I Forgot To Clean Out the Car by Alyssa Trivett

Spare change piles up in the cup holder
gas station receipts litter the floor
like cigarette ashes in a high school bathroom.
They pile and we let them.
I ram the door open
and force my skeleton
through the work entrance.

Alyssa Trivett

Alyssa Trivett is a wandering soul from the Midwest. When not working two jobs, she listens to music and scrawls lines on the back of gas station receipts. Her work has appeared in Scapegoat Review, Peeking Cat, on VerseWrights.com, Walking Is Still Honest Press online, and Duane’s PoeTree site. She has fifteen poems in an upcoming anthology entitled Ambrosia, a collaboration with eight other poets, soon to be released by OWS Ink, LLC. All proceeds from the anthology will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. More information can be seen here. http://ourwriteside.com/ambrosia-ows-ink-poetry-anthology/


Daphne by David Spicer

and I met in a jazz club, The Right
Bank, where she sang Patti Page
and Doris Day, her sultry voice
moaning through cigarette smoke
and dimmed lights. A hermit,
I grinned when her white lipstick
beckoned me and my scraggy goatee.
After her set, we danced outside
in the rain to Nina Simone
on the jukebox. Her scent
reminded me of cinnamon,
and, eschewing etiquette, I asked
if she’d like a glass of burgundy.
Toothpick between chalk-white lips,
she said, More than a fireman
with a shovel in a hurricane.
I smelled her again, Bless you,
my love, I genuflected, raindrops
dripping from my eyebrows.
Arms akimbo, she pushed me against
the door, Oh, I’d love to be your jailer,
stranger. Just unbutton my blouse
like a good slave, and I did. Now,
she chains me while winking at her
Persian cat and singing in the nude,
How Much Is That Kitty in the Window?

David Spicer

David Spicer has had poems in Chiron Review, Alcatraz, Gargoyle, Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. The author of Everybody Has a Story and four chapbooks, he’s the former editor of raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He is scheduled to have From the Limbs of a Pear Tree, (Flutter Press) released in the Fall of 2017.

Aftermath by Kyle Manning

Alone at last
in the aftermath
of what was real
and I feel
if we were
to climb a holy ladder
to the stars
we’d find that
there’s no one there
to judge us and that
and only you could
coax the cosmos to
sing our human song
and only  you could
summon the gravity
required to ground me
and you did and
as a brief witness
I toast to you
tonight in my
humbled drunken
self destruction of
the first attempts to
forget a life
I’ll never be quite
strong enough
to remember

Kyle Manning

I’m Kyle Manning, sharing musings out of Portland, Oregon. I only wish to lend a hand through life’s madness by assisting an escape to the grey, where you can sit and read and rant and be loved even more for not knowing a damn thing but wholeheartedly getting it in some way.


Neck Poem by John Grey

At the base of your neck, you will find
the poet’s lips that taste but do not swallow.
To me, necks are as perfectly
soft and nibble-worthy as red velvet cake.
From this position, one side of the neck
is perfectly lost to the other, but I can
move around, indulge myself in another perspective.

Sometimes, necks are bolstered by laughter.
And there’s garrulous necks, stiff necks,
necks that twist and turn, that attach themselves to other necks.
Some necks require the warmth only another’s mouth can provide.
That’s when the cervical spine really blooms.

Skeletons in a coffin give away their flesh
but retain their neck bones.
An entire body may be startled in the night
but it’s the neck that jerks up,
that directs the eyes where to look.
In a museum, I fondled a marble neck of a bust.
It was as smooth as something you could drink from.

For some, a neck is just something to keep the face from falling.
Or to nick with a shaving razor.
Or strangle with an ugly tie.
The very back of it is the last place
a wash cloth thinks of scouring.
When it comes to dirt, the neck
is in cahoots with the short collar.
But those arc other necks,
not the one I’m nuzzling.

Teeth are drawn to the neck.
Not just the usual run of vampires but lovers.
1 include myself in the latter.
My white teeth go with the neck’s pinkness,
the mahogany walls, pale yellow of your silks.
The neck stiffens when everything from indignation
to revulsion is required.
But it’s as easy as a whistled tune,
when I have business there.

John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Silkworm work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.

Epiphany Shimmied Down Her Knickers by Paul Tristram

If I was forced to describe her…
I would say an early 1970’s Bridget Bardot
with half-inch roots.
A deep, low, melancholic voice,
close to Nico,
lamenting and heart-drumming the crooked moon.
But with Caroline Munro’s eyes and charisma
flirting bashful yet unapologetic…
as Hieronymus Bosch, turns away from the light,
to spider the left-hand wall of the room
with the Third Panel
of ‘The Garden Of Earthly Delights’
Barn owl breast feathers cradling the downward spiral
of her ‘Sssshhh-ing’ finger…
honeysuckle, beneath the nail, but not quite.
Peeling back the layers of this vast century…
oblique and abstract to a fault.
I shudder unheroically beneath chest bone,
sacrifice the health and esteem of coming mourning
to the evenings… unbalancing gains and loss.

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/

Morning After Blues by M.P. Powers

All you remember eating was a piece
of ham yesterday. And then last night on the boat,
drinking with a German buddy you’ve known
for five years who believed until two days ago
your name was Sam.
“Like, Son of Sam?” “Exactly.”
Also with you was a fluffy-haired Liverpudlian
and an Israeli named Nimrod
(who found nothing
strange about the name).

Drinking beer
and car bombs and tequila and Mexikaners
on that old docked boat.

And then waking up this morning, a swarm of bees
colonizing in your head,
mouth filled with volcanic ash, listening to the pathetic
playing of your upstairs neighbor.
Observing on the floor the pile of clothes
that wore you last night.

It’s going to be another wasted day, you tell yourself.

But then, is there not something glorious in the very
act of wasting?
Is there not an art to uncaring, to being comfortably
separated from all things?
Is there not wisdom in forgetting
about money, luck, success and hope
for a moment?

Remembering that everything eventually
finds its way
to in the same dumpster fire.
And that the life of a man
never was much more than a season’s harvest,
or a rainy day in some
seaside town
a few hundred years ago.

You roll over on your side and start feeling a little less guilty.

that fucking keyboard
and these fucking bees humming in your head
and that one fucking
piece of

You cough
up a pigeon feather
and a pile of

M.P. Powers

M.P. Powers was born in Illinois, bred in Florida, and is now based in Berlin. More info here: http://poets.nyq.org/poet/mppowers


Jupiter Rising by Ruth Z. Deming

Oh no! It happened again. He had promised himself it never would. Where was he? Lying in the cold street with a clear view of the planet Jupiter rising in the sky. He blinked a couple of times, tasted his whiskey breath and hoped to God no one saw him lying there. Could he get up? The world spun like a carousel out of control. He sat up, head down, and went with the feeling.
He was staying in The Philadelphian, a fairly nice downtown hotel, where people addressed him as Doctor Joe, a physician who could not heal himself, as had Doctor Bill and stockbroker Bob, the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Did he really want to stop drinking? This big baby who went to pieces when too many of his patients bit the dust.
Two doors down from the hotel was a cozy little bar. Its neon lights summoned him once again, as he lay staring at a street light. In fact, he could see the bar from his fifth floor window. He had a way of walking so he wouldn’t stagger.  After pushing himself up, he held his right arm to his heart, his left stuck into his back pocket.
He couldn’t help thinking of Sheriff Matt Dillon as he walked into the bar. It was dark inside. He hoped he wouldn’t see himself in the mirror, as he took his seat at the bar, but like a stigmata, there he was, ole Joseph A. Gorecki, MD, esteemed cardiologist, with sunken-in cheeks like a cancer survivor, and an emaciated body.
Easy, Joey, easy, he told himself as he balanced himself on a bar stool. Then came the familiar words he couldn’t stand. Hated, in fact, almost as much as he hated himself.
“The usual, doc?”
“Nah, I’ll have something different tonight,” he said to the chubby bartender, Barb, whose breasts wanted a good fondle from ole Doc.
“We’ve got a new beer,” she said with a smile, showing a dimple in one cheek.
She reached into the cooler and produced a bottle of Blue Moon beerHe stretched out his arm and hugged the cold beer with both hands.
“Can’t fool the Doc,” he said. “Belgian white ale. Read about it in the paper.  Bet ya didn’t know I can read.” She could smell his whiskey breath.
She laughed. He asked if she wanted to come up to his room after two when the bar closed.
“Why not?” she grinned.
He drank three beers, feeling not much of a buzz.
Soft music played. Jazz. Jimmy Smith on the organ. Gershwin tunes. Joe drummed his hands on the bar, paid his tab, left his usual ten dollar tip, and walked out, clear-headed.
He jingled his keys – minus a car key – to Room Number 503 and switched on the light. His wife, Ginny, had divorced him six years ago. Fine with him. A woman as exciting as a smelly dish rag. He hadn’t seen their three teenagers since then.
Removing every stitch of clothing, he reached into the desk drawer and pulled out The Gideon Bible. He wondered what the hell he was doing.
A light knock on the door and Barbara entered.
“Hey, good lookin,” she said, as she sat next to him on the bed.
He took her hand and kissed her fingertips and painted pink nails.
A silent television shed its light across the room. He had opened up the window as far as it would go. Not very far. Suicide was not encouraged, though Joe often thought about how he would do himself in. Often? Who was he fooling? Every day he thought of the various ways to do the deed. Hanging himself in the shower held a real allure but he was too much of a coward to do it. Nature instead would take its course, every single organ of his body soaked in booze like a rum cake.
Barbara was especially frisky in bed that night. He surprised himself by sustaining a hard-on and ejaculating several times. Not bad for an incorrigible drunk of forty-three​. They watched the lights of the city flicker across the walls. They heard a few cars drive by, a train whistle at the Reading Terminal, and a hideous howling of a cat, probably being pounced upon by another cat.
“When you off?” asked Joe, kissing her neck and feeling the tickle of her dangling earring.
“Two more days. Thursday,” she said.
“I need a favor,” he said.
“Sure, darlin’,” was her reply.
On Thursday, they got into Barb’s Chevy convertible and headed out to the Main Line, where ritzy houses spread out as if copying Spanish-style homes of Malibu or Tudor homes of Shaker Heights, Ohio.
“Barb,” said Joe. “I need you to put up your top.” She joked around by pulling down the top of her white tank top, which he didn’t appreciate. He poked her arm.
“Stop it!” she shouted. “That hurt, you bastard!”
“Oh, God. I didn’t mean it, Barbara. I can’t let anything go wrong when we drive by the kids’ prep schools.”The first old stone building had a grandeur like an English castle. Teenagers in backpacks lounged on the huge lawn. Some sat on the grass, smoking cigarettes, with covert glances, hoping they wouldn’t be caught.  The kids had a freshness and an optimism about them like in an old movie with Katherine Hepburn and Fred MacMurray.
Joe blew smoke out his window. “That’s my youngest,” he said, with a faint smile, pointing at a young man in uniform: khaki trousers and a blue blazer. “Joe, Junior,” he said. “Hope he doesn’t turn out to be like his old man.”
“Nothing that a little AA can’t help,” said Barb.
“Please, Barbara,” he said. “When I’m ready I’ll find one downtown.”
“St Paul’s Church over on…..”
“Shhhh!” he insisted.
They did the rounds. His girl, Dahlia, was a beauty like the full-petaled flower. And the oldest, Michael, was Harvard-bound. On scholarship. Studying came easy to him, Joe knew, from when they lived together. His son could block out thoughts of his drunkard father.
They returned to the hotel, where Joe thanked Barbara, but said he wanted to be alone. “I need a good think,” he said.
He sat alone in his hotel room and reached for a beer in the mini-fridge. Yuengling, this time. The oldest brewery in these United States, he knew. He laughed. Too bad he couldn’t hold his liquor or he could be a successful salesman.
He lay in bed reading an old paperback “Intruder in the Dust” by William Faulkner. He fanned himself with the pages. It was left over from his medical school days at Columbia. Willie Faulkner didn’t do too badly for himself. He and Hemingway and Fitzgerald all hit the bottle pretty hard. Joe snoozed on and off until dark. He got up, still in his boxers, cut himself a piece of Swiss cheese from the fridge. Then brushed his teeth.
He unlocked the hotel room and took the elevator to the first floor. He longed to say goodbye to someone, but the counter person was asleep in an adjoining room.
He took public transportation to The Brier School where his oldest was undoubtedly ​ asleep in his dorm. How he longed to see him. Hug him. See how he’d grown. Impossible.
When the bus let him off, he walked onto the huge lawn, slightly wet with dew. No one was outside. The school had a curfew. Joe found a shade tree, felt the rough bark – aha! It was a pine tree – and lay himself down on the lawn.
A crescent moon lit up benches, all in memoriam of some dead bastard. Yellow chrysanthemums sparkled under the night sky, and the school even had a reflecting pool. “Hope they appreciate the beauty of the place,” he thought, as he stared across the vast lawn, smelling the faint pungent odor of the mums. The sky was lit up as if he were on a ship in the middle of the ocean. Joe felt a sudden bliss, the way he had felt as a kid.
Lying down under the tree, he heard himself begin to snore. Still, the bliss lingered.
“Bum!” shouted a rough voice in his face.
Joe opened his eyes and found himself face to face with what must be the night watchman.
“Bum! Get the hell out of here,” said the man, whose jacket bore the school’s purple logo on the pocket.
Joe got up, doffed his Phillies’ cap, and did a little tap dance number, thinking of himself as James Cagney.
He pointed up to the sky.
“See that, boss?  Way at the back of the sky? He stretched out the word ‘way.’
“That’s Jupiter. Rising. You know how many moons it’s got circling around it? I’d reckon thousands. And, it’s even got a red spot, like a cherry on an ice cream sundae.”
The night watchman simply stared at this strange man.​            ​
Joseph A. Gorecki, MD, esteemed cardiologist, picked himself up, felt for loose change in his pocket, and remembered the meaning of the name Gorecki.

ruth deming

Ruth Z. Deming has had her poetry published in lit mags including Literary Yard, River Poets, Blue Bonnet Review and JonahMagazine. She lives in Willow Grove, a suburb of Pennsylvania in the US of A.

Pitching Camp by Andrew Taylor

Veering on early morning runs
to walk in old cemeteries
people have lived died and were loved

the city is historical artefact

seek a local tavern for chowder
attempt to fill a notebook page

in anticipation the scheme of things
inconsequential the smallness

of a speck of dust on a railway line
or a fly on a cactus

a pointer of universality

She feels as though her heart is
walking around in front of her


Andrew Taylor is a Nottingham based, Liverpool born poet and academic. His latest publications are Air Vault published by Oystercatcher and Liverpool Warehousing Co. Ltd. a pamphlet of poetry with a CD of found sound, released by zimZalla. His second full collection is due to be released by Shearsman Books in 2017. http://www.andrewtaylorpoetry.com

Before The Invasion by David Spicer

Promise the last night
to me, your slave in winter,
before we voyage to our land
of aphrodisiacs: etherized ice,
lace under spruce, where dew
tempts us with its power to soothe.
Exhaust me until the leaders call
us again, dupe me to lead you
to my boat on the harbor.
Let’s not cry or blush, don’t
chide me when I stammer
at the sight of you nude,
playing the trombone.
The storm threatens to arrive,
yes, and we may freeze,
but wear favorite scarves
around the collar of your coat
with their designs of telescopes,
slingshots, and stamps floating
in a forest. Because even the ivy
has frozen, and yesterday is dead,
let’s shudder in our spasmodic love
one last time before the invasion
makes us cower as we sputter
toward the underground,
gathering guns and grenades
for the struggle ahead.

David Spicer

David Spicer has had poems in Chiron Review, Alcatraz, Gargoyle, Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. The author of Everybody Has a Story and four chapbooks, he’s the former editor of raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He is scheduled to have From the Limbs of a Pear Tree, (Flutter Press) released in the Fall of 2017.