Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2022

Kristin Garth

Only Love Traverse the woods, your hands clenched in fists to rap upon air you are convinced harbors the portal to an alternate state in which he returns to the object of your ardor instead of your hate. They say it exists, some women in town, between two oak trees, discernible by fingers and sound. It empties the heart of its guile, all enmity. When you walk through its invisible frame, you are set free of the past, the weight of wrath-riddled bones. You smile at a name without any pain you’d once known. Only love is admissible in this dimension. You’ll knock forever to get there again. Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Rhysling nominated sonneteer and a Best of the Net 2020 finalist, the author of a short story collection You Don’t Want This ( Pink Plastic Press), The Stakes (Really Serious Literature) and many more books. 

Jeff Weddle

The Truth About Cats It is just as you have always suspected: Cats compose poems in their heads most all the time, poems so beautiful we could not hear them and survive. But they are wise enough in their indifferent love never to share them with those who provide food while dogs poor things think of nothing but baseball and magic and don’t give a damn who knows. Jeff Weddle loves cats but is more or less happy they do not recite their poetry to him. He teaches at the University of Alabama. 

Steven Croft

War in Iraq in Seven Vignettes Diesel exhaust from snow-topped Humvee, revving in winter darkness to leave Al Asad Marine base, ice crystals on the mouth of the turret gunner, blowing water vapor through pulled up black neck gaiter. We stop in traffic. I look left down a dusty street of houses. On the curb, a man with a thick black mustache bends to kiss a shamefaced girl-child on the mouth. She's held forward by extended armsof a white-robed man in red-checkered headdress. Cheerful medic cleaning the meat of a soldier's exposed bicep, exploded out like an anatomy diagram. Soldier sits in sand in pain, rolling the back of his head against the metal tread of an armored carrier. "You'll be fine," says the smiling medic. We all truly believe him. After the shock of IED blast, in an upturned vehicle four slack bodies with unconscious faces are slowly consumed by licking fire. We watch through the smoke-fogged, unbreakable bulletproof glass of

David Oliver Cranmer

Not Just Another Playlist Often, I sit in my swivel chair looking out the window, while jazz, country, or rock music plays. This pleasure goes on for many hours a mystic trance of sorts streaming—the glue maintaining my soul. I turn the best songs into playlists (once we called them mix tapes) puzzling over the perfect order. Does Satchmo’s “What a Wonderful World” kick off my latest list or make it the big soulful closer? And does “Mack the Knife” go higher in the set than “Summertime?” That’s an Ella Fitzgerald duet! “Foolishness? No, it’s not” whether you are climbing a tree to count all the leaves or tapping to beats. These are the joys that bring inner peace and balance (to a cold universe) lifting spirits skyward. David Oliver Cranmer ’s poems, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared in publications such as Punk Noir Magazine , The Five-Two: Crime Poetry Weekly , Needle: A Magazine of Noir , LitReactor , Macmillan’s Criminal Element , and

Max Heinegg

Anamnesis 1. I pushed off with permission from the Electric City to Brooklyn. Broome’s green & dying sedan, Big Ed, rolled out of the slush, down I-90. Familiar roots dozed while winter sun lured me to a chastening, back to the city of my childhood from which to remember. 2. - For R. In his cups, my roommate, the professional dancer could grab a subway pole & pull parallel to the ground. He pocketed women & vested pleasures, secreted smokes, & taunted subway strangers with drunken melodies. He taught himself to drum just to join the band. For a week, he’d leave for Africa, returning with curios. He kept his room in a way I did not understand, owned an iron & several pairs of shoes. 19, I didn't decorate as much as find places to deposit myself. The day we met on 172st, we passed Washington Heights, & the hospital where a cop was killed, then drank good whiskey with ice. I plotted from a window how to start my l

Brenton Booth

The Pianist At the piano recital she started tapping her fingers on my shoulder. I thought she was measuring the bars until I noticed the articulations, glancing at her hand. For the rest of the concert she continued in time with the virtuoso soloist: never missing a note. Tears filling her once hopeful eyes, thinking of what could have been, before he broke her finger a few weeks after she was accepted into the famous music school in New York. To stop her from leaving. Brenton Booth Lives in Sydney, Australia. Poetry of his has appeared, or is forthcoming in New York Quarterly, Chiron Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Naugatuck River Review, Van Gogh's Ear, and Nerve Cowboy. He has two full length collections available from Epic Rites Press. brentonbooth.weebly.com

Corey Mesler

  I think of you tonight, my Beats I think of you tonight, my Beats, and I am grateful.  I walked the narrow lanes of Academia and never felt at home. There were men and women in the flowerbeds, their heads full of theorems and poems. There were teachers who could lift their own weight in prose.  I was lonely. I was too loose.  I was a lad from the faraway country of Smarting. But I had you as so many before me. I had you and I knew secret things. I could count on you like a percussion. And now I want to say: I love you.  If not for you, what? I want to say. If Allen Ginsberg did not exist it would be necessary to invent him.  COREY MESLER has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South . He has published over 25 books of fiction and poetry. His newest novel, The Diminishment of Charlie Cain , is from Livingston Press. He also wrote the screenplay for We Go On , which won The Me

Internal Suffocation, poems by Juliet Cook

  Internal Suffocation I'm an adult so I'm allowed to watch as many horror films as I choose. Some people say that has a bad effect on my brain. I do sometimes have violent dreams, but the last disturbing dream I had based on a movie was re-seeing the rape scene from Boys Don't Cry, which was based on a real life hate crime. Sometimes I like some extremity in movies and art because I can turn them off, turn them back on, re-interpret them, revise them, re-analyze them,  do whatever I want with them.  Other times I can't control what my own mind sees or what happens to me. Sometimes my mind exaggerates things. Other times it blocks things out. Sometimes my brain cells discharge  uncontrolled electrical activity. Sometimes it's not up to me. When it is, I'll watch whatever I want to, whether it's based on real life or exaggerated make believe. Internal Suffocation  I know what's starting to happen. I've heard this before, this wooshing inside my brain

Three Prose Poems, by Howie Good

  Meds Four gray gulls paddle about like ducks, the sky above the bay rapidly changing moods, darkening, then brightening, then darkening again, while I make my own path up the shoreline, careful despite a brain half-paralyzed from new meds to step around the conchs and horseshoe crabs stranded at low tide, too many for saving, a massacre, the water rushing away over the pebbly sand whispering to me, as though in consolation, shush, shush, shush.   Interview Questions for a Job Yet to Be Invented Have you ever demanded, received, or paid a ransom? Seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe? Spent a night in the gorilla cage? Bought a human skull on Etsy?   Shared an elevator with the eighteen smallest dwarfs in the city?   Laughed so hard you dislocated your jaw? Asked Alexa the actual color of the Red Sea? (Intense turquoise.) Been bound and gagged and stuffed in a wheelie bin? Visited a parent in prison? Shrieked like a peacock or impersonated a disreputable poet with a pointy beard and long

Shae Krispinsky

  CONNOQUENESSING CREEK   Two days after my father died, somewhere in Center Township, we pulled off the interstate to get closer to the waterway  whose name for years I held between my teeth like a wrist, like a prayer.   Connoquenessing means  for a long way straight . The creek  twists and curls and crawls from the Beaver River through the Oneida Valley Reservoir then back to  the Beaver River some fifty-seven miles later.   Train tracks hemmed the creek where we stood, a nest of rusted railroad spikes at our feet. Connoquenessing means for a long way straight.  The current flowed without shame. Cars  passed over the nearby bridge. The late afternoon light hung   hazy and thick, a chiffon shroud. I bent down to touch  the water as one always must. The shock of the cold didn’t shock me so much. In the water I felt nothing. I stepped back defeated.   Connoquenessing means  for a long way straight . How often does meeting our hero disappoint us? It was too late  to keep the creek a dre

Mike James

 Some Things I Know  after Villon  I know the corners where good times are found  I know how to pull a hustle with a dancer’s grace  I know how to lie when I grin  I know how sunglasses hide the inward gaze  I know to say please if a collar is on  I know how to hold a rosary, say Latin prayers I know how to argue with the priest about sin I know everything, but myself  I know to walk straight with cops around  I know restaurant dumpsters, when they serve  I know thank you can be a way in I know how to make a friend for all he’s worth I know which body parts to cover with cream I know the sunrise by calendar  I know how falling in a nightmare ends I know everything, but myself  I know exits in all the places I’ve been  I know the romance stories strangers share  I know suits by the cut, can guess wearer’s age by tie  I know every bench in the park and the trees nearby  I know charm is not an always luxury  I know some plan for tomorrow as if it will last  I know Richard and Michael and

John Tustin

  TODAY MUST BE THE DAY   It’s still mostly dark And I can hear the rumble of the bulldozers That are coming to cave in the walls. They are distant but coming nearer. Today must be the day. A jet takes off from a secret location, Armed with two missiles – both bearing my name. The bedroom door vibrates as the first light comes in And things start to fall from the dresser. The bathroom sink gargles in anticipation of its death throes. Today must be the day. This place will become a clapboard house toppled, A graveyard soon paved over without a marker of remembrance, My voice to be drowned in the noises of complete obliteration. Today must be the day. I get out of bed, make a cup of coffee And look for a pair of socks to put on, Preferably neither with a hole in the toe. John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals since 2009. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.  

Michele McDannold

  rather than being accidental   pretty sure the best laid plans mean nothing to the sharpie on your name tag to the misfitting sweater and the comes in a package underwear you are chipped nail polish broadcast-live crucifixion unfiltered by design the seed of doubt mother nature uses to reclaim the broken but there is no clean break there is only sleeping at the wheel bent a contortionist running metal burns one thing for another the shelves are stocked with gas ovens and bottomless drops   take your pick, kitten your secret is safe with me Michele McDannold has organized poetry events and/or performed poetry with a bunch of unabashed free-thinkers across this great United States, most happily by roadtrip but sometimes by plane, train or coincidence.  She currently resides in Trinidad, Colorado and spends most of her time producing and publishing books, when she’s not out killing miles with her magical jeep.

Frederick Pollack

  Call An office as tenuous as fog. Someone unpaid except in their own youth mans the phone, the computer. Never enough money, time, ventilation, coffee, understanding or patience, though the latter is total. Even the word “client” marks a defeat somewhere in deep time, a failure of relationship.  Lawyers have clients, but law here is the opponent in a perpetual judo. And is  the one crying or barely verbal on the phone, who is bleeding  (“from wherever”), evicted, hungry,  to be killed for “honor,”  guilty since birth, a client? Doctors at least have patients, but how to diagnose one who calls without power while the one who answers  has no power but answering? I who don’t belong here, tired of Grand Hotel Abyss, wanted to praise heroes, and am immature enough to imagine an armed, confident man. But all I found, all anyone can find are mice in the granary of suffering, and the advice of Lenin that, finally, revolution is an affair of clerks and accountants. Author of two book-length n

Karen Cline-Tardiff

  Friday Night I’m gonna smoke all your cigarettes,   Make you go crazy trying to   figure out if I’m really that girl   in the album liner notes   of your favorite band. You pour your beer in the trash,   refuse to drink the backwash.   But hell, it’s Friday night and   there’s more than leftover beer   in your future and mine. We think about fooling around,   but the couch is full   of passed out hippies and   covered in cigarette burns,   and shit, it isn’t even our house. I bum your last smoke   but your lighter is dead.    Kinda like tonight you joke   and I give you a pity laugh. Karen Cline-Tardiff has been writing as long as she could hold a pen. Her works have appeared in several anthologies and journals, both online and in print. She founded the Aransas County Poetry Society. She has a Kindle book of poetry, Stumbling to Breathe. She is Editor-in-Chief of Gnashing Teeth Publishing.