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: http://www.lynlifshin.com/books.htm


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: http://www.myspace.com/292819823

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: http://www.lynlifshin.com/books.htm


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.

nice guy

by paul harrison

i was standing by the bar
smoking a cigarette
when she sidled up
never seen her before
and straight away she was off
i only drink once a month
do you think i'm alcoholic...
i'd been drinking seventeen days
i didn't think so
thought she'd probably been
in the psyche wards
a few times
just got out
maybe missing the odd
social skill as later
i found out
talking to the barmaid
another date
maybe not
anyway i told my new friend
i didn't think so
enquired about her health
then sidled off myself
and later
my eyes raw nerve
i stopped the car on green
as an old, haunted man
jerked slowly past
flapping his crutches
like two broken wings
gotta stop drinking
i thought
cos sometimes
you're a really nice guy
the beer between my legs
and the horns going off inside

October 23, 2009

dialogue of faith and highway

by Derek Richards

thumbs are broken
hitch-hiking blind the night it rained
boulders on a hazy highway
south of the city

intimate conversations
with a bottle of Nightrain
and a gypsy moth
lost for a hiccup of thought
or a heavy quilt
of spiritual progress

someday i'm going to find a front door
fitting the key in my pocket
the girl of my dreams
no growling dogs
no angry fence
let's turn up the heat, honey,
it's so cold out there
brown eyes

\back is broken
carrying dense fragments of fallen universe
up and down senseless hills
waiting for the sunrise
praying away cages
dancing along the yellow line with a limp
and an aggravated faith

someday i'm going to breathe softly
read a book before bed
light a room of passive candles
quit smoking
eat a meal on clean dishes and wash
the filthy vodka down the sink
let's go to bed, honey,
we've both got to work tomorrow
simple lips

there's a truck slowing down up ahead
feels like rain
my throat is an ache of cheap wine
and buried apologies
i'm going home
the truck stops and an old man waves
me inside where you going, son?


by Derek Richards

there you are
polished nails
in strips
electric doors stutter the howling
i turn the cell to vibrate

the atlantic suddenly smells of smoldering steel
summer trees bent for the camera
poets and police notes
suspecting booze
blood and rosaries smear the dashboard
the radio still works

they fed you morphine, my dear
confirming the day fatal
regardless of medical charts and vital signs
you sway broken
legs spread like a romance novel
when you read my card
i watched your eyes
at the drip

an alignmenet of rubber stained tourists
detail photos of the crime scene
red high-heels and wine bottles
tic-tacs and marlboros
they say you broke both collarbones
snapped your spine
and you will lose your left foot
they fed you morphine, my dear

i stand outside
guessing the name of each pretty nurse
bouncing through the doors
i can hear the siren of wasted tires
anticipate the impact

*originally published in Breadcrumb Scabs

October 22, 2009

Moby Dick’s

by John Rocco

I discovered the secret of my bar the other night,
the haunting of the Harbour Inn by the past, a
haunting that pulls me in and doesn’t let me out
until I’ve hit the cash machine for all she’s worth
blasting INSUFFIENCET FUNDS signs to hell.
It’s the bar where I’ve had my greatest fights with myself
like the knocked into blindness boxer Cagney plays
in CITY FOR CONQUEST: I beat the bloody bones
out of the competition only to lose the girl and end
up fingering the old porn mags of the soul. Anyway,
I learned the secret of the Harbour Inn from a local drunk guy:
“Back then it used to be a titty bar called Moby Dick’s.
When I was a kid we used to press our faces up against
the covered windows trying to catch a glimpse of the
titty girls. We used to search the gravel in the parking lot
for when the drunks dropped money.” As he spoke
it all became clear to me. The power of the Harbour Inn
is the strong haunting memory of the titty girls on
their final fiery hunt, apocalyptic booty calls for all.
The next time I go I’ll feed the ghost titty girls
bills for finally killing the renegade sperm whale
inside, drowning in the white stuff
swallowing the white whale and the ships and the ocean
still there crashing on the broken vodka rocks of time.

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

October 20, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

those Black Sparrow postcards,
then the card from Bill Press.
How he showed my Black
Sparrow books on cable
TV and I knew I had the
publisher of my dreams,
for a bit. You can’t hold anything
long. The love notes from men
who wrote poem after poem
about me after an hour over coffee.
The one who cared for the hunt
and always, because he had
not caught me, longed to take me
down. Poems, good ones, lost
now. In some landfill, or archives
by mistake. For months, the house,
chaos, but this envelope, safe in a
file with less exciting things
that mattered. But then, like for the
moment we had that seemed
right, seemed they could be, just
space from what’s truly gone

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

drunk at the kitchen table with my grandmother

by Justin Hyde

she tells me
they were too poor
to get a divorce

she would have
cut grandpa loose
for sure.

