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


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:

December 28, 2009

pissing away time

by J.J. Campbell

it's the afternoon

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

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

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


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:

December 21, 2009


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
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:


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


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:


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


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:


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


by DB Cox

back from iraq
with stories to tell
distorted dream shots
captured in sensaround
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
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


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:


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


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.


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.


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


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:


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
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:

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
“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
We go slow, we go fast and hard, and she tells me
with that sweet but clichéd 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
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
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


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:


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


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,
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,

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
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

I mean, why bother?

"as if it matters..."

I slice into my "steak"
and swallow

but it's not

December 5, 2009

'you're my diamond boy'

by Tasha Klein

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

December 4, 2009


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:

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


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:

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:

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

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
shot at me that day
racing across the flatlands.”

November 30, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

wood smoke, orange
poppies and nights on
the bed where sea blown
drapes kissed bare legs.
A true initiation
before the husband
drove home. This man,
an ex-con, alkie, witty
but not as witty as he
thought. The first time
anyone put a tongue
there and there. Of
course I couldn’t keep
him. He was too big
to have in the house.
How like Rashomon
the women’s letters
about him, the woman
he took along for the
dark forever house.
Then the woman he
married. Her letters,
the suicide car plowing
into a school bus
haunt. I still have keys
for the cottage in
tangled vines. He taught
me what men did in
prison. When he was
late I was sure I’d find
his body in the leaves.
Nights around 9, he
lit a match under the
window, and I flashed
the lights. He was like
fireflies you reach
for in the dark,
are gone with the light

*Lyn's website:

Flowers are for Pansies

by Chris Butler

Melancholy Colleen
has grown
from her
cauliflower gardens,
and towards
something more
the absence
of color
in life,
stretching with
whatever’s left
of her lobotomized
brain stem for
some semblance
of heaven,
as she searches
for her paper
lover’s letters,
painted with
the stains
from the day’s
leaving me
each season
to be

November 29, 2009

These Nails Cause Me To Hesitate

by Chris Vaillancourt

I feel the pain of these nails
in my tongue whenever the sleepers

invade my moments.. soft honeydipped
words that reach out to melt across

the heat of your waiting world as warm
rain on a hot summer day are held back

as I speak with the distance that we
all place between each other..I look

over your body and even as you wonder
whether or not your makeup is done right

or your dress is on straight I can almost
feel a warm hand gliding up your body with

the skill of a painter.. surveying the beauty
that hides in each curve of you as he tries

to map it with his own hands..the pain of them
melts away as I listen to your words.. focusing

on each one. .. using it to see the sights of
the world through your minds eye..I sense your

pleasure speaking to me from whispers deep
within you and these nails cause me to hesitate

*I have had a series of chapbooks published in the 1980's by 4 Winds Press, such titles as "Doors and Windows", "Dancing in the Eighties" and "Slow Burn". I have had two poetry books published, the first "Teardrop of Coloured Soul" in 2005 and my latest one to be released in Jan. of 2010 entitled "I Walk Naked into a Cloud".

Fires Of The Night

by Chris Vaillancourt

It's been the storm
rising on my windows.
Washing my thoughts
into a leafy garden.

I stand there,
wet and shattered
and I hear

Empty pockets of gloom.
I smell regrets
and worse,
guilt in the flesh.
Uncertainty in the soul.

It's been the end
when it began.
I shiver
cold and indifferent.
Whispers all the rage.

I whimper
drinking wine
from silent straws
and touching nobody.

Only silences and whispers.
Only memories and tomorrows.
It's been like hell
driving on this
Cruising past renovations
and contemplating the
storms of past tomorrows.

I hear promises and
shallow sunsets.
Empty holes in
empty coffee cups.
The kettle is boiling.
No one is there
to drain it.

It's been another day.
This I knew
at the onset.
So I turned and grew
into silences.
Strong whispers
the fires of the night.

What Sign of Absence?

by Chris Vaillancourt

What sign
of absence
does a normal man
have to enforce to

Sun burned snow?

Pockets of lint forever
needing to
be emptied.

A glance back
at a stream
of consciousness
used to
drip like water
into a

The sign
of leaving
is flashing.
It beckons
amber yellow.

You don't have to
secrets anymore.

I'm not listening.

November 27, 2009


there were snakes in the
tent. My mother was
strong but she never
slept, was afraid of
dreaming. In Auschwitz
there was a numbness,
lull of just staying
alive. Her two babies
gassed before her, Dr.
Mengele, you know who
he is? She kept her
young sister alive
only to have her die
in her arms the night
of liberation. My mother
is big boned, but she
weighed under 70 lbs.
It was hot, I thought
the snakes lovely. No
drugs in Israel, no
food. I got pneumonia,
my mother knocked the
doctor to the floor
when they refused,
said I lost two in
the camp and if this
one dies I’ll kill
myself in front of
you. I thought that
once you became a
mother, blue numbers
appeared, mysteriously,
tattooed on your arm

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:


by Lyn Lifshin

the woman is
amazed not
that the watch
store is
open but that
anyone cares
about the time,
or knows it.
Every part of
her an aide, a
scout sent
out to listen,
to bring back
news to empty
rooms where
people who
hoped it would
be over are
no longer

November 26, 2009

advice to the newly divorced

by Justin Hyde

the bald car salesman
with a face
the color of a stoplight
tried setting me straight
couple months back
over jaeger bombs
at the waveland:

whatever you do
don't' fuck your ex wife
she'll think it means something.
trust me he said
you're better off
sticking a baseball bat
or a soup can
up your asshole
screwing your ex wife.

