Sunday, July 31, 2022

A Meaningful Relationship by Colin Deal

Captain and Coke
The recipe is in the name
You may take creative license when choosing the glass
Ice is an unspoken rule
Don’t assume a lime is wanted
The order was not for a cuba libre
This is how we build a meaningful relationship
I request a drink
You make the drink
I give you money



Colin Deal spends his free time exploring the bar culture of cities throughout North America and believes the unique personality of any region in the world can be discovered over a few drinks with the locals. His drunken musings can be found on Twitter @dear_bo


Saturday, July 30, 2022

The side road of somewhere by Emalisa Rose

They grow here.

The weeds do,
reckless as rain
uncharted, unchained
in the deep anonymity
weaving the window, as I watch
from these hot sheets
by the side road of somewhere
where you slipped me some scotch
and most likely a mickey
to get me to pose
in these late night contortions
where I slid from the grid and the sight
of the husband that feeds me

where like weeds
we grow wild in a poem
unrehearsed in the verse
we dare not to finish.

Sober 16

The branch becomes barren;
the songbird’s flown south.

Overhead hanging,
a half hearted moon, with
the stars in absentia.

And Abigail struggles, on
her sixteenth day sober

watching from window side
sketching herself in the still life
as the nights become longer.




When not writing poetry, Emalisa Rose enjoys crafting with macrame. She volunteers in animal rescue and tends to cat colonies. She lives by the beach, which provides much of the inspiration for her art. Her poems have appeared in Writing in a Woman's Voice, The Beatnik Cowboy, The Rye Whiskey Review and other great places. Her latest collection is "This water paint life," published by Origami Poems Project.



Friday, July 29, 2022

Beer Laced with Hallucinogens by Mark James Andrews

10x ODDS ON DICE
up on the marquee
“the D” hotel on Fremont St.
I am not seeking truth here
just wearing my Marvin Gaye
WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER
t shirt to represent my hometown
to hold my own and drink for free 
my mission to camp at penny slots
close to the bar & server parade
just pump the pokies
the fruities & slug slut slots
bad poetry but optimal play 
payback is running on the payline
a world of possibilities maybe
but mainly to park in the path
of the beverage runners
where I tip a sawbuck 
on the important 1st serve
to a half-naked pre-med student
it’s a dirty mixed up world for
working people in this freak show
but now she will come back
every 15 to 30 minutes
& I will go the max 2 drinks 
per person per order every time
as allowed for players in the game
to keep blood alcohol ascending
to shut down the prefrontal cortex
for instant karma & world peace
& I’ll reflect on the Nick Cage movie
from the John O’Brien book
the novelist would suicide 
by gunshot 2 weeks after 
getting word his Leaving Las Vegas 
would make it to film at last
& I’ll find courage in unexpected places 
dodge the fear & loathing gut boiling
as what did Hunter S. Thompson know?
crapping out with his suicide play
his ashes blasted out of a cannon
by Johnny Depp (stunt cost him 3 million)
& Johnny lost in a court room
trying to grow his pirate mustache back
to get back in his game 
& run the table for what? 
so let us build massive ritual sites
like hunters & gatherers 
in pre-history & drink beer 
laced with hallucinogens.





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).
 


Thursday, July 28, 2022

CEMETERY OF LONGSHOTS by Michael N. Thompson

The bar I used to sneak in to
back in high school
hasn’t changed much
after twenty years

A few familiar faces
are scattered like leaves
inside the old girl

I appear to be the only one
who made it out of a town
more passive aggressive
than a stubborn mother-in-law

Chuck Meredith waves me over to his table
and the odds of him not being belligerent
are about as likely as fresh air
inside a euthanasia box 

He was the star quarterback
everyone thought would make it big
but he blew out his knee
during his freshman year 
at an out of state college

Bitching about the government,
Chuck proudly declares
he’s installed a dozen cameras
for when they come for his guns
but nobody’s at the door

Cadillac dreams are futile
when all you have 
is a beat-up Buick
and hope never floats
in a leaky boat



Michael N. Thompson likes bacon, cats and fantasy football.  His poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals including Word Riot, Toronto Quarterly and San Pedro River Review. He is the author of four poetry collections, the most recent being A Murder Of Crows published by University of Hell Press. www.michaelnthompson.com



Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Southern Latitudes by Jake St. John

for John Greiner

I'm sitting here 
in the afternoon sun 
reading the Good Doctor
as he attempts
to flee Las Vegas 

my mind 
begins to shift 
and alter
as I recall the night 
I met the Baron 
in a Peruvian 
prison cell 

and how 
we were able 
to produce 
the right paperwork 
thanks to a 
well timed phonecall 
from our friend 
at the embassy

we were able 
to cross the border 
by midnight 

just as
the hangman 
untied his rope 
in despair

we limped 
through the beaten doors
of a hill side cantina
and enjoyed a bottle.



Jake St. John lives in the woods on the edge of the Salmon River. He is the author of several collections of poetry including Ring of Fog (Holy and Intoxicated Publications, 2022), Night Full of Diamonds (Whiskey City Press, 2021), and Lost City Highway (A Jabber Publication, 2019). He is the editor of Elephant and is considered an original member of the New London School of poetry. His poems have appeared in print and online journals around the world


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Mason the Dwarf by Brenton Booth

When Bill drank soda
for the first time at the
bar and told me he had
found God, Mason the
dwarf rushed across
the room to us. "The
Devil made me!" he
yelled at Bill finishing
his full glass of vodka
with a single angry gulp.
Mason was a regular.
Always sat alone, 
drinking vodka. Waiting 
at the door every morning
when we opened. Moving
his tiny legs as fast as he
could to get to the bar
and order his first drink.
He never spoke. Just 
drank. Sitting in the same
spot at the end of the bar.
At closing time every 
night I'd have to carry 
him out, leaving him on
the bench outside. "Will
you be OK here Mason?"
I'd say. "GET THE HELL
AWAY FROM ME!" he'd
scream. He constantly 
played the same song on
the jukebox, Mariah
Carey's "All I Want for
Christmas is You." When
he got really drunk, he'd
play it again and again.
Tapping along with his 
tiny hands and feet: until
everyone but him was 
sick of hearing it. 


Brenton Booth Lives in Sydney, Australia. Poetry of his has appeared in Chiron Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Naugatuck River Review, Van Gogh's Ear, and Nerve Cowboy. He has two full length collections available from Epic Rites Press. brentonbooth.weebly.com


Sunday, July 24, 2022

PITTSBURGH POEM by Dan O’Connell

  Benigno Numine (official motto of The City of Pittsburgh)


For some reason my girlfriend’s writers conference

is in pittsburgh this year, so, with google map result 

for bars of pittsburgh printed out, I walk

trying to get a feel for this erstwhile iron town

on my first of five hotel days’ free


beginning downtown at The Yard, a brick-walled

‘burgher’ and sports bar of no interest. I have 2 pints

and cross the fort pitt bridge and prized confluence

to scour the southside’s famous strip of saloons

on carson street named for an inurned environmentalist, 

but am disappointed with Urban Tap’s weak well drinks and  

clientele of mere kids dressed like kindergarteners, 

and Jack’s, Foxtail and The Flats because they’re not open yet

though its already noon


Soon discovery a dr. mcgillicuddy’s chalk sign

outside an unnamed establishment and find,

after my eyes adjust to the dark, empty red leather booths

with black ashtrays sliced for smokes – you know the kind – 

and a jukebox next to a cigarette machine like a time-warp 

and a bar as long as I’ve ever seen, two veteran drunks 

discussing american presidents from johnson on:


“asshole”     “yup”

“asshole”    “indeed”

“asshole”    “yes sir”

“asshole”    “that’s right”

“asshole”    “big one”

“asshole”    “CIA asshole”

“asshole”    “a-hole”

“asshole”    “asshole sonny boy”

“asshole”    “asshole got no color”

“asshole”    “traitor asshole”

“asshole”    “stinky old asshole”


I have 3 sutter chardonnays and take the bartender’s directions

to the blue bridge, make a left at the county jail,

stay on the boulevard of allies which will lead to The Eagle,

a fried chicken place with local brews I should try


Sounds easy, but after turning at the landmark (newly released inmate

asleep on the lawn) I get lost navigating detours around

the destruction site of a defunct shopping mall, wind up traversing  

andy warhol bridge, take in the revitalized allegany river

once clogged with coal boats, drop a hundred bucks 

for steak-on-a-stone and 4 penn hazy’s at Northshore Tavern

in the five o’clock shadow of heinz stadium


then, staggering now, make my way over saint roberto clemente bridge

back toward downtown and destination Rebel Bar

where along the way I trip on one of pittsburgh’s high curbs, 

scrape my palms bloody on broken glass, getting a feel for the city






Dan O’Connell is a four-time award winning poet, and multiple finalist and honorable mention. His poems have appeared over eighty times, including in Mississippi Review and Ghost Town Literary Magazine. A former Philosophy professor, Dan is an eviction defense attorney. He is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Different Coasts, and Theory of Salvation, and the chapbook State of the Union. Find Dan O. at danoconnellpoetry.com

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Nightfall by Taylor Dibbert

Don’t,
Make,
Him,
A,
Drink,
Pass,
Him,
The,
Bottle,
The,
Night,
Is,
Coming,
For,
Him,
And,
Everyone.



Taylor Dibbert is a widely published writer and journalist. He’s author of the Peace Corps memoir “Fiesta of Sunset,” and is seeking representation for his first novel.


Friday, July 22, 2022

Cribbage by Keith Pearson

The lights went out about nine so they lit two ancient hurricane lamps and played cribbage by the flickering light, a penny a point and double for skunks. Howard broke out a jar of his orchard cider and they drank as they played and the storm raged outside, lightning across the black sky, water churning against the dock. Tom let the old man cheat yet still had him, up thirteen cents and pegging, when one of the lamps ran dry and went dark, leaving barely enough light to see the board. Howard grinned and said Be easier to whip ya in the dark but when he reached for his peg the other lamp blew out and now there was only a faint dancing glimmer from a candle on the kitchen counter. Tom watched the old man hold his hand over the board, watched the subtle shake there. Then Howard pulled his hands into his lap and slumped back into his old leather chair. Tom watched his chest rise and fall though he could not hear his breathing over the storm outside. Then Howard took a deep breath and leaned forward and held his grizzled face in his weathered hands and began to talk.

I might a told ya this cribbage board come from my old man, that it was somethin he carved down east before he come here in the thirties. if I told you that it was a lie. Never told anyone and only Bert Neely knew how  it come to me and that only cause he was there and knew the fella I got it from and how I come to have it, and I’m thinkin the story died with him when he passed last spring. Some day I hope it’ll be yours, and you need to know where it come from, the truth, not some story I made up. This was in Korea in 1953 near the end of that war and I remember thinkin bout nuthin but livin to get home to my mother and bein more scared every day that last bullet would find me, and if Bert was here he’d tell you he felt the same way, cause its all we ever talked about as a way to keep sane, jokin how it’d be just our luck to get shot in the back on our way out. well, we were assigned to help a bunch of Canadian soldiers, young kids the U.N. thought should be there, and they were more scared than us. Bert and I were barely in twenty and they thought we were old timers, hard as nails vets. Couldn’t a been anything further from the truth, but these kids from Canada didn’t know that, and didn’t need to know it either. They’d a followed Bert and I into hell, and one night they did. We got orders to support a mission to secure another hill near Old Baldy that we’d been up n down a hundred times, and I still couldn’t tell you why, but one more time we geared up and set out, a March night cold as that water out there, snow in the air, ground half frozen, half mud. We were supposed ta be rear support but the Commies had circled behind us and cut us off. They could walk across that frozen ground without a peep while ya could hear our fat feet crunchin in them old boots a mile away.  Then a flare go up, and the shit let loose from there. Those Canadian boys never knew what hit em, frozen out there in that flare light, and we tellin em to take cover and they just stood frozen and the Commies cut em down like reeds under a scythe. Bert and I were in the trees by then and we dragged in the kids we could, but most of em were dead fore they hit the snow and those still breathin were chopped up good. Then as quick as they come those fellas slipped away into the night and we were there pissin ourselves and nuthin but dead and dyin Canadian boys. There was this young fella smooth faced as a kid and we’d pulled him into the trees but he was shot in the chest and the gut and bleedin out quick.This kid grabs my sleeve and pulls his kit across his body, his chest all torn up, and pushed the kit into my hands and then he died. I had lost my gloves in the excitement and my fingers were so cold I couldn’t feel shit but I tucked that bag into my pack, and don’t ya now when we got back and thawed out and stopped shakin I opened that kit and inside was this cribbage board. It was a long time after I come home I could look at it, then one day when Bert was over I brought it out and we played a game or two in that kid’s honor, and after that played most every Saturday night  that way and never mentionin where it come from for almost sixty years. But I know every time Bert looked at that board he saw that kid all shot up and dyin, and how we were the lucky bastards and didn’t have no more right to be than them Canadians, but somehow we did, and remembered that luck and good grace every Saturday night, and a few nights in between. I never thought I’d tell anyone, not even Martha, bless her I told her enough we ain’t spoken of since, but you got a right to know.  Some day I’ll be gone and you’ll be layin out this cribbage board with a drink or two and playin with your kids or a buddy, I want you to raise that glass to me and ta Bert and to that Canadian kid I never knew cept his initials same as my father’s carved into the backside a that board. 

And that was when the power licked back on. We put away our glasses and the hurricane lamps and blew out the candle in the kitchen and Howard put up the board. He went off to bed and I sat the rest of the night listening to the water slapping the dock and when the storm finally moved out I watched the moon in the clearing sky and the dawn creep into the new day and heard Howard snoring in the back bedroom, and thought how blessed I was. I don’t need to tell you Howard died some months later and I never saw that cribbage board again, have no idea what became of it, and never had the courage to ask Martha about it. But now you know, even if this isn’t that board, and I think it’s your turn. Hold on. Let me get us another drink before we play.




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



Thursday, July 21, 2022

The Process of Moving  By Cord Moreski 


It’s as if the universe 

needs to sacrifice something  

during the process of moving  

in order to transition 

and to begin new again

 

it could be as little 

as a few coffee mugs breaking

or a vinyl record

cracking at the bottom 

of a cardboard box

 

or it could be as big 

as a diamond ring 

washing down 

a sink drain

or a family heirloom 

shattering by the side 

of a U-Haul.

 

This evening 

it’s just the pieces 

of this moment 

 

this final glance 

at the sunset splashing 

into my bare living room

 

before I finally trudge  

to the front door 

with the last box

in my hands 

 

then back out 

into the world

to begin new again.

 

 


Cord Moreski is a poet from the Jersey Shore. Moreski is the author of Confined Spaces(Two Key Customs, 2022), The News Around Town (Maverick Duck Press, 2020), and Shaking Hands with Time (Indigent Press, 2018). When he is not writing, Cord waits tables for a living and teaches middle school children that poetry is awesome. His next chapbook Apartment Poems will be released by Between Shadows Press in September 2022. You can follow Cord here: www.cordmoreski.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

That Time I Took Off the Rose-Colored Glasses By Skaja Evens


You told me that you fall in love 

With anyone who shows you kindness


I did

Yet you didn’t fall in love with me


I wondered why, for awhile


And now, some time later

I can say I am glad you didn’t


Whether you realized I deserved better than you could offer, I can’t say

But I am glad I didn’t become enmeshed

We’d never be good together as a couple

We barely were as lovers


Though you did remind me that I can’t settle

For half-assed groping 

And half-realized orgasms


My apologies for sounding harsh

Though I’m not really sorry

I didn’t sign up to watch your

self-destruction







Skaja Evens is a writer and artist living in Southeast Virginia. She runs It Takes All Kinds, a litzine published by Mōtus Audāx Press. She’s also been published with Spillwords Press and The Dope Fiend Daily. She can often be found listening to music, considering the impossible, and enjoying her cats’ antics.


Tuesday, July 19, 2022

John L Bar By John Harold Olson


My Dad used to hangout in
this place that scared me when 
I was a kid looking for him.
Here I was,
Looking again, not for
continuity or connection,
no, just looking for that Maxfield Parrish
river of beer on a rainy afternoon.
The shuffleboard table
was free,
free because no one 
could face those chrome
pucks and that slippery deck.
A deck so long it wasn’t worth it.
Flossy, still behind the bar,
Flossy who used to tell my
Dad to go home,
Flossy made the connection.
It was written on her face,
another son following the path.
Flossy had seen it a thousand times.
It’s business.
“Can I get a hamburger 
and another Liney?”
“Sure, Doll,” Flossy said.




Retired Las Vegas teacher now a hospice volunteer.


Monday, July 18, 2022

ABSTRACTIONS by Susan Isla Tepper

for Simon Perchik (1923 – 2022)

While you lay dying
my left ear bled
abstractions 
streaking the pillow    
— you’d unearth a poem
were you able

Day after I woke to 
red filling the right eye
Both sloshed its river.

But when the limb 
entwined  
crashed down 
what was left to feed the other.




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.


Sunday, July 17, 2022

Saint Elmo's Fire By C.S. Mathews 


There are stories of fires
that dance across the bows of ships
in tempestuous storms
casting ghost light on the damned
as men frantically fight to right a sinking vessel
to survive

Saint Elmo’s fire

is also the name of a song
that plays in victory
though so many ships failed
crews died
beneath these ghost lights

am I alive

when, in early light,
I see spectral orbs dance about me

is it in my eyes

the halo that forms around me
perhaps a distortion of the very air

and in closing my eyes
I see it imprinted there
on the inside on my lids

pulsing

rhythmic in its absolution.
and I often wonder if I can hear it
a soft hum of particles excited into motion
or if I'm merely breathing
I often can't tell If I breathe
if air exists

is it all just in my mind

if I still myself long enough
resist the urge to inhale
the ghost lights appear
growing strong with every second
until my vision is filled with light
and darkness
it's beautiful

are there realities beyond this

were the spectral flames but guides
that called sailors into night
bright with stars
as water replaces air
if air was ever there
until they saw true beauty

why won't my body let me go there

Do I need a flaming guide
to reach the other side?
would drowning do?

there has to be something better than this




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.

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.” ...