Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Cynthia, or, A barmaid’s night (no. 55 of Women’s names sensual series) by Carrie Magness Radna

Darting glances across the restaurant,

she wanted to be consumed tonight

by any old man,

she chose the wrong one,

a sorry-ass son

dressed in black, swigging Chardonnay.


She had little else

besides her luck and instinct;

wiping down the bar

the thousandth time,

she wore down a smile

that could cut through smoke— 


Seeing thirty in the rearview mirror,

loneliness had often choked her.


She was grateful for his

constant attention at 3 am,

but he had kissed her off 

far too early in the morning;

he left without leaving

a good-bye Post-it note.   


Bleary, weary for another good-night’s sleep, 

now an impossibility in these 

harried, hazy nights, while

earning her keep In New York City,

serving more patrons their chosen lubricants,

saving her heart for the highest bidder.  




Carrie Magness Radna is an audiovisual cataloger at New York Public Library, a choral singer and a poet who loves traveling. Her poems have previously appeared in The Oracular Tree, Mediterranean Poetry, Muddy River Poetry Review, Shot Glass Journal, Poetry Super Highway, Polarity eMagazine, Walt’s Corner, The Poetic Bond (VIII & IX), First Literary Review-East and Jerry Jazz Musician. Her first chapbook, Conversations with dead composers at Carnegie Hall (Flutter Press) was published in January 2019, and her self-published chapbook, Remembering you as I go walking (Boxwood Star Press) was published in August 2019. Her first poetry collection, Hurricanes never apologize (Luchador Press) was published in December 2019. Born in Norman, Oklahoma, she lives with her husband in Manhattan.




 


Bad Tattoo by Karen Friedland

Don’t talk to your tattooist

about suicide

while she’s injecting jet black ink

into the fragile, aging skin

of your upper back—


she will get distressed

and drill too deep,

leaving you with a permanent reminder—


a painfully-scarred tattoo

that will wake you up some nights,


making you wonder why you went this route,

at this late date,

of trying to send a mostly-hidden message

to the world—


Was it love, 

Was it fear, 

Was it middle-aged wanting?


At any rate, you weren’t expecting pain,

but there you have it.





A nonprofit grant writer by day, Karen Friedland’s poems have been published in Nixes Mate Review, Writing in a Women’s Voice, the Lily Poetry Review, Vox Populi and others. Her book of poems, Places That Are Gone, was published in 2019 by Nixes Mate Books, and she has a chapbook forthcoming in Fall 2020 from Cervena Barva Press. She lives in Boston with her husband, two cats and two dogs.



Monday, September 28, 2020

Crucial by Susan Tepper

Most importantly

I won.  

Beat him at his game.

And what a game

played over 

a long hot summer

via phone,

the tickles and silences,

bathroom calls,

high stakes from 

a high roller, and 

I, just a tiny woman

in his scheme of things

his worldly schemes.

There were clues

along the way.

I am a genius at

picking up clues

in a voice, certain 

inflections.  

His final revelation: I ran 

up three flights of stairs

in this lousy hot airport

to take your call.





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



Sunday, September 27, 2020

PARA-DICE by Konstantina Theofanopoulou

There are few images 

that come clear in my mind

when I think of paradise.


It is Nina Simone, singing Baltimore

and Miles Davis playing the Sketches of Spain

Homer composing the Iliad

And el CamarĂ³n tearing off his shirt

while smoking pot.


And when the tune changes to

Serge’s Decadanse,

you are there.


Whenever I think of paradise,

you are there.






Konstantina Theofanopoulou has a long name, but I am sure you can pronounce it well if you read it twice. She was born in Greece and lives in the East Village, New York. She holds a PhD in the neuroscience of language, and currently works as a Post-Doctoral researcher at Rockefeller University. You can read her poetry in her monthly column on Natural Selections magazine, on poetry magazines (Lumiere Review, Eneken), on her IG (@newyork_rhymes), and listen to her poetry in podcasts, like the Hack Sessions (Spotify). Her poetry has been awarded twice (Minoan Publications Award, Panhellenic Poetry Award).



