The Boy I Once Knew by James Babbs

so I see this boy
riding past me on his bike
I see him laughing
and having a good time
and he looks just like
a boy I once knew
when I myself was just a boy
but I know
he can’t be the same boy
I’m no longer young
and too many years have passed
but I wonder if this boy
could somehow be related to
the boy I once knew
I have no idea
whatever happened to him
he used to live in a brick house
at the far end of the street
and I haven’t heard or seen
anything from him
for a really long time

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.


Sponge It by David J. Thompson

All I remember
from last night
is my new girlfriend
whispering, Sponge it
with vinegar.

Sweet Jesus.

David J. Thompson 2

David J. Thompson grew up in Hyde Park, New York, and currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His latest poetry/photography chapbook, A World Without Horses, is available on Kindle. Please visit his photo website at


D.I.V.O.R.C.E. by Mark J. Mitchell

He lost his second wife in Buffalo.
She hid behind his books and slipped away
on their due date. Libraries are safe—dust
holds warmth. It smells like powdered hands. She curled
under some shelves and stayed. He had to go—
anywhere. Two yellow lines knew his name.
He loved spilled gas, new tar. Some arctic gust
Chased him through a door. He followed a world.
She lives on paper now. Her dreams are sad
but pretty. His eyes only squint at signs.
He never wonders. She thinks that’s too bad
but flips her page. For now, distance excites
him like flame. She knows that her pictures will fade
quick as brittle paper, She swallows time.

Mark J. Mitchell

Mark J. Mitchell’s latest novel, The Magic War just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. Three of his chapbooks— Three Visitors, Lent, 1999, and Artifacts and Relics—and the novel, Knight Prisoner are available. He lives with his wife Joan Juster and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco.



Poem Interrupted By Two Telephone Messages by Paul Tristram

It was midnight along The Top Road,
out beyond the safety of streetlights,
where ‘Hearing’ and ‘Instinct’ take over.
You scan for surface reflections,
and avoid depth of shadow.
Roosting day birds
unanimously fireworking up from rest…
is a bigger warning than a blaring siren.
That fox will fall silent
when something bigger than its own teeth
decides to cross its path.
As long as he is off noisily to the left,
and that tawny owl remains
hooting undistressed over to the right,
things are lean yet all is still doable.

There is a clearing amongst the dense pine,
smothered all around
with intricate, natural, knotted secrecy.
They used to sacrifice to Deities
much darker than your brooding mood.
Skyclad and mischievous,
it all fell apart when a philosophizing Shaman
broke into their sacred circle
and tutted disapprovingly
“Sham rituals…
hiding the real reason you are here tonight…
you may as well skip straight to the ‘Cakes & Ale’
for Sex & Power is what you crave
not knowledge and enlightenment.”

The loose rocks and stones,
beneath your balancing feet,
upon the way down the tumbling hillside
into the approaching Dawn,
are the texture of a graze
upon the surface skin of a wild, beating heart.
Burgundies stretch the horizon,
and the greys of early morning,
Druid the spaces between receding shadows.
The Oak and Beech are waiting patiently,
for the daily greens to return to their veins…
and there’s a songbird ruffling in anticipation,
readying to replace
the ragged tom cat from his long, nocturnal watch.

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) ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at And a split poetry book ‘The Raven And The Vagabond Heart’ with Bethany W Pope at You can also read his poems and stories here!

Poets of Pain by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Writing it down
the way we are

poets of pain
not cry babies

but feeling it
others and ourselves

Coke bottles fizzing
over the top of our souls

taste of sugar
acid melt

on the sticky table
beside our manuscripts


flapping like fish.

Stephen Jarrell Williams 2

Stephen Jarrell Williams has over 1,000 poems published nationally and internationally in print and online magazines. He has been called by some The Great Poet of Doom. He draws and paints under the name of Jarrell.

Touch by Wayne F. Burke

the drunk girl puts her hand
on my thigh
and god,
it feels good
to be touched,
is she shit-faced!
And wants to go home with me
man, I can’t make that scene
with her;
don’t want it,
don’t like the smell of her mouthwash-breath

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.


Recesses by Robert Beveridge

So many times
we lay after love
your scent
in my nostrils
on my tongue
a few drops of sweat
on their courses
down your cooling breasts
now slower

and every time
you whispered those words
you knew would make me happy
told me how much
you wished
you were pregnant

the fact that you were on the pill should’ve tipped me off

but hey, like they say
love’s blind
like a bat with laryngitis

so I let your words
wash over me
a sea of whispers
I could swim
in till I drowned

here I sit
with my usual bottle
of Southern Comfort
you nowhere in sight
and today’s bottle
almost empty

and as I tip it to my lips
determined to down the rest
in one last heroic effort
I listen to you
whisper your possible pregnancy
one last time

Robert Beveridge makes noise ( and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Pulsar, Tessellate, and Scarlet Leaf Review, among others.

Sulking by Larry Rogers

When I was growing up in these remote hills
there was a ghost town near our potting shed trailer.

What do you call a ghost town when even its
ghosts have relocated? I just called it a town

and went there on those days in my childhood
when I didn’t get my way and I was depressed

and in the mood for a blistering or icy wind
blowing thru rows and rows of broken windows.

There was also the banging of shutters that sounded
like mamas calling their children home to suppers

of dandelion and stone, if that was your thing.

Larry S Rogers

Larry Rogers is a poet-singer/songwriter. Golden Antelope Press recently published a full-length collection of his poems titled “Live Free or Croak.” It’s available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Fingers of Light by James Babbs

I was drinking the last bottle of beer
looking through the window
watching the fingers of light
caressing the edge of the sky
the sun slipping into the ground
bringing on another night
and for a moment
I thought about a gun
but I didn’t have a gun
I thought about a knife
but the only knives I had
were the ones in the top drawer
next to the spoons and forks
I thought about pills
but I didn’t have anything
stronger than an aspirin
anywhere in the house
and anyway
it was already too late
I picked up the bottle
but I didn’t take a drink
I tried to view the room
by looking through the bottle
first with one eye and
then with the other one
it was something you only did
when you were drunk
and I laughed
I finished the rest of the beer
before I stood up
swaying a little as I did
I tossed the empty into the trash

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.

The Assassin Academy by David Spicer

I yearn for cherry blossoms:
Tokyo this time of the year announces
itself in my memory of orientation
and resurrects an unfulfilled
desire to devour a few hors d’oeuvres
from the crystal bowl at the banquet
on this moonlit beach near Rio.
I hear samba drums in the distance,
study peers holding hands
with their bikinied girlfriends,
café awnings protecting us
from the heat as unicorn balloons float
high, high, higher into the clouds.
No longer students with book bags,
but graduates of the Assassin Academy
holding rifles in our hands, we hear
shots from the tower east
of the shore, and a sniper picks
off all ten of us one by one, save
one, who just a couple minutes
ago blasted him in the right eye, like
the snake he was, with one bullet
from my Beretta. Damn, I can
smell the cherry blossoms!

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.