Saturday, July 31, 2021

In London during the War by Rick Christiansen

In London during the War—
The sound of dripping syrup methodically tapping a tattoo on the shelf below,
from a can of peaches pierced by bomb shrapnel 
while sitting on a London apartment shelf 
during the blitz.

In our plague year—

The sound of an ICU respirator 
wheezing to a stop 
after the code has been called.  
Time of death marked by the patient’s cell phone 
now unplugged and placed in the bag for her children.

This Plague year has changed us all.  
Time speeding up and slowing down to the rhythms of serotonin.  
Anxiety creating brilliant focused experience 
like a microscope being dialed in to the cellular level.  
They say that in London during the war, 
people felt more alive. 
The Spector of sudden death from the sky 
made them love faster, drink longer, fuck harder.

In our Plague year— 
We endure the Spector of slow death.  
Not from the sky, but from the air.

Droplets like shrapnel piercing the lungs/slowly stealing breath away.  
We only grow heavier.  
Eating and watching and hiding from the miasma.

They say that in London during the War, 
people died alone trapped in the wreckage of bombed buildings.  
In our Plague year— 
people die alone trapped in hospital beds.  
Tethered to machines instead of family.  
Each breath more shallow than the last, until the ragged sound stops.  

They say that in London during the War, 
each morning people would emerge blinking.  
Wearing masks against the dust and smoke.  
Marking the demise of another shop or restaurant to bomb or fire 
as they navigated the minimums of life.  

    Picking up a prescription.  
    Trying to find milk or toilet paper.  

Because children are still thirsty 
and we must shit until we die.  

Wandering for items that would fill the hole 
of uncertainty and named fear.  

The anonymity of masked travel.  
    Making the eyes do all of the work of the face.  
    Trying to connect through fabric and fear.  

In our Plague year—
It is the same.

They say that in London during the War,
 everyone pulled together.  
They had the connection of a shared enemy.  

In our Plague year—
we are denied that connection.  
False news and finger pointing make us misdirect our resolve
away from shared purpose. 
Toward disconnecting conspiracy and suspicion. 

They say that in London during the War,
Everyone became stronger.

In our Plague year—

Rick Christiansen has been a stand-up comic, an actor, director of the improvisational comedy group, The Underground, and a corporate executive.  His work can be found in the archives of Oddball Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review and other publications. He has poems forthcoming in Dumpster Fire Press and his poem “Killing Bob Dylan” has been selected for a Fall 2021 anthology by Alien Buddha Press. He is a member of the St. Louis Writers Guild. Rick lives in Missouri near his eight grandchildren and with his basset hound Annie. 


Friday, July 30, 2021

Blue. By Cheryl Snell


Saxophone mutes the fog in his lungs, mouthpiece clamped to a kiss.

Brass throats on a crying jag throb behind him. His breath slides down a pitch, pinches it like a bleeder. 

The woman at the front table crosses 

her legs to show the rips in her stockings       

twitching like a cat’s tail. She loved     

somebody once, and knows what it means 

to be a smashed thing,  her best parts held  

to the spinning light  and appraised. 

The man squeezes his eyes and smokes  

blue notes, burring and buzzing his lip. 

All night, his train will run beside her bus.

Each one will stare into the shared dark, 

willing the next stop to look like home.

Cheryl Snell is a poet. Novelist. Pianist..An aficionado of old music and new art. Fluent in subtext.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Closed Eye Visuals by PW Covington

Prayers and trumpet tones
From somewhere out, beyond
The painted walls that hold my life
Wake me in false-dawn light of early May

And it is warm
Last winter’s frost and snow
Receding into misforgotten
Stories told while drinking

Strobe flashes like fireworks
Outside the courthouse, closed eye visuals
Shipwreck current privacy of reason
Baked and seasoned

Cyclone syndrome skips the generations
That deny it
Dizzy Gillespie, high on speed
And blowing through his smile

Beer can ashtray
Red wood picnic table wet with garden spray
And houseflies
Make a home for open eyed sobriety

PW Covington is a Pushcart-nominated poet and writer. He writes in the Beat tradition of the North American highway.
   More at

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

This What You Wanted? by Scott Simmons

Fuck the living and the dead.
Fuck God and the Devil.

