Monday, November 27, 2023

The Stranger By B. Lynne Zika

I am the stranger beside you.

Forgive me. My clothes scatter dust.

Who can blame an infant for hunger

or a dying man for thirst?

I am the stranger who leaves hollow markings

on your pillows, who does not have sense enough

to wipe his shoes at the door of your house,

who peers too long into windows.

Someone should teach me the way things are.

I am the stranger who drives us from home

to the gravel-pitted byway,

where the density of an unbearable sky

presses us forward,

urges us on,

pushes us past road signs

whose characters we cannot read

and where is direction then?

What will tether us to a world

which no longer recognizes our form?

Yesterday I saw the way you lifted your glass.

The liquid rushed to meet you.

Your lips knew perfectly what to do.

They parted; the tongue slipped forward,

pressed itself against the cool rim.

I watched the small tremble of your throat

as you swallowed, the way your mouth

curved afterwards, a shy or lazy moon.

And you did not need to speak.

Thank you. 

It was a rare and beautiful thing.

B. Lynne Zika is a poet, essayist, photographer, and fiction writer currently living in Los Angeles. Her books The Strange Case of Eddy Whitfield, The Longing, and Letters to Sappho: Putting Out the Fire are available on Amazon and through other booksellers. In addition to editing poetry and nonfiction, she worked as a closed-captioning editor for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. She has received awards in short fiction, poetry, and photography. Her father, Yewell C. Lybrand, Jr., was a writer himself. Before his death at 36, he bequeathed her this wisdom and mission for a lifetime: Make every word count.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

California Summer (V2) By Michael Lee Johnson

Coastal warm breeze

off Santa Monica, California

the sun turns salt

shaker upside down 

and it rains white smog, a humid mist.

No thunder, no lightening,

nothing else to do

except for sashay 

forward into liquid

and swim

into eternal days

like this.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL. He has 295 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 44 countries, a song lyricist, has several published poetry books, has been nominated for 6 Pushcart Prize awards, and 6 Best of the Net nominations. He is editor-in-chief of 3 poetry anthologies, all available on Amazon, and has several poetry books and chapbooks. He has over 453 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups. Member Illinois State Poetry Society:

Friday, November 24, 2023

There It Sat By Kevin M. Hibshman

Top shelf and gleaming, speckled with light that hurt my eyes.

Mind's gate open, swinging madly.

I stretched all the way up from the inside with clammy digits that wouldn't cling.

I was standing, wind blowing holes through me, on a craggy shore.

I had to find a way, the elevation I have always craved, mocking me now.

We traverse amid rough tundra.

We seek to cut a swath like the brave.

I left him sleeping soundly in front of the television, limbs flayed in a sacrificial pose.

I had to vanish, to abandon a long held outpost.

It was closing in all around us, that invisible threat.

He did not want to believe it but there it was.

Months later, still a faint light crept in, a warning I wished to ignore.

I had grown older, pale in the light of reason and felt obscure.

Part of the hillside was completely scorched.

We pray in desperation, when seemingly nothing is left.

If I could only convince the gods to bargain once again.

Kevin M. Hibshman has had poems published in many journals and magazines world wide.In addition, he has edited his poetry zine, Fearless, since 1990 and is the author of sixteen chapbooks including Love Sex Death Dreams (Green Bean Press, 2000) and Incessant Shining (Alternating Current, 2011).

His current book Cease To Destroy from Whiskey City Press is currently available on Amazon. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Poetry Reading at the Bucking Horse Bar on Rodeo Drive by Sharon Waller Knutson

Swiveling on stools,
couples in shorts
chug Cabernet and Coors
as they listen to country music.

My husband plays bass 
and Bobby wails Willie
and Waylon, as I sit
at my book table.

On the break, I read poems
from, My Grandmother Smokes
Chesterfields, and customers
hand over $20 bills.

The bar owner bans me
from reading poetry
when the band
demands more money

since their tips shrink
when I start selling books.
So during the break, 
I read my poems

on the street corner
and sell books
out of the back
of our camper.

