Radiator Cat by Willie Smith

The Persian lies,
on the radiator shelf,
level-true, hauling
from the well of her being
an ever-deeper purr
perfecting her perception
of motion perpetual.
The iron coil below ticks, pops, clanks.
The cat blinks,
unable to see beyond ecstasy.
This is not love. This is heat
gathering above steam inside iron.
The cat yawns; purr decreasing;
easing into preparing, from a split-second
before the too-hot, to stand, stretch and leap.
The Persian, on the floor, shakes herself,
forgetting the perfection of just before;
squinting at, while waiting for,
the next attempt at the tempting.
This is not the flower.
This is the cosmos.

BIO NOTE: Deeply ashamed of being human. His work celebrates this horror.

 

Spit Bucket by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

She spit into his mouth
and he was pretty sure he had hepatitis
or worse.

The torn fishnets, the broken
fidgety gibberish.

A needle still hanging out her arm
from past indiscretions.

All because his drunk friend had
made a comment about deep sea fishing.

And now he was down on his knees
choking over the curbside.

Beside a rusted brown sewer grate
with a used condom draped
over it.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan Black & White

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a happily unmarried proud father of none. His work can be found both in print and online. He has an affinity for dragonflies, discount tequila, and all things sarcastic.

 

 

Headed To The Compound by David Spicer

I drove from Mexico in a ratty VW
with Cement, a roustabout who
wore a white shirt. We debated
visiting his punk brother Silver Dollar
on death row. Instead, we gobbled fish,
French fries, and apple pies at McDonald’s,
speaking Portuguese with an obese burger
flopper. BANG! BANG! from a firearm.
Riddle veterans, we questioned the shots.
Nico, a ballerina with a mail-order accent,
asked us for a ride. Calves slender and taut,
her beauty dazzled our male hormones,
and the Winchester justified her presence.
Cement and I treated her with Yes ma’ams,
No ma’ams. In the car headed to the compound,
Nico recited surreal poetry from her mimeographed
book, Muffle the Orifice and Shift Measure,
that predicted we’d soon binge on Moon Pies,
ban pantyhose, and creep on canes
in the last days. Houses smiled, then burned
in the poems. We carried on, collected slide
rules, smells of lies about the future. She gave us
a video about a gun-toting teenage ballerina.
In the movie she threatened in tour en l’airs
with a rifle. Cement and I congratulated
ourselves for giving Nico a ride.

David Spicer

David Spicer has had poems accepted by or published in The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Reed Magazine, Circle Show, Slim Volume, Yellow Mama, Jersey Devil Press, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., The Kitchen Poet, and elsewhere. He is the author of one full-length collection and four chapbooks, is the former editor of raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books, and lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Monuments by Sanjeev Sethi

When profusion of public contretemps
are on parade, nonstop visuals
of salutations to sarcophagi vex.
Whilom should be skylike, just there,
wonder at its vastness and to winnow.
When caterpillars of yore corrode
fouettes of future,
time to be conscious
of the fisc
and its rationing.
To pill the present,
not cajole those in kingdom come.

Sanjeev Sethi

SANJEEV SETHI is the author of three books of poetry. His most recent collection is This Summer and That Summer (Bloomsbury, 2015). His poems are in venues around the world: Morphrog 14, Bindwind Magazine, 3:AM Magazine, Novelmasters, Rasputin, Tower Journal, Peacock Journal, Treehouse, Soul-Lit, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.

Sojourn by Cynthia Bryant

1.

We traded breasts last night
passed them between us
like school girls
trying on each others clothes
no words spoken
only a familiar glance

I wanted to know
what she was going through
not as a voyeur
nor passive resistor
but as a card carrying member
dues paid

I wanted to feel the white-hot shock
of finding the lump
“Big as a baseball!” she said
“Oh my God, No!” I said
“Cancer in both breasts!” the doctor said

C a n c e r
− in both breasts!

2.

As the second treatment begins
she is seated on a Naugahyde throne
reclines into its safety
removes her crown of the day
the bright red straw one
where the flower garden grows

Early warning does little to prepare me
for the once familiar head hidden beneath
sparsely covered with tufts of fine gray fuzz
that reminds me of an old teddy bear
I once carried until it fell into disrepair

Amidst banter between girlfriends
nurses who witness similar battles daily
maneuver through the room
weaving magic with wisecracks
weapons of mass destruction
ready to explain procedure    process
cheer the beleaguered battle-fatigued
whenever possible

It is then I am aware
that more than being her friend
I am here to witness the war
Her face grows dark
teeth clench as armies are deposited
into the port embedded in sensitive skin
The heat of battle follows the soldiers
leaves her body all a shiver
a blanket and portable heater comfort

I have long since returned the breasts
fitting them back into perspective
Visualize the coalition of meds
like vermin-eating ants that march
then munch indiscriminately
search tirelessly
for over-bred cockroach cells
that defile with decay
the once supple breasts of my mentor
Attack ants      Attack!

3.

I wasn’t prepared to lose you
or deal with the hollow
where once you rooted to my heart

I dealt with the ravenous disease
that stalked inside under shadow
threatened to devour you whole

I came to terms with the cure
that waged great war
on your battle fatigued frame

Witnessed salt-and-pepper tresses
lift out by the handfuls
leaving nothing but tufts of fuzz

When you wore shingles
like the roof of a worn-out fire house
head-to-toe on your left side

When your mouth and gums
swollen with pus
withered your pride

Stood by after every session
as they shot you full of pain
to heighten your white cell count

All through the cancer
its cure
the fix from the cure
and the side effects from that
loss of you loomed large

but not once did I imagine
you would move away

Cynthia Bryant

First published in 1997 by two important journals dealing with childhood sexual abuse, Cynthia Bryant has since been published in over 50 anthologies. Her poetry is on numerous websites, an e-book and she has recorded her poems for play on e-radio as well as community television. She served the community Pleasanton, CA as their poet laureate 2005-2007 and again in 2011-2013 Cynthia’s poetry books Sojourn, Pebbles in the Shoe as well as No Time to Shoot the Poets have recently been accepted in the new Ina Coolbrith Circle library section in Sacramento’s State Library’s Special Collections Reading Room.

Trump As A Fire Without Light #511 by Darren C. Demaree

All fathers are oil gifting oil.

Darren C. Demaree

My poems have appeared, or are scheduled to appear in numerous magazines/journals, including the South Dakota Review, Meridian, New Letters, Diagram, and the Colorado Review. I am the author of six poetry collections, most recently “Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly” (2016, 8th House Publishing). I am the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. I am currently living and writing in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and children.

 

At ‘Em Like A Couple O’ Welsh Polecats by Paul Tristram

It flamed up in her eyes first,
blistering, burning animal-amber.
She belched the word “Nuh!”
like a demented battle cry
from the bowels of her furious soul
and followed it up with
“Get Your Stinking Hands Off Me!”
Shaking, from head to foot
but out of Anger not in Fear.
Sweeping her gaze from left to right,
she was in complete control
of everything & everyone within the arena.
People were either spectators or obstacles
to remove violently out of the way.
She leapt, her warrior spirit
a fraction of a second
in front of her barbarian body.
Shuddering an elbow
into the right eye socket
of the nearest adversary.
The small backpack she carried
was spinning around her head
like a thundering battering-ram
(You could hear the glass bottles inside
clinking & clanging
as she lamped with perfect aim & precision!)
Completely uncontainable
until The Landlord ripped down
one of the floor-length curtains.
After throwing it over her head,
she tumbled… unbalanced in velvet.
Where they took turns kicking her
until you could audibly hear
the snapping of her ‘Caught In A Trap’ back.

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/

Rewind by Arushi Singh

we escape the glare of the sun
my sheer white dress stares you
in the eyes

an honest man blinks

we run run run run into each other
try so hard romance fails us every time
the skull protecting your soft head
cracks my shallow skin
and
my dress slips under your clumsy feet
but the tragedy of the central love is real
your heart stays the same        begging for
another kiss
my flesh is as porous       waiting to be filled
by another man’s love

rewind.

Arushi Singh

I am Arushi Singh, a college student from Delhi and I have had my poetry published in many literary magazines (Page and Spine, Literary Yard etc). My first book Deviant: the obscenity of truth, has recently been released.

 

Note To Mothers Everywhere by Jay Passer

have we left the womb?
in an official sense

are we still apologizing
for breaking the 2nd law of thermodynamics?
on a daily basis

try glueing that dinner plate back together
it was made from 100% high-fire media rhetoric

luckily I polished off that filet mignon
(grilled rare verging on bloody)
before high-ranking vegetarians targeted me as a terrorist

luckily we’ve mastered space travel
I never could find a decent parking spot

I was incubated in an oven constructed of meat and bones
and now they expect me to say thanks
it’s great to be here?

I don’t exactly remember asking for the miraculous

Jay Passer 2

Jay Passer’s work has appeared online and in print since 1988. He lives and works in San Francisco, the city of his birth. His latest chap, Flower Omelette, co-authored with Misti Rainwater-Lites, is available from Lulu.

Inspiration by JD DeHart

A worm wraps its way
around the mind at midnight,
I wish it were more lovely

A tickle at my foot
and I must get up
and jot an idea down

Always jotting, to send out
into the world
sometimes to be sent back

A word lines up with
another word in an interesting
way, a beautiful description
births a verse.

jddehart

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. He has recently been nominated for Best of the Net, and his chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available on Amazon.