That Undertaker’s Creepy… Just Look At His Fingernails, Ew! by Paul Tristram

Ghostly pale white skin with a bluish hue
like a morgue-frozen corpse…
I doubt he was born to anything but this trade.
Eyes which resemble bloodless bullet holes,
thin grey, stretched cobwebbed hair
almost phosphorescent,
beneath his Stovepipe Top Hat.
Look at the dandruff upon his shoulders,
it’s like cloud-gazing,
see, there’s a half skull & cross bones shape
upon the left hand side.
That protruding, pointed chin,
excuse me whilst I shiver,
is the stuff of nightmares,
and the crooked nose, I bet it’s natural,
and that ‘Violence’ and ‘Accident’ were not needed.
As Solemn as Debt…
trailing a foul aroma of mildew and urine.
The chalk dust upon his Herringbone sleeve cuffs
makes it look as if he’s been shoving his hands
into the gaping abyss in his spare time.
But, those long, slender fingers,
Oh My God Have Mercy,
are enough to make you swear out loud…
the nails are the colour of dead fish eyes.
I am really not at all happy, I could cry,
with him touching our poor Jeffrey,
it’s sending shivers all up my petrified spine.

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/

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For Gus Blaisdell, Sort Of by Carl Mayfield

Glasses are no help
when I’m looking for you.
Eating today where the sidewalk
meets the Frontier Café
I am reminded
how a cinnamon roll
can be a time machine.

Unsad, reading what
passes for language,
I think of you, Gus,
think of your voice,
not exactly booming
but not timid either.

Your presence balanced
with your absence
beckons, but no contact.
Mired in consciousness,
how can I keep up with you?
No matter–I never could anyway.
Now that you’ve dropped
your shoe size and your name,
any chance we could be pals?

Carl Mayfield’s most recent chapbooks are All the Way Up and High Desert Cameos. Lacking the decency to be discouraged, he pushes on.

Closing Time by Alan Catlin

She was maybe 19 and had a swollen
eye lid that suggested a right cross late
at night, broken bottles, arguments,
disfiguring confrontations that always ended up
in jail.
In profile, she looked worse, strung out
downtown with a card under her face
that said Albany Police Department.

Her seven sisters in crime were more
bummed out than she was: half dead
in their middle teens, bags sagging
under their eyes, skin popping tattoos.
Off screen you could see them selling
their souls, if they ever had one,
for a used needle, a six pack of beer
and a pack of unfiltered cigarettes.
They would have been better off pregnant
than where they were now, screaming
their heads off, crawling walls, fingernails
broken down to the flesh almost to the bone,
bleeding cold turkeys in a place
where no one cared.
I said:”I don’t know any of them and
didn’t want to.”

But I knew them all.
The cop that asked, folded up his stuff
chugged his second Lite beer and said:
“Just thought I’d ask, you never know
what you can find out at closing time
in a neighborhood bar.”
At 4AM you never know.

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.

Situation by Sanjeev Sethi

In the realm of a muddled and messy silo
not of my hiring, I cache proxemics of
irreducible flavors, from uncertainties of
a patented trim. Sky crochets analogies
that aren’t for me. High seas bristle with
wisps of suspicion. Sans water wings, a
non-swimmer, I’m left to the adventitious.

Sanjeev Sethi

Sanjeev Sethi is the author of three books of poetry. His most recent collection is This Summer and That Summer (Bloomsbury, 2015). A Best of the Net 2017 nominee, his poems are in venues around the world: The Stray Branch, Ann Arbor Review, First Literary Review-East, Right Hand Pointing, Grey Sparrow Journal, The Synesthesia Anthology: 2013-2017, Scarlet Leaf Review, Peeking Cat Anthology 2017, Communicators League, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.

 

Ballpark by James Benger

I drove everyone to the little league game
in my over-the-hill station wagon.
The wagon originally belonged
to her husband,
and I felt she took a certain comfort
riding shotgun
as she did all those years earlier.

Beforehand, we’d had a small meal,
she hardly ate;
couple spoonfuls of corn.

Sitting on the bottom bench
of the aluminum bleachers
in the evening July sun,
watching my sister at bat
(possibly her last at bat ever),
Grandma bent over,
wretched up mucusy corn
into the dirt and cigarette butts.
It didn’t take long,
and when she was done,
she gently put a hand on my shoulder,
said:
“Son, can you take me back to your house?”

I loaded her back into the wagon,
this time, her five-foot-nothing,
ninety-pound frame
sprawled across the back bench seat.

Got her upstairs to the
living room of the spit-level,
laid her on the couch,
got her a glass of water,
made her promise she’d be okay
while I went back to the park,
picked up the rest and brought them home.

A half a year later,
she sunk into the beyond,
several states away,
as I desperately tried to finish high-school,
and recovered from a back injury
sustained on I-70,
the same wreck
that ended my sister’s baseball career.

Going on two decades later,
I still can’t imagine a world without her,
and I still get nauseous when I think of
her helpless eyes
asking me to take her home.

James Benger

James Benger is a father, husband and writer. He is the author of two fiction ebooks, “Flight 776” and “Jack of Diamonds” and two chapbooks of poetry, “As I Watch You Fade” and “You’ve Heard It All Before. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and son.

Notice Pasted On Barry’s Front Door by Rodney Wood

NO CANVASSERS, SALESPERSONS, JUNK MAIL OR RELIGIOUS BODIES, ESPECIALLY

no Witnesses, Divine Missionaries, Southern Baptists or Assemblies
no one waiting for spaceships, asteroids, planets or shopping malls
no one from the Church of Maradonna or Flying Spaghetti Monsters
no one wearing temple garments, hair shirts, tin foil or nothing at all
no one who plays golf or is tough as Lee Van Cleef
no one demanding money, my signature, email or twitter account
no one making blackmail threats or calling for divine retribution
no one waiting for the end of the world or the start of a new one
no one talking about the rapture, reincarnation or resurrection
no one humming Rachmaninov, or Snow Patrol’s “on/off”
no Buddhas, idols, flagellants ghosts or cartoon characters
no witch smellers, zombies, virgins, mummies, firebirds or oracles
no devils, dancers, grim reapers, dragons, dervishes, or snakes
no one with light shining through their eyes or from their assholes
no one dressed in cast offs or wearing make up like Boris Karloff
no one carrying busts of Madonna, Princess Diana or suicide pills
no incorruptible bodies, purifying corpses, bones or tiny fragments
no priests, bishops, preachers, rabbis, imams or their equivalent
no one selling pardons, chickens, cows, relics or shares in a well
no one with a hiccough, a cough or pulling a plough

NOW YOU’VE WASTED TIME READING THIS NOTICE YOU CAN PISS OFF!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Rodney Wood is retired and lives in Farnborough. Currently jointly runs an open mic in Send His work has recently appeared in magazines such as Tears in the Fence, Envoi and Magma.His first pamphlet, Dante Called You Beatrice, was published by The Red Ceiling Press in September this year.

My Life As A Suit Case by James Walton

you know before it happens
that malignant sock sticking out
giving the tongue to any onlooker
the handle grip looser than it was
no longer in control        as if we ever are

for years it flew at you sleepless
open and grinning swallowing the lot
no separation of the clean or used
a whale to your subconscious krill
the events tumbling in      losing magnetism

still my heart is going going
a bird caught in a room of mirrors
it will slow to a puff within a cheek
a lanteen opportunity of reflection
in felucca slow rescue     to follow markers

each piece where the current
takes its slow swab of your being
rounds up the loose stray events
sits on the bulging aspirant lid
writes the prescription of how to pack     by an unknown hand

James Walton

James Walton is a poet published in newspapers, journals and anthologies. He’s been a Librarian, a cattle breeder, but most of the time a Public Sector union official. Short listed twice for the ACU National Literature Prize, a double prize winner in the MPU International Poetry Prize, and Specially Commended in The Welsh Poetry Competition – his collection ‘The Leviathan’s Apprentice’ was published in 2015.

The Dark Beauty Of It All Disturbs Me Into Magical Reaction by Paul Tristram

Tilting… first this way and then the other…
I Centre with a Focused Shudder
then EXPLODE into forward motion.
Out of range sirens lullaby…
owl-less boughs and charcoal skies
fermenting in mishap and mischief.
I have become a ricocheting Eccchhhooo…
pinballing neon midnight city streets.
She is a homeless jigsaw puzzle piece,
stroking a stray tom cat
upon the Harbour kerbside,
pretty enough, in her own way.
Yet, I have no time nor inclination
to confuse my zigzag
with complicated consideration…
the price, besides being too hiGH,
involves deceleration.
Each swift beer becomes a raMP,
you fluid-shuffle the heaving crowds,
melting around doorways
and always finding your feet
two steps before Landing.
I’d touch you but it would hurt both of us
and I am always merely visiting
and charging-on-through.
Filling the spaces with chaotic fists
and abstract, weaving fingers.
They have positioned The Graveyard
in the wrong place…
it is in the way of both Hillside and Ocean.

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/

 

Oil is the New Sugar by Carl Mayfield

fossil fuel
puts our cars in the driver’s seat
as we zip our destruction along
a sweet spot we once called
                                        the earth
the only place we can live
without a puffy suit

lacking the courage
to face withdrawal
we fail to see
the only intervention
is remembering
that machines
                can be turned off
and a walk
is a wonderful way
to prevent bedsores

Carl Mayfield’s most recent chapbooks are All the Way Up and High Desert Cameos. Lacking the decency to be discouraged, he pushes on.

Just Another Dangerous Rhetorical Device by Alan Catlin

“and the aircraft overhead are not at war”
Buk

“The body alive to its impulses, trying to crush it….”
Anne Shaw

It was always night in
the formal garden of their love.
Who knew where the bodies were
buried they feared might return?
Or who the case workers were,
their outstretched hands extended,
offering solace, the most basic sort
of help to them, when they felt almost
totally deranged just being here,
in this world, this prearranged place,
so out of sorts they felt hypnotized,
half-awake at best, as if in some infra-
red photographed dream, so luminous
their inner eyes hurt just to think of
where they were, where they had been
and where they were going next.
Nothing could be salvaged except
the ruined negatives of their lives,
so enlarged now they resembled
grotesque parodies of people.
Looked like that moment just after
an atomic bomb had been dropped,
when everything was so sharp and
so clear before the tsunami wind hit….
neither one of them quite having
the energy to break away from this place,
each other, anything at all.  The closer
they became, the more she felt that
sharing space with him was like being
on a flat bed train car going nowhere
too fast with nothing to hold onto.

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.