Delicious Concrete by Paul Brookes

stippled grey is his floor.
Kerbstones provide his fireplace.

Street lamps hang from his walls.
Tarmac covers his kitchen and bedroom.

He hates homes full of wood and plants.
He loves street furniture.

Traffic cones are doorstops.
Traffic lights his Christmas decorations.

His sinks are metal grates.
His bath an old stone horse trough.

paul-brookes
Paul Brookes was poetry performer with “Rats for Love” and his work included in “Rats for Love: The Book”, Bristol Broadsides, 1990. His first chapbook was “The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley”, Dearne Community Arts, 1993. He has read his work on BBC Radio Bristol and had a creative writing workshop for sixth formers broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live.

I Want To Move by Joan McNerney

Get out of this dumpy town
filled with sour face losers.
Get back down to Brooklyn,
rejoin the human race.

Or maybe Vermont? Legal grass,
same sex marriage, laid back, hip.
Cool state always ready
to secede from the union.

But I start to wonder.
Why not go BIG? Slip into
some parallel space.
A lustrous world, without pain,
just folks grooved and ready to roll.

Some place not requiring
bags of money to buy food.
No need to beg doctors for help while
overpaying them.  Yep and find
environs of breezy temperature.

O give me astral traveling. Just think.
No packing. Yes!  No planning.
I love it!  Now for my escape strategy…
when can I to slip into that crease in
the universe and quietly disappear?

Vivitar
Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Camel Saloon, Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Halcyon Days, as well as several Bright Hills Press, Kind of A Hurricane Press and Poppy Road Review anthologies. She has been nominated four times for Best of the Net. She lives in Albany, New York, USA

A Walk on the Wild Side by Alan Catlin

“He used to be someone I knew
but now he’s someone else.”

The best way to describe what was
sitting in the last row of the express bus
to nowhere was,  human garbage: close
cropped clumps of gray hair last cut
by monkey’s with straight edges,
kitchen help duds stained by years
of grime and grease removed from fast
cooked food and smelling like it,
eyes rolled all the way back in his
perpetually nodding off eyes, so unhealthy
looking, so thin he appeared to be in his
late forties going on dead. The only sign
of life beyond his apparel and the faint
movement of his convex caved chest,
was a wrinkled Daily Racing Form clutched
in the talon like fingers of his right hand.
No one was sitting within two rows of
where he was reclined despite standing room
only, rush hour crowd, just in case whatever
it was he had proved to be contagious,
though they need not have worried;
what he had was self-inflicted and fatal
but not something you could catch unless
you wanted to, had the cash to lay down
for another lid, another blast of smack,
that would hit so hard the rest of his teeth
would fall out.

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

No Thoughts of Their Own by Jennifer Lagier

On TV, political pundits
parrot talking points
fed to them by
public relations consultants.

Not a one expresses
original thought,
incisive analysis,
journalistic integrity.

It’s the mother of all reality shows.
A lewd, arrogant, King Kong
flirts with dictators, flaunts broken rules,
boasts moral immunity.

He climbs onto center stage,
snarls at the crowd,
badgers whoever disagrees,
assaults democracy.

Voters head to the polls and,
without knowledge or facts,
participate in a life and death version
of American Idol.

Jen-2016
Jennifer Lagier has published twelve books and in literary magazines, taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Newest books: Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Harbingers (Blue Light Press). Forthcoming chapbook:, Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Website: http://jlagier.net

Unity by Stefanie Bennett

Clocks. There are too many clocks. There
Are too few Homo sapiens
Who do not aspire to clocks.

See the mouse run. It is the machinist.
It attends the clock-arms.
In any event it’ll erode with the battery.

Attention! The clock has gone sour. She
Spat out her spring. She disrupted
The schedule of trains
                                      … The iron bird also.

What to do when the clock revolts? When
The clock family, a billion-fold climb
Down from the wall and leave it bare?

We know what we’ll do. A concentration
Camp for clocks
In peace-time’s a bore: say

What else then is our military for!

Stephanie Bennett
Stefanie Bennett has published several books of poetry, a novel & a libretto… tutored at The Institute of Modern Languages & worked with Arts Action for Peace. Of mixed ancestry [Irish/Italian/Paugussett-Shawnee] she was born in Queensland, Australia. Her latest poetry title with Walleah Press is “The Vanishing”.

Hunting Dada In Zurich by Michael Wyndham

The river, respectable
and see-through,
astonishing you as
one born to the dirty
architecture of the Thames.
And between hotel and hospital
you cannot tell, as we all
are patients and must be
cleansed to prevent decadence.
You navigate Spiegelgasse
with a map of Geneva;
but it’s no remedy for
a city proudly purged of folly.
At last you reach Cabaret
Voltaire, but here is no
hallowed temple for there’s
no communion with the
spirits of Janco, Ball or Tzara;
only a film registering Dada’s
origins, archived with all the
significance of a battle re-enactment.

michael-wyndham
Michael Wyndham is a regular performer on the London poetry circuit, and has been most recently published by International Times, Blue of Noon, The Recusant and South Bank Poetry.

 

The Sanctuaries by Bill Gainer

Used to work the factories
mostly the graveyard shift
a lot of years ago.
No demons, vampires
monsters, or ghosts
just tired souls and the job.
In the morning
the sanctuaries –
Bob’s Place, the Busy Bee Club
The Steamroller, Pete’s Hideout
the Chittenden Pass Inn
Whiskey Hill.
In those days
a long list of honky tonks
and dive bars
a gang of bartenders
who knew how to
keep secrets
He comes, he goes
no – ain’t seen him
not today.
A juke box
always hungry.
The same tired gal
needing a last dance
before heading home
from the packing plant.
It’s always too early, too late
never the right time.
You order another round –
a short beer – a straight shot.
The rumble of the machines
still grinding in your ears.
The blink of the neon –
the night’s
life support.
You hope no one
starts a fight.

bill-gainer
Bill Gainer is a storyteller, humorist, award winning poet and the maker of mysterious things. He earned his BA from St. Mary’s College and his MPA from the University of San Francisco. He is the publisher of the PEN Award winning R. L. Crow Publications and is the ongoing host of Red Alice’s Poetry Emporium (Sacramento, CA). Gainer is internationally published and known across the country for giving legendary fun filled performances. His work is not for sissies. Gainer’s latest book, Lipstick and Bullet Holes, is from Epic Rites Press, Canada (2014). Visit: billgainer.com.

When You Die You Live On Through Facebook by Thomas Fucaloro

You leave your body
transubstantiated, lost
in the night stars
twinkle this computer
an avatar.

The afterlife is
a computer screen,
it’s where we all glow now,
our souls do not lift to the heavens
they are still dying down here
with us.

Look, my Uncle Bobby
who passed 2 years ago
still finds time/ to tag me
and 49 others because
Sunglass Hut is having
a sale.

Whenever I make
event invites, Facebook
always suggests the dead
as if they might show up
and they usually do
way earlier
than the living.

When it is your birthday and you have passed on
and if you are still a member of Facebook they will
still remind me of your birthday and that will make me happy
until I think about your death and then I am sad,
Facebook is a bi-polar social experiment.

The dead are in our computers from the news
to old OK Cupid profiles, the dead still date,
the dead still show themselves to be living
you can Google any death you want
and something comes up
and this something comes alive in you
this something eats at you; it watches you
death watches you

from the other side

of the screen.

Thomas Fucaloro
Thomas Fucaloro is an NYC poet. He has 2 books out by three rooms press, his latest one, “It Starts from the Belly and Blooms” has received rave reviews. He has graduated with an MFA at the New School for Creative Writing. He has been on 3 national slam teams and was the Inspired Word’s 2012 Grand Slam Champion. He is a co-founding editor of Great Weather for Media and NYSAI press. He is a writing coordinator at the Harlem Children’s Zone. He just recently won a performance grant from the Staten Island Council of the Arts and the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs. His new chapbook “Mistakes Disguised as Stars” by tired hearts press was released in March and his next chapbook “Depression Cupcakes” will be released in June through “Yes, Poetry.”

Honeymoon And Beyond by John Grey

Spotless room,
blanket pulled tight in all directions,
someone’s about to arrive –
he, feeling like a man
and not even packing a pistol –
she, nervous as a squirrel,
but reassured ten thousand times
by five or so voices of experience.

She sits in the chair
still gripping her handbag.
He drops their luggage.
Hops on the bed.
She rifles through the freebies
in a small writing desk.
“Free postcards,” she proclaims,
a tremble to her voice.
That’s not all that’s free tonight,
he’s thinking.

She’s involuntarily pale
but struggling to keep her dignity.
He’s growing older in all directions.
The room’s no longer what it was.
The spotlessness has been drained.
The blanket’s crumpled
like paper in a fist.

She scribbles something on the post-card,
can’t believe she’s addressing it
to a place no longer hers.
He fiddles with the zipper on his trousers.
They’ll find an apartment soon enough
but those metal teeth
are where they’re really going to be living.

She gets pregnant that night or the next.
She grows into motherhood,
more self-assured than her family can believe.
He’s a jumpy, panicky father.
He’s his new bride’s other child.
She keeps the bedroom spotless.
She pulls the blanket tight in all directions.

John Gray Copy
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Silkworm work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.

Confession by J. K. Durick

When I was young
And poor and proper

I was always ready
To please the powers

That were real or
Even just imagined

Powers that moved
Parts of the world

The world I wanted
To be a part of, please.

I would play and pretend –
Play the part they wanted

And pretend to be happy
With things as they were

At least for the moment
They were watching me.

I could flatter – say what
I knew they wanted to hear

I could hold doors, step aside
– Literally and figuratively

I could hold my tongue and
Time my entrances just right

I mastered reading faces and
Between the lines with ease

I mastered pretend praise
Delivered with a straight face

I mastered what I needed to
Because I was young and poor
And, of course, proper.

j-k-durick
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Social Justice Poetry, Tuck Magazine, Stanzaic Stylings, Synchronized Chaos, and Haikuniverse.