Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Memories 4 Sale By Timothy Resau

We all have memories we want to sell

or have already sold.

Here’s a bag of costly memories:

Starry nights under a June sky—

The Pacific at Big Sur, where a full moon

lingered & is still in my mind—

A glove of love from an abandoned chest—

A childhood of silent screams,

like a blackboard filled w/ lost names & empty

barroom glasses of spilt gin & tonics.

               

            Memphis, Tenn.






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.


Monday, November 29, 2021

Places I Slept During My Misspent Youth By Greg Clary

 My cousin’s horse barn. They didn’t mind because they knew I didn’t smoke.

The backseat of another cousin’s 1967 ragtop Pontiac GTO, where he kept a wool blanket for reasons I didn’t really understand at the time.

Under interstate bridges while hitching all around the south. Noisy, secure, and dry.

In the drunk tank in Huntington, West Virginia after being arrested by a cop with whom I shared a Sociology class. We never acknowledged each other again

On the couch of a Unification Church (Moonies). Dinner was better than the endless catechism that followed.

In the back of a Greyhound bus traveling from Florida to West Virginia with stops at every crossroad heading north. I finally escaped somewhere in Kentucky and hitched the rest of the way in.

Under an open sided pavilion at an RV campground, then waking up to a crowd of kids on spyder bikes circled around to see if I was alive or dead.

Hidden behind a chaise lounge on the 7th floor swimming pool deck of the Adams Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona, after missing the last bus back to a friend’s college dorm.

In the Tampa Stockade in Tampa, Florida after being jailed for hitchhiking on Interstate-75. The longest night of my life.

In Mrs. Daniels’ 11:00 English class nearly every day of my junior year in high school. It was not her fault.

Cheap motel rooms all around Myrtle Beach. The Pink House, not far from the Pavilion, was a favorite at $ 5.00 per night. 

By my grandpa’s hospital bed as he lay dying.

A horse trailer, with a horse, at Camden Amusement Park.

Now, 50 years later, when I am stopped at a traffic light, I will sometimes look around and think to myself, “I could sleep there if I had to.”






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

Sunday, November 28, 2021

I Know Now by Ann Christine Tabaka

I know now,
     why my father drank.

To quench the flames of sin.

To dull the pain of failure. 

To forget who he was.

I feel his suffering with every sip,
    every gulp,
        every glass,
as the lights begin to dim.

The love he never knew,
    the love he could never give.

I follow in his broken footsteps,
    all the way to hell. 

Shattered glass along the trail.
    Blood-stained tears wash away transgressions.

He looked for salvation in the bottle,
though it took him in the end.

I know now,
     why my father drank.




Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry. She is the winner of Spillwords Press 2020 Publication of the Year, her bio is featured in the “Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020 and 2021,” published by Sweetycat Press. She is the author of 13 poetry books. lives in Delaware, USA. She loves gardening and cooking.  Chris lives with her husband and four cats. Her most recent credits are: Sparks of Calliope; The Closed Eye Open, Poetic Sun, Tangled Locks Journal, Wild Roof Journal, The American Writers Review, The Scribe Magazine, The Phoenix, Burningword Literary Journal, Muddy River Poetry Review, The Silver Blade, Pomona Valley Review, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Fourth & Sycamore.
*(a complete list of publications is available upon request)
                                                                    

Saturday, November 27, 2021

whiskey is a horrible anti-anxiety medicine and why i don’t drink anymore by Scott Ferry

after my first drink
100 televisions unplug

but at 3 am 1000 televisions wake me
along with a howling gibbon

the next day another drink maybe 2 or 3—
relative quiet except anger

subtle at first as i spit at my family
but i really spit at god at the falling floor

at myself as a drop away
why am i angry if i am actually

scared the fear will never stop?
i can’t unplug this unless

i find the boy shaking
some round holes in his thorax

he says don’t help me i can do this
myself i am not dissolving

i am not crying
but i pull him into some light

i make by holding my chest and my testicles
and asking god (the god with spit

on his face) to heal me and he
does but so slowly

the holes still weep
mercury

as i pray




 Scott Ferry helps our Veterans heal as a RN in the Seattle area. In former lives he taught high school, managed aquatic centers, and practiced acupuncture. He has four books of poetry: The only thing that makes sense is to grow (Moon Tide, 2019), Mr. Rogers kills fruit flies (Main St. Rag, 2020), These Hands of Myrrh (Kelsay Books, 2021), and Sea of Marrow (Ethel Press, 2021). He has two books upcoming in 2022: fishmirror from Alien Buddha Press and Skinless in the Cereal Aisle from Impspired.