but i couldn't help it.

she pressed flank
and i ran the happy stick
up in her.

now i'm on trial
in the living room
just like old times:

think you can just
fuck me
whenever you want?
it meant
something to me
i thought we were going
to talk and
work on things
but i’ts about you
like always.

i exhale deeply

slowly run palms
down my thighs

making a silent promise
i probably
won't keep.

memorial day at the twisted parrot

by Justin Hyde

guy on my right
is down on himself

couldn't get cash together
to make it up to minnesota

says he goes every year
mows and pulls weeds
around his grandparent's graves.

i buy him a cuervo
tell him
don't be so hard on yourself
you'll get up there when you can
they'd understand.

yeah - - yeah
they probably would understand,
he says
perking up suddenly
buys me a cuervo
pats me on the back.

he gets up to piss

i notice his right leg
is half size of the other
and bent like a wish-bone
at the knee.

where's your shoe rick?
i ask
when he comes back
helping him up onto the

it's missing off the foot
on his
withered right leg.

he stares down at it
a good three minutes

rubs his temples

then buries himself
in his elbow.

tells me
nothing's gone right
since he lost his job
selling pots and pans
door to door
back in seventy-nine.


by Justin Hyde

as my father's

there was no

he'd sit
end of the couch
one leg
over the other

countenance of
an owl pellet

as my sister
and i
opened our presents
in silence

my mother

doped up
on stolen

trying to act

which just
made it

November 25, 2009

ritual respect

by The Poet Spiel

i try not to force
these aching hips
but if it's a moment
when they allow
i'll rise in silence
with my face
to the floor
while others
recite their pledge

it's not that
my right hand
cannot locate
my heart
it's that i insist
the allegiance
of my heart
not be ritually disposed
when it begins to shred


peach tree

by The Poet Spiel

so i say to my mom
there's never anything to do
around this stupid place

and my mom says
well why don't you go and make something

so i say like what

and she says
why don't you make a peach tree

so then i start whistling

and she says
ever time i hear you start whistling
i know yer up to something
now you need to git yerself outside
an walk the stink off

so i go up to my room and
play with my pecker

then just as it starts feelin good
she hollers up the stairs
bobby lee what're you doing

so i holler back
i'm makin you a peach tree

then she hollers
don't you dare to get your paints
all over on your nice blankets

an i holler i'm doin my pencil

and she hollers what color

and i holler
same like a peach
an i'm not gittin it on my blankets

November 24, 2009

'61 was a hell of a year

by Erek Smith

ate the
barrel of
his hunting
rifle for
July 2, '61
the next
day my
father came
into this
one tough
the other
just getting
both served
in a war
both loved
to hunt
& fish
both had
three kids
& were
in at
least one
of them

Black Maps

by Renae Andruse

If you took my father’s lava
out of my veins
I’d be charred,
more barren than Sarah
or her God.

Icarus fell from his advice
like droplets from a leaky sink—
and for the next hour,
we couldn’t see for the fog.

His hazel eyes cried ink
when he discovered
my volcanoes had been awoken
from dormancy by a boy
slightly paler than ebony—

my lover is quartz

but my first love was lava.
And they say,
in voices shriller than steam,

that you never forget your first taste
Of fire.

On Relationships

by Renae Andruse

Your words misfire like
a gun in an old western—
I can’t decide if I am

the one behind you, counting paces,
or the corseted hot shot
back at the saloon.
My mouth becomes the double swinging

doors. Come in and drink
but know you might find smoke
in the barrel of your sarcasm.

After our fight, I wonder if
this town could ever be

big enough for the two of us.

November 23, 2009

like yeats

by paul harrison

thinking about death
and transmigration
and whether father
flew into son
when the moment came
if a lost legion of deceased
small press scribblers
entered mr. hyde
where richmond is
where wantling went
bob kaufman laughing
in the big buddha sky

Booty Duty

by John Rocco

Not ass porn
because they don’t need ass porn
or any porn
on the horny island gone backward
to the old fertility ways
super everyday perverts
the whole population
fucking everywhere and talking about
it like it’s the weather
worshipping cock and pussy
while watering the gravestones.

It’s all in that old WICKER MAN film
with Christopher Lee
who holds the triple crown
for horror roles: Dracula,
the Frankenstein Monster,
and the Mummy
and Edward Woodward
just died. He played
the virgin fool king cop
who turns down the
innkeeper’s daughter
(the song in the bar goes:
“What lies between her
left foot and her right foot?”)
doing an ass-shaking wonder dance
and closes the door on Ingrid Pitt
and her big Polish tits waiting
in the hot metal bathtub.
She played Countess Dracula
maniac sadist Elizabeth Bathory
the Blood Countess
who bathed in the blood of
tortured slaughtered virgins
to keep her skin young and alive
with the young virgin blood
caught in the woods or on the road
too late during the starry night.

Anyway, I read online that
Edward Woodward just died
holy fool king virgin cop
who refused such
powerful booty duty
in the face of tits and ass
and terror and time
his death online
in the end when they
burn him alive inside
to bring back the harvest
the smoke
blocking out the sun
telling us that they
should water all our graves with
hot holy whiskey
and sacred cold beer
to bring the blood back to the cheeks
of the ass
of the sun.

*John Rocco at MySpace:

November 21, 2009

Before He Goes Bare

You'll never see him again, you say,
but what if he brings to your room
a midnight poem he says
he's written for you.

Will you read it together
a couple of times, out loud,
as you have in the past?
And what if he then

shoots like a rocket
into the forest, igniting the fire,
as he has in the past.
Will you see him again?

