Thursday, June 30, 2022

Gentlemen’s Discourse by Daniel S. Irwin

In your own words,
“Don’t worry about it.”
In my own words,
“Go fuck yourself”.




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. 


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

for my birthday this year by Scott Ferry

i am asking god for synethsetic chapstick
that brings my power pajamas back

i am asking for blindness for a small
dribble of batmilk from under the warm wing

i am planning to leave a carful of dyslexic
porn at the vegan morgue

i will pray that my knees do not colonize
streptococci as i whip kick

give me a fishing license and a wallet of
tar

i am asking that my outbursts be forgiven
these rorschach glasses are spilling the Fs

i really am trying to pet everyone softly
to tease out the tangles in my chestpelt

sing to me a slow awkward waltz
under these starthorns and bullets

take away all the pimples that i ever had
in a flash of cymbals

make the world fair for one tilted second
before i try and haggle back my soul

from the gaunt moneyclown in the eel-den
give me back my body

 and paint blueblood on my sarcophagus
i will rise from this my pretty bald birds

my name has been misunderstood
all of these years




Scott Ferry helps out Veterans heal as a RN in the Seattle area. His most recent book is fishmirror from Alien Buddha Press. You can find more of his work @ ferrypoetry.com.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Wednesday Night  By Tohm Bakelas


I caught a buzz—first one  

in a long time. It felt pretty  

good, but then I remembered 

I had all these things called 

responsibilities; namely: my 

kids and the cat. Figuring 

the cat could fend for herself, 

it was just down to my offspring. 

Seven o’clock rolled around and 

I sounded the alarm: “bedtime!” 

Tiny feet stampeded upstairs  

while I finished making lunches 

and grabbed another can from  

the fridge. After the nighttime  

ritual was complete, I picked  

a book off the top shelf. “Well”  

I said “this is probably the first  

time in America anyone’s ever  

read Bukowski to their kids.” 

They both laughed but didn’t  

get the joke, and so I read on  

until they were asleep. After 

that I went back downstairs  

for another can. It was 8:41pm,  

the house was very very quiet. 






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 18 chapbooks and 2 collections of poetry. His forthcoming collection “The Ants Crawl In Circles” will be published by Whiskey City Press in Summer 2022. He runs Between Shadows Press.  



Monday, June 27, 2022

Desert Lover by Leah Mueller

Walking through 
the alleys of old Bisbee, 
I thought I saw
the ghost of an ex-junkie

who captured my attention

in these same streets, 

twenty-three years ago. 


A face like Richard Gere’s—

eyes always wandering

inward, as if bored.


Cheap desert boots caked 

with layers of dust, 

probably given to him

by an ex-girlfriend. 


Always, his shrill fixation

on his one great achievement:


a novel picked up by a

major publisher, then

out of print five years later,


with no further plans

for distribution.


His inability to stay in bed

for more than an hour

after sex. And, most of all,


his uncanny communication

with extraterrestrials,


who somehow couldn’t 

keep their hands 

off his genitals.


Who could blame them?

Neither could I.







Leah Mueller is the author of ten prose and poetry books. Her work appears in Rattle, Midway Journal, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Miracle Monocle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, etc. It has also been featured in trees, shop windows in Scotland, poetry subscription boxes, and literary dispensers throughout the world. Her flash piece, "Land of Eternal Thirst" will appear in the 2022 edition of Sonder Press' "Best Small Fictions" anthology. Visit her website at www.leahmueller.org.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

This Guy I Saw Sitting in a Car  By Holly Day


He was parked in the lot at Thrifty’s Drug buck naked save for

A big white cowboy hat and a pair of dark sunglasses he was

Holding onto his erect penis and grinning proudly and happily like his penis

Was a prize he had won as a bowling trophy or at a carnival ring-toss

Or like it was something a teacher had given him for being

A real good boy in school instead of a gold star or one of those

Phony certificates of accomplishments that can be traded in 

For a cheeseburger at McDonald’s with the purchase of a 

Large drink.







Holly Day’s writing has recently appeared in Analog SF, The Hong Kong Review, and Appalachian Journal, and her recent book publications include Music Composition for Dummies, The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body, and Bound in Ice. She teaches creative writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and Hugo House in Seattle.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

a difference of priorities by Keith Pearson

on a lark 
he looks out 
one day
and discovers
there are no clocks 
anywhere.
she is down on
her knees praying
at the toilet bowl.
she is begging him
to call down lightning
or at least fetch her up
a clean towel.
he is more interested
in where all
the clocks have gone
and cannot see
that her hair is 
on fire.




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

Friday, June 24, 2022

Conversation In A Hotel Bar by Robert Halleck

Let me say I know nothing about how
affairs start though I often wonder
about this conversation that today
reappeared from the abyss of my memory. 

The lounge  was dark, the marble bar
cold to the touch. The bartender 
sipped water as he remained aloof 
to the conversations around him.

Cigarette smoke from the woman next
to me drifted toward her companion.
She faced away from me as she listened
to him speak of the meeting they’d left.

I’m sorry the meeting took so long.

Why aren’t you drinking, she asked.

Coke just seemed to be better tonight.

I hope my having a martini is okay with you.

It’s fine. Most nights I’d join you.

Her hair was a little windblown but everything
about her was close to perfect. She continued,

What do you do when you aren’t doing this?

I go home. Looks like I’ll be late tonight. 

You make me curious, you really do.

Why?

Because I can’t see you doing anything other
than what we have done all day.
.
Well, now that you mention it, I’ve been thinking
the same thing about you

Her face was now reflected in the bar’s mirror.
She was smiling as she spoke,

Do you ever ask if it’s worth it?

Oh yeah. Don’t we all?

 Her smile broadened as she continued,
I really am curious about you.

Her companion asked the bartender for a Manhattan
straight up before he responded,

I’m not that interesting.

Oh, I think you are. I’d like to find out how you became
what you are.

It wouldn’t be worth it. I’ve been this way for years.

Oh, no. No one ever is.

Okay, tell me how you used to be.

Nicer. Her smiled faded. Quite a bit nicer. Now
I have to go. I’ll see you tomorrow. We should
have a talk some afternoon, maybe here. Get tight
and talk until we find out about each other.

After a few minutes, I left him staring at his
untouched drink perhaps thinking about
climbing the wall into the forbidden garden?





Robert Halleck is a hospice volunteer, rescuer of racing greyhounds, and autocross racer of an aging Porsche  He has authored three books of poetry and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared in such places as the Paterson Literary Review, Waxing and Waning, and The North Dakota Quarterly.. He is a member of San Diego';s Not Dead Yet Poets



Thursday, June 23, 2022

Nobody is Legit by Mark James Andrews

I down shift my Dodge to help out 
the brakes & it almost worked 
but my grinding bomb plows 
another beater stopped at the red 
on 8 Mile Road at Mound Road 
a minor cave-in but the trunk pops open
on the crap looking Ford I rear ended 
showing shiny black garbage bags 
so I struggle to get mine into reverse
the clutch another source of grinding
as my grill avalanches to the pavement
then I pull off to the right but a huge
hand out the window waves me
forward so I pull up close 
all windows down in both our cars
two guys looking to read my eyes
one goes “You good?” & I nod 
“Fuck it then!” he screams 
& they peel off with lights out.
We all know nobody is legit 
no proof of no-fault insurance 
possible outstanding warrants
or felonies in progress
in the wee small hours
on the borderline crossroads
past the Railroad Crossing Bar
just down from Kwicky Bar 
Alibi Bar & the Golden Greek 
all the hang out joints for a hive 
of Chrysler plants & a hot spot 
for traffic stops which lead to 
1,001 ways to send you to hell
& a lifetime of the long dick of the law. 





Mark James Andrews is a Metro Detroit poet who has worked a checkered career as a gravedigger, inspector at a defunct auto plant, jail librarian and library director. He is the author of So I Lit A Fire for The Last Thanksgiving (Alien Buddha Press), Motor City is Burning & Other Rock & Roll Poems (Gimmick Press), Compendium 20/20 (Deadly Chaps Press), Burning Trash (Pudding House Press) and a poetry recording Brylcreem Sandwich Band (Bandcamp).
 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

3 AM By C.S. Mathews 


Its three AM

And the light is green 

Splitting 

Casting shadows 

as in the distance birds sing


like echo’s 

a broken egg on my porch

blue

the light of feathers split in two


I'm awake 

Laying on sheet 

Red

Satin spread over empty bed


Not dreaming 

Aimlessly teaming

In a room relentlessly clean

Not enough 


And your there 

In my periphery 

A visage in stark relief 

Out of reach


I taste it 

The kiss that was awaited

20 years of impatience 

Stolen between breaths baited


And it tastes of skin


The clock is ticking

Slowly drifting

Sand shifting 

Day yet to begin


I'm turning 

For warmth, yearning

A reptile in need of skin

Not shedding 


Basking 

In the humid air

Thinking of water pouring

Storming

But the levy is dry


Hinting

Everything is drenching 

But the sky is unlit

No sun or lightning


Uncut

Like the film in my freezer 

Undeveloped in its casing 

Hiding

From a lack of lighting 


Fighting 

To find meaning in an image

Hidden 

Unknown till swallowed


By pools of quick silver 

Hollow 

Like a basement

Flooded 

over running 

though the rain is never coming


Just green shadows

Casting

From a lamp masking

Every inch of me in passing

At 3:38


Wasting precious breath pacing

My brain not quite racing

Just turning

An ellipsis burrowing 

Avoiding the taste of you


Dancing 

On the edge of understanding

Skin not quite clammy 

Just heavy

Like fresh formed dew

Suspended in motion 


Clinging 

Blade of grass leaning

Until the sky opens 

Flooding the roads and,

My basement sits dry


It's 3:44 

And not a second has passed by





C.S. Mathews is the coauthor of Fearful Architecture and an editor for The Grindstone Magazine and Wheel Works Publishing. Having cut her teeth as an independent journalist and medic during the 2020 protests, their work focuses heavily on activism, their indigenaity, truama, and her experiences being transgender.




Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Dead End Home on a Dead End Road By Chris Butler


Life goes on,

on and infinitely on,

with or without you

indefinitely,

even if you try

to stay behind

far and wide,

whether or not

the weather is

too soon to bloom

unpollinated spores

on the strategic

trajectory of tragedy,

when the thirst of 

sunshine

burns worse than

moonshine. 






Anti-Chris Butler is an illiterate poet. His last chapbook, DOOMER, is available through Ethel. He is also the co-editor of The Beatnik Cowboy literary journal. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

PORT DRINKER by Giulio Magrini

He wakes
In a shabby brown coat
Urinates
And vomits something brown

He won’t know 
Where he is
Until half a bottle

After that
There’s no stopping him

And the image of his before
Smiles approvingly and muffled
Anesthetized in his misery 
Now bliss
To the symmetry of his end


'


Giulio Magrini started writing poetry in the early 1970’s, and takes most of his inspiration from the darker sides of human nature. He is currently working on his first book of poetry The Color of Dirt, due to be released later in the year from Word Association Press. Magrini has always preferred the performance of his work over publishing, until now.



Sunday, June 19, 2022

WD40 blues by John Grochalski

the head priest
of our church
rode around our suburb
in a big ol’ cadillac

my old man sprayed
WD40 on his spark plugs
to try and get our car to work

every sunday
we went to church
and put an envelope full of money
in the collection basket

every sunday
the head priest’s newly waxed cadillac
was parked in the church lot
for all the parishioners to see

we kept the WD40
in the backseat of the car
for easy access

the head priest
changed cadillacs
every twelve to sixteen months

silver one year
gold the next

he rode them around the suburb
with jesus as his co-pilot
honking and waving to anyone he recognized

we kept our car running for a decade
on WD40 and pure luck

if we broke down
no one pulled over to give us a hand

not even christ himself

the head priest’s homilies
were about modesty
kindness
generosity
loving the sick and the poor
and living a simple life

then he went about preparing
the host

pushing his big gold watch back on his wrist
if it happened to get in the way

while the collection basket
passed around the church
for all of the parishioners to fill

with bulky white envelopes
that smelled of WD40 or car grease

and coins that glittered off the church lights

as bright and shiny
as we hoped and prayed
the head priest’s next
brand-new cadillac

would glow
off the light
of a paper moon.




