a sampling of Dancing with Chowski, Part 1 by Kari Rhyan

1

You long-legged before me
Scrawling my nightmares
Across a page

Before it was a man
With no pen
And no form

Now it’s you before me
Long-legged and waiting
For me to speak

“I’m fine,” I say

“Ground yourself,”
She tells me
Knowing I’m not here

But grounding
Grinds down every
Everything

That piercing, bloody joy
That can only come from
Floating

My previous work, Standby for Broadcast–a memoir on the dangers of canned patriotism, family loyalty, and discount retail–focused on my time as a Navy nurse in Afghanistan, and has received praise from Kirkus and Blue Ink, and are widely available online.

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Heaven is My Horse Fly (V2) by Michael Lee Johnson

A common horse fly
peripatetic traveler
vacationing in my world
into my bathroom,
(ride me cowboy, fly)
it’s summer time-
lands on my toilet seat
pit stops at Nikki’s Bar& Grill,
kitty litter box, refuels.
Thirteen round trips
buzzing my skin and skull-
he calls them “short runs.”
Steady pilot, good mileage,
frequent flier credits.
I swat his war journey,
splat, downed, then, an abrupt end.

michael-lee-johnson
Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, IL. Mr. Johnson published in more than 925 small press magazines online and print. His poems have appeared in 27 countries as of this date, he edits, publishes 10 different poetry sites, with over 103 videos on YouTube. Michael Lee Johnson was nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015, and Best of the Net, 2016.

Nudiustertian by Sanjeev Sethi

Lies wrapped us in its loop. I searched for
a serape to mask us. Similarity was cure
and curse. Familiarity baffled us. There
was comfort in ignis fatuus. Is immediacy
of existence that engrossing? Dismissing
dates isn’t obliteration but an attempt
at beguiling oneself  with half truths.

sanjeev-sethi-2
Sanjeev Sethi is the author of three well-received books of poetry. His most recent collection is This Summer and That Summer (Bloomsbury, 2015). His poems are in venues around the world: London Grip, Skylight 47 Poetry, The Curly Mind, With Painted Words, Spillwords, Indefinite Space, Mad Swirl, Olentangy Review, Yellow Mama, New Mystics, Soul-Lit, Futures Trading, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.

Fuck You & Your Minotaur! by Paul Tristram

“Right, that’s the end of my shift,
what a nightmare it’s been…
but, you should have a quiet one now.
Oh, we’ve got some crazy guy in Cell 2,
in on ABH and a Public Indecency charge,
punched a fellow Copper
after being caught taking a Tom Tit
in the middle of The Square in Town.
Began talking to Satan at 9pm,
by 10pm he’d started eating his own right foot…
by 11pm he was absolutely raging and screaming
‘Fuck You & Your Minotaur!’
to the left far corner of the Cell.
The Desk Sargent advised me
to throw one of the 3 Gang-Members,
who’d just been arrested, in there with him
(We needed to split them up anyway!)
thought perhaps he’d slap him silent.
I looked in about an hour ago,
and it’s like a ‘Craft Therapy Session’ in there.
He’s explaining to him, nice and gently like,
how to make Prison lighters out of matchsticks,
flint-stems and mop threads…
oh, and ‘Window-Lines’
out of ripped blanket strips
to pass Contraband from Landing to Landing.
Not that it’ll do the lunatic any good…
he’s off to the Funny Farm
in the morning, not a fucking Prison Wing!”

paul bodmin jail
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/

Portrait of a Lady by Alan Catlin

Everything about her screamed: disgraced
aristocrat, all of the airs but none of the money.
Had Moet tastes on a Cold Duck budget,
claiming to like all the best things in life
from Bach to Beethoven and beyond.
Said, “You know that piece Bach wrote
for his insomniac patron?  The one where
the guy is so into playing he was humming
along on a live recording and played so well,
they released the album anyway?  The ones
not scandalized by the sacrilege thought it
was the greatest record ever and it sold like
crazy. You could buy it today of you wanted to.”

