Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Senior not Senile by Don Robishaw

Two Questions: Name and Date of Birth, Not Hard, Never a Wrong Answer

Shouldering the revolving door to avoid surface-touching I do a Fred Astaire soft-shoe shuffle, bypassing the tasty dark chocolate rack on my way to the pharmacy counter.

Still sober: clean-shaven, well dressed, and don’t smell like a brewery anymore. It’s my day to shine.

The lady technician is always friendly and I hope to see her face. She makes me smile. I wouldn’t have shaved if I knew beforehand she wasn’t here. Love the techs. They're nice.

A new boy is on duty. I’m his first customer. He resembles my brother, a twenty-year US Army veteran, when he was younger. The resemblance is uncanny. I can’t help thinking about my recently deceased brother. The technician pushes his blond hair backwards with both hands, the same way my brother used to do it. ‘Come on bro, we’ll be late for school.’ We were close in those days. He was my hero. Miss you so much. We need to talk. I reach for the MacArthurs in my blazer top pocket. Don’t let that kid see ya cry, Mal.

After serving one tour, I became an anti-war vet. Service in the Peace Corps came later. We never made up before he died. I wanted one last chance to say, ‘I love ya, bro.’

The technician: white shirt, red tie, and blond hair can’t see the cheerful smile behind my N95. Masks are optional, even for the staff.

This kid has never met me. I say, “Pickup for—.”

The tech says, “Wait until I request that information.”

Who speaks to grownups this way? “Sorry.” Is he gloating?

“Last name?”

“Desrosiers.”

He tilts his head. ”Can you spell it?”

“Of course. Des-ros-iers and Mal-col—.”

“I didn’t ask for your first name.”

I shrug my shoulders. “Call me, Mal.”

The tech asks, “Date of birth?” Before I can answer, he adds, “Work with me.”

He’s chock-full of corporate speak. I grit my teeth. Wanted you to be proud of me. You were duty first. I was more of a thinker. Please rest in peace, bro. Am I talking to my brother or myself?

I can’t help but stare at the young man.

For crying out loud, I’ve been answering the same questions for years. Is this kid a graduate of the corporation’s new assertiveness program, or here clandestinely to retrain senior patrons? What if I fail? Is there another line? What number will they sew into my shirt or tattoo on my wrist? Stay calm, bro.

Same paranoid thinking after I got discharged, so long ago. I thought VA counselors and therapists helped get rid of that shit. Hope the flashbacks don’t return.

The tech asks, “Your birthday?”

“2-29-44.” I slap my forehead. Hold on Mal. Enough is enough, bro. I spell out February for him.

“Nineteen forty-four!”

“Yes.”

Staring, he cups a hand to the side of his mouth and whispers-out-loud to the tech who always makes me smile as she passes by, “This guy knew Lindbergh.” A wise-ass, like my brother.

She does not whisper, “That’s not funny, Adam.”

He says to me, “Do you require a social worker?”

“No! May I call you Adam?”

“It’s my name.” I shake my head. He’s too much like brother.

I say, “Do you think I’m senile?”

“Here’s a different question? I want you to list—.”

A blast of air burst from my nostrils. “Whoa! Now, you listen. You’re rude. Young man don’t talk to me that way. What games are you playing?” Dis me and I’ll react.

Cardiologists remind me not to take stress lightly. Two heart attacks, Mal. Sweat beads build upon my bald head as I press on my palpitating chest.

“Adam, were you entertained today?” Hold on. Stay calm, Mal.

“Be back in a minute.” He returns and tosses a white paper sack on the counter. “Wait in the blue line, next time.”

I grab and dash to the rear of the store. The door is open. I jump into the Red Baron, my new Candy Apple Corvette, grip the gear shift and speed away.

Nobody home, not even the adopted German Shepherd with the black eye patch. I enter the bedroom and stare. “Mirror mirror on the wall, who was that big jerk?”

I take one last look: war, lost years, interesting work and travel, tenure, five well-educated adult children, and a magnificent wife. We were quite a pair. Rest in peace, love.

My time went so quickly. Took that kid less than two minutes to make me think my life was worthless. I hang my head, fall back on the bed. Flat out.

~ ~ ~

Through it all, made some excellent investments, though.

Seniors at the free breakfast remind me ageism is real. They blame Generation Z. As a former board member I’m asked to make a short evocation before we eat. I remind them that they don’t need to tolerate disrespectful people now that they’re seniors. I close by saying, “Dis me, and I’ll always react!” First time I ever got a standing ovation.

“That won’t be a problem sir. I’ll speak to accounting,” Says the CEO of a chain of pharmacies, as she serves up home fries next to me.

I’m on scrambled egg duty. “Thank you, Katherine. One condition.”

“What’s that?”

“Don’t fire Adam?”

“A deal. Thank you again for the matching donations at our walk-a-thon this summer, Mr. Desrosiers.”

“Call me Mal.”

Twenty-nine of thirty technicians who helped me over the years find ten thousand dollars deposited in their checking account. Merry Christmas!

 



Don Robishaw’s collection of five FF tales found in, ‘Bad Road Ahead’ was the Grand Winner in Defenestrationism, 2020 Flash Fiction Suite Contest.


Don’s short story entitled,’Bad Paper Odyssey’ was a semi-finalist in Digging Through the Fat 2018 Chapbook Contest.


His work has also recently appeared in The Rye Whiskey Review, Drunk Monkeys, Literary Orphans, Crack-the-Spine, FFM, O’ Dark Thirty, among other venues.


Many of the characters he developed have been homeless, served for periods of time in the military, or are based upon archetypes or stereotypes he's met while on the road. He likes to write poetry, satire, tragedies, and gritty fictional tales — of men and women from various backgrounds — that may have sprouted from a seed, from his past.


Before he stopped working to write he ran educational programs for homeless shelters. Don's also well-traveled, using various ways and means: Sailor, Peace Corps Volunteer, bartender, hitchhiker, world traveler, college professor, and circus roustabout.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

WHY I AM DRINKING IN A TITTY BAR AT 2 AM By Ken Poyner


My hat wondered off on its own.


At first, I was worried that without it

I would be getting too much sun.

I’ve already had one skin cancer operation.

I don’t spend any more time uncovered

Than I have to.  I may

Sweat on my hat bands far too much,

But I have many hats and I


Can put a fresh one on at any time.

But this hat wandered off on its own.

I could imagine it taking my customary path,

A creature of habit, skittering on its brim

On the nature walk, past the lake

And through the statuary garden.


But then I began thinking


What

If the hat had grown tired of the usual walk?

What if it had seen as many trees,

As much statuary, as many azaleas,

As it could stomach:  had actually

Run away, and was searching for something

Out of its boring ordinary, before it - like

So many of my hats in the past with the band

Too soaked in my sweat - got tossed finally out?

What if it had figured one fling

Before the backyard trash can was its due

For all its deft service rendered?  Perhaps


It had gone back into the city, blowing

Through the haberdashery district –

Or to the mall, eyeing clothing ready-made,

But clothing much stronger than anyone gives it credit for?

What if it turned into one of the bad sections of town

And even now, by men with no hats,

Was being kicked about in the gutter,

Driven under a parked car, up against

The tire?  It could be somewhere


Unremarkable, being itself unremarkable,

Being just so much cloth formed just so;

With my ownership of it unremarkable, unknown: no more

Than the dim memory of a drunken man

Wild with his own independent sense of purpose,

Tossing quarters when it is dollars tucked in the brim that are wanted.






Ken’s four collections of brief fictions and four collections of speculative poetry can be found at most online booksellers.  He spent 33 years in information system management, is married to a world record holding female power lifter, and has a family of several cats and betta fish.  Individual works have appeared in “Café Irreal”, “Analog”, “Danse Macabre”, “The Cincinnati Review”, and several hundred other places. www.kpoyner.com 


Monday, November 28, 2022

Christmas in New York By John Drudge

That time

You almost

Choked on your puke

At the Chelsea Hotel

On Christmas

And I kicked you

Onto your side

Just in time

Then we watched TV 

In the dark

As it snowed






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.

 

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Looking into a whiskey glass  full of ice under bar room lights By John C. Mannone


The color of sadness is often cold
blue even under the moon glow

of bulbous bar lights. I see her smile
in amber shards, warming, but not

melting the ice forming around my
heart. Each cube refracts the light

of my thoughts every which way
in the whiskey yellow, even after

the last shimmering, the slamming
glass on the counter, the remains

of un-dissolved ghosts haunting
the bitter dregs. Poltergeists dance

in ethereal light. The pallor of my
sheet-white face reflects in the wet

cold cracked mirrors, all broken
by the heavy weight, by the gravity
of depression

while the calculus of reason jostles
toward a singularity, an inescapable

pit of darkness that even a whisper
of bar room light cannot escape.





John C. Mannone has poems in WindhoverNorth Dakota QuarterlyPoetry SouthBaltimore Review, and others. He won the SFPA Dwarf Stars Award (2020); was awarded an HWA Scholarship (2017), and a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature; and served as celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). His full-length collections are Disabled Monsters (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2015), Flux Lines (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2021), Sacred Flute (Iris Press, 2022), and Song of the Mountains (Middle Creek Publishing, 2023). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. He’s a professor of physics & chemistry at Alice Lloyd College nestled in the beautiful southeastern Kentucky mountains.

 

http://jcmannone.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/jcmannone/


Saturday, November 26, 2022

Holiday Spirit By Mike Zone


 

It was the first of the month

Vodka-man and me had just finished putting together a batch

making another killing 

waiting outside the social security office

vodka cooked crack

t’was the season

most wonderful time

of the year

we were in Cork-town

hit a liquor story

“Hey brother, can you a spare dollar?”

“We’re hungry boss.”

We did better

spared a couple twenties

“God bless you, you boys. God is good!” they proclaimed

“Fuck god.” is what I said

“you’re sitting out here, hungry, cold and sober…so fuck god.”

“You can’t say that you’ll go to hell.”

“Oh yeah, I can see how much god loves with all that faith being exactly where you are.”

Vodka-man laughed at these antics as we entered the establishment

We came out with

Hoagies, chips, a dozen forties, two cartons of cigarettes

threw in some pot and quite a bit of rock

we handed them the boxes of stuff

“looks like two drug dealing atheists gave you more than god.”

“Man…fuck god.” one said

“yeah fuck god, brother.

 Best early Christmas ever…

fuck god.”



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.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Inside Your Body by Susan Isla Tepper

During a memory flash
of old fears
plus newer ones
flicking their cinders
faster than could be tamped down—
Built a heat in you.
Then unimaginable cold
you knew right away
led to the center.
Beginning to cry
you looked up
hands clasped finding a star;
the first of the night;
Alone.
Realizing it belongs
to you and you alone.
Making a nest to fit
inside your body.





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.


Wednesday, November 23, 2022

To be visibly queer is fearless and frightening by Rocío Iglesias

I have seen the future and in it my wife and I kiss goodbye in our driveway, and nobody bats an eye—

But today I am sitting in the empty bathtub crying with my whole body 

Wrapping my own arms around myself

Eyes watered and knees weak,

Praying as a last resort  

For the love of god, keep us safe 

Let me shake this feeling that I will lose her every time she walks out the door

Crosses the threshold without me where I can’t protect her 

Where the homophobe at the gas station gives her a dirty look and then has me to answer to

Where I squeeze her hand tighter when they stare at the grocery store

“Can I help you?” I ask so my baby doesn’t have to

What kind of times are these?

The same as they have always been 

Executing us, betraying us, 

This world has tried to make us hate ourselves 

And I have forgiven it because it gave me her
 
 

 
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.


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Something Sweet By Renee Williams

That sugar and salty tang along the rim of my glass
is so much like life: the delights and the doldrums.
I come to you, oh, Margarita, to celebrate when life’s been good,
when joys abound, when happiness reigns supreme.
I also seek your solace when the world is turned upside down,
and I simply want to forget.
You are there for both, like a true mate, in sickness and in health,
and you never let me down.
Blood orange, raspberry, or lemon lime you rock my world,
one sip at a time. 

 

 
 
 Renee Williams is a retired English professor, who has written for Guitar Digest, Alien Buddha Press and Fevers of the Mind.

