Tuesday, October 31, 2023

The Devil Is Mr Robbins By JPR


It was near dark and the little bedwetters had already begun the ritual of knocking on every available door to beg for candy.


Because, apparently, I lived in the one place on that prick God’s green earth that allowed shitheads to still trick or treat.


I had left an offering of a bowl of mixed crap like some Chiclets, Juicy Fruit, paper clips, Soap, Whistling Pines Stationary, and some condoms (yeah, like I was gonna ever use them), with a note that read, "Take whatever you want, just don't bang on the goddamned door! I'm hungover and hate humanity. Yes, this includes all things currently breathing and some assorted animals, too."


And although I had clearly stated my case, like clockwork the pounding began. My head felt as though it was being ear raped by the Mickey Mouse Club.


At last, I opened the door to this dwarf convention. And, in my friendliest, woke voice, I tucked my cock between my legs and shouted in a passive-aggressive way, "Okay, you guys or whatever term you go by! Why don't you take whatever, go to my meth-addicted neighbors and pound on their door. Yell, ‘Police; come out with your hands up!’ and enjoy counting how many white trash idiots and near ravenous dogs you can fit in a candominium."


The little brats stood there, a bit in shock, until the little girl who was dressed in a woman's natural form, a bloodthirsty demon, spoke up. "Mr. Robbins, why are you such an asshole?"


"Well, Lilith, that's a very complex question to answer. But to simplify it, I believe I was always this way, or maybe I'm just deeply damaged and need lots of therapy or some really good drugs and low priced hookers to repair that void deep within my nonexistent heart."


The children remained silent, aside from the she-devil who simply replied, "That's stupid, and by the way this crap sucks so give us something good, you cheap bastard."


"Yeah, hand it over, asshole!" Lilith's little buddy dressed as Jack Sparrow snapped.


"Wow, Johnny Depp, I never thought I'd see you sink so low as to beg people for candy. I mean, I always had you pegged for a wine and cigarette type or maybe just the getting pegged type, but what you do hanging with washed up rock stars is your business. I'm just saying."


"You're weird." Mini Jack Sparrow replied.


And as I stood there trying to figure just what it was gonna take to appease these little bastards, a father walked up with his little Disney princess. Or a stripper dwarf. I really can't see for shit, so don't judge me. It’s called getting old and it fucking sucks.


"Hey kids, what's going on?"


"Hey Mr. Jenks, this weirdo is being a total tight ass!"


The dork with height deprived Cinderella looked at the little demon, shocked. "Rebecca Dodge! Watch your language, you shouldn't talk to adults that way!"


"Yeah, you little demonic bitch!"


"John, what the fuck, man? You can't cuss kids, just give them some candy and they will leave you alone."


I was puzzled how this strange man with the Cinderella dwarf knew my name. I mean, I'm not paranoid, but I have zero friends without benefits that I don't pay for and yeah, I mean, I don't swing that way unless I'm in college, working as a janitor, solving advanced physics problems. I mean, not to brag. But, they based a movie on me. Have you heard of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre?


"Dude. It's Marty, we went to school together."


"Oh shit, Marty, yeah, wow, umm, so many good memories, man! Like uhh, how's your, I don't, I mean. Unless you have tits, I can't recall."


"I mean, we were like best friends in high school, man. You said we would always be bros!"


"Jesus Christ, dude, I say a lot fucked up things I can't recall. Like, sure I'll pull out. Wink wink. I mean, fuck, lighten up Brokeback. I hate people. Did the Fuck Off mat outside the door not give it away?"


We all stood there. It was almost like a mental Mexican standoff, or one of those fruit loop shitty Marvel movies with mini versions of Jack Sparrow, Spider Man, and Black Widow. Alongside Lilith and Cinderella. 


I know what you're thinking. That sounds like a mixed universe porn which I'm sure someone already made because if some dork creates it, that same dork wants to usually watch someone else fuck it for free on a dirty porn site.


Least that's what I’ve heard.


It was tense. I felt the urge to just lock my door or hand everyone a scoop of ice cream but apparently that guy who maced me wasn't trick or treating. He was an actual cop and apparently it’s illegal to have a fucked up sense of humor these days.


"John, don't you have any candy, for fucks sake, man?"


I paused, thinking to myself, further annoying everyone, including you reading this because I am a sadistic asshole who is actually the Antichrist who is watching you, even at this very moment. For fucks sake, put some pants on, you fucking weirdos!


