Fading by Gareth Spark

Caught in the wet gale torn between the hill’s teeth like a final breath,
Corduroy cold against sky and skin,
And the ashes of a fire you thought would always
Burn, left now in the damp and no stars
No anything but the vague sense of something
Running after you like a dog you want to leave behind;
But forgetting always the loss
The light fading on stone
The eyes you no longer remember and the voice you no longer hear
Except as an echo of your own
Caught in the coral cave of dreams that come after
Too much drink and worry and work and too many
Walking through dust wet with frost, cars slicing by,
And this is all there is, this fading.
This fading.

Gareth Spark
Gareth Spark is from Whitby, Yorkshire. His short fiction and poetry has appeared in Shotgun Honey, Line Zero, Out of the Gutter, NAP, Poetry Bus and Deepwater Literary Review, among others. He reviews poetry online for Fjords Review, among others.

Addicted To Drama by Jon Wesick

Long ago, perhaps even before birth,
a hack writer installed his Juan Corona
in my middle ear. The typewriter’s clacking keys fill
gaps in my knowledge and crowd out understanding.
He casts me as a romantic lead. The dirty blonde
sitting across my breakfast table wears an expression
sour as grapefruit juice. Her plaid robe’s careless fold opens
to a roadmap of varicose veins on lumpy thighs.
I stare out the window through gaps
in the fence’s white wooden slats
and hope to glimpse the woman meant for me –
the right one, the nude sunbather whose breasts float
like Nuryev’s grand jeté.

During my drive to work, Congressman
Lavrenti Beria squawks on the radio news.
I recognize coded orders from his cabal
of crypto fascists to their brainwashed zombie hoards.
A villain in a tan Ford Bronco reveals himself
by lumbering into my lane. I become an action hero.
The script calls for a fight in a parking lot.
After escalating insults and provocations
I’m supposed to bury his head in the asphalt
with a slick Steven Segal iriminage.

But I’m too late for work. I sneak in the back door
as my boss’ shaved head and high-collared cape
recede around the corner. If he’d caught me, the Evil Sargon
would have banished me to planet Telcom’s underground mines,
where I’d scrape plutonium from rock walls with bleeding fingers
while choking on thorium dust. Until the revolution
I can only further Sargon’s maniacal plans for world domination.
I limit the damage by leaving before 5:00.

The hack has entertained me for so long that I mistake his voice
for my own. Desperate to end my oppression
I see force as the only option.

Host of the Gelato Poetry Series, author of the poetry collection Words of Power Dances of Freedom, and an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual, Jon Wesick has published over three hundred poems in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Pearl, and Slipstream. He has also published nearly a hundred short stories. One was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest. Another had a link on the Car Talk website. 


Hallelujah by Paul Tristram

Scraping cobwebs away.
it would be easy
to feel the pulse
if they were not playing
the drums so loud.
But I give into rhythm
reach around vodka
and cling to the stupid step
that I still take.

Scribblings Of A Madman
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/

You Only Think You’re a Bad-Ass by Melanie Browne

The impala sitting in the handicapped
parking space at Walmart wouldn’t
usually catch your eye,
that is until you spot the old couple
pointing at it’s wheels,
“That should be illegal,”
the old man says, while
the old woman clucks and shakes her head,
I nod in agreement but only to be polite,
as I think those caps are the coolest shit
I’ve ever seen,  and I can’t help but wonder
who parks in handicapped parking with
a car that looks like a Mad Max wet dream?
I walk to my van and load the groceries,
bored with my wheels & ready for
a long Summer nap.

Melanie Browne
Melanie Browne is a poet and fiction writer living in Texas with her husband and three kids.

Pizza And Pontius Pilate by Ben Newell

The delivery guy
drives these streets in a convertible Trans Am
painted red, white, and blue
replete with stars to compliment the wooden crucifix
tethered to the trunk with bungy cords,
reminding all of us that HE died
for our sins.

And this could very well be true, perhaps HE did die
for our sins—

But, hey, there’s a time and place for everything
and I can’s speak for you,
wouldn’t even try
but I don’t want to be reminded of such weighty issues when drunk
and starving
and in dire need of substantial sustenance
to soak up the alcohol
so that I can sober up
and jerk off
before I go to bed.