Fuck our universe for existing.
Fuck myself and fuck you too. 

We’re all shit so deal with it.

Scott Simmons is a poet, humorist, and artist of debatable quality from Houston Texas. He is also the editor of the Dope Fiend Daily and enjoys reading your submissions as little as possible.

His work has been featured in places such as The Rye Whiskey Review, Fearless, HST, Daune's Poetree, The Black Shamrock, The Anti-Heroin chic, and Under The Bleachers.

In addition to his creative "career" he is also a professional asshole.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Midnight in Motown by Tony Pena

Some folks cower with dead 
moths in closets of rooms dark 
as a coal mine as the witching 
hour calls for a Pandora’s box 
of beasts to slither from beneath 
a bed rollicking like a ghost 
ship adrift in a storm fueled 
by sins of emotional turbulence. 
Some folks revel in dark 
hearts with an offbeat rhythm 
of woe is me unrolling a touch 
not as Midas conjuring gold 
but as a grouser extending 
misery to all who dare 
come near the ravaged 
sphere of personal space.  
Some folks dwell neither 
in chambers of fear or self-pity,
but dance, with a honed edge 
of ebony soul tattooing skin, 
bleeding a palette of colors bold
in luster to jam all night to get 
the right shade of light to motor
through the ashes of Paris till dawn.

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, July 26, 2021

Shout Out by John Drudge

Call-out culture
Is eroding 
Intellectual integrity
Little hate mongers
Increasing prestige
At the expense 
Of others 
The nature of truth
With fear
Imposing beliefs
For self-gain
And sacrificing justice
On the altar of like minds
Where group think
Supersedes all 
And mob rule
Is the price
For inclusion
In an echo chamber 
Of sound
Where the vicious 
And the angry
Eat their own

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” (2019), “The Seasons of Us” (2019) and New Days (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.


Sunday, July 25, 2021

Warming Up By Alex Z. Salinas

The novelist Philip Roth said when a writer is born into a family, the family is ruined. 

I thought this as I raced the shadow of a cloud on an empty road midafternoon. 

By raced, I mean I attempted remaining within the shadow. Shaded. As in, my skin’s pale and melanoma is killing my mother. 

The Texas sun is savage, especially to light-skinned Hispanics. 

Years ago, I wrote a short story about an alcoholic mother. My mother read it. 

“The words are beautiful, but it’s so sad,” she said. 

I’m not a bad omen. But I’m warming up to wrecking ball.

Alex Z. Salinas is the author of two full-length poetry collections: WARBLES, and DREAMT, or The Lingering Phantoms of Equinox. His debut book of short stories, City Lights From the Upside Down, is expected to be published in August 2021. He lives in San Antonio, Texas. 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Bob Kaufman (Beat poet, 1925-1986) By Kevin M. Hibshman


Pitiless vagrant pacing his cage.

Assaulted by the law for affronting the sensibilities of not so

innocent bystanders.

Alone and ready to explode like a rocket in a bottle.

Shouting mangled poems into stopped cars.

Flinging visions off the rooftops in San Francisco.

Surveying and adding to the surreal distraction of New York City.

Reporting from the edge where jazz mingled with street noise in panoramic


Space man in human guise here to translate the mysterious music of

the universe, audible to only a few.

He marched as a feeble foot soldier.

Rag and bone man watching the stars for a pathway home.

Scribbling in a violent rush onto the backs of dirty envelopes:

A language all his own.

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).

His current book Just Another Small Town Story from Whiskey City Press is currently available on Amazon.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Under the Periwinkle by Lauren Scharhag

Some call it 

the graveyard vine,

groundcover that, once

planted and mulched, 

asks so little, unfazed

by shade, by the cold

of winter months, by 

the acidity or basicity 

of decomposing bodies;

in return, it rushes in 

where turf and fescue

fail to thrive, smothering

weeds. It stays low,

giving the appearance

of capitulation, pallid

blooms the color

of hush, fit for repose.

