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Showing posts from May, 2021

James Penha

Poem for the Poet (In response to the questions posed by Alex Dimitrov in "Poem For the Reader") Dimitrov, you’re a New Yorker now as I was for the first half of my life amidst those four seasons poets use to count time, but here I am in Bali, alive and well and home now stretched out on a rattan sofa listening to the sea in my eyes. It’s rainy season: daytime brutally hot, but, like the joy after a migraine subsides, come evening downpours unimaginable in Manhattan remind us here for hours what we have to lose. I wear the morning after in a blue mood—yes, indigo. In these difficult dawning hours, I wait for my husband to open his eyes and although he might hold me, I plan for the demons in his soul to win. Who was I before these trembling years? Why don’t I rise up in the middle of the tempest, pack my bags for freedom in New York where the Brooklyn Bridge hums above the East River for Walt, for Hart, for Frank, for you, for bridge and river both p

Jason Ryberg

Consolation Prize There was a part of me that, all these years later, still really wanted to read her the riot act, to give her the old what for and inform her that the faded lavender bandana she gave me back then (to remember her by, I guess, or as some kind of bullshit consolation prize, maybe, for not qualifying, hell, for not even being considered a contender or even a valid, bona fide practitioner of the sport, that same bandana that had, so often, tweaked me, existentially, from time to time, over the years, whenever it would randomly resurface to remind me how much she had hooked me and how I had barely registered with her), well, it was hanging from the rear-view mirror of my buddy’s primer-gray pick-up truck and he and it were halfway to Denver by now. But what would the damn point of such a petty little gesture even be? We hadn’t spoken in close to twenty years. She wouldn’t know what I was talking about because there never had been a me and her. Just me—carry

Paul Jones

Mellow Gorillas Who gave the gorilla a doobie? Who showed him how to inhale and hold the warm smoke in his lungs? Hear the slow sigh through his magnificent nostrils as the cooled grey is released? His mate sniffs him trying for a contact high. Wide-eyed, wild-eyed, their love-filled eyes, rare as four eclipsed suns at a spring noon. They are laughing. They clasp each other chest to familiar chest. Like comets taking new orbits as they enter a deeper space, they find each other in new ways. New gravities pull them. Is it all illusion? Some herbal disorientation? Some celestial prank? Just some dumb weed burning brightly? In its burning, weed frees these lovers. For a moment, theirs is the cosmos. Friends, who try to live a purer life, please don't judge this moment of escape. Love, like meteors, falls in many shapes. Paul Jones has published poetry in many journals including Poetry, River Heron Review, Red Fez, Broadkill Review as well as in cookbooks, in tr

Victor Clevenger

Sexual Seasons we bitch about how beauty loses its luster within the added layers of comfort i tell you about how i’ve not seen the marks that stretch across this city’s stomach in weeks then you say screw you october & november & december & i say screw you january & february too it’s march thru september that we love when the cold winds refuse to blow every day down the boulevards we travel like wild animals chasing each other Victor Clevenger   spends his days in a Madhouse and his nights writing poetry.  Selected pieces of his work have appeared in print magazines and journals around the world; it has also been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology and the Pushcart Prize.  He is the author of several collections of poetry including Sandpaper Lovin’ (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2017), A Finger in the Hornets’ Nest (Red Flag Poetry, 2018), Corned Beef Hash By Candlelight (Luchador Press, 2019), and A Wildflower In Blood (Roaring Junior

Michael McInnis

Varnished New World One morning, sometime between spring and pandemic, before the summer came hustling from the harbor islands, I went for a walk down to the river where I found a glazed chiaroscuro of discarded masks and condoms and a pair of those black gloves I use when I mix epoxy to fill cracks and knots in the salvaged wood I gather from behind dumpsters at job sites. An east wind tugged at my uncombed hair, long now, not because the barbers have shut, but because if I ever see my friends again I want to tell them I’m protesting this varnished new world, where, when my friends and I finally sit down and talk behind our masks, I won’t be able to see their smile. Found Monologue - Color When I do wear the mask, I’m told no one wears it better than I do. Looks good too. Blue is a complimentary color to orange. Very few know that. I know more about colors than most. Even color experts call me to ask my advice. I tell them I’m too busy. I tell them, look, it’s invi

Sheldon Lee Compton

A Nostalgia I used a towel that I had used the day before, and the day before that. When I covered my face to dry my beard I inhaled the scent gathered inside the towel. It smelled like a basement in Virgie. The basement was always cool, a steady 65 degrees during all seasons. Must or mold, a mixture of oil and grease, draped the air; floating invisible was wood still hot from sawing and the scent of that warmth. I finished drying my beard, thought of Ancient Egypt. There’s a town about 100 kilometers south of Luxor called Qurta that is home to the earliest signs of an intelligent, ancient band of Egyptians. There are no great pyramids, only flatland that, all at once, rises up to a sheer wall of earth. If you climb this wall of earth, what you find are carvings of animals into the stone face. Many are of bulls. These are the early sketches that would show up later in places like Luxor and Cairo. These are the odd reverse-echoes moving over the land like a nostalgia, like a small scent

Drew Pisarra

Zinc You liked when I licked you from head to toe but were totally freaked out by ass play. In your mind, a gay guy could safely blow a straight dude without turning that bro gay. I realize these details tend to the crude while set gender roles are become a joke but years ago this was your attitude. God how you laughed whenever I would choke. But now the gag’s on you: You’re middle-aged, your balls have dropped, your main gig’s as a clown. You do balloon tricks for the underaged. Your heart’s cold as brass. You pretend you’ve found how to cope via corrosive humor. Johnny are you queer? I heard a rumor. Drew Pisarra is the author of the homoerotic sonnet cycle   Infinity Standing Up (2019)   published by Capturing Fire Press and the short story collection You're Pretty Gay slated for release by Chaffinch Press in 2021 . A Cafe Royal Cultural Foundation grantee, he's currently working on The Strange Case of Nick M. , a radio play commissioned by Imago Thea

Jason Baldinger

our temporary time in the weeds of another year ended feeling like the ghost of dennis hopper feeding a raccoon pancakes hot off the griddle I knew a woman who told stories of raccoons salt water taffy and junkies running the hallways of the ohio river abandoned this isn't about dennis hopper this isn't about trash pandas junkies or persons who lose themselves in the mazes of their mind this isn't about bob kaufmann or the working class both are dead this isn't about the ohio carrying microplastics to the mississippi to the ocean it’s about abandon how I miss the ocean how we deserve the ocean lights blink out across the consciousness of this organism planet I think of the ocean its temporary roar matching our temporary time Jason Baldinger is bored with bios. He’s from Pittsburgh and misses roaming around the country writing poems. His newest book is A Threadbare Universe (Kung Fu Treachery Press) with The Afterlife is A Hang