Then I was hit with a jolt of what I believe most people would refer to as a thought. It's much like what collegiate wrestlers call an oil check, which is when you suddenly shove your thumb up your opponent’s ass. Yes, when in Rome do some really homoerotic stuff to fend off your enemy. Some call it defense, others call it foreplay, whatever floats your twisted little paper boats my darlings. I'm just saying…


I left my unwanted company as quickly as sanity flew from Brittney Spears' mind, along with her nonexistent talent.


I re-emerged with an assortment of candies, chocolates, and goodies.


The children all cheered and lit up like Christmas trees. Or churches when you lit them on fire. I'm kidding, kinda.


Even my old friend I could not recall and his odd dwarf companion seemed happy as suddenly two very sexy non trick or treaters walked up.


"Wow, who are they?" The, until now, mini Spider Man who I thought was mute asked.


"Well Spidey, that's Mr. Robbins special friend, Toni, and her fellow dancer gal pal. Cinnamon or Cindy or who gives a shit because if you pay enough you can call them whatever the fuck you want."


Marty gawked at the naughty school girl who was apparently held back many a year and given lots and lots and lots of milk. And a sexy nun who I believe was not truly a nun, or from the way she was built was gonna give me plenty of things to confess this weekend.


As these fine young ladies made their way inside, Marty now glared at me.


"Dude were those hookers?"


"Well, dude, they're certainly not Jehovah's Witnesses, dumbass. I mean, besides dude, I didn't judge you when ya walked up with that dwarf Cinderella chick."


"That’s my daughter, you fucking idiot! Come on, kids, we need to leave Mr. Robbins is just plain demented." Marty shouted.


The little kids remained silent as Captain Tight-ass made his exit. In passing, mini Spiderman fist bumped me, because even superheros like hot strippers. Just like Jesus did.


I watched them leave and had to laugh to myself because after those edibles I handed those kids kicked in, well, if their parents thought they were hell on candy just wait till that THC hit them.


Party on children and hail Satan.


Kisses snuggle buggles from a true Carolina Reaper.

Au revoir, my darlings.






JPR takes great pleasure in offending everyone equally; he owns an ever-expanding cemetery franchise and currently is a writer in residence in the third circle of hell better known as Knotts Island, North Carolina. His work has been published in the finest smut magazines that you most likely never read because you were too busy jerking off to the pictures of beautiful sunsets and big-breasted maidens having sex on the beach, much like the author of this masterpiece. He once had a soul before he sold it at the crossroads underneath a full moon for an extra large pizza and case of beer. He also vacations at the Shady Pines mental facility, where he has earned a degree in finger painting to add to his many academic accolades. So, nah, nah to you. He is also the spokesman for the national bug-light awareness group called bzzzzzz. All the voices in his head agree he is a nice lady.

Monday, October 30, 2023

In Search of Something By Skaja Evens


I rejoined a dating app last night

Considering my current options, none seem viable


Or willing


To share affection with me

Everyone’s busy with other people, other things


I’ll continue to swipe left on most potential suitors

As I slowly wither away, devoid of the sunshine and water that would have me flourish

As I’m in my Too Muchness, too brilliant for anyone not wearing shades


I saw a memory last night

A photo of me, recharged and blissful

Smiling and momentarily happy

Only a year ago, but feels like ten lifetimes


I told some friends when the marriage ended

That was probably the end of my sex life

I’ve been mostly right when I look at the lineup of mistakes

And the occasional excellent choice with bad timing


Now I know what you’ll say

How I’m manifesting that into being, with my negative vibes or some bullshit

However, when someone like me, with particular proclivities, 

Finds herself alone

Filling that void isn’t as simple as saying yes to the next invitation






Skaja Evens is a writer, publisher, and artist living in Southeast Virginia. She edits It Takes All Kinds Literary Zine and Disturb The Universe Magazine, both published by Mōtus Audāx Press. She’s been published in Spillwords Press, The Rye Whiskey Review, Medusa's Kitchen, Synchronized Chaos, Blue Pepper, Ink Pantry, Off The Coast, Black Shamrock, and The Crossroads Lit Magazine, among others. She often listens to music, considers the impossible, and enjoys her cats’ antics.



