They give good lovin’ by Isabelle Marlene Serna

SAD MAN. SICK MAN. MAD MAN.
They whisper

shhhhh…Listen!
BLUEPILL GREENPILL REDPILL
They give good lovin’
You are all
[I need]
Another prescription
For me. Why don’t you
Erase my
memories.

Yes, I remember
like a shadow
Here in day
gone at night
I slip into
Dark                black               abyss

Fiery hot scorch
Burn on me! Burn on me! Burn on me!
Pull push side step
Left                                              Right
Jingle!—Jingle!—Twinkle!—Twinkle!
block the noise—block it—
make it STOP!
haha
You know
this isn’t me
I wheel I twirl I spin
HA—with this
blurry vision
I can’t see, I never once
Did see.

I jump! Then,
                        fall
Red stop signs
In my line of sight.My path is
Cold hard dark
Where is the light?

My landscape
Like a broken painting
my colours fade
my strokes weak
Movin’ in quicksand
I sink! I sink! I sink!
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

See me
unknowingly
I see me
prescription
One—Two—Three
BLUEPILL GREENPILL REDPILL
They give me good lovin’
You are all
[I need]

Isabelle Marlene Serna
I.Marlene Serna was born in 1996 in Dallas, Texas and currently lives in College Station, Texas. She is a young, American writer who has written poems and short stories. She is a student at Texas A&M University- College Station, Class of 2019.

Verity by Sanjeev Sethi

Random lines cohere
into a rondel
or a tanka.
Truth has timbres.

When narratives overlap
inflection has its nook.
If actuality were
as easy as  an ellipsis.

If it works, it works.
Or it ain’t a waka.
In meatspace if it isn’t
a life, it still is.

sanjeev-sethi-2
SANJEEV SETHI is the author of three well-received books of poetry. His most recent collection is This Summer and That Summer (Bloomsbury, 2015). His poems are in venues around the world including The Penmen Review, Red Fez, Indiana Voice Journal, Dime Show Review, Zoomoozophone Review, Chronogram, Stanzaic Stylings, Visual Verse, Poetry Pacific, Transnational Literature, Meniscus, Bluepepper and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.

Homemade Jungle Gym by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

The kids a few houses down have head lice.
They get sent home from school all the time.
Worst kept secret on the street really.
Besides the guy up the other way whose wife
falls down the stairs whenever he’s been drinking.
The ambulance guys just wheel her out and fill out
the paperwork.

But these kids are all tubby, white, and poor.
They jump on an old green mattress in the front yard for fun.
A homemade jungle gym.
Balls of yellow stuffing torn out in many places.
But there is still a little bounce, so you can
hear the laughter.

Their mother is on disability
and sells her pain pills to a handful
of junkies.

There is no father.
Maybe there were a couple fathers at one time,
but they all left.

It’s just mom and the kids now.
And the junkies for their pills
stumbling up the drive.

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, Homestead Review, Horror Sleaze Trash, and Dead Snakes. He has an affinity for dragonflies, discount tequila, and all things sarcastic.

Skin Snagged by Paul Brookes

in the door

between sinew and spirit,
trapped between fires,
and lowtide on the turn,
a scramble to pull

loose of the heavy chain
of the jamb
or be drowned in blood,
adrift in the spiritflicker,
burned in the wash.

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.

When You Take A Shower And The Furnace Is Down For The Count by Michael H. Brownstein

I smell of burnt sweat
tangerine rinds
paw paw juice

Cold vapor
steams the snow and
corrodes the ice

No heat
and the shower burns.
Everything a kind of powder

michael-h-brownstein
Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. He has nine poetry chapbooks including Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), The Possibility of Sky and Hell: From My Suicide Book (White Knuckle Press, 2013).

Go And Vote by Gerry Sikazwe

Go, go and vote,
Power is with you,
Placed right in your palms,
Caged deep in your mind.

Go, go and vote,
Go and choose yourself a leader,
Be a man, be involved,
Leave little girls to complaining,
Yours is at the wheel, sail.

Go, go and vote,
Your choice counts,
We all know it is a gamble,
But numbers never disappoint,
So just cast it.

Go, go and vote,
Stand in that queue, crown your leader,
Do not give chance to future regrets,
When you can shape tomorrow’s look,
When you can vote, so go and vote.

Gerry Sikazwe
I am Gerry Sikazwe and I write poetry. I am currently a student at the University of Zambia pursuing a Bachelors degree in Adult Education. I have a poetry page on Facebook where I feature most of my poems, my poems have also been featured on sites such as Africanwriter.com and Mshikamano.com.

One is Sorrow by Jim Zola

Service trucks rattle by
ladder topped with tools
on a mission to fix whatever is broken.
I catalog roadside trash,
empty bottles empty wrappers,
each a clue.
I’m wintering
or maybe I just like the term.
Counting the days – one, two, many.
When I get there
I’ll know.

My daughter thinks
dinosaurs passed pilgrims
in the hallway
of extinction.
She thinks I wax
the floors
with a rag of my life.

As kids, we tried to get lost
riding bikes into neighborhoods
beyond the boundaries
our mothers set. There was no

particular darkness then.
Just dogs yapping at our heels
as we pedaled like hell
towards the next block.

The body
belongs to no one. My life is orbed by death’s
dark moons. Ring tones turn ominous.
When I die, play gypsy music,
violin and cimbalom.

This morning
while merging onto Wendover Ave,
I watched a Cooper’s hawk
thunk to earth ungraceful
in the overgrown median
in pursuit of something I couldn’t see.

Later crows took over.
One is sorrow.
One foot stuck in a