Thursday, February 28, 2019

Night Closes Her Eyes by Ann Christine Tabaka

Night keeps her secrets
that daylight tells,
hiding lovers from themselves.

Truth breaks through,
streaming between tiny cracks.
Walls cannot hold back the sun.

Darkness hides among its fears,
silencing morning’s knock.
Yet morning is persistent.

The lies we tell are buried there,
deep within festering wounds.
Wounds that weep lustful tears.

Night keeps her secrets,
that morning tells.
Night shall not open her eyes for you.

Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry, has been internationally published, and won poetry awards from numerous publications. She lives in Delaware, USA.  She loves gardening and cooking.  Chris lives with her husband and three cats. Her most recent credits are: Ethos Literary Journal, North of Oxford, Pomona Valley Review, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Synchronized Chaos, Pangolin Review, Foliate Oak Review, Better Than Starbucks!, The Write Launch, The Stray Branch, The McKinley Review, Fourth & Sycamore.
*(a complete list of publications is available upon request)

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

By All Counts by Joan McNerney

Proper and improper fractions
have distinctive differences.

Proper fractions study at
prestigious universities.   They
attend cultural events and play
at least one musical instrument.
Proper fractions step aside
for ladies patronizing
haute couture shops.

Improper fractions are hooligans.
Each one guzzles cheap beer,
crunching potato chips while
screaming at wrestling matches.
Improper fractions knock over
seniors to reach clearance racks.

 Beware of mixed figures.  These
hybrids can not decide what they are.
Medication might help them plus
talking therapy so popular today.  Never
allow children to associate with them.

Negative numerals should be avoided.
Those will only subtract from your life
flinging freezing rain in your face.
Conversely, positive numerals are
delightful handing us glowing statistics
and bright bouquets of fragrant daisies.

Never take integers for granted.  Do not
allow yourself to be divided but let
all quotients be fruitful and multiply
until that day when your number is up.

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Halcyon Days.  Three Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work.  Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

How To Play Classical Music by Brian Gore

I smashed a Tchaikovsky record to silver-dollar-sized bits,
put them in a terra-cotta vase, and shook it with vigor,
all the while shouting, “I can play Tchaikovsky!”
Everyone stared in fear of my madness, the record store manager
stampeding for my hammer.

BrianSGore is a writer of short stories, poems, and songs. He has published several collections of original works including Barstool Ballads, Eleven Stories for Short … Attentions, and Tangled World, as well as coordinating a collaborative project entitled A Collection of Poems by Various Poets Regarding the Line '10,000 Miles of Farewell’. His newest book, Drawn Thread, is now available, along with his new album Going, Never Stopping, at 

Monday, February 25, 2019

Noble Savage by Jon Bennett

I stomp down the trail
reflecting on 2 years
without a drink
“What the fuck
difference does it make...”
I say
It’s dark
No one else is there
I look defiantly
at a bush
“...if you can glean
a moment’s joy
from this shit!”
The bush only
stares back at me
I give it
a kick.

Jon Bennett writes and plays music in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood.  You can find more of his work on Pandora and Spotify or by connecting with him on Facebook at

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Trespass My Ass. by Ezhno Martin

    Youngstown Ohio is a dead city
where my dead grandfather was born in 1925
        and lived for four years before his dad died
    and the family moved back to Spain
            where he'd stay
        until he realized at 23 that his citizenship
            was his ticket away from the tyrant in power
        so he took a boat to New York

I was in Youngstown today
    the first member of the family in two generations
        to see the spot he'd called home
    since he himself returned in the late 70's
only to realize they'd razed the place
    along with the the whole neighborhood
along with the whole economy
    along with all the will and means people had to survive there

            All that was clinging to life 40 years ago is gone now
        and in it's place is blocks and blocks of empty lots
                only instead of the condemned buildings
            and piles of rubble my grandfather Gerardo saw
                instead of the crime and poverty
                    that seemed to crush the concept of his childhood
                pieced together as it was from pictures and stories
            is silence as wild grass and flowers blow in the breeze
                    of a May morning

just like him
    the ugly part of his dying days
have faded
    and in it's place is fertile soil for new beginnings

        He was a farmer
            and a bee keeper
        back in Spain
                in America he kept the family fed in the summertime
            by turning the backyard into an urban farm
                    before hipsters coined the concept
                because it made him feel home

        and that's why earlier
            as I stood in front of a field
                that used to have a mailbox that read
            355 Summit Street – The Martin Family
I dug up a patch of grass
    and planted some tomatoes around a
        Private Property – No Trespassing sign
    so the Martin family could live in that soil again
            and climb that sign
        until it fell over
                under the weight of their future

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.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Heat Wave by John Greiner

The mothers are drunk
on the summer heat wave.
A girl with ice cream arrives.
She warns them that winter
is approaching, rapidly.
They look up the street,
frozen in February terror.

