February 28, 2009

The Champ

by Brian Rosenberger

We called him Charlie
His real name was Eliot
but we all called him Charlie
He said he was a world champion
pussy eater
He might have been right
No one disputed his claim
but I don't ever recall seeing him
wearing any kind of championship belt
Everyday for lunch
he had ham salad
For his birthday
we all chipped in and bought Charlie
a t-shirt that read
Free Mustache Rides
We thought it was funny
He did too
He wore it everyday for two weeks
Sometimes after work
we'd hit the bars
Charlie would wear his shirt
The ladies gathered around and
would tease him about the shirt
maybe they knew what they were in for
Charlie's reputation preceded him
He never left alone
like Shakespeare said shit happens

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

February 27, 2009


as Mother shrivels, as her
kingdom reaches only to the
night stand, to arranging the
way her slippers point. “So

full of the joy of life”
someone wrote in her college
yearbook, maybe why she named
her second child Joy. Maybe

she felt it slipping from
her. My sister, blonde,
the pretty one with
boys giving her roses

and watches, now sinks
back into her shell like
those turtles she cages,
covers windows to keep

out light. She reminds me
of our mother, sitting
in darkness with a
cigarette, waiting for

my call, expecting the
worst. My sister and I
chose to have cats
instead of children

We feared becoming
what we clawed at and
bit to move away from,
as if we could help

keep genes hostage,
howling at each other
like animals caught in
traps they’d gnaw
their own legs off to escape

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:

takes all kinds

by Justin Hyde

hey man
what time it says,
said the young kid
bloodshot eyes
nose to the screen
of his cellphone.

3:29 am,
i told him.

shit john
we might as well
stay up
gotta be at work
be seven,
he slurred
to his redheaded friend
in front of me
in line
at the quickie-mart.

bought a
3-foot stick of beef jerky
and a two-litter of mountain dew,
then they asked
if i wanted to
go to a party.

told them
i had to go see a man about a dog
but i'd take a rain check.

takes all kinds,
said the clerk
as he rung up my newspaper
and we watched them
stumble into a
blue rusted s-10.

think we should
call the cops?
i asked the clerk.

can't be your
brother's keeper,
he said.

i suppose not,
i said
and walked out
paper under my arm

just in time to watch them
carry far too much speed out of the lot.

they hit the apex wide

up and over the lip of the curve:

nose to ass
like a tomahawk
into the base of a telephone pole.

February 26, 2009

For One Night Only

by Kathryn Mitchell

That one October
We ran around like every night was Halloween
Today you can be ex-junkie in oversized shades
Tomorrow I’ll be hungover fuck up in last night’s clothes
Platinum blonde hair and Marlboro reds
Tripping our way down Bowery
To the Poetry Club
So we could see your boy of the day
Spit a mediocre rhyme
Over mediocre wine
And the early mornings found us in Brooklyn bathtubs
And through the window the jagged skyline jutted out
Just like your collarbone

But the winter froze your toes and iced your heart
You never got used to saying Houston right anyway
No goodbyes
Just a half-empty bottle of Tito’s with a note
“Drink it up and then fall down. But only in that order.”

They won’t remember your name
But I will
I’ll remember you in home-made soups
And corner booths

For a girl that bled the Texan sun
You sure were fucking pale

*Kathryn Mitchell is a 21-year-old student living in New York City.

Sunday Morning

by Kathryn Mitchell

City days that sweat in exhaustion
And air-conditioned nights
The sage that burned
And lingered over the
Cigarette smoke
That whispered of love
And the morning found
Empty bottles that
Spoke of carefree nights
And I wanted to lay
Wrapped in you forever
In this autumnal bliss
Because perfection to me
Never sang of flowers or
But the tranquility of feeling at
And the feeling that, for once, I should be
Right where I am

February 25, 2009

All I need to know.

by William Pauley III

Coffee black.
Sugar for taste.
I never trust a man who drinks his coffee black,
a taste so bitter only the tongues of the wicked could ever enjoy.

Sitting again in this broken down café
Sifting for life… in the eggs,
in the bacon.
in this dirty coffee mug.
With any feeling of love, hope, joy as burnt as the side of toast.

I watch as you mindlessly stir your oatmeal,
Your bowl runneth over,
With your eyes hopelessly glued to a hanging television flickering visions of oil and war and death and greed and terror, terror, terror.
We’ve let it get to us, babe.
We’ve allowed the darkness into our lives.
I miss you.
I miss us.

