September 30, 2009

Name-checking Billy F***in Collins

by Melanie Browne

I thought about it,
and I really don't want to waste
your time with another
poem that name-checks
Billy Collins.

I changed my mind.
He's much too
anal for me.

No offense intended,
but i cant stare
any longer
at the
clean and shiny
bowl of lemons
sitting on a
quiet, lonely table

or smell the
hand sanitizer,
the folded corners
of a hospital sheet

I hate to leave
You empty handed,
I know you were
Looking forward
To a good Billy- Collins

Really I am…
Want some sugar-free gum?

September 28, 2009

subject to availability at selected stores

by Jack Ohms

there is terror
in these shady streets
devoid of violence
and vandalism

somehow the silence
the peace
has feigned our

designed death
out of existence

An Irish Enclave

South Side of Chicago,
long before Barack Obama

On bungalow porches
and out in backyards,
on hot summer evenings
they lower themselves
into green canvas chairs,
smoke and sip beer,
laugh and relive
Easter, 1916
and plot what they’ll do
when the niggers pour in
and eddy all over
the dregs of their city.

by Donal Mahoney

September 27, 2009

an afternoon

by Noah Uitermark

in the brutal
inside a lit
table where
friends told
me to chase
I’d never
given it thought

but she seems to like
you, they said,
and right then
love seemed
so impossible
and real

and we shivered
to our cars and
hurried home,
the blankets warm,
where the little pets
were blinking
their tired eyes

that girl went
to Germany
as my face
grew dusty
and the bathroom
fell apart

we don’t know anything
about what’s next

helpless, we stutter
and stammer the words
through the narrow scope
of our eyes

and all we have
are the strange,
golden few
hours in
the long run
of the dismal
era, the
dawn of
and machines.

so i’ll see
tomorrow, as
we wait
for the bus

i won’t have
to say.

dusty villa and a few cans of beer

by Noah Uitermark

slow night in the desert,
bar man politely excuses himself
to throw up pure liquor
after a night before,
some other story
long forgotten
and thrown away.

a quiet glowing night,
the lap girl itches her blue
and there’s no one around
the stage.

the music plays on, and
everyone realizes that no one really
likes these songs.

it’s a slow night, they suck
from their bottles and cans
and the girls wiggle impatiently
in their tight tight
and the underwear throbbing
their crotch.

the television plays scrambled,
the strip from the comics
hangs helplessly on the wall,
and the jukebox rests

they all wanted us to be happy,
but now we’re here
and this dusty villa had grown on us.

beercans line the coffee tables by our
feet and the taste of bad cigarettes
have somehow grown on us.

the sun goes down behind a veil
of horizon blue,

the conversation is light and sparse,
full and absent
of meaning,

and the parting paths are taken.

it’s a slow night in this villa, a night
like any other month and all the
other years.

the lap girls get up to stretch and
the crowd, craving their love,
orders one more round

we just don’t know

what else to do.

September 26, 2009

gritty plaza rainbow

by Noah Uitermark

my mother then,
she was a broken soul in a concave apartment

and i was six years old

she worked at the convenience store
across the street
and i would come in for nickel-candy
and the chance to see her,
a true warrior
of the christian blood and
the american job.

i was six,
and when she came home,
she would throw her nametag onto the
littered coffee table,

she would light a cigarette
and later on that night,
i knew,
would come the drinks.

we had a red recliner chair
and i was a ninja
in practice
waiting to pounce

there was a man she sometimes
talked to in the hallway,
he read shakespeare
and wanted to do things
with her
but he never had the courage
to ask

i saw a gritty plaza rainbow
and i chose to run my tricycle off
the edge of the sidewalk
in search of the gold
at the end.

at nine mom was drunk and
she had to be up at eight the next day
and things were going alright for

we needed no help and no outside
i saw the plaza rainbow
and that day I swore to
find the end. I got
on my tricycle
behind the horizon,
past the speed limit signs
and the lazy Sunday cops
through the water mirages
and the setting
Midwestern sun.

I decided to leave her in
search of that rainbow,
and I’ve never come back.

