Mesonoxian Mollynogging Mayhem by Paul Tristram

There is a rickety old house of underskirt business
upon the more seedier side of Union Street.
After the normal outer door has been penetrated
there is a second iron prison cell door 4ft further in
where you are stopped and questioned properly.
Sometimes a simple ‘I’m not the Filth, promise’ works
but this guy never even stops walking.
They grind that door open smiling and chuckling,
some of those bad boys with machetes and handguns
even bow as he struts on through as cool as a cucumber
and familiar with every sound and gesture.
They call him ‘The Midnight Gentleman’
he always arrives at exactly 6pm of an evening
upon the 1st of each month, come rain or shine.
Dressed absolutely immaculately, of course,
in his burgundy silk ‘Full Monty’ suit, paisley cravat,
solid white gold skull and crossbones cufflinks,
highly polished steel tapped black brogues,
Winston Churchill overcoat and always a brand new
half gallon Victorian top hat with a peacock feather
in the cuff of one side and ‘The Magician’ card
from the tarot sticking cheekily out of the other.
The aroma busily swirling up the air around him is
one of Old Spice, Real Ale, Port and undiluted Anarchy.
He always takes the top floor suite, at the back,
the one nicknamed ‘The Drunken Pirate’s Galleon’
Gives £1000 in notes to One-Eyed Susan at the foot
of the second lot of stairs where he inquires without
waiting for a reply “Are there any new ones?
If so insert them into my usual eight and make up
the remaining numbers from whoever lasted the longest
the very last time that they and I were formally acquainted!”
Ten minutes later and a street dealer is running
up the stairs with his little bag of tricks in tow
and soon leaving with a devilish smile just as rapidly.
At exactly 7pm the music starts (Always just Punk Rock
on day one) and the girls are led up fresh faced and smiling.
By 9pm the mayhem is in full swing but by midnight
everything peaks and switches insane and barbaric,
there’s an out of tune chorus of human abattoir squeals,
grunts, screams and moaning eclipsing certain segments
of the music like sleazy aural punches to the senses
of all that’s decent, pure and morally right with the world.
By 6am there’s a lull in the proceedings as the greasy spoon
across the way delivers bacon and egg rolls and coffee.
At 7am the horsewhip sounds, the music switches
to Oi! and Hardcore and the smashing, breaking, cracking,
splintering and ripping noises begin in worrying earnest.
At Noon everything goes suddenly and pulsatingly silent
for exactly an hour, during which time One-Eyed Susan
takes up the 13 first aid kits and leaves them,
with a shudder, outside of the ominous, almost throbbing door.
After which there is chanting and weird incantations
up until 4pm and at 5pm the girls are set free to stumble,
exhausted, back down the stairs to normality and safety.
At 6pm the door is left ajar and the room completely vacated,
although no one ever sees him leave, he makes his way
slyly down the fire escape to a waiting, rented limousine.

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 book ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326241036  And also 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.
Buy his book ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326241036

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A Ten Question Interview With The Artist…Bethany W. Pope.

Why do you write? Because I have to? Does that sound too pretentious? In any case, it’s true. If I don’t write, if I don’t have time to do the kind of thinking (the purposeful thinking) that leads to poetry or prose I get headachy and irritable. Back in the dawn of time, when I was attending University, one of my friends would ask me if I’d written anything that morning and if I said ‘no’ she wouldn’t let me eat lunch with her. In order to write I must be able to think in a way that is useful. My mind must have the space to wander, but along real, traceable lines of inquiry. I ask myself questions, about myself, about the world and the people in it, and then I try my best to answer them. I’ve found that exercise, cycling or using the stepper in the gym, can help get the blood flowing, bring on that wonderful focused-yet-relaxed state, and direct my mind down profitable pathways. When I write, I crystalize these ideas in a tangible way. When I was a little girl, I would try to work out the mysteries of the adult world by telling myself stories. I would re-enact parental conversations in ways that reflected the truth, but in a slightly slanted way. Daddy was a bear, mommy was Tatiana. On the surface of their conversation they were arguing about whose turn it was to do the dishes, but really they were talking about their careers and, as a child, I could sense those struggles, so I clothed them in a more appropriate skin. I’m still doing that now, only they are printed out on paper and published in books. The problem with this sort of thing is that it is terribly addictive. If I don’t get enough of it every day it can feel like caffeine withdrawal. Basically, writing is what allows me to be an amiable human being.

