Monday, October 31, 2022

A Crow, a Stag and a Biscuit by Jason Ryberg

shot
of Crow
and a pull
of Stag after a
long day of hot coffee, hot wind
and nothing but a cold biscuit to act as ballast
is about as close to a supernatural /
     quasi-religious experience
as I generally get these days, and I’m grateful
for it and all, but sometimes I
have to wonder if
my standards
might not
have
dropped
some
in
the last
couple years.





Jason Ryberg is the author of eighteen books of poetry,
six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders,
notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be 
(loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry 
letters to various magazine and newspaper editors. 
He is currently an artist-in-residence at both 
The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s 
and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor 
and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collection 
of poems is The Great American Pyramid Scheme 
(co-authored with W.E. Leathem, Tim Tarkelly and 
Mack Thorn, OAC Books, 2022). He lives part-time 
in Kansas City, MO with a rooster named Little Red 
and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time somewhere 
in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River, where there are also 
many strange and wonderful woodland critters

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Company by Susan Isla Tepper

They tunneled forth
by the hundreds, single file
it’s presumed— based on 
injuries noted and
judged to be damage 
to the skeletal matter. 
Some were domestic animals, 
small pets.  I was ordered 
to seal one off
in a plastic bag in the kitchen.
The counter was loaded with
glossy high-end appliances,
a cappuccino machine stamped
with an expensive Italian label
large and in silver.  
The animal was tiny, black and white.
Scruffy.  Determined.  
After I got it in the bag,
and not without a struggle,
I wandered off to arrange
the dining room for company.
About to slide the last chair
in place at the over-scale 
Victorian table— laden with
sparkling glasses 
for the many wines served, 
company arrived.  Just two.
Man and wife.  Presumed.
Leather bags and monogramed 
suitcases dumped 
in the sprawling foyer;
unceremoniously; 
crushed up against 
a glass fronted armoire
of some historic vintage.
Had it become scratched?
I bent to see but
couldn’t determine damage.
The animal
wiggling and jiggling
managed to escape the white bag.
Lost somewhere in the house.




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.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Ale by Wayne F. Burke

Pale green ocean the
color of bottled Ballentine Ale--
a six pack on the
window sill
and seagulls on the
gravel roof below; dirty city birds
like wise-guys, beady-eyed, and
with hooked beaks
like war-clubs of the Iroquois--
after drinking 5 of the bottles
and trying, unsuccessfully
to piss on the birds, and
having solved, in my mind
half the world's problems,
I drink the last, then
decide, the other half
not worth thinking about, and
go out
into the city, with
trouble
following so close
behind, it
steps on my heels
whenever I halt.





Wayne F. Burke's poetry has been widely published in print and online (including in RYE WHISKEY REVIEW). He is author of 8 published poetry collections, one short story collection, and a non-fiction work titled HENRY MILLER, Spirit & Flesh (published by Cyberwit.net., 9/2022). He lives in Vermont.


Friday, October 28, 2022

Fumes by Timothy Resau

The lost efforts that bleeds into the rain—
The vineyards’ bearing the fruit—

Another mother’s lost child—
The father lost in the bottle—

These are the fumes that
Thread through our desperate lives.




Timothy Resau has been published in the U.S., Canada, Portugal, and the U.K. Recently his work has been in Adelaide Literary Magazine, Sideways Poetry Magazine, Sylvia Magazine, The 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.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Reasons for Silence by Mike James

after Harkaitz Cano

Because the sky is the sky, the color changes no matter 
So it is what we do, a job we won’t quit
Because all your consonants are cruel
Because all my vowels are cruel
No, really, there’s nothing to say
So the rain makes enough distraction
So the lightning is there when rain is not enough
Because words pollute the landscape, then stay
Because silence, like yelling, can become a habit
Because we need better habits
Because the cricket beneath the bed provides company
Because silence doesn’t encourage eye contact
Because there’s not a hole in the wall we can crawl into
Because the bird within my chest has given up singing
So we can each eat our hearts, focus on that




Mike James makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee and has published widely. His many poetry collections include: Red Dirt Souvenir Shop (Analog Submissions), Journeyman’s Suitcase (Luchador), Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), First-Hand Accounts from Made-Up Places (Stubborn Mule), Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle), and Peddler’s Blues (Main Street Rag.) He served as an associate editor of The Kentucky Review and currently serves as an associate editor of Unbroken



Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Gratitude By Karen Warinsky

So, years went by

lives were led, 

you stayed in town 

I moved away

and my last memory of you is 

a spring break visit to your apartment.


You had the second baby,

the toddler ran about

and you were busy and attentive to those little ones,

but the place was dark and small and all the light

was outside 

and all the happy laughter was also

outside,

and I remember feeling grateful

as I drove away in my mother’s car.






