May 31, 2009

It Was A Woman/Dads

by Randall Rogers

my dad always said it’s not becoming a success
that is so difficult
but maintaining your position
once you’ve reached the top

most guys fall prey to women, drink, drugs,
or laziness
and lose it
he said
another maxim of his:
“easy to buy, hard to sell”
and the old standby
“the only constant is change”

and a bartender in Phoenix
took one look at me
and asked me straight out:
“What is it? Money? A woman? Or the law?”
Articulating the usual reasons for heavy drinking
and suicide.

Dad never told me there’d be moments
where the best advice
is to just shut your eyes
try to think good thoughts
and ‘hold on’.
Dads don’t want to talk to their kids
talk about drugs and sex and other safety shit
but not much said about the old
final solution
even after it occurs
it is not mentioned,
same with dying of AIDS
I suspect.

May 30, 2009

from the book of wtf?

by Justin Hyde

sitting at the bar
trying to detach your mind
from the crucible
of day to day
when she
taps your shoulder:

a tenth grade
high-school english teacher
named susan.

jesus your arm's
bigger around than my
i hope you don't mean me harm,
she smiles
inviting you to
check the circumference
of her thigh.

you tell her
her smile
lights up
the catacombs
from greece
to ethiopia

which makes her face
turn red.

lets you
buy her
a bud-light

tells you
she's designing
a whole unit
on alice in wonderland.

you tell her
she needs to
do a unit on
carver and bukowski.

she's never heard
of either of them
but writes it down
on a napkin.

you tell her
you have to
the contents of
your bladder.

you're so
creative with words,
she smiles
and squeezes your neck
and says
hurry back.

not two minutes later
you do come back
she is gone.

gone brother.

nothing left

but her empty bud-light

and your
blue balls.

May 29, 2009

Tell Me One More Time

by Barry Basden

We sit across from each other
at this smooth mahogany table,
our opposing counsels
assessing exit strategies.

Mine has questions: Do you smoke?
How many cartons a week?
Do you eat out? how often?
Pages of interrogatories

to wear you down. No windows
in this Bushwhacker Room,
not even traffic noises from
Colfax Avenue can penetrate these walls;

no escape from harsh fluorescence,
a buzzing place suited to
anguish and guilt,
a room where no one wants to be.

The questions pound at you and
I wonder how it has come to this.
What finally led me to trick you here
when I once needed you so?

My young Turk beats you with the
terrible secrets of our past and I see
you flinch. Finally you sit quietly, wan and
still beside your lawyer in his rumpled blue suit.

I despise this aftermath of our failures,
this end to the disaster of our lives.
I would rather see something familiar,
your exhilarating rage, for instance.

If I had that butcher knife again,
I would slide it across the table and
you could come swishing it at me again,
making your low animal noises to startle this room.

I could once more reach for that blade,
and again see the fury
in your green eyes soften and fade
when blood begins to flow,

and I could hear
you tell me
one more time
that you love me.

*first published in The Legendary

Barry Basden is the editor of Camroc Press Review (

May 28, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

You can still see
where wrought iron
fire escapes screwed
into brick. At the
siren, boys took
steps four at a time
hoping to beat the
girls whose dresses
they'd look up. BB
and AB blackened in
to a desk in the
cellar. The daughter
he made and would
not be a father to
with her own grown
children now avoids
his phone calls.
Morning glories
tangle around what
is left of the swings,
dark blue as the
eyes of the pale
girl who did her
paper on Scotland,
England and Whales.*
She sleeps safe from
whistles, no longer
blushing as the
petals flaunt and
fling themselves in
hot lilac light

*a friend of Lyn's wrote that paper and yes, that's how she spelled "Wales." Shw mae. -- Editor

May 27, 2009

Catalog Fantasies

by Paul Hellweg

Where I live,
we have rural mail delivery,
and the carrier commonly
mixes things up,
lately I’ve been getting
sexy catalogs in the mail,
last week Victoria’s Secret
(addressed to my
next door neighbor),
today a Venus swimsuit ad
(addressed to a woman
miles away),
and I honestly don’t know
what the universe
is trying to tell me,
perhaps the love I seek
is as close as next door
or maybe
it’s miles away,
or possibly my
amount to nothing more than
catalog fantasies.

