Monday, August 31, 2020

Thousand-Yard-Stare by Jason Ryberg

It was a hole-in-the-wall kind of place 
that stank of Pinesol, piss and stale beer,
and still had dispensers in the men’s room 
for glow in the dark condoms and French ticklers 
and other surprise novelty items,

and the big monkey behind the bar was named 
Earl or Jake or Curly and he kept a sawed-off 
table leg within reach at all times and gave you 
that thousand-yard-stare if you dared ask 
for anything with more than one ingredient,

and the jukebox hadn’t been changed-out 
in decades and the lunch special was always 
the same: pickled eggs, pork rinds and hot sauce, 
though I got the feeling that nobody 
ever ate it unless they lost a bet.






Jason Ryberg is the author of thirteen books of poetry,
six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders,
notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be 
(loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry 
letters to various magazine and newspaper editors. 
He is currently an artist-in-residence at both 
The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s 
and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor 
and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collection 
of poems is Standing at the Intersection of Critical Mass
and Event Horizon (Luchador Press, 2019). 
He lives part-time in Salina, KS with a rooster named 
Little Red and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time 
somewhere in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River, 
where there are also many strange and wonderful 
woodland critters. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Loose as a Goose by Mark Tulin

My uncle liked dumpy bars 
and women with big boobs
He drank cheap whiskey
with a Coke chaser
and never knew
a sober afternoon

He was as loose as a goose
on a Saturday night
He cracked open, warm peanuts 
and spit the shells on the floor
He ogled all the barflies 
and told dirty jokes 
to the barmaid with missing teeth

He could barely stand up
after six or seven shots
Most nights he said things 
to the wrong people, 
and smiled at women
who were full of deceit 

My uncle lost his hat 
during a bar fight
The bouncer tossed him
through a pane of glass
The fall shattered his pride,
but did nothing to stop
him from going back in
.
Bad luck seemed to linger 
on his musty breath
A wave of impulse always
preceded trouble.





Mark Tulin is a retired therapist from Philadelphia who now lives in California. He has two poetry books, Magical Yogis and Awkward Grace. His upcoming book, The Asthmatic Kid and Other Stories available to pre-order. Mark has been featured in Amethyst Review, Strands Publishers, Fiction on the Web, Terror House Magazine, Trembling with Fear, Life In The Time, Still Point Journal, The Writing Disorder, New Readers Magazine, among others.  Mark’s website, Crow On The Wire.


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Time of Year by Susan Tepper


Clean your teeth
wait for stockings to dry
on the radiator
That time of year—
Shadows all pushy 
shutting out what little light
Last night we played the radio
you refused to dance
a steel grate across your eyes
almost changed color.
Bring back the sea, I said.




Susan Tepper is the author of nine published books of fiction and poetry.  Her most recent titles are CONFESS (poetry published by Cervena Barva Press, 2020) and the road novel WHAT DRIVES MEN (Wilderness House Press, 2019).  Tepper has received many honors and awards.  She’s a native  ) New Yorker.  www.susantepper.com

Friday, August 28, 2020

The Stain by Jonathan Butcher

Those gargoyle extremities, that crawl 
not from bricks, but from the very streets
we assumed we had reclaimed. A falsehood
of triumph, that has now taken us fifteen steps
backwards, towards this wall.

Through roads and alleyways they storm,
but without thunder, words muttered through
shots, and that never seems to match a face. 
Their blended attire fades into one misplaced
flag that only ever reaches half mast.  

Slowly, one by one they finally disperse,
the place once occupied now freed from
the soiled shadows they cast, their voices
finally blunted, we can now feel space 
at arms length, without the risk of breaking 
fingers.






