Phantom Crayons by Ali Znaidi

Maybe,
before the rainbow,

the rain threads
were only

phantom crayons
in the hands

of a shattered sky.

Ali Znaidi (b.1977) lives in Redeyef, Tunisia, where he teaches English. His work has appeared in various magazines and journals worldwide. He authored four poetry chapbooks including Experimental Ruminations (Fowlpox Press, 2012), Moon’s Cloth Embroidered with Poems (Origami Poems Project, 2012), Bye, Donna Summer! (Fowlpox Press, 2014), and Taste of the Edge (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2014). He also authored a fiction book titled Green Cemetery (Moment Publications, 2014) which is in fact the first Tunisian flash fiction collection originally written & published in the English language.  You can see more of his work on his blog at  aliznaidi.blogspot.com.

Ali Znaidi (b.1977) lives in Redeyef, Tunisia, where he teaches English. His work has appeared in various magazines and journals worldwide. He authored four poetry chapbooks including Experimental Ruminations (Fowlpox Press, 2012), Moon’s Cloth Embroidered with Poems (Origami Poems Project, 2012), Bye, Donna Summer! (Fowlpox Press, 2014), and Taste of the Edge (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2014). He also authored a fiction book titled Green Cemetery (Moment Publications, 2014) which is in fact the first Tunisian flash fiction collection originally written & published in the English language.
You can see more of his work on his blog at  aliznaidi.blogspot.com.

Movie Poster by Neil Fulwood

Leering out from every bus stop, it
tries to provoke; fails. Wants to be edgy;
looks less like grey than fifty shades of shit.

Not an inch of bared skin, but is that a profit
margin or bankrolled sequel I can see
leering out? From every bus stop, it

presents an unalluring image: a guy’s armpit,
a woman trying to look half-scared, half-sexy –
looks less like grey than fifty shades of shit.

Neither of them are, to use the vernacular, “fit”;
no “phwoar” factor, nothing onanism-worthy
leering out from every bus stop. It

looks less like a film event than a quick hit
for those too chaste for real pornography;
looks less like grey than fifty shades of shit.

The book was devoid of narrative, passion, wit;
the poster promises much less of the movie.
Leering out from every bus stop, it
looks less like grey than fifty shades of shit.

Neil Fulwood is the author of film studies book 'The Films of Sam Peckinpah'. His poetry has been featured in The Morning Star, The Stare's Nest, Butcher's Dog, Monkey Kettle, Nib Magazine and Ink Sweat & Tears. He divides his time between the pub and cinema, and somehow manages to hold down a day job.

Neil Fulwood is the author of film studies book ‘The Films of Sam Peckinpah’. His poetry has been featured in The Morning Star, The Stare’s Nest, Butcher’s Dog, Monkey Kettle, Nib Magazine and Ink Sweat & Tears. He divides his time between the pub and cinema, and somehow manages to hold down a day job.

…As For The Other Mothers by Cynthia Bryant

The ones for whom no cards were penned
The ones we prefer to blend into the area that lives in a landscape
just beyond sight, the green rolling hills dotted and dashed
With daisies, poppies and those little purple flowers
That is really just weeds grown along the periphery

We may find beauty in the decrepit barn and farm house
Blanched colorless, desolate with the running on of years
What of the woman who lived there, barren as the now
gone to seed garden hidden behind the house

The woman who opted for readymade children,
painting pretty pictures of the smiling family of four
standing outside a house  waving at admiring passers bye
The woman on Mother’s Day every year who was heard to retort
“Quit bringing home handmade garbage for me to throw out”

Cynthia Bryant gathers fruit for her poems from many trees.  Her poetry ranges from world news, to poignant pieces closer to her heart; love, family, incest and injustice.  Cynthia has been invited to read her poetry throughout California in diverse venues including coffee shops, fairs, art galleries, schools, battered women's shelters, and a federal prison.  First published in 1997 by two important journals dealing with childhood sexual abuse, Cynthia has since been published in over 30 anthologies.  Her books Sojourn, Pebbles In The Shoes, and No Time To Shoot The Poets were accepted into the Ina Coolbrith circle library section in Sacramento's State Library's Special Collections Reading Room.  Cynthia served  as the 4th and 7th Poet Laureate for the city of Pleasanton, CA.  She currently resides in Salinas, CA with her husband and her two Boston Terriers where she maintains the website www.poetslane.net for poets and poetry lovers.

