Thursday, September 30, 2021

Ora (no. 117 of Women’s names sensual series) by Carrie Magness Radna

“It’s more fun at the bar,”
you argued. 

Sighing, I relented
& stretched out my bare legs
which ran for 10 miles. 
Men stared at my freckled shoulders
as I smoothed out 
the new wrinkles on my sundress. 

It was too late
to wear sundresses—but the weather
outside was still muggy & hot
as if it was still Summer.

Your whiskey on the rocks 
was melting as you left 
your barstool to pick & play
tunes from the Wulitzer jukebox.

I waited & sipped my Aperol spritz
with anticipation—another Beatles fest?
Yeah, this crowd can handle it,
& they do with “Love me do”

& the bar was happy for a while
as we sang along.

“Is this Indian Summer?”
you asked me. 

How would I know?
I thought; I’m not Native American
but I grew up in Oklahoma
where bare legs were prevalent.

I shrugged.
“I have no idea. But we just had
the Harvest Moon shining this week.
It’s supposed to be cooler than this.
Damn global warming …”

The drinks were still cold
but running out. We order
another round as we turn
around to watch the people
dance & finally getting out. 


A 2020 nominee for Best of the Web, Carrie Magness Radna is an audiovisual cataloger at New York Public Library, a choral singer and a poet who loves traveling. Her poems have previously appeared in The Oracular Tree, Mediterranean Poetry, Muddy River Poetry Review, The Rainbow Project (Poets Wear Prada), Shot Glass Journal, Poetry Super Highway,, Cajun Mutt Press, Polarity eMagazine, Walt’s Corner, The Poetic Bond (VIII-X), First Literary Review-East and Jerry Jazz Musician. Her first chapbook, Conversations with dead composers at Carnegie Hall (Flutter Press) was published in January 2019, and her self-published chapbook, Remembering you as I go walking (Boxwood Star Press) was published in August 2019. Her first poetry collection, Hurricanes never apologize (Luchador Press) was published in December 2019. Her new poetry collection, In the blue hour, is now published by Nirala Publications (January 2021). Born in Norman, Oklahoma, she now lives with her husband in Manhattan.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021



In the old photo, I am standing

in the doorway, between

the kitchen and my bedroom.

The print is slightly out of focus,

but it is plainly me,

wearing jeans and a plain white t-shirt.

On my face is a yellow and black mask

with cut-outs for eyes;

I gaze out from somewhere far away.

At least, that is how I remember it – 

placing the camera on a tripod

then setting the self-timer.

Feeling the sheer pleasure

of slipping on the mask— 

the cool touch against my cheek.

The tiger’s skin, the breath of the jungle

the sense of waiting, hunger;

the camera’s click.

The motion of the opening door;

the look of surprise, 

then fear on your face.

MICHAEL MINASSIAN is a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online poetry journal. His chapbooks include poetry: The Arboriculturist and photography: Around the Bend. His poetry collections Time is Not a River, Morning Calm, and A Matter of Timing are all available on Amazon. For more information:

Monday, September 27, 2021

Alice, from Old East New York by Emalisa Rose

From her hospital bed, piping
with morpheme, she caresses
those triple crown days -

of dirty martinis, five olives

of deep tans on curves, as
she’d rotate along with the 
sun’s reposition

and a smoke, staring seaside,
long drags, Lucky Strikes

blowing rings round the gulls
sharing skies with her.

Aunt Alice of Old East New York

before “joy” became treacherous. 

When not writing poetry, Emalisa Rose enjoys crafting and hiking. She volunteers in animal rescue, and tends to cat colonies in the neighborhood. She lives by a beach town, which provides much of the inspiration for her art  Some of her poems have appeared in Writing in a Woman's Voice, The Rye Whiskey Review, Mad Swirl and other amazing places. Her latest collection is "Connected by sparrows," published by Origami Poems Project.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

drunk leaving the Exchange by Tohm Bakelas

a city bus drives by fast
and blows my hair back—
it's time to go home

Tohm Bakelas is a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. He was born in New Jersey, resides there, and will die there. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, zines, and online publications. He has published 12 chapbooks. He runs Between Shadows Press.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Dream of the Van Halen Concert by C.L. Liedekev

