Sunday, June 30, 2019

My Allergy To Cats by Dave Newman

The football game is on
and the fat man
who has the drugs
is stoned.

At the bar everyone
looked like a dealer
but nobody had
anything to sell.

Outside there are sirens.
 I don’t look like a dealer
and I’m not going back
to that bar.

“Buy me a beer for nothing”—
            I should write that song
                        and sell it and get
                                    rich and drunk.

I should kiss the fat man.
            At least he’s honest.
                        He looks like a dealer
                                    and he deals.

He loves Cool Ranch Dorritoes
            in little bags
                        that cost 99 cents
                                    and cans of Coke.

The fat man passes me a joint.
I am here for something stronger.
Perhaps I lack clarity.
I toke the joint politely.

Outside, the lights are flashing.
            I bet the bar has gone empty.
The Jets score on the Patroits.
That’s New York and New England.

This is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The fat man’s cat rubs my leg
and I sneeze twice
into my elbow.

The fat man says, “Tissue?”
and hands me a box of Kleenex.
He says, “I have never
believed in guns.”

The fat man says, “Do you believe in guns?”
I’m okay with guns in other rooms at other times.
I say, “I’m pretty allergic to cats,”
            but I don’t blow my nose.

I’m pretty allergic to lots of things:
            cats and dealers and bars
                        where I’m not wanted
                                    by dealers who don’t deal.

The fat man says, “New York Jets,”
            like I’m supposed to know
                        what it means so I don’t mention
we’re watching  the wrong game.

The fat man says, “I used to have
            six cats but no guns
                        and now I have no guns
                                    but only one cat.”

It’s 80 bucks for a bag of blow. 
 The fat man thinks the Jets will cover the spread.
   I take my bag and step into the light
      which was not the light I expected.

There’s a fire somewhere, I see that now.
            Maybe I’ll go back to the bar.
   Inside my car, I open
                      a bag of Dorritos and sneeze.

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.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Straight to Hell by Debra Sasak Ross

She was five
He was seven
They lived very far away
From heaven.
Closer to hell
The neighbors would say
Until the day they got away.
The boy was tortured,
Beaten and abused.
The girl was raped,
Forced to do things
Five year old girls
Should never do.
One night
The man passed out cold from the whiskey
Dead to the world.
It only took
One strike of the match
To send him
Straight to hell.

Debra Sasak Ross is a published poet from Chicago, Illinois. Besides reading, writing and listening to music, she loves thunderstorms, blizzards and gardening. Her work can be found in the anthologies, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze and Dandelion in a Vase of Roses. Her work can also be found online in The Poet Community, Inquisition Poetry, Nature Writing,, Haiku Journal.  Best Poetry, Duanes Poetree. and She has also published her first book, “BELIEVE” in 2018. She now resides in Iowa.

Waxing Philosophical Legs by Ivan Jenson

Time does not march on
it sneaks out the back door
to have a smoke
its tobacco is what's what
and who you know
its nicotine is
your addiction to meaning
and it is killing you
so you really should stop
driving yourself crazy
worrying about how
you just lost another
twenty-four-hour friend
and instead concentrate on making
peace with your poor concentration
and rich imagination
and take the good with the bad
mix it with the tolerable
and when life
gives you lemons
remember that in the infinite
a pucker is born
every minute

Ivan Jenson is a fine artist, novelist and contemporary poet who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 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:

Friday, June 28, 2019

Pillock by Paul Brookes

All that's left of his pit days,
is the laughter amidst

dust and danger below, a pitprop
to hold up what's worth living.

Old miner taps his mate Fred’s
pint glass as their sat in the pub
and says so as a young lass in boob tube
and short skirt can hear:

Thas overdressed love.
I should take summat off,

if I were thee. Tha want
to change thee butcher.

Tha wants a skirt to go with
that fanny pelmet.

Thas got some right
nutcracker arse cheeks on thee.

Aneorexic lass walks by
Tha wants to diet, love.

Can't see all thee ribs.
Needs a bit of Belsen time,
eh, Fred.

Plus size young lass
comes past Tha wants

to eat more, love. Tha
made it through doorway
no trouble.

Spots young man with tattoos:
Tha a real man with them.

I bet some are prison ones,
aren't they? Its ten o clock

at night, abaht time tha
were jimmying folks locks,

hiving off with folks trinkets.
Tell thas college educated,
thas sharp as butter.

Lads dander up he shouts
at old one and Fred:

Oi. Old git. Shut thee gob
else I'll shut it for thee.

Old miners fall about in laughter.

Paul Brookes is a shop asst. His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017), A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Forthcoming Stubborn Sod, (Alien Buddha Press, 2019), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). He edits The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews.

Catch me, if you can by Fotoula Reynolds

In the time of tomorrow
Past images of self, vanish
Current identity erased
My existence dies

The transformation is not
A façade, re-inventing myself
Scares the shit out of me
I only just found who I am
Now through private despair
I lose myself again

If protecting my own life
Means stripping me bare
And throwing away the old
For a new then
I choose a life at sea

Who am I now?
I say, a free spirit
An unconventional


Fotoula Reynolds is an author of poetry. She lives in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria, Australia with her family. Living in the hills lends itself to the topics of nature where she draws inspiration from the surrounding spaces. She began writing poetry in 2016 and has published her first book of poems titled: The sanctuary of my garden (2018). 
Her work has been published in Australian anthologies and internationally in e-zines/journals/reviews.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Our Blood by William Taylor Jr.

And if the beautiful things
that fall from your lips
are only beautiful

for as long as it takes
them to fall from your lips,

that's still more
than was promised.

It's early yet,
the drinks are pretty,

and there's some sexy doom
spilling from the juke.

Our blood,
it  remembers how to sing.

And if we're only beautiful
for as long as it takes
the bartender to see fit
to shut us down,

that's still more
than the nameless dead
clutch in their sad
forgotten hands.

William Taylor Jr. lives and writes in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. His work has been published widely in journals across the globe, including Rattle, The New York Quarterly, The American Journal of Poetry, and The Chiron Review. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, and a collection of short fiction. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee and was a recipient of the 2013 Kathy Acker Award. To Break the Heart of the Sun is his latest collection of poetry.

ON WATCH. by Don Robishaw

    Twists, squats, and cups his hands to block the wind and seawater. Wipes, tightens fists, and crosses his arms. Twenty-seconds between the last spray across the bow and the next. Calloused fingers remove lighter, snaps downward, and lights a new butt, as he shifts away from gale-force-winds. He sees nothing, but shades of black and white on the horizon.
Cold as cold can get in the North Atlantic. Part of this sailor’s duty is to stand watch four hours, twice a day, when the ship is out to sea.The sailor unties the draw-strings on his ditty bag, pulls out a stainless steel vodka flask. Not a good idea to drink alcohol when it’s this raw. He doesn’t give a penguin squat, for it is the only shit on board that’s still liquid. Unscrews the cap after the last wave and brings it to his lips and then says, “Nit, nit, nit, ah. Ahoy cruel world.”

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

He like 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 sterotypes he's met while on the road. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

25 lbs Barbell by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

I can see the people that have been hurt like me.
They have a chance.

Their eyes run like broken egg yokes
down their face around a chin
too seasoned to quiver.

And I think of my friend Shane
and how young we once all were
when his older brother and his girlfriend
from out west drove us to the
Bayfield Mall.

To that sports store down in the basement level
so that I could get a 25 lbs barbell.

No way to get it home unless his brother
with a car was driving.

And the years spent shirtless
lifting that bloody thing
so that my arms are so hard now
that you could break a baseball bat over them
and lose the World Series.

Sure enough I would bruise,
but I would never break.

Which brings me back to those people
that have been hurt like me.

There is a hard guarded strength there.
And still this radiant soulfulness at the core
that has somehow survived
the carnage.

It only remains for a few.
And I can see it on these long nights
when I still take a chance.

Forget myself
and take a swing
of my own.

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.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Drinking Clan MacGregor For Inspiration by Chocolate Waters

Swallow down a big gulp of the stuff,
stare at computer screen.
Gulp a bigger hit.
Stare at screen.
I'm hungry.
Cook up Mrs. Stouffer's
frozen Tuna Noodle Casserole.
Swig more scotch.
Stare at screen.
More scotch.
Stare intensely at screen.
Retrieve casserole from oven.
Trip over chair.
Casserole flies off plate.
Splatters best rug.
I leave it there.
Add three ice cubes to scotch.
Return to staring down screen.
Write a few words.
Still starving.
Dig out Pepperidge Farm Frozen Apple Turnovers.
Blast oven to 450 degrees.
Pass out.
Three hours later.
Turnovers are charred black triangles.
Apartment is burning down.
Through smoke I make out words
I've written on screen.
They say:
"Don't forget to turn off the blasted turnovers."

First published in Perihelion, 1999

Chocolate Waters loves to drink and write in bars. She’s produced four poetry collections this way and currently has a new collection, Bittersweet Resurrection (Eggplant Press, NY, NY) coming out in 2019. “Write drunk, edit sober,” said Hemmingway – and she does. She’s lived in Manhattan for nearly 40 years. Sorry, no cats.

Nothing Can Save Us by Wayne Russell

And the rain won't stop,
it will never stifle this pain
encased around this embattled

Direct descendant of a cursed
bloodline, mother was a lunatic,
her brother was insane.

 Incarcerated within these hallowed
corridors, we wander on arms linked,
humming the cadence of the
battle-scarred soldier, of the rubber
legged, drunken sailor.

Alone I wander on, seeking the pearly
divinity of existence.

Alone I dwell counting stars, on a
starless night, frothing mouth of world
devour, transmit and consume souls of
the multitude.

In all actuality, we are alone, nothing can
save us from ourselves, our worst enemy
lies within the indescribable blackness or
our souls.

Wayne Russell is or has been many things in his 48 years on this planet, he has been a creative writer, world traveler, graphic designer, former soldier, and former sailor. Wayne has been widely published in both online and hard copy creative writing magazines. From 2016-17 he also founded and edited Degenerate Literature. Just recently, the kind editors at Ariel Chart has nominated Wayne for his first Pushcart Prize for the poem Stranger in a Strange Town. "Where Angels Fear" is his debut e-book. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

old boxers on the wall by J.J. Campbell

i feel like a character
in a bukowski book

stuck at the bar

fading into the smoke
and pictures of old
boxers on the wall

and between a glass
of scotch and a cheap

a few words manage
to get scribbled down
into the margins of
the newspaper

nothing brilliant of

bit players don’t get
to be fully drawn

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. (

Friday, June 21, 2019

TO ALL THE LOVERS. by Bryn Fortey

Looking back
From a fast approaching end
I have at least
Some memories

To all the lovers I ever knew
Not widely
And not always wisely
I raise a glass of amber ale
In fond salute

Some I hurt
Some hurt me
All part of the experience
That shaped the way we grew

None are left
For me to meet
To remind of things
They’d maybe best forget
All gone the way of flesh
But while I live
They still exist

To all the lovers in my life
Not dead
Not yet
They live on in my memories
And I raise my glass of amber ale
In gratitude

Bryn Fortey is a veteran writer from Wales in the UK. Widely published
over the years, he has had two collections published by The Alchemy 
Press, both featuring a mix of short stories and poetry. He is grateful that
in old age he is still able to put pen to paper and finger to keyboard.

Fingerprints by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Her fingerprints
are all over everything.

I see them everywhere
now that she has left.

That stupid grimy way she would cough
all over the steering wheel
and act like nothing had happened.

The way we argued over what we couldn’t afford
and then threw everything into the cart
trying to best one another.

Like it was a competition.
Something we could fight about later.

And now that she is gone,
I see her everywhere.

We never shared toothbrush,
but that is about it.

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.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

BREAD, CHEESE, AND TOMATOES by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

I have no special demands.
I am contented with simple things.
My hunger is satisfied more
and more with less and less.

I have no special orders.
There is bread and there is cheese.
This will fill my hunger today.
I do not need much more.

I do not shout out at
the top of my lungs. I know
what I want.  Keep it simple.
I’ll have it no other way.

We could eat at home. There
are tomatoes in the garden.
I could go for that.  Could you
go for that as well now?

I’ll take anything you
give me to eat. Let’s not add
on anything more. Just don’t
forget the glass beer and water.

Luis was born in Mexico, lives in California, and works in the mental health 
field in Los Angeles, CA. His poems have appeared in Ariel Chart, Beatnik Cowboy,
Dope Fiend Daily, Unlikely Stories, and Zygote In My Coffee.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Sigourney Weaver, Two Excedrin, and My Brother Todd by Michael Estabrook

Drunk one more time
in honor of Charles Bukowski:
alone in my
favorite chair watching
ALIENS on TV (envisioning
Sigourney Weaver wearing only
her panties
here in the room with me)
drinking wine and sherry
by the glassfull
to forget about every damn
thing for a little while
and I did but had a
bad dream (a rockwall
blocking the road in front
of the house
wriggling snakes all over
the place).
Didn't wake up with
a hangover though because
I took two Excedrin before
going to bed an old trick
I learned from my
brother Todd.

Michael Estabrook small press poet since the 1980s striving always for greater clarity and concision rendering language more succinct and precise more accessible and appealing a Sisyphean adventure for sure. Retired now writing more and working more outside just noticed two Cooper’s hawks staked out in the yard or rather above it which explains the nerve-wracked chipmunks. The Poet’s Curse, A Miscellany is a recent collection (The Poetry Box, 2019).

Monday, June 17, 2019

Dive Bar Near the Campus by Dan Provost

Fifteen beers in
and you can finally
see the duck who
shot out the porch

Why bother with wet
brain imagination when
you have some campus
skank sitting right next
to you—rambling on
about society and the
new voices who are
emerging in the House
of Representatives?

Ah, fuck it!  You
told your wife three
hours ago, “I’m just going
out for one or two dear”.

The ultimate lie…

And that duck is
still roaming around
with a firearm holstered
to its wing…
The saddle tramp sitting
next to you has fled to
higher ground…

So, give me number sixteen
bartender…Then, I can pretend
I’m Jesus Christ.

For the rest of the day.

Dan Provost has been published throughout the small press for many years.  He is the author of nine books and lives in Berlin, New Hampshire with his wife Laura.

A Social Response to a Media Invitation by Ben Nardolilli

Midnight mambo? Request denied,
things are cold, too cold,
what illusion can set decorations provide?

If I will see my breath and fog
my glasses with every exhalation, I expect
real surprises in addition to spectacle,

At home it is warm and I have my wine,
in my throat I have accents galore,
as for struggles, they are easily invented

Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, Inwood Indiana, Pear Noir, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at and is looking to publish a novel. 


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...