I look again at my untouched plate thinking of the day I’d be too old to eat a meal this hearty.
I pick up a knife and apply a thick coat of butter to the black toast.
I take a bite.
I look at you.
And with a mouthful I say, “I love you.”
You turn your eyes to me.
You say “I love you, too.” and smile.

And that’s all I need to know.

I kill it.

by William Pauley III

I now know the reason why people do bad things.
why good people become savages.
why a man would kill another man.
I now know.

I’m full of fear and hate and ash and death and blood and fists of rage.
Most beg for redemption.
I kill it.

I now know the reason why people hate.
why cancer spreads.
why winter is cold.
I now know.

I can feel the pressure of my black heart damn near beating through my rib cage.
I just want to let it out.
I kill it.

I now know the reason why terror roams free.
why forgiveness is lost.
why hell burns so hot.
I now know.

February 24, 2009

bacon lips

by The Poet Spiel

pink floyd slams
my right brain
against my left
with what god wants, god gets
any minute now
they’ll drive me
to the crypt
of no return
where i don’t have to worry
about keeping milk on the table
for six kids
or wonder if i’ve knocked up celeste
one more time
in drunken stupidity

when it comes to chalking up
what i’ve got that’s valuable in life,
celeste is it

and now i’m wasting her

turn it down, you fucker, she hollers
ain’t you got nothing asides of floyd to play?
git outside an mow the grass
you need some air

but i’m too stupidified to get up
too pissed at god for handing me this heavy plate

god is holy, god is good, celeste says
as she delivers me a half bag of oreos
she stoops over with her big bazooms
rubbing against my chin
she tongue-kisses me
her lips taste like bacon grease
and I believe maybe
what she says is true

*The Poet Spiel's website is http://www.thepoetspiel.name/

The End of the World.

by William Pauley III

As the sun goes down, it illuminates the black curtains I have hanging over my bedroom window.
It may be the last I'll ever see of it.

It was warm today.
We are going to have one hellish summer this year.
Insects will be doubled or even tripled in numbers.
Plant life will be overwhelming.
The sun is getting closer.
It's so close, in fact, that our mountains are melting into hills.
Our hills into plateaus.
Our plateaus into valleys.
And valleys into rivers.
A world of water.
We should expect it soon.

We should panic.
I especially should be worried.
But I have what I need.
And she has me.

We're ready.

Backing out of the parking lot

at the grocery store,
I hit a car
also backing out,
second time I've done that,
the first time
the other driver
was a raving bitch
who screamed at me
for hitting her car
while she was backing
into me,
this time
it was a
shy, quiet dude
who apologized
even though
I think it was more my fault
than his,
my truck was undamaged,
his coupe had scratches
and a dented fender,
so I gave him $200
and said let's not call
the insurance companies,
and he agreed,
but you're likely
I'm some wealthy SOB
with hundreds in my wallet,
in my own defense,
my bills each month
amount to more than I can pay
and the 200
was intended for
a whore
seems like that's the only way
I can get laid these days,
and if you don't understand
or you think that's sad,
you know,
I agree,
but do keep an eye out
for me
when backing up
at the grocery store.

by Paul Hellweg

February 23, 2009

Great Russia

by Randall Rogers

Normal shit for old guys
in Russia
out of the vodka bar
the dirty, ‘hole in the wall’ place
Going home to beat the wife and kids
Smoke incessantly
And die young, an already old man.
But that’s the way it is
On the losin’ side
Of capitalism.

Hell, in Kharkov, Ukraine,
Where I lived and worked
Seventy percent of the men smoke.
And they say the Germans couldn’t whip them
In World War II
Because the whole Russian army was so drunk and disorganized
Fueled by vodka and chaos and adrenaline
That the orderly Germans
Just couldn’t cope.

Vodka for everything
In Russia/Ukraine
Toast me quick
The average age of death for men is a booze soaked fifty-seven or so
Those boys do every day
What is way over the limits of what is considered alcoholic
In the USA.
Or about any other location on earth.