We have the children
to think about.
That's why I'm here.
We all need to know.

by Donal Mahoney

November 20, 2009


by Stephen Jarrell Williams

My cheap imagination, everything I've seen, thought, dreamed
out of control, all the better for heaven and hell,
where women roam in G-strings, wanting to be held
so far away from civilization,
the long legs of her, giant on the land, toes wiggling in the sea,
clouds in their fast pace above, white and fluffy, faces in the
she knows how to watch, gazing with her mouth open, sighing,
widening her stretch of legs, forest hair, digging her heels in
the soft earth she plays on, pillows out of men,
I magnify her dance as she lays sun tanning, swaying in the sand,
eyes closed, eyelashes dark as the coming night,
she remembers my name, knows my voice, craves the touch of
my fingers,
my digit eternally potent.

reaction to the evening news

by J.J. Campbell

i want to take
this opportunity
to thank the good
lord for making
me an ugly child

that way i was
never kidnapped
and molested by

i had the good
fortune of being
molested by

*please feel free to send all your hate to

November 19, 2009

The Jazz Musician

by Serena Tome

Circles of smoke carefully exit
His mouth, his eyes do all the talking
All night he touches me from across the room
He comes over sits next to me
The moisture from his breathe drizzles
Down the nape of my neck evaporating
As it tickles a hot spot head down
I focus on the bubbles exploding in my drink
He candidly asks, “Can I taste it?”
My eyes quickly flank to the left as I respond “My place or yours?”



by Jeffrey S. Callico

She licks her boobs
watches him
watching televised sports
his eyes follow the ball
they live together in some
kind of external bliss
but it never gets injected
they wear out the loveseat
but only with their asses


November 18, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

Don’t let me think
of the one who
poured chocolate
all over where
today it feels best
to be left unsaid.
Dark chocolate,
dark as his eyes.
I, who can lure
most with words,
with verbs for
fingers, stumble
as he moves close
going into flirt
mode, still wear-
ing his taste as I
stop breathing

*Lyn's website:


haunt like clothes
for a dead baby.
We won’t move
from bed to tub
to bed, won’t
leave prints on
the Chinese tile
floor. I won’t
wear the violet I
bought for you.
I don’t cry, but if
I did, my eyes
would haunt you,
swollen as a
heart turned in
side out

by Lyn Lifshin

November 17, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

today I don’t feel
I got what was
promised. Sure,
the classes but
with so much
more implied:
a night out on
the town, even
under the covers.
Yes, you filled
our frame with
sweetness but
there were dark
wings beating in
your blood, your
face a chameleon.
You promised
the damp heat
of lips, you said
you would want,
always, what I
was writing,
what you craved
you said. Begged
for. Isn’t that
what gigolos
are paid for?

*Lyn's website:


when he was safely dead,
no longer a lure, when I
no longer imagined running
into him in an abandoned
train station, no longer
tried to find him on the
radio dial. Dead, a relief.
Sad, yes, but no longer
able to haunt me. I think
of abandoning dance. For
once, I’ll be the dance away
lover, no longer stuffing
my closet with clothes he
will adore tho not as much
as my poems but certainly
more than my dancing. A
torture to me because
I can’t dance as I dream I
could but stumble in his
arms, too aware it’s my
poems he’s drawn to, an
image of an image that’s
less real than what is
projected on a movie screen

by Lyn Lifshin

November 16, 2009

Yellow Snow

by Chris Butler

Look at
it go!
Writing rhymes
in the snow
with flowing
of dehydrated
before my
with the
of everything
in spring.

November 15, 2009


by Ivan Brkaric

Her voice no longer sounds
like canaries singing
in the morning sun.

But that of a high
pitch whistle.

A piercing sound.

A sound that
disturbs your very soul.

No more time for coffee.
Your break is over!

Back to work
with this ball-n-chain,
a ball-n-chain
we call love.

First Tulip

by Donal Mahoney

Sometimes you sit for days
sucking yourself in
praying the right words
will fall in your ear
toboggan over the whorls
pierce the canal
and settle in your brain,
an embryonic delight.
Sometimes you sit for days
and finally the words come
and they're always a surprise
like the first tulip in April
or a sudden
orgasm for your wife.

November 14, 2009

New Things

by xTx

I want to write things for you. New things. For you. For you in your regular house with its regular lawn and its perpetual paint on the walls that keep the day to day in check.

Where everything for you is expected I want to be there fucking it up for you. A hole in the drywall. A gouge in the hardwood. A scab in your mind.

I want to consume your waking; a high-pitched tone, a rumble, a rape, driving you insane you’ll

mow the lawn in crosscut patterns.

kick the dog when nobody’s looking.

swear at the people you love most

I want you making secrets behind the locked

bathroom door

basement door

garage door

New things that destroy you. I want to write what I’ve never yet written. I want you to feel the words scrape your skin. I want you drowning, inverted, incapable of speech: crying.

I want your dick hard.

I want you to regret the day you begged. I want you to beg me to make it stop. I want you to regret getting what you wished for.

I want to see you broken with it.

I will write those things for you.

New things.

* (effme)

The Art of Forgetting

by xTx

It’s nice of you to drop bombs. I think.

No. Seriously. Drop them.

Maybe you don’t know. Maybe you like it.

Fucking with me.

Dropping bombs. Fuck you.

I’ve been here….

chopping wind with the dullest axe


accepting the transparency of words and

how they will never,



be about me.

Let me tell you. Something.