September 25, 2009

Open Book

by Paul Hellweg

Most nights I sleep
with a dozen or so books
makes me feel less alone
and yeah
fuck right
I’d rather sleep
one woman
than a dozen books,
but books don’t
need anything,
they don’t give a shit
about my
low self-esteem
performance anxieties
night terrors,
and they don’t leave
in the middle of the night,
so until I meet someone
willing to read
all my pages
without critical commentary
open to offering the same,
until then,
my fate is destined to remain
more literary

I’ll Paint You in Words

by Paul Hellweg

Watching La Belle Noiseuse,
“The Beautiful Troublemaker,”
Emmanuelle BĂ©art
posing full-frontal
for a famous painter,
makes me think
I’ve chosen the wrong art form,
I seriously doubt if I could get her
or anyone
to pose nude
for one of my poems,
but think about it,
it does make

Any volunteers?

September 24, 2009

what we’ve been doing with ourselves

by Noah Uitermark

the three of us sat together,
at an old coffee house at
the edge of the highway and
rotted interstate ramps.

the place was a month away
from dark abandonment and the
long years of slow decay-
but we were there nevertheless,
2 stupid boys and a
girl. they

talked about
an old actor. i
drank black coffee.

the barista behind the
counter was shy, pale-
complexioned and cute

i wanted to walk
around as an object
in her eyes
for a little while,
see how that
might feel.

but she was reading the
newspaper, not far
away from a copy
of a famous Dickens

i’d heard too many jokes
about that one, i was
ignorant and couldn’t
bring myself to pick
up anything
that everyone else
had already heard
of and loved.

i drank more
black coffee,
turned my eyes across
the photographs and
portrait sketches
on the walls.

there was light jazz,
i remember that, and
the aimless traffic
at our backs.

there was the straggling
insistence of a few
loners, drifters, and
social miscreants.
they read too,
or wrote, or stared
dully at the

there were really few
places to be as
the city suffocated
each night by
the waning firelight
of the leaving

what i really
was to start
talking to them
about our crazy love
and how it had

but i got few
looks, a mention
of never getting called

and i let the subject
naturally turn from
the old actor to
even worse

well, it didn’t matter
i bled,
finished the last of
the coffee, crunching
the grounds
and i thought
maybe now i’ll
have something
to say to
that quiet
and pretty

she read the newspaper
as if it truly
enthralled her,
sitting on one leg
on a stool
and leaned over
like it contained
the story of the
rest of her

hers and the rest
of our lives were
always a
fickle thing,

so the sun went slowly down
as thoughts turned
to the bar.

the traffic thinned out
and headlights unevenly
came to pierce
the solemn evening

nothing changed, nothing
and the
ceiling fans
hummed along
when the time came
i gathered up a
few things,
left some change
at the bar,
and walked
out through
the door.

gray clouds covered
the sky,
a future cried out
and no one

i would fight some
coffee dreams while
the pretty girl
swept the floor
and closed down
all the lights.

my friends would
go somewhere else,
some chatty field

and you would not
answer your
cell phone,
resting instead on
a new boy’s

September 23, 2009


by Stephen Jarrell Williams

I tell you my sins
reaching out intersecting
your morals,

that is what you want
curious nose,

ready for the sexy dirt
turning wet

smearing it over my body
Saturday night
yellow butter for stripes

standing over you
letting you reach
and over
caressing and squeezing

sinning now
we sing
your big-bang bust

September 22, 2009


Maxfield Parrish

December, the
water moves behind
barns, darkly under
snow dunes in
ten thousand hills
pulling moon light
around the
pine trees, a
sound to sleep
and love by
like bells
running thru the
children’s sleep
when they dream
of blue sleighs

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:

September 21, 2009

kathleen turner

by J.J. Campbell

there's this romanian
beauty i watch each
afternoon online

she has a kathleen
turner like sexiness
to her

from the way she
holds her cigarette

to the way she shows
off her legs

to the way she plays
with her nipples

and usually after a
few hours i'll look
at the clock and laugh

think about all the trouble
i could have been in if i
would have had access to
high speed internet when i
was actually making money

poverty does do wonders
for the imagination though

*J.J.'s website:

untitled grief on a september afternoon

by J.J. Campbell

found out this
morning that
jim carroll

heart attack
they say

another damn
episode of my
youth fades
to black

rest in peace

you truly

September 20, 2009

Parking Lot

by John Rocco

The Switchblade Sisters get thrown out of the Harbour Inn
for fighting and spilling and playing country music on the
digital jukebox, their hot Slavic blood screaming for Willie
Nelson, and for having construction workers follow them
into the bathroom only to fight with them too. Ritchie the
bartender gave me two pints earlier and said, “Good luck.
You’re going to need them.” This is my bar but the
Switchblade Sisters knife the King Rat to rule the night,
smoke like Rita Hayworth, steal free Jameson shots from the
construction workers, and break up with all their boyfriends
real and unreal. The Sisters get thrown out of the bar but they’ll
be back when tempers fade and memories dim. A bar is
a place to forget but not to forget this: watching the Sister
called the Hammer lean back, long Dostoevsky neck revealed,
her laughing face to the night sky to blow smoke at all the pussy
Gods and Devils and Stars and Volcanoes
kicking cars over losing her in the parking lot.

