Saturday, August 31, 2019

What I See By Kelli J Gavin

I see more than most people
Maybe because I am always watching
Knowing that if I pay attention
At some point it will happen
Out of the corner of my eye
I see exactly what I need to
The smiles as I turn to walk away
The joy of my kids when I say yes
My husband’s look of adoration
My friends wiping tears in laughter
Of course I see many things when
I am face to face with other people
But it is that after thought
That sinking- in feeling
That emotion that isn’t always shared
That is what I look for
That is what I see
Out of the corner of my eye
I see exactly what I want to






Kelli J Gavin lives in Carver, Minnesota with Josh, her husband of an obscene amount of years and they have two crazy kids. She is a Writer, Professional Organizer and owns Home & Life Organization and a small Jewelry Company.  Look for Kelli’s first book of short stories and poems in 2019. You can find her work with The Ugly Writers, Sweatpants & Coffee, Writing In a Woman’s Voice, The Writers Newsletter,  Writers Unite!, Academy of the Heart and Mind, The Rye Whiskey Review, Spillwords, Mercurial Stories, 121 Words, HerStry, Ariel Chart, The Basil O’Flaherty, PPP Ezine, Southwest Media, Otherwise Engaged, Pleather Skin, Paper.Li, The New Ink Review, among others.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Find Kelli on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @KelliJGavin


Thursday, August 29, 2019

Bare Essentials by Ivan Jenson

Last night
I got to dream
and this morning
I got to wake
and this afternoon
I tasted something
greater than victory
and that was a tuna sandwich
made by me for me
this evening I plan
to cancel all engagements
and hold all calls
because nobody
is coming over
bearing gifts
of love or friendship
instead I am throwing
a soiree in my head.
Now don't start
worrying about
my well-being
I am perfectly fine
with the way things
have worked out
nor am I bitter
rather I consider myself
to be my own empty house
and dog sitter




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: www.IvanJenson.com





What’s Missing by Jeff Bernstein


Why does it bother him so much that the glasses,
bowls, silverware and other accoutrements
are not put back in their proper places
at his mother’s apartment?  She doesn’t even notice
that the good silver is missing, he took that months ago,
getting ready for this next phase, they are just waiting
for the next shoe to drop, how many shoes can drop,
planning seems futile, coping, telling fiblets
about all he can hope for. Meanwhile, the cocktail glasses
are AWOL somewhere in the kitchen, the stock
of the highballs in the liquor cabinet dwindling.
It takes several visits to see what’s not there –
that old adage about how it was impossible
to prove a negative withers like the unwatered plants.

The path on the headlands gets rockier and rockier
as I clamber down, waves from the North Atlantic
pound the shore in an endless long-distance parade.




A lifelong New Englander, Jeff Bernstein divides his time between Boston and Central Vermont. Poetry is his favorite and earliest art form (he can’t draw a whit or hold a tune). He would most have liked to have been, like Thoreau, “an inspector of snow-storms and rain-storms… [a] surveyor, if not of highways, then of forest paths and all across-lot routes.” Recent poems have appeared, or will shortly, in, among others, Allegro Poetry Magazine, Best Indie Lit New England, The Centrifugal Eye, Cooweescoowee, Edison Literary Review, Grasslimb, The Kerf, The Midwest Quarterly, Mulberry Fork Review, Paper Nautilus, Pinyon, Plum Tree Tavern, Reckless Writing Poetry Anthology, Rockhurst Review, Silkworm and Tipton Poetry Journal.  He is the author of two chapbooks; his full-length collection “Nightfall, Full of Light” was published in December 2017 by Turning Point. His writer's blog is at www.hurricanelodge.com.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

8:33PM Beer, Weeknight. by Alyssa Trivett



The television blares.
I slam the bottle down
and let 'em poetic words
dribble outta my mouth.
Air conditioning
hisses syllables at me.
I'll shot put throw 'em
in a poem
and stop having that dream
where my bloody teeth
fall out
and of how I forgot to
pay my
parking ticket, again.
The bottle was right,
I am paper-cutting
myself off now,
as the alcohol swims
and forms its own thoughts
for tonight, at least.
And have conversations
with radio static
on the way home,
pulling into the
cackling driveway
as the song ends.
It's more broken than me
after this last year.





