Wednesday, August 31, 2022

enough of me by J.J. Campbell

one of these nights
where i am bound
and determined to
drink myself to 
death

five drinks in and
i want my legs to 
feel twenty years 
younger

ten more drinks 
in and my hands, 
long grown tired 
of my bullshit, 
become two beautiful 
women who can’t 
get enough of me

twenty more drinks
and those beautiful
women go get the
shotgun in the corner
and gently place it
into my mouth

i offer the entire 
room shots for free 
for someone to pull
the trigger

and at the end of 
the night i go seek
out dylan thomas 
so we can compare 
notes




J.J. Campbell (1976 - ?) was raised by wolves and is currently trapped in suburbia. He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Record Magazine, Misfit Magazine, The Beatnik Cowboy, Mad Swirl and Synchronized Chaos. His latest chapbook, the taste of blood on christmas morning, was published by Analog Submission Press in July 2018. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (http://evildelights.blogspot.com)
http://sites.google.com/site/losersincsite/
http://soundcloud.com/j-j-campbell
http://goodreads.com/jjthepoet


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Dirt Nod by Chad Parenteau

Could be solace
dying alone,
exit out back.

Follow Adam
back in earth,
one true womb.

Exes no longer
jab your cage
where they lived,

no child sprouted
that others pot
in old bullshit.

Throw to field,
maybe something
takes trite root.

This is your 
soul and seed,
timid teen,

room corner,
house party,
uninvited.

The fun
will start
after you leave.




Chad Parenteau hosts Boston's long-running Stone Soup Poetry series. His latest collection is  The Collapsed Bookshelf. His poetry has appeared in journals such as RĂ©sonancee, Molecule, Ibbetson Street, Pocket Lint, The New Verse News, Cape Cod Poetry Review, Tell-Tale Inklings, Off The Coast, The Skinny Poetry Journal, Nixes Mate Review and the anthology Reimagine America from Vagabond Books. He serves as Associate Editor of the online journal Oddball Magazine.


Monday, August 29, 2022

An Alcoholic Literary Note By Timothy Resau


This crisp August morning

with razor sharp sun-shadows—

almost too clear to be real,

race by this page—

I will try to produce

spiked words, like mixed drinks,

dropping off a vodka tongue.

Images from a salt-stained heart

enter smoldering brain cells and

crash to the alphabetic letter:


—Will anyone know?

—Does everyone know?


The hidden memories bare the proof,

like those empty bottles hidden

behind copies of Beckett, Bierce, Brautigan—

blanked by booze and hangover fatigue.

This sickness, this “Irish” sickness—

oh, Christ, the lost years of spilled dreams

replaced by gutter screams and horror shows—

this whiskey reality

of Wino promises and total loss of self.






Timothy Resau has been published in the U.S., Canada, Portugal, and the U.K. Recently his work has been in Adelaide Literary MagazineSideways Poetry MagazineSylvia MagazineThe 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.

 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Blithering by Doug Holder

An idiot.
A drunk without
a chaser--
With blather.
Knows nothing
that matters.
Some dolt
Purple in polyester.
Talks from the
side of a dribble
Slips you a note,
incomprehensible
scribble.




Doug Holder is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press and the co-president of the New England Poetry Club. He teaches writing at Endicott College.



Saturday, August 27, 2022

Julie by John Harold Olson

I was on the back
of Julie’s Norton
that she bought from
her brother
Arms around her waist
Rolling 
headlight on the road
I remember how good she smelled
Like camomile growing wild.
We stop at the GTO Lounge
Along the two lane,
Pabst sign,
hunter’s moon

“No motorcycles!”
“Excuse me, what?”
Julie had this courteous thing
when she was angry.

I said, “Let’s beat it”
Out on the lot, 
Deciding what to do
(Rode down to where her 
Horse was and slept on the
grass, slept on a horse blanket)

A guy came out
With two cold beers.
“Here, just leave the empties over there.”
Cold beer in the night.
Julie says, “You warm enough
Back there, Baby?”
Kickstart




Retired Las Vegas teacher now a hospice volunteer.


