Monday, February 28, 2022

Bukowski Reads by Matthew Bowers

Style, smile

Mischief

Wiles

behind 

those crazy 

twinkling eyes

Scruff, 

wolf grin

Typewriter echos 

Banging like thunder

across 

a humid, 

steamy room, 

Off

stained wallpaper,

curtains drawn, 

ceiling fan shadows 

like Donkey Xote

Dried, righteous brain


Society is a drag man...

Repression

Succession

Recession

Depression

Depletion

Repeat son


The reason, so many fools

Line up and take charge

Paving the way with

Billboards and skylights

Marching along blindly

Dropping like lemmings 

Crashing in the surf

Below the precipice


Pied piper 

Rod Steiner

On the WaterFront

One nighter

The Ides of March

Desensitized

Pay the debt

Sacrificed

The hustle 

Rent

First full moon

Black tar

Red balloons

Empty 

Room

With

Burnt

Spoons

Candle wax

Dripping 

Blues





Born in Massachusetts, received the "Class Artist" title for the graduating year of highschool, as well as assisting in the writing and production of the school poetry book. Later moved to Boston then Salem MA. becoming a novice practitioner of pagan and ritualistic arts, spending time studying Chaos MagicK before moving to Hollywood CA. to write and perform music. In 2020 starting up The Calling which incorporates a YouTube channel, podcast, group, Facebook pages, as well as a website and store. Something Witchy This Way Comes was released in 2021, with several more projects in the works including a first Novel and Young Adult adventure.




Saturday, February 26, 2022

As Heavy Rain by Susan Tepper

Blood seeding meadows 

of this country 

as heavy rain


Later

more than a hundred years

by—


in fly swamped heat 

on their bellies


kids hunt down

wild strawberries

with the same vengeance.

Weak and small on the vine. 


Scant, each year’s crop

feeding off the source.


A cycle

some call it, putting a lid on it;

others trumpet more blatant:

The war for independence.


Meaningless, we thought 

by the time the torn-up 60’s 

folded into a 70’s gasp; 

clutching to long held custom of 

abuse, slaughter, denial, no trial.


Hang me, brother, the joker

cries in the night; thick.

Slice with your hand horizontally, 

feel the hardened air 

booze flows its steady stream, the 

laughter around him gone shrill.  


Friend raised in Mississippi

a black man of business, now,

admitting he still gets the shakes

when 

once in a while

for work

he has to cross   

The Emmett Till Bridge

past sundown.





Susan Tepper is a twenty year writer and the author of nine published books of fiction and poetry. Her most recent are Confess (poetry from Cervena Barva Press, 2020) and a zany road novel What Drives Men (Wilderness House Press, 2019). Right now she’s in pre-production of an Off-Broadway play titled The Crooked Heart, re-written and adapted from an earlier novel, which focuses on artist Jackson Pollock in his later years.

Friday, February 25, 2022

IN THE END, IT'S JUST ME by John Grey

I could share my side 
of the argument 
with everyone in this bar 
but instead I haul it 
before the judiciary 
of my thoughts.

I could fight the battle
with all these drunken soldiers
but instead remain
this country of one
with its slumped in corner,
fingering the whiskey glass,
patriot.

I could open up
the operating theater
of my pain and guilt
to these loud and laughing surgeons
but instead I begin
the process with my own trembling hands,
lift the glass to my lips 
and drink.

No truer words out of my mouth
than, “I needed that.”






John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.

 


Thursday, February 24, 2022

DREAMING OF GETTING BLASTED by Bradford Middleton

I sit around on this Sunday morning sober
Not hungover and dreaming, sitting here
Picturing it very clearly, of the next time,
Tomorrow, when I’ll be able to get in and
Get drunk, down crazy and drunk as hell.

Five beers in my fridge mean I can start
Out early before an afternoon spent in the
Wonderfully warm confines of my favourite
Pub, the one down the road where maybe
Some tequila or bourbon maybe had.

Then I’ll move on, smoking all the way,
Until eventually my night will come to
Some kind of drunken conclusion but
Hopefully not bad enough for me to fall
Flat on my face. 

So on this bright Sunday morning I sit
Dreaming of that moment when I can
Get back to this crazy life that has been
With me now so long I can barely
Remember what it was like before.