Alyssa Trivett is a wandering soul from the Midwest. When not working two jobs, she listens to music, chirps down coffee, and scrawls lines on the back of gas station receipts. Her work has appeared recently at In Between Hangovers, The Penwood Review, and Apricity Magazine.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

DRINKING. By Darryl Graff


I dont like

the way diners

smell

like toast and

butter

or how

the stools are

to low and

the counters to

high but

I do like

dark bars

and the sound

bar stools

make

as there

pushed

and pulled

through

the dimness





I am a NYC construction worker and writer.  My non fiction stories have appeared in Akashic Books, Hipocampus Magazine, Foliate Oak,
Da Chuna and elsewhere. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

Eulogy for a Metal Band by Nathan Graziano

A friend posted a video on social media
of his heavy metal band playing a gig
at The Ukraine Club last Saturday night.
The four middle-aged bandmates had lopped
off their heavy metal locks two decades ago
when looking for full-time work but kept
their long goatees and silver-hoop earrings
as a mitigated rebellion, a lonesome flag.

Mind Crime hadn’t played a paying gig
since 2006, and a former roadie for the band
who helped lug the instruments and amps
from the basement to the car to the bar
shot the video on his camera phone, hand
shaking as he shot devil horns into the air.

Dust swirled in front of a wooden stage
as the sound bounced from empty wall
to the next empty wall, but Mind Crime
played on, my friend clutching the microphone
like the head of a snake while shaking his finger
at an imaginary crowd, warning the three men
at the bar that they “had another thing coming.”




Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, with his wife and kids. His books include Teaching Metaphors (Sunnyoutside Press), After the Honeymoon (Sunnyoutside Press) Hangover Breakfasts (Bottle of Smoke Press in 2012), Some Sort of Ugly (Marginalia Publishing in 2013), and My Next Bad Decision (Artistically Declined Press, 2014). Almost Christmas, a collection of short prose pieces, was published by Redneck Press in 2017. Graziano writes a baseball column for Dirty Water Media in Boston. For more information, visit his website: www.nathangraziano.com.  



Sunday, August 25, 2019

Hell Ain’t Half Full by Guinotte Wise


We rode fast between towns don’t ask me why
if there was a bar or a pool table or a cold sixpack
we hung around then rode fast somewhere else.
My panhead was a pre-AMF shit-years Harley
chopped, lowered, unsafe but it would blow the
sunglasses off your face and peel your eyelids
back, torque that would pull stumps that rat bike
bellowed unmuffled, fire shot out of its ass and
heat blued pipes and it wanted to cruise at eighty
a sweet spot then with a throttle twist it was up
over a hundred and building building building
passing a train, a tour bus like a town standing
still, faces bugeyed at the windows looking at
apparitions thirty of us passing passing again
and again old men wishing and admiring us and
cursing us to their wives, we race headlong to
a place where the bus passes later and the old
men say hurry up for nothin’ hell ain’t half full
they’ll get there in time. We’ll see you there.





Guinotte Wise writes and welds steel sculpture on a farm in Resume Speed, Kansas. His short story collection (Night Train, Cold Beer) won publication by a university press and enough money to fix the soffits. Five more books since. A 5- time Pushcart nominee, his fiction and poetry have been published in numerous literary journals including Atticus, The MacGuffin, Southern Humanities Review,  Rattle and The American Journal of Poetry. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it. Some work is at http://www.wisesculpture.com





Sammy the Madman’s Near-Death Experience by Walter Giersbach

Sammy the Madman was a self-described existentialist, devoted to exercising his free will in a purposeless universe. While he never acknowledged any needs, he certainly had lots of wants. But, since his biggest want was probably a death wish, he should have been glad his wish was unfulfilled so far. His poor wife Sarah certainly was glad because he was the only one bringing home a paycheck.

Sammy was a short, dark, medieval-looking guy in our neighborhood. Back in the day when New York’s Lower East Side was wrenched violently into the 1970s, He should have been an abbot or a monk. Reason I say this is that he always managed to bring up the subject of passing over in general, and specifically the number of near-death experiences he’d had. Then he’d want to discuss the larger picture and put his experiences into a philosophical context.

