Friday, March 31, 2023

The Only Woman in an Outback Bar By B. Lynne Zika

Summers were brutal. High desert

be damned, we still shivered under

mountains of blankets in winter

and would have torn off our clothes in summer

but for the skin-searing sun. Clearly,

a beer was in order.

Only thing within 20 miles

was a pool hall combo with enough windows 

to stave off the usual dark.

We took a table in the back.

The clink of beer bottles echoed cue tips

tapping balls, that is,

until someone slammed the last one

corner pocket.

Time for another round.

While the barkeep lined ’em up,

the boys turned their eyes on me.

I watched them sweep me head to foot

or foot to head, depending on proclivities,

but all came to rest in predictable places.

They knew intent was shining through,

that love light in their eyes a horse laugh.

I drew myself up.

I stared back.

Not a blow-for-blow detail-including insult.

My look was simple. No.

One by one, the boys backed down.

My Miller High Life was tasting mighty sweet.

B. Lynne Zika’s photography, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous literary and consumer publications. 2022 publications include Delta Poetry Review, Backchannels, Poesy, Suburban Witchcraft, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. In addition to editing poetry and nonfiction, she worked as a closed-captioning editor for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Awards include: Pacificus Foundation Literary Award in short fiction, Little Sister Award and Moon Prize in poetry, and Viewbug 2020 and 2021Top Creator Awards in photography. Website:

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Down at Rachael’s By Greg Clary


To the Jag-off

at the bar 

sipping on a glass

of stale white wine

during old man


yapping on 

your speakerphone 

to a cousin 

whose stolen

Rover ended up

on TikTok:

Shut the fuck up.

Greg Clary is a retired college professor who was born and raised in Turkey Creek, West Virginia. He resides in the Pennsylvania Wilds where he enjoys cathead biscuits, two fingers of Jameson over one cube of ice, and people who can ease into a conversation without taking it over

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Why I Rejected Being a Wine Snob  By Peter A. Witt

At psychologists urging swore off hard liquor
in favor of becoming a cultured wine snob,

Merlot tasted like graphite, herbs, blackberries, black cherries
none of which I liked,
Chablis was all citrus, pear, minerality, and salinity,
which reminded me of drinking fruited dishwater.

Zinfandel had a spicy kick with a smoky body,
which reminded me of my ex-wife,
Pinot Gris was all fruity with lime and pear overload,
better off eating a cup of rotting fruit.

I swear I tried, cost me $11 a glass,
after which I swore off being cultured,
dumped my psychologist, returned to drinking 
Bourbon on the rocks, neat,
with fellow recovering wine freaks
at Joe's Hard Times, no wine served there.

Peter A. Witt is a Texas poet, avid birder/photographer, and researcher/writer of family history. He started writing poetry after 42 years as a university professor as a way of recapturing my storytelling and creative writing abilities, skills he'd lost in the stultifying world of academic writing. His work has appeared in several online poetry publications including Rye Whiskey ReviewFleas on the Dog, Open Skies Quarterly, and Active Muse.

Monday, March 27, 2023

 In His Own Image By Ian Lewis Copestick

Just one
I've got to

If God made
Man in his
Own image,

Then why are
We the only
Creatures on
God's green
Earth that
Have to do
Something as
Disgusting as
Wipe our arses ?

Dogs, cats, even
Fucking rats are
Allowed to have
More dignity than

I think that God
Must hate us.

That's why we
Have to lose our
Dignity, at least
Once every day.

It's just one more
Reason why I am
Not a Christian. 

Ian Lewis Copestick is a 49 year old writer (I prefer that term to poet ) from Stoke on Trent, England. I spend most of my life sitting,  thinking then sometimes writing. I have been published in Anti Heroin Chic, the Dope Fiend Daily, Outlaw Poetry, Synchronized Chaos, the Rye Whiskey Review, Medusa's Kitchen and Horror Sleaze Trash.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Second Adolescence By Alec Solomita


Nobody talks about it

but the fact is

you can’t skip it

just like you couldn’t

on your way to adulthood.

At least I can’t. 

Mood swings, suicidal 

at daybreak, cheerful

after coffee. But always

depressed. Back to

a six-pack a day.

Skin problems due to stress.

Lack of confidence, need

for reassurance, asking

for reassurance. A new

interest in clothes to show

that I’m not old “inside.”

My second sexual renaissance.

A Bonobo again! That great old song

rings round my head.

I’m a girl watcher, watching girls 

go by. My oh my. 

Which brings me to loneliness

When was I this lonely?

When I was thirteen.

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, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Amethyst Review, The Lake, 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 released by Kelsay Books last spring.    

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Manuelo Finnegan  By John Doyle

Pappy gave me a whole lotta green wrinkled paper, 
I intend to drink it mostly, the rest I'll keep safe for gambling and whores.  
My voice box for my cancer interferes 

with the tv set above the bar. 
Everyone thought it was a gas 
'til I walked past as the Jets kicked for a last minute field-goal 

against the Redskins and their universe turned black. 
"Isn't all of eternity black?" I said, 
after I picked my face and teeth from the kerb. 

My cousin Bernardo down in Durango owns a pick-up truck, 
I'll sleep in the back under the stars, 
tell Pappy I'm starting a fresh new life in some college 

named after some cat who cheated on his wife and died from emphysema.
Some time ago 
Bernardo told me he'd hit Vernon Presley across the head, 

stole his wallet, bought a jukebox 
and drank nothing but Cajun rum. I knew he was lying, 
Vernon went to meet Jesus in '79, 

Bernardo didn't touch a drop 
until NASA arrived on Pluto in 2795.
The rooks sit there at the Sicilian bakery, 

watch sunrise play 
all her aces first, 
then eat what Bernardo's boss left for the Irish;

"the haunted wreck of the nation-state
ain't no place for homesteaders, sandbaggers, 
one-eyed jacks and lesser-eyed cats", I tell pappy,

putting the phone back to the receiver
after a lady barely five feet high
taps her imitation pistol Zippo on the phone-booth glass.

I looked at her wheels
as I walked away,
I knew it would be a Plymouth Fury;

I never said anything to her
about her engine still running.
Let the devil tell her on Sunday morning

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.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Job Stability By Sarah Sarai

Old Death offers “Preparation for the Inevitable,” a workshop for the fearful, the morbidly fearful, the clueless who trust their next step will land them in a bar, on a beach or a functional hovercraft. Who attends? Holdouts hoping to sidestep finality; who don’t view death as the centerpiece of life. They barter for password-accessible handouts with gold, heirlooms, transcripts, deeds, secrets. Handouts? 

Any number of Old Death’s constituents trade specialty skills for more hours on earth. It’s the lawyers who fashion relevant info into suitably distressing prose; the keyboard specialists who bang out such legalistic renderings. All for a few more days (pro-rated, per output) on the planet. The curriculum is a mishmash of legal agreements, disclaimers for rocket liability, insurance companies’ client-facing workshops, Human Resources departments’ ill-phrased cautions, information sessions at senior centers, miscellaneous bylaws, unread contracts. 

It's been a minute since Old Death punched into their job, which they agree is a prestige, albeit lonely, gig. Long into their reign Old Death began to see themself as Quixote-esque, spearing windmills masquerading as foes. They convinced a boozing sidekick to accompany them on their plodding journey. Both reconciled themselves to each other’s oddities, the boozing sidekick shrieking less and less in the presence bolts of lightning, swords, elite militia, lethal honeytraps. Old Death clamping his his ears when his companion produced a syntho-fart, knowing this too would pass. When his sidekick tumbled off the road over a cliff onto boulders, a walking-while-drinking venture, Old Death decided they didn’t want to break-in another assistant and resumed their solitary ways. 

And thusly and so. 

Old Death spits on you who think yourself mighty—or, far worse, connected—as if you could phone a senator to gain another year or ten on the planet. Fat chance. They are indifferent to your posturing. Make no mistake. They are coming for you. Consider the helpers: beef, bacon, stupidity, Proud Boys, Marjorie Green, lack of universal healthcare, an understaffed FDA, Alex Jones, big tobacco, the NRA, toothpaste manufactured in China, so much whiskey, Marlboro Lights, cupcakes wrapped in cellophane. Oh, Lord, save me from the white squiggle!

Calculating the odds, something at which Old Death excels, they currently loiter outside the KFC at Second and Fourteenth, the southwest corner, N.Y.C. They know without knowing (or without knowing, know) a thing is on the way. The thing is a Yellow Cab which quick-swerves right onto Second from Fourteenth. The cabbie’s hands are shaking. He is old, but not ancient. As if age mattered. The cab crashes. Old Death leans to sniff dead cabbie essence. 

Mortality is a beautiful thing. 

In the back seat, an infant is clutched by her mother. Little one doesn’t know what memories are, but already has stored many, and will carry a faint trace of that smash, taxi into curb, of cabbie grabbing at his busted heart as he dies. Later in life, the child will twitch when hearing a siren, seeing an ambulance, witnessing a mother’s grasp. She will not remember Old Death sniffing the dead cabbie, though she will harbor a sensation of same; the barest outline of a bag of bones and a scythe; faint echoes of an inhalation echoing.

Old Death stands tall. What will become of the planet if they don’t perform their mission? Highly populated is the globe. And yet.

We have heard that Near Death (yes) is gaining followers again. On all the continents, people are interested in this newly revived boundary. They savor the promise Near Death offers, that highlight, preview of what lies ahead (oh, brave new world). Some say Near Death is a perspective on the all of it, past, present, future. In the body, out of the body, return to the body, the queer body, the woman’s body, the disease-free body. Near Death, also known as the hovering death, the death that doesn’t kill the body but never leaves the mind—the “experience” of death without that tiresome end stop, is an attractive possibility. Hover above your body, look around, explore, even, gain perspective, return.

Near Death is wholly different from Old Death who is not worried they will be looking for work anytime soon. Their job description is writ in stone. 

A correct assumption? What do we know but that tomorrow, next week, next year, Old Death is coming. And may, Near Death, offering its glimpse of afterlife, of the day after the party ends, for you and you. For the all and for the any.

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

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Exclusive Offer Inside By Curtis Blazemore


Greetings, I am J. Jackson Rappaport, street poet, expressionless anti-conceptual glitter sculptor, President of the Board of Directors of the Greater or Lesser Metro Neighborhood Arts Council, and I am guessing right now you’re wondering: are they currently seeking a new name? One that affords a catchy, glossy acronym? Donations are not why I’m writing, but, as you ask, yes, I do make a habit of relieving patrons from the burden of too much cash on hand. The receipt can say whatever you like.

Note that our stable of local artists can paint you into the picture holding a cashier’s check against any fantasy piece of ass you’d like. Add an extra ten grand and I compose a poem in your likeness: TV game show, Hollywood noir, Internet meme, not to mention an enticing array of middle age secrets. No confessionals, of course. Poetry of place will always place you in the middle of things, humbly heroic, with an adoring blue-collar audience that insists on your receiving extreme financial and sexual reward.

Publication of your poem nominates you for the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Popular Independent Party’s candidacy for President of the Recited Mistakes of Ammo-Sexualism. Needless to say, the “size” of your American generosity toward the Arts Council proportionally increases your odds of winning. Size isn’t everything, of course. It’s the only thing! Lucky for you, we’re always doing business. Galleries and galleys await your command, Captain. What good is your ship if it doesn’t cut water? Get out of dry dock. Set sail for the high seas of cultural capital today.

Curtis Blazemore has been on the planet far too long, publishing various works in between having bad luck and making people rethink their faith in humanity. No matter. He sees sentences in the exhaled smoke and scribbles furiously. He hopes someday to be able to afford a Greyhound bus ticket to Graceland.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

the right way By John Grochalski

they give us

no right way to do it


the failure is complete

the moment we’re squeezed out

from between our mother’s thighs


then it is


god and government

country and flag

parents and teachers and bosses


days that are subservient

and insubstantial


we can blunt ourselves with alcohol

we can blunt ourselves with drugs


we can blunt ourselves

with love and anger


tv shows and the movies


but nothing ever really

does the trick


they give us

no right way to do it


but they expect us

to have all of their answers


in the flick of a wrist

in the blink of an eye


as we crawl away from them

nodding our dull compliance


our wills breaking

our fingers bleeding

our nails covered in mud


no safe space

left on earth


like the one we had

in that swirling beautiful void


before the dark madness

of conception


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.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The Moment I Realized We Were Over By Skaja Evens  

“The next time I come over…” you said,

rattling on about something


I don’t remember what

I do recall thinking you’ll never see my home again

I don’t want you here


I cried enough tears for a lifetime

in only a matter of weeks


I see the brief spark, though once brilliant

fizzle out to become an occasional memory


That last phone call with you

drove in the final nail

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 been published in various places, including Spillwords Press, Medusa’s Kitchen, Ink Pantry, Off the Coast, Synchronized Chaos, and Blue Pepper. She can often be found listening to music, considering the impossible, and enjoying her cats’ antics.

Calendar Boy By Jeannie E. Roberts

Like a slick hunky firefighter

he leaned against the bar rail 

both arms stretched across it

Thunderstruck you fell in love 

with the image of strength

Shiny surfaces are just that 

Three-dimensional living 

seeks more than a thimble of water 

to extinguish a house in flames 

Jeannie E. Roberts has authored several books. Her most recent collection is titled The Ethereal Effect - A Collection of Villanelles (Kelsay Books, 2022). She serves as a poetry editor for the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs.

Monday, March 20, 2023

The New Purgatory By Ann Christine Tabaka

Crossing the border / leaving home.

Not knowing when she will return,

or if she will return. Fear nips at her

heels. A line of people huddled tightly

against the elements / await transport

to refuge. Making polite conversations,

they try to forget their grief. 

In the distance a whistle blows, 

shattering the night. Climbing on board /

looking back at a scattering of lives upon 

an empty street. Books, clothing, toys, 

forgotten treasures / strewn about like so

many discarded dreams. Closing her eyes

she tries to sleep / leaving purgatory behind.

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: The Phoenix; Eclipse Lit, Carolina Muse, Sand Hills Literary Magazine, Ephemeral Literary Review, The Elevation Review, The Closed Eye Open, North Dakota Quarterly, Tangled Locks Journal, Wild Roof Journal, The American Writers Review, Black Moon Magazine, Pacific Review, The Silver Blade, Pomona Valley Review, West Texas Literary Review

Saturday, March 18, 2023

COFFEE By Bobbie Saunders


of the



of a





of tepid






of dreary


and lonely


Born in Cincinnati, Bobbie Saunders is a graduate of Emory University, B.A. in Psychology and Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, B.F.A. in Painting & Drawing.  Her interests include running, baseball, swimming, playing with dogs.  Her poems have appeared in HAIGHT ASHBURY LITERARY JOURNAL, TALKING RIVER REVIEW, WESTWARD QUARTERLY and others.  ILLUSIONS is her collection of poems.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Farmer John By JPR

I went to sleep on a Saturday night with the TV on and was awoken at four in the morning by an old fart with a perm preaching the word of God. Or yelling, to be more exact.

He sat there as snakes to a pulpit often do, begging and talking about seeds, and if you don't plant them, you get nothing in return.

He produced a peach pit from his pocket as his brainwashed congregation marveled because they clearly never visited the produce aisle.

"Brothers and Sisters, I've had this peach pit in my pocket for years, and you know what? As long as it has remained there, it hasn't produced a damn thing."

Everyone laughed, including me, as I was slightly hungover and, in all truth, very much still drunk.

He looked at his audience; a sideshow hustler and preacher are very much one and the same.

Polished with that layer of charming bullshit as a wolf can always recognize another.

"You know, my friends, it is much like this dollar in my hand. Nothing will come of it unless I plant it, so why don't you all take what you can and give to this plate and think of it as the ground, and I promise Jesus will reward you. Simply trust me on this. I do swear. Can I get an amen!"

I quickly turned off the TV, for I had heard enough bullshit. The buzz was wearing, and soon the leftover splendor would be sobriety’s hungover misery.

As I looked at the blonde sleeping blissfully beside me on her stomach, the perfection of God's creation was on full naked display.

I brushed her hair gently from her neck, embraced that bountiful flesh, and decided to plant a seed of my very own.

As I figure, one less mindless sheep and a free-thinking heathen couldn't hurt.

Because when the morning timber’s feeling does catch your fancy, plant a forest.

Because that seed can't do a damn thing just sitting in the proverbial seed’s sack.

I would rather burn this world to a cinder than feed the mass morons’ logic and cast yet another rat to the race.

Sometimes with the page and life choices, we find inspiration in the oddest places.

I walked into the garden’s paradise and didn't part with a dime but certainly left with a smile and planted a possible fool in the process.

And I bet you never thought I was such a man of God.

What, you think I was just another not-so-pretty battle-scarred face?

Tsk, tsk, haven't you learned never to judge a book by its Satanic-bound Norse logic cover?

Can I get an amen? Screw that; I prefer another round and a second helping of that aforementioned living Goddess instead.


JPR recently died, yet even in death, he still doesn't like you.

He enjoys alcohol and is currently in the market for a slightly used liver.

He has been published before, and if you admire his early work, you have his condolences.

He is poetry's number one villain, five years running, and the poet laureate of both Hel and Valhalla.

He sometimes writes in a very old style using arcane magic known as sarcasm which is largely wasted on the cancel culture lit twats who are offended by everything yet believe movies about superheroes and blue people are cool, which, if you do, you are probably a nerd as well.

He lives in a castle in Romania where he drinks the blood of his many victims.

He could play nice, but he doesn't want to, so nah, nah.

Your tits look great today, sir. May I buy you a drink?


You Can Run By Alec Solomita

The blues quotes Joe Louis as I take a hit of weed. The blues says to me, “You can run but you can’t hide.” Been running pretty well until t...