18 June 2008

Volume One, Online and Print

george wallace
it’s raining again in tinsel town

it's raining again in tinsel town not unlike
port royal in spring & o i am having
cool drinks with a man who wears
a white slouch hat & looking like mr
moto or only frank o'hara standing
with him under a ceiling fan life is
a black and white movie he says it's
1942 & he not only knows the customs
agent but what the cargo ships are
carrying on any particular morning
like this morning for example it's
automatic weapons he says jack
daniels too & plenty of it that swill's
much better for a fever than quinine
he says & in fact drunk neat jack is
quite restorative & a necessary item
and he places one hand on my thigh
life is a gesture, he says, not to say
a luxury, particularly for a man living
on the cheap & with the local economy
being what it is (which even i know things
have taken a turn for the worse) we all
have to do what we can he says when
there's guerillas (& he begins to sweat
like orson welles contemplating a painting
by jackson pollock) in the hills again,
but i always know where to go in a pinch –
he keeps a loaded handgun hidden on a rooftop
behind a cistern in a banana crate

my big empty glass of beer

sitting here with my big
empty glass of beer in
my big empty hands
empty as superman’s
last phone booth more
powerful than a baby
grand piano more ornery
than a pocket full of
river sand used up
like postage stamps
and more louder than
loud, a leaky roof,
the lobby of a holiday
inn, the belmont stakes
tighter than a tourniquet in
june and playing for keeps
like an accordion like a lightning
rod like serious pavement
more stoned than a
slide neck guitar
hopping in puddles of
summer rain wired for sound
like a cop car and parked on a
miraculously spinning bar stool
more playful than static
electricity faster than a speeding taxicab
running a red light like a pop tart
metered in spring reduced for
sale more vacant than a skid row
hotel than a stack of dimes than a crate
of connecticut apples more hungry
than a wolf with a rack of antlers
between his jaws harnessed
machine baked ruined
like a school teacher
like a quilted lamb
like a girl scout leader
like a bamboo curtain
tied down torn aside
removed from office
like a politician up a tree
like a fortune cookie
like suspicious lois lane

the difficult soldier

he saluted the passing clouds
he took orders from the wind
he wore a helmet made from white daisies
and he fed the general’s horse beans

he ate mud pies and let the air out of tires
he rode a bicycle across the battlefield
he kissed a sergeant on the mouth
and he shot a bunk bed full of holes

he claimed to worship a clay figurine
with an enormous penis and said whenever
new hookers came to town it was a religious holiday

instead of bullets he loaded
his rifle with grass seed
and peeled potatoes
down to his own finger bone

he taught a goat how to drive a jeep (the goat’s
name was modigliani. with a d)

he walked backwards to the front and
he applauded like a boy at the circus
whenever he heard the sound of incoming artillery

whenever he was ordered to kill
he closed his eyes
and fired his rifle
into the sun

i saw you through the window of a cross-town bus

sometimes i wonder if nature is
through fucking with me
i mean if i was meant to be
cooped up like this in
a cross-town bus
after spending all day
in front of a computer screen
crunching numbers i might as well be
back in a one room hovel in
eastern fucking europe listening to
other eastern fucking europeans argue over
a chicken and anyhow leaning my head like this
against a bus window leaning my head
against a paper thin wall or staring
at the ceiling of my shitty apartment in brooklyn
listening to air conditioners harmonize
what's the difference or should i say standing on a corner
of asphalt paradise with these bad shoes on
a cup of american coffee in one hand
and a new york fucking post in
the other – i want to
shout out 'no more
contact with the world!
make room for the skyscrapers!'
and after all why not let's
strip away the last root and rock of manhattan island
let's make way for subway cars full
of dumbfucking straphangers
give me steam pipes streetlights and manhole
covers no feet no spore no
shovel of breath
no welcome air no frog
no shale no croaking pond of
lily pad or fish spawn to
distract me take away
every spare molecule of
earth fill my mouth
with ashes my paycheck full of
empty lies make of me
a human engine
to your urban design

but then i saw
you, through the window
of a bus on the eighth street crosstown line,
stop to examine a shop window
on christopher street

i am a boy who flies in the sky

i am on my way
i shoot through clouds
they are better than jesus
heaven ain’t just any heaven
it’s my heaven and yes
i soar over apartments
they are irrelevant to me
i live up here, above wheat fields and pine
i sparkle like the fourth of july
i am not like you
with my necklace of rain
i am not like the others
with their home improvement smiles
i fly a straight beeline, i fly
a big loop-di-loop
and i take to the sky
call me poppin’ johnny
with wings like fire
if you want to see me
look up at in the air
i go where the birds go
and the sweet angels migrating
i have no schoolbooks
no home by seven
and no peculiar woman
who calls herself mother
the sky is not my enemy
the sun cannot melt my wings
the stars cannot scold me
and earth will never
drag me home

zach moll
9-5 daze

Half of me wants out
And the other half is working overtime to breathe,
They’re both juggling premeditated drab on a tightrope
With audience aware,

I’m the naggin’ newcomer to the
Daily stop and go,
Hearing whip cracks
Yet unseen,
But lashed just the same,
A tragic child in the tire tracks
Being trampled in the pursuit of dimes,
But my tears only made the mud thicker
& slowed my trek into a crawl,
So I drown my redundant ways
In the very mud it made,
Lifted myself,
& walked to the front of the line
To see what I had missed.