My sister was in the dream.
She was still 20, her hair
a fortress, a hairspray halo,
fingers nicotine-stained,
face an endless nosebleed
in the parking lot. The screaming
pile of sweat and men
at her orchestra, at her love,
heavy as her boyfriend’s
forearms, heavy as double
bass through the chest,
as the rattle of beer cans 
in a pick-up truck bed. 
I am laying down, the same dream, 
‘Panama’ echoes off metal, 
off the long strings of hot dog vomit
that runs from my mouth,
the night goes cocaine numb.
In the morning, when the veil
falls, a headliner curtain,
the sound of the birds bully
my head, the wretch of attempt
coats my arms, my knees,
fucking up will always have this smell, 
my stomach of cool
dry heaving Jack into chipped
blue paint. When I look,
she is there, our Shields Avenue
home a glowing background,
in her stained hands is this moment.
A time I can never grab, but she holds
it as delicately as a new baby brother.

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 Humana Obscura, Red Fez, Open Skies Quarterly, River Heron Review, Vita Brevis, amongst others. His real goal is to make the great Hoboken poet/exterminator Jack Wiler proud. So far, so good.

Friday, September 24, 2021

I Get It By Jeff Weddle

So you don’t like Bukowski —

I get it. He doesn’t speak your language 

and is so crude. 

You’d never catch him in a Starbucks 

and he didn’t even have the grace 

to live in a time when Starbucks 

was a thing. 

I get it.

You don’t like him because he was a man 

and wrote like not just any man, 

but like himself and only himself. I get it.  

Everyone must get with the program

if they are to matter,

and Bukowski threw up on the program 

then set it on fire. 

He wasn’t woke the way you have decreed 

we must all be woke these days.


I get it. 

You don’t like Bukowski 

because you read a few poems 

and decided he didn’t like women. 

I get it. 

Did you get to the point 

where he didn’t like men, either? 

Or that he was generally sad 

about the shitty world 

that finally destroys all of us? 

Or that, really, he generally loved humanity 

but was too broken to admit it very often?

Or that the butt of most all of his stuff 

is himself? 

It was probably too much to ask of you 

to read him broadly and deeply. 

Who has the time? One must get to the gym 

and Starbucks 

before the popular shows 

come on TV. 

Starbucks is so good. 

I get it. 

Someone told you he was bad. 

That saved you bunches of time. 

Probably they didn’t read him, either. 

A poem or two, maybe. A story. 

Somebody probably told that person 

they weren’t supposed to like him, too. 

I get it. 

What was your name again? 

What is it you’ve done? Not much? 

Maybe a YouTube video 

or an article 

in some respected journal? 

Good for you. 

I get it. 

Do you get it? 

Yeah. Sure you do.

Jeff Weddle is a poet and writer living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He won the 2007 Welty Prize for Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press, and has also received honors for his fiction and poetry. Jeff teaches in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama.


Thursday, September 23, 2021

A Toast to the Trip by Marcelo Medone

    I had met Lawrence at the bar around the corner. It was late at night and we had already had four mugs of beer. He was throwing peeled peanuts into the air and catching them with his mouth open. He was hitting one in five, so in no time there were peanuts all over our table and unto the floor. For my part, I indulged in swallowing cheese cubes and green olives. 

    "Do you know, Larry," I said in my best alcoholic voice, "what I've been working on for the last twelve months?"

Lawrence, who always endured my frustrated inventor delusions, smiled after scooping up a peanut and looked at me in surprise.

    "A new physics project?" 


    "I didn't know that you were wasting your time again in that mad scientist stuff. I thought you had left all that and dedicated yourself to teaching and nothing else ..."

    True, after my failures to build a perpetual motion machine, a homemade plasma fusion reactor and an antigravity generator, I had stopped going to the Institute. However, nothing prevented me from working at home.

    "I built a machine to travel through time. A Time Machine. I'm not kidding."

    Larry started laughing like crazy. With teary eyes, he drank what was left of his beer and said to me, "I believe you anything, especially after four beers."

    "I spent eight months planning it and four months putting it together. A great design. The tricky thing was building it with my teacher's salary. That's why I've worked so much overtime."

Now I had Lawrence captive to my story. I finished my beer, hugged him by the shoulders, and proceeded to my phenomenal announcement.

    "That morning was the great moment. I entered the machine at 9 hours, 12 minutes and 11 seconds. I activated the inertial capacitors, turned on the solid propellant phases, and synchronized the borophene electromagnets. Nothing happened. I tried it several times. In the end, I got off at 9 hours, 29 minutes and 23 seconds: in total, I was on the machine 17 minutes and 12 seconds. Somehow, I traveled to the future. Don't I deserve a toast?"

    That night we drank all the beer we could until they threw us out. 

Marcelo Medone (1961, Buenos Aires, Argentina) is a fiction writer, poet and screenwriter. His works have received numerous awards and have been published in magazines and books, individually or in anthologies, in multiple languages in more than 40 countries all over the world, including the US.

He loves drinking red wine and whiskey, although he prefers a good beer when he eats pizza. 

He currently lives in San Fernando, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

No Alcohol Sales After Midnight By Troy Schoultz


It’s where I stopped on my way home

From my second shift security gig. Cars parked

Far from the scrutiny of overhead gas pump lights,

Asphalt like alligator hide, spray painted pay phone relic

Broke and leaning like the shadows entering and leaving.

A girl in a black hoodie,

young enough to have run away from home

sits on a swivel chair in front of the video slot machine

emptying her pockets of an endless supply of quarters.

I walk past the candy-colored glass pipes

to the coolers and grab that night’s sixer of tall cans.

The man behind the counter avoids eye contact

And has one expression, it’s the kind 

That says “yeah, I’ve seen it all and more.”

The license plate on his red Jeep Grand Cherokee reads “CACTUS.”

I knew then something had to change,

When I could no long find the romance

In the emptiness of Sunday nights

And Mondays with nowhere I needed to be.

Troy Schoultz is a lifelong Wisconsin resident. His poems, stories, and reviews have appeared in Seattle Review, Rattle, Slipstream, Chiron Review, Word Riot, Fish Drum, The Great American Poetry Show, Steel Toe Review, Midwestern Gothic and many others since 1997. His interests and influences include rock and roll, vinyl LPs, found objects, the paranormal, abandoned places, folklore, old cemeteries and the number five. He is the author of two full length collections and two chapbooks

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Italics by Maeve McKenna

Pen twisting 
my fingers 
into knots.
from my lips
Ice under
lemon frosting
a Slim-Jim —
a toast, 
raise a glass,
smash it 
your front teeth,
or a vein.
 I only wanted 
for these hands,
a hot page 
to spell
your name. 
In italics.

Maeve McKenna lives in Sligo, Ireland. Her writing has been placed in several international poetry competitions and published in Mslexia, The Haibun Journal, Fly On The Wall, San Antonio Review, Galway Review, Boyne Berries, Sonder Magazine, Skylight47, 100 Words Of Solitude, Bloody Amazing Anthology, Culture Matters, and widely online. She has work forthcoming in Orbis, Ofi Press, Black Bough Poetry and Rat’s Ass Review.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Raise Your Flagon by Pat Tyrer

This song is for the little folk
who live throughout the glen
their bowers fill the roots of Oaks
among the flora blend.

Each morn I see them pail in hand
traipsing through the grass
gathering up the drops of dew
that fill the mountain pass.

Old Erik is their chieftain now
he wears a beard of green
with crumpled hat and furrowed brow
and wrinkles in between.

He has three wives whom he adores
Sophia, Bryn, and Kate
And bairns from eight to twenty-four
All live about the place.

The girls will marry hardy men
the boys will marry maids
And fill their homes with mighty kin
Whose names will never fade.

They celebrate the many births
a hundred every year,
And drink until they’re filled with mirth
from flagons filled with beer.

Long after we who sing these tunes
shall fade like morning stars
Old Erik and his magic runes
Shall still be at the bar.

