Thursday, November 14, 2019

the characters in my novels seem more real than me. By John Grochalski

the booze runs
down my throat
like my own personal niagara

and the characters in my novels
seem more real than me

always plotting and planning
as if they were the center of the universe

instead of being another anxious beast
fixed to die angry and alone

in this garbage farce

walking by cemeteries on hot summer days
late for somewhere i don’t even want to be

watching tombstones age
with epigraphs on everyone’s grave

that secretly read

i should’ve been there more for you
and you should’ve been there more for me

…but now, my friends
everything’s become nothing

but all of this.

John Grochalski is the author of the poetry collections, The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and The Philosopher’s Ship (Alien Buddha Press, 2018). He is also the author of the novels, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016).  Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where the garbage can smell like roses if you wish on it hard enough.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Unworthy Disciple. By Giovanni Mangiante

I watched a Bukowski movie called “Barfly”.
The next thing I know is:
I was at a liquor store buying two bottles of whiskey,
a pack of cigarettes, and some beer.
I went home and called a hooker who arrived late;
half-drunk already I tried explaining to her:
“Listen, we are together now. This is the way life goes, okay?”
She looked at me
took a cigarette
told me to go to bed, and get comfortable.

I woke up on the floor the next day,
alone, still clothed, hungover, and with no wallet.
My personal documents were scattered all around the floor.
I stood up, went to the kitchen to get some water
and saw that my microwave was missing.
“You were supposed to take my poems” I muttered 
“Not my goddamn microwave”

And I thought then if there were any Benedetti movies
I could watch that night.

Giovanni Mangiante, born on March 17th , 1996, is a bi-lingual writer from Lima, Peru.  He has work published in The Anti-Languorous Project, Dream Noir and has upcoming poems in Down in the Dirt. 
He used to be an EFL teacher, but now he focuses only on writing poetry, flash fiction, music, and petting his dog Lucy. In writing he found a way to cope with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

finishing off a bottle of scotch by J.J. Campbell

i can remember one night we
were finishing off a bottle of
scotch while listening to prince

you asked me why i was in
love with you

before i could say anything
you said don’t give me the
poet answer, tell me the truth

i laughed, took a drink and
said you were the most beautiful
woman that actually said hello
to me

she smiled and blew me a kiss

we finished off that bottle, had
some wild sex and i woke up
the next morning alone

i eventually found a scribbled
note that had a few drunken
lines on it

something like you were supposed
to say because i complete you and
you see forever in my eyes

i chuckled and wondered what
the fuck did she think the poet
was going to say

she finished the note off with
go to hell

i was hoping that was code
for something

it wasn’t

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. (

Monday, November 11, 2019

Mona in Amerika #2. by Mike Zone

She’s thinking of meeting
the man in the yellow hat
in tight cut-office denims and a butterfly tank top
she needs a job
enter: Hamburger Joe’s
nearly a trillion served
deep fried burgers, slaw-fries, bacon topped ice-cream
at lightning speed
a stupid hat, $40 uniform fee
must be available: days, nights, weekends, holidays
7 days a week
expect between nine and twenty-four hours
starting pay 25 cents above minimum
it’s within walking distance
saves on bus fare
allows for minor contemplation
on the receding homeland and Sisyphus boulder
mom’s at the axis of it all
which is really the cross roads of delayed death
or immediate death
walking in front of a bus as factory doors close
a dollar over minimum, cashiering at the mart
a circus of value and conflicting time changes
Mona fingering Baltic curls, gazes at her younger sister
back from daycare, sores on her mouth
still hungry but refusing to eat
macaroni hotdog , sloppy joe sauce surprise
call it a “Tidy Joe” on a bun
in her uniform before work
tighter pants for job security
appease the manager with wolfish eyes
light on make-up
so as not to signify
 instant give-away
Mona sighs and asks “is this Amerika?”

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.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

What I Thought About at an Oyster Bar During Happy Hour by John C. Mannone

It was low IFR—400 and 2—at Martha’s Vineyard,
worsening throughout the day. Some commercial
flights—turboprops—were missing the approaches.

After I landed in my Piper Archer II, a small plane
in comparison, the controller said I was the first
to get in so far. High winds must have blown others

off the approach course. It’s often tricky to fly
off the Massachusetts coast at night, haze obscuring
horizon, even with the moon floating at the edge

of deep water, scraping oyster beds. I flew over
Kennedy’s home a month before John F junior left
the Jersey coast on a night flight across the Sound.

He didn’t make it. They said his inexperienced plane
fell at 2700 feet per minute. Spatial Disorientation.
I take big swig of a New England style IPA, hazy, slam

the mug on the bar, causing the coins to fly off the edge
followed by the tinny sound of change smacking the floor.
An unhappy hour—my oysters had lost their shimmer,
their briny-kelp flavor.

John C. Mannone has work in Adanna Literary Journal, Anacua Literary Arts Journal, and Number One, and in Artemis, Poetry South, Human/Kind Journal, Red Coyote, Blue Fifth Review, New England Journal of Medicine, Baltimore Review, and others. He won a Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Appalachian literature (2017) and served as the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). He’s a retired professor of physics living between Knoxville and Chattanooga, TN.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Expecting by J.C. O'Neil

I bet you weren’t expecting
to see me tonight.
Here, shooting pool,
tipping it back
having fun.

I bet you expected me
to lock myself inside,
to close the blinds
and drown our memories,
miss you.

I bet you didn’t expect me
To flirt with the bartender/
the drunk bridesmaid/
the pretty dancing brunette.
Living like a bachelor.

The truth?

I didn’t expect to feel this way.
I expected to wallow in pain,
in the misery of losing you.
Losing true love.

I realized something.
The love we had
wasn’t true,
not really.

It didn’t take long to see

you freed me from the dungeon
where you tortured
my heart.

J.C. O'Neil is a writer living in Cheswick, PA. He studied English Writing at the University of Pittsburgh in Greensburg. Between balancing work life, writing life, and family life (a beautiful wife, a sassy three year old, and fearless one year old) he's managed to have his poetry published by the Mad Poets Society and his stories in the Authors' Tale Anthology series.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Solicitude at Jester’s Bar by Jeffrey Alfier

Bullhead City, AZ

    O to live in the soulful blueness of night.
          — Georg Trakl

Tell me, old man: how was it your Harley trundled
    through empty autumn twilight,

back to the hometown that never died inside you —
    its streetlights starring the gray avenues?

Now, late sun through the bar’s windows
    meets the warm wine cruising your blood,

meets the barmaid’s hazel eyes,
    tolerant smile, leather skirt

and chestnut hair, heady perfume
    you can’t name, silken curve of freckled breasts.

Your gaze will follow her all night
    like an animal’s scent, even as she turns away,

your drink at last call ordered seconds too late
    as she glances back at you like an empty room.

Jeffrey Alfier’s most recent book is Gone This Long: Southern Poems (2019). His publication credits include The Carolina Quarterly, Chiron Review, Copper Nickel, Midwest Quarterly, Permafrost, and Southern Poetry Review. He is founder and co-editor of Blue Horse Press and San Pedro River Review.

the characters in my novels seem more real than me. By John Grochalski

the booze runs down my throat like my own personal niagara and the characters in my novels seem more real than me always ...