Cynthia Bryant gathers fruit for her poems from many trees. Her poetry ranges from world news, to poignant pieces closer to her heart; love, family, incest and injustice. Cynthia has been invited to read her poetry throughout California in diverse venues including coffee shops, fairs, art galleries, schools, battered women’s shelters, and a federal prison. First published in 1997 by two important journals dealing with childhood sexual abuse, Cynthia has since been published in over 30 anthologies. Her books Sojourn, Pebbles In The Shoes, and No Time To Shoot The Poets were accepted into the Ina Coolbrith circle library section in Sacramento’s State Library’s Special Collections Reading Room. Cynthia served as the 4th and 7th Poet Laureate for the city of Pleasanton, CA. She currently resides in Salinas, CA with her husband and her two Boston Terriers where she maintains the website http://www.poetslane.net for poets and poetry lovers.

Not A Game For Flyweights by Jennifer Lagier

“No man is totally useless; he can always be used as a bad example.” – Ken Wolman

She sees his lips moving, knows he is lying.
Feels him throwing her under the bus as he
tries a little sexual bait and switch
to distract her from anger.

For years, she’s accepted his laziness,
inability to keep it in his pants,
follow through on a single promise,
not a man she can count on.

Alcoholic, addicted,
he snores from the sofa.
She considers every option.
Chambers a round in her revolver.

Jennifer Lagier has published nine poetry books and in multiple literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools and is now a retired college librarian/instructor, member of the Italian American Writers Association, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Website: http://jlagier.net

Jennifer Lagier has published nine poetry books and in multiple literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools and is now a retired college librarian/instructor, member of the Italian American Writers Association, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Website: http://jlagier.net

A Complaint About The Moon by R.T. Castleberry

The gate swings wide.
An oak leaf glistens,
spinning from a spider web.
Hard showers of an afternoon storm
drive the street play indoors.

I carry a wound to the world,
a greedy, grinding complaint
that mirrors ruined city rows,
a scattering of ravens under a lynching limb.
I watch old friends get sick, go soft, go Socialist.
A brother who wished a death
found it at the hanging end of a leather belt.
This is not my war. They are not my poor.
Two flags fly below a full moon.
Impatient with clenching beauty,
I rush sunset to see another sunrise.

R.T. Castleberry's work has appeared in Comstock Review, Green Mountains Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, The Alembic, Pacific Review and RiverSedge, among other journals. He is a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee. He is a co-founder of the Flying Dutchman Writers Troupe, co-editor/publisher of the poetry magazine Curbside Review, an assistant editor for Lily Poetry Review and Ardent.  His work has been featured in the anthologies Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice and The Weight of Addition. His chapbook, Arriving At The Riverside, was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2010. An e-book, Dialogue and Appetite, was published by Right Hand Pointing in May, 2011.

R.T. Castleberry’s work has appeared in Comstock Review, Green Mountains Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, The Alembic, Pacific Review and RiverSedge, among other journals. He is a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee. He is a co-founder of the Flying Dutchman Writers Troupe, co-editor/publisher of the poetry magazine Curbside Review, an assistant editor for Lily Poetry Review and Ardent. His work has been featured in the anthologies Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice and The Weight of Addition. His chapbook, Arriving At The Riverside, was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2010. An e-book, Dialogue and Appetite, was published by Right Hand Pointing in May, 2011.

Common-Law by Gene McCormick

A note is taped to the bedroom door;
It says I’m asleep, barely readable
by the sliver of yellow
seeping into the hallway.
*

It’s a dark night, no moon.
Entering the one-storey box house,
two arm-lengths removed from the
neighbors sun-bleached aluminum siding,
a bedroom light at the rear of the hallway
turns blackness to a velvet grey,
a smoky grey without the charred,
burned acrid smell that stings to inhale
and clings to clothes.
Under the lone window’s pull-shade
a sagging cane-seated chair serves as
bedroom sentry and armoire for a soiled
waitress uniform, shoes and underwear
strewn elsewhere about the braid rug.

What took you so long? Half asleep,
she turns over and fluffs a pillow.
There’s beer in the refrigerator.
Bring me one too. Picked ‘em up on the
way home. Should be cold by now.
He flips the light switch,
crumples the note on the door and
heads to the kitchen.
Thought you’d be asleep, he says,
yanking off his flannel shirt to reveal
shoulder-to-wrist faded blue tattoos.
(Nothing exotic: an anchor, nudes, “Mother”).
Was awake as soon as I heard your
truck pull onto the gravel drive.
Don’t need a glass, just pop the top,
bring the bottle. I’m awake now.
He lights a Camel, a line of amorphous
blue smoke curling to the ceiling.

Gene McCormick has written sixteen books, a mix of non-fiction, fiction and poetry, and claims to have read them all, making him the only person in the galaxy to have done so. He divides his time between Wayne, Illinois, and Paris, France, and much prefers Paris...but then, who the hell wouldn't?

Gene McCormick has written sixteen books, a mix of non-fiction, fiction and poetry, and claims to have read them all, making him the only person in the galaxy to have done so. He divides his time between Wayne, Illinois, and Paris, France, and much prefers Paris…but then, who the hell wouldn’t?

Hooverism by Elaine Woo

I despaired of recovering
from you, my Ebola infliction,
already oozing pus and blood as I was from embedded
glass shards shot from my spouse
and anvil chorus shredding my psychic
sphere.   Voices rage and range from the TV.
Dogs yabber, neighbours repeat gossip.

You plead with an offer
of cerebral myrrh.
Rain beats down, dashing
against our windows,
Christmas lights glimmer on the street.

I swore I wouldn’t be Hoovered
in again but my flooding eyes
betray me.  My oxygen intake spikes.
I hear quick steps go down our stairs.
Still, I will remain vigilant over
my delicate pulse and breath.
I have no appetite.  Quiet reigns.
My green tea is tepid.

Elaine Woo is the author of Cycling with the Dragon (poems), published by Nightwood Editions, Gibsons, BC, Canada in Fall 2014.  When not writing poetry, she can be found blogging at http://opalescenthomebrew.blogspot.ca/

Elaine Woo is the author of Cycling with the Dragon (poems), published by Nightwood Editions, Gibsons, BC, Canada in Fall 2014. When not writing poetry, she can be found blogging at http://opalescenthomebrew.blogspot.ca/

Fit For A Mummy by Ben Smith

She hated the way
I made the bed

I had put the sheet
Over the pillow
Like they do in hotels

“I hate it”

she said

The Egyptians
Used to build
pyramids
For the dead
So they could sleep
Well.

A man can’t always
Please a single
Woman
Let alone
The whole fucking
World

I never made the
Bed again.

Just left all the
Sheets in a bundle
On the mantras

Man can’t please
A woman
By making
A bed.

Egyptians don’t build pyramids
for the dead
any more
either

Ben Smith is a half hack writer and runs a dirty website called Horror Sleaze and trash. He has two cats, one wife and too many personalities.

Ben Smith is a half hack writer and runs a dirty website called Horror Sleaze and trash. He has two cats, one wife and too many personalities.

Don’t Tell Me by PW Covington

Don’t tell me that the era
Of the rock and roll writer
Has passed

There will always be those, out there
Kicking ass with words,
Wailing their passions into midnights,
Whipping the highways
Like turnspit dogs.

PW Covington is a disabled veteran and convicted felon.  His work has been published by both universities and underground 'zines. He travels widely, but lives in rural Texas with his bulldog, Chesty.

PW Covington is a disabled veteran and convicted felon.
His work has been published by both universities and underground ‘zines.
He travels widely, but lives in rural Texas with his bulldog, Chesty.

We Come Out Of That Door…Like A Motherfucker! by Paul Tristram

I was at this insane countryside house party once
(Well, that is what they reefer to them as these days,
even though this was more of a farm/smallholding
which we had laid siege to and squatted!)
It was the 3rd night and still going strong,
the only thing keeping us up were stamina,
the Drugs, music and the streams of new girls
from the nearby Town who kept arriving
by the car load every hour or so!)
I had stumbled outside to the rear of the property
to show these 2 cute/drunk chicks
how the full moon made these really interesting
patterns on the inside bough of this bush
that I had recently become very well acquainted with.
We were just sliding into position and getting comfortable
when we felt rather than heard heavy footfall all around us,
I “Sssshh’d” quietly and peeked through the leaves.
They were everywhere, dressed up like Johnny Cash,
wearing balaclavas and grouping behind the building,
where we just happened to be scuppered down out of view.
This was way before the days of mobile phones,
the music was blasting Motorhead’s ‘Iron Fist’ so loud
the boys wouldn’t hear my fox screeching or owl hoots.
I could just make out the odd snarl of a leashed dog or three
off back up that way, by the main road at Hangman’s Corner.
You didn’t need a knife to cut the air,
Nuh, you could have kicked your boot right through it,
they were waiting, like athletes in starting blocks.
A few seconds later and some bottle-rockets exploded
up and out of the chimneys (Must be Mr. Shagrat, I smiled!)
Then the sound of a window heaving and braking softly
and someone whispered “Animals” as they walked close by.
Followed by “We’ve breached the cellar…we’re going
up the stairs…then out of that door like a Motherfucker!
……….un……….dau……….tri……….pedwar!”
There was an instant, tangible force, like air being sucked
up a vacuum (Or for you people from The Melyn
‘like Lebanese Red smoke shifting up a bong pipe’)
And that was that, apart from lots of noise and shouting,
luckily we had brought full bottles of Scrumpy and Mad Dog
along with us, we laid off smoking fags and whatever
for around an hour or so and we three of us stayed all warm,
toasty and cwtched up together until the yawning morning.

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

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