Sunday, February 28, 2021

Gently Used Boat, Motor, and Trailer by Niles Reddick

I drove the dirt road around the lake, where family cottages hid in the trees near the lake’s edge and where water lapped wooden steps. Occasionally, there was a driveway, sloping down, on a vacant lot where people had planned to build but never quite secured the fortune it would cost and hoped to sell and make profit come time to pay their children’s college tuition.  

I noted the old Plymouth with a trailer and bass boat with an outboard motor rolling down the hill and heard a splash. When I drove down the path and slid to a stop, I noticed the car had dove headfirst, like a whale, and the trailer and boat were slowly sinking. The splash created a wave that moved toward the lake’s center. I jumped out, dove into the lake, and noted the old man holding two children, sinking deeper and deeper. Water had already gushed into the rolled down windows and flooded the car, and their lifeless bodies swayed like water plants, this way and that. The trailer had become unhitched and I pulled until it lodged on a rock only a couple of feet below the surface.

When I came out, I backed my truck until water covered the back tires, hoisted the winch rope to the boat trailer, and pulled her out salvaging the trailer, boat, and motor. When she was free, I hitched her to my truck. I stopped near an old Gulf station that had the only working pay phone left in the county and called the sheriff’s department about the Plymouth, the old man, and two children. I pulled the trailer, boat, and motor home and parked them in the barn behind our house. I told my wife it was payback from a buddy who’d lost a bet at work.

I read the next day in the paper the old man had lost his wife to COVID, his daughter had run off and left the two kids with him, and he couldn’t raise them on Social Security and was too proud to take food stamps or Welfare. He’d told a friend, “We’d all be better off somewhere else”, but the friend added that he never believed he meant committing suicide. I played scenarios before sleep about whether I could have pulled them lifeless to the shore, done mouth to mouth, and what would have become of them if I had. I stopped thinking about what if and instead focused on what was. I realized that in the face of tragedy, there was opportunity. I donated to the old man’s church, named my boat after him, and went fishing that weekend.

Niles Reddick is author of the novel, two collections, and a novella. His work has been featured in fourteen anthologies, twenty-one countries, and in over three hundred publications including The Saturday Evening Post, PIF, New Reader Magazine, Forth Magazine, The Boston Literary Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Citron Review, and Storgy.


Saturday, February 27, 2021


what is a poem is it a call to arms is it a jerk-off  session is it a drink or a letter from a sister post-dated a decade ago accusing a dead uncle of rape

what is a poem but a slash of street sharks in the rain a sour armpit odor under the shirt a throb of nonchalance from the apartment below some little towel to wipe up the come
or snot
or blood

why is the poem importance or the painting rote sitting or the standing position and then the lecture which turns into a admonishment which turns into legislature 

what is the poem but a leader dragged out of office on fire and let to scream in agony as the people he burned stand idly to watch unless the opposite is true

what is it when my coffee in the morning accompanied by sirens and fireflies and ninja hummingbirds and oranges and tablecloths like a Cezanne escapes the ether by my death 

why should my death prove to all the borders of capital the insignificance of the peep the cry the talon of the bird the fang of the wolf of the grizzly the mammoth tusk

the tiny pattering behind your brain, the invisible roach of your desire

what is a poem 

I found it in the half-drunk bottle
where the sea reaches the shore
smashed on the rocks
any pitiful plea or request inside lost to the ages

no need to publish

while beneath the relentless violence of the crashing surf, total silence,
the chaos above just a suicide away from completion

and then

a call to make peace with enormous stupidity
all the great cities, civilization and democracies
falling to the greed of the privileged few
plus the rest of the sins

my death seems so enticing!
I had a good run
fine women and liquors and elixirs and fun shows to watch,
sports in my geography with a good
winning percentage

I'm not a betting man
upstairs ensconced in my aviary I'm lucky
my head spills and throbs
but I'm not dead yet
and can fathom the bridge
without driving across it
what does it matter, I'm banned from renting cars, I can't afford insurance

where is the poem but on your fingertips
a scratch on your ear and seeing peripherally

it's not so bad

Jay Passer's work has appeared in print and online since 1988. He is the author of several chapbooks and has appeared in a bunch of anthologies. His latest collection, Prelude to the Culling, 2020, from Alien Buddha Press, is available at Amazon. is available at Amazon. Passer lives and works in San Francisco, the city of his birth.