Karen Warinsky  has published in various anthologies and literary magazines including the 2019 Mizmor Anthology.   She is the author of Gold in Autumn (2020), Sunrise Ruby (2022),  and is a previous finalist in the Montreal International Poetry Contest. She loves to kayak and organize poetry readings.




Tuesday, October 25, 2022

every autumn by Scott Ferry

i climb inside myself
to where the winds and dark can’t reach

but ironically the place inside is also

a dim and voice-swept place 

where light and song weakly

glint and swish though the brine 

and i lift up another face

the adhesive side of tape

the pointed ends of nails

seams half-soldered

strange fish dangling

glottal bait at the

 silence





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.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Persephone by Tanya Rakh

Lily girl, you skip up the sky and land face-first in cloud milk. It’s warm up here, it blankets, and it only chokes a little at first. Then you surrender to slow breath and clover, the blue clover of impossible springtime

You meet him by the river
That golden poet with those eyes
You offer him your lilies
He offers you a sonnet and you drink
You plan to meet again tomorrow but
The water is rising

You awaken in a peach pit with a whispering man
He calls himself death and you believe him
He worms your sonnet heart as he enters
You learn to speak insect, you carry the worms,
Feed them, let them breed

Your mother tried to find you but she’s dead now
Far too many years between the lily and the seed
You call the names of all the highways
They listen but they do not breathe

Persephone, I’m sorry
I couldn’t keep your boy at home
I couldn’t tell him of your sorrow
He would have wept himself to bone

And now we wait here for the devil
To give us matchsticks for our chores
What do we do with them?
We’ll tell you
We spell out sonnets on the floor.






Tanya Rakh was born on the outskirts of time and space in a cardboard box. After extensive planet-hopping, she currently makes her home near Houston, Texas where she writes poetry, surrealist prose, and cross-genre amalgamations. Her writing has appeared in numerous journals including The Gasconade Review, Redshift 4, Literary Orphans, Fearless, Yes, Poetry, and The Rye Whiskey Review. Tanya is the author of two books: Hydrogen Sofi and Wildflower Hell, new editions of both available from Posthuman Poetry & Prose.


Sunday, October 23, 2022

Emotional Labor by Lauren Scharhag

The first time I heard someone say the phrase,  
I thought of placenta. I thought of a woman 
sweating and cursing in the stirrups, preparing 
to deliver-- what? Because I mean, yes, 
labor is always emotional, isn't it? They say 
natural childbirth results in a faster recovery time. 
They say. I’m not sure it’s worth the tradeoff.  
The epidurals don’t knock you out, the twilight sleep 
is an artifact of our grandmothers’ time, and there’s 
still the afterbirth to contend with, and choosing a name, 
and formula or breast, and tubes tied or untied, back 
on the pill or IUD or 
or 
or    

But that's not what they meant.

They meant carrying something else entirely,
a burden that doesn’t end after nine months,
an umbilicus that no scissors can cut, a perpetual 
toil and aftermath that began even when we were 
practically in the womb ourselves, taught that it’s 
our job to be selfless and nurturing and thoughtful 
and accommodating, to see to everyone’s needs 
but our own, baking birthday cakes and wrapping 
presents (and, of course, we did the shopping, even 
if the card says Love, Mommy and Daddy), plan the party, 
clean and decorate the house, knowing that we’ll be 
the ones to take it all down again, knowing that we’ll be 
the ones picking up torn streamers and discarded cups, 
knowing that we’ll be the ones doing the dishes, knowing 
that we will bear the brunt of diapers and walking the dog
and we will have to figure out the bedtime schedule and 
research preschools and then get them there on time and 
make the playdates and enroll them in soccer and buy them 
cleats and remind our husbands that their mother’s birthday 
is coming up next week and there’s no thanks, of course, 
it’s just what’s expected of us and if I told you all of it 
I could fill volumes with the schedules and calendars and 
menu plans and shopping lists and to-do lists that are constantly 
running in my head because these aren’t just my things, you see, 
they’re yours and the kids’ and my parents’ and your parents’ and 
coworkers’ and that’s to say nothing of the workplace dynamics 
and oh God, is this depression postpartum, or am I just 
fucking exhausted, even as we ask you again if you’ve assembled 
the crib yet, then asking you why we even have to ask.

And you ask why I’m upset.





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, October 22, 2022

Success Doesn't Grow On Trees  By Jake St. John



Success 
doesn't grow
on trees

it bleeds 
in back alleys 
it's drunk
on bar stools

it's taking
two punches
to give one 

it's howling
at the moon

it's standing 
back up
when you know
you're getting
knocked back
down

   


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



Friday, October 21, 2022

Land of Tiny Gods by John Drudge

In the land
Of democratized fame
Trying to make 
Something
Of tomorrow’s promises
Today
Living dangerously
Past the dawn
Were we vie
For a chance
To sit at the feet
Of tiny gods
Stoic in our passions
Suffering in imagination
Phantom premonitions
Driven
By anxious strain
Where excellence withers
Without resistance
And glory fades
Without connection
To the truth




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.



Thursday, October 20, 2022

High Among the Sad Stars by Troy Schoultz

It’s 2:45 in the morning. I’m sitting at the kitchen table

In the dark. A handful of years ago I would be drinking

Whatever bottles I remembered that I had hidden from myself,

Staring out the dark window, hoping to spot a meteor, gaining insight

As alcohol seeped my blood like sweet lava.

These days I’m awake because its simply hard to sleep

And my head doesn’t require liquid prodding.

Some say it’s a bad thing to think too much,

But at this hour how can one not?

Gravity and age bids this house to talk to itself

As hushed slide of traffic eases onto the interstate.

It’s weird and difficult being aware you’re alive,

Expressionless face in the bathroom mirror, trying to catch a glimpse

Of traces of a soul in your own eyes, aware that this will all end

Eventually. It reminds me of something

My friend Pete said.

Four men walk into a tavern, two saviors exit.

He tends to blurt out these non-sequiturs,

And they always seem genius.

I hope I die before him.

How dull it would be without someone to say such things

With or without an insomniac night to consider them,

Nothing moving high amongst the sad stars

Except that painful construct we call time.





Troy Schoultz is a lifelong Wisconsin resident. His poems, stories, and reviews have appeared in Seattle Review, Rattle, Slipstream, Chiron Review, Word Riot, Fish Drum, The Great American Poetry Show, Steel Toe Review, Midwestern Gothic and many others since 1997. His interests and influences include rock and roll, vinyl LPs, found objects, the paranormal, abandoned places, folklore, old cemeteries and the number five. He is the author of two full length collections and two chapbooks

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Scotch And Soda by John Harold Olson

Dying slow near 
the water is not the worst
way to go.

Being hit by a 
wind burst coming around the point
one boozy, sunny afternoon,
Taking all the keel and every 
bit of sudden sobriety
to bring her right. 
That was close.
“Intoxicated local man dies coming
around the point with too much sail” is
how it would read in the free paper. 

But it didn’t happen that way.
It’s going to be the crab.
Slow, this time. 
A different sort of card.
I’ll stand.

Having a cold scotch and soda
looking over the marina.
The boat still berthed,
Almost still.
Proud mast and
Sails furled until the next
sailor goes out.
Someone else.

The drink unfinished.
Thoughts unfinished. 
Breeze smells like water.




Retired Las Vegas teacher now a hospice volunteer.




Tuesday, October 18, 2022

GRABBED BY THE THROAT EARLY IN THE A.M. by Bradford Middleton

I promised, I know, but right now the novel
Will just have to wait as this morning I’ve 
Been woken by the poetic rage.  It’s dragged
Me here early just to get down these words,
Grabbed me from my bed on just another 
Lost weekend here in permanent lock-down.




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



Monday, October 17, 2022

Something Light by Daniel S. Irwin

Maybe, this coming holiday,

Something light for Halloween.

Like a Halloween party,

Lock the doors,

And set the place on fire.
It will be a scream.
Yes, something light, definitely.

 


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. 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Clip-on Tie in a Gutter by Ken Gosse

“Another hangover! I’ve already warned you three times!”
“You’re not the boss of me Now!”

“The jerk told me—ME—to never come back!”
“One on the house. We’ll be seein’ you a lot more.”

“Hands OFF, bub!”
“You heard her. Them. Time to go, Jack.”

“Who put this effin’ wall where the door used to be?”

“Won’t need this tie for a while.”
“Damned curb! Arghhh …”

“A nice tie! What’s behind the dumpster? Oh my god!”
“911? He looks dead.”

“License has a local address. Wasn’t homeless. Now he is.”

“I’ll call you back. Someone’s at the door.”




Ken Gosse usually writes light, rhymed verse with whimsy and humor. Sometimes it’s darker. He was first published in First Literary Review-East in 2016, and since then by Pure Slush, Spillwords, Lothlorien Review, and others. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years with rescue dogs and cats underfoot.



Saturday, October 15, 2022

The day I met Bukowski at the no name bar by Peter A. Witt

Bar was beat up, past its prime,
like most of its patrons,
including a shabby man who drank dark swill
talked of whores like they were his best friends,
along with fading people who like me
rented cheap hotel rooms at the dive next door.

Shabby bought me a couple of watery beers,
complimented the gravy stains
on my never washed shirt, leaned close
whispered bad breath in my ear,

be sure to grovel with strangers, he said,
especially those with ragged breath,
they're earth's hidden secrets,
as he saluted the barkeep,
sauntered out the door.




Peter A. Witt is a Texas Poet and a retired university professor. He also writes family history with a book about his aunt published by the Texas A&M Press. His poetry has been published on various sites including Fleas on the Dog, Inspired, Open Skies Quarterly, Active Muse, New Verse News, and WryTimes. 


Friday, October 14, 2022

I Was Depressed Before it Was Cool by Chad Parenteau

Original unfluencer,
unfollowers legion. 

UglyFans page 
since 2003. 

No one meant no one
maybe for last time.

It took so much 
to have nothing. 

Unheard, a cry for help
just to say you tried,

lies to yourself
not screensaved.

Isolation more than
clever camera angle,

bottled sadness sold
with low-cut selfie,

every lonelyheart 
a half-thought like,

forgetting you win
when you die with least.




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, Cape Cod Poetry Review, Tell-Tale Inklings, Off The Coast, The Skinny Poetry Journal, The New Verse News, Nixes Mate Review and the anthology Reimagine America from Vagabond Books. He serves as Associate Editor of the online journal Oddball Magazine.


Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Ode to Chili Cheese Fries by Jason Ryberg


There is no shame in giving in, sometimes,

and just surrendering to the tractor-beam-

like pull of the local pool hall,


with its jukebox and air-conditioning

and afternoon cast of characters,

all bellied-up and big belt buckled to the bar

and each holding court, equally,


its ice-packed buckets of Stag Beer, on sale,

and a round of whiskey shots bought

by some old boy who just won his

first game of Keno, ever (and you’d

think was gonna buy back the family farm

from the bank that very day),


but, most importantly,

what might very well be the best

chili cheese fries you’ve had since forever.


But who’s got the damn

hot sauce?





Jason Ryberg is the author of eighteen books of poetry,
six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders,
notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be
(loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry
letters to various magazine and newspaper editors.
He is currently an artist-in-residence at both 

The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s 

and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor 

and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collection 

of poems is The Great American Pyramid Scheme 

(co-authored with W.E. Leathem, Tim Tarkelly and 

Mack Thorn, OAC Books, 2022). He lives part-time 

in Kansas City, MO with a rooster named Little Red 

and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time somewhere 

in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River, where there are also 

many strange and wonderful woodland critters. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

fuck the moon By Mike Zone

got a man

in Dallas

to scream

FUCK GOD!

at the local watering hole

hell, yeah

me nodding

eating pickles

at 3am

drinking straight

from the jar

pay no mind

dead mother

dying father

in the next room

wonder where

they’ll find my body

I’ll always love my blueberry fantasy goddess-queen

but never

your lunar

obsession




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.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Locking Up by Susan Isla Tepper

You count the times you felt happy. 
Once after a rain
while walking
the tree-lined path 
through Rittenhouse Square.
Undeniably happy.  Though you 
couldn’t pin-point the cause.  
Another time 
in that same city, the first day 
of your new job
when you were last to go home.
Almost kneeling on the pavement 
to lock that round brass cylinder
on the bottom of the glass door.
A potted geranium
bought at lunch hour
resting in the crook of 
one arm.  Briefcase
on the ground.
Locking up.






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, October 9, 2022

DRINKING WITH POETS by M.J. Arcangelini

Frank Stanford and Everette Maddox
swap stories in a delta back alley bar,
which closed up shop decades ago.
The waitress is a skeleton named Edna
whose joints have been screwed together
and squeak ever so slightly when
she places their drinks before them.
The poets sip bourbon and absinth.
Their words thrust and parry, weave
and diverge, trying to outdo each other, to
make each mundane moment magnificent.
The table calls to Edna to bring paper
and pens to catch the poems condensing
on top of it as the two poets’ words collide.
Edna’s apron, hangs loose around her hips,
there is a hole in the tips pocket.
The infant in the corner fusses and wails
for attention but remains ignored, the 
poetry in the air does nothing to nourish him.
It doesn’t matter that I haven’t had a drink
in over 30 years, I am drunk just being there.
Then, Lew Welch wanders in, brushing
leaves and twigs from his hair, he sits down
and another round must be ordered.




M.J.  Arcangelini, born in Pennsylvania in 1952, has resided in northern California since 1979. He has published in little magazines, online journals, & over a dozen anthologies.  He is the author of 6 published collections, the most recent of which is PAWNING MY SINS, 2022 (Luchador Press).

 

 

Improv with Whiskey & Cars by Linda Bryant

That night, a broken axle, sticks inside me, sweet burnt odor of bourbon & Marlboros. Drunk on Wild Turkey, Mama cussed Daddy out, my si...