One night, a bunch of us were considering the merits of the Beatles versus the Beach Boys, and why New Yorkers got mellow when they were stoned, while West Coast people just wanted to run and jump in the surf. Everyone asks eternal questions. Even Holden Caulfield, who defined my adolescence, asked, “Where do the ducks in Central Park go in the winter?” That’s the kind of thing you might want to chat about while sipping a brew at the White Horse in the Village or up at Pete’s Tavern. But then Sammy interjected something from Martin Buber.

That was Sammy. He’d bring up Nietzsche or Bergson as soon as the barkeep put a glass in front of him. Further, he wouldn’t toss off a phrase just to give his point a little depth or some academic savoir faire. We could take that, knowing he translated Russian technical manuals for a living and majored in philosophy before being asked to leave Queens College. We could have ignored Sammy if he would just let his obscure reference float away over our heads.

But no, he’d drop phrasing on the table like a hammer, and say “Buber explained it wasn’t Eve simply eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Adam and Eve didn’t have to die after eating the fruit. They just plunged into human mortality.”

There was a stunned silence while people tried to figure how the hell that related to John Lennon’s lyrics in “Let It Be.” Sammy just smiled his wimpy grin.

He didn’t mind if Klein the Biker or Allen the Stockbroker told him to knock it off. Everybody ignored Sammy. I didn’t tell Sammy off, but neither did I encourage him, because I understood Sammy always talked about death. Sammy had so many close brushes with death that it was on his mind a lot. He was on close personal terms with the Grim Reaper.

But death isn’t a conversation starter at a party. Like the time he was forced to play Russian roulette with some homeboys in Chelsea. For a quiet guy, Sammy got around.

That evening was one of those times when we had enough. Klein, Allen, Sammy and I were having a few over at this Irish place — O’Neill’s on Avenue B — when Klein got really pissed at  the drift of Sammy’s conversation. Klein looked like a wooly bear with more hair than a barbershop. I knew he was mad when all I could see were two beady eyes popping out of his furry face.

“Sammy, you are really bringing us down with your morbid talk. Why don’t you go home to Sarah and your kid?” he said.

I added, “You’re worse than morbid tonight. You’d make an undertaker look like Happy Jack the Clown.”

Sammy did his self-effacing grin, like he’d been caught doing something nasty, and he got up. “I have to go to the bathroom,” he announced. I guessed he had taken the hint and was bowing out gracefully.

We had a heck of a night. Allen got it in his head that we should do a progressive dinner. We would have one course — and only one course—at a different place, giving new definition to eating on the run. Allen’s a good man for coming up with original ideas.

We finished up at O’Neill’s and cabbed a cab down to Mott Street to get some snails at Hong Fat’s for an appetizer, then we caught another cab to a Mexican place on Greenwich Avenue for gazpacho, and walked to Delancey for the best pastrami in the city. From there, we went down to the Chinese place on Bayard for mango ice cream. New York is the greatest place for turning dining into performance art.

The phone was ringing when I got back to my apartment. It was about 2 a.m. and it was Sammy’s wife.

“Jake, I’m looking for Sam. He’s not home.”

“Sarah? I have no idea where Sam is.”

“Isn’t he with you now?” she asked in her little-girl New Jersey voice. She pronounced “now” as “na-y-aow,” with three syllables. “He said he was going to be with you.”

“Yeah, Sarah, he was with us — but that was hours ago. He disappeared while we were sipping a brew.”

“I thought you’d take care of him,” she said, her voice trailing off. “How could you let him wander off? By himself.”

That brought me down. Should we have taken care of him? At 2 a.m. it wasn’t a pressing question and I went to sleep. Sammy was a survivor.

Action like Olympics-style eating and drinking can only happen on weekends when you have a straight job during the other five days. That’s why it disturbed me every time Sammy said, “Every night is Saturday night for us existentialists.” I’ll never be an existentialist until I can treat Monday like Saturday. So it was the following Saturday before I ran into Sammy on Second Avenue. He was studying the posters in the window of the St. Mark’s Theatre on Second Avenue, probably wondering if he was up to another Orson Welles film.