Friday, February 26, 2021


Wayne and I slide into a narrow booth
at a tavern near Riverside Drive.

Outside, raindrops slip
down the window panes
like a slick skim of light.

Wayne tells me about the last time
he saw his ex-wife:
soaked by rain, he remembers
her eccentric eyes,
wet kisses in the dark,
the silence of her long goodbye—

when she finally spoke
her words hung in the air
like a stiletto—
bold face italics
sharp with sound—

all his senses squeezed
into a prism
refracting the air,
bending his breath
into a double-edged knife.

MICHAEL MINASSIAN is a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual. His short stories and poems have appeared in such journals as Comstock Review, Evening Street Review, Main Street Rag and Poet Lore. His chapbooks include poetry: The Arboriculturist (2010); Chuncheon Journal (2019); and photography: Around the Bend (2017). His poetry collection Time is Not a River was released in 2020. 

His Love Swung Low by Kelli J Gavin

His heart was meant for mine

It found me not a moment too soon

Searched for me- never giving up

Each wrong turn- always rerouting

His love swung low

Gathering me up

Leaving nothing behind

Broken pieces and busted edges

Acknowledging my need to heal

Even if my heart aimed in other directions

His heart remained present

Constant and sure

Confident and knowing

I would return for his love that swung so low

Mended over time

I have always been thankful 

For his heart was meant for mine

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

Thursday, February 25, 2021






Still be

For it

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Cold Gray by Michael Lee Johnson

Below the clouds
forming in my eyes,
your soft eyes,
delicate as warm silk words,
used to support the love I held for you.
Cold, now gray, the sea tide
inside turns to poignant foam
upside down separates-
only ghosts now live between us.
Yet, dreamlike, fortune-teller,
bearing no relation to reality-
my heart is beyond the sea now.
A relaxing breeze sweeps
across the flat surface of me.
I write this poem to you,
neglectfully sacrificing our love.
I leave big impressions
with a terrible hush inside.
Gray bones now bleach with memories,
I’m a solitary figure standing
here, alone, along the shoreline.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.  Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, DuPage County, Illinois. Mr. Johnson published in more than 2,013 new publications, and his poems have appeared in 40 countries, he edits, publishes ten poetry sites. Michael Lee Johnson has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards poetry 2015/1 Best of the Net 2016/2 Best of the Net 2017, 2 Best of the Net 2018.  Two hundred twenty-three poetry videos are now on YouTube Editor-in-chief poetry anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze:; editor-in-chief poetry anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses available here 

Editor-in-chief Warriors with Wings:  The Best in Contemporary Poetry,  Member Illinois State Poetry Society: 

Liquor n’ Things by Tanita Cree

Dewdrops on Bud Light and coasters on tables
Glistening beer taps and premium labels
Slinky red dresses that ride up and cling
These are a few of my favorite things
Beautiful makeup and those second glances    
Fully clothed sex that we lie and call dances
Low riding jeans that show off a g-string
These are a few of my favorite things
Fiery flirts who can play all the bases    
Just enough whiskey to forget their faces
A tramp stamp tattoo in the shape of wings
These are a few of my favorite things
When the day dawns
When my life calls
When I’m feeling slammed
I simply remember my favorite things    
And then I don’t feel so damned
Boys in mascara and girls kicking asses
Just the right music that will tame the masses
Curses and insults I’m ready to sling
These are a few of my favorite things
Some vodka for sass and whiskey for courage
Gin if I gave up and think it’s all garbage
Watching drunks do karaoke and sing
These are a few of my favorite things
Warmth in my belly and dancing with strangers
The buzz in my veins that hides all the dangers
Just enough liquor to ignore the stings
These are a few of my favorite things
When the day dawns
When my life calls
When I’m feeling slammed
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so damned

A permanent resident of Canada and citizen of Australia, Tanita travels between the two when finances and pandemics allow. While earning a BA in Creative Writing and Literature from Griffith University in Australia, she also worked as Production Manager to help create the art television series Put Some Colour In Your Life. Her recent poems and pieces have been published via sites such as HerStry and FeminineCollective. When not working, writing, or reading, she spends a disproportionate amount of time overthinking everything and trying to distract herself with friends and sushi.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Near Joseph Brodsky by Mike James

Not in a long brown coat, alone on a bench,
Gazing across Central Park’s privileged expanse. 