If they only knew

by Paul Hellweg

I intimidate people
just because
I write books
teach at the university,
little do they know
they intimidate me
because they
know how to do
what I don’t:
use a cell phone
make small talk
parallel park
back up without hitting other cars
wear shoes that aren’t mismatched
sleep at night
get laid.

May 26, 2009

When Will She/He Snap?

by Randall Rogers

the essence of my idiosyncrasy is
basically a terror, a panic
a fear of me doing myself in
like Laura, Jim, Uncle Harry
Wally and Mom did
in a sordid slide into alcoholism
until getting progressively weaker
the body the liver first
just gives up

or bleeding into the brain
makes you garble a few
backwards sentences
and slump over
breathing heavily
snoring loudly
till silence
and you’re dead.

drinking yourself to death is still
far more worthy than an
outright at the moment
cessation of one’s own life
like a bullet to the brain,
for example,

living la vida loca.

May 25, 2009

Glass Factory

by Doug Draime

For several months
every night
my grandfather
would fall asleep
sitting in front of the television
after dinner, which he would
just pick at and
never finish. Every night
he would
wake with a start
between 8 and 8:30,
his eyes blinking
open and shut
several times,
and scream,
“Watch out, Frank, the goddamn
sheet is slipping”
Referring to the 8 by 12 foot sheet
of glass that fell from a crane,
killing one of his crew at the glass factory,
where he’d worked
for over 30 years as a foreman.
I don’t remember when
he stopped screaming,
nor do I recall him
mentioning watching
his friend practically
sliced in two, and bleeding
to death
in his arms.

Underground Press: Totalitarian Nut Crushing

by Doug Draime

They publish poems
about the Nazis
at a safe distance
here in 2006
Hitler can’t track
them down
and stick a Swastika
through their hearts,
or torch their desktop software.
Though, the poems about
the current
warmongering bigots and corporate
are rejected faster
than Hitler’s
compassion for the Jewish race.

Mohammed’s Self-Portrait

by Chris Butler

Mohammed’s self-portrait,
drawn with invisible ink
on an imaginary canvas,
exists in the minds of Muslims
born without original sin
for seventy-seven virgins
atop a smoky heaven,
emissions from suicide
bomber’s C-4 strapped chest
on a crowded street corner,
all for Allah.

May 24, 2009

My Apology in the Devil’s Doorway

by John Rocco

I must apologize for a lot
including the recent
global economic collapse.
It’s all my fault.

About a year and a half ago
I pulled a Henry Miller eating
rye bread in Eraserhead’s room
smelling of old guy’s guilt
fuck that I said
smoked it like a bomber
flying fortress of death
and they washed him out
with a hose. I went to
Coney Island and
met the Coney Island Bird Girl.
Looking at the real dirty ocean
I took some
time off from worrying
about the monster ocean of bullshit.

So a year
and a half ago
I just stopped.
I stopped
paying and you
know what happened?
Lots of mail and phone calls
the stock market collapsed
people murdered their families
every commercial and sitcom
telling us we’re all broke.

I admit it, it’s all my fault.
The only country I didn’t
fuck up was Norway
because I forgot about
Norway but I’ll get Norway
next time.

Tonight, my apology is happy
standing in the Devil’s Doorway
she calls it
the girl who is not here
in the Mexican bar
in Corona, Queens
tequila shots
missing 6 innings of the Mets game
the stadium named after
a broke bank
and they lose anyway.

*John Rocco at MySpace:

Fat Venus and the Greasy Muse

by John Rocco

The Ancients were really into
laying pipe
I tell you
from the plumber’s blood
in me and the pipes
in Old Gladiator Rome
happy shaking from the
orgasm fountains
and the squirting aqueducts.

Older, older
the plowing of the earth
and the pipes were laid
40,000 years ago pipe laying
with the super hot MILF
the Venus of Hohle Fels
just discovered
packing a wallop.
Giant boobs
expansive baby got back
and a deep wide crack
for the origin of the universe.

