Stream With Blood by Robin Wyatt Dunn

stream with blood
she’s twitching for the fondness in her breast

no rest may hurt me
I will not sleep

bear me to the fond beneath
but not yet:

I am an urchin
and I do urchin things

with my hands
with my mouth

I’ll open you up
and scoop you out

bear me to the fond beneath the summons of the sky
and who’ll die
not me–
not you–
the thing of us must die

bearing urgently to its grave
our terrible message
of what we were

I cut it out

mark with me
its terrible passage
out of your veins

Robin Wyatt Dunn
Robin Wyatt Dunn lives in Los Angeles. In this picture he is holding his tiny chapbook MARY, from Rinky Dink Press.

Gravitational Force by Todd Cirillo

Even at this moment,
sitting across from you
working on our computers
separately and silently,
I can feel it,
like the tides
reaching for the moon,
an unseen force
pulling me
towards
you.

todd-cirillo
Todd Cirillo is co-founder and editor of Six Ft. Swells Press. He is one of the originators of the After-Hours Poetry movement. He has eight books of poetry and his poems have appeared in numerous national and international literary journals, magazines and cocktail napkins everywhere. Todd lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. His latest book is Burning the Evidence published by Epic Rites Press and is available at http://www.epicrites.org. You can find him at afterhourspoetry.com and piratetrucker@yahoo.com.

 

McDonald’s Hiring Poster by Rich Boucher

In the first vision,
I see the McDonald’s Hiring Poster
the way I first saw it in my life,
the way I first lived in 1986 in my life,
when I got that first job
just after high school and right before forever,
back in that manager’s office
and there were nine of them,
nine free Americans all smiling at me
from just inside of that bright red and yellow poster.
Standing in tight 3 by 3 formation
and viewed from an angelic vantage point above them all,
they were every race and creed and sexual flavor,
all with the same exact exact white teeth,
African-Americans, white dudes and a winking pink dudette
and every shade of the rainbow
grinning together in name-tagged, two-dimensional harmony,
gay straight elderly heavy-set nerdy tough and milkfed
these stepford paragons gazed upon me lovingly
knowing that I was about to join the greasy slavery,
all nine of them looking at me
and I swore I saw them all licking their lips
as I waded slowly in, waded
until I was up to my chest in a swamp of cooking oil
and everything was America
and I had to smile because I had a Coke
and America coated me in a sheen of submission;
I was her boy.

In the second vision,
inspired by the lifetime experience
of serving the public
which has always meant serving the Devil
which has always meant minimum wage for maximum abuse
I see it: the McDonald’s Hiring Poster
frighteningly, fearsomely out of the frantic dark,
harshly spot-lit on a musty cellar wall
in the swinging, off-kilter glare of my unsteady flashlight
as I run and then stop, whirl around,
panting and terrified in a most lost and very haunted house;
all nine multiracial and multi-sexual and multi-trans
candidates for fast food employment
lift their bowed heads and then their happy faces change,
morph into scowls; I see the eyes on all nine
hollow out in an instant, their glares
floating quickly and irrevocably straight for me
from the depths of their empty eye sockets.

In the third vision,
I see the McDonald’s hiring poster
tumbling up in the dark of the night air,
aloft on a stinking, apocalyptic breeze,
half-crumpled, one corner ablaze
like I just missed whoever lit it with a lighter
and I can see the multi-hued and multi-identity
McDonald’s employees:
the young African-American girl
the older white lady
the middle aged guy whose ethnicity I can’t know
the teen person who I think is trans
like it matters what I either think or guess anymore
and they are all, together, unlike any hiring poster
I have ever seen; they’re not looking at me at all:
they don’t care if I want the job or not;
they don’t care if I get hired or not;
instead they are bickering and fighting with each other,
shoving and screaming into each other’s faces
like as if as though just like they were at an American rally
that was held in America to talk about America,
just like America has become one big angry rally
and melting pot screaming match;
I can make out the legend
welcome to the team
at the headline at the top of the poster
as the flames burn on, eating up the people
who once smiled at me
because McDonald’s once McDonalded them
into whole, actualized contributors
to the economy.