I found old bodies

With gray eyes
Swaying in the 9-5 daze,
Their hands were callused and black
With what seemed like permanent stains,
Refuges from the world without
Who looked as if they’d fall before retire,
But it seemed to me,
A glimmer remained in their eyes,
A glimmer scanning years ahead
To the yellow tape of freedom,
And then,
Then there’d be time.

Time for…
Time for…

Well, there’d be time.

hollow breaths of creation

Once when wonder
Was new
This all seemed well
Worth it

For I never

Until I too
A thing of
The lips

Just the same as
Only with

& that image
The most
Daunting of
Them all

To be captain
Of a
Vessel only

To proceed on
As if
I were surprised
With it

This landscape
& chased
Horizon of
The damned.

no help for the helpless

Eat forty more of the mysterious blue ones
& God will appear like a ripe eggplant
All stout
and covered with bugs,
His crucial word will ring this,

The night is there for sleeping because
You don’t see so well in darkness,
May I borrow a dime for the meter?”

And we’ll blow each other to bits
Trying to decipher his intention through
Miserable, lonely old words,

Meanwhile we devour the eggplant
& chew it with intentions.

like scissors on a string we flail madly, wholly, complete

certifiable independence
jimmies foreclosure
like meddled insignias
written in braille
on the fringe
of hydra like nerve endings
popping collars
during a brainstorm reveille
in c minor dependency
and the i'm ok,
it was refractivity
you heard
echoing obscenity
off the cobblestone
complexities sonar
bobbing for play
from the back
of a barrel
of masturbatory fantasies
where the libertines quicken
yes! yes! yes!
to bed
early to rise
in succession
with a life
that closely resembles
my own

zach popour
this much is true

what about
shame clots
& a wreaking
in falling out
of life
by the milliliter
@ 91 degrees
on a thursday?
5 thieves
1 back burner
burning hallelujahs
with a magnifying
glass under
libra's orgiastic
69ing cerebral
& cardio
sucking ya dry
& leaving
only sub allusions
to scabbed over
can lids ajar.
fleshy melancholic
mourning yolk
classical music
on hold
& the milky twilight
tips the scale
& whispers
you'll never
get out


she looked like a Crumb cartoon
all arse and legs
firm and muscle though
more than enough
for one man
or even me
who looked like a cartoon
of rebellious youth
only older

but for a short while
I believed in my cartoon strip
and I lived the life
of the character therein

until I stepped over
the border
and the punch line
wasn’t funny anymore

five senses

there’s still a trace of her scent
on my fingers
and I breathe it in
to try and keep the moment

her taste still on my lips
brings back the other memories
that look of pure lust
and borderline insanity
fifty dollar underwear
and the sound of leather on skin

I want to preserve these moments
imprint them before they’re gone
because it’s better to regret
the things you have done
than the things you haven’t
and my heart holds few regrets

her scent keeps me there
on the cusp
of memory and moment
and I drink it in
knowing I’m already in too deep
and that someone
is going to get hurt
but this time
it could be me

sunday afternoon 2pm

Voice gone, dick failed
ears wide open
and the Deadboys live
the neighbours banging on the wall
as I lay back on the couch
and raise another beer
to a life lost
another life found
and my own life
as fake as it is
like the redubbed vocals
on this “live” album
but we all cheer anyway
and I get up
turn the record over
and fall back on the couch
without spilling a drop

danielle rose
tuscan open mic

Darth Vador with a Pina Colada
some Marijuana and the
Summertime Top Down –

voice larynx refluxed swirling
in waves of melodious musician
vibration guitar of marbled
pound cake abalone shared
between sisters(?).

Shared is always better, sinking
Acai Berry Tea. Not blue but
purple berry dark plum gradated
against white inside walled cup.

Reginaesque Spektator sounding
coffee music latte cup for purple
green tea. Can ‘I start over in a
place by the sea’?

Persimmon music maker
topped hair softly straight
in the ambient overhead.

Carefully unwrapping
aluminum burrito
unknown cover,
dreadlocked curiosity,
trench white coat uncertainty -

allorah wyman
~girls raised in the south

6 I find an earring in my hair,
fake-gold flakes onto my fingers,
like the swirls in Bear’s eyes—my first
dog (purchased at Mee-Maw’s house; she gave us
half price even though we’re blood).

5 How’d it wind up here?
They aren’t my favorite pair but they look
nice on me. Least that’s what you said
down in Atlanta riding roller coasters.
Your cotton-candied fingers stuck to mine.

4 It takes time to unravel metal
knots. I would’ve taken them
out last night; you didn’t leave me any time
with your breath on my neck, hand up my skirt.

3 I try patience, the virtue.
Good Southern girls don’t entertain boys
or get caught with earrings in their hair.

2 The loop: endless ringlets of stripped youth,
dirty sugar from your fingertips.

1 Snip, snip. Swaying from my lobe, your air spun grit.


Do you remember that day,
Momma? When you wore
your pretty dress cause you wanted
summer air to blow on
your sweetness. It was somewhere
near the meat market when we heard it:
one deep whistle cutting through the heat
as your skirt fluttered up over your knees.
Four, five, six low-pitched whistles—or
maybe still the first, butchering
several sticky notes.
They were calling for you.

I wanted to escape the virile Texas
sun, those men’s callings, wrap myself up
between your legs, and be born back into the place
where you sustained me. Return to the womb
that released me so I could curl up
within you longer, ignorant
in your body. Just give me
a few more moments to feel
like I am part of you again.

Perhaps I could stay here until you’re ready
to stop smiling at the whistling men, ruffling your hair—
instead claim me as your daughter. But if you won’t,
next time when you hold me,
will you cover my ears
so the whistles can’t get in? So I don’t hear
those men singing out for a way
into the home that I came from.

water heater sundays

I escape to the attic to stuff myself
in between the water heater and Mom’s
box of maternity clothes. The exposed edges
pressing into my side—I am crushed here.
Dirt stains my body—I am marked there.
I sing-song along to time I want to forget.
She wants to embarrass me again.
Like that time in the desert when she spit
boiled canteen water into my sunburned face,
the last sip, licked the drops
off my lips. My mouth like dusty coal.
Moist, clear veins drying on my cheeks.
Her face a blue flame,
like under our water heater,
softly flickering but always lit. Trying to burn away
the lost odds and broken ends in the attic—make it
turn to ash. I don’t feel the heat anymore,
even when she ignites me, her only daughter,
this girl flicking daddy long legs into the fire
off my knees into forever.
A ballet slipper with a fat, brown spider in the toe,
“Point and flex!” your bending feet.
It hurts; my foot wasn’t born that way.
I melt my little bones to make them fit,
little shoes made for babies,
ones I won’t ever be able to wear
because I kicked them at her—as babies do—
her face a blue flame.

michael grover

Relationships are like mirrors.
Sometimes distorted like fun houses.
When you go there you'd best hope
That your views are the same.

We had one night.
A real human connection.
You let me inside.
Deepest thoughts and dreams.
Put your world into order.
What was poison,
And what was healthy.

Daylight came.
So quick you ran
Back to your illusions.
Where you feel safe.
Where you may hide
Away from the World.
What hurts most
Is that I still feel the tremors
From that one night.
What hurts most
Is how quickly I'm forgotten,
As you explain it away
To nothing.

give me a nation of poets

Let myself be conned
By a New York City slickster
Who was just trying
To rustle up some grub.

What the hell
It's only money.
And it doesn't define me.
I hope he comes
Back with that sandwich.
Which he did.

Now we'll dine on the dirty floor
Of the terminal together.
Wordslinger and slickster,
Waiting for my bus to come in.

Spent the week with
Prophets and mystics.
Poets of a better term.
But now they are brothers,
From different mothers.

So I say
Give me a nation of Poets,
And there will be no hunger,
There will be no beggars,
There will be no wars,
There will be dreams enough to live on.

red georgia clay

My father reached into a hole
Of red Georgia clay.
Left his mothers ashes
His arms were not long enough
To reach the bottom,
So he dropped her
The rest of the way.
When he pulled his arms out
He had remains of red clay
All the way down his sleeves.
Blood of the Earth.

translating angst

Books they come in the mail
Like words were currency.
Like we could live
On them alone.
The way things are goin'
Before too long
We might have to
Eat our own words
Not metaphorically.

Money going out,
None coming in.
Sometimes I feel
Useless held up
To the standards of society.
But then I remind myself
They are not my own standards,
But maybe that's just an excuse.

No use for this craft
In the real world,
Except to tear it down.
I've got dreams I can't remember.
A woman I can talk to
With strong shoulders,
And she knows she can
Lean on me too.

I feel it growing darker.
No one's gonna turn the lights back on.
We can vote for change
And it makes us feel good.
But nothing ever changes.
They only promise change
For the middle class.
The news it is talking to the middle class.
The poor are set out in the street
Like garbage.
But the poor still have their purpose
And that is service.

I can feel it growing darker,
As I fill page after page
Of this little black book
With words trying to translate
This angst inside of me
Into something useful.

dan provost
junk mail

My e-mails are at least consistent,
Telling me my penis is too small, or my liquor problem is curable…
I guess my existence is a mess, all these organizations trying to help my short and long-term problems…

Literary and figuratively.

My sex life is shot according to “Jim's Enlarge Your Pecker” company.

I’ll think I keep my booze dilemma though.

my second poetry reading party

There I was, a balding
41 year old, cocked…

Dancing at this college party after a poetry reading to “Roll Over DJ” by Jet…

Drooling praise over the band—feeling
like I have discovered the next Beatles…

Then some busty co-ed politely taps me on the shoulder and
burst my bubble…

“These guys have been around for a while you know,” she says, looking at me
with soft, teary eyes.

“But I liked your poetry.”

A small victory for a middle age outlaw.

The song ends quickly, I gather my composer, take a swig of Wild Turkey and ask
the crowd,

“Anybody heard of Molly Hatchet?”

puma perl
naming the wild flowers

Ruth was long and blonde
She lived in the yellow house
up the road
She drove a pick-up
Painted houses, taught school
Baked pumpernickel
with secret ingredients
like mashed potatoes

She left the yellow house
to live with Allen on Bald Hill
His face was hidden
behind a bushy beard
Glasses and a hat
His head was usually down
He picked it up for Ruth
Turned out to be quite handsome

Wild flowers grew by the door
Ruth recited their names slowly,
like a child learning the alphabet
Fireweed Goldenrod
Spring Beauty
Jack in the Pulpit
In a little girl’s voice
She called out each name

Years later they came downtown
It was winter, she wore a pair of pants
around her neck, she had no scarf
After an hour, it was Allen’s turn
She buried her face
in a stained cabled sweater
Her skin was as yellow as
the house up the road,
She spoke in a rasp, broken
teeth, cracked eyes
Burnt matches fell
from her pockets

They left hand in hand
Nicotine fingers entwined
She looked back at me once
The wind whipped her hair
Into her eyes, covered her face
She used to smell like lemons
I remembered her
Sitting on a country step
Could still hear her
In a child’s voice
Naming the wild flowers

in coney island yesterday

it was the siren festival
yesterday in coney island
bands played past sundown
in cyclone shadows
tattoos ate the projects
the parachute jump watched uselessly
white boys moved their shoulders
when they danced
i wanted to tell them to stop
but they used different drugs than I did
nodding is a lost art
helps you dance on the downbeat
still, there’s an art to everything
i swore i could read bathroom lines
pick people least likely
to do anything but pee
on a bad day they shit
thing is you can’t see inside
on line at my chosen portapotty
we bounced like weeble wobbles
finally an asian flower emerged
head down, eyes low
scratching her face
dressed in white lace
she floated past us
leapt into the arms of a
a smiling sideburned man
he kissed her shimmering head
the crowd parted
bodies entwined
they flew away
leaving behind
their morphine scent

belinda’s cousin (part 7)

tato's plane landed on new york city ice
he wore two sweatshirts and a denim jacket
shot straight downtown and copped a bag
ran into belinda on a st marks corner
he knew her from san juan, that made them cousins

later, everyone sat on belinda's floor drinking beer
they laughed like drunken five year olds
tato fell in love with belinda's friend deedee
a big white girl in poodle skirts and knee socks
they ran up and down six flights of stairs
singing songs from west side story

tato was the darkest one in his family
sometimes they called him blanca nieves
his birth name was reserved for welfare cases
the occasional drug bust or suicide attempt
there was never enough dope
for a ny january, definitely not february too

deedee and tato got their own place
every time she went out
a piece of furniture disappeared
she'd notice a bureau in a thrift store
a couch being loaded on a truck
she stopped going out and stayed in bed
tato brought her cuban sandwiches
café con leche and heroin

deedee got tired of waking up sick
her poodle skirts were too big
there was a rat in the toilet bowl
pigeons on the fire escape
all tato brought was bodega coffee
and twinkies or little debbie cakes
she moved uptown and got a job

tato died in belinda's house
she said he was fine when she left
she told the story in the bars
asked for money to bury him
someone called deedee at work
she went to the bathroom and cried
later she sat on belinda's floor
shot up the funeral money
said good bye to tato

david mclean
dedicated followers of decay

we are dedicated followers of decay
today, and predicate existence upon
the meaning we discerned or said
we discerned on ultimately getting thrown
in a coffin

it's like being unto death except
totally different from what Heidegger
ever said, he didn't like to be obsessed -
we wait however till the skeleton

gets undressed. we fuck a lot
but we really don't like the flesh

we assemble ourselves

we assemble ourselves every morning
from inertia and lie-dreams on our behalf,
from fragments of the past and reposted
ideologies, heaven's never and “real men
relatively seldom shoot children,”

we assemble we out of lies and dreams,
out of seldom noticing what the shit really
means - that we are the void's children
and infinitely innocent, philanthropic
murderers, cannibals and virgins,
just human beings, just

in the morning

nothing beats a little suicidal ideation
when you wake up to gain perspective
on these dismal days they call summer,
all the nature lovers, motherfuckers
happily licking the trailed drool of snails
and communing with trees

that the trees never answer them
is no criticism of the stupidity of trees
but seems eminently reasonable.
there are alleys in cities where it's possible
to be happy and even purchase speed -
no one there cares much about nature

and frankly, i wouldn't answer
a fucking hippie either -
for once i agree with the trees

jason “juice” hardung
the blood city

Gina sold me prescription drugs while she was sinking fast
into the couch peppered with
stiff burn holes
cigarettes escaped from her hand during ethereal nods
the fields of poppies bent over in chorus
to the wind's pitch
the harp in the hands of angels goes unsung
but it's there the flash that breaks
open her bursting bladder-like eyes and
she wipes the drool from the crotch of her lips.
My fidelity was high for her
when my cheeks were vacuum sealed I shook
dope sick and kicked sadder than the blues.
Her hand in her purse was a spring mountain melt off
rushing in my chest. I took the drugs
when her palm unfolded
fingers peeled back like a lotus flower in a reflection pond.
I walked the drugs into the bathroom
and gazed while tomorrow drained from my face
as the chrome prick punched and popped
subway cars rumbling through the blood city.

literary revolution

I'll bring the switchblades.
mine has a heart in the handle made of bone.
yours is fashioned from albino tiger's teeth
this country is swelling up like a broken eye socket
black blue bruised. millions of fists
a bar room brawl spilled out in the street.
cops in helmets on horseback but the horses are still.
tear gas doesn't work on people that can't cry anymore.
let's pull the higher-ups in a back alley by their petroleum masks
shake em down and pull the priests from their pocket
flick the stilettos under the streetlight
gut the motherfuckers like wild Texas hogs frightened from the bush
hang them upside down by their tap dancing shoes.
they can't dance their way out of this one.
it's our turn
to watch THEIR blood
spill onto the soil.

we all die like dogs that never got out

The old man died slowly in his wooden chair.
He watched everyday sink behind the hill from the big window facing east.
The cheeks of his generation sunk like California was supposed to.
The bird bath in the backyard, two cherubs spitting water, went from
alabaster white to pigeon shit green like the underside of my mother's
wedding ring. A largemouth bass belly in the sun tossed ashore by a fisher
man with stars in his eyes and a cigarette hanging from his lips.
Beer cans eventually mistaken for diamonds in the reeds.

When I was a kid I climbed his weeping willow in my Keds.
It's sad hair hung in it's face until autumn when the bones
were picked clean by winter's sharp tongue. Seasons actually changed
back then. Time elapsed photography on a public channel. A stray dog rib cage
curved like an abandoned tractor's jaws growling at the moon.
It must have crawled in through the fence.
Never finding it's way out.

misti rainwater-lites
categorize my poems

my poems are automotive
they zig zag drunk the wrong way
down a one way street
in Austin, Texas
after a night of fun
at Bob Popular's

my poems are penis
spurt spurt
they cum up with messy conclusions
nothing so clear
as baby batter
in the eye

my poems are mommy
scrub scrub
no guilt here on these Pine Sol
spider free

my poems are supernatural
ghost of a chance
they will outlive me
and haunt the conscience
of a frat boy
who just fucked
a donut

my autobio at twenty

Daddy spanked me with a leather belt for walking in on him crawling toward Mommy in his tighty whities. I acted out in mild ways until I got a Snoopy diary at age nine. Then I wrote all the shit down and some of it rhymed. No one wanted to play with me at recess so I read a lot of books and said,” Someday I'll be a hot shit fashion model or actress and these fuckers will be sorry." When I was seventeen my mom and step dad found a poem I'd written about checking into a cheap motel and killing myself. They sent me to this mental hospital in San Antonio. I was put on Prozac. My senior year I gave a guy a blow job and he tried to de-virginize me but I moved around too much. I fell in love with the guy for trying. I wrote a lot of poems about him. I went to college at nineteen. I drank a lot of wine coolers and wished a frat boy would fall in love with me so I could ride around town topless in a Jeep listening to "Nevermind" and "Bloodsugarsexmagik." I was a terrified tongue tied introvert so I majored in theatre arts. Then I majored in journalism. Then I majored in English. This one hot guy named Jeff Crump (a Pisces) wanted to fuck me but I chickened out when his girlfriend called me crying because she'd found a note I'd written him in his dorm. I went to a party at a trailer house and drank a Purple Passion and my lips swelled up like Angelina Jolie's and this hot guy with a ponytail made fun of me. I wish he had fucked me, instead. I went to this party at a different trailer house and teased this frat guy into thinking I'd fuck him if he bought me some tacos. He bought me some tacos and tried to take me to his dorm. I said,” You’re headed in the wrong direction. My dorm is that way." He dropped me off at my dorm and then called me and begged me to come to his dorm. I hung up on him and disconnected the phone. I won the Gates-Thomas Excellence in English award for a poem I wrote in something like fifteen minutes about a frat guy named Evan who had a pet iguana in his dorm. We watched "Star Wars," drank some Chianti and I sucked his dick. He put on a condom to fuck me and I said,” I’m saving myself for spring break."

stingin' my way through the sea of same

Fuckers tend not to notice me for all the sharks and octopi and neon fish zoomin' around like they gots someplace to be. In the sea of same it's every fish for hisself. In the ocean of nothin' goin' on but the rent the sea monsters lurk around disguised as underwater carnival rides. You thought you was in line for a loop de loop dippity dip roller coaster guaranteed to blast yer ass into a tummy flop of much fun. Ha! No no no, buckaroo...yer ass is in line for a yawnin' mouth sucky suck suck void that doesn't give a fuck how many rainbow scales glitter over yer delicacy bones. Nobody sees me, the quiet blob jellyfish, floatin' around the coral. Then I sting and they say,” HOLY SHIT! That bitch really DO exist!"

pablo vision
breaking the boy

I remember my grandma shouting at me for playing football in the back yard. She said I was going to end up smashing one of the windows of her greenhouse. She said it was the only place she could go and have some peace. I called her an old witch because I had heard my granddad call her that so many times before. She called me a bastard. I had never heard my grandma swear. I told her I would tell my granddad that she had swore at me. My granddad always stuck up for me, and we hated my grandma. She said bastard wasn’t swearing: it was what I was. When my granddad came home I told him what she had called me. He got his axe and smashed every single bit of glass, and every bit of wood, and threw all of her delicate flowers onto the ground and slowly crushed each one under his big dirty work boots. He dragged her outside to show her what he had done, and told her to never open her old clacking jaws again. I watched her cry, and, as he dragged her back inside, she looked at me, and I smiled.

Years later, I remember that smile, and I remember how she looked: completely defeated and broken, like whatever small bit that was still alive inside of her had died; that the one bit of her that my granddad had not beaten out of her had simply given up the will to live. I remember that smile, and each time I cry, and each time I feel her first, and most tragic death. I would like to say I was too young, I would like to say that years of my granddad’s influence, or my innocence were to blame, or some kind of mitigation of any sort. But I clearly remember how I felt at that moment: a feeling of triumph, a feeling of utter revenge; a feeling of don’t you ever fuck with me, don’t anyone ever fuck with me; and even if those words would not have been part of my vocabulary then, the meaning, and the intent, most certainly were.

Another memory of my grandma haunts me. It is the last time I saw her alive, the time before her second death: the death that committed her to the care of worms, and to lonely decay. She is on her bed, and there is something wrong and spastic with the angle of her body, and she can’t make her mouth move to say what her frightened eyes desperately try to plead. Her nightdress is twisted around her stomach and there is a disgusting mess of hair between her thighs. Her legs are covered in hideous raised patterns of forked lightening, and her toes are twisted like tree roots below her swollen, bulbous ankles. I stand paralyzed in repulsion and fear; she is like some disgusting and frightened animal: something subhuman. I shout to my granddad that there is something wrong with grandma, and he says that there is always something wrong with the old witch, and starts off on his rant about how he never should have married below his class, that she grew up in the gutter, and she should have stayed in the gutter, and that the old hag can go rot in hell; the same stuff I’d heard him say over and over again. When he finally comes into her bedroom, his angry diatribe abruptly stops, and I see him take her hand, and I see him break down in tears. Looking back now, I guess there must have been love at some point in their lives, but at the time, it felt like my entire world had turned upside down. He shouts at me to stop standing there like a fucking imbecile cunt, and to go and get help. I am eight years old, and I learn three new words, and watch the solidity of the only world I know evaporate into something alien, and into something profoundly terrifying.