Loved that place, the drinking,
The tree-lined boulevards
The tree blossoms and spring smell
When I lived there
‘cept when the Russians would try
To drink with me they soon learned this lush
Has a “serious problem with alcohol”
I survived, what can I say?
Came home bruised and penniless many times
Don’t know who to or what I said
But I get snippets, come back
Almost like being at war
Me drunk like that
Everyone a blood friend or foe
Tears or violence
Ping-pong-ing my mind
Drinking with the Russians
the sailors, the factory workers,
“I am God!”
I told one of them.
And he punched me in the mouth.


by The Poet Spiel

ask danny if she knows about brittle cornstalks
and frozen garden hoses
she sees shattered bones on tarry concrete
and that prick’s florescent wolf teeth
and what hell was like
before hell got better
never been any stars in this kid’s eyes
no pennies in her filthy crusted paws

heaven wasn’t there when that grimy sire
the color of stepped-on-vomit
poked her egg benefactor for a tenbuck
in the back of a stinking dumptruck
before she was shot out of a hole
the color of gutter money

ask danny why she never blinks her eyes
and she sees a caustic stream of piss
aimed spot on at her pupils
wave a jar of vaseline under her nose
and watch her flesh turn to curds

if she could talk she would tell you
what it’s like to never sleep
because she lives on the back side of the moon
and it’s a different kind of picnic there
where that prick skinned a lamb
and with a big fishhook and nylon line
sewed the skin into her flesh
and around her face
until she couldn’t breathe

now let’s have a warm sugar donut
and sing kumbaya

*The Poet Spiel's website is http://www.thepoetspiel.name/

February 22, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

Pine needles dripping,
covering cars deeper than
mist. My sister is pulled
toward what tore night
like a child in pain
to where the cat drags
one half of his body
thrashing and tangling
through legs of chairs
no light’s touched.
We wrapped his
writhing in flannel,
drove on winding roads
thru maple hills,
reaching toward noon.
Nothing to do but wait.
We were shaking, numb,
bought butter pecan
ice cream that dripped
down skin like tears.
Embolism. White pines
blackening. Next
morning the vet says
the cat died in the
night. A sack of clots,
a whole heart-full. My
sister doesn’t stop
clearing the table,
packs the car, it’s as
if the cat’s wet fur
and twitching have
moved inside her

*Lyn's website:

February 21, 2009

Bombs Away!

by Chris Butler



by Chris Butler

I am a stain,
distinguished from the
others, with thick rusted
veins and cuts squirting
ketchup onto blue jeans,
but for the most part,
tattooing myself across
the surface of this earth.

I am bathed
with soapy suds of boiling
bleach and lemon-scented
ammonia, submerged in the
kitchen sink, only pulling
the rubber stopper
plugging the drain,
when I’m clean.

February 20, 2009

Bill Burroughs

by Randall Rogers

Stark by raving madness
I read what Bill Burroughs
In his first published novel, “Junky”.
At first it was a tonic for my soul
Then a torment, remembering my days
As a junkie
And withdrawal symptoms
The psychological torment the worst
For me
The inability to get
Tentative, half man, shakes -suicidal hangover plus twenty or so
Hot and cold flashes
And an urge for the junk
So bad
And how life was grand again
When the dealer knew my pain
And laughingly came through with fifty dollars worth
For sick insignificant me.

But Burroughs
My initial impression was
That of a ‘going native’
Gonzo and downright bad man mean-spirited weak-willed homo-thief, ethnologist novelist jazz rap writer
Very real in speaking of human weakness; death, is treated, with Burroughs and his characters, without consequence
What he writes about and says, he is very open and uninhibited,
Field worker, with a ‘get to the bottom line’ truth gusto.
And a deviousness
Out of which great
Prose, it seems
And some hard-hitting truths
Appear to often come.
Yet here, with “Junky”
Why such a keen mind
Would focus, so solidly and informatively
And accurately intricately, on the world of junk
And junkies.
I mean, I thought, “shouldn’t this guy be out
Writing great genius prose novels and high art shit?
Rather than describing in gritty detail
The sordid mindset of the under-funded
Smack freak?” Then I guess he went and did just that
With “Naked Lunch”, his supposed masterpiece.
I don’t know, for sure,
If he succeeded..
I just started the book.
Let's all read it again or for the first time
And see for ourselves if Mr. Burroughs truly
Lifted himself out of the ‘true life’ pulps
With his novel masterwork “Naked Lunch”

all those big words

by Justin Hyde

you're up here
and everyone else
is down here,
she said
staggering her hands
mid air
between our bar stools.

