Monday, June 27, 2022

Desert Lover by Leah Mueller

Walking through 
the alleys of old Bisbee, 
I thought I saw
the ghost of an ex-junkie

who captured my attention

in these same streets, 

twenty-three years ago. 

A face like Richard Gere’s—

eyes always wandering

inward, as if bored.

Cheap desert boots caked 

with layers of dust, 

probably given to him

by an ex-girlfriend. 

Always, his shrill fixation

on his one great achievement:

a novel picked up by a

major publisher, then

out of print five years later,

with no further plans

for distribution.

His inability to stay in bed

for more than an hour

after sex. And, most of all,

his uncanny communication

with extraterrestrials,

who somehow couldn’t 

keep their hands 

off his genitals.

Who could blame them?

Neither could I.

Leah Mueller is the author of ten prose and poetry books. Her work appears in Rattle, Midway Journal, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Miracle Monocle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, etc. It has also been featured in trees, shop windows in Scotland, poetry subscription boxes, and literary dispensers throughout the world. Her flash piece, "Land of Eternal Thirst" will appear in the 2022 edition of Sonder Press' "Best Small Fictions" anthology. Visit her website at

Sunday, June 26, 2022

This Guy I Saw Sitting in a Car  By Holly Day

He was parked in the lot at Thrifty’s Drug buck naked save for

A big white cowboy hat and a pair of dark sunglasses he was

Holding onto his erect penis and grinning proudly and happily like his penis

Was a prize he had won as a bowling trophy or at a carnival ring-toss

Or like it was something a teacher had given him for being

A real good boy in school instead of a gold star or one of those

Phony certificates of accomplishments that can be traded in 

For a cheeseburger at McDonald’s with the purchase of a 

Large drink.

Holly Day’s writing has recently appeared in Analog SF, The Hong Kong Review, and Appalachian Journal, and her recent book publications include Music Composition for Dummies, The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body, and Bound in Ice. She teaches creative writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and Hugo House in Seattle.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

a difference of priorities by Keith Pearson

on a lark 
he looks out 
one day
and discovers
there are no clocks 
she is down on
her knees praying
at the toilet bowl.
she is begging him
to call down lightning
or at least fetch her up
a clean towel.
he is more interested
in where all
the clocks have gone
and cannot see
that her hair is 
on fire.

 Keith Pearson
I live in southern New Hampshire and works with special ed students at a local high school.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Conversation In A Hotel Bar by Robert Halleck

Let me say I know nothing about how
affairs start though I often wonder
about this conversation that today
reappeared from the abyss of my memory. 

The lounge  was dark, the marble bar
cold to the touch. The bartender 
sipped water as he remained aloof 
to the conversations around him.

Cigarette smoke from the woman next
to me drifted toward her companion.
She faced away from me as she listened
to him speak of the meeting they’d left.

I’m sorry the meeting took so long.

Why aren’t you drinking, she asked.

Coke just seemed to be better tonight.

I hope my having a martini is okay with you.

It’s fine. Most nights I’d join you.

Her hair was a little windblown but everything
about her was close to perfect. She continued,

What do you do when you aren’t doing this?

I go home. Looks like I’ll be late tonight. 

You make me curious, you really do.


Because I can’t see you doing anything other
than what we have done all day.
Well, now that you mention it, I’ve been thinking
the same thing about you

Her face was now reflected in the bar’s mirror.
She was smiling as she spoke,

Do you ever ask if it’s worth it?

Oh yeah. Don’t we all?

 Her smile broadened as she continued,
I really am curious about you.

Her companion asked the bartender for a Manhattan
straight up before he responded,

I’m not that interesting.

Oh, I think you are. I’d like to find out how you became
what you are.

It wouldn’t be worth it. I’ve been this way for years.

Oh, no. No one ever is.

Okay, tell me how you used to be.

Nicer. Her smiled faded. Quite a bit nicer. Now
I have to go. I’ll see you tomorrow. We should
have a talk some afternoon, maybe here. Get tight
and talk until we find out about each other.

After a few minutes, I left him staring at his
untouched drink perhaps thinking about
climbing the wall into the forbidden garden?

