June 29, 2009

My Country Right But Wrong

by Randall Rogers

America you make me feel so proud
and so guilty
I don’t know with whom to join
the left or the right

as they say if you’re not a liberal
before thirty you have no heart
and if you’re not a conservative
after thirty you have no brain

so we that give a damn
Americans are caught in
a conundrum
whether to stay with the job house
kids, mortgage cars and sundry toys or chuck it all and join
what Kerouac called “the rucksack revolution”

Because just by being an American you are part of the problem.
Being an American born and raised there only makes it worse.
We’re destroying the world
but I’m sure as hell running to the Embassy
calling help! help! to the Marine Guards
to let me in should the shit hit the fan in
any of these tin-horn dictator and fist-fights
in-parliament countries I’ve currently been floating
around in.

THE MAD GIRL, NOW WITH TIME FREE, JUST MAKES LISTS OF WHAT SHE SHOULD DO, NEEDS

by Lyn Lifshin

tryptophan,
bioflavinoids
one to sleep
so she won’t
lie listening
to the phone
that doesn’t
ring, one to
get rid of
where bruises
rose where he
touched her.
Even just his
voice on the
air makes dark
roses bloom
past her elbow.
She needs
something,
vinegar to
douche his
lips from
nightmares

THE MAD GIRL REMEMBERS THE ROOM UNDERGROUND

by Lyn Lifshin

she first began
jotting words on
yellow paper,
black tulips un-
folding. She
pressed her head
against glass in
the damp place
facing trees,
felt part of her
self turn Daphne
tho by morning
she’d be clay for
the poet who
hoarded wine
and ate the
letters of Katherine
Mansfield in
blood leaves as
he dreamt of
eggs Benedict
and the cove
in her legs


*Lyn's website:
http://www.lynlifshin.com/books.htm

June 28, 2009

Murray & Marie

by Doug Draime

I wasn’t sure he had both
oars in the water, but he was
my only connection,
he was “Murray The
Bennie Man”.
He lived in a room above
a hardware store on Clark.
There was always an
invitation to stay,
after I scored. There was
a “hot number” next door, a speed
and sex freak named, Marie,
who liked to
“fuck and suck and do
masturbation shows”.
Nearly every time I was there,
he’d get up from
his filthy bed and creep over
like an institutionalized retard, and
tap on the wall, giggling.
I drank his battery acid, Maxwell House
coffee and dropped
a few of the pills.
Murray would ramble on
about this female, as he walked back to
his bed to lay down.
After a couple minutes, he’d suddenly
jump up and be over at the wall
again, tapping and giggling.
This routine would last for 15 or
20 minutes.
I never saw Marie
in the dozen or so times I
was there. She was
there, though, if not in the flesh,
definitely in the mind
and the dick.
In fact, every time he’d talk about her,
describing in dirty detail,
her sexual
appetite, I’d get
aroused and
have to leave to
cruise the bars in Old Town
for a woman,
any woman.

June 27, 2009

Literary Critic

by Doug Draime

She said
my poems
were too blunt,
unpoetic,
pedestrian
thinking
, and
downright
vengeful.
She handed
me a book
by
Robert Bly.
And
after she left
I discovered
she stole
my last joint
and my last $10.
But, hell, the fucking
cunt
could’ve
been right about
my writing, though I had
to send the book
back to her,
( it was too deep for me )
wrapped in her
dirty red panties

June 26, 2009

Adderall Floating Island Dream

by John Rocco

She takes me to this
fish place
on City Island
the Bronx
giant lines
whole hungry families all waiting
for fired flounder
fried shrimp
fried octopus
fried ocean
the games bleeping green video
and the green dark dirty ocean outside
Joyce drunk
weary of it all,
sore for the next day.


She’s on line to get our
$5 piña coladas
and I’m on line to get
our fried flounder and corn.
It takes some time.
I look over at her
the Coney Island Bird Girl
holding my cash on line
in a dress she said about
“I don’t know if I should wear a dress around you”
waiting
waiting on line for
our piña coladas
too sweet to drink.

