Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Improv with Whiskey & Cars by Linda Bryant

That night, a broken axle, sticks
inside me, sweet burnt
odor of bourbon & Marlboros. Drunk
on Wild Turkey, Mama cussed Daddy
out, my sister & I bawling. The two-hour
ride home in the white ’63, the one
with tailfins. My father driving
mute into a downpour. Why

do I like enormous salvage
yards & side roads where tractors
rust alongside crumbling
sheds? Isn’t there music in rust
& abandonment? A country
song in a decaying barn, corrosion
of an old thresher, blackening
husk of an El Camino? Salt

ate mother’s ‘78 Camaro until
the floor fell out & then she offered
it to me as a “gift.” Years later, to make
up for it, when she could no longer
drive, she gave me a perfect, low- 
mileage Grand Marquis with electric
seats, factory window tinting & cruise
control. I trashed it. When unemployment

ran out my husband got 30-hours at the auto
parts store. I sold our beater
& walked to work. I graze still for spare
parts, hunt for a door without rust
or reminders. I can hear mama
yell, Bill, fix the damn Ford. I smash
a transistor to my ear to muffle
their whiskey-fueled scrap. A disc

jockey gripes about Dylan
going electric. My sister’s gone
existential, her head’s buried
in Huxley & Camus. Daddy devours
an unfiltered smoke like he’s trying
to shrink into a chamber of hot
brown leaf & nicotine
& he walks away.




Linda Bryant published widely as a career journalist for over 30 years before devoting herself to poetry. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times and won two national writing fellowships.  She lives in Bighill, Kentucky, where she operates Owsley Fork Writers Sanctuary. 

Monday, February 6, 2023

Don’t Remember His Name by Holly Day

When she woke up, she was told she was in love

this was all she would ever need. She remembered going home

with the man from the bar, remembered passively letting him have sex with her

mostly because she wanted to sleep in his bed and not on his couch or on the chair

but she did not climb into his bed to fall in love

no matter how much he tried to give her head before and after.

 

When she woke up, he was already making  tacos in the kitchen, asked her

if she’d ever had tacos for breakfast before, like making or eating tacos

was something she’d never done before. She was very polite

acted appropriately respectful and polite, because

she wanted to get a ride home instead of having to navigate the bus

all the way from L.A. to Orange County.

 

It took so many weeks of avoiding phone calls

looking through the curtains before leaving for work

checking the parking lot through another set of curtains

before leaving work to catch the bus to go home

before he finally decided

they weren’t in love after all.





Holly's writing has recently appeared in , and Day’sAnalog SF, The Hong Kong ReviewAppalachian Journal. She currently teaches at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, the Richard  Hugo House in Washington, and WriterHouse in Virginia.


Sunday, February 5, 2023

a day in the life by jck hnry

i sit up against
a wall
in a coffeehouse
in a shit part of town
filled with addicts
and hookers
and confidence men
and gang members
all drinking Frappe-fucking-chinos
waiting for sun to set
waiting for lines to queue
waiting for the innocent
to arrive
waiting for cash to flow
the game to begin
all drinking Frappe-fucking-chinos

and this guy
w/a scar and a lazy eye
and a dirty Dallas Cowboys tee shirt
looks at me
and says,
who the fuck are you?
as i slam the keys of a second generation
laptop
a coffee cup half filled with coffee and whiskey
and i say,
i’m writing
and he says,
oh yeah, what about?
and i say,
poems about halfwits like yourself
and he says,
no one gives a fuck about poetry nowadays

i read 
in the
New York Times
that poetry had died
and i didn’t even
realize the New York Times
still existed

and a hooker,
sorry, a sex worker,
sides up to me and
says,
hey baby
and
what’s cooking
and
wanna date?
as she slugs back
her Frappe-fucking-chino
and i say,
maybe later
and she turns
to the dimwit,
they wander off
and the sun begins to set

people leave 
in groups of twos and threes
the solos stay
seated
waiting
for an alarm 
only dogs 
and addicts
can hear
they finally leave as well
and the guy at the counter
says,
hey man. time to go

and i put my POS laptop
into an old leather satchel
exit through
the backdoor
past the dimwit and the sex worker
engaged
in a coitus,
pants down, skirt up,
dead eyes stare back at me
as they grind together