Jonathan Butcher was born and lives in Sheffield, England.
He has has had work appear in various print and online
publications, including Mad Swirl, Drunk Monkeys, The Morning Star, The Transnational, The Beatnik Cowboy, The Rye Whiskey Review and others. His Third chapbook 'Corroded Gardens' was published in 2019 by Fixator Press.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Maybe, Today, I Will Sit Down with Them by Steven Croft

I see the men every day on my way to work,
on the benches in the park by City Hall.  I see them,
nicknamed them: the dharma bums, but have the same
blind spot for them when walking by as the bankers
and businessmen.  Maybe today I will sit down, say
"nice day," fish out their stories -- where to bed down
when the light cones of lamps appear in windows
of warm houses, how to find laughter in bottles
on a no shoestrings budget, stay out of the insides
of jails.  Maybe today I will sit down with them
since every day I still wonder at their stories, but,
I will probably wait until my failures stack up
like in a Direct TV commercial, I start my last diary
like a doomed Southern Ocean explorer, ghost
before death in tattered coat, until the daily pursuit
of boozy bliss is the best thing in the world next to
the frontier value of a fire at night.  Until then, I guess,
I will walk by and hope

for a saint to bend down and kiss them, for the Pope
to come by and wash all their feet.







Steven Croft is an Army veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and liveson a barrier island off the coast of Georgia on a property lush with vegetation. His work has appeared in online and print journals, most recently in Ariel Chart, The New Verse News, and Quaci Press Magazine.



Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Ode to Chavez Ravine During Covid 19 by Chuka Susan Chesney

The haze is rhubarb gray
in my cocktail of L.A.
A short jaunt from the curve of Stadium Way
It’s the time when the Dodgers 
ask for my cardboard face
cut-out to witness
the ghost town team
At night the air is heavy
like a bubble of marine
The layer floats and traps
itself inside the ravine
But this Sunday afternoon
ideal conditions for the sip
warm weather
usually hot and dry
Today is humid with a modicum of breeze
Kiké I say as he steps up to the plate
He hits a 3 run homer
a 3 run shot
5-2 Dodgers
Artificial applause






Chuka Susan Chesney is an artist and a poet. Her poems, art, and/or flash fiction have been published in Peacock Journal, Inklette, New England Review, Compose, Picaroon, and Lummox. Chesney’s paintings and collages have been in exhibitions and galleries across the United States.




Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Value Of A College Education by Scott Simmons

Hey wanna know a tip for the next time you use that english degree?
A.K.A when you're unclogging that toilet at Burger King, first think of a poet.

Then imagine he’s trying to hand you a poetry book through the bowl.
You’d be shocked how hard you're going to try plunging that shit straight back down.

Trust me it’s worked for me every single time,
But I’m glad that I didn’t actually have to read any of your work.

Now do something useful and make my sandwich.






Scott Simmons is the editor in chief of  The Dope Fiend Daily and his poetry has appeared at the Anti-herion chic, Medusa's kitchen, Duane's Poetry, Horror Sleaze Trash, Under The Bleachers, The Black Shamrock Magazine, and The Abyss.




Monday, August 24, 2020

let’s be honest, it’s better that way by Scott Ferry

no one can play as well
as Rouse and Monk play
i can attempt to explain
after three whiskeys

how when i choose the Holy
Quartet as background prayer 
Rouse’s sax twists the vowels
up the lemon cake 

the piano jitters the blur and i stop reading 
but whole paragraphs sparkle from the drywall 
my hands now trace the ignition
backbone slips out of the boil

and Monk gets up walks up to Gales 
stammering step as the fingers thread 
the loop and the sigh
threading loops and looping stops  

and Monk sits again thundering his thimbles
soft inside the spheres each note destroying
but leaping and Riley clicking the soap from the lids
cleaning up the sauce from the river

and me still not reading but math-stumping 
the answers to the equations the current spinning
from the tip of Monk’s hat
and only the drunk can sleep

as Prospero
builds palaces with keys
and pours out skinless 
gods





Scott Ferry helps our Veterans heal as a RN. He has recent work in Misfit, MacQueen's Quinterly, and Spillway. His second chapbook Mr. Rogers Kills Fruit Flies will come out in October 2020 from Main St. Rag. You can find more of his work at Ferrypoetry.com.