Not clearing his throat to quote Lowell 
Or Auden. Not saying, the thousandth time, 
The poet’s one job is to write well. 

Not flirting. No prepared smile to hint at later interest. 
And not correcting upstarts in need of reading, 
Discipline, and (the hardest) long patience. 

He stood away from party table food and students. 
Foraged in his pockets for something missed. 
Never brought out coin, key, or cigarettes. 

He drank his glass of wine. Kept a distance. 
He might have been in a dark forest with miles of snow. 
He might have been in the silence he carried from home. 

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. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Roofless by C.L. Liedekev

Inside, the walls still need paint, open can
next to the dried roller, all crust and loss.
The clump of his boots on empty wood
returns no memory- the smell
of her black dye, the way it stained a
simple print on the skin when she wore her
pave ring. Crossed lines that faded as she
eats dinner, one hand raised in wine, other
cigarette stained and conducting each
time she made a point on her day. Now
it was the click of her tongue
on her teeth that he missed most, as the
night settles in the house, another stranger.

C.L. Liedekev is a writer/propagandist who lives in Conshohocken, PA with his real name, wife, and children. He attended most of his life in the Southern part of New Jersey. His work has been published in such places as Horror Sleaze Trash, Television Religion, Open Skies Quarterly, The Red Hibiscus, River Heron Review, and Impspired. His real goal is to make the great Hoboken poet/exterminator Jack Wiler proud. So far, so good.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Lines Written After A Friend Called From The Dublin House by E. S. Slater

My friend, the message that you’d called,
(And where you called from)
Sent me outdoors; the stillness of all
The snow, blue in the city lights, mum
About my long, jealous smokes and envious ales.
I thought of you alone, if solitude loving
Is ever lonely in such ease and comfort.
I was here, and wondering what you were having
And what small talk you made, and to what effect.
To that splendid day my mind returns
What, four years past? Edward in the library
With maps of yore, us finding Scott and Burns
And laughing under the Manhattan sky.
The Dublin House was pink-harped serene,
The barkeep in white apron and shirt
Smiled, his face another map, the scene
Lamp-lit wood and mirror, saloon as flirt.
Beside ourselves, we pleasured lascivious stout,
Wanton, drawn out smokes, the barroom tarrying.
Like Tam we bowsed and reveled in not
Being in at home with attendant harrying.
Then, the seducer made his move,
Inveighing with whiskey two unbidden jars.
That sly, twinkling Hibernian cove!
(His sort has long made for happy bars).
Setting them before us with the élan
Of a fellow sufferer. “Something to start
Your motors running?” Our delight childlike, and
How our motors ran! How loath we were to part!
Thus more pints, black as deprivation, bitter as obligation
Appeared and disappeared, as they so often do.
One loves a gusting January afternoon libation
As night slips into our grateful purview.
For me, this unplanned jollity far surpassed all our planned
I like to think that your motor, anyway, continues humming
As well as when I saw you last; that you, sir, are with dram,
Are well, and that like hours are in our life forthcoming.

 E. S. Slater is a writer living in Cambridge, MA.  He has recently completed a novel, Just This, and is working on a series of pandemic-themed short stories and poems. He is in the throes of submitting short stories and poems at present.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

trying to write by Scott Ferry

and my 1-year-old son grips my leg
and slams the keyboard with a wet lego 
i push his hands off but 
0 ; ;’’ 
so i throw another lego which he follows
but he shuffles back in milliseconds
pulling my arm hairs with a clammy palm
so i set the computer down
lift him cradle his downy head
until he kicks fishbodied 
back to the floor

after many hours of fathering 
i hide in my daughter’s room with a whiskey sour
and try to write again after i stare at the wall 
and the starry night reproduction with its oblong 
mauve swirls and nothing comes except
“fathers don’t have the luxury to be depressed”
my daughter comes in and demands that i read to her
like i normally do and i plan to just read 
the standard one chapter but it is the end of the book
and the mist-demon-blood-moon-goddess 
squelches the fire magic of our hero
until the golden time rope can be lassoed 
around her to send her into a timecage
three-and-a-half chapters later

i retreat to the living room with my laptop
and my wife greets me and we speak about interviews
new schools annoying neighbors pumpkin mochi which
gave everyone diarrhea and then she wants to show me
Instagram videos of sassy nurses in drag pretending
to be Kim Kardashian, ICU nurse
which i sadly laugh at
and succumb to writing this
real stretch of time with my actual family
outside of this cage of 

Scott Ferry helps our Veterans heal as a RN. He has recent work in the American Journal of Poetry, Misfit, and Spillway. His second book, Mr. Rogers kills fruit flies, is available from Main St. Rag. You can find more of his work @

Friday, February 19, 2021

Pint, Pipe and Ramble by Steve Brisendine

I have danced with enough ghosts
already in this plague year.

Give me a glass of dark lager,
not memories, and let me drink
to my own company.

Let me taste the sweet burn 
of phantom-free smoke, and 
let ash be only ash.

Let my footsteps echo by ones,
my feet bear my own weight and
no other burdens.

There will be time and times enough
for all to mean more than itself.

Steve Brisendine is a writer, poet, occasional artist and recovering journalist living in Mission, Kansas. His poetry appears in the third and most recent volume of the 365 Days Poets anthology. His first full-length collection, The Words We Do Not Have, is due out in spring 2021 from Spartan Press. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Blue by John Doyle

"Soon the blue, so soon..."

David Gilmour/Polly Samson

Europe is a lighthouse,

a flash down coasts pebbled-beaches

resurrect in evening's blues.

Nocturne bends this

into sound highways 

near Rouen

cup their ears toward :

so do I - 

I’m a flashing shape

that hounded road-signs 

for spare-change,

grime-powdered Francs, anything that makes me 

realise - how morning and night - how

Tuesdays and Thursdays mean nothing here.

There is only sound - the yelp of taxis down boulevards 

to the summoning of proud

and erect heels -

Barcelona stretched across decades of cigarette illumination,

and the manholes on slate-grey streets, billowing pneumatic jazz,

all that Jazz…

In Corsica the sky leans towards me, holds out its hand

dropping me blankets of orange, blankets of red,

rusted gold, and the songs in powder-blue -

only one stayed the course 

as I sway alongside David Gilmour’s

solo, like a broken heart repaired by easel,

shifting dusk-time 

through every shade of blue.

This is my shade, I hold it in my palm,

join the queue, waiting.

No-one asked the sky

how grey could look so beautiful, 

we took it for granted I guess,

then dusk came and blessed us -

like the French, the Greeks,

those Italian fossils - bone shielded by stone

 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.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

THE FIRST KISS. By Doug Holder


A tipsy old man
gives a kiss to 
his lottery ticket.
Who knows?
it may be his last.
Of course
it might 
have been different.

If it wasn't
for the booze, bullshit, 
and bombast.
Yes there
was actually
a time when
he went out
for a pack of Luckies
and never came back--

the chorus sings:

" Hit the road Jack
and don't come
back no more
no more..."

he kissed the ticket
he kissed a card
of dead-end dollar signs
each scratch
another lost cause
his hoary head
in love
his eyes
pulled up
the cataract blinds
and revealed
a deep, deep blue...

just like
his first.

Doug Holder is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press. He teaches creative writing at Endicott College in Beverly, MA. For over thirty years he ran poetry groups for psychiatric patients at McLean Hospital--outside of Boston.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

some old beauty queen that needed some loving. by J.J. Campbell

i wanted to kiss you the
first time i ever saw you

i don’t think your husband
would have approved

instead, i sat at the bar
ordering every crazy
fucking drink i could
think of

the bartender was this
young blonde who
seemed to understand

as the tips got bigger
the drinks get stronger

i would later explain
this was the problem
with me having a
good paying job

all that money ended
up in these little hole
in the wall places where
i hoped i would find
some old beauty queen
that needed some loving

that never worked out
how i wanted but i did
become a damn good
pool player

probably could have
become a professional
but i figured i would
stick to the words

no threat of ever
becoming rich doing

J.J. Campbell (1976 - ?) was raised by wolves and is currently trapped in suburbia. He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Record Magazine, Misfit Magazine, The Beatnik Cowboy, Mad Swirl and Synchronized Chaos. His latest chapbook, the taste of blood on christmas morning, was published by Analog Submission Press in July 2018. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (

Monday, February 15, 2021

Elegy at Jack’s Tavern by Bob Boulton

Only one drink and I’m already sentimental
for my yesterdays. How non compos mentis is that?
Time for another one. What do you say?
Time for just one more. Come on. Sit yourself down.

I tell the kids I’d bring them here when they were young.
Parked them over there at the corner table
with a bag of chips and a plastic jug of pop.
I knew this place so well back then.

It was my breathing space, my just in case.
Sat at this bar, right about here, and talked to Jack,
when he owned it, name above the door,
captain of his ship.

Now, when I remind the kids, they shake their heads,
and dance their eyes and hide their smiles behind their hands.

Today, there’s no one that I know in here at all.

Say, that drink slid down too quickly. 
What do you say to another? One more and then that’s it.
My day today? 
Another get-in-line take-a-number kind of nothing day

Tomorrow promises great eternal truths.
Perhaps worthy of a story?
Or a tune from my kazoo?
Or a dance. How about a dance?
A pirouette? A hoochie coochie?

No, don’t get me started on tomorrow.
We’d never get home.
Just one more drink all morning long.

After his career in human services, Bob returned to his passion for writing. He regularly contributes a personal reflections column to The Sarnia Journal. Bob's verse, short stories, and articles have been published in a variety of small magazines. His blog, Bob’s Write from the Start, is aimed at others who are also renewing writers. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

A tipsy Valentine for evening by Carrie Magness Radna

Wanna come back to you, cool evening.
The harsh shine of day kills my buzz,
making my brain fuzzy like a lost kitten.
Wanna come back to the nighttime;
its lights shine on too brightly,
leading all the tipsy drunk girls home.
They are so smitten, stoned & stung
by those cool people in the crowd
with bruised egos & chapped lips,
shaking their hips to the music,
fueled with vodka lubricants &
lemon mints, waiting for love 
to come get them, or watching love
leaving them by the back door,
wondering what could have been—
& then, once again, I’m glad to
hang out with you, as you
carry me home again, when
all the weird noises die down,
in this town where the good kids 
stay in, where once again,
maybe, Baby,
we can all feel safe again.

A 2020 nominee for Best of the Web, 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, The Rainbow Project (Poets Wear Prada), Shot Glass Journal, Poetry Super Highway,, Cajun Mutt Press, Polarity eMagazine, Walt’s Corner, The Poetic Bond (VIII-X), 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. Her new poetry collection, In the blue hour, is now published by Nirala Publications (January 2021). Born in Norman, Oklahoma, she now lives with her husband in Manhattan.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Let’s Hear It For The Band by Dan Holt

He was there 
every time we played
drinking draft beer
straight from the pitcher
hooting and hollering
after every song

There would be
this thud
and he’d be
face down
on the bar

One time 
some regulars
duct taped
his head and hands
right to the bar

He came to
just as a song
was ending
sat up
ripping the tape
and said
let’s here it 
for the band

The bartender
called last call
and he ordered
another pitcher
tearing the tape
off his wrists

Dan Holt is blues singer/songwriter/recording artist, poet and fiction author from a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. He has produced 11 albums of original music along with various singles and eps. Like most writers, his work has been published in various online and print journals. After many years away from the poetry scene, Dan has returned to writing poetry in 2021.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Dewey/I Need a Drink by Dan Provost

Driving on Route 16.
Snow drifts melting from
the accepted winter.
Trees spitting out memories
of last week’s storm.
Fluffy bombs splattering—
Washer fluid,
sand killing
The Smithereens on the CD player
Mid/late 1980’s techno-riffs…
Lyrics reaching to lovelorn
twenty somethings…
Who wanted to be cool and
college lounge
rain filled sex life that leaked
out of worship.
Too many sighs in rhythm with the wind…
Remembering that Lithuanian girl
with the exquisite eyes and courtly
Who tempted my mid teen/early
adulthood fantasies with hope
of unruffled, fashionable love.
The one with the same sense of
humor as you…
Stoned, within your shanty…
Making out…but not taking
anything future at face value.
The Smithereens, the Del Fuegoes,
pre grunge, too clever for
hair band, makeup
But I digress.
Sounds from a desperate
past are only poor word
Rhyming heartbreaks.
That hindered the process
of a trudging world.
No time for emotional
courtrooms out there.
Back to early February…
Christmas is way in the
rear view mirror.
Break from the silly
season is officially over.
If not already noted and
accepted—seeing those
lazy ass Mom and Pop stores,
who refuse to take down
the lights/ wreaths.
Dewey/I need a drink,
right now
in a mid-winter sunlit bar.
3:00 PM.
Feel the travesty of afternoon rummies.
Few survivors present… on a trodden Sunday.
Waiting for the thieves, jokers and
crows-feet to grind their
ass tomorrow.
Jaunts into poignant, inner memorabilia
are nice.
But eventually fade
as Dewey/I take that
first shot
of blatant

Dan Provost's poetry has been published throughout the small press for a number of years.  Some recent publications include: Ariel Chart, Poetical Review, Merak Magazine, Oddball Magazine, Deuce Coupe, Misfit Magazine, the Rye Whiskey Review, Cajun Mutt Press and the Dope Fiend Daily.  He has two books coming out in 2020.  Under the Influence of Nothingness by Kung Fu Treachery Press and Rattle of a Realizer, published by Whiskey City Press.  He lives in Berlin, New Hampshire with his wife Laura and dog Bella.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

No Picnic by Mickey J. Corrigan

Oh little red hood
feeder of bodies
fantasies and lusts
cheerleader for lone wolves
yes, it is true what you say
their privilege will be
your life's doing, undoing
your heart's beaten desire.

For you to wield the pen
of legend, greatness
you'll need experience
that is, a great man
to take your pulpy heart
in his hairy paws 
and squeeze, squeeze
crushing it, oh
yes you must hurt, bleed
bones broken, bruises greening
throat raw, eyes drip dripping
your pale organs swollen 
in their thin black bags
the slit pain of paring knives
the red gush of loss.

Oh yes, dear hooded one
your awful tragedy
you must wring that dirty rag
with fast-typing hands
make beauty from heartbreak
from little smiling hooks
leave a trail of black clots
your veins full of invisibles
the pulsing wound of being
a woman in a man's world
prey for the hungry wolves
you need to become you.

Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan writes tropical noir with a dark humor. Novels include Project XX about a school shooting (Salt Publishing, UK, 2017) and What I Did for Love, a spoof of Lolita (Bloodhound Books, UK, 2019). In 2020, Grandma Moses Press released the poetry micro-chapbook Florida Man. The Physics of Grief puts the fun back in funerals while taking a serious look at the process of mourning (QuoScript, UK, 2021).

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Scalper by Jon Bennett by Jon Bennett

 “Come with me” 
The man was 25 yrs my junior 
with a couple years sober 
and I was new 
so after the meeting 
he took me to his apartment
“Babe, this is, um, John,” he said  
“Not again,” said his girlfriend 
“What are we doing here?” I asked 
He sat me at the kitchen table 
opened a new AA big book 
inscribed it and gave it to me 
I guess that’s what we were doing 
His name was Dylan 
I don’t like that name 
it’s already being used 
and I didn’t like how pretty 
his girlfriend was 
it made me want to drink 
although everything  
made me want to drink
He told me his entire family 
were ticket scalpers 
in a rustbelt city,  
Toledo or Des Moines, 
and he got strung on Xanax 
because if you have 
a lot of time and a lot of money 
you need something to do
His scalping business was  
easy and sleazy 
and his girlfriend was an engineer
so it made sense 
when I heard they broke up 
and he moved back to Toledo 
or Des Moines 
to wait in front of stadiums 
and hock tickets to teeny boppers
He was a weed  
trying to become a flower 
Maybe he made it.

Jon Bennett writes and plays music in what once was San Francisco.

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