i walk up the alley
past houseless junkies
shooting up 
in the shadows
of society
or maybe they huff
or snort
or something
i stopped paying attention
years ago

and i walk past
a cop
drinking
a Frappe-fucking-chino

he looks at me
nods
eyes dead
thinking about
a girlfriend
or a lover
or someone
that might force
life back into his veins

i walk twelve blocks
to a bar named Vic’s
and walk inside
sit up against the back wall
bang on my POS laptop

waitress says,
you drinkin
i say, 
yeah
she says,
how you doin?
and i say,
i just don’t know anymore

she nods
doesn’t care
barks my order
bartender
she brings it back
leaves
door opens
two gangsters walk in
masks on 
guns out
the one carrying
a Frappe-Fucking-Chino
screams,
this is a stick up
and i think,
no one says stick up anymore





jck hnry is a writer/publisher/editor, based in southeastern california.  recent publications include:  Deuce Coupe, Rye Whiskey Review, Razur Cuts, Cajun Mutt, Dissident Voices, Horror Sleaze Trash, Bold Monkey, Red Fez, dope fiend daily and a bunch of other noble zines and journals.  Books include:  “With the Patience of Monuments (neoPoesis) ,” “Crunked, (Epic Rites)” and the upcoming "Driving w/Crazy (Punk Hostage Press, 2020).”  hnry is also editor and publisher of Heroin Love Songs and 1870. for more go to jackhenry.wordpress.com.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

I Dip the Strawberries Into the Fancy & Creamy Sauce [because I do not wish to be rude] by Jimmy Broccoli

I’m eating the last noodles from the bottom of my bowl of store-bought spaghetti (and sauce) –
and I realize I am overwhelmingly depressed 
(it has been coming on for hours) –
like, “fuck!” …
like, depressed like I didn’t think I was still capable of being –
fucking 4 years of therapy…
I shouldn’t feel like this
motherfuck – I shouldn’t feel like this…

…so I call my therapist [she’s on speed-dial]

She recommends I take a break

And, so I do
____

I take a cheap overnight flight to visit my old stomping grounds – 
(for a temporary change of scenery) -
..and it’s like shit, motherfucker –
I walk into my childhood home and feel violated – I feel unholy – and unclean –
and uncomfortable as fuck –
everything is so small – and I remember it so large –
I remember it so large and overwhelming – and consuming…
(I’m beginning to think this visit may be a bad idea)

Family photos in the hall closet 
(where they have always been kept and ignored) –
they are still here – yellowing and slowly disintegrating –
and I don’t care the fuck at all about them (or so I claim) – 
fucking burn them for all I fucking care – 
I shut the hall closet door with too much force –
perhaps the memories mean too much 
(I probably should leave)

So, I do.

I’m at the Buffalo Lounge – 
It’s a gay pub I used to frequent as a younger man –
it is the location where I was almost sexually assaulted –
why the mother fuck would I be here sitting on a swiveling stool?
(I probably should fucking leave) …

And, so I do –

I stumble out the front doors and, 
sloppily and without elegance, hail a taxi
(as I did frequently, so many years ago) …
____

The following evening I’m sitting in the living room 
of the home of my childhood best friend - 
(she arranged a “welcome back” get-together for me!) -
she has done really well for herself and for her family – 
she’s a schoolteacher and he’s a fucking chemist or some shit -
and she’s smiling at me now, while serving strawberries 
with a pink creamy sauce that comes in fancy metal saucers –
I’m lactose-intolerant – but ignore this fact –
I do not mention it - 
The creamy sauce looks fucking delicious –
and I ain’t gonna ask – and I ain’t gonna be rude –
I’m with friends – good friends – amazing friends – long-term friends
(there are nine supportive friends on couches and chairs seated around me –
and they are glad I’m here)
and I ain’t gonna fuck that up

[I dip the strawberries into the welcoming and creamy sauce]

I spend the night on my friend’s couch –
‘cause I end the evening – I end the party - drunk as fuck –
but it’s alright – 
it’s okay (nobody is angry or complaining or throwing me out the door) …
My friend gently and lovingly lays a blanket across me –
“Here is a pillow” she says, while she smiles genuinely and lovingly –
as she always does – as she always has

