Thursday, August 31, 2023

california by keith pearson

was god that let loose the lightning that sparked the fires that burned the trees.
we had no animals to set loose but were worried about the birds.
on tuesday we stood on the beach our backs to the sea watching everything we knew 
burn to smoke and cinder.
the waves at our naked feet pulled us in our thoughts on gods irony 
as the tide pulled us down drowning
the fire passing over our bewildered hands.

keith pearson was born and raised in new hampshire and works at a local high school in the math department.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Close to Closing: A Gin-Soaked Love Poem by Trish Saunders

Just listen to that wind, will you?  
Like it’s trying to get inside—
heartless bastard’s
trying to blow down 
every unlucky little sapling
and everyone sheltering beneath it.
More atomic for your cocktail?
I find a smile, instead of a finger snap,
will bring the server.  Agree, 
the piano player would prefer his fingers 
twirling a glass stem. Let’s stand him a gin.

Like you, I thought we arrived 
with a few others,
but there’s only you and me 
still sitting in these chairs.  
Yes, we would like our lamp lit,
no more peanuts, or breath-
killers, thanks. We have hopes, still. 

Trish Saunders has poems published or forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Pacifica Poetry Review, Right Hand Pointing, Rye Whiskey Review, and other places. She lives in Seattle. 

Monday, August 28, 2023

Napoleon in St. Helena by Mike James

No symphony as fine as cannon fire

Nightly dream of horses falling, hundreds of brown horses

Maps of Europe, Egyptian coins…mementos

My jailers call me general, this is not a palace

America will never be my home

Memoirs…deeds dictated…so many words on this dry island of sand and sand

My empire…my army…Josephine

Mike James makes his home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He has published in hundreds of magazines, large and small, and has performed his poetry at universities and other venues throughout the country. He has published over 20 collections and has served as visiting professor at the University of Maine, Fort Kent. His recent new and selected poems, Portable Light: Poems 1991-2021, was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His last collection, Back Alley Saints at the Tiki Bar, was published in April by Redhawk. He currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Murfreesboro, TN.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

SO I CAN SIGH ETERNALLY by Paul Edward Costa

In a world
where modern medicine has realised
how mixing medications
can make new symptoms
or cancel out benefits of taking them,

I wish
gods of pestilence
gave similar consideration
in sending only one pain,
infection, or inflammation at a time
instead of dropping
multiple effects and ailments at once
in games of Tetris 
building agony to combined levels
formerly used for testing piety

with nausea needing rest it can’t get
        where suffering brings insomnia,
with hunger pains I can’t satiate
        for the malaise in even thinking
        of nutrients a body craves
even after two days of my digestive system’s editor
rejecting all sustenance
submitted for consideration.

Paul Edward Costa is an award-winning Canadian poet, spoken word artist, and teacher. He is a former Poet Laureate for the City of Mississauga, Ontario and has published many poems in journals such as DarkWinter Literary Magazine, Drunk Monkeys Arts Journal, and Blank Spaces Magazine. His book of poetry, The Long Train of Chaos was published by Kung Fu Treachery Press. His book of prose poetry and flash fiction, God Damned Avalon, was published by Mosaic Press. As a spoken word artist, Paul has featured at many poetry series online and in-person across Canada and the U.S. such as the Shab-e She'r series in Toronto and Port Veritas Poetry in Portland, Maine.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Officially by Ian Lewis Copestick

I've just looked
in the mirror,
and I'm officially
an old man.

The balding head,
the whitening beard.
The insane eyebrows.

Oh no!
Not me, Lord.
Please, not me! 

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.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