Sunday, October 29, 2023

The Knife by JD Clapp

In the glow of a neon Alaskan Ale sign, a taxidermized moose vacantly watching the drunks, Harper took his knife from his belt and rested it by his whisky on the bar top. Despite the ache in his gnarled fingers, he enjoyed its familiar heft as he gripped the scales. He took a sip of his third whisky. 

He revisited the night he traded for the knife in a similar costal town, in a similar fishermen’s bar. That was over five decades ago. He remembered the older man, an indigenous artisan he had never met before, sat next to him, and struck up a conversation. The man told Harper her had forged the knife from tool steel, then used it several years. He asked to see Harper’ new Buck knife. Harper remembered their exchange:

“Do you want to trade?” the man asked.

“This is a brand-new Buck knife, why would I trade you for that old thing?” 

“My knife has stories, yours does not,” the man said.

“What kinda stories?”

“I stuck a man who tried to shoot me in a bar fight with it. I finished off a bull moose with it…”

“Those are some big stories, partner,” Harper said.

Several drinks and yarns later they made the trade; Harper never regretted making it.

##

He looked down and considered the knife carefully—something he hadn’t done in years. With a full tang butcher blade, the point and front spine were just thin enough for fileting salmon, but heavy enough to process big game. Just before the handle, the spine was scarred from lifting beer caps and throwing sparks off a ferrocerium rod. He fingered choil, then the naturally textured moose antler skins. It was practical, and good looking. Harper noticed the wear – the blade now one-sixteenth of inch smaller than the day it was pounded into life from fire and steel. He kept it razor sharp, each pass over the honing stone taking a little of her vitality. But it still has life ahead of it. 

Harper drained his glass and motioned the barkeep, Tommy, over. 

“Hittin’ it hard tonight, Harper. You all good?”

“Yup. All good. Just a long week, that’s all.”

Tommy poured another Dickle double neat.

 Harper look down at the knife that had spent countless days strapped to his belt searching for moose, bear, and deer, always capable of the butchering and skinning tasks ahead. It had been his companion on the river’s edge, an extension of him, together making quick work of fileting salmon and trout. It had bounced thousands of miles on his truck’s dash and the chart table of his boat’s pilot house. It had stories…Harper’s stories, the man’s stories.

Harper downed his whisky. He spun the knife on the bar top and a lazy arch. It has at least another story in it.

He picked it up and put back in the oiled and patinaed leather sheath. He put two twenties on the bar, nodded at Tommy, and walked out into the cold night. 

Harper walked to his truck and light a Camel. He leaned on against the old Silverado and looked back at the bar and then to the small marina. He could make out the radar unit on his pilot house.

 Enjoying the cold, he gazed up to the single streetlight and watched the snow fall in its conical glow-- God’s showerhead. He smoked.

A year without treatment…maybe three with. No more guiding or fishing. Lots of rest. And the treatment will make you sick before you get well…That’s what the doc said. 

Harper climbed in the truck and set the knife on the dashboard in its place. He lit another Camel with his Zippo. His mind came clear.

We still have another year’s worth of stories...

He started his truck, then drove home over the frozen dirt truck trail to his cabin overlooking the bar and marina.  The knife bounced on the dash with each rut and bump, ready for whatever came next.



His work has appeared in Wrong Turn Literary, The Milk House, The Whisky Blot, and several others. His story, One Last Drop, was a finalist in the 2023 Hemingway Shorts Literary Journal, Short Story Competition.


 


Friday, October 27, 2023

If You Get Well What Will Keep You Up At Night by Jake St. John & Jenn Knickerbocker

If you get well
what will keep you 
up at night
maybe the thought
of you 
maybe my hand
upon your cheek
barren 
by the lack
of tears
like the drought
that has consumed me
I'll bring you water
I'll quench your thirst 
let us become one
in this moment 
and swallow life 
in great gulps
as I sit beside 
your bed 
and think 
to younger days
when nights 
were longer 
and mornings
were bright
and Death
was not 
staring me 
down.



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.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Another Night With Johnny Walker by Scott Simmons

My mind wanders as I sit at the barstool. 
And I find myself thinking of you. 

As I take a sip for every regret I’ve made. 
And I buy more rounds to get past tonight.

Until I’m the last one at the bar to close my tab.  
And I leave content with my loneliness.  

As the stars faintly glimmer above me. 
While the night winds softly cry. 

And life moves on.



