What I’m Drinking by Ron Burch

You are coupled: Rose is for the bright summer days, yellow-black butterflies flapping
around, things that are too bright in the light and you have to shield your eyes but happily.

You are no longer coupled:  Pinot Noir is for the night, when things are dark and grim, when you have a cigarette for the first time in three years, when you see a sharp piece of metal and wonder what you will do with it.

Ron Burch Photo

Ron Burch’s short stories have been published in Mississippi Review, Cheap Pop, Pank and others; he’s been nominated for a Pushcart. His first novel, Bliss Inc., was published by BlazeVOX Books. Please visit: http://www.ronburch.com.



Louisville by Victor Clevenger

I hate your smile
I told him,
you always deliver my news
and it’s always crap.
A morning crap.
Do I look like a toilet.
Let me guess,
it’s another letter stamped
from the Municipal Utilities
saying that they are going to
cut the service and that
I’m going to freeze.
Oh my, maybe,
it’s notification from the
Savings and Loan
to tell me that the last four
checks have been returned for insufficient funds
and that I’m going to
keep starving,
or it’s another letter from her
boasting about finding
a new
attached to a man
ten-times better than me.

‘The last prick she
boasted about had
a smooth back
and her fingers didn’t
rub bumps
like they did against

She has already
found someone he asked.

Oh, yes, I told him,
a real pretty boy who only wears blue
corduroy pants.

Only blue.

Yes.  Only blue.
I saw him outside the supermarket. Blue.
I saw him walking down Thirty-Fourth Street. Blue.
I saw him in front of that church last Tuesday
over by where she lives and
they were once again blue.

Maybe the guy just likes blue he laughed.

Piss on him I said,
Piss on her
and you too;
just give me the mail.

I have no mail for you today.


I have nothing,
you can try to answer something
for me . . . is it pronounced
Louis-ville, or Louie-ville.

Fuck off.

He just smiled again and
then walked down the
street to the next mailbox.

He was a cocky shit.
He was the last prick with a smooth back.
and I have always
hoped that a sharp-toothed dog
would do a good number
on his ass cheek.

Just because.

Victor Clevenger - Copy

Victor Clevenger; With guts full of grit, I spend my days in a Maximum Security Madhouse and my nights writing poetry and short stories from the kitchen table of my ex-wife’s home. Selected pieces of my work have been published in Chiron Review, Eleventh Transmission, Crab Fat Literature, NEAT, and anthology collections published by Lady Chaos Press.



Sunday Afternoon Magic by Brenton Booth

Sunday afternoon listening
to a guitarist play Bach and
hoping for words
it doesn’t matter if they aren’t
as good as the music I am
listening to—
they rarely are:
but the desire is always
the music is loud—
really loud
to block out the sound of
my neighbours
who sit outside with their
young children and their
endless talk talk talk
not listening to music
not understanding music
seeing only themselves
and their completely
banal existences as music
and truly important;
and on this Sunday afternoon
I thank the Gods for people
like Bach and Rabelais and
Shakespeare and Plato and
Saroyan and everyone else
that chose something more
than the ordinary
something more than their
own personal comfort
to bring magic to a world
dominated by bland, conservative,
forgettable people
and keep hope alive for all the
rest of us.

Brenton Booth

Brenton Booth lives in Sydney, Australia. He has recently been printed in Chiron Review, Mas Tequila Review, Bold Monkey, Red Fez and Paper and Ink. brentonbooth.weebly.com


No Guts by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

She said he had no guts
so he took a kitchen knife
from the wooden block
on the counter
and began cutting.

At first
there was just flesh
and blood.

But soon
he was able to get inside,
pull out the guts.

She screamed
as they spilled out
over her feet.
Her new pedicure
lost forever
she turned and ran
into the street.
Falling against the cupboard
where they kept the blue colander
he hit his head.

Holding his guts in his hands
he admired the beauty
of the human form
one last

Ryan and the Beast Aug15

Ryan Quinn Flanagan presently resides in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with a nurse that drives a big blacked out truck and many hungry bears that rifle through his garbage.

A Ten Question Interview With The Artist… Damian Rucci

Why do you write?

I write because I have to. It sounds cliche and I know it is the “in” thing to say, that writing is a necessary compulsion but it truly is and has always been that in my life. I have been long trying to employ a daily writing habit but usually what happens is I tend to not write and when that happens my life goes to shit. The second my fingers hit the keyboard I’m back at it and life becomes golden again.

What books do you read?

I like to read all sorts of things. Fiction, non fiction, and poetry. I recently just finished reading Into the Undertow by Kendall A. Bell and Alchemy by John Yamrus. Now I’m plowing through the War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

What inspires you?

Life is the short answer. In another life, I used to write angsty heart-break-I’m-mad-at-my-parents-basic-shit but as I grew older I became infatuated with character. Throughout our lives we are surrounded by characters that never hit the public-eye. They live their lives and die in obscurity and their memory sticks with friends and families and fades. I like to capture these characters and immortalize them with words.