leigh pierce
mortality and moral malnutrition

Walking like a
zombie towards
the checkout

Cart full of baby
food , diapers,
tampons, chocolate
and all the other
things that will make
aunt flow shut the
fuck up

From a distance I
hear a lovely chant

“I can help you over here sir”

Sir? Fuck I’m old

I slouch on the cart
and push with my
elbows to get to where
a blond with a way
too tight t-shirt is waiting
to check me out, and the
groceries too

My hard cock smacks a
tower of cheap sunglasses,


I grab a pair and stare
directly into those
creamy c-cups

Just above them is
face it no pores

She gives me that
guilty look when
she sees the items
in my cart

I walk away without saying goodbye or
paying for my new sunglasses


Overly tanned mounds or under cooked broken eggs
They all look the same
Round or pointy, full or flat
They are what true love is made of
Fake or real, perky or drooping
Tits are tits, and they are proof that God is a man
And men love tits
Rubbing our greasy hands over them
Tweaking the nipples on a perfect pair of small ones
Sticking our face between a set of surgically enhanced ones
We don’t need oxygen or water to live
Just tits
We don’t need the Peace Corp or the U.N. to bring peace
Just tits
Bring the Middle East a piece, not peace
Slam some tits in the face of the world
And all will be well again

rob plath
baron von shitfaced

Once I came out of the bar
it was middle of winter
the doors to my '84 Cressida
were frozen shut
I yanked the driver's side
then I yanked at the passenger's
I held my key in the flame
of my lighter
burned my fucking fingers
finally there was a cracking sound
& the passenger's side
icily creaked open
I jumped in shivering
& started the car
as it warmed in the cold
I tried to get the driver's side open
it finally cracked open
but then both doors
wouldn't click shut
as I drove each took turns
flying open
depending on the turn
sometimes both just flew open
in the January wind
the car looked like a one-engine
plane at times
I was Baron von Shitfaced
whiskey spilled on my scarf
alone, piloting his two passenger machine
through the dark cold suburban streets
hoping no enemies arrived
before i made it back
before i made it the fuck home

hydro, crumb donuts & two monte carlo's

it was middle of winter
we were very high

we all went into 7-eleven
to conquer the munchies

the hot chocolate machine
made a loud noise when it began
dribbling cocoa into the dixie cup
i started laughing
b/c of the attention it drew

billy wanted to get out from
under the florescent lights
he was already on line
w/a box of crumb donuts

we were still scanning the candy

he paid & went to the car
looking back at us, smirking that
he was free

we were standing on a long line
staring out the plate glass window
as he bopped out

there were two white monte carlo's
in the parking lot
& we all nearly fell on the floor as bill
swung open the door to the wrong one
& got in the back seat

when we got out we headed straight
for our car
& pulled near the payphone

we watched as the large owner
of the monte opened the driver's
side door

we saw the car sink
the door slam shut

then we saw bill running
& the man waving his fist

bill ran towards us laughing
a trail of donuts falling
onto the pavement

we jokingly pulled forward
as he reached for the door handle

lester allen
think tank

it's supposed to be quiet
in here
but it's not

I can hear the electricity
in the walls
and the roaches
tiny mockery

the eyeballs
of the crowd
slide about their slots
I listen as their lenses
focus in

and the noises my brain makes
while playing the thought game
like a hunting accident in the
forest of infinity

the bathroom is a better place
the circulating air sounds
drown me out
a better backdrop
for the words to fall out to
the seating could use an upgrade
the fluorescent lighting hurts my eyes
and I'm not too sure about the various holes in the walls
but it's meeting all my needs
at present
and for that I'm thankful
and comfortable
amongst the sinks
and watered-down hand soap
and toilet-paper rolls
and paper-towel dispensers,
highlighting the paint chipped walls
of lying mirrors
and broken tile

all of it
immortalized here
and forever
like the dirty
adorning this stall
till somebody or some thing
comes along
and tears it all down

under the day & over an ocean

A summer of love,
south of France,
dogs gnaw the city blocks
outside my window.
The afternoon coils 'round my heart,
like a snake around its prey;
squeezing the want from
my soul.

It's a summer of love
in the south of France,
with odd-houred telephone calls.
Static reminders
of trust and chance,
oceans wider than thought.

Summer of love,
south of France.
Somewhere out there
I've got a name,
a face, an assassin for an
imagination honing in
on it's mark.

It's a summer of love
south of France

It's a long hot summer
in hell
everywhere else.


to feel it
to be cursed
into needing this
to want it
like a trapeze walker
over a safety net
of fire

like the last good nail
on a nervous hand
or pants without

the mirage
of genuine humor
on late-nite tv

searching for a little bit
of substance
in the wrongest
of places
a view through
new curtains

though the shit looks the same
the gears grind
the spring snaps





the eyes move

while women cradle prized merchandise
in their wrinkled souls

the honest
holed with lies
& repetition
like the toy train
the Christmas tree
of a young child's mind
the whistle
startling dust of centuries
reminding the dead
that it is better to be
than to have to stand here
explaining themselves
to you

when the shit comes
seeping in under the door
& out the coffee pots
& up through the drain

do me this one favor
& try not to look

so surprised

craig sernotti

they said he was

they said he talked
about his church,
helping others

they said he played
in high school

they learned he would
throw the cats he rescued
against the wall,
drown the dogs in the bathtub

they will forgive him

they were only animals

rose morales

Free sex
Free love
Free religion.

Please, just free me

It is only in my dreams
that I see promise
of free flight;
there on a ever farther horizon
straining toward a distant
fading light.

Please, free me

We are shackled to
the cold radiator
of a useless life;
left to run,
to suffer,
to fight,
but not too much.

At the end of our rope
we are
and put in
our proper place.

Free me

So you bite
at the leash,
worry the restraints.
They dig into
your very flesh,
your very blood,
You bleed,
bleed out.



The maiden swoons in the dead of night
and takes the specter of Death in hand
as Good and Evil join the fight for delectable souls;
the scale is weighted with scenes of dark and light.

The sword of Damocles swings wide;
in endless arch as a still arm hangs
above the supplicant's side, it moves
in seeming airless room, her fate decides.

The jury slips away, they will not tell;
a feather touch would tip the scales hard
as if inside her swell of breast a knave
of cunning deceit has damned her soul to Hell.

linda j washington

I say I am not materialistic
this is code
It means I am unattached
to blood or steel
or plots of grass

White picket fences
peel after a few years
and the scraping takes time
I would use in other ways

I guess that makes my landlord
a pimp
He takes my money
so i can't be owned outright
providing me protection
if i walk away

I always leave
with one suitcase
and the money left
tossed on the dresser

sucker punch

It happened at a meeting, bunch of has-beens and burnouts
Gathered like hens clucking at Frank Perdue at the mike
Pecking at the preacher’s mouth for worms of salvation
He said he saw me and there was a flash of light around me
I’m thinking crackheads detox in technicolor Kirlian flashbacks
And maybe I was just at the right place at the right time

He’s thinking love is a styrofoam cup of lukewarm coffee
Staring at blue eyes that don’t blink for anyone anymore
Hearing the madness that was my life and coming back for more
These aren’t war stories baby, I’m all fucked up like the rest
This is honesty in a bowling bag and you want to carry it?

Strap four kids from addict fathers on your back and genuflect
There ain’t nothing beautiful behind these crumbling walls
The wrecking ball took it all and the place next door
I exhaled what didn’t get sucked out of me
So when you looked at me and said I took your breath away
I’m thinking once you doubled over and stood back up
You’d be smart enough to know a sucker punch

small things

through the roof
the stagnant horizon
dull silence
and inevitably
it's most likely
the world's letting
time slip through
into rehearsal

the pain maybe is
that there's really
not much wrong in
your life
(small things)
still your head throbs
you keep banging
into nothing until
it becomes impossible
just to walk through
a room, rise
to an occasion

just next year
you'll meet the
same hour
the same boy you
never talked to
the same ring
you lost when you
were careless

now the eyes
begin to squint
you avoid looking at
the overhead lights
and move toward
the unlocked door
somewhere nearby
a lost dog barks
the night still moves
the sun rises again

wayne mason
kafka was right

Humans crawl
like cockroaches
through malls
and superstores

In and out of
factories and
cubicle cells

Down hectic
streets scavenging
for food, sex, dope
or salvation

staid suburbs
city centers
ghettos, gutters

Erecting buildings
to the heavens cuz
there is nowhere
to go but up

Days of plague
have been here
since man walked
across sun scorched
Serengeti plains

let there be god

Who God
Me God
You God?

Nah, God
but a dream
like me

Not here
nor there
a notion

7th day
man said
let there
be God
and poof!

The killing
hasn’t ever
stopped since

You see
God was
molded in
mans image

And not an
animal uglier
and meaner
than man

And nothing
can change that
not even
a rib


Can I put my hands around your throat,
Squeeze till I feel better?
Can I punch you in the face,
I need a punching bag.
So full of pent up frustration.
Don't give a fuck who I hurt,
Just want it out.
Sleep, what the hell is that?
Been so long since I have gotten 8,
Lucky to get 5.
Lay down,
Eyes are wide shut,
Mind won't turn off,
So fucked up masturbation can't help me
Then just as I hit that zone,
I'll be damned if the goddamn phone doesn't ring.
Can't be just friends without some bitch raising hell.
I'm so fucking done,
The world needs to stop so I can get off,
Just need one day
But that is way too much to ask.
You say you are the wrong one,
Honey you don't know what I am capable of,
Nor do you want to find out.
You are pissed,
That is a fucking joke,
Yeah you are pissed,
Cause for once someone said FUCK YOU,
My life is mine to own,
And for you to decide who should get married and who should break up,
Who the fuck do you think you are?
You are a miserable old bitch that will never get out,
You are stuck,
While those of us you try to control are just getting started,
This is nothing more than a pit stop,
Whose laughing now Bitch?
Cause while you may think you are the biggest,
I am the baddest,
I always get the last laugh,
Stay tuned,
I am just getting started.

thamyris jones

She’s seventeen
pink hair & all punk
but she listens
to Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden?
I would have figured you
for a punk

Oh I used to be punk
she says
before punk sold out
went all commercial

But The Sex Pistols
The Clash,
The Dead Kennedys
Didn’t they have something to say?
What’s metal got to say?

Plenty, she says
Satanism, rape &
murder. Serious stuff.

One day she’s going to move
to Norway, start a band.

Part of me wants to
fuck her in the ass
part of me wants to
put my arm around her
kiss her forehead
father to daughter

I just smile

Sitting down after dinner
I pick up Crime and Punishment
again, think about a certain poet
with wine bottles & ashtrays
piling up like purgatory
Tchaikovsky blaring
on a cheap-ass radio by the window
and I find myself
softly singing 'Cause I wanna be
Dostoevksy' to the tune of
Anarchy in the UK, alarmed
at the age of my voice

The Garden of Love

passing by the pub
i feel the need to
piss mixed with
a perfect loathing
for the all night hair
and secret underarms
on the other side
of the pane

the fuck me fuck me not
game comes on like
new shoes in an
old dance
absurd as longnecked birds
twisting themselves
into balloon animal

it’s taken me years
to grow this ugly
like a bleeding cancer
on your dream of perfect
i pull out my diseased dick
piss all over your perfectly
manicured bush

The Unseen Flares of a Polar Expedition..

Jackson's cranking crystal meth
hasn't slept or eaten in a week
rock candy snowflakes rocketing
past an elbow
the synaptic arc
dripping solder
down the spine

in Japan
is fire plus flower
the math is

you can count the needles
on the bed
in the bathroom
under the skin
half filled with blood
half filled with arctic
rhododendrons -- their fuses
alight with shame

simon philbrook

When he was five
my son fell over running
tumbling on the hard concrete of the playground
I turned around, thinking it someone else's child,
Imagine my fear,

Imagine the sound
of a baton cracking a skull
dull thumps
clumps of brain
splattering freshly creased uniforms
and monk’s robes
and student’s satchels
and the street,

Imagine the shit stinking prison
breathe it in,
skin peeled back
to get the pain right in,
Imagine it,

Imagine 9/11
all of them lined up
and shot,
one by bloody one
in front of you,
3000 is a low estimate for Burma 1988,

Imagine this happening again
and the silence

Imagine winning an election with eighty percent of the vote
then spending seventeen years under "house arrest"
and the silence,

Imagine there's no heaven
some days it's so, so easy,

My son was fine
imagine my relief.

i am a wanker

I didn't know what masturbation was till I was sixteen
My parents, being English,
that if it wasn't talked about it didn't exist,
they had a point
but some fucker could have told me,

I'd heard the words
and laughed on cue at smutty innuendo
but never really knew,

and then kapow!
and how!

and then jenny
(names have been changed to protect the innocent)
jenny who showed me, taught me, teased and pleased me,
jenny who knew that wanking is just great,

she waited till we'd dated for a month or so
and then (me twenty-one her twenty)
she let go her secrets,
"there is no shame in sex"
cannot be taught
it must be bought through experience
through girls (or boys) who are

she stripped us naked
and demanded I wank
show her how I "crank it off" (laughter)
and then she showed me
and I can't think of anything
more intimate
more revealing
more sexually beautiful
than what she taught me,

and now
when someone calls me
a stupid wanker
it is "stupid" I object to.

amanda boschetto
a sad life

the small puddles of life are
raped by the light
that noon spits out on a
gray day

sun is suicide in these
pale moments
and everything is in vain
in this life

but yet we live on,
counting the darkness with
smudged fingers
and smear the papers with words
and tears,
the poetic way, we believe


trees are the cloying embrace
of suicide and death
they reach heaven at noon
and stir up god's tea bags,

beyond the darkness they roam,
they are the best proof of summer's
sweaty decay,
like a slow razor they cut through
the ground,
they are full of age and their
bark is like skin, blood flows
through the branches, every
vessel stolen by feckless animals

trees make the best self-injury,
dead during winter,
dead to all of us who hope life
is a gift
and during summer they tease
us with hopes of happiness,

but never so perfect like autumn,
everything alive and dead,
too much for me to carry,

this burden of time

yvon cormier
the inevitable

Why years of contemplation
of potentials yet seen,
of in between jobs
thought of as weigh-stations
on the way to some hidden liberation.

While I worked and
tended financial survival,
when did I begin to think
my calling could sit
on some readily available shelf-
just waiting for my involvement,
my fearless and full commitment.

To work in buildings which
hold final their function,
almost leaning back against the
precipice of possibility. A world
revealed beyond them-
a reverie of mine confined
in momentary sterility.

The unseen wisdom of impetuous youth,
the desperate impulse of engaging what
presses immediate and unique.
For as time and chance
collide again and again,
we are never the same and
what we truly love and desire
never presents itself in
quite the same way.

How did my potential become bait
on the back-burner of life, me
allowing it in as momentary reward
and hope, for a life yet lived.

People in transit, they share
their secret selves and go
back to lives to provide bliss for
a later day, as have I.

Yet my choices left roots
that break old foundations.
Where idleness once stood,
I move on.

anaïs’ lament

Mom’s nursing notes from earlier this year scattered,
fallen from the table with symbols and information
from tests and time away, conveyors of their maker.

She fumbles through them muttering words from
babble, her incantation summons what they mean.
She means to materialize the constant source
of what made them, musical toys fade, chimes chime,
while wind caresses her face.

Mom’s eternal essence surfaces from these relics,
something maternal conjured by touching this card.
She bends it on each corner, the middle, crumpling shape
from its form whispering in song.

verless doran
a beautiful feast

Beautiful people never admit they are beautiful
But ugly ones will admit so, and more
Pouring over every lowly attribute
The grotesqueries and maladies of a careless god
Are known to them like scriptures
And the beautiful people listen to them, and are afraid, I think.
Fearful of this overwhelming self-confidence,
If even in their deformities.
The beautiful people know they are outnumbered.
And would probably taste better in a pinch

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