I Was Stuck Up In One by Alan Catlin

of those one horse, lakeside
towns with nothing to do
but drink beer and watch
the crows outsmart the farmers.
I decided this grill
with a neon BEER sign
in the window was as good as
any to bury a few dead soldiers.
It’s not often you get lucky
enough to find a female
bartender under the age of 109
or with an IQ over that of
Bessie the Cow but this was
one of those trips.
After a few, she’s starting to
look real good and she can even
carry on a half way intelligent
conversation with words used in
it more complicated than long
neck Bud, not that I was overly
interested in her mind.
After a couple of more, she’s
starting to look like a mighty
fine way to kill a few hours
with, and I was just like working
up enough nerve to try one of my
better come on lines when that
creep face Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
appeared on the tube.  I hadn’t
noticed him being the second coming
of the antichrist before, but
the way she was carrying on,
made me swear never to buy
another win three ticket with
the numbers 666 in it, not even
as a joke.  What she was saying
about EZ Jr. and the FBI made
headlines of The National Enquirer
seem like the Christian Science Monitor
of veracity in comparison.
I gathered Federal Agents had
planted a transistor in her teeth
that picked up messages from outer
space.  Sd.”Here, do you want to
listen?” opening her mouth real wide
and getting in my face.
Fortunately, I was just leaving anyway.
Imagine what might have happened
if I told her I was working as a
Federal Marshall.”

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.

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Ten Years Gone by James Babbs

ten years gone and
I don’t really know
what made me think of her
maybe
something I saw on the internet
or a song I heard on the radio
when I was driving home from work
she was tall and beautiful
and had long dark hair
and I guess
I didn’t know enough to
make her want to stay with me
but I hope I gave her a few laughs
and one or two good memories
and every now and then
she fondly remembers me
the same way I remember her

James Babbs-Author Photo

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.

Those That Know by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

an evening out
in the upstairs
Loomis House
was a first

Psychic Medium
Rose Fulhorst paced
the purported
haunted hotel’s
floral carpet
behind my chair

answer yes or no
she instructed
or say maybe

I found her
cognitions
notably correct

though we never
had a pet dog
best I know

though I entertain
my own take on
finessing finis

though I did get
an epic headache
and nausea
the next day

that feeling
those that know
know

wanda-morrow-clevenger

Wanda Morrow Clevenger is a Carlinville, IL native living in Hettick, IL. Over 459 pieces of her work appear or are forthcoming in 156 print and electronic journals and anthologies. Her magazine-type blog updated at her erratic discretion: http://wlc- wlcblog.blogspot.com/

The Only Witnesses by Nate Maxson

Typically expecting lightning to strike twice
I end up spending a few hours extra, post-lightum if you will
Waiting in a field for the miracle to prove itself scientifically
You can stand next to me if you want, I won’t bite (but not too close)
And I know, this bears a resemblance to the old “Linus and The Great Pumpkin” fable
Which nobody will remember in fifty years so what’s the point of explaining myself again?
Don’t get me started on the iconography of cartoon sainthood: I still have a few more years at the community college before I’m ready for my exam
And my jovial mood here at this junction despite my lack of a winter coat can probably be best attributed to my having mastered the most sublimely quiet of bird calls, the ninth degree winged mating songs or shotgun wedding ballads as the case may be
Why do you think you’re standing here?
I’d offer you something to eat
A garish communion off the decomposition of my martyrdom
But I’m afraid
(You my shadow audience and surrogate androgyne have no need to be)
I’m being whittled
By an unseen hand
Down to the pretense
Of a tree falling
And no one believing
Until the light (so we know at last it’s human) repeats a note
In the sequence infrared

Nate Maxson

Nate Maxson is a writer and performance artist. He is the author of several collections of poetry including ‘The Whisper Gallery’ and ‘The Torture Report’. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Harlequin Windmills His Fingers by Paul Tristram

… and the strangling tension Snaps!
We’re in amongst the jostling Fairground crowd,
searching for gaps, elbow-room to pry through,
people-mazed in, but pushing forwards,
even if it’s sideways for a time.
She’s carrying ‘It’ inside her breast pocket,
and was last seen exiting The Ghost Train.
It’s so hard to pick up a scent,
when everything smells like hamburgers,
sweet candyfloss and sticky toffee-apples.
The rippling half moon above,
momentarily distracts me,
as I fight off another pickpocket,
whilst zigzagging past the Penny Arcade.
Circumnavigating the teddy bear carriers,
and the slightly swinging bags of single goldfish…
I’m suddenly deafened by the screeching Twister
as it comes, at speed, sky-sliding sideways into view,
before jettisoning off, and away, at an impossible angle.
Until, at last, I spy her, crouching low
by the side of the second lot of Bumper Cars,
not yet caught, and completely alone.
I scramble up one side of The Waltzers,
and then down the other side of The Easy Rider…
before loose-stone and mud-sliding in for the prize.

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/

Crucified by Wayne F. Burke

I had them put up
every twenty yards
or so
along the Appian Way
and I had myself driven past
twice a day
and waved to them
but none
ever waved back,
the bastards,
least they could have done
was nod–
a smile would have been
polite,
but they all had
sour pusses
or else
cement faces
and some gave me
dirty looks
if you can imagine that,
me!
Imperator
Ruler of the World
universally loved
except by one or two
who live with me
and the Praetorian Guard
(who love my mother more)
and a few fickle others
like some Senators
who don’t know their ass
from their elbow
and whom
I have not yet
hung up to dry.

Wayne Burke

Wayne F. Burke’s most recently published book of poems A LARK UP THE NOSE OF TIME is available from Bareback Press. His chapbook POEMS FROM THE PLANET CROUTON, published 10-17, is available through Epic Rites Press as part of their PUNK Poetry Series. He lives in Vermont, USA.

The Ballad Of Fast Eddie by Talon (R.M. Engelhardt)

Back
In the 1970s
Fast Eddie was
An old man
Who walked
Down the streets
Of the city
Of Troy
Looking for a
Fight looking for
All the bad guys in
A child sized
Cowboy hat with
Two cap
Pistols & his
Belt looking
For the
OK Corral
On the streets
And in the
Alleyways of
The city where
He was the sheriff
Waiting for the clock
To strike

Noon

“Eat lead!”

Eddie would yell
At all the passersby’s
Who laughed
At him cap
Guns blazing in
The air
The sun the
Fastest gunslinger
In the West
This side of
Albany a legend
Who kept Troy
Safe from a world
Too hard to
Understand too
Scared to deal
With life & all
The pressures
Of the world
And of
The mind

Eddie
Liked his
Sarsaparilla
Straight up
And took no
Gruff from
Anyone another
Hero lost in time
Protecting the world
From the men in
Black hats that
We could
Never see

Eddie
Was a real
Gunfighter
A real man that
All the children
Could look up
To a man who
Was kind but
Tough but who
Didn’t see the
End coming

Until one
Day when
Eddie was casually
Walking down
The block
And got shot down
By the gas company
Maintenance man
Known to all his friends
As Tom Terrific
Who pointed his
Finger at Eddie
And said

“Draw!”

And fired

But Eddie just
Wasn’t fast
Enough
His pistols never
Leaving the holsters
In time

Pow! Pow!
Tom’s finger
Took him down
And Eddie
Pretended to
Be shot
And dropped
To the ground

And
That was
The End
Of Fast
Eddie
And he
Was sent
To a psychiatric
Hospital
Where they
Just called him

“Ed”

Talon ( R.M. Engelhardt)

Talon ( R.M. Engelhardt) is a poet/author minister who over the last 20 years has been published in such journals as Thunder Sandwich, Full of Crow, Rusty Truck, Writers’ Resist, Dry Land Lit, Hobo Camp Review & many others. He currently lives & writes in upstate NY where he hosts a monthly open mic called “The Troy Poetry Mission” http://www.rmengelhardt.com http://www.troypoetrymission.com

They Must Have Been by Alan Catlin

on a local bus tour
of public parks they
slept in after a night
of shared jugs and bonhomie.
Along for the ride are
two new converts to their way
clutching brown sacks of
no label wine for the trip.
Theirs is a riotous, back
of the bus, commando
raid, punctuated by ribald
jokes, and obscene laughter
from the toothless woman of
indeterminate age.  A few miles
of stop and go gets to be
a real drag without the niceties
of wine, song, and smoke
so they light up in pairs, only two
a match and sing hail and
farewell as they drink from
their respective beverages.
A warning about the No Smoking
signs from up front brings a
reply, “I just can’t wait, honey,
it’s been a long time” and more
laughter.  And it may be a longer
time before the next one as the bus
pulls over to a waiting party
of squad cars, officers who can’t
take a joke no matter how funny
a reading of the riot act and
public container law violations seem
to an uncomprehending audience.
It all seemed so much funnier
when they still had the jugs and
the smokes and Albany was just a short
bus ride away.

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.

 

Sometimes When It Rains I Think of Her by James Babbs

sometimes
when it rains
I think of her
lying next to me
in the bed at night
kissing each other in the dark
the rain drumming
softly on the roof
and if the rain wasn’t too heavy
we kept the window open
so we could breathe in
the fresh clean air
making love slow and easy
our sounds mixing with the rain
I remember her long dark hair
falling down around her face
and those piercing green eyes
gazing right into my soul
seeing things
I didn’t even know were there

James Babbs-Author Photo

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.

 

 

God and Work by Christopher Hopkins

We have a habit of stoning prophets
from time to time, here in Jerusalem.
Along the spine where weight and time deposit;
inheritance of winter’s long union.

So you see, our god is a jealous god,
sunk into the language, it’s heart and bone,
when Christ is trapped in short stories of good,
weighed down by the scree of the dreaming stone.

Come, coiled thoughts of a lifeless destiny,
how strong hands build these nothings of today.
While we bathe in blame of old devilry,
our communities are weathered away.

                              In the reliquiae of history,
                              the chapel at its heart stands empty.

I grew up on a council estate in Neath, South Wales during the 1970’s. This fractured landscape of machines and mountains, with the underlying ‘Hiraeth’ in welsh life has developed into my poetry.  I currently resides in Canterbury with my wife and baby daughter and works for NHS cancer services. My debut chapbook ‘Take Your Journeys Home’ is due for release with Clare Songbirds Publishing House later this year. I have been nominated the for Pushcart Prize (2018) for my poem ‘Sorrow on the Hill’ from my debut chapbook.