Robert Halleck is a hospice volunteer, rescuer of racing greyhounds, and autocross racer of an aging Porsche  He has authored three books of poetry and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared in such places as the Paterson Literary Review, Waxing and Waning, and The North Dakota Quarterly.. He is a member of San Diego';s Not Dead Yet Poets

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Nobody is Legit by Mark James Andrews

I down shift my Dodge to help out 
the brakes & it almost worked 
but my grinding bomb plows 
another beater stopped at the red 
on 8 Mile Road at Mound Road 
a minor cave-in but the trunk pops open
on the crap looking Ford I rear ended 
showing shiny black garbage bags 
so I struggle to get mine into reverse
the clutch another source of grinding
as my grill avalanches to the pavement
then I pull off to the right but a huge
hand out the window waves me
forward so I pull up close 
all windows down in both our cars
two guys looking to read my eyes
one goes “You good?” & I nod 
“Fuck it then!” he screams 
& they peel off with lights out.
We all know nobody is legit 
no proof of no-fault insurance 
possible outstanding warrants
or felonies in progress
in the wee small hours
on the borderline crossroads
past the Railroad Crossing Bar
just down from Kwicky Bar 
Alibi Bar & the Golden Greek 
all the hang out joints for a hive 
of Chrysler plants & a hot spot 
for traffic stops which lead to 
1,001 ways to send you to hell
& a lifetime of the long dick of the law. 

Mark James Andrews is a Metro Detroit poet who has worked a checkered career as a gravedigger, inspector at a defunct auto plant, jail librarian and library director. He is the author of So I Lit A Fire for The Last Thanksgiving (Alien Buddha Press), Motor City is Burning & Other Rock & Roll Poems (Gimmick Press), Compendium 20/20 (Deadly Chaps Press), Burning Trash (Pudding House Press) and a poetry recording Brylcreem Sandwich Band (Bandcamp).

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

3 AM By C.S. Mathews 

Its three AM

And the light is green 


Casting shadows 

as in the distance birds sing

like echo’s 

a broken egg on my porch


the light of feathers split in two

I'm awake 

Laying on sheet 


Satin spread over empty bed

Not dreaming 

Aimlessly teaming

In a room relentlessly clean

Not enough 

And your there 

In my periphery 

A visage in stark relief 

Out of reach

I taste it 

The kiss that was awaited

20 years of impatience 

Stolen between breaths baited

And it tastes of skin

The clock is ticking

Slowly drifting

Sand shifting 

Day yet to begin

I'm turning 

For warmth, yearning

A reptile in need of skin

Not shedding 


In the humid air

Thinking of water pouring


But the levy is dry


Everything is drenching 

But the sky is unlit

No sun or lightning


Like the film in my freezer 

Undeveloped in its casing 


From a lack of lighting 


To find meaning in an image


Unknown till swallowed

By pools of quick silver 


Like a basement


over running 

though the rain is never coming

Just green shadows


From a lamp masking

Every inch of me in passing

At 3:38

Wasting precious breath pacing

My brain not quite racing

Just turning

An ellipsis burrowing 

Avoiding the taste of you


On the edge of understanding

Skin not quite clammy 

Just heavy

Like fresh formed dew

Suspended in motion 


Blade of grass leaning

Until the sky opens 

Flooding the roads and,

My basement sits dry

It's 3:44 

And not a second has passed by

C.S. Mathews is the coauthor of Fearful Architecture and an editor for The Grindstone Magazine and Wheel Works Publishing. Having cut her teeth as an independent journalist and medic during the 2020 protests, their work focuses heavily on activism, their indigenaity, truama, and her experiences being transgender.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Dead End Home on a Dead End Road By Chris Butler

Life goes on,

on and infinitely on,

with or without you


even if you try

to stay behind

far and wide,

whether or not

the weather is

too soon to bloom

unpollinated spores

on the strategic

trajectory of tragedy,

when the thirst of 


burns worse than


Anti-Chris Butler is an illiterate poet. His last chapbook, DOOMER, is available through Ethel. He is also the co-editor of The Beatnik Cowboy literary journal. 

Desert Lover by Leah Mueller

Walking through  the alleys of old Bisbee,  I thought I saw the ghost of an ex-junkie who captured my attention in these same streets,  twen...