John Greiner is a Pushcart Prize nominated writer living in Queens, NY. He was educated at the New School for Social Research.  Greiner's work has appeared in Sand, Empty Mirror, Sensitive Skin, Unarmed, Street Valueand numerous other magazines. His chapbooks, broadsides and collections of poetry and short stories includeTurnstile Burlesque (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2017), The Laundrymen(Wandering Head Press, 2016), Bodega Roses (Good Cop/Bad Cop Press, 2014),Modulation Age (Wandering Head Press, 2012), Shooting Side Glances(ISMs Press, 2011) and Relics From a Hell’s Kitchen Pawn Shop (Ronin Press, 2010). 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Good Luck for C. McD. by Michael Dwayne Smith

The only advice worth taking is of course
the advice in this poem. Two urges and two

stories to tell here. When first I began in
earnest with poetry, I asked any published

willing soul to read and react to my work.
It shook out this way: those who were eager

tended to be those whose work I admired
less, and they mostly said poems should be

more like their own; those who deflected
or refused or ignored were those whose work

was of the higher order. If they said anything,
it was Keep Writing & Good Luck. These

poets never pointed to their accomplishment
or referred to themselves in third person,

nor did they even imply looking outside
myself for answers to any question. But I’m

only human and still sometimes ask. I save
myself by only asking Catfish now, who is

a living legend, and each time he sees my
poems he only ever says, Good luck, amigo!

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.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Past The Ether by Mackenzie Thorn

I’m doing 90 on the Illinois route 3 at 3 am
The car shakes terribly and my cigarette dusts ashes on my lap
Nico speaks to me amidst the triangular bayonet blade wounds
The hill country devil points across the river towards the downtown skyline
it shines behind vines of climbing black factory smoke
The winged entrepreneur suggests I take the McKinley bridge home
Before it’s too late
I ignore him
And go deeper south
Into the decayed pit of cataclysmic catacombs
Where purple neon lights wave in pocket filled derelicts and capitalist rejects
Door step gargoyles remain vigilant to protect their financial well from Monsanto vampires
Buy a loosey for 50 cents to wash down that stale beer
Buy a gram for 50 dollars to forget your fears
Buy some love for a little more
I can’t remember what I drink for

Mackenzie Thorn is a St. Louis native with roots that grow deep beneath the bar rooms and cathedrals littered across his hometown. He Documents the absurd stories of the red brick black hole and the ones lost within in lt. Giving life to the silver lining that evades our desperate grasp; that is inevitably replaced with empty beds and beer empty bottles. Works featured in the badjacket zine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Warm Whiskey on Cold Nights by David Boski

winter is coming
as it does
every year.

seasonal depression
waits quietly in
the shadows
making it hard
to get out of bed in
the mornings
even on the rare occasion
the sun breaks through
the clouds.

as I think of all the time
that has passed
feeling empty inside
with life’s results
thus far.

but Melvin needs
a walk.

get up
a cup of coffee
find happiness
in the moment.

warm whiskey
on cold nights
with him
by your side;
others have it

David Boski is a poet living in Toronto. His poems have most recently appeared in: Under The Bleachers, Down in the Dirt, Duane's Poetree, Horror Sleaze Trash, Rusty Truck, Winamop. He has a forthcoming chapbook being released by Analog Submission Press as well as Holy&Intoxicated Publications later this year. He enjoys whiskey, wine and beer, in no particular order.  

One Thing. by Wolf Kevin Martin

everyone understands
sex rough wrathful love
in deep


told me one time
at the moment


had a one car
parking garage
just for me

golden sunshine
pillow talk

living in the folds of life lost me I'm g o n e
playing hit and run


has the

holds my hand after sunrise after a night of talk mind and body meld molding back and forth tender action sometimes love and war are brutal direct quick awake

I'm out here
in the city

everyone is dead

including me

can't die now you fucker do the right thing
economical dependent development is waiting for the ladies and men join the revolution

instead moaning out

no one

stop firing

toy arrows

end up


spear in your chest

dry your

put the knife

no reason
to jump

off a

put the
gun down





convinced I'm a ghost most days clouds  eyes standing up tall waiting a whole life to blossom covered in mossy doom walking in the sweet rain

i was
out in

the woods had given up eating and sleeping lived in caves of your imagination a hundred times before you came to town with a smile as crooked as mine

The Wolfman Kevin Martin is a photographer and poet from North Carolina now residing in Pittsburgh, PA.  Contributing images and poetry to: The Arrival Magazine, The Rye Whiskey Review, The Dope Fiend Daily, Under The Bleachers, Cajun Mutt Press, Alien Buddha Press, The Pangolin Review and Rust Belt Press.  The Wolf's first poetry collection "My Head Fits Through Your Noose, Let Me Swing Awhile? is published through Alien Buddha Press and was released in January 2019.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Night Bloomer by Gwil James Thomas

I take the final sip of Vermouth
and chew on the skewered olive -
I catch her eye again as her boyfriend
returns and they sit in silence,
before he finishes her bocadillo.

She’s made up
from the blood red lipstick,
to the fishnets
but her beauty is effortless -
an exotic night blooming flower
in this nocturnal zoo.

I wander up to the bar inevitably
stepping on sawdust and scurrying
cockroaches before eventually
paying the bill.

Outside, she’s lighting a cigarette
and I wader past her as she smiles
and I want to say something,
just one immortal poetic line.

Instead, I smile back and say...

“Hasta luego,”

Before I head off to the Metro
and the rest of my life -
certain that I’ll see her again some night -
most likely in a dream.

   Gwil James Thomas is a poet, novelist and inept musician originally from Bristol, England. His work can be found largely in print and occasionally online in places such as 3AM Magazine, Punk Lit Press, The Beautiful Space and The Dope Fiend Daily. His most recent poetry chapbook is titled Romance, Renegades & Riots (Analog Submission Press) a split with the poet John D Robinson. He lives in Northern Spain.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Flu in February by Alyssa Trivett

Waiting at the pharmacy
turning into a skeleton
in a seventies lawn chair
like slouch
while some kid
runs and cycle-kicks
the counter.
I wish I had
that much energy
I relay to myself in my head,
then the dad yells to the kid
"Knock it off."
The loudspeaker yodels
my last name like a
high school basketball coach
and I step right up
to the counter to collect
my flu med of
thirty potential side effects
only to walk outside into
a haze of sunlight
and '94 Ford truck exhaust.

Alyssa Trivett is a wandering soul from the Midwest. When not working two jobs, she chirps down coffee while scrawling lines. Her work has appeared in many places (including the trash bin), but most recently at The Rye Whiskey Review and Duane's PoeTree site.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Borderline Stalker by Ivan Jenson

I often thought
about you
until I realized
this lone activity
was unrequited
so I tried to get
into your head
but soon understood
I was uninvited
finally I realized
a self imposed
restraining order
would help
everyone involved
and now I keep
a safe distance
from the only person
I ever really wanted
to be close to
and that is why
this wonderfully
painful situation
will never be resolved

Ivan Jenson is a fine artist, novelist and contemporary poet. His artwork was featured in Art in America, Art News, and Interview Magazine and has sold at auction at Christie’s. Ivan was commissioned by Absolut Vodka to make a painting titled Absolut Jenson for the brand’s national ad campaign. His Absolut paintings are in the collection of the Spiritmusuem, the museum of spirits in Stockholm, Sweden.  
Jenson's painting of the “Marlboro Man” was collected by the Philip Morris corporation. Ivan was commissioned to paint the final portrait of the late Malcolm Forbes.  Ivan has written two novels, Dead Artist and Seeing Soriah, both of which illustrate the creative and often dramatic lives of artists. Jenson's poetry is widely published (with over 600 poems published in the US, UK and Europe) in a variety of literary media. A book of Ivan Jenson's poetry was recently published by Hen House Press titled Media Child and Other Poems, which can be acquired on Amazon. Two novels by Ivan Jenson entitled, Marketing Mia and Erotic Rights have been published hardcover. Ivan Jenson’s new novel, Gypsies of New Rochelle has been released by Michelkin Publishing. Ivan Jenson's website is:

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Kelly’s Bar & Lounge—GOOD FOOD, COCKTAILS by Scott Silsbe

The last living punker
put his last buck
in the machine
in the corner and
played The Cramps,
Buzzcocks, Stooges,
and The Jam. Does
a buck play you
four songs in this
day and age?

This place is a dark bar
even in daylight hours
and I love a dark bar.
I recall one night
at Mr. Toad’s out
in Greensburg after
a show at the Palace.
Paulette was drinky
and said she is not
a fan of dark bars.
“Why not?” I said
and she said that,
as a woman, she
doesn’t always
feel safe in them.

