666 by Stephen Jarrell Williams

I woke up this way

Didn’t know I was branded
By some mega machine somewhere
Seemingly everywhere
Collecting all my info
Especially hearsay

Immense
The Thing
Once controlled but now running the show

In the beginning it just buzzed and hummed
Now it creates earthquakes
Its electrical particles charging the atmosphere
And it has learned how to snicker
As we search our skin
For its nasty little mark.

the-underground-gang-by-stephen-jarrell-williams

Not so long ago, Stephen Jarrell Williams was called by some, the Great Poet of Doom… Now, he writes at night, enthused, and waiting for the Coming Good Dawn.

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Ocher Handprints by Nalini Priyadarshni

I am growing into junipers you inhale
but refuse to prune
with the scent of new books
you pick for me
Dreaming of petrichor
I wait
and count days
between now and then
when our breath would mingle
and set our tongues on fire
What started as innocuous drizzle,
is now a torrent that drums
against my baked thirst, in rhythm with
clinking of jade and silver danglers
you bought for me in Peru
many moons before we met in ether
Soaking every drop of your laughter
that comes my way
I spring new shoots, strengthen old ones
the scent of your being mingles with my becoming
and come up as a flavor from my lungs.
Stay forever, like ocher hand prints on my heart

nalini-priyadarshni

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.

 

Yet The Sun Doesn’t Have The Courage To Die by John Grochalski

102 years old, she says to no one

my aunt, she says
she shakes the big picture she’s holding

only this isn’t her
this is my great-grandmother

she shows the whole bus her picture

my aunt died, she said
so i get this picture of great-grandma

wasn’t she beautiful?
didn’t we look alike?

a group of mexican day laborers
shake their heads in unison

muy hermosa, one shouts
before he goes back to sleeping in drywall dust

i’m sorry if i’m bothering you
she says, but i don’t know to who

but i’m very depressed
it’s hard going through somebody’s things

even if they died at 102 years old
even if you get to have this wonderful picture

she shows great-grandma around the bus again

and i got a jacket, she says
i got an old fur coat
i have it right in this bag here

but i’m very depressed, she says

it’s very depressing when someone dies
even though she had the courage to live 102 years

not many people can do that
how many people on this bus will see 102?

she looks around at the screaming kids
at the day laborers and tired mothers

at the girls singing along to songs
coming loudly off their cell phones

at the people trying to make it home from work
at a still reasonable hour

people who already look dead

didn’t we look alike? she says to me
she shows me the picture of her great-grandmother

of course she never saw 102, she says
not like my aunt

imagine that, she says to me
as i nod and turn away from the photo
to watch the sun as it starts to sink
behind one of the dull gray buildings lining the avenue

housing people who must
endure the rudiments of the day
for reasons they no longer understand

maybe for the few small moments of bliss
that come their way and make up a life

imagine 102 years and what that must feel like
all those years, she says to no one again

oh, it’s very depressing to talk about
oh, but this life, she says

it’s also such a miracle, right?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

Word Forest by Stefanie Bennett

All’s a-shimmer
        With
  The voice
  Of Autumn

  Calling…

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.”

Putting Them On by Shadwell Smith

The celebrity banana chimp man
puts napkins on his balls
eats his weight in peanuts
and frequently subscribes
to hotel shower girls

but he’s an artist
who wears his clothes
and shows us how to give.
He visits children’s wards at Christmas.
He has integrity.
Everyone knows that.

When the celebrity banana chimp man
says cheeese
he trends on social media.
Get him in your picture.
Tell your friends.
You’ve got traffic
when he puts his hand around your arse.

shadwell-smith

Shadwell is a school teacher who lives in Dunstable. His poems have appeared in a number of magazines and e-zines. He sometimes appears in pubs, clubs and coffee shops performing them.

The Trap Of Tenderness by Paul Tristram

She is captivated by your charming ways
and turned-on completely
by your approaching destruction.
Baited the wishing well,
studied all movements
(Sneakily and Successfully!)
and charted your blueprints through.
Scalpels and meat cleavers
sharpened like lightning,
ready and waiting
behind her ‘In Control’ smile.
Your Heart is the prize,
for it’s the locked gate-way
into the battlements of your Mind.
Emotional detonations and explosions
only work properly from the inside.
She’ll harvest your ‘Nice Side’
until there remains nothing
but the ‘Other Side Of That Coin’ left.
Why? Because she’s dead inside
and empty… with nothing left
but her ‘Cat & Mouse’ cruelty.
To calm and still the Hellfire & Brimstone
battering mercilessly at her predator soul.

paul smoking - Copy

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/

He Left His Soul On The Floor by Matthew J. Hall

the bird stepped from the wire
and fell like a dead burden of feathers
the man watched and thought, suicide

moments before impact the bird
spread its wings and took flight
disappearing into a dreary sky

his fellow pedestrians
a mass of swinging bags and barging shoulders
had not noticed the bird

he stepped into the road
at a pace wholly at odds
with the angry traffic
but the drivers only acknowledged him
as an incomplete thought

past the far side of the street
at the foot of the food market’s hill
there was a chalk sketch of a seaside love scene
on a pavement slab

beside the drawing sat
a tip jar
an open can of Special Brew
a tin of coloured chalk sticks
and the artist

the man
from two backward paces
saw something in the picture
and he couldn’t stop looking at it

he couldn’t see the chalked lover’s faces
but he could see they were happy
they were headed towards the sea
which the artist had created, warm and inviting

her hair and his open shirt
waved and flapped in the summer breeze
they were comfortable in each other’s secrets
his fingertips were tucked into the waist of her shorts
resting there, on her furthest hip

they knew how to fuck
how to make love
how to fight
how to fall and breathe

the man stood there like that, staring
he thought about love and loneliness
he thought about the city and suicidal birds
he wondered about happiness and the
romance of the coast

he named the pair
he called them Errol and Claire
and he knew what it meant
to hear your name spoken by the voice
of the one you love

he knew that Errol and Claire
had a hidden place on the beach
where Errol had kissed Claire’s inner thighs
pulled down her shorts
taken in her warmth, her scent, her taste

take me, Errol
she had said,
take me,
and he did

the artist shook his tip jar
I’ve poured my soul onto the floor, he said
are you going to grin at it like an idiot
or are you going to pay for it?

the man put a ten pound note
and a five pound note in the jar
which, excluding spare change
was exactly half of what he had to his name

the artist picked up his tin of chalk
and his can of Special Brew
and hurried away with his earnings
he left his soul on the floor

mathew-hall

Matthew J. Hall’s poetry chapbook, Pigeons and Peace Doves, is available through Blood Pudding Press. He reviews small press books at http://www.screamingwithbrevity.com

Loud Laughing Wenches by Jennifer Lagier

It’s Camille’s final fuckable day.
She wallows in sangria,
cynicism and Amy Winehouse.
Until tonight, didn’t realize
she’d exceeded her expiry date.
Regrets unconsummated lust
she has squandered.
Contemplates a sexless tomorrow.

Young wenches at Mozzi’s
crowd the bar, cadge free drinks
from horny tourists out slumming.
Display their long legs,
hot pink toe nails,
skanky, uplifted cleavage.

Camille remembers taut, carefree youth,
turning heads, fending off passes.
Surveys the sorry lot of sodden men
spilling beer and complaining.
Sighs, buys her own glass of wine.
Will take herself home for a night
of old schmaltzy movies.

jen-2016

Jennifer Lagier has published twelve books and in literary magazines, taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Newest books: Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Harbingers (Blue Light Press). Forthcoming chapbook:, Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Website: : : Poetry by Jennifer Lagier : :

I Talk To The Trees I Talk To The Sky by Paul Koniecki

the road ignores me
everyone squints

when they drive
into the sun

the clouds have
fevers and run

i wipe a spot
clean

and plot a course
of reconciliation

birds fly into
towers of glass

screaming out ‘police
assisted suicide’

pebbles crunch
we run

we fly
we escape the city

blades of grass
bend

in the soft breeze
like

a hummingbird’s
heart

eyes closed
dreaming of

fresh water and
free land

paul-koniecki

Paul Koniecki is a poet, performer, and founder of Pandora’s Box Poetry Showcase in the greater Dallas area. His chapbook Reject Convention was published by Kleft Jaw Press in 2015 and his poems appear a variety of places including, Richard Bailey’s film, One Of The Rough – which was recently picked up by AVIFF Cannes.

This Bloodied Nose by Jonathan Beale

To coin the crass phrase
‘….in this land of the free.’ – we
have. Is ours!

The ‘we’ and the ‘you’ I talk to –
There you are – I am speaking
at you – not, to you.

We took the heavy punches
That, were never meant for us:
War, redundancy, the life of the majority

The majority found how green
The farthest field could be.
The gate will be closed when you arrive

This bloodied nose to you and you
The overtly clear words –
Will!  Punch you back.

Stunned for the foreseeable
And how free will you be?
Blinded with your bloodied nose

Jonathan Beale

Jonathan Beale has 500 plus poems published in Penwood Review, Poetic Diversity, Ink Sweat & Tears, Down in the Dirt, Mad Swirl, Pyrokinection, Ygdrasil, Van Gogh’s Ear, The Beatnik Cowboy, The Jawline Review, Bluepepper, Jellyfish Whispers, The Outsider, and Yellow Mama. His first collection of poetry ‘The Destinations of Raxiera’ is published by Hammer & Anvil. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Destinations-Raxiera-Jonathan-Beale-ebook/dp/B018F6GWQ6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1452199641&sr=1-1&keywords=jonathan+beale He studied philosophy at Birkbeck College London and lives in Surrey England.