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

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Hippo-Colored Hungry by PW Covington

Hippo-colored
Dogmice
Triphop and acid jazz
Afternoon Fresca can
Pickle slices from the jar
Sink and swim
Catalytic slip-stream smoke
Two zips of shake
In the glovebox
Lovebox
Magic fungus time
State lines in the snow
           and
Hippo-colored hungry
Gas station burrito
All’s Up
Leather toilet paper and 
Cornell ‘77
On the Bluetooth sound stream
Highway neonspace at noon
Dogmice
Nickle-plated
Knuckle smash
Nile and Rubicon
State lines in the snow
Vapid grain vodka and orange juice
Hippo-colored hungry




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.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Two Thumbs Up by Ivan Jenson

I am politely
bowing out
without applause
cause I know
there will be
no standing ovation
or handshake
back slap
or heartfelt
congratulation
from anybody
other than
yours truly
the underdog
that one nobody
bet on anyway
because I was
underrated
under the radar
and always stood
under the rainbow
until I was
over the hill
now I am stepping out
of the matrix
I don't know about you
but I'm content
letting Keanu Reeves
get his kicks
while I just
kick back
chill and Netflix



Ivan Jenson is a fine artist, novelist and popular contemporary poet who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

His artwork was featured in Art in America, Art News, and Interview Magazine and has sold at auction at Christie’s. Amongst Ivan’s commissions are the final portrait of the late Malcolm Forbes and a painting titled “Absolut Jenson” for Absolut Vodka’s national ad campaign. His Absolut paintings are in the collection of the Spritmuseum, the museum of spirits in Stockholm, Sweden. Jenson’s painting of the “Marlboro Man” was collected by the Philip Morris corporation. 

His novels, Dead Artist and Seeing Soriah, illustrate the creative, often dramatic lives of artists. Jenson’s poetry is widely published (with over 1000 poems published in the US, UK and Europe) in a variety of literary media. He has published a poetry book, Media Child and Other Poems, and two novels, Marketing Mia and Erotic Rights. 

Mundane Miracles, his critically acclaimed poetry collection, hit number 1 on Amazon in American Poetry.

East of Ivan, his memoir, has continuously been on the Amazon Bestsellers list since its release. 

Ivan Jenson’s website: www.ivanjenson.com
Twitter: @IvanJenson

Monday, October 23, 2023

Amy by Wayne F. Burke

wearing her tie-dye t-shirt
into the meeting
and crying, and
said "he died!"
And someone said "who?"
And Amy said "Jerry!"
Jerry? Jerry who?
Jerry with the cowboy hat?
Jerry from Barre?
"No!" Amy said, sniffling, wiping
strands of strawberry hair from
her eyes:
"Jerry Garcia!"




Wayne F. Burke's poetry and prose has been widely published in print and online (including in THE RYE WHISKEY REVIEW). He was nominated for a Pushcart by THE DOPE FIEND DAILY in 2022. He lives in Vermont (USA).

Friday, October 20, 2023

Out Cold By K.G. Munro


The bar feels like home

With dead flies in the corner

And a mist of cigarette smoke  

Floating beneath the dingy 

yellow light that flickers 

Over a creaky pool table 

As the TV hums in the background

Each glass of dark amber relief

Carries me further into 

A numbed state as I retreat

Away from the call of a

Broken life beyond the heavy metal 

Door that symbolizes my mind

As I briefly chat with the barman 

To sate my loneliness for a while 

Before I sip the final glass

Out cold I become across

the sticky bar stools.






K.G. Munro is an author and poet. Here are a few of her writing credits: Indian Periodical, Ink Pantry, The Wombat Post, Pawners Papers, Reformed Journal, FreshOutMag, Spillwords, Scottish Book Trust, Mad In America, Earthly Comforts and Humans Of The World Blog. 


Thursday, October 19, 2023

 A Hard Slap of Rain By Michael Minassian


You once said I was better 
than
your favorite whiskey;
back then, the rain 
tapped on the windows
like a typewriter
in an endless paragraph
we wrote together.

Last night, each drop 
of rain sounded
like pebbles we threw 
in the lake:
a hard slap before 
they sank to the bottom—

The last thing you said 
as you poured another drink
was how you hated the rain;
maybe that’s why I left, 
climbing out the window 
to make my escape.






MICHAEL MINASSIAN is a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online poetry journal. His poetry collections Time is Not a River, Morning Calm, and A Matter of Timing as well as a new chapbook, Jack Pays a Visit, are all available on Amazon. For more information:
https://michaelminassian.com

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

The Bloody Mary Moon By Sharon Waller Knutson

is lighting up our yard

and my memories.

I can see my grandmother

in her curlers and housecoat

pouring V-8 Juice, Vodka,

and Worcestershire Sauce

into a mason jar and stirring

in salt and pepper before drinking

it down as I eat my Cheerios

with milk and drink my orange

juice in my pajamas. When I ask

what she is drinking and if I can

have some, she says, Bloody Mary.

Only for adults. One time I take

a sip when she turns her back

and it tastes so nasty 

I decide to be a child forever.







Sharon Waller Knutson has published eleven poetry books including The Leading Ladiees in My Life ( Cyberwit 2023) and her twelfth book, My Grandfather is a Cowboy is forthcoming in 2024. Her work has also appeared in more than 50 journals including One Art, Poetry Breakfast and Autumn Sky Poetry Daily.


Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Frisco Street Poet by Curtis Blazemore

for Zach Houston

sings like tequila for dollar a poem
slinging words like idiot street-corner savior
that he is
just sings it
for chrissakes works out a genius eight-liner on his
sunlit typewriter right
before my sunday morning eyes
crowds edging around his vaguely turdly smell but
I keep forking over bills
witness to poetic will I covet more
purely than any woman I’ve ever seen
knocking out little diamonds any topic
or theme
answers questioned
surprises reversed
structures built and designed in
rhythm with meter & slanted rhyme…

dude can make a bowl of meaning anywhere
& that’s it that’s the bravery
parking yourself on a corner imagining
poems for any random dick or jenny &
doing it man
I mean really doing it then just
shooing poems & people away like dirty orphans




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.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Internal Riot by Jonathan Butcher

All it took was a misplaced word
to ensure the sparks flew, 
and where they fell, the fires 
quickly created backdrafts. 
This entire city was under our palms,
our hands, however, struggled to hold a drunken 
balance. 

The concrete blocks slowly eroded,
almost in tandem with the surrounding
trees now surrendering to October.
The leaves of dry paint and rot created
a snow scene amongst the tagged 
and broken fences in our wake,
our lazy hands now grateful for the labour. 

Our feet hammered upon the pavement,
the shadows of closed shops store 
our yells that drench out the falling
glass, which splintered our fingers
for decades to come; the sirens
fail to deafen us, as it became apparent 
guilt is the last and the only emotion we lack.





Jonathan Butcher has had poems appear in various print and online publications including, The Morning Star, Mad Swirl, Drunk Monkeys, The Abyss, Cajun Mutt Press and others. His fourth chapbook, 'Turpentine' was published by Alien Buddha Press.
He is also the editor of online poetry journal Fixator Press. 

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Onward by Jeff Weddle

Every hot day, hot night, 
all the beer and pool, 
even the bowling, 
every minute spent talking stories 
and poems, 
barrooms, cigarettes, 
the spectacular vulgarity 
of bright youth, 
everyone in blue jeans and t-shirts 
or those all in black, 
the ones hiding 
in back of the classroom 
and the loud ones in the street, 
friends, enemies, neighbors, 
the cheating girlfriends, 
the backstabbers, the saints, 
the as-good-as dead,
the punks and hippies and bums, 
the good dogs and shifty cats, 
the drugs and the jails 
and all the nights 
spent beneath 
the rain, the stars, 
or the beckoning moon, 
all of it gone. 
Sure, write it down. 
Take a picture. 
Paint it in oils. 
Nothing works, 
so there’s nothing to do. 
You can’t go back 
and it’s not 
like you thought it was 
anyway. 
So forget it. 
Move on. 
To hell with everything. 
Keep burning.




Jeff Weddle is a poet and writer living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His most recent books are Driving the Lost Highway (Uncollected Press, forthcoming) and a volume of selected poems in Albanian translation, VRITMË NËSE KE KOQE (Kosovo: Sabaiumbb 2023). His work has also appeared in Spanish translation. Jeff teaches in the School of Library and Information Studies at The University of Alabama. 

Drunk Haze by George Gad Economou

swilling down bourbon till the very end of memories,  stumbling my way out of the barroom engirdled by fancy dinner-goers in a bar not for d...