Worn, Soiled, Obsolete by Scott Silsbe

There’s a man in the philosophy aisle of the bookstore
leaning against the shelves, thumbing through various
philosophy books, reading to himself, and animatedly
laughing aloud. I don’t want to confront him about it.

I call my boss’s cell phone and I can tell that he’s at
a high-profile tennis match by the way he answers,
saying, in a near whisper, “Call you back in a bit.”

Behind the front desk, there is a collage of notes
my coworkers have stuck there at over the years.
I just noticed a new one. It has a phone number
and then reads, “Ray had a kung fu book stolen.”

Scott.Silsbe - Copy

Scott Silsbe was born in Detroit. He now lives in Pittsburgh. His poems have appeared many places including Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, and the Cultural Weekly. He is the author of two poetry collections: Unattended Fire (Six Gallery Press, 2012) and The River Underneath the City (Low Ghost Press, 2013).

No Longer Here by James Babbs

almost summer and
some time in the night
I’m awakened
the sound of the rain
falling hard against the window
flashes of lightning
flickering on the walls
followed by thunder and
I have trouble
getting back to sleep
this sense of dread draped over me
heavy blanket weaved with regret
waiting there in the darkness
the empty half of the bed
pushing against my back
reminding me over and over
you’re no longer here


James Babbs is a writer, a dreamer, a three-time loser and an all-around nice guy who just wants to be left alone. James is the author of Disturbing The Light(2013) & The Weight of Invisible Things(2013) and has hundreds of poems and a few short stories scattered all over the internet.

Kiss Me Victoria Lucas and You Will See How Important I Am by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

She complains that she can’t eat in the lunchroom
at work anymore
that she is too sensitive to the sounds of people chewing
she says the sound of it makes her sick
that she cannot bring herself to look at them
so I ask her what she does at lunch now
and she says that she eats in her car
with the music on loud
so she doesn’t have to hear
herself chewing
and turns the rear view mirror around
so she doesn’t have to
see it.
Then I pull up her shirt
and start sucking on her breasts
very loudly.
Doesn’t it sound like someone eating spaghetti,
I ask,
slurping back a real big mouthful?
Pulling away
she hits me on the head
with the bottom of the tissue
This must be what it is like
to be in an abusive relationship.
I tell her as much
but she isn’t having it.
Then I walk into the kitchen
and cuss out the oven
for not being good enough
for Sylvia Plath.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan Black & White

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a happily unmarried proud father of none. His work can be found both in print and online. He has an affinity for dragonflies, discount tequila, and all things sarcastic.


Hustlin’ The Harpsicord by Paul Tristram

Tis the ‘Groupies’ which keep you warm of an evening.
Except, on those extremely rare occasions
when their husbands and masters
are not playing dice, cards
or off shunting a scullery maid or kitchen wench.
These frilly cuffs are an absolute nightmare
to dance and pound the wooden keys with.
I ripped the left sleeve completely off,
with my teeth, right up to the elbow
several nights ago in a brandy and claret nihilistic fury.
The powdered wig puts the lice to sleep,
but, the satin pantaloons play havoc
with the sweat-rash between my crotch and arsehole
making it burn and itch like a tuppenny bitch.
Luckily, I’ve got my syphilitic cock
dangling outside of the ‘Fall Front’, AaaahhH.
It’s young Jane’s ‘Coming Out’ party
and there’s a five guinea wager
on who’s dose of the pox
she’s carrying around come the morrow?
‘It Must Be Mine’ he mantras inside his noggin
as he winks and mixes a snarl with a smirk at the ladies.
‘Besides, it was me who gave it to her mother,
grandmother, older sister and all three cousins…
My God, that was indeed a most spectacular weekend.’

black derby

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/

Hating Change by Mather Schneider

The bartender gives the guy
his change, including 5

pennies. I’m out
of nickels, the bartender says.

The guy looks
at me. I hate pennies,

he says, I wish they’d
just eliminate pennies. I

smile and say, Why don’t you
leave them on the bar?

He looks down, thinking…
Then he gathers up all the change

including the pennies
and puts them in his pocket

smiling and wagging a finger at me
like I almost had him fooled.


Mather Schneider is 46 years old. He has had hundreds of poems and stories published since 1993 in places like Rattle, Nerve Cowboy, Slipstream, Nimrod, River Styx and Smokelong. He has 3 full length books, DROUGHT RESISTANT STRAIN, HE TOOK A CAB and THE SMALL HEARTS OF ANTS, with another, PRICKLY, coming early in 2017. He divides his time between Tucson, Arizona and northern Mexico, where his wife is from. He earns his living by driving a cab.

The Art of the Deal by Jeff Bagato

Ghosts drifting off from the K St. dead
mingle in Dupont with the bookstores
and the wines, circumnavigating
a hobo desire to shock the set
and dust breadcrumbs on the fountain
for pigeon-lover’s stew—sing
my loving heart past photographs
of the real thing; ghosts on
bicycles stuff galleries with
ectoplasmic white; a hope
for mind extinguished—
ghosts heroic to fashion insults
from term paper ribs; the eyes
are lazy—the art of the deal
straight on by morning
and nobody sees the ghosts
for all the shadows of
the dead


Jeff Bagato is a writer and electronic musician living near Washington, DC. Some of his poetry has appeared in Zoomoozophone Review, Otoliths, Clockwise Cat, Zombie Logic Review, Full of Crow, Exquisite Corpse, and Chiron Review. His most recent book of poems, Savage Magic, came out in early 2016. Other poetry books include And the Trillions and Spells of Coming Day. He has also published several science fiction novels, including The Toothpick Fairy, Computing Angels, and Dishwasher on Venus. A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at http://jeffbagato.wordpress.com.

All The Magic Is Gone by J.J. Campbell

two days after christmas
and you’re busy trying
to find the right time
to kill yourself

one demon on the left
shoulder screams the

and the demon on the
right shoulder mumbles
something about when
the clock strikes midnight

he’s been busy drinking
mixed drinks at the bar

another demon trapped
in the bottom of your
soul offers excuses why
you should wait for a
few months

i look over at all the
empty bottles and figure
at some point my liver
will scream and throw
in the towel

the demon in my head
flips tails and makes
another drink

he’s in control and is
willing to always press
his luck

besides, when you’re
blessed with the genes
of an alcoholic

saying no is not a
fucking option


J.J. Campbell (1976 – ?) has given up the farm life and is now trapped in suburbia. He’s been widely published over the years, most recently at The Australian Times, Horror Sleaze Trash, In Between Hangovers, Mad Swirl and Bad Acid Laboratories, You can find him most days bitching about something on his highly entertaining blog, evil delights. (http://evildelights.blogspot.com)

Frieda And The Colonel by David Spicer

Angelica, Rabbit, and I had
met the colonel in high school.
He was a disturbed freeloader
who stared at teachers with bold
regret, as though he couldn’t
torture them yet. Ruby-eyed
Angelica had no shame, and I
had a sidekick: Rabbit. Enrique,
the colonel, was no colonel.
Frieda, his hag grandmother, dubbed
him that and groped him, decided
his destiny, purged his weakness:
the love of people. She sat erect
in a cat-scratched armchair
and preached to the four of us
behind the moon craters in her face:
This is your lesson. Join
the underground and eat a physics
sandwich. Sleep in pyramids
with Aztecs. Don’t watch
television except science fiction.
Always address each other as Sir
and Madam. Go! Swim in lava
and arrange your destinies.
And Pampacitas, she glared at us,
swallow your pride and serve
the colonel. We tried, but that evil
bastard surprised us and joined
a seminary a year to the day
that Frieda dropped dead after
a meal of mushrooms, rack of lamb,
quinoa, and three sweet sips of absinthe.

David Spicer

David Spicer has had poems accepted by or published in The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Reed Magazine, Circle Show, Slim Volume, Yellow Mama, Jersey Devil Press, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., The Kitchen Poet, and elsewhere. He is the author of one full-length collection and four chapbooks, is the former editor of raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books, and lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Taught To Treat All by Paul Brookes

he sits opposite my desk

hands me the job card
“I want to apply for this,” he says.
I can smell him from here.

In the unemployment benefit office
he is labelled N.F.A. No Fixed Abode.

I’m taught to treat all equally.
I arrange an interview
with his prospective employer.

Once he has left I am called
to a meeting with my boss.

“What were you thinking of
When you arranged an interview

for the likes of him? Employees
Want decently dressed applicants?”

“I thought he would clean himself
up to go to the interview,” I offered.

“You should have called me, as if
you were calling the employer.

I’m sorry you’re not suitable
for this position. I’m terminating
your employment with immediate effect.”


Paul Brookes was poetry performer with “Rats for Love” and his work included in “Rats for Love: The Book”, Bristol Broadsides, 1990. His first chapbook was “The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley”, Dearne Community Arts, 1993. He has read his work on BBC Radio Bristol and had a creative writing workshop for sixth formers broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live.

Drive-Thrus & Super-Bowls by Nathanael william Stolte

I see the warped minds of my
Generation holding the reigns
Fat off sucking marrow
From the brown bones of america
Over educated & unemployable
Distracted by manufactured
Apathy & the mirage of plenty
Seeking wisdom in
Coffee ground soothsayers
Shooting-up divinity
Tryin’ to catch the heavenly nod
While the Tower burns &
The wheel slowly turns
Churning out cadavers
Over there

Prestidigitation campaigns
Brought to you by the

Gagging on ambition
Slinging self-loathing
While dirty kids ride
Grain-cars west & south
With familiars & louse &
Crystal-meth& wild-sweet-freedom
Sharing rigs because
It doesn’t really
Fucking matter anymore
Anyway now does it
They’ll keep doling-out fear
From the cathode ray
While some delve into
Spiritual growth of yoga & tofu
Doing chi like drugs
Never shutting up
Always shutting down
Booting up computers &
Cellphone& smack

Frightened of anything that don’t look like him
Can’t even tell what he looks like anymore

With a gun in his mouth & tears in his eyes
Unable to recognize it’s his hand holding the gun
His finger on the trigger
His heart caged in gridiron & endorsements
Roman phalanx
Concussion wealth
Big house
Big car
Big dick
Big deal

It’s our mouths around the tailpipe
In open air
While burning coal
Powers iPads

Earthquakes& fire

There is lead in the water & in her hair

Medusa’s daughters rove
Looking for asylum
See them take shelter in
Dreams of the homeless veterans
With baggy pants & no healthcare
Who sleep under bridges down where
Factory furnaces lie cold & dragons are too sick
To guard villages
The tinkerers are dead
The elementals are dead
The folk-heroes are dead
The cooking-fire is dying

Don’t let the darkness in

Nathanael William Stolte

Nathanael william Stolte is a Madcap, D.I.Y., Punk-Rock, Buffalo-bred and corn-fed poet. His work has been published via online journals across the US and Canada. His poems have appeared in print journals in the N.E. United States and he is the author of four chapbooks.