Friday, August 26, 2022

Event Horizon by C.S. Mathews

A body is constantly dying
regenerating cells that blink out
stars in a an Arizonian sky
to be replaced by explosions in nebula clouds
until around 25 

when your first cell dies 
and isn't replaced in the sky 

no pop of light
no gaseous flame to ignite under super-dense fight
no gravity to draw into orbit solar systems 
just 

nothing 

But it's okay
'cause cells are dying and being born constantly 
you can afford to miss a few
even if the number is growing as calendar pages flit by
and your wondering if this is life
now constrained by the razor edge of 35
and you know it's started in earnest 

the heat death 

that this is the beginning of the end 
and you've just got your shit together (ish)
and you've still got years to live
but your body is dying faster than living
and your obsessed with years wasted 
opportunities not taken 

and now 40
in a blink, its there
five more years gone 
and something is building
a pressure of gravity that looms
slowly consumes all that your body builds
but you can't see it
only feel the pressure behind your every cell 

Is this Hell?
the pain you feel at 55
15 years past in the blink of an eye
you know it only gets worse from here
but now you're living the life you wanted at 22
if only that feeling
that clawing thing at the back of your reality 
would stop 

but you take it slow 
cause you know its a black-hole
and it's gravity ever grows 
as your 50s sit two decades behind 
and you're still working just to get by 

you think you're at peace
but the reality lies in the fact that you're terrified 
cant comprehend what lies on the other side
and it's looming
the event horizon of a long life
as your memories drift in 
and your brain becomes smooth as a babies skin 

god
you were once alive




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.


Thursday, August 25, 2022

The Way of Things by Jeff Weddle

Love squeezed to marrow
eyes which will not meet your eyes
cats twisting around legs
a few good books
slogans for the addled
hard leaders for the weak
the horrors of an empty pantry
children with their brutal faces
people with the souls of wolves
people with no soul at all
people who died long before the grave
wrinkled fingers reaching for a memory
drunken matadors with their guilt
old fighters lost in glory
murder in fancy automobiles
empty bottles with their dreams
forgotten outlaws gone straight
every gamble lost
everyone gone down the cold alley
all of us eaten by the dark




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.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Garbage Time by Chris Butler

When you're
losing
at life
so terribly
that the score
is completely
out of reach,
why waste those
final moments
focusing on the
scoreboard,
when you can
just take the ball
and head home
before the final
whistle. 




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. 


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Beating A Hustler By Rp Verlaine


He had taken my money 

three times after I'd 

bought us cheap drinks 

not even a whores navel  

could sweeten. 


A known rogue 

in a pool hall 


that already had 

more thugs 

than cameras find 

at mafia weddings. 

 

I was four hundred down  

doubled or nothing for  

the fourth time when I 

whirled around and let the 

pool stick become a splintered  

puzzle across his face 

4,5,6 times 

fractured his right wrist too 

in case he was armed. 

 

Everything froze save the 

jukebox playing 

a song I didn’t know 

as I slowly walked out backwards 

into the bouncer who 


I gave my remaining bankroll to. 

Tanned and huge in a tight tailored suit 

“don’t come back” he said  

“even if he deserved it 

we don’t need that here.” 

 

I ducked into a cab 

forgetting my address 


And remembering I’d left my wallet  

at the pool table. 

Maybe they could send it Express Mail.






Rp Verlaine, a retired English teacher living in NYC, 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). Rp’s work has been featured in Punk NoirYgdrasil, and Runcible Spoon.


Monday, August 22, 2022

Nothing Ever Happens on Sunday By Ann Christine Tabaka


It was the day I learned to cry …

sitting alone / watching the wind dance through trees.


Time was split in two, hanging on a dream,

each part fading into noon.


The sun trapped behind clouds, could not smile.

It listened to bird songs / while fighting back tears.


I tried so hard to be someone else,

but Sunday got in the way.


Sunday –

no mail delivery

offices closed

people sleep in

choir voices piercing silence


Nothing ever happens on Sunday –

except it was the day you left,

    & I rained. 







