The Center by John D Robinson

She told me I was
thoughtless, self-
centred and self-
indulgent and that
I thought the world
revolved around me:
I shook my head
and said
‘Are you trying to
tell me it doesn’t?’
she didn’t speak
again, packed her
clothes and made
it back to her
mother’s again
for a while.

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.

 

Johnson Absolutely by Jeff Bagato

He’s quick to point out the real
calibrated meaning stocks bring
to the officer’s mess when Savage
rides Harley through stainglass
cafeteria window waving six
foot rubber dildo so hard
it breaks—two johnsons
better than one when straight-rushing
bellybutton of the beast—
and the soldiers fire
bullets ricochet
clean off silicone penumbra,
a smell like white jissom
pours hot into mess hall
regurgitations ‘cause cum and
common rye don’t make good sandwich;
Savage bayonets to the rear
as sweet singing anthems turn
to cries patriotic
motherfuckers can’t abide
as the fire escape holds open
arms to federal regulator
lecture up and down steel
steps like Shirley Temple tap dance
on the good ship Lollapalooza
(another great day for marketing
when the sinners can’t
seem to turn off the jingle
in the jangle of the matriculated mind);
Savage waves her cocks—
the day belongs
to silicone hallelujah
and the jissom crust on everyone’s
black market
hamburger:

Keep the poison coming,
it’s a long way to the end
of the bank

jeff-bagato

A multi-media artist living near Washington, DC, Jeff Bagato produces poetry and prose as well as electronic music, glitch video, sticker art, and pop surrealism paintings. Some of his poetry has appeared in Empty Mirror, Futures Trading, In Between Hangovers, Otoliths, Your One Phone Call, and Zoomoozophone Review. His published books include Savage Magic (poetry), Cthulhu Limericks (poetry), The Toothpick Fairy (fiction), and Dishwasher on Mars (fiction). A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at http://jeffbagato.wordpress.com

My First Night Back by Scott Laudati

we were far apart once
but you can hear my heart now
in this chest,
and your hair used to itch
my skin if you didn’t tuck it back
but you’ll never hear about it again
because i left you once
and i learned
to miss everything,
coffee at sunset
and all night sirens up and down
amsterdam
while the pitbulls howled at
newspapers blowing by like
white rabbits taunting them
in the night.
and the coffee fades while the rum kicks
in and all those sounds fade to the periphery
like a television on in someone
else’s apartment.
and your hair crawls across my chest
like the tiny arms of a friendly spider.
you always knew what you had
but it took me a little longer.
there’s no escape in my forever now
our bones can grow soft in peace.
and that future we always talked about
can’t come soon enough

Scott Laudati

Scott Laudati lives in New York City with his turtle, Tango. He is the author of books Play The Devil (novel) and Hawaiian Shirts In The Electric Chair (poems). Visit him on instagram @scottlaudati

 

Harvest At The Front by Ian Fletcher

They know this soil
could grow the corn
they sow back home
would repay their toil
season after season
until they lay beneath
after lives well lived.

Yet here in no man’s land
the fields are ploughed
into craters and mud
by shells and seeded
with bullets that will reap
the harvest of their blood.

Ian Fletcher

Born and raised in Cardiff, Wales, Ian has an MA in English from Oxford University. He lives in Taiwan with his wife, two daughters and cat. He teaches English in a high school. He has had poems and stories published in Tuck Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, 1947 A Literary Journal, Dead Snakes, Schlock! Webzine, Short-story.me, Anotherealm, Under the Bed, A Story In 100 Words, Poems and Poetry, Friday Flash Fiction, and in various anthologies.

 

Starting Tomorrow Or The Next Day… I’m Going To Stop Putting Off Things Until Tomorrow Or The Next Day by Paul Tristram

No one tightropes a straining nerve that well…
without seasoned psychological trench-experience
and a Tenth Dan in mental breakdown recovery.
The fridge has started humming distant opera music again…
and the coughing up of dusty moths
is just a self-preserving delusion…
to keep you from focusing so intently upon The Crack…
look a squirrel… searching for a leapable cliff.
When that metallic taste turns coffin-wooden
and you can smell bonfires in your storage heater living room…
it just might be time for a little sleep.
But, they’re twisting ropes inside your banging cranium,
so you reach for the snake-like telephone,
then quickly discard it, after recalling
that last time you made the nice lady at The Samaritans
shudder pitifully as she broke down and cried.
There is ‘Hope’ just as long as the bottle-clanging
Milkmen appear with the David Farquharson ‘Grey Morning’
but, it’s only just turned evening
and there is still the life and death triathlon of The Witching Hour
to traverse and shipwreck your clumsy way through yet.

Arty Pic Of Pauly

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/

The Lightweight’s Mate by Ian C Smith

McInnes flamboyantly places his bet, going for the odds,
scorns my opponent, taller and older than me,
sallow acned skin ink-dark gloves to shoulders,
short-priced to pummel me into loserhood.

He said my pre-fight confidence impressed,
pleasing me for my bluffing ability
when I asked later, dubious of his bullshit,
a madcap gambler’s, no safety card, all show.

Round’s end, arms leaden, lungs clamorous,
sensing my tough act must overwhelm one of us,
I watch illustrated man’s corner tell the referee
he is struggling to raise his right eagle’s wing.

Florid with praise, McInnes tipped me lavishly.
I kept mum about wobbly legs, fear of failure,
chance’s fickle part, us both playing risky roles
lusting for mythical status, short on spirituality.

McInnes robs an armoured van, gets clean away,
pays cash for a Fairlane in Melbourne’s biggest showroom,
guns it toward Sydney’s glitter, an ambush of cops.
We were seventeen, the future uncharted shadow.

Ian C Smith

Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in , Antipodes, Australian Book Review, Australian Poetry Journal, Cream City Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Stony Thursday Book, & Two-Thirds North. His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide). He lives in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, Australia.

To Do Better by Ally Malinenko

In a lab somewhere
they made a human
heart out of spinach leaves,
washing it down
then pumping it full
of cardiac cells
until it grew and beat
something
not quite animal
and not quite plant

and I think about my own paper
heart and how if it tore
I could wrap it up
in moss
or oak leaves
stitch it together with bark
and twigs and some mud
how I could fashion
a house

for my heart

and I would visit it
go for long walks in the woods
and it would tell me what the trees
are like when they’re all asleep.

In a lab somewhere
they’ve made a womb
out of circuits
and computer chips,
plastic and wiring.
A box into which
we can start up
a little tiny person
maybe with a spinach heart
maybe with apple slices for ears
roots for veins
and computer chips for eyes

Something not mechanical
not plant
not  animal
something new
to leave behind
something to take over
when we are gone
to do better
than we have done
to live lighter
than we have lived.

AllyMalinenko

Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collections The Wanting Bone and How to Be An American (Six Gallery Press) as well as the novel This Is Sarah (Bookfish Books). She has a poetry collection forthcoming from Lowghost Press entitled Better Luck Next Year.

Winter 1979 by Jason Baldinger

Corner of Bethoven and Apollo
hanging drywall in a warehouse
no running water
piss in a bucket
scan the east side of the city

Shake dry wall dust out of my hair
the sun in this city
is the strange case of Jekyll and Hyde

When its grey
with the brutal winter light
it could still be hell with the lid off

When its sunshine
especially in the spring
especially in the fall
I swear it’s the garden of eden

Today, as I look
at the Immaculate Heart of Mary
it’s both, sometimes at the same time

Pellegrino used to live down the street
late 70’s, he’s got his stories out
I can’t keep dates straight
let’s say winter 79
he climbed that Douglas Fir
on the hillside, drunk
cut twelve feet off the tree
so his wife could have
the Christmas she wanted

He tells me about Chessie
a polish drunk, a few hairs over five feet
who stuttered
and played the accordion
he fired howitzers during the great war
his brain never recovered

His sister was in an institution
after his parents died
he couldn’t afford it
so he moved her in with him
lived off her social security checks

She died near the end of the month
he didn’t call the cops
didn’t call the corner
waited days till her next check came
bought a ton of beer
drank himself silly
then called the corner
who couldn’t tell when she died
her skin was wax, her ears were black
they covered her in a sheet
took her away
while Chessie rambled
he swore he fed her breakfast that morning

Chessie claimed he married Spanish Ann
who no one ever saw
but when he mentioned her
he’d wheeze in nasal voice
Blue Spanish eyes
tears falling from your Spanish eyes
it was nothing like Humperdinck

The alcohol got the better of Chessie
he lost the house, taxes and loans
no more iron city pounders
he died alone
in one of those goddamn government rest homes

Jason Baldinger

Jason Baldinger is a poet hailing from the Appalachian hamlet of Pittsburgh. He’s the author of several books the most recent of which, the chaplet, Fumbles Revelations (Grackle and Crow) is available now, and the collection Fragments of a Rainy Season (Six Gallery Press) which is coming in September. Recent publications include the Low Ghost Anthology Unconditional Surrender, Uppagus, Lilliput Review, Rusty Truck, Dirtbag Review, In Between Hangovers, Your One Phone Call, Winedrunk Sidewalk, Anti-Heroin Chic, Nerve Cowboy Concrete Meat Press, and Heartland! Poetry of Love, Solidarity and Resistance. You can hear Jason read some poems at jasonbaldinger.bandcamp.com

 

Closing My Window Before I Masturbate by Steven Allan Porter

I shut my window and pull the blinds,
swaying at me like a morning shift stripper who
looks in my direction and winks at me, desperate
for the last Washington in my wallet.
I haven’t washed my bed sheets for three-weeks.
Crusty remnants from past lonely nights stain my covers.
I don’t use lubricants when I jack-off, I prefer the natural,
dry, rough skin from my own hands.
My computer is down, but I have an old Hustler magazine for backup.
My favorite dates are ones bound to a 7/8 sheet of paper,
smiling at me when I’m vulnerable and there’s always a guarantee
for a second date when all I have to do is flip to page thirty.

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.

 

Pale Horse (For My Children) by Matthew Borczon

on mornings
when the
world is
a bleached
skeleton on
a pale horse
and hope
is the sound
of the wind
through its
rib cage

when I’m
feeling
like less
than dust
on the moon
or grease
in the fire

I remind
myself that
I was
only ever
really here
at all

because
I’ve loved
you.

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.