December 30, 2009

Some thought

by Alan Catlin

she rode harder
than a hot car,
four on the floor,
downshifted into
a tighter gear
than she was in,
hugging close to
soft shoulders,
spitting stones,
broken glass,
roadkill, the skin
& bones of steel
belted tires, over
inflated as she drives,
heading into blind
turns, the dead man's
curves of her body
claiming more than
one victim, white
crosses in a desert
of graveyards
marking the names
of the men
she once loved.

December 29, 2009

CUNT

by Lyn Lifshin

a little cave to explore
you come out happier
for having been there

with its beard around
the words you’ve been

wanting, a flower, rose
petals opening, hallway
you didn’t know had so

many different rooms,
all of them welcoming

you, a glove saying
very glad and shaking

sweet apricot half
with a moist place
for your tongue

a furry mouth with
its own tongue

space there’s
always more room
in as it gets
more crowded


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

December 28, 2009

pissing away time

by J.J. Campbell

it's the afternoon
shower

it's jerking off to
pass time

it's writing a poem
in hopes you've
killed another tree

it's the argument
of coke or pepsi
beatles or stones
bird or magic

simply pissing
away time in this
void of ignorance
and stupidity

the vapid eyes of
this week's beauty
queen

oh the horror

another photo op
with the little black
kids made good on
the bad side of town

the commercials keep
telling me this is life
i'm suffering from

yet somehow i have
a feeling it's much
fucking worse

the greatest truth we have ever been shown

by J.J. Campbell

i woke up this morning with
a bad back and a bleeding
asshole and i thought to
myself now there's a good
title for a memoir

and as you slowly lose blood
you enter this bleary-eyed
insanity where serenity is the
devil and evil is the greatest
truth we have ever been shown

pointless emails

the same porno over
and over again

just different lips on
different shades of cock

the morning liquor just doesn't
have the same effect anymore
after staring death in the face
and forgetting to blink first

but it all goes back to my
parents for they raised me
to be competitive

if i would have been taught
failure is fine i wouldn't have
to bore all of you with these
words right now

so blame them


feel free to send all your love letters of hate to jcampb4593@aol.com

December 26, 2009

Pretending The Apple Pie Is Fresh

by Doug Draime

Pretending what can only be pretended
in the hollow cave of
a diseased mind, and laughing
like a crater on the moon: dead and
deep and treacherous.
War mongers and whore mongers
dine with presidents and kings
on lavish tables.
Meteors and broken stars are buried
beneath the junkyards of the world.
Dignity is something sold on back streets
and in dark crevices.
No matter how often flowers wither and
die in the presence of politicians,
no matter what the earth is destined to
spew out of its bowels, no matter what price
the death of innocence,
the horror continues unchecked by the
appointed and elected guardians of society.
Legions march heads-up past the viewing stand
where the decked-out
dignitaries are seated with chests full of medals,
wearing thousand dollar suits, their wives
smiling beside them
like vampy Vegas whores.

Elitism Is Defeatism, Sorry, Charlie

by Doug Draime

It MUST BE the POETS magazine
because they’re always
pictured on the front
with their arms around
each other, smiling.
On the inside they praise each
other and themselves,
their writing never making any waves;
but it sure is lyrical
“Have a nice day.”
If you send them money, they might
publish you too! And you could
make it to the cover to stand beside
the rest of the POETS, who have
come upon another cheap little hustle,
to survive yet another lie about
modern day poetry.

December 24, 2009

“NOSTALGIC MENENTOS”

on the side of the box.
Letters from my mother
in college, room assignments
for Syracuse U. Someone
sprinkled baby talc powder
on the box. Musty files,
A letter from a Carl I
no longer remember, the
ink blurred: "Shaw 5th
floor," UVM Kake Walk
magazine before it was
not pc, Feb 16,17, 18.
Those handsome men
probably white and bent.
Xerox copy of a script
spelled wrong, "Rosalin,
Litman then a photo
of me in the green dress
I wore. Measles couldn’t
stop me. I was Vivian
Whitehouse, attractive
young girl about 24.
I probably was though
younger, with no idea I was
pretty. That part, after
I lost others to Carolyn
Morin who went on to have
an affair with Joe DiMaggio
who came to Middlebury
to make Carolyn’s mother
too until Mr. Morin went
after him with a shot gun.
The pale ink of the script
fading, crumbling like
those days, blurred as the
handwritten notes under
the powder, messy
as the past

by Lyn Lifshin


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

December 21, 2009

Polanski

by John Rocco

I was reading in a magazine
that Chris gave me
about Roman Polanski and how
when he was trying to recover
from his pregnant wife being
stabbed a million times by Manson’s kids
he went to Switzerland and discovered a town
that is the capitol of the universe for
finishing schools for girls. He used to sit in his
car and wait for them to answer to roll call
before they jumped over the wall. This is
not to knock the guy because I do love his movies
especially CHINATOWN where you do
as little as possible and his bloody MACBETH
for the wild witches and the knockdown armor fight
but he is in some trouble
for some really fucked-up shit.

Don’t get me wrong
we all know he’s guilty
and so does he and the fact
that his mother was killed in a
concentration camp
and Sharon Tate was
eight and a half months pregnant
untimely ripped by Charlie’s maniacs
does not excuse him, does not balance the scales.

Now he’s under house arrest in Switzerland
wearing a monitoring bracelet. He’s under
house arrest in the town with the most
finishing schools for girls in the universe,
his big nose pressed up against the window.

He’s guilty as in
ROSEMARY’S BABY
when the husband played by Cassavetes
makes the deal with the head witch
also named Roman
and the shot is not of them
sitting on the couch talking
but of the smoke in the air
next to them
from their cigarettes.


*John Rocco at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/292819823

HORROR EXPRESS

by John Rocco


The plot is simple:
Christopher Lee is a violently polite scientist
who found a 2 million-year-old
hairy cave man in the ice in Manchuria.
He packed the big fucker in a crate
all chained up
and put it on the Trans-Siberian Express
to bring it back to England
for Queen and country.
The only problem is that
the hairy bastard was invaded
by an alien life form a million years ago
and it woke up out of the ice
on the train
hungry glowing red eyes
sucking white many brains
and taking on the knowledge
and the power of
the thief, the baggage man,
Peter Cushing’s assistant,
an astrophysicist, the crazy
awesome vodka bottle grasping
Cossack played by Telly Savalas
who calls everyone “Peasants!”
swinging his heavy sword at everyone
even the beautiful Polish Countess.
When the train goes over the broken bridge
killing everyone and the monster
I’ve been slugging Cossack vodka
and eating sucked white brains
to keep up with the action of
one of my very personal favorite movies
because it tells me a lot about myself
like how much I miss the hot summer
hanging with the Switchblade Sisters
watching them both in the bathroom
putting on makeup and doing their hair
tomorrow just another promise to break.

December 19, 2009

MID SUMMER NIGHT

by Lyn Lifshin

the moon’s face
almost full
slivering between
clouds. Stars
dissolve. A single
firefly. In this
pale light,
as with you,
what is blurs. I
can’t make out
outlines of
tiger lilies
opening, onyx
spots startling as
your black eyes,
a thick musk
in blackness crowds
the fence past
the rose
dogwood balls


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

AUGUST, THEN AFTER

by Lyn Lifshin

I light a candle for
my mother in the
house I’m rarely
in, can see her
lighting one in
the same room
for her mother.
In Vermont, the
geese were already
flying. Skies of
small blackbirds
like tossed coals,
The dark moss
on her stone. So
much in my rear view
mirror now that she
isn’t eclipsed
other pain. Never
mind what I said
before. When I walked
into the room, just
a glance took
my breath

December 18, 2009

The Vulva

by Ed Makowski

shortly after High School
I dated a very tall girl
from a family of
Jehovah's Witnesses.