Imagine anchoring

down through the old

winding sheets and 

pine boxes, friending

the succulent and long-lived

Spanish Dagger, with its

down-facing white clusters, 

bulbs, cedar, iris and aster;

perennials and evergreens

we plant among the departed

like wishes, like portkeys,

semaphores to signal them back,

to show them that it can

be done. Lost or forgotten

sites, lacking tombstones, 

can be found again,

the past navigable by these

blue-white-lavender stars,

firmament at our feet,

kingdom come held

in petals and stems.

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:

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Bad Shepherd By Mick Rose

“Lenny’s got a floozy,” Deborah Harris whined, sucking down the dregs of a dirty martini—courtesy of my office bar, olives the only vegetable in her otherwise liquid lunch. She tugged a strand of matted hair that might look lovely woven in a natty eagle’s nest.

Working as a minister at a Unitarian Church and counseling dipshit wives is one of the horrors I endure to protect an important truth: I’m a successful serial killer—

Among other creepy things.

“Can’t say I blame him, Deb.”

“OMG, Reverend Taylor. You’re taking adulterous Lenny’s side?”

Vacant gray eyes glazed, she gulped at her empty glass … cheeks and lips pumping—like a puffer fish freshly plucked from water. I hoped she wouldn’t drop and flop around my plush teal carpet. Which I steam-cleaned yesterday to remove all traces of an Alabama virgin I kidnapped on a whim.

I know what you’re thinking. I entertained doubts about her virginity, too. But during thirty playful minutes of serious waterboarding in a nearby-Vegas dungeon? That little Southern Belle never changed her story. Sadly Deborah Harris lacks that kind of spunk.

“I don’t make moral judgments, Deb. I’m honest and objective. Making yourself a righteous victim won’t solve your problems or potentially save your marriage. When’s the last time you took a sober look at yourself in a mirror? If our bodies are God’s temples? Yours looks like a crack house. And why the fuck do you wear flannel shirts? Even junkies don’t wear flannel in Henderson, Nevada.”

She somehow pried her flailing limbs from the leather sofa. Yanked a pistol from her handbag—

Plopped her sagging ass cheeks soundly on my desk.

“When I find Lenny’s floozy? I’ll blow her cunt to kingdom come.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Mrs. Harris.” I wrapped a fist around the barrel—wrenched the Luger Taurus from her sausage fingers. Dropped the piece in my desk drawer. Slammed the sucker shut.

“Where’d you get the gun, Deb?”

“It’s Lenny’s,” she mumbled, teetering on the desktop. “He’s got a slew of them.”

I snagged Deb’s shoulders before she toppled—led her back to safer ground on the leather sofa.

“When’s the last time you gave Lenny a good ol’ sloppy blow job?”

“Well … never.”

Never? How the hell did these two sad sacks survive twenty years in this god-forsaken institution people call marriage?

History doesn’t tell us who the twisted fuck was that invented marriage. But Adam and Eve never married. After they indulged on that forbidden fruit—and got tossed from Paradise? They simply shacked-up in the burbs, where they lived in sin. The first friends with benefits since they had no other options.

Assuming of course, you believe Bible stories.

Debilitated Deborah snaked a hand across my thigh. “Do you think … maybe?”

“Do I think maybe, what, Deb?”

“That I could practice giving you blowjobs?”

Lord have mercy. I need a new day job. Something far less stressful. And more optimistic. Like maybe morgue attendant.

Oh, hallelujah—

Mrs. Harris passed out. A blessing on one hand. But an annoyance on the other.

I filched the keys from her handbag. Strapped on a shoulder holster, donned a white linen sport coat and a lightweight pair of Isotoner driving gloves. Stashed two burner phones in my coat, one in each side pocket. Looped a Cross pen through the trigger guard to retrieve Deborah’s Luger. Good—

The safety was on. I checked the chamber and the clip. Polished the ugly pistol with a towelette. Slid the gun in my holster.

Deborah still sprawled sleeping. Surprise, surprise she didn’t snore. But drool oozed down her chin, puddling on her flannel shirt. I ducked into the bathroom: cranked the shower full-blast.

Yeah, I know. I’ve got posh office digs.