In that one moment
waiting for food
the dirty ocean rocking all our blood
I see her for the first time
again
the girl who can tell me
old guy
new
with the sea and the beach
and the dinner tonight
and the walk
on the marina
Shelley’s death boat
waiting for us
but we skip it
too much work
on the phone later
she tells me
that I give the best head
to girl or siren
she swears.


*John Rocco at MySpace:
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=292819823

June 25, 2009

Miscommunicating by Poetry or My 2nd Ever Alyssa Poem

by Paul Hellweg

I meet women,
get interested,
get inspired,
write a poem or two,
get drunk,
e-mail the poems,
never hear back,
and now my dream
is to one day
meet someone
who hates normality
as much as I,
someone
not put off
by my
unconventional
and
defiant
approach
to social niceties,
one woman,
one poem,
one e-mail,
one response,
one dream.

June 23, 2009

Golden Boy

by Randall Rogers

They say we’re only dancing
on this Earth for a short time
my problem is I don’t dance.
dancing is for pussies.

so let me bait you instead
Islam is fundamentally flawed
as are all the religions
You fucking German war pigs.

Jesus, Muhammad, all charlatans
Buddha,
cool dude

But with Buddha no ‘out there’ God
directing traffic down here
that can be called on to control
things, actions, cure diseases miraculously
Nobody to pray to at night pleading
“Dear God,” “Help, I need help, again,” and then
always ending the prayer with “and please make me a better writer
and guitar player and get recognized
and get the fame and the groupies
and may I grow old gracefully
get a grizzled old man good-looking face
that can still attract young and older women
and help me to curtail the panic attack freak-outs
that send me to the emergency ward where I get a room and
regular shots of liquid Valium.”
No God out there to call for help on that stuff
according to the Buddhists
it’s all inside
gotta discover or bring it out
and we are but a drop in the ocean of All.

THE MAD GIRL REMEMBERS THAT YEAR ALL SHE LOOKED FORWARD TO WAS SLEEPING

by Lyn Lifshin

night was a black
rose unfolding,
the obsidian ring on
tv around JFK
the day she staggered
in itchy green wool
after cops slithered
near, asked did
she want a
ride. Black to
wrap her like
her mother's
velvet coat. Blue black
as bruises flowering
on thighs, soft
as that night coat or
drugs that gulp
the edges, a lake
of ink gauze, black
taffeta around the
edges


*Lyn's website:
http://www.lynlifshin.com/books.htm

THE MAD GIRL DREAMS SHE’S ALLERGIC TO CORDUROY

to anything that
would come between
her and what she’d
want to touch.
Glass slams
her wrists as she
goes toward a
lover like the
lies she’s told
too well

by Lyn Lifshin

June 22, 2009

The Night

by Peycho Kanev

the moon talks to me
and tells me stories for tortures
and burned love;
sad song is pouring out from
broken window
and here is only the smell
of stale wine and cigarettes;
outside
dogs are wailing in the dark
and nothing is real more than
it should be,
the dark stillness of the time
is hanging like broken clock
and finally the night
locks me in.


*Peycho Kanev is 28 years old and lives in Chicago. His new poetry collection, a collaboration with the poet Felino Soriano and the editor Edward Wells, is out now and can be found at Amazon.com

**I've read a few excerpts from this chap. Enough to say that it is FUCKING AWESOME! --Editor

June 21, 2009

He was clueless in Gaza

sucking on the folds
of his cheeks, one
side at a time, back
and forth, running his
tongue over the spaces
where his teeth should
have been, working on
a moaning sound deep
inside that rose in
intensity until it looked
as if he might explode
from all the time bombs
that were about to go off
inside him.
He was so bled out
and wide eyes crazy
without vital life forces
he no longer had the energy
to defend himself against
the demons that had
taken over his life.
He looked in my direction,
blue eyes in a field of red,
shaking hands and dis-
colored lips. I'd seen
dead men with a better
chance of making it out
of whatever desert they
were in than his chances
were of getting out of
anywhere alive.

by Alan Catlin

Day of the Dead

by Alan Catlin

She could have been
anywhere between 26 &
dead of old age, cadging
Gin Rickeys from bar flies,
showing too much tit and
an icy sexual fire that almost
compensated for her washed
out eyes, pale coked out skin
and negative brain waves
that sucked in souls and
placed them in black holes
way beyond all the absolute
zeros of her mind.
"I ain't having no Welfare
baby, that's for sure, not this
babe." She says, scarfing
down pills with each new
ration of double Gin.
"What this babe needs
is a slim hipped dude
to some slow dancing with
and some hard loving after."
And if all else failed,
the next dude in the bar was
going to be the poppa of
her sure-to-be born-premature
child.

June 20, 2009

THE MAD GIRL WAKES UP, DARKNESS BLOATING INSIDE HER

a black forsythia
branch exploding
under her skin,
pressing leaves
against her
wrists, her
belly. Licorice
petals drift to
her eyes, burn
like the flames
a knife slices
that eats the dead
animal’s blood

by Lyn Lifshin


*Lyn's website:
http://www.lynlifshin.com/books.htm

June 19, 2009

I Should Know By Now

by James Babbs

the other day
I was walking around the mall
something
I don’t do very often
but I was trying to kill some time
and when I walked past Macy’s
I started thinking about her again
because
that was one of the stores
I remember
she liked to shop at and
why the hell do I
keep feeling this way
I should know by now
she’s not coming back and
why can’t I just get over it
maybe
I should stop
the next woman I see
and ask her
if she could please tell me
what the hell it is women want
and
I could scream it
really loud
maybe
grab her and shake her
so she’d understand
exactly what I mean

Looking For Answers

by James Babbs

the wind outside blowing and
it's been blowing all day long and
now
it’s night time again and
I’m trying to write something
sitting in this same room
trying to find
some jazz on the radio
drinking my first of many beers
the start of
another long evening and
I’m going to be here for awhile
looking for answers
all of these questions
that keep rising up
but ones I know
I never meant to ask

June 18, 2009

Rejection

by Brian Rosenberger

And the editor says after rejecting my submitted poem
"gonna pass on this one but keep submitting. and why only one poem? send at least 3, man. write a poem about the bottle. nothing like a good i'm drunk poem. sure worked for Buk."
And I can’t argue that.
But my counter point is
I punch neither clock nor spouse nor canine and unless you’re signing my paycheck, you get what I give.
In total sincerity, most drunks worry less about stanzas and sonnets
than where the next round is coming from.
I’ve got the green for this one.


*Brian's homepage: http://home.earthlink.net/~brosenberger

June 16, 2009

No I’m Not Happy To Be Alive

by Randall Rogers

neither was Kurt Cobain
and Hemingway at the end and Hunter
and Sylvia
oh thank Lord there’s no guns in the house and they don’t have gas ovens here cuz they don’t
bake things here in Thailand and I’d never icky cut my wrists so no with the knives and the doc won’t give me enough pills or I can’t horde 'em long enough to get enough of 'em to, as they say, "get the job done"

hanging’s out too, what kind of a jerk would do that?
just imagine me dangling at the end of a noose!

No I’ll do my suiciding the old fashioned way
with cigarettes
sex with prostitutes
too much drinking on occasion
non stop pot smoking
and yaa baa (this speed) taking and living the
writer’s bohemian no job life
like other writer guys
that didn’t really take a firm hand in outright killing themselves but
rather let the tar or nicotine
or the booze
the drugs
do the job enjoyably for them.
I throw my liver and lungs and brain
in with that crowd.

I’m not with the blow your head off scene.

VASELINA ON MY MIND

by Mather Schneider

She was 86'd from the Mint
for hawking blow jobs
and now she comes into The Deadwood every day
to trawl our happy hour.
The reason they call her Vaselina
is because she has a constant outbreak of open sores
on the skin of her chin
and she keeps it coated with Vaseline,
thick waves of it
like fallen meringe.
Her chin shines and sparkles in the bar lights
as she glances around
trying to look demure
instead of like something revealed
at low tide.
She’s about forty and slim
and seems to be educated
and despite the fact that you can see yourself
in the glisten of her chin
I've thought about it,
and so has Fat Paul
who works down at Pep Boys
and so has Lenny
who’s four feet eight
and furry as a wolf.