Somehow, you just knew she only referenced Bach,
as she was overly familiar with fugues, not the
kinds he wrote, but the ones you experienced
after a three day binge on white powder and
tequila azul, stuff she copped from two Mexican
mules willing to share on a run they ended up
two kilos light of a full load on.

Having survived the civil wars between two states
of mind, she seemed to think everyone she met
should kneel down and kiss those gold plated rings
she wore, ones that were trying to pass themselves
off as the real thing. Dressed in consignment shop robes,
looking as if she was a few IQ points north of brain
dead, following her last vision quest dream where
she was a hand maiden to one of the three Christs
of Ypsilanti, a vision like a caustic solution that
melts all the silk fabrics of her mind.

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

Welcome Home by John D Robinson

We were ushered into our
bedrooms and we listened
as our father returned home
after 3 or 4 days absence;
and then our mother
opened up our bedrooms
doors and although I was
only 9 or 10 years old I
could see that she was
shaken and angry but she
quietly let us into her
bedroom and my little
sister and I walked in to
our father laying in bed,
his face a battered mass
of red and purple bruises
and cuts, he tried to
smile but couldn’t and
my sister began crying
and I felt shocked but I
didn’t feel sorry for him
and some time later I
learnt that he’d pushed
his luck and shot his
mouth-off one night and
took the punishment from
2 or 3 other barfly’s;
but mostly I recall the
ashamed, regretful and
sad gaze in my mother’s
eyes as she opened up
our bedroom doors and
I felt sorry for her,
his wounds would heal
with time;
but I wasn’t too sure
about hers.

john robinson

John D Robinson is a UK poet and publisher, editor: his chapbooks include ‘When You Hear The Bell, There’s Nowhere To Hide’ (Holy&intoxicated Publications 2016) ‘Cowboy Hats & Railways  (Scars Publications 2016) ‘Damned Dirty & Dangerous’ with Ben John Smith (Holy&intoxicated Publications2017) ‘Looking Down Both Barrels’ with Adrian Manning (Holy&intoxicated Publications 2017): his work appears widely and frequently in the small press and online literary journals:
As a publisher: Holy&intoxicated Publications has published chapbooks by:
Bradford Middleton ‘A Life Like This Ain’t For The Feint Hearted’
Bradley Mason Hamlin ‘Zen in the Art of Drinking’
Martin Appleby ‘Worse Things Happen at Sea’
Gerald Nicosia  ‘The Ghost of Kerouac & Other Poems’
The Poetry Card Series is an irregular publication and has featured:
A D Winans: Gerald Nicosia: Bradley Mason Hamlin: Adrian Manning: Janne Karlsson:  Rob Plath: Alan Catlin: John Grochalski: Ally Malinenko: Wolfgang Carstens: Ben John Smith: Paul Tristram: George Anderson: Amy Huffman:  and many more:  Series 5 will appear some time in 2018:
Illustrated Broadsides with
Janne Karlsson:
Martin Appleby:

He is the editor of the forthcoming ‘tribute’ to the poet Steve Richmond ‘Poems-For-All’ Series:

Petrochimera by Dan Raphael

My body copied, reduced 5 percent,
then rammed into my body
that just drank a couple beers
who knew this could ignite
pressure licks its own flames
since its too wet here to crumble

Then the second body is removed”
in and out just synonyms for up and down,
north and south, for and against,
coming and assault

What i used to be never could have left
suddenly outside has walls & ceiling
the sky turned metal and an arms length way
rapidly lowering transparent slab of sky, my puddling feet
the undigested hydrocarbons of ambition

Enigmatic engine
automatic ash
clothes made of gasoline
food grown on gasoline
trading brain cells for  visions
too spectacular to remember

dan-raphael
For a couple decades I’ve been active in the Northwest as poet, performer, editor and reading host. Everyone in This Movie Gets Paid, my most recent book, came out June 1st from Last Word Press. Current poems appear in Otoliths, Rasputin, Mad Swirl, Oddball & Unlikely Stories.