Stop Freaking Out, Man… He Was Just Down There Sucking Muthafucking Snake-Bite Venom Outta It! by Paul Tristram

For Fuck Sake! You’re always jumping to the wrong conclusions.
You should be thanking him… he was saving my life.
Not that you care anyway, you selfish Bastard.
Eh? What’s not to believe? You’re nuts, it’s all in your head!
Of course it’s glistening, there was a fuck-load
of slurping & munching going on… shit’s in deep.
What? Damn right we’re naked, health & safety first, muthafucker!
The beer & drugs are for the pain, duh!
This is an accident scene not a party, fool.
He’s shaking ‘cause of ‘Venom-Shock’, dipshit!
You’re going ‘round in circles, chasing your own tail, again.
You haven’t even asked me how I am? I could have died.
I’d cry if I wasn’t so God Damned angry with you!
Oh, here we go with your Sherlock Holmes bullshit…
just ‘cause you’ve been lucky enough to never see a snake
doesn’t mean that we ain’t got none, buster…
you’ve never made me spurt but I know the potential exists, right?
You need to check your head, mate, seriously…
turn around and fuck off so we can get dressed in peace.
Leave, go… and in future, if you plan on being so fucking rude…
coming home from that factory early, have the decency to call first.

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!

Depression: an Ode 1967 by Alan Catlin

Summer nights I sat
drinking a bottle of
Ballantine eight year
old straight from the fifth
listening to the Moonlight
Sonata, a fugue for a poet
with no words, a pianist
with carpal tunnel, “Electric
Prunes rock!” he’d said in
an interview before a concert
when he could still play
Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann,
a curtain call Prokofiev toccata
guaranteed to bring the listeners
to their feet.  And the long lost
girl who said, “All the poet’s
songs are sad ones, are the ones
with refrains like ‘too much of nothing
makes a man ill at ease…’ or
‘melt back into the night, babe,
everything in here is made of stone’
or ‘I had too much to dream last night….’”
Too much to dream.  Last night,
every night, each unwritten sentence
eight years long begins, “Hello, darkness my
old friend….”as if each poem were
something that could only be composed
while paralyzed on the death bed of love.

Alan Catlin
Alan Catlin is the poetry editor of His latest books of poetry are American Odyssey from Future Cycle and Last Man Standing from Lummox Press

Sunlight On Ice: A Sonnet For Everyone by John Sweet

all ghosts in febru
with their quieter songs sung
against fields of snow

all days without color

ask this minor god in his
house of brittle bone
what it means to be alive and
                      he has no answer

in his dreams he is always
clawing upwards
through frozen soil

in my arrogance i am the
king of desperate beauty

dawnmarie understands these
                                tells me she
                      loves me anyway,
      and this is the new religion

this is the darkest season,
the season of bitter laughter,
of fists wrapped in barbed wire

the age of suicidal poets and of
assassinated presidents and
which would you rather be?

how long will it take before
all your clever words are

we’ll start at your death and
count backwards from there

john sweet, b 1968, still numbered among the living. A believer in writing as catharsis. an optimistic pessimist. Opposed to all organized religion and political parties. Avoids zealots and social media whenever possible. His latest collections include A NATION OF ASSHOLES W/ GUNS (2015 Scars Publications) and APPROXIMATE WILDERNESS (2016 Flutter Press). All pertinent facts about his life are buried somewhere in his writing.

Time Of The Season by Steven Storrie

We can’t do this
She said
Of course we can
I said
We’re doing it right now
She put her hot mouth on me
Spilling her cocktail as she moved
Under the Merry Christmas lights
We’d bought just last year

I watched her ass wiggle as she worked
Black panties still around her ankles
Fingers doing the work I couldn’t reach

Her groans mixed with a children’s choir
Coming from across the street
And I came to the sound of something
Eerily similar
to Jingle Bells

That would be the final time
I signed the divorce papers the next morning
by the window
and wished to God it would stop snowing
that we would get some relief from it all
for a little while
at least

