Monday, September 30, 2019

Flesh Trade. By Dennis Moriarty


I know that nuns trade in flesh
when darkness falls
And the last prays fade into silent self denial.
I know they harvest religion
From the black earth of the kitchen
Garden
Riding their spades in an agony
Of screaming contrition.
And when the priest arrives, his cassock flapping
Like black bruised wings,
I know the nuns
Cower in his wake like famished whores
In a third world brothel.
And when the final candle hisses,
Spitting it's last fat,
I know the nuns low like cattle at
Market,
The auctioneer priest lowering his
Gavel
As he trades flesh with mother superior.




Dennis Moriarty was born in London, England and now lives in Wales. Married with five grown up offspring Dennis likes walking the dog in the mountains, reading and writing.
In 2017 he won the Blackwater poetry competition and went to county Cork in Ireland to read his work at the international poetry festival. Dennis has had poems featured in many publications including Blue nib, Our poetry archive, Setu bilingual, The passage between and others.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

SOME OF THE ANSWERS by Chani Zwibel


My grandfather’s books carry the scent of my grandparents’ house.
 Cigarette smoke, coal dust, the sweetish smell of an old man’s perspiration.
 I read and I am transported.
I can feel in my hands his hands holding the book I’m holding,
reading out on the pavilion he built,
feel as I am sitting in a chair, he is sitting on his picnic bench,
 angled in such a way to see the view of tree-lined hills,
where when the sun sets it is a glory of red, gold, and plum.
 It is the blue hour of dusk always pulling me to memory.
 The way of being drawn in,
close and cozy to a house lit with warm light
 after the velour-lush blue outside has dissolved into blackness.
Warner Brothers cartoons are on the TV inside.
 Outside, crickets play the soundtrack.
Slow days roll away while you recognize religion is a box like a coffin
and the dream of god is to get you to go to sleep,
 a little night light in the darkness.
In my grandfather’s books are all the answers.
At least, all the answers to the questions I have been asking,
without knowing I have been asking.
 All the answers a man can give and cannot give to his girl-kin.
He cannot speak about the horrible things,
 but the horrible things exist in the world nonetheless,
and the books speak of them in details the old man could not say outright.
He favored horror stories
because he had seen horrors in real life,
and prayed to forget them,
although they often came unbidden in nightmares
 if he forgot to cover his whole body
 up to the neck with covers while he slept.
The ills of this world will not go away;
they will wait,
swarming like a cloud of gnats,
but we must fight them,
and if we cannot fight them,
then we must let them GO.
 We must drive them off with lavender smoke.
 We must wash them away with salt water.
We must not let them dive
into the eaves of our eyes
 in search of tears.
We must not let them buzz
 around our sweaty brow,
a pestilence.




Chani Zwibel is the author of Cave Dreams to Star Portals. She is an associate editor with Madness Muse Press. She is a graduate of Agnes Scott College, who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but now dwells in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and their dog. She co-hosts an open mic night called Poetry and Palette once a month at The Good Acting Studio in Marietta.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

a taste for gin by J.J. Campbell

i used to sneak
into the basement
when i was a kid
and drink from
the bar

it’s where i developed
a taste for gin by
the age of nine

it wouldn’t be until
years later that my
father would realize
all the booze in the
basement was gone

he confronted me
about it and i said
yeah, i drank it all

a responsible drunk
would never let that
good shit go to waste

as a former alcoholic
he couldn’t argue with
that logic

when my parents got
divorced, i started to
restock the bar

of course, i was in
high school by then

the bottles would be
empty before the dust
could settle on them





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)


Friday, September 27, 2019

Moondog by Jake St. John

Howling
every night
lost
or unfound
clouds
rolling
across
an ocean
of night
stars
floating
in the current
swimming
to fog
swept
shores
celestial
spotlight
clinging
to dreams





J
ake St. John writes out of New London, CT and is the author of several collections of poetry and pamphlet poems including, In All The Cities, The Same Faces (CWP Collective, 2017) and Rotations (Night Ballet Press 2015).  His work has appeared in numerous literary and arts magazines such as, The Blue Collar Review, BURP, Big Hammer, and The People’s Tribune. Since 2007 he has served as the editor of Elephant and co-editor of Flying Fish.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