Their very logical
(the story went) mother
drove a Volvo, which
the middle daughter nicknamed
The Vulva. Hearing this would
red face enrage their mother.

I never saw the car
and I never met her parents,
or saw their house in day light.
Although once

the neighbors reported
seeing a “homeless man”
crawling out from under the deck
above their exposed basement
shortly before sunrise

December 16, 2009

WRITING CLASS, SYRACUSE WINTER

by Lyn Lifshin

write, he said looking
like an even craggier
Lincoln, your impressions
the next 4 days, details
of a walk across campus
.
Even now I remember I
wore a strawberry wool
skirt, matching sweater.
There was bittersweet
near the Hall of Language.
I curled in a window
ledge of a cave in Crouse,
an organ drifting thru
smooth warm wood. I
could let the wine
dark light hold me, slid
on the ice behind where a
man with a blue mole
picked me up, my notes
scattering up Comstock.
Torn tights, knees snow
kissed the skin off. I was
hypnotized by that
huge growth, said yes
tho I only half remembered.
Upstairs icicles clotted,
wrapped glass in gauze.
There must have been some
one who didn’t call. Blue
walls, ugly green bedspread,
Dorothy popping gum, eating
half a tuna sandwich before
we’d lie in bed with the
lights out wondering what
it would be like to have
Dr Fox with his red beard
go down on us as we
braided and rubbed our
mahogany hair dry and I
tried to figure out what to
do with the bittersweet,
torn knees, ragged maples,
didn’t believe I’d ever
have anything to write about


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

MEDICATION IS FORNICATION

by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

Medication is fornication.
You know it is, doctor.
You just want to fuck me up.

The modification of my life
is in your hands, doctor.
You just want to change my ways.

There is nothing at all wrong
with my mind. Perhaps you
are the problem, not me.

I need to serve dinner for the
celebrities, doctor.
They are coming over.

How can I fix them dinner when
I am in here, doctor?
You just want to poison me.

Since I was four years old I have
been poisoned in my head.
You are just like my mother.

She never let me have any fun.
I always had rules I
had to follow, just like now.


*you can order t Luis' new chapbook, THE BOOK OF ABSURD DREAMS from New Polish Beat.

December 15, 2009

long stretch of emptiness

by Michael Estabrook

Alone on the sidewalk walking the dark streets
the wind blowing leaves through the trees
and down along the cold ground. Alone
returning to the dorm missing my girl so bad
I cry in desperation, the future so distant,
such a long stretch of hollow emptiness,
before we would be together, before
I would have her
to myself, always. A feeling
as barren as the earth waiting
for the green of spring, cold as steel
on a frozen winter field.

December 14, 2009

Asked why

he killed her,
left the body
amid all that
garbage dumped
by winos, freaks,
out of towners,
bums, to be found
by short cutting
kids on the way
home from school,
too hysterical
to describe exactly
what they saw,
what had been
lying there, unprotected
in all that heat
and shit. Veteran
cops would heave
their late lunches
after seeing what
he'd done to that
poor woman and
all the perp could
say was something
about a stabbing pain
in his head, co-
conspirator voices telling
him what to do,
the head guy dressed
like some kind of
Gabriel angel telling
him it was God's will,
or whatever. "Put some
of this shit down on
paper and have
him sign it. Maybe the
courts will think of it
as a confession."

by Alan Catlin

December 13, 2009

shapes

by DB Cox

back from iraq
with stories to tell
distorted dream shots
captured in sensaround
brutal
disjointed
scenes streaming
in vivid
heartbreaking detail--
but as silence
walks him down
easy hometown streets
past sunday night
living rooms
lit by wide-screen TVs
overlaid with
bought-&-paid-for
prophets taking back
old american promises--
the tales die
inside his heart--
recollections that burned
blood-red in the dark
gone cold
as the ghosts
who breathed them--
& he begins
to comprehend
how these shapes
carved into his soul
are only empty outlines
forever shackled
to another place
another time

broken places

by DB Cox

sometimes at night
after the last light
has been doused
& the holy meds
have rendered him
oblivious to the pain
& sickening smells
of the v.a. ward
he can feel the void
that stretches
out from his body
in every direction--
360 degrees
of seclusion
dead as a disconnected phone
& he reaches blindly
into the black absence
hoping his fingers
will brush against
something he can hold onto
maybe a wayfaring angel
who might allow
a little unexpected mercy
& lift him above
these broken places--
back to days
of grace
& the face of a kid
singing to himself
as he plays alone

December 12, 2009

LYING OUT IN THE FIELDS WHERE THERE’D BE WILD STRAWBERRIES

by Lyn Lifshin

only the leaves
that March afternoon,
the sun a glow we
hardly saw the months
of snow. We lay on
our backs. No, I told
my mother later,
the ground was dry.
Birds all around,
dandelions we opened
already the palest
color of sun. My green
parka on the lush
green hill, our eyes
closed, smelling
the smell of things
growing: hair, summer
and tho by mid afternoon,
we’d shiver in the shade,
our skin stayed pink,
sun kissed this early


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

NIGHTS IT WAS TOO HOT TO STAY IN THE APARTMENT

by Lyn Lifshin

We drove to the lake, then stopped
at my grandmother’s. The grownups
sat in the screened porch on wicker
or the glider whispering above the
clink of ice in wet glass. Spirea and
yellow roses circled the earth under
stars. A silver apple moon. Bored
and still sweaty, my sister and I
wanted to sleep out on the lawn
and dragged out our uncle’s army
blankets and chairs for a tent. We
wanted the stars on our skin, the
small green apples to hang over
the blanket to protect us from bats.
From the straw mats, peonies glowed
like planets and if there was a breeze,
it was roses and sweat. I wanted
our white cats under the olive green
with us, their tongues snapping up
moths and whatever buzzed thru the
clover. For an hour the porch
seemed miles away until itchy with
bug bites and feeling our shirts fill
with night air, my hair grow curlier,
our mother came to fold up the blankets
and chairs and I wished I was old
enough to stay alone until dawn or
small enough to be scooped up, asleep
in arms that would carry me up the
still hot apartment stairs and into
sheets I wouldn’t know were still
warm until morning

December 11, 2009

STILL NOT HAPPY

by Chloe Caldwell

Amazing girlfriend, ugly lover, still not happy.

That is what you wrote in inky blue pen inside your journal that I was
reading after you’d left for San Francisco.

Your amazing girlfriend was in D.C. to give a lecture on art history.

I was the ugly lover left in Manhattan.

Cozy on your bed, my thighs sore from sex

(my eyes sore from the sentence)

reading your private thoughts

smoking your pot

and eating your leftover colored Easter eggs.

I’d always assumed I was your beautiful lover.

Now I was nauseated---

Your livid lover.

Lonely.

Finding out you are not pretty is similar to

finding out Santa Clause doesn’t exist

or you won’t be a famous hip hop dancer,

Broadway star,

or writer, after all

I hurled your maroon journal straightforward as hard as I could.

I hated your maroon journal; I hated your maroon sweatshirt;

I hated you.

The journal knocked down the blue glass holding the single daffodil
I’d picked for you

Earlier that morning we’d both agreed the contrast of the royal blue
and lush yellow was just right

We'd looked at each other, happy with our masterpiece, in love.

Now I wanted to take the daffodil back

I wanted to burn your journals and smash your bongs

Suddenly I hated that you had the money to live in the East village and I had
to live in condemned apartments in Brooklyn with broken toilets.

I never told you about my insufficient funds.

You never told me you thought I was ugly.

I put on your maroon sweatshirt with the hood over my head and left

I walked around alphabet city with headphones on listening to Blood on
the Tracks.

No one would bum me a cigarette because I was ugly

I climbed the stairs back into your 9th street apartment

Defeated, depressed

Thinking about how cigarettes make you uglier, anyway.

Your cat with the ear infection, Moochie LaRue, had vomited on the
checkered floor

I had this idea of smashing the hard-boiled eggs into it with my Doc
Marten and creating a vomit egg salad.

Then smearing it onto the keys of your typewriter

and onto your maroon moleskin.

But I cleaned it up because I loved you.

I slept sad in your bed without you.

I woke up to a rainstorm.

Stole some quarters off of your dresser to get a coffee across the street.

The barista gave me bad service because I am ugly.

I sat on your stairs drinking coffee listening to Blood on the Tracks.

I was trying to look pretty during my pity party.

Pathetic.

The next morning I left for Berlin.

It was in Berlin two months later

While I was staring out a window eating a banana

After sleeping on the floor dreaming of your voice

remembering how you used to tell me to peel them from the bottom like
monkeys do

that I realized:

I was so angry that you thought I was ugly,

that I forgot to concern myself,

with you not being happy.

And I wondered how you were doing.

December 10, 2009

PAST THE ABANDONED RAILROAD

where boys tried to lean
into a nipple if you walked
thru the thick wet leaves
of Frog Alley where tourists
sip cappuccino on the wrought
iron chairs. When, finally,
someone asked me to dance
he tried to put his tongue
in deep, his fingers past my blue
dress dotted with rhinestones
near where we bowled on New
Year's Eve and Sylvia, the tall
elegant woman told me later
I had lovely skin. From the
bridge at Otter Creek, the old
marble mill grew rivulets
of ice, like bars, as if to cage
the cold, the frozen spiders.
Someone buried marbles
ground to dust past the college
spires, the last thing the girl
with a baby growing in
her saw flashing by as she
jumped into the whirlpool’s
icy logs. Some nights I
was sure I could hear her
moaning as the falls crashed,
spit ice up to Main Street
and I ran, as if the crush of
cold froth was a lure

by Lyn Lifshin


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

TONGUE

by Lyn Lifshin

she never told me not to let any
one inside, or that I, like women
in Tibet, who once stuck theirs
out as a greeting for others,
should learn to keep it inside,
sheltered. But the idea of
putting a man inside my
mouth, close to my tongue,

was more than she could
stomach. My mother, who let
me read Snows of Kilimanjaro
when my friend’s mother would
not, wasn’t a prude, but thought
that keeping as much from a man
would just make him want you.
Licking chocolate was one

thing, but to put something you
didn’t know where it had been
in your mouth, that was too much.
We had tongue for dinner, that
huge blubbery shape much bigger
than any penis. In her last weeks
my mother craved tongue, not fat,
not too lean but thinly sliced. In our
house, we never held our tongues:
words were razors: slut, liar,
vicious, stupid,
were hurled
down the hall like fists or straps.
My mother and I battled, it was
as if we had a body of tongues
stuck out at each other until any
place on our bodies was a mouth

so sore nothing could save us
but to stop each other’s mouth
with a long kiss

December 9, 2009

Aeneas or How I Miss Her Ass

by John Rocco

“Bros before Hoes!” the God’s thunder
blasting his heartbroken brain.
He wasn’t allowed to die killing his enemies
or stay with her, Queen Super Ass.
He has a permanent hangover hard-on
remembering in pain how they did it everywhere:
the royal coach, the movie theater
his car, her great royal bed.
She had such an incredible ass
he would stare at it for days
and she would get fed up with
him and grab a piece of cheek saying:
“Cellulite!” but you know what it
really is: Angel Pillow, God’s Porn Prop.

The Gods make him leave her
and the ASS OF HEAVEN
sneaking away from it in the middle of the night
not calling, no more texting, no more love.
She kills herself of course and when he meets
her in the world beyond beyond
in the land past hope and fear
she steps out of the dark wood and glares at him.
He tries to talk to her, to say the final word
but she turns and goes back into the woods
still pissed, to meet her old boyfriend
taking her ass with her
leaving him alone in a world filled with the alive boring dead.


*John Rocco at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/292819823

mea culpa

by paul harrison

just so you know
it was me who
killed Cock Robin
and Bambi's mother too
it was me who
shot the sheriff
got high with
the Manson crew
it was me who
butchered my neighbours
it was me who
guarded the gates
it was me who
toasted the generals
mocking the disappeared
it was me who
raped thru Fallujah
ran fear with the Tonton Macoute
just so you know sweet Jesus
it was me
down merciless centuries
who mocked
and murdered you

December 8, 2009

Twenty Five Dollars

by Damion Hamilton

Most of the time, my life is filled with
Boredom, and melancholia,

But I will tell you about a good time
I had
It didn’t seem like I had one of those
In a long time
Well the girls at the club was taking
It off, and shaking it and smiling
Why can't the girls on the street
Do this?

And I sat down low wit valium
And beer
And this cute lil country girl from
Kentucky sat down next to me
Smiling and smoking her Newports,
Just made it to town
“well how do u like East St. Louis,” I asked
“well the girls here, don’t know how to pole
Dance. I did that for years back in Kentucky.”

She’s only twenty one.
When her time came up to dance, she invites me
To her table, and gives me the best table
Dance. Moving with that young frenetic energy, showing me
It all, putting it my face, and riding me hard in front of everybody
But I don’t like to be the center of attention
though
“can we dance in private after your set?” I asked her.
“of course, I need money I’m staying at a hotel. Jus
Let me know when you're ready.”
Well, we go back there wit the manager and DJ, watching
Us
We go slow, we go fast and hard, and she tells me
with that sweet but clich├ęd Southern accent, that riding
Me, is like riding a mechanical bull. "I don’t have to do any of the
Work, and you’re paying twenty-five dollars.”
But I like it that way, and afterwards she sits down next to
Me, smiling and laughing with that accent
Whether she likes me, or was putting me on, I don’t know
But some of the boredom and sorrow which saturates me
Has been lifted, for a time

News Report

by Damion Hamilton

A young man was shot to death multiple times
While sitting in his car in 5000 block of wherever
A twenty year old rookie officer was killed in a shootout
With a sixteen year old

Crazed man shoots girlfriend’s boyfriend, inside
Night club
Man shot to death outside a strip bar
Teacher accused of having sex with an underaged boy
Woman flushes baby down toilet
Ballas to be sentenced in drug trafficking charges
Held by the DEA and FBI for over a year
Man robs bank at two in the afternoon
Cops indicted on stealing drug money, and planting
Evidence
Drunk police officer kills three in a car crash

Woman burns another woman with liquid Draino
In a street fight
Ten arrested in dog fighting ring in five states
One killed and two injured in fatal home invasion

Three killed in triple homicide at a stop light, no
Witnesses or suspects
Woman shot and killed in diner, by unknown man

Man shot to death at gas station, while pumping gas
Man thrown over the Popular Street Bridge into the Mississippi
River, and lives!
A decayed body found in the same river

Man wanted for giving woman a fatal dose of heroin

Three teens sentenced for raping and killing a woman

Teen kills man over cheeseburger, and rides away
On his bicycle

Ten arrested for child porn in FBI sting

Sixty year old man shoots and kills teen

Where Did The Money Go

by Damion Hamilton

Not too long ago
It seemed that a lot
Of people had some money
People were buying new cars
People were buying clothes,
And people were talking about
Going to the malls
People bought CD’s in the music
Stores,
People spent spent and spent
And I seemed to be the only one
Without money,
A few years later, now it seems
That everyone is like me
Riding around in old damaged cars
Wearing old clothes, not buying anything
Things are bad when they start closing down
The movie theatres, no more dollar shows
The times have changed
A few years ago there was a feast for a few
Now it seems all is famine
The colleges are offering fewer classes now
Millions are without jobs
Television and radio talk
About the recession
Where did all the money go?

December 7, 2009

IN MIDDLEBURY, THE BEE MAN DIES

on the same street my mother
tried to walk to to rescue her
dog, his papers in a small box
of what mattered most in the
back of the closet with pale
blue letters written in small
handwriting with almost as
pale blue ink. In a small town
you can walk almost any
where but my mother was 9
and her socks drooped around
her ankles, rubbed skin raw.
Later, again in the town she
never wanted to move back
to, we lived a street away.
Maybe she wanted to be close
to the last place she held that
small part Spitz mongrel
who limped with her on three
legs, was more loyal than
most husbands. We heard
horses some nights in the
wind, could smell honey and
clover. The vet’s brother
worked in the store, limped
from a war injury and kept a
flask near the cash register
but nobody would fire him,
treated him like someone
in the family. Tho my mother
and father fought in the stucco
house, the Emilo house and
finally in the apartment, some
late June nights we drifted in
long amber light up that street
past the sound of the dogs,
like wind chimes. My father
whistled and my mother hummed
along, held a bottle or new
honey and for once, nobody
was about to spoil any night
washed with such sweetness

by Lyn Lifshin


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

MIDDLEBURY BEE MAN DIES

as the geese start to leave,
orchards sagging. The
wind near our old stucco
house two streets away,
steaming with apples.
The bees go on, the
geese remember iced
ponds. When I slept in
the top room with grey
painted boards I heard
horses, could smell
honey in the clover wind
as the bee man walked
thru the hives, bees on
his fingers, the moon’s
lemon light on their wings

by Lyn Lifshin

December 6, 2009

din

by M.P. Powers

at least 3 families
live in the section
8 house across the street.

2 mothers in great
smocks of tyrianpurple
are sitting on fold-out
chairs at the top of
the driveway. 9 kids leap tumble
bumrush through the yard.

the agony of their din
has been assailing
my eardrum
all afternoon,
as I sit quietly here trying
to compose somethingorother.
I turn the radio up a little.
nothing doing.

the music is invasive.
the muses
are unresponsive.
the door opens; my girlfriend
is standing there like
a tyrant.

I slump down in my chair,
close my
eyes and resign
myself to her ever so
pressing thoughts: something
about someone she knows
at work.

something about a book
called "night." something
about something
else and finally,
finally
she says, "you're not even
listening, are you?"

I stretch a little, look back
at her. "fine. I'll
go away!"

the door closes,
hard.

the clamor
of the neighbors continues.

this poem
was simply bound
to fail.

life in the small-press

by M.P. Powers

I am eating two pieces
of once-frozen salisbury
steak for dinner
while sifting through
my poems
wondering where
the next
batch is going to go

my inbox bears
news that I have just
been coldly
rejected
from one of the most shitty
quasizines that ever had
the nerve
to grace
the cyberlandscape

I have also found out
that two journals that have accepted
my work
have gone belly
up pre-publication

one of the editors
didn't even bother
telling
me

I mean, why bother?
right?

"as if it matters..."

I slice into my "steak"
chew
chew
chew
and swallow

but it's not
easy

December 5, 2009

'you're my diamond boy'

by Tasha Klein

stuck
in the window
spaced
apart
snow worms
look
i've found god
under
this big skirt
in their cold hair
hey
can u inject me with some of that
brilliant juice
u know
for after
when i'm all warm
and feeling like a
gift
subdued lips
red on white
snow-mouth
yours are the poems i write

December 4, 2009

ON MY MOTHER’S BIRTHDAY

by Lyn Lifshin

I want to go back
while there’s time,
these days blazing
fires under my
hair. Counting
down to this day,
remembering the
last day, what hospice
nurses said would
blur but hasn’t,
doesn’t mean I
can’t make a home
in the ghost light.
The mints in her
pocket book still,
the bag in the house
I still go to where
we’d spread out on
my bed, giggling
over boys she wanted
to want me but not
have me care
too much


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

December 3, 2009

boomerang kids

by nila northSun

they call this generation
boomerang kids
1 in 7 grown kids returning
to the parent's home
maybe while they go to college
maybe when they lose their jobs
maybe when new marriages fail
and now i find my daughter
with her 3 year old
sleeping on an air mattress
in the living room
of my small 1 bedroom apartment

today i ate my cereal
on my bed and didn't cook bacon
as my kitchen is where
their sleeping heads lay
i didn't watch the morning news
as that is where
their feet and clothes boxes are

today i will see about getting
wireless internet
so she can do job searches
on friday when i get paid
we will go grocery shopping
so she can pick foods she likes
maybe next week i will make
a doctor's appointment
to get valium my chill-pills
anticipating frayed nerves
though i love them both
i'm used to my oneness with myself.


*a chap by nila northSun: love at gunpoint

December 2, 2009

THE MAD GIRL CAN’T BELIEVE SHE EVER WAS SOMEONE WHO HAD AN EX CON POET LOVER LIVING IN THE TREES BEHIND HER HOUSE

if it wasn’t for the sketches
deep behind sand, the letter
he wrote about stealing wine
cooling on a back porch
and how excited he was
to have so many fine books
to read sleeping under
red poppies and ferns. Some
one else must have spread
her legs, opened herself
in ways she’d only imagined.
Who was that in clothes
that looked like hers
leaving language on a
tree, lasagna under the
window when her mother
came to town and she
couldn’t let him in the
house as normally she
would after her husband
pulled out for work in
that green Austin Healey.
The mad girl doesn’t
think she ever would gulp
nutmeg that kept her in
a terrifying blur. It’s
the way she feels often
these days but now she
doesn’t care about any
body touching her. She
remembers at a president
rally this man in the woods
said he watched her
and thought that gorgeous
ass belongs to me. Now
she’s pretty, tiny, still
has good legs but to try to
imagine wrapped them
around anyone, anything
that could be so dangerous
seems nearly impossible
tho she has

by Lyn Lifshin


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

December 1, 2009

She Doesn’t like the Ramones

by John Rocco

She always has a hangover
bartending the Sunday morning shift
a tough gig
especially because of last night
when she got into a fight in
Hoboken with a girl and she
told me she poured a bottle of beer
on her yelling: “Take this, bitch!”

She knocks back 4 aspirin with a beer
and eats an Almond Joy only for the almonds.

I’m the only customer
in the joint
and if I had guts and talent and ghosts
I’d pull a William Blake
and create a mythology
around her with pounding Angels
and coked-up Devils
but the truth is in the clouds:
She doesn’t like the Ramones
so damn her and all of country music to Hell.

She spends too much
time moving beer boxes
and looking at the clock
telling me I’m not wanted
because some guy is coming
over to give her notes from class
I know she’ll never read even
if they existed. I forgive her
because she doesn’t really know
the Ramones how I saw them
17 times, the best time the first time
in Flushing Meadows Park in the middle of the
day when I was working for a camp
the sphere of the Earth from the ‘69
World’s Fair hanging over us
arts and crafts still on our hands.

They played 12 songs in 20 minutes
me and the kids growing up real fast.
She doesn’t know this and doesn’t know
that Joey and Johnny
didn’t talk for years
over a woman
but they’re both dead now
and probably still not talking.


*John Rocco at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/292819823

The Thunderbolt

by John Rocco

My friend Chris
has these great stories
about riding a motorcycle
all across the country
broke, hungry, stinking
drinking with girls everywhere
sleeping in libraries.

Racing across the flatlands
one afternoon
miles and miles of flatland
forever around him
the road an endless line
no mountains, no hills
no bars, no bills
not another bike or car around.

Racing across the flatlands
the Triumph humming under him
the sky a perfect dead blue above
he saw forever
and tested God:
“If you exist,
“kill me now.
Kill me with a
thunderbolt.”

Nothing happened.

Years pass.
He’s telling me this
story in the bar
years and roads and women gone
proof positive that God
doesn’t exist until
he says to me:
“Maybe I was being
too literal. Maybe all these
years and roads and people
coming and going
maybe all these years
are the
thunderbolt
shot at me that day
racing across the flatlands.”