grandpa's underground.
drank himself
to death
three years ago.

the little cemetery
can be seen
from the
kitchen window.

i've always had a
gut feeling
he did things
to my mom
and aunts.

but i don't dare
ask grandma
about it.

i'm afraid
she'd be

i pour us
two more
high balls


ask her
to tell me again
how my great
made actual
potato sack dresses
for her
and her sister
when their farm
went belly up
during the

October 18, 2009

the bum feeder

by Rob Plath

my friend has a lot of wild parties

he has an enormous recycling bin
that is never empty

near the end of the night he has helpers
scrape it down the long driveway
to the curbside

the bin is getting quite popular
usually three bums descend upon it
sifting along through wine bottles for
refundable beer cans
plucking what they can & pedaling away

sometimes they fight like blue jays
& black birds
over seed at a plastic feeder
their dirty fingers poking at one another
in the pre-dawn light
grizzled toothless squawking about seniority

the bin is usually almost empty when
the hydraulics of maggio disposal company
pollute the morning silence
just wine bottles clattering into the mouth

of the truck

October 17, 2009

not all women are cunts

by Justin Hyde

we parked her car
in front of the old farmhouse
where i rented a room.

i’d picked her up at
denny arthurs,
which is the old-folks bar in des moines
i often went to
when closing time approached
and i’d struck out

i undid my pants,
put her hand
on it.

worked it,
then she put her head
down there.

then these
dry sobs.

told me
she was living
with a man,
he was good
to her three kids.

she didn’t love him,
but he didn’t deserve

i pulled my pants up,
watched her
drive away.

i flicked the kitchen lights on,
cockroaches scurried
behind the stove
and down
the garbage disposal.

i sat quiet
at the kitchen table
for some time.

feeling very much
like one of

a dull lady with big calves

buys me
a shot of tequila
at the twisted parrot
on a
tuesday night.

lynyrd skynyrd
on the

she tells me
she wants a house
on a cul-de-sac

three children

and a cache

staring listlessly
at the cubs
on the overhead tv

i wait for some lightning
smoke signals
any sign of life
or a little madness
out of her:

but all she says
is something
about her
thursday night


a tick
the size of a walnut
she pulled off
her beagle.

i told myself
i wouldn't
fuck idiots

but it seems
the world offers little
beyond dull ladies
with big calves.

i order us
a double of
black velvet.

she opens her cell-phone
and chortles
a chorus of zeros
into it.

i shoulder back
to check
her ass.

i wait



by Justin Hyde

October 16, 2009

Quicksand of That Good Woman

by Donal Mahoney

Earlier than ever this morning I wait
for copy to vacuum. It must be free of error
and the deadline is near.
But what matters today isn’t news about war,
poverty or race riots ripping the city.
What matters today is the warm quicksand
of that good woman under me again,
taking me in. Let her writhe,
let her tug at her knees, let her legs go off
in every direction. Let her take what I have
and lunge for more. I’ll be here forever,
a bee crazed by the honey
buttering her thighs.

October 14, 2009


Ansel Adams

past adobe,
deep behind tumbleweed
someone shuts off a
radio, as if news
of war would come

over the sage, slither thru
dust and locusts.
Under a pale moon
crosses gleam,
in streaked light

a young girl unbuttons
a hand-me-down
blouse, lets it
fall to the linoleum,
thinks of her brother
crawling on his belly
in the South Pacific

Her breasts swell, her
hair smells of pinyon
and agave

She hears her father playing
banjo on the front porch,
thinks of her mother’s
leathery skin, lank hair,
swears it won’t always be
like this: nights with

nothing but the wind
in the mesquite,
vows to escape, make it
to a place where there is more
than sky and mountains,

where women dress in high heels
and smell of roses like in
movie magazines

maybe get all the way to

by Lyn Lifshin

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

October 13, 2009


by Jack Ohms

at the so-called hospitality trade event;
a video of factory-produced chickens
churned on and on from a big screen;
the little trussed-up bodies
going past the camera like beads
on a counting machine:

10 - 20 - 30 - 40 - 50 -

beneath, a display of deep-sea fish,
on ice,
shells, creatures from God-only-knows-where

"is that a marlin?"

(some spirit of the sea)

"no, it’s a swordfish"

just lying there on its side
with it’s wide jelly eye on me
and the roof lights flickering there
like the surface of the ocean,

flickering while people do deals


deals – I’ve had my fill –

10 - 200 - 3,000 - 40,000 - 500,000


- it never
never stops.

October 12, 2009


by John Rocco

I was the only one drinking in the bar
in the middle of the day in the Bronx
and I talked to the bartender about her kid
and when she lived in Aiken, South Carolina.
I told her about seeing the Who at Shea Stadium.
The Police opened. I was drunk and in high school.
She told me she had been addicted to coke and heroin.
I told her I was feeling so crazy the last two years
Death Booze cashing me out, my Brain Casino
blazing in killer high rollers and deep drowning hookers.
We compared still pumping broken hearts on the bar,
our blood mixing with the beer and the bills.
No one came in the bar. She sat next to me on a stool.
I got up and played WHO’S NEXT on the digital jukebox.
She bought me another beer.

