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Brian Rihlmann

if there’s a god I have only one request  and that is— grant me eyes to see in them what I see in a old farm truck rusting in a field
how prisms  shine through  shattered glass
how wildflowers sprout through holes in the floorboards 
Brian Rihlmann was born in New Jersey and currently resides in Reno, Nevada.  He writes free verse poetry, much of it on the confessional side.  He has been published in Blognostics, Yellow Mama, Raven Cage Zine, Synchronized Chaos, Cajun Mutt Press, The Rye Whiskey Review, and others.
Recent posts

Survival Tips for the Pending Apocalypse by Shawn Pavey, reviewed by Rusty Barnes

Survival Tips for the Pending Apocalypse
Shawn Pavey
154 pages
Spartan Press
May 30 2019
reviewed by Rusty Barnes

Shawn Pavey's book Survival Tips for the Pending Apocalypse has been on my radar for some time. I travel in or closely observe the outskirts of a lot of different poetry scenes, and one of them is the midwestern ethos of Spartan Press and Stubborn Mule, among some others I am unfamiliar with yet. The poets strike me, in general. as fellow-travelers in the best sense of the word, with varied points of view united under an umbrella of beat poet, confessional poet, Tom Waits or Bukowski-oriented. Some of that can go a long way, if you know what I mean. I am pleased to report that among those fellow-travelers Shawn Pavey is someone well worth paying more attention to.

In his introduction, Mike James rightly--after reading it , how could you not?-- mentions the first quietly strong poem of this long but never meandering coll…

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Two Bottle Caps and a Gas Station Receipt
I reach down into my pocket thinking twisted blow up dolls back into balloon animals. Feeling around for my wallet that is a no show. Just two bottle caps and a gas station receipt. I toss the receipt and finger around the bottle caps like those Chinese stress balls that professional assholes swear by. The heavy melanoma sun over my face. A rock in my shoe that makes me walk with a limp I don’t have.
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, Live Nude Poems, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

Doug Holder

We Hold Hands

At dusk we hold hands. We hold hands, withfading tarnished rings.
As if some unexpected storm could suddenly separate us forever.
We listen to the muted horn the hint of some heroin-tainted voice we clink our cocktails the house cat another appendage between us.
And the light grows dimmer as it always does.
Doug Holder is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press of Somerville, MA. He has recently collaborated with playwright Lawrence Kessenich on a new play based on a short story he wrote "The Patient." It is going to be published by the Presa Press, and  has had a staged reading at the Playwright's Platform in the Boston area. Holder's poem " Oh Don't She Said, It's Cold" adapted into a song by singer/songwriter Jennifer Matthews, will be preformed by the dance company "text moves" in the fall at various venues in the area. Holder is the arts editor of The Somerville Times, and teaches writing at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, an…

Gawaine Caldwater Ross

Tool Shed

Hard rain rakes the roof of my shed. It’s autumn, and the wind tosses the blanket That serves as my door. I wrap my quilt around me And stare at the books on the wall. There’s no electricity, and after dark I can’t read by candlelight. I haven’t a stove or a fridge; I live on oatmeal, cabbage, and scraps of cheese. I drink rain water, or tea, If I can get a fire going outdoors. Today when the storm  rolled in I stripped and begged to be struck by lightning, But Zeus was not obliging. Yesterday in a state of helpless rage I hammered a boulder into gravel; It didn’t help my mood. Two weeks ago I hiked to the coop And posted a notice that said: Help! I can’t find a job! I have no cash, savings, bonds, Gems, certificates, stocks, Monies due, property, or anything else. There’s been no response. I’ve been homeless before - This is nearly as bad. I came here to be with Darla at her invitation, The cabin is small, so we Screwed outside in the summer sun, Green leaves fell from buttocks. But after only a month sh…

Virginia Chase Sutton


We are all beautiful at seventeen, our flawless skins attached to willing bones and sinews. Some of us are waiting for our chance, for someone to say, let’s make out like a couple
of teenagers, or the stranger with a bottle of Boone’s Farm Apple Wine he will share though you are underage. Or the joint passing around the room, making you happily relaxed in the
front-closing lace bra you are willing to shed for the unknown, the chance at real love, not what you left behind at home, your father missing you, smoking cigarette after cigarette.
You do not know yet how lovely you are with soft brown hair and blue eyes flecked with squiggles. And though your body is not like the striking grace of cheerleaders back home, it stuns
with dazzling breasts and big areoles that men will kiss and love. You will learn of this loveliness even as you scorn those who are not worthy. Later, your friends will grow into their flesh as you grow
away, already ahead, open and waiting, discovering a taste for a certain so…

Howie Good

Science Can’t Help Us
A monk in a monastery in the remote Northeast Kingdom sits in the lotus position for nine straight hours, which is how long it takes to count all the ways there are to kill a person. Every day about 200,000 people die. The ancient oak that once served as the hanging tree has started muttering to itself, saying things like “Here’s my hat. Go away.” That could be why the seasons now seem to come and go in no particular order. Meanwhile, gunmen from around the world have organized a banquet of vultures. It’s only gravity that keeps us there.
Howie Good is the author of The Loser's Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize from Thoughtcrime Press, and Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry. His latest poetry collections are I Am Not a Robot from Tolsun Books and A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel from Analog Submission Press, both published in 2018.