Unlike Mrs. Harris, Lenny’s new flame excelled at sloppy blowjobs. And in six mere months a motivated Mr. Harris masterfully quadrupled his massive real estate holdings. I’m no prophet. But the future looked bleak for the current Mrs. Harris.

I rang Lenny on my cell phone. “Disturbing news,” I announced. “Deborah’s literally gone ballistic. She’s got a goddamn gun and intends to shoot your floozy. Deb’s words, not mine—and in the pussy—of all places. Then she plans to deal with you.”

“Jesus Christ,” Lenny muttered. “I filed for divorce this morning. Just left my lawyer’s office. What a clusterfuck.”

“Well, amigo. You fucked your way into this mess. So I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for god’s help. If you wanna save your asses? I’d hop on your corporate Leer—and take a quick flight. Somewhere close and comfy. Like Palm Springs, California. Don’t use credit cards, pay for everything in cash.”

“Good idea, Taylor. I can hit the links. Whack some balls around. And get mine sucked in peace. What kinda gun’s she got?”

“How the hell do I know, Lenny? I’m a minister for god’s sake. But if you don’t get out of Dodge? You could lose your balls, mate.”

“God forbid, Taylor. Christ don’t talk like that.”

“Then get your balls in gear. Don’t go to your office—or even worse, your house—Deb told me you own a slew of guns. I’m gonna call Holly. We’ll try to track your wife down and get her into detox. Call me when you’ve landed?”

“Roger that reverend. Thanks for your help. Me and my balls owe your church another sizeable donation.”

“No worries, pally-o. But make sure that wad ain’t sticky.”

I turned off the shower, grabbed the landline on my desk. “Hi, Holly. It’s Taylor. Don’t mean to disrupt your day, but I’m trapped here at the office—your sister’s drunk off her ass, and passed out on the sofa. Can you play Florence Nightingale and take her off my hands? Otherwise my only option is to call an ambulance. I think she’s okay. But what the hell do I know.”

“Wow. Good thing it’s Friday and I took the day off. Gimme twenty minutes. I’ll drop the kids at my mother’s.”

I kept busy in the meantime. Used one encrypted burner and a VPN to buy an airline ticket with a prepaid MasterCard. Printed the boarding passes. Stuffed them first into an envelope, then a Ziploc bag, and finally my pocket. I also retrieved my kit: a backpack I secret in a top-notch floor safe underneath my desk.

Craving a cigarette, I slipped through the slider to the outside deck. Sparked a Maverick menthol and killed the next five minutes. Cooper tires squealing, Holly swung a white Chevy van into the church lot—braked to a halt at the Handicapped ramp. She slung the side door open, lowered a ramp of her own. Reappeared with a wheelchair, a leather satchel on the seat, and joined me on the deck.

“Glad you’re here, Holly.”

She glanced at my crotch. “So I see,” she said.

I followed her inside. “Don’t flatter yourself, woman. That’s a gun in my pocket.”

“Right.” Her green eyes sparkled. “Locked and loaded no doubt.”

Bending over the sofa, she checked Deb’s vitals, starting with her pulse. With nothing else to do, I stared at Holly’s ass.

“Eat your heart out, Taylor. I’m not wearing panties.”

“No need to state the obvious. Or fish for compliments. Your ass is sweet, but you are not. As you damn well know.”

She waved a blood pressure cuff. “No need to state the obvious. My husband feels the same—but he’s not tired of me yet. Okay, playtime’s over. Let’s get her in the chair.”

We rolled Drooling Deb gently down the ramp, limp head flopping like the Easter Bunny till we secured her in the van.

“In my line of work I don’t say this often, Holly, but I trust your judgement. Though Deb belongs in detox, I know she’d resent us if we pulled an intervention. While I respect her privacy, I’m walking a thin line here: she threatened to hurt someone. Could’ve been the booze talking. But if she gets drunk again? Who knows?

