12 Hour Shifts by Alan Catlin

Work begins at 3 in the afternoon at
the Action Stewart’s; right after the crossing
guard has left for the day.

Says, ”Even a deaf, dumb and blind guy
is going to know you’ve been here on
a regular basis. So I wait. Need my beauty
sleep anyway.”

They don’t call it a convenient store for
nothing: half a block from the cross town,
two exits from the thruway, and the turn off
closest to the Hill, where all the freight
from downstate goes.

Says, “Guys need some relief after a long,
stressful ride from the City carrying all
that weight.  I’ll work for trade: Their trade
for my ass. Even Steven. Works all around.
If they miss me on the way in, they’re loaded
on the way out. Up for anything. I’m an
anything kind of girl. But, I’m selective.
You don’t see asking no councilman for a date.
Man, was he flipped!  Girl that asked him ruined
trade for a month.  Pay for sex!  Man, was
self-righteous.  Probably that God thing he
has going on the side.  Hell, last time I had sex
for free I was fifteen.  Too many years ago to count.
It’s funny now but it was bitch then.
Lucky thing there’s more than one inner city
convenient to work.”

Says, “You know, some people claim there’s
no skill involved to what I do.  In this world,
staying alive is a skill. Makes me a real skilled
worker, don’t it?”

acatlin multi

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.

A Ten Question Interview With The Artist… Wayne Russell

Why do you write?

I write as a form of therapy, growing up in a broken home had significant ramifications upon my life as a child and still affects me to this day. For me, writing is better than any antidepressant medication.

What books do you read?

I love biographies of writers, artist, and mad people in general. I have read bios on Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, and so many more. I have a soft spot for fucked up individuals. Pain makes for intriguing musings, that’s why I devour poetry books by the handful composed by the insane loners’ of the world.

Any works by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Franz Kafka, Friedrich Nietzsche, I have even read The Primal Scream by the psychologist/ psychotherapist Arthur Janov. Kerouac’s On the Road, Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood, anything he writes is always brilliant! I could listen to Thomas read his works for hours, and have done so on many occasions; he had the roaring voice of a god.

What inspires you?

Painful and tragic life events lead the charge in my inspiration for writing material. I can remember events from my life as far back a two years of age, very vague blurry images; but writing material non the less. Happy events sometimes rear their heads, so I write about those buggers too, separately.

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

When I was five years old, I just knew that I would either be an artist or writer of some sort. The artist in me died some time ago, just got burned out on it and never picked it up again, until sometime later when I was in University completing my associates in graphic design, when school was over, no more art, I swore it off indefinitely.

How do you deal with rejection?

When I first started mailing my poetry and fiction out to potential publishers back in the late 80’s and waited for months on end only to receive a rejection notice, I took it rough; sometimes I sulked for days. In hind sight I realized that the editors knew a piece of rubbish when they read it.

Back in the late 80’s I really wanted to be the next Robert Burns, true story; I was only seventeen, eighteen at the time. I would read Burns for hours and hours methodically studying his form, determined to write like him so I could woo the ladies and maybe even get lucky.

These days rejection is something that slides right off my back; I set the bar low so that those rejection letters don’t sting like they did back in 2005 when I started emailing my work out via the God send of social media magic.

Who are some writers you admire?

So many great writers that I could rattle off about, some well-known and others so very obscure. My top ten in no particular order would have to be Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, Kerouac, Plath, Sexton, Berryman, W.D. Snodgrass, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemmingway, and Thomas.

Is writing the only artistic medium you do?

Due to being on the autism spectrum, I have always been a person of few interests; however photography, landscaping, and singing would definitely be right up there at the top of the heap. Over the years I attempted to learn the guitar and keyboards so that I could compose music to song lyrics that I wrote. That being said, the instrument’s ended up gathering dust more than anything, damned procrastination monster!

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

Advice: Stay away from the Army and Navy, (go to University) between the two armed forces I was in for five years, detested both, but managed to survive and get out with an honorable discharge.

More advice: Wayne you nutter! Do not marry that lady, you will regret it! I was married for two years to a beautiful and intelligent poetess; alas we were way to young and blah, blah, blah.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t quit your day time job just yet, wait until the money from your royalty checks start rolling in, if they ever do; sadly for most of us that will never be the case. Use your spell check, don’t do crack, and never write under the influence.

What is your writing process?

