Monday, January 24, 2022

Old by Wayne F. Burke

A log-jam at the EXIT
of the supermarket—
an elderly couple doddering
in the doorway…
A woman with cart ahead of
me: “what are they doing,” she
asks, peeved. “Plow into them,”
I say. “No, I won’t.”
A woman behind says “they
do not give a shit about
anybody.”
The white-haired codger
tugs on his missus’ sleeve as
they move, slow as cold
molasses…
The woman ahead gives me
a “look,” eyes above her
black mask. I feel like kicking her
in the ass. “They are old,” I say, but
neither woman, it is obvious, gives
a shit, old or
whatever.




Wayne F. Burke's poetry has been widely published online and in print. He has published six full-length poetry collections, most recently DIFLUCAN (BareBack Press, 2019). He lives in the Pine Tree State.




Sunday, January 23, 2022

My House vs. Hers By Chuka Susan Chesney

My friend Brandy shared a Mustang with her brother.

The coupe was olive with cold brew seats.

“Want to go to the liquor store?” 

“I’m thirsty.” We were underage and bought some Coke

which was different for me because my family drank Shasta.


Black cherry, pineapple, Tiki Punch, 

a whole case of soda, cheaper than Coke,

a choice of metal cans stacked on shelves above the dryer.

There was no liquor in my home.


On Friday nights my mom got tipsy on I don’t know what—

rotten cauliflower from the crisper?

She wore her la fée verte nightie with no undies underneath

and lounged on her chaise til she got sleepy.


At Brandy’s, we watched old movies in the den—

“Some Like it Hot” or “Camelot”.


Sometimes her mom cooked dinner; but usually she didn’t, 

so Brandy would open a can of tuna, and we’d eat

sandwiches and quaff our Cokes. 


When Brandy spent the night at my house, we had lots of choices: 

canned soup, chicken pie, macaroni and cheese. 

But there was no T.V. and no place to go

except the back porch or my minuscule bedroom.


Every night Brandy’s parents bought

a fiasco of wine, but I don’t know where they drank it.

Maybe at the table on the indoor patio.

 

After we went upstairs, they watched talk shows

and poured stems of Chianti while they nestled on the sofa. 


At some point we heard her mom's mules thump  

to her bedroom on the staircase that sharply swiveled.

Glasses traipsed down her father’s nose 

while he labored on briefs 'til 2:00 am.





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.


Saturday, January 22, 2022

Dancing With a Cannibal by Catfish McDaris

First time a guy asked me to dance felt weird, I replied no thanks and my drinking pals got a good laugh 
  
Where I grew up you only danced with the opposite sex, but not in my new local, I liked to see the ladies 
shaking it together 
  
Following a poetry reading and some decent sales, a strange blonde man with a hypnotic 
stare asked several questions 
  
He wanted to blow a joint  
and drink some top shelf, Big Frank had my back, he stopped me from chugging a tequila sunrise 
  
A few days later we saw the same guy wearing chains and dancing with a mob of cops. 




Catfish McDaris is a 30-year small press and 3-year Army artillery veteran, from Albuquerque and Milwaukee. He works in a wig store in a dangerous neighborhood. Second day on the job, a lady dropped her purse and a loaded 357 rolled out on the floor, pointed at him. He was nominated for a 2021 Pulitzer but didn’t make the final cut. I hope we connect, amigo.
 

Friday, January 21, 2022

I’m Tore Down By Susan Cossette 

Wore down, down to the hoe down worn.

It’s still storming and I’m still stone crazy.

Call it rainy Monday, give me back my bouffant wig.

The thrill is gone.

 

I’m a queen bee wannabee.

Smokestack of blonde lightning,

a hellhound on my tail.

 

Me and my leopard skin pillbox hat,

born in a chicken shack,

lookin’ for the bright lights and big city.

 

Rattlesnakin’ gin-soaked Daddy,

come on in to my kitchen, baby.

Mannish boy, put a little sugar in my bowl,

and see that my grave’s kept clean.