Sharon Waller Knutson has published eleven poetry books including The Leading Ladies in My Life (Cyberwit 2023) and her twelfth book, My Grandfather is a Cowboy is forthcoming in 2024. Her work has also appeared in more than 50 journals including One Art, Poetry Breakfast and Autumn Sky Poetry Daily. She is the editor of Storyteller Poetry Review.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Settled By Dan Provost


You played the

role of bottom-

feeder too many times.


Carved the callouses in

your hands, then reaching out

for quarters and sympathy.


You trend with the

lower half…deciding

that the “crowd” loves

the misfit.


The guy who has

to fight so many obstacles

just to survive.


The plight is a

familiar one, and I’m

not reading any more



Save the sad booze

for groupie in-laws

who regard every

day you take a step


as an heroic act.


Dan Provost's poetry has been published throughout the small press for a number of years.  Some recent publications include: Ariel Chart, Poetical Review, Merak Magazine, Oddball Magazine, Deuce Coupe, Misfit Magazine, the Rye Whiskey Review, Cajun Mutt Press and the Dope Fiend Daily.  He has two books coming out in 2020.  Under the Influence of Nothingness by Kung Fu Treachery Press and Rattle of a Realizer, published by Whiskey City Press.  He lives in Berlin, New Hampshire with his wife Laura and dog Bella.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Drinking too much by George Gad Economou

“why do you drink so much?” Christine
asked when she came home after a night-out on town
with her friends and found me lying on
the couch, cuddling a half-empty fifth of
Four Roses. “I haven’t drunk that much,” I protested, my gaze
glued on the glowing TV-screen and the CZW bloodbath match.
“there’s an empty bottle on the floor, and several cans of beer.”
“I’m watching wrestling, I need to maintain the glow of libation.”
“that’s bullshit.”
“fine.” with a groan of exasperation, I paused the show and sat up. “I
drink to forget and to remember; I drink to feel alive; I drink to get
drunk; I drink for I constantly yearn for elation of the soul and ecstasy of
the mind. when drunk, I’m at my
best; I think the best thoughts, I write the best poems I can, I make
the best love, I trod between the fine line of life and death with the balance of
an Olympic gymnast.”
“you’re drunk,” was her plain comment to my fantastical rebuttal and went to
the bathroom.
“that, I am,” I concurred and laid back; took a healthy gulp out
of the bottle and resumed the show. she came out of
the bathroom, rolled her eyes, then laid down next to
me, throwing both her arm and leg around me. I drank, kissed her
on the forehead, and watched the rest of
the show while slept with her head resting on
my shoulder. perhaps, if I hadn’t drunk so much, she’d still
be around; on the other hand, if I didn’t drink, she’d never
have fallen in love with me in the first place.

Currently residing in Greece, George Gad Economou has a Master’s degree in Philosophy of Science and is the author of Letters to S. (Storylandia), Bourbon Bottles and Broken Beds (Adelaide Books), and Of the Riverside (Anxiety Press). His words have also appeared, amongst other places, in Spillwords Press, Ariel Chart, Cajun Mutt Press, Fixator Press, Outcast Press, The Piker Press, The Edge of Humanity Magazine, The Rye Whiskey Review, and Modern Drunkard Magazine.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

BEER STREET By Dave Newman

Because there are nearly 

400 Bourbon Streets in America

and because I believe 

in quiet nights that turn loud

and as many drinks as possible

I have decided that my new address
and all my addresses henceforth
shall be known as Beer Street

and all drinkers who show up 

with a story are welcome to stay 

if the story is great enough

and the evening is long enough.

The roads have now turned to rivers

of beer made of friendship and great brawls.
Swim on. 

Dave Newman is the author of seven books, most recently, The Same Dead Songs: a memoir of working class addictions. He lives in Trafford, PA, the last town in the electric valley. 

The Stranger By B. Lynne Zika

I am the stranger beside you. Forgive me. My clothes scatter dust. Who can blame an infant for hunger or a dying man for thirst? I am the st...