“I took your sister’s keys so she couldn’t drive, and I’ll keep them for the moment. Here’s my private number, the keys to my cabin at Arrowhead Lake, and a prepaid VISA card for $1,500. If you choose to go, your entire family’s welcome. The address is under my number. Short-term Deb’s in need of some healthy TLC. Perhaps you might get her hair done. And take her clothes shopping—but nothing made of flannel, including shirts or nightgowns. At the very least? Please buy yourself some proper panties woman. Thongs don’t qualify.”

Hell, yeah, Holly blushed. And yes she flipped the bird as the van peeled away—scorching burn marks in its wake.

No rest for the wicked: idle hands are the devil’s workshop. I tugged the battery from my cell phone. Wedged my six-two-frame into Deborah’s BMW—tossed my kit in back, cruised to the Harris residence. The driveway sat empty. But out of sight means out of mind: I stabbed the garage remote, rolled the Beamer inside. And once the door closed, entered the Harris kitchen through the connecting breezeway.

I’d never been invited to the Harris home. No surprise to find the kitchen’s alarm unarmed. But the guest bedroom shocked me: Lenny owned more guns than your average SWAT team. None of them locked away. I stufffed a Glock and a Beretta deftly in my kit bag. A menacing automatic rifle also caught my eye, along with a box of shells. After snatching both, I jogged to the waiting Beamer. Stowed everything in the trunk. Covered them with—you guessed it—Deborah’s fucking flannel blanket.

Once I left the Harris house, I got snarled in Friday traffic while heading north toward Vegas. Deborah’s BMW had outlived its usefulness. Despite the allure, criminal activities aren’t all fun and games. I spend far more time stealing, stashing, ditching, and burning motor vehicles than I do trying to get laid. To keep a fleet out of sight and available at all times, I rent six garages, scattered across two counties.

Tapping the steering wheel, I nursed a Premier chocolate shake packed with thirty grams of protein, and reviewed my inventory. A black Cadillac Escalade with dark tinted windows would blend well at my next destination—and also afforded privacy.

Took me thirty dreary minutes before I could make the swap. I traded my linen coat for a nylon jacket and aviator shades. Tossed my repackaged kit on the front passenger floor. Left the rifle in the Beamer

I didn’t plan to fight a war.

This time I drove west for six-point-three miles, and arrived at Shady Acres. Shady my ass. The only trees standing in this thrift-rate subdivision are sporadically-planted palms. I’d cased this place for months, and sidled to the curb on a dead-end street—where a service alley splits two adjoining house lots.

I recognized both cars sitting in the drive for the single-story ranch at 30 Mandarin Court. Stretching for my kit I heard a car door slam … and I kept my head bowed until the revving car passed.

Awesome. A solitary car now occupied the driveway. Lock picks in hand, kit clinging to one shoulder, I crossed the street to the alley; cut across the drive to the ranch’s rear entrance.

Hey, lucky me. The door sat ajar—

No one in the kitchen.

No one in the living room.

I discovered her bent over in the master bedroom, ass cheeks winking sweetly from a plaid mini-skirt. Blonde locks tied in pigtails.

“Where’s lover boy, Julie?”

She wagged a velvet bag. Displayed an open palm. “I sent him out for pizza and a bottle of white wine.”

“Why didn’t you call—and say he brought the loot?

“I decided to count these first. And I wanted to surprise you. I’m nearly done packing. Lend me a hand? The silver and gold bars are already in my Lexus, locked in a wheelie Samsonite.”

“Sure.” I shrugged. “I bought you a ticket to Hawaii. Connecting flight’s in San Francisco for the cross-Pacific trip. Departure’s in two hours. But since you like surprises—” I fired the Luger twice. Watched her head explode. A dazzling stream of diamonds cascaded everywhere … raining down like hailstones. She collapsed on the bed, where blood and scraps of brain goo splattered the satin headboard and the wall above.

I imagine she felt grateful I didn’t shoot her in the cunt.

If diamonds are indeed a girl’s best friend? Julie hadn’t died alone. The stupid glittering rocks didn’t interest me. Way too hard to fence; and I don’t trust fences. Besides. With all those diamonds lying there? And no evidence of a break-in? Even the dumbest cops would likely rule out robbery.

I dropped the Luger where I stood—yanked out the Beretta—tossed the keys to my stolen Escalade into an open suitcase lying on the bed. Tucked the Hawaii boarding passes securely in Julie’s purse, snagged the keys to her Lexus. Let the cops conclude she tried to sucker sugar daddy, and planned to bolt alone in the hot Cadillac.

Elapsed time since the gunshots? Less than sixty seconds.

Killing always makes me hungry.

But I didn’t wait for lecherous Lenny and his fresh, hot pizza. I slipped out the back door, making sure the lock snicked tight, and calmly drove away in Julie’s red Lexus… leaving his floozy’s corpse behind, cuz I’m not at all like Dexter—

Chopping up dead bodies. And dumping the bloody cuts at sea. That dude’s a fucking psycho.

Driving to a storage locker to stash the gold and silver, my adrenal rush petered. I yawned non-stop puttering further south to Julie’s rented condo so I could ditch the Lexus in her Henderson garage. Trudging on foot to the Sunset Station Hotel and Casino, where I flagged a cab, felt like Eternity.

Safe and sound at the church once again, I lacked the energy to play with my Alabama virgin. I hoped she didn’t feel abandoned, chained alone by the ankles on a Friday night. But she had plenty of food and water. And a stack of horror novels to keep her entertained.

I hopped in my Porsche. And at nearly nine p.m. secured an outdoor table at The Angry Butcher Steakhouse. Despite the restaurant’s motto—“Flavor worth fighting for”—not my favorite steak joint, but I like their patio.

My private cell phone buzzed, goosing my ass awake.

“Hey, Taylor. Good news. I took your suggestions. We’re all here at your cabin. I found a local detox—and Deb’s agreed to go. She checks in at eight tomorrow. By the way,” she added, “I’m still not wearing panties.”

“Thanks, Holly. You held my rapt attention—until that last announcement. Now say good night you wretched woman. A smoking hot waitress is coming my way with a bone-in ribeye steak.”

“Liar, liar, pants on fire. But if you bone her think of me. Catch ya later Taylor gator.”

I winked at the waitress. She winked back.

Maybe I’m not as tired as I thought. The restaurant closed at ten. And hope springs eternal. Or so they say.

Holly and her family hadn’t yet heard the news: the cops had arrested Lenny and booked him for murder. They found him in bed with Julie … cranking his carrot among the carats after he called 911—a half-eaten bacon pizza on the bedside table.

But who am I to judge how people spend their Friday nights? Or how they grieve. Soon, I imagine, he’ll be giving sloppy blowjobs. If Deborah visits him in prison maybe Lenny can give her pointers.
I hoped they’d all sleep well tonight. They’d certainly need their strength in the days ahead. Which reminded me—

I tapped my Memo app, typed a quick note. Sign up at Indeed: apply for morgue attendant jobs.

My church phone chimed just as I hit save.

“Hello, Reverend Taylor. This is Gladys Parker. Sorry to call so late, but I’m a sobbing, drunken mess. George told me he’s involved with a thirty-year-old girl.”

Good lord. George and Gladys just turned seventy. Been married fifty years.

“I’m sorry to hear that Gladys. But tell me … when’s the last time you gave George a good old fashioned sloppy blow job? With or without your dentures.”

Crime author Mick Rose pens haiku and prose while wandering the United States in a Quest for the Perfect Pizza. Though his crime fiction can loom dark, and not for the faint-of-heart, he typically tells tall tales involving sexual humor (which sometimes prove explicit). His stories have kindly found homes in print and online mags, including Yellow Mama Webzine, Punk Noir Magazine, and The Rye Whiskey Review. Care to say, “Hello?” You can visit Mick below:

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Exodus by Catherine Arra

And we went into the desert of quarantine.

Sat under Buddha’s tree, faced the shadow of ourselves,
bright personas, grand schemes stripped of stage.

Some armed themselves, summoned gangs, gathered guns,
loaded words cruel as bullets, blind with blame.

Some laid punches of slight upon children, spouses
kicked the dog for good measure, spit on the sidewalk.

Others summoned that swarthy stranger, traded secret messages
in coded dreams. Stopped waiting for happiness.

