes close, ears shut. Pain
forgotten, but not erased.
.
Beyond all comprehension
night breaks through the
dawn, with only so much
salvation to go around

The smallness of our lives,
filled with such desires and
greed.  Yearning for
Friday night once again.










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, May 27, 2019

My Fish Girl by John Greiner



My fish girl
I know why
            you float
amongst the wondrously
hued fish in the ocean
caught in the sky
            blue
your eyes are blue
beyond the sky
though the clouds
            pass by
the lighthouse
            far-off
awaits the lighting
of the night
for all the ships
            with sailors
who hope to never swim
amongst the fish and you
            who float
my fish girl
I know why
you don't swim








John Greiner is a Pushcart Prize nominated writer living in Queens, NY. He was educated at the New School for Social Research.  Greiner's work has appeared in Sand, Empty Mirror, Sensitive Skin, Unarmed, Street Valueand numerous other magazines. His chapbooks, broadsides and collections of poetry and short stories includeTurnstile Burlesque (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2017), The Laundrymen(Wandering Head Press, 2016), Bodega Roses (Good Cop/Bad Cop Press, 2014),Modulation Age (Wandering Head Press, 2012), Shooting Side Glances(ISMs Press, 2011) and Relics From a Hell’s Kitchen Pawn Shop (Ronin Press, 2010). 





Sunday, May 26, 2019

to settle the nerves by J.J. Campbell

it’s an old
sam cooke
song on a
sunday
morning

a glass of
scotch to
settle the
nerves

a few
seconds
to relax
and be
thankful

once you
remember
for what

the rest
of the day
can begin





J.J. Campbell (1976 - ?) was raised by wolves and is currently trapped in suburbia. He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Record Magazine, Misfit Magazine, The Beatnik Cowboy, Mad Swirl and Synchronized Chaos. His latest chapbook, the taste of blood on christmas morning, was published by Analog Submission Press in July 2018. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (http://evildelights.blogspot.com)

Saturday, May 25, 2019

brautigan meets bukowski by Scot Young


i had just cut
the hole in the ice
when I got the text
saying you had left
this time for good
it was like the time
when brautigan
met bukowski
in some afternoon bar
and neither
had anything to say
and nobody wrote
a poem about
the other
but drank alone
two stools apart
and here
the lake trout
look up at me
through wtf eyes
and i say
exactly






Scot Young lives with the woman of his dreams and herds goats on a ridge top  farm in the Missouri Ozarks and nothing else is as important.

Friday, May 24, 2019

CAUTION: VODKA AHEAD by Chocolate Waters

Bought a pint of vodka
drank three quarters
there’s a quarter left
When I drink that
I’ll want another quarter
so I’ll buy another pint
go crashing into somewhere
I probably oughta miss
Shoulda bought
the damn liter in the first place




Chocolate Waters loves to drink and write in bars. She’s produced four poetry collections this way and currently has a new collection, Bittersweet Resurrection (Eggplant Press, NY, NY) coming out in 2019. “Write drunk, edit sober,” said Hemmingway – and she does. She’s lived in Manhattan for nearly 40 years. Sorry, no cats.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

THE CRACK UP by Steve Carr


Morning, a hot wind blowing from the east sent the tall yellow prairie grass bowing in ripples toward the old house. Colin leaned against the wood post to the barbed wire fencing that stretched from east to west as far as the eye could see, altering nothing in the flat prairie, but an intrusion in the pristine western open landscape nevertheless. He lifted a nearly empty bottle of Jim Beam to his parched lips and poured the whiskey into his mouth while looking skyward, squinting in the glare of the yellow sun unobstructed by the white pillows of clouds that hung in clumps in the pale blue sky. He lowered the bottle and with his bare back against the post he slid to the ground, sitting in a nest of grass that he had formed while standing there kicking at the earth with his boots. A meadowlark alighted on a distance post and let out a brief melodic aria. Colin raised the bottle to his mouth again and looked the direction the wind was blowing, focusing blurringly on the house, and took another long swig.

Even at the distance he was from the house, he could hear Jack barking, probably having caught the scent of a gopher or jackrabbit. Good old Jack. Colin opened his eyes wide, trying to fool his booze addled mind into believing he could clearly see what he was looking at. What he was seeing was the image imprinted in that part of his brain that retained the same image he had seen since he was old enough to crawl around in his diapers among the chickens. Gnats buzzed around his ears and sweat ran in rivulets down his bare chest and abdomen. He took another drink of whiskey.

With the bottle empty he tossed it aside and removed his dingy white cowboy hat and placed it in the grass beside his outstretched legs. The wind rustled his curly black hair and he turned to the east and opened his mouth and gulped in the blowing aroma of the prairie in late August; dry earth and sun scorched plants.
                                       #

The next noon, the chickens in the yard busily pecked about for the scattered kernels of corn that Colin's mother, Janet, has tossed around in handfuls scooped out of a large wooden salad bowl. Her cotton floral print skirt fluttered in the breeze that also caught loose strands of her graying black hair creating tentacles that curled and twisted around her sun-weathered face. Jack was at her side, rubbing his lean body covered in long red hair against her bare legs. She looked to the west and watched as a line of bison crossed the range beyond the barbed wire fence. Colin came out of the house and stumbled from the small set of stairs that led out of the kitchen to the backyard, catching his balance before falling face-first into the dirt. Jack ran over to him, his tail rapidly wagging.
“Hey old boy,” Colin said, rubbing the dog's bony head. He held the back of his hand to Jack's mouth and let him lick it. “It's going to be another hot one,” he said to his mother.
She turned from watching the bison and scooped the last handful of corn from the bowl and tossed it to the chickens. “Your father was hoping you would ride out to see about the cattle with him this morning,” she said. “He tried but he couldn't wake you.”
“I think I had a bit too much to drink last night,” Colin said, wavering unsteadily on his bare feet.
“You always have too much to drink, Colin,” she said, looking up to see a flock of geese flying in a v formation cross the sky.
“My friends took me to that saloon in Scenic,” he said, swatting at a horsefly that landed on his shoulder, tickling his flesh.
“Your friends are what got you in the trouble you're in to begin with. Them and alcohol,” she said walking past him and up the stairs. As she opened the door she turned to him and said, “We hoped you would try to be sober at least a couple days before you go to prison.” She went into the house letting the screen door slam behind her.

Colin staggered over to the empty water troth, a remainder from and reminder of the days when they rode about the ranch lands on horses. They were sold in favor of a used Ford pickup that his father called Magnet because that was the name of his favorite mare he no longer had. His stomach was in upheaval; the chili he had at the saloon had not set well with the whiskey, his preferred choice of beverage.  He turned around and barfed into the troth, then wiped his mouth with the back of the same hand that Jack had slobbered on, and took a pack of Marlboro's from his back pants pocket, a Bic lighter from his front pocket, lit a cigarette and took a long drag on it. He watched the curl of exhaled smoke quickly dissipate in the noon time breeze.  He wanted to drive somewhere, anywhere, just for the hell of it. But his car was gone, sitting in a car junk yard among all the other hunks of mangled automobiles.
Driving while under the influence, DUI, they called it.
                                                                 
                                      #

Night, the month of June, Colin was under the influence of a full moon shining bright and low in the early summer star-filled sky. He was under the influence of the rush of wind though his open car windows, his car being filled with the scents of wet earth from a day-long raining spell and sprouting green bright green prairie grass that grew along highway 44 coming from Rapid City. It had not been the fun night he had planned, but he never liked the saloons in Rapid City anyway; too filled with businessmen posing as cowboys wearing clothes, hats and boots that had never been worn on an actual ranch or farm, and desperate secretaries not interested in meeting anyone but these fake cowboys. He had had a few shots of whiskey at the last of the three saloons he had been to that night, drove in a half-lit state around the city with two friends until he found a store where they could buy a couple bottles of Jim Beam.

He and his two buddies sat in the darkness in the grass along Rapid Creek and drank until sunrise. Leaving them to sleep it off there along the creek, he got into his car, opened the last bottle of Jim Beam, put a Garth Brooks CD in the player, and drank and sang his way under all those influences half way to Scenic before swerving off the road to avoid hitting a deer crossing the road. His car flipped three times before he was ejected miraculously unharmed out of the smashed windshield and landed in the grass, still grasping the neck of the broken bottle. He laid there in the grass with his car upside down on top of a bent highway sign, until a deputy sheriff found him, the demolished vehicle, and destroyed Highways Department property, an hour later. His blood alcohol level was two times over the limit. Two days later he was under the influence of a judge.

“This is your third DUI charge in six months and the records show you have not sought help for your excessive drinking,” the judge said. “What do you have to say for yourself?”
Colin wanted to say he needed a drink, but he looked at his dad who had barely looked at him all the way from the house to the court building in New Underwood, and seeing the pale face and dour expression on his father's face, he kept his mouth shut.
“You're a menace to anyone else on the roads. Maybe two years in the state prison will help you with your drinking problem,” the judge said before bringing down the gavel with a resounding crack.
                                          #

Afternoon, three o'clock, the pendulum in the grandfather clock in the corner ticked monotonously from side to side as the chime behind the clock face sounded three times. On the sofa, Colin sat up and ran his fingers through his hair. Through the open window hot wind blew the sheer blue curtains into the room, their hems fluttering and snapping in mid-air. He got up and ducked beneath the curtains and looked out. Jack was lying under the swinging chair that rocked back and forth hanging from  rusty, squeaking, hooks in the porch ceiling. A small eddy of dirt, like a miniature twister, whirled across the bare front yard.
                                         #

Afternoon, fifteen years before, Colin was twelve years old and sat in a hard wooden chair in the principal's office swinging his legs back and forth under the seat. His father, Al, sat on one side of him in another wooden chair and his mother sat on the other side, in a similar chair. The principal, Mr. Dawson, was seated behind a big metal desk, his hands folded on top of a small stack of manila file folders. The window behind Mr. Dawson was closed and the brown shade up. Colin watched heavy snow fall on the playground equipment and school yard behind the school. Several crows were perched along the top of the schoolyard fence like avian sentinels.
“Al and Janet,” Mr. Dawson said looking first at one then the other, “we've been friends for a long time and I've known Colin his entire life, so I feel I can be frank with you.”
“Certainly,” Janet said, shifting uncomfortably in her chair.

“Colin is one of the brightest pupils in his grade, but his teachers can hardly handle his restlessness. Mrs. Upshaw said it's like Colin is fighting against invisible restraints around his body,” Mr. Dawson said. “And as you know, Mrs. Upshaw is not prone to exaggeration.”
“He's the same way at home,” Janet said. “He was examined by the doctor and all he said was that Colin is just going through a phase.”
Mr. Dawson leaned back in his chair and grasped onto the arms as if trying to hold himself in his seat, and looked at Colin's dad. “What do you think, Al?”
Al cleared his throat. “It's nothing that a good hide tanning won't take care of.”
                                                         
                                     #

Afternoon, 3:15, Colin pulled his head back in and turned around and through a curtain that flickered in front of his face he saw his mother standing in the doorway leading into the kitchen looking at him. She was wearing an apron and her face was smudged with flour. He had never been able to read her facial expressions.

“You have flour on your face, Mom,” he said, pushing aside the curtain that had given his view of her being seen in a dreamlike bluish haze.
“I’m making bread,” she said, lifting the hem of the apron and dabbing her face, sending a light snowfall of flour onto the wooden floor. “You always liked my bread.”
“You make it sound as if I'll never have it again,” he said. “I'm going to prison, not Siberia.”
“If only you had gotten some help for your drinking,” she said wistfully. “It's what your attorney said you needed to do after the second charge.”
“I like to drink,” Colin said. “When I pass out then wake up I don't even notice time has passed.”
“I don't understand that at all,” she said, pushing a stray hair back from her forehead spreading flour across her brow. “You can't just drink to throw away what little time you have on this planet.”
“I can't think of any other way to do it,” Colin said.
                                                 
                                         #

Evening, 5:30,  Al sat in the large chair in the living room trying to pry a splinter out of the palm of his hand with a Swiss army knife. Jack sat at his feet gnawing on the bone he had been given from the roast that Janet had fixed for dinner. The grandfather clock ticked and a steady hot breeze blew in through the open window. The sound of a lone coyote yelping from somewhere out in the prairie momentarily interrupted the solitude. Colin came into the room carrying some sheets of paper and sat down on the sofa and began to read what was written on the first sheet.
“What you got there, son?” Al asked looking up from the bleeding wound he had made in his hand.

“It's a list of what I can't have when I am in prison. Contraband they call it. They want to make sure I don't bring along any files or hacksaws when I check in,” Colin said not looking up from the paper. “Basically I can't take anything to make life more comfortable or to make time pass faster.”
“You were never happy with what you had or where you were anyway,” his father said grumpily.
“It'll be two years of just sitting around,” Colin said. “I'm going to get pretty restless.”
“You were born restless and you'll die that way,” Al said.
“You tried to beat it out of me,” Colin mumbled.
“What?” His father asked.
“You tried to beat it out of me,” Colin said, his voice raised.
“What?”
“You tried to beat the restlessness out of me,” Colin screamed.
“I was just trying to help,” his dad said, his lined, tanned face red with anger. “Look where being restless has gotten you.”
“You tried to beat it out of me,” Colin whispered.
                                                           
                                      #

Night, Colin ambled his way through the tall prairie grass, carrying a bottle of Jim Beam, the one he had kept hidden in his room. He looked up at the night sky and watched a shooting star streak across the heavens and disappear into the clutter of stars. Jack followed close behind and Colin stopped and patted the dog on the head.
“Go home old boy,” he told the dog, who whined briefly then turned and went back toward the house.
 At a wood post, part of the barbed wire fence that divided their property from the open prairie and the boundaries of the Badlands National Park, Colin leaned against it, took his cowboy hat and laid it in the grass at his feet and opened the bottle and took a long swig. He could see the light on above the porch of his home but all the windows were dark. Coyotes howled in the distance. He drank until he was drunk and had reached that point where the passing of time went unnoticed and the endless boredom became meaningless. Then he passed out.
                                           
                                          #

Morning, Colin opened his eyes and shook his head trying to erase the dream he had. It had been so vivid, as if his brain was showing a movie about the details of his life, his home, the blowing of the hot summer winds across the prairie and even Jack's barking. He looked at the stretch of prairie between him and the house, and the house itself. In the dream he had set it all ablaze.

 The day before had worn on like most of the days before it, the only difference being that he and his parents were confronting the reality that he would be going to prison. Lying there in the grass he didn't know what the feeling was exactly, but it was like he was a piece of glass, cracking, about to shatter. Reaching into his pants pocket he pulled out a red Bic lighter, and turned westward, and flicked the small wheel on the lighter and put the flickering flame to a clump of dead grass and watched it ignite. With his hat he fanned the flame and felt the heat of the erupting fire. He scooted a few feet from the spreading fire and watched it move westward, rapidly consuming the combustible dry grass, stretching out in a crackling line of exploding grass, north to south, a rapidly moving and expanding inferno. He heard Jack whining, and then silence, and then the house was covered in a blazing blanket.
                                                           
  The End




Steve Carr, who lives in Richmond, Virginia, has had over 290 short stories published internationally in print and online magazines, literary journals and anthologies since June, 2016. Four collections of his short stories, Sand, Rain, Heat, and The Tales of Talker Knock, have been published. His plays have been produced in several states in the U.S. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize twice. His Twitter is @carrsteven960. His website is https://www.stevecarr960.com/ He is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steven.carr.35977


The Thermo Room by Don Robishaw

There’s a club on the grounds of a nuclear power plant, built on a fault line. When you walk in, adjacent to the dining room -- a narrow corridor -- adjacent to that passageway -- a bar --
and behind the bar --  five feet long, two-and-a-half feet wide, black and white glossy of none other than Albert Einstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer. You’ll meet a bartender. Sparky will have a glow about him, emanating from his fire engine red curly hair, matching beard, and a slight smirk. When you’re ready to order he’ll slap his crimson-vested belly and say, “We list our specialty drinks in the Tru-man’s Refreshment Menu, cocktail recipes included.” He’ll slap his belly again, make a hearty laugh, and hand you a menu, while reeling off their names one by one:

“1. Manhattan
2. Death in the Afternoon
3. Adios Mf’er
4. Nuclear Fallout
5. After Burner
6. B-52
7. H-Bomb
8. Zombie
9. Invisible Man”

Raising an invisible glass he’ll say, “Cheers, to a nuclear free world!”

“I wish!”






Before Don Robishaw stopped working to write, he ran educational programs for homeless shelters for thirteen years. 

Don's also well-traveled, using various ways and means: Sailor, Peace Corps Volunteer, bartender, hitchhiker, world traveler, college professor, and circus roustabout.

His work has recently appeared in, The Rye Whiskey Review, Drunk Monkeys,O’ Dark Thirty, Literary Orphans, Crack-the-Spine, The Remembered Arts, Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, Flash Fiction Magazine, and others. His chapbook, ‘Willie’s Bad Paper Odyssey’ was a semi-finalist in Digging Press 2018 Summer Chapbook Contest.

He like to write poetry, satire, tragedies, and gritty fictional tales — of men and women from various backgrounds — that may have sprouted from a seed, from his past.

Many of the characters he developed have been homeless, served for periods of time in the military, or are based upon archetypes or sterotypes he's met while on the road. 


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Distilled. by Johann van der walt



I am a bottle laced with gold
Cold smooth glass to the touch
And filled with years of craft
In my company of grandeur
Combinations of my conception
Are only achieved by late nights
Spent in dusty copper cellars
Creating palate poetry
Meticulously revised to perfection
Ready to reach the corners of the world
My song never ends
I am eternal fermented youth
Served by the drop
My taste will never go away
Sit down
Inhale
Unscrew
Pour me out
And hear me shout



Johann van der walt lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and works in the television industry. I have published poems both locally and in international magazines.
I have also published two children’s books - Frankie Learns To Fly and Bhubesi.

Guy. Son of an Alcoholic Born With a Deformity. Glass Attached to His Mouth. Self Refilling. by George Douglas Anderson

I first met him in the garden bar
of the Illawarra Hotel in North Wollongong.

He appeared to have a handicap of sorts
and slurred his vowels (& consonants for that matter).

In the dim light his eyes sparkled like beer froth.

He explained to me proudly how his name was printed
on the inside of Toohey’s bottle caps.

Told me his father was in the navy during World War 2
how his mine sweeper was sunk by a German U-boat
how he was the sole survivor.

Curiously, he appeared inebriated
and was frequently skolling beer
& going to the toilet- although not once
had I seen him order from the bar.

“What’s your secret?”

“What do you mean?” he asks.

“If I was you, I’d bottle it.”





George Douglas Anderson grew up in Montreal and migrated to Australia in his early 20s. He is long-term blogger at BOLD MONKEY. Recent or forthcoming chapbooks include Teaching My Computer Irony (Punk Chapbook Series Epic Rites Press), Shark in the Shallows (Analogue Submission Press) and Fuckwits & Angels (Holy & Intoxicated Publications).

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

UPON MEETING AN EDITOR by Bryn Fortey


I only met Kyril Bonfiglioli once
Just as he gave up
Editing SF IMPULSE
A UK magazine

I was in the area visiting relations
And thought a personal call
Might boost my chances
Of one day selling him a story

His wife was in France
He told me
Explaining his unshaven appearance
And being dressed in pyjama and dressing gown

While he wrote down
The new editor’s address
We drank gin
From large brandy glasses

Bon was an entertaining host
And an interesting man
So conversation flowed
As easily and readily as the gin

When it was finally time for me to leave
He stood then flopped back onto his chair
While offering me a lift
Which even through my drunken haze I declined.

Out I strode
Into the sunny Oxford afternoon
Trying hard to place one foot in front of the other
In as straight a line as possible

I managed to make the centre of the road
Before I stopped the traffic
Beep beep went the horns as I staggered away

Later I fell into my cousin’s house
And my wife didn’t speak to me for over a week




Bryn Fortey is a veteran writer from Wales in the UK. Widely published
over the years, he has had two collections published by The Alchemy 
Press, both featuring a mix of short stories and poetry. He is grateful that
in old age he is still able to put pen to paper and finger to keyboard.



Buk dream By Alex Z. Salinas

I dreamt  I was an Aquafina water bottle
Resting beside two bottles of expensive
Riesling on Charles Bukowski’s desk
And Chuck stumbles in clearly wasted,
Stretches his arms and cracks his knuckles
And screams like a lunatic and then hollers,
Time to get some fuckin’ work done, boys!
He grabs me like one of his favorite call girls
And splashes half my contents on his cratered face
To which I then shout at him,
BASTARD, NO WONDER YOU’RE ALWAYS
A MESS, YOUR MOUTH ONLY ACCEPTS
THE HARD STUFF!
Chuck looks at me with these wild raccoon eyes,
Moonshine tycoon eyes, then he says,
Well I’ll be Jean-Luc Godard-damned, that’s
The smartest fuckin’ thing anyone’s ever told me!
We both laugh so long and so hard that our
Abdominals cramp and all that’s left between us
Is an eerily   comfortable   hush. 







Alex Z. Salinas lives in San Antonio, Texas. His poetry has appeared in the San Antonio Express-News and in the San Antonio Review, where he serves as poetry editor.






Monday, May 20, 2019

Pay to Play by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

I started out to send a poetry
submission to a literary journal.
It was easy to get the poems
together. I entered my information
and my bio. Before I could send
the poems, a window popped up
saying the fee to submit my poems
was $26. I decided to keep 
my poems and my $26.
I found another literary journal
that did not charge a penny.
With my $26 I bought myself
two beers, a sandwich, and
a cheap poetry book. It was 
happy hour and I was able to 
get one more beer for the road.
I do not need to pay someone
to read my poems when someone
else would be glad to read them
free of charge, which is how
things ought to be.







Luis was born in Mexico, lives in California, and works in the mental health 
field in Los Angeles, CA. His poems have appeared in Ariel Chart, Beatnik Cowboy,
Dope Fiend Daily, Unlikely Stories, and Zygote In My Coffee.


NOT A BAD PERSON by Brian Rihlmann

She’s at the bar beside me
trembling and
wiping her eyes
and swaying a little,
brushing against me
with her breasts
now and then.

I’ve seen her around.
We’ve talked before.

I’m not bad she says,
I’m not a bad person.
Her fists are clenched
like she’s gonna
throw a punch.

I ask, but she
shakes her head,
shuts her eyes.
I don’t ask again.

I buy her a shot.
She drinks it,
keeps saying
I’m not bad,
I’m a good person,
deep down I’m good.

Her mouth says this
as her mascara runs
and her fists clench.

I light her cigarette
watch it glow
as she sucks,
exhales through red lips,
sways on fishnet clad legs
and stiletto pumps,
steadies herself
with a hand on my chest,
as I think of what to say
that might help her
back to my apartment.






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.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Bedroom anatomy lesson#3 by Mike Zone

Every knock I here
I think it’s you
left your over night bag on the floor
half zipped open
like you were here
the bed is a lonely place of dying
staring at hairpins
strewn across the nightstand






Mike Zone is the author of A Farewell to Big Ideas, Void Beneath the Skin, Better than the Movie: 4 Screenplays and Fellow Passengers: Public Transit Poetry, Meditations and Musings. A contributing poet to Mad Swirl and contributing writer to the graphic novel series American Anti-hero by Alien Buddha Press. His poetry and stories have appeared in: Horror Sleaze Trash, The Daily Dope Fiend, Outlaw Poetry, The Rye Whiskey Review, Synchronized Chaos and Triadæ Magazine.





The Whiskey Thief by Jeff Bernstein


Wander amid the racks
of curvaceous vessels,

broad-hipped sirens,
you could linger with

any one for an hour
or a lifetime

while obligatory showers
shine the macadam out front.

It’s just one short step
to congress with a sweet

smoky cask, liquid
seeps and flows

in reverse, amber glow
like ancient gas lamps.

That bordello of barrels
is dark, cold and beautiful.

You need one deft thumb
at the controls before

finally letting go,
letting go is an art

not a science.
And the release:

peat, fruit, spice, smoke
flowers all catch in throat

for minutes, even hours
if you are that good.






A lifelong New Englander, Jeff Bernstein divides his time between Boston and Central Vermont. Poetry is his favorite and earliest art form (he can’t draw a whit or hold a tune). He would most have liked to have been, like Thoreau, “an inspector of snow-storms and rain-storms… [a] surveyor, if not of highways, then of forest paths and all across-lot routes.” Recent poems have appeared, or will shortly, in, among others, Allegro Poetry Magazine, Best Indie Lit New England, The Centrifugal Eye, Cooweescoowee, Edison Literary Review, Grasslimb, The Kerf, The Midwest Quarterly, Mulberry Fork Review, Paper Nautilus, Pinyon, Plum Tree Tavern, Reckless Writing Poetry Anthology, Rockhurst Review, Silkworm and Tipton Poetry Journal.  He is the author of two chapbooks; his full-length collection “Nightfall, Full of Light” was published in December 2017 by Turning Point. His writer's blog is at www.hurricanelodge.com.


Saturday, May 18, 2019

An Intoxicant Enters the Body by Heath Brougher

It seems memories of a blissful powder
are more potent than the bliss itself, ballooning the mind.
Skyscrapers of euphoric memories sprawl out before
the realest of of the Rosy Retrospection Bias
while the reality of it all exists in weaker states.

Maybe the current economic problems
are effecting the potency of these blissful powders.

Just watch out; don’t catch a cold
and don’t catch a habit—

I’ve already caught the Shame.







Heath Brougher received the 2018 Poet of the Year Award from Taj Mahal Review. He has published 6 books, the most recent being To Burn in Torturous Algorithms (Weasel Press, 2018) and The Ethnosphere's Duality (Cyberwit, 2018). His work has appeared in hundreds of print and online journals including Boston Poetry Magazine, Chiron Review, MiPOesias, The Dope Fiend Daily, Mad Swirl, SLAB, BlazeVOX, and elsewhere.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Crow's Nest by Barbara A Meier

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The Crow's Nest, 
where the alcohol swirls 
in glass orbs of LSD glass
where the anger melts and drips 
down the sides and laughter 
creases the vinyl stools.

Buck up to the bar, boys. 
The women play Keno and speak 
of spanking butts and the men laugh 
at spiders the size of fists.  The ocean
plays a tune outside the bar window
where the smell of grass permeates the parking lot. 
The  sadness in the silliness of a beer.







 Barbara A Meier teaches kindergarten in Gold Beach, OR. This is her last year though because she no longer wants to be a child tamer. She has to self medicate too much. She has been published in The Poeming Pigeon, Cacti Fur, TL;DR Press Women’s Anthology, Bangor Literary Review, Sum, and Founder’s Favorites. She has a micro-chapbook coming out this summer from Ghost City Press, Wildfire LAL 6.



Chaser by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

I am back on that lazy orange shag again. 19 years old and playing poker for shots. The loser having to drink. In that basement apa...