Wednesday, June 30, 2021

[ you lie there in your sea of nightmares ] by john compton

the ocean churns in your body.
i place my ear onto your ear
and hear your heartbeat
under the waves.

i smell salt on your breath.

i see white foam
from crashing water
in your eyes.

but no matter what i do
i can never reach the depth
i need to

to save you

from drowning




john compton (b. 1987) is gay poet who lives in kentucky. his poetry resides in his chest like many hearts & they bloom like vigorously infectious wild flowers. he lives in a tiny town, with his husband josh and their 14 dogs and 3 cats. he feels his head is an auditorium filled with the dead poets from the past. poems are written and edited constantly. his poetry is a personal journey. he reaches for things close and far, trying to give them life: growing up gay; having mental health issues; a journey into his childhood; the world that surrounds us. he writes to be alive, to learn and to grow. he loves imagery, metaphor, simile, abstract language, sounds, when one word can drift you into another direction. he loves playing with vocabulary, creating texture and emotions. he has published 1 book and 6 chapbooks published and forthcoming: trainride elsewhere (august 2016) from Pressed Wafer; that moan like a saxophone (december 2016) from kindle; ampersand (march 2019) from Plan B Press; a child growing wild inside the mothering womb (june 2020) from ghost city press; i saw god cooking children / paint their bones (oct 2020) from blood pudding press; to wash all the pretty things off my skin (september 2021) from ethel zine & micro-press. he has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

That Part in Grey's Anatomy Where They Have An Intervention For Someone They Love Who's Really Struggling by John Doyle

Sweepstakes never sunk this low -
usually it's broken baseball bones or who'll get sacked on Tuesday.
 
With ideas low, and costs pilling-up, 
the latter gambit's the only way to made easy-cabbage.
 
We run with it - figuring whoever wins will be good enough
to buy rounds after it's us who walk the plank.
 
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were having nothing of it -
they threw their badges in their lockers, headed for the showers.
 
That leaves Judas and me,
deciding which cast member
 
has more than one beer before 9pm, 
therefore needs all those people
 
with their bleeding hearts to step in.
I'm hoping it's the Irish guy - being from County Mayo myself -
 
I know there's no-one in my clan 
who can stay that clean for that long.

Bottom's up I say, redundant
to a tv screen, where Meredith and co.

pour black coffee
for a man who drank three beers instead of two






 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.


Monday, June 28, 2021

Apocalypse by Lorette C. Luzajic

“I have said all that I have to say. There is nothing left for me to do but scream.”
Kay Sage

Apocalypse then, now, and how Kafka-esque her metamorphosis. The barren terrain, destitute, bleak. Her post-industrial cities span the scars of the planets. Where nothing is left alive. Not even love. Kay  takes her death like she takes her whisky: straight up, and self-inflicted. Unsentimental. Shot to the heart.




Lorette C. Luzajic is a widely published writer of prose poetry, usually inspired by visual art. She is the editor of The Ekphrastic Review.


Sunday, June 27, 2021

At the Bar by Sanjeev Sethi

(1)

Yesterday, after years --
when you sauntered towards me
in a burnished strapless bodice,
your auburn hair still pampered...
I realized chemicals are liable for love.

(2)

Because I was alone
you felt entitled to intrude.
I’m not anti-people --
my point is against  presumptions.

(3)

After years of drinking,
alone in dives --
I’ve learned not to leer
at my left or right.

Your presence
with those sad restless eyes
ruined this refinement.



Sanjeev Sethi has authored four books of poetry. Bleb from Hybriddreich in Scotland is his latest release.  He is published in over thirty countries. His poems have found a home in more than 350 journals, anthologies, and online literary venues. He is the joint-winner of Full Fat Collection Competition-Deux, organized by The Hedgehog Poetry Press UK. He is in the top 10 of the erbacce prize 2021. He lives in Mumbai, India.