*John Rocco at MySpace:

October 11, 2009

that's entertainment

by paul harrison

she was there
at the gig
with some fag
climbing all
over her back
or at least i
hope he was &
i touched her
arm & turned
away & laughed
at the insanity
of love &
outside smoking
a joint said
to the drummer
-still on the
lemon, lime
and bitters
i see
somewhat bitter
myself &
he said -yea
& i said -i’m
impressed &
he said
-no need to be
that’s what
you do when
the doc says
you’ve cancer
of the liver
& i swayed
a bit from
all the bourbon
& pot as
tex swam the
cruel sea
& sang like
a poet with
gravel in his
for the woman
with a thing
for irish men
to pick me up
the woman who’d
sorted mail 2
yrs longer than
buk & we went
back to my room
& fucked bareback
-any way you want
until she left &
then i took
my daughter to a
circus with other
thrills & said
now that is
impressive as
the clown, juggler
and 2 other
crazies rode
a globe of death
1 sunday afternoon

no laughing matter

by paul harrison

funny the things you remember
followed by a Volvo
bearing R U SAVED number plates
like that guy i used to live with
the guy who had a crazy, desperate, mirthless laugh
who knew the streets and treatment centres
the floor of his room in the halfway house
thick with tissues spent
and nearly most of everything always too much
usually he would just sit there on the porch
and smoke and watch all that he never knew pass by
drooling meds that never seemed to work
i liked him a lot
and i remember how one Xmas he sent his
long lost, hot shot lawyer of a brother
a bottle of the finest wine all the way to the UK
no packaging, and how that cracked me up
funny thing is, i didn’t laugh
when he recounted how another cold, lonely winter
he trashed a shop for some shelter and Xmas lunch
in the Casuarina Prison
and later knowing the presence of a terrible sadness
and all the humour between us draining away
telling me about that time
he knew the needle was dirty
but took a hit anyway
and how almost every waking moment
he prayed for the earth
to swallow him whole

October 9, 2009


by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

You could spot an
idiot with
ease. Sometimes you
only have to
look at yourself.
Sometimes it is
the guy sitting
across from you,
the woman who
wants to cut you
off in traffic.
Sometimes it is
the voice you hear
on the phone, the
fool sending you
spam e-mails, the
restaurant cook
who ruins your
day and stomach.
You could spot an
idiot so
easily. You
just turn on a
the radio,
or hear your boss.
The idiot’s
in most of us.
The idiot
is everywhere.

October 8, 2009


by George Anderson

in my first posting
no one in yr 10 can read
no one gives a shit

a 12 yr old boy sleeps in a drainpipe

a student stoned falls backwards off his chair
cackling madly,
sprawled frozen on the ground

a teacher is strangled by his tie
by a football player
another’s hair set ablaze

the deputy principal purple faced
as I explain how students leaped
from the library’s second floor window.

Shallow Dating Pool

by David Rynne

The dating pool
Of a single
Man -
is the soul who mocks
Our hero
As he peers through the
Of doubting dowries
And lost years
Seeking solace in the kind face of a
Mating ritual of the aging
And grasping
At last chances
Second chances

October 7, 2009


by Scott Owens

my father would say.
Try not to be so God-damned
when we’d go out together
anywhere we might be seen by others,
meaning even though he thought I might be gay
he didn’t want the rest of the world to know
it was a possibility,
meaning, Take off that damned pink shirt,
meaning, Don’t stand like that, one hip
thrust to the side, arms across my chest,
meaning, Would it hurt to put your hair
up under a cap now and then
meaning, Get your nose out of those
God-damned books for a while
meaning, Forget all those daydreaming
bleeding heart liberal ideas
that don’t have anything to do
with the real world
meaning, At least talk in a deeper voice
if you have to say anything at all
meaning, And for God’s sake don’t tell anybody
you write poetry

When he first asked, when I was 15,
I thought long and hard
before refusing to answer,
asking, instead, why it should matter.

And it ate him up for the next 3 years,
not knowing. Not that it was always easy,
convincing my mother not to say anything,
keeping my girlfriends away
from the house when he was there.

But it was worth it,
keeping him off balance,
unsure if he could dismiss
a whole group of people
without condemning his own son,
making his discomfort
the most conspicuous thing about him.

October 5, 2009

erotic asphyxiation

by Steve Calamars

your camel-toe
only managed to
tap-dance around
my morning-wood

you were running
late and i couldn’t
come early

so you left
me short of breath
and gasping
for it

blue-balls the
size of globes
dangling between
my legs

October 4, 2009

Port In A Paper Bag

by Doug Draime

“Nothing is louder
than the voices
in my head,
especially when
I don’t drink.
So, I keep drinkin’
to not hear them
fucking voices.”