 




Susan Cossette lives and writes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Author of Peggy Sue Messed Up, she is a recipient of the University of Connecticut’s Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust and Moth, Vita Brevis, ONE ART, As it Ought to Be, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Amethyst Review, Crow & Cross Keys, Loch Raven Review, and in the anthologies Tuesdays at Curley’s and After the Equinox.  



Thursday, January 20, 2022

My Last Time at the Palms of Joy By jim bourey


On my route from the bus stop 

to the Palms of Joy bar

I had to pass the 

Christian Science Reading Room.

Science and the Savior

didn’t seem like a bad combination 

but my years in Catholic school

brought no mention of Jesus in a lab coat 

handling beakers and the small hell 

of a Bunsen burner. 


Since the Palms was my regular bar,

and the only one that would serve 

a seventeen-year-old

one-stripe airman with a fake ID, 

I walked by that storefront

nearly every day, a pattern

that didn’t bode well for a 

career in the military.


But an argument with an old boozer

about the healing power of faith,

followed by an impromptu

table-top striptease from his

nearly toothless, sixty-something

girlfriend (yes, I watched her too closely)

followed by a minor brawl

and my ejection out to the sidewalk,

face down, cured me of habitual

drinking. (for a long time anyway)


And I rarely argue about religion,

not even now when it could be

of some benefit

in these rapidly disappearing days.







jim bourey is an old poet from the northern edge of the Adirondack Mountains in New York. His latest book "The Distance Between Us" was published in 202 by Cold River Press. And he also had an award winning chapbook called "Silence, Interrupted" back in 2015 from The Broadkill Press. His work has appeared in The Rye Whiskey Review, Gargoyle, Mojave River Review, and many other journals and anthologies in print and online. He can usually be found reading poetry aloud in dimly lit rooms.



Wednesday, January 19, 2022

ACES AND EIGHTS By Michael N. Thompson 


I’m fifteen bucks

into a twenty-dollar bill

on Dollar Draft Night

at the Frolic Two


Not the one of Bukowski fame

near Hollywood and Vine


This is one of those side street bars

where human wheels rust

waiting for their ships to come in


A proletariat society

of lives that came up short

prop up the bar

as they nurse more wounds

than Christ at Golgotha

and I’m no different

than the rest of them


We all came from somewhere

to be someone or something

but this town’s full

of more false promises

than a paroled man

fresh from the penitentiary


Sure, the road travelled

has been bumpier than expected

but it doesn’t mean

the light at the end of the tunnel

has to be a train


It’s better to roll snake eyes

than be dealt the dead man’s hand







Michael N. Thompson likes bacon, cats and fantasy football.  His poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals including Word Riot, Toronto Quarterly and San Pedro River Review. He is the author of four poetry collections, the most recent being A Murder Of Crows published by University of Hell Press. www.michaelnthompson.com

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Hope by Jake St. John & Jenn Knickerbocker

The fire burns
my thoughts
reducing me
to ash

a rush of air
sends cinders 
wild as my mind 
tends to be 
these days

but here I sit
boots in dirt
head in hands
alone and forgotten

the single tear drop
making its way
down my cheek
carves the path
of debris
as I hope
for the same clarity
to reach my mind 
and ease my eyes

the agony 
is suffocating
I take a swig
swallowing the pain
for tonight, I relinquish
myself to the flames.




Jake St. John spends his nights in a cabin on the edge of the woods. He is the author of several collections of poetry including Night Full of Diamonds (Whiskey City Press, 2021), Snow Moon (Holy & Intoxicated Publications, 2019) and Lost City Highway (A Jabber Publication, 2019). His poems have appeared in print and online journals around the world. 




Jenn Knickerbocker is a writer, a mother, and a teacher. You can find her on a forest path or sitting fireside during her free time.



Old by Wayne F. Burke

A log-jam at the EXIT of the supermarket— an elderly couple doddering in the doorway… A woman with cart ahead of me: “what are they doing,” ...