The men’s room
here at Kelly’s
still has Irwin’s
love note to me
on the graffitied
key lime wall.
It reads—
“Uncle Piss
loves poets.”

Scott Silsbe was born in Detroit and grew up down the river from there. He now lives in Pittsburgh. His poems have appeared in numerous periodicals and have been collected in the three books: Unattended Fire (2012), The River Underneath the City (2013), and Muskrat Friday Dinner (2017).  He is also an assistant editor at Low Ghost Press.

Lost at Sea by Diana Poulos-Lutz

Sometimes being lost at sea
is easier than being lost on land—
more challenging to
lose love
than to lose your way.
So I’ll get lost
in the discord
of those waves
when a loss for words
seems to betray me
at the very moment I need
them to release me.
Maybe words defy us
at those times when
we feel we’re not meant
for this world
and the only way
to be at home in the universe
is to forgo the very language
that has the power
to hurt us so—
to become immersed in the
benign love of the tides
where need or want or desire
does not exist in the language
of the sea

Diana Poulos-Lutz has a B.A. and an M.A. in Political Science from Long Island University and has studied Political Theory and American Politics at the New School for Social Research. She has taught Political Science and Political Theory courses for several years at Long Island University. She currently works at a public high school. Diana is also a photographer and writes about the natural world on Long Island. She is a contributing writer and photographer for the Long Island-based website Fire Island and Beyond. The Town of North Hempstead recently hosted a photographic and literary gallery of Diana's Long Island Nature photography at the historic Clark House at Clark Botanic Garden in Albertson. Her poems have recently been featured on  Pantsuit Nation and New Verse News.  Diana's poetry is inspired by her deep connection to the natural world, along with her desire to promote equality and empowerment. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Last Seaman by Don Robishaw

Roger leans on Scorpion, toweling off his tattooed gray-haired chest and beard. His big Harley Davidson sinking fast on a white sand beach. He lives for the beauty of the sea, changing tides and hues from blues to green, and the feel of both upon his face and arms. Sometimes the seas are combatively angry, like on that wintry evening. He often thinks of those mates — his lost mates — submerged in a WWII sub on the bottom of the sea. Other times the seas are tranquil, smooth as aged whisky, like today. Eight bells ringing out for Roger — the last seaman. Sipping a cold beer he says, “Hey mates. Belay that last order . . . ya hear?”

Don Robishaw 

Before Don Robishaw stopped working to write, he ran educational programs for homeless shelters for thirteen years.

Don's also well-traveled, using various ways and means: Sailor, Peace Corps Volunteer, bartender, hitchhiker, world traveler, college professor, and circus roustabout.

His work has recently appeared in Literary Orphans, Crack-the-Spine, Drunk  Monkeys, The Remembered Arts, Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, Flash Fiction Magazine, O’ Dark Thirty, and others. His chapbook, ‘Willie’s Bad Paper Odyssey’ was a semi-finalist in Digging Press 2018 Summer Chapbook Contest.

He likes to write poetry, satire, tragedies, and gritty fictional tales — of men and women from various backgrounds — that may have sprouted from a seed, from his past. Many of the characters he developed have been homeless, served for periods of time in the military, or are based upon archetypes or stereotypes he's met while on the road. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

California Dreamin’ by Sheree La Puma

I think about today, how my life is detouring.
Tripping, can’t catch my breath. Stranded
in LaLa Land, a mile from the beach.
So close,
I think, to erasure.

I do what comes naturally, take a seat
at the bar. Some hamburger joint
in Playa Vista. The bartender
serves up god,
& Hangar 24.

He’s writing - a screenplay, wants some mojo,
some of what I have, after hours.
Across the bar, blond girl, blond boy
awkward date, nervous

He pulls out a chair, lowers his eyes. Her face
has a this could be it look. He would make a
great waiter. In the age of Tinder, Grindr,
Fuck Buddies not
buying it.

A decade or more ago, you did this for me.
You were drunk. I was drunk, Kamikaze
shooters, You drove into a blizzard, I
waited at the hospital
for 5 days.

Now I keep to California, craft beer & sensimilla.
Living in a matrix of beautiful; people.
Everyone wants to be somebody &
I have a great

Sheree La Puma is an award-winning writer whose personal essays, fiction and poetry appeared in such publications as Burningword Literary Journal, I-70 Review, Crack The Spine, Mad Swirl, The London Reader, Gravel, Foliate Oak, and Ginosko Literary Review, among others. She received an MFA in Writing from California Institute of the Arts and taught poetry to former gang members. Born in Los Angeles, she now resides in Valencia, CA with her rescues, Bello cat and Jack, the dog.  


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...