What books do you read? Everything. Psychology, poetry, fiction (in a wide variety of genres), biology, anything, basically, that has quality. Generally, I read one book of poetry and one novel a day. I think that if you want to write you have to read. You need to read five-hundred words for every one you set down on paper. And it is important to never turn down a book because of preconceptions that you have about the genre. I read two books yesterday. One was Nobel Prize winner Gunter Grass’ The Tin Drum. It’s high literature, and anything but dry. Illicit sex happens within the first five pages. The narrator’s grandmother hides a criminal under her four (very dirty) skirts and (while the police hang about for an hour, poking potatoes with sticks) the criminal occupies himself, creatively. I can see why this hit like a cannonball in the 50’s. I also read China Miéville’s rather hit-or-miss collection of dark-fantasy short stories Looking For Jake. The writing was uniformly good, but the plots occasionally flopped. Whatever I read, I read for enjoyment, but I’m also reading analytically. I take great pleasure in understanding how the authors achieve the effects that they do. Tomorrow I’m going to finish Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean At The End Of The Lane and Charles Simic’s collection The Monster Loves His Labyrinth.

What inspires you? Family history, mythology, theology, philosophy, nature, and the odd turns of human behaviour which encompass them all. We are a very weird species, really, full of quirks. We’re fun to watch.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer and when? Well, when I visited my family in Florida this Christmas my mother showed me my first poetry collection. I wrote it when I was five years old and it’s been in her jewelry box for the last twenty-six years. The poems are all either religious or weirdly sexual in tone (a poem about how it felt for Jesus to be crucified is right next to an ode to a lady’s beautiful bottom, cased in tight blue jeans) and they were illustrated with crude drawings depicting the subjects. So I guess that I have always wanted to be a writer, although I had repressed it for a while. I wrote poetry obsessively between the ages of twelve and fifteen while I was living in a children’s care home, but I wrapped those poems inside of a plastic bag and hid them inside the mouth-shaped bole of an oak tree whose roots were shaped like a giant frog. Who knows? They might still be there. After fifteen, I wrote more sporadically until I started university and it all flared up again. God willing, I’ll never stop.

How Do you deal with rejection? Not well. I get very dejected. I might cry a bit. My husband will generally have to put both of his hands on either side of my skull and apply pressure until the inside and the outside ache reach a bearable equilibrium. Then I will get back up on the horse and start sending things out again. It’s important not to be too self-pitying, or too self-indulgent. Thank goodness, the rejections are becoming much more infrequent than the acceptances. Hopefully soon I’ll get to the point where rejections are rare things indeed. But I think that’s the dream for everyone.

Who are some writers you admire? How much time do you have? Sticking to contemporary (currently living) authors; Helen Ivory, Martin Figura, Carly Holmes, John Langan, Joe Hill, George Szirtes, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, JM Coetzee, Jo Mazelis, David Morley, Robert Pinsky, David Harsent, Helen Oyeyemi, Kei Miller, Vicki Feaver, and Sharon Olds. But keep in mind that I read an equal amount of the classical cannon.

Is writing the only artistic medium you do? I do sketch a bit. But I am bad at it.

What would be some advice you would give to your younger self? Keep going. Keep working. You’ll like who you eventually become. You’ll make it as a writer. You’ll get out of America. You’ll marry well. But, for the love of God, don’t allow yourself to become entitled or complacent. Be your own gadfly, shocking yourself to action.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Frustration is natural, especially when you are just starting out, but things do get easier. Sometimes, it will seem like everything you send out gets rejected, sometimes you’ll have an acceptance once a week, or more. Whatever happens, keep going, keep reading, keep writing, keep drafting, and do not give in.

