Saturday, November 30, 2019

Of Late I’ve Been Thinking About Retirement – by KB Ballentine

Waking late (or early), as I wish
Eating breakfast with a book,
enjoying lunch with my favorite show
Morning appointments before doctors cancel for the day
Grocery shopping before the work crowd gets off, 
making it home without hitting rush hour traffic
Crafting, writing, swimming, dancing any hour I want as long as I want
Not planning my evening around what time I have to get up
As many amber bottles left on the counter as I can remember
Going to the bathroom on my own damn schedule

KB Ballentine’s sixth collection, The Light Tears Loose,
appeared this summer with Blue Light Press. Published in Crab Orchard
Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others, her work also
appears in anthologies including In Plein Air (2017) and Carrying the
Branch: Poets in Search of Peace (2017). Learn more at

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Flies. By Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

I see you half asleep.
The flies are hovering
over your untouched
drink, and if they take
a dip they will join you
in your intoxicated dream.

I see you had enough.
You did not drink it all.
The flies are thirsty for
what you left for them.
There is no food, not one
crumb in your liquid diet.

The music is blaring,
some heavy metal and
fast paced drumming.
The flies are dizzy, some
got in an out, those that
took the plunge have died.

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.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

High Definition by John C. Mannone

I sink into my leather chair,
half drift off on soft cushions,
flip on the remote and pop
the aluminum tab off a Bud.

First, The Weather Channel:
the Gulf, with its typical August
hurricane churning Cuban waters
from green to battered gray.

Same old-same old.

I switch to Channel 42, Ah!
All that jazz and drum snares,
syncopated trumpets—music
washing over me, I float

in that sea of leather.
I take another sip of beer,
suspend in high definition—
in that silk of sound

before another damned crash
of infomercials on my ears.

I click over to ESPN:
Saints against Tampa Bay
Buccaneers. It’s raining
and the score is tied at halftime.

The Clydesdales’ white-capped
hooves beat mud and the screen
blinks & rasters turning them
into red brown blurs on chartreuse,

So I switch to CNN, to another
part of the world in wake

of that hurricane—African coast.
I hear pleas for aid. Emaciated
children drowning
with hunger.

They are gasping to breathe

the last air of hope. I crush
the empty beer can. Stuff the last
of that Po Boy into my mouth
and turn-off the plasma TV.

I stare at the blank screen

after the electric discharge
crinkles air as if some static
hum dissolves like beer froth
collapsing on glass, sliding down

the wall of an empty mug.

John C. Mannone has work 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.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

is that all you’ve got? By David Boski

the world
more flagitious
than I remember
it once being
but that could be
because I’m paying
more attention now
or because life
has hit me 
with haymaker after haymaker 
and even though I have been
knocked down over 
and over
and over
I keep getting up
in the name of spite
a bloody smile
tears running down my face
as I cackle
and say, 
fuck you!
is that all you’ve got?
even though I know
the answer

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, November 25, 2019

they can’t all be Picassos. by. J. Lester Allen

you just have to tell it
like it is,
drink it down

stare your enemy
in the eye,
kiss a girl half your age
on the mouth,
ring the bell
once for every fool
in the room

then get the hell 
out of 

J. Lester Allen is an American writer and poet. Originally hailing from the Central Pennsylvania region, he currently calls the waterfall rich holler of Ludlowville, NY home. He published his first collection of poems, The Days Carnivore, in 2008 and has since published 3 other collections of poetry and short fiction, most notably This Is a Land of Wolves Now (Kung Fu Treachery 2019).

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Word Immortal by T. J. Herrin

I write about you,
us, watching TV, eating dinner You
steal French fries, a twinkle in your eye, watching
old reruns of moments past.
Running your rough hand through
a crackling beard,
telling the same jokes over
and over. Jokes only a daughter still finds funny.

 I write about you,
standing in a garden, making plans
and puddles, watering braided hibiscus
 until dusk settles in, and you come inside
sit by my side, radiating heat. Please,
tell me, again, I’m lovely like the cardinals are
vibrant. Tonight, the moonflowers glow.

I write about you,
while the moon grins at us. Counting stars
we raise our glasses,
ponder death and living. Our faces
feeling, the same night air.

If I write about you,
you live forever,
between my words and phrases
and never really die.

