Monday, June 17, 2024

I WALK HOME THROUGH THE MADNESS By Bradford Middleton


I walked these streets this morning feeling a renewed

Sense of understanding as before me people went

About their lives in this town where some have everything

They could ever possible desire whilst others sit

Fumbling cans of Desperadoes on church doorsteps

And I know forever which grouping I’ll always be closer to

And how close I’ve come on many occasions.  His face,

Beaten and bloody, suggests a war which will surely

Only end in an early death as this session seems never

Ending, lasting from that first fateful taste right through

To that ultimate state of release when all those troubles

Will come crashing to an end.  


But today, with things to do, I walked on...

It wasn’t long before I saw another, this time three guys

Strung out, crowding around a mobile phone desperate

To get fixed and working out how they were going to pay

For it and suspecting that the answer would be to steal it

I walked on...


Further down the road, in an empty shop doorway, sits

A woman, clutching a sleeping bag, looking dirty and

Crying, crying her heart out to some kind soul who

Stands, listening, sympathizing as another life circles

The drain and I walk on...


Arriving at the shop I need to visit the entrance is a

Gaggle of activity, a Big Issue seller surrounded by

A mix of street drinkers and more needing to get fixed

But navigating my way through the scene the first 

Thing I see is a panicked looking security guard 

And a group of workers all keeping their beady eyes

On a suspect placing large fillets of salmon into his

Carrier bag.


I managed to make it around and out and back home 

And after seeing all the street life out there I think I’ll

Stay in and hopefully write a few more words about

This life of mine.





Bradford Middleton still lives in Brighton, UK but has recently landed a new job that he doesn’t hate so maybe here for a bit longer yet…  Recent poems appear in Beatnik Cowboy, River Dog Zine, Back Room Poetry ‘Rebel’ Anthology, Stink Eye Magazine and Dreich.  His most recent chapbook was published early 2023 by those fine folks at the Alien Buddha Press.  


Saturday, June 15, 2024

Intro to Comparative Religion By Edison Jennings


I wasn’t religious but you were          

and that’s why I was there,

in the Presbyterian Youth Annex

next to a high-steepled church 

drinking bad coffee, 

and when you asked why 

I said I was a Buddhist, 

nonsense of course, a feint 

you parried by tilting your head 

away from me and into a light 

besotted by your face,

reason enough to follow Buddha

and drink bad coffee in a room 

with folding chairs, card tables, 

a sketchy pin-ball machine,

a lot of church kids, 

and Hendrix stratocasting

voodoo through a dinky radio, 

but Catholic would have served 

my adolescent wants as well, 

but not sufficient reason for you,

who decided to pursue the inquisition 

outside, a chance to confess, 

I thought, following the floral trail

of your cologne while taking note 

of the curl in your black hair 

and Primavera profile 

until we reached what purported 

to be a garden, much withered  

and moribund, and though 

I knew nothing of Dante at the time, 

I would have understood

why he walked through hell,

when you turned and looked at me

in that dying garden.







Edison Jennings lives in Southern Appalachia and works as a Head Start bus driver and GED instructor. He is a recipient of a Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellowship. His poems have appeared in several journals and anthologies. His chapbook, Reckoning, and collection of poems, Intentional Fallacies, are available through Jacar Press and Broadstone Books, respectively.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Missouri By Emma Grey Rose

the sky 

bleached

purple, lavender 

Midwest,

the lightest 

like lilacs 

with specks of

violet

dawn, dusk

like bellflowers,

wild orchids

at daylight,

tranquil,

sundown

hypnotic 








Emma Grey Rose is a writer based in San Diego, CA. Her poetry has been published in deLuge Literary and Arts Journal, Pinky Thinker Press, the San Diego Poetry Annual, Bear Paw Arts Journal, Ranger Magazine, and elsewhere. 

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Cryptic Deceiver By Owen Coffin


I have always preferred bourbon to all other forms of alcohol.

Until the day I read the warning label that cautioned against operating heavy machinery while consuming this beloved nectar of life.

I prefer to be ignorant of my poison.

Street drugs never warn you; they just kill you.



Owen Coffin resides in Norfolk Virginia he is a carpenter by trade he writes whatever suits him at the moment.


Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Ghosts in My Home By April Ridge

The heart compartmentalized and haunted 
by different lifetimes,
separated by thinly blurred lines.
The irony of an ex drinker 
haunted by spirits!
The Ghost of Christmas Past 
shares a hot buttered rum with me,
but only on Christmas Eve, 
just like Mr. Lahey on Trailer Park Boys.
The fat girl mentality ever-present: 
I fold my arms to cover my belly, 
cover my smile to shyly hide timidity.
Waiting for a school bell or a pop quiz 
to save me from having to speak.
How to embrace these little ones 
that forever haunt us 
from the back of the heart?
The skeletons in my closet 
shrieking for some sort of 
visceral release--
they want appeasement by sacrifice.
The bones of yesterday's woes--
they demand acknowledgment,
a place at the table 
where your ego 
takes a back seat and
you admit defeat and 
claim the blame of 
all of your misgivings.
These skeletons are HUNGRY.
The ghosts wheeze and 
clang their rusty chains 
like so many Jacob Marleys 
warning and welcoming you 
to come on home.






April Ridge lives in the expansive hopes and dreams of melancholy rescue cats. She thrives on strong coffee, and lives for danger. In the midst of Indiana pines, she follows her heart out to the horizon of reality and hopes never to return to the misty sands of the nightmarish 9 to 5. April aspires to beat seasonal depression with a well-carved stick, and to one day experience the splendor of the Cucumber Magnolia tree in bloom.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

SSI Sobriety By Mike Zone


Cigarettes 

Coffee

Angels and turbines piercing the atmosphere in endless war among broken halos of manna’s domestic gods


All the pretty horses inspired jailhouse gauntlet beating

black white walled cell with a cherry writing desk

Have a clone rolled cigar ,son


Lack of freedom 

Lack of choice

Two blackened corpses cradle each other 






Mike Zone is the Editor in Chief of Dumpster Fire Press, the author of Fuck You: A Fucking Poetry Chap, Shedding Dark Places (almost), One Hell of a Muse , as well as coauthor of The Grind. A frequent contributor to Alien Buddha Press and Mad Swirl. His work has been featured in: Horror Sleaze Trash, Better Than Starbucks, Piker Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, Outlaw Poetry and Cult Culture magazine.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

the same hollow words By J.J. Campbell


two hours of sleep


demons in the attic 

yet again


laughing at the cross 

and all the bullshit

they shoved down 

your throat


another empty bottle 

of jack


the doctors are sure 

your liver is going 

to fail soon


the same hollow words 

you heard twenty years 

ago


maybe it is the irish 

in you


they are too scared 

to take you


at least for now


i’m sure one of those 

better angels have a 

bullet with your name 

on it


as long as it is a headline

in the papers







J.J. Campbell (1976 - ?) is old enough to know better. He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Synchronized Chaos, Disturb the Universe Magazine, The Beatnik Cowboy, Lothlorien Poetry Journal and Black Coffee Review. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (https://evildelights.blogspot.com)

I WALK HOME THROUGH THE MADNESS By Bradford Middleton

I walked these streets this morning feeling a renewed Sense of understanding as before me people went About their lives in this town where s...