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

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


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.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Drunk all the time by Michael Estabrook

Fascinated I watched Barfly
the movie about the young
Charles Bukowski living
in his rotted underwear in squalid
boardinghouse rooms infested
with cockroaches or sleeping
it off in the gutter or behind some
damn dumpster drunk all
the time, writing stories and poetic
murmurings when he could see
long enough through the clouds
of his wretched existence.
And I wondered as I watched how
anyone could live like that in
the world but not in the world,
bruised and coughing, underfed,
smoking, drunk all the time,
wondered how anyone could
live like that and still
be such a great poet. And after
the movie (damn me damn me!)
I found myself rummaging
like a demented bear through
the kitchen cabinets and shelves
hoping to find an overlooked
bottle of wine or
some cooking sherry.

Michael Estabrook small press poet since the 1980s striving always for greater clarity and concision rendering language more succinct and precise more accessible and appealing a Sisyphean adventure for sure. Retired now writing more and working more outside just noticed two Cooper’s hawks staked out in the yard or rather above it which explains the nerve-wracked chipmunks. The Poet’s Curse, A Miscellany is a recent collection (The Poetry Box, 2019).

The Pipe by Brian Gore

    Where is my pipe?
I shall not have a night without it. Who then has failed me?

A foot drags slowly behind the chair
of the Confident, yet, no pipe arrives.
     It was his last, last anyone saw it,
  so while his foot slowly slides behind the chair
his head falls cumbersomely upon the table.

A pipe is placed on the kitchen counter, but
    the master is asleep. Brian takes the pipe out for a smoke.
He peers down through the fog toward the alligator swamp
    thinking of nothing.
    He is warm, the smoke billows upward, and his mind seeps
into the slurpy bog beneath him.
Brian finishes his contemplation, damps out the pipe, and then walks it to
    his master’s table who never knew it was not in his mouth.

BrianSGore is a writer of short stories, poems, and songs. He has published several collections of original works including Barstool Ballads, Eleven Stories for Short … Attentions, and Tangled World, as well as coordinating a collaborative project entitled A Collection of Poems by Various Poets Regarding the Line '10,000 Miles of Farewell’. His newest book, Drawn Thread, is now available, along with his new album Going, Never Stopping, at 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A WEEKEND LOST TO THE MADNESS. by Bradford Middleton

The weekend was destroyed by the time
It had started, a bottle of port, some beer
A bit of tequila and the ubiquitous smoke
Before I’d even really begun.  Old faces
Returned and bad habits came calling again
And the many many times I’ve said NO
In all the previous years this Saturday
Afternoon I got the baddest of urges again.

Up it went
And out I went
Out of my mind
Crawling the walls of the pub as time disappears
Gripped by madness
I plunge in elation

As it takes hold
Numbing, ever so temporarily, my worries
My problems
As still the
Drink and smoke
Continued to offer their assistance in getting me
Out of my mind
Afternoon became
Evening and still it
Went on but I have no idea until when!

The Sunday came and with it
9 hours of checkout action
A day battling the nausea
A day dealing with my middle-class wine drinkers
Who’d have no idea of what
It is I’m going through until
That moment, that sweet beautiful
Moment, 10:59pm, finally came
Around and I dropped to my knees
Delirious at last it was over.

Today, at last, is Monday or at least
It was until about 8 minutes ago and
This morning I woke and felt still a
Little bit shaky,
A little unsteady
But again there it was; another 9
Hours at work
And again by the
End I felt mostly better
Bit jittery but nothing
One big last smoke won’t cure…

 Bradford Middleton was born in south-east London during the summer of 1971 and won his first poetry prize at the age of nine.  He then gave up writing poems for nearly twenty-five years and it wasn't until he landed in Brighton, knowing no one and having no money, that he began again.  Ten years later and he's been lucky enough to have had a few chapbooks published including a new one from Analog Submission Press entitled 'Flying through this Life like a Bottle Battling Gravity', his debut from Crisis Chronicles Press (Ohio, USA) and his second effort for Holy & Intoxicated Press (Hastings, UK).  He has read around the UK at various bars, venues and festivals and is always keen to get out and read to new crowds.  His poetry has also been or will be published shortly in the Chiron Review, Zygote in my Coffee, Section 8, Razur Cuts, Paper & Ink, Grandma Moses 'Poet to Notice', Empty Mirror, Midnight Lane Gallery, Bareback Lit and is a Contributing Poet over at the wonderful Mad Swirl.  If you like what you've read go send a friend request on facebook to bradfordmiddleton1. 

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...