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 
occurring, 
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. www.susantepper.com
 

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

Snowlining  

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.  

Friday, September 29, 2017

Glen Armstrong

The Bedside Book of Cryptids
  
I was rehearsing what I would say.
            I had lined up some cocktail toothpicks.

It was one of those days that makes us
            believe in Bigfoot,

            the sky more shadow
            than a maker of shadows.

We all need a little downtime.

            To be that which we’ve marked
            our trails by.

            To speak like a Viking.
            To smolder.

Most smoke and all spoken word
            is imaginary, anyhow.

All but a few scraps of Viking bone
            are likewise, imagined.

The more I invented what to say,
            the darker the sky grew.

            The fewer my options.

The landscape and my desk and the best loved
            stories of lovers everywhere

            were laid out before me.
            The sharpened sticks love smuggles

            across the border all seemed
            highly unlikely.


Glen Armstrong edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three recent chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Factory Stacks

driving into Sudbury
from the West
the scars of man spill over
a billowing drug buy
sky

rock that has been there
for tens of thousands of years
blown away in an instant
for a new double lane
highway

and they bury the slag
so you never see it,
the grass an unnatural green
after a couple of years

so there are jobs
and quotas

and things can go on
like before

the hitchhiker along the side
of the road
thumbing his way to house parties
where things

go
missing.

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, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Mark Borczon

Hunting Dinosaurs With A Needle In My Arm

I smoke roses to get high
And I get drunk on sun tea in the morning
I fix my arm tattoos with sharpie markers
And I collect artwork depicting bull fights
My joints ache as a side effect from
Medication for hypertension
My muscles ache as a side effect from
Back breaking, physical toil
I am fifty one years old
And I make twenty seven thousand
Dollars a year

I don’t believe in heaven
I do believe in vodka
I did quite well in college
But I struggle in life
I never, ever confuse
One with the other
I know that youth is privileged
And forgiving
I know that middle age
Is not

I no longer sleep on my mother’s couch
If you do I kindly invite you
To go fuck yourself
Time and endurance earn the right
To judge and so
I judge

If life is pass/ fail
Then everything leans on
Who reads the work
The bankers and the preachers
Grade the test
One way
The poets and the dreamers
Grade the test
Another way

I hunt dinosaurs with a needle
In my arm
And I sit with holocaust survivors
On the city bus
I drink rain water from a wooden
Barrel that held the body
Of a four year old girl
Killed by the Klan

Someday I’m gonna burn my work boots


Mark S. Borczon is a poet and caregiver from Erie, Pa. He will publish his first book of poetry in over twenty years through Nixes Mate press later this year or early next. He is the father of three awesome daughters who teach him love on a daily basis. In his free time he is a talented banjo player and a guitar player who knows how to find all the notes. He is terrified of the internet so this biography is written by his identical twin who loves him and admires his work as only a brother can.

Friday, July 21, 2017

J.J. Campbell

admire those long legs 

whispers
in the haze
 
not all these
places give a
shit about a
smoking ban
 
another round
of something
evil for the
classy lady
effectively
using her
cleavage to
her advantage
 
grab a chair
and admire
those long
legs
 
and come to
terms with that
bulge between
her legs in the
morning
 
there's no time
for questions
of morality

when the liquor
tastes this good


J.J. Campbell (1976 - ?) is currently trapped in suburbia. He's been widely published over the years, most recently at In Between Hangovers, Mad Swirl, Chiron Review, Synchronized Chaos and Winedrunk Sidewalk. You can find J.J. most days bitching about something on his highly entertaining blog, evil delights. (http://evildelights.blogspot.com)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Matthew Borczon

a boy

just broke
my 18
yr old
daughters
heart for
the first
time
she says
she’s afraid
she will
never sleep
again and
I hear
her cry
in the
next room
until sleep
finally comes
in the
end it’s
me who
is up
all night
thinking
about all
the plastic
horses and
Barbie dolls
I fixed
over the
years all
the jewelry
I untangled
back when
you believed
my love
and patience
and glue
could fix
everything.


(For Hannah)

Matthew Borczon is a poet and navy sailor from Erie, pa. He has published four books of poetry; A Clock of Human Bones through Yellow Chair Review Press, Battle lines through Epic Rights, Ghost Train through Weasel Press and, new this month, Sleepless nights and Ghost soldiers through Grey Boarders press. He publishes widely in the small press. When he is not writing, he's raising four children with his wife of 20 years.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Explosives, by Howie Good

That night anything could have happened. It’s not often that you hear the blast of explosives in a place where children are sleeping. Either a bomb was planted or someone blew himself up. The cops are at the door right now looking for him. People should be concerned over what will disappear next. It’s like you’ve lost your car keys at night in your backyard and you’re searching for them through a toilet paper roll with a flashlight.

*

br> The open eye is very human. I saw swarms of people running away and my first reaction was “gun,” so I ran, too. The important thing was to go into another world. I would be a lot less afraid if I just knew what it was called. The scariest are the ones that stop right behind your heart.

*


Buildings are always crime scenes. The dress code is trench coats and fedoras. I heard him load his gun. And then I saw his gun was black. I’m going to leave flowers at the place where it happened. There was blood everywhere, and a sound like flies buzzing against the glass. Everybody was crying—should I join them? It was hard to hold back those tears.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, 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. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Richard Merrill

Living without gps


Travel up the common
femoral artery
to the junction of walk
and don't walk. Leave latitude
for the heart, its sextant lost
in the remains of route 66, or plot
a solution;
I've got my spine I've got my Orange crush.

Broken mirrors vivisect the man, all roads lead
to Polaris, scattered bearings.  
Find some other track side
noodling in the dark, people
losing time, lost being
lost between the Crux and nebulas.

Steer into the long way home, find
where found is hidden in the magnetic
resonance, images of small intestine
and appendix, the parallax of travel where
no one can run to, or from.


Richard Merrill is an unrealized poet. As well as an unrealized farmer, architect, Lego artist, and ultracyclist. It took him a while to accept the term; trucker. Lately he has realized he is very much that. He hopes the reader finds some merit in his work.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hillary Leftwich


I’m calling you out.
You’re a dream
but never a reality.
You’re everywhere
on the streets and in my sheets.

I work all day and catch
the Colfax bus home at night.
You’re everywhere on the bus;
your smells, your faces, your rage.

There is a woman
twitching in her seat
from withdrawals.
I’m too scared
to sit next to her.

I see the face
of the man who tried
to kill me every day
in my son’s face.

How can I love this boy
with all my heart when
he looks like the one person
I hate the most?

I can’t wake up.
I can’t move.
The psychiatrist tells me
it’s sleep paralysis but
I think it’s you.

I can solve Algebra equations
in my dreams
but I can’t figure out
how to live
off $2300 bucks a month
with three jobs
and a son to raise.

Soon he will lose
his Medicaid because
of a man who cares more
about the size of his hands
than the size of his heart.

There’s no equation that solves
how I can save my son
from the seizures
that are going to kill him.

My eyes aren’t brown
they’re hazel
but who gives a fuck
when no one looks you
in the eye anymore?

Men tell me it’s so cute
when I try to write poetry
and read in front of people.

This is how the world is, honey.

Put your big girl panties on.

You’re prettier when you smile.

Swallow next time, will ya?

I can’t get the smell
of bleach
out of my nostrils
that I use to scrub
the black mold
off my son’s bedroom walls.

It’s killing us.

My credit sucks
and I can’t afford to move.
You have me in a choke hold.

What happened to the bed
I slept in when I was five?
What happened to my baby blanket
that protected me
from the hands
of strange men and women
trying to touch me?

My dad threw it away
like you’re throwing us away.

I can’t scrub everything clean.

The bleach makes it look
like the mold is gone
and the walls are clean
when they’re really not.

Some of us can see it
but too many of us can’t.

It was never gone.

It’s still here,
Growing.
Killing us
with every single breath that we take.

Hillary Leftwich is co-host for At the Inkwell, a NYC based reading series and organizes/hosts other reading events around Denver. Her writing can be found in print and online. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Matthew Borczon

Souls

(1)

hard
to dispute
the logic
of a
5 year old
Eliza wakes
up shaking
crying she
calls my
name

she is
afraid of
dying again
this feeling
swallows her
like a
hand inside
a pocket.

(2)

As I
hug her I
stroke her
hair and
give her
the Catholic
answers my
parents gave
me at
her age

don’t worry
it’s a
long long
way off
and when
it does
happen I
will be
waiting with
grandpa and
all your
family

Eliza’s voice
breaks
“Daddy
I’m the
youngest
so I
will have
to be
alone for
so long”

I think
she cries
her weight
in tears.

(3)

I can
only hold her
feel scared
I know
alone
it has
ridden
my shoulder
daily since
the war

I know
fear
of death
I have
held a
dead child’s
body and
handed it
back to
its father

I know
fear of life
after war
fear for
men without
legs or arms
fear of
my own life
without faith
with almost
no soul left

fear of
crowds and
the feeling
that no
matter how
many people
are around
I am still
dying alone
by minutes
and inches.

(4)

I say
nothing
just pull
her close
cry with her
in silence
as I
promise
to her
to me
to the universe
and every
religions God
that I
will get
some of
my soul
back

buy it
steal it
reclaim it
rebuild it
out of
something
or out
of nothing
some how
some way
I will
have it
so I
can leave
it with
her when
I go.


Matthew Borczon is a nurse and Navy sailor. He is the author of a Clock of Human Bones from Yellow Chair Review Press, and Battle Lines from Epic Rites Press. His next book, Ghost Train, will be out in June 2017 from Weasel Press.  Sleepless Nights and Ghost Soldiers is set for a release in 2017 from Grey Boarders Press as well. He publishes widely in the small press. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Sheldon Lee Compton

Bakadewin (Hunger)


The Wendigo stood to be seen in its full form, the emaciated body, skin so flecked and brittle it could peel open in a breeze, the ribs a resting canopy across its middle, its legs little more than a jutting tangle of pulsing veins. In its hand was the swirling ball of the earth. Its eyes were sad, a vivid green against the stygian backdrop of the universe. And though its eyes shined sadness, the mouth was a horrible circle of tongue and teeth, the insides slickened wet. Yawning, it stretched its boney jawline to breaking and revealed the depths of its throat throbbing with life, anticipation. It was as if the mouth cried separately to be nourished, like an infant trapped inside the face of a monster. In one blurring gesture, the Wendigo cupped its meal with shredded fingers and gave a long, sepulchral wheeze.

The earth did spray like
stardust resplendent light from
its mouth and was gone.

Sheldon Lee Compton is the author of three books, most recently the novel Brown Bottle (Bottom Dog Press, 2016). His stories can be found in Unbroken Journal, Gravel, New World Writing, PANK, Monkeybicycle, DOGZPLOT, Spelk, WhiskeyPaper, and elsewhere. He was cited in Best Small Fictions 2015 and Best Small Fictions 2016.