Bradford Middleton was born in south-east London during the summer of 1971 and won his first poetry prize at the age of nine.  He then gave up writing poems for nearly twenty-five years and it wasn't until he landed in Brighton, knowing no one and having no money, that he began again.  Ten years later and he's been lucky enough to have had a few chapbooks published including a new one from Analog Submission Press entitled 'Flying through this Life like a Bottle Battling Gravity', his debut from Crisis Chronicles Press (Ohio, USA) and his second effort for Holy & Intoxicated Press (Hastings, UK).  He has read around the UK at various bars, venues and festivals and is always keen to get out and read to new crowds.  His poetry has also been or will be published shortly in the Chiron Review, Zygote in my Coffee, Section 8, Razur Cuts, Paper & Ink, Grandma Moses 'Poet to Notice', Empty Mirror, Midnight Lane Gallery, Bareback Lit and is a Contributing Poet over at the wonderful Mad Swirl. If you like what you've read go send a friend request on facebook to bradfordmiddleton1

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Scenes from a Sports Bar By Matthew Johnson

Before the ball or puck drops to begin play,

Fist-pumps waft in the air like the scent of potato skins,

Gliding off the treys held by passing waiters and waitresses.


For a moment, fans of rival clubs 

Snarl the cruelest of languages at each other,

And point with the pointiest and most pointless of index fingers

At opposing chests and faces.


But long before things get too heated or too much, 

As does happen with strangers holding shared loves, 

Opposing fans laugh together, and become so friendly by being so inebriated,

The drunks begin to act like long-lost brothers.





Matthew is a northern transplant living in NC and a MA graduate of UNC-Greensboro. A former sports journalist and editor who wrote for the USA Today College and The Daily Star (Oneonta, NY), his poetry has appeared in Maudlin House, The Roanoke Review, the Maryland Literary Review, the South Florida Poetry Journal, the Front Porch Review, and elsewhere. He's a two-time Best of the Net Nominee and his debut collection, 'Shadow Folks and Soul Songs', (Kelsay Books) was released in 2019. His second poetry collection, 'Far from New York State,' is scheduled for release in Fall 2022 by New York Quarterly. 

Twitter: @Matt_Johnson_D 

Website: https://www.matthewjohnsonpoetry.com


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

I Used to Think by Keith W Gorman

If I could start over. If I could only chisel away
the old clamshell layers of probability, losing
the hard, pearl-like casings—–the I told you so’s—–
I could then run naked on a freeway, expose
the succulent center and curse the stars with 
both bird-fingers careering skyward. But . . . I drank.
 
Today I dress in forty-five minutes, including
the squat on the porcelain chair. I pack a suitable 
lunch of tuna and crackers—–a few cheese chunks—–
and a Bosc pear. I scrape the car of its morning 
frost before driving twenty-five minutes to park 
in a lot with six hundred other cars, all financed
 
by six-hundred workmates who’ve all performed 
similar morning drills. In short-lived solitude,
I walk alone—–step by slow step—–crisscrossing 
the parked cars, recalling my father’s words as I roll 
thru the revolving door: The factory strums the edge 
of the world, but it’ll never kiss your ass. Now I’m 
 
slogging my way to the time clock, that foolproof
demon that trades free-range options for ten-hour
slots of pre-coded devotion. All in a netherworld
of clicks and clacks and horse-high dreams. Do it or die; 
the crewmates are counting on it—–the new car, too—–
and so is the bank. Today, I’ll be steering the ole 
 
forklift, side-saddling with the warehouse boys, 
trading jokes and morphing into a rhythmic machine:
the black fly feeding on the corporate pie. And if I 
could start over, if I could clear away the missteps, 
one by one, and never stand where I am standing now, 
I’d stomp in my old footprints and do it all the same.




Keith W Gorman is a poet, classical guitarist, and factory worker living near the foothills of The Great Smokey Mountain National Park in Eastern Tennessee. He is a scholarship recipient and graduate of The Sherwood Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois. In early March, he will be the featured poet of the week at Cajun Mutt Press. His poetry has appeared in The Rye Whiskey Review and Eunoia Review.