He smiled and winked,
handing me the bottle of
cheap port
in a paper bag.

I closed my eyes
and took a long, deep drink,
feeling it burn
igniting my blood,
my head rushing.

He was still smiling when
I opened my eyes.

“I can sure see you love that port, boy. I
can see you love that port”
He started to laugh as he gestured
with his hand for me to pass
the bottle over once again.

Posturing Leprechaun On An Acid Trip

by Doug Draime

He looked like a
troll from under
the bridge,
or a leprechaun
on an acid trip.
His poems
aligned himself,
his beat heroes.
And his poems
were little frauds
dancing in front of
a mirror,
only reflecting
their counterfeit
like wax fruit
in a bowl.
We all knew that
his heroes
would have
eaten him for
breakfast, after
they shot him up
with cheap,
brown Mexican herion
and everyone fucking him
up the ass
like the boy toy for
the beats
he longed
to be.

October 3, 2009

The Landlord

by Donal Mahoney

When finally at 80 Sammy died
Polly gave me from the pantry packets
of dry noodle soup that Sammy
to the end drank down as supper.
Tureens of it, with swallows
from the pint I’d smuggle in, kept
Sammy blinking at the light
the final weeks. I lived below them
at the time and needed more than soup
but in the parlor where they laid him out
we sat on high-back chairs amid the flowers
and marveled at how straight our Sammy lay.
Who prepared him must have brought
his gnomic back, twice at least,
full force across a knee.

October 2, 2009

The Reprieve

by Alan Catlin

He comes in from the rain
end of Summer night
like something that had somehow
survived open air burial:
clothes torn, mud streaked,
long straggly hair covering
his face looking older than
the dirt he'd been lying on,
blue tainted lips cracked
and bleeding, white foam
caked at the corners, eyes
yellow hard boiled eggs
with brown rotting spots
dead center he is trying
to see through as he says,
"Is it too late for a beer?"
"It's always too late for you."
I reply, as the bar lights dim,
as the storm intensifies,
"I've got money."
"Your money's no good here."
"You don't understand..."
But I do understand,
every damn thing he
might have said.


by Alan Catlin

Thirty years of hard drinking
and all I have to show for it
is a beer belly so large
you could out a spigot in it
and draw some decent draught beer

a pay-by-the-week
transient hotel room
even the roaches wouldn't
stay overnight in

a dumpster load of glass
bottles and empty cans

torn clothes so stained and filthy
even the bums wouldn't pull
them from the trash on
the coldest night of the year

these open wounds where my
vital organs should be

Promethean love dogs from hell
feasting on my innards
my pale misbegotten flesh

I'm so shit out of luck these days
I expect these damned harpies will
want to fuck me in the eyes
before I die.

the doors of hell have numbers on them upside down

by Alan Catlin

in this life like a mexican border
town of the mind, halfway between
noir and surreality, deep dreaming
rainbow colored neon in thick polluted
haze, nothing concrete especially not
the buildings, the rolled up pavement,
these jails without bars, and the bars always
packed with hombres muy borracho,
brain dead but fathappy on a strict diet
of bloated worms found floating in bottles
of tequila azul their habits supported by
soulsisters, acolytes worshipping at the altar
of Our Lady of the Too Tight Miniskirt
with their blood brother pimps, peyote button
pushers, each entreaty from their rubio rouged
lips an executioner's song, satanic verses
for a candlelight processional of saints
and sinners; in this hour of dire need,
every day is the day after the last one.

October 1, 2009


George Segal

At one time,
Buchenwald had over
120,000 inmates
crowded into
each other’s bones.
The gate says
“Everyone for
Himself.” My
parents took
cyanide. I was
supposed to go
in a bunker with
them. They told
me to go out, said
“you might survive.”
I was so upset
I wanted to stay
with them

by Lyn Lifshin


George Segal

the gas was poured
in from the bottom.
In the terrible struggle
the lights were
switched off,
No one could
see so the
strongest people
tried to climb
higher, realized
the higher they
got the more
air there
was. Or they
tried to push
their way to the
door, past the
wire, push their
way out. A
death struggle.
Which is why
the youngest
and old were
always at
the bottom

by Lyn Lifshin


George Segal

like red trillium
poking up
thru thick
leaves dark
menstrual blood
polling at the
bottom when
they opened the
gas chambers:
the bodies frozen,
merging, leaning
toward an imaged
light behind
the wire, a family
fused in the claws
of each other,
a daughter
climbing her
mother’s side,
up past her
shoulders, as
she did as
a baby as if
the little air left
would help her
hold on

by Lyn Lifshin

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