Sunday, August 23, 2020

cooling tower by Jason Baldinger

drinking chili
out of a foam cup
at 80 miles an hour
past the methane cracker
glass river reflects
a small city scaffolded

the serial killer
in striking distance
lived in a cabin
on a road that
bobs next to the ohio

I can't see bruce willis
driving these roads trying
to remember why he stayed
while his right hand fiddles
with a radio that never works

stacks of the nuclear power plant
overthrow the sky
rusted hills bleed orange
factories decay, metal bones

through the smoke at luann's,
backhoe rental roof next door
half collapsed. I don't say anything
her husband doesn't either

i put a $10 on the bar
a shot of ezra brooks
an iron city draft
and a vicodin
delivered

we named the combo
cooling tower
special of the house
if you ain't from around
here then don't ask








Jason Baldinger is a poet from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

 A former Writer in Residence at Osage Arts Community, he is co-founder of The Bridge Series.

 He has multiple books available including and Everyone’s Alone Tonight with James Benger (Kung Fu Treachery Press) 

the chapbook Blind Into Leaving (Analog Submission Press) as well as the forthcoming Afterlife is a Hangover (Stubborn Mule Press). His work has been published widely in print journals and online. You can listen to him read his work on Bandcamp and on lps by the bands Theremonster and The Gotobeds.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Uncharted by Jake St. John

We kiss 
below 
a sea of pearls 

two bodies
swimming 
in constellations 

bouyed by the moon
our hearts beat 
like the tide

waves 
crashing
between breath

a mist of fireflies
explodes in slivers
of dull light

eyes closed
we cast off
firm shores

sailing into 
a midnight sea
of diamonds




Jake St. John spends nights in a fort on the edge of the woods.  He is the author of several collections of poetry including Snow Moon (Holy & Intoxicated Publications, 2019), Lost City Highway (A Jabber Publication, 2019) and Working Man’s Odyssey (Analog Submission Press, 2018). His poems have appeared in print and online journals around the world.



Friday, August 21, 2020

Withholding by Ivan Jenson

I want you to
have this token
of my affliction
so that you will
know how I feel
when you are
emotionally distant
and physically unavailable
during the bewitching hours
when it seems impossible
morning light will ever come
and that is when I question
the validity of you and me
and then when you emerge
from wherever deep inside
you have been
I rise from my cold
cotton tomb
and we resume
our unoriginal sin







Ivan Jenson is a fine artist, novelist and contemporary poet. His artwork was featured in Art in America, Art News, and Interview Magazine and has sold at auction at Christie’s. Ivan was commissioned by Absolut Vodka to make a painting titled Absolut Jenson for the brand’s national ad campaign. His Absolut paintings are in the collection of the Spiritmusuem, the museum of spirits in Stockholm, Sweden.  

Jenson's painting of the “Marlboro Man” was collected by the Philip Morris corporation. Ivan was commissioned to paint the final portrait of the late Malcolm Forbes.  Ivan has written two novels, Dead Artist and Seeing Soriah, both of which illustrate the creative and often dramatic lives of artists. Jenson's poetry is widely published (with over 600 poems published in the US, UK and Europe) in a variety of literary media. 

A book of Ivan Jenson's poetry was recently published by Hen House Press titled Media Child and Other Poems, which can be acquired on Amazon. Two novels by Ivan Jenson entitled, Marketing Mia and Erotic Rights have been published hardcover. Ivan Jenson’s new novel, Gypsies of New Rochelle has been released by Michelkin Publishing. Ivan Jenson's website is: www.IvanJenson.com



