Sunday, September 30, 2018

Song for Annette. by John Doyle

Night drifts us north;

we the toughened birds of Yukon, and Northwest Territories -

and starlight the softness that we need;

and I fall in love with tomcats,

like the hooded bandits orphaned - from the torch-lit shawls and saddles -

of Sandy Denny's April and August songs.

You're electric blue like the bronchioles of night,

and I like that: I like it a lot -

you and me, we've been born in sands that dare the wash of angry sea,

ghosts that dart and haunt the faces -

in lives from office blocks and drunken taxis;

that we may belong here

in the clasps of dipped Latin blue, the Da Vinci verandas

and the coolness overhead, that breaths and whispers -

wings over wood-shacked Yukon, eastwards until we stop at Yellowknife -

and Dublin - that's our corner,

the fold and rippled nest that Gods having

given us, hold and burn the bastard darkness from this throbbing cobweb night

John Doyle became a Mod again in the summer of 2017 to fight off his impending mid-life crisis; whether this has been a success remains to be seen. He has has two collections published to date, A Stirring at Dusk in 2017, and Songs for Boys Called Wendell Gomez in 2018, both on PSKI's Porch.

He is based in Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland. All he asks is that you leave your guns at the door and tie up your horses before your enter.

Full Moon. by And Mendes Biondo

the tide is rising
my hair is growing
and you are blooming
as a night flower

the owl sang a poem
for the quiet fireflies
seated on a branch
silvered by the moon

your petals are opening
faster and faster
wider and wider
so I wear my moth skin

our night is dancing
with the sea
with the owl and the fireflies
under the bright full moon

Mendes Biondo is an Italian journalist and author. His works appeared on Visual Verse, I Am Not A Silent Poet, Literary Yard, Angela Topping Hygge Feature,  Indigent A La Carte, The BeZine, Scrittura Magazine, The Song Is, Poetry Pasta and other magazines. He is one of the editors of The Ramingo's Porch along with Marc Pietrzykowski and Catfish McDaris. His first book of poems will be published soon by Pski's Porch Publishing. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018


The surfside mayor’s lost his sandals.
He’s puzzling at his phone,
bloody thumbprints,
a fifth tequila shooter on the tab.
iPad an ashtray,
he’s lost password and PIN number,
the safe word for his role play.
Moving into secrets,
we don’t identify with death.
We learn the joke that is a lie.
The teasing mind registers no remorse,
rejects the first unhappiness,
denies that fetish is a second chance.

Taps on my bootheels
strike sparks on a red brick patio.
Goatee grown shaggy,
Buffalo Trace and amber ale seep
into hair and skin.
Licking stickiness from my fingers,
I admit, “Absolutely, this isn’t working.”
Across the grass, the black cat stalks the grey.
At the wheel of the newest Honda random,
I’m writing notes to end the world.
My corrupted Houston heart
centers on one statement:
Leave me to what ruinous song I write.

 R.T. Castleberry's work  has appeared in Roanoke Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, Comstock Review, Green Mountains Review, The Alembic, Silk Road and Argestes. Internationally, it has been published in Canada, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand and Antarctica. My poetry has been featured in the anthologies: Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice, The Weight of Addition, Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen and Blue Milk’s anthology, Dawn. My chapbook, Arriving At The Riverside, was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2010. An e-book, Dialogue and Appetite, was published by Right Hand Pointing in May, 2011.

UN-HAPPY HOUR. by Graye Meadows

Just as her poetry can sometimes prove dark, Graye has a black thumb……and can’t keep plants alive. But, ever the dreamer, she meanders about her heart, penning petals on page, hoping to create a meadow. At times, she shares her work on Instagram. You can also say “hello” to her on Goodreads. She is thrilled and grateful to see her work here at The Whiskey!
Instagram @grayemeadows.poet
Goodreads Graye Meadows Poet

Friday, September 28, 2018

Face By Cheryl A. Rice

If I cry it will be worse.
Never my fortune, what few cents of entertainment
this body can provide I have always attributed to,
after my breasts, my eyes, my face, and today,
after a breakfast pudding of good bacteria, purple flowers,
green tea, peppermint, breathing pills and a vitamin tablet
cushioned by a thimble of applesauce,
I explode, vomiting into the bathroom basin headfirst,
and my face breaks into a hundred brokenhearted vessels.

I am Phantom times two, colony of one, unlovable.
This is the face the coroner paints after the crash.
Silent, voice box infected beyond function, it could be anger,
it could be psychology or grief.
Ordering a milkshake at the drive-thru is a chore,
and I am off dairy anyway, white sugar, white bread.
My sluggish career has no need.

I duck into a dark corner of the waiting room,
and after hours, I am seen, no good news, no news at all.
Isolated incident, it provokes no concern on the doctor's part.
I am already on breathing steroids, so his only advice is rest,
rest and lemon water to tighten the load of my throat.

Arnica oil is applied, good for bruises and bad days,
and I smell an old boyfriend in the chemical petals.
I am eager to select new words, chosen few, favored ears.
I am whispering to my lover as usual, raspy orders,
IMs my only hope.

I pray for a new face in the morning,
the body doomed to hell and its hassles,
no joy in forty-four joys, only embarrassment,
struggle, foolish tricks, toys.

I am humbled by my new invisibility.
It is the season to be humbled, too in love
with the sounds of my own poems.
This is no different.

I write because of all the decades I will not.
I speak because of all the time
the world will have a break from me,
and offer these poems as
a prick in the side of the picayune.
You too. Don't leave the slate bare.
That night is not gentle or good.

Cheryl A. Rice is founder and host of the now-defunct “Sylvia Plath Bake-Off.” Her work has appeared in HomePlanet News, Mangrove, The Temple, and Woodstock Times, among others. Chapbooks include Llama Love (2017: Flying Monkey Press), Moses Parts the Tulips (2013: APD Press), and My Minnesota Boyhood (2012: Post Traumatic Press). In 2014 she was nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology. Her RANDOM WRITING workshops are held throughout New York’s Hudson Valley. Her poetry blog is at:

For Weekly Updates on the Poetry World of Cheryl A. Rice, go to:

My Bougainvillea" by Sofia Kioroglou

loud and lovely,
it stands on my porch
sprawling with filiform tentacles
the thorn-armored canes
my bougainvillea uses as claws
to etch indelible memories of
unforgettable summers on my mind
such beautiful tattoos and tulle ballet wreaths
the vigorous Raspberry Ice variety traces with its pointe shoes

Sofia Kioroglou is a poet, a missionary and a wife from beautiful Athens. She considers writing to be a means of creative expression and a form of catharsis. She is the author of "Literary Journeys to the Holy Land" published by Gramma Publications a month ago and the author of " Mystagogy in the Holy Land" forthcoming this summer. She loves coffee, a good book and small kindnesses. You can learn more about her work at

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Idle Threats while Drinking in Idyllwild. by Michael Dwayne Smith

Dream lives repeating drunk and forever
Rowboats wasted currently romantic
Higher sinking rapid water
Drunk against the moon like empty poets’ glasses
Since when is Gary Snyder
And wrens nested in my red beard
About you I am writing a bird

Dreams lie away from time and neighbors
Bridges hugging rivers open country
Lower crossing darken cancer
Blown beyond the field like holy raven feathers
Why for was Hank Bukowski
And trees rooted in my red grief
About you I am singing a leaf

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.

Russian Poets. by Dah

As a living ice block  
January’s heart
cares for nothing
like Russian poets  
lacking vodka or lovers

With the sky’s brutality  
blackbirds are beaten back
to the arthritic trees
by a wintertide of cruelty

Snowmen are corpses
breaking from graves,
snowflakes swirling   
like flies on death  

I hear the bone-dead
feeding on iced roots
a hopeless hunger
for incomplete journeys  

and the gates are shackled
the ground is hard
Death, an unfortunate freedom
Gumilev, Mandelshtam, Oleinikov …

O Russian poets
lacking vodka and lovers
O Russian poets
buried in ice blocks
O Russian poets

Dah’s seventh poetry collection is Something Else’s Thoughts (Transcendent Zero Press)
and his poems have been published by editors from the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Spain,
Singapore, Philippines, Poland, Australia, Africa, and India. He is a Pushcart Prize and
Best Of The Net nominee and the lead editor of the poetry critique group, The Lounge.
Dah's eighth book is forthcoming in November 2018 from Flutter Press.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Amber Street. by Sebnem E. Sanders

The last customer leaving the bar, Harry staggered into the cold night air and made feeble attempts to walk in a straight line. The icy wind signalling the approach of harsher weather, chilled him to the bone. Despite the protective shield of his padded coat and the woollen hat pulled over his ears, he felt naked. 

The combination of intoxication and freezing temperatures blurred his sight. All he could see ahead were dark buildings on either side of the road and a few flickering streetlights. He followed the pavement, counting his steps on his long walk home down Amber Street.

Harry kept counting to keep his mind active, but the road seemed to continue forever. 2500 steps later, he still had not arrived at the turn to the street where his flat was located. He halted and glanced back, then looked ahead again. There were no side roads, but one long avenue where all buildings looked the same. "I'm lost," he muttered.

Though midnight had come and gone, Harry began to knock on doors, in panic. No one responded, not a single soul who might rightfully object to the disturbance of their peace. He decided to go back the way he came, hoping he'd missed his street. An eerie silence persisted in spreading its wings, despite the commotion he made at intervals. As snowflakes fell, misting visibility further, despair set in. He stopped in front of a weathered door, and seizing a worn knocker, banged on it several times.

A jeering voice answered. "The door is open. Shut it tightly behind you."
Harry stepped inside. He blinked, surprised by an archaic hall  lit by candles poised on brass candelabras. The wheezing voice barked, "Straight down, the room on the right."
Entering the chamber, he saw her - or him, he wasn't sure, sitting at a table in the middle of which a large crystal bowl glowed. Wood crackled in the fireplace, casting shafts of light upon the creature's face. Harry shuddered. Whatever this thing was, it looked older than the 250 year-old-man in China. Its features were deeply buried under the folds of time-chiselled wrinkles. A pair of sparkling amber, feline beams perused him through the slits below the forehead. Random spikes of white, straw-like hair escaped the grip of a colourful scarf wrapped around its head.

The thin, lipless slit at the bottom of its head opened, displaying the odd jagged tooth. "Sit," it said. "I've been waiting for you. I'm Amacunda."
Harry hesitated, but he obeyed his exhausted body and sat.  "I'm Harry," he said. "I don't know why I'm here. I'm lost."
"I'm also lost. My reasons are unclear, but I know yours."
"Why are you lost?"
"I'm in purgatory. Neither here, nor there."
"How long?"
Deciding the creature must be female, Harry watched her raise a lizard-skinned hand and point a crooked finger with a curled nail at him.
"Too long. I've been here forever. It defies your notion of time. Let's come to your story. Why are you lost?"
"I can't find my way home."
"What's home?"
"My writing. Stories. My dreams. Illusions, disillusionments, disappointments."
"You must leave her." She giggled, her rasping voice whistling between jagged teeth.
"Who? I'm not in a relationship."
"Whiskey. You're an alcoholic."
"I'm not. I'm what's called a functioning alcoholic."
"You can lie to yourself, but you can't lie to me. Why do you think Hemingway committed suicide?"
"He couldn't write anymore."
"Why? Because alcohol ate his brain. No more grey cells to dream stories."
"Dostoevsky wrote all his life. He also drank."

"He wasn't an alcoholic. Some can hold their drink, some can't. You're drinking earlier and earlier in the day. There's always an excuse. Pain, pleasure, anger. Find another relationship, a woman, a soul-mate."
"The ones I want reject me."
"Probably because you're drunk all the time. Sober up and look around with eyes that see. You'll find the one."
Harry lowered his eyes and sighed. 
"Regarding other rejections. There's a name ... I can't remember, like thorn, splinter, something sharp from a tree or plant. My memory escapes me these days. Look them up and send your stuff."
"Thank you."
"Healthy eating, healthy drinking, healthy living, and like me, you can live forever." She chuckled again. "Time to go, young man. Remember what I said."
Amacunda snapped her claw-like fingers, and Harry found himself at his front door. Once inside the flat, he crawled onto his bed and crashed.
The following day, he woke at noon and ambled to kitchen. Whiskey beckoned. The moment he grabbed the bottle, Amacunda's voice rang like a siren in his ears. "Healthy eating, healthy drinking..."
Harry dumped the bottle on the counter and put the kettle on. After a breakfast of scrambled eggs, buttered toast and tea, he took a shower and shaved. In fresh clothes, he sat at his desk and began to write.
During a tea-break in the late afternoon, he remembered something else she'd said and began to search on his computer. Wood, Woody, splinter, Spillane, Tor, thorn - Thornton Publishers are looking for Anthology submissions. Submission deadline March 31st. A week from today, enough time to edit his stories. No alcohol for a week? 
That evening Harry dined at a steak house and only drank mineral water. On his way home, he stopped at the supermarket and stocked up on healthy food. Just before the checkout, his hand went for a pack of bacon he'd missed in the morning. He wavered, unsure, then grabbed it. The sirens didn't shriek. Maybe once in a while it would be okay.
Amacunda's voice reverberated in his head each time he accidentally approached the liquor section in the supermarkets. After a sober period of many months, he became a social drinker, enjoying the occasional glass of wine at dinner parties.
Thornton's published his Anthology and The Witch of Amber Street became a hit. Harry didn't live forever, but his stories did.

This story was published in Ripples on the Pond

Sebnem E. Sanders is a native of Istanbul, Turkey. Currently she lives on the eastern shores of the Southern Aegean where she dreams and writes Flash Fiction and Flash Poesy, as well as longer works of fiction. Her flash stories have been published on the Harper Collins Authonomy Blog, The Drabble, Sick Lit Magazine, Twisted Sister Lit Mag, Spelk Fiction, and The Bosphorus Review. Her collection of short and flash fiction stories, Ripples on the Pond, was published in December 2017.  More information on her work can be found at her website where she publishes some of her work:

He Couldn’t Knock A Sick Whore Off A Pisspot. by Jason Baldinger

Jimmy says the pill they’re giving him
kills his voice, wears him out
he’s lost twenty pounds
wobbles on a limp
as we walk to our cars

Jimmy says you gotta believe
every word of what you write
you gotta get up there and read
with your bones hanging out

if you write a boxing poem
you gotta talk like a boxer
you can’t say his punch was weak
you say he couldn’t knock a sick
whore off a pisspot

Jimmy says he wants me to do a reading
he says he’s gotta a lotta readings
a lotta plans he wants to get in
it’s the third time I remember him
speaking about time, each time a little
less cocky, a little more worried
this time it sounds like a plea

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Princess of Purgatory~ by Tracey Sivek

Princess of Purgatory~

She was the Princess of Purgatory
wanting more from people and life
but never reaching out on her own.

I’d visit her there often inside the glass castle
braiding hair and brewing up dreams upon
thousands of stars…galactic sisters her and I.

There were territorial whispers saying that
she cried at night alone
…my heart broke for her, so I would inhale her pain.

Holding that breath I’d bend to kiss her good-bye
witches bones rattled as I passed through the veil to the light
…on exhale all was released, transmuted with life’s flame.

Balance is found in the depths of her and I
even in our one sided visitations~

There is no invitation required to enter here
just love~

Tracey is a native of Northern Michigan.  She has work on Writerscafe and Cosmofunnel .
She has also been published here at The Rye Whiskey Review and The Abyss .
 She is also the Author of "Zero Evidence of Life" found on 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Gifts by. Todd Cirillo

The son of a bitch
left me broke and
blacked out
with a stripper’s name
written with a sharpie
on my forearm,
three bright orange
traffic cones
in my bedroom
and a two-day hangover.

He is the best friend

Todd Cirillo is co-founder and editor of Six Ft. Swells Press. His latest book is Burning the Evidence (Epic Rites Press, 2017). He has other books available and has been published in numerous national and international publications. Todd lives in New Orleans, Louisiana and can be found soaking his pirate heart in second lines and smiling under the neons searching for shiny moments. Look him up at Todd Cirillo

"The news is bad today, in America and for America. There is nothing good or hopeful about it--except for Nazis, warmongers, and rich greedheads" HST

You Can Run By Alec Solomita

The blues quotes Joe Louis as I take a hit of weed. The blues says to me, “You can run but you can’t hide.” Been running pretty well until t...