Scholars say the
Fat Venus
could be the earliest
human sculpture
telling us a lot
how art evolved
from fertility rituals.

Sorry, Eggheads,
but your pervert stone
is too late, too late.
The Greasy Muse
told me all this today
when she told me not
to call her tonight
but maybe tomorrow.

May 23, 2009

We Are The Sons And Daughters And Brothers And Sisters (to all those who came home from Viet Nam)

by Doug Draime

We are the sons and daughters and brothers and sisters of

James Dean, Elvis Presley and
Marilyn Monroe.
We learned to chew nuclear tobacco and
spit in the eye of the
status quo.

We have survived the Vietnam era (and numerous other atrocities)
to become your senators,
your merchants,
your drug addicts
your drug dealers
your corporate moguls,
your drunks,
your welfare shams,
your doctors,
your murderers
your lawyers
your garbage men,
your prostitures
your teachers,
your homeless,
your artists,
your poets

We have all come triumphant and
betrayed from the
murderous 1960’s.

We are the sons and daughters and brothers and sisters of

Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and
Che Guevara

We have torn the veil from hypocrisy,
we demand freedom from

We have watched millions starve while
churches and temples and mosques feed the
already well fed

We have watched insanity become the norm,
we have listened to the lie become the
worshipped and cherished truth.

We are the sons and daughters and brothers and sisters
(who came home from Vietnam)

May 22, 2009


with their
perfect skin,
pert tight asses

they giggle when they

get a step

angels in the
instructor’s arms

His wedding ring glows

less bright than the
glint of wet

skin where he pulls
the girls closer

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:

May 21, 2009

Too Little Much Not Quality Time, Spent Depressed, Sober

by Randall Rogers

take another toke
have another hit
of life
on your way to the
final upsetting
of some balance
that once held sway
a mind not divided cannot withstand
the willful self of destruction
the spiral up down of drugs
too many women
too much wine
enough of this time
and bango! the decision, irrevocably made
plans not well laid,
for your exit of choice
trigger finger rejoice
squeezing off a leaded round
through mouth bound cranium and beyond? bound
decision made
I degraded a spade
infanticide, regicide,
a genocide of a
spontaneoussuicide!! Plonk goes a bullet.

Rant In A Bar

by A.g. Synclair

Dumb Bitch
bars are meant for drinking,
not texting.

In better days,
men would come here
to talk of books, and life,
and women, and sport.

Men of letters would cry,
and drink, and smoke,
and write in filthy notebooks
with curled up edges

on cocktail napkins
and matchbook covers
that became novels,
and stories, and poems.

Wisdom borne of Scotch and Bourbon,
The Brooklyn Dodgers, and
not a frilly umbrella drink in sight.

May 20, 2009

Beggar’s Elegy

by Chris Butler

Spare change? Spare change?
Got any spare change?
Anything you can to help out an old man.
I got mouths to feed. Child support to pay,
I can’t even work. My back is broke
(jingles can)
Been on this earth 53 years, what can I say?
I been trying to get back on my feet
Been trying to take good care of myself
You see?
I just need a little help…
Thank you sir, thank you much.
I assure you it’ll go to good use, like my kids’ lunch…
Spare change? Spare change?
Got any spare change?

May 19, 2009


by nila northSun

as you walk through the casino
your eyes scanning
you stop
and decide from the slot machine
that 'that' machine
is 'the one'
the one that will turn your luck
from poor to rich
raining coins from its
loose slots mouth
your optimism palpable
later i find you
at the bar with a cold beer
and not much else to show
for this week's paycheck
'hey' you say
'there's still next week'
and wink and smile.

*nila northSun at Wikipedia:

The Ruins.

by William Pauley III

My cigar smoke breath whispers no more
Steadily I twist and bend
Perfecting my bullshit design
And yours
Since you gave up years ago.

These teeth do not construct smiles
These teeth bite into meat
into flesh
and tear from the bone.
Your tears only waste paper
Incoherently, you scribble down thoughts.

We're just a blur, you and I
a flash of light fading before the eyes of millions
and somehow we still manage
to have a good day
now and then...

but we're losing.