HIDING OUT AT MOE’S by David Spicer

I’m sucking on a Mango
Tango in this Phuket bar,
stroking my pet parakeet.
In my crepe shirt and Spanish
boots, I’m a randy outlaw who
belongs in a whorehouse
on Desolation Street, for thighs
knock me off my feet,
especially those I dub Babe,
and I’m hoping I surrender
to vulvas that ululate.
In the orchidaceous room five yards
away, a bored belly dancer shambles
with the trombone player in his
turquoise zoot suit, and she whelms
me with shimmies. I know she wants
my bread, and I’d amble out of here
like a babadook into his flivver,
but the trombonist’s horn is too erumpent.
He’s a throwback, a smokescreen
in moribund tobacco. Soon the demimonde
will diddybop in here with nosegays
of tiger lilies they’ll present to Poopsie—
that’s the belly shaker, not the trombonist.
I’d love to wheedle to the john and dream
when the storm shepherds into town,
so give me a candle, someone in the band
sing The Wabash Cannonball,
and maybe I’ll wait for the Thai midnight
and Poopsie with my pearl-handled buddy
before the skip tracers meander
in here to wish me a Happy New Year.







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.


Whiskey Bible by Bruce Morton


There it sits leather bound,
Worn and frequent found,
Screw-top bookmark marks
The spot, top-shelf all the way.
That good book has the spirit
What more can a man ask?
Word flows straight from cask
To that well-paged holy flask.

When I hear them preaching
Well then, yeh, I'm reaching
For my old whiskey bible, for
A sip of my moonshine gospel.

Not what I've done is so terrible,
But you don't know what to think.
So I tell myself, turn the cheek.
Wink, sneak a dram of forgiveness,
Turn another page in that good book.
Never ask for the proof; you have to
Believe in your thirst for salvation
When that happy hour has arrived.

Sometimes it goes down easy,
Sometimes it burns like  hell—
That old whiskey bible,
My moonshine gospel.




Bruce Morton splits his time between Bozeman, Montana and Buckeye, Arizona. His volume of poems, Simple Arithmetic and Other Artifices, was published in 2015. His poetry has appeared in various anthologies and magazines including Kansas Quarterly, Connecticut Quarterly, Spoon River Quarterly, Pembroke Magazine, North Stone Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, and San Pedro River Review.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

ROUNDHOUSE RICK. By K.W. Peery



Three hours before
my Uncle Cecil
introduced me to
Roundhouse Rick
for the first time

I had noticed
his grabber green
Maverick
parked behind
the Moberly
Brick Plant

He was doin'
one-armed
push-ups
over a
big breasted
cashier
from Bratcher's
market

And still had
her cherry red
lipstick
inside the
diagonal
crease
of his
cauliflower ear
when he
reached out
to shake my
hand that
warm Autumn
afternoon







Americana songwriter and Kansas-City-based storyteller K.W. Peery is the author of eight poetry collections: 
Tales of a Receding Hairline; Purgatory; Wicked Rhythm; Ozark Howler; Gallatin Gallows; Howler Holler; 
Bootlegger’s Bluff; Cockpit Chronicles. 

He is founder and co-editor of The Angel's Share Literary Magazine (Shine Runner Press).

His work is included in the Vincent Van Gogh Anthology Resurrection of a Sunflower, 
The Cosmic Lost and Found: An Anthology of Missouri Poets (Spartan Press), Best of Mad Swirl Anthology 2018 
and the Walsall Poetry Society Anthology, Diverse Verse II & III.

Peery’s work has been published in The Main Street Rag, Chiron Review, San Pedro River Review, The Gasconade Review, 
Big Hammer, Blink Ink, Rusty Truck, Mad Swirl, Veterans Voices Magazine, Outlaw Poetry, Mojave River Review, The Asylum Floor, 
Horror Sleaze Trash, Ramingo's Porch, From Whispers to Roars, Culture Cult Magazine, The Rye Whiskey Review, Drinkers Only Magazine, 
Under The Bleachers, The Dope Fiend Daily, Punk Noir,  Mutata Re, Ariel Chart, The Beatnik Cowboy and Apache Poetry.

Credited as a lyricist and producer, Peery's work appears on more than twenty studio albums over the past decade.


Website: www.kwpeery.com

Dear Thomas by Jason Arbogast



In the five years of our friendship,
I’ve never liked you.

I slept with Jill twice, once while you were married and once after the divorce.
She said you were more man, but I was more convenient.

Thomas you must have known it was me
who stole your job.
I sent you the party invitation.
You missed a good time.
The cake was your favorite,
chocolate.

And about your last Christmas party, Thomas,
perhaps it was in bad taste to give your daughter that Slim Fast.
But you must admit that she could be thinner.

Thomas I envied your car,
so I made sure to piss in the gas tank every morning
before going to your job.
Red really is more my color than yours.

Your lawn is green and mine is yellow, Thomas.
I find this unfair because I’ve been poisoning yours for months with salt water.
It tastes remarkably like sweat.
A point of pride on my part.
Craftsmanship.


I think I know your problem.
You remind me of that kid with glasses I picked on in high school.
You need to work on that, Thomas.
Get contacts.

You occupy my thoughts more than I’d like, Thomas.
I look at you every time I shave,
after every shower,
your picture on my mirror,
making sure to clean off the gathered moisture
with my towel
before I dry myself.






Jason Arbogast teaches English at Iowa State University and has been an educator in some fashion for the past nineteen years. He is the author of a short story collection, Lost and Found in Kalamazoo, and the novel Amber Sea of the Dead, published by Red Orchid Press. He has had pieces appear in right hand pointing, Defenestration, and other publications. He currently lives in Ames, Iowa.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Outlet Clearance by Ben Nardolilli


Time for an outlet clearance, a purge
of all the escape routes I’ve chosen, no re-routes,
close them off forever

Get rid of swears, clean up the language,
drop the midnight snacks and the sugary treats,
no more cold summer baths either

Delete the lists upon lists of tawdry links, throw out
the iced coffee of all future afternoons,
stop dancing and stop playing computer games

No more distractions, time for focus,
and time to bottle up every ounce of my energy,
so I may explode and rise, to some adult astral glory





Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, Inwood Indiana, Pear Noir, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at mirrorsponge.blogspot.com and is looking to publish a novel.

Monday, September 23, 2019

chill flowers for elliott smith. By Rob Plath



once at one 
of yr shows 
somebody heckled 
you by repeatedly 
yelling, 
“get backbone!”
& you
alone on stage 
in a small chair 
took it gracefully
joking that you 
didn’t even play 
the real dark stuff 
that evening 
laughing it off...
dear elliott—
hell, you had 
enough backbone
for a thousand men 
for meeting 
yr monsters 
upon the fretboard 
& turning them
into chill flowers 
dear elliott, you 
sweet sad sack 
the masses 
could use 
yr backbone







rob plath is a writer from new york.  he is most known for
his monster collection  A BELLYFUL OF ANARCHY (epic rites press 2009) .  
his newest collection is MY SOUL IS A BROKEN DOWN VALISE (epic rites press 2019). 



you can see more of his work at robplath.com


Stardom by Ian C Smith


At the football, always a reminder of innocent joy,
a stranger asked if he could sit next to me.
Our talk meandered to a famous team of the past.
I can’t remember what prompted me to ask his name
but I thought his muttered response modest.
I asked him to spell it, to be certain,
this name of a champion cheered at my first game
when I was still starry-eyed with belief.

I recalled a brother, or a son, who played years later.
When I asked about their relationship
he hesitated before saying it was his brother.
He spoke of his own feats, inner sanctum scandals,
deflecting my surprise at how youthful he seemed,
this bearer of a name once lionised by thousands,
his body, though thickened, still strong.
When we shook hands after the game he looked sad.

Good with faces, I believed recognition had glimmered
despite features fleshed out by the years.
On the drive home I imagined telling my brother,
our shared interest delightfully stirred by chance.
The next morning I logged on, saw that ex-hero
now frail, gaunt, gravely ill in hospital.
I also found his years younger brother’s bare stats,
bleak compared with the champion’s.  No photo.






 Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in, Amsterdam Quarterly, Australian Poetry Journal, Critical Survey, Live Encounters, Poetry New Zealand, Southerly, & Two-Thirds North.  His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide).  He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island, Tasmania.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A Reek of a Different Kind. by Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad

the crate of six packs
from the party last night
sits bang in the center
of the dining room table.

I really don’t understand
why the idiots I hang out with
ritually leave them here
when they know very well
I stopped drinking
goddamned years ago.

maybe they think I’ll wisen up,
be inspired to guzzle again,
sobriety being so overrated and all that,
I don’t know
I’ve got a bloody migraine,
the sourness of mocktails
white tar on my tongue,
I must have downed
four, maybe five glasses last night,
I can’t remember
my head hurts from the sugar spike -
you know you are pathetic
when fucking orange juice
gives you a hangover.

I amble to the wash basin,
pop open two cans
pouring the froth over my hair
lathering it in,
beer percolating my scalp.

strands glossed, root to tip,
protein flexed and blow dried,
I’m ready for a night on the town
with a do to rival Schwarzkopf,
the stench of beer on my person
a reek of a different kind.





Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad is a Sydney based artist, poet, and pianist. She holds a Masters in English. Oormila was raised in the Middle East and was a war refugee during Operation Desert Storm. She has exhibited her art and accompanying poetry in Kuwait, India, Singapore, and Australia. She is a member of Sydney’s North Shore Poetry Project and Authora Australis. Her recent works have been published in Red Eft Review, Glass Poetry Journal’s Poets Resist, Eunoia Review, Underwood Press’ Rue Scribe and The Maier Museum of Art’s Journal of Ekphrastic Poetry. She has poems forthcoming in the Rat’s Ass Review. Oormila regularly performs her poetry and exhibits her art at shows in Sydney.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Grow Up or Die by Kevin Ridgeway

we keep getting high
for no good reason at all
you blamed me for wasting
the joint we were smoking
and taking everything
for granted in a very mean
city where we could easily
get killed after our parents
died and we had no place
to call home, something;s
got to give in order for me
to wait for miracles
as my mind clears
and my life is saved.





KEVIN RIDGEWAY lives and writes in Long Beach, CA. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, San Pedro River Review, The Cape Rock, Spillway, Up the River, Suisun Valley Review, KYSO Flash, Home Planet News, Cultural Weekly, Big Hammer, Misfit Magazineand So it Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. He is the author of six chapbooks of poetry. His latest book, A Ludicrous Split, He also has a collaboration with fellow poet Gabriel Ricard,  available from Alien Buddha Press.

He also has a new book out with Spartan Press.
check it out and get yourself a copy today.



Friday, September 20, 2019

Under the Hollywood Sign. By John Drudge



When we were kids
We used to drink
Under the Hollywood sign
Innocent dreams
And empty canyon screams
The minutes ticking tangents
Into morning
Now it’s homelessness
And the hopeless
Tents and tourniquets
New stars
In the cool tinsel night
Ambitions held together
With the same Elmer’s glue
Where everyone
Still gets together
To dream
Under the Hollywood sign




John works as a clinical social worker and is the president of a national disability management company. He holds degrees in Social Work, Psychology, and Rehabilitation Services and has studied philosophy extensively.  He is an avid traveler and a long-term student of the martial arts holding a 3rd degree black-belt in Kempo Karate. His diverse educational and experiential background gives him a broad base from which to approach many topics in his poetry. John currently lives with his wife and two children in Caledon, Ontario, Canada. 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Sliced Pear and Cheese by Jonathan K. Rice

At the wine bar
we sat at one
of those tall tables
in a corner

looking over
the wine list,
sun streaming
through the window
behind us

ficus tree casting
plastic leafy shadows
across the menus

You told me
the ficus tree was
the official tree
of Bangkok

I didn’t know that
but I’d seen plenty
of live ones
in south Florida

We chose a chilled
white wine with
sliced pear and some
kind of white cheese

Killed the bottle,
laughed through it all,
talked about our jobs,
family, books, art

We split the tab
You pulled me close,
kissed goodbye

I still like the pairing
of cheese and pear
with white wine,
the taste of goodbye,
the significance of ficus trees







Jonathan K. Rice edited Iodine Poetry Journal for seventeen years. He is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Killing Time (2015), Ukulele and Other Poems (2006) and a chapbook, Shooting Pool with a Cellist (2003), all published by Main Street Rag Publishing. He is also a visual artist. His work has appeared most recently in Foliate Oak, Grey Sparrow, Mad Swirl, The Main Street Rag, Minute Magazine, South Florida Poetry Journal and forthcoming in Abbey, Amethyst Review, As It Ought To Be, First Literary Review-East, San Pedro River Review and Trailer Park Quarterly He is the recipient of the 2012 Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award for outstanding service in support of local and regional writers, awarded by Central Piedmont Community College. He lives in Charlotte, NC.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Death Fiesta by Chuka Susan Chesney


In the attic of your house,
we held a Camelot party.
Your brother wore a tunic,
but he didn’t stay long.
The dishwasher was broken,
bar shelves stocked.
Your parents downstairs,
sipping Gallo in the den.
All of us were toking on the attic floor,
boys clad in tights, girls in medieval gowns.
Heard your mother’s voice
calling from below,
“We bought you champagne from the liquor store.
There are stacks of Dixie cups
and a platter of Doritos.”
We poured bubbly into flowered cups
on the kitchen countertop.
I started baking cookies,
but later I forgot.
Your mother smelled
burnt chocolate emanating from the oven.
She lambasted me,
but I dozed unaware
on the ticking-covered mattress
next to Guinevere.
We were lying in the closet
as we spun Pet Sounds.
God only knows if
someone flipped the record.
Your father lawyered downstairs,
sipped wine on his sofa
from a mouthblown glass.
Your mother clambered off
to her four poster bed.
In the morning she found him,
his forehead like cold duck.
We must have fallen asleep just before he died.
Someone headed for the bathroom at 2 am
saw him slumped against a pillow
with a dossier on his lap,
a sharpened pencil balanced over one ear.
There was a wake at your house a few days later,
pinot noir served at the bar,
and your mother simmered gumbo
with dirty rice and beans.
I wore my kimono
on the covered patio,
listening to Queen
and Nat King Cole.
You reposed in your caftan
on the leafy chaise lounge
next to the deep end
of infinity pool.





Chuka Susan Chesney is an artist and a poet. Her poems, art, and/or flash fiction have been published in Peacock Journal, Inklette, New England Review, Compose, Picaroon, and Lummox. Chesney’s paintings and collages have been in exhibitions and galleries across the United States.





Tuesday, September 17, 2019

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 apartment
along Burncrest Avenue.

Taking a quick chase
after each shot.

The Best of the Doors
on repeat.

Windows open for ventilation.
A broken black futon with
green pillows.

My fingers over the shag
and later the woman.





Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly,The Rye Whiskey Review, Outlaw Poetry Network, Under The Bleachers, The Dope Fiend Daily and In Between Hangovers.




Monday, September 16, 2019

On the Back Porch, Bacchus Retired by Clifford Brooks

Bacchus sits back with his dignity intact
and reminisces about bad luck:
“It isn’t romantic, or admirably tragic,
to waste one’s life as a drunk.”
He speaks without regret:
“Art isn’t reason for addiction.
Creativity isn’t a debt.”

“Barrooms breed a fool’s folklore.
Shotgun claimed Cobain; booze left Joplin floored.”
Bacchus alone endures,
“A family sees their tree
has another apple
watering itself into a stupor.
No good reason except bad timing,
the fate of a selfish torpor.”

“Apathy was my altar,
and Kerouac shared that fetid womb.”
Bacchus blows smoke,
“One thing coaxed me out of that tomb.”
His eyes hovered over his ocean view.
Peaceful, humble, healthy, subdued,
this respite enjoyed by too few.

The decommissioned deity is asked every day,
Do you miss it, the melee or the old crew?
 “No. Good company was overdue.”
Bacchus  breathes, then smiles,
“Good folks, the one thing:
I didn’t expire
in the addled by and by
because death-by-cliché
is the worst way to die.”



Clifford Brooks (www.cliffbrooks.com) was born in Athens, Georgia His second full-length poetry volume, Athena Departs: Gospel of a Man Apart, as well as a limited-edition poetry chapbook, Exiles of Eden, were published in 2017. His first poetry collection, The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics, was re-issued in August 2018. Evergreens, his second chapbook, will be released by Lucid House Publishing in 2019. 

Clifford is the founder of The Southern Collective Experience (www.southerncollectiveexperience.com), a cooperative of writers, musicians and visual artists, which publishes the journal of culture The Blue Mountain Review and hosts the NPR show Dante’s Old South. He is on the faculty of The Company of Writers, and provides tutorials on poetry through the Noetic teaching application.  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

CREEPY METH HEAD. By Brian Rihlmann



4:30 a.m.
and 80 is shut down
so I’m forced
to take city streets
to the coffee shop

I roll down Prater
through old town Sparks
hang a left on El Rancho

as I pass the car lots on Kietzke
I notice the headlights—
up my ass

the car passes, finally
and goes around
I wind up behind them
at a red light
California plates 

the light turns green
and they crawl
now I’m up THEIR ass
thinking “put down the fucking phone”

so I pass them 
haul ass around
and they get behind
give me the brights
then zoom past

the light’s red at Plumb
and as I pull alongside 
a tinted window opens
and two young ladies 
(teenagers?)
are screaming  
“Creepy fucking meth head!
Learn how to drive!”

I laugh at the “meth head” remark
then express my own feelings
which involves the phrase 
“stupid cunts!”

but I don’t think
they even hear me
I cannot outshout 
these two mad lionesses 
they are ferocious
as they continue to scream
what a creepy loser I am
and I should get a life
until they finally take off
tires squealing 

I’m as outmatched now
as I ever was
I recall incidents 
from long ago 
at high school parties
at bars...

later, I see myself 
in the mirror 
my two week beard
the long hair

I smile
and look at my teeth
not exactly gleaming white
but still
there they are

creepy? maybe...
but “meth head?”


my ass!







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.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here. by James H Duncan



the long, aching descent into midnight
guided by the neon bar lights reflecting
off the whiskey and gin bottles lining
the mirror, our reflections blocked,
the doorways and exits blocked, the cries
of the innocent outside muted by the last
of our collective quarters in the jukebox
playing out the gutter hymns that will
never save our souls but at least sooth
the pain we feel when raising our glasses 
to indicate we’d like another, please,
just one more before we close our eyes
to the darkness of the lights going out
one by one until we navigate by pure
desire alone, my last friend in this realm
whispering beside me how glad he was
to know he’d finally go where she 
might be waiting for him, but I do not
reply, it already happened, we have risen
and fallen at once, glasses emptying
in a last eucharist gesture, 
our sins needing no forgiveness,
just the darkness within the dark, 
the endless shades of night, 
where even creation becomes a myth
and the memory of neon reflections
the only religion that matters   






James H Duncan is the editor of Hobo Camp Review and the author of Feral Kingdom, Nights Without Rain, Dead City Jazz, What Lies In Wait, and other collections of poetry and fiction. He also writes reviews of indie bookshops at his blog, The Bookshop Hunter. For more, visit www.jameshduncan.com. 

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Grande Burrito by Nathan Graziano

I cannot finish The Grande Burrito,
having barely left a dent. Whatever
is the opposite of grande in Spanish,
that is me. I also cannot dive into
a body of water or parallel park a car.
or bench press my own weight. When
challenged in conversation, I cannot
snap off a quick or witty turn of phrase.
I cannot unclasp a bra with one hand
or kiss a girl first without ten drinks
in me. I cannot execute the little things,
forget the grande. I cannot tell a lie.




Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, with his wife and kids. His books include Teaching Metaphors (Sunnyoutside Press), After the Honeymoon (Sunnyoutside Press) Hangover Breakfasts (Bottle of Smoke Press in 2012), Some Sort of Ugly (Marginalia Publishing in 2013), and My Next Bad Decision (Artistically Declined Press, 2014). Almost Christmas, a collection of short prose pieces, was published by Redneck Press in 2017. Graziano writes a baseball column for Dirty Water Media in Boston. For more information, visit his website: www.nathangraziano.com.  




Thursday, September 12, 2019

Ozzie and Harriet Tubman. By Dig Wayne


Ozzie was on his fifth hi-ball when Ilene limped in. She noticed his splintered chin melting on the bar. His watch read 12:38. 


Leroy, the barkeep, knew. 
"I got my eye on you Ilene. Don't try to steal his watch." 


"Give me some credit, Leroy. It's a goddam Timex." 


"Your credit's no good here, Ilene. We've danced to that dead beat before.”


"Shuddup Leroy. You're not clever. I got a brand new Tubman twenty and I'm free, black and 52. Give me a shot and a punch in the gut." 
Ilene eased onto the stool next door to Ozzie. She fake-coughed to stir his attention away from the inside of his eyelids. 
"Hey, sailor. What's got you all perforated? You look like my ulcer." 


"Gnuh?" Ozzie snorted. 


Ilene crossed her good leg over her bad. 
"You're new to this facility, don't recognize your smell. You local?" 


Ozzie ventured a mumble. 
"They never tell you they lie. It would be a lie to believe that truth." 


Ilene shot Leroy a look. Leroy kept his job. He delivered her order and waited for the Tubman. Ilene rolled the balled up 20 at Leroy but kept her bead on Ozzie. 


"She done you wrong, eh?" 


Ozzie was an open book with every other chapter ripped out. 
"Watering, always with the watering and planting. Non-stop. I look for her... She's not in the house, she's watering. Telling me about a thousand types of ground cover. What do I care about the fuckin'...what's coverin' the fuckin' ground... Now she won't even come in the house. Pitched a goddamn tent out there." 


Just then, Leroy brought Ilene's change. Ozzie kept singing the blues. 
"She left me for the garden." 


"My old lady left me for the pool guy," Leroy offered. 
"I don't have a gardener. I cut my own grass." 


Ilene knocked her drinks back and counted her change. 
"Don't be an asshole, Leroy."






Dig Wayne put together his first chapbook in 1999. It was called Blurts and Blusters. He has somehow lost all 6 copies. “Perhaps when I’m dead, one will turn up for my children to read and wonder who their father really was”  


Dig’s poetry has been published in the literary journals, Askew and Spillway. He has two self-published works, Bongo Skin and Hip Pockets. He is working on two new collections, Horny Chandeliers and a 45 page Haiku manuscript entitled One Fell Swoop. Dig grew up in Ohio and has practiced his art in New York City and London. More at Digwayne.com

You Stood at the Station by John Greiner

I left noon
in wonder,
wanting evenings
in your head,
I ran to you
while you stood
at the station
abandoned.
I knew that you'd
tell me to go away.
I knew that you'd
say that that night,
nights past,
nights to come
had nothing to do
with
what I wanted,
what I needed
to get through
to you.
I fell through
lovers
and mountains
looking
for a morning
running in front
of the sun
trying to beat
its grip
on the sky.
I outpaced
wolves
and pilgrims
who waited
for the blood
of morning
only to return
to your night time
eyes that are stars
that suffocate
the moon
and are always
in my mind.







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). 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Apologies to W.C. by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

I could be drunk,
resting my bones
in the red wheelbarrow 
glazed and dazed
by the white chickens 
besides the fence,
but alas there is no
fence or white chickens,
and there is definitely 
no red wheelbarrow.





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.

Gerringong Cemetery. By Michael R. Griffiths

There’s a certain nonsense that disturbs the dead.     As we pile in,     exiled past the ablution blocks,     roused by the warm s...