His Last Vignette by Mark Tulin

My father loved the smell of beer,
the salty stale pretzels,
and the pigs' feet floating in a jar

He loved the neighborhood saloon,
small-town men with fat bellies
and balding heads, telling of their salvation
while serving in the war

My father loved the freedom of the stool,
the way it turned but never spun off
He loved his two tattoos,
and his crooked jaw, broken
during the Korean War

He told of the time,
he almost married a French whore
that he paid for with a bar of soap
and a cheap pair of stockings
that he bought at the commissary

The barflies were so impressed
at how my father held his liquor,
such a hard worker
and a stand-up guy

As my father told his last vignette,
he put down his drink,
took a drag of a Lucky
and grabbed his balls
while the ceiling fan circled
his immortalized youth.





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, September 26, 2020

When the Heart Stops Beating and the Soul Leaves the Body by John Doyle

Oh Dante, 

you don't ever grow tired 

 

of stealing California 

do you?

 

turning your back on a bar of card sharks, 

illiterates and me

 

reading Joseph Finder's Company Man

like I was on the bus leaving Santa Teresa, 

 

not knowing which seat was mine, 

not really minding. 

 

Dante, 

don't you ever grow tired, 

 

striking matches on fat-damp flint, 

the Morse-code raindrops 

 

disturbing the sleeping trees

like insects 

 

escaping a child's swish of fingertip?

Turning left on a thirsty road for Sassari,

 

smoke hibernates in the harbor, 

a linguistic barrier

 

that tastes of steel on my sheep-white tongue,

Nero leaveing the hock-shop 

 

sans his fiddle,

Dante lost in the streets, somehow -

 

immolated and on his knees

he hears Neil Young's Old Laughing Lady

 

stops - 

quenches all his dreams in everyone else’s tears.

 

Someday we’ll watch boulders 

smash like thunder

 

trundling down mountain sides, 

even moss will burn

 

in the hail of sparks,

even the radio will weep

 

for the nights forgotten 

like necks 

 

swinging 

on the longwave dial;


Mark my words,

Dante





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.

He is based in Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland. All he asks is that you leave your guns at the door and tie up your horses before your enter.










Friday, September 25, 2020

everyone has their limp by Scott Ferry

mine is an actual fucking limp

no metaphor just an arthritic knee

that rusts and floods and fattens with

normal use like an annoying young cousin

who is part of my body who wails like satan 

and if satan could sing he would sing out of tune 

on purpose as i try to walk 


for others it’s something else—

addiction, greed, lust, depression

not to say i don’t wrestle with those

but don’t tell me you don’t have a howling leak 

in your aura somewhere

don’t fucking deny it


and be kind to all of us with a cane

metaphoric or not is doesn’t matter

(don’t pretend yours doesn’t fit on this page)

don’t think we don’t understand the pain 

of waking and walking and pissing 

and drinking that coffee


and facing the stark light

with some shades and a faith 

and a handful of captured peace 

a manufactured grace 

a choreographed 

walk across 

the glass




Scott Ferry helps our Veterans heal as a RN. He has recent work in American Journal of Poetry, Misfit, and Cultural Weekly, among others. His second book Mr. Rogers Kills Fruit Flies will be published by Main St Rag in Fall 2020. More of his work can be found at ferrypoetry.com.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Still Kansas by R.D. Ronstad

The Amish are singing

in the lounge car.

  

Elks' blood stains

the engine.

 

Time has jumped

the tracks.

  


Three travelers are

off the grid.


The curators' talk 

is hard like hale:


They  bob their heads

 in darkness.

  

 

The moonless night paints

 windows black.

  

The steel doors open/close

like cell doors.

  

The bars have all shut down

in my right hand.

  


I conceive a picture

from a hundred yards out…



A string of fiery windows

in a silhouette of cars

  

A black mass fronted by

an eery, suspended cone of light

  

Flashlights lightly hopping, near

the engine, down the rails

  

Myriad stars overrunning

an ebony sky


Glow grazing a small

black knob; perhaps a body



...called Still Kansas.






R.D. Ronstad writes mainly humor pieces and poetry. His work has appeared at Defenestration, Scarlet Leaf Review, Every Day Fiction, Rat's Ass Review, Bindweed Magazine and a number of other online sites. He lives with no dogs or cats but has nothing against them.