June 15, 2009

Wax Stripper

by John Rocco

I spent the early evening
with the Switchblade Sisters
watching a depressing movie
about a stripper whose kid is in a
coma, whose father is Ray Liotta
GOODFELLAS Ray who says
stuff like “People who worry
about their bills are dead” and his
daughter the stripper is dead
broke, worrying about the kid
offering the dickhead doctor
her total body
doctor shithead declining
to make a miracle
for the hot stuff inside.

The wax stripper’s
father is Ray and her boss
Velvet Larry
at the strip club
is Patrick Swayze
who is really facing
the dark doorway
the postman always ringing twice.

The sad wax stripper is
Jessica Biel
who pours hot wax
on herself and Al
says: “I bet you’re
gonna write one
about the wax stripper.”

This one is for the
wax stripper
and Al and her sister
her
who make this
depressing ass movie
sunny and bright
crashing together genres
changing the season
turning the postman away
always twice to say
sorry geeky Aristotle
your POETICS are crap
because the sisters
are going to
work out tonight
and I’m going home
to take a vodka bath
to celebrate the girls
with Switchblade hearts
cutting into the
honey of the dark world
wax burned
killing all the sad movies
making them all happy
because as she says
their fucked-up lives
make our lives
seem so much better.


*John Rocco at MySpace:
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=292819823

June 14, 2009

THE MAD GIRL THINKS OF OTHER DECEMBERS

by Lyn Lifshin

salmon sun, nights
the snow turning straw
berry where her father
fell on his face. Every
one worked late Christmas
Eve and the college
spires stuck black
crosses into it, snow
to glitter past the
Congregational Church
where Life photographers
were pressed for a perfect
New England shot. White
piling to eight feet, a moat
around the lavender rooms
in the town where she
couldn’t breathe as the
black cat went crazy


*Lyn's website:
http://www.lynlifshin.com/books.htm

June 11, 2009

I Made This Poem Up

by Randall Rogers

Bukowski met a guy
once who didn’t drink didn’t smoke

“What the hell do you do then?” he asked
as if one had to fill the time of day drinking
or like Mao said a day without reading at least sixty pages
is a day wasted - Buk’s corollary is a day
not filled with drinking is a day frittered away
my cousin was like Bukowski
beer for breakfast and all day and night long
always had a beer in his hand
graduated to adding a quart or so of brandy to
the mix,
and lasted about two and a half
years, before his liver went, then
all his organs started shutting down
and his heart stopped
and he croaked
at forty-eight

No, it’s like a doctor friend once told me, "better to smoke than drink if you are gonna do either"
he told me
"you can live with just one lung,"
he said
"but if the liver goes,
unless you get a transplant
you’re toast."
Cousin was toast,
burnt toast.
Kind of hope I don't
follow him in.

June 10, 2009

Letter to Pris

by Scott Owens

Sara and Norman aren’t gone, of course.
They can never be gone completely.
When I walk alone under a waxing moon,
Sara is there, her hand in my back pocket.
When you try to rise, morning’s drowse
stretched across your eyes, Norman
is there, pulling you back, wanting, needing.
When I hide my head beneath the covers,
making love until there’s nothing left,
I know that Sara and Norman are there.
When you see the girls in cropped tops
and hip-huggers, long hair and strategically
placed tattoos, all breasts and thighs,
like modern-day fertility goddesses,
creating the world in their own image,
you know that Sara is there.
When I answer the alarm and press
my slacks and drive to work
in a hurry and stay late and worry
over every detail, I know that Norman
has come back without Sara this time.
When I hear from another room
that something in the voice of a man
in love, quiet murmur of assent,
hum of appreciation, ur-language of love,
I know that Norman has found
at least some temporary peace,
and even my own raging stops a moment,
stands still in the possibility of love.
Today, in the garden, Peruvian lilies
opened their petaled throats, and I swear
I heard Sara’s voice singing
We may never pass this way again.
What else could I do but listen and kneel down
and cry over things that pass and all
the things we know will last forever?


*Scott Owens is co-editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review. He teaches creative writing at Catawba Valley Community College.

Loving Norman

is impossible.
He knows.
He’s tried
for years,
hand stroking
his manly ego,
squeezing his bloated
throat.

Oh, he looks good
enough on the surface,
hair combed
across the thinning
spots on top,
teeth white
but somewhat bent,
cheap slacks pressed,
shirt immaculately clean
though a little damp.
Myrtle Beach Lothario
slightly out of season,
voice too loud,
sugar too high,
patience all but gone.

In his younger days
he tried hard
to earn the love
of at least one
warm body
beside him,
held his temper
in check,
spoke
only in whispers,
only sweet
words, tried
to be sensitive,
vulnerable, think
of others first.


He thought
if he could love
another, they might
love him in return,
but if his own father
couldn’t do it,
if he, himself,
can’t do it,
what hope
could anyone else have?

by Scott Owens

June 9, 2009

THE MAD GIRL WANTS JULY TO SLOW DOWN

by Lyn Lifshin

the leaves went from
chartreuse to huge
jade palms too fast
the way his fingers on
her arm moved down
there Friday speeding
up like her heart.
The emerald walnut
nipples, now lime
sized nuts squirrels
tear and strip from
the trees before
they’re ready, as,
even four weeks
since he fell into
her lips, his voice
on the radio pulls
all that’s green and
growing from her


*Lyn's website:
http://www.lynlifshin.com/books.htm

haiku

by Randall Rogers

boxing the wind
I knocked the North Pole
out cold

June 7, 2009

Point/Counterpoint

by Lawrence Gladeview

“where do you
see yourself
in five years
mr. gladeview?”

cussin’ the dog
n
hollerin’ at my wife

“i will be blunt
mr. gladeview,
according to your
breath you’re an
alcoholic, and from
your stench i’d
figure you for a bum”

according to the
absent ring with
corresponding tan line
you’re an adulterer, and
from YOUR stench i’d
figure it ain’t the
blue bird next door, but
rather the whores in
the skid row gutter

“welcome aboard
the school staff
mr. gladeview,
the lunch lady position
is all yours.”


*Larry's blog: http://beatnikprose.blogspot.com/

June 6, 2009

Linda’s Place

by John Rocco

“I just had sex 8 times,” Bianca says
coming into the bar
Linda’s place
the Bronx
for her shift
7pm to 4am
full of life
while we are dead
she loves MY FAIR LADY
she told us
while Eric and I
have been here for 6 hours
holding up our second bar
with lunatic grips moonless
for the moon’s coming.

We spent the day drinking
watching Jennifer the day
bartender rub her ass
all over the pool table
to ruin some guy’s shot
a guy who thinks the Who
is Meatloaf
but she goes home with
him anyway.


We’re caught
between shifts
at Linda’s Place
the Twilight Zone
between shifts
Rod Serling narrating smoking
the Bronx a flowing
world outside
history zoo blushing guts
seppuku America laughs
at all the guys from Queens
and Canada in the Bronx
who are really trapped
old movie cowboys at heart dead
riddled with old cold killer lead
glad to see city folk
kicking back and getting laid
for once
while we have
the land at our backs
cows running in our dreams
glasses of beer exploding
too many essays to read
all the high noons
blasted on the bullets of
the blessed Bronx angels
wearing tight thongs
not coming to see us
tonight or tomorrow
never calling us back.

We’re caught
between shifts
at Linda’s Place.
When her underwear
creeps up her ass
she calls it flossing.


*John Rocco at MySpace:
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=292819823

She Says I Like the Sun and She Likes the Night

by John Rocco

The rats are in the park tonight eating
the statues
and the streets and the buildings and the lights
are alive in New York
eating too, eating cars and birds
and electricity, the Mother Load
surging through her veins
Medusa City
turning all our dicks to stone.

I’m dying to get my hero’s rocks off
forever and however
she, Bronx Siren, won’t see me
claiming she needs to do laundry,
see her parents, paint the house.
It seems to be a poor excuse to
not hit the concrete sheets
to make us complete
in the stars of tonight born today.

June 5, 2009

THE MAD GIRL ON HER MAD GIRL POEMS

by Lyn Lifshin

I don’t know how I
filled the house
with those poems

some with blood
and fat dripping

gristle, gristle
she sings like it
was a name as
beautiful as
Giselle

It’s been dark
greyish green
all day now
she writes watching

the words become
a wishbone
It’s light now
she whispers, hurry
come. The light
is harder


*Lyn's website:
http://www.lynlifshin.com/books.htm

June 3, 2009

Glad that’s over with

by Ed Makowski

My father was ill many years
I grew up
watching him that way and
Each time I shaved
I saw him in the reflection

but I didn’t so much see
him, as
I saw the twitching and drooling
spastic wailing tantrums
food coughed up and
general dementia
of the disease we
may have shared, Then I’d

spend weeks
avoiding the morning mirror
until a beard grew

Every few years shaving clean
out of curiosity, to the same
diverted eye result

The other night at a friend’s garage
between beer and brats
we pieced together his Ducati 450 single
and after hours fastening
gathered for a picture
around the running result

Standing around the finished product
his wife saying corny things with a camera
I felt my face shaped in the same
crooked grin I’ve seen in every
picture from my dad’s youth


The next day I woke up
and watched the mirror for awhile
then decided to shave,
taking a long time
and even a shower before
confronting it again


That was a week ago and I feel fine.

Nearly thirty years it took
to look at my own face

June 2, 2009

Holiday in Guantanamo Bay

by Chris Butler

Searching for the American dream elsewhere,
with counterfeit greenback green
cards, as a stowaway on embargoed
cargo across an abandoned border,
pocketing the lone key out of Florida.

Flying south as the twenty-first hijacker,
brandishing rusted box cutters
for free healthcare with a cigar
and a sharp glass catheter,
spending time on Roosevelt dimes.

Or floating in inflatable rubber ducky boats,
surfing water-boarded waves
in constrictive plastic handcuffs;
LOOK MA! NO HANDS!
chafing across the barren sand.

Tanning under the blood soaked Cuban sun,
my epidermis burns as leather
masks, stripping linen skin into
suicidal Muslim complexions,
on holiday in Guantanamo Bay.

June 1, 2009

me

by David Morton

i dont know what you are, dave,
david
david
i dont know what you are.
killed no giants
but dave i am
a david alive
born shy and fevered and nervous
grown shy and fevered and nervous
until the alco had come
tastin like the devil and
cutting the shy and the fevered and the nervous
until there is too much
and then cutting the stomach
bleared out dave
dave drinking and gone out.
talking dave.
talking to women dave.
goddamn you dave!
going out in the woods.
on the coldest day dave
and eyeing the animals dave
dave drunk and crying
failing dave
loving dave
to the bar dave
to drink and be dumb to nerve
to be dumb to worry
and thought and love
to drink and drink
until the head is on the table
and the bitches are screaming
the violent have whiskeyed
and pushing
and the past violents
look at their wives and kill away
their violence to these new violents
they smile off the violence
dave goes to the covered bridge
staggered and lonely
the moon on his pants and
dave dont want it on his pants
crying for the night and the dead
and the fuckers who live
who god thinks are the coolest
and i lay there in the nite
on the cold wooden bridge boards
damning myself to hell
with a murderous headache
because i had earlier
called god a fucker
i am SO SORRY GOD
i say that over and over
and my head hurts worse and worse
god punishing me
dave finally sleeping and waking and happy
nerves laid out on the hospital beds
yelling at the nurses
dave drinking coffee
dave visiting his grandparents
dave feeling awake but tired
dave feeling better knowing he
had heard the birds early and first in the morning