May 18, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

tonight the grass is
full of fireflies, a
rhinestone quilt of
glitter, blinking
thru darkness just
like that summer
with the ex-con poet
in the leaves.
Behind my house,
sand rippled, like at
the shore or a
desert. Nights were
thick and hot. He
couldn’t stay. I knew
it tho I opened my
body, every part of me
to him mornings we
made eggs Benedict
and he read me Sylvia
Plath. Already the
days were getting
shorter. Summer does
not linger in upstate
New York. But the
glitter camouflaged
what we didn’t want
to see. The fireflies
were doing a mating
dance, a mating to death
somebody once said,
irresistible and wild as
a tarantella, dazzling
as ex-con poets
hitching across the
U.S. because a poem
or photo lured him

*Lyn's website:

May 17, 2009

Switchblade Sisters

by John Rocco

I met these two sisters
with switchblade hearts
Kamikaze sword eyes
and bodies made by
Eternity’s Great Sword Maker.
They were hot and cool.

Coney Island was in their DNA,
Coney Island of the chromosomes,
Coney Island of the infinite girl.
They learned English from
cutting school
riding the trains
to the beach.

The Switchblade Sisters
I know have this hot knife blood
in them from Poland and Russia
and when they speak it I see
young Fyodor about to be shot
by the firing squad
but the Czar’s man rides up
with a last minute reprieve.
There is a silence after
you could cut.

*John Rocco at MySpace:

May 16, 2009


by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

When she drinks
we suffer.
She is small.
Do not be
fooled by that.
She goes off.
She threatens
us with knives,
throws coffee
cups, and blunt
objects. She
thinks she is
all right. But
she is a
time bomb, a
loaded gun,
ready to
go off. She
would not drink
so much if
she did not
have such bad
friends. They come
around and
her to go
with them and
drink. She is
a pretty
girl. She is
much better
when she takes
her pills. When
she stops them
the voices
come back and
make her do
crazy things.
When she drinks
she cannot
be controlled.


by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

In the broken concrete
thorns grew out.
The rose petals remained
deep in the earth.

An angel heart bled out
in the sky
above the thorns growing
from the earth. A

cloud emptied its tears and
let out a sigh
that shook the earth.

A wave of roses burst
out and the thorns
fell into the earth.

May 15, 2009

All those years

of solitary confinement
inside a Gilbey's Gin
bottle were crawling out
of her stammering lips
demanding a mercy drink
for a dying, lost soul.
She foresaw a bad journey
for me in my next
life if I didn't rescind
an absurd ultimatum
involving the withholding
of vital fluids for her
lips, poured out an endless
succession of invective
so vile, I was almost
impressed by the quantity
and sincerity of her angel
of death wrath. I suggested
a trip to the City Mission,
they specialized in lost
souls, although they frowned
on her holiest of waters.
"A good night sleep, a square
one or two and a hot shower
and you'll wake up refreshed as
a maiden."
"Don't bullshit me, I was
born drunk and violated
and I intend to die that way."
As if she had a choice,
I thought, handing her five
bucks on the sly, escorting
her to the door and pointing
to the Lamp Post bar just down
the block. "Do your worst."
I said, giving her a healthy
shove out onto the icy sidewalks
of hell.

by Alan Catlin

May 14, 2009

a chain reaction

by David LaBounty

management, my
management any

management, said
the gas prices are
a bitch and business
is soft and we’ve
got to tighten our
belts so chain-wide
the cuts are coming,

and they gave me a sickle

and told me to swing
it through my store
and start hacking
away and I certainly wouldn’t
swing it at myself and
I knew I would cut
the weakest and
the lowest paid guys,
guys that
change and bust
the tires, guys with
dirty hands and
tobacco stained teeth
who go broke buying
McDonald’s every
day for lunch,
guys who wouldn’t
put up much of a
fuss about being
let go because the
poor never fight
back, it’s as if
they expect to
lose their eight
dollar an hour job
because they’ve lost
so many eight dollar
an hour jobs before and

that’s how it goes

and management knew
where the cuts
would be made
and indeed,
the weakest
were cut and hours
were cut and the
rest of us had to
pick up the slack and