What is your writing process? I do a lot of work in the gym. My husband and I wake up at 6 in the morning on weekdays. We have breakfast, then I cycle to the gym. I stay there for three hours, working out on the stepper, reading a novel, and writing a draft of a poem or short-story. Then, I go to the grocery store for the day’s shop and think about what I’ve gotten done. I return home, eat lunch, then draft, draft, draft, read some more, and write submissions. Sometimes, if the weather is nice, I go outside, climb my favourite willow tree, and get some work done up there, cradled in the branches. I pause at 530 when my husband comes home. We have dinner together. We talk and maybe watch an episode of Archer. Then I read and write for another two hours after dinner. At 11pm we go to bed and the cycle begins again. I do the same thing at the weekend, but we start a little (or a lot) later. I write quickly, and draft extensively. I wrote the first draft of the novel (Masque, Seren 2016) in one intense week, but then I spent about six months redrafting it. My formal poems tend to be drafted on paper and then transferred to my tablet or y laptop. Working on a stair stepper machine might be odd, but it works for me.

Bethany W Pope is an award winning writer and the author of four poetry collections; A Radiance (Cultured Llama), Crown of Thorns (Oneiros Books), The Gospel of Flies (Writing Knights Press), and Undisturbed Circles (Lapwing)

Bethany W Pope is an award winning writer and the author of four poetry collections; A Radiance (Cultured Llama), Crown of Thorns (Oneiros Books), The Gospel of Flies (Writing Knights Press), and Undisturbed Circles (Lapwing)

Selena by Bethany W. Pope

Let me tell you a secret. Lean in close enough to feel my wet breath on your ear. Ready? Here it is: I only look like a woman. I only look like one of you, sitting here in a locked, chicken-wire screened porch, doped up to the gills on fattening lithium, wearing a robe stitched of cotton thin enough to be used as a doily in a blind granny’s house. I’m not like you at all, really, though I’m glad that we’re sharing this cigarette. My kind has always looked kindly on burnt offerings.

Don’t look at me like that, Doris. I may be old and I may be half crazy (certainly, after so long in this place, I can no longer describe myself as ‘sane’), but I know what I’m talking about – and half is not the same as whole. Believe me, if it were I wouldn’t be sitting here like a lump, waiting for my chance and talking to a full-blooded mortal like you. No, if half and whole meant the same thing, out there in the world, I would have blasted these walls to dust a decade ago. I’d be out there, somewhere, waiting for my mother to remember my name and find me on some glistening beach or dancing in a moonlit grove. If she’d given me a modicum, a tincture, of her power escape would have proved to be no problem at all.

Hell, even a fragment of her eternal youth and beauty would have been useful. When those cops found me naked in the park, dancing and singing her praises beneath the one scraggly yew that still stands beside the public lavatories, I am convinced that they would have let me go – if I hadn’t looked like someone’s grandmother gone-mad. If I’d been lithe and smooth, if I’d still been beautiful, my story would have ended very differently.

Yes, Doris. That was twenty years ago, when you were still somebody’s bright young mother and your husband had no reason, yet, to suspect your mask. I told you I’m long-lived. I’ve been old for more than a century, but I was young for a while. I bloomed just long enough to think that it might be eternal. Those enlightenment men in their fabulous, ass-shaping silk breeches, certainly couldn’t get enough of me.

But all my mother gave me was my very long life, my mutable nature, and a pair of wings that nobody but me seems to be able to see. Don’t believe me? That’s all right. Unlike my mother, I don’t need your belief in order to live. You’ll just have to trust me. The wings are there (long and black; light, but strong as a raven’s) and despite this fat, my hollow bones still enable me to use them. And I will use them. Just as soon as I’m given half a chance.

I’ve been praying to my mother (there she is now, rising white above the barbed-wire fence that circles this smoking-porch) and I think that she is trying to help me, though there are so few of us, now, who feed her our prayers so her power is weaker than it has ever been before. But let me tell you something, Doris, that they don’t tell people in churches: prayers are cumulative. They settle in layers, gaining strength like sedimentary rock, or the layers of a pearl. Keep saying the words long enough, keep feeling the need, and you start to make some progress.

I’ve felt the change coming, my powers growing, for the last few years. Every time the moon waxes full, as she is waxing now, my wings begin to stretch. Blood flows into my long-disused pinions. It feels wonderful; better than sex with a man young enough not to tire after five or six throws.

And look, Doris, just there in the corner of this little porch! A hole in the screen. A tiny tear in the chicken-wire ceiling. It’s small, just a foot or so across, but it might be enough. It’s been a long time since I’ve flown, my dear, but there’s no harm in trying. My mother is with me, she’s come back to herself. I feel very strong.

Thank you, Doris, for the cigarette. Give my love to your husband the next time he visits. I hope that he forgives you. Goodnight, and good luck.

Bethany W Pope is an award winning writer and the author of four poetry collections; A Radiance (Cultured Llama), Crown of Thorns (Oneiros Books), The Gospel of Flies (Writing Knights Press), and Undisturbed Circles (Lapwing)

Bethany W Pope is an award winning writer and the author of four poetry collections; A Radiance (Cultured Llama), Crown of Thorns (Oneiros Books), The Gospel of Flies (Writing Knights Press), and Undisturbed Circles (Lapwing)

I Am We by P.A. Levy

it was a crowd of me
being rather polite to one another
cheese nibbles and wine
laughter
aha ha ha ha
it was the false laughter that
really gave it away
highlighted
the hidden edge hiding in
the porridge atmosphere
that begged the question
will it all kick off

by the time condensation was trickling
down the inside of my mind
part of my femininity had started to cry
in one corner a very blonde beautiful me
was giving the real me a blow job
saying she could drink my cock
all night long in a kate moss style voice
some of me girls were throwing up
that the men me were all bastards
and not worth it

there was male me’s planning
to smash through an eye socket
peer out through the lens
with a here’s johnny moment
there male me’s were having a kick
around with an idea
of trepanning from the inside out
escape me and my small town saturday
night joust mentality before
there’s too much wine weed and
cheese nibbles
and everyone just settles down to
yet another me orgy
but that way madness lies

Born East London but now residing amongst the hedge mumblers of rural Suffolk, P.A.Levy has been published in many magazines, from ‘A cappella Zoo’ to ‘Zygote In My Coffee’ and stations in-between.  He is also a founding member of the Clueless Collective and can be found loitering on page corners and wearing hoodies at www.cluelesscollective.co.uk

Born East London but now residing amongst the hedge mumblers of rural Suffolk, P.A.Levy has been published in many magazines, from ‘A cappella Zoo’ to ‘Zygote In My Coffee’ and stations in-between. He is also a founding member of the Clueless Collective and can be found loitering on page corners and wearing hoodies at http://www.cluelesscollective.co.uk

Songs Of Love And Hate by Alan Catlin

After all the songs of love
and hate, blood in the gutters
at riot’s end, new wars for old
warriors intent on sending
the young off to die.
After the tear gas has been
exploded, rubber bullets fired,
low clouds of gas and smoke
and burning car exhaust.
After the street musicians have
been routed, instruments broken,
begging bowls turned into helmets
to ward off truncheon blows.
After the mounted cops,
the armored cars, plexi-glass
shield wielding storm troopers
have cleared the streets.
After trauma units have been
filled, emptied and filled again.
After peace is proclaimed and
there is no one there to listen,
the locked off licenses are
reopened, beer runs made,
the Occupation begun, it’s time
party hard like it’s 1968.

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.

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.

Password by John Grochalski

she came in
blowing stacks of paper
to the ground
she marched over to me
with her magic phone
pointed it like a gun
and said, i need to print this
whatever it was
when i told her that i couldn’t
print from a phone
she rolled her eyes
looked at me like
i said the world was flat
said, give me a computer then
but she couldn’t remember
the password to her email
the phone remembers it for me, she said
she showed me the phone again
as if i’d somehow forgotten its chrome
i said, well, that’s the trick with those things
she said, you know how these phones are
actually i don’t, i said
smug, like i was the only guy
left on the planet who could
recite his telephone number by heart
then i watched her sit there
phone in her hand, computer at the ready
the whole technological spectrum
rendered useless
as she pushed buttons and sighed
eventually she said, well, what do i do now?
remember things, i said
like passwords
she got up from her seat
made to leave
carrying that phone like a limp appendage
gave me the finger at the door
as i got up to go
and put those stacks of paper
that she’d knocked over
back into a neat pile.

John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out, Glass City, In The Year of Everything Dying, Starting with the Last Name Grochalski, and the novel, The Librarian. Grochalski lives in Brooklyn, where he constantly worries about the high cost of everything.

The Functioning Body by Kushal Poddar

In winter, he preserves his thirst,
pees a lot, and feels his river
caves in the canyon and that
one fox crosses him.

And now
she desires to row. After
all those summers of strumming silence!

Born  in a warm corner  of India, a lone child and brought up with his shadow mates, Kushal Poddar (1977- ) began writing verses at the age of six. He adopted his second tongue as the language to dream on. Widely published in several countries, prestigious anthologies included Men In The Company of Women, Penn International MK etc  and featured in various radio programs in Canada and USA and collaborated with photographers for an exhibition at Venice and with performers for several audio publications .
He is presently living at Kolkata and writing poetry, fictions and scripts for short films when not engaged in his day job as a counsel/ lawyer in the High Court At Calcutta.  He authored, The Circus Came To My Island’and his forthcoming books are “Kafka Dreamed Of Paprika” and “A Place For Your Ghost Animals”.

OUR BONES DANCE THEIR WAY OUT OF THE GRAVE TO THE MUSIC OF MIDNIGHT by James Lee Jobe

Our ghosts break into song, a rap number. Owls click their beaks, keeping time. Skeletons without names pop and lock. A bonfire tosses the light of flame before us. There is no Hell, and Heaven will wait until the dance is through. Throw up your arm bones, kick up your heels. Let the song of death lift you up.

James Lee Jobe has been published in Manzanita, Tule Review, Pearl, and many other periodicals. His online publications include Convergence, Knot Magazine, Poetry 24, Medusa's Kitchen, and The Original Van Gogh Anthology. Jobe has authored five chapbooks, and his blog is PABLO, at jamesleejobe.blogspot.com.

James Lee Jobe has been published in Manzanita, Tule Review, Pearl, and many other periodicals. His online publications include Convergence, Knot Magazine, Poetry 24, Medusa’s Kitchen, and The Original Van Gogh Anthology. Jobe has authored five chapbooks, and his blog is PABLO, at jamesleejobe.blogspot.com.

Under The Underbelly by Nick Power

There’s a
listener
out there

I know there is

she’s tuned in
accidentally,
I think

to this midnight-
morgue
broadcast

the in-between transmission

the underbelly
of Billie Holiday’s
midnight

there’s others here with me-

Shadow Morton,
Joe Meek,
Chet Baker

and all of the Brill Building

are humming
from the echo chamber

they’re singing
to her, that
laundrette widow

to all of her ghosts

and the ones she dreams
of
underwater

my job here is simple-

keep talking

before she recedes into
that airwave blackhole
where the
signal doesn’t
reach

Nick Power has recently had his first perfect-bound book 'Small Town Chase' published by erbacce-press, and is in the process of writing a new collection.  He's had poems published at M58, erbacce-press, Boscome Revolution and Jarg Magazine.

Nick Power has recently had his first perfect-bound book ‘Small Town Chase’ published by erbacce-press, and is in the process of writing a new collection. He’s had poems published at M58, erbacce-press, Boscome Revolution and Jarg Magazine.