Punch by Jim Zola

Limbs twitch. Memories of sap
rise in the roots. I try hard
to resist God’s tug. But there’s

this stick stuck in my lumpish fist.
She eggs me on, jaw flapping
lies about my knots. I show her

the nature of my grain.
We club each other senseless
with love.

Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for Deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children’s librarian. Published in many journals through the years, his publications include a chapbook — The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press) — and a full length poetry collection — What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC

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Buried Music From A Life by D.N. Simmers

After Peter Robinson

There was music oldies
on the T. V.
Older than I am.
I remember when my mother
would swing
around the living room,
dancing to the music.
Music from the big band era.
Let her head go
one way and
her feet go the other
as if she
was back being fifteen
and there were boys
to impress and
parties to go to in a new dress.
I remember her swinging to the beat.
Not one I would grow to love.
Not hard rock or metal
or the screech of a voice
lost in a swirl of smoke.
Lost years
in the years
of dust and death.

D.N. Simmers

D.N. Simmers is an on line editor with Fine Lines. He is in the current Poetry Salzburg Review and the Common Ground Review. He is in two new anthologies and is on line in riverbabble, Wilderness House Literary Review and Whispers. He was in Van Gogh’s Ear, Paris France.

5 Ways You’re Ruining Your Non-Stick Pans by Paul Tristram

1. You should never leave ‘Magic Mushrooms’ boiling unwatched, ever!
No matter how merrily they are dancing and singing away to themselves… they are simply not to be trusted. They are full of murder, mayhem and mischief. Just 30 seconds or so away from the stove, to book the evenings £8.50 Hooker, or to hide under the stairs from the BANGING Bailiffs and the results could well be catastrophic.
‘Little Cunts’ they are and ‘Little Cunts’ they will always stay, when not being closely monitored. Your ‘Sanity’ is at stake here, for Christ Sake… and if that’s not enough to get you rightfully worried, they’re also dab-hands at pyromania. Remember, ‘Arson’  carries a Mandatory Life Sentence, even if you are home alone when the blaze kicks-off. They take the endangerment of The Fire Brigade and any neighbours close by, very fucking seriously indeed. Oh, and one but important detail, blaming your ‘Psychedelic Dinner’ for actually starting the fire, behind your back, does not stand up in a Court Of Law as a defence strategy… unless you are looking for time in ‘The Looney Bin’ instead of ‘Prison’.

2. ‘Panning People’ is often times an extremely fun and enjoyable past time. There is nothing quite like the Whoooooosh… Ding!’ sound of slapping someone across the bonce with the flat underside of a frying pan. But after a few wallops it starts to play havoc with the Teflon. We suggest that you keep your ‘Old Pan’ handy as a spare, for these special sporting occasions.

3. Ex’s; in fact don’t even let the useless fuckers back in the house, never mind your kitchen, for fuck sake, mate, no good can come of it. That’s where you keep the oil, gas, boiling water, knives and other really sharp and pointy objects. You know the Roger Moore, yeah. One word and one word only ‘Vindictive’.

4. First Dates; that’s what Wetherspoon’s is for, you numpty, what are you thinking? Stop letting the little head make decisions. You should never be ‘Cooking’ with all that ‘Sexual Energy’ and fucking ‘Cock-Blindedness’ exploding around and inside of you. In fact, you shouldn’t even be smoking cigarettes around ‘Her’ until you can cum in a decent time, place and manner, you lunatic.

5. Family and Friends; Fuck ‘em, let them buy their own. Are you ever ‘round there bothering them like a begging pest for theirs, no, right then, exactly. They’ll never come back the same, and that’s if they ever come back at all? This will potentially spark off a disastrous chain of events resulting in something atrocious, violent and horrible happening. Soon enough you’ll be fighting with people whom you once loved dearly. There’s nothing nastier than punching fuck outta someone you’ve forgiven for ‘Small Things’ over decades. Shit like that mounts-up, sunshine… and when that ‘Dam’ finally ‘Does One’… well, it doesn’t bare thinking about. Burying a Brother or Mother is never very pleasant at the best of times, especially when you are standing, handcuffed like a criminal’, between two uniformed Screws. There’s this guy in HMP Belmarsh doing 30 Years for an incident that went tits-up rather rapidly over a cracked plastic fucking egg timer. You have been warned.

paul smoking - Copy

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight; this too may pass, yet. Buy his books ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ (Lit Fest Press) http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1943170096 ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326241036 And a split poetry book ‘The Raven And The Vagabond Heart’ with Bethany W Pope at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326415204 You can also read his poems and stories here! http://paultristram.blogspot.co.uk/

Pull Your Finger From the Plug by Benjamin Brindise

didn’t know what to expect
blank faces and loaded glances
Oh—this is the poetry guy
Can’t wait for this to be over

just finished a poem at Tapestry Charter School—
three hundred kids clapping and I am disappointed in myself
was only an old man yelling at them
assumed they missed the point

The room is dark
hear someone suck in air through their nose to hold back tears

The gymnasium clears out, but there’s one kid
he’s as tall as me and maybe sixteen
He comes up to me with tears in his eyes
says: Thank you

Late at night I think of the people I’ve talked to—
wonder if I’ve ever managed to deconstruct a wall brick by brick
or if these bloody knuckles I carry daily
are just a sign walls can’t be brought down

We walk through the charter school halls—
he tells me he wanted to kill himself,
but he’s doing better now
His girlfriend helps, I give him my card
When he sends a message on instagram I don’t respond

It’s the summer and I’m teaching poetry to kids
They tell me it’s boring
I envy them and wonder
what it’s like to find someone’s suicide note uninteresting

Six months pass before I message him back
apologize for being busy and think of empty nights I’ve spent since
drunk in front of a computer screen
convincing other people I’m a writer
Why do we ignore the ones most like ourselves?

They always thank me for coming—
never sure what to say when they tell me it helped
glad they have seen what cracks in the dam look like
hope they have learned to pull their finger from the plug

He never messages me back
I think about that a lot

Benjamin Brindise is the author of Rotten Kid (Ghost City Press, Spring 2017) and a Teaching Artist at the Just Buffalo Literary Center. He has most recently been published or accepted for publication in the My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry anthology, The Magnitizdat Literary, Foundlings, Page & Spine, Ghost City Review, and Peach Mag among others.

 

South of Right? by Mike Zone

You can’t knock it out of the park
all the time
that’s the false promise of joy
tangents of discontent
collecting all along the way
wild nights
every time- a blond
blue eyed cutie passed by
my friends and I
would grab our crotches
chant in unison
“Apple-pie pussy!”
exactly how much apple pie have we eaten?
why is the human race, not yet extinct
for our quasi-sorrowful behavior?
you ever see The Pieta`?
goddamn, I hope the afterlife
is nowhere near like that!
my holy virgin mother (who was no virgin nor holy)
distraught- cradling my near naked body
stabbed in the side by a spear
religion inspires art
art is a mirror held up to life
what a depressing state of affairs
no wonder, everyone walks around, so uptight
when they’ve outgrown “apple pie pussy” battle cries
we’ve traded them in for new kinds of prisons
live action moments frozen in time
Cunt Bombs- that’s what the men are
whiney, status obsessed, falsely brazen
the harpies flock to them
clawing, tearing, scraping- shrieking in desire
sacred proclamations and undying wavering tributes
it’s a tidal wave of mythos
slaying the grass of our prairy erthed minds
“Zone, you’re crazy.”
“Zone, you need a new overcoat.”
“Zone, it’s better to join them, than beat them.”
“Zone, you’re alone”
in the beginning were either us ever alone
by choice?
and this is what the clarity of solitude is known to bring
the tyranny of impoverished people
depleted lands and mechanized minds
steeped in mentors’ mysterium
and something might be wrong or entirely wrong
but everyone wants everything right
for fear of being alone
but just remember- the lone-wolf and cub
bloodied dharma-bums and bandits
growing and bonding
upon the many roads of retribution and wisdom
where can anyone truly go
without breaking- fetters
of the past and possibly bleak manifolding futures
ahead of us?
Ah, the multiverse existence, what a trip.
and here I was reminiscing about
steamy, nose turned up in the air
apple pie pussy
another nail in the coffin

mike-zone

Michael Zone is the author of Fellow Passengers: Pubic Transit Poetry, Meditations & Musings and Better than the Movies: 4 Screenplays. His work has been featured in Because Eileen, Dead Snakes, Horror Trash Sleaze, In Between Hangovers, Sick Lit Magazine, Three Line Poetry, Triadae Magazine and The Voices Project. He scrapes by in Grand Rapids, MI

Night of the Living Dead by Alan Catlin

He was the kind of guy
who thought Poontang was
the capital of North Korea
and that Jesus’ Son was a
book about a close relative
of the son of God or a DVD
found at a church rummage
sale that could have been
sold as never watched, new.
Thought the Summer of rolling
blackouts was the end of the world.
Spent the best part of a night
during one of those, crouched
in a corner of his darkened
shotgun shack room with a loaded
weapon waiting for the mobs
of the undead to come. Sat
listening to water from melting
foodstuff in his freezer fill
the drip pan underneath his
dormant fridge unaware that
he was one pitchfork short
of a mob in the hid mind.
Thought the sun had supernovaed
in his face while he slept
but it was just the three way
bulb on high from a standing
lamp shining in his eyes.

acatlin multi

Alan Catlin is a widely published poet in the US of A and elsewhere. His most recent book is “Books of the Dead: a memoir with poetry” about the deaths of his parents. He is a retired professional barman and the editor of the online poetry zine misfitmagazine.net.

Mama And Maybe, Even Papa Too by John D Robinson

Quite naturally mama wanted
the best for me in this life and
maybe papa too if he had
given it any thought but who
the fuck knew that I’d end
up writing poetry across
damned, dirty and dangerous
pages and set them aflame
in a world drowning in its
own dark desires.

john-d-robinson-2

John D Robinson is a published poet: ‘When You Hear The Bell, There’s Nowhere To Hide’ (Holy&intoxicated Publications 2016) ‘Cowboy Hats & Railways’ (Scars Publications 2016) his work appears widely in the small press and online literary journals.

After the Verdict by Jennifer Lagier

Mom has been on the table
only an hour and a half when
the surgeon and her assistant
pull us out of the waiting room.
Both are in tears.
Cancer everywhere, inoperable.
They will close her up,
send her back to her room.
Work out a plan to keep
her pain-free.

She takes the news stoically.
Says she knew already,
expected the worse.
Tells me to be sure the
health insurance company
issues a refund.
Dictates a simple funeral,
no more than 90 minutes
for a public viewing.

Her final demand:
Forget saying the rosary.
“Make sure they don’t
make me up like
a damned Kewpie doll.”

jen-2016

Jennifer Lagier has published thirteen books, taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium readings. Newest books: Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle Press). Forthcoming: Like a B Movie (FutureCycle Press, 2018). Website: jlagier.net Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JenniferLagier/

Burn Pits by Matthew Borczon

like evil
shaman magic
or voodoo
ritual the
body parts
medical waste
and human
feces got
burned just
west of
the tents
we lived
in on
camp Bastion
it covered
us all
in ash
mixed with
sand in
110 degree
heat we
looked like
glazed doughnuts
as we
walked around
breathing in
the poisons
chemicals feces
and the
souls of
dead soldiers

theirs and
ours.

matthew-borczon

Matthew Borczon is a poet from Erie Pa, he has three Books available, A Clock of Human Bones From Yellow Chair Review Press, Battle Lines From Epic rites press and Ghost Train from Weasel Press. He works as a nurse and a navy sailor in Erei.

Old Friends by James D. Casey IV

I see a darkness
Hiding in the light
Taking a sip of my coffee
And a drag of my cigarette
I give it a nonchalant nod
Just so it doesn’t
Feel alone

My mind tends to slip
Between fantasy and reality
Yet the darkness is always there
Sometimes seeming surprised
To see me

We’re old friends you see
Even roommates for a while
Those were the days
Lost but never alone

james-d-casey-iv

James D. Casey IV is a published author of poetry, an artist, free thinker, madman philosopher, hat lover, cat lover, feather spinner, crystal collector and owl enthusiast from the American South.