Thursday, December 3, 2020


after The Waking, a villanelle by Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear. 
I learn by going where I have to go. 

I wake to drink, and take my drinking slow.
I feel my fate with hands of Purell smear.
I learn by going where I should not go. 

We think by drinking. What is there to know? 
I hear my virus leap from beer to beer. 
I wake to drink, and take my drinking slow. 

Of those so close beside me, how dare you!
God bless the Liquor Store! I walk softly there,
And learn where I am Ordered not to go. 

Virus takes the Lung; who can tell us how? 
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair. 
I wake to drink, and take my drinking slow. 

Great Nature has another thing to do 
To you and me; so take the masked air, 
And, lovely, learn there is nowhere to go.

This vodka keeps me steady. I should know. 
What wipes away is always. And is near. 
I wake to drink, and take my drinking slow. 
I learn by going where I do not want to go.

Dan O’Connell is a four-time award winning poet, and multiple finalist and honorable mention. His poems have appeared over seventy times, including in Mississippi Review, Homestead Review, San Francisco Reader, Parthenon West Review, RavensPerch and Ghost Town Review. A former Philosophy and Rhetoric professor, Dan has his own law practice with a focus on protecting renters and workers. He is the author of two full-length collections of poetry: Different Coasts, and Theory of Salvation. Find Dan O. at

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

"9 Years" By Christopher Cadra

Slobbering drunk on Knob Creek. 
It tastes like wood and grass, like
broken glass. There’s a smokiness
about everything about it. It’s aged
nine years. It took this stuff almost
a decade to reach me. I know
what it did with its time. 
What’d I do with mine?

Christopher Cadra is a writer and poet. He's been published in the Cimarron Review, Danse Macabre, and elsewhere. He's published criticism in Basalt and a journal he edited, The Literati Quarterly. He's currently a senior editor at Gleam, which focuses on a new form of poetry he helped create with collaborators. His first chapbook, Golden Halo, was released in 2020.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Christmas Fudge by Lauren Scharhag

She rises even earlier
on Christmas Day
to begin preparing: 
farm table laden with ham,
scalloped potatoes, hot rolls, 
pies, fudge;
small gifts neatly wrapped.
Then she waits 
beside the fire,
watching the road.
Outside, snow falls
on the vanishing prairie.

Lauren Scharhag is the author of fourteen books, including Requiem for a Robot Dog (Cajun Mutt Press) and Languages, First and Last (Cyberwit Press). Her work has appeared in over 150 literary venues around the world. Recent honors include the Seamus Burns Creative Writing Prize, three Best of the Net nominations, and acceptance into the 2021 Antarctic Poetry Exhibition. She lives in Kansas City, MO. To learn more about her work, visit:

Monday, November 30, 2020

Sheephead by Mark James Andrews

Night fishing with Felix the Cat

a Sheephead is flopping on concrete

pulled out of the soup over the sea wall

behind Cobo Hall where the Mothers

of Invention just finished doing a show.


It’s a swallowed-the-hook dilemma

with the 20 pound test line tangled

in the landing net and lead sinker

with Felix loaded on Ludes

struggling with needle nose pliers


I waltz over with a flash to spotlight

the oral surgery & gullet probing

when a crowd of hippies gather

goggle eyed and loud chanting

about Mud Sharks & Trout Masks.


Felix gets distracted by a girl

in a halter & mini & he starts up

singing Watch me, Watch me, I got it…

When he tugs at the silver fish too hard

out comes the hook & digs in his forearm.


His little queenie jumps back teetering

on her platform heels to move off

with her gang while kicking over a row

of green bottles of Mickey’s Big Mouths

our lineup of dead soldiers Clink, Clink, Clink.

Mark James Andrews continues to live and write on the borderline of Detroit most of the time. He has a fresh chapbook about to drop at any minute titled So I Lit A Fire For The Last Thanksgiving from Alien Buddha Press.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Drugs Are What We Do By John Patrick Robbins

When we no longer can play as children, so we decay as adults.
It's just something to escape and sometimes keep us going.
It starts out easy and seldom ends well.
But it's always memorable in some fashion or the other.
Drugs didn't start with us, but I believe I have done my share
to promote my addictions and exploit my vices.
From the simple joys of alcohol, to the overindulgence of cocaine.
Drugs aren't for everyone because they're really expensive.
But building ships in bottles and collecting ceramic elephants just doesn't seem as cool.
As burning out from a swift decline.
Anything in the name of art and good time.
See ya kids, I need to go meet my dealer and I never like to be late for my doctor's appointment.
I really wish that quack would lend me that pad and I would happily write out my own prescription.
I guess he doesn't trust a junkie.
Kind of strange being he never seemed to mind helping create one.

John Patrick Robbins is the editor in chief of The Rye Whiskey Review.

His work has been published in Fearless Poetry Zine ,Punk Noir Magazine , Spill The Words, The Blue Nib, San Pedro River Review, Heroin Love Songs, 1870 Magazine, Piker Press.

His work is always unfiltered. 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Stitches by Steve Passey

If you have ever had glue

where you should have had 

stitches because you were too

drunk to shut up, just shut up

and you couldn’t hold onto your

seat, hell, you couldn’t even 

hold onto the floor and

you showed me yours when

I couldn’t even find mine

I’d say that was a pretty 

good time and I’d say let’s

do this again, soon, real soon,

but maybe we’ll start earlier

and not drink so much so fast

and you can decide if we go fast

or go slow and maybe the glue

will be enough.

The End

Steve Passey is originally from Southern Alberta. He is the author of the short-story collections Forty-Five Minutes of Unstoppable Rock (Tortoise Books, 2017), Cemetery Blackbirds (Secret History Books, 2020), and many other things. He is a Pushcart and best of the Net Nominee and is part of the Editorial Collective at The Black Dog Review.

Friday, November 27, 2020

CHEERS by J. Archer Avary

remember the old bars?
they were dark places with 
dim lights
places for the ugly among us
to hide by candlelight and 
beer wine and spirits

back then the bartender
bought your third drink if you tipped
on the first two rounds
and told dirty jokes 
if that’s what you wanted 
and if not
they’d leave you alone

these English pubs lack spirit
the lights are on at full blast and 
there’s never
any music
just the television blaring 
inane quiz shows that are always on

give me an American bar 
somewhere in the upper midwest 
with a shuffleboard table 
and dim lights
where beer is served 
by the pitcher
and everybody knows your name
even if they won’t admit it

J. Archer Avary (he/him) is a former TV journalist. His poems and stories have appeared/are forthcoming in The Daily Drunk, The Remnant Archive, Burnt Breakfast Mag, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Potato Soup Journal, The Rye Whiskey Review and elsewhere. He left the United States in 2014 and now lives on a tiny island in the English Channel. Twitter: @j_archer_avary


after The Waking, a villanelle by Theodore Roethke I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.  ...