Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Just another Tuesday (really) by Mike Zone

Why are my dad and I
 both allegedly stoned?
arguing over the song 
“Combat Rock”
Was it The Clash? 
or that one band
 You know?
That wasn’t The Clash?
No, I don’t know
Punk or reggae?
It’s just another Tuesday
as The Enterprise soars the space-ways
what exactly prompted this living sitcom scene?
we pop open a couple beers
ignoring the giant dead elephant 
in the room



Mike Zone is the author of A Farewell to Big Ideas, Void Beneath the Skin, Better than the Movie: 4 Screenplays and Fellow Passengers: Public Transit Poetry, Meditations and Musings. A contributing poet to Mad Swirl and contributing writer to the graphic novel series American Anti-hero by Alien Buddha Press. His poetry and stories have appeared in: Horror Sleaze Trash, The Daily Dope Fiend, Outlaw Poetry, The Rye Whiskey Review, Synchronized Chaos and Triadæ Magazine


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Hearing Ella’s Voice by Alicia Mathias

 for Ella Fitzgerald 

When leaves scat 
from tree to street
and rustle 
with the breeze
In flurries 
of blue and gusts 
of jazz in light 
jacket weather
We feel high and wild
from all night singing
with the tipsy 
gypsy stars
Seems we shared our secrets
and They All Laughed to learn
I’ve got a crush 
on the moon






Alicia Mathias is a writer, artist, and photographer. Her poems and/or artwork, can be seen in: Ann Arbor Review, The Bitter Oleander, bradlaughsfinger, The Canopy Review, Chiron Review, Clockwise Cat, Fearless, January Review Journal, SetU Magazine, Newington Blue Press, Porter Gulch Review, The Rye Whiskey Review, Sore Dove Press, Unlikely Stories Mark V,  and elsewhere. She lives in New York, with her favorite muse, Zeppelin the Wonder Cat. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Chained by Linnet Phoenix

You let your life lapse to marry her 
You chose her sapping heavy halitosis 

Her mange matted bedhead bedraggled 
Her dank drool flecked jaws and snarls

You always knew her better than anyone
You gave her free reign of your dominion

She chewed your brain marrow just toying
She pissed slowly on your best bed linen

You didn't care what other people thought
You just embraced her lice ridden ribcage

I'd liked to have seen her 2 weeks after death
I'd have smiled to watch maggot infestation

She'd have been bloated in blackened heckles
She'd have had empty crow pecked sockets

I'd have lied to say the black dog never died
I'd have held your head in my lap as you cried



Linnet Phoenix is a poet who currently resides in North Somerset, England. She has been writing poetry for years. Her work has previously been published in Heroin Love Songs, Punk Noir Magazine, ImpSpired Magazine and others. With poems in the upcoming Spring 2021 edition of Poetica Review. She also enjoys horse-riding in rainstorms.


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Patched by Susan Tepper

Body’s stitched over
irregular
quick sloppy 
patched red & black
Squint to find needle marks
barely holding 
Any slight move 
breaks it
off the frame:
who I am, who has been
discovered, covered up 
this whole long year


Susan Tepper is a twenty year writer in all genres, and the author of nine published books.  Her most recent are CONFESS (a poetry chapbook by Cervena Barva Press, 2020) and a quirky road novel WHAT DRIVES MEN (Wilderness House Press, 2019).  Currently Tepper is in pre-production of an Off-Bdwy play titled THE CROOKED HEART which she based on artist Jackson Pollock’s later years.

www.susantepper.com

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Freddy had a gun by John Munn

Freddy had a gun
Three chambers full
Freddy went to the pink lady bar and got drunk
Back in the hostel sitting on his bed he wondered
where it all went wrong
Feeling under his bed he pulled up a small canvas bag
Releasing the string with his big hands
Jangles the Jack Russell puppy Whimpered 
Making eyes at Freddy  
Eyes that stirred his soul
giving him the will he needed to carry on
The floor walker Jenkins gave Freddy a dog biscuit saying “watch
lime face doesn’t see him he will stir up trouble”
The cops taped off the dormitory the next morning
Writing two elderly males dead in gunfire incident
One Herbert Lime
One Freddy Turner 
and a puppy name tagged Jangles
Two nights later Clint a elderly man with learning difficulties took up the empty bed
pinning a picture of his cat to the plaster wall




Born and bred in the industrial valleys of South eastern Wales.
lived early life in the shadows of the Six bells colliery,
growing up within a close-knit community,  helped shape lifetime views on political issues.
worked for over a decade at the colliery and held office in the trade union lodge at a young age. John belongs to the poetry group wordley worders and has had poems published in 
Our poetry archives  and recently,  Impspired, together with several self-published books.

Friday, March 26, 2021

I Miss Friday Nights by Joe Taylor

The anticipation, blaring my music, my drinking songs, driving to the bar, a cigar unlit, at the ready to light up, as I will, tasting already the drafts, icy cold in my parched imagination, the work week, the woe week in my rear view mirror.

The neon, beckoning me inside, but that side, the "Bar", not the "Restaurant" side. Families, old ladies, men who've lost the taste dine there. No, I want more than fuel for my gut. I crave the magic elixir, to be chugged, gulped, sipped in the pursuit of the elusive.

There are slot machines there now, but Friday night bars have always been a game of chance. Who knows if the woman next to me will come home with me, or slap my face. Who knows if that dude I've been drinking with will, realizing I'm a Democrat, deck me? I drink and roll the dice.

The plan to drink and be gone by ten, to avoid cop cars goes the way of the best made plans. Only an hour, it seems after I entered the bar at 5:30, it's quarter of one, but the laughs are loud, the talk, cheap and good, I tell the barmaid I'll "have one more, then I really gotta go."

I must have gotten home ok. I wake up in my bed, not on a jailhouse bunk, not face down in a snow bank. There's no woman laying next to me. My jaw doesn't hurt and my teeth are intact. A couple of aspirin, two Tums melting slowing, I drift back into sleep. Smiling, thinking already of next Friday night.



Retired, after a lifetime in  radio, from on air to management, Joe Taylor has returned to his love of writing. He wrote and produced a number of national and regional award winning radio documentaries and feature series. He has previously published in Cracked Magazine, Ink Monkey Magazine, The Watershed Journal, The Tobeco Literary and Arts Journal, and The Rye Whiskey Review. He resides in rural northwestern Pennsylvania.


Nirvana by Terrence Sykes

I was sipping beer
in my water bottle 
to cure a Saturday hangover
too early on Sunday morning 
 
all the stores were still closed 
but I reached nirvana
at the local boarded up
suburban shopping strip





Terrence Sykes is a GASP Gay Alcoholic Southern Poet & was born and raised in the rural coal mining area of Virginia.  Although he is a far better cook &  gardener – his  poetry - photography - flash fiction has been published in India, Mauritius,Scotland, Spain and the USA. ..Other interests include heirloom vegetable research & foraging wild edibles .

Thursday, March 25, 2021

windber by Jason Baldinger

these beatnik girls
spill bohemian glory
on the coppertops of bars
we fire drinks back
faster than we fill then
still there are no pink elephants for me

sun splinters hotel windows
birds chitter august songs
delirium tremens in a sleeping bag
shaking on a concrete floor

three hours out
shrieks stab slumber
I stumble downstairs
to find the commotion
in an old drunk woman
who after bare floor communion
has lost the ability to keep
blood under her skin
arroyos are filling
blood from broken noses
stains linoleum, stains carpets

I am useless to these moments
a drunk is poor solace to a drunk
blood is a clumsy dance partner

I scutter back to my room
sleep to scuttle this lifetime hangover
damn the squeal of blood sermons

today, I am rattled sleepless
destined instead to stumble 
toward morning sun
a knife sticking behind my ear

I’m destined to climb 
train track mountains
survey the town of johnny weissmuller
survey the town of alan freed 
while rattling chains
for the ghost of american diners

sunday church services soothe me
I hear hymns crawl into the street
ashamed of their gift of tongues
I stand toward the back
shout a prayer for the faithful

for a shower and clean shirt
I’ll believe any lie you say
I’ll sing to any god
that will grant me 
acetaminophen
 

we all seek earthly peace
there is no peace here
I return to the street
dry as a vampire

on main I scavenge
for a greasy spoon
to wrestle this hangover
to spell penance
to bless with relief

I am the merriwether lewis 
of the laurel highlands
I’ve shot bears in my sleep

today, my suicide note is blank
this town has been erased
maps keep no record this existed
a history of backroads misplaced
but there’s gotta be a diner here someplace




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.





Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Me and Mr. Jones by Christine Irving

Remember the Silver Dollar─ skanky little 
basement dive on a throw away street 
still coughing up stale tobacco ten years 
after the ban. low customers scuttling downstairs 
like cockroaches and a bouncer so mean 
even brave men jaywalked to avoid him?

It’s different now, all uptown and sleek
sand blasted, dry-walled, scoured, polished.
All memories of cheap whiskey and despair 
replaced by spare lines and hardwood floors,
warm candlelight, cool jazz, timeless barman. 
It could be 1920, thirty, forty, or two thousand 
something, newly opened, not yet discovered, 
perfect weeknight setting for a tryst.

We perch at our tiny table 
sharing cabernet and gimlets, I gaze, 
you talk and talk─ it all makes sense,
reflects my own musing, mingles 
with the perfect pitch of a tenor sax.

But I have walked this path before
in other shoes and I see ghosts
pacing the walls, huddled waiting

in the corner of the red leather couch
Though flame flickers sweetly between us
turning your white shirt cream, dappling
your beautiful neck with gold, 
though your blue eyes turn navy
dilating with desire, eventually
we must go home again.

And then there’s this: fulfillment 
nullifies desire, collapses possibilities
concretizes fantasy, defines the dream.

I prefer the swoops and darts of Eros;
synchronistic meetings, unplanned rendezvous,
Karma, tossing her gauntlet over a rainbow
time and time again.



Not knowing your preferred mode of address, I'm sticking with formality till next time.  I found your  site through my friend and fellow poet Michael Minassian. Two of these poems were published long ago in small obscure chapbooks when I was living in Nevada City - you probably know some of the Six Ft. Swells poets. (Tod Cirillo and his friend Matt Armott claimed to have invented the genre "after hours poetry".)  Except for Joe's Bar (new) and Me and Mr. Jones (included in my book The Naked Man), these poems have been languishing without a venue for some time.  North Texas, where I live now, is still a bit too closeted to celebrate this kind of fun aloud. I have other and newer poems, of course, but the rowdier ones and those inclined to noir hold a special place in my rebellious heart.  I hope your bar doors swing open for them - after all, time tends to stand still in low places...

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Asylum Prayer by Lauren Scharhag

Say, God is meaningless,
unless They know our pain.
Say, this is the selling point of Christ,
a god who is also a bleeder,
a laborer, a partaker of bread, 
a refugee. 

Say, this is my exhaustion:
searching for the godlike 
in the faces of corruption,
in the places of razor wire.
Say, mothers, your milk
dries as tears. Say, children,
we are all out of lullabies.
Say, Samaritans, keep your gifts. 

Say, this desert air 
is the breath of God. 
If you want baptism,
here is the indifferent river,
the toilet basin.

Say, this want 
is an emanation of God.
Say, the Dollar Almighty 
has its chosen people. 
Even the haven of light 
will be denied, 
the all-knowing motion sensors,
the bulbs that rob the weary 
of sleep, dreams, time,
those most fundamental of healers.

Say that despair is the soul-killer, 
the looking away. Say, we must 
be bigger than God. Say, 
we must do what God cannot.
We must be here, in the flesh. 
Our persistence must be so great,
even They will be humbled. 




Lauren Scharhag is the author of fourteen books, including Requiem for a Robot Dog (Cajun Mutt Press) and Languages, First and Last (Cyberwit Press). Her work has appeared in over 150 literary venues around the world. Recent honors include the Seamus Burns Creative Writing Prize, three Best of the Net nominations, and acceptance into the 2021 Antarctic Poetry Exhibition. She lives in Kansas City, MO. To learn more about her work, visit: www.laurenscharhag.blogspot.com

 


Monday, March 22, 2021

Drinks before Dawn by Timothy Resau

Even the idea is raw,
just like those walking dead
outside Big Ben’s Liquors
on the corner of North Capitol Street & New York Avenue,
the nation’s capital.
Early morning booze stains, trying to clear the vision—
unable to locate last night thru the fog & fumes.

The thought is straight, jolted to life by need,
a bracer on which to build a drinking day.
Nothing’s ignored, just blurred.
It needs to be alcohol … a shot from the bottle.
A jolt to the brain … a direct hit. A jump start.
Oh, we’re describing a disease here—
Look around at all those crushed,
walking over broken glass,
and it’s just before dawn. 





Timothy Resau has been published in the U.S., Canada, Portugal, and the U.K. Recently his work has been in Adelaide Literary Magazine, Sideways Poetry Magazine, Sylvia Magazine, The Beautiful Space, and an essay is forthcoming in Loch Raven Review, as well as poetry in Rat’s Ass Review, Native Skin, and Pure Slush. He’s just completed a novel called Three Gates East. His career has been in the international wine industry.


Sunday, March 21, 2021

I’m Your Biggest Fan by Dan Holt

He had me 
locked in an
endless handshake and
he was talking 
so close that
spittle was hitting
my face

As he talked
he gestured with
the glass of
beer in his
other hand splashing
it all over
himself and the
floor and my
shoes

I kept thinking
how do I
get this guy
to let go
of my hand
so I can 
get a glass 
of gin To 
kill all these 
germs he is
spitting In my
mouth

It’s always the
big drunk guy
who pushes his 
way to the front

From his book Blank Canvas on Bloody Pavement




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, March 19, 2021

Hold by Andreas Fleps

Sitting at the bar of my favorite Mexican restaurant—
sipping on my 20-ounce frozen strawberry margarita—
I see an awkward hug across from me. It’s the first time 
they have met, so maybe it’s a Tinder date, or if they are 
classier, a Bumble date. Either way, the woman all 
dolled-up looks like a worm writhing in a palm. He held
her far too long and too tight, probably sniffed her hair,
and touched her lower waist at the end. Poor fucker, 
he doesn’t even know the date is over before it began. 
I shall call his penis “Glasses,” for he will not be seeing
any action tonight. I shall call his penis “Nemo,” for 
the little guy is probably hard to find. 

Anyway, I don’t enjoy being touched. I want fingerprints to 
drip off my skin. Don’t get too close to me—my sadness 
will dilute your joy. Love makes me flinch. Love bombs
me with guilt. Love shackles me inside my brain. I am the
clapping monkey with cymbals, running out of music.

The news is on, a harsh glow above the glistening bottles 
of tequila telling me how this person was shot here and 
this person drowned there and these people were slaughtered
because they sing to a different god, different nothingness. 
Fuck me. I take a shot. It burns, like how my mother looks at me
when I tell her to look away; you don’t want to see how this ends. 

Back to the date. He talks on and on. I shall call him “Treadmill,”
for his tongue can travel miles in one place. He touches her leg, 
and I hear her chair squeak slightly away—a simple but succinct—
“No.” He takes note. They finish their food and drinks, and she leaves
before him. He orders a shot before he departs, defeat painting his
face in loneliness. I order one too. Poor fucker, to be surrounded 
by fingers and not have one reaching for you.

He doesn’t realize yet how the world’s arms are not wide with 
welcome, even though all there is to welcome is more of itself.

He doesn’t realize America cannot hold anyone because
it has a Bible in one hand and gun in the other, and it will put
down the Bible when it wants to grab a woman. Or maybe he
does, considering he is wearing a black Grunt Style t-shirt. 

I take a shot. I shall call my lack “Here,” for it never goes away.
What else can I bring you except armfuls of myself trying
to slip away? How can I hold anyone or anything with my 
hands around my neck, tightening?

Poor fucker.




 Andreas Fleps is a 29-year-old poet based near Chicago. He studied theology and philosophy at Dominican University, and his debut collection of poems entitled, Well into the Night (via Energion Publications) was released at the end of 2020. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as High Shelf Press, Snapdragon, Allegory Ridge, Passengers Journal, and Waxing & Waning, among others. Battling Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder since the age of five, he translates teardrops.



Fentanyl Landscape by Dennis Moriarty

The first incision plunders the depths
Of despair.
A scalpel of wind slicing my head,
Lifting the flat of my skull,
Peeling it back, a flash of blade illuminating
The darkness within.
My thoughts become roadkill, exposed
To cruel beaks
And crueller aspirations of the crows.
They grip me
In a headlock of claws, my heart pounds,
Roaring like a river in full spate,
My body twitches like an amphetamine junkie
Coming down.
Each in incursion is brief and brutal, flesh
Stripped from my thoughts,
Slithers of lesser meaning swallowed
Without chewing,
Morsels of a wider phycology devoured
Without tasting.
I awake to a fire burning in my head where
My brain used to be,
See through a gap in the curtains a murder
Of crows,
Dozing, plump and sated in a tree, the bones
Of my thoughts
Pecked clean and scattered across the Fentanyl
Landscape of my mind.




Dennis Moriarty was born in London, England and now lives in Wales. Married with five grown up offspring Dennis likes walking the dog in the mountains, reading and writing.
In 2017 he won the Blackwater poetry competition and went to county Cork in Ireland to read his work at the international poetry festival. Dennis has had poems featured in many publications including Blue nib, Our poetry archive, Setu bilingual, The passage between and others.




Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Still Night Sessions: Review by Jim Bouery




When you read a poem or short story by John Patrick Robbins you’re heading into some truly direct, honest, and often disturbing territory. This collection made up of poems and stories, (and poems that feel like stories) is some of Mr. Robbins strongest work yet. Don’t expect to find poetry that tiptoes around its subjects. Don’t expect delicate language or obscure metaphor. Humor, dark and self-deprecating, is often lurking where it might be inappropriate. In fact, sometimes the darkest pieces seem to have a punch line at the end.

Academic poetry purists, if they come across this book, would likely dismiss it after the first few lines. A poem titled In Memory of You begins

There is an app for everything, even to tell you the last time
you washed your ass. 
But at times I wish there was one to tell people when they
should really shut the fuck up.

An academic would complain about the lack of subtlety, the absence of metaphor and the prose-like diction. But Mr. Robbins doesn’t care what the academics or poetry snobs might think. His writing is immediate and driven by an obsession to make it completely self-expressive. Reading these poems and stories is like tearing the pages out of the notebook he’s writing in as he drinks spiked coffee at the breakfast table, or, more likely, as he’s jotting lines down on cheap napkins in a corner bar where he’s tossing back shots with beer chasers.

The reader of this book sometimes feels like a voyeur. The author doesn’t worry about syntax or punctuation. There is no filter here, screening out or hiding emotions or opinions. And the themes of these poems are loneliness, lost love, writing, the dishonesty rampant in the conventional publishing world, leading a dissolute life, and more (self-imposed) loneliness. 

In Doin Time Within My Mind (sic) the author seems to be begging for that feeling of being alone:

If I was to spend my existence in false imprisonment then
dear Lord please give me solitary confinement.

This theme arises several times. And a memory about attempted suicide shows up in a poem titled Company Time. Several poems about the difficulty of interpersonal relationships reinforce the poet’s sense of aloneness. These are often vulnerable and sympathetic, even while they show a streak of paranoia. In Memphis, a poem ostensibly about admiring a woman he sees in a bar, we feel a sense of mistrust and harsh self-awareness in this line:

My dear I will just have to admire you from afar as I decay,
in the distance.

Some poems are disparaging of other authors while extolling honesty. Mr. Robbins has critical words for Hemingway, Bukowski, J. D. Salinger and Jack Kerouac. The criticism is not so much about their work as about their character. He is kindest to Bukowski and seems to identify with him, particularly as a loner. At other times, the author is critical of himself, but there is little self-pity in any part of this book. And it should be noted that this collection has a famous quote from Ernest Hemingway just after the title page.

The few short stories (or are they long poems?) in the collection are not identified as such and read like dialogues between the narrator and another person. No French Quarter, Who is Tommy, Reading vs Comprehension, Sky Lanterns, and Indiana Cold are all longer pieces with a strong narrative line, yet they also have a structure similar to Mr. Robbin’s poems. Like quality “flash fiction” these pieces are immediately engaging, realistic, and follow a clear story arc. And, in the end, it doesn’t matter if they are long poems or short stories. They are effective and do exactly as the author intended.

This collection is not without its tender moments. It can be found in Let’s Drop Acid, Across Something, A Note Before Our Farewell, and Charley Doesn’t Dream Here Anymore. The last poem is one of those longer pieces that could be mistaken for a short story. It has some very gentle and quietly poetic moments as it explores the declining memory and life of a veteran. These lines are especially poignant:

Turning into a stranger is a horrible sort of disease that eats
away at the soul.


Some of the best modern poetry (and fiction) can be found online in ezines and blogs and journals. Mr. Robbins is a presence in this world and has brought to public attention dozens of poets and authors. He has also brought authors who work in more conventional venues into his online world. And as he has been doing this work as an editor and publisher he has also been constantly writing, producing poetry and fiction that can shake up our presumed perceptions about the life of an author and editor. This collection showcases an honest, driven voice. It is a voice full of pain, anguish, humor, empathy, and creative spirit. Check it out. Your life will be richer.






Jim Bourey is an old poet who divides his year between the Adirondack Mountains and Dover, Delaware. His chapbook “Silence, Interrupted” was published in 2015 by the Broadkill River Press. His work has appeared in Mojave River Review, Paddock Review, Gargoyle and the Broadkill Review and other journals and anthologies. He was first runner up in the Faulkner-Wisdom Poetry Competition in 2012 and 2016. He has served as an adjudicator for the Poetry Out Loud competition in Delaware. In his North Country months, he is active with the St. Lawrence Area Poets and has taken part in Art/Poetry projects in Saranac Lake.








THE NEW ICE AGE by Michael Minassian

My friend’s wife called
to ask if she could stay
at our house but begged
my wife not to tell
my friend she was there.

When he called, I lied to him;
later, they got back together—
we never saw either one again.

Sixty-five million years ago
an asteroid hit the earth,
dinosaurs became extinct
and the last ice age began—
the way I watched
my friend and his wife leave
my house, their footprints
filling up with snow,
birds circling overhead
in a slow spiral until
they were out of sight.






MICHAEL MINASSIAN’s poems and short stories have appeared recently in such journals as, Live Encounters, Lotus Eater, and Chiron Review. He is also a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online poetry journal. His chapbooks include poetry: The Arboriculturist and photography: Around the Bend. His poetry collections, Time is Not a River and Morning Calm are both available on Amazon. His poetry manuscript A Matter of Timing won the 2020 Poetry Society of Texas’ Manuscript Contest (publication: Summer 2021). For more information: https://michaelminassian.com

 


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Dumbbell Loss by Randall Rogers

Once you screw up so
many times it just doesn’t
matter anymore
you do better. You learn
to succeed once the
pressure is off
and no one is evaluating
(your) pure stupidity.
Or drink.




He is Randall Rogers, visionary poet of the prairie.  A cowboy, yea, a beatnik; a Beatnik Cowboy.  He is an old young, sorry.  Here he exhibits new work.  More flashes in the pan.  I hope the world, nay, you editor, approveth of seeth/something here. (Currently reading "Pilgrim's Progress")  Adios!  I kind of reworked these to work in booze but they are total virgins (never put out).




Monday, March 15, 2021

The Void by Daniel S. Irwin

I write while I drink.
Or drink while I write.
It’s like entering a void
To create from nothing.
Wrestling in the mind.
Will it come, will it flow?
Is there anything there?
A contest for the soul.
Like the matador, do I
Dare enter the arena,
Wave the cape, feel the
Presence of the bull?
Execute fine veronicas?
Or will I be gored and
Guts ripped out in defeat?



Daniel S. Irwin, Artist, Actor, Writer, Soldier, Scholar, Priest.  Graduate of Southern Illinois University/Carbondale, University of Georgia grad school drop out.

Retired military.  Once worked with the criminally insane…but didn’t notice anything strange about the inmates.  Has had work published in over one hundred

Magazine and journals world wide.


 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Dont Bury Me On The Weekend by Joe Kidd

If I die on Monday
Run the vacuum if you can
If I die on Tuesday
Put the Tacos in the pan
If I die on Hump day
And my humping days are through
Say I prayer for me on Sunday
That's all I ask of you

If I die on Thursday
Take the trash out to the street
Dress me up in my cowboy boots
There's some friends I'd like to meet
If I die on Friday
Prop me up there on my stool
And let Saturday be my day
I promise I'll be Cool

Just don't bury me on the weekend
That's the days I love the best
And let me keep on soaking it up
Before I lay down to rest
I've got too many things to do
Now brother, that's a fact
Don't bury me on the weekend
Cos, I cant live with that




Joe Kidd published his first book of verse titled The Invisible Waterhole on May 31, 2020.  In the 10 months following, his poems have been published in 14 journals and websites, and one poem was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.  

Joe is a multi award winning songwriter including Detroit Songwriter of the Year, Global Folk Song of the Year, Clouzine Magazine Folk Song of the Year, and others.

Joe and his partner Sheila Burke have received certificates from the Michigan Governor's Office and the U.S. House of Representatives for their work to promote Peace, Social Justice, and Cultural Diversity.  They have toured across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Western Europe.


Author Page:
https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Kidd/e/B089QYDXSM
Official Website:
www.joekiddandsheilaburke.com
The Invisible Waterhole Face Book Page:
https://www.facebook.com/The-Invisible-Waterhole-105236244650339/



Saturday, March 13, 2021

Smoke by Linnet Phoenix

You said you smelt smoke 
on Saturday night.
A wildfire burning
not an uncommon affair
for this time of year.
For the air is arid yellow,
sage brushes smudging 
sins of a working world.
You did not step outside,
feel the westerly winds 
carrying feathered flames.
This smothered darkness 
each night relieved of duty
by dawn's bright arrival.
Seek out the night lights,
follow a fae firefly path, 
lift your eyes to sun rise.
See your own reflection
in this beautiful burning.





Linnet Phoenix is a poet who currently resides in North Somerset, England. She has been writing poetry for years. Her work has previously been published in Heroin Love Songs, Punk Noir Magazine, ImpSpired Magazine and others. With poems in the upcoming Spring 2021 edition of Poetica Review. She also enjoys horse-riding in rainstorms.


Friday, March 12, 2021

Bourbon by Tony Brewer

Sweet on the lips
with a flame on the tongue
and a burn like love
on the way down to the belly
The mind loosens and
the tongue loosens and
there are reasons why distilleries
in KY often live in dry counties
No one would ever leave
swigging from the moon
and singing soooo many
unsingable tunes






TONY BREWER is executive director of the spoken word stage at the 4th Street Arts Festival and his latest book is Homunculus (Dos Madres Press, 2019). He has been offering Poetry On Demand at coffeehouses, museums, cemeteries, churches, bars, and art and music festivals for over 10 years and he is one-third of the poetry performance group Reservoir Dogwoods. More at tonybrewer71.blogspot.com.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Patterns by Susan Tepper

All the windows 
have cracked
soft spider web 
patterns 
Keeping you 
from seeing 
truth or
the snow piles
finally melting
Pouring through 
a roof that was 
always a compromise
situation






Susan Tepper is a twenty year writer in all genres, and the author of nine published books.  Her most recent are CONFESS (a poetry chapbook by Cervena Barva Press, 2020) and a quirky road novel WHAT DRIVES MEN (Wilderness House Press, 2019).  Currently Tepper is in pre-production of an Off-Bdwy play titled THE CROOKED HEART which she based on artist Jackson Pollock’s later years.

www.susantepper.com

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Yea, Yea by Dan Provost

Never was I diagnosed with anything, just
another dreary malcontent who drank away his
rent money.
 
I catapulted misery into a shot glass.
 
Raised my eyebrows for more whiskey.
 
My northern Rhode Island accent never noticed…
 
I barely had to say a word as the bluesy Allman Brothers
score played in front, behind and on both sides of
gutter neutrality.





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.


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Ghosting my Way in to the Afterlife by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

It comes back to me.
In that vividly liquid way the past 
spills over the present.

Something forgotten,
shoved away in some compartment.
Now experienced again.
In dream this time, but so real
the fear returns.

My mother is sitting on that blue couch
along Meadowland Avenue 
with my little brother.

She makes an unreasonable demand
and my brother says something vaguely sassy in retort.

My father leaps across the room 
and slaps my little brother twice across the face
in anger.

He has got my mother by mistake in his rage.
She is touching a mark on her cheek
while my little brother wails.

I am his older brother, his protector.
But I am also 12 years old, my father’s son.

Standing shirtless in the hallway by the front door,  
I start pacing with confusion.

My shoulders hunch up and my arms tighten.
Pacing like some territorial baboon.
Making myself look bigger on instinct.

My mother watching me the entire time.
I can see in her eyes that she expects me to attack my father.
My brother is swollen red and in tears.
I don’t know what to do so I walk through the wrap around kitchen
and back into the living room from the other side.

Perhaps I just don’t want my mother looking at me anymore.
It allows me more room to pace in confusion.
My father says nothing, his back turned.
He is standing menacingly over my brother.

I am backlit by the window behind.
I can feel the sun searing the back of my neck.
It must be late in the afternoon.
The sun always set in the backyard on Meadowland.

I jump towards the couch and grab my brother away.
What the hell?, I hear myself saying.
Nobody says anything.
I lead my brother up to safety.
Close the door to my room behind us.

He has stopped crying now.  
I give him a tissue for the snot
and wet a cloth to hold to his face.
Cold water might sting, so I make the water tepid.
It can’t be hot, I know that much.

He is laying stretched out on the bed.
Cloth to face.
I feel as though I have failed him in some horrible way.
That I am his protector.
Even though I think I have done the right thing.

My little brother says nothing.
His face is red and snot keeps rolling
down his face.

I failed you, I mutter.
If you want me to get them back, I will.

My brother takes the cloth off his face.
Sits up as though he is thinking about it.

I’m supposed to be your protector,
I will get them back if you want me to.

My brother says nothing.
They will put us in foster homes.
Probably not together.
They may even put me in jail.

I am trying to think things out loud.

My brother sobs lightly.
Says he doesn’t want that. 
I admit that I don’t want that either.

My father knocks at the door.
He apologises, says it won’t happen again.
I stand silent beside the bed.
Unable to look at him.

Then he leaves.
I wake up 30 years later.
Slick with sweat.
That heavy feeling of failure all around me.
Still ashamed.
Uncertain of what I should 
have done.



Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly,The Rye Whiskey Review, Outlaw Poetry Network, Under The Bleachers, The Dope Fiend Daily and In Between Hangovers.




Monday, March 8, 2021

having a vision of Keats in my situation by Merritt Waldon

Yet we both would do the same

Search out the comfort of drink

And words


Hopefully at the full aid of muses

Dancing in circles, or keeping warm

Laps of the night


Yes, to sip and dream awake

The insatiable appetite 

Of such a pair


Wait. What? Where am I?


Miami..? No I was just in Indiana;

Or was that another time


Theres a map somewhere, im sure

In a grecian urn


Hidden away

In the quiet






Merritt Waldon 46 year old who lives in Southern Indiana. has had work in Fearlesss,

the brooklyn rail, be about it Zine, 4th american & others anthology, riverdogs, crisis chronicles website,

cheap and easy zine, / an a book of poetry with Ron Whitehead published by Cajun Mutt Press -Oracles

from a strange fire.





Sunday, March 7, 2021

Vessel In Vain by Nick Gerrard

I looked up from my paper, found the barman and ordered another cognac and beer. I was sat in the tap bar of the Coach and Horses, an old Birmingham pub, not changed much since the seventies, which was good. It was quiet, no TV, no music; just perfect for a late morning drink.

I had come from my meeting with the Psychologist; I had problems with drinking and depression.

I took out my electronic ciggie and held it up to the barman, and he nodded, so I puffed away. I thought about what the Psycho had said. That I was responsible for everything I had done, good or bad. Everything I had said, everything I had seen. And I looked around the boozer which was like so many others I had got pissed in before and thought-no, I’m not!

It just came to me like that. I wasn’t responsible. It wasn’t my fault, any of it. All I am is an out of control tug drifting on the ocean, and what waves life sent me on had nothing to do with me.

I liked this idea. It wasn’t my fault! Any of it. I take no responsibility whatsoever! It was just the sea of life that I rode on with no control.

And I started to picture people sitting in front of my table.

The guy I had punched at Coventry for his scarf. The guy whose nose I had broken in a bar in Lisbon. The guy we had beaten and robbed at school for his dinner money. These figures sat and I waved them away. Next were a line of woman. Some I had cheated on, some I had conned into sex with empty promises and bullshit chat up lines. The simple but beautiful girl I had pretended to be a model agent to, who I got to strip for me in a bar I was looking after when it was closed. The dwarf I fucked just to say I had fucked a dwarf. The line was long and one by one they came to the table and I waved them away. The guy whose house we had robbed. The landlord whose furniture we had loaded up on a lorry and fucked off with. The owners of the Irish club whose safe we had robbed. They kept coming. And mostly more women. Another girl who I had got drunk and taken back to a caravan in Yarmouth and screwed when she didn’t know much about it. More and more girls. The ones I had swindled my way into their beds and then hounded them to do something they didn’t really didn’t wanna do. And lastly, the hotdog salesman from outside a gig in Leicester where I had ordered twenty dogs off for everyone and then ran off.

I wasn’t safe but I felt no fear. Images came and I dismissed them. It wasn’t my fault! Don’t you see?
It was life that did it, the turbulent waters of life that tossed these people my way and what I did or said wasn’t my fault…that’s just how it is, I sat and smiled and supped my beer and sank the brandy.

‘Another cognac my good friend!’

‘You seem to be in a good mood?’

‘I have discovered the secret to life.’

‘No, shit, and that is.’

‘You see it doesn’t matter what you do or say, we are but empty vessels floating on the sea of life and whatever has happened none of it was my fault, that’s just the way it goes!’

‘So, you are saying that every bad thing you have done, every shit thing you have done to someone is not your fault; you are not to blame?’

‘Preciously! I am not guilty of anything. None of it was my fault. I take no blame for all my mistakes and bad deeds. No blame for the people I have fucked over and done wrong.’

‘You don’t think you have to take some of the responsibility for your actions?’

‘That’s just it you see, I take no responsibility at all, none of it was my fault. Life is to blame not me!’

‘So, with that logic I can basically do anything I want and not feel guilty about it?’

‘Sure!’

He took the glass from my hand and punched me right in the face.

‘Not my fault!’

I finished my drink and dabbed the blood from my nose, put the paper under my arm and walked out.



Originally from Birmingham but now living in Olomouc where he writes, proof-reads and edits, and in between looking after his son Joe, edits and designs Jotters United Lit-zine.
Nick has been at one time or another a Chef, activist, union organiser, 
punk rocker, teacher, traveller and Eco-lodge owner in Malawi and Czech.
Short stories, flash and poetry have appeared in various magazines in print and online including Etherbooks, Roadside fiction, The Siren, Minor Literature and Bluehour magazine
Nick has three books published available on Amazon
twitter@nickcgerrard

https://nickgerrardauthor.wixsite.com/books


Saturday, March 6, 2021

THE WRECK OF THE MARGARET LA SALLE by Harris Tobias

What’s a man gotta do for a drink around here
The stranger banged his fist on the bar
The bartender poured him a shot and a beer
Before the stranger could take it too far

Now listen my friends and I’ll tell you a tale
Of passion and pathos and pain
About how the good ship Margaret la Salle
Went down with all hands in the rain

Three points to starboard the old captain wailed
We’re heading into a blow
Batten the hatches and reef all the sails
We’re taking on water below

There’s rocks on the port side there’s rocks all around
Cried the lookout up on the mast
Steer hard to starboard or we’ll certainly be drowned
And we’ll all soon be breathing our last

The mate turned the wheel and the ship came about
Just missing the rocks to the East
But it wasn’t the same for the rocks in the South
They grinned like your old granny’s teeth

The rest of the bar was now crowded around
To hear of the crew’s dreadful plight
They refilled his glass and made not a sound
As he told of that harrowing night

A wave picked us up and smashed us back down
With such force that our lookout was flung
All the way back to his house in the town
And there on his weather vane hung

But the storm wasn’t through with the Margaret la Salle
She had plenty more tricks up her sleeve
The captain ordered us into the boats
But we were too frightened to leave

Get into those boats he yelled to the crew
Or you’ll nere see yer loved ones again
But that was something we just couldn’t do
And we stayed on the deck in the rain

The captain and ten of his most trusting men 
Separated themselves from the crew
We assume that they came to a terrible end
For they soon disappeared from our view

Here the stranger paused with his hand on his heart
For the death of the captain and men
Then he drank down his beer and took up his part
And plunged in to his story again

There were only three of us left on the deck
The cook and the bosun and me
Then the ship and the rocks made a terrible wreck
And all of us drowned in the sea

Now wait just a minute the assembly cried
You’re not dead, you’re standing right here
You think that I don’t know when I died
And he fixed us in place with a sneer

Then his image wavered and faded and dimmed
Until we couldn’t believe what we saw
Just a place at the bar where the stranger had been
And a funny wet spot on the floor

For there on the floor was a puddle of beer
Still steaming and foamy and warm
In the shape of a sailor, eyes widened with fear
Floating and drowned in a storm

I’m a sailor myself and I know what I know
And I’ve heard many a marvelous tale
But I never heard of as dreadful a blow
As the wreck of the Margaret la Salle




Harris Tobias lives and writes in Charlottesville, Virginia. To date Mr. Tobias has published two detective novels, The Greer Agency and A Felony of Birds, to critical acclaim. In addition he has published dozens of short stories and over 75 children’s books. both in print and as an ebook. You can find a list of all his books at:  http://goo.gl/Rng6d1


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 ...