Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Drinking and Driving Florida Man Style. By Mickey J. Corrigan

He wasn't drinking while driving
or so he said, breath
bourbon heavy, eyes red
answers low and slurry.
He wasn't drinking while driving
when he hit the back of her car
over and over she said
waiting in line for coffee
at McDonald's.
He wasn't drinking and driving
when the cops asked him
to step out of the car
walk the line
the sobriety tests.
He wasn't drinking and driving
the open bottle of Jim Beam
in the brown paper bag
in the passenger seat
of the vehicle he was not
to drive.
No, he was only
drinking at stop signs
drinking at traffic lights
drinking in drive-thru lines
not drinking while driving.
He wasn't stupid
knew what to do
after two prior

Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan hides out in the lush ruins of South Florida. She writes pulp fiction, literary crime, and psychological thrillers. Stories have been called "gritty realism," "oh so compulsive" reads, and "bizarre but believable." Novellas and novels have been released by publishers in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Salt Publishing in the UK released Project XX, a satirical novel about a school shooting, in 2017. In 2019, Bloodhound Books UK published What I Did For Love, a spoof of the classic Lolita.

Wedding Train by John C. Mannone

The party arrived—a long train
of cars, as if coupled, followed
each other and filled the grass
plot adjacent to the barnhouse.

The bride and her entourage
gathered in the powder room
for final make-up and lipstick
while the very nervous groom,

tuxed, in a backroom, smoked
some stash to take the edge off,
but got a little stoned instead.
He shuffled through the archway

in the backyard garden to
make his vows, and giggled
like a schoolboy. His cravat
disheveled, shirt inching out

from his suspenders. His bride
was escorted by her brother
to a jazzed-up Pachelbel beat
still in D, just not adagio.

Meanwhile, a squirrel rooted
around the attic, bit the electric
wiring that fried it like a fritter
and smoke seeped out. Soon

flames roared like a runaway
freight train, people screamed
and ran. The shit-faced groom
tripped over his soon-to-be-wife’s

satin train, careened into the food
table. He went flying with potato salad,
pound cake and corn. Catapulted forks
and knives stabbed the bride’s arm.

Expletives flew too. After the loud
commotion was snuffed out,
the doctor in the house, a friend
of the groom, stitched her up

with catgut thread real good,
too good—he embroidered his
own initials with the sutures
(he had a head start on the whiskey).

She wasn’t too happy, ranted
like a witch, but who’d blame her?
But this was nothing new. She often
flourished on epithets groomed for him.

His friends had warned him to not
be railroaded into this marriage;
they’d say, Leave her! Run away
full throttle. But he liked her

caboose too much….The end
of this tale.

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. http://jcmannone.wordpress.com

Kiss by Sara Minges

I want my kiss
to linger on your lips
long after I have gone.

Your memory of me
laying sprawled
across your sheets.

Embedded in your skin.

Like a tattoo,
you can
never remove.

Sara Minges is a 2019 Pitch Best Poet of KC Nominee, Founder of Wonder Woman Rising, peer mentor, coach and motivational speaker living in Overland Park, KS.  She is the author of Naked Toes (Chameleon Press, 2019), and her work has also appeared in Prompts! An Anthology (39 West Press, 2016), Hessler Street Fair 50th Edition (Writing Knights Press, 2019) and Angel’s Share (Shine Runner Press, 2019).  She’s been a featured poet at Blue Monday (2015, Kansas City, MO); Swordfish Tom’s Speakeasy (Kansas City, MO); 3 Wishes (Merriam, KS); Poets & Pints (Minneapolis, MN); Mac’s Back Books, CLE Urban Winery, Visible Voices, and Glass City Roasters (Cleveland and Toledo, OH); In One Ear (Chicago, IL), The Porch (Nashville, TN) and Crescent Moon (Lincoln, NE).  

“Kiss” was previously published in Naked Toes (Chameleon Press, 2018).  

Monday, December 30, 2019

Where Mercy is Naught Strained by Marie C Lecrivain

You sip your whiskey like a condemned man five minutes before heading off to the gallows; inhale the fumes, let its peat bog taste linger on a tongue already cracked and dry from a steady intake of anti-depressants. 
I let my eyes slide sideways to catch a glimpse of your inner landscape, an endless expanse of smoking craters and gray skies where no hope shines - an astral Nagasaki. It shocks me to see the depths of despair to which you’ve sunk. 

The art of melancholy is one you’ve practiced for years, with a gentle touch of humorous depreciation, but this… this… is nothing like I’ve ever witnessed, the chthonic world you’ve slipped into - this is wrong. And it makes me angry - actually - makes me want to rage against your defeat. I know you deserve better, at least, I believe you do, until we talk, and the truth comes to the fore: the beat down, the constant aural stream of No. You can’t have… No. Learn to live with less... No. The world is a terrible place... No. You are naught… These criminal aphorisms you’ve allowed to silence you, like clubs wielded by bullies against your psyche, have forced you into this no-man’s land, and silenced your humanity. What is there to be done? Is it too late for you? 
What I do know: you may have found - a way out -  as you drain your shot glass of its last drop, lick your lips, and smile, a true sign of gratitude, a ray of hope that pierces the black clouds gathered on your brow. You leave with your head held high, and with a grim smile plastered to your face.

Marie C Lecrivain is a poet, publisher, and ordained priestess in the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, the ecclesiastical arm of Ordo Templi Orientis. Her work has been published in Nonbinary Review, Orbis, Pirene's Fountain, and many other journals. She's the author of several books of poetry and fiction, and recent editor of Gondal Heights: A Bronte Tribute Anthology (copyright 2019 Sybaritic Press, www.sybpress.com).

Sunday, December 29, 2019

In Public. By Alyssa Trivett

 In a Chatty Cathy in the world,
I retreat to headphone bliss
as words crisscross and battle
each other while I’m in the frozen aisle
forgetting to buy microwaveable bacon
or coffee ice cream.
My introverted sometimes extroverted self
retreats back to my tail
between my legs and
comic bubbles fly mostly when I’m
at the bar with him.
I went into detail last night
as I told my woes of how losing
my last grandparent on my mom’s side
and a part of me
sometimes feel like I’m still in
that condominium Wisconsin Dells pool,
walking with shallow legs and
I accidentally ran into the table after
I ate my PB&J.
Grief comes in at the oddest moments.
It sneaks up playing Heads Up 7 Up
and it will pick you even though you may
not want it to.
But we go on.
We grow on.
And the losses never seem to face me
at all, not now,
only once in a great blue moon,
face to face,
as a cashier you try to communicate with
but the cues just aren’t there so you
watch ‘em do the one handed trick
of throwing Cesar
dog pet foods in the bag and
bid them a good day.
And sincerely hope that they do
have that.
The morning is over and the day
begins to baseball bat swat
at whatever it brings.

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.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

one last thing by Scot Young

for rosanna

i know we kinda talked about it
but never really nailed it down
so put me in the field where
we watched the sun rise
& the lunar eclipse
where the goats and donkeys
run wild like kids and colts
put me in the field between
the two oaks so i can
hear the pond frogs at night
where i can see the eagles
in the tree tops and watch the heron
swoop in fishing for dinner
where pearl and thelma would sit
with us under the shade
where the deer would come in
at dusk and eat till dawn

put me in the field so I may
be the first to feel the morning breeze
and hear the song of chuck-wills-widow
and the first whippoorwill of spring

you hear that?
have them bring in a boulder
from our land
to mark the spot
between the two oaks
where i carved your name
deep inside
my heart

Scot Young lives with the woman of his dreams and herds goats on a ridge top  farm in the Missouri Ozarks and nothing else is as important.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Frozen Face by Linda Imbler

To me:
Have you ever considered Botox?

Let me put it this way.
When I was a kid,
my mother used to tell me,
“your face is going to freeze like that!”
Back then,
I figured this was just
sloppy thinking on her part.

But, nowadays,
I realize there is a way
to prove that she knew
what she was talking about.

So, needle me all you want
about my opinion.
On second thought,
I’ll pass on the needles.

Linda Imbler's second ebook "Pairings," is a collection of wonderful short fiction stories loosely coupled with excellent poetry selections which help intensify the reading experience. The topics address myriad subjects and styles ranging from selective mutism to speculative short fiction to revealing new historical facts. These are vital writings rooted in the values of a valiant civilization.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Testing Sanity by Hugh Blanton

There's nothing more pleasurable than solitary drinking.
Preferably on a cold night - the heater on rain splashing
on the concrete outside.

But once a month or so I hit the bars.
I can't really figure out why.
I almost always regret it the next day
as I wake up and the memories of the
previous night's events start bubbling up
out of my hungover brain. It's an overwhelming
assault of both vision and sound.

The repetitive nonsense I yammer endlessly.

The angry glare from the woman at the end of the bar
who overheard my whispered gossip about her.

The sexual encounter in the restroom.
The bouncer unlocking the door and walking in.

Even things that happened over a decade ago
still rip at me to this day.

Why do I keep going back?

Releasing myself from solitude is necessary
to check my sanity. As of yet - I've never evaluated myself
sane enough to become one of the crowd -
so I retreat again. And I never improve.

Crazier than a shit house rat.

Hugh Blanton is a truck loader who combs poems out of his hair during those times he can steal away from his employer's loading dock. He has appeared in Bottom Shelf Whiskey, The Dope Fiend Daily, Terror House Magazine and other places.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Steel City Christmas. By Greg Clary

Having a fish sandwich
and Iron City at
Pittsburgh’s oldest bar, the
Original Oyster House.

149 years on the same corner.
No frills, one page menu,
recipes 100 years old.
Cash only.

My wife asks: “Do you
have any Hendicks gin?”
“Nope—Gordons and Gilbey’s.
Tanqueray sometimes.”

It’s the Tuesday night before Christmas.
Outside the door, Pittsburgh’s
seasonal Holiday Village
had taken over Market Square.

Kiosks selling distinctive ethnic
Christmas ornaments fill the area.
Ukranian tree balls, Irish trinity knots,
Bavarian Santa’s, Kenyan soapstone stars.

Behind the bar hangs a huge, faded 
poster of Rocky Marciano, 
with all 49 fights listed
below his Christmas wreathed picture.

Undefeated and still
Heavyweight Champion of the world.
Festooned with colored lights, his right arm back,
ready to knock your ass out.

Stepping back to the restroom,
I hear the bartender say to the cook:
“Hey Jigsy, you fucked up.”
“I fucked up the day I started working here.”

I paused, caught his eye and said
“Merry Christmas, Jigsy.”
He sighed, smirked, and said,
“Merry Christmas, my man.”

Greg Clary is Professor Emeritus of Rehab and Human Services at Clarion University, Clarion Pa.
His poems have appeared in The Rye Whiskey Review, The Watershed Journal, and North/South Appalachia: Poems Vol 1.
His photographs have been published in The Sun Magazine, Looking at Appalachia, Tiny Seed Journal, and The Watershed Journal.

He resides in Sligo, Pennsylvania and is a Son of Turkey Creek, West Virginia.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

A Couple of Shots. By Puma Perl

A couple of shots later
We wind up onstage singing a Stones song
A couple more and we’re leaning against the wall
I ask how are you and we talk of blood moons,
full eclipses, and loss, why lately it always comes
back to loss, buildings falling, streets caving,
dying alone while we bang our heads uselessly,
pockets too small to carry everybody’s keys.

It only takes a shot to remember and five or six
to forget, we stop at four, a number good enough
but not great, and we are all on stage like Judy
or Lenny or Billie, trying on the truth if only for
a minute, a couple of shots later and we are backed
against the wall again, singing a Ramones song while
the full moon thinks about waning but decides to
hang around, just for another couple of shots.

                   Photo by Ellen Berman

Puma Perl is a poet and writer, with five solo collections in print. The most recent is Birthdays Before and After (Beyond Baroque Books, 2019.) She is the producer/creator of Puma’s  Pandemonium, which brings spoken word together with rock and roll, and she performs regularly with her band Puma Perl and Friends. She’s received three New York Press Association awards in recognition of her journalism, and is the recipient of the 2016 Acker Award in the category of writing.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Honest Drunk at a Poetry Reading in a Bar by Jonathan K. Rice

No telling how long
he’d been there
before the poet showed up.

There’s a Pabst
and a shot of whiskey
in front of him.

His sleeves wet
from leaning into circles
of sweat from the beer bottle.

The poet situates the mike
as the hostess adjusts the lights
and stacks his books on a table.

Testing one one one.
Can you hear me in the back?

The drunk looks at his buddy,
the poet, the bartender.
What the fuck?

The hostess introduces the poet,
who gauges the crowd
before he begins.

He reads poems about drinking,
gambling, topless bars, women,
blue collar stuff.

He keeps it short, maybe fifteen
minutes. Figures the clientele
won’t stomach much poetry.

But the drunk shouts
read some more!
So the poet reads a few more poems

Okay that’s enough!
the honest drunk exclaims.
The poet capitulates and thanks the crowd.

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 Amethyst Review, As It Ought To Be, First Literary Review-East, The Main Street Rag, Minute Magazine, Rye Whiskey Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, Trailer Park Quarterly and forthcoming in Abbey and San Pedro River Review. 

Sunday, December 22, 2019


Waiting for Flight U A 5840 from Chicago,
I remembered when I was 17 and this land was a soy bean field
surrounded by brush piles and Multiflora rose.

Out the East window of the Berkshire house
I watched coyotes worry a brush pile.
The pressure on the rabbit to run, mounted.

I wondered if uncertainty and fear 
would cause the rabbit 
to abandon caution and make a run for it.
Run?  But to where?
Just another clump of Multiflora rose or brush pile?
So another cycle of intimidation and fear could begin?

The largest coyote jumped on top of the brush pile
and began digging and yelping.
Could the coyote reach the rabbit by scratching at the limbs?

Who knows?  Terror is a great motivator.  
To much for the rabbit.  
It raced out of the brush pile and had a 30 yard 
head start before the coyotes knew it was gone.
The race was on.
200 yards to the bank of the creek.

The coyotes were gaining.
Out of nowhere a shadow over head, talons reached forward , 
the rabbit screamed and was airborne.
The coyotes stopped running, milled around looking puzzled,
as they watched their almost meal disappear into the wild blue yonder.

The rabbit was erased by something it did not see coming.

There are no more soy beans, 
no more brush piles, no more multiflora rose
no more rabbits.

Only concrete, chain-link fences,
stone and metal buildings, cars,
 a loud speaker no one can understand
the squawk of rubber hitting runway, 
the whir of automatic sliding doors.

The only animal life are little dogs
wearing colorful clothing, tugging
at leashes held by old women.

All the humans wear faces pinched with anxiety
and uncertainty.  Wondering if today
is the day they will be erased
by something they can not see coming.

John Clayton lives in rural Maries County, Missouri with his wife, Dawn, on 56 acres where, with the exception of invasive spices and the garden, nature is left to her own devices. John has been published in Gasconade Review and online in Wine Drunk Sidewalk: Ship Wrecked in Trumpland.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

among the smoking avenues of torn petals by rob plath

there’s a built-in pistol behind my temples
unloading on my peace until it’s swiss cheese
there’s a built-in pistol behind my temples
blasting my prayers like sitting ducks
there’s a built-in pistol behind my temples
whipping my angels into a terrible heap
but i keep placing flowers in its barrel
between the gunfire & sometimes at night
when the smoke clears the quiet muzzle
is occupied by the blue face of a violet

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

You Can Run By Alec Solomita

The blues quotes Joe Louis as I take a hit of weed. The blues says to me, “You can run but you can’t hide.” Been running pretty well until t...