Steven Storrie 3
Steven Storrie has worked as a cable T.V repair man, dishwasher, choreographer, ice cream vendor and junk yard attendant. Tired of this he is currently locked in his basement working on his first full collection of poetry, bickering with his neighbours over nothing and storing the baseballs he keeps when they are hit into his yard. His first collection of short stories, We Are Not The Kids We Used To Be, will be released in November by DevilHouse Press. You can find him at the website he runs, ‘Black Coffee For Breakfast’, at

Ten Days Before The Insurrection by David Spicer

After you’ve guillotined me and placed
my body in the sarcophagus I’ve
requested, after you’ve repressed me
and overruled my wish for lindens
to sway at the moment of my death,
a peace will saturate the burning cities,
and the children, ravens on shoulders,
will don babushkas and bayonets,
mourning me for twelve sunrises.
They’ll worship and clutch my image
on lithographed banners. You can’t
masquerade in disguises of my
caricature, for the children will menace you
because the savior of their republic sings
no more. Quarrel among yourselves,
prove you’re not the disease. Flex
muscles, gobble delicacies, allow
your eyes to twinkle. Either offer
them suffrage–declare that your mission–
or squeeze yourselves into the hothouses
of greed, dress in helmets and sashes,
and indulge in glorious last flings, because
the moment electricity ends, they’ll
overrun your battlefield, and you may
commit one or two atrocities, but it is then
that we’ll achieve victory you never knew.

David Spicer has had poems in The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Gargoyle, Mad Swirl, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, The New Verse News, The Laughing Dog, Chiron Review, Easy Street, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., Dead Snakes, among others, and in the anthologies Silent Voices: Recent American Poems on Nature (Ally Press, 1978), Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing From Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003), and A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Best of the Net twice and a Pushcart, and is the author of one full-length collection of poems, Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke’s Press, 1987), and four chapbooks. He is also the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

One Day The Thorns Won’t Cut by Linda M. Crate

sunlit rain
falls upon roses,
and i am
reminded of your
always cutting into my
body with the fangs
of wolves
i try to forget so we can be
strangers as you demanded
yet i can’t quite manage
for you haunt like
a ghost—
i know you’ve forgotten me;
left me in the past
probably only remember me in amber and scarlet
sunsets that sing hymns in summer
yet for me it is harder
i am always the girl that loves and cares more
here i am caught on the erosion of your
name against my
i should probably bury the hatchet,
but my temper spills over me like a hurricane
choking me out until i forget who i am;
but i cannot let it win
for i am love and light and so instead of burying the hatchet
i desire to bury you.

Linda M. Crate
Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has three published chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press – June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon – January 2014), and If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016). Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015. The second novel of this series Dragons & Magic was published in October 2015. The third of the seven book series Centaurs & Magic was published November 2016. Her novel Corvids & Magic was published March 2017. Her novel Phoenix Tears is forthcoming.


My Mother’s Closet by David J. Thompson

I’m squeezed into a picnic table
with a bunch of people I don’t know,
dragged to this party by my sister
for free beer and food. In between
bites of a fat cheeseburger, I hear
the bald guy in the Yankees t-shirt
at the end of the table say, So, Ronnie,
how you been? Haven’t seen you
in a while. I’m doing better these days,
answers the guy opposite me. He’s got
the blown dry hair of an 80’s porn star,
now streaked with grey by the last thirty years.
Both my parents died last winter from cancer,
he continues after wiping spots of mustard
from his mustache, only six weeks apart,
so that was real tough. The whole table murmurs
I’m sorry, watches him take a sip of Diet Coke.
Yeah, he continues, they left me the house,
so I’ve been living back there since March.
It was weird at first being there all alone,
but now I’m sorta used to it. He takes some
potato chips off his plate and eats them slowly,
and while staring off over my shoulder
into the neighbors’ yard, Ronnie says almost dreamily,
Sometimes I go into my mother’s closet and look
through all her old dresses that are still hanging
there. Is that so weird? I feel the table become still,
all I can hear is the ballgame on tv coming
from inside the house.  The bald guy stands up,
says he’s going to go grab more beer for everyone.
I take a long, last swallow of Coors Light, shake
the can a little bit just to make sure it’s empty.
I look down at my plate, and push some cole slaw
around with my plastic fork. Looks pretty damn watery,
must be store-bought, I can’t help but think to myself.
Nowhere near as good as my mom used to make.

David J. Thompson grew up in Hyde Park, New York, and currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His latest poetry/photography chapbook, A World Without Horses, is available on Kindle. Please visit his photo website at

The Guitar Of My Heart by Anoucheka Gangabissoon

As I sit, and watch life go by
I let my feet swirl and twirl
To the beats of the guitar of my heart
A golden one it is
And its notes are played by a mysterious being
A being I claim to be my muse
My sole lover
My strength
My cause
My reason to hold on to life!

I just sit, fold my hands under my chin
And watch life unfold itself
Pray, its gardens are beautiful
Tempting, inviting
But I am not seduced
I never have been
Why, if life is to end
It is surely a dream
If life is to end
It is not be fretted about
If life is to end
It is not real

And the beats emanating from the guitar of my heart
Bid me to smile at clouds
To dance, while keeping myself still and composed
To paint, while keeping my hands tied
To write, while keeping my pen capped

Pray, of life and its many stages
I’ve had enough
Of life and its many stages
I’ve seen enough
Now, I wish to breathe the exalt of newness
And freshness

I shall do as my muse bids me to
I shall follow his pulls
By simply swirling and twirling to the tunes he plays
There, on the strings of the guitar of my heart!

Anoucheka Gangabissoon is a Primary School Educator in Mauritius. She writes poetry and short stories as hobby. She considers writing to be the meaning of her life as she has always been influenced by all the great writers and wishes to be, like them, immortalized in her words. Her works can be read on and she had also appeared in various literary magazines like SETU, Different Truths, Dissident Voice. She has also been published in Duane’s Poetree and also in an anthology for the Immagine and Poesia group. Her poems are often placed in free online contests.

From Wreckage To Mercy by Lana Bella

Think mercy balanced on its
treble notes, apotheosis tipped
soft-soled, petal-skin sheaved
like pressed beads on salt flats.
Hidden for years under pious
slabs, it stirred halo-hooked
with silver scratches of sundials
caught ineffably dearth, fertile
soil spread rot like seven years
farmed out in beetles and rain,
sucked in scent of burned drift-
woods. Then the glowing hours
streamed from the ends of their
fingers wreckage torn salient
pale, with the dark already gone
out of dull eyes, drifted back
to the terminus of annihilation
on taut, splayed wings, allayed
as a graceful arc of light cast up
nerves’ panoply, between buds
of resilience and yielding, as
the earth returned to the folds
of gospels and prayers, forklifted
serpents to its wingspan mouth.

Lana Bella
A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Lana Bella is an author of three chapbooks, Under My Dark (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2016), Adagio (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming), and Dear Suki: Letters (Platypus 2412 Mini Chapbook Series, 2016) has had poetry and fiction featured with over 360 journals, 2River, The Acentos Review, California Quarterly, Chiron Review, Columbia Journal, Grey Sparrow Journal, Notre Dame Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, San Pedro River Review, The Ilanot Review, and Westwind, among others. Lana resides in the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam, where she is a mom of two far-too-clever frolicsome imps.

Emptiness, or A Romance Concerning the Poet and the Dulux Paint Catalogue by Simon Cockle

At the beginning,
you were Almost Oyster;
pale, but still precious.
I ran my fingers across
the straight lines you presented.

By the spring, you’d changed.
Then, you were Elderflower Tea;
warm, in the morning’s chill.
I leant my back against you;
we could stay like this for hours.

All through the summer,
I named you Egyptian Cotton;
cool, but not distant.
I prostrated myself, my cheek
resisting your flatness; as one.

But, by the winter,
you’d returned to Soft Stone;
shadows engulfed you.
I reached out in the morning:
what returned was emptiness.

Simon Cockle is a poet and writer from Hertfordshire. He writes as part of Poetry ID, a Stanza of the Poetry Society. His poems have been published in iOTA, Prole, The Lampeter Review, An Algebra of Owls and the London Progressive Journal, amongst others. He was invited to read at last year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival as part of the Poetica Botanica event. He teaches English in a local comprehensive school, and has a wife and daughter who nod reassuringly when he reads them his poems. More of his poems can be found at .