The Wasp by Paul Tristram

There was this Wasp (I’m serious!) I wouldn’t say he was intentionally bad but he was a motherfucker when it came to nocturnal wanderings, for example; he would often leave the toilet seat up and douse the kitchen in his projects. Although he did have a magical side, which entailed cosmic crap and shit like that. His main squeeze (and he had a few, boy, did he!) was a Christina Applegate looking motherfucker, except in a ‘Walking Dead’ way. Now that would be enough for most people but for our ‘Hero’ it was the opposite. With knives in both hands, he fought the law, symmetrically and determinedly, taking out a finer-pointed doorframe. “It’s all relative to the groove” he muttered under his breath, as he shuddered, violently. There was hell up for a fortnight until, the aforementioned stopped being a fool and gave up (To reggae music) eating the traditional pork pie with glee.

drinkingbeer 1
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!

School Trip to a Gordon’s Gin Factory by Grant Tarbard

We were a circus troupe, hounds
that tumble out of the doghouse coach

Like Augustes’ piling out of a clown car
to a clattering bottling factory

With a facade dull as dishwater,
the concrete seemed to be wheezing.

A strange hush walked our backs
in scruff white muzzle shirts

Blemished by eyes that seeped blue jokes
heard by the straight buttoned tour guide

But disregarded as her ears only heard 5 PM,
ushering us, the giggling herd.

Row after row of huge steel pots bubbled
like witches cauldrons brewing mother’s ruin,

Their fireplace was stoked with angelica root
and bitter orange peel was wrapped in the workers hair.

Our spines were scented with almond and anise,
liquorice root ran along our fermented vertebrae

And all we were after was a taste of juniper
but we were packed off into that doghouse coach.

Grant Tarbard 2
Grant Tarbard is the author of the newly released Loneliness is the Machine that Drives this World (Platypus Press). Follow him on Twitter at @GrantTarbard.




Thinners by Sheikha A.

My father’s eyes are now a squint
from having suffered two almost
attacks to the heart. We didn’t want
his ribs sawed open – and it didn’t
come to that – his other bones have
compensated by showing through
his frame. He has given up on
remembering the colour of his pills:
blue for tremors, peach for blood. I’ve
never been able to tell colours either.

Sheikha A.
Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Over 200 of her poems appear in 90 literary venues, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. She edits poetry for eFiction India. More about her can be accessed on

Bowling Balls by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

if there were more bowling alleys
in some of these countries
there would be less of an inclination
to decapitate westerners
and roll their heads through
the streets.
Maybe I am wrong.
It would hardly be the first time.
Yes yes, they demand their ransom money
but what I think they really want
are bowling balls.
And a few bumper lanes to start off.
For beginners because everyone has
to start somewhere.
On some unconscious level
they want to enter into a bowling league
under some cheeky pseudonym
Allah would approve
A trophy for the winner.
Modest in presentation, of course.
Anyone who bowls a perfect game
winning a trip for two
to Mecca.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a happily unmarried proud father of none. His work can be found both in print and online in such joints as Your One Phone Call, Horror Sleaze Trash, and Dead Snakes. He has an affinity for dragonflies, discount tequila, and all things sarcastic.

The Accidental Islamophobe by John Grochalski

i don’t know why
but i got on this bob dylan trip
with my wife
as we were walking through the neighborhood

talking about bob
making all of these sinatra old timey records now
and how sometimes it just takes people longer
to become complete and total bores lacking in vision

my wife said,
you know, bob is playing a whole bunch
of those standards at his shows

big surprise, i said
another artists letting down the masses
with mediocrity and self-indulgence

she said, maybe people will revolt

people will take what’s handed to them,  i said
but it would be nice to see people shouting

hey, play like a woman!
play like a rolling stone!
enough of this old fart music!

of course, most of those songs are over fifty years old too

i bet bob would walk off the stage, my wife said.

nah, i said, he’s probably part of the zeitgeist now
he’ll probably stop playing and shout down to the crowd
fuck you people, this is donald trump’s america!

which i shouted out loud
just as two muslim girls met us at a crosswalk

having no context for why i barked such putrid inanity

they both gave me the dirtiest looks from women
that i’d seen in a long time

and then kept going their way
as we kept going ours

over battered sidewalks and sink holes
traffic and bass permeating another garbage-strewn block

all the refuse of life that ties us together
from the things that work so hard to rip us apart

not really saying anything
until we were far enough away

when i finally said,
i hope dylan at least plays jokerman
or maybe tangled up in blue.

John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and the forthcoming novel, The Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, in the section that doesn’t have the bike sharing program.

Why Did I Kiss Him? by David Susswein

why did i kiss him,
eyes turning upwards to the last socket
bracing emotion downwards,
locking my eyes to see only feet and plastic tiled floor,

i kissed him on his cheek, stubbling rough,
i was told he look startled and surprised,
not as surprised as i, when i held his hand in both mine
and kissed his cheek, eyes shut

he must have been a bit shocked,
i didn’t want any extra turmoil of my heartful grinding
to a death that had already come.

I kissed him with my eyes blinded,
by grief.

David Susswein
I struggle for my voice to be heard above the din. I’m an no-one, and my non-entity is not a debatable issue. I find it strange that Envoi, Dreamcatcher, and have agreed to publish me. Most, more sensibly, have not////

Self-title by Nicholas Sollitto

You know that feeling you get
When you’re walking around
And you forget
That it’s just another person

But you see demons below the surface
Cutting into you with their eyes
They saw right through your disguise

You know that situation that arises
When you’re just trying to survive
But you have to hide it
From the one you love most

They’re all after me
I have so many plans
But there is a war in my mind
And shackles on my hands

Help me friends
I’m supposed to be free

A mental floatation device
But I’m 20,000 leagues under the sea
I don’t know who that masked figure will be
But I’m asking for my savior, please.

Nicholas Sollitto
Nicholas Sollitto is a creative individual who specializes in poetry. His work has appeared in magazines such as Afflatus and InkStain Press. Nicholas’s new video for his original poem, “Where do shooting stars go?” is coming out soon. One can find and follow Nicholas Sollitto on Twitter @wordsbyns.

While You Are in Colorado by Beth Gordon

All my words dry up like lemon
slices left in the sun.  Mummified
yellow circles with no juice or shine.
I wander the tidy spaces of this
apartment looking for inspiration
while your voice in my head tells
me exactly what you think of that.

I have no kitchen table but even
if I did I can’t recreate the lapping
tongues of dogs or the exact
position of olives on the plate.
My cat is silent and solitary, content
to watch me from the floor never
demanding a space by my side.

You have no words for me when
you are climbing.  Photographs
of mountains and lush forest
trails appear on the internet next
to your name.  Bluer skies and whiter
clouds.  Countless leaves like stars
that spark our spacious imaginations.

Beth Gordon
Beth spends most Friday nights in the home of her friends, JD and Dale, drinking wine and writing about drinking wine. After doing this for a couple of years, they decided to see if anything they had written might entertain other people. She has most recently been published in Straight Up Magazine and on-line at the Dime Show Review.


The Loneliest Hour by James Babbs

why can’t I sit here writing this
until it starts making sense
the walls always watching me
and I scream at them
I toss things around the room
but the walls remain silent
they don’t seem to care what I do
and I’m writing this
as the cars drive past the house
and the trees outside
shudder in the wind
I’m writing this
the same poem I’ve written before
but the words sound different this time
and why can’t I sit here
surrounded by all of these books
in shelves just gathering dust
I remember
how some of the stories were told
and I’m writing this
as the days grow shorter
and it’s getting colder outside
and I think about
how love and madness look the same
sometimes I see them
out on the street
wearing each other’s clothes
and I sit here
alone in this room
leaning over my desk
with the light from the lamp
falling down around me
and I’m writing this
as time slips away
and it feels like the loneliest hour
like I’ve been waiting for something
but I don’t have anything
and now it’s too late

James Babbs Photo 3
James Babbs is a writer, a dreamer, a three-time loser and an all-around nice guy who just wants to be left alone. James is the author of Disturbing The Light(2013) & The Weight of Invisible Things(2013) and has hundreds of poems and a few short stories scattered all over the internet.


Partial Scores From The Cultural Wars by JB Mulligan

The noble savage
roasting the brain of Rousseau
in its skull, eyes alert
as flames, inquisitive
of the dangerous dark –

this is the Adam
in an atheist’s Eden
before the fall
into shop and office.

As much of a myth
as the Bible’s first son
mud-spawned and breathed upon.
Voices ring like swords
together, vicious
under the studio lights.

And the true Adam?
The missing link?
It awoke to yet
another morning
under a slightly younger sun,
scratched itself and shivered.

Sometime in an afternoon
a spark was struck –
from the sky?, from the friction
of impulses rubbing on each other? –
and a creature blinked,
looked around, looked up
and went on.

Bright fossils leap in the mind
as the bonehunter scratches the dirt.

JB Mulligan has had poems and stories in several hundred magazines over the past 40 years, has had two chapbooks published: The Stations of the Cross and THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS, and two e-books, The City Of Now And Then, and A Book of Psalms (a loose translation from the Bible). He has appeared in several anthologies, among them, Inside/Out: A Gathering Of Poets; The Irreal Reader (Cafe Irreal); and multiple volumes of Reflections on a Blue Planet.