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.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Lives of Poetry & Regret by Karen A VandenBos

The smell of smoke mixes with the
sticky residue of food and piss on
the floors and the scent of the
downtrodden is braided with heartache
to make a cocktail not listed on
the menu.

Vacant eyes search the room, unfocused,
looking for ghosts as they linger here
like the smoke from an extinguished
match.

Their lips are bold with thirst,
their hearts aching with the need
to be loved.

Empty promises are written on
the edges of the left behind wet napkins
underneath empty glasses of sorrow.

This is their place of worship, the
place where they tithe. The place
where they come to take communion
and lead their lives of poetry and
regret.



Once upon a time, Karen A VandenBos was born on a warm July morn in Kalamazoo, MI. Her youth was nourished by books and writing. When adulthood opened the door, she was detoured to working in health care for 30+ years and obtained her PhD in Holistic Health. She tumbled into the realm of retirement landing on her feet and was reunited with her creative spark. She can now be found contributing to two online writing groups where she unleashes her imagination and trusts her pen to take her where she needs to go. Her writing has been published in The Ekphrastic Review, Lothlorien Poetry Journal and Verse-Virtual online and some of her photographs have been published in Blue Heron Review.

Friday, June 17, 2022

The Good Half By Rocío Iglesias


When you said you only wanted half of me,

did you mean the top or the bottom half?

Maybe you meant the outside half and not the inside half

Not the half that dives into the ocean but continually emerges the same person,

A salt-covered osprey shaking off the sand,

Looking you in the eye and asking you where you’ve been

Not the half that learned to fight like my mother with words that shoot to kill

No, you wanted the kill

The deer

The fawn falling softly on the mossy ground

Not the hoofs thrashing though the duff, stopping abruptly with her head raised sniffing the air

You wanted the half that flies, not the half that escapes







Rocío Iglesias is a queer Cuban-American poet. Her work has appeared in various print and electronic publications and can most recently be found in Firmament Magazine and Brave Voices Magazine. She lives, breathes, and works in Minneapolis, MN.


Thursday, June 16, 2022

Saved by Sam McGee by Mary “Ray” Goehring

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
at first it was a joke
reading The Cremation of Sam McGee
to my college roommate

the speech class assignment 
to recite a memorized poem
making me shudder—

memories of snickering classmates 
my laughing jag while giving a speech 
teasing siblings waiting to pounce—

but my roommate saw its potential.

So, in the evenings 
we hitched to the off-campus bar
with copies of the poem,
drank 25 cent beers
and saw who could remember more passages.

There are strange things done
in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold
we proclaimed as we lifted each new tap

And on our chilly walk back to the dorm
sang to the lightless houses 
the Arctic trail has its secret tales
that would make your blood run cold

In the hall and up the stairs to our rooms
we confessed and
hurried, horror driven-- 
with a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid
because of a promise given

It took about a week
for both of us to memorize it
and I, in my speech class, 
performed without a glitch.

Now, 50 years later,
there aren’t many things 
I can recite from memory

But somehow 
etched into parts of my primitive brain
I still can recall  
That night on the marge of Lake Labarge
I cremated Sam McGee.





Mary Ray Goehring was born and raised in Wisconsin where as a child she spent afternoons with her dad at Shannon's Tavern drinking cokes and listening to the jukebox.  On special occasions, eating at one of the local Supper Clubs--essentially a pub that serves food to folks of all ages.  A retired Landscape Designer she now migrates between her central Wisconsin prairie home and the pine forests of East Texas.  A member of both the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and The Poetry Society of Texas she has been published in a variety of online and print journals and anthologies among them are the recently released James Crews Anthology, The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connection and Joy, Steam Ticket Review, The Blue Heron Review, Bramble, Your Daily Poem and Texas Poetry Calendar.


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.” ...