Thursday, August 20, 2020

About the drink on a Sunday night by Anthony Dirk Ray

a sacrament untitled
well the bottle does have a label
so let us just call it a necessary evil

be it a middle shelf offering
lacking character or depth
still respectable and getting the job done

or perhaps it is a monthly splurge
a bottle that gets its accolades
and love from communities online
with a plethora of pictures and reviews

maybe even a bottom shelf throwaway
with a screw top that gets overlooked
that still has some bite to give

or god forbid
the unicorn
the bottle that most strive for
but only a few get to experience
one that cost way too much retail
not to mention the secondary market

a love affair with a liquid
sad to some
forbidden to certain groups
an occasion to others
essential for a few

whatever it is to you
I’ll drink to that






Anthony Dirk Ray resides, works, and writes in the sweltering southern portion of the United States near the Gulf of Mexico.  After years of writing off and on, merely for sanity, he is now sharing some lines. His work can be seen on multiple sites online and in print. Some of which are Mad Swirl, Unlikely Stories, The Beatnik Cowboy, The Rye Whiskey Review, Three Line Poetry, and Horror Sleaze Trash.  His site, Gloomy Forebodings...poems, stories, and mediocre musings, can be found online at anthonydirkray.com


Wednesday, August 19, 2020

New Ways. By Don Robishaw

Vagrant’s Thoughts: Old ways don’t work these days. Panhandling calls for patience, persistence, and writing skills. A Sharpie and invented spelling are acceptable on a raw sheet of cardboard. I’ve got an idea. I’ll offer a service even better.   

Driver’s Thoughts: An unfamiliar old bearded dude in a faded Grateful Dead T-shirt and jeans mills around on a traffic island at the Lincoln intersection on the outskirts of the gated village I’ve always lived in and taps the corner of a squeegee against the mirror of my vintage BMW.

“Brother can ya spare a dime?
Need a drink and ain’t got no money.
and ain’t got a dime”
   
    “Where is the other guy who usually washes windshields?”
Bearded dude with a tear in his eye bows and blesses himself as I go through my change says “My friend’s not coming back no more but ‘left behind’ a message for ya.”
Fumbling around in my beggars cup. “What?” 
“Shove the dimes up your butt ya cheap bastard.”


Don Robishaw’s collection of five FF tales found in, ‘Bad Road Ahead’ was the Grand Winner in Defenestrationism, 2020 Flash Fiction Suite Contest.

Don’s short story entitled,’Bad Paper Odyssey’ was a semi-finalist in Digging Through the Fat 2018 Chapbook Contest.

His work has also recently appeared in The Rye Whiskey Review, Drunk Monkeys, Literary Orphans, Crack-the-Spine, FFM, O’ Dark Thirty, among other venues.

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


Before he stopped working to write he ran educational programs for homeless shelters. Don's also well-traveled, using various ways and means: Sailor, Peace Corps Volunteer, bartender, hitchhiker, world traveler, college professor, and circus roustabout.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

She Bathes in the Water Color Wash of Internal Light by Jeannie E. Roberts


After an image by Charles Dana Gibson (American Illustrator, 1867-1944)


Your somber mood and sloping cigarette 
may pair well with the favored cocktail of your creator — 
though, gin garnished with pickled onion is an acquired taste.

Gibson Girl, 
you appear weary as you pose in inky nonchalance. 
Do your arms shield you from darker orbits? 

One day, 
the barrier between you and everything will dissolve —
perhaps you’ll awaken in water color wash,

slides of blush, streams of coral, 
where tangerine meadows flow near spills of pastel, 
as slips of subtlety move toward internal light.

Even pen-and-ink lives, 
linear narratives, 
can render softness, 

when focus buoys 
with eyes at center, 
where sentience is breath.






Jeannie E. Roberts has authored four poetry collections and two children's books. Her work appears in print and online in North American and international journals and anthologies. She is poetry editor of the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs. When she’s not reading, writing, or editing, you can find her drawing and painting, or outdoors photographing her natural surroundings. 



Monday, August 17, 2020

7:15pm, Suburbia in the Pandemic by Alyssa Trivett

Laughlin Rd and Farren Lane.
In the land where no one uses turn signals, by the park of smashed in trash bin always reeking of bowling alley sweat. Two teenagers see-saw their words. Dog leashes whir and half broken lawn mowers chirp and cut rocks in half. I spy chain-smoking clouds as the conversation revs on in between siphoning down sodas in scratched glass bottles; face masks on their spoon rest chins. I say to myself, aloud, that is poetry. We tally runners, and friends and former neighbors and passed on relatives; and think that everything can't be that bad, right now. The sun is up and pours down on us even at this hour. In Mid-August heat, the words still visit, at least.