Said come now, sit at my table, eat, drink with me.
Share this space and story.

And we who would never have met, kissed with ancient longing,
history thick as blood, and fell, fell, fell in love.

Catherine Arra is the author of Deer Love (Dos Madres Press, 2021), Her Landscape, Poems Based on the Life of Mileva Marić Einstein (Finishing Line Press, 2020), (Women in Parentheses) (Kelsay Books, 2019), Writing in the Ether (Dos Madres Press, 2018), and three chapbooks.  Arra is a native of the Hudson Valley in upstate New York, where she teaches part-time and facilitates local writing groups. Find her at

Monday, July 19, 2021

pairs well with secondhand sofa by Ben Newell

Outdoorsman standing
beside a mountain stream
cracks open a can 
of BUSCHHHHH . . . 

Catchy marketing campaign,
an attempt 
to revitalize the brand
which just so happens to be
my favorite. 

But I’m no outdoorsman.  

I accept my limitations—

And routinely get drunk 
in the safety of my apt.

I would’ve fallen in years ago
and drowned.

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.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

After the AA Meeting by John C. Mannone

A drunk takes a swig
before he stumbles
on the curb. Passes out
flat clutching a bottle
of bum-wine tasting
like fermented sewer
water. Dreams of liver-
colored clouds waning
pale as smoke is replaced
with the sweet scent of
daisies and spearmint
while kneeling by the brook,
with clean water in the cup
of his hands, his belly full
of delirious courage.

John C. Mannone has poems in North Dakota Quarterly, Foreign Literary Review, Le Menteur, Poetry South, and others. He won the Impressions of Appalachia Creative Arts Contest in poetry (2020), the Carol Oen Memorial Fiction Prize (2020), and the Joy Margrave Award in nonfiction (2015, 2017). He was awarded a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). His latest collection, Flux Lines: The Intersection of Science, Love, and Poetry, is forthcoming from Linnet’s Wings Press (2021). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. A retired physics professor, Mannone lives near Knoxville, Tennessee.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Flopped Out by Jonathan Butcher

The morning graces those guttural sounds,
the fast run of errands through the city's
heat, past that garden where no two flowers
are the same, and excludes the ones 
who wish to document the sliver of peace
it proclaims to offer. 

Back to this dilapidated building, 
it's walls grey like fading fungi, 
the unhinged doors hang like the open
scars they poorly conceal, their handles 
as hot as lava. The same clothes hung,
stained with smoke and the same stale stories. 

The bustle of gentry, who perch hands
upon pearl lampshades, ignoring the rapid
passing of feet that struggle to invest in time,
let alone trinkets. They throw little sympathy 
in either direction, leave a trail of stale breadcrumbs
no one can collect.  

That single wise voice lifts slowly from that makeshift
bed, it's eyes like dust covered hub-caps, and slowly
graces the day with the usual lack of expected acceptance.
It rises above this smog once more, to again fulfil it's
mission, to continue preaching the good word.  

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, July 16, 2021

Clear as Beer by Harris Coverley

She caught me in my underpants,
splayed on the floor,
reading the Beats
and scratching myself.
“You pig!” she screamed.
“Can’t you see you
have a drinking problem?!”
“My good woman,” I replied,
“you neither have faith
nor truly understand me...
I have no drinking
problem, but a
drinking solution!”

 Harris Coverley has verse published or forthcoming in Polu Texni, California Quarterly, Star*Line, Corvus Review, The Oddville Press, Better Than Starbucks, EgoPHobia, 5-7-5 Haiku Journal, Scarlet Leaf Review, and many others. He lives in Manchester, England.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Missing The Boat by Matt Amott

I filled out a postcard
addressed to my woman 
and gave it to a friend
who was going to France. 
I had him mail it 
back to her
from the Eiffel Tower,
and she was convinced 
that I traveled abroad
and sent it to her myself.
Years later she left,
never knowing the truth 
about the postcard.

These days
I can catch a boat 
to Europe.
Wander it's cities,
eat it's food
and drink it's wine.
I can live fully 
and love madly,

and she won't know 
about that either.

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 and purchases can be made at Amazon and

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