 
 





Saturday, June 26, 2021

WITH NIGHT by Roger Singer

I got the warm
of the jive
in my
snapping
fingers
while whiskey
cracks the ice
in my glass
releasing words
soaked up in the flow
of the man
and his brass
talking to me
pulling at the
the seat under me
working the song
into my ears
while cutting a shadow
of my feet
on the floor
making a
slide come alive
here late
with night
and you.

 


Dr. Singer has had over 1,200 poems published on the internet, magazines and in books and is a Pushcart Award Nominee.  Some of the magazines that have accepted his poems for publication are:  Westward Quarterly, Jerry Jazz, SP Quill, Avocet, Underground Voices, Outlaw Poetry, Literary Fever, Dance of my Hands, Language & Culture, The Stray Branch, Tipton Poetry Indigo Rising, Down in the Dirt, Fullosia Press, Orbis, Penwood Review, Subtle Tea, Ambassador Poetry Award, Massachusetts State Poetry Society.  Louisiana State Poetry Society Award.  Readers Award Orbis Magazine 2019.  Arizona State Poetry Award 2020.
Mad Swirl Anthology 2018, 2019.
 

 

Friday, June 25, 2021

frank by Keith Pearson

she sighed. said ‘he’s drowning. again.’

its like trying to keep your head above water with a rock in each hand.

they hiked up to where the railroad tracks passed over the waterfall and swam naked all afternoon in the cold mountain water and ate apples and drank wine from his goatskin bota and she remembered it for years as her favorite time with him.

he grinned a tooth missing and stringy blood hanging in his beard and said ‘aint that sweet i love her too’ before he took one last swing.

the waitress set their plates on the table and hiccuped and went away. ‘did you hear that’ she said. ‘what’ ‘she hiccupped on our food’ ‘you want the hoi polloi ‘ he said ‘dont be eating in no diner.’

‘well’ she said ‘he can be a little loose with the truth.’

he was the kind gypsies randomly spoke to on crowded streetcorners.
in those moments half awake before she opened her eyes she would hear the loons aching call from the pond and the birds cheery greeting of the first gray light and one dog barking very far away then open her eyes and reach for the far side of the bed and feel the cold empty space where he once slept.

‘he never said much about it least not to me.’

he came home from over there and bought a triumph motorcycle with his back pay and within a week rode it off a sharp curve into the reservoir and almost drowned. said it was worse than anything he did over there and she believed he believed it.

they would dance long after the band went home.

she had a tattoo of her home state on her back and he would gently poke with his finger all the places he had lived all his favorite places his favorite bars.

‘he never found a moments comfort in sleep.’

they picked blueberries until his damaged hip pulsed like a toothache and when she went to bake a pie he had eaten them all and explained shyly they were better than his pills. ‘honest’ he smiled.

right before the first fist flew he would lean over and say real quietly ‘the last thing i want to do is hurt you, but its still on my list.’

he stood at the edge and stared to the west where the prairies and the mountains and the deserts were the places he talked of traveling to of wandering in and she watched him do it one night until it was almost dark and prayed he would someday get there she really did.

‘then one day he was gone’.




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



Thursday, June 24, 2021

When Everywhere Was Home by Puma Perl

if you had a bed
you slept in it
most of the time
and if you didn’t have a bed
you slept on something else

always home,
and it didn’t matter
if the sheets matched
or if there were sheets at all
it could be a striped mattress
with those buttons that hurt
or coats piled on the floor
it didn’t matter
if it was small or old
or a mattress on the floor
or a loft in your tenement room,
you were lucky
if you had a bed

I don’t remember bedbugs
back then
before crack and high rents
the nights were long
and never seemed to end
but eventually they would
and if you had a bed
you slept in it

there aren’t many beds today
nomads gather leaves
urban gypsies inflate
balls of foam,
blow through straws

if you have a leaf
or a ball of foam
you sleep on it.
and if you have a bed
you sleep in it.
everywhere is home.



Photo by Ellen Berman

Puma Perl is a poet and writer, with five solo collections in print. The most recent is Birthdays Before and After (Beyond Baroque Books, 2019.) She is the producer/creator of Puma’s  Pandemonium, which brings spoken word together with rock and roll, and she performs regularly with her band Puma Perl and Friends. She’s received three New York Press Association awards in recognition of her journalism, and is the recipient of the 2016 Acker Award in the category of writing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

under a cherry moon by J.J. Campbell

two restless souls trade the horror
stories of childhoods in the midwest 
over glasses of banana rum under 
a cherry moon

she had the eyes of some demon 
left behind in a war and he was 
a soft-spoken dreamer left on the 
side of a highway of pain

they used to fuck each other 
to pass the time

neither wanted any children and 
thankfully there never was any 
close calls

but sometimes the liquor gets too 
much and the liver starts to punch 
back

she never thought her princess 
dreams would end up in a van 
in some random field in the 
middle of nowhere

he finished a bottle of jack 
before he had the guts to 
grab a shovel and give 
her a proper burial

sorrow only helps for about 
the first three feet

regret takes over from there



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

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The Skinner Box by Lauren Scharhag

The experiment involved 
some pigeons, some seed, 
and a box. Pigeon pecked 
a lever on the box,
the box dispensed a seed.
But if the box gave
the bird a seed every time, 
the bird would grow satisfied,
lazy, pecking only
when it pleased them.
If the box gave them a seed
randomly, then the birds 
were far more diligent,
hoping that this time
this time, a reward 
would be forthcoming,
and the act of pecking
becomes prostration,
their faith granted
the occasional boon of
two or three seeds in a row.
But if they gave the bird a seed 
only a few times and then
never again, the bird might
peck itself to death
chasing a dream of satiety. 
Granted, pigeons are not 
the smartest of birds.
I see you, standing there,
with your pocketsful of seeds.
I will not stoop. I will not
bloody my beak, hoping 
for what you might bestow.





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, June 21, 2021

Beacon by S. A. Gerber

 The gray opportunities have 
presented themselves empty. 
 
A lone stop light blinks 
slowly in the rain. 
 
The mine caves in with 
the sound of crashing waves. 
 
Pillars are set against a lighted 
wall and cast no shadow. 
 
A blood red moon sneaks 
around half-shot buildings. 
 
Mad lost souls malinger 
on cracked, broken pavement. 
 
A beacon in the shape of a 
bar light flashes through. 
 
The smoke clears revealing  
renewal… one glass at a time. 




S. A. Gerber is a native and resident again of Los Angeles, CA. after having spent  twenty-four years in a neighboring “city of sin” in the Silver State of Nevada. 

His work has appeared in such diverse publications as Desert Voices Magazine… 
Subtopian Magazine…Talking Sidewalks… Mad Swirl, (where he is a “contributing 

Poet”)… Sediment Literary and Arts Journal… Poetica Magazine… Black Heart Magazine… The Blue Collar Review…Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles… The Linden Avenue Literary Journal…The Poet’s Haven…Stray Light Literary Magazine… Literature in Los Angeles Magazine… Opiate Magazine… Pacific Poetry… Neologism Poetry Journal…The Lyric…Free Venice Beachhead… The Shot Glass Journal…,Dove Tales-“Empathy in Art: Embracing the Other”, Writing for Peace, International Journal of the Arts, and Alien Buddha Press-Holiday Anthology-2020. 

He is also a member of the Los Angeles Poet’s Society, (where his work can be found “Spotlighted” on their website). 

His three (3) volumes of poetry, Under the Radar, Inventory, and Old School Rhyme can all be obtained on Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com, as well as Beyond Baroque Bookstore in Venice, Ca. The Amber Unicorn in Las Vegas, NV. The Book Monster in Santa Monica, Ca., The Book Jewel in Westchester, Ca. and  City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, Ca. 


 

Sunday, June 20, 2021

TOULOUSE-LAUTREC EXHIBITION by Byron Beynon

The Can Can tickets
removed from a November
coat-pocket guaranteed
the hour of entry.
Inside people squinny
nine courses of an exhibition.
Sexually-charged cabarets,
a world inside bars,
women, brothels,
the black boa of nightlife,
and a youthful Emile Bernard.
Friends in tender
yellow and white,
ironic caricatures,
recognised attacks of ill-health,
those fractured comments
articulated in preserved
frames of art.



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, June 19, 2021

Student Pub Stall by David Alec Knight

On the right wall of the stall
above the toilet paper holder
was printed in pen, "Nietzsche said, 
God was dead."

In an annebriated sense of contrariness
I wrote below, "God said, 
Nietzsche was dead."

When next I had occasion to use 
the same stall, someone had added below,
"Are you for real?"

Under that, I drew a clown-like figure pointing
at a precarious stick figure on a tightrope.



David Alec Knight has had poems have appear in Wayzegoose, People's Poetry Letter, Canadian Writers Journal, and Verse Afire. Anthology appearances include The Sandwich/Mill Anthology, 10$ Cash Value: An Anthology Of Assets, Ellipsis..., and by The Wishing Tree. His first collection of poems, The Heart Is A Hollow Organ, will be out before year's end. David works in healthcare. 




Friday, June 18, 2021

Something More by John Drudge

The primal nature
Of us all
That sweeps us 
Into being
And into
The one true essence
Of ourselves
That makes us 
Sing into canyons
And long 
For something more



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.











Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Muscle Shoals, Alabama by Dan Provost

Early finds,
later rewards.
 
Ascension into
the sublime.
 
Glistening slide guitar
mixes with Aretha’s
cries of “looking for
a place to hide.”
 
Pickett sings the Beatles.
 
Mick finds ambition for a
Honkey Tonk Woman.
 
Swampers loved,
as I grew ancient.
 
When the palette needed
a bit more
diversity.
 
Where a dying maiden sings
her last decree of sadness—
 
Before, a tiny town in
the south…
 
Becomes an
unlikely
 
place where legends are
 
defined.




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, June 15, 2021

Desperately Seeking Frothy by Tony Pena

The humidity has taken
the too cool for school 
of the city as hostages, 
head to toe in a simmering
sweat too exhausted to dry.
I stagger to a stranger and ask,
lisping through lips of sandpaper,
if there’s a tavern nearby with A/C
where a rotund iceman with anthracite
eyes, carrot nose, who knows when
to button it and bend the twig, 
can pour me a cold tall one or two.




Tony Pena was selected as 2017-2018 Poet Laureate for the city of Beacon, New York. A new volume of poetry and flash fiction, "Blood and Beats and Rock n Roll," is available now at Amazon.  He also has a self published chapbook, "Opening night in Gehenna."  His publication credits include “Chronogram,”  "Dogzplot," "Gutter Eloquence," “Hudson Valley Transmitter,” "Red Fez," "Slipstream,"  "Underground Voices," "Zygote in my Coffee," and others. 

Colorful compositions and caterwauling with a couple of chords can be seen at:



Monday, June 14, 2021

A Night In Ketchum by Jake St. John

I was drunk 
out of my mind 
and found 
Hemingway's grave

In a stupor 
I'd stumbled 
the street
and visited every bar 
still operating 
that he drank in.

In one joint
I pulled up 
a stool
ordered 
a cocktail
traveled back 
to 1952
neon lights 
mixed drinks 
reliving
memories 
I never had. 

Then I crossed
The street
and drank beer
with a retired couple
from Massachusetts 
we watched
the Sox game 
at Whiskey Jacques
my namesake
my birth certificate lists 
Jacques St. John 
as my legal name.

Anyway
I decided
then and there
that I'd drink 
a rum and coke 
with Papa
anytime

No guns though
that's where 
I'd draw the line.




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

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Happy Hour by Rod Drought

A dismal idea
A segmented time of day
That allows the elixir happiness
On barstools we sit fortified 
By well drinks and appetizers
Railing about work and life
That fogs into smiled sarcasms

The ice melts fast
After a stiff one is downed
Laughter sweet as Maraschino cherries
All stems cast aside 
Mild flirtations served
With bottomless fries
A touch of the leg
Brushing crumbs from a shirt
All that brews inside lives
In this lime wedge of time

Strange concept but true
In these small hours
I find happiness
Sitting here with you




Rod Drought was born in Yonkers, New York a long time ago but has called Arizona his home for twenty-six years. He is a father, pappa and a decent friend. He has written four books of poetry, been published in literary journals, newspapers, and is co-administrator to an online poetry page that supports poets worldwide. https://www.droughtsthirst.com/

Saturday, June 12, 2021

your sea shanty by Mickey J. Corrigan

You wake up with the Irish flu
again
limp around your rocking berth
pale at the mouth
parched, bone-rattled
you check to see
what's left since the tide receded
the jetsam and flotsam of your night
in the deeps of the underwater
sandbar you inhabit.

You blame your landlubber genes
again
perk up the percolator
top off the green and black
with hairs of the old dog
that bit all the old sailors—
your father
his father 
and his.

You reel out into the future
that is the past
the present all-consuming
the oncoming tidal heaves
guttural seasick sweats.

Yet you know nothing ashore 
changes
the life affliction
with which you infect yourself
each day 
while you weave and wave
and swear off the next time—
you sing goodbye to all that,
never, never 
again 

and again…



Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan writes tropical noir with a dark humor. Her poetry has been widely published in literary journals and chapbooks. In 2020, Grandma Moses Press released Florida Man. Her novel The Physics of Grief puts the fun back in funerals while taking a serious look at the process of mourning (QuoScript, UK, 2021). 


Friday, June 11, 2021

MEMPHIS BLU-GLO by Timothy Resau

Life's lizards are so bizarre,
and if Beale Street could talk  America would be a better place.
Even now the distant blues echoes across the Mississippi,
dying out over lazy Little Rock.
Early summer rain clouds cross and re-cross the Delta,
raising Cain and cotton in the humid air,
as B.B. King's Opus cuts the evening    
like a comb thru thinning hair.
            
Several Day-Glo artists, home from Europa,
are seen along the burnt-out curbs,
sketching abstract letters with broken neon.
While on a corner, a wandering woman, late forties,
with blue cross tattooed on her forehead, passes out cards with:
Get Back, Too Normal— printed on them in blue letters.
    
Only in America, says the cab driver, Mr. Johnson, 
who accepts passenger calls twenty-four hours-a-day 
from an all-night inner-city blues bar.
It's a non-stop life of blacks and blues, propped-up
like some phony Hollywood facade.

It's a street where everybody wants to change or erase their eroded lives.
Personally, my threshold for pain seems to increase each day.
Why do I continue increasing the dosage?
What's next, murder?    

Each morning Dostoevsky stares back at me from the cracked mirror
on my rented wall— Know what that feels like?
Perhaps it’s a challenge that can't be met...
If ya know what I mean….

Horse hoofs beat down all the memories    
I can't seem to forget—    
Most often the space between thoughts is non-existent—
a non-stop brain hemorrhage, which means we easily pick at our scabs,        
but find we're embarrassed by our scars.

Our past is buried in a seedy landfill somewhere on the other side of tomorrow,
a vacant city without windows — where it's offset by a blue-grey sky,
and graced by Lucifer's band of fallen angles....
Time continues—
outlined in chipped Italian marble, and our espresso mornings spin into
mindless afternoons spent drinking shots in Jesus-haunted cafes, where
twirling ceiling fans whisper the blues, and all the waiters try to please:
Mo ice fo’ yo’ drink, sur?

It's a lost war of mumbled words, endless images
and twisted symbols,
almost like looking for an empty life to fill.

Blue heat rises off the stoned sun, warming this aging planet
with questions of wonder, since it appears the future needs
more guidance than the past political jokes.

Today no one's laughing....
The Nu-South hustles down the rebuilt, new-age streets
on tenants’ terms, and wise tobacco growers dream of                
planting old fashion hemp, as they watch,
knee deep in spent tobacco juice, their crops turn to dust.    

All the Uncle Tom's have sold or bought the farm—
the rest, like everyone else, are thinking of running for Congress.
It's nouveau riches stamped PASSED DUE
too far into the next century to believe anymore.

We once imagined our lives as cartoons, now we live them.
It's a Walt Disney state-a-mind — life in the funny papers.
It's cutting-edge Super-Realism, and we eagerly offer
our children as clowns.




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.






Thursday, June 10, 2021

when did i start disliking most people? by Scott Ferry

maybe it was when i stopped drinking
 
(i don’t even like myself anymore)
but i convince myself to love everyone
 
below the bells and the drool
below the clatter and the hunger
 
because i know we connect there in a pool—
where our sad nerves ribbon into the water
 
three floors up our hair-styled heads still compete
on who controls the doors
 
in a side bathroom our sex still puppets
with a pair of wooden hands
 
our credit and titles still drape
like neon moss from the willows  
 
not any use down here where our limbs
denature and spool into the milk
 
i can love you here and only
here i promise to even forgive for not forgiving
 
i do care but only if the skin sloughs off only
if our names string ghosts on vowels
 
and your jellied chestpump swims
past my aorta like a saffron axolotl only
 
if we word without wording only
if i can trust who we have now become




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 @ ferrypoetry.com.


 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Shame On Me By Matt Amott


Reading some poems 
at a show
where the theme is
love and loss.
I read tales
of former lovers,
the moment it ended
and the
excruciating pain
of heartbreak

When I'm done
a woman approaches
and says she likes
my writing.
I wonder
if my poems
really speak to her,
or just give her
new ideas on how to
crush someone's heart?

I guess 
I'll find out later 
as I accept
her invitation
for drinks.






Matt Amott is a poet, musician and photographer who rambles around the Pacific Northwest. He is co-founder and co-editor of Six Ft. Swells Press and has been published in numerous collections as well as three books of his own, THE COAST IS CLEAR (Six Ft. Swells Press), GET WELL SOON and THE MEMORY OF HER (both by Epic Rites Press).  He can be reached at sixftswells@yahoo.com and purchases can be made at Amazon and www.sixftswellspress.com

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Meet Arianna by Emalisa Rose

TV still humming, rips
in her stocking, a poem
or two scratched on the
nightstand.

Blurring his face, she
remembered his lines,
escorting her home, on 
the D train,

buying her gum from the
stand by the stall with the
stink of the bathroom.

Comatose, retching, her hair
in a knot of dark grey reminder -

Meet Arianna.

Her “go to” - tequila

minus the sunrise.




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, June 7, 2021

dense fog advisory by Ben Newell

Until 9:00 am,
the sign reads.  

The electronic sign 
on I-55.

Yet another 
miserable Monday morning commute
to the hated job.

Hangover rendering 
the warning
so much bullshit—

A rather nasty one
sure to stick around until 
late afternoon.



Ben Newell dropped out of the Bennington Writing Seminars during his first semester, eventually resuming his studies at Spalding University where he earned an MFA.  His first full-length collection of poetry, Fuzzball, was recently published by Epic Rites Press.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1926860667/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_c8rnDbWM37NAQ






Sunday, June 6, 2021

COCKTAIL HOUR by Russell Dupont

At 4, I stop what I call, “my work”
and go downstairs, realizing
that I have not spoken
to another human all day.

A number of conversations
begin between the cat and me,
all one-sided, with me
providing questions and answers.

And what do I have to show
for the day but these words
spilled on this page in silence
while real life goes on outside

this tight room where, each day,
I fumble to create photos and
prints, paintings and poems,
absent from the world’s clamor.

Now, a dram of honey dissolved
in a few teaspoons of hot water,
ice to the top of the glass
and then the whiskey.

Bourbon, Rye, Scotch,
I am not choosey. Finally,
a toast to the day’s work
and to the quiet that envelops me.




Russell Dupont is the author of two novels: KING & TRAIN and WAITING FOR THE TURK. He is also the author of four chapbooks: UP IN WISCONSIN: TRAVELS WITH KINSLEY; THERE IS NO DAM NOW AT RICHFORD; and two books of poetry: WINTER, 1948 and ESTABLISHING HOME PLATE. His poetry has been published in various literary magazines, including The Albatross, The Anthology of South Shore Poets, Re-Side, Oddball, JerryJazzMusician, Adelaide Literary Magazine; and his story, “The Corner,” appears in the anthology STREETS OF ECHOES. His journalism has appeared in The Dorchester Community News, The Melrose Free Press and The Patriot Ledger. 
His novel, Waiting for the Turk was nominated for a Goodreads Choice Books 2019 Award.
He is also a photographer, painter and printmaker whose works have been widely exhibited and are in public and private collections, including The Boston Public Library; Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and The Dana Farber Cancer Institute. 



Saturday, June 5, 2021

Dear Maura: (for Maura O' Connor, poet.) by Kevin M. Hibshman

Sweet downed hummingbird.
I wonder where you are now in a country gone mad.
Did you give up poetry to become an office girl?
Perhaps you said what you needed to say and it is better to forget?
Your poems scared me to death when I first read them.
I was alright then, able to don the mask of a survivor.
Things have changed.
Every day is a battle for sanity I'm not sure I'll win.
My days are a blur.
My nights, a gasp.
I'm writing this to you because I know you'd understand.




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


Friday, June 4, 2021

Heading West by Keith Pearson

Outside a town called Danville the two lane intersected the railline and as they approached a red light began to blink and a bell clanged and the single bar guard fell across the road and he let the truck roll to a stop. He shut off the engine to let it cool and put down his window and watched the train approach from the west. It stretched out as far as he could see moving slowly as though from out of the mountains themselves. He heard the bark and yelp of a dog and then the train was roaring by them moving much faster than it had appeared, empty coal cars identical except for the occasional unintelligible graffiti scrawled across the sides. She had also rolled down her window and watched the train move east across the prairie as he watched it approach from the west. Ten minutes later the last of the empty coal cars and a single caboose passed them and the echo of the train rolled slowly away from where they sat. He checked the rearview. There was no one there. All he saw was the two lane out straight and waving slightly in the haze behind them.The clanging of the caution bell ceased and the gate creaked upward.
    Did you hear a dog he asked. The silence was different inside the truck with the windows down and the bell finished and without the hum of the air conditioner or the low murmur of the radio. 
    I did she said. 
    He looked at her. I didn't see a dog anywhere. 
    I thought I imagined it she said. Like I was half asleep or something. 
    I heard it too. I guess weren't sleeping. 
    She stretched a little on the seat. You don't suppose do you.
    I don't see it he said. I'm not sure we would but I don't now. He started the truck and rolled up his window as the AC kicked on. Want me to look as we go across he asked. He knew she would not look.
    No please don't I don't want to know. Could we have been imagining the same thing? That would be too weird. 
    It must have been the train he said. Some sound from the wheels or the tracks or maybe the brakes releasing. He dropped the gear lever and they bumped across the tracks and he kept his eyes straight ahead on the gray asphalt and did not look along the tracks.
    You didn't look did you she asked.
    Nope he said. 
    Because I don't want to know she said. She slouched on the seat and brought her knees up and hugged them as though she was cold. 
    Want me to turn down the air he asked. 
    No I'm fine she said. She looked at him. We'll never know will we.
    The town is up ahead. You want to stop and stretch? Get a snack?
    No she said. Let's keep going. 
    So they drove past the Danville exit and the two lane stretched out straight ahead into the vague shape of the distant mountains and in spite of himself he checked along the side of the highway every so often hoping to see a good sized dog loping free and determined in that afternoon prairie sun. 



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


Thursday, June 3, 2021

Back Porch Evening by Gary Adams

Only the lonely stars light dead space
The ones so dim that late at night
On the back porch smoking and drinking hard
They challenge you to enter your mind and see them
To feel their loneliness hung up in multi-dimensional
Darkness, where movement and speed can’t be measured
Where emotions and feelings and matter and energy are one
Love and hate, the color spectrum fanning out
From black to white, higher powers fanning out 
From the many man has made up since the dawn of time 
Through his Odysseys around the globe
A long slow drink and swallow, a deep inhale 
The soothing smoke caressing my lungs
Swaying gently inside me to a waltz of intoxication
Exhaling fast like the black-powder smoke belching from a cannon
Mushrooming with the bang, spewing then slowly floating
Spiraling out to the dim lonely stars of eternity
I stare at, squinting to focus, and fantasize of strange worlds
And situations where I control everything and all remains in place
Just the way I’ve walked it, dreamed it, reacted to it, or flat out ignored it 
Drunk and hoping surely it would go away, but nothing happened
Alone, on your own, looking up and at the lonely stars
On the back porch smoking and drinking hard on a summer night




Gary Adams received a BS in Engineering from the US Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point New York, 1971.  After sailing on an oceangoing dredge in the Gulf of Mexico and working on tugboats in New York Harbor and vicinity, he received a Master’s in Library Science from the University of Oklahoma in 1975.  He has been published once in Alkahest: American College Poetry, Wesleyan University Press, Number 3, Fall 1969.  He regularly posts poems in various poetry forums on Facebook.  He has gotten drunk in bars in the US including Hawaii, Midway and Eniwetok Islands, Japan, Okinawa, Hong Kong, Philippines, South Vietnam, Diego Garcia Island in the Indian Ocean, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Tunisia, Italy, Sicily, France, Spain, United Kingdom, Germany, Barbados, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.  He is retired living in Illinois near St Louis.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

One Life by Marc Frazier

 —You’re always one decision away from a totally different life. Anonymous
 
Covered with ice packs, she sprawls on a white sheet. 
Skin blisters. A fan whispers her boyfriend’s name, 
tells her how skin will shed—delicate membranes—layer by layer.  
She waits, pictures herself a bride. 
 
Yes, she said I do but blood drained from her face 
and abdication churned in her. No day had been holy since then.
 
Who was she after the diaper changes, the plates stacked
on granite counters? What she longs for most is herself 
 
as she leaves everything: husband, four children. 
She cries into a bucket of golf balls; with growing force 
 
she hits each one, hears the solid slap of steel, rushed parting of air. 
She cooks for an ever-changing family of artists and writers. 
 
Food is her medium. She knows flavors blend as pigments, 
dyes, creates with asparagus tips, artichoke hearts, warm bread, 
 
and aspic, listens to lofty discussions on books and art, 
the creative process, placates everyone’s quirks, demands, egos, 
 
smiles —a perfect hostess is what they want, 
no different from her family. Always the giving, 
 
the smoothing over: it will be alright. 
Now she lives in a high rise along the Atlantic, lounges at a Tiki bar, 
 
drives her convertible up and down A1A,
swims laps in a thunderstorm because she can.




Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Slant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. Marc is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a “best of the net.” He is a Chicago-area LGBTQ+ writer who has appeared in the anthology New Poets from the Midwest. Marc’s three poetry collections are available online.


 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Dream Girl by Aimee Nicole

I’m the girl you grew up watching in porn, behind the scenes.
Fixing her hair for pictures in desk lamp lighting,
adjusting blindfolds to hide freckles dotting each iris.
Action: licking your body to commit every vein to memory.
I can devour all of you like a midnight snack
and stomach seconds before sunrise.
When the film stops rolling, my belly growls
for fried cheese sticks and hot tea.
The shower steaming my flesh is a rebirth.
I launder panties in the sink wearing a thin cotton tee. 
Bitterness for unrequited love corrodes 
all hope like vinegar on your teeth. 


Aimee Nicole is a chronically ill queer poet currently residing in Rhode Island. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Roger Williams University and has been published by the Red Booth Review, The Nonconformist, and Voice of Eve, among others. For fun, she enjoys attending roller derby bouts and trying desperately to win at drag bingo.


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 ...