 


Friday, November 26, 2021

Between the sky and me By Fotoula Reynolds


The wind howls

Aggressive and intense

Hissing with narcissism

A grey mist swallows the sun

Spewing an earthly pleasure

And I wonder where you are

 

Clouds moving in the

Direction we read and write

Confusion hangs in the

Thick-choking air and just

Between the sky and me

I see your grey-area warning






Fotoula Reynolds is a writer of poetry, born in Australia of Greek heritage. She lives in the Dandenong Ranges in southern Australia. She convenes a poetry reading group at the local pub and regularly attends and participates in spoken word events in and around the city of Melbourne. She is the author of three poetry collections and is published widely in anthologies, journals, reviews and magazines. Fotoula is a 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee.


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Thanksgiving at Gramma’s By Daniel S. Irwin

 

 Cousin Jimmy was a little asshole.

He stole, lied, and cheated everyone

And always pretended to be the angel.

Once, he slipped one of Gramp’s cigars

And a dollar from Aunt Betty’s purse

Into the pocket of my jacket and said

That I stole them.  My hide was tanned. 

That young devil talked me Into playin’

Hooky from Sunday school, then, the

Heathen that he was, he snuck off to

Rat on me to the whole congregation.

That got me a ‘church approved’ tanning.

I eventually learned not to believe

Anything he said, do anything he asked,

Or hold on to anything he gave me,

Especially if he handed something to me

As he ran by.  I suffered for all of it.

One Thanksgiving at Gramma’s,  I was

Suddenly hit with the perfect inspiration

To get back at this joker and yelled,

“Jimmy put his peter on the turkey!

Jimmy put his peter on the turkey!”

Jimmy’s fervent protests didn’t matter.

Who could make up such a vile thing,

If it wasn’t true.  Dinner now ruined,

He finally got the hellacious ass beatin’

He’d been deservin’ for a long time.

And, I got the honor of throwing the

Presumed-violated bird to the dogs.

Which meant that I got to pull off

Both drumsticks for yours truly ‘fore

Givin’ the hounds their holiday feast.

Revenge, in this case, was damn tasty.

 


Daniel S. Irwin, native of Southern Illinois (such as it is).  Artist, writer, actor, soldier, scholar, priest among other things.

Work published in over one hundred magazines and journals worldwide.  Has appeared in over one hundred films. 

Speaks fluent gibberish when loaded.  Not much into blowing his own horn as you are only as good as your latest endeavor.

Once turned to religion but Jesus just walked away.  

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Eighteen Reasons to Drink Today By Ken Gosse


Once all’s said and done,

time will have made its last run

with Earth, Moon, and Sun.


From rooster’s first call

to sundial shade’s final fall,

the last toll stops all.


Then, without warning,

the sun won’t greet the morning

with its adorning.


No more day or night.

Foresight as clear as hindsight—

both gone with the light.


Heaven’s gentle rain

no longer relieves foul bane

on mercy’s campaign.


No roads will diverge;

ages hence will have no verge;

no sighs will emerge.


No more you and me.

There’ll be nothing as lovely

as a lass or tree.


Godot sans chauffeur.

Bartleby will not defer.

No king, horse, or spur.


Great grandfather’s clock,

once time’s no longer ad hoc,

will refuse to tock.


Memories are naught.

All is gone that once was taught,

fallen to onslaught.


Gone, too, malls and schools.

There’s no need, indeed, for tools.

No more rules or fools.


Zombies and vampires?

Gone. No brain or blood desires.

No Reaper or pyres.


Fear and pleasure vain.

No song singing love’s refrain,

nor of life or pain.


There’s nothing in store,

for those our forebearers bore

will exist no more.


No thinking. We’re not.

No philosophical rot

nor any damned spot.


Nothing more storm-tossed,

science and religion lost;

no one to accost.


Time will not forestall,

for all creatures, great or small,

the Reaper’s masked ball.


Today may be all.

Don’t go dry to that good pall

after the last call!






Ken Gosse usually writes light, rhyming verse filled with whimsy and humor. Sometimes it’s darker. First published in First Literary Review-East in 2016, since then by Pure Slush, Spillwords, The Ekphrastic Review, Lothlorien Review, and others. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years with rescue dogs and cats underfoot.

 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Last Supper on Death Row by Doug Holder

Based on the artwork of the late Julie Green who used inmates' last suppers as an inspiration for her work.


So many requests for a futile death row meal--

One wanted eight glazed donuts

a sugar high

before the lethal gas.

Unabashed desire--

for some sweetness

before it all

went dark.


Some lives end

with two peanut butter cups

and a Doctor Pepper--

an another demands a white perch

that he caught

in a river in Louisiana 

remembering his father

slapping his back,

" That's the boy."


One even cried out, 

" I want my mother's

chicken dumplings!"

Comforting dollops

white embryonic sacks

full of meat

those seminal bites

of memory.


Yet others want a

clandestine shot of whiskey

straight,

no chaser

a little of the hair of

the dog that once bit him

and bit him

and bit him...





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




Sunday, November 21, 2021

Caution By Howie Good

 A bar girl with dark expressive eyes slipped onto the stool next to mine. At least she wasn’t the sort of person who would refer to poetry as “verse.” “I am here to entertain you,” she said, then quickly added, “but only during my shift.” I shrugged and turned back to finishing my beer and watching the game on the TV over the bar. She tried to engage me by telling a riddle: “Why are noses broken on Egyptian statues?” I didn’t respond in case she was wearing a wire. Prison workshops and rural cemeteries are filled with the incautious. 




Howie Good is the author most recently of the poetry collections Gunmetal Sky (Thirty West Publishing) and Famous Long Ago (Laughing Ronin Press).

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Sharing The Moon By Mihaela Melnic

 

You told me that wine soothes the pain,
you said, let's sit on the sidewalk and kiss the obscure lips of this recycled PET.

You hit the bottom with your thirsty throat and then you told me things like:
a motorbike ride will bring you happiness
or at least a smile.

I sipped in silence, all ears.

You choked on the word tattoo in saying that it scars the skin less than a missed caress marks the soul.

You spat and coughed, and maybe you were right about a lot of things.

You left. I remained in place. I was already at home
and from my castle in the air I recalled the glimpse of a wink between you and the moon
and jealously wondered if she also lies over you
the way she lies over me.

In serene nights she soothes more then wine,
you once told me,
but damn it, how cold she is with her fleshless hugs. 





Mihaela Melnic lives and writes in Rome, Italy, where her prose and poetry evolve and take different shapes with every new life experience. Her latest book, Evermore, written in co-authorship, was released earlier this year through 17Numa press.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Water Street by Lauren Scharhag

It’s midnight and the snow has started
on Water Street and we are sixteen and
curfew has come and gone and our faces
are freezing but we don’t want to go 
home yet. We walk, hands crammed in
our coat pockets, through the last dying 
scents of the late-night coffee shop,
day-old biscotti and the smoking patio
where hipsters suck cloves and cheap cigars
like depressed writers on the ends of shotguns
and tailpipes. We walk through the bar
parking lot, classic rock jukebox thuds 
the night like a heartbeat, like my heartbeat,
all youth and small-town longing. One last 
Christmas tree on the curb, brown needles 
and tinsel, the fading smell of pine resolutions 
buried under the bad habits we have only 
just begun to cultivate.




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: www.laurenscharhag.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Looking for Duke By Keith W Gorman


I've been out searching, beating down
all the old boulevards where we walked:
the lakefront, the parks, the avenues. 
I've even combed the Adler Planetarium, 
hoping to find you in a fiery galaxy, 
far from the leashes of the big city life—–
a raveled mop in the ragtime breeze.
Last night I moved the heavy armoire, 
looking for you huddled between the dust 
bunnies, gazing back with pricked ears, 
but the L train left twenty years ago, fading
into that black gorge below the ground.
I remember the slow ride home, knowing
I made a stupid mistake. When I signed 
the papers, you stood alone in a small cage, 
shuddering in your skin: the fugitive stray 
fondled by strangers. Not given a day; never
taken to say goodbye to the stone entry lions 
keeping watch over the traffic jams. Never 
curling up—–never again—–in the crook
of my neck. Never licking a drunk at Kasey’s
pub, nor hiking a leg on a roommate's rug.  
The lull of the L train echoes night and day,
its clackity rhythms drawing me away.
 




Keith W Gorman is a poet, writer, guitarist, and factory worker living near the foothills of The Great Smokey Mountain National Park in Eastern Tennessee.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The Unusual Fails by Rp Verlaine

Pretending to play 
the guitar on my bed 
to get her in it, 
 
She's the kind who looks 
as if being looked at 
is all she has planned. 
 
Her lipstick on my neck 
looking like blood 
to passengers on train. 
 
She asks to visit 
further violence in 
her bed and mine. 
 
Until time reveals 
there's little between us 
other than that. 
 
And lies she conjures 
tainting the truth till 
that too sickens me. 
 
Into a shallow grave  
we shovel our dirt 
with final goodbyes. 
 
A mistake I regret 
nostalgic over a past 
she declines to visit. 
 
Each time I think 

I can move to the light 

her shadow swallows me. 





Rp Verlaine, a retired English teacher living in New York City, has an MFA in creative writing from City College. He has several collections of poetry including Femme Fatales Movie Starlets & Rockers (2018) and Lies From The Autobiography 1-3 (2018-2020).



Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Flaming by Susan Isla Tepper

 

Small, brown, curled from exhaustive

flaming beauty— one dried leaf 

blown in when the back door opened


Landing off to the side of the hall

where no one

would probably take notice

sweeping it up


Engrossed as we are in keys

and phones and wallets and

whatnot— a small leaf

once a star of the fall season

is dead now




Susan Isla Tepper is a twenty years published writer in all genres.  Her current project is an Off-Broadway Play on the subject of art and life.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Au Sable By John Harold Olson


Half-drunk on Canadian Mist hearing

 the guy down the bar

Say the Au Sable River was named for the sables that used to frolic on the banks.

I said “you’re way off”.

Ignoring the me, the guy started telling the woman about how the trappers over-trapped the sable and now that they are extinct, but they named the river after the sable. “Just like America”, the woman said, pouring a shot down her throat.

They had it all figured out.

“Mister, that’s not what Au Sable means. It means “in the sand”, I said.

“Nobody’s talking to you,” he said.

I motioned to Kenny. Go again.

“What was that?,” I asked the guy. 

Northern Michigan night sounds come In

Through an open window.

I thought about the canoe, and my Dad in the stern and his big rowing motion,

Like a River wheel.

The river was narrow then opened out of the woods into wide spots with a pair of cranes 

Flying like a pair of F-15s just above the water.

“Johnny, look.”

My River forever.







I’m currently a Special Education Teacher in Las Vegas, Nevada. Before that, I worked construction in Southern California, eventually becoming a Box-Builder Carpenter. They build  the wood and re-bar forms for concrete structures like man holes, drains, sewers etc. I’m 68, and plan to retire next year.




Sunday, November 14, 2021

A Drunk In Search Of Normality. By Dennis Moriarty

 

Six pints of Guinness down, six Whiskey chasers later,
and he is stumbling
along the cracked pavements of shattered dreams
cutting himself
on shards of broken promises.  A sad lonely drunk
staggering on an empty street,
his mind roaring like a river in spate, his head caved
in from the blunt force trauma of falling rain,
always searching for something that is always 
somewhere just out of reach.

On the corner the wind steps out of the shadows
and punches him hard in the face,
sends him reeling, dropping him down to his knees.
He crawls, fumbling 
in the the cracks of the pavements, a blind man  
conducting  a fingertip search
of another mans sight, a sad lonely drunk craving
acceptance,
frantically searching for the normality that is always
somewhere just out of reach.




Dennis Moriarty was born in London, England and now lives in Wales. Married with five grown up offspring Dennis likes walking the dog in the mountains, reading and writing.

In 2017 he won the Blackwater poetry competition and went to county Cork in Ireland to read his work at the international poetry festival. Dennis has had poems featured in many publications including Blue nib, Our poetry archive, Setu bilingual, The passage between and others.


Saturday, November 13, 2021

…So Why Start Now By Candice Kelsey


Do I look yellow? like jaundice yellow? I half-jokingly ask 

My husband sitting in the driver’s seat during half-time

Of our daughter’s soccer game. We came to charge

Our phones and get warm.


Look at my eyes carefully, I urge him. He is distracted

By the Michigan–Michigan State game on his phone, but

Manages to toss me a glance. I look back into the visor’s tiny

Mirror convinced I look sick.


I’ve been trying to drink myself to death, but it’s not

Working, I confess. He bitches about Fat Pat, who carelessly

Texts and that’s the game! before it comes through on a two

Minute internet delay.


The tall pine trees that thickened the edge of Fury’s Ferry Road

Have been bull-dozed. It’s a fifty-million-dollar project

To widen the road where we live. Orange barrels stand guard

Over newly exposed backyard fences.


There were so many trees just a month ago. Oh, some still

Lie there, waiting their turn to become dust as we just continue 

Learning new words— feller buncher, excavator mulcher, 

And bull hog attachment.


The smaller trees seem to watch, waiting for someone to offer

An answer. Or to help. As though they expect one of us to notice

And make it stop. As though they expected us to keep our end

Of some ecological deal.


Well, we don’t— at least not for them. Or for us either. Nature 

Realizes it’s on its own. And now that his game is over, I repeat 

I’ve been trying to drink myself to death. My husband smiles:

You’ve never been a quitter before...






CANDICE KELSEY teaches writing in the South. Her poetry appears in Poets Reading the News and Poet Lore among other journals, and her first collection, Still I am Pushing, explores mother-daughter relationships as well as toxic body messages. She won the 2019 Two Sisters Writing's Contest and was recently nominated for both a Best of the Net and a Pushcart. Find her at www.candicemkelseypoet.com

Rules For Working in A Bar by Clay Hunt

To Justin Frahm, thanks for the first and the eleventh, and to my wife Laura Adkins for the tenth . 1.Keep your eyes on the ground. You’ll a...