I said, “Sarah was looking for you last Saturday. She called me at two in the morning. Where’d you go?”

The little smile came over his face.

“I got up to go to the bathroom.” He shrugged. “It’s kind of a — story.”

I bought us some coffee at Austin’s deli and he proceeded to tell me about his disappearance. He said he recalled getting up from the bar and weaving off toward the men’s room. He opened the door and that was the last thing he remembered. When he woke up it was dark and he was lying flat on his back. Slowly, he said, he felt around and his fingertips touched walls on all sides of him.

“I thought I must be dead and I was in my coffin. It was so still and quiet. Not a sound. But then I wondered, if I’m dead, why do I still have to go to the bathroom?

“And I felt around some more and found I was lying on beer cans. I was lying in the box where they throw the empties down in the basement. I took the wrong door to the men’s room and fell down the basement stairs.”

Feeling the spirit, I exhaled a “Jesus,” more to encourage the rest of this story than to lend theological emphasis to it.

“Then what happened? We waited for you,” I lied.

He shrugged. “Well, I went upstairs. The bar was empty. Everyone had gone. It was locked up. I was locked in. There was nothing I could do, so I sat down at the bar and got a beer.”

I began laughing so hard the coffee came out my nose.

“Then the cops came and banged on the door, and they called O’Neill, and O’Neill came down and opened up, and the cops arrested me. For breaking and entering. I tried to explain I didn’t break in, because I was already in, and being already in I couldn’t enter. You can’t go in twice—philosophically speaking — without at least going out once. But they took me down to the 9th Precinct and booked me. I think the judge will give me probation.”

I yanked a paper napkin out of the dispenser and dried my eyes.

“Well, Sammy,” I said, “you remind of those immortal words spoken by that profound thinker, Emanuel Kant.”

His eyes lit up. I was on his turf now, talking philosophy. “What’s that?”

“He said, ‘If it’s not one thing, it’s another.’” I put my hand on his arm and tried to look serious. “The cops booked you for impersonating a philosopher.”





Walt moves between writing genres, from mystery to humor, speculative fiction to romance with a little historical non-fiction thrown in for good measure.  His work has appeared in print and online in over two dozen publications.  Earlier, two volumes of short stories, Cruising the Green of Second Avenue, were available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and other online booksellers.  He’s also bounced from Fortune 500 firms to university posts, and from homes in eight states and to a couple of Asian countries.  He now lives in New Jersey where he moderates a writing group.


Saturday, August 24, 2019

Leaving by Jonathan Butcher

That coastline of brittle bones,
that I pinned with each of those
final minutes. A slight choke
from that wave of fluid, from
the spine I momentarily lost.

Those gestures emptied with each
nonchalant expression that failed
to crack when needed, like soiled
crystal devoid of reflection; I easily
pass the blame onto others.

And as that key scraped the inside
of that lock for the final time, that
pathway remained un-swept, another
chore avoided, due to never needing
that payment that cost beyond my means.

At the bus-stop, that still remains
pristine after three years spun by
seconds, the final drag of traffic
runs over the tar and concrete, the
burnt tire marks stretch as far as I can see.




Jonathan Butcher is a poet based in Sheffield, England. He has had work appear in various print and online publications including: Popshot, Ex-Ex Literature, The Transnational, Sick-Lit, Drunk Monkeys, The Morning Star, Mad Swirl and others. He edits the online poetry journal 'Fixator Press', through which his third chapbook, 'Corroded Gardens' was published.   

