Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Drunk Driving Is NOT An Extreme Sport. by Ezhno Martin

The nature of shame
is that you want to stop
or wish you wouldn't have
but know you just can't help yourself

and I have this habit
of facefucking myself with alcohol
anytime I got a long drive ahead of me

please realize that it isn't cool
to be driving down the highway
doing like a hundred
weaving between lanes
cause suddenly you are convinced
getting to the next detour
has the same consequences as “Cannonball Run”
and maybe that Corvette in the left lane
has three times the engine as your 97 Camry
but you are at least 10 times crazier than he is
and you'll crash
passing him on the shoulder
if that's what it takes
to reach the pot'o'gold first

Last weekend wasn't the first time
this year
that I got home
and didn't remember anything past
pissing myself in a gas station
trying to get to the toilet
and realized it was too late
and everybody was watching me
pinch my now drained dick
like a sad six year old
so after I picked myself up
after slipping in the puddle
I started flinging potato chips as subeterfuge
cover fire as I crawled to the front door
hopped in my car and drove into traffic
laying on the horn
running red lights foot to the floor
till I was back on the highway
deciding this was a bonny and clyde situation
and when the blue and red lights got behind me
I wasn't gonna stop

Somewhere on back roads through cornfields
a little while later
I'd taken that deep sigh
realizing that since GPS couldn't find me anymore
the cops couldn't either
and I set my compass for south
familiar highways lulling me to the semi-sleep
of selective memory

Waking up in the passenger seat
and the search for my keys on the front lawn
is a routine I always regret
having to go through again

it's not cool
having no idea where you've been
or how you managed to escape
I laugh at so many other near misses
but swerving till I wake up to the sound
of the rumble strips on the shoulder
always fills me with the dread
of being lost
and hoping I'm not the source of anyone's loss
like my...
well, my uncles mistress
she ran over a black man
going 50 on a side street
and said afterward
when they caught up to her
cause her windshield was crushed in
that it was his fault
and she couldn't distinguish between his blackness and the asphalt

it's only fun to call her a racist
or swear you're better than her
until you're drunk and distracted
looking at porn on your phone
racing a train across the tracks
and you hit the gate on the other side
and it breaks
flying through the drivers side widow
of a parked car
and you end up passing pedestrians on the sidewalk
just trying to get the hell out of dodge

It isn't so funny anymore
when one-eying it no longer works
and you end up hiding your car behind a tree on a gravel road
and run for the ditch at the edge of the dark horizon
which you dive into for just as much sleep as you can get
before they find you
and demand an explanation
you hope comes to you in a dream

I never want it to be like this
it always starts almost innocently –
the shimmering lights of a city I've never seen
on a highway that's been dark for hours
I tell myself I'll have a beer and burger
I have the beer first
so it turns into 3 bourbons
and then I get on my phone and start planning my next stop
at a bar just an hour down the road
and it only adds 20 minutes to my trip!

Then I'm drunk
and every bright light in bumfuck
means more alcohol
and I stop and pick up a six pack
at the Kum and Go
Jizz and Jett
Break and Beat
gas station
I always claim I won't drink
but for the first one
till I get home later
cause it's late already
and I just need 3 more nightcaps

you know how that always works out...

drunk driving isn't an extreme sport
cause the only prize is surviving

but hey
at least you won't be around to see them strip that medal
when you fail the drug test.

Ezhno Martin doesn't believe in god, pronouns, american exceptionalism, most conventions of capitalization, monogamy, any form of censorship, that 9/11 was real, casseroles, coming to a full stop at stop signs, chivalry, patriotism, hand washing after bathroom visits, rough sex, decorum, the importance of biological families, and/or that The New York Knick's are ever going to get their shit together.  Ezhno lives in Toledo, Ohio.  Ezhno is now from Toledo, Ohio, because that's how that works.  You can't misgender Ezhno, because Ezhno doesn't believe in genders, pronouns, safe spaces or any of that social-justice-warrior-rich-kid-with-a-complex bullshit.   Just say “nice ass” if you're feeling nervous or confused about the fact that the 6'2” Adonis that is Ezhno hates your counter culture just as much as the culture it opposes.

Vow. by Michael A. Griffith

Lipstick stains my wineglass.

I loved her long before the grapes were harvested,
turned to a red deeper than her stain
but less intoxicating than her lips.

Stick to stone, break the bone.
Broken bonds and words
can always hurt me.

Vow          do us          part.

Death may still kiss my bride,
a willful bride to a willing death.

She: Look how lovely in white!
He: How handsome in his best suit,
gray as cloud-layer atop a pyre.

Michael A. Griffith began writing poetry as he recovered from a disability-causing injury. His poems, essays, and articles have appeared in many print and online publications and anthologies. He resides and teaches near Princeton, NJ. His first poetry chapbook is slated to appear later this year from The Blue Nib. Drink of choice: Tanqueray and tonic with lime.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Her phone. by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

her to Canada
even though
she was not in Canada,
close enough
to see snow in May
and speak with an accent,
but the tech
giants were failing
or maybe
they just wanted her
to think
they didn’t know
exactly where she was
so they welcomed
her to Canada,
either way,
she had a good laugh
and posted
about it so others
could have
a good laugh too,
even the ones
in Canada
when she was

(For Tracey Sivek)

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, The Rye Whiskey Review, Outlaw Poetry Network, Horror Sleaze Trash, The Dope Fiend Daily and In Between Hangovers. 

Bethesda Noir. by Jim Bourey

Sitting in a bar on a downtown street, acting like a private-eye, watching the action in a gilded mirror. 

It’s a clandestine lunch-time meeting. A guy in a shiny gray suit and a woman in a green dress (cut low in front and very high above the knees). 

She has a rolled-up yoga mat hung over the back of her chair. Yoga? In that dress? They’re at an outside table at the trendy American Taproom. She sips wine – deep red. He nurses a beer – pale amber. I throw back shots of Wild Turkey.

Their hands touch and they laugh, but not happily. She gives him an envelope. He gives her cash. She tucks the cash into her already full bra. Blackmail, I think. Should I confront them? Should I draw my .38, try to arrest them, shoot when they start to run? Better not.

I see my wife and granddaughter emerge from the pottery shop. They might get into my line of fire. I leave the gun where it belongs. Next time, maybe.

Jim Bourey is an old poet who divides his year between the Adirondack Mountains and Dover, Delaware. His chapbook “Silence, Interrupted” was published in 2015 by the Broadkill River Press. His work has appeared in Mojave River Review, Paddock Review, Gargoyle and the Broadkill Review and other journals and anthologies. He was first runner up in the Faulkner-Wisdom Poetry Competition in 2012 and 2016. He has served as an adjudicator for the Poetry Out Loud competition in Delaware. In his North Country months, he is active with the St. Lawrence Area Poets and has taken part in Art/Poetry projects in Saranac Lake.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Jazz Club. by Ann Christine Tabaka

The lights dim
a horn wails
smoke and whiskey    fill the room

A voice like silk
    from some long past era
hearts mellow
    tears spill

Bodies sway
    fingers snap
Feet     s h u f f l e
across the floor

Hushed voice        conversations
    glasses clink
        toes tap

Drunk on
a slice of heaven    on a paper plate

High notes - low bows
    the jazzman walks off
        claps and whistles follow
            the lights rise

Ann Christine Tabaka has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry, has been internationally published, and won poetry awards from publications. She lives in Delaware, USA.  She loves gardening and cooking.  Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her most recent credits are: Ariel Chart, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, Oddball Magazine, The Paragon Journal, The Literary Hatchet, The Stray Branch, Trigger Fish Critical Review, Foliate Oak Review, Better Than Starbucks!, Anapest Journal, Mused, Apricity Magazine, The Write Launch, The Stray Branch, Scryptic Magazine, Ann Arbor Review, The McKinley Review.

[binary] by Aneka Brussen

her mind was a pyramid, carved into a
liquor store wall. my centrifugal vision lingered,
single-pointed raindrops reflecting

her eyes were a picture of a burning cop
car on the freeway. my moves were weak that day,
she still devoured my awkward

Star Dust
is what she called me,
after I turned her into the devil,
playing a broken piano.

Fool’s Games
is what she played with me,
after her hips became a tsunami,
bleaching memory.

we pushed each other
into a storm of [binary] fluctuations.

ANEKA BRUNSSEN is a writer, poet and graduate student from Bremen, Germany, with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Cultural Studies. Aneka has written several non-fiction essays, in both German and English, as well as a few short stories, articles, reviews and poetry collections. Her work has been published in several American and German print and online literary journals as well as magazines. She is currently working on an autobiographical novel and a poetry collection. You can find samples of her work her: http://spacetrashpoetry.weebly.com

Saturday, July 28, 2018

ME & JACK. by R.M. Engelhardt

Met in college

Me & Jack
Got drunk &
Punched trees

Me & Jack
Dressed up like the Joker
For Halloween

Me & Jack
Were never that lucky
In love

Me & Jack
Liked to read

Me & Jack
Back in the day
Sat outside in the moonlight
Writing poems until
The daylight came

Until of course
A few years ago
When I met Scotch

But occasionally
Every now & then
I'll still do coke
With Jack

Which is nice

R.M. Engelhardt is an author, poet & writer whose work over the years has appeared in many journals & magazines such as Rusty Truck, Thunder Sandwich, Full of Crow, In Between Hangovers, Writers Resist and in many others. His new book of poetry is called " Coffee Ass Blues & Other Poems" published by Alien Buddha Press (2018) . He is also the host of The Troy Poetry Mission, an open mic for poets located in Troy, NY.

We Are Rivers (for Jeanette Powers) by Jason Baldinger

down on the Gasconade
the cook shacks have pulled the curtains
we don’t pull no punches
we are rivers
      have been rivers
dream as rivers
but shit, maybe that’s what
most people don’t realize
how we flow, how time flows
how it’s all water
how we’re all water
with just a dash of electricity

the catfish are playing pool
the tv screen is running
today’s numbers
Althea keeps the Budwiser coming
kidneys scream
we talk dead fathers
absent lovers and time

this town is weird synchronicity
or maybe its just us
all these weird castoffs
still unmoored in our forties
still trying to wrap our heads
around when or how it all happened

the other night I saw
an armadillo
and a possum
copulating on route d
that adds nothing to the poem

but its midnight now
we’re waltzing in headlights
on Alvarado, we are dry bones
rivers of flesh, we are acutely
lost in time

Jason Baldinger is a poet hailing from Pittsburgh and recently finished a stint as writer in residence at the Osage Arts Community. He’s the author of several books, the most recent are This Useless Beauty (Alien Buddha Press), The Ugly Side of the Lake (Night Ballet Press) written with John Dorsey and the chaplet Fumbles Revelations (Grackle and Crow) which are available now. The collection Fragments of a Rainy Season (Six Gallery Press) and the split book with James Benger Little Fires Hiding (Spartan Press) are forthcoming. Recent publications include the Low Ghost Anthology Unconditional Surrender, The Dope Fiend Daily, Outlaw Poetry, Uppagus, Lilliput Review, Rusty Truck, Dirtbag Review, In Between Hangovers, Your One Phone Call, Winedrunk Sidewalk, Anti-Heroin Chic, Nerve Cowboy Concrete Meat Press, Zombie Logic Press, Ramingo’s Porch, Blue Mountain Review, Red Fez, Blue Hour Review and Heartland! Poetry of Love, Solidarity and Resistance. You can hear Jason read poems on recent and forthcoming releases by Theremonster and Sub Pop Recording artist The Gotobeds as well as at jasonbaldinger.bandcamp.com

Friday, July 27, 2018

Beat Afternoon, Victorville. by Michael Dwayne Smith

Gimme a quarter, can ya?
says Joseph the dim
cross-eyed panhandler
but all I have today is a ten spot
as I turn the corner at 7th street,
so Joseph gets a free
smile and a high-five
while half a block
north two shirtless, tatted,
pissed-off vatos
exchange pleasantries,
and when one wheels out a tire iron
I slip through
the whoosh of the auto-slide door,
into the familiar chill
of the Miss Deed Liquor Store.
I ditch down the long
west wall aisle to where
all the glorious beer and ale gets
cooled out.
Holding a quart of Schlitz
to my brow
generates my Zen glow, permeates
my forehead and spreads
down the neck, washing
my overworked conscience clean.
I tote the icy bottle
to the counter,
trade President Hamilton
for brewski and a half-pint of
Yukon Jack.
On the street back to my
crippled Airstream
at the Count Your Losses
Trailer Park
I sing, Oh sweet
heroic night, the poetry
I’m gonna feel
through my broken window
of sky and dying light!

Michael Dwayne Smith lives near a Mojave Desert ghost town with his family and rescued animals. His most recent book isRoadside Epiphanies (Cholla Needles Press, 2017). Nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, his work haunts many literary houses--including The Cortland Review, New World Writing, Star 82 Review, Blue Fifth Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Word Riot, Rat's Ass Review, Gravel, San Pedro River Review--and has been widely anthologized. When not writing or teaching, he edits Mojave River Press & Review.

Morning Toast (A Tribute To Ernest Hemingway) by Anthony King

The pen has followed the heart,
With words that flow from mind.
A toast to start the brand - new day…
New adventures, still yet to find.
The waves they lap so gently
With a meticulous lullaby
The master makes his ready
To view, the suns arise.
The madness from the sleepless nights
Revisit in his dreams…
Now his words will spill in flurry
For the master has found the key.
Antony King 2018

Antony King is a writer/ poet from Eastern Kentucky. Antony spent his formal years in Cleveland Ohio where he underwent private instruction in The Arts, Music, and Literature. His love of the classics guided him to poetry and fueled his passion for writing. After art school, Antony spent 22 years in the world of advertising, and design. He began honing his skills both as a writer, and an artist. Antony is a proud member of several poetry groups and has been published in SpillWord Press, PPPEzine, and Piker press to name a few. He has also had the honor to have his works read in the UK.

For The Mourner By Alec Solomita

For the mourner only one thing is: things like business, cooking, seeing birds stir the spring air, falling snow, even watching the home tea...