Ben Newell, 44, works as a library clerk at a small college in Jackson, Mississippi. Recent pub credits include Full of Crow, misfitmagazine, Nerve Cowboy, Pink Litter, Red Fez, and Your One Phone Call. He likes hot weather, ice cold beer, and reads far too many books about serial killers.

Death is Not the Tragedy by Jennifer Lagier

Angela is overwhelmed
by impossible tasks:
using the microwave,
mixing a pie crust,
brewing fresh coffee.

When her telephone rings,
she opens the front door,
answers the TV remote,
calls into empty air,
weeps in frustration.

Can no longer tell time,
drive her car,
work in the garden,
remember names
or appointments.

Gets lost in the house
where she’s lived
for sixty-five years.
Confuses day and night.
Doesn’t recognize family members.

Knows she is failing,
body wasted, mind muddled.
Loses ground daily.

Jennifer Lagier has published ten books and in literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Forthcoming books: Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Website: http://jlagier.net

My Best Friend Sits In Prison In Welch, West Virginia (For poet, Ace Boggess) by Andi Fekete

writing me letters
full of songs, poetry.
I imagine him in his cell,
face illuminated by light-sliver,
the memory of the songs we used to sing—
Why do I keep fuckin’ uuup? and
Bluuue, why don’t you stay behind?
coiling, like smoke, thick,
choking the cold bars.

We have no comfort for each other,
like two crucified thieves with no Jesus
between. I see his letters, words
scattered in a black ocean,
ink running, briefly suspended,
then, sinking. Lost forever
in dark water.

Will he even be home if he comes home?
Will any of us, old friends?

Andi Fekere
Andrea Fekete was born and raised in southern West Virginia. She has one published novel, one published chapbook, but not many friends since she stopped drinking. She resides in Charleston,WV with her cat Buddy.

Ihatethis13 by Nick Romeo

Sorry I’m late
And I’m sorry I didn’t say “good morning”
But someone
Snuck into my bedroom while I slept
And super glued my lips and eyes together
I barely made it here
Fortunately my car has autopilot
Not perfected but adequate
But still I almost ran over four school kids
And collided into a mobile wheel chair
The upside
I didn’t have to scrape frost off the windshield
Or try to squint though a frosty windshield
I ended up parking halfway on the sidewalk outside
With the backend sticking out into the street
Speaking of “backend sticking out”
The receptionist was kind enough to walk me up here
I did brew two pots of coffee
You’re welcome by the way
I brewed them strong enough to give a moose an ulcer
One pot
I poured on my head while it still smoldered
It loosened the glue
Finally I was able to see and speak
Free at last
This also helps explain my pants and shirt
Or lack there of
They’re in the microwave drying off
I have to wait for the beep
Then I’ll turn them over
I know
It’s 11 am and I haven’t done any work yet
I was getting to that point
Could you log me into my computer
I forgot my password

Nick Romeo is a multidisciplinary artist, musician and writer.  His writings have been published in various literary magazines such as Uppagus, The Gambler, StreetCake Magazine, Eye Contact, Syzygy, and others.  He was interviewed for Pankhearst’s Fresh Featured of December 2015 and The Dailey Poet Site of February 2016. Nick lives in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania with his wife and cat, Megatron.



Methuselah Speaks by Joan McNerney

Living in shadows I scarcely stir.
Each motion brings pain with fear
of falling, breaking brittle bones
or bruising my spider web skin.

I see so little.  Sunlight blinds my
rheumy eyes.  Night dims my world
leaving just vague outlines.

Food is stale, bitter.  Thirst savage.
No liquids quench me.  My bodily
functions often fail befouling me.

All these years weigh down my soul.
Hearing faded,  everything in whispers.
My breath is raspy, without strength.

My mind dull with defeat.  I count only
my losses and remember nothing
but the dead.  My memory is pain.

I cannot celebrate births. My great
grandchildren died so long ago.
Why must I  always wait here?

God, have you forgotten me?