January 31, 2010


by Stephen Jarrell Williams

So many nights used
by the rush of squeezing

hot breath from your hollows
tasting your fleshy core
salty sweet

tide rolling in
around our bed

peak of pleasures
draining out the doors

skim of sea
drifting under cold stars

we will not last

a quick grin
we dive deep


January 30, 2010

Rusty Chain

by John Rocco
The bike chain is rusted
skipping and slipping as she rides.
We grease her chain
with cooking oil from the bar.
The beautiful day is a rotting orchestra

compared to the way she sits
on the bike and rides it
the chain not skipping and
Chris says: “I wish I was
that bicycle seat.”

January 29, 2010

The Wisdom of Poppies

by M. P. Powers

If as Marx says religion is the opium
of the people, then it seems only natural
that the heartbeat of this latest war
of faiths
pumps out of mountain hollows
where fields of blood-red
poppies burgeon.

The provocateurs, however,
have not come here to reap the harvest
for opium.

They have reaped instead Scriptures
sewn by age-old saints,
themselves become the yield
of this spiritual
pay dirt,

their interpretations
furnishing them with hatred and guns
that bark of righteousness.

This then is
the lay of the land, the way mankind
marches forth in brutal
whose convictions never age.

This then is
Afghanistan in bloom, as earth churns
up new epochs
as the seasons pass by, fresh empires
wage floundering wars
for false

Only the poppies here remain
faithful to truth, prophesying as they
always have
eternal sleep
for all who come.


by M. P. Powers

my father
whose father was a drunk
wasn't one
his drink was greed
he played the lottery, stocks, slots, craps & poker
he played with money that wasn't his own
and lost it
it's not like he didn't plan on paying it back
- he planned
but kept playing anyway
with his compulsion
while mounting more debt and juggling poor

my father
who never considered seeing a shrink
needed one
but wasn't one
to bother about his own soul
it was too dark in that abode
and too sunny outside
among birdsongs & lies
thinking about the next windfall
that would never come his way

hope broke all the promises it ever made
to my father
who spent some time in the clink
for an S & L wrinkle
and sank my credit
with a smile
pardoning himself with his reassuring baritone
and its creamy inflections

my father
whose wife and son (see: me) were pessimists
wasn't one
he saw the good in greed
- he kept it light
& liked to think his luck would change
that sunshine would crawl up his legs once again
and somehow
into his soul

January 28, 2010

Broken Asshole

by Chris Butler

forces my anus
to hemmorhage
after the world
finishes fucking me
from behind,
without the common
courtesy of a
reach around,
but with a broken condom
secreting semen
and covered
in dirtied blood.

January 27, 2010

Dusty Bloom

by Joseph Hargraves

His parents’ house had an element of

disclosure: dried spaghetti on walls,

baby’s stench, and damp beer coasters.

Now something happened that could

only be felt by their son, Dusty Bloom.

Hitch-hiking, he had been raped at gun

point. With bravado he told me it was

as glamorous as an art film. Something

to be twisted into art. 15 years old and

forced to – you know. Now he knew

what his house was about. He knew

why adults drank and went to A.A.

Dusty asked me to help him start a cult

for people who were proud drunks. He

finished a Budweiser and threw the bottle

out the window. He started sobbing:

tears, snot, and fear, “I came when

they raped me. Those, dirty, old, pigs

held a gun to my head--and I came. I’m

so sick; no one will ever love me.”

I was afraid to tell him the truth: “I

love you. I love you even more now.”

I walked home mute. Dusty ran away.

The last I heard, he changed his name,

and was living in a homeless shelter,

scribbling screenplay after screenplay

in drunken, schizophrenic language.

January 25, 2010


by Lyn Lifshin

I remember those first ones,
tall and dark, you know the
kind. My o la la boots one
teacher said. One cat wanted
to make them his own. I’ve
had so many since then:
spike heel boots I could
never run from danger in,
platform boots that made my
legs seem twice as tall as they
are. One TV producer asked
me to pull them out from
under the bed since I talked
about boots in another
poem (and tho I’ve also
talked of men, that wasn’t
possible naturally). Some
boots have snagged favorite
dresses, torn velvet like
men but in them, I feel I can
have any man, that they will
all imagine me with them
in only these boots

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

January 24, 2010

fireworks in the park

by J.J. Campbell

stuck here in the
void of a fading
moon and a neon

to think these
things amazed
me as a child
makes me laugh

such innocence

who knew what
evil was hidden


January 23, 2010

Night Sonnet No.4

by Brandon Roy

To escape the night, one must first
Recognize that it does not last forever

On the side of the bed the remains of
The day lie dormant, a testament of trying

To sort out a life not yet whole
A thin figure sleeps motionless

She is cold now. Angry, in a way
That no other woman could be

A stubborn woman who followed
You home one day and never left

You examine her body, she is devil's
Food cake. Be very careful of this one

She is a curve not seen until you
Are right on and it is too late to slow down.

The Drunk

by Brandon Roy

Her beauty is poisonous.
She is growing old in the sun, weathered by black rain.
She was a death charmer with a plastic face.
Her insides were empty and haunted.
She is the doppelgänger of a saint.
Her life is chaos.
She heals people at her job.
She harms people in spare time.
She is a monster. The sad part is she knows it.
Her life is a fraud.
She stains your thoughts.
She was the only one that could eat glass and not flinch.
She had the moon in her eyes.
I knew she was my ticket to hell.
Her aura is dirt.
You don't want her anymore.
That crazy broad will be the death of us all.
You want to kick her out.
She always does something nice to make you feel bad.
She is a gloomy Sunday.
She makes you want to drink.
You hide your wallet from her.
She is the life of the bar.

Strange Blindness - Sonnenizio on a line from Stacy Takeno

by Brandon Roy

One moment you are waiting and in the next
Breath it's all just a memory.

Two people in the
Middle of the moon.

Mixing memories and

Pieces of
The moon.

Two that are distant, one broken in
Two by the loss of the other.

A thought that
Breaks concentration.

Breathing in a memory
And exhaling a moment.

January 20, 2010

Delassandro’s Meat Market

by John Rocco

I saw David Cronenberg at the Mets game
sitting next to Aragorn
the sword broken again
to be forged again
reminding me that in Queens
the everlasting universe
of things
is not required in
Delassandro’s Meat Market.

The girl cashiers
write their own play,
the dialogue all their own.
Minor goddesses working
for minimum wage.
Half of them are pregnant and working the register.
Teenage girls mortal immortal calling for a price check.
Once, looking at red steaks,
I had a vision of the great mystery:
the back swinging doors swung open
secret sight
sacrifice to the angry Flushing Gods
flesh for fantasy
to reveal meat machine
red meat on tracks delivered to
Spanish teenage girl hands
with a gold stud in her nose.
She fumbled the red meat
and almost dropped it.

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

Dead as Dillinger

by John Rocco

John Dillinger is the Sun God
in my mythology even though
I couldn’t rent PUBLIC ENEMIES
because my sorry ass credit card
was denied by all the Banker Angels
shaking their heads, “Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk”
they say the tight-ass blessed motherfuckers
about all the money I dropped in strip clubs
from New York to Baltimore’s the Block
to bloody killer lover Vegas but what the fuck
I was young and old and dying loving and they
were beautiful young women sitting on my lap and more
and once I was biting licking this girl’s ear and I felt
something metal fall into my mouth and it almost
went down my throat. I choked it up and gave the
earring back to her. I almost swallowed it.

Dillinger once escaped from jail
with a wooden gun he carved from
a bucket and colored with shoe polish.
He used to case banks by pretending
to be a bank alarm salesman and once
his gang pretended to be a film crew
filming a “bank robbery” that actually was real.

The FBI shot Dillinger
Public Enemy #1
as he came out of a movie theater
after seeing a gangster movie starring
Clark Gable
with the Lady in the Red
who betrayed him. The cops had trouble
keeping back the crowd who dipped their
handkerchiefs in his blood.

They say
Dillinger had a really big dick and they kept
it in the Smithsonian for awhile before
it was stolen from the Walter Reade
Army Medical Museum.

That’s why he’s my Sun God.
Dillinger robbed dozens of banks and
two police stations for guns and bullet-proof vests.
The FBI was invented to catch him.
He had a big dick and they kept it as a museum piece.

He died as he lived:
for crime and the movies.
Dead as Dillinger
how I think about us now
how you’re gone to me
like Dillinger’s blood
stained stiff on the old cold museum handkerchiefs.

January 17, 2010

Linden Three Seven

by Pat Hauser

Yeah man,
Hey man,
Yeah, you know

So went on down there,
And this guy
he said

"There ain't much you can do".

If you can't get in, then why get out,
If you can't stay out, keep gettin' in.

Is there someone here you know?

My sister she tell me,
There's some people down the way,
They help you,
They give you,

So fuck it,
Head over,
Come backwards,
this place,
was better,
A young man like you,
won't ever know.

January 16, 2010

my new landlord

by Justin Hyde

a sandy-blond

named maria.

i'm so excited
to have a poet
for a tenant,
she said
when i
signed the lease.

i didn't tell her
i was a poet.
she discovered it
googling my name
after i
filled out
the application.

i like your stuff a-lot
most poetry is
so hard to follow
but i really felt
the emotions
you were going for,
she said
and told me her sister
teaches poetry
at creighton university -

she's going to tell her
all about my work.

i don't know
if you're married

or have a man

but i have
a good feeling
about us:

a stout
synergy of torque
at the

and now
in my own
cryptic way

i begin
to court you.


by Justin Hyde

the left clicks audibly
like a suicidal cricket
and the right often puffs up like
roadkill possum
becoming just as useful.
just over thirty
and the body is rejecting me
faster than credit card companies.
next comes the bloating of flank
and general sausaging of features.
then it's going to be long odds
charming the young women with shaved slits
and virgin assholes
from behind their cash registers.
but a hell-bound lech like me
has too much paste in him
to put the dick to pasture
because of mobility issues
and dwindling aesthetics.
when i go completely seed
i'm going to sit on a five gallon bucket
in front of women's restrooms
with a single rose between my teeth
and gun them down
venus flytrap style.

January 15, 2010

Tornadoes in the Parlor

Tornadoes in the parlor,
in the kitchen, in the bathroom, too,
churned every hour Dad was home.
He never worked
and with good reason.
But Sis could tell you more.
She’d help Ma board up the house
when I’d walk out the door
and ride my bike around the block.
If you find Sis today,
she’ll tell you funnels
tore the basement, too.
So what, you say?
Well, Dad’s been gone
for seven years
and Sis is somewhere.
She needs to know
there’s still no work
and, worse,
good weather here
is still a squall.

by Donal Mahoney

Griggs' Bar and Grill

In two more hours I'll have to shower,
shave and coffee-prop my lids
and otherwise prepare for day. It's 4 a.m.
and now the barkeep, Griggs,

is rushing me, the first
to come, the last to leave,
the lad who just an hour before
was coaxed to quaff one more.

At work I'll cummerbund a smile,
hold my head and sit all day,
play another endless game
of solitaire or tic-tac-toe.

Griggs' apron's off. The neon's out
and now he'll set the locks in back.
The spittle, butts and half-slain beers
he'll leave for Willie who'll soon be here

to dance his broom between
the tables and the scattered chairs
as smoothly as Kelly or Astaire.
At 6 a.m., he'll climb the ladder

near the door and aim his broom
through the transom toward the sky.
Every morning Willie puts another
bullet through the eye of sunrise.

by Donal Mahoney

January 14, 2010


by paul harrison

the ashes
my mouth

and they
are in

the ashes
and black

they are
to heaven

grey and black

the walking ashes
they are living

the ashes
a pile

my mind
a furnace

this world
made of ashes

we burn
and drown
in ashes

return to

the ashes

(after f a nettelbeck)

January 13, 2010

Vilde Berg

by Chris Butler

The few will
rule the many
like the architect
of an ant hill,
full of elitist
erecting cities
of dirt
for the comfort
of us all.

January 11, 2010

One Day’s Settlement Of Chaos

by Doug Draime

The dream still lives in the
center of chaos, despite
the continual bombardment
in the world around me,
of people
with Hannibal and Hitler-
like ethics, plundering and
devouring the earth.
Yet, the flowers
reach up, purple and yellow
approaching the
fence top, in glorious
pure beauty.
I relax on the porch, drinking a
beer, thinking of the amazing

On The History Of The Red And Black Races In America

by Doug Draime

People will write history to
protect and suit themselves,
to create an image of
decent intentions. Sifting
through the lies of history is
a mind tormenting task.
The lies are being written at this
very moment, by salaried
historians with preconceived
agendas, by corporate newspapers
with slave master dispositions, by
bigoted politicians who continue to sell
us all down the river, by military butchers
blinded by blood lust, by sickening religious
leaders, who pray for us just before they
feed us to the mad dogs from hell.

Bombs For You

by Doug Draime

Every moment they’re
making bombs to kill you.
Right now as you watch tv or
eat your dinner or practice adultery.
Even when you sleep they’re
making bombs to kill you.
And the others are somewhere
with computerized gray figures and charts
planning and selling and calculating.
Bomb salesmen travel first class dressed
like your local preacher,
could be your local preacher,
you never know.

January 9, 2010

Good View

by James Babbs

she's wearing a Misfits t-shirt
chain-smoking unfiltered cigarettes
her tits keep trying to
push their way through
the thin fabric
when she catches me staring
she laughs and lifts her shirt
giving me a good view
and then some guy in a red car
stops and picks her up


by James Babbs

we walked
to the pool
on hot days
swam or
sat on
the deck
the girls
we never
thought about
the future
we thought
summer would
last forever

January 7, 2010


by Howie Good

Birds scuff for dark crumbs
under the sidewalk tables.

A police spy in the corner
notes the time. Everywhere

there are sons of bitches.
In a dingy rooming house

boarders come and go unseen
except for the burnt matches

they drop in the hall.

January 6, 2010


by Chris Butler

I fell in love
with a girl,
but I couldn’t
get off the
ground for awhile,
staring up her skirt
from under
the bleachers,
when she finally grew
grass under there…

(Under where?)

Under her hairless

January 5, 2010


by R.G. Johnson

tremendous piston mouth pumps dry and raw;
firework sparks light the heat-softened gape.
on a stormy sea of indefinite blue-green sentiment
childhood memories bob and gasp; bob and gasp.

stolen life-breath from windy dreams blows
wire-shorted brains from the sleepy wagging head
of the locomotive corpse that I have become;
carrion for scraping steam-birds and social crustaceans.

the spring torn from the sex handle dangles shamelessly,
but the wanton coals still glow in the darkness playfully.
there is a metal-on-metal giggle that echoes sadistically,
and this gut-spasm awkward moment feels like home.

ghostly machinery roars again,
the child-me stops trying and drowns,
and my frame longs to be picked clean.
and since nothing has been solved let’s fuck.

now and then

by R.G. Johnson

I will explore all of Earth
and the wonders of nature
will make me whole

until then
masturbation and video games
will have to fill the void

January 4, 2010


by Lyn Lifshin

one e mail suddenly with
its vintage camp, ramshackle
hall. You can only read some
of the signs like BEER,
. Only a few cars
and the lake behind it. “I
was googling Cove Point,
someone e mails me, and
I found your poem.” He’s got
a Lake Dunmore address.
The lake so braided with
all my summers. My mother
making salmon croquettes for
picnics when the store closed
and me in my bath suit posed
like a pin up near Branbury
Beach when, though I didn’t
know it, couldn’t believe
it, my body was beautiful. The
bathing suit, light blue with
a tiny skirt maybe still in a
drawer in another house.
July nights, square dancing
at Cove Point, Pinkie Lee
and his Mocking Bird song
with it’s “kiss her in the
center if you dare.” Maybe
this man who’s written
me asked me to dance once
before flames licked the
old rafters. Now there isn’t
a clue. Lake grass reclaimed
all traces of the foundation.
But I remember on the last
night before he went to Cuba,
the first boy with licorice
eyes and mahogany hair,
a prototype for all the other
tall dark men I’d look and
long for, held me in the
parked car, put his hand where
no one else had yet, promising
love tho it would be the
next to last time I saw him

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

January 3, 2010

Exterminating Angel

by John Rocco

She changes her hair from blonde to black
and says: “Emma says I should just go over
there and fuck him. At least I’ll get laid.”
We’re the only people at the bar in the middle
of the day in a kid’s bowling alley/pool hall/
party center. I’m on my ninth free beer.
She hates the shift but makes money off
not ringing up sodas and pitchers of beer.
Fran says the place reminds him of
and we talk Bukowksi
with the girl who shows us
her two fake IDs but not to worry
she’ll be twenty-one next month.

She pours us big shots of Jameson.

I have a world of shit to deal with outside
but inside the glowing plastic nightmare
talking to the girl
who forgives me for the night
I attacked her in the Lakeside Lounge
I feel like we’re in that Mexican movie
about the high society party that goes
wrong when no one can leave the room
for no reason and they all end up turning
primitive cannibal caveman killers
killing for a chicken bone.

We have great trouble leaving.

We leave after leaving a huge bastard tip
thinking of her fake IDs
but not to worry
“One of them looks more
like me than I do” she says.
But they sometimes make you
sign your name to compare
with the license so she has to
practice the signature.

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

Way Ahead of the Game

by John Rocco

I’m way ahead of the game I think with all the
broken cars and betraying bridges and money
spilled on drinks and steak fajitas up in Harlem
getting cars out of the pound for $185, fighting with her
sister over who should clean the apartment and the
slaps in the face, slaps in the belly, Fran saying:
“when I tell people you threw her over your shoulder
and walked out of the bar with her they don’t believe
me but you actually did it like a caveman!” and the time

she was just late making me wait forever or cancelled
saying “please, please, please, please can we skip today
because you like the day and I like the night” and the
time she tortured you by drinking with the construction
workers or the time you spent the whole shift with her at the
bar but she went home with Fruity Mike because she said
“he’ll take care of me” or the time she told you she
went out on a “date” with a fucking asshole and she
said: “I did it for you.” All those times and worse
like when she wouldn’t get in the car the whole
sky watching, the sun a disapproving old cunt.

I’m way ahead of the game because I lost and bled
my film noir training failing
my ass too old for the game
but I got lots of words and pages out of it
and the great terrible payoff realization
that women just get more beautiful when
you are no longer allowed to touch them.

January 1, 2010

the gutter bible ....chapter three: a song for charlotte....

by Derek Richards

we think we can't cry anymore
too toughened by sleeping on concrete
eating out of dumpsters
addicted and desperate and so often denied
but we can
i'm at a funeral and there are five people
including our ancient Father Michaels
we go in peace

globe and i have known charlotte
for two years now
tiny girl with fourteen piercings
and a severely crooked nose
broken six times by her ex-husband
three by her last boyfriend
who we took care of with some cheap hairspray
and a handful of lighters
charlotte staggered into saint josephs park
like a damaged cat
too tired to lick its wounds
after awhile we talked and she cried
and that was it
our little gang was now three

we hit a bad streak seven days ago
48 hours dry and sweating poison
tosses and turns
nightmares, delusions and reality
charlotte had some old connections
down near the sabel river projects
fifty bucks for a quick fuck
and a handshake

two days later we got nervous
scraped up fifty cents and bought
a copy of The Herald
she was fifth on a cold black white list
of seventeen deaths
through the hungry gossip of the streets
we learned her fate
i will not repeat it
because we can

we are at a funeral of five people
we are again a gang of two
when we are hooked up and in the sun
i hum songs to myself
sometimes i even scribble them down
we got hooked up
we are in the cemetery sun
i think i've got a song

housing project reunion

by Derek Richards

when we die
i don't care
i'm not them
i show in black
hands through my hair
but fuck them
the dead
i'm still high
still smoking cigarettes
still cool
they smell
wear lipstick
dumb blue suits
her young blonde thighs
guitar strings to buy
and the dead
are useless
young or old
god or needle
simply dead
no more