 




Monday, November 21, 2022

Plan B by Alec Solomita

I’ll take a drink whenever I can
to live out my days a bitter old man.

 

 


 
 
Alec Solomita is a writer working in the Boston area. His fiction has appeared in the Southwest Review, The Mississippi Review, Southword Journal, among other publications. He was shortlisted by the Bridport Prize and Southword Journal. His poetry has appeared in Poetica, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Driftwood Press, The Rye Whiskey Review, The Galway Review, and elsewhere, including several anthologies. His poetry chapbook “Do Not Forsake Me,” was published in 2017. His full-length poetry book, “Hard To Be a Hero,” was just released by Kelsay Books.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

the clown by John Grochalski

leaving the job

on a friday evening

 

going home

to act like a drunken millionaire

on the couch

 

all weekend

 

i wake up

hungover

 

into the horror

of monday morning

 

the clown suit

where i left it days ago

on the bedroom floor

 

clutching

a large red nose

 

in my

swollen

shaking hand.

 

 

 
 
John Grochalski is the author of the poetry collections, The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and The Philosopher’s Ship (Alien Buddha Press, 2018). He is also the author of the novels, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016).  Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where the garbage can smell like roses if you wish on it hard enough.


Saturday, November 19, 2022

I PUSH IT, (I PLAY IT HARD) by David Summerfield

 I push it, I play it hard
Never planned to live this long
With a beam in the eye
And rage in the gut
I stick it to life and never get stuck
I attack it, I bulldoze it hard

I push it, I play it hard
Never afflicted drink to get drunk
With no guide in the heart
And nothing in the mind
I jam it to life and continue to grind
I force it, I assault it hard

I push it, I play it hard
Long live Coors and Jack Daniel's
With salt in my beer mug
No ice in the shot
I race with the devil and never get caught
I beat it, I bludgeon it hard

I push it, I play it hard
Without fear I hunt my prey
With a lie in my pocket
And any bullshit to feed
I seduce her and run after planting my seed  
I pound it, I punch it hard 
 

 
 
David Summerfield writes out of the hills and hollars’ of West ‘by God’ Virginia, where he’s been known to tip a few.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Scolded by the Bourbon by Dan Provost

Wrong---
Can’t
be undone
by pulling out your teeth

and offer to the skies,

dripping blood
that is dribbling
from a
harangued mouth.



Dan Provost's poetry has been published throughout the small press for a number of years.  Some recent publications include: Ariel Chart, Poetical Review, Merak Magazine, Oddball Magazine, Deuce Coupe, Misfit Magazine, the Rye Whiskey Review, Cajun Mutt Press and the Dope Fiend Daily.  He has two books coming out in 2020.  Under the Influence of Nothingness by Kung Fu Treachery Press and Rattle of a Realizer, published by Whiskey City Press.  He lives in Berlin, New Hampshire with his wife Laura and dog Bella.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Stopping to Take a Piss on a Cross- Country Trek After Being Tailed by a Cop for the Last Ten Miles by Jason Ryberg

This hot night,

beside a country road that runs
roughly parallel to the Missouri River,

leaning against the car
under the light of countless stars
and listening to Sam and Dave on the radio,

passing what’s left of a bottle of Old Crow,
back and forth, after a day of truck stop coffee,
and now only twenty miles to go.

So, you just Zen out and dial down a little.
Sometimes, when the universe says pull over,

you do it.




