Saturday, March 3, 2018

Choosing a version, by Rob Plath

you dream yr mother’s alive again & yr both discussing her death.  in the dream, the dead version’s in the cemetery like in real life & the alive version sits at the kitchen table w/you. the alive version is trying to ease yr grief. she keeps telling you not to dwell on the dead version. it’s strange tho b/c the alive version isn’t bothered at all by the dead version.  the alive version only thinks of you.  you both continue into the wee hours of the night.  when you awake in the morning, the mid-September light is shining.  you jump up & make green tea & open the kitchen window.  the breeze presses thru the mesh, generously filling the little room.

Rob Plath is a 47-year-old poet from New York. He has over a dozen books out. He is most known for his collection A BELLYFUL OF ANARCHY (epic rites press). He lives alone with his cat and stays out of trouble. See more of his work at

Friday, February 9, 2018

Oblivious, by Misty Skaggs


If you try and convince me
you can’t smell the rain coming,
I’m liable to conclude
you’re full of shit.
Or else I’d shake my head
and bless your heart.
It’s hard to imagine existing

with your nose stuck in the air
and not a clue what the wind
is trying to tell you.
Listen. The rain crows
are cooing soft warnings
as they pick through the grass
waiting for the worms to wake up.
Look. Every little leaf
turns its pale belly skyward.
There’s a storm coming
and they’re ready to drink it all in. 

Misty Skaggs is an author, artist and activist hunkered down at the end of a gravel road in East Kentucky. Read more of her poems and see pictures of her favorite tree on Instagram @mistymarierae.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Hunger by John Grochalski


he’s eating something italian
out of a styrofoam container
over a blue garbage can that matches his coat
occasionally he lifts up a plastic jug to his mouth
and takes a big drink
of something cloudy that has noodles in it
he’s a discerning and somewhat picky eater
picking things out of the can
and discarding them at will
he likes the half-eaten bacon roll
but isn’t much for the unwrapped snickers
a few blocks ago i had a hunger that i couldn’t stand
and had to stop and split a butter bagel with my wife
after all, it had been ten hours since my last meal
and i wasn’t sure if i could hold out for lunch
he goes back to the italian food
which might be beef or chicken or, god forbid, veal
there’s not even an italian joint around this block
so someone had to go far to toss this out
but it’s his good luck that it was sitting there
on top of the half-drunk tub of coffee
and the barely touched pork fried rice
he has a beard like santa claus
that is wet from the cloudy noodle concoction
just like the front of his coat is soggy too
and as he chews he doesn’t even watch the crowd
glide by playing on cell phones
while i think for a single moment
about buying him a bagel and a coffee
but don’t because i’m a chicken
and i’d probably be doing it more for myself than him anyway
so i walk off and head into sunset park
so proud of my imaginary altruism
astounded that my stomach is still growling
taking pictures of that beautiful skyline of manhattan
there in the distance
looking fat enough to feed off of everyone
looking like a crystal or golden palace of plenty
depending on your position
and the tilt of the morning sun.

John Grochalski is the author of 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 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, December 26, 2017

A History of Grief, by Tom Darin Liskey

A History of Grief

There were nights
I couldn’t sleep
After you died.
The cancer 
That stole our father
Took you as well.
In Geneva
Your ghost came
Back to me
In a rush of memories
The coma.
The hospital bed.
The brass crucifix on the wall.
The cancer growing
Your broken body.
Grief turned
My eyelids
Inside out
Like celluloid;
Flayed my heart open
Like a dumb animal.
So, I dreamed awake
Like ghosts do
Walking the narrow
Night streets of Carouge
Past alleyways
Where Arab boys
Sold hashish,
My feet moving
Always forward
To a clock
Without hands
Every muscle
Yearning for exhaustion
Something to bring rest,
But none ever came.
I became a stranger to myself
Hating the reflection
I saw in darkened shop windows—
The ghost of a drowned man
Floating on black water.
An image that only you would understand,
My sister.

Tom Darin Liskey spent nearly a decade working as a journalist in Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil. His fiction and non fiction have appeared in the Crime Factory, and Driftwood Press. His photographs have been published in Hobo Camp Review, Roadside Fiction, Blue Hour Magazine, Synesthesia Literary Journal and Midwestern Gothic. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Dennis Mahagin & Susan Tepper

Blow It Out

It comes from that place 
of hunger and thirst
I bow,
you drip honey in my tea
call it love
make ourselves
laugh, high
the room
spinning, ears ringing
colors across a dead ceiling.
I’m relevance relinquished.
You’re pirate without a ship.
Stranger things occur
and are 
I take off my blouse;
sparks pop 
with the buttons 
and darkness scissors 
the room.

Dennis Mahagin is the author of two poetry collections: “Grand Mal” published by Rebel Satori Press, and “Longshot and Ghazal,” from Mojave River Press. He’s also the Poetry Editor for a magazine called FRiGG, and sometimes plays the bass guitar in a rock band (and a blues band!) in Deer Lodge, Montana. 

Susan Tepper is the author of seven published books of fiction and poetry. Her newest title "Monte Carlo Days & Nights" is a linked-story collection set at the French Riviera, and just out from Rain Mountain Press, NYC. 'Live From The Algonquin Hotel' is her author/book interview series, plus Tepper runs the reading series FIZZ at KGB Bar, sporadically ongoing these past ten years.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Heavy Rotation

I see this fat kid get on the Tilt-a-Whirl
at the county fair
in a spinning tea cup
all by himself
and the weight of him sitting down
bounces his cup noticeably
so that the kids in the other cups
all snicker and point.
Even the ride operator laughs.
I feel bad for the kid.
As the ride starts up, the gears grind
and everyone looks accusingly
at the fat kid.

And soon they are spinning
and screaming with arms in the air.
I watch the fat kid go around
a few times.

Blank-faced as though he doesn’t
know he is there.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Rusty Truck, Red Fez, Live Nude Poems, and The Oklahoma Review.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Yuan Changming


At the same height of
            Every rocky mountain
       Above all seasonal change
You are widely cut open

As if to bite a whole patch of
      Sky from heaven
With rows of rows of
Whale-like teeth

Yuan Changming, nine-time Pushcart and one-time Best of Net nominee, published monographs on translation before moving out of China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver; credits include Best of Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17), BestNewPoemsOnline, Threepenny Review and 1319 others.