Even the cutest puppy

shits and sheds.

Drop another bomb, asshole

I cannot keep looking into your paper eyes.

November 12, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

I’m flung back to 92 Rapple,
sheer curtains to the floor.
Silk spread, snow smooth,
palest ivory, wall to wall.
Bridal, exotic. How many
years was it, wondering, a
virgin still, a husband who
brought me tea in bed but
not what I longed for. In
the photograph, gauze
camouflages, lures. Soft
dreams, no angles. And even
before the first lover came,
bottle of wine, Chateau y
Kempe hidden in the
closet, probably stolen from
some friend’s house in
Carmel. Months of letters,
photographs of him, one
of Dylan Thomas so I had
no idea what to expect
Fantasy was one thing. But to
have him: ex con, alcoholic,
stagger across the country
with a torn suitcase and
broken shoes. I had no idea
where to keep him and met
him at a motel up the street,
terrified there was something
wrong with me, that that
was why I was still a virgin.
By evening, I checked the
mirror, disappointed I didn’t
see a change in my face.
Nothing about the motel
room stays in memory. Or
when he started living in the
trees, sneaking in the back
door when my husband pulled
out in the Healy. That room,
so pure, so like a bridal chamber,
tho still pristine, the only color
not white in the room beside
the tiger cat, was his, my first
lover, and my body. After
love we’d read poetry all day.
Was it wine coolers or
scotch? He wanted drugs but
we had only nut meg. Like
silk draped over the railing
in the photo of this house,
my body fell over his. How
little I remember his smell,
how I felt with him inside me.
He was too big, he couldn’t
stay. He lit a match under my
window each night and I turned
the light on and off like a fire
fly signaling for a mate.
It was always a good story but
it was getting so cold in
the woods he couldn’t stay.
The only place he can has been
for so many years
in poems

*Lyn's website:

November 11, 2009

The Hammer Gets Thrown Out Again

by John Rocco

The Hammer got thrown out of the bar again
this time the last time she swears she’s never going back.
This time it was Halloween and she was dressed as a
sexy cop but she still got thrown out and she tells
me it wasn’t her fault because she was fighting
with the guy I really didn’t know she liked that much
and he spilled a pitcher of beer on her on purpose.
She threw a glass of beer in his face. Matt the bartender
turned the music off and took her drink—JD on the rocks—
out of her hand and then asked the bar, “Should I
throw her out?” And they all screamed “Yes!”
so he threw her out. (She texted me the next morning
that she wanted to throw up everything that happened
the night before.) He threw her out like the
time the construction workers followed her into
the bathroom and the time when she fought with
the mousy girl about spilling drinks on her.
He threw her out like the night she wouldn’t let
me leave the bar and said the greatest things ever
to me “Take me to your car” the least of it.

She got thrown out of the bar again and
she swears she’s never going back but
I missed her that last time even though
I was in the bar that night waiting for her
like the night I was waiting for her on my birthday
and she never showed till too late and come to think of it
she got thrown out that night too. I missed her.
She got thrown out of the bar again and she’s never going back
but I know she will, hope she will
go back to get thrown out again
because she is the reason all the seasons
throw out and throw up
life and death and lust and love
like cheap drinks on the bar’s
dirty old lonely widowed floor.

*John Rocco at MySpace:

The Real Me

by John Rocco

I guess some people just know me.
At 7-Eleven when I don’t buy beer
just milk or juice or Win $1,000
A Week for Life scratch-off cards
the guy behind the counter always
asks, “What? No beer?” like it’s a
goddamn miracle. Or when I go to the bar
Ritchie or Matt always pull me a pint
before I even sit down.
And Ross writes me:
“I’m going to pass on this one
but keep throwing away money
on those strippers.” And Walter
says something about what I wrote:
“If I didn’t know you were from
New York, I’d think you were
from Texas.” And xTx gave
me the greatest compliment
a broken old writer could ever get:
“You seriously need to call me. Like, on the phone.”

It’s scary but these people I don’t know
know the real me like in that Who song.
Maybe I should always buy beer even
at 7 in the morning and thank you
Ritchie and Matt for the pints
and I’ll keep throwing it away
on strippers Ross coz they make good stories
and Walter it’s true I’m from Queens
but there is a secret Wild Bunch cowboy
inside robbing banks, throwing lead
eating horse meat, slugging rotgut
looking for xTx’s digits
among the hot cactus cunnilingus.

These people I don’t know know me
like she knows the real me
when she calls me with the good news:
“You’re going to love this! I just
got back from the dentist! I have
6 cavities!” She knows I love
her rotting teeth and her silver fillings
and her wisdom tooth pulled
out by the budget dentist
the day before we walked
the night streets
her shoving too sweet candy
into our mouths
telling the bastard called Tomorrow
she knows him
and he should go fuck himself.

November 10, 2009


by Gary Beck

Long night’s tide
drifting shoreward.
Sea muse chanting
of the eternal dawn,
swifter than a cry of pain,
pounding madly,
a frightened schizophrenic on a prison door,
floating on the bitter fumes
of endless industrial nights,
rocking, rocking,
through the crime night streets of cities
furtively fading into doorways
when grim cadavers march like Caesar’s legions.
All Gaul is divided….
Night, day, anguish….
Clashing barbarian host.

