Cloak & Swagger by Paul Tristram

Chewing upon a disgruntled knucklebone,
an echo, if you will,
of Yesterday’s crunching departure.
He side-streets the electric-blue early evening,
evading flashing lights,
out-of-pocket moneylenders
and the foolish eaters of half-promises.
Beware his shadowed eyes…
they hold a cold reasoning
foreign and absolutely at odds
with the common way of thinking.
If there is a short cut to take?
He’ll dead-end it behind him, completely.
The Swagger hides his true meaning…
wicked smile, honey-traps the malice.
No mercy, no quarter, no cat & mouse games.
The sounds of violence are deafening…
yet, hidden cleverly away
until split-seconded jack-in-the-boxed
into a cornered face, baffled and bewildered…
with absolutely no chance of flight nor retreating.

Unbreakable Published in BoySlut August 27th 2013 & Dead Snakes Jan 10th 2016

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 You can also read his poems and stories here! http://paultristram.blogspot.co.uk/

How Inmate, Jodi Arias Sees Things by Catherine Zickgraf

They broadcast me, the movie, the museum tour—
read my diary, stream my recorded phone sex
to my mom in the court pew, project me on the
wall in just pigtails, publish my implant scars.

Life changed when I dyed my hair, killed, answered
questions, got jailed.  I’m bone pale, untouched.
Hell rushes in closer.  Boredom around bed poles
singes the linens, wakes me—it’s making me old.

It hurts to believe in fate, that I was destined to
endure his foolish choices.  Only God’s voice I hear.
But dude was careless with my heart, airing my crazy
even in death, when I just wanted him to be mine.

Catherine Zickgraf

Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in Madrid, San Juan, and three dozen other cities, but now her main jobs are to hang out with her family and write more poetry. Her new chapbook, Soul Full of Eye, is available on Amazon.com. Find more of her poetry at http://caththegreat.blogspot.com

The Storm by Jo Else

Is there someone you call darling,
Someone you have passed through the barriers
Of your own strangeness to love?
Leaving the platitudes, the template greetings,
As scraps for me to live on.
Now you have burst in on me
Shaking yourself like a cat.

Carrying the storm

Jo Else

It’s no fun being a dyspraxic with a deficit visual memory. Imagine if Sylvia Plath had to do formatting- she’d have topped herself even sooner…. Poetry keeps me sane, the rest drives me nuts and I’ve won no awards. And there’s nothing wrong with Readers Wives, my Mum was one.

The Poplar by Julia Knobloch

Outside our bedroom window
a poplar bows and greets us
morning and night.
In German, poplar is female,
and we talk about the tree
as our friend, our dear poplar.
Every year your father threatens
to cut her down because she’s grown
so tall and slender, a danger
to the roof if there’s a storm.
But she’s our friend, we say,
and friends with the ivy that grows
on the brown-gray façade of the building
next to ours, friends with the many birds
that scurry through its dark-green leaves.
In the summer, the air that comes into
our bedroom through the open window
is cool and smells of limestone and grass,
of coals and firewood in the winter,
although who still heats with wood and coal?
An unsolved mystery of our city.
We rest our heads against checkered pillows
and look out the window, listen to the sweet
susurrus of our friend, the poplar, watch her
tender movements, delicate gestures.
I love you, you say.
I know, I answer. I love you, too.

Julia Knobloch is a journalist and translator turned project manager and emerging poet. She recently won the 2017 Poem of the Year prize from Brooklyn Poets. Her writing can be found in Green Mountains Review, Yes, Poetry, in between hangovers, poetic diversity, and with Brooklyn Poets.

Where Even the Plants Are Carnivores by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

They waited for him to cross the playground
after dark.

To get him in the sand where the traction for running
was not so good.

Away from street traffic and prying eyes.

And when they pounced, there was no mercy.
Five of them, masked.
Raining down blows.
Having never met the target before.

And when he fell to the ground
that got them excited.

Balling up only increased the frenzy.

Spitting up blood so they could film it.
Rifling through his pockets for his wallet.
One slicing off the end of his finger
for a souvenir.

Blacking in and out sometime later,
he remembered two young girls checking his pockets,
but the haul was gone.

Laughing as they walked off
as one would at a comedy
club.

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.

Pickup at Clinton Street by Steven Allan Porter

Feet step over cracks-
some cracks are steeper than others…
that’s when two tall, anemic men in
well-fitted suits appear out of a sleek,
long black car; they’re silent, avoiding eye contact
with onlookers as they both pull white latex gloves
over their gangly fingers, as if they were preparing to perform
surgery publically, or handling an antique vose at a crime scene.
One suited man grabs the immobile victim by his legs
and the other man picks him up under his arms;
they wrap him in a maroon bag and zip it up.

They carefully place the man in back of
the black car and it slowly sputters away.
An ice cream truck drives cautiously down the block;
children lick their cones clean, while the bloodstain congeals.

Steven Allan Porter

Steven Allan Porter was born February 5, 1992 in Coral Springs, FL to a Jewish mother and a German father. His influences include: Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, Bob Kaufman, Steven Jesse Bernstein, Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Simic, and Louis-Ferdinand Celine. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California and spends his time reading, writing, playing music, and helping his cat, Maisy, catch flies.

The Body Painter by John Grochalski

he watches body painting videos
and it drives them all nuts

they huddle behind him
they say, oh, he’s watching porn again

but nothing illicit is happening
just naked people painting each other on busy sidewalks

the world is an odd place

just last week i stood at a corner with an unshaven batman
and a drunken santa claus

now i can see young people painting each other’s genitals

but what about the kids? they ask me

the kids are all right because they’re watching the painting videos too
pointing and laughing at the absurdity of the naked body
the way that kids have done for decades

they have access to much worse, i tell them

oh, that damned internet they say
except you can never get their phones out of their hands

you take the good with the bad in the twenty-first century

anal sex and body painting
for cute cat videos and little kids saying outrageous things

really, i think watching naked people paint each other
is kind of boring

this spectacle seems a systematic waste of time
indicative of the kind of digital slaves that we’ve become

but nobody wants to hear that
they just want me to go over and publically shame this man
for getting a few kicks

truthfully the body painting aficionado
doesn’t even look like he’s having a good time
watching the stuff

he just sits there with his arms crossed
as if he’s studying van gogh
or sitting through a lecture on dental hygiene

there’s nary a hard-on in sight

still they act as if the world is going to end by him viewing this business

because one excited woman is getting her breasts painted red
because one excited man is getting his balls painted blue
because there is decency and decorum to defend

and impressionable children around every corner

they must never read a newspaper
must never talk of bloodshed or famine

they must never stand on a street corner and think
jesus christ, this whole planet is sick and mad
and want to drown themselves in the river to escape its cruelty

if the body painter is their worst offender on earth
then may allah bless their souls

because eighty-two people
were slaughtered in syria yesterday

and madmen have taken over
the governments of the world

a woman two blocks down was raped last night
just trying to get home from her job

and no one here seems to have a goddamned thing to say
about any of  that.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, in the section that doesn’t have the bike sharing program.

Trump As A Fire Without Light #513 by Darren C. Demaree

I am burning.  Right now, I have a rash on my arm, and I have been calling doctors all day to try and get an appointment before I am asked to place my whole, failed body in unused Styrofoam as a form of healthcare.  How cost-effective it will be for me to die from a simple, un-treated disease?  I know one thing; I will learn every violence if it’s my children that learn about their shortcuts before I do.

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.

Memory of Slightness… by Molly Beale

Memory of slightness tends weight,
bends, gnarls like slow motion willows.
Starcloud portals and borealis hewn needlepoint
palmpaths, gesticulations. Assemble me
under slow turnings of thought,
sight- hands that leave room
only for hankering,
a constant fumbling. Pushing down on
napes and dimples like how
God made the hills. A new world crafted.
The full sweetness of hersheys in my pockets,
teardropped chocolate small but enough
in my pink mouth
which I like(d) you to kiss.

Molly Beale

My name is Molly Beale, and I am currently an undergraduate studying English and Creative Writing at the University of Kent. I have had previous work published in Datableed zine online, and now have my own blog on WordPress called Tomboy. My Instagram is mollygbeale.

My Rose ‘Pierre De Ronsard’ by Sofia Kioroglou

More seductive than Rose ‘Pierre De Ronsard’
Enchanting and intoxicating
Her cheeks carmine-pink
Peaches and cream complexion

Penelope never spits snow pellets
Always sweet and velvety smooth
She melts like crème caramel
I crave to taste those lips

Sofia Kioroglou

Sofia Kioroglou is a twice award-winning poet, journalist, writer and prolific blogger residing in Athens, Greece, with her husband Peter. Her work can be found in print and online, most recently in Galleon Literary Journal. To learn more about her work, visit: sofiakioroglou.wordpress.com