she said
it was the way
i watched people:
took everything in.
and where did i
learn all those big words?

she parked her car
on a side street
a few blocks
from the bar.

there were two kid's seats
in back.
she pulled one out
and tossed it
up front.


i stumbled
four blocks home
to a sleeping fiance
who was similarly

February 18, 2009


by James Darman

i have no friends here tonight
just me and the empty wine jug
not even the moon will keep me company
too many clouds
but i hear leaves blowing
and i hear a lone bird whistle
in the dark
as i wait for the sun
to arrive
so i can curse its
black shadow

10,000 THINGS

by James Darman

how clever the sun is today
turning greens to yellows
and reds to blues

and i'm

as dumb as a flower
in the sun

not a cloud
in the sky

my hands filled
w/ arthritis
my teeth rotting

10,000 things
turning to dust

as the wine
sinks into
my gut

I Don’t Do Much

by Randall Rogers

I don’t do much.
Except speed
And spend sixteen hours a day or so
In front of my computer
Watching porn, music DVDs, smoking
Drinking water, masturbating
And strumming my guitar.

I could get ambitious
And get out the old
And try to memorize
Again the words and chords
To another Dead tune.

February 17, 2009


It would be written
on sand, or on a
hand colored photo
graph of a country
with nobody waiting
with guns, no thatched
roofs on fire, no
hiding in trees after
a knock on the
door: Sister, it is
nothing like we had
or what we imagined.
There are no Jews
in the small rural
towns hardly. They
don’t spit or say
we are thieves but
it is as icy in Vermont
as days in Russia.
Lake Champlain is
not like our sea. We
are safe, we are

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:

February 16, 2009

Failed Suicide

by Paul Hellweg

That should be
the title of
a poetry rag,
seems like
every poet I like
has tried it
at least once,
including me.

February 15, 2009

according to the geneva convention

by Scot Young

when I was seven I
would go with you
and uncle ben to the lake
we would sit in barker's
the bar sawdust floor
up the steep hill
next to the stone gas station
you guys would cuss and drink foam
out of frosty mugs
I would spin around on the stool
until you fed me quarters
to play endless games of shuffle board
and the bowling game
with collapsible plastic pens

sometimes I would chase
the minnows around
the tank out front
while waiting
once I remember you let
me drive the speed boat
with the faded red cadillac fins
to another bar on the lake
about two beers away
I remember a wild goat
curved horns
standing on a narrow ledge
above the main channel
watching us bounce through the waves
like a runaway torpedo
water splashing against my face
(isn't it funny what we remember?)
you would have me play
patsy cline I miss you darling B-19
on the jukebox
to get me out of earshot
while you guys patted
the waitress on her backside

it was when you guys slept late
I fished for perch off the dock
it was a game
when they started to nibble
I would pull the bait up
so they wouldn't be caught
and you guys wouldn't
have to cut off their heads
I would come up the long stairs
empty stringer about the time
you guys got up
not biting today
I'd say

at home
mom would ask me
what we did
I told her we had a blast
I only gave her my
and serial number

Looking for Kerouac

by Scot Young

at night
weekend poets
with Wal-Mart berets
search for meaning
in faux jazz joints
haikus are lost
to jazz notes swingin
from a computer programmed
Bose system.

joe the poet

by Scot Young

everyone wants to
drink like bukowski
fuck like bukowski
write like bukowski
everyone wants to walk
in bukowski's shadow
taking the same steps
like marcel marceau
trapped inside a glass box

drinking wine by the case
nicotine stained fingers
hunt and peck on a
used underwood
listening to mozart
getting a blow job
from last night's hooker
while scratching yr ass
in dirty shorts
doesn't mean
you can ever
write like bukowski

February 14, 2009


by John Rocco

“St. Francis didn’t run numbers,”
she says to him on the beach
on the screen in the pool in
McCarren Park, Brooklyn.
I see her say it to Harvey
the screen a splash of everything
in the sky as I open the stinking
Port-O-San. Inside the piss and
shit of everybody but outside
movies and love and $5 beers.
I piss and get out and it’s
back: big Scorsese faces
in the sky and girls and others
on the concrete
spread out like a fallen sky
and who could be watching
us later in the bar
The Turkey’s Nest
with heavy pouring St. Paddy
knocking me back in my boots
with shots fit for a king
and loser paupers like me
making a girl scream in the bar
about writing
and begging her to kiss me outside.

*John Rocco at MySpace:

February 13, 2009

ralph was here

by Justin Hyde

picked her up
at tuesday night karaoke
down at the
plaza pub.

soon as
my apt door closed
she was

pants around
my ankles.

i got her
pants off

started eating
right there
on the floor.

in my periphery
i saw a bruise
or a birthmark
on her inner thigh
due west
of her button.

looking closer
it was a tattoo.

crude amateur job.

it said:

i pulled up
and requested

she told me
ralph was her husband.
how he'd hit a deer
on his harley
over past van-meter
two years ago.

that's not
going to be
a problem
is it?

i wasn't

spit in my hand
to check

no no
there was
no problem.

February 12, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

Some of it I’ve
given away, I guess that
comes from thinking
nobody could
want it.
Fat. Something you
take in and just
can’t use.
It hangs around
reminding you of what
wasn’t totally
digested, a layer of heavy
water, grease

having so
much I’d dream the
4:30 tall thin
shadow thighs were
me, pressing so hard it
hurt, a
punishment squeezing
myself into
me, into
what I didn’t
want. Afternoons
with the shades drawn
examining and hating what
I saw, longing for one of those
svelte bodies

I put the
scales back, would have
beat myself with
rubber chains

when I was 12 I bought a
rubber girdle, nobody
knew I peeled it off with the
door locked

Somebody once said
you’ll never get
cold this winter
fat legs
like that

How could something like fat ever
protect you from anything
outside being only an
extension of yourself, cells
spreading, making you
more vulnerable,
fat people having more
places to bruise
or scar

I sat in a room and
watched the
river when
other girls
were going across the
state line,
were necking in cars at
Lake Bomoseen
despising those
layers I
didn’t need

belly that
I hated and squeezed into
clothes a size
too small, hips, but
worse, thighs, I
hated them
most, spreading out
on benches
for basketball practice

Once I lay on my
back cycling air until
the room spun

white waves of the body,
I was so ashamed I wouldn’t go
to the beach

My mother always
said Yes, you’re pretty
and I curled
into myself
eating what made
me worse

tho I wanted to
wear pleats
and be delicate

In one store a
man asked her
is it difficult
having one daughter
who’s so lovely?
and I
hated my sister for being
blond, her body

like a Keene
waif, I was jealous of
her eggnogs and
how meat had to be
coaxed to her

You can’t camouflage,
hold anything in
that long. It explodes,
a rubber girdle pops,
letting go.
Then they know
that there’s more
than you can

Look at me now and
you say but those
thin wrists

Listen, when I weigh
over a hundred I
break out in
hives. We

all think of the way
we were

especially when it
comes to what we
don’t love

Once when I was
walking home from
school the elastic
on my underpants died.
The next day someone
wrote kike on the
Both I knew were a result
of fat

I’ve never been good
at getting rid of
what I can’t use
but that’s when I
knew that I had to

that round face with
glasses, bulging
thighs. You know

when some man says
love it’s still
hard to believe

If I wear my clothes too short, it’s to
remind myself (I still
avoid mirrors,
glass) that my

legs are not
unlovable, I

want you to see I finally am
someone you might
want to dance with

this me waiting under
neath on the

years of
getting down to

But it really is
sweetest close
to the bone

*Lyn's website:

February 11, 2009

A Mother's Guilt

by JD Haywood

Guilt surrounds me like a shroud
Holding in the stench of death
The death of dreams…the death of innocence
I'm suffocating

They were supposed to be safe
That was my job
To be loved, cherished and protected
The right of every child
My choices, my failures
Created their nightmare
How can I live with that?

The Mirror

by JD Haywood

I stare into the mirror and wonder
Who are you?
We've been together for 45 years
And I just now realize
I have no idea who you are

Today I am a blank canvas
45 years of others' work washed away
I am clean…for the first time in my life
I feel vacant, empty, numb
Scared, but strangely peaceful

I'm poised with a brush
Having no idea what to do next
I only know that this time
The work must be my own
No one else can paint my self portrait

February 10, 2009

9 to 5

by Brian Rosenberger

eight hours of flipping burgers
my own sweat blinding me
hands so paper cut they're a Rosetta stone
for some forgotten language
the suicide crawl of the second hand
one thousand and one mind-numbing tasks
the most backbreaking of work
that i can take
it's the conversation i can't stand

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

February 9, 2009

another cancer poem

by David LaBounty

forty-nine and
not too different
from as he
stands at
my counter
and tells me about

the small cell
tumors breathing
in his lungs and
the co-pays and

deductibles and
how there
are therapies
and pills and
he finally
has it all
figured out
twenty grand
in the hole
later, how

no doctor
or drug company
really wants
him or anyone
else to ever get
better, they
just want to
string you along

keep you

popping pills
taking treatments

while you pay
out your ass

just to stay alive.

February 8, 2009


by Paul Hellweg

I almost had an important thought,
but it slipped away
without even saying goodbye,
and as I write these lines
here comes another brilliant notion,
and at least this one has the courtesy
to extend a middle finger
as it whizzes by.


pinned on stiff tulle,
glowed in the painted
high school moonlight.
Mario Lanza’s Oh My
. When Doug
dipped I smelled
Clearasil. Hours in
the tub dreaming of
Dick Wood’s fingers
cutting in, sweeping
me close. I wouldn’t
care if the stuck
pin on the roses
went thru me,
the yellow musk
would be a wreathe
on the grave of that
awful dance where
Louise and I sat
pretending we didn’t
care, our socks fat
with bells and fuzzy
ribbons, silly as we
felt. I wanted to be
home, wanted the
locked bathroom to
cry in, knew some
part of me would
never stop waiting
to be asked to dance

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:

February 7, 2009

Lux Interior -- R.I.P. in Zombie Hell

Very sad to report the death of Lux Interior (aka Erick Lee Purkhiser), co-founder and lead singer of legendary American punk group The Cramps. They were pretty much the rock & roll equivalent of Night of The Living Dead.

He was 62 and rocked on to the very end. In my book, this guy was greater than Elvis and John Lennon put together.

Coney Island Bird Girl

by John Rocco

She sent me an email
about growing up in
Brooklyn after leaving
Poland where she
didn’t see a lot of
Kung-Fu movies
but did see a lot of
She wrote that
she and her sister
used to cut Jr. High
ride the trains
to Orchard Beach and
Coney Island
in the Fall
to hide from the cops.

She wrote:
“How could I sit in school
when I used to get away
with having the best adventures
haha can you blame me?”

I don’t blame you
Coney Island Bird Girl
because I am
gripped by the vision:
The waves bubble up
sea foam explosion of
beer cans and packed
treasure chests and
ghost galleons and
sperm whales eating
giant squids and the
entire ocean floor
turned upside down
and spanked to give
birth to you
riding the waves
giving two big beautiful F fingers
to the sky.

*John Rocco at MySpace:

ode to february

by D.C. Porder

february hits like morphine.
the trees pass out
and drop their leaves.
my blood pools at the base
of the thermometer.

i call. i try to talk. i hike
through your white silence
and leave footprints.

february injects me
with something worse
than my life. i try
to stay awake, really
i try. i call. please

pick up. please
get me out of this place.

*D.C. Porder's blog:

February 5, 2009


by Alan Britt

A tiny grey bird,
like an afterthought
or an ash,
abandons the menorah
of a blue spruce.

Keith Richards
drags his guitar case
through the Tampa airport,
settles in
at a motor lodge
once sleepwalked
by Nico Suárez
as a starving poet.

Due to the juxtaposition
of planets,
they never meet.

On vacation in Bolivia, tonight,
Nico & Kristine watch
as blue neon flames of a cantina
below flicker on & off.

Drunken bullets
leave teeth marks
in their alabaster ceiling
& walls.

Twenty years later
at Veterans' Stadium in Philadelphia,
some of this hot lead
lands on the reptile strings
of Keith’s guitar.

*Alan Britt teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University in Maryland.

February 4, 2009


by David Oprava

what kind of beast am I
comes in mirrors,
whisky bottles,
and homeless beats
passed on the bus at dusk.

Always watching this crash
where disaster is sure,
can't turn away
from the view,
but don't want to.

When the question comes
to be or not, the latter
is a more certain bet,
the shitty bit is the wait.