Writing at least a few sheets in the wind? A few pints and a few more? No really, absolute solitude; I really envy writers that can spell and do proper punctuation and grammar; but most of all I envy a writer that can work with lots of noise.
I don’t really have a process so to speak, a few beers to loosen the fingers up, some good music to get the musings flowing. However, once the lines are going; I pause the music, or shut it off completely due to becoming over simulated by all the noise, thanks autism lol!

Wayne Russell

Wayne Russell is a creative writer from Tampa, Florida, but he has seen most of the world. At different points in Wayne’s life, he has had the privilege to reside in Dunoon, Scotland and Wellington, New Zealand. Wayne has recently founded his first online writing magazine known as Degenerates Literature, it can be found at the link below. https://www.facebook.com/DehenerateLiterature/




Freshest Taste Within 110 Days by Ben Newell

I’ll admit
it doesn’t take much to excite me
in these days
of mid-fortysomething.

The local Kroger
has started carrying Busch Classic.

Prior to this
they only stocked Busch Light, a particularly pale
and diluted version
the real deal—

And this may seem pathetic
to you
but I don’t know you
you don’t know me.

But that can change, baby, if you’re willing
to hit me up
(601) 613-3266.

I’m partial to gynecological selfies
on drunken Sunday afternoons
in celebration
of poems I do my damndest to make clear
as mountain air.

Ben Newell 2

Ben Newell, 43, works as a library clerk at a small college in Jackson, Mississippi. His poems have appeared in The Blood Machine, Chiron Review, LUMMOX, Nerve Cowboy, Pink Litter, and other underground publications. He is a Bennington College dropout.


Welcome Back To Work Interview by John D Robinson

‘What? if anything
did you miss about
not being at work
during your 2 weeks
annual leave?’
‘The use of the
company printer’
I answer honestly
‘and nothing else’
I add
‘Are you sure?’
I’m asked
‘Yeah; I’m as sure
as Hemingway was
the very moment he
pulled the trigger’
he shook his head,
frowning and then
finished the routine
‘Welcome back’.


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); a contributor to the 2016 48th Street Press Broadside Series; his work appears widely in the small press and online literary online journals including Rusty Truck; Red Fez; Outlaw Poetry; Degenerate Literature; Haggard & Halloo; Beatnik Cowboy; Boyslut; Anti Heroin Chic; In Between Hangovers; Your One Phone Call; he is married and lives in the UK with his wife a dog 3 cats and copious amounts of wine.


Time Travelers by Nalini Priyadarshni

Sprawled on the shore of forever
We are time travelers
Talking to each other across
Dusks and dawns of tomorrows
Toasting our marshmallows
In the bonfires of yesterdays
Sipping amnesia we pour into
Each other’s cups to heal
Wounds on our feet that keep
Changing shapes of our journeys
Like maps we abandoned after a brawl
In the bar that offered us tepid beer
With reheated fish that was beginning to fall apart
All we wanted to change was the music
But they wont let us anywhere near the jukebox
Men with gold chains and Rolex watches
With devotional songs for ringtones
Who laughed loudly at the jokes
Women in slinky saris whispered in their ears
Did not want our songs after they pocketed our coins

We are time travelers
Forever making beds on crossroads
Patting our pockets for stolen kisses at gloaming
Eyes fixed on horizons livid with promises
Of soft beds and steaming masala chai
Listening to chapattis being slapped on gridles
As jars of mango pickle waited on wall
Their mouths covered with mulmul torn from
Mother’s discarded sari bought from Dhaka
We wore as children in summer afternoons
When the family took refuge in a single room
Cooled by khus padded giant cooler for a nap
And we, playing under the canopy of mango trees,
assumed identities other than our own
Took out forbidden toys and invited neighbors we
Were not allowed to play with
Stole raw mangoes entrusted to our protection
Until their tang lacerated our tongues

We are time travelers
forever departing and arriving in pieces
Held together by long strands of memories
Mother rolled and tucked in the cloth pouch

Hanging by her mirror, every time
she combed her hair with a sigh
To those we call home, braving
Wind blast in our faces without flinching
With hair so short and sparse that can’t be parted
in middle or tied into neat plaits
Telling stories of lovers we almost made love to
To lovers we would never make love to
When we grow tired of playing pachisi
With pawns of time held in place under our tongues
Knowing there are no winners or losers
Other than sap of our imagining, gurgling in
Hollow of our chest waiting to bloom or wilt

We, the time travelers, sprawl and dream
Of glistening shells we broke open
And sweet sorrow of losing innocence
Drunk on apocryphal on the shore of forever


Nalini Priyadarshni is a high school teacher, writer and editor. Her work has appeared at numerous magazines and international anthologies including Mad Swirl, Camel Saloon, Dukool, In-flight Magazine, Poetry Breakfast, The Riveter Review, The Open Road Review and The Yellow Chair. She lives in, India with her husband and two feisty kids.


Cousin’s Body by Domenic Scopa

I never told this-
I saw my cousin’s body convulse,
one last time,
before they covered it with a sheet,
his pupils relaxing on the priest
as if he had a final sin
to confess
before he reached the flames.
It was impossible
to watch him buckle up
for another fate,
another sky breathing its solace,
or to see him in that hospital bed
as one
being consoled or purified.

I was half-alarmed,
to arrive so quickly
and witness him collapse
just minutes after the collision,
the snowflakes like confetti,
in the scream of red and blue LEDs-
If only he could have read
the razor edge of that curve
                        in the road,
and the power of the snow plow,
droning with its diesel,
as it shoved a pile
into his lane-

How hard it must be for poor Frankie,
lost in mania,
wherever he wanders,
with the smell of gasoline still on him,
his wonderful eyes rigid and relentless
as if locked in a debate
between the thrill of speeding
and the risk of arrest.
Anyone, man or spirit,
would be moved by his fierce contradictions-

Worm-bound, faces decomposed,
                        voices only dust,
they must nod to him and smile
in the silk darkness.

Domenic Scopa is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the 2014 recipient of the Robert K. Johnson Poetry Prize and Garvin Tate Merit Scholarship. He holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His poetry and translations have been featured in Poetry Quarterly, Reed Magazine, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Belleville Park Pages, and many others. He is currently an adjunct professor for the Changing Lives Through Literature program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is also a copyeditor for The Tishman Review and a manuscript reader for Hunger Mountain.  

Visuals… He’s Giving Us Fucking Visuals Again! by Paul Tristram

For Neath Paula, Rest In Peace, your dark days are over

“Where? Show me… quickly.”

“Up at that ‘Your One Hangover’.
My laptop’s fucked.
Where’s your phone, hurry.”

“Oh fuck, it’s in Cash Converters again
until Child Benefit Day.
What did he say?”

“Oh, you know… cute girl,
short skirt, kilt or something.
Pretty as a picture and all that kack.
Fingers & tongues caressing…
Fuck it, I can’t remember properly…
I’m not the poet he is…
Oh, she pissed on him!”


“Yeah, I know, and he liked it,
I think, either that or he didn’t mind?
He was lost in the magical moment,
whatever the fuck that means?
I wouldn’t like it myself
but then he got his cock out!”

“OMG, tell me?”

“Oh you know what he’s like…
something about a burning crescendo.
Losing a small part of his soul inside her
with the ensuing explosion.
And pre-cum on the inside of her white thigh
the shape of Pinocchio’s dildo… no, elbow.
Fuck it, let me get my fucking coat and fags,
we’ll go to Wetherspoon’s on the High Street
and blag or slag our way online.”

Scribblings Of A Madman

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/

Where The Spirit Shines And My Pride Blocks Out All The Light by John Grochalski

the cat howls
her death rattle in the morning
for two and a half hours
while i sculpt shitty fictions
and the sun boils outside
like a rotten egg
and now i have these kids
making a huge card for a politician
thanking him for whatever
we thank politicians for these days
and they are drawing
flags and moons and flowers and rockets
and more flags and smiley faces
writing god bless the u.s.a.
all over the thing
while i think about putting the cat down
and killing this novel for the third time
when out of nowhere
she shoves her cell phone in my face
and there is the politician looking back at me
smiling and magical and american
then she asks
her childlike smile as precious as a basket of puppies
why are you so ugly
when he’s so handsome?
and i have an answer for her somewhere
i swear i really do
somewhere deep down in me
where the spirit shines
and my pride blocks out all the light
and i’d say it
if only i could give myself
some cold, hard words
learn to speak the trifling language
of self-preservation
once again.


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.

Let Loose by Stefanie Bennett

What’s the tea-
On the golf
In the rain?

Stephanie Bennett

Stefanie Bennett has published several books of poetry, a novel & a libretto… tutored at The Institute of Modern Languages & worked with Arts Action for Peace. Of mixed ancestry [Irish/Italian/Paugussett-Shawnee] she was bourn in Queenslans, Australia. Her latest poetry title is “The Vanishing.”