In the collection I’m working on with artist Matt Gullstrand The Degenerates Anthem, I am trying to capture the interesting people who I met in the drug scene of my home town— the folks from the other side of the tracks if you will. People inspire me.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer and when?

When I was younger there were two things I always wanted to be: A New York Yankee and a writer, when I found out I was too fat to be a good baseball player I realized I was meant to be a writer. I have bins of old notebooks filled with fantasy and horror short stories. I didn’t start writing poetry until I was in my teenage years however.

How do you deal with rejection?

Growing up as a fat kid in school I learned rejection at a young age. When I started submitting fiction to magazines at seventeen I was immediately introduced with the rejection letter. I didn’t receive an acceptance for two years. I learned humility through those years. I’m happy for a rejection letter. The more I submit, the more personal rejections I’ve been getting which I’m taking as either I’m getting better or they’re just really tired of hearing from me!

Who are some writers you admire?

Some writers I admire are some of the poets in the NJ Poetry Scene we have orchestrated over the last six months, like Charles Joseph, the author of Fireball, B. Diehl the author of Temporary Obscurity (w/ Charles Joseph), John Dorsey, Wolfgang Carstens, Lynn Alexander, and Rebecca Weber. Those are some of the poets right now that are blowing me away on a regular basis.

Is writing the only artistic medium you do?

I used to be big into playing music. I can sing, play guitar (kind-of) and can play along with a bass. From the time I was fourteen until I was nineteen I was in half a dozen bands and played all over the Jersey Shore. I quit the band scene but kept playing guitar solo until one day I thought it was cool to smash my guitar. It wasn’t and I haven’t played music since.

What would be some advice you would give to your younger self?

Keep writing. Don’t apologize. Don’t compromise. Only take madness in doses.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The main thing at the end of the day is to keep writing. As much as possible. Once you stop writing is when everything gets all muddied. If you’re writing good shit and you’re honest and true to yourself, everything else will come together.

What is your writing process?

I wish I could say that every morning I make a pot of joe, set up the laptop, and write for hours BUT I haven’t tamed that beast yet. Sometimes I write in bursts and sometimes I only write a little bit. I’m trying to get my shit together and be more structured because I don’t think it is romantic to be a binge writer like Hunter S. Thompson, I’d rather be like Hemingway. Except without the shotgun.

Damian Rucci - Copy

Damian Rucci is a writer and poet from New Jersey whose work has appeared in the Yellow Chair Review, Literary Hatchet, GFT Press, and Lehigh Valley Vanguard and is forthcoming in Beatdom and Five 2 One Magazine. He is the author of the chapbook A Symphony of Crows and writes the column Musings of a Derelict Poet. HIs debut collection The Degenerates Anthem is being released early Summer 2016


Leporello at the Travelodge by Neil Fulwood

It’s one thing playing wing-man
while the Don’s making his moves –
lurking in the shrubbery, watching
for groundsmen or the returning father
of Giovanni’s latest fancy –

quite another to be relegated
to his actual job title
while the going’s good and Mr Cocksure
is occupying a suite at The Grand
or The Hilton or wherever’s flash enough

to coax laughter from reticence
and gowns from shoulders.
The Don, living beyond his means,
hiding from eternity
behind a stockade of graceful women

and Leporello, redundant for now,
sequestered on the other side of town,
awaiting orders. This room
is utilitarian. The corridor affords
a vending machine, the window

a view of the car park and the bins.
There’s a bar ten minutes’ walk
and a dozen second thoughts from here –
pool table, juke, a neon sign
for an American beer it doesn’t serve.

Leporello pockets his keycard.
He knows how it’ll be. No soft waltzes,
no pizzicati of champagne corks,
no amorous whispers or promises;
just the morning after, two bills to settle

and the only difference the price of the room.

neil fulwood

Neil Fulwood is the author of The Films of Sam Peckinpah and co-editor, with David Sillitoe, of More Raw Material: work inspired by Alan Sillitoe (Lucifer Press). His poetry has appeared in Butcher’s Dog, The Morning Star, The Interpreter’s House and The Lampeter Review.

Even If I Offend Someone by Paul Tristram

I’ve shit in the punch.
Finger-fucked the bride.
Banged out the bridegroom
like I do at every celebration.
Slid up and down the bridesmaids.
Eaten all of the savoury eggs
off the buffet table,
rabbit-punching at least
three Oliver Twist
like children doing so.
It was me who flung the ashtray
that twatted the DJ.
And even if I offend someone
I will enjoy myself,
it’s not every day
that your son gets married.
Out of the way
the dance floor’s mine.


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/

Holding Back by Gabriel Ricard

I am distant,
and I’m not really up to anything
these days.

This gives me time to pay attention to the little things.
Choirs of ice cream vendors and museum tour guides
fighting for bells, postcards of oceanfront properties,
and all the rest of the stuff that dictates our weird,
insufferable, obnoxious dreams.

If I can stick to blood money cigarettes
and airplane bottles of something nameless and blameless,
I can probably make it to the revelation without offending anybody.

It better be good. It better be a lifetime of ideal book-of-the-month clubs
that stand tall, speak clearly, and make room for the people
who are going back to the basics of trusting me. And it better happen
in the time it takes me to climb the kind of long stairs
that break the guys and gals who don’t want to die on cruise liners.

What it can be, what I can accept,
O’Lord, oh please, oh please and thank you,
is music that scares me with its savage kindness.
Or someone who has been riding metro cars
from one city at the back of the world to the next.

It can be a ride with a sobbing, half-dead groomsman
that I started when I was nineteen, twenty,
and then decided to pause,
when I figured out that I’m going to be made
to bounce around the manic, unpleasant, hilarious
particulars of the narrative for the foreseeable future.

Something will rain down from the alleys of tornados
and cat-piss dancehalls soon. I believe this in the same way
that I believe in her small hands making repairs to my overweight heart.

I am closer to the hallucinatory celebration of any given moment
than I have ever been before. I’ll wake up, and I won’t be able to tell you
what might happen next, why these hotel room sheets smell like oranges,
or what we ought to do with the rest of our lives.

I’ll be confused, scared.
I’ll be pretty smart again.

Gabriel Ricard

Gabriel Ricard is a writer, editor, and occasional actor. He is a Film Editor with Drunk Monkeys, an editor with Kleft Jaw, and a featured contributor with Cultured Vultures. His book “Clouds of Hungry Dogs” is available at http://www.kleftjaw.com/shop and Amazon.com.

Here Today Porn Tomorrow by Bryn Fortey

Primary role
Of internet
Porn boy
Star status

Invasion of
Hollowed out
Cyber heart


Sculptured forms

Merge spider/web
Screen time

Of hidden

Bryn Fortey

A veteran of the writing game for more years than he cares to remember, Bryn Fortey edited the well received (at the time) OUTLAW, a post-Beat poetry magazine from the 70s and at the same time had short stories in FONTANA anthologies, among others. After a while away from the literary scene he recently returned with both fiction and poetry acceptances. In 2014 The Alchemy Press published his debut collection MERRY-GO-ROUND, combining short stories and poetry in one book.

Drunken Love by Susan Evans

Cannot be friends with a drunk; I have tried.
It’s not that I don’t empathise; I just don’t
have a good time ‒ being out with a drunk, for me,
is like being at an Eat As Much As You Like Buffet,
and taking that invitation just a little too literally…
Every conversation paused to `fill up’ never sated,
always distracted by the prospect of another serving ‒
fearing a sudden rush and a pause in service…
An evening baring witness, to your friend, stuck in a
revolving door; from bar to bathroom to bar ‒
our table just a pitstop ‒ the bar being where it’s at ‒
with fellow drinking buddies, in a drunken bubble.
Thinks he’s Dylan Thomas, except his thunderous,
poetic sermons incite real trouble. I spend much of
an evening alone; apologising to others that the empty
chair is actually taken; feeling like a fraud and an
extra in my friend’s `car crash’ TV show.  Should he
abstain from alcohol abuse; funds being critically
low, he’ll be on the borrow and I could be in for some
vitriol…  he’ll recall something I said ‒ in concern or
self-defence and he’ll be all hurt by my truth.
Selective memory: he’ll never recall how uncouth
his behaviour, nor how uncomfortable it feels to
watch him down a bottle of wine in record time,
(with exception of one glass poured for me). Quickly
followed up by another bottle and another, moving
onto pints, then shots ‒ a party-for-one, with more
shakes, sweats, cramps and self-harm to come…
unaware of getting louder and louder, changing
colour and personality, not listening, not caring, not
noticing my silent tears, triggered by his spiky
projections…  pushing buttons because he can, because
he knows your heart and your Achilles heel and he
wants to make you feel as he does ‒ full of fear and
self- loathing… yeah, I’m aware he’s self-medicating…
Everyone has issues and we’re all on our own
journey; I am not able to continue being a passenger
on his; I’m not his personal therapist, this isn’t kind
to me. It’s a dilemma when your friend’s a drunk and
a member of your own family. And deep inside you
fear, that maybe one day, this could be me…

Susan Evans Performance Poet Photo by Andrew King 2015

Susan Evans is a Performance Poet from North East London, living in Brighton. Susan’s performed at various, live literature events across the UK ‒ straddling stage and page, her poetry appears/ is forthcoming in: the Fat Damsel, (Take Ten, Issue 3) Ink, Sweat & Tears, I am not a silent poet, the Jawline Review, Lighten-up online, Militant Thistles, Message in a Bottle, Nutshells and Nuggets, Poetry Space, (Winter showcase, 2014) Prole (Issues 14 & 15) Proletarian Poetry, Snakeskin,The Stare’s Nest, The Yellow Chair Review, Writing Magazine (April, 2015) Your One Phone Call. Anthologies: Brighton Stanza Poets, 2013 (Bramley Press) Slim Volumes: No Love Lost and Wherever You Roam (Pankhearst) and Spotlights, 2015 (Paragram). You can find her here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Evans-Performance-poet/485340264922817