Monday, February 21, 2022

LIONS AT FEEDING TIME  By William Teets

Lost members of a forgotten tribe 
Backstreet Battle Kids live on round edges
 
Avoid lions at feeding time

Soul sisters who dance for dollars and Delta Blues
splash in stale beer on fringe midnight madness 

Rancorous song sang loose and loud  
homeless heretics pose as sacred saints 

Quarters dropped into stone Wurlitzers
rogue relics and fairy tale yarns
  
Wait for Magi fear almighty Ra
unholy tales from unholy scribes

Scatter and dodge uncovered mirrors
Backstreet Battle Kids circumvent the sun

Avoid lions at feeding time





William Teets is a writer born in Peekskill, New York, who has recently relocated to Waterford, Michigan. He immensely misses New York pizza, the Hudson River, and watching his beloved Mets play at Citi Field.  

Mr. Teets’ works have been accepted in ChronogramDrunk MonkeysAriel Chart, Down in the DirtThe Deadly Writers PatrolImpspired, Cajun Mutt Press, Literary Yard, Abandoned Mine, Art and Life, as well as in numerous anthologies.


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Collision by Dan Provost

Harris Barton once said that playing on the
offensive line is like being in 1000 car wrecks
a day.
 
Harris was all-pro…
He knew what he was talking about.
 
Even on the small college level, the pit was
a dangerous place to be on a Saturday afternoon.
 
Bodies hitting you at all angles, punches to
the head…
 
Pile ups…
Cheap shots from some defensive back
coming over the top of a scrum.
 
Yes, this is a collision area of a field.
 
Where we played for the love of the game…
 
To understand this…
 
You had to experience it…
You had to smell it…
 
If you didn’t participate in this
beautiful ritual…
 
You wouldn’t appreciate what the hell I’m saying.




Dan Provost's poetry has been published throughout the small press for a number of years.  Some recent publications include: Ariel Chart, Poetical Review, Merak Magazine, Oddball Magazine, Deuce Coupe, Misfit Magazine, the Rye Whiskey Review, Cajun Mutt Press and the Dope Fiend Daily.  He has two books coming out in 2020.  Under the Influence of Nothingness by Kung Fu Treachery Press and Rattle of a Realizer, published by Whiskey City Press.  He lives in Berlin, New Hampshire with his wife Laura and dog Bella.

 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

A Tale of Many Cities by Sebnem E. Sanders

“It was the best of times, yet the worst of times,” to quote something similar to Dickens. This isn’t A Tale of Two Cities, but many in different continents with different seas. She believes there’s only one sea and one piece of land, broken by earthquakes, washed away with floods, conquered by military power, political games which formed them into separate countries, their borders drawn by blood, languages, and religion.

When sadness happens in a city called Hong Kong, she flies from the Kowloon side to the Island, without knowing she could fly. Naturally, she falls into the square between the Mandarin Hotel and the Hong Kong Club. Her limbs feel numb. She can’t move when she sees him walking away without looking back. 

A friend comes to help. She nurtures her until she can fly again and sets her free. London is an option she takes. She settles into her nest there, trying to form roots and find nourishment. It’s a struggle, something beckons from afar. A-ha keeps singing “Take on me”, Roxette “It must have been love”. Susan Vega, her depressing song, “Luka” and the optimistic “Gypsy”. She must find that gypsy and live in eternal love. She’s still young. Still hopeful to find her soulmate.

So, she returns home, Istanbul, but it has changed like she has. Things are good for a while. Proud of herself, wings totally recovered, she flies everywhere in the world to find eternal love. North America, South America, Africa, places she hasn’t been in Europe, Asia. The hope comes with the fantasies of Ally McBeal, the mystery of the X-files. The bad news is she doesn’t find it anywhere, perhaps because it doesn’t exist?

In the end she comes to place on the Aegean coast, still hopeful. She stays put for a decade, no longer young. Disillusioned and depressed, she drinks and smokes, watching the lives of others on TV, reading their stories in books. Her wings are still intact, but she’s not sure she’ll dare to fly again. The fires she started on sea and land still burning, she has become a prisoner of her dreams. 




Sebnem E. Sanders is a native of Istanbul, Turkey. Currently she lives on the eastern shores of the Southern Aegean where she dreams and writes Flash Fiction and Flash Poesy, as well as longer works of fiction. Her flash stories have appeared in the Harper Collins Authonomy Blog, The Drabble, Sick Lit Magazine, Twisted Sister Lit Mag, Spelk Fiction, The Bosphorus Review of Books, Three Drops from the Cauldron, The Rye Whiskey Review, CarpeArte Journal, Yellow Mama Webzine, Punk Noir Magazine, Flash Fiction Offensive, and The Cabinet of Heed, as well as three anthologies: Paws and Claws, One Million Project, Thriller Anthology, and Appointment at 10.30. She has a completed manuscript, The Child of Heaven and two works in progress, The Child of Passion and The Lost Child.  Her collection of short and flash fiction stories, Ripples on the Pond, was published in December 2017. More information can be found at her website where she publishes some of her work: 
https://sebnemsanders.wordpress.com/

Ripples on the Pond 


Friday, February 18, 2022

To the kid whose drink I did not pay for at the convenience store today By Alex Z. Salinas

 You caught me hella off-guard. I’m sorry. 

Next time, I’ll ask: How’re your grades?

To which I’ll add: Mine were golden &

Still, cash is so hard to come by. I

Gotchu—but pay it forward to the

Next kid. Okay? Don’t make promises.

Just do it. If you are cold, then so too is

The full moon. It is you who belongs to 

The earth. You who governs rules to a

Moral center. Sturdy as a book. Give it 

Your all and expect nothing but Death’s

Swift kiss. Even Christ writhed taking it

On the chin. This is what we’re up against.

I’ve written it once and I’ll say it again:

Grab the nearest partner & dance. Dance. 


Yes—this is what I’ll tell you next time. 

This is the action I prepare in advance. Like

An old soldier who salutes daily the sunset 

Because he has lost everything but his ghost. 





Alex Z. Salinas is the author of two poetry collections: WARBLES and DREAMT, or The Lingering Phantoms of Equinox. He is also the author of a book of stories: City Lights From the Upside Down. He holds an M.A. in English Literature and Language from St. Mary’s University. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

The Biggest Surprise By Gwil James Thomas 

We fucked, 

drank some more wine 

and shared a cigarette. 


I was no one

she was beautiful, funny 

and studying in London – 

originally from Sweden 

with Japanese parents 


I ran my fingers up 

her torso and brushed 

against a nipple – 

her skin still salty 

from after she’d told me 

that she’d fuck me 

if we went skinny dipping 

on Brighton beach 

and I’d got undressed 

on that pebbled beach 

in record time. 


She then found my

notebook and started 

reading some poems – 

you should write a poem 

about tonight, 

write a poem about me! 

she said, 

before screwing her face – 

ah, there’s no point, 

you won’t see me again – 

but I told you we’d have 

a great night she continued

and I had and I didn’t  

see her again either

and that was years ago 

and looking back now

the biggest surprise of all,

is that it’s taken me 

this long to write her 

memory into 

a fucking poem.  






Gwil James Thomas is a poet, novelist and inept musician. He lives in his hometown of Bristol, England but has also lived in London, Brighton and Spain. He has been nominated twice for Best of The Net and once for The Pushcart Prize. His ninth chapbook of poetry Gold Chains Around Necks, Hellhounds at Our Heels, will be published by Holy & Intoxicated Publications in 2022.  



Wednesday, February 16, 2022

The Work Ethic by Ian Lewis Copestick

Sometimes I
wonder, "Do I
really miss
working? "
And then I
think. " Am I
fucking insane? "

The camaraderie,
the laughs, yes
I can see how I'd
miss that.

But the awful, hard
work, the sweat, and
the pain. Do I really
want to go through
that again?

Having said that
though it does
help your self esteem,
being a worthwhile
member of society, but
fuck that!
No!
It's just brainwashing,
conning the working
class to what we should
do!
I'm just as good a person
not working, as I am when
I am.




Ian Lewis Copestick is a 48 year old writer (I prefer that term to poet ) from Stoke on Trent, England. I spend most of my life sitting,  thinking then sometimes writing. I have been published in Anti Heroin Chic, the Dope Fiend Daily, Outlaw Poetry, Synchronized Chaos, the Rye Whiskey Review, Medusa's Kitchen and Horror Sleaze Trash.





Tuesday, February 15, 2022

He Drove The Short Bus by John Patrick Robbins

I stood there in line, sweating bullets and last night's booze.
The village idiots all spoke as if this was a grand social gathering.

The lard ass dude behind the register flirting with some preteen idiots.
Who were too young to be on my radar and way too fucking annoying to be sharing my oxygen.

They joked back and forth standing off to the side, as some inbred dumbass a few clicks back kept saying.

"I'm their bus driver!"

Which I know is far from clever but this is an actual true story. So pardon the lack of polish but you cannot make this shit up.

The acne victim porky pig cashier for some reason had found it amusing to cut a short bus joke.

Which in this era, of sensitive pussy cancel culture fucks, I would normally applaud.
But being I was in the need to rehydrate and extremely hungover.

Well, let's just say I was far from in the mood to be entertained.

The teeny boppers didn't grasp the clerk's joke.

"Umm, our bus isn't short you dork!"

"Yeah you tell him sweetheart! It's long and big and I drive it!"

The clearly not playing with a full deck bus driver so eagerly  interjected.

As everyone whose family tree didn't fork seemed highly amused by this scene.

Well besides myself whose I.Q. was a bit higher than a 4th grader.

At least I was finally being waited on as this hee-haw good time hour continued.

As the girls continued to flirt with the young walrus behind the counter.

My bullshit meter was broken and being on my best days I wanted to gently bludgeon most people to death.

I finally snapped, stopping these airheads mid sentence.

"Look bitch!, not to burst your bubblegum laced bubble.  But this is a fucking store! Not a goddamned sock hop!"

The place had gone dead silent.
Not due to the fact I was yelling, but largely as these kids were probably trying to figure out what a sock hop was.

"Umm, what's your deal dude?"

The five foot whatever kid in glasses asked.

"Honestly, I'm hung the fuck over and sick of your mindless babble. 
And just to help you from straining yourself. What Fatty Arbuckle here is saying, is your fucking stupid that's why you ride the short bus!"

"Dude I didn't mean it like that!"

The clerk pipped in.

"No porky, you're right you are trying to flirt so I apologize, so do me a favor and ring up a mirror as a gift on me."

"What's the mirror for you prick?"

"Well honestly kid, I thought you may want to see new sights. Like your dick or balls drop but my bad, now ring me the fuck up so I can get out of this shit box!"

"Hey you're a real asshole you know that!"

The girl interrupted as I had to fight laughing at her spunk. As everyone else seemed befuddled I simply went to a store to purchase items and simply get the fuck out.

"And you sweetheart, are living breathing proof that it is far better for most men to simply pull out."

The guy behind me cracked up as the clerk fought, laughing as well.

As the two girls just went silent as I at last paid my tab and carried my hungover ass.

And as I exited the Dollar General on the ever so ordinary Knotts Island.
I almost bumped into a woman dressed as snow white.


"What the fuck dude!, watch where your walking asshole!"

As I stood there for once in my life, at a loss for words. Staring at this real life Disney character's fantastic cleavage.

Wondering where the fuck were those seven short fucks and questioning if they were hiding under her dress.

As snow white simply shook her head calling me a loser.

As she faded from my existence leaving her image to plague my perverted thoughts.
Making the hell that was my life on this Island a little more tolerable.

As no matter the location I would always love all Hallows Eve.

As the man who drove the bus paused looking at me, his groceries in hand.

"Wow buddy, that Cinderella bitch is hot huh?"

As he reminded me yet again he drove the bus before he walked off.

And I wished only that said bus were headed towards the nearest cliff.

Sometimes I'm truly all heart, aside for the rest of me that is.

Cheers.





John Patrick Robbins, was voted most likely to end up incarcerated in high school. 
He holds many accolades within his mind and a few gold stars from his parole officer.

He once was sane but we all fall down sometimes.
When not chasing after a woman who rather remain unnamed for she has common sense unlike himself.

He finds himself alone crying himself to sleep with his stuffed koala collection.
He also collects fine whiskeys which he stores in his gut and dispenses off on his pain in the ass neighbors while they sleep.

He runs several journals and will be jumping off a bridge shortly after sharing this write. The water is very cold so excuse the shrinkage.

Wow I'm almost average poet height now.
He once read a book, it had nice pictures.



A Tenement on Jones Street by David Painter

A string of clear rope lights hang overhead. “Those are stars,” she said. “We can’t see the real ones from here so these will have to do.” ...