*Dave's website: http://www.davidoprava.com/

in the interim

by Justin Hyde

there's something militant about you,
said the pothead
with big tits
i met on craigslist.

i told her.

something austere
in your speech
and mannerisms,
she said.

i told her:
there's something
i feel very strongly about
strong enough to die for it
but i just haven't figured out
what it is yet
know what i mean?

not really,
she said
and handed me
the pipe.

i told her
a strange language
was being sung
somewhere inside of me
and i was
working very hard
to decipher it.

and in the interim?
she asked.

in the interim
let me see those
tig old bitties,
is what i said.

she said:
quid pro quo.

you wanna see my titties?

i wanna see
what you got
under that fig leaf.

it's a very reliable
crescent wrench.

i just happen to have
a few lose screws
down along
my undercarriage,
she said
and pulled my
pants down.

dying alone in a small room while listening to bad music

by Justin Hyde

sitting at the bar
on friday night
eating a
six dollar
frozen pizza:

pinches both my
love handles
from behind:

middle aged blond
crow's feet
but still
taut of flank.

my friends say
it looks like
you're not having
any fun,
she tells me.

i tell her:
i'm dying alone
in a small room
while listening to
bad music.

is it
all that serious?
she flashes bleach
and pinches
my bicep.

i'm probably just mistaking
for genocide
it happens.

well you're welcome
to come sit with
me and my friends,
she says
pointing to a table of
claims adjusters
office managers
and a couple
token buddhists.

thank you,
i say,
but the volume
is plenty loud
right here.

February 3, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

someone writes kike on
the blackboard and the
“k’s” pull thru the
chalk, stick in my

plump pale thighs.
Even after the high
school burns down the
word is written in

the ashes. My under
pants’ elastic snaps
on Main St because
I can’t go to

Pilgrim Fellowship.
I’m the one Jewish girl
in town but the 4
Cohen brothers

want blond hair
blowing from their
car. They don’t know
my black braids

smell of almond.
I wear my clothes
loose so no one
dreams who I am,

will never know
Hebrew, keep a
Christmas tree in
my drawer. In

the dark, my fingers
could be the menorah
that pulls you toward
honey in the snow

*Lyn's website:

February 2, 2009

the good news is zimbabwe introduced a 50 million note to buy two loaves of bread

by Scot Young

at six we mute
the nightly news
flat screen flashes
gaza children bloodied
broken dying

sudan women butchered
raped trying to bring
home jugs of water

blood splatters on cnn
a 50 inch collage of death
mounted and angled
just right on the wall

tonight we sprinkle
bean sprouts
on organic romaine
toast a chardonnay as
long range rockets hit
burning 49 civilians
without making a sound


by Howie Good

Last night I went to a movie at the Upstate,
Marisa Tomei was in it, she played an aging stripper,

but without the cellulite and droopy ass,
who worked at a club in Jersey called Cheeks,

black walls, myopic lighting, loud music,
the graveyard of empires, where a lap dance

in the VIP Room cost you 60 bucks
and the vinyl siding salesmen from Trenton

got hard as she gyrated on stage in a G-string,
her eyes strangely dead, the boarded-up windows

of a once-prosperous downtown appliance store,
I wanted to tell her, Oh, Marisa, don’t be sad,

you’re beautiful, instead the guy sitting
behind me kept crossing and uncrossing his legs

and kicking the back of my seat.

February 1, 2009

Too much or nothing

by Peycho Kanev

moments of agony and ecstasy
fighting for supremacy in my bed.
my girlfriend stared at me like she
knew it all.
but for that is way too late.
I am alone
feel bad
but one year ago
in my house
with my little girlfriend
we set the stars on fire
the moon was ashamed
and everything was in flames
the bed
the floor
and the walls breathed heavily
and sweated
disgusted of us.
but now
it's too late
behind the house
dead dogs watch my yard
all the rooms are empty
and they will remain like this.
this night
the universe drops the curtain.
where the love died with mouthful of worms
I continue to dwell.

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

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

My Home Borough

by John Rocco

It’s all out of order
all upside down
Chaos King lunch specials
featuring two horses
eating each other.
The center can’t hold shit.
It was a rough weekend.
I can still feel the floor on my face.

In Queens
the heroes are everywhere
packed in plastic
dying to explode
their deeds on their faces.
I come from the
land of heroes
singing blood songs down
Union Turnpike
where everything is
just because she
wasn’t there tonight.

I can hear it in the traffic,
I can feel it in the pipes.
She’ll be back and the
Caged bird I’ve been
looking for, lost too long,
will attack me in a bar
demanding that I buy
her a drink
her stockings perfect black
diamond divisions
of what lies between.

*John Rocco at MySpace: