The Art of the Deal by Jeff Bagato

Ghosts drifting off from the K St. dead
mingle in Dupont with the bookstores
and the wines, circumnavigating
a hobo desire to shock the set
and dust breadcrumbs on the fountain
for pigeon-lover’s stew—sing
my loving heart past photographs
of the real thing; ghosts on
bicycles stuff galleries with
ectoplasmic white; a hope
for mind extinguished—
ghosts heroic to fashion insults
from term paper ribs; the eyes
are lazy—the art of the deal
straight on by morning
and nobody sees the ghosts
for all the shadows of
the dead


Jeff Bagato is a writer and electronic musician living near Washington, DC. Some of his poetry has appeared in Zoomoozophone Review, Otoliths, Clockwise Cat, Zombie Logic Review, Full of Crow, Exquisite Corpse, and Chiron Review. His most recent book of poems, Savage Magic, came out in early 2016. Other poetry books include And the Trillions and Spells of Coming Day. He has also published several science fiction novels, including The Toothpick Fairy, Computing Angels, and Dishwasher on Venus. A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at

All The Magic Is Gone by J.J. Campbell

two days after christmas
and you’re busy trying
to find the right time
to kill yourself

one demon on the left
shoulder screams the

and the demon on the
right shoulder mumbles
something about when
the clock strikes midnight

he’s been busy drinking
mixed drinks at the bar

another demon trapped
in the bottom of your
soul offers excuses why
you should wait for a
few months

i look over at all the
empty bottles and figure
at some point my liver
will scream and throw
in the towel

the demon in my head
flips tails and makes
another drink

he’s in control and is
willing to always press
his luck

besides, when you’re
blessed with the genes
of an alcoholic

saying no is not a
fucking option


J.J. Campbell (1976 – ?) has given up the farm life and is now trapped in suburbia. He’s been widely published over the years, most recently at The Australian Times, Horror Sleaze Trash, In Between Hangovers, Mad Swirl and Bad Acid Laboratories, You can find him most days bitching about something on his highly entertaining blog, evil delights. (

Frieda And The Colonel by David Spicer

Angelica, Rabbit, and I had
met the colonel in high school.
He was a disturbed freeloader
who stared at teachers with bold
regret, as though he couldn’t
torture them yet. Ruby-eyed
Angelica had no shame, and I
had a sidekick: Rabbit. Enrique,
the colonel, was no colonel.
Frieda, his hag grandmother, dubbed
him that and groped him, decided
his destiny, purged his weakness:
the love of people. She sat erect
in a cat-scratched armchair
and preached to the four of us
behind the moon craters in her face:
This is your lesson. Join
the underground and eat a physics
sandwich. Sleep in pyramids
with Aztecs. Don’t watch
television except science fiction.
Always address each other as Sir
and Madam. Go! Swim in lava
and arrange your destinies.
And Pampacitas, she glared at us,
swallow your pride and serve
the colonel. We tried, but that evil
bastard surprised us and joined
a seminary a year to the day
that Frieda dropped dead after
a meal of mushrooms, rack of lamb,
quinoa, and three sweet sips of absinthe.

David Spicer

David Spicer has had poems accepted by or published in The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Reed Magazine, Circle Show, Slim Volume, Yellow Mama, Jersey Devil Press, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., The Kitchen Poet, and elsewhere. He is the author of one full-length collection and four chapbooks, is the former editor of raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books, and lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Taught To Treat All by Paul Brookes

he sits opposite my desk

hands me the job card
“I want to apply for this,” he says.
I can smell him from here.

In the unemployment benefit office
he is labelled N.F.A. No Fixed Abode.

I’m taught to treat all equally.
I arrange an interview
with his prospective employer.

Once he has left I am called
to a meeting with my boss.

“What were you thinking of
When you arranged an interview

for the likes of him? Employees
Want decently dressed applicants?”

“I thought he would clean himself
up to go to the interview,” I offered.

“You should have called me, as if
you were calling the employer.

I’m sorry you’re not suitable
for this position. I’m terminating
your employment with immediate effect.”


Paul Brookes was poetry performer with “Rats for Love” and his work included in “Rats for Love: The Book”, Bristol Broadsides, 1990. His first chapbook was “The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley”, Dearne Community Arts, 1993. He has read his work on BBC Radio Bristol and had a creative writing workshop for sixth formers broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live.

Drive-Thrus & Super-Bowls by Nathanael william Stolte

I see the warped minds of my
Generation holding the reigns
Fat off sucking marrow
From the brown bones of america
Over educated & unemployable
Distracted by manufactured
Apathy & the mirage of plenty
Seeking wisdom in
Coffee ground soothsayers
Shooting-up divinity
Tryin’ to catch the heavenly nod
While the Tower burns &
The wheel slowly turns
Churning out cadavers
Over there

Prestidigitation campaigns
Brought to you by the

Gagging on ambition
Slinging self-loathing
While dirty kids ride
Grain-cars west & south
With familiars & louse &
Crystal-meth& wild-sweet-freedom
Sharing rigs because
It doesn’t really
Fucking matter anymore
Anyway now does it
They’ll keep doling-out fear
From the cathode ray
While some delve into
Spiritual growth of yoga & tofu
Doing chi like drugs
Never shutting up
Always shutting down
Booting up computers &
Cellphone& smack

Frightened of anything that don’t look like him
Can’t even tell what he looks like anymore

With a gun in his mouth & tears in his eyes
Unable to recognize it’s his hand holding the gun
His finger on the trigger
His heart caged in gridiron & endorsements
Roman phalanx
Concussion wealth
Big house
Big car
Big dick
Big deal

It’s our mouths around the tailpipe
In open air
While burning coal
Powers iPads

Earthquakes& fire

There is lead in the water & in her hair

Medusa’s daughters rove
Looking for asylum
See them take shelter in
Dreams of the homeless veterans
With baggy pants & no healthcare
Who sleep under bridges down where
Factory furnaces lie cold & dragons are too sick
To guard villages
The tinkerers are dead
The elementals are dead
The folk-heroes are dead
The cooking-fire is dying

Don’t let the darkness in

Nathanael William Stolte

Nathanael william Stolte is a Madcap, D.I.Y., Punk-Rock, Buffalo-bred and corn-fed poet. His work has been published via online journals across the US and Canada. His poems have appeared in print journals in the N.E. United States and he is the author of four chapbooks.


Reading Baudelaire’s ‘The Eyes Of The Poor’ Whilst Enjoying The Strange Sunshine One March, Springtime Morning. by Paul Tristram

There are a chorus of street urchins singing
‘You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two’
inside my gently vibrating mind
as I read and re-read Baudelaire’s little beauty.
The antique gramophone is purring
Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude in G Major
behind my heavily bathrobed shoulder.
There’s a sudden slant of Spring sunshine
slashing across the highly polished oaken floor,
which momentarily distracts me from my thoughts.
It’s time for a cherry flavoured hand rolled cigarette,
now that I am done with the half-eaten toast,
marmalade and Earl Grey tea with lemon.
Rising from the smaller of the three sofas,
stretching catlike and yawning triumphantly
through the peak of health, fitness and vitality.
(I am up to 3,000 prison sit-ups a day!)
I pace, perusing the library shelves contentedly
before glancing at the priceless 11 hour clock
and realizing that it’s 8:30am and wine-time.
I enter the back of the second cellar, whistling,
select 3 bottles of a perfect vintage for my mood.
Whilst hoping and praying wholeheartedly
that whoever owns this very fine home
stays away for at least one more delightful evening.

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!

Smash the Reality by Katie Lewington

my words
i flex
as if a muscle
cut up and torn
my words hung up
to dry
not delicate
they are crumbs of
broken brick
as natural as the
drop of the sun.

Katie Lewington 2

Katie Lewington is a UK based writer and has been drafting, editing and rewriting her bio since she started submitting to literary magazines and journals two years ago. It isn’t as if she doesn’t know who she is, she just isn’t sure what is relevant. Her creative writing can be read She can be contacted through Twitter @idontwearahat

Hotel Bratislava by Michael Wyndham


Breakfast is glum hams and grim
cheeses, and vodka – an
early assault on liver and spleen.

The decor is brassy fighting puritan,
and on the ceiling corner, the spider
swells in hectic bustle over her
network. Out of time, the butterfly
is devoured in strategic frenzy.


Ready to be trampled by regiments
of stag do troopers, the girl waits
by the bar. The pimp, swarming
in her currency, performs a frantic
balancing of dollars and roubles
while twitching curtains as if with
the nosy schemes of a suburbanite.


Pinballing bar to corridor, the pimp
squeals floored by a duo uniformed
in black leather setting upon him
with bestial, yet professional brutality.
Somewhere, a dog yowls strangely sweet.

Michael Wyndham

Michael Wyndham is a regular performer on the London poetry circuit, and has been most recently published by International Times, Blue of Noon, The Recusant and South Bank Poetry.


Sad Night by Devon Balwit

We flee from our burdens across the causeways of night,
but the road has ghosted.  We bring each other down,

then use the twisted limbs to keep above dark water.
If we survive till dawn, it is because we are guilty.

Ravens clack from their purple-black hoods, eyes fierce
with knowing.  We accustom ourselves to shame the way

a newlywed twists a bright ring about her captive finger.
The story snags at the joint and cannot be sloughed.

Every two a.m., we relive the harrowing, always running
from a city that casts us out.  We bruise beneath offal,

gag on the taste of iron. Grudgingly, dawn releases us
from where we huddle in mud patterned by flailing.

Devon Balwit is a poet and educator from Portland, Oregon. She has a chapbook, Forms Most Marvelous, forthcoming from dancing girl press (summer 2017). Her recent poems can be found in: Oyez, The Cincinnati Review, Red Paint Hill, The Ekphrastic Review, Noble Gas Quarterly, Timberline Review, Trailhead Magazine, Vector, and Permafrost.

Sestina Stalker by David Spicer

On the computer, chomping a celery stalk
almost to the minute six long days ago,
I stumbled on a site devoted to sestinas,
found a chat room, discussed pros and cons
of the form with a faceless body of black letters
who wanted nothing but to write and praise

that medieval verse from Provence. I prayed
this person wasn’t a weirdo who’d stalk
someone that answered her rambling letters
by changing subjects to hip-hop or go-go
dancing’s popularity among convicts.
Trouble brewed when she called herself Sestina:

I think it’d be awesome if you went by Sestina,
too. Believe me, Buster, if you don’t, pray
that I don’t sic a pen pal on you, a big ex-con
who calls himself Jack in the Beanstalk
and will make you want to give suicide a go
after he barrages you with calls and letters.

If I want, he’ll brand you with those letters–
yes, you guessed it, my boy, S E S T I N A–
on your forehead so deep you’ll have to go
to a plastic surgeon or a priest you can pray
to in confession, or you can chew on a stalk.
I tried to bluff, bragged my brother could con

the frown off anybody she knew, even ex-con
Jack, but she laughed so hard onscreen that letters
bounced harder than lonely men stalking
themselves so they’ll flee women named Sestina
who hunt for sad sack poets they can prey
upon, sad sack poets too dense to play Go.

I’m still in the dire situation I was six days ago:
the psycho who brags of the poets she’s conned
into loving a poem she claims is worthy of praise
threatens to e-mail on random days, expects a letter
a week or a love poem to her every night, a sestina,
and only then will she think about others to stalk.

So, I’ll give it a go: with black wit I’ll write letters.
I’ll con my brother into writing sestinas for Sestina.
I hope she’ll find other prey she can love and stalk.

David Spicer

David Spicer has had poems accepted by or published in The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Reed Magazine, Circle Show, Slim Volume, Yellow Mama, Jersey Devil Press, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., The Kitchen Poet, and elsewhere. He is the author of one full-length collection and four chapbooks, is the former editor of raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books, and lives in Memphis, Tennessee.