Friday, July 19, 2019

Susan Tepper


The Plan

is a dream
set
in motion by chaos

fallen angels
come to shake
things up

no discernable reason
you can fathom

reliance
on whatever
say the weather

shot in the back

handcuffed
to a truck mirror

opportunity
to see for yourself
in harshest light
percussion noises
& street traffic
jamming

suffering dogs howl
their persistent hunger
flesh is flesh

is other beasts
huddled around
smoking barrels watching

cops everywhere
watching
don’t lift a hand
who dies or what

their coffee & donut
on the hour while

-2-

prostitutes dimpling
for any
ready cash
smile and jump
fast
into cars.

From the doorway
ice melts down
in your hair.

Susan Tepper is the author of seven published books of fiction and poetry. Her forthcoming book titled WHAT DRIVES MEN is a road novel full of zany characters and situations, soon to be published by Wilderness House Press. Tepper has received many honors for her writing which include 18 Pushcart Prize Nominations, 7th place on the Zoetrope Novel Contest shortlist, and a Nomination for a Pulitzer Prize for the novel.  She lives in the NY area with her husband and her dog, Otis. www.susantepper.com

Friday, July 12, 2019

Daniel Crocker


Mercury Must Be In Retrograde or Some Bullshit

You go to the reading and then to a nice
dinner with friends. You started drinking
early and on the drive from St. Louis to Cape
you puke all over yourself
Fajita Nachos
It's your medication making you sick again
You know you shouldn't drink on it
But sometimes you want to have a nice
dinner with friends. There might be something
more to it

You slap yourself. Then you slap
yourself again harder. You tell
your wife this is no way to live
You tell your wife that you want to kill
yourself. You puke again

It's okay, she says, it's okay

You've been so nervous for so many weeks now
that there's not enough klonopin left to do the job
even if you really wanted to. And you did

didn't you? For a moment
you thought about it and rode the rest
of the way home with puke drying on
your best pants and a wife who says
it's going to be okay, it's going to be okay
like a prayer. 





My Penis

I've never been happy with it
not being as big as I'd hoped

This kid at church camp
asked me if there was something
wrong with it

hidden up under its shell

It got better, I guess, as I got older
but never quite to what I wanted it to be
which was something worth writing home about

Now, it doesn't work
bipolar meds and whatnot

I still don't like the way people use
the size as an insult

Usually it's men, sometimes women
Often it's in a meme
Often it's directed at Trump and his imagined
small penis

People with small penises are rushing out
in droves to buy big trucks and corvettes
The little weens are stockpiling guns
The pencil dicks are shooting up schools
We're all just compensating

Like that's what makes Trump bad
Like that's what makes is all bad

Almost like it all boils down to a dick.

Daniel Crocker's work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Hobart, Big Muddy, New World Writing, Stirring, Juked, The Chiron Review, The Mas Tequila Review and over 100 others. His books include Like a Fish (full length) and The One Where I Ruin Your Childhood (e-chap with thousands of downloads) both from Sundress Publications. Green Bean Press published several of his books in the '90s and early 2000s. These include People Everyday and Other Poems, Long Live the 2 of Spades, the novel The Cornstalk Man and the short story collection Do Not Look Directly Into Me. He has also published several chapbooks through various presses. His newest full length collection of poetry, Shit House Rat, was published by Spartan Press in September of 2017. Stubborn Mule Press published Leadwood: New and Selected Poems—1998-2018 in October 2018. He was the first winner of the Gerald Locklin Prize in poetry. He is the editor of The Cape Rock (Southeast Missouri State University) and the co-editor of Trailer Park Quarterly. He's also the host of the podcast, Sanesplaining, about poetry, mental illness and nerd stuff.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Larry Smith

A Work Story
            “A good man is hard to find.”

Work shows up one day
red faced with lunch pail
and takes a seat at the bar.
I ask, “What’ll you have?” And he,
“What you need done?”

Four days later the new kitchen is finished
shining chrome and real tile floor.
I tell him he can have free drinks
for as long as he lives, and he laughs,
says, “Hey, the job ain’t done.”

When I get home that night,
Work is sitting on the porch
and says, “I’ve come for that drink
and to sleep with your wife.”
I laugh, but he doesn’t.

He’s fixed the porch now
and put in a new furnace,
while I just drive the kids to school
and sleep on the couch. This weekend
he and Grace are heading to Vegas.


Larry Smith is a poet, fiction writer, critic and biographer of Kenneth Patchen and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He taught at Firelands College of Bowling  Green State University for 35 years and founded Bottom Dog Press which he serves as editor-publisher. A native of Appalachia's Ohio Valley, he and his wife Ann live along the shores of Lake Erie in Huron, Ohio.