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.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Evening by Holly Day

I press my nose to the window wonder
when you’re coming home. Each time
someone walks past the house I
think it’s you.

I busy myself with things I know
would make you happy if
you’d only come home. I make your blankets
smell like my skin so that
you’ll dream of me when you’re in bed.

The sun goes hot and high then sets.
I eat dinner alone, think of your key
clinking against the door
hear your footsteps in the hall
in my head

where will I go?






Holly Day has been a writing instructor at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review, and her newest poetry collections are Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press), and Book of Beasts (Weasel Press). 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

COULDA BEEN by Patti Cassidy

It coulda been a noir,
The way he grabbed her arm
And she didn’t move an inch.
You just knew where it would end up-
Who would double cross whom-
Where the final bullet would hit-
And who would end up with the dough.
It coulda been a noir-
But it was just another night
On the south side of town
In the middle of summer
With a jazz combo playing the blues.





Patti Cassidy's been on the poetry beat for most of her life, but she's best known for her  plays- many of them set in bars. Find her in Boston... or Paris. Or wherever fine spirits are sold...

Friday, August 14, 2020

Escape by Gloria Mindock

Trying to escape, but I am surrounded by flatland.
No place to go. 
If I stand behind the tree, you will find me,
behind the barn, you will find me,
behind the house, you will find me.

You would not expect me to hide
down by the Illinois River or in the
caves of Starved Rock. I will be there until
my body decays and I feed some other life form.

I will become a beautiful plant.
When you walk past me, I will
give you a rash.





 Gloria Mindock is the founding editor of Červená Barva Press and one of the USA editors for Levure Litt e raire (France). She is the author of five books of poetry and her 6 th book called, “Ash” is forthcoming this fall by Glass Lyre Press. She has been translated and published into 8 languages. Gloria has been awarded the Ibbetson Street Press Lifetime Achievement Award, was the recipient of the Allen Ginsberg Award for Community Service by the Newton Writing and Publishing Center, and was awarded the 5 th and 40 th Moon Prize from Writing in a Woman’s Voice. She was the Poet Laureate in Somerville, MA in 2017 & 2018.


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Telling the Truth by Dan Provost

Aerosmith took
me from wine to
whiskey within hearing
the first chords of
Chip Away at the Stone…

Figure I could be cool
and intellectual here…claiming
that Sinclair Lewis was the source
of my Jack Daniels improvement…

But rock and roll stays as a Lord’s Prayer…

Plus lying is a mortal sin





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

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Lunch Spots in Syracuse 1975 by Jim Bourey

The Odessa, west of the fairgrounds,
was where we snuck off for long lunches,
and in summer that could mean three hours
of cognac shots followed by cold beer
chasers. Pyrohi, borscht and kapusnyak
from the Ukranian kitchen fortified our guts
against the booze. Lenny would always
weep for his lost land, his shot through
the head parents. When that happened
we tried to sober up
get back to the job
on University Hill.

On some paydays we’d roll out Rock Cut Road
to the strip club/burger joint near the quarry.
The burgers were okay but the chili
was hotter than any of the dancers. Tony
was in love with Jasmine and he’d drop
forty bucks for a private dance, plead
with her to run away.
She always turned him down.
We always went back to work.

Fisher’s favorite bar was Flanagan’s.
We went there on Fridays during Lent, ate
perch from Oneida Lake if the ice was out.
His friends from the Turner’s Club
hung out there. They drank Utica Club,
talked about machining jobs moving
to Missouri. I sympathized. But not much.
Wouldn’t trust these guys
with steel-cutting lathes
after their midday drinking.

Most days I had my noon break
on the south side of the quad
in the shade of Bowne Hall.
Two brown bags.
A ham and cheese sandwich in one.
A bottle of amber liquid in the other.
Then I’d go back to the stockroom.






Jim Bourey is an old poet who lives on the northern edge of the Adirondack Mountains. His chapbook “Silence, Interrupted” was published in 2015 by the Broadkill River Press. His work has appeared in Rye Whiskey Review, Mojave River Review, Stillwater Review, Gargoyle, Broadkill Review and other journals and anthologies. He is also a contributing editor for The Broadkill Review. Jim’s new full-length collection “The Distance Between Us” from Cold River Press, is set for release in August 2020.






Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Letter to My Poet Friends in Quarantine by Shawn Pavey


Can we write enough poems about Django Reinhardt
It’s a question I keep asking myself
Knowing if you were here
Brothers and Sisters you would have treatise
At the ready and in triplicate
So when I hear those thin scratchy recordings
When the violin player takes the solo in
The World is Waiting for a Sunset
And Django way in the back is strumming faster
Than a hummingbird wing
And man he can just make that thing swing
And then in I Saw Stars how he’s just chopping
Chopping those strings in that mystic rhythm
And man can’t he just take you with him
Then when he steps out front
In Nuages each note drips out so sweet
That maybe we think this sadness will be forever
But let him slip into a little boogie groove
Like in Artillerie Lourde oh let him speak it true
How sometimes the ammo’s heavy baby
Sometimes you just have to lay it on down





Shawn Pavey has delivered newspapers, mowed lawns, bagged groceries, cut meat, laid sewer pipe, bussed tables, washed dishes, roofed houses, crunched numbers, rented cars, worked in hotels, worn an apron at Kinko’s, and been paid to write everything from résumés to music reviews.  Currently, he earns a living as an Executive Recruiter in Mission, KS where he lives with his wife and two worthless but adorable cats.  He’s hosted poetry readings in bars, coffee shops, haunted houses, bookstores, libraries, front porches, seedy motel rooms, and abandoned warehouses.  He is the author of Talking to Shadows (2008, Main Street Rag Press), Nobody Steals the Towels from a Motel 6 (2015, Spartan Press), and Survival Tips for the Pending Apocalypse (Spartan Press, 2019). He is a Co-founder and former Associate Editor of The Main Street Rag Literary Journal, and a former board member and officer of The Writers Place, a Kansas City-based literary non-profit.  His poems, essays, and journalism appear in a variety of national and regional publications.  A graduate of the University of North Carolina’s Undergraduate Honors Creative Writing Program, he likes his Tom Waits loud, his bourbon single-barrel, and his basketball Carolina Blue. 








Monday, August 10, 2020

The Debt by David Spicer


Dan paid Bill a C-note he owed for years.
He sent him a check by certified mail.

The check certified the end of a debt.
I think alcoholic Dan was making amends.

Dan wasn’t trying to mend a fence with Bill.
Dan told Bill his brother Bob had just died.

Thirty years back, Dan, Bill, Bob drank like brothers.
Bob killed his wife with a shotgun for cheating.

He cheated, but his wife didn’t own shotguns.
Bob lived in prison for years where he painted.

He painted prisoners for years, was paroled.
He drove to a bar, drank with Dan and Bill.

Bob and Dan drank too much. Bill picked up the tab.
Bill smiled at the C-note Dan owed for years.






David Spicer has published poems in Santa
Clara Review, Synaeresis, The Sheepshead Review, Remington Review, Steam
Ticket, Third Wednesday, CircleStreet, The American Poetry Review,
Ploughshares, Moria, Oyster River Pages, Gargoyle, and elsewhere. Nominated
for a Best of the Net three times and a Pushcart twice, he is author of six
chapbooks, the latest being Tribe of Two (Seven CirclePress). His second
full-length collection, Waiting for the
Needle Rain, is now available from Hekate Publishing. His website is http://www.davidspicer76.com



The Old Sea Goat by Kevin M. Hibshman

The Old Sea Goat is no sly fox.
He'll gnaw your knees and elbows raw after biting the legs off all your favorite coffee tables.
If you happen to hear his horny roar approaching, lock up your liquor cabinet and swallow the key before he has the chance to drain your unsuspecting wet bar dry.

He can be decent company.
He is guaranteed to kick-start any dull party.
“Cheers, Here's to swill with time to kill!”
Supply him with ale and let him regale you with a whale of a tale before the Sirens call him home again.
“Bucking waves through all of eternity can really make you thirsty!”

One day as he was bleating about the pressures of being a myth, Poseidon decided to gift him with a 5th
to shut him up as the Mermaids had been complaining.
“It was either that, Poseidon thought, or I would have had to tan his hide and turn him back into little
pieces of parchment.”

The old goat knew it would soon be time to go ashore and so he trimmed his beard and filed his horns.
After applying as much “Axe” as he could stand, He set about on his master plan.
“I must find a nice little cove where they won't be annoyed if I really get ripped,” he quipped.
'I'm no sheep and I can never sleep until I am quite sufficiently tipped.”






Kevin M. Hibshman has had poems published in many journals and magazines world wide.
 In addition, he has edited his poetry zine, Fearless, since 1990 and is the author of sixteen chapbooks including Love Sex Death Dreams (Green Bean Press, 2000) and Incessant Shining (Alternating Current, 2011).


Sunday, August 9, 2020

Brown Paper Bag by Jason Ryberg

with apologies to Ted Kooser

We got two big double-bagged 
brown paper bags, packed tight 
and heavy with stalks of rhubarb 
from my Uncle Pico’s garden,

two big, black boiling pots, 
the kind with the speckled enameling
(like starry nights), filled up with water 
on the stove and already starting 
to roil a little,

packets of brewer’s yeast, 
a five pound bag of sugar 
and two six-packs of Miller High Life 
(plus a pint of Evan for back-up, 
because you just never know—
better to have it and not need it
and all that, as they say). 

So, let’s open a couple of beers,
take a couple of nips off that bottle, there, 
turn down this burner just a touch 
(and the radio up just a hair) and see 
what the night has in store for us.






Jason Ryberg is the author of thirteen books of poetry,
six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders,
notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be 
(loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry 
letters to various magazine and newspaper editors. 
He is currently an artist-in-residence at both 
The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s 
and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor 
and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collection 
of poems is Standing at the Intersection of Critical Mass
and Event Horizon (Luchador Press, 2019). 
He lives part-time in Salina, KS with a rooster named 
Little Red and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time 
somewhere in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River, 
where there are also many strange and wonderful 
woodland critters. 

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Fragmented No 31 by DAH

Damned to this cage, looking
at a blotched mirror / this
divided face …

eyes flying in dreams.

Inside self, used up
/ outside this house,
winter’s heaviness …

double light of darkness.

Sometimes in the air, your
eyes appear / not glowing
but slipping …

not rising but falling.

On the street, under a rusted
sky / a young woman laughs
with another …

the wind keeps to itself.




DAH is a multiple Pushcart Prize and Best Of The Net nominee, and the lead
editor for the poetry critique group, The Lounge. The author of nine books of
poetry, DAH lives in Berkeley, California, and has been teaching yoga to children
in public and private schools since 2005. He is working on his tenth poetry book,
which is due for release in September 2020, from Clare Songbirds Press.   


Friday, August 7, 2020

liver (jueyin) by Scott Ferry

she comes over to the house my ex and i
once lived in now overgrown with roommates
and a kitchen of bottles

she asks me why i drink so much
why i don’t even interact
when i become deboned

anger—but i can’t explain it
god has dried the sand
god has and she has (the other she)
don’t make me talk please




Scott Ferry helps our Veterans heal as a RN. He has recent work in Misfit, MacQueen's Quinterly, and Spillway. His second chapbook Mr. Rogers Kills Fruit Flies will come out in October 2020 from Main St. Rag. You can find more of his work at Ferrypoetry.com.


Thursday, August 6, 2020

Drunk Butterflies near the Missouri River by Mike James

for Jason Ryberg
 “nothing but your blind, stupefied heart”
        John Thompson 

Lord, even without belief, today is enough. A little chant I say to myself. 
Structured right, it is a hymn. Not even I like to hear my singing. 

Yesterday, I almost got lost going home. I wasn’t following the advice 
Of every teacher: Pay attention! I got through school. Got home. 

I drive when I’m lonely. Take a lot of back, dirt roads. Never found 
A collapsed bridge in any river. My luck. That’s what keeps me driving. 

It’s August. Heat takes up everything. I think of weather. Think of rain. 
Nothing changes. It’s still August. With or without the river. 

I’ve always lived beside a river. Never once hopped across on rocks. I distrust currents. 
Don’t like darkness moving fast or slow. Will walk a long way to take a good bridge.

I’ve heard every cliché about home is true. I’ll say that, smile stupidly. 
I don’t always watch how hard the wind blows. I keep going. I go. 








Mike James makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee and has published widely. His many poetry collections include: Red Dirt Souvenir Shop (Analog Submissions), Journeyman’s Suitcase (Luchador), Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), First-Hand Accounts from Made-Up Places (Stubborn Mule), Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle), and Peddler’s Blues (Main Street Rag.) He served as an associate editor of The Kentucky Review and currently serves as an associate editor of Unbroken. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

JOY ON THIS MONDAY NIGHT by Bradford Middleton

Another night lost to the bottle as tonight
I sit alone, Charley Patton by my side forever
More I hope as right now he sounds real good, and
The shit cheap whiskey and beer I got earlier,
All own-brand supermarket fare, taste real good
Cos tonight I just want this.
Me, alone, simply means joy as the beer, smoke
And the blessed Mudhoney come to make this life
Taste alive for the first time in a long while.  The
Writing will get done whilst the drinking will continue
And the smoking will help guide the way as another
Night is lost, yet again, to the sacred bottle and smoke.






 Bradford Middleton was born in south-east London during the summer of 1971 and won his first poetry prize at the age of nine.  He then gave up writing poems for nearly twenty-five years and it wasn't until he landed in Brighton, knowing no one and having no money, that he began again.  Ten years later and he's been lucky enough to have had a few chapbooks published including a new one from Analog Submission Press entitled 'Flying through this Life like a Bottle Battling Gravity', his debut from Crisis Chronicles Press (Ohio, USA) and his second effort for Holy & Intoxicated Press (Hastings, UK).  He has read around the UK at various bars, venues and festivals and is always keen to get out and read to new crowds.  His poetry has also been or will be published shortly in the Chiron Review, Zygote in my Coffee, Section 8, Razur Cuts, Paper & Ink, Grandma Moses 'Poet to Notice', Empty Mirror, Midnight Lane Gallery, Bareback Lit and is a Contributing Poet over at the wonderful Mad Swirl.  If you like what you've read go send a friend request on facebook to bradfordmiddleton1. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Sanctuary by Byron Hoot

The sanctuary of a bar
is something the right kind
of theologian would know. . . 
how entering is stepping
over a threshold, how the conversations
are prayers, the libations
sacred elixir, the breaking
of bread an act of communion
made in-between laughter
and sighs, stories of joy
and sorrow
                   where the art
of forgetfulness -- God's own
art -- is practiced for awhile
and the liturgical response, "One more"
is absolution for all that can't
be absolved.
                     Like all things religious, however,
it can be taken too far
and sanctuary becomes bedlam
of heart and soul and body
and mind just like any other
sanctuary can become. . .
                                           though like all
theology "Last call" is but
a temporary closing of the doors.





Byron Hoot was born and raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, lived there until he went to college – a twelve year excursion.  He never returned to West Virginia but he never left it.  Appalachia, the hills and streams, the people, his memories of those first eighteen years are  embedded.  Now he lives in northwestern Pennsylvania. . .  still in Appalachia.

            He has recently had poems in The Watershed Journal, Tobeco Literary Arts Journal, on www.northsouthappal.com./appalachian-literature.html. and in Pennessence.  He is a co-founder of The Tamarack Writers (1974) and The Fernwood Writers Retreat (2019).  

WORSE THAN COCK BLOCK by George Schaefer

The bell rings so someone bought the bar a round. You look up  to politely acknowledge the kind stranger. You have another shot You go with ...