Monday, May 31, 2021

T H E • A M E R I C A N • P O E T by J.C Hawkes

So I read some raw pieces 
of American poetry 
written from 
the backbone
 of the American life. 
As I taste this autumn air, 
with a roll your own cigarette 
as the world only ever sees 
a dystopian Hollywood 
these days, in the form 
of long legs, hips up 
to here and the 
justice for all 
band of youths, 
all fighting 
it clean, 
showing the 
world how to 
breathe it in 
and again 
and to build 
it all mean 

I admire the REAL American Poet, 
the writer who reports it 
from the ground. He 
speaks freely, 
without a 
GOD - 
whom many 
and they 
do not trust, 
in a city where 
struggle meets the 
pavement and truth rears 
it’s authentic head to contradict the 
Hollywood Hills romance death scenes. 

So, I absorb their thoughts 
the account of truth, 
and heed their 
warning and 
find myself far from
The Wonderland projected 
Broad and Wide on the T.V screen 
and while snoop dog is Calling it real, 
on the radio to Nikki Sixx - 
who says it’s all ok, 
down in L.A

I read the REAL Poet 
to feel the world 
behind the 
the movie theatre, 
Behind the halls of justice 
and the sickening high school 
love stories told from the hearts 
of an America claiming to be: 
The Strong and The Brave. 

I read the American Poet
And I am assured 
that we all have 
the same 
and organs, 
we all dream and 
we all hope 
and we are 
all brave - 
here on 
the ground 
in the world of the REAL
and here the Poet lives 
and feels, down town, 
where real 
meets the 
and real love 
fills our thoughts
With Real Hope, given by 
the American Poet 
who writes the 
truth of how it 

J.C Hawkes  - is an alien who arrived on this god-forsaken planet in the territory  of AUSTRALIA - in the middle of the decade he’d have preferred to been of age as to party with the poets he admires to this day. The Burroughs’ and the gorgeous Patti Smith, the Ferlinghetti’s and the David Bowie’s ( in his Coke Daze) - yes! the dirty filthy 1970s always suited his fantasies.  He was of age in the 1990s instead and somehow survived, the day that fuckin’ Kurt Cobain died! By discovering Jim Morrison, he never did care for teeny bopping lights. 

Now in his later years, he is approaching 50 and he is quiet and reflective and writes pages of poetry daily about his memories he actually lived. While on the inside he only ever wanted to write books, grow an old man beard and live in the mountains in a cabin built for one.   Grow old and die there - this would be fine  - by me. 

Sunday, May 30, 2021

homesick by Brian J. Alvarado

hitched a belated carpool, 
escaping the city yet again,
this time to suck down some fireballs
and drawl my carelessly wistful way 
through a forgettable homecoming,
no longer concerned with losing you
in the foam again, for I missed the
hodgepodge awful in complete, still
waking up inevitably in your bed,
ahead of my only friends left 
to graduate from Xanzibar,
burping up synthetic cinnamon
and smog from a voided core,
registering an unholy jolt behind 
the wrong ear, as it rubbed up 
against an imperfect circle on a
bargain zebra-striped bandana,
and recalling nothing but where
that straggling cowboy killer had
overstayed its earnest welcome, a
premonition of a homesick mourn.

Brian J. Alvarado is a Puerto-Haitian Bronxite with pieces published or forthcoming in Squawk Back, Trouvaille, Alien Buddha, Beliveau Review, Cajun Mutt, and The Quiver Review, among others. He holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Susquehanna University.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Racking Paint on Acid by Jonathan Butcher

Between each city, the slow trains 
that would halt at each stop. Our bags
of pens and paint rattling like wind 
chimes, as we dodged teachers and conductors;
each station always mirroring the last.

And racing from each outlet, as you filled your 
briefs with paint, my fear of capture now
enforced by this shield of airborne cling
film, that smothered our eyes; the mismatched
colours now blended in our rucksacks.

As we roamed each city, unaware of the surroundings
that we could easily claim with our mark, 
but resisted under this oppressive day light, 
that restricted us from fully forming, but allowed
our blood to run with positive poison. 

And back home on those lines, under that
imposing bridge, etching walls with what's
left of our time, before coming down, and realising
protracted phases of ones youth should never over
stay their welcome.

Jonathan Butcher has had poetry appear in various print
and online publications including Drunk Monkeys, The Morning Star,
M58, Mad Swirl, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Popshot, The Abyss 
and others. He edits the online poetry journal Fixator Press, through which
his third chapbook, 'Corroded Gardens' was published. 

Friday, May 28, 2021

Cosmic Upchuck by Leah Mueller

Datsun back seat, winding
northern California road,
I hopped a ride
from Planet Camp
to San Francisco

after spending a week 
in a pine forest
discussing astrology
with wealthy nerds.

My four-year-old son
had given all his Legos
to a smooth operator
two years his senior.

The smarmy older boy
had coveted them
and promised eternal friendship,

only to dump my son’s ass
after the transaction was complete.

My progeny: brooding and
Lego-less. Me: almost broke,
ready to take the train home to Seattle.

As the car corkscrewed
along the serpentine highway,
my stomach began to churn.

Suddenly, my son vomited
copiously on the seat in 
front of him, then reared his head 
and puked a second time. 

An odor of rancid tofu,
brussels sprouts and lentils
filled the interior of the small car.

“Oh shit!” 
  I whimpered.
“My son threw up.”
“I can see that,
said the driver,
who didn’t see it at all,
but could detect the aroma.

There’s some newspapers
on the floor. Use as many 
as you need, then throw 
them out the window.

I tried not to look at the puke
as I scrubbed it with copies
of the San Francisco Chronicle,

but this proved impossible, and
my stomach turned over again –
fast and sharp, like a
newly awakened wild animal. 

I heaved my own lunch 
onto the seat, conjoining 
my puke with my son’s.

“I’m so sorry!” 
I said, after I finally 
raised my head.

By then, the driver had achieved
a sort of Zen tolerance.

“There are plenty
of newspapers. Use as many
as you need. I’ve already read them.”

I mopped and mopped,
threw entire sections of newspapers
into the damnable road, 
then puked again and swiped
the pages across my newest bile.

“Only ten more miles until
we can finally leave this highway,”

the driver assured me.

“People throw up here a lot.
Really, it’s no trouble at all.”

I managed to toss every chunk
onto the highway – which is
was what that road deserved,
and never felt so glad to see

a city in my life, as
when the lights of the
San Francisco metro area
gleamed above the dashboard,

but probably not 
half as glad
as the driver was to 
deposit us on the sidewalk 
in downtown Oakland
and drive away, saying,

“See you next year.”

Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Bisbee, Arizona.  Her most recent books, "Misguided Behavior, Tales of Poor Life Choices" (Czykmate Press), "Death and Heartbreak" (Weasel Press), and "Cocktails at Denny's" (Alien Buddha) were released in 2019. Leah’s work appears in Midway Journal, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Miracle Monocle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and elsewhere. Visit her website at

Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Things the Devil Can Give You by Steve Passey

and light 
and rain 
but not rehabilitation, 
(and never another drink) 
but there is man who used to come here 
and he said he’d seen the devil come as a red-haired woman 
who must have been beautiful when she was younger, 
but she looked hard now. 
She brought another man drinking alone in a corner a newspaper 
and in that newspaper was the obituary of the man’s ex-wife. 
The devil, 
she led the guy out by the hand 
while he cried and laughed and then cried again,
and neither of them looked back. 
The devil can bring you love and light and rain 
but never another drink 
and shit man, it’s wearing her out too.

The End

Steve Passey is from Southern Alberta. He is the author of the collections Forty-Five Minutes of Unstoppable Rock (Tortoise Books), Cemetery Blackbirds (Secret History Books), the novella Starseed (Seventh Terrace) and many other, individual things.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Check-out Line by Greg Clary

Ducked into the Dollar Store
for a couple of things
 I could not live without.

Scanning-out ahead of me was an unmasked dude
who I recognized as a bartender I had
tangled with some 40 years ago.

I glanced at his purchases:
bag of chips, quart of milk, Mountain Dew, and
Bed Bug Killer.

The person behind me was an unmasked woman 
I had drunk beer and shot pool with 40 years ago.
In the bartender’s beer joint. 
I glimpsed her basket containing
paper plates, duct tape, Mountain Dew, and
Preparation H.

I was masked-up with dark glasses
under a camo hoodie. My pandemic look.
They didn’t seem to know me.

I thought of the serendipity of all this.
 Standing between a guy who once threatened to kick my ass and
 a woman who once ran her fingers through my hair. 

On the same night in the same bar.

Our 40 year reunion.
Him with Bed Bug Killer. Her with Preparation H.
Me with Little Debbies.

Greg Clary is Professor Emeritus of Rehab and Human Services at Clarion University, Clarion Pa. His poems have appeared in The Watershed Journal and North/South Appalachia.
His photographs have been published in The Sun Magazine, Looking at Appalachia, and The Watershed Journal.
He resides in Sligo, Pennsylvania and is a Son of Turkey Creek, West Virginia


Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Red Envelope by Christiana Sasa

She folded all his clothes
with the tenderest care
she could accumulate

every crease on every shirt
now filled up with the
essence of her breath

the phone rings,
he is on his own.

At the doorstep, 
she doesn't welcome him inside;
only hands over the bag to him,
full of his stuff,

and a red envelope 
carrying a little ring inside.
the pearl has been scooped out
of the oyster

Christiana Sasa has been writing poetry for three years. Her work has been published in a few literary magazines (Poetry Life and Times, Literary Heist, Eskimo Pie etc.), and recently in two E-zines called Dark Poetry Society and RavenCage.
Besides poetry, she's interested in painting, music, short films, and comedy.

Monday, May 24, 2021

The Candy Man by Jon Bennett

Jolene’s is an old horseshoe bar
with mirrors on the ceiling
The bathroom is often
the center of attention
because that’s where 
you do your cocaine
Even though it’s clean
the bathroom always stinks
because coke gives you diarrhea
A high school teacher named Frank
comes in every night at 7pm
he doesn’t do coke
just drinks 3 beers 
while reading the newspaper 
with a flashlight
We never had a conversation,
same age as me, same education,
I just never spoke to him
and maybe he had his own reasons
for not talking to me
During the day it’s a place
to die of alcoholism
not many people in the Tenderloin
have the money for bar drinks
when they’re that close
to the end
so it’s mostly empty
There was a tranny for awhile
who drank a fifth of Patron everyday
she’s dead now
and a guy I thought of as
the Candy Man
His name may have been John
it may have been Kirby
I don’t know what it was
He had been kicked out of everywhere else
though he didn’t cause problems
he just smelled bad
He had advanced diabetes
and an addiction to candy
All day he drank screwdrivers
and had a sack on the floor
full of sodas and red vines 
and other candy
I think he had no way
to really clean himself
and probably had neuropathy
which is numbness
and probably had open sores
from the diabetes
He sat in the back
people knew him and he’d
buy them a drink
to go to the store for him
for more candy
The Candy Man is dead, too
It doesn’t mean anything
that he’s dead
or that I call him the Candy Man
you could take it as a warning
but it’s not one
and although he’s dead
it still smells bad
over where he sat
not because of his ghost
but because it’s so close
to that bathroom.

Jon Bennett writes and plays music in San Francisco's Tenderloin. You can find his work on most music streaming websites and by visiting or

Sunday, May 23, 2021

New Drummer by Dan Provost

Now, the beat of the drum
always comes from
a rookie who
maybe bled a bit before
trying to take out his
frustrations on a snare
or hi-hat.
His demeanor
As he tries to explode
in front of new renegades
who never heard of Nirvana, Gov’t Mule, or


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.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Wash by Susan Tepper

At night you wash the cream from your arms
thick petals, once staked to flowers
Fill a ceiling gone to roses then still—

Vase on the window ledge, half murky
half done, and bugs are hovering
specks in shifting light: that room stayed in

Every season its walls, mold

The radiator hissing steam around
a river that carries you back—

Wet gutters stream mirrors
the dawn a red sunrise: the
One child, dropped from your body one leaf.

Originally published in Blue Edge chapbook from Cervena Barva Press.

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.

Friday, May 21, 2021

What Does Fame Mean by Paul Ilechko

Infamous times     sprawling
in many directions     star-stamped
and eloquent     asking only

for affection     something long 
since missing from corrupted
childhoods     where Van Morrison

rolled along like a two-fisted barrel
the sweat dripping     eyes bulging
like the black death     the honey

voice that hovered in a separate 
plane     unvanquished     floating 
above any sense of complacency

forcing beyond all bounds
of decency     still cajoling
for some chance at forgiveness. 

Poet and songwriter Paul Ilechko is the author of three chapbooks, most recently “Pain Sections” (Alien Buddha Press). His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including The Night Heron Barks, Rogue Agent, Ethel, San Pedro River Review, Lullwater Review, and Book of Matches. He lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

dear pain by Scott Ferry

i hope you don’t think you are moving in
all that is left of your horde is a broken labelmaker
stuck in my femur
dear anxiety stop yelling at my son when he throws
his pears on the ground and gives you a squinty grin
dear inadequacy no i can’t do the chores when the storm
shudders the blood like a flag
dear love i keep forgiving the way you hurt
when do you begin giving like in the commericals?
dear pain yes pain you remind me there is no opium
in fizzy water there is no balm in war
dear self-depreciation please pick your sorry scrotum off
the camera lens and wash your damn feet
dear strength we gave alms at church when the savior
was supposed to rise up and deliver resplendent tubeworms
but nothing grew at this depth
dear laughter fuck you yes you stick that levity up
your business hole you haven’t been helping
dear god what is the light for when it is painted
in the clouds so far up what is the light for?
dear children be patient with the person
who is supposed to teach you patience
dear self i know you are still singing down
in one of those lava shoots sometimes i hear the ash of
a trumpet in a voice of my youth
dear wife you deserve better you hold up the house
like a glorious chorus
dear pain i hope you know that your millipedes lack luster
i hope you know i have plans to run again with a million legs

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 @



Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Good News by Dan Holt

He used to work
all night
in a rubber factory
making parts
for General Motors
After they laid him off
he spent most days
at the third shift bars
bumming drinks
from daytime hookers

He had three fingers
on his right hand
and he’d shout
gimme a high five
to anyone who would listen
and laugh so hard
he’d just about
cough up a lung

That was before
he took the cure
That was before

After that
he’d just ask
if we’d heard
the good news
and tell the whores
that they were blessed

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.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Heaven Must Be a Freeway by Christian Garduno

There’s no better music than your sophomore year 
when you met her
I’m telling you, there’s not-
That’s the best music ever made, 
when you took off your dad’s Stones 
and Beatle records and finally put on something YOU like- 
that you saved for and you walked down to 
Middle Earth Records for- an import at that- 
a band with a funny name, a weird haircut, 
and a strange-looking record cover that sounds 
absolutely delicious

Walking towards nowhere and we never get there either
Heaven must be a freeway and I’m walking across the overpass

Christian Garduno is the recipient of the 2019 national Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry. Garduno is a Finalist in the 2020-2021 Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Writing Contest. He lives and writes along the South Texas coast with his wonderful wife Nahemie and young son Dylan.  

Monday, May 17, 2021

Another Night by Dennis Moriarty

He has drank six beers, smoked a joint
Outside in the rain,
Come back in and sank four Jack Daniels
Than any line he has ever walked.
Stumbles home
Through side streets and sirens his eyes wide open
To welcome the moon,
A few stray stars following him back
To the house.
Inside he looks out of the window and sees
Tom Waits down there by the train,
Looks up to see Leonard Cohen sat like a bird
On a wire.
Turns back to the room where Elvis is all shook up,
Cash is pill popped and frazzled
His words strung out in one continuous
Twitching stutter.
Marilyn Monroe, blond and soft and seductive,
Is sprawled on the bed
Where he lies alone, his eyes melting inside out from
The ruptured core of the moon,
A few stray stars sliding like hot tears down
His cheeks
Onto his chest where they pool like the molten
contents of his exploding 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.

Sunday, May 16, 2021


That inner sense of freedom,
a natural balance
with an impulse
to preserve the day,
as the equinox
tilts from a window
with a view of leaves on fire.
The cycle of blues
in a public park,
the elegant air exposed
as fashions parade
with future notes on display.
The fields of funk,
his purity of sound
penetrating early morning streets
heightened by a full October moon,
an instinct for movement
travelling towards
a jazz of universal light.

Byron Beynon lives in Swansea, Wales. His poems and essays have featured in several publications including Agenda, The London Magazine, Poetry Wales, Cyphers (Dublin) and The Wilderness House Literary Review. He is the author of 11 collections of poetry including Cuffs (Rack Press) and The Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions).

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Plenty of Time By Alex Z. Salinas

Today I heard the wailing of ambulance sirens in the shower. I rushed washing myself and shivered into clothes, sped to Midas to have my car inspected only to discover my insurance card expired six months prior. 

I’m 32—a prime but informative existence. Mortality upgraded from acquaintanceship to booty calls. She too hits me up now whenever she wants—sundown, sunrise. (Why a she? Because I’m childless.) 

Last week I awoke, commenced the routine of brushing my teeth only to find in my grip my razor. 

There’s still plenty of time to giggle about these things. (A frightening word, giggle.)

Alex Z. Salinas lives in San Antonio, Texas. He is the author of two full-length poetry collections, WARBLES and DREAMT, or The Lingering Phantoms of Equinox, both from Hekate Publishing. His poems, short fiction and op-eds have appeared in various print and electronic publications. He holds an M.A. in English Literature and Language from St. Mary’s University.

Friday, May 14, 2021

born naked die the same by Keith Pearson

we built our house from rusted car parts and animal scraps. water runs downhill where we sleep. from our bed we can see the city float at night. oh look the light reflects off your skin like the moon off snow. 
let me taste you. did i mention the bag of stars 
i gathered last night? 
they are in the sack on the floor at your feet.
better wipe that down before you drink. remember what frank used to say. 
born naked die same.
kiss my mouth and taste the ashes there.
everything makes sense
he would say
at the bottom of the bottle.
even the goats were cold ice hanging from their beards. every book in the house became food for the fire then our bed. we wrapped ourselves in the last of the skins when it was still warm. we huddled and prayed. 
sometimes there is no escape
from gods bad dreams.
we let the fools make the soup.
 it was years before we lost the masks. 
folks forgot where they left their smiles. 
teeth remained a mystery.
spoons long forgotten fell from the trees.
in time no one cared. 
such things as gestures and greetings 
became rare
like dogs with good manners.
“you cant try to stay you either will or you wont” – the national
they doctored the moon to stay full. 
it glowed for months.
in time people came to yawn at the sight.
wolves grew tired of howling and walked thru the suburbs every afternoon begging to die.
you and i would sit on the porch and watch 
as it crossed the sky.
we never grew tired of the sight.
one day the rains came and washed it away.
while others celebrated and drowned 
in the flooding streets
we went to bed thankful for what we had.
such lovely bones.
broke off a piece of her sandwich
passed it to him thru the open window.
here you need this more than me she said.
he wanted to suck on her fingers.
as he chewed he asked
will i ever see you again?
as sure as tomorrow she said with a wink
and turned and walked away
and of course 
he never did.
he requested she sneak in 
and smother him with a pillow
but she could not bring herself to do it.
later when they were running 
in the desert an hour before dawn 
from six men 
and a burning car
she understood 
how easy it would have been.

Keith Pearson
I live in southern New Hampshire and works with special ed students at a local high school.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Sticks by Wayne F. Burke

October afternoon and
some clown juggling
sticks, in the park--
an escapee from the circus
who slept with the
Tattooed Lady
who was married to the
Strong Man
who threatened the Clown--
a sad melodrama
the Clown ran from
his big gun-boat shoes flopping
and bright red nose
scaring the children
all along the road
to the next town.

Wayne F. Burke's poetry has been widely published online and in print. He has published six full-length poetry collections, most recently DIFLUCAN (BareBack Press, 2019). He lives in the Pine Tree State.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Boston? I could sure use a Joe and Nemo Hotdog by Doug Holder

 *** Joe and Nemo was once a famed hotdog stand in Boston's Scollay closed in the 1960s. It was very popular with soldiers and sailors--(for a beer and a dog)-- during and after the great wars.

I could use one right now
don't hide the horseradish 
I am familiar with pain...
I want mine
rude and red
and I will be

I want to saunter
down Scollay Square...
Yes I know
the Old Howard
burnt down
but for me
it is still the
toast of
the town.

I want to pop a beer
wipe the foam 
on my brow
to beat
this summer's
relentless heat.

I want to see the soldiers
those doughboys
and Ernie Pyle
huddled at
the counter
biting and bitching
on the 

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

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

That year, we’d like to forget by Emalisa Rose

Tim says we’ll look back and laugh,
sometime soon.

Sweeping the brush from the bramble,
he says rainbows will bow at our feet.

And birds will deliver their poems to
our door.

I ask him “When Timothy, when?”

He picks up the broom and starts
sweeping again.

I go back to my bourbon, forgetting his
cabernet prophecies.

When not writing poetry, Emalisa Rose enjoys crafting and drawing with charcoals. She volunteers in animal rescue. Living by a beach town provides much of the inspiration for her art. Her work has appeared in Beatnik Cowboy, Spillwords and other fine places. Her latest collection is "On the whims of the crosscurrents," published by Red Wolf Editions.

Monday, May 10, 2021

loitering in the square by jck hnry

they begin to arrive just after dawn 
drifters or transients, 
or hippies as the tourist ads announce. 
a young man with brown eyes and  
long stringy hair walks up and asks, 
hey man? you seen my old lady? 
i laugh, no one says old lady, and point 
up to the window of my hotel 
room at the Hotel Arcata. 
so she’s your old lady now? 
i start to speak but stop, 
turn toward the hotel 
yet my feet cannot move. 
Tammy emerges from 
the front door, fresh and clean, 
full of life, a life my mind cannot 
she runs up, kisses me hard on the mouth, 
says, thanks man, runs up to the kid  
with brown eyes and stringy hair, 
says, hey where you been

jck hnry is a writer/publisher/editor, based in southeastern california.  recent publications include:  Deuce Coupe, Rye Whiskey Review, Razur Cuts, Cajun Mutt, Dissident Voices, Horror Sleaze Trash, Bold Monkey, Red Fez, dope fiend daily and a bunch of other noble zines and journals.  Books include:  “With the Patience of Monuments (neoPoesis) ,” “Crunked, (Epic Rites)” and the upcoming "Driving w/Crazy (Punk Hostage Press, 2020).”  hnry is also editor and publisher of Heroin Love Songs and 1870. for more go to



Sunday, May 9, 2021

Spirits by John Drudge

A sense
Of connection
A taste of being
When the self
Falls apart
Liquefied and fluid
In deep frenetic activity
A lift off of energy
And gusting winds
Through minds 
Screaming at large
Into seas strewn over
With waves of joy
And swells 
Of bearable death

John is a social worker working in the field of disability management and holds degrees in social work, rehabilitation services, and psychology.  He is the author of three books of poetry: “March” and “The Seasons of Us” (both published in 2019) and New Days (published in 2020). His work has appeared widely in numerous literary journals, magazines, and anthologies internationally. John is also a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee and lives in Caledon Ontario, Canada with his wife and two children.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

IN MY SOLITUDE by Milton P. Ehrlich

I feel your presence
and hunger for your
embrace to entwine 
us like twin molecules.
I monitor a thread of
your breath mingling 
with mine for company
so that I’m never alone.
I cling to the photograph
standing before our silo— 
resolute farmers prepared
for whatever unruly surprises
stormclouds may have in mind.

Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 89-year-old psychologist and a veteran
of the Korean War. He has published poems in Poetry Review, The
Antigonish Review, London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary
Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Red Wheelbarrow, and the New York Times.

Friday, May 7, 2021

My Day in Court by Daniel S. Irwin

Grasping for one last excuse
As to why I was in court
Charged with public intoxication,
I told the judge that I had been
Abducted by aliens and forced
To ingest massive quantities of
Fine liquor and beer.
Sucker that he was, he said
That he was going to protect me
From those horrible creatures
And ordered that I be
Permitted to enter his personal
‘Fortress of Solitude’
For sixty days.

Daniel S. Irwin, native of Sparta, Illinois (St. Louis area east of the river not Chicago), has had work published in over one hundred magazines and literary journals world wide.

Author of nine books…some frequently seen at local church book burnings.  Recent work can be found in/at Horror, Sleaze. Trash magazine, Beatnik Cowboy,

The Dope Fiend Daily and one here at The Rye Whiskey Review.

Thursday, May 6, 2021


A fabulous reset, a moon driver - 
heading into an unprecedented 
crippling fog which morphs 
the capillaries and 
weakens bones
to a powered 
salt lick. 

The windows covered in mist — 
do not touch, they will harm 
your egotistical wagon
your rail road is 
to an 

My dreams have seen your face 
in too many words and ways — 
I cannot scream at you 
nor can I walk in sync 
through your 

I can no longer breathe the air — 
except for the olive tree
which shapes 
my carved 
view of the shifting 
of the yellowing trees
I am in the backyard 
the environment 
and I eagerly await 
the black hole 
in the mail. 

J.C Hawkes  - is an alien who arrived on this god-forsaken planet in the territory  of AUSTRALIA - in the middle of the decade he’d have preferred to been of age as to party with the poets he admires to this day. The Burroughs’ and the gorgeous Patti Smith, the Ferlinghetti’s and the David Bowie’s ( in his Coke Daze) - yes! the dirty filthy 1970s always suited his fantasies.  He was of age in the 1990s instead and somehow survived, the day that fuckin’ Kurt Cobain died! By discovering Jim Morrison, he never did care for teeny bopping lights. 

Now in his later years, he is approaching 50 and he is quiet and reflective and writes pages of poetry daily about his memories he actually lived. While on the inside he only ever wanted to write books, grow an old man beard and live in the mountains in a cabin built for one.   Grow old and die there - this would be fine  - by me. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

ars poetica by Alicia Mathias

a red pen stalks us.
we write, wearing camouflage.
i hope words can still find us.

shrapnel rescues a poem,
where we tear words out 
of our bones 

and flesh. 
echoes of bullets

voices pang 
to purple.
critics huddle 

to burn our words
(burn our worlds.)
surrounding us with torches:

Think with your heart.
No, think with your head.
Don’t think at all. 
You can think, when you’re dead.

hurry, poets, hurry.
collect your own

run, run 
to shadow

and gather
your wings
within the dusk

before they fall
into breaking

shape your vision
ready your defenses;
verse is rebellion.

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. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Grinning at the Bar and Grill by R. G. Ziemer

I don’t know
just what’s so funny
about a bunch of old 
south side tough guys
telling the same old stories
but better every time and
talking about trips to Tampa,
golf and grandkids,
who got cancer and
how they
hey but have another 
cheap-ass beer
let’s raise our glasses
remember when.

 R. G. Ziemer was born on the south side of Chicago and presently lives in Warrenville, IL, where he writes poetry and fiction. Ziemer participates in several writing groups and enjoys sharing his work at local reading series and open mics. His novel The Ghost of Jamie McVay was published in 2019, and his short stories and poems have appeared in print and online journals. He teaches composition at the College of DuPage.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Captains of the ship by Mike Zone

(contributions from S.A. Gerber & Roz Washington)

Ferlinghetti is dead
So I drink
And Captain Kirk is tragically in love 
as always…
the lights at Columbus will burn a little dimmer this night
acting like an animal on his starship with lustful gazes and the proud smirk of wanton conquests
James T. Kirk is in love
with the mad daughter of Kodos
THE KODOS who enacted mass genocide
she’s mad to murder to protect her father
she’s someone Jack would’ve loved
Kerouac, my first real literary sensei
words like electric liquid finely painted with needles
drowned by wine and esophageal hemorrhaging 
I saw him in a dream once
sitting across me, he slid over a cup of coffee
black and white
only blue eyes standing out
an understanding look
his mom making us breakfast
Tiger at my feet
Jean Luc Picard would have none of these goings-on 
 on his ship
nor would he have any of these cats
human or otherwise
well, maybe Lawrence…
they’d probably get along
until that android Data would ruin everything
acting like Neal
a subtle phantom vision of Cody
in the noble yet atypical quest for emotion
as logic as Spock
my emotions are drowning my thoughts
I’ll have a double, please…

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

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Polaroid of a perfect snowflake blocking your naked ass by C.L. Liedekev

Wasn’t that your luck. Six foot four.
Father’s jaw pulled from stone.
Laugh deep and pained
as a phoenix’s death slash birth.
It was from that 90’s ski trip
I might not have been on.
The blurred edge of snow’s pale arms 
wrap your legs, your dad’s Ford F-Series
just off to the side of the image, 
as the sky shed its skin, as the single star 
eclipsed your perfect shed self. 
I must have been there. 
Buzzed on shit vodka, 
cheering alongside
the throng of friends, air so cold
the mass stain of our wet freezes
in unison to our underwear.

Years later, as you are crying
in the front seat of my car,
the din of the bar’s DJ
strikes the sidewalk in cold echo.
I put my hand on your shoulder,
finding so much sorrow and heat,
a perfect melting. 

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.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Must Flush Society by Randall Rogers

Life is like a drunken missile
fired at the enemy:
meaningless and unchanging
when it fails to go off.

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).

For The Mourner By Alec Solomita

For the mourner only one thing is: things like business, cooking, seeing birds stir the spring air, falling snow, even watching the home tea...