Wednesday, September 23, 2020

RETIREMENT by R.M. Engelhardt

Someday


I will be an old
Poet an old man
In an old suit a tie
And a fedora hat
Reading old poems
About the old days
To young kids who
Won’t appreciate
Poetry or jazz or
The silence of the
Mind nature or
Music the mystic
Or the magick of
Life

And it is
Then at that
Very moment
When one of
Them makes
Another fart joke
In the middle of
My reading that
I shall pause
Smile & then with
A magick incantation
Turn into a fifty foot
Serpent & eat them
All in the school
Auditorium telling
The school principal
That they all just
Hated my poetry
And left as I let out
A loud & infinite
Belch and I get on
The bus
& leave




R.M. Engelhardt is a poet, writer & author who's work over the last 20 years has been published in such journals as Thunder Sandwich, Full of Crow, Rusty Truck, Writers’ Resist, Dry Land Lit, Rye Whiskey Review, Hobo Camp Review & many others. He currently lives & writes in Upstate NY and his new books of poetry are entitled "DarkLands" (Published By Whiskey City Press 2019) & "Where There Is No Vision, Poems 2020"  (DeadMansPressInk)

Both are now available on Amazon.com




Tuesday, September 22, 2020

as people toast memories over drinks by J.J. Campbell

it’s the realization that 
you’re not going to be 
missed when you die

that your obituary will 
never be published

there will be no funeral

no drunken brawl in 
some bar as people 
toast memories over
drinks

no wife to become
a widow

no children happy that 
the old fucker is finally 
gone

the shotgun still rests 
in the corner

it gets more inviting
with each passing 
day




J.J. Campbell (1976 - ?) was raised by wolves yet managed to graduate high school with honors. He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Red Eft Review, The Beatnik Cowboy, Synchronized Chaos, Horror Sleaze Trash and Cajun Mutt Press. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (https://evildelights.blogspot.com)





Monday, September 21, 2020

The High Hurdle by Bruce Morton

We were a sorry lot.
We were sorry a lot.
Sorry we were not home
Sorry we were here
Sorry she was not here
Sorry to be in the army
Sorry to be drinking
Sorry we were not sorry
About being so sorry.

So Jumpin’ George
Set up his plank bar—
Called it the High Hurdle,
Where sorrows could be
Poured or shaken,
Taken on ice or neat.
It was a low hurdle
And we were not sorry
When we stepped over it.




Bruce Morton splits his time between Montana and Arizona. His volume of poems, Simple Arithmetic and Other Artifices, was published in 2015. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in various magazines and anthologies including, most recently, Muddy River Poetry Review, Mason Street Review, Main Street Rag, Nixes Mate Review, Grey Sparrow Journal, Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Blue Unicorn.



Sunday, September 20, 2020

BAR SCHOOL by Patti Cassidy

If  guy buys a babe

A shot and a beer

Every Saturday night

For almost a year-

He might think it’s time

For him to move in

Then he sees another guy

Buy her tonic and gin

When they walk out together

He orders a mescal

And slides down the bar

To pick up the next gal.

It’s not money wasted

It’s a lesson well-learned,

You change up the drinks and

You might not get burned.





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...




Saturday, September 19, 2020

Your Friend, the Writer by Jeff Weddle

Your friend, the writer, needs groceries: 
kale wine ground beef potatoes beer bread 
bourbon spaghetti & sauce gin rum ham 
mayo absinthe milk Snickers fish sticks 
vodka scotch rye ayahuasca peyote 
weed and Spam.
 
Your friend, the writer, needs readers 
love hate notice explication a good woman 
a bad woman a dog a cat a publisher
 an editor and a bookie with a heart.
 
Your friend, the writer, needs a priest 
a rabbi a hooker a nun a Smith and Wesson six shooter 
fifty boxes of shells a dozen Spanish orphans 
a plot of land and a shovel. 
 
Your friend, the writer, needs earthworms 
pickles shears rope caviar statues of Napoleon 
poison pens cigarettes laughter and bombs.
 
Your friend, the writer, needs your wife 
your daughter your blood skin bone flesh 
muscle soul a quick nap a good night’s sleep 
a beating heaven and hell. 
 
Your friend, the writer, sends his regards 
confusion congratulations regrets condolences 
phobias love ambivalence spleen and contagion. 
 
Your friend, the writer, wanders in 
wanders out stares at the ceiling 
bites his fingernails scratches his ass 
smells his fingers yawns and giggles 
stares at the mailbox 
tries to remember your name 
and doesn’t write anything at all.




Jeff Weddle is a poet and writer living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He won the 2007 Welty Prize for Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press, and has also received honors for his fiction and poetry. Jeff teaches in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama.

