Uneasy Meat by John Doyle

I could kill him, okay –
worth considering, if it
weren’t for the martyrdom complex,
and that 4 days without washing smell
his legal rep could weave into the prosecution’s case –
he lost his way,
he was seeking gainful employment again when the boot went in.
It gives me chills, good ones of course,
thinking of fist meeting bone
like dawn kisses day,
and his blood becomes a rose-petal sunrise
behind a dope-scent studio flat,
with standard Stairway to Heaven
and Bob Marley posters (of course) – now more sanguine in tone.
And it’s funny how it all kicked off,
me, floating away on dental morphine,
he schmoozing my erstwhile love
with some weed and his grubby computer hacker’s hands,
the gargle of booze and cancer behind his nervous laugh –
one man ironically stoned…
The other I wished
stoned by rocks
this city sucked its heavy grey soul from,
his death – esoteric on the outskirts,
where feral tribes roamed, and pizza-boys dreaded
weekend nights, the roll of beer tins, and trains that jumped them
from behind, venom-spat freight runs to towns – almost as pale
as his vampire veins.
And what of my prison diary?
Tuesday 4th
“I’ve committed my first murder,
his eyes were glazed, his motions sifted clouds implicated by the stink of dope,
his messianic sandals, reeking in lack of faith, the brownish gasp like the fumes
and drained colours, my hands were appointed to cleanse”
And when he hits the ground
his belly will burst, and hostages will scarper past, hoping, then knowing, they’re free for good now – ghosts who’ll thank me for saving them.
Perhaps we’ll go for coffee in some shithole where he shot pool, maybe I’ll decline, survivor’s guilt perhaps, more likely the knowledge of better love to come.
But what was it Zimmy said about standing near graves?
I’ll be a hawk, wrenched on that tree,
making sure worms keep their contract too.
Yeah, what it all could have been, over someone who never was.

John Doyle
John Doyle Bio: The only good bio is a bio strung-up outside some gold-prospector’s wooden shack with his dog Jake sniffing at its last remaining remnants of sanguine flesh; So I will keep it simple, I’m from County Kildare, Ireland, and I love nothing more than stumbling across 3rd Division football games in Slovenia or Belgium on a Sunday morning as a welcome interlude while trying outsmart fellow bio hunters.

Zombie Dance by Joe Balaz

Braddah wuz doing
da zombie dance

in da alley by da theater.
Wit rubbah legs and arms
he wuz twirling like wun puppet

cause his brain
wuz pulling all da strings at once.
Da people walking by
wuz all uncomfortable

tinking dat he looked weird
and unstable

so somebody wen call da cops.
Good ting

cause da guy
wen take off all of his clothes

and he wen run down da street
in and out of traffic

like he wuz being chased
by wun pack of rabid dogs.
Wen da police finally arrived

dey found him naked
on his knees by da post office

screaming at da sky
and asking foa forgiveness

foa watevah he wen do.

Looking for nirvana
wit da newest designer drug high

it didn’t take dat long
to get da crazy body boogie going

wit jerking muscle movements.
Next ting you know

zombie dance
and den wun complete avalanche

as paranoia and delusions kick in
to wun excited delirium.
Say good morning
to wun upgraded synthetic rush

and see anadah demon in wun dose
raising hell

as it makes its way
around da neighbourhood.

Joe Balaz writes in Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai’i Creole English) and in American-English. Some of his recent Pidgin writing has appeared in Rattle, Juked, and Unlikely Stories Mark V, among others. Balaz is an avid supporter of Hawaiian Islands Pidgin writing in the expanding context of World Literature. He presently lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Competition by JD DeHart

Competition’s getting fiercer,
we all wear masks when we go
to market.
I don’t know an outright insult
from a veiled one, but I know
the feeling of being pulled down
by words and glances.
I’m training myself not to pay
attention, to be in my own game
where only I make the rules.
I’m trying and trying to train myself
to sit this one out, or bring a new
edge to the game.  A new piece
on the board.  Whatever metaphor
you like.  I’m the guy in the corner
who’s not reffing, maybe doesn’t
even know how to play.  But insists
just the same.

jd dehart
JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. His chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available on Red Dashboard.

Brute Optimism by Devon Balwit

My dog loves to hump, throw a leg over,
pump like a jack hammer, stupid-faced,
tongue lolling.  He mounts again and again,
happy to play out the same bonkless bonk,
front paws dangling, head pressed
to twitching flank.  He won’t take no
for an answer, won’t back down
all hang dog.  He does his two-legged randy
man shuffle, penis sheathed or snaky,
until bitten or chased away.  What
optimism, what willingness to take what he
can get—a flip, a tussle, a roll in dewy
stalks, even being nipped and run, hackles
high, by the indignant. He doesn’t care
about size or fancy collar, breed or name.
Any dog that shows up is just right.
My dog sloughs scorn like water, a brisk
shake, a leap on me for affirmation, then
rocking away once more.  Good dog.

Devon Balwit is a poet and educator from Portland, Oregon. She has a chapbook, Forms Most Marvelous, forthcoming from dancing girl press (summer 2017). Her recent poems can be found in: Oyez, The Cincinnati Review, Red Paint Hill, The Ekphrastic Review, Noble Gas Quarterly, Timberline Review, Trailhead Magazine, Vector, and Permafrost.

Poem 2 by Ananya S Guha

You were not there on
these streams
where dry images
of  the goddess floated
I was not there to  say
goodbye, but passed
the streams, crossed
them wading through
polo  fields
just to play cricket
chance an arm
with bonhomie
in winter’s settling
dusk. Eye, face,
nose, and my weight
on the hills falls lonely
as a skewed bird
hovers madly
wanting  season
to change.

Ananya S Guha ( 1957) lives in Shillong, in North East India. He has been writing poetry and publishing his poems over thirty years.

The Moment I Pick Up A Powerful Nation This Little Poem Of Mine Goes Right by Changming Yuan

Only recently did I become alert to how
I resemble uncle Sam. They – it? – don’t
Like China. I don’t like China either
(Though not for the same reasons.) They try
To reap cash in all prospering economies; I
Try to gather every penny from the corner
Wherever I can see and lay my humble hands
They hold high their banners of democracy
And human rights; I like my rights and detest
Dictatorship (though perhaps for different
Purposes.) In particular, they enjoy bullying
The weak, dodging the strong, disturbing
Waters to fish and using dirty tricks to keep
All others down; I am ready to say foul words
To do whatever possible to rise above myself
In this harshest human condition, although I
Was not born to be a villain. The only difference
Lies in the degree to which I am selfish, villainous
Hypercritic, and they–it? — are way more so

Changming Yuan, 9-time Pushcart nominee and one-time Best of the Net nominee, started to learn English at age 19 and published monographs on translation before moving out of China. Currently, Changming edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver, and has poetry appearing in Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Threepenny Review and 1249 others.

A Beautiful Woman Once Told Me by James Babbs

I needed to get out in the sun more
she told me I needed to do more
outdoor kinds of activities
she knew I wasn’t a very physical person
I read a lot and always
carried a pen and paper with me
and wrote things in my notebook
she was just trying to tell me
I was a pasty-faced white guy
without hurting my feelings
she told me I should try to be happy
as if happiness were simply a switch
I could just flip off and on
she didn’t seem to understand
how I enjoyed just sitting with her
sunday mornings on the couch
sharing the paper with her
taking each section from her
after she was finished
and reading it myself
drinking a cup or two of coffee
just sitting there
gazing at her every now and then
until she playfully slapped my arm
and told me to stop
I haven’t seen her in years
the last I knew
she got married to somebody else
and moved to a different town

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.

I Forgot To Remember by Allison Grayhurst

the drive that brought me here,
your face and the windows you leave ajar,
the way you hold a hand to my furrowed brow.
I forgot the feel of your lean body
curled against mine, to take the garbage out and
rake the stench from our yard.
              I forgot I am not only one, but more because of you
and our own. I was a dead bud
that with your unwavering love
discovered how to feed, remember
and finally, unfold.

Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three times nominated for Sundress Publications “Best of the Net” 2015, she has over 900 poems published in over 390 international journals. She has twelve published books of poetry, seven collections, nine chapbooks, and a chapbook pending publication. She lives in Toronto with her family. She is a vegan. She also sculpts, working with clay; http://www.allisongrayhurst.com

At The Outskirts Of Indifference by Victor Henry

When a sinister person means to be your enemy, they always start
by trying to become your friend.     William Blake 

D.C. politicians, dressed in their customary black cloaks
Of serenity, talking double speak
From both sides of their mouth
To convince you

That they have your best interests in mind,
Betting their incumbent souls
On the black that you won’t question
Their integrity as long as they are in office

Smile falsely, send e-mails to their constituents
Who elected them, regurgitate their talking points,
In hopes you don’t see through their deceptive deceit
And vote them out of office,

Their polling numbers in single digits.
But because you have always voted the party line,
Spinelessly, you will again do so, like devotee groupies
waiting for election night results.

Meanwhile your historical fathers
Gather more and more Constitutional dust.

Victor Henry
My poetry and prose poems have appeared in Misfit Magazine, Dead Snakes, Homestead Review, The Paterson Literary Review, Red River Review, and Slipstream, among others. My book What They Wanted was published last November 11th, Veterans Day, by FutureCycle Press in Lexington, Kentucky. http://victor-henry.net/

(Editors Theme) When you get caught between the net and new moon city by Gregg Dotoli

such a rich mix
from snail to antelope
some angry caustic and aloof
others gloat in silence
Probably .orgs or .edu
New Yorker/Harpers wannabes
submit this way
or we the be , abort this verse
Controlling and suppressing
through tone and iambic protocol

tenured, bitter and void of passion
reading works, as cops with cursory eye
proof parking tickets
slamming no-fines on our Windows
No. a bureaucratic no

Praise to the Uber-editors
many kind as motherhood
knowing the weight of try
And power of become
embracing this binary tsunamic wordflow
with care and direction
accepting net as messenger
great cracker of book spines
poetry bursts on fiber
without ivylike sclerotic observation

freedom isn’t static but tone crystal clear
as rust alters steel
and spring nymphs morph
poetry consumes protocol
and sculpts institution
with an approving father-time

Gregg Dotoli lives in New York City area and has studied English at Seton Hall University. He works as a white hat hacker, but his first love is the arts. His poems have been published in, Quail Bell Magazine, The Four Quarters Magazine, Calvary Cross, Dead Snakes, Halcyon Magazine, Allegro Magazine, the Mad Swirl, Voices Project, Writing Raw and Down in the Dirt.