Friday, August 23, 2019

HERMANN GÖRING AND PSYCHO HILLBILLY PLAY THE DOZENS IN THE FAR SIDE BAR by David Spicer


Crunching cinnamon Cheerios
and wearing a Sonny Rollins
T-shirt, coffeepot dripping
as desperados in The Far Side Bar
outside West Memphis sipped
cups of black suicide, I watched
the whale-fat rent-a-cop wheeze
toward the counter, twirling
a nightstick, Hermann Göring’s evil
in his anthracite eyes. Singapore
sniped, Hey, Fatboy, ya know
how to use that truncheon, or do ya
suck on it when ya beat off?
Everybody laughed. Fuck you,
you stringy-haired skinny scumbag,
Göring said. Singapore, a hook at the end
of his right forearm, in a maroon silk
jacket adorned with black dragons
and gryphons, snarled, Did ya
know I was a Gotti henchman?
I’m scared, you psycho hillbilly dickwad.
Why don’t you swallow some cyanide?
Ya oughta be scared, Singapore said,
waving his hook an inch away from
Göring’s nose, ’cause I’m thinkin’
we’ll pull a train on your blubber ass
faster than a fish farts. We laughed.
Just then I started singing Ring
of Fire. Göring limped away, his
gleam gone. Why ya always lookin’
for trouble? I asked. It’s a crime
not to, Brucie, plus my chopper
needs a fresh story every night.






David Spicer has published poems in The Santa Clara Review, Synaeresis, Chiron Review, Remington Review, unbroken, Raw, Third Wednesday, Yellow Mama, The Midnite Lane Boutique, The Bookends Review, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Gargoyle, and elsewhere. Nominated for a Best of the Net three times and a Pushcart once, he is author of one full-length poetry collection, Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke's Press). His latest chapbook is From the Limbs of a Pear Tree, (Flutter Press). He lives in Memphis.

Rolling by John Drudge

There are always
Three sides
To every coin
Though most never consider
The edge an option
But a life worth anything
Is always found
On the razor’s edge
Of things
A wheel riding out of itself
One grand rolling rapture
Affirming the pain
Of it all
Where we learn
To recognize
The depths of our own
Tapestries
And love’s soft
Meeting eyes





John works as a clinical social worker and is the president of a national disability management company. He holds degrees in Social Work, Psychology, and Rehabilitation Services and has studied philosophy extensively.  He is an avid traveler and a long-term student of the martial arts holding a 3rd degree black-belt in Kempo Karate. His diverse educational and experiential background gives him a broad base from which to approach many topics in his poetry. John currently lives with his wife and two children in Caledon, Ontario, Canada. 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Darkness Within by Wayne Russell

While there are those in the world that can not
show empathy towards their fellow humans.

While there are homeless living underneath
overpasses and sleeping in alleyways.

While there are hungry children scavenging
the remains of skip bins and trash cans.

While there are the lonely seated in ripped
upholstered chairs underneath dim lit lamps
baring their souls, a bloodletting upon paper.

And

While the ozone layer depletes and the forest
line recedes and the people go madder than
hatters, when the weary will kill for the sake
of it.

There is a darkness rising within this maniacal
tapestry, complexities woven in dark hemisphere.

There is a darkness within our hollowed chest,
unsatisfied at our plights, always unhappy with
it all, we have conquered everything, we have
nothing left but the darkness within.






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. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

$15 By Alex Z. Salinas



I lost fifteen bucks yesterday. 

“Sir,” a bald homeless man had called out to me outside of Barnes & Noble. “Anything you can spare?”

A skeletal, dark-skinned blonde lurked behind him. His wife, I assumed. No, his prisoner. 

“Um,” I muttered. “Hold on.”

I hastily pulled a bill from my wallet and handed it to him. 

When I realized his sun-dried meathook had snatched Old Hickory’s pompous mug instead of Honest Abe's, my mind went, “Oh ****!”

“Holy cow, wow! God bless you! God bless you, sir!”

The man flashed green, rotted teeth. One corner of Prisoner’s lips curled faintly, suggesting a trace of a miserable half-smile. Crow’s feet were absent around her muddy eyes. These people could’ve been thirty, sixty years old.

“Yeah, no, OK,” I relented, then entered the bookstore.

“Drinks on me!” I heard the homeless man shout through the glass doors.

I shook my head and thought, $15 swing. $15.

Later, when my head hit my foam pillow, it was as though God Himself had reached down and caressed my aching sinuses. I didn’t fall asleep so much as drift off someplace else. Dissolve. I was a baby, an angel, a satisfied putto reunited with nimbus clouds; melted butter on top of fresh, hot pancakes. 

Deep, delicious sleep. Sleep money couldn’t buy.

Only fifteen bucks.





Alex Z. Salinas lives in San Antonio, Texas. His poetry has appeared in the San Antonio Express-News, As It Ought To Be Magazine, The Dope Fiend Daily, Duane's PoeTree, and in the San Antonio Review, where he serves as poetry editor.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Chocolate, Wine, and Poetry by John C. Mannone


A perfect blend,
a craving for sweet sex
and strong heart
that won’t break
as lines.

A swirl of intoxication
with plenty of phenylamine
—chemical of love—
dissolving in wine,
in poetry. 

Words like caramels
dipped in pleasure,
succulence unknown
until sipped, each 
drenched in kisses.
Each caress
of verse, a tease.

Blackberry and cherry
fruit-forward,
vanilla in French oak,
supple leather, with tobacco
and pepper, lace the palate.
Drink now. Only sweet

aftertaste of you
remains.






John C. Mannone has work forthcoming in Adanna Literary Journal, Anacua Literary Arts Journal, and Number One, and in Artemis, Poetry South, Human/Kind Journal, Red Coyote, Blue Fifth Review, New England Journal of Medicine, Baltimore Review, and others. He won a Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Appalachian literature (2017) and served as the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). He’s a retired professor of physics living between Knoxville and Chattanooga, TN. http://jcmannone.wordpress.com

Monday, August 19, 2019

Marty by Kevin Ridgeway

I saw a
photograph
of my father
taken when
he was just
five years old.
without tattoos
on his arm.
a clean slate
like the one
my nephew
still enjoys
today. long
before he
cared about
what other
people think.
before he
disguised
his pain
behind a
wall of
heroin
and
firearms.
and a
lifetime
before
it was
my turn
to feel
the shame
outside of
a clean slate.






KEVIN RIDGEWAY lives and writes in Long Beach, CA. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, San Pedro River Review, The Cape Rock, Spillway, Up the River, Suisun Valley Review, KYSO Flash, Home Planet News, Cultural Weekly, Big Hammer, Misfit Magazineand So it Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. He is the author of six chapbooks of poetry. His latest book, A Ludicrous Split, He also has a collaboration with fellow poet Gabriel Ricard,  available from Alien Buddha Press.

He also has a new book out with Spartan Press.
check it out and get yourself a copy today.




Sunday, August 18, 2019

Late Friday Afternoon Visit by D.C. Buschmann

Cradling her beer bottle
like she feared
it’d get gone,

she greeted me with a smirky smile.
The eyes,
I don’t want to remember.

Her late-70s legs, shapely as a cheerleader’s,
sidled up to her bottom
on her smart new recliner.

Compensating for wine-budget priorities,
her ceiling fan sliced the heat
like a desperate machete.

Veteran bug-eyed shih tzu, staring
from across the room,
knew best.                 

Held captive, I listened
to her spirits-infused verbosity—
a scene with more violins

than a D-rated soap opera
that I quickly pushed
buttons past at home.

Even today, five years later, my scorched
ears reel, tail feathers smolder.
She complains that I never visit.





D.C. Buschmann is retired. Her poem, “Death Comes for a Friend,” was the Editor’s Choice in Poetry Quarterly, Winter 2018. She has been a finalist in several essay and poetry contests, but has never won anything. Her work appears in anthologies in the US, the UK, Australia, Iraq, and India and has been in or will appear in Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library’s So it Goes Literary Journal, Flying Island, Poppy Road Review, San Pedro River Review, The Great American Wise Ass by Lamar University Press, Rat’s Ass Review, Nerve Cowboy, and elsewhere. Her first chapbook is being pondered.


Saturday, August 17, 2019

NOBODY REMEMBERS THE GODDAMN PRETENDERS. by K.W. Peery





Hank
called me
from his
grave
tonight
to say
it's not
fuckin'
worth
it

To just
throw
in the
towel
already
n' find
somethin'
more
meaningful
to do
with what
little time
I have
left

Then
we both
laughed
our flat
asses off
because
real writers
don't have
that kind
of freedom

He said
he was
addicted
to everything
the wannabes
suggested
he shouldn't
do

Hustlin' hard

But only
when he
wanted to

Because
at some point
we all
end up
worm
food

And nobody
remembers
the goddamn
pretenders
anyway





Americana songwriter and Kansas-City-based storyteller K.W. Peery is the author of eight poetry collections: 
Tales of a Receding Hairline; Purgatory; Wicked Rhythm; Ozark Howler; Gallatin Gallows; Howler Holler; 
Bootlegger’s Bluff; Cockpit Chronicles. Hillbilly Hand Grenades ; Hellraiser's Hieroglyphics

He is founder and co-editor of The Angel's Share Literary Magazine (Shine Runner Press).

His work is included in the Vincent Van Gogh Anthology Resurrection of a Sunflower, 
The Cosmic Lost and Found: An Anthology of Missouri Poets (Spartan Press), Best of Mad Swirl Anthology 2018 
and the Walsall Poetry Society Anthology, Diverse Verse II & III.

Peery’s work has been published in The Main Street Rag, Chiron Review, San Pedro River Review, The Gasconade Review, 
Big Hammer, Blink Ink, Rusty Truck, Mad Swirl, Veterans Voices Magazine, Outlaw Poetry, Mojave River Review, The Asylum Floor, 
Horror Sleaze Trash, Ramingo's Porch, From Whispers to Roars, Culture Cult Magazine, The Rye Whiskey Review, Drinkers Only Magazine, 
Under The Bleachers, The Dope Fiend Daily, Punk Noir,  Mutata Re, Ariel Chart, The Beatnik Cowboy and Apache Poetry.

Credited as a lyricist and producer, Peery's work appears on more than twenty studio albums over the past decade.


Website: www.kwpeery.com

Friday, August 16, 2019

cicada in a wine glass by Jonathan K. Rice


cool night
on the patio

server brings
our wine

and two glasses

there is a shadow
in one of them

I take the glass

it’s a cicada
dead dehydrated

I think of its
years underground

emergence
flight and music

I toss it toward the dark

we pour wine
toast its

lingering song






Jonathan K. Rice edited Iodine Poetry Journal for seventeen years. He is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Killing Time (2015), Ukulele and Other Poems (2006) and a chapbook, Shooting Pool with a Cellist (2003), all published by Main Street Rag Publishing. He is also a visual artist. His work has appeared most recently in Foliate Oak, Grey Sparrow, Mad Swirl, The Main Street Rag, Minute Magazine, South Florida Poetry Journal and forthcoming in Abbey, Amethyst Review, As It Ought To Be, First Literary Review-East, San Pedro River Review and Trailer Park Quarterly He is the recipient of the 2012 Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award for outstanding service in support of local and regional writers, awarded by Central Piedmont Community College. He lives in Charlotte, NC.





Thursday, August 15, 2019

Bar Talk by George Perreault

Back in the day could walk up
before any game get a ticket for the
Sox, sit anywhere, they’re happy just
sell you some peanuts, a beer or two,
Celtics, same deal and they were
the champs then, Russell and them,
so I’m meeting this guy beforehand
joint downstairs at the old Garden

the Iron Horse where trains come in
real dark place so I go way to the back
thinking to see him stumble a bit
but he just walks up, sits down and I ask
how, he says your kinda guy always be
sitting far end of the bar, so we start
placing our friends like McCann for sure
he’s in the middle stirring up some shit

then tales of things gone awry, learning
to watch, get the landscape like once
this Mary Jane in our class she had
a younger brother with a fancy name
and then years after school I thought
probably was him in a bar and would
have said hi but did you risk it maybe
slide up on a stranger and say hey

is your name Valentine considering
some of the places you’ve had a drink
how folks might wind up bleeding,
maybe walk in and everyone turns
elbows on the bar looking your way
and you recognize some prize fighters
some worse and just have to wonder
how thirsty is it today?





George Perreault has worked as a visiting writer in Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington.   His most recent book, Bodark County, is a collection of poems in the voices of various characters living on the Llano Estacado in West Texas.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The City Astronomer by James Steck


Elements are measured through light waves;
the spectrum of planets
exists in the colors we can’t see
reaching out to hold your lovers
wandering so casually through the night

through city streets
down 15th reflected
in the windows fogged by the morning.

Nothing sees them,
not the cherry blossoms, nor the monuments’
pale faces
not the damp grey joggers;
I look through the telescope
to see across the fabric of skyscrapers
wave after wave—
empty mouths.





James Steck grew up in upstate New York, and now lives in Washington, DC. He teaches high school English and coaches track and field in Fairfax, Virginia. He often draws in relation to his poetry. His writing is influenced by romanticism and realism while focusing on contradictions, the body, and everyday life. You can find his work in The Ugly Writers, The Woove, and The Silhouette Literary and Arts Magazine.



Tuesday, August 13, 2019

finally ready. By David Boski


the beer flows freely
the memory fades quickly
the depression disappears—
momentarily at least.
as the hangover waits patiently
building its strength.
the whiskey makes an appearance
the regrets build up 
the opinions are spoken
the arguments and debates follow
the cigarettes breathe 
like a bottle of uncorked wine
and the sleep hits you 
harder than a prize fighter can.
while the dreams take a night off
before you wake up confused—
the hangover finally ready.



David Boski lives in Toronto. His poems have appeared in: The Rye Whiskey Review, The Dope Fiend Daily, Horror Sleaze Trash, Under The Bleachers, Down in the Dirt, Beatnik Cowboy, Winamop, Ramingo’s Porch, Cactifur, North Of Oxford and elsewhere. His chapbook “Fist Fighting and Fornication” is out now and available through Holy&intoxicated Publications. 


Monday, August 12, 2019

whiskey & trembling. By Rob Plath



she was gone for good 
& i’d sleep until evening 
& wake only to get whiskey
as i drove one evening 
shaky at the wheel
i noticed a spider’s web 
on the passenger side mirror 
a large spider against the window 
it clung there as i drove 
the mesh trembling in the wind 
then i’d stop & get out 
purchase the whiskey 
& hit the streets again 
as my new friend held on
sometimes i’d sit 
parked along the curbside 
& smoke & talk to my friend 
how you doing, bud? 
how’s the fly game? 
the silk wheel glistening
in the streetlamp 
the stoic spider waiting 
this continued for a while 
the bottles  
the cigarettes 
the one-sided talks w/ my pal 
until one night i pulled in 
& noticed most of the web 
had been torn away 
& the spider along w/ it 
& i sat in my little cloud of smoke 
& instead of heading back inside 
i drove to the bar 
occasionally glancing over 
while idling at a light 
at the two loose threads






rob plath is a writer from new york.  he is most known for
his monster collection  A BELLYFUL OF ANARCHY (epic rites press 2009) .  
his newest collection is MY SOUL IS A BROKEN DOWN VALISE (epic rites press 2019). 


you can see more of his work at robplath.com

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Editor’s Notes by Scott Simmons

Here’s what I would rather do than read your work:
Absolutely anything.

Do me a favor and don’t ever write again.




Scott Simmons is a humorist/poet from Houston Texas and is also the editor of The Dope Fiend Daily. His works can be found at Ariel Chart, Under The Bleachers, The Anti Heroin Chic, Horror Sleaze Trash, Duanes Poetree, Medusas Kitchen, and Drinkers Only. His "artwork" can also be found on instagram at deranged_texan


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Romantic Agony by Mike Zone

Maybe we could be the brightest light
together, reigniting even the darkest of stars
I’m like one of those crazy Italian medieval poets
in romantic agony
pondering the existential ideal
never have I been so perplexed
and drawn to a woman like you before
perhaps, I should just cut myself open
offer my heart up
for consumption





Mike Zone is the author of A Farewell to Big Ideas, Void Beneath the Skin, Better than the Movie: 4 Screenplays and Fellow Passengers: Public Transit Poetry, Meditations and Musings. A contributing poet to Mad Swirl and contributing writer to the graphic novel series American Anti-hero by Alien Buddha Press. His poetry and stories have appeared in: Horror Sleaze Trash, The Daily Dope Fiend, Outlaw Poetry, The Rye Whiskey Review, Synchronized Chaos and Triadæ Magazine.

Chaser by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

I am back on that lazy orange shag again. 19 years old and playing poker for shots. The loser having to drink. In that basement apa...