that’s what management
has always done,
that’s what
society and
mother nature and
the indifferent
universe has
always done

making sure

the weak are fired
and sometimes


May 13, 2009

My Contribution

by Randall Rogers

last time I checked I was still insane
barely holding it together out here
shunted to the far corners of the Earth
doing what I learned to do first in the early
seventies and pretty much the only thing I can do well
once again
I’m selling weed
only this time
I’m pioneering the spread of the good powerful one two toke
all across war healing SE Asia.
Bring peace and happiness confusion
and the munchies to one but all
Johnny Potseed-ing it around the globe.
Posing as an itinerant teacher of English!!

May 12, 2009

The Single Life

by Paul Hellweg

I love someone
who loves another,
and that’s hard enough
to endure,
but still
that someone and I
get along so fabulously
I don’t mind her
not being mine,
not always,
tonight, for example,
things went
the other way,
we had tickets to attend
a jazz concert,
just she and I,
no boyfriend involved,
she asked if he could
come along too,
and my response?
it’s dark
and cold
and late
I’m drinking Scotch,
as most of us singles do,
for someone
to love us
so we could stop thinking
we’re the only ones
this much.

It’s Valentine’s Day

by James Babbs

it’s valentine’s day and
I'm getting drunk again
sitting near the window
watching cars driving past and
they’re probably carrying
happy couples full of love
to all the happy places
where happy couples go
while I’m pouring
more whiskey in my coffee
I like how it burns
every time I take a drink and
it’s not, quite, dark yet
when I look through the window
I can, still, see
traces of light in the sky and
I know something about loneliness
just ask me about it
the next time you see me and
I’ll tell you what it is

May 11, 2009


by Stephen Jarrell Williams

I've done what's worth doing
in the darkness visible,

snarled in the tangle,
no way out,

long-lost father
with a lit match in his hand,

he's just an old me
waving goodbye,

smokey air,
dreamy silence,

sad satisfaction,
remembering peep-shows of life...

I'll soon let go the grip
hanging from the edge,

blue-lipped into the cooling dusk.

May 10, 2009

French Quarter Tryst

by Heather Ann Schmidt

on a Bayou night

down Royal Street
and beads and
ba do dee da--

the blues slipped
over me like a tight
cocktail dress

and music showed us where
to turn

the quarter swayed from

the tipsy air
and The River
reflected brown bourbon.

Little fires in windows
distorted by old glass
into orbs of ghosts,
wailing an Etta James song:

I want a Sunday kind of love....

and lovers staggered by,
drunk on the
ooo shoo do de dooo

of the half-naked night.

I took your hand
and showed you where to put it,
unlike a girl who goes to bed
early to get up for church.

We went into an alley
and let the

da doo dee dey

shadow over us.

May 9, 2009

a little bit burned

by Erek Smith

she burns
a business card
on the balcony

singed paper flakes
float off
into the night

"i'm kind of
a pyro"
she says
"i just
like the way
things look
when they're
looks better
a little bit

"i like things
a little bit burned

there are
two types
of people
in the world

there are those
who wear
makeup &
paint their faces
to cover up
their blemishes

& there are those
the burned ones
who wear
their life
their death
their humanity
on their faces

get off your ass
& go play outside
in the fire

get burned

i'm talking to you
reading this
sitting at the computer

i'm talking to you
reading this
w/ the TV on
in the background

& i'm especially
talking to you
backwards clone
in the mirror

you fucker

*Erek's blog:


--for marilyn chambers

we had a good scam
going back then
rick would go over
and take care of his neighbor’s
the neighbor was a single guy
traveled a lot
and rick always said the one attraction
to watching the guy’s house
was access to all the porn that he had
and he had the good stuff too
the classics
seika films and deep throat
behind the green door
rick would borrow those movies and others
he’d bring them to my house
and we’d dub them from
one tape to another
while smoking marlboro reds
and then sell them to freshman
in between classes
and when rick turned eighteen
he got a membership to west coast video
and we’d spend the hours after school
dubbing the west coast porn collection
onto cheap tapes
stacking them in book bags
in the back of rick’s 1973 station wagon
to sell
i don’t know how much we made
not enough to keep it going
plus when word got around
it became harder and harder
to make deals in the hallway
in between classes
so we stopped our little empire
and went back to the single income
of bad jobs in malls
or mowing lawns on the weekend
and all the leftover porn stayed on the tapes
it went to good use though
because aside from itching to get out
i remember senior year in high school
as a time of blindness and hairy palms
and no young girls beating down my door
and when i found out that you died today
well it just brought that all back for me
all those wonderful ladies with their legs spread
on faded magnetic tape
no commitment, no obligation but to view
you in a black room with countless men
so thank you for all those years
all that money
my voice becoming a deep moan
and one final run
of all that beautiful teenage whacking.

by John Grochalski

*John's blog:

May 8, 2009


by Randall Rogers

I had a time and a half for a while there
then it all came crashing down
into shit
the flies loved it
they crawled as maggots
out of my open
speaking mouth.
And still you told the truth
and said again you did not love me
that you were with me only because of my money
not my talent looks musicality coolness my good drugs
you preferred a cigarette or two a day
hanging out with the neighborhood folks
talking till late
Why are you here? What do you do for me?
I often asked you
your response the same always
My job is to take care of you.
if we ever began I think now we are
I got a new you.
Cheaper younger better looking better at sex cleaning and cooking being friends listening tolerating my guitar and vocal stylings
than you!! Out with the old!!
In with a new, few, more!

Below Zero

by Chris Butler

Freezer burnt,
trapped inside
the leftover
in the garage,
months after
the winter
solstice, thousands
of miles north of
the invisible
my escaping breath
proves this
to expire
in extended
periods of
endless time,
when no other
worthwhile life

May 7, 2009

The Come-Back Kids

by Jack Ohms

someone turns on the T.V.
in the patients' lounge
while young Hanna sits
shaking violently
outside the nurses' lodge
with an open wrist;
she shuffles,
not quite knowing what to do,
then rushes back to her room,
slams the door
and wails high,
crying hysterically,
while we three sit and watch
some programme on MTV
old stars,
taking their clothes off,
going the bar circuit,
advertising weenies
and two-for-one
anything, anything
twenty years on
just anything
for another hit.

as if you could hear us speak

you silently slipped away
but I see you from time to time
looking without asking
a silhouette standing
large head haloed
and I have to turn away
as the grief comes down
through the centre of my body
and charges my emotion
how can I apologise?
that we even spoke of abortion
in your holy presence
makes me suspect
you heard the guardsman at the gate
and knew the city
to be
ah, it's conjecture,
but there's something tells me you knew
and in the kindness of your
sinless heart
you saw us here
and wished us no harm
and left.
how can a father-not-to-be apologise
to an unborn foetuschild
for not-bringing it into the world
in such a brutal way? or
was it that you were a fighter
who died by his own hand
rather than be taken
by the enemy?
one of these or all,
you are gone
and nameless
and not
in paradise,
but alone,
shorn of grief, anger, jealousy,
people tell me I am being sentimental
and not to think like this
and I wonder that I should ever
have been born.

by Jack Ohms

May 6, 2009

where the heart is

by Ronan Barbour

it's funny
but you weren't from there,
from the place where I called home
for 22 years,
and after you left me
the place no longer felt like home
and I left
after two months
and moved across the
And over here it's been not much better
but different
all the adventures I've had
the places I've been
the experience, all the different women I've ventured into
the different countries
it's been good times, yeah, great
it's never been the same world
I lived in with you.
And I know now I can't go back
that place where I lived is still there
but the place
inside me
has turned to something else.
Where the Universe stars once touched with your stalactite fingers


by Lyn Lifshin

faint smell of cologne.
Later my sheets hold it,
Another time, another
place becomes a
mantra. How does any
one stay married

he breathes in the rain
into my hair. An
accident, but I do this
for a week. I buy
clothes I wouldn’t have,
surrounded by beauties.
It isn’t easy. He
pulls me closer, the
perfect gigolo

*Lyn's website:

May 5, 2009

Al’s Story

by John Rocco

The Hammer’s sister
told me this story
in the bar in the Bronx
about how she once
drove from Paris
to Amsterdam
in a converted yellow school bus
packed with people
the back converted into
a party room
complete with endless
spinning turntables.
They drove
carved out
lines of coke
passed them
around and a
mirror’s face
was passed to Al
but the lines were
not white, they were brown.
“That’s not coke,” she said
“Yesss,” they said. “It is
better. It is herooooooooiiiiiiin.”
She said no thanks.
They ended up
stuck in the mud
outside the city.
In the morning the city’s
children surrounded
them and they expected
the worst
but the kids brought them
food, little cakes and cheese
that they didn’t eat.

Ambien Angel

by John Rocco

The dope Russian dude Mayakovsky
said his heart was a church with
the choir on fire
but I have an entire
80’s SCARFACE disco
in terrible torrents of flames
coke humping on the toilets
rocking the Casbah of my soul.
I’m going to try to tell her this
tonight, my Ambien Angel.
You know, I’m gonna give her
the Talk.
It will turn out wrong
and I’ll end up with her thong
inside the infernal machine called my mouth.

*John Rocco at MySpace:

May 3, 2009

While I Kiss The Sky

by Peter Magliocco

When the lyrics
cut sharp corners around Deo's nose
you marveled in Judaic scrutiny,
protected by lore
I knew nothing about:
when the ease
cut the wrath-fed road
we sung times-temperate blast
out the caparisoned Volvo
& sped through absolutions
untainted as joss cream
(or wheat amid
stone harvest).
We planned together
the eternal life of love
in a sanctified pact,
never believing things
were moving us apart.
Then we gambled
& heard the dread of families
condemning our union
as an indecent affront to ethnic purity.
Recoiling from fresh slandering,
we turned our heads
to deaf ears
while the wind spirited
a jimi hendrix song
into the oil-pissed parking lot.

*Peter Magliocco has a new novel out, The Burgher of Virtual Eden from Publish America ( He was Pushcart nominated for poetry in 2008.

Memory Babe Again

by Peter Magliocco

Now that you are one with the devil
& the morning graces are but an eye-shadow
to smear away from pale afternoons,
won't you see your dull follower
waiting -- the stealer of secrets
behind your mind's foyer -- praying
for you to open your bottled affections
& water the vines of mourning:
dappled slave hearts from ex-lovers,
nipples, nails, hairs all like left-overs
from the forgotten sexual feasts,
the pale virgin's dried innards
old carnal bishops bestowed
as part of your legacy, & how
you laughed at infuriated bureaucrats
giving you tax breaks among these
amenities you felt entitled to,
the way no one's life compared
to your own, the way we loved being
in the category of has-beens?

May 2, 2009


by Peter Magliocco

"that's what comes from the shiver
of spines aggravated by injury,"
he confided, showing me the autopsy photos.
she had been somebody's lover in another age
(before battered women became poster-familiar)

& communal model to us both years back,
before whatever turned her inside-out happened
with the dark fury of electrical storms.
neither of us had done what the photos
in grim negative contrasts revealed
(though wanting to, at times):
a higher god waited in shadows, we decided,

one who'd overlook our penchant
for admiring artistic coloration
in our late lady friend's wounds.

she who had hated religion became
in her own right a sanguinary martyr
some loving organization would adopt,
extolling her revered face on milk cartons.

*Peter Magliocco has a new novel out, The Burgher of Virtual Eden from Publish America ( He was Pushcart nominated for poetry in 2008.


by RC Miller

We snarl our own immensity.
Things pass away into wolves who only function.
We go through old age then death again.
This in truth be dat.
And though resting luxuriously in the park, he feels sad
About his unwisdom, feels bad about spilling oxygen.
Two hills forward, a plastic water bottle is sharpened
By the falcon's shadow.
Two hills upward, she laughs when its feathers
Fall upon her string bikini bottom.
There's light never born, outside all, deeply quiet
Like the breath of a helicopter's wing.
Two hills becoming, she enriches his posture
And animalistic zing.
Hope is beyond sorrow, hope is beyond what's free.
Go ahead and die for me.

*RC's blog: