Wednesday, October 31, 2018

SMOKING JOE’S BAR, SOUTH SIDE, PITTSBURGH. by Dave Newman



I know I’m too old for this shit
but I when came back from pissing
and some dude was lounging on my stool
trying to chat up my wife

I stepped in and said “Can I get my seat back?”

and he looked me over
then looked over my wife

and said “You’re married to her?”
    heavy on the you and her
    to highlight the obvious
discrepancy in our looks

but he said it in a nice Irish brogue

which means
he’s either from Ireland
and vacationing in Pittsburgh

or he grew up in Pittsburgh
eating corned beefed sandwiches
and has been drinking Guinness
since noon.

Either way, I took it as a compliment—
people are often shocked that someone
as un-good-looking as me
married someone as good-looking
as my wife.

I took back my stool
and the Irish guy
disappeared into the bar.

I said to my wife “How was he?”

and she said “Kind of obnoxious but harmless”

and we went back to drinking and talking
until we were done.

As we were leaving

and here’s the part I’m too fucking old for

the Irish guy, in his friendly fake-ass Irish way
challenged me
to what I think was
a head-butting contest

so before we could work out the details
I head-butted him
right on his fucking forehead
using the top of my skull
which is not good for much else

and he stumbled back
and grabbed his forehead
then tried to look up
and tried to force a smile
which is what harmless but obnoxious people do
when confronted by their own harmless obnoxiousness.

I said “Have a good night”

and my wife and I made our way
through the crowd and onto Carson Street.

She said “That was a lot of fun”

and I said “Yeah, Smoking Joe’s is a good bar.”



Dave Newman is the author of six books, includingPlease Don’t Shoot Anyone Tonight (Broken River Books, forthcoming 2018), the novella Sammy Drinks Canned Beer (White Gorilla Press, forthcoming 2018), The Poem Factory (White Gorilla Press, 2015), the novels Raymond Carver Will Not Raise Our Children (Writers Tribe Books, 2012) andTwo Small Birds (Writers Tribe Books, 2014), and the collection The Slaughterhouse Poems (White Gorilla Press, 2013), named one of the best books of the year by L Magazine. Winner of numerous awards, including the Andre Dubus Novella Prize, he lives in Trafford, PA, the last town in the Electric Valley, with his wife, the writer Lori Jakiela, and their two children. He works in medical research, serving elders.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Last Time Anything Meant Anything. by J.J. Campbell



drops of Jupiter
on the radio and
i’m thinking of
the last time i
held you in
my arms

the last time
anything meant
anything to
anyone

the last time i
danced under
the moon with
a bottle of
something
strong

the last time the
words i love you
carried a weight
i could actually
support






J.J. Campbell (1976 - ?) was raised by wolves and is currently trapped in suburbia. He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Record Magazine, Misfit Magazine, The Beatnik Cowboy, Mad Swirl and Synchronized Chaos. His latest chapbook, the taste of blood on christmas morning, was published by Analog Submission Press in July 2018. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (http://evildelights.blogspot.com)
http://sites.google.com/site/losersincsite/
http://soundcloud.com/j-j-campbell
http://goodreads.com/jjthepoet

Monday, October 29, 2018

Love-Bug. by Mike Zone


Love-bug? Are your friends gangsters?
I think they might be criminals
why does your friend carry a gun?
I think that girl
you used to date
has sex for money
what were you and those guys in tracksuits sitting outside the café at the table with the checkered cloth talking about?
Who’s Omar?
Why are most of your friends Bosnians or Mexicans?
Those black men sure looked happy to see you
Love-bug, you sure write an awful lot about prostitutes
someone once told me they heard
you did a line of cocaine off a stripper’s backside
is that true?
Love-bug, what did he mean by “move things”?
Raves? Drugs? Bosnians? Punk Rock? Omar?
Love-bug, were you a criminal?
When she left me high and dry
on the edge of eviction
barely food, furniture or clothes left
my mother with  a breathing tube rammed down her throat
“I need 10,000 dollars.”
“Mike, I don’t have that kind of money but I know how to make it.”
five months later
in court
representing myself
I showed up with
4 track suited Bosnians, two tatted up Mexicans, my stripper girlfriend and Omar
Pat the bartender watching
the proceedings with glee




Mike Zone is the author of Void Beneath the Skin, Fellow Passengers: Pubic Transit Poetry, Meditations & Musings and Better than the Movies: 4 Screenplays. He is the co-writer of the graphic novel series American Anti-hero from Alien Buddha Press. His poetry and stories have been featured in: Beatnik Cowboy, Horror Sleaze Trash, In Between Hangovers, Mad Swirl, Rasputin Poetry, Synchronized Chaos, Triadae Magazine and Your One Phone Call. He scrapes by in Grand Rapids, MI

The Bevmo Lady Has Gone Insane and I am Out of Wine. by William Taylor Jr


Your good intentions for the afternoon
are machines full of unanswered calls,

boxes of unfinished letters forgotten
in the garage or given away.

And the poems, they don't want to be born,
they don't want the trouble of being dragged
into the world anymore than you or I;

they're fine as they are, left alone as the mist
on the fur of the lost dogs asleep in the alley,

unborn in the eyes of the skinny girl in the Greyhound
station clutching a one way ticket to some town
with a name you've never heard.

I go to the Bevmo for wine
and there's an older lady at the counter.

I say older, but she's younger than me.
I put my stuff on the counter and ask how she is.

Crazy, she says.

Okay, I say, and laugh a bit.

I put my card in the thing
and she asks if I want a bag
and I say, sure.

I really think I'm losing my mind,

she says to no one in particular
as I step away.

Outside everyone is standing in lines
in front of buildings as if it were
what they were born to do.

The streets are full of people,
animals and objects
I lack the power to save.

Some days the loneliness of things
is the only sun shining,

the only restaurant open,
the only one who shows to the party.

Some days the loneliness of things
is the only song on the jukebox of eternity

and you either have to dance or go home.





William Taylor Jr. lives and writes in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco.  He is the author of numerous books of poetry, and a volume of fiction. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee and was a recipient of the 2013 Kathy Acker Award. He edited Cockymoon: Selected Poems of Jack Micheline, published by Zeitgeist Press in 2017. From the Essential Handbook on Making it to the Next Whatever is his latest collection of poetry.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Truce. by Randall K. Rogers



Aren't we
always at war?
I mean,
with ourselves,
until we got

a bottle?





Randall K Rogers from Rapid City, South Dakota, USA.  Some call him El Divino - and he begs to not differ. " I am quite humble,  wash feet when I can," Randall says.  Thank you for your interest in his tone

If We Ever Forget. by Helen Doogan




We called each other family
It was no lie
Sitting at a table with a pack of cigarettes
an empty bottle and a sigh
So many stories,
it’s so hard to tell
the truth from fiction
except fiction dripped
from our lips and the truth
... it fell from our eyes
We never told each other
how hard it was to be us
that on the back of our friendship
was the harsh truth
of the emptiness
We needed each other
the emptiness made us insane
until that became our sanctuary
between the cold hard truth
and the pain
We click like empty bottles
when they fall against each other
and the bittersweet sound of it
is a symphony of forgetfulness
that rings true ...
My Brother





Helen Doogan 

Is Australian based poet who's work is personal and often influenced by life and the people around her .
Her work can be read at Hello Poetry.

"If I could crawl inside your skin and live there, I so would!!!"

Helen .


Saturday, October 27, 2018

I Used to Be Someone's Favorite Eclipse. by Daniel Crocker




before
the real darkness came
like a long, labored wink

Before the dragon ate the sun
I used to be someone's favorite
tragedy

Then the real darkness came
I see it in my cup of morning coffee
I see it in my pupil
I feel it burrowing holes
into me

I'm paranoid again
on the downside of mania

I hear it in her voice
when she asks if I
can just please
get out of bed

Before the real darkness came
I used to be someone's favorite
burning sun

brighter than first love
brighter than a single fish
scale alone on a dock

I won't let it worry me
It'll pass until the sky aligns just right
again, even then

my wife never got that beautiful
diamond ring she wanted, but
in consultation

my pills look like white moons.







Daniel Crocker's work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Hobart, Big Muddy, New World Writing, Stirring, Juked, The Chiron Review, The Mas Tequila Reviewand over 100 others. His books includeLike a Fish (full length) and The One Where I Ruin Your Childhood (e-chap with thousands of downloads) both from Sundress Publications. Green Bean Press published several of his books in the '90s and early 2000s. These include People Everyday and Other Poems, Long Live the 2 of Spades, the novel The Cornstalk Manand the short story collection Do Not Look Directly Into Me. He has also published several chapbooks through various presses. His newest full length collection of poetry, Shit House Rat, was published by Spartan Press in September of 2017. He was the first winner of the Gerald Locklin Prize in poetry. He is the editor ofThe Cape Rock (Southeast Missouri State University) and the co-editor of Trailer Park Quarterly. He's also the host of the podcast, Sanesplaining, about poetry, mental illness and nerd stuff. He is a bipolar, bisexual Gemini living the cliché.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Hitler Time In The Facebook Diner. by Nick Gerrard

I crossed the street through the rain and peered in, wiping the mist off the window to get a peek.
A bustling 50's diner.
I could see little wooden tables, set for two but occupied by one.
I walked in.
No one turned to look; they were all busy typing away on little pop-up consoles.
I say typing but there was no sound as the keyboards were virtual, and floated.

The place was still a diner; waitresses dressed in fifties gear were bringing pie and shakes on huge trays above their heads.  
Beers and shots were placed on little napkins next to the typers’ hands.

I weaved my way to the bar, a huge wooden thing with cool flashing beer signs, and climbed onto the high silver and red leather stool.

'What can I get you?'

'Give me a Wild Turkey, hold the water, and one cube of ice, and make it a large one.'

'Sure.'
I took out my electric ciggy and inhaled the vapour.
I slid out my android and found the app.  

The Facebook Reality Diner.
'That'll be seven dollars.'
'Seven dollars, shit!'
I fumbled in my pocket, counted out some crumpled notes, and flung them on the bar.

‘Keep the change.'

‘Yeah, thanks.'
One dollar wasn't much of a tip.

‘You need any help there, mate?'

'Well, I’m logged into the App thingy and just reading the rules and that, I think I've got it but maybe you can give me the concise version?'

'Sure. Look, basically you go find yourself a table, then you log into your Facebook page as normal, turn on the App, and as well as seeing your normal page you get to see what all the people in here are posting.
And you can see everything and post anything. It’s like an internal Facebook page and everyone on it is in here.'

'And I can comment and post whatever I want right?'

'Right!'

'But there's a difference, right?'
He grinned.
'And that is?'

'Well, if you don't like anything anyone has posted, anything at all, you can comment or, and this is the best part, or, you can go over to their table and have a chat with them.'

'You say chat, but from what I can gather I am allowed to do anything, right?'

'Basically, yeah, once you sign up.'

'So, let me get this straight, everyone in here has agreed to this?'

'Damn right!'

'So, basically I can shout at them, call them all the names under the sun, and then, I can slap them around a little?'

'You got it, brother!'

'No come back?'

‘Only if they slap you right back.'

‘And then what?'

'Well, then each Friend has buttons in front of them, but unlike the original Facebook, there's a dislike button as well as a like button, and a fight button.'

'Yeah, I read that...what does that entail exactly?'

'Well…you… wanna re-fill?'

'At these prices? Shit yeah, hit me again.'

He poured a very large one this time, but charged no more.
'Cheers!'
‘Cheers!'

'Where was I? The fight button. Well, if after a few slaps and that you really can't come to an amicable agreement, or you just can't express yourself strongly enough in any other way, you press fight.'

'And I get to really fight the Friends?'

'Yep.'

'Sounds great, tell me more.'
I took a long hit of the Wild and a huge inhale of vapour.

'Well, it's pretty simple, you press the button, and networking is suspended and anyone who wants can go with you and your friend and watch you fight it out.'

'What, like in a ring or something?'

'No, man, cooler than that. We have a room made out like a back alley of a low-life bar in LA.'

‘Kinda like where Bukowski used to have all them fights?'

'Exactly!'

'And anything goes, right?'

'Yeah, but no weapons and no killing.'

'But I can basically beat the shit out of them?'

'Yeah, man.'

'And no come backs?'

'No come backs.'

'Where do I sign up?'

'Just stick your card details on the App where you registered.’

'You know I registered?’

'Yeah, of course, we have face recognition cameras at the door; if your face hadn’t been recognised you wouldn’t be in here now.’

'No shit?’

'Big brother is watching man,
'Kind of comforting to be honest.
Hey, pour me another of those wild birds and grab yourself one, too.’

'Don’t mind if I do.’
One knew a good barman when one met one; felt like I had known the guy for years.
I sat down and logged on.
I spent a while browsing Facebook.
You know, the usual stuff; anti-government stuff, travelling pictures, cats, new and old music off YouTube, nothing out the ordinary.
I read and Liked for a bit, then switched to the Diner page.
I could see what people were doing, the people sat around me. .
I read, and then looked at the faces of the posters.
This was getting interesting.
After a while I started to really get into the posts.
Then I really got stuck in!
Philosophy on life, you know the kind of thing; the bloody Dalai Lama about harmony, or Bob Marley on woman, the usual crap.
Take that! Dislike!
Links to play games, shot down!
And then I got really into the comments, arguing with people.
Finally, I walked over to a woman.
‘Look, just because I didn’t like this stupid picture of a cat shaving a badger doesn’t mean I like cancer, you moron!’
Slap!
She sniffled a bit and I went back to my table and Turkey; this was great!

A guy was posting to 4Square. Not only where he was, but also what he was eating and drinking!
I pushed the fight button. A bell rang out.
A leggy blonde came and led me to his table, you know the type, the kind that prance around a boxing ring in-between rounds; big boobs underneath a tight white tee-shirt and little red shorts, right up her ars…sorry, I got distracted…anyway she led me by the tongue to the guy’s table.
I sat.
'Why the hell would you post that, man?’

'Why not?’

'Why not? Are you for real? Cuss it’s boring shite, man!
Who cares what you are eating or drinking?
It wouldn’t be so bad if you were drinking anything interesting, like a rye, or a beer or even a fucking cocktail or something, but a de-caf latte! Who gives a shit?’

'Well, I th…’
Slap!

'Shut the fuck up, man! To hopefully make you stop posting crap like that again, I’m gonna take you into the alley and kick your de-caf arse!’

I had to Lol! I was taking him into the Bukowski alley, and here was me sounding more and more like old Henry! LMAO!

After I had finished with him, I went back to my table, sank the last of my glass and decided to switch to beer; if I was gonna kick a few more arses tonight, I’d better stay fairly straight.
I slapped a few more people around, hey, even one woman! I’m no sexist!
For, you know, the usual rubbish about Gypsies and Muslims.
When they got really racist, I took them in the back and whipped their arse.
Jesus, it felt good!
After a few hours, I logged off and went back to the bar.
I was a bit tired and decided to stop the brawling and return to some proper drinking.
It was expensive, but you can’t put a price on good company.

'Hey, our man from Chinaski land, another wild?’

'You know it.’

'You seem to be having a good time out there...I had a feeling this was the place for you.’

‘This is just great, man, I mean I get to kick these idiots’ arses, there’s no hiding behind a screen in here.’

'Yeah, I was watching, you did some serious arse kicking back there...you use to go a few rounds, back in the day?’

'No, man, just read too many Short stories, and drank far too much whiskey, and got my arse kicked in far too many real back alleys. This is a push over.

Suddenly, there was wailing siren and flashing lights all around.

'Shit, man, what the hell’s going on?’

'Oh, shit…I think I forgot to mention this to you; I tend not to, else we would get all sorts of weirdoes in here, know what I mean?’

I didn’t, and moved my glass quickly out the way as he untied his white apron strings and vaulted over the bar. He patted my shoulder.

'This is Hitler time!’

'What the fu…’

'Don’t worry, it’s just someone has written the dreaded line, the one that all cowards and all people without intelligence use.’

'And that is?’

'You know, “what you’re saying is what the Nazis were saying in 1938.”
You know, the longer a conversation goes on, the better the chances of someone mentioning Nazis or Hitler.’

'And?’

'And, now it’s Hitler time! This time we all go out the back, and kick the shit out of whoever posted it.’

'No shit?’

'Yeah, you coming?'

'Wouldn’t miss it for the world, man, lead on!’





Originally from Birmingham but now living in Olomouc where he writes, proof-reads and edits, and in between looking after his son Joe, edits and designs Jotters United Lit-zine.
Nick has been at one time or another a Chef, activist, union organiser, 
punk rocker, teacher, traveller and Eco-lodge owner in Malawi and Czech.
Short stories, flash and poetry have appeared in various magazines in print and online including Etherbooks, Roadside fiction, The Siren, Minor Literature and Bluehour magazine
Nick has three books published available on Amazon
twitter@nickcgerrard

In Between Time by Ann Christine Tabaka

Unholy night. Darkness shrouds day. Gone are canticles of light. Dispeller of fears stands tall among despondent axioms. Flames on t...