What I should have done

by Michael Estabrook

It has occurred to me
that what I should have done
all those years ago
when you sent me away
after I showed up unexpectedly
at your dorm
was simply to not have come back.
After dating for 2 years
you wanted something more than me,
you didn’t want to be tied down to only me,
you wanted your freedom
to wander and try other boys,
and who could blame you for that really.
When you sent me away
so you could spend that day
with that other guy
I should have taken the hint,
respected your wishes and stayed away,
not visited or called or written to you any more.
I should have simply stayed away forever.
That would have been a horrible thing
for my life but certainly the best thing for you.
You would have been unencumbered
by me in your pursuit to find another,
better man to care for you.
I’m sorry I didn’t leave you alone
when you asked me to, so sorry for that.

November 9, 2009


give me my
first love, but
enough stories
to last longer
than he did. Ex
con, alkie, with
his cat like body.
I’d forgotten
the slope of
his arms until
a photo slid
out and I saw
the way he
held the cat made
me remember
the way he held
my body. The
first one, and the
first one I
came with him
inside me. I
thought he was an
amazing lover
then but of
course I had
nothing to
compare him
with. Now I
do and I

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:


trying to pull some
memory of him back.
Suede, maybe corduroy,
Was he nice to my cat?
He must have been but
I don’t remember. No
Abys then, but tiger
cat, the grey cat, brown
one, her kittens. I’m
only sure because
of photographs, one in
each hand. A smile
camouflages what I felt,
Then, out of fantasy,
he wrote he saw my
picture in a magazine,
said he wanted to
take me down
the Mississippi
hollering poems and
blowing weed. He
sounded crazy and I
was bored, living, a
married virgin in a
raised ranch for years.
That his eyes were
green, I didn’t remember.
Someone wrote to
tell me. Except for
what I wrote about him
so little seems real

by Lyn Lifshin

All So Easy

by Daniel S. Irwin

It was just like they
Said in basic training,
You squeeze the trigger
And another head
Blasts apart like
Earth exploding in
A science fiction movie.
The top half of
The toasted driver
In a burnt out truck
Falls when you
Open the door.
The inner core
Of still raw sinew
Makes the hanging
Upper torso
Bounce like
A bungee jumper
At the end of
His freefall.
Mutilated bodies of
Less than lucky
Makes it all so easy.
Is limited to
Searching the dead
For those harsh
Foreign cigarettes
'Cause you finished
Your last butt
Two days ago.

November 6, 2009


none of the clutter in my uncle’s last days
or the lemon meringue pies or white cakes.
Sundays, the grown ups slapped cards
and I watched thru clear French doors
or imagined oceans, the shells, the green
Chinese rug. Even then it was dissolving.
Clarinets, velvet, a Chinese table with
playing cards inside, coppery. In the
dream, the last person is gone, is missing.
Each room has been cleaned and packed,
a box of never used syringes, clothes
tied with strings. Where are the paintings
that cluttered walls. Even the painted scene
in the hallway is covered over. Echoes.
No blinds. I must be here to look around
for the last time but I’m not sure why.
Sterile. No one fighting over the Passover
table. The stained glass gloves, the ones I
always wanted as a kid, gone. I was promised.
I thought they’d be mine. So little to show
the life that was here. Bare brass beds stripped
as so much. Labeled boxes. So much medicine,
medical supplies. And who are these strangers
who enter the house silently, expressionless,
without a word. They are dressed as if for
church or a funeral and quietly collect items
from every room. Three or four boxes at a
time and then, a few minutes later, 3 or 4 more.
I’ve never seen them. They’re taking the last
of what belonged here. I go to the room my
mother had, the smallest, being a girl when
being a girl didn’t much count. Broken
furniture, a desk, at least there’s papers—
maybe something my mother wrote. I’ve lost
so much. Have I come too late. Why didn’t I
look for what I could grab, a memento. These
papers in my mother’s drawer, I cram them with
an old shopping bag. It’s late, Saturday. Her
room is shambles but there’s an old I think
a flapper dress, rainbow fishnet. It’s torn but
it’s gorgeous. It’s what I love, all I have
of her

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:


by Lyn Lifshin

there’s been rumors, some
pretty blatant moves. Still,
it’s a dance. But then, what
isn’t and being
at this retreat in the trees,
nothing is quite the way it
should be. Each move seems
new. Rooms dug out into the
earth, small caves who knows
what animals could burrow
in. With only candles, so
little light. A low down musk.
There can’t be showers.
No windows for stars. Later
the dream will make me so
enraged, so wildly sure
little is left to live for, but there
must have been pale roots
of flowers like upside down
trees and the warmth from so
many bodies laughing and
giggling thru bark and leaves
and buried opals, bone of a last
emperor, gold circling a princess’
bones. Forget the crawlies, the
slime. I was doing that, getting
ready to make a bed in the tent
like corner, thinking of a week
of dance I’d saved all I had
for when he, the teacher, the
one that made dance more than
just ballroom—the joy in his
arms and how for weeks his words
were his hands, my skin still
glowed from them. Or was it a
bruise? If it wasn’t, it would be
when I saw him climb the earth to
be past me, a new pale new
different Asian woman this time,
an Asian slip of a girl, long hair
flowing like sea weed and he
holding her to him like she was,
she would be part of himself

November 4, 2009

Brain Of Hitler

by Doug Draime

As worms
thru the
brain of
rats eat
the worms
thru the
brain of
with his
playing like
a fiddle
thrives in
Berlin, L.A.,
the Great
and in
and puny
over the
as worms
thru the
brain of
out the brain
and soul
next door

One Day After Work

by Doug Draime

A bird chirps outside my trailer
(if it was inside I might have something:
watching it spread its wings to fly before I set it free).
On my back on the bed
exhausted with seemingly every
muscle and bone in my body
babbling in pain,
from the job.
And I start to worry about my sons.
Over the radio 2 idiots scream
at each
other, one is on the political right
the other on the left.
Both are full of deep rank shit,
as is
who defines themselves in such
moronic and dull terms.
I turn the dial searching
for some classical
music; some rock,
jazz, Brazilian toe jam dancers,
anything but the insipid wailing
of the insane and warring world. I come across
George Gershwin’s Promenade, and
settle back on the bed.