Friday, September 18, 2020

easier by Tanya Rakh

it’s easier when no one loves me
I scream at the walls here alone
plaster peels slowly around me
in my sad rubber house





Tanya Rakh was born on the outskirts of time and space in a cardboard box. After extensive planet-hopping, she currently makes her home near Houston, Texas where she writes poetry, surrealist prose, and cross-genre amalgamations and works as a professional manuscript editor. Her poetry has appeared in journals including Danse Macabre, Literary Orphans, Yes, Poetry, and Miletus International Literature Journal and is featured in several issues of Alien Buddha e-zine. Her first poetry collection, Hydrogen Sofi, was published in 2019 by Hammer & Anvil Books.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Hat Tricks by Thad DeVassie

The bar banter is reaching a fever pitch, keeping Kirby the barkeep on his toes, by his taps. Miguel is making the case for Ronaldo, not Messi, as the all-time hat trick leader to his middle-aged mates and pick-up club comrades. Francois pleads that hockey hat tricks are harder to come by than soccer, with Gretzky netting more goals than Ronaldo and Messi combined, a sliver of fake new that is promptly disproven. Kirby keeps sliding pints between the pipes of arms along the high-gloss bar, notching a few bar-back hat tricks of his own. But leave it to Evelyn, the pick-up club’s bullish center back and resident contrarian to suggest that the hat trick leader doesn’t need to bag three goals, but four words, on a red ball cap while scoring electoral votes. It’s an ugly quip from a rather nasty woman. Francois, willing to forfeit some minutes, lunges with disregard of the red card to engage in a skirmish with their brutish defender, the anchor of the back line. But the club has the votes, and while her conduct is not quite an impeachable offense, they place all subsequent rounds on Evelyn’s tab, putting Kirby on notice as he’s the one about to set the record straight on his beer-slinging scorecard. 




Thad DeVassie is a lifelong Ohioan who writes and paints from the outskirts of Columbus. A finalist for the 2020 James Tate Poetry Prize, his work has appeared in journals such as New York Quarterly, Poetry East, Spelk, Lunate, and Ghost City Review, among many others. His chapbook, THIS SIDE OF UTOPIA, is forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press


      


The Rowdy Punks by Giovanni Mangiante

Immortality can be the flower

growing out of a crack in the sidewalk,

a glass of whiskey left untouched

on the counter

that nobody dares to drink,

the stranger’s hand

stretching towards the last 

remaining dog

on death row;

patting its head

and taking it home.


Immortality is the rowdy punks of the universe

imprinting themselves

into the sidewalks, the light posts;

like Kath at 16 years of age

walking into that store

with a bruised knee and a scar

running down her elbow,

blowing cigarette smoke on the cashier’s face,

calling him out on his bullshit,

and heading out

with a case of beer hanging

from her left arm, 

undefeated.





Giovanni Mangiante, born on March 17th, 1996, is a bi-lingual writer from Lima, Peru. He has work published in Panoply, The Anti-Languorous Project, Dream Noir, Punk Noir Magazine, Minute Magazine, The Rye Whiskey Review, Eunoia Review, and has upcoming poems in Down in the Dirt and Open Minds Quarterly. In writing, he found a way to cope with Borderline Personality Disorder.









Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Fini by David Spicer

Jim Morrison was right. This is the end.
I’ve burned bridges, chased clouds and blues singers,

I’ve sung the blues about those burned bridges.
Felt like killing evil men, stood on a ledge.

On that ledge I’ve seen evil men kill women.
Washing my hands, I found cleansing my soul hard.

Did my soul need cleansing more than my hands?
I’ve worn white masks for months, walked through red fog.

The masks lasted weeks as I walked through red fog.
And I’ve traded stories with scarred criminals.

We all scarred our stories with lies and crimes.
I’ve broken curfew and watched men cuss stop lights.

I want to do more than break curfew, cuss lights.
Jim Morrison was wrong. This isn’t the end.





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 sixchapbooks, the latest being Tribe of Two (Seven CirclePress). His second full-length collection, Waiting for theNeedle Rain, is now available from Hekate Publishing. His website is http://www.davidspicer76.com


Alice, from Old East New York by Emalisa Rose

From her hospital bed, piping with morpheme, she caresses those triple crown days - of dirty martinis, five olives of deep tans on curves, a...