Pat Tyrer teaches creative writing at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, TX. When not reading or writing, she can be found hiking Palo Duro Canyon bird watching during the day and star gazing at night. She has published in Readers Digest, Quiet Mountain Essays, The Literary Hatchet, and Bewildering Stories among others. She is the author of two books of poetry, Creative Hearts and Western Spaces, Western Places. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

written on a sunny day in graveyard by Rob Plath

every illusion 
you gather 
is like 
flicking the back
of the reaper’s skull 
hardly noticed 
but death is keeping 
a tally 
& is slowly executing 
its revenge 
a few lines carved in yr flesh here 
a few silver hairs there 
a sharper curve in yr spine 
a shooting pain in an organ 
one day death will 
just spin around 
tho & catch you by the wrist
as you flick yr forefinger 
& drag you under 
dark layers 
as all yr little illusions pop 
an empty house 
full of bursting bubbles

rob plath is a writer from new york. he is most known for
his monster collection  A BELLYFUL OF ANARCHY (epic rites press 2009).  his newest collection is MY SOUL IS A BROKEN DOWN VALISE (epic rites press 2019). 

you can see more of his work at

Saturday, September 18, 2021

EZRA by David Painter

Ezra Pound sat with pen in hand, 
and a half consumed bottle of gin, it is his only friend

Smoke curled up through his hair 
from the cigarette ash 
poked in his cheek. 

He writes his entire life story 
chiselling it in black ink
‘Here read this.” he says 
pushing it toward me. 

It will take a life time to read
Perhaps two. 

’Then read quickly he says.”

I am a Northeast Ohio poet and photographer. My aim is to capture your attention through the written expression .I was born in Charleston, W.Va. but now call Cleveland home I am a member of many poetry groups as well as Photography Clubs.  Author of poems, Thoughts along the way available on Amazon 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Thirst, can be a strange thing by Jonathan Jones

“So jaded,” she laughed. “Whenever I see you it’s always the same. Anyone else would look positively martyred, but then jaded always came so naturally to you. Tell me, do you think I’ve changed? Be honest.”

He shook his head slowly. Two flecks of small white saliva formed at the edges of her mouth.

“I’m thirsty,” she lied.

“What would you like?” he asked.

“Same again.”

     He looked at her blankly.

“What’s that?”

“Oh sorry, large Peach schnapps.”

She watched him order her drink without saying a word. In the back mirror of the bar bodies blurred, moved decapitated, without arms or legs. There her world was tried, tested and bottled like a genie bound to do her bidding.

“Still having a good time?” he asked returning with her drink.

“Oh absolutely,” she said. “You can’t imagine how happy it makes me seeing you here. How long has it been five years? Or didn’t I see you last Tuesday at Angels?”

He nodded in a way that neither affirmed, nor denied her question. Behind the bar a phone rang. No one answered. She noisily rattled the ice around her glass.

“You are funny,” she giggled. “Really you are one of the funniest people I know.”

“That’s right,” he said. “I am.”

 “So, tell me did you ever go back at all?” 

“No, I never went back.” 

“I said did you ever….”?

“Many times.” He stared at his drink before throwing his head back with a quick, robotic motion.

They moved a little further away from the bar. Both exit and entrance were lost behind a solid flood of shining hair. Up close she could see where he had cut himself shaving. The scar was old as though rusted on the vein. 

“That looks sore,” she said feeling her neck like to find a pulse. Behind the bar the phone kept ringing.

“Touch of the shakes,” he said quietly, “Nothing serious.”

     She idly kicked his shadow, but it didn’t move. He winced.

“Did you really think it would be different?” she asked him. Once again he shook his head.

“I know what you mean. I used to ask myself all the time. Why do any of us come back?”

Now a name was starting to come to her; a Richard or a Ray she once knew. The carpet on the floor was dark, stained claret. So jaded without memory, summer closing in old friend, old enemy. She spotted something in the bottom of her glass and picked it out. A dead wasp lay glistening in her palm. Clasping at straws she tried to remember a telephone number, but couldn’t. His eyes were black and handsome.

    The crowd was still growing. No one was leaving. 

“Your lip is bleeding,” she said.

The tip of her tongue felt sticky as she probed for the cut.

“I expect the glass must be chipped.”

Out of nowhere a sobbing girl lurched past them. Her peach dress was soaked in vomit. 

    “I can’t see anything wrong with it,” he said holding it up to the light, “Can you?”

    She shook her head. The phone rang off, and this time she was certain. She had never seen him before.

    “Thirst, can be a strange thing” he said.

Jonathan Jones lives and works in Rome where he teaches at John Cabot University. He has a PhD in literature from the University of Sapienza, and a novella 'My Lovely Carthage' recently published in the spring of 2020 from J. New Books.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Mouths Closed by Jonathan Butcher

That dangerous heat, that caught
us out many times, where we stagger
through protests with torn vocal chords,
just a presence without the hindrance
of contribution.

In bars, with neo-lit tables,
moving in packs, the conversation
far from elasticated by this backdrop,
our throats lined with sweetened spirits,
rather than the echo of dead statements.

And under dawn's shadows, taped
to pillows, our mouths exhale words
without shape, and now without 
a contrived urge we can now 
comfortably bask in silence.

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. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

endless breadsticks and salad by John Grochalski

there are at least
half of a dozen kids
running around screaming

the woman next to me
sounds like she’s hacking up a lung

and the party of twelve
taking up the backroom

can’t seem to speak below
a deafening decibel

they all weigh at least four-hundred pounds

keep filling their mouths
with the endless breadsticks and salad

that this abomination of a restaurant
offers up as enticement to come here

it’s saturday night in strip mall america

and though we’ve all made
the conscious decision to be here

i feel like a fucking alien

the waitresses are all blonde
the waitresses are all named becky

i can’t seem to find my becky
to refill my glass of cheap, shitty chianti

every becky that goes by
i raise my eyebrows and then my glass

then think, that’s not her
or, shit, maybe it is

there’s nothing left to do but endure
think of nero murdering catholics in ancient rome

ponder my empty wine glass
and the ruination of native lands

as kids run and scream
and fat people scream and laugh

wait for becky to bring out
the burnt, lackluster entrée
that the menu tells me is italian food

order another cheap, shitty wine

watch as cars cruise up and down the boulevard

full of other obese, hungry families
looking for a different corporate trough

as the hacking woman
shoves breadstick after breadstick
into her purse

like she’ll never get another meal
like there isn’t another one of these wretched places

two blocks up
and one avenue over

in another strip mall

next to the exxon station
on the right.

 John Grochalski is the author of the poetry collections, The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and The Philosopher’s Ship (Alien Buddha Press, 2018). He is also the author of the novels, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016).  Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where the garbage can smell like roses if you wish on it hard enough. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Talking to the Dead by Chella Courington

Remember the night at the Bottoms Up in New Orleans and you dared me to dance on the bar. How I threw that white sweatshirt with Eat Me on the floor, my black lace bra for show. Remember no windows in the place, lava lamps and creepy balls of yellow wax growing inside the glass. How the bald guy at the end, somewhere near the orange cat, stuck ten dollars in my jeans and said if I picked up another ten between my toes he’d make me a rich lady. After you passed out in the back booth, we left for an hour, maybe two. Later you said that was the worst time ever?? and I called it my best fuck ever, that old dude boning me crazy till I screamed. My face smeared cherry red. Why didn’t you leave me? Why did you stay to clean up mess piled on mess? Damn, I should’ve died of the heart attack. Not you. Taking care of me till you just gave out. That big heart burst. Nothing left but the suffering. Night after night. Me somewhere getting banged. You waiting for me to come home. My breath sour, eyes bloodshot. You snoring on the couch. God knows I feel guilty. Can’t make it through the day without Xanax. The boss says he’s firing me if I don’t get it together. Tell you the truth, I don’t give a shit. So here I am, ghost man, talking to you and drinking myself to sleep. 

Chella Courington (she/they) is a writer and teacher whose poetry and fiction appear in numerous anthologies and journals including SmokeLong Quarterly, Ghost Parachute, and X-R-A-Y Magazine. With three chapbooks of flash fiction and six of poetry, she recently published a novella-in-flash, Adele and Tom: The Portrait of a Marriage. A Pushcart, Best Small Fictions, Best of the Net, and Best New Poet Nominee, Courington grew up in the Appalachian south but now lives in California.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Plastic Town by Damon Freed

Everyone goes downtown these days.
At night they pretend to have had a hard
day’s work and sit, retired, at the bar. 
The old industry also sits, once beautifully 
decayed – now – refurbished – like it’s
spanking new. Old crumbling facades
repainted, reworked, like the olden days.

And I remember some of those days. No
neighbors; the grit, the grime, falling down
fences, no restraint, the old candy store,
butcher shop, dollar store. Boom boxes 
blaring upstairs and on the streets. The
run down brothels. The alleyways at night.

But now, you can’t play your music so 
loud. The gentries don’t like it that way.
Their souls are tired, as if tired, and have
lost sight of the hard-road. The tough bloods
are all but gone. And the blondes are artificial
like the windexed panes of glass on the 
store fronts. And all the cats still roam the 
streets, but are fat and well-fed. 

And that courthouse flame still flames, but
no one has the balls these days to light a 
joint off it. They just smoke their cigarettes
by it and talk about justice, as if it exists.
And like it or leave it I’m here to watch
the overflow, and to criticize the fat-assed
lawyers who haven’t needed a drink to get
through the day in 30 years. The tears don’t
get cried, the cheers don’t get sighed, and
the crickets and cockroaches have all but 

But tonight I’ll be pretending like it always
was and used to be and playing my radio
loud as white lightning. Maybe something like 
Jungleland at three quarter’s volume
will suit the mood, if I’m lucky,
before the brooding sets in even worse.
Then, I’m bound to join in with all those
fake showboats at the bar – sitting there, 
pretending like life never mattered or existed
in this godforsaken town. 

I am an artist who cherishes balance, reason, and ambiguity; and I express it through a variety of working methods, from abstracted realities to nonobjective paintings of grids, I believe reality exists on the edge of perception. And while my Dad has been my best and greatest influence Agnes Martin and Brice Marden’s work are among them. 
I received my B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts in New York City where I graduated with honors. Freed taught at two places for 10 years at the college level. His first year was in ’09. His M.F.A. is from Hunter College, City University of New York. Freed has studied with such luminaries as Jack Whitten, Marilyn Minter, David Chow, Juan Sanchez, Sanford Wurmfeld, Tobi Kahn, Lucio Pozzi, Tim Rollins, Alice Aycock, Susan Crile, Anton van Dalen, Suzanne Anker, Donald Kuspit, and Katy Siegel among others. He has been exhibited in galleries in New York City, Saint Louis, Kansas City and Columbia, Missouri. 
In writing, my influences are my mom and dad, sister and brothers, and friends, mostly. My inspirations are my family and dearest friends, and the people I meet in every direction! Freed has not been formally trained in poetry but is an avid writer of works and spoken word. He has nine books of poetry published by himself. 
You may find his collections of poetry in the Sedalia Public Library as well. 
Freed may be reached at or by going to his website online.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

backstage drama by Lori A Minor

backstage drama
a jealous girl’s effort
to bust me for drugs

Lori A Minor, editor of #FemkuMag, ubu., and Otoroshi Journal, is a queer, chronically ill poet who uses writing to heal from trauma. She was shortlisted for the Touchstone Award (2017, 2019) and selected for A New Resonance 12. Lori is the author of five chapbooks, including Recycled Virgin.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Barre, Vermont by Wayne F. Burke

I sit at a table
in the sun
outside a restaurant
on the Champs-Elysees—
a hell of a Paris
this town is—
sketchy characters, assorted
walk past
and the gyro or giro or
gismo sandwich
is not hot,
and cost me 12 bucks—
qu’es que c’est
with that?

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.


Friday, September 10, 2021

Waiting for Lunch by John Drudge

With hopeless 
And grim humour
I’ve been reading
Too much Schopenhauer
With too much pessimism
Seeping under the door
The evening news
A sideshow of the damned
The town square 
An impoverishment of prayer
Fanatics of habit
With a tacit 
Of spiritual suffering
It’s all too much
So I wait
As Beckett waits
For nothing
In the starkness 
Of my dilution 

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 four books of poetry: “March” (2019), “The Seasons of Us” (2019), New Days (2020), and Fragments (2021). 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.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

INTERNAL F5 by Alicia Mathias

by the outside
  our longing 
       for all 
   that has 

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. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

When She Was Seventeen By Margaret MacInnis

 She used to hum while she swept the linoleum floor in the kitchen, infant in one arm, broom in the other. 

“Give me the baby,” I’d say. “Use both hands to hold the broom.”

She’d laugh. “Wow, that’s so much easier.” Her laughter, light and tinkling, made me laugh too. 

She was only seventeen, a wife and mother. She believed in me, in the promise I made to love and honor. She hadn’t yet imagined that I’d slip off my wedding ring and stuff it in my pocket, the way I did when I went to bars in neighboring towns, where they didn’t know me, where they didn’t know her. 

The ring jabbed into my thigh when I sat at the bar, when I bought a stranger a drink and then another. 

 Margaret MacInnis writes and raises her daughter in Iowa City. She is currently working on a novella-in-flash, LIFE AS JAKE, MY WIFE'S THREE-LEGGED CAT 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

After-Burn by S. A. Gerber

 I got a hang-over 
like a fat lady 
on a bicycle seat. 
I am as dry as  
a virgin’s mound. 
I remember starting 
with whisky and 
ending with wine, 
but precious little else. 
Awaking alone, as 
per usual, however from  
the nocturnal debris strewn 
about is obvious that others 
were present, just cannot 
be accounted for right now. 
Not really hungry, I stab at 
eggs and signal for more coffee. 
(Need something to act as a 
sponge, and sop up the alcohol 
eating away at my stomach 
and vital organs.) 
Clayton “me boy” enters, toting 
library books, two extra shirts, 
and a bottle of warm beer,  
in a large paper bag. 
Spotting me, he takes the empty 
seat at my table for one. 
After making some mandatory 
one –sided conversation, I signal 
for some coffee for him. 
The least I can do I suppose. 
He sips and recounts a story of 
being at a place last week 
where a girl o.d.’ed and 
subsequently died. 
He had just come from arising 
at the shore where a paramedic 
unit was loading a body into the 
back after pronouncing him dead. 
He retired to sleep that night ten-feet 
away from Clayton “me boy” in 
the same sand and mist, never to awaken. 

He told these tales without registering 
any emotion, so nonchalantly. 
Business as usual. 
Still suffering from after burn 
from the previous night’s drowning 
of all feeling and empathy, even  
I felt a sudden pang of dread. 
I continue eating, Clayton “me boy” 
continues telling tales of woe. 
Wrote a play last night, wanna’ read? 
Sure, I tell him. Gibberish…complete. 
When we step outside, we are in 
the midst of a homeless encampment 
just off Venice Blvd.  
Clayton “me boy” knows most of them. 
Dreams disintegrating before my eyes. 
dashed hopes…semi-good intentions. 
I have no change I can distribute. Nothing. 
I feel like the fabled “one eyed man” 
compared to these forgotten souls. 
I lose Clayton “me boy” in the crowd, 
and I saunter back to my building after 
a pit-stop at the “Liquor Locker”. 
I need some time to forget. 
My rent is due, I don’t drive or work. 
Transitory, empty, detached relationships 
are all I can seem to maintain with women. 
The next time someone from the real 
world asks me why I drink so much… 
I just may take the time to explain. 


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, 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. 


Monday, September 6, 2021

Two Bits by Lauren Scharhag

My husband is in the bathroom shaving.
He started wearing a beard at 24,
when he was working in the suit section
of a department store. He found that men
were more comfortable letting him measure
their inseams if he looked less twinkish.
He started balding around the same time. Now 
his hairline is probably somewhere near 
the crown of his head. It’s hard to say since, 
rather than watch the slow retreat of it, 
he took to shaving it all off.
Sixteen years later, a ritual has formed:
carefully rolling up the bath mat,
clippers to trim the beard, 
electric shaver for his head, 
a disposable razor for close work,
Ode to Joy playing on his phone. 
Hair that no-color blond that makes it hard
to see the gray coming in, falling in tufts
to the linoleum, hand broom and dustpan
at the ready. He asks me to come
check the back of his head for any 
stray patches that he missed. Sometimes, 
I take the razor and neaten him up,
kiss the nape of his neck. The mirror
holds us both, neither of us 
the high school sweethearts
who first fell in love so we just 
have to fall in love again 
every day, anew.

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 100 literary venues around the world. Recent honors include the Seamus Burns Creative Writing Prize, two 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:


I walked these streets this morning feeling a renewed Sense of understanding as before me people went About their lives in this town where s...