I hear the
bird; it approves and is
singing along.
Another day tomorrow at
the $8.25 an hour job-
which gives me just enough
money to pay the rent, child support;
it keeps me in food, cigarettes, beer
and typing paper.
Gershwin ends
and some Chopin
is on. Rain is starting to fall,
tingeing on the roof like stray buckshot.
And I wonder where the bird has flown for
and I wonder how long my body
can take it,
and I wonder when I will settle with my lot,
and I wonder how long the global
madness will continue,
and I wonder if my sons are safe,
and I wonder again where the bird has flown for
Chopin ends and some music I don’t
recognize comes on. Rain falls
heavy and the wind is blowing.

The First Hooker (or Dead Eyes In Chicago)

by Doug Draime

I was 19
on an all night
binge of coffee
and Vick’s
sitting in the coffee shop
of the Greyhound
bus station
on Dearborn.
I was watching the
dead eyes of
the waitress, arguing
with the dead eyes
of the cook.
There were 2 limp wrist faggots
cruising the stools
for a hunk
of meat,
with their cold dead eyes
A dead-eyed cop stood
by the door
to the street talking to
a pretty blond
hooker, and
her eyes were alive and bright blue.

My hophead friend, Roger,
from Evanston,
rode the El in everyday
on his
parent’s money
to score, and he always
bought the coffee.
Roger watched too, looking her
up and down, with his
own junk dead eyes; my eyes -
deadest of all,
getting an entrancing stare from
her alive, bright blue eyes,
while I
rubbed myself to an erection
under the counter.

November 3, 2009

these last few weeks

by paul harrison

i haven't written anything
worth a goddam piss in the sink
probably because lately
i've been drinking
two sixers a night
with trips to the bar
and a foil on the side
remembering her
of course on the upside
when i'm not blacking out
in the wild pitch of memory
my skull resounds with
the riotous chatter
of a workshop for frauds
held underwater
or a reading for nuts
with something to scratch
thru their chemical
straitjacket culture


by paul harrison

in a lunch bar
flicking through the glossy mags
i thought about how inane
and meaningless life had become
or at least
how most of everything conspired
to make it seem that way
another dress, another party
another baby, another break up
another diet, another rehab stint
and then remembered
another car bomb in old baghdad
where life is cheap and meaningful
all at once
hundreds dead, hundreds more
shred like kebab meat
and how magazines like these
or lives like mine
suddenly become
almost meaningless
sweating out the piss
eyes too dry to cry

November 2, 2009


the clear calm startles.
How many years since
sleep held me like a
lover, faithfully, not
the kind who says show
more skin and vanishes,
but velvety, lush as a
night we were all young
and the darkness was
a surprise. Lights
going on and outside,
the fireflies, diamonds
and rhinestones studded
the blackness, signaling
for a mate and we
were too, under a
slash, the pale new

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:


by Lyn Lifshin

“the violet hour” mid
July and especially
yesterday. Blues band
playing. Dupont Circle,
heavy with roses.
Cappuccino in the out
side café. The violet
hour. The slash of page
I saw and something
about getting up from
the desk and I wonder,
did he go out to wait
for the moon or the
musk of peonies, ferns
or walk into the room
where a woman waited,
her legs, her everything
open to him

*Lyn's website:

October 31, 2009


by Alan Catlin

Waiting, in this city, in this
dream of stopped time, unchanged
habitations, places of business,
hard luck cafes since the turn of
a prior century until urban renewal
bulldozed everything down, imposed
highways, arterials, thoroughfares to
nowhere, everything altered except
the waiting, the whores and strip clubs,
the booze and the sweating faces
of the middle aged men and pretending-
to-be-men-boys, pounding on the bar,
the stage, dollar bills clutched on their
fists, their eyes clouded by alcohol
and weed as the Divine One sheds her
layers, exposing more than skin to these
men and boys soon-to-be-dead in undeclared
war, high speed car wrecks, drunken driving
escapades natural causes, unnatural causes,
still waiting, waiting for what comes next.


by Alan Catlin

When I was 17
we were basically homeless
My father said,
"Your mother and I are
going to be living in a motel,
what are you and your sister

I got a job cleaning
rooms in a hotel, sleeping
in a janitor's closet
I could barely fit a
ratty old mattress in

After my sister
got out of detention
she got a job there too

We took turns working
and sleeping on that
ratty old mattress

I'm not proud
what happened to me
but you have to live

I'm still cleaning rooms
but mostly in rich
people's houses

It pays pretty good if
you know what you're doing
and you actually show up
regular when you're supposed to

Now my sister's dead,
47 years old and she
died in her sleep
of natural causes,
a drug overdose

That's a natural cause
in the world we came from

October 30, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

no, not ashes, the letters were
the last thing I’d toss to wind.
Still, it’s as if they took off
on their own. They were
there, at my wrist, everything
else in the file is still but
what mattered, gone like the
wild plum petals, the sweetest,
the first. The only letter from
someone who couldn’t
stay. Gone like that image in
the first poem I ever wrote,
with it’s “snow flaked beauty
in a burning pal. Strong image
a famous poet said, bring
me more. Gone as he was before
I had written others. Gone
like the one who left
in the middle of the night,
later wrote how he went over
the feel of my skin, called my
body panther slim, wrote
of everything I wore remember
and even if not quite the
colors, remembered as his
words remembered. Gone like
one lover’s leg on the other
side of the road in Nam, his voice
on tape in a drawer. Hours
on line but no photographs,
as dead to me as he is, as dead
as he is. The envelope, a
life in a slim maybe 4 ounces
manila envelope, clasped
as I clasped him. Gone with
the letters from the man I
would marry and leave, gone
like one letter the one I
wouldn’t marry, wouldn’t leave.
Mementos, freeze frames.
The envelope was there and I
don’t know when it wasn’t, like
bad cells starting in a woman
building a vacation home
she wouldn’t get to

*Lyn's website:


the only thing left in rubble.
This envelope, none of it
would matter to anyone else.
The one whose eyes were
black glass. “Man with an
accent called w.c.b.l—will
call back later. Saved from
when I was 17 like the rose
pink sweater I wore for him,
breaking every date when
he called. “Vermillion
dress and your blue bikini,
hardly there,” the man who
sounded like another
California man wrote in
a 12 page note, the colors
wrong. The memory glisten-
ing. So carefully filed, so
close. I might have been
a mother too intent on
protecting a child, swaddled
to suffocation. Only those
few mementos to keep
safe as if to keep the
ones they came from, the
ones I couldn’t keep,
and now can’t even
keep ghosts of

by Lyn Lifshin

October 29, 2009

in retrospect, maybe we are all Buddha’s

by Ken Michael

out back
I can hear
21 gun salute
for autumn's
into the Soulless
the shattered
my eyes Away
from the
on the table
Contently Departing
with it Self
every time it
strides with the breeze
of the fan.
No New children are Born
Devolution is steadily in motion
Wasting away with the sun.
the gunshots
were just
from the oblivious
on the shoreline.
what lay about
the Defining
are a group
of kids
around a table
In the alley
with steel bats
and Broken
and the
bones Shattering
cracking the Silence
of the new noon
The curiosity
of all
the residence.
I open up
my window
and ask them
what’s the deal?
we're getting Fucked Up
one replies.
I yell back disgusted
fucking dumbasses
Grow some
A-Bombs of laughter
engrave the moment
in the
while shutters
of windows
Burn it to the street.
I sit back
at my table
grab a nug of doedee
and load a Bowl
“fucking kids
are destroying

there was a blanket on her eyes so I left her in the tree just in case she might grow wings

by Ken Michael

the drops of rain dance
with the leafs
passing on an echoing breath
through the streets,
calling all those dark rooms
to disappear with the sun.
the roads beyond the windows
beg for isolation
from the raging waves of
metal plagued torrents.
keep your floors sullen and cold
this evening,
she needs her rest,
(a peek inside)
---beautiful dandelion slumbers
shower in the dimness of
her dehydrated room---
So all I ask you is
please rest today,
and all.
All cradle to the womb while
The keyboard prays for
Your demise
For the next 4 hours.
Leave your twins at ease
And quiet the satellite whispers.
Please all just rest today
I haven’t heard
the light
calling yet,
And I ain't
back for it either

October 28, 2009

Linda’s Place Again

by John Rocco

The game of life is hard to play.
You’re gonna lose it anyway.”
--Theme from M*A*S*H

the backyard is a concrete wasteland, weeds
pushing through the rock. You’d think they’d
put a table or chairs or at least an ashtray out there
but there’s nothing except the nothing and the
Chinese place next door banging pots and pans
into shrimp lo mien and pork eggrolls. There’s
nothing out there except for the too blue sky
and the cartoon clouds. I’m out there to
watch her smoke. She smokes.

Back inside it’s Jo-Ann’s birthday and she’s
been drinking Jack all across Tremont Avenue
and she grabs my ass and sticks food in my mouth
saying: "Eat it! It’s Puerto Rican food!" And Jimmy
is worried at the end of the bar because he tells
me there are a thousand cars after him and
"How was I supposed to know?"
Throwing down all the money in his pocket making me
guess where he is from, the of course neighborhood,
and later he says "Fuck it, I’m going to a massage
joint! I need a girl! I just didn’t know!"
Walter is there who never drinks and
Tommy the roadie who doesn’t drive
and the girl who works in the mortuary
tells me she washed her hands before
leaving work. There’s the crazy woman
who asks me my sign and when I tell
her Aquarius she freaks out and makes
the sign of the cross like I’m a vampire.
There’s Jennifer who likes the Who and
is working tonight’s shift and who also
does an excellent air guitar belly dance to
AC/DC’s "Big Balls." There’s Danny
who leaves for a booty call and Lily
who never heard "Pictures of Lily."
There’s the dumb guy in the Jets jersey
who does a cool trick with coins and
a bill on the top of the beer bottle
who asks her behind the bar if
they went out in high school
and she says yes blushing and then
no. She’s the one who I watched
smoking outside, the Bronx sky her halo.
It’s her first shift and I was her first
customer, her first beer sale.
The sad part is I won’t be her last sale
or close to it, never was, never will be
when she leaves
later with Fruity Mike and I
go home alone
to a world full of people
I just don’t want to know.

*John Rocco at MySpace:

Poetry is my Fetus

by Chris Butler

These are the words of Sam Hammil,
but most poets swallow the pill
the morning after
to abort their poems,
rather than giving birth
to flippers.

October 27, 2009


by Osama Ghoul

Two doors down from a strip club, I get my options together.
You're waiting to hear that the kids
finished swimming lessons and that the dog went running while
trying not to obsess about biker chicks.
We had such a splendid outing in
her backside and I'm hoping she will call but,
I'm scheduled to have
my truck repaired and plan on hitting the road
the first week of May.
don't know why most of my time
feels simultaneously numb and provided.
Maybe I've lost what life pretends and now I
just keep going, simply being feared like a beer or
like a pouch.


by Osama Ghoul


Wow, that's a lot of hash. Iris like a goat in hell. The market in the pit
does whatever it takes to save next months rent. Moving and shipping is
not all that great but at the moment she's really the only
challenging experiment. Our bending seems like a poem about to ralph.


I was working on the first
night of dart league. The place was packed. We were
filling bud light buckets as fast as we could. We
now have Halloween buckets with jack o' lanterns painted on them.

As the night wore on, two sisters end up fighting over a fella.
One of the sisters is already married - comes along and
grabs her sister by the hair
and drags her across the bar.
One more chick jumps in and fists fly.


Went out duck hunting this weekend. These dogs they tear my flesh.

The ducks mock me.
Wow, they've a lot to mash.

October 26, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

I couldn’t sleep, haunted by
ghosts of ghosts, even valium
couldn’t help numb the hole
where all I had left of what
I couldn’t keep raged. Black
stone eyes, but especially the
one whose blue eyes over
the radio hypnotized. Don’t
say you don’t believe that.
At least I have the tapes, his
voice. But what mattered
the most, not his obits,
not the news clips I kept,
“radio talk jock dead at…" was
it 50? by chance buying
The Gazette. “I think I’m
falling in love,” and then
days later, after no call, “It’s
not you, it’s me.” How I bloodied
my hand banging on his door.
Then undone in his arms, in
love with his voice, his stories,
on midnight air before I
met him. “Taking one leg was ok,”
he said but when they went after
the other, that was too much.
Now he grinned, “with one leg,
it’s easier to get closer than
close.” In other towns, I tried to
pick up the signal. The letter
I most miss, one from his friend
later saying “you know he always
told me, it was you, only you,
only you.”

*Lyn's website:


by Lyn Lifshin

not jewels to anyone else,
but words, all there was
from the few who mattered.
Cherished like hair in a
locket or DNA that
would unlock what’s
gone. Did he care and why
didn’t more come of it?
Is the woman who wrote me
after death, “you were the
one, he never stopped
loving you, he knew
he was dying” turning the
time between rage and
sadness a blur upside down.
Those afternoons before
he went on air and
if it was thundering. Those
6 AMS as he left the
studio and I waited in gauze.
His blue sweatshirt less
blue than his eyes, his
“Honey,” words like
tossing ashes of someone
dead I love into the sea
and more blows back at me

October 25, 2009

it’s still a good deal

by John Grochalski

the country
has gone to financial
yet the train rides
have gone up
the cheap
red wine we drink
has risen
almost four bucks
the cost of
a wednesday night pizza
has risen too
and now
the bar
this dive
this hovel
has decided to raise
their prices
fifty-cents on a draft
fifty-cents on a bottle
a buck on well drinks
and a quarter
for a glass of wine
the bartender
shrugs an apology
and pours me a draft anyway
and when i get it
the head is already gone.
yeah, it sucks, he says
but over in manhattan
a draft like this
would cost you almost double
so it’s still a good deal
if you think about it.
yes, i said,
having a sip.
and thank the lord
for small miracles.
and thank
the bar owner
for his benevolence
during these
tough times.

October 24, 2009

some advice for aspiring poets

by paul harrison

ride around the wrong way, lights off, with a bottle of scotch of between your legs, a loaded gun in your lap, safety off, singing Peat Bog Soldiers and of course if you don’t know the words and the lights are whooping behind you,

even better

cultivate a daily regime of derangement and despair. if you have a shower, use it wisely. ignore your dreams. god has just spilled another jigsaw. now pick up the pieces. there is no collective unconscious. and of course if you can Walk the line and get back in the car singing Happy days are here again,

even better

or maybe you can stand around a trivia machine with a real poet who reads his thoughts in converted cathedrals and provincial towns singing Hallelujah, i’m a bum, and of course if he's the published bi-polar, Asperger type,

even better

or maybe get sexy tender with a hippy chick and fuck your beautiful brains out forever then watch it all slip away as easy as you entered and as hard as you fell. obviously this defining ecstasy must be repeated, over and over, and of course if you’re incompatible,

even better

and another thing, never worry about what is never achieved or started or finished or really important things like money. stand around with the alkies and buckfast, listening to the sparrows get torn asunder, God’s smile gracing the vast grey skies, and of course if they piss on your shoes,

even better

stand up for the little guy, the disinherited, the disembodied, the disenchanted. stand up for yourself. stand up with nothing to say and say it anyway, everyone else does and of course if you know all the words and your fly is undone and you're slurring your words,

even better

finally, before standing up in a car going 120 down the freeway and adjusting your poem read Bill and Bob and all the beautiful, talented east and west coast lesbian poets. they started this thing. then, when your poem is sufficiently adjusted pull up your fly and sing. sing it man. like the fat lady sings, and of course if the ladies and cops dig your stuff,

even better

and remember all this really happened. poets going from place to place. bed to bed. bar to bar. getting lost, getting punched, crashing cars. weeping. cradle to grave. asylums and jails. advice to page. and of course if you know the words for, To the Barricades

and can’t even read or write or sing,

even better.

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