The fancy cuckoo clock on the wall will chime in a few hours –
and I will welcome it –
I’m still alive – 
who the fuck would have thought that’d be true? [absolutely nobody]

I’m still alive – 
[this evening nobody talked about the years of my drug addiction -
and I’m thankful for that!]
and I’m under a loving and comfortable blanket – 
and beneath my head is a comfortable pillow –

Never would I have ever imaged (many years later) …

Depression will wait for me until tomorrow –
For this evening, I exhale it as I fall quickly and confidently to sleep…
[a bit too drunk, but that’s okay]

I’ll call my therapist long-distance in the morning
[I have her on speed-dial] …

It’s not all bad. It fucking ain’t…

It ain’t -
It fucking ain’t.





Jimmy Broccoli lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where he enjoys hiking, playing the washboard, and playing with puppies.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Jack by B. Lynne Zika

He must have stood there
breathing into the dark
breathing the dark

the click of safety a moment behind him
as the door latch of his own room
settled into place.

That first breath
after the kill,
the moment alone in his room
undetected
when the sweetness of the girl’s blood
still clung to his waistcoat,
his trousers,
his hands,
that first breath a metallurgy
of the crown he would wear,
by God, which no one would rival.
It was the exhalation which decided.
Another man would have reached
to light the lamp
and trim the wick,
crossed the room
to pull or raise the shade,
gaslight from the street below
casting oily shadows
and the night smudge echoed
in the copper’s feeble glow.
Instead Jack tasted his fingertips
and left the lamp alone.




B. Lynne Zika’s photography, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous literary and consumer publications. 2022 publications include Delta Poetry Review, Backchannels, Poesy, Suburban Witchcraft, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. In addition to editing poetry and nonfiction, she worked as a closed-captioning editor for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Awards include: Pacificus Foundation Literary Award in short fiction, Little Sister Award and Moon Prize in poetry, and Viewbug 2020 and 2021Top Creator Awards in photography. Website: https://artsawry.com/.

-

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Dereliction by Jim Kangas

When the blood test came back
my doc sent me a copy.
It said I had pronounced
poikilocytocis (misshapen red
blood cells) which can have
any number of causes, and he
scrawled at the bottom
“mild anemia, liver enzymes
elevated, need to drink plenty
of fluids, stop alcohol 
immedately.” What was I
to make of that? Well, I’ve cut 
down on the alcohol, but still 
have a bourbon and coke most 
nights, or a gin and tonic. Hell, 
I’m 78, and if I go a little sooner 
rather than later, so what? With 
so many physical failings, I think 
maybe the sooner the better. 
Less agony to go through 
would be a great blessing, 
don’t you reckon?


Jim Kangas is a retired librarian and musician living in Flint, Michigan. His poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Decadent Review, Main Street Rag, The Penn Review, Unbroken, et al. His chapbook, Breath of Eden (Sibling Rivalry Press), was published in 2019.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT by Cord Moreski

It’s the first morning of January 
as I walk out to my front porch 
chewing on sunflower seeds 
to kill the urge of having a smoke

I eventually sit on my steps 
but still feel like I’m constantly moving 
even though it’s technically a new year
bills paid for at least another month
the phone actually quiet for once

I get distracted all of a sudden 
when this big sonofabitch
this red-tailed hawk emerges 
and explodes into a bush of sparrows  
chasing them across the street
until they all flutter away 

except for this one little bird
that takes refuge behind my feet
I toss it a seed while we both sit there 
in the aftermaths of our befores
both trying to fight for a breath
without having the urge to fly away.




Cord Moreski is a poet from the Jersey Shore. Moreski is the author of Apartment Poems (Between Shadows Press, 2022), Confined Spaces (Two Key Customs, 2022), The News Around Town (Maverick Duck Press, 2020), Shaking Hands with Time (Indigent Press, 2018), and Stay Afloat Inside (Indigent Press, 2016). He is currently working on his first full length which will be released later this year.

Improv with Whiskey & Cars by Linda Bryant

That night, a broken axle, sticks inside me, sweet burnt odor of bourbon & Marlboros. Drunk on Wild Turkey, Mama cussed Daddy out, my si...