Friday, September 30, 2022

New York memoir by Stephen House

when i was forty i lived in New York for two months, after a funded playwright residency at banff in canada, (that i’d received through the australian arts department). it was an exciting time of travelling around and writing. 

i found a cheap room in an old character building in harlem. this part of my travel was self-funded, i wasn’t flash with cash, but the room was fine, low budget was how i was existing, and there were interesting and unusual people living there.

in the mornings i’d do yoga in my room (as i do everywhere), grab some fruit and bagels from a mini mart for breakfast, and head to my local café to work on my new play, drink coffee and chat to a few other artists i’d met there.

every day i’d take the subway downtown to hang out in washington square with a poet and musician i’d met, smoke weed with them and other stoners they knew, and watch New Yorkers with their dogs in the dog park nearby. from there, i’d see exhibitions, and often line up in times square for cheap theatre rush tickets. 

towards sunset i’d head to an old un-used hudson river pier and hang out. it was a cruising spot, peppered with lone seeking guys, near the notorious meatworks district i’d read about in novels by some of my queer literary heroes, so it felt cool to be in that area.

after eating either chinese or mexican, i’d usually go to christopher street and play pool in a leather gay bar and drink beer, meeting different guys of all races and leanings. it was a laid-back place and i made a few local mates there. other nights i’d go to see theatre (on and off broadway), if i’d scored a ticket earlier in the day.

every night i went to the same nightclub. lined up with others at midnight for my after-dark New York hit. it was a mixed race, sexuality, and age place, and that’s my thing. some locals called it rough. i liked the downmarket vibe. i remember meeting a latino taxi driver and a black actor from jersey city; both, nice guys.

my last night there a drag-queen named, “ima bitch”, gave me lines of coke in the toilet and we danced together until sunrise, and had coffee before i rode the subway up town to my room to sleep and pack to leave New York. 

that was twenty-three years ago. i’ve never returned. the nightclub is still there i found when i searched online. i may go back to New York one day: see theatre, wander around and write, though i’ll pass on the weed, the club every night, and the snorting coke. we change with age. fortunately, memories usually remain with us.  




Stephen House has won many awards and nominations as a poet, playwright and actor, including two Awgie Awards from The Australian Writer’s Guild, Rhonda Jancovic Poetry Award for Social Justice, and The Goolwa Poetry Cup, and nominations including, a Greenroom Best Actor Award, Tom Collins Poetry Prize, Patrick White Playwright Award and Queensland Premier’s Drama Award. He’s received several international literature residencies from The Australia Council for the Arts and an Asia-link India residency. His chapbooks “real and unreal” and “The Ajoona Guest House” are published by ICOE Press. His next book drops soon. He performs his acclaimed monologues widely.
  

 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Hoping for Rain By Beverly Hennessy Summa

Lighting another cigarette,
she pretends she isn’t looking 
for metaphors of love
in the lightless faces of the men 
who press sweat-stained rolls of twenties 
& sometimes an unwanted Molly
into the cool heart of her palm. 

With some she asks permission
to take their photo.
With others she dares
to just take—
maybe a close-up, side profile
of a two-day stubble & white glister
of a single diamond earring. 
           Click

Or the forearm of a client
resting postcoital across the mattress,
red painted toes and lower half
of her leg lying in approximation.
Make this one black & white
& call it the hobbyist.
        Click

It’s only a job,
not the essence of her being, 
she would rationalize. 
Someday I’ll be an artist, 
she tells herself. 
A photographer of the uncanny,
maybe a self-taught 
Francesca Woodman.

She orders another gin & tonic.
Her brain turning like a storm cloud,
ready to rip open.

She’s hoping for rain.
She’s hoping to get home 
early tonight.
Her eyes drop to the fast-melting ice
at the bottom of her glass.
She snaps a photo
        Click

then turns the lens on herself, 
tilts her head & closes her eyes.  



Beverly Hennessy Summa’s poems have appeared in Rust + Moth, Chiron Review, the New York Quarterly, Buddhist Poetry Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Trailer Park Quarterly, Nerve Cowboy, Hobo Camp Review and elsewhere. She has a BA in English and is a Pushcart nominee. Beverly grew up in Yonkers, New York and New Hampshire and currently lives in South Salem, New York with her family.



Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Taking The Dogs Out By Jake St. John


I fell down 
the stairs 
again 
tonight 

feet skyward
eye level
spotlighted
in the overhead
lamp

the banister 
hovering
just out of reach

as I land
on my 
tailbone 

in a pile
of kids
sneakers

paint cans 
flying
in all directions

I struggle 
to my feet
 
and realize
none of my friends 
will believe 

I was sober.

  



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, September 27, 2022

The man on the hot Prague Roof by Nick Gerrard

Today what about you talk to your wife? You take a day off from the heat of the roof; take a day off and talk to your wife. Instead of shouting at her because you’re frustrated at how things turned out. 

You are fucked off with working on hot roves for rich fuckers whilst you sit in your box miles away from any historical part of the city. Far away from the barber shops and the taco bars. Far away from the street food place by the river, far away from the quiz nights in English and the bookshops with writer’s groups. What if you could be nearer. What if you could look out of a nice apartment and see guys sweating on roves. Guys with overalls rolled down to their middle tarmacking the road, re-laying the tram tracks. What if you lounged in a beer garden with a view. 

‘I’ll get to the fuckin bathroom when I have five minutes.,’ You say to her.

‘You said that last week and the week before.’

You look at her and wonder if she fucking even knows you.

‘Look! I’m fucking knackered after six days a week hard graft, and on my one day off you moan cuss I don’t re-tile the fucking bathroom!’ You look at her and screw up your face and open your hands and plead for some acknowledgment.

‘I work my fucking socks off for this family, don’t you know that?’ You shake your head.

She walks off with no answer.

You follow her. 

‘Well?’

‘Never mind, forget about it!’

You swear and shake your head and grab your jacket and head out the door, slamming it.

You walk around the estate. You watch the mothers gossiping as they hang the washing up on the hot roves of the block. You know they are moaning about their men, you just know it. You kick a ball back to the gang of happy kids, the young ones. You bow your head as you pass the bigger kids some on bikes others sitting on the wall of the little shop. Others are stood around smoking and shouting at their phones. You walk past and hear their swearing and anger. They sing along to some rap song on a phone. Every other word is you cunt…I’m gonna mess you up!...Fuck the police! You can’t hum along to their songs anymore, there’s no tunes coming from their teenage mouths. 

You go into the pub, the usual crowd is there. A pivo is plonked on the table In front of you before you even ask. You raise your glass and nod and wait for the complaining to start.




Nick writes Gritty realism or social realism or as he likes to say 'Working-class kitchen sink drama! ‘ His short stories, flash, poetry and essays have appeared in various magazines and books in print and online. Nick has five books published available on Amazon and elsewhere. His short novel out last year, Punk Novelette is all about a group of friends growing up with punk in the 70s in the UK and the effect the movement had on their lives. His latest short story collection is Called Struggle and Strife; fifteen short stories covering the political and personal struggles of today, yesterday, and the future. Stories of casual workers, holocaust survivors, refugees, slum dwellers, and trade unionists. Tales of protests and fight-backs against oppression, and the daily battles of ordinary people. https://nickgerrardauthor.wixsite.com/books

Monday, September 26, 2022

Ghost Rider By Kevin M. Hibshman


See me spin in a cloud of dust.

I'm gone.

I'll be back if and when you've got something to steal.

I got to keep my seat warm.

I live for free.

No chains round my heart.

No guilt hanging round my head.

I'm gone.

Back to some portal where dimensions shift almost indiscriminately.

I gun it.

I'm gone like a daisy in the midst of a mine field.

All you see is a wisp of smoke.

I'm gone.

Pale honey sunset.

I must taste it with all that grit clinging to my teeth.

I've been waiting all my life to collect big time on

the wages of sin.

Part man, part myth.

Don't miss me.

I could never belong in your world.

I'm gone.






Kevin M. Hibshman has had poems published in many journals and magazines world wide.
 In addition, he has edited his poetry zine, Fearless, since 1990 and is the author of sixteen chapbooks including Love Sex Death Dreams (Green Bean Press, 2000) and Incessant Shining (Alternating Current, 2011).

His current book Just Another Small Town Story from Whiskey City Press is currently available on Amazon. 




Sunday, September 25, 2022

Delayed Teenage Angst by Scott Simmons

I’m not who I wanna to be for a reason. 
I don’t know who that really is.

Am I shitty writer? A failed artist?
Or just a mental stoner without any pot?

Oh, wait like all of those are basically the same thing.
So, guess I already kinda knew this shit then. 

Fuck, why couldn’t I be anything cooler? 





Scott Simmons is a poet, humorist, and a shitty artist from Houston Texas. He is also the editor of the Dope Fiend Daily and usually enjoys reading your submissions as little as possible.

His work has been featured in places such as The Rye Whiskey Review, Fearless, HST, Daune's Poetree, It Takes All Kinds, Off The Coast Magazine, The Black Shamrock, The Anti-Heroin chic, and Under The Bleachers.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Rogue Wave by John Patrick Robbins

The ocean thrives, capsizing ships attempting to swallow all within her depths.
To create a mystery and give past hopes a salt-cast grave.

I am that which none may define, but all may certainly judge.
My truths matter only to my truest passions held between I and this page.

The search continues for all traces of life.
Haunted are the living; the rest are simply relics of what no longer is there.

Discover life and leave the dead be.





John Patrick Robbins, is the editor in chief of the Rye Whiskey Review his work has been published by Punk Noir Magazine, Lothlorien Journal Of Poetry, Piker Press, The Dope Fiend Daily, Fixator Press, Fearless Poetry Zine, Red Fez, Horror Sleaze Trash and The San Antonio Review.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Lo­uka­ni­ko At Tom’s Ta­vern by John Harold Olson

How do you feel, Tom? 
Tom says, I feel like a young Bull! 
A few cans of Mythos lat­er: 
What did you have when you came to Amer­i­ca? I had the mem­o­ry of ash­es, Tom said. 
I had a bag of rags with 
A bot­tle of retsi­na, bread, 
And a smoked Loukaniko. 
Also, he added, some good sar­dines. 
That’s all? 
Tom, wip­ing down the bar, 
What more do you need?





Retired Las Vegas teacher now a hospice volunteer.


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Arielle by Cord Moreski

for Steven Kurasz 

When I think about you
it’s always Friday double date night

with your Simpsons’ references 
and love for Bill Murray films

Hell or High Watermelon beers  
and Vic’s tomato pies in Bradley Beach 

your life ended 
on the shortest day of the year 

and the weekends now 

take just a little longer to recall.





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


 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

tornado in Vern’s Place by Preacher Allgood

the skinny cowboy looked like a speed freak
the cowgirl looked like a gaunt cheerleader
and the feeling of trouble surrounded them 
like an aura of nasty bathroom graffiti

when I told that goat roper 
I wouldn’t sell him another pitcher
he bucked up and puffed up and shouted
do you know who I am?
he jabbed a thumb at the big buckle on his belt
I’m the son of a bitch 
that rode TORNADO to seven seconds
that’s who I am
I ought to be getting free beer out of this dump

I wish I had a dollar 
for every drunk cowboy that claimed he 
he sat one of those big-name bulls 
even for one second 
I told the phony braggart to get lost

and the idiot lunged at me from across the bar
I grabbed the sap I kept beside the register
his cowgirl grabbed him 
and one way or the other he crashed to the floor
out cold as hell

did he hit his head on the bar rail?
did he pass out from the three pitchers they drank?
did that leather and lead pacifier bump his precious noggin?
nobody knows and nobody cares

I helped the cheerleader drag him out to his truck
we stuffed him in, and she drove off

and I’m sure somewhere in a serene pasture of the afterlife
TORNADO, who was the greatest rodeo bull of all time
shook his mammoth head in waves of bovine laughter 





Preacher Allgood wrote some poems.  Some of them don't suck.  Then he got old and he wrote some more poems.    



Monday, September 19, 2022

Prayer for the Excommunicated by Lauren Scharhag

somewhere outside Osceola 
prairie lightning coronas grain silos 
quicksilver violet 
air so humid raindrops 
vaporize as soon as they touch 
febrile ground igniting 
silt and cornrow  
shaggy hillocks of buffalo 
stand as one with big bluestem
diners selling bison burgers 
by the quarter pound 
livestock trucks thundering past 
flash of horn 
tails dangling listless out the slats 
the damp give of fields beneath hooves
a distant memory 
rising moon a blood stain 
fading as it climbs to rust 
to burnished copper
we count wayside shrines
with white crosses and plastic flowers
the excommunicated gathering
in the false light of all-night 
gas stations where we purchase
lottery ticket devotionals and partake
of roller grill hot dogs and machine
dispensed coffee like every day is 
the last supper and where every 
bathroom mirror reveals a ghost 
looking back.





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




Saturday, September 17, 2022

Japanese Horses by Paul Ilechko

The Japanese horses stand there 
taut and muscular     as the great 
red sun slowly descends

it will be later when the spiders 
appear     bottle-bodied within 
their filaments     scurrying in 
the darkness of nighttime’s shadows

inside the bar he sits quietly 
an embodiment of patient sadness
the cynicism of life now behind him
sipping from his glass     the owl

solidly unmovable     even in 
the harshness of an incandescent bulb
on the wall behind him     a painting
horses     waiting for the sun to set.




Paul Ilechko is a British/American poet and songwriter. Born in South Yorkshire, he now lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ. His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including The Night Heron Barks, Louisiana Literature, Iron Horse Literary Review, Sleet Magazine, and The Inflectionist Review. His first album, "Meeting Points", was released in 2021.  


Friday, September 16, 2022

medicine by Scott Ferry

can be poison
poison can be

medicine (god and
talk can be either)

it all depends on how
much i swallow



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.




Thursday, September 15, 2022

emma daydreams by Tom Blessing

emma daydreams 
of angels
wrapped in shawls
of rice paper
while
on her stool
she tries 
to drown
the bleached
bones
of the past
in whiskey
the great eraser



Tom Blessing lives in a small town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near the shores of Lake Superior.   He is the editor of Roadside Raven Review and has had work published in the small press for years.    Alien Buddha Press recently publish his book of short stories Misery is Only a Bay.





Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Tableware by C.S. Mathews

There's a cosmic unraveling
in time
a split that cuts through the fabric
like a knife through cheese
next to wine so fine it breathes 

-release 

and hold the tableset together
but a glass breaks and can't be replaced 

-so you piece it out 

the intervals of familial liminals
the empty spaces
that in space exist 
that’s where it rips. 

The family unravels 
to show the strings that waves make
and all it takes is one thread cut
until everything is fucked 

and your stuck sifting through lives
in the form of boxes
that stack to the sky
-Atlas
And they tell you its fine
-passing
between states of mind
-crafting 
realities based on finality
-writing 
eulogies for the ones you love
just because 

you want to be ready
to split their lives like fabric 
and sell the knife to a stranger. 

Remember Starlings


I starred at a puddle of blood in the parking lot 
across from my apartment
and saw in it a flock of starlings 

and in them I saw my own blood splattered 
across the floor
from where the lashes tore me
my sense of me 

and the starlings swarm in flight
black as the night is bright in stars
that swim in skies the colour of rust
dried blood 
on pavement in front of us at 5 
when we can't tell if he’s alive
until he dies 

and I’m helpless 

until I'm running to her body 
twisted 
through traffic 
streaming 
and she’s breathing
as bird fly by- 

and my tears are rewetting 
pavement dry,
rusty as that desert sky.




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, September 13, 2022

Void by Skaja Evens

The place of darkness, just past the edge.
It scares so many to think of it.

I live there.

I stand outside my life.
Like a stranger.
I’m a reflection of what I see in this world.
A mirror.

I don’t intentionally attempt to go the wrong way.
Maybe I do.
When I’m trying to make a point.

I try to cry it away
Or cut it away
Or poison it to death.
But someone dies in my place.
I start the action and pass the cup.
I understand more than most people think I do.
I have to.
To help the people who live in the void with me, but can’t handle it yet.

There are few like me.
I prefer it that way.
This world can not do what the edge does:
Let me be myself.
When I can do that, I can touch those who would become lost.
I become immortal.




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.




Monday, September 12, 2022

Everybody Wants to Own Me by Rocío Iglesias

My independence looks a lot like fear when held up to the light
My readiness to accept that my hands are only a reflection of the baggage they carry
That I am only human, and I don’t know how to love you past my own risk—
It will get to you
You will want to be my savior, my medic 
And I will let you, I will use you as a door to somewhere out of here
Safe in your arms I will shed parts of me I thought I needed, one at a time like baby teeth 
Until what is left is the deepest naked, 
The final layer of consent 
You will be part of this moment that I chose
Until the next moment when I may choose to not include you,
And in that moment of change, will you have the courage to leave me alone?
Or will your hands clench to the strings of me
Clipping my wings
Stapling my feet to the ground
Tell me I cannot make it in this hard world without you
Will you say that I am only soft because the world told me to be a soft woman?
Or will you see that I am soft despite what this world has done to steal my softness?




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.





Sunday, September 11, 2022

Assault and Battery by Charlie Brice

“Sweetheart,” my darling wife said, “There’s 
a bat in our bedroom.” She’s finally gone batty, 
I thought, awakened as I was out of a dead sleep,
but then, when I sat up in bed, a bat flew by. 

A battalion of ideas blitzed through by head.
“What should we do?” I asked. “Call the police,”
the love of my life commanded. “And tell them what? 
That we are being battered by a be-winged rodent?”

Two cops arrived and caught our version of Spike 
from Buffy or Bela Lugosi with a collapsible 
laundry basket. Three months later, our son Ariel,
airily approached me in our kitchen. “Dad,” 

he said, “there’s a bat in the dining room.” Was he 
bat-shit crazy? No. A bat the size of a cigarette package
had settled on our China cabinet for a snooze. “What
should I do?” I asked the joy of my loins. Adorned

in winter parka, baseball cap, Covid plastic face
visor, and oven mittens, Ari looked like a bewildered
beekeeper or a psychotic, middle-aged, batboy 
for the Pirates. He gently placed the collapsible 

laundry basket over the somnolent beast, pealed it
off our cabinet’s wooden trim, and threw it and the 
basket into our front yard. Most importantly, I held
the front door open for him—most importantly.

Despite this rousing success, I began to awaken
at night hearing a battery of noises: a bat flying,
a bat crawling, a bat perching, squeaking, chirping, 
or whatever terrifying sounds they make. Since 

it was too large to keep under my pillow, I placed
the collapsible bat basket next to me in bed. I had 
become a basket case! I called an exterminator and
agreed to spend thousands over the next few years

to batproof my home. A horrible decision that keeps
me awake at nights now as much as batworry did.
The bats are batting a thousand while I, once as 
mighty as Casey, have, like him, struck out.





Charlie Brice won the 2020 Field Guide Poetry Magazine Poetry Contest and placed third in the 2021 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize. His fifth full-length poetry collection is The Ventriloquist (WordTech Editions, 2022). His poetry has been nominated twice for the Best of Net Anthology and three times for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Atlanta Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Ibbetson Street, The Paterson Literary Review, Impspired Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review, and elsewhere.













Saturday, September 10, 2022

National Park by Jonathan Butcher

This clearing, a pathway for soft breezes,
which smothers unprotected skins 
and cracks heads too muffled by this lack
of noise, which fits uncomfortably with 
our current predicament.

Crushed hawthorns crawl over discarded
bottles and clothing, a false sense of serenity
which barely covers the entrance fee 
for a heritage we never truly trusted.

A view of this landscape, bearing ancient 
stains of bile and smog, a slow crest 
of sunlight which reflects from these 
hills offering the illusion of backhanded
ownership.


The jagged rocks in mock circles,
dug up and replaced by the bored gentry, 
trip us up with each step, our pockets
emptied at their behest, with never
a single word of thanks uttered. 




Jonathan Butcher has had poetry appear in various print and online publications including 
The Morning Star, Cajun Mutt Press Mad Swirl, The Rye Whiskey Review, Picaroon Poetry, Popshot, 
Sick lit and others. His fourth chapbook 'Turpentine' was published by Alien Buddha Press. He is also the editor 
of the online poetry journal Fixator Press.


Friday, September 9, 2022

Feds in Pork Pie Hats Running Round Like Headless Chickens by John Doyle

Rabbi Mishnekoff tamed eleven wild stallions,

couldn't do nothing for the other nine,

twenty made a good round figure, now it’s two ones glued together with coffee-stove spit. All’s just fine.

Five of those nine horses turned 

dust-prints into braille, 

turned shooting stars into dingleberry wine.

I told so many lies about Rabbi Mishnekoff's daughters

God tore out my tongue -

sent me to the back of the line, soup-pot empty - bread-plate cracked like an earthquake

The Beatles almost flew into.

What if it's me who falls into that pit of snakes

and my hand reaches for him to save me, 

a century ago?

I watched him hang like a wingless-jet (an hour ago) - lightning snapped the gallows like ice - wowzers, how nice.

Kimberley's sister was a strange strange girl 

who lifted weights and had an uncle called Spiro. 

She fell over quite a lot too. No-one knew why -  it sure wasn't Parkinson's, maybe her compass had cracked.

Nothing ever happens in airports when you write poems like these

Kimberley's Mom tells me,

except that Feds in pork pie hats run round like headless chickens.

Not many's a man can work

an inch-wide tie, I tell her.

My name's Sooz, what's about you? she says, snipping my Ace of Spades with her lawnmower blade, itching to try on my hat - mine? Oh, it’s Hercules, I tell her…




 John Doyle became a Mod again in the summer of 2017 to fight off his impending mid-life crisis; whether this has been a success remains to be seen. He has has two collections published to date, A Stirring at Dusk in 2017, and Songs for Boys Called Wendell Gomez in 2018, both on PSKI's Porch.

He is based in Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland. All he asks is that you leave your guns at the door and tie up your horses before your enter.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

The Two Lovers by Becky Parker

Temptation beckons. 

Chaotic voices swarm in her head.

Claustrophobia squeezes her wisps of breath.

In her stark apartment, she frantically searches, without success, behind the couch, underneath a velvet art poster of Elvis, in the panel behind the porcelain pot, and finally, in the pockets of her late husband’s Army jacket, which she tearfully clutches. 

Old habits die hard:

She once knew Jack Daniels as an intimate lover,

who arrived at midnight and stayed until dawn,

until he changed his mailing address to match hers.

She had reveled in his amber color; how he helped her forget.

Familiarity breeds contempt:

One fateful night; the face in the mirror showed

wounded eyes

and a soul like a  locust shell, hard and cracked.

The fog inside hear began to clear:

Soon, his wooing sonnets outside her window sounded 

flat 

and out of tune.

He had preyed on her vulnerability, provided false hope, isolation, and cold comfort.

Courage sparked and blazed within her to kick him out. 

She now collapsed on the bed, suddenly weary but resolved.

    She walked into the kitchen and stared into the steady, loving eyes of her new lover, Earl Gray. His hot steamy embrace provided comfort and distraction. She feels stronger, able to inhale.

 For now, it is enough.  





Becky Parker is an ordinary woman, forged from Appalachia, hoping to make a difference in the cosmos.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Map by Gloria Mindock

Sadness will not desert us.
This country fights but will not disappear.
I would like to paint a special canvass 
for you to hang on your wall, but I can’t.

There is no food to feed the many 
tongues of need.
This territory is bombed flat.
Many fled but some did not.
Their heart is buried deep in this soil.
No amount of death will make it less.

They look tattered but are brave.
Their skin blossoms into Sunflowers daily.
Aiming towards the sun.
Facing beauty of the light in a dark hell.

On a map of the country, there
is only destruction seen.
The people are proud raising their arms
to take land back. 
A gesture of existence on the battlefront,
they are heroes fighting the occupied cities
collapsing the fangs which try to bite down.




Gloria Mindock is editor of Červená Barva Press. She is an award-winning author of 6 poetry collections, 3 chapbooks and a children’s book. Her poems have been published and translated into eleven languages. Her recent book, ASH (Glass Lyre Press, 2021), won 6 book awards and was translated into Serbian by Milutin Durickovic and published by Alma Press in Belgrade in 2022. Gloria was the Poet Laureate in Somerville, MA in 2017 & 2018. For more information about Gloria Mindock, visit her website at: www.gloriamindock.com

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.” ...