In the fourth vision,
I see the McDonald’s hiring poster
years and years and uncountable years
after the presidency of the Monster,
after America switched back to black and white,
after decades and decades of nuanced full-color,
after the end of the era of facts and truth;
I see the McDonald’s hiring poster,
faded to a quiet, mere pastel of its former dayglo,
dilapidated, only three rusted staples fixing it
steady to a billboard outside in the rain,
the rain making every face on that hiring poster cry;
all nine prospective McDonald’s team members weep,
wail and moan from the confines of the poster;
some of them reach to cover their mouths
to stop the sobbing
at the same time that I do;
why do these visions come to me now,
why do these visions come at all,
how many more will there be,
and what do they mean?

Who is the person
who can explain,
who can answer?

rich-boucher
Rich Boucher resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His poems have appeared in Gargoyle, The Nervous Breakdown, Apeiron Review, The Mas Tequila Review, Menacing Hedge and Cultural Weekly, among others. He is the Associate Editor at Elbow Room Magazine: elbowroomnm.com.

Indian Summer by Ben Rasnic

Late October
by the riverbank,
campfire flames dance
with blue and yellow headdresses
amid the smoky essence
of speared fish
resurrecting the spirit silhouette
of a great Cherokee Warrior Chief
from my ancient ancestry.

He joins us in our vision quest,
cracking jokes about
Andrew Jackson’s impotence,
whispering sun secrets
and drinking firewater.

ben-rasnic
Ben Rasnic is originally from Jonesville, Va (population <1000). His published poetry collections include: “Artifacts and Legends”, “Puppet”, “The Eleventh Month” and “Synchronicity”.

Ford Capri Sex In The Miners Arms Car Park by Paul Tristram

… the in-joke boogie…

“I’m stuck to the plastic backseat!”
she laughed nervously.
Elbowed me a right beauty in the chops
as she scrambled to drag her drawers up
her frantic, wriggling legs.
Getting knicker-elastic caught
in my ‘Mind Of Its Own’ belt buckle.
I knee-d her sharply in the soft, delicate
inside thigh of her left leg,
apologized with a curse,
trod on my own foot
and flew forward
head-butting the door panel.
Dragged my bunched up jeans on
‘Dying Fly Style’
just as The Old Bill approached
and knocked upon the driver’s window.
“No one’s in!” I joked,
no one laughed… not even me.
We were both far over the limit
but she’d managed to ‘Plug’ the keys…
so we were home clear, so to speak,
after the verbal bullshit was over with.
They ignored me when it became apparent
that no arrest was imminent.
“Mary, what on earth are you doing
with the likes of him?
Your husband reported you missing again
12 hours ago… get a cab home, sweetheart!”

paul smoking - Copy
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/

Censor by Katie Lewington

i will write these words, elbow
bent and laying on the desk
my face closer, pressed almost to the page
in a lust of wanting to sweep
free all of that that has bothered me
and i will give them to you to read
perhaps you can give me some
feedback, i don’t know
see what you think
I’ve been itching to say this
i haven’t censored myself
just so you don’t get offended by what i say
because if i don’t offend you
why would you read
140 characters, well why not
heck, I’ve nothing else to say
so many websites, stumbled on articles
links to
all bringing us stories, documenting
children that doctors advised
should have been aborted
celebrities going under the knife for a fifth time etc.
we became journalists for this!
comment boxes to see which smart arse hits me up first
i want your best chat up line.

Katie Lewington
Katie Lewington is a UK based writer and has been drafting, editing and rewriting her bio since she started submitting to literary magazines and journals two years ago. It isn’t as if she doesn’t know who she is, she just isn’t sure what is relevant. Her creative writing can be read at https://katiecreativewriterblog.wordpress.com or https://gumroad.com/katielewington She can be contacted through Twitter @idontwearahat

Jerrycans by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

She arrives home from work
to find him drunk again
and punching holes in the walls.
When she asks him what is wrong
he keeps vomiting on the carpet
and stumbling into each soupy
new offering.
They are expecting.
Perhaps he was not.
Before she returns from the linen closet
with some towels
he is out the door and off
in his truck.
The back cab still open.
A week’s worth of empties
and two red Jerrycans
spilling out into
the street.

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.

A Note To The Utopians by Mather Schneider

Utopians, keep trooping,
take your little Tupperware party of the soul
to the next house,
go pick your noses
on someone else’s nickel.

I’m getting sick of hearing about how it takes
fewer muscles to smile
than to frown
getting pretty
fed up with it Utopians.

Look, there’s a Utopian
with a cup of chantily tea
tapping a novel into her laptop.
There’s a Utopian
living in a pine tree.
There’s a Utopian sniffing Carlos Castaneda’s armpits
and popping pot ant-acids.

Utopians, where were you
when my gall bladder imploded?
Where were you when Shawn ate too many mushrooms
or when my brother got thrown in the slammer
or when my gouty foot
bloomed into an eggplant?
Probably pulpit-hopping
or counting your trust fund interest
or finishing your Pope John Paul paint-by-numbers.

I suppose I need to go to school to learn your language, Utopians, your secrets,
or at least a seminar or symposium
or maybe I need to take a retreat to Big Sur or Tibet
or eat only salads
of 4-leaf clovers from the highlands of Lochailort?
Or maybe I just need to give you cold
cash
to hold a place for me in paradise
right next to your urine-fountain
or switch my brand of soap
or change my name to include letters that haven’t
been used in 400 years?

Utopians, you bring the darkness rising
out of people
with all your so-called light.

mather-schneider
Mather Schneider is 46 years old. He has had hundreds of poems and stories published since 1993 in places like Rattle, Nerve Cowboy, Slipstream, Nimrod, River Styx and Smokelong. He has 3 full length books, DROUGHT RESISTANT STRAIN, HE TOOK A CAB and THE SMALL HEARTS OF ANTS, with another, PRICKLY, coming early in 2017. He divides his time between Tucson, Arizona and northern Mexico, where his wife is from. He earns his living by driving a cab.

It Was So Easy To Be A Bird by Dan O’Connell

It was so easy to be a bird.
I lived on the outskirts of the city
in a tall, top-crooked tree not far
from a field of corn.  In winter,
I raided garbage bins for bread
and found seeds scattered on the snow
as if left just for me.  My wings
took me to rooftops with splendid views
and to wires that swung in the wind.
It was so easy to be a bird.

It was so easy to be a bird, though
people think it must be a constant
struggle to survive, but after rain
it’s no work at all to find a worm
and my body and mind were hard-wired
for patience and the berry’s bloom.
It was so easy to be a bird.

It was so easy to be a bird
but still I worried about cats as soon as
I touched the ground, and shotguns and
slingshots and I never got used to cars.
In spring, I was never quite sure I
built my walls well enough to withstand
storm and squirrel and neighborhood kids,
but it should have been easy to be a bird.

It should have been easy to be bird
but after my nest with three perfect eggs
fell as if – it seemed – for no reason at all
I never recovered and chirped
incessantly that the sky was
full of satellites
that could track a beeper on the feather
of a tail and target any place on earth
with smart winds and who knows what
designed to shake our homes apart.
I knew the government geese were lying.
It wasn’t very easy to be a bird.

It wasn’t very easy to be a bird.
As a man, I can’t say things are any better
or worse, or the same, but I’ve been diagnosed.

dan-oconnell
Dan O’Connell is a four-time award winning poet whose work has appeared regularly in small and large publications since 1986, most recently Big Bell Magazine (2016) and America Magazine (Foley Poetry Prize, 2015). Dan O. is a former Philosophy and Rhetoric professor. He currently lives in San Francisco, where he has his own law practice and occasionally teaches law.

 

Dawn Creeps Across The Land by Kim Whysall-Hammond

Dawn creeps across the land
Shining her pale light into nests
Causing baby birds to call for food
Dormice to rub their eyes and blink
Ants to speed up their hurrying and scurrying
She reaches up to wash the sky with pale blue
And a hint of rose at the east
And , as a special treat today, the west
Smiling  to herself as the world awakes
She feels a certain self satisfaction as the Sun
With a near audible plop
Detaches itself from the horizon
Then like any other woman
Readies herself for a busy day

kim-whysall-hammond
Kim Whysall-Hammond is a scientist and a poet. She has found that she finds beauty and wonder in places that others find a tad strange. She shares her poems at https://thecheesesellerswife.wordpress.com