Times Zero by John Sweet

you with the light of god in
your eyes on easter sunday, air filled
with the glimmer of memory, with
shards of chrome, said kiss me said beg and
we were all growing thinner on a
diet of broken glass

we were all dreamers and
we are all the dream

asked the poet what he believed in but
the letter came back unopened

heard about his death a year later, right about
the time of my divorce, right about the time of the
fire, and i went back to read all the
words he’d ever written

i burned the effigies and i played the
records backwards but
no greater truths were revealed

the sunlight was bitter, the
landscape grey and frayed at the edges

dead trees and empty houses and the children
found buried behind abandoned factories
or out along the edges of the interstate

baby teeth lined up on the
kitchen window sill

back yard thick with morbid nostalgia

understood finally that it was the fear
of becoming my father
that kept me from crawling to your door

john sweet, b 1968, still numbered among the living. A believer in writing as catharsis. an optimistic pessimist. Opposed to all organized religion and political parties. Avoids zealots and social media whenever possible. His latest collections include A NATION OF ASSHOLES W/ GUNS (2015 Scars Publications) and APPROXIMATE WILDERNESS (2016 Flutter Press). All pertinent facts about his life are buried somewhere in his writing.

Intruders by Cord Moreski

The spring morning my mother
scurried away to receive the call
regarding my father’s biopsy result
was the same moment I noticed it
as I stood there eavesdropping from the kitchen.
It was a typical house ant. Size of an ellipsis.
Foraging alone on the surface
of my parent’s granite countertop.
And while her voice wrestled
with words like options and treatments  
from the other room, I watched
as this tiny intruder advanced ahead
eventually disappearing inside a broken tile
along the kitchen backsplash.
Then she quickly hung up the phone.
Walking back. Carrying weight
with each step. As we both got ready
to share news about things
quietly invading our house.

Cord Moreski
Cord Moreski is a poet/ teacher from Ocean Grove, New Jersey. He is the author of the chapbook Stay Afloat Inside (2016, Indigent Press) and was a nominee for 2016 Poet Laureate of Asbury Park. When Moreski is not writing, he teaches middle school children that poetry is awesome. You can follow Cord here at http://www.cordmoreski.com

The Pier by Wayne F. Burke

I walked out to the end of the pier
to visit with the birds
who inched-over for me
and we all stood
facing the sun
and the birds cooed
until some guy
and I inched-over for him
and the birds scattered
as if from a big wind
and the guy looked over
the edge of the pier
at the pale green water
same as everywhere
and then he turned and left
and the birds returned
one by one
and we all stood
facing the sun
and the birds
to coo

Wayne F. Burke’s poetry has appeared in a variety of publications (including “In Between Hangovers”). His three published poetry collections, all from Bareback Press, are WORDS THAT BURN, DICKHEAD, and KNUCKLE SANDWICHES. His chapbook PADDY WAGON is published by Epic Rites Press. He lives in Vermont.

Gone Missing, Again by J. K. Durick

When they found her shoes, the professionals knew the outcome,
the search had become a recovery, but for the rest of us, amateurs,
those who know so little about the missing, the disappearance of
a person known for her regular habits, who left a party late, alone
without her phone, the family and acquaintances searching, imagine
finding her okay, even after a day, after two days, picture her coming
down the road, smiling, joking about the misunderstanding she caused,
meant to call, meant to check in, but with the holiday and all that means,
she was caught up in that; even the police spokesman mentioned on TV
that there was some drinking at the party and were vague on her departure,
but they knew what the outcome would be early on, so when they found
her body in the bay, not far from where she was last seen, they mentioned
further investigation, something vague, something final; these things aren’t
new, happen, it seems, a few times a year around here, they disappear
become part of a statistic, part of folklore, the mythology of the place we
live in, the hold we have on life – we walk away, all alone, without a phone.

J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Social Justice Poetry, Tuck Magazine, Stanzaic Stylings, Synchronized Chaos, and Haikuniverse.

Fuck Your Fucking System! by Paul Tristram

I’ve seen proud, family men
shamed, slaved & chained to poverty.
Single mothers in Soup Kitchens…
I’m going to say that once again…
monkey-carrying dirty, hungry babies
to their weary backs and breasts.
There are fatter, fitter and healthier dogs & cats
living just three streets away
from our Council Estate
than 99% of the poor bastards
who are socially imprisoned upon it.
My neighbour splashed out
and got a ‘Taxi’ home from the pub
because it was his fortieth birthday…
he lost 3 teeth within 24 hours
for rubbing every other poor cunt’s nose in it.
Joke Shops for Jobcentres,
revolving door Jails & Mental Institutions.
Magistrates who ‘Fine’ the skint and unemployed…
where’s that fucking money coming from, eh?
You’ve already robbed us all…
of everything… except our fucking FIGHT!

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/

Screaming Orgasm by Alan Catlin

For a double sawbuck she’ll be
a good listener, someone pleasant
to have a cocktail with in dark, barely
lit lounge, might even pretend to care
what is being said and maybe offer a
kiss goodnight.
For half a yard, she’ll pretend
the Ladies is a tomb in winter with
a door that can be latched. Perform
services no matter how insistent
pleas to open up are.
For a hundred, your car or mine, is
on offer. Fold down seat action a
Go: choose your parking lot, secluded
For half a grand, you can have it all:
the whole Chinese menu from Column
A all the way to Column Z, plus
breakfast in bed or out of, and hot coffee
Says she took acting lessons from a
life master, Christy Canyon, who
taught her everything a girl needs
to know to get ahead in The Life.
Has aspirations to play Vegas on her
back. After that, the sky’s the limit.

Alan Catlin
Alan Catlin is the poetry editor of misfitmagazine.net. His latest books of poetry are American Odyssey from Future Cycle and Last Man Standing from Lummox Press

Femme Fatale by David Spicer

I gave you close comfort.
Please don’t grovel.
You loved yourself
too much to see my true beauty:
it destroys dreaming fools,
stupid men not thinking with their heads,

and I didn’t give you head.
If it’s any comfort,
I’ve met sillier fools.
They snivel, cry, grovel
at the sight of my beauty.
Morons like yourself.

Claim you weren’t yourself,
sweep me out of your head,
find a brilliant beauty
who’ll give you physical comfort,
but don’t let her see you grovel,
lest she, too, think you foolish.

Stop making foolhardy
choices, find your witty self,
or do let me live in your head,
and make a habit of groveling.
You won’t receive any comfort,
least of all from a beautiful

femme fatale. This is what’s beautiful:
like all men, you’re a crotch-thinking fool.
Deny that, if it makes you comfortable,
or, better yet, be selfish
like I am, escape your head
and trick women to grovel.

Make them think you’re lovers, Groveller:
then they’ll line up for your beauty.
Shake your curly blonde head
and they’ll pursue you more—the fools—
convinced you’re self-
less enough to give more than comfort.

Again, don’t grovel, you naïve fool,
know that beauty isn’t self-
less. Clear your head, give some comfort.

David Spicer
David Spicer has had poems in Chiron Review, Alcatraz, Gargoyle, In Between Hangovers, Your One Phone Call, 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 and is scheduled to have Limbs From a Pear Tree (Flutter Press) released in the Fall of 2017.