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Drew Pisarra

Eros Thanatos Brutus Am I sick? And does sobriety mean this body will walk without knots while soaking up life’s crassest joke? Who does that? Again, am I sick? And will I take to a healthy bed where I’ll have the courage to act sick at night and attract neo-kink-isms fostered by some sister spirit that fists and fingers a long-misnamed disease? There is a crime of illness in your mind that I need to know better and more: along the way I promise you beauty, I promise you warmth. But first, desire: Tell me why are you so hard-headed, so hard-hearted, so hard-pressed, so hard that you should have me on repeat: for here are six or seven me’s hiding faces and phalluses in the dark. Mourning the Crown Prince Grief doesn’t linger. It sticks. It makes the hands fumble and the throat gunge up. Time doesn’t heal. Time inserts itself within the pain. The clock is crueler than the calendar. Eventually the hour hand lets up. In the almanacs charting t
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David L. Williams

Homework Dylan’s desk did not stay vacant long, Though I know it got stared at emptily A short while, till it got reshuffled back In line with other daily absurdity. He’d been a quiet kid, and had no friends That I could tell, but of the pleasant kind Who did his homework, stayed out of the way, Polite enough in ways we teachers liked. I never got to know him very well, Grading his papers, making pleasantries That daily went by virtually unnoticed As Dylan did, almost in secrecy. Not bothering others, he got left alone, So it’s no big surprise that no one knew him, And none of us knew much about his family As we discovered sadly on that day. Administration promptly filled me in Before the first bell rang, and now the kids Had filed in, edging around his desk, Then sitting quietly, and so I guessed They’d heard the news, at least from one another. Surprisingly, there wasn’t any comments. From what we knew, there wasn’t much to say; Eerily gone, with his ent

PRYING, Jack Micheline, Charles Bukowski, Catfish McDaris, a Review

Roadside Press $18.00 https://www.magicaljeep.com/product/prying/71 Limited Edition of 69 The three poets nesting cheek by jowl in this fetching 2022 reprint of the 1997 Four-Sep Publications chapbook Prying from small press dynamo Michele McDannold's Roadside Press will be familiar to anyone paying attention to even the tiniest of the outlaw poetry scene in the last 50 or so years: Charles Bukowski, Catfish McDaris and Jack Micheline. Bukowski and Micheline need little introduction; their long shadows hover over the outlaw poetry world even now years after their deaths. And the third, the only living poet of the three within, Catfish McDaris, has been building his own small press reputation with considerable success, for nearly as long as the former men. Illustrations are from Scott Aicher. It's most fun to talk about the living McDaris. He appeared and appears so widely it's difficult to keep track and critique, or not, but as his portion of the cover copy says, he doesn

David Centorbi

The Magic was Amazing It felt me up. And I was confused. So I asked the sparrow with the broken wing, “Why does magic feel so cold when it touches my skin?” But all he said was, “Please turn the channel to a new episode, this corner of despair is taken.” I laughed because the cold started scratching down the middle of my back. “Can you hear that?” a voice from the dark asked. “Hear what?” “The sad silly song I’m playing down your spine.” I closed my eyes and listened. Sure enough, I heard it– something like the whispers in between a mummer and a whimper. “Is that what magic sounds like?” I asked. The voice from the dark just sniffed at my question. “Are you deciding if it smells good enough to answer?” I teased. Then the chill got colder. I felt my limbs tighten until I fell stiff as a soup spoon onto the floor. All around me the sniffing sound, the cold getting colder, but I started to feel warmer and warmer, “Until the cold will burn you away,

Rob Plath

doomed love songs baudelaire you died at 46 & i feel guilty b/c i’m 51 now why should i live longer than a beautiful dark giant? maybe living longer isn’t so great especially if yr a failure like myself living in a busted dungeon alone baudelaire there are so many cigarette burns in this carpet like the fossils of fallen black stars i count them over & over but still can’t sleep the windows are falling out of their rotted sills i stub my insomniac toes on broken tiles in the sleepless dark the cat is sleeping in the window tho the moon light a ghostly second coat every decrepit window is magic w/ her in it baudelaire i’d give you my five years if i could just to see another poem of yrs you lovely green haired dandy of doom i feel guilty for walking about on the planet while my idols are mere dust baudelaire i smoked outside before while october crickets sang for love last week i read their amorous songs attract parasitic flies tho

John Tustin

Inclusivity Every literary journal claims to be searching far and wide For the poet who is not like the others; The poet who has been previously and permanently excluded By society at large and the literary gatekeepers in particular And I want to tell them about How I loved her more than anyone could; How my hate is as spectacularly unique As my love; That I graduated from nowhere, I learned only through life, the books I’ve chosen, The pain I’ve internalized, the rays of sadness That beam from my house alone; That I’m the only me there is, My uniqueness extends everywhere – From the words I choose to my odd gait To the thoughts I think and attempt to convey And that my cover letter doesn’t say anything Not better expressed in the packet of poems They may or may not end up reading After they decide whether or not I’m in the Class of the Excluded. Deadline He put the pistol in my hand. Don’t ask me what kind, I didn’t know anything about guns. T

Tohm Bakelas

160 E. Main Street down at the exchange where coke is passed around like change owed from a tab, i sit in the darkness with my beer and pay no mind. in this life we all have too many chances but not enough fight, not enough fight and too many chances. but down here we all gather, a lost congregation praying for continued solitude with fading hope that an unfamiliar face says “hello.” but here the coke goes to and fro, up noses and tucked into seamless pantyhose, blue bras, and flannel shirt pockets. and in the darkness i wait, cigarette lit, beer sweating, me sweating, while tomorrow morning creeps in, and soon i’ll return to a place where people laugh all day long when no jokes are being told, where no jokes are ever told. 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 appeared in numerous journals, zines, and online publications. He ha