it was the first day of the Festival
and I was running like a mother
down a narrow cobblestone street
and I heard a scream
and looked back
at one of the bulls
which had speared a big guy
who went up in the air
like a rag doll
and I ran like a motherfucker
and got in front of a fat guy
and then Jake
alongside of me
and I said “Jake! You dirty old–
pass me the wine skin!”
and I grabbed the bag and took a big squirt,
letting the stuff hit the back of
before I swallowed,
and Jake and me made it
into the bull ring
along with all the other
Wayne F. Burke’s poetry has appeared in a variety of publications (including Your One Phone Call). His three published poetry collections, all from BareBack Press, are WORDS THAT BURN, DICKHEAD, and KNUCKLE SANDWICHES. A fourth collection, A LARK UP THE NOSE OF TIME, is due out in 2017. His chapbook PADDY WAGON is published by Epic Rites Press. He lives in the central Vermont area (USA).
Houdini gawks into spirit world
when sudden punch sends him spilling
from his own guts, looking on a city
spread out pretty in the sunlit dawn,
yelling, “Holy centennial,” begins tapping
floor boards & table tops for all
to hear until Ouija offers
to channel phone calls from the other
side, slight of hand pitches letters
like Niagra falls, spraying tricks
& cinema miracles in a fount of new
wisdom—spelling: “see your
palm reader twice a year,
call psychic hotline, future world
reading is the real thing, crystal
ball television, horoscope tourniquet
not a noose but medical miracle
for the tomorrow-blind”—
Ouija pulls brake on her axle,
catching on metaphysical,
sending back: “please insert proper
nickle fee to continue your call”—
Houdini neglects coin-song jingle,
feels the cut, Ouija spelling his last
words then like spirit death—
“can the jive, however brighter
on the other side, need all the help
we can get”
A multi-media artist living near Washington, DC, Jeff Bagato produces poetry and prose as well as electronic music, glitch video, sticker art, and pop surrealism paintings. Some of his poetry has appeared in Empty Mirror, Futures Trading, In Between Hangovers, Otoliths, Your One Phone Call, and Zoomoozophone Review. His published books include Savage Magic (poetry), Cthulhu Limericks (poetry), The Toothpick Fairy (fiction), and Dishwasher on Mars (fiction). A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at http://jeffbagato.wordpress.com
the three arab girls across from me
are complaining that they didn’t like the service
they received in the dunkin donuts
and i don’t like that the woman sitting in front of me
is blasting an inane sitcom on her iphone
laughing like a hyena and slapping a metal bar
while i’m trying to read baldinger’s poems
it’s easy not to like anyone or anything
coming home from work on the bus
we’ve come so far in our day and back into so little
these annoyances, this having to deal with one another
as civil specimens in a world we know
is careening out of our control
no one on this bus is reading poems
and maybe that’s a good thing
to most of us it’s just another saturday evening on the B1
tired, greasy roaches cramped into this death cylinder
with bright fluorescent lights and the faint scent of urine
with a bus driver who looks at us when we get on
as if deciding who can live or die
sad bags of flesh are we
still i wonder, in this hostile political climate
what exactly happened to the arab girls in the dunkin donuts
what was said to make them so initially angry
aside from shitty service and bad coffee
but then they all start blasting their cell phones in unison
tv shows and music and some strange bleating siren sound
that makes my left eye twitch
and the bus becomes a cacophony of racket
a new and undiscovered layer of misery
and i don’t care who said what to whom
or if world war three pops off this very night
i put down baldinger’s poems and i just sit there
unable to decide if i feel more like dante or columbus
finally realizing in the end
that i just
feel like shit.
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.
who to dial
with your one
cousin twice removed
Long Island Medium
the lady with
the alligator purse
will drop five
at the beckon
how to know
who is left best
to tell you
every little thing
is gonna be
Wanda Morrow Clevenger is a Carlinville, IL native. Over 369 pieces of her work appear in 132 print and electronic publications. A magazine-type blog updated at her erratic discretion is here: http://wlc- wlcblog.blogspot.com/ She is currently polishing a full-length poetry manuscript.
Chewing upon a disgruntled knucklebone,
an echo, if you will,
of Yesterday’s crunching departure.
He side-streets the electric-blue early evening,
evading flashing lights,
and the foolish eaters of half-promises.
Beware his shadowed eyes…
they hold a cold reasoning
foreign and absolutely at odds
with the common way of thinking.
If there is a short cut to take?
He’ll dead-end it behind him, completely.
The Swagger hides his true meaning…
wicked smile, honey-traps the malice.
No mercy, no quarter, no cat & mouse games.
The sounds of violence are deafening…
yet, hidden cleverly away
until split-seconded jack-in-the-boxed
into a cornered face, baffled and bewildered…
with absolutely no chance of flight nor retreating.
They broadcast me, the movie, the museum tour—
read my diary, stream my recorded phone sex
to my mom in the court pew, project me on the
wall in just pigtails, publish my implant scars.
Life changed when I dyed my hair, killed, answered
questions, got jailed. I’m bone pale, untouched.
Hell rushes in closer. Boredom around bed poles
singes the linens, wakes me—it’s making me old.
It hurts to believe in fate, that I was destined to
endure his foolish choices. Only God’s voice I hear.
But dude was careless with my heart, airing my crazy
even in death, when I just wanted him to be mine.
Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in Madrid, San Juan, and three dozen other cities, but now her main jobs are to hang out with her family and write more poetry. Her new chapbook, Soul Full of Eye, is available on Amazon.com. Find more of her poetry at http://caththegreat.blogspot.com
Is there someone you call darling,
Someone you have passed through the barriers
Of your own strangeness to love?
Leaving the platitudes, the template greetings,
As scraps for me to live on.
Now you have burst in on me
Shaking yourself like a cat.
Carrying the storm
It’s no fun being a dyspraxic with a deficit visual memory. Imagine if Sylvia Plath had to do formatting- she’d have topped herself even sooner…. Poetry keeps me sane, the rest drives me nuts and I’ve won no awards. And there’s nothing wrong with Readers Wives, my Mum was one.
Outside our bedroom window
a poplar bows and greets us
morning and night.
In German, poplar is female,
and we talk about the tree
as our friend, our dear poplar.
Every year your father threatens
to cut her down because she’s grown
so tall and slender, a danger
to the roof if there’s a storm.
But she’s our friend, we say,
and friends with the ivy that grows
on the brown-gray façade of the building
next to ours, friends with the many birds
that scurry through its dark-green leaves.
In the summer, the air that comes into
our bedroom through the open window
is cool and smells of limestone and grass,
of coals and firewood in the winter,
although who still heats with wood and coal?
An unsolved mystery of our city.
We rest our heads against checkered pillows
and look out the window, listen to the sweet
susurrus of our friend, the poplar, watch her
tender movements, delicate gestures.
I love you, you say.
I know, I answer. I love you, too.
Julia Knobloch is a journalist and translator turned project manager and emerging poet. She recently won the 2017 Poem of the Year prize from Brooklyn Poets. Her writing can be found in Green Mountains Review, Yes, Poetry, in between hangovers, poetic diversity, and with Brooklyn Poets.
They waited for him to cross the playground
To get him in the sand where the traction for running
was not so good.
Away from street traffic and prying eyes.
And when they pounced, there was no mercy.
Five of them, masked.
Raining down blows.
Having never met the target before.
And when he fell to the ground
that got them excited.
Balling up only increased the frenzy.
Spitting up blood so they could film it.
Rifling through his pockets for his wallet.
One slicing off the end of his finger
for a souvenir.
Blacking in and out sometime later,
he remembered two young girls checking his pockets,
but the haul was gone.
Laughing as they walked off
as one would at a comedy
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.
Feet step over cracks-
some cracks are steeper than others…
that’s when two tall, anemic men in
well-fitted suits appear out of a sleek,
long black car; they’re silent, avoiding eye contact
with onlookers as they both pull white latex gloves
over their gangly fingers, as if they were preparing to perform
surgery publically, or handling an antique vose at a crime scene.
One suited man grabs the immobile victim by his legs
and the other man picks him up under his arms;
they wrap him in a maroon bag and zip it up.
They carefully place the man in back of
the black car and it slowly sputters away.
An ice cream truck drives cautiously down the block;
children lick their cones clean, while the bloodstain congeals.
Steven Allan Porter was born February 5, 1992 in Coral Springs, FL to a Jewish mother and a German father. His influences include: Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, Bob Kaufman, Steven Jesse Bernstein, Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Simic, and Louis-Ferdinand Celine. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California and spends his time reading, writing, playing music, and helping his cat, Maisy, catch flies.