I am a writer living in San Antonio Texas. I am earning my BA in English with a concentration in creative writing from The University of Texas at San Antonio. ( will be graduating in December). I write poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. I love whiskey, dogs, and long peaceful walks. In between, I look over my many children and try to pass on the love of words. 
T. J. Herrin

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Where We Left Off. By Cord Moreski

Before I even touched the bar counter,    
I ran into an old buddy of mine   
and immediately picked up    
where we left off almost a decade ago.    
I ordered a pitcher as we reminisced   
about traditional tattoos and the road trips   
to punk rock shows, and about keggers   
we kicked the hell out of every weekend    
and the 3 a.m. diner meals of black coffee    
and carbs topped with grease and syrup.    
We laughed into our glasses until they fogged  
then drank the beer from getting warm.   
And when it was finally time to go.    
Back to the spouses and the nine-to-fives,    
back to the array of bills and the uncertainty    
that waited for us outside the tavern doors.    
We left the conversation in mid-sentence,    
so we could pick up the rest of it again   
the next time we got the lucky chance   
of bumping back into each other. 

Cord Moreski is a poet from New Jersey. His work has been previously featured in As It Ought To Be Magazine, The Silver Birch Press, The Pangolin Review, Philosophical Idiot, The Rye Whiskey Review, The Rusty Truck Press, and several other publications. He is the author of the chapbooks Shaking Hands with Time (Indigent Press, 2018) and Stay Afloat Inside (Indigent Press, 2016). He is currently working on a new project for 2020. You can follow Cord here:

Friday, November 22, 2019

A Date Along the River Bank. By Don Robishaw

A wooded path appears and then diverges into two.
One goes round and round to the high-ground, 
but we’re drawn to the other, 
down and around to the low-ground.

We stop and fold back the brown paper sack,
that surrounds The American Classic.

“What’s the word?” 
“What’s the price?”
“Thirty twice.” 
“How’s it Sold?”
“Good and cold.”

We laugh, smile, and dine on shelter box lunches, 
make love on the cold-hard-ground, 
and share stories ‘bout the old muddy river. 

“You mean bottomless, hun.” 
“No love, there is a bottom, and it looks a lot like you and me.” 
We dress. I hand my companion a $awbuck
We kiss, and go our separate ways.

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, 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. 

August 13th by Leah Mueller

On the morning of your
51st birthday, I dreamt
someone had planted
numerous piles of
cat shit around the floor
of your apartment.

They placed the shit
on mounds of sand, perched
on raised cement coasters
to create the effect of a

minefield of feces. I laughed:
thought it a clever trick,
and fitting. You materialized
out of nowhere, and
apologized for being away.

I thought you’d been avoiding me.
Relieved because you weren’t,
I forgave you for everything.
The cat shit disappeared.

A few hours later, I sent you
a happy birthday text.

Headed to the corner bar
after a month of sobriety,
you seemed anxious
for our conversation to end.

I suspect you’re getting
too old for this shit,
but since I’m 2000 miles away,

all I can do is hope you
don’t step in the middle of it.
On the other hand,
I kind of hope you do.

Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Tacoma, Washington. She has published books with numerous small presses. Her most recent volumes, "Misguided Behavior, Tales of Poor Life Choices" (Czykmate Press) and "Death and Heartbreak" (Weasel Press) were released in October, 2019. Leah’s work also appears in Blunderbuss, The Spectacle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and other publications. She won honorable mention in the 2012 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry contest. Her new chapbook, "Cocktails at Denny's" is looking for a home.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Dog Walkers of California by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

are all so full of shit
that they carry bags of it around,
nod and wish each other a good morning,
all collecting bags of shit
while the many dogs beside them
walk on proudly.

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, Under The Bleachers, The Dope Fiend Daily and In Between Hangovers.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Things you find on the floor. By Tony Pena

Fell off the barstool
with forty bucks worth
of bottom shelf blowing
in gut like balloon animals.
Invisible and irrelevant
when a platinum blonde
with serial numbered
silicone busting out
of a designer dress
stepped over me
with her stiletto heel
coming off in my mouth.
Not quite impaled I spit
out the leather spike
which the femme fatale
grabbed with a cocktail
napkin while pitching a fit
of fucks for stepping on shit.

Tony Pena was selected as 2017-2018 Poet Laureate for the city of Beacon, New York.  
A new volume of poetry and flash fiction, "Blood and Beats and Rock n Roll," is available now at Amazon.  He also has a self published chapbook, "Opening night in Gehenna."  His publication credits include “Chronogram,”  "Dogzplot,"   "Gutter Eloquence," “Hudson Valley Transmitter,” "Red Fez," "Slipstream,"  "Underground Voices," "Zygote in my Coffee,"  and others. 

Colorful compositions and caterwauling with a couple of chords can be seen at:

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Underneath the Bleachers. by Steve Passey

No one has to say that 
it won’t always be like this.
Southern Comfort in 7-Up Slurpee’s, and 
having sex underneath the bleachers, 
waiting to be caught.
your old man will come with a baseball bat 
or swinging a Bible, 
or both, 
and run me off, but right now
everyone up above us is out of their seats, 
jumping for the sky.
They are going to break the boards and 
Fall right through and find us. 
These are the best things in life:
gifts given and thanks made and 
that’s all the praise I have to give and 
it’s all praise for you. 
If I dream now, 
I dream of being on the roof and 
the roof is on fire and 
I come back to underneath the bleachers and 
see now there is the borealis in the sky and 
I can fly, and I think that
we can do anything because 
who fears anything?

Steve Passey is originally from Southern Alberta. He is the author of the short-story collections "Forty-Five Minutes of Unstoppable Rock" (Tortoise Books, 2017), "Cemetery Blackbirds" (Secret History Books, 2019), and many other things. He is a Pushcart and best of the Net Nominee and is part of the Editorial Collective at The Black Dog Review.

Monday, November 18, 2019

In the Backfield by John Greiner

In the backfield
he was the hero
of an obscene scene
that was always
a hit on Friday nights.
No one ever wanted
to say much about it
in this town
of sex fiends,
but that just made sense.
It was simply a matter
of running the right play.
This town was never
made for a national champion,
or the sensations
of a slick tongue
with its talk of the All-American
dream at its most pornographic
and enjoyable.
In the backfield
he knew how far off
the calendars would run
until the weekend's fanfare
dropped away.

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). 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Saturday Night Closing Time At The Hilltop Inn. By Robert Halleck

Finishing her last Manhattan
she reached the finger stirring stage
then speared the cherry as she sat
at the end of the bar. A painted face
masking a undefined age.
Let's just leave it at that.

Her eyes showed loves vaguely remembered
then tucked into an obviously heavy soul.
It was the last hour.
The barkeep mumbled last call
as the dice players made a final roll
before the Hilltop's mood turned sour.

The barkeep later attested
that the newcomer made a pass
for which the lady granted no license.
Her friends helped her depart unmolested
because on Sundays she knelt at mass
and they knew she needed night's silence. 

Robert Halleck's work has appeared in over 40 poetry journals, magazine, and annuals in the last few years. Recently his poems have appeared or will appear in the San Diego Poetry Annual, The Paterson Literary Review, The St. Ann's Review, Third Wednesday, Chiron, and The Mockingheart Review. He is a member of San Diego's Not Dead Yet Poets and is a regular attendee of the Kenyon Review's Summer Workshops.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

On Attempting to Write. By Alyssa Trivett

I hear a faint wisp over yonder,
quieter than a church mouse,
only for the wind to create a new
soundtrack of leaves hurricane rustling.
Sometimes, the words just
seem to hang around.
The post cortisone shot hands
keep on tip tapping,
so I count toothbrush bristle branches
outside my window
and envy flickering streetlights,
still fighting to stay on.
And scrawl a few lines about it
over Tom Waits and howling coffee.

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, but most recently at Ex Ex Lit, and Duane's PoeTree site.

Portugal, The Boy. By John Doyle

You ask me "how did your game go?"
as you continue to cheat, dropping cards, reshuffling;

When I arrived, the ground was empty 
for the second time that week,

first at the Estádio Algarve,
when you watched me from the city limits,

scratched your talons
on a spinning globe that drew blood from Atlas's spine

and made men of cloth
rip off their vows to God.

You continued to cheat at cards
as the Estádio Municipal de Lagos

became a grotesque lung that sucked
the camper vans from all around it,

and I drew my guns
for the second and last time

as the Ace of Spades caught fire
and the bullet hole in your heart

smoked like
Von Richthofen's wreckage.

There it ended -
like the word - Fin - draped across the coffin of a 1950s French film,

and I walked away from Portugal, the boy

and I wondered what it would be like to listen to Portugal, The Man

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

For The Mourner By Alec Solomita

For the mourner only one thing is: things like business, cooking, seeing birds stir the spring air, falling snow, even watching the home tea...