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 15 poetry books, and 1 short story book. She lives in Delaware, USA. She loves gardening and cooking.  Chris lives with her husband and four cats. Her most recent credits are: Eclipse Lit, Carolina Muse, Sparks of Calliope; The Closed Eye Open, North Dakota Quarterly, Tangled Locks Journal, Wild Roof Journal, The American Writers Review, 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.


Sunday, August 21, 2022

THE ALCOHOLIC ALTERNATIVE by John Grey

Cannot love. Not tonight. 
So you hang out in a bar,
stand before the glowing racks
of liquor bottles, 
catch a little television,
conversation, down alcohol,
dark but unbinding.

Crisis at home. No doubt,
something of yours, even now,
is being torn to shreds,
sabers are drawn, 
a battle goes on without you.

But the bar, with its cry 
of another and another, 
resounds in your ears
like a lover’s needs,
the first, in a long time,
that you can possibly meet.

 




John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Ellipsis. Latest books, “Covert” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Washington Square Review and Red Weather.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

BARRED by Dan Flore III

screaming
laughter
in the bar

I sit alone

I have no one
to talk to

I drink 3 lonely beers

that just make
me giggle




Dan Flore III’s poems have appeared in many publications. His fifth poetry book is Written in the dust on the ceiling fan, published by Dead Man’s Press 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Watermelon by Lauren Scharhag

like the summer days themselves
we chomp its pink sweetness

down to thin rinds /
short pale nights

doused with salt to draw out
a bit more juice

half-believing wive’s tales
about seeds implanting themselves in our bellies 

making of our spines and throats a stake
hairy leaves unfurl on tongues

unquenched, we reach
for the next green orb

split us open. it’s taken root
in my duodenum

darkness calling to darkness
unable to distinguish

my depths
from the earth’s.





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, August 18, 2022

Chaps on Main by Karen A VandenBos

We were the revelers in the back
corner by the exit singing along
brilliantly with a changing cast
of characters.
We sat on hard wooden chairs
around tables punctuated with
pounded glasses and raised a
toast.
A toast to the chair that made it
out to the parking lot and into
the back of someone's car along
with a few mugs for the long ride
home.
We fed the hunger in our bellies
and drank to the thirst in our souls.
The beer was as full of piss as
we were.
We didn't know then that the bar
would close and too many of us
would have our own last call.
Instead we drank steadily from
the pitchers of possibility not
realizing then that our dreams
had already lost their fire.





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, Verse-Virtual, The Rye Whiskey Review and Cold Moon Journal and some of her photographs have been published in Blue Heron Review.


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Tequila Morning (last drink) By Mike Zone


Tequila sunrise

the sun hits the glass

dirty handprint clouds fight the night’s reflections

I want to make love to you in a hall of mirrors

savagely fucking in the distorted landscapes of liquor infused optic nerves dancing through the multiverse of artificial realms never to be enforced by the imaginative glass of nocturnal minded scrambled fantasy

we no longer hangover the wasteland

regret is dead

hope is a maze

good morning beautiful



Mike Zone is the Editor in Chief of Dumpster Fire Press, the author of Fuck You: A Fucking Poetry Chap, Shedding Dark Places (almost), One Hell of a Muse , as well as coauthor of The Grind. A frequent contributor to Alien Buddha Press and Mad Swirl. His work has been featured in: Horror Sleaze Trash, Better Than Starbucks, Piker Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, Outlaw Poetry and Cult Culture magazine.


Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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 always find money. 

2. While eyes are on the ground, look for glass that could cut someone. They came to escape their problems, not open new ones. 

3. When you decide to look up, don’t get lost in the frenzy. Those smiling faces are only smiling ‘cuz they’re together. 

4. If someone doesn’t tip, tip-shame them. Every time. 

5. Appreciate a good D.J. A gun sounds good sometimes, but music mostly always does. 

6. Don’t drink. Don’t drink. Don’t drink. Or Drink.

7. Doing Cocaine is paying for anxiety. 

8. You can see the past and the future in the bars. Try and stand outside of time to put that in perspective. 

9. Stay Hydrated. Water is life and life will slip away. Don’t make it easy. 

10. Be a ninja and throw ice at assholes. Then wash a dish or something. They’ll never know.

11. Spend time with your new friends after closing the bar. Y’all survived a battle together. It’s time to celebrate. 

12. Remember to polish your golden handcuffs






Clay Hunt is the author of three chapbooks, the most recent being “Sewn-on Patch” from Between Shadows Press. His work has appeared in The Raw Art Review, Beyond Words Literary Magazine, Paper and Ink Zine, and others. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from UC Berkeley. He lives in San Francisco.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Whiskey and Jazz by George Gad Economou

a small place I frequented for a couple of months,
after I met someone who introduced me to the place—
I saw her for a week, but, I kept going to the little underground bar. 

it was small and heavy smoke filled the air; they
played jazz music, on record, and served
good, cheap bourbon. 

most patrons were lost souls, their
exhausted eyes betrayed their nature—only exception the
occasional couple on a first, or second, date
trying to impress each other with their cultural literacy. 

for me, jazz was always sacred for what it represented, 
the struggle and pain the songs emanate and the way
the drum is beat, the trumpet blown, the guitar strings hit. 

I smoked, drank, and peered at the empty-gazed patrons, 
all lost in whirling thoughts of gone yesteryears, or dreams still afoot. 

Four Roses rebirths memories of that little den, 
every sip reanimates another empty-gazed man or woman
sitting on a neighboring table, gawking dead ahead at the vast nothingness,
waiting for a response to the great questions of tomorrow. 

I’ve forgotten more than I can remember,
the occasional epiphany begets a smile on my tired face
while I seek employment in a devastated economy, trying
to put my non-existent skills to some use for an easy buck.

I remember the stunning blonde that sat on my table one night
and ordered a whole bottle of Four Roses; we drained
it and still stood still. 

she had lost everything to a perky secretary with a tighter body and bigger tits
(her words, not mine) and wanted a way out; 
why the hell she thought I was her coveted way out, I never learned. 
she sneaked out of my apartment the very next morning
and nothing was missing (aside from the bourbon we drank before, during, and after
sex).
I never saw her again; never even learned her name. 

did she leave like a thief because she saw the needle and the 8ball of junk
atop my copy of Better than Sex? 
did she simply get what she wanted and had no further use of me? 

some of the questions to ask the grand void next time I drink
Four Roses in a small underground jazz bar; at any rate,

for now, I’m drinking Four Roses under the Athenian moon,
the Acropolis is too far away, yet I sense its majestic presence, 
the spirit of an ancient encourages me to find my way to the world; 

I choke down my drink, smile at the night sky, 
and polish off the joint that brought on these images
of the jazz bar from so long ago it feels like it never existed.




Currently residing in Greece, George Gad Economou holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy of Science and supports his writing by doing freelance jobs whenever he can get them. Has published a novella, Letters to S. (Storylandia) and a poetry collection, Bourbon Bottles and Broken Beds (Adelaide Books). His drunken words have appeared in various literary magazines and outlets, such as Spillwords Press, Ariel Chart, Fixator Press, Piker’s Press, The Edge of Humanity Magazine, The Rye Whiskey Review, and Modern Drunkard Magazine.



Sunday, August 14, 2022

Pre-Condom by Randall Rogers

Back then
we drove
with large bongs
and trays of weed
we were cleaning
in the car
a long drive
without a case
of beer wasn’t
worth the ride
peeing in the ashtray
not an option
spun – out we kept
the weed on the tray
and the beer unspilled
it was Paradise
in the
pre-rehab
pre-conviction
pre-incarceration
drug-fueled 1970s.





He is Randall Rogers, visionary poet of the prairie.  A cowboy, yea, a beatnik; a Beatnik Cowboy.  He is an old young, sorry.  Here he exhibits new work.  More flashes in the pan.  I hope the world, nay, you editor, approveth of seeth/something here. (Currently reading "Pilgrim's Progress")  Adios!  I kind of reworked these to work in booze but they are total virgins (never put out).




Saturday, August 13, 2022

Clockwork by Robert L. Penick

 The alarm wails at one a.m. and you twist involuntarily, clawing at the source of you torment.  Only fools and peons get up at this hour of night.  Your blind, articulate hand locates the clock radio, grasps, shakes, pounds it into silence.  You begin to drift back, fog envelopes you, velvet arms hold you like a baby.  Ten minutes later, the satanic peal stabs you again and you mechanically reach for the light, kill the siren, and swing your legs to the floor.  Shoes, pants, shirt.  Time to move.  Your wallet, car keys, and cash are on the kitchen table.  Do not pause; you’re on a tight schedule.  
     Outside, the first pangs of spring: green buds on the trees, stray birds chirping idiotically in the dark, and now the slight breeze lacks the sting of a month previous.  Still, you should have put on a jacket.  The Hawaiian shirt you wear around the house looks ridiculous in this weather.  Get in the car, start the engine, and shiver.  The heater will be warm on the way back.  It’s now Tuesday, very little traffic.  No cops.  You take the boulevard because it is a straight shot, two miles in four minutes, each green light blessing you.  It’s 1:34 when you pull in.
     Circle K.  You push through the doors and wave at Greg behind the counter.  He’s throwing cartons of cigarettes around and cursing corporate management.  You step into the beer cooler and the 15-pack is exactly where it should be on the shelf.  You pay, commiserate with angry Greg over a district manager worthy of death, then head back out to your car.  By the time you reach home it is two a.m., 
no more sales for the night.  You are safe and your night has just begun



In addition to The Rye Whiskey Review, he poetry and prose of Robert L. Penick have appeared in over 100 different literary journals, including The Hudson Review, North American Review, Plainsongs, and Oxford Magazine. His latest chapbook is Exit, Stage Left, by Slipstream Press, and more of his work can be found at theartofmercy.net

Friday, August 12, 2022

Summer Love by John Drudge

Flattening nickels
On railroad tracks
Stealing cigarettes 
To smoke at the lake
Riding our bikes
Toward new found sin
Lamenting
The passage of time
And I remember that day
When I touched
Your hand
And shivered
With something fresh
And new
Lost in the tiny utopias
Of will
And the imagination
Of need
Racing the sunset
Across the surface
Of bliss
And following dreamscapes
Through fields
Of new realities
With the truth
Of our humanness
Hidden in every breath
Of summer’s freedom
As dusk settled
On your face
Pale in the powdered light
Of sudden endings




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.

 



Wednesday, August 10, 2022

THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR by David E. Poston

I had always been a good boy,
but, by fourteen, I was beginning to imagine
what it would never get me.

The game I wanted desperately to play 
seemed to have rules you had to break 
in order to win,

and I didn’t even know the rules.
The book Mother and Dad had given me
didn’t explain them,

neither did the Playboys hidden
under my mattress. But I knew
who could: 

Bond, James Bond, 
martini in hand. Like me, always stirred—
unlike me, never shaken.

What I needed was 
Sex Ed. 007, the book 
I would study harder than 

the chess column in Boy’s Life,
the one that would teach me how to
make girls—no, women—

drop their panties at the sound of my name, 
the one that would also tell me 
what to do next.

The chess game I wanted to learn was the one 
I watched Steve McQueen and Fay Dunaway play.  
Someday, after all the golf and polo and flying 

and dune buggy racing had bored me to 
thievery, I would be the one having my way 
with her, sending my man round in the Rolls 

to deliver a farewell, the one leaving her 
in the cemetery with a tear in her eye
as I jetted off, high above, far away.






David E. Poston's work has appeared recently in Typehouse Literary Magazine, The Main Street Rag, North Carolina Literary Review, and Pembroke Magazine. He is a frequent book reviewer for Pedestal Magazine and a co-editor of Kakalak.



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.” ...