 
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, November 15, 2022

Good Shoes by Sarah Sarai

A horse walks into a bar. Bartender says, good shoes. Pour me a big one, the horse responds. Lowers his head, slightly. They were a gift. Raises his not unmonumental head and through tired eyes studies the bartender, who is staring at him. You want something, pal, the horse asks, adding, Like what you see? Want some of this? You going to pour me one or not. The bartender measures out a whiskey, his best, although it should be noted his best is just good enough. This is not San Francisco. This is the sticks. A cowpoke bar. The bartender has cow-poking in his blood, by way of his father and brothers. Himself? Never poked a cow and sure never served a horse before but these days you can’t say anything or else some libtard’ll accuse you of violating their rights and want to take a punch at someone, the bartender or a lame-ass drunk. Maybe at the horse. No, surely not that. Too risky. This is no small creature. You ever been punched, the bartender asks. The horse reflects. Noses his glass over for another double. Depends what you mean. His eyes roll back and the bartender thinks he might be sick but the horse is fine. A few times some kid has thought to make use of a tree branch snapped off, he says, a sapling. But I can kick. Never touched any kid although I assure you I have scared them off. Generally, all I have to do is switch my tail and the kid thinks like a fly and buzzes off. This horse likes to talk, the bartender notes. He tops off the horse’s whiskey. Have I been manhandled? The horse’s lips pull back, revealing a set of teeth no one would look forward to having visit their person. Stupid question. I’ve worked most of my life. Of course there’s been stuff. What do you care? You a freak? You want to sneak into the stable at midnight to see what could happen? Bring a woman? I bet you hate all of them except your mother and she’s not around to say what a no-good louse you have become. The bartender shudders because the horse’s insights are accurate and offbase. Bring a lady to me for servicing. Please. The horse notes a sudden quiet in the bar which has almost emptied. No one wants to meet the horse’s gaze. I’m a horse and horses are equipped like horses. It’s the way of the world. What do I owe you? The bartender says he is working on a barter system and conversation will be bartered for whiskey. Snorting, the horse carefully turns around. I traveled from the ranch by the old oak to get here, he tells the bartender who responds, Well, then it’s a good thing you have good shoes. The horse shakes his head in agreement and begins his journey home.

# # #





Sarah Sarai saw Gene Autry on horseback when the cowboy and his horse visited her grammar school in Southern California. She writes poetry and fiction and flash. Her most recent poetry collection is That Strapless Bra in Heaven (Kelsay Books). Sarah Sarai is an independent editor of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Join her at https://www.facebook.com/farstargirl

Monday, November 14, 2022

Omnibus Drink Selection Happy Hour by Randall Rogers

Into conscious

mechanization I

pour


into the fluid life

of a margarita machine

solid state

meandering

pulse

free to ripple


surge develop

ice cube

sugar electricity

spark enough

to blow our minds

to smithereens

weeping depression

melancholia

restricting life support


till visions

and breakfast

pull us all back


from the brink

of sanity

still breathing

pure magic.
 
 
 
 


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).

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Getting Even at the 19th Hole by Mikki Aronoff

Your eyes welcome the dark, the soap suds that cling to the backs of the bartender’s hairy hands, their slow wipes of the glasses as his brown eyes flirt with you for tips. He slides your beer across the bar, his gaze never leaving your parted lips. Soon that muscled buck curves around the bar, glides his hunk towards you, hungry as that sonofabitch roving husband of yours. He perches on the edge of the barstool next to you. His knees brush yours as you drink him up from boot tips to hips. Your tongue lathers as a low chuckle bubbles up from your throat. Your eyes fix on his, his on yours. Yours signal right, his left, both to where the His and Hers doors are, a dimly lit hallway with framed, glossy black & whites of swingers of the golf variety. You move there linked like conjoined twins. A long whiff of musk sends you stumbling back and up against the wall. He presses into your ready acceptance. You teach music, play country on your Gibson. Rhythms are second nature to you. You tilt and grind to his desire, and he to yours, not a word between you and two minutes tops. But worth a repeat, you suspect. Then act. You hoof it over to the bar two nights a week, then three, then four. At five, your husband blanches at the tally. When you’ve advanced from lag to level to eclipse, he grumbles to you at the imbalance, at unpressed work shirts and the uncooked chicken-fried steak limp on the linoleum kitchen counter. You reach for the cast iron skillet, squeeze out a sorry tear. This won’t last, you pinky swear, knowing it will.



Mikki Aronoff’s work appears in New World Writing, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Tiny Molecules, The Disappointed Housewife, Bending Genres, Milk Candy Review, Gone Lawn, Mslexia, The Dribble Drabble Review, and elsewhere. She has received Pushcart, Best of the Net, and Best Microfiction nominations.


Saturday, November 12, 2022

a list by Gabriel Bates

it's the caffeine,
the nicotine,
the early mornings
and late nights.

it's the bad knee that slips
and the lower back that aches.

it's the stained work jeans
and the old steel-toes.

it's that co-worker
who acts like the boss
and that boss
who acts like God.

it's the daily chores
and screaming kids.

it's the same argument,
over and over again.

it's the question
of what's for dinner tonight,
and who's making it?

it's the lack of free time
and silence,
the abundance of to-do lists
and bills to pay.

it's the dreams
that were forgotten about
and the nightmares
that came to life.
 
it's all just a part
of the American way.
 
 
 
 
Gabriel Bates is a poet living in Tiffin, Ohio. His work has appeared in several publications, online and in print. Keep up with him at gabrieljbates.blogspot.com.

Friday, November 11, 2022

1962 Channel 9 Windsor by John Harold Olson

When Lord Athol Layton held
The mic on Big Time Wrestling
The world was steady and good.

Agents of darkness,
a home coming apart
No matter as
The Lord had a steady hand,
Always.

Lord Layton
Ensured an hour
on Saturday afternoon
was a time
to sort out the
heels and
Issue an invitation to
see the night card at Windsor Arena
With plenty of free, well
lighted parking.

“And , mark you, I’ll see
to The Sheik,” Lord Layton said.
 
 

Retired Las Vegas teacher now a hospice volunteer.

 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Notepad poem No. 4 by Alex Salinas

 This is not an endorsement—it’s self-inflicted
tunnel vision. God, how some books are on
fire. We were driving down Wurzbach during
the witching hour when she said James
Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice was written
in gasoline. I said, “Yes, and nothing is left
of that world.” I have secrets not even
Death will pry out of me. I seized this pen
only because my nerve endings tingled—the shark
is swimming thru my heart. The difference between
prose & poetry is the brash moon or the shy host
on the Black Spandex. I was born to die
in myself. I live to exhaust extant ink
under my feet which do not always carry me home.
I own the words that own me. The letdown
is that people fill in their ghosts like Magritte’s
Pilgrim. The letdown is that legends are boiled
into words. (This is a good problem to have.)
Some of my gasoline lives in a Nike shoebox;
I wear a 10 when I’m not fleeing from my life.
The last night of the Earth means it’s still
night. Whether you die or not, always hit ’em with,
“Cool invite.” When Frida said, “I hope the exit is
joyful,” & left us w/ her appetite. I’m here for it. I
am part blind but my wings work just fine. Coming? Alright.
 
 

 
 
Alex Z. Salinas is the author of poetry collections WARBLES and DREAMT, or The Lingering Phantoms of Equinox. He is also the author of a book of stories, City Lights From the Upside Down. His third collection of poems, Hispanic Sonnets, is forthcoming through FlowerSong Press. He holds an M.A. in English Literature and Language from St. Mary’s University.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

In Metamorphosis, I Am Fluid by Skaja Evens

 Held together with washi tape
And whispered prayers to the Universe
Heart spackled with hope unrelenting
Even on the days I’m ready to give in
I keep showing up in case of a miracle.

I’m in a place of flux, each foot in a different place
Can’t feed the future and the past
And expect to stay whole
Inked reminders of who I am and want to be
I’m in direct conflict with societal expectations

A life of constant obstacles
Cognitive dissonance

I’m not sorry I disappoint you
Your expectations aren’t mine to carry
 
 
 
 
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, November 8, 2022

Observation From Booth by Jake St. John & Jenn Knickerbocker

Drinking a beer
in the shadow
of Michael’s
Meat Market
taking in
bits of
conversation
they divulge
over wine

old friends
catching up
never missing
a beat

To my left
sits experience
more words
are said with
a look
rather
than speech

age 
has left them
less 
a couple
now more
a single
unit

With thoughts
aligned 
the stars
near the 
big moon
that hangs over 
your head
somewhere else

like my mind
tonight.
 

 
Jake St. John spends his nights in a cabin on the edge of the woods. He is the author of several collections of poetry including Night Full of Diamonds (Whiskey City Press, 2021), Snow Moon (Holy & Intoxicated Publications, 2019) and Lost City Highway (A Jabber Publication, 2019). His poems have appeared in print and online journals around the world. 
 

 
 
Jenn Knickerbocker is a writer, a mother, and a teacher. You can find her on a forest path or sitting fireside during her free time.



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