What Things Are Worth by Charlie Kondek

Braeburn & Partners’ offices were in one of the mirrored, sky-absorbing buildings in Southfield visible from the freeway, and had an open atrium lobby with each of its four floors wrapped around it. Periodic conversation noises carried across the atrium. Smells, too. The agency bought dinner for any creatives or producers working late, and an aroma of garlic and falafel settled over the desks and potted plants.
Albert was at his desk with a blank piece of paper and a pencil in front of him, staring at an unopened bottle of J&B. He was working on an adlob, an “ad-like object,” trying to write the copy of a video or audio spot, or the text of a print ad, that would serve as the basis of a campaign. J&B wasn’t one of Braeburn’s accounts. From time to time, Albert’s ECD would challenge the teams to take an iconic brand, for which the agency’s strategy department had developed a brief, and come up with ideas, pitching them to the ECD and some of the strategists and chief account execs and getting critiqued. This was ostensibly a benevolent workshop meant to re-energize everybody’s creative muscles, but in a climate where they were always one bad quarter away from their next layoff, it only contributed to the general anxiety. The ECD invited the interns to play, too, so coming up with ideas fresher than the kids from CCS and Wayne State tightened the skin on the whole enterprise.
A bottle of J&B is tall, slender, and made of green glass. A yellow label covers the bottle with the brand name in big red letters. Across and beneath these are black letters that explain this is “RARE,” “a blend of the finest old scotch whiskies,” distilled and distributed by Justerini & Brooks, St. James Street, London, 1749. The bottle is embossed on the back with other lettering you can feel with your fingers that repeats the company’s name, and on the front, near the neck, a small round signet of the company’s logo. Its red top is not a cork but a twist-off cap. It makes a satisfying cracking sound when opened. 
Albert resisted the urge to pull out the brief again. He knew it, had already riddled it with penciled holes, but the brief floated into focus anyway, and as before it was hard to imagine where its ideas ended and his own began. For starters, J&B was not a sophisticated spirit, the brief said politely. It was a value brand, lower-middle shelf, $19.99 at state’s minimum, perhaps pushed down by the proliferation of other, more complex and interesting whiskeys. Bourbons, single malts, imports from Japan. Locally distilled, small-batch waters. Standing at the counter at the liquor store and sweeping your eyes across the shelves, you’d scan, from top to bottom, $300 bottles, $120, eighty, down and down, brown, blue and gold, to the $50 bottles, the thirty, and on, where, somewhere between Wild Turkey ($22) and Canadian Club ($16.95), you’d find the familiar green bottle, just a rung above hell where glass devils lived, Lauder’s and Black Velvet, waiting to sink their claws into the stomachs of winos and high school kids. 
J&B was an old brand. The brief was polite about that, too. Not old because it had originated in the 1700s but old in the American memory, the last decade to see its prominence being the 70s, when Dean Martin would roast Governor Ronald Reagan with a glass of it and a cigarette in his hand, or where it appeared in every dubbed Italian cops-and-robbers movie. America had moved on from J&B. It drank beer – it had always drunk beer, but now beer was what they made the commercials about, a daily prominent sip and not just something to mow the lawn with. It drank vodka, vodka tonics, vodka flavored like watermelon or chocolate. It drank wine coolers. Rum and Coke. Margaritas. Hard lemonades. White wine. Sangria. Whatever the hell came after that that resulted in the alcoholic soda pop that appeared today. Albert remembered a fact buried in the brief or his own research, he couldn’t quite remember, that they started bottling J&B in green glass during World War II because of a shortage of transparent glass. America had moved on from that, too.
Food had changed. Even now, Albert could smell the paper plate stained with his own dinner in the waste paper basket – hummus, garlic pickles, falafel, Lebanese bread. There was a time when your ordinary white suburbanite didn’t even know what these things were, when the most exotic cuisine he encountered was chop suey in ruby red restaurants with foreign gods on the shelves and an aquarium by the cash register, and where the green bottle with the yellow label would seem right at home next to the tiki glasses behind the bamboo bar. Now that was basic, even quaint, to a people that ate – informed, experienced – Indian, regional Indian, sushi. Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Korean, Peruvian. The knowledge of, appreciation for, booze had grown right along with it. That was in the brief, too.
Albert still hadn’t written a word of copy when he stood up from his desk. He walked to the edge of his department’s area to stand at the glass partition overlooking the atrium, enwrapped in the night sky. From this view he could not quite see, except by the glow of their mobile phones, and barely hear, a group of the interns gathered around one of the common tables on the ground floor, working, laughing, enjoying the assignment. Playing at being ad men and women, though no doubt they soon would be caught up in the real thing, at Braeburn or somewhere else. Trying to determine what things are worth. Trying to persuade others of their value. 

Charlie Kondek is a marketing professional and writer from metro Detroit. His work to date has appeared at, and in Kendo World and other niche publications. More at

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Skinny Dipping by Lauren Scharhag

The first time i went skinny dipping
i was alone at the pool it was close 
to midnight and unable to resist the lure 
of topaz water shimmering against 
summer darkness i shimmied out of my 
suit for just a few minutes because I 
wanted to know what it felt like to let 
the night caress all of me then I put 
the suit back on went inside and 
washed the chlorine from my hair.

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:

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

In That Order by Cherie Rankin

The day you became
my muse was
a Monday.
and whiskey.
In that order.
Standing over the sink after
tomato juice running
our chins,
no plates.
Passion not in grand gesture
but swift and
Later laughing more,
holding down bar stools,
putting down whiskey,
Johnny Lang on the jukebox and
warmed by Jameson.
Bubbles of laughter,
smiles bubbling to the
surface at our good fortune
It was an autumn Monday evening--
Jimi's “Wind cried Mary”
and the sky cried outside
while we were inside warm
from the inside out.
When kissing goodbye,
rain was a cold shiver.

Cherie Rankin is a professor of English at Heartland Community College, in Normal, Illinois; she lives 45 minutes southwest of Normal...  Her work has been published in Dragon Poet Review, Labor: Studies in Working Class History, and Poetry Breakfast. 

Monday, August 21, 2023

Climate Estranged  By Tracey Sivek & JPR

Ink dissolves in promises we entertain as in hopes we cast blind like coins into a well.

Slipping into the abyss with emotions void and razor blades dull…we cry while smiling.

To chase memories instead of one another.

The dull edge of perceived truths, to the harshness of pavements embrace.

It’s there inside the echoes of terminal silence that time fuels the flame of life within our death.

As we escape into treason of an ever illusive hope, tomorrow's burden is but a false alarm.

Tonight's our desecration of sorrows entwined, forever was a promise banked upon ever shifting sands.

Tracey is a native of Northern Michigan.  She has work on Writerscafe and Cosmofunnel.  She is also the Author of "Zero Evidence of Life" found on
Her publications include .
The Abyss, Under The Bleachers , The Rye Whiskey Review and The Dope Fiend Daily.

JPR, is a southern gothic writer his work has been published by.

Disturb The Universe, Horror Sleaze Trash, Piker Press, Fixator Press, The Dope Fiend Daily, Punk Noir Magazine, It Takes All Kinds A Literary Zine, Spill The Words and Fearless Poetry Zine.

His work is often dark and always unfiltered.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

august and there really isn’t a reason to be sad by Scott Ferry

blackberries burst hypertang
blush indigo / overripe berries
slough off like old slang

roses open and open / bees
slip tongues inside filaments
until petals unwing

seabirds scream saltwind
and the sun is an edible god
inside each flesh

the hurt i carry was given
by scared people who couldn’t open
any mercy

paint covers or brightens
each of my openings—
black as new air

i can’t forgive everyone
but i can melt these

fingers brush iridium ash
my heart: a small hive /
a noon burn

the fish are clocks / the gods
unwatered and each apology
to myself—

each acceptance speech—
is not at all

Scott Ferry writes things. He is a RN in the Seattle area. His latest books are The Long Blade of Days Ahead and Midnight Glossolalia (with Lillian Necakov and Lauren Scharhag). More of his work can be found at

Friday, August 18, 2023

Domestic Violence Is On The Rise by Susan Isla Tepper

To the guy who blinds his wife with a punch: long live men.
To the guy who pockets kitchen money for the pub: long live men.
To the guy who calls his wife a fucking bitch: long live men.
To the guy who lashes his children with the belt: long live men.
To the guy who whores around and around: long live men.
To the guy who beats the dog: long live men.
To the guy who forces himself on women: long live men.
To the guy who puts down his wife’s cooking: long live men.
To the guy who inspects the house for dust: long live men.
To the guy who isolates his wife from her family: long live men.
To the guy who expects to be waited on hand & foot: long live men.

To the guy who secretly fears all women: long live men.

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.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Six Haikus by Tohm Bakelas

"Portland, Maine” 

drunk at my third bar  

i stumble through streets unknown—  

i am in bad shape  


“drunk driving in the sun” 

numbed mind, diminished  

insight, death does not always  

present so simple  


“Johnnie's Tavern” 

drunk, i watch broken  

fan blades spin across the  

faded brown ceiling  


“sometimes it's required” 

i drive home drunk with  

the world singing its songs—  

why is peace illegal?  

26.7oz. to freedom” 

one tallboy beer can 

one whiskey nip 

five dollars, seventy-five cents 


hangover haiku” 

seat taken for one  

eggs, toast, hash browns, and pepsi  

i am all right now  

Tohm Bakelas is a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. He was born in New Jersey, resides there, and will die there. His poems have been printed widely in journals, zines, and online publications all over the world.  He has authored twenty-five chapbooks and several collections of poetry, including Cleaning the Gutters of Hell (Zeitgeist Press, 2023).  As editor of Between Shadows Press, he’s curated two editions of the notorious journal, “Haikus, Nearkus, Fauxkus, Fuckyous.” 

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

I Do Not Intend to Be Polite by B. Lynne Zika

Shut up. Put the damn bottle down.
Then go away and leave me alone.
I wish to converse with Death,
that piebald buccaneer with his audacious
humility, quietly slipping in between breaths
so that the next one never comes.
You bastard. You’re trying to get your hands
on [the] one I love. 
You haven’t done enough?
You took his daughter! Barely 
out of her cap and gown. 
Now you plan to take his Life,
a verdant landscape sprung into being 
from a battlefield of need and longing, 
and point it in the direction of nothingness? 

Life takes two people who don’t know how to love
except with entirety, throws them up in the air,
then steps back to watch where they land.
Then you, Hungry Death, come along, 
mouth watering, throwing back shots 
of Ole Smoky Blue Flame Whiskey,
and you tilt the game board just so
so that one of us is aimed in your direction.
You know we’ll fight.

Everyone knows
you’ll win in the end, but I’m taking bets
on the days before. If illness blocks the road
to a Southern wood where I might pluck
one honeysuckle bloom to teach him
the glory of nectar, then I’ll gather fruit
from the local market and layer it
with angel cake and sweet pudding
and lace a hint of orange with Grand Marnier,
then top it with cream whipped to a frenzy,
and I will feed it to him, bite by bite,
his eyes closed so that all of him
is concentrated on his tongue.
No matter what you do, you cannot kill 
the memory of such pleasure.

You separate all in the end,
but you have no power to bring a stop      
to the gorgeous crusade
we mortal combatants call love.

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:

Monday, August 14, 2023

Cold Days by John Drudge

This place creaks
Like an old bed
In the long 
Restless mornings
Of regret
Where the air is stale
And stagnant
And an hour of flesh
Is an hour of life
Blind transactions
In the deep night
Needing to go
Where the darkness lies
Lost in a stone world
As the hours tick down
Cold days

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, August 13, 2023

My dead best friend by Mike Zone

Amongst the devastation
we sat on the floor
passing the bottle back and forth like dead poets pretending to live beat
reading Rumi, Sexton, Dickensen, Ginsberg and Hughes
the furniture stolen
everything of value gone
except the books
the books no one cared about
speaking volumes
the shy boy from the bookstore looked at me longingly with a look of concern
eager for a sense of hope
after my rant on death-culture
Mike Zone
are these the books
we're going to use
to rebuild society
I took a swig and sighed
damned if I knew
then there was a beautiful moment tragic communal silence
of course my fat oaf of a best friend ruined it all
pretending to be intelligent
who had prevented me from hanging myself two days before
asked in his eastern european accent...
Michael, what is the most psychological text, you've ever read?
he's dead
that's it
so many memories
and this is the one that sticks out
maybe it's because we were all so fucking high and nearly pissed ourselves laughing

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.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

I Collect Fine Wines & Near Death Experiences by JPR

To amuse my friends and frustrate my enemies alike.
I have approached the precipice yet never stepped over that edge.

Blood can be replenished, wounds sewn shut.
The memories linger like my perpetual bad habits.

It marvels some, as it frustrates those closest to me.

The edge is so familiar; I wouldn't know how to exist if I didn't have a near-death experience to reflect upon.

As upon the release of several of my books, I've endured a tornado, a house fire, and a mild stroke which wasn't all that bad.

Sipped amongst some glasses of red wine as others tend to keep their distance as the storm clouds stir overhead, for I haven't been struck down by lighting yet to which I grab their hands.

For I've always enjoyed sharing a good buzz and a devilish laugh.

For my most dangerous vice has always been my love of fine whiskey and ever so wild women.

A broken neck stings a tad bit, as equally does a broken heart.

Those emotional scars are far less easy to share, but a bullet wounds kind of badass to start off the conversation upon our first date amongst a sea of knife scars.

But I have some flesh-bound canvas left in case you are looking to add to my collection.

If you believe you can be my death nail to accomplish what the finest could not do, sweetheart, be my guest.

Nine lives don't apply to the devil's favorite demon in training.
But one day,  even the best must bite that proverbial dust.

The moment I stop, I will most likely drop dead where I stand, and the bets are up as to how and when.

But it damn sure isn't tonight  so don't hold your breath because blue doesn't suit you my darling.

And I have far better ideas of how we can entertain this night's witching hours.
I never said I was here for a long time, but I am damn sure here for a good time.

JPR was killed by the illuminati and replaced by a cyborg who oddly enough equally hates everyone the same.

He will be missed by all five of his imaginary friends his body is in a dumpster behind the Old Country Buffet in Virginia Beach Virginia.

He once was happy until he realized he was too tall to be that dwarf.

He was published most recently in the yellow pages this was a life long dream.


Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Suburbian Poem by Wayne Russell

The yellow caution
tape surrounds
freshly laid concrete
like a crime scene.

Birds chirping their
upbeat symphony,
only the occasional
caw of the raven, brings 
this cruel world to a halt.

Alas, that too is temporary.

The marrow of my
bones eventually thaw,
as the work at hand

Tap tap tap, the poem
slowly takes form. 

The birds wave the
baton of madness,
life's symphony continues. 

The tapping upon keys,
slowly chugging along,
decrepit as a bedraggled
My thoughts too, are
struggling with age
and arteritis.

Depression is an
omnipresent cloud
that never fully dissipates.

The beer is a mask to
hide behind, it numbs 
the woes of worthlessness. 

Tap tap tap, the poem has
come to an abrupt halt, the
whistling has stifled into
another round of completion.

Three bone chilling caws,
ring out like shots fired across
the rickety bow of a clipper.

Copious flowers sway helplessly
in the breeze, the grass is emerald 
and merciless today.


Wayne Russell has been many things during his lifetime, he has been a creative writer, world traveler, graphic designer, former soldier, and former sailor.

Wayne has been widely published in both online and hard-copy creative writing magazines. From 2016-17 he founded and edited the now-defunct online creative writing magazine, Degenerate Literature.

In late 2018, the editors at Ariel Chart nominated Wayne for his first Pushcart Prize, in addition; Wayne was nominated for Best of the Net via the editor at The Abyss.

In 2020, Wayne had his debut paperback book of poetry published by Guerrilla Genesis Press; Where Angels Fear is available for purchase on Amazon.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

My Demand by Daniel S. Irwin

I fervently demand that
These wild book burnings
At the local church cease.
That is, of course, until
I can get more copies of
My own book to sell there.

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. 

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Burned hand, or 2-step by Alex Z. Salinas

2 hours 
passed piping
daybreak java
lava spilling 
over around 
into my 
cutting hand 
5 digits
stinging screaming 
O tingling
we were 
singing down 
under spotless 
monday blue 
no 1 
in sight 
to give 
31 july 
damns on 
the oldest 
date of 
my life 
& still 
we’re inquiring 
quite alone:
hey baby
we doing
this right? 
books stacked
on my 
lap: magic
8s soothsaying:
reply hazy
try again—
we always do. 

Alex Z. Salinas is the author of two poetry collections and a book of stories, City Lights From the Upside Down, which was included in the National Book Critics Circle's Critical Notes. His poetry collections Hispanic Sonnets and Trash Poems are forthcoming in 2023. He holds an M.A. in English Literature and Language from St. Mary's University, and lives in San Antonio, Texas. 

Friday, August 4, 2023

Dope Rat by Jon Bennett

Tony has a million dollar condo off Masonic but he spends all his time in the Tenderloin working security for the Aldrich Hotel. They only pay $100 a week but it’s interesting watching the city crumble through the cameras he installed. He’s in an ongoing war with the street people trying to keep them out of the private alley leading to the hotel’s parking lot. We all appreciate Tony. 


One day I see him working on the lock for the gate. While it’s been broken the alley filled up with junkies taking shits, leaving shit, smoking shit. I’m glad to see him. 


“Tony! You OK!” 

“I’m fine, been waiting on parts.” 


We’re standing by a rat hole dug out under the foundation which Tony filled with industrial foam. Right above the hole is graffiti of a black rat, in silhouette, with the letters “f u” under it. 


“I wonder who did that picture,” I say. 

“Not me. At least the foam seems to have worked. I saw him come out one night on the CCTV so I ran down here. Emptied a whole cannister into it.” 

“I still see them,” I say. “They’ve colonized the parking lot.” 

“Yeah. I used to watch this one in particular,” he says pointing to the hole. “He’d come out here and drink the junkie’s piss.” 


The shallow driveway to the gate is the only place to take a piss on the block. There’s always a puddle there. 

“He’d come out here and suck it up. In fact he seemed to prefer it fresh and steamy.” 

“That rat got strung out,” I say. 

“That’s what I figure. He sure did have a lot of energy.” 


The major drug in the area is EVERYTHING – meth, crack, fetty, and of course Steel Reserve beer. 


       “There no way he wasn’t getting fucked up on that piss,” I say. 

            “Yep,” says Tony. “You ever see a pigeon smoking a cigarette?” 


            “I’ll call you next time I see one.” 



Jon Bennett writes and plays music in San Francisco.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Reggae Girlz & Stoppage Time by Don Robishaw

Three drinking buds are watching a soccer game via SKYPE. Tom lives in Thailand, Mark in the Philippines (half a year), and Don here lives in exotic Lowell, Massachusetts.
“When we reach the end of the road, wouldn't it be cool if we have extra time,” Tom says after many cold Red Stripes?”
Mark nods. He does that a lot.
We love Jamaica, mon. Sometimes it takes a while after we return home to switch to our own everyday language. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, so they say. What follows is a fictional tale:

The goalie swings back and forth. She dives, falls, cannot block the shot. Goal. . . . . . . . . . . . !

Bloodied from the face-plant and double-body-bounce, the fading star pounds reddened fists into the field. 

She lies lifeless. Last breath, exhale.

The sky opens.Ya, ‘mon’?

Blood pours from the sieve that is the goalie’s nose. One hand presses into her chest. “Who’s that?”

Ya know, little sister.

“Please, another chance at glory, ‘mon’?”

No problem. You’ve accrued forty-eight months of stoppage time. It expires in 2023.

She rises. “We’ll be back . . . in many a day.”

So will I.

*Cheers! Jamaica moves on to the knock out round in the 2023 World Cup.

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.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023


eat a shroom 
smoke a joint
sing a song
read a poem
try to think
differently today
than yesterday 
evolve or
not sure which
one day
to the next
earth is rotating 
so just don’t 
get used to
the same ole
same ole or
risk becoming 
a dinosaur
and extinction is
no laughing matter.

Scott C. Kaestner is a Los Angeles poet, writer, dad, husband, and man who believes in the therapeutic nature of a day at the beach. Google “scott kaestner poetry” to peruse his musings and doings.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Don’t Die in a Motel Toilet By PW Covington

Coughing, out of breath
On a motel toilet
Brownsville border Texas
Can’t catch my breath
Hacking, chopping
Strong sativa on top of speedball
Can’t catch my breath

Don’t die in a motel toilet
Don’t die in a motel toilet
Deny the bastards
Their fucking cliché
Don’t die on a motel toilet
It’s a mantra

As I piss in fits and starts, sitting
The edges of the waterroom go dark
Do not die in a motel toilet
All road poet kicks and diatribes, aside
I cling to that mantra
Don’t die in a motel toilet

…and I don’t die
I catch my breath
And the lights come back
And I wipe my balls
And the ring in the tip
And stand up

Flush and cross the room
Step out onto the humid midnight balcony
Avoiding mirrors
And hit
That jay
One more time

Before sleep

  PW Covington writes in the Beat tradition of the North American highway.
He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, two blocks north of Historic Route 66.

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