*John Rocco at MySpace:

September 19, 2009

the broken stripper

by Karl Koweski

the dim lights couldn’t conceal
the fact the next stripper
mounting the buffet-sized stage
wore bicycle shorts
rather than a g-string
and a torso-obscuring blouse
instead of pasties

she possessed the
anatomical features of a watermelon
with spat seed eyes
and a smile like
a chewed green rind

she wobbled on the stage
brushing against the pole
the duration of the song
swaying without rhythm
without removing any clothing
ignoring the eviscerating laughter

“hey manager!” my buddy hollered
“come quick!
our stripper’s broken!”

her dark glistening eyes
registered zero awareness
her flaccid expression
scarcely changed
when I approached the stage
on a wave of
escalating laughter

I handed her two dollars
and turned away
getting halfway back to
the howling red Os of
my friends’ guffawing faces
the stripper yelled
for my attention

thinking she’d decided
to give me a peek
at her busted titties
beneath her
puritanical blouse
I rushed back to the stage
where the non-stripping stripper
handed back a dollar

“you accidentally gave me two”

September 18, 2009

Public Restroom

by Michael Goscinski

Some of the best poems
I've ever read
have been written on the wall
of a public restroom
These poets aren't looking for recognition
or for money
They only want an audience
Most of these poems are about
or sex
or bowel movements
they reek of it
How can we take
today's published poet seriously
When you can find
more ingenuity
more humanity
written on the walls
of the shithouse

September 16, 2009

Bringin' Home the Bacon

by Daniel S. Irwin

"Oh Lord, help me!"
Cried Big Jim.
"I think there's a pig
Up my ass!"
Well, no, not really.
It was just a dream.
Where the Hell
It came from
Jim got no idea.
But there he was,
Eyes poppin' open
In the dead of night
Callin' for relief from
His cell at the
'Country club' prison.
"Help me Jeez-zas!
Help me Jeez-zas!"
Yup, talkin' whole hog.
Oink, oink, mo'fucka.
Could it be Jim's slipped
Beyond insane into crazy?
Could it be he should
Cut back on the bacon?
Could he be tormented by
White collar crime and
The unexpected loss of his
CEO golden parachute?
Or was he just fortunate
That there were no
Elephants in his dream?

September 15, 2009

Only Darkening

by James Jason Dye

I lie
on the lid
with a joint in my lip

I'm happy with an ounce
hiding in my back pocket
as I stare at the end of the boundaries
Through the fog the sky is white
Tonight an octopus ejects black clouds

It's no longer stable
Here I hear thunder
Strange there's no lightning
only darkening

September 14, 2009

Someone to Talk to

by Donal Mahoney

Two evenings a week
I go to Melissa’s,
to talk and to fuck.

We talk first,
we fuck later.
Summer, fall,

winter, spring,
nothing distracts us.
We are to each other now

what we were at the start:
someone to talk to,
someone to fuck.

September 13, 2009

Girl Cuffed

by Cassandra Dallett

Cuffed red spray paint hands
extra large drunk girl
hiding behind
extra small bush
even my friends laughed
picked up from Park Street Station
shame faced and hanging-over.

Cuffed to the dumpster
In the back of Cala Foods
drunk again, I threw a ham in my flight jacket.

Cuffed to fifteen underage hands
A human chain snaking out and down
ass cold on concrete in the parking lot
head lit in the sparkling of Broadway nights
In the paddy wagon I watched as they
rifled through my girlfriend’s bag of stolen lingerie
and Seagram Seven
lucky girl
She’d been in the bathroom
when the fire marshall came backstage.

Cuffed downtown
LPs followed us from Macy’s
we split and ran in Merrill’s drugs
cop car doors stood open
out the back door
they threatened us with grand theft
called us malicious and posted
our cute bad-girl Polaroid’s.

Cuffed on a Market street island
I fought two LPs and a traffic cop
dropping my swollen bags of loot
they called it assault and theft
I was no longer a minor.

Cuffed in a paddy wagon
from North Station to 850
watching a junkie kick the doors
till actually miraculously
the door bent and
he slipped out wafer thin
onto Tenderloin streets
shining and dirty
to his next fix.

Cuffed face down
cheek on the yellow line
guns at my head
Cadillac Seville smoking behind me.

Cuffed in The Banneker Homes
perp walked past my ex’s rear window
bullet casings everywhere
all the neighbors said
“It was the big white girl”

Cuffed behind my 66 Impala
pukey juniper citrus smell of
gin n’ juice spilled down my Carhardt
walked heel to toe
counted fingers backwards
until a second car pulled up flashing
GI Joe with a Breathalyzer.

Cuffed at the bottom of the stairs
when the beer soaked cop
loosened his headlock
on my kicking body
I hit the stairs running
straight into the waiting squad car
police radios blaring “catch the girl in green”

Cuffed on a frigid night
in reverse avoiding
a roadblock on the beltway
stripped of license and car
cursing frozen clouds
rip-throwing the pile of tickets
all that cold walk home.

Cuffed in my living room
smart-ass cop
tryin’ to hustle me out with only
socks in snow
me still public enemy number one
over a noise warrant?

September 12, 2009

Poems Like Jackson Mac Low

by Doug Draime

I sent them poems written
like Jackson Mac Low.
They sent back an uppity
note, telling me I was
imitating Jackson Mac Low.
I could have told them that
if they’d only fucking asked.
I sent them poems written
like e.e. cummings, written like Baraka
when he was still LeRoi Jones,
written like Bukowski
when he was still a
middle-aged angry man, written
like Kenneth Patchen
when he could still walk.
Their rejection notes come back as fast as
my poems go out.
So, I sent them the unwritten John Milton
poems, composed in his head a few days
after he went stone blind.
The chicken shits never sent back
a word about those.

The Media Is The Message

by Doug Draime

The news we hear
and watch
every night on t.v.
is a lie!
If not an outright lie,
then a distortion
of truth, a spin far
from the core
of reality, spinning
so fast it is a blurred

What we see and
hear cannot
be trusted!
What we read in
newspapers cannot be
trusted; news magazines
cannot be trusted, unless they are
denouncing war!

I watch t.v. :
The Discovery channel;
I’m addicted to Jeopardy!
I liked Robert Stack still looking
cool in his late 70’s ,
on Unsolved Mysteries.
I watch South Park
on Comedy Central.
But the news is calculated,
premeditated deceit, way
beyond information and
The news cannot be trusted!
I am telling you the News.
It is my news, and I prefer it
to the government's, thank you,
very much.

September 11, 2009


by David Rynne

The separation was a shock
My fault
Or so I was led
To believe

Then suspicion
Phone records, unexplainable bills
Missed fragments of time

A Commandment had been broken
Lucky I didn’t
Break one

The ego is very important
To that kind

Shake it off
Move along
Keep trying
They all say.

Easier said than

Time heals-
They say that too.
I say-
Fuck you.

Is that too harsh?
If you think so
I will be more than
To deal that house of cards,

And see how quick
You are
To come to the table
And bet
That you’re now not worried
That your picture
Can be lost
In a Kodak

September 10, 2009

with friends like me...

by A.g. Synclair

my drinking buddy
got piss drunk
his erection
his desire to fuck
and his dinner
passing out
and hitting the floor
with a dull
sickening thud.

so we drank his Jack
his convulsions
made me queasy
but she
smelled like sex
and he
wasn't dead
so I grabbed the bottle
put my hand
between her legs
and led her to my room.

September 9, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

It was just a blur, like you might think
stumbling from the White Horse Tavern,
the maples already tinged with blood.
He wasn’t booming and loud, he wasn’t
his voice, wasn’t that poet booming
on records, all Swansea and raging.
There was no wild dying of the light.
We stopped for egg creams. He loved

them better than the cream of a woman’s
thighs many say he collapsed in, took
the long-legged bait and shipwrecked.
But it was the cove of skin, the warmth,
everything unlike the dark coal mines or
the grey mist of Rhemny. I won’t forget
the softness of his curls. He wasn’t my
type, too fair and he didn’t work out,

his body soft as his lips. He was more
like a pet, a kitten I could let cuddle
against me. Was I a virgin? What does
that matter. Or whether he was a good
lover. When he held my cat, who
always hissed at new people, she let
him press her into his skin as if, like
when he held me, her fur could keep

fear from spilling and staining the
rest of Wednesday

*Lyn's website:

September 7, 2009

The Neighbor’s Daughter

by James Babbs

a couple of months ago
she started coming home
on the weekends
I think she goes to college
some school far away from here
in another state
I’m not sure

I don’t know what she’s studying
I never really talked to her
we’ve only exchanged occasional greetings
when both of us happened to be
outside at the same time and
she always flashes me
with this beautiful smile

sometimes I see her
just coming and going
watching her through
my living room window
traipsing across the yard
her thick red hair
sweeping past her shoulders and
cascading softly down her back

not too long ago I saw her
out there in the driveway
washing her car in
the afternoon sun
she was wearing this pair of
little short shorts and
when she bent over
her shirt kept riding up
revealing part of her lower back and
what looked to me
like a butterfly tattoo
just this small area of flesh
less than what you’d see
if she had been at the beach
but for some reason
I thought it was wonderful

It’s a Good Night for Drinking

by James Babbs

it’s a good night for drinking
a good night for getting drunk again
with the rain coming down and
the wind blowing against the windows
later on
it’s supposed to change over to snow and
I want to hear the music playing
songs I know all the words to
and I want this room
surrounding me to stop spinning
I want to breathe again
like it was only yesterday
and I want to fall in love
but you’re not here tonight
you told me you couldn’t make it and
you said you were sorry
but you had some other things
you needed to get done

September 5, 2009

plan b

by Justin Hyde

we ate drive-through burritos
on her living room couch. that picture of a horse
taped to her refrigerator.
it was drawn by her eight year old daughter. she
was at grandma's in cedar rapids for the night.
then we were in the shower. i always got them
in the shower first. she had freckles
and deep sagging ravines
at the top of her breasts. dark red
heat-marks underneath them.
wait, she said. are you sure you wanted me
not my friend?
i'd been pursuing her friend
the whole night at the bar. but her boyfriend showed
and i turned to plan b.
i wanted you off the bat
but you seemed aloof
a little stuck up
but you're not at all, i said
tucking strands of red hair
behind her ears.

September 4, 2009


by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

While the world
went to shit
we watched TV.

The dumber
we became
the more we watched.

We laughed our
asses off
watching TV.

We escaped
to a world
of fake heroes.

We watched
in awe with
our eyes open
and our minds closed.


by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

In the end
our hearts wilt
like ordinary

Not all of
us find what
our hearts truly

And it is
not fair and
it is no one’s
fault. It just is.

September 2, 2009

Dirty Librarian

for Georges Bataille (1897-1962)

I’m not talking about that scene in
when Debbie’s friend
gets busted blowing her
boyfriend in the library
the old thick-glasses librarian
angry and pulls her pink panties off
to spank her glowing red ass
among the stacks of books.
I’m not talking about that.

I’m talking about the
French guy, Georgie
the librarian at the
fancy place
the Bibliothèque Nationale
who wrote a thesis
on the training of
medieval knights
and then a book on
fucking and death
and how both are
the same thing
the end of the bullfight
the same thing as orgasm
blowing your own head off
with the chemicals in
your brain and heart
and cock and pussy
to kill the brute monster
to sell his big dead balls to the poor.

He knew it was
all true
young Georgie did
when he left his crazy
blind father to die alone
when the Germans came
in WWI
and later when
he jerked off
in the same room as
the corpse of his mother
and when he went to
Spain and saw the bullfighter
the matador Granero
get his eye poked out
by a horn on May 7, 1922.

Frenchy George
knew the score
and wrote about it
a secret hot novel
about fucking eyes
and peeing skies.

He also wrote about
the rotten sun
killing everything
ancient human sacrifice
the same as fucking today
and tomorrow
or when she can’t see
me because she’s working
a double on Sunday
she tells me
that her eyes look
puffy from crying
but all I see is her mouth
closing again
then opening to
the time she showed
me her silver cavity fillings
in the bathroom mirror
saying, “See, look at all
the fillings I have” like
they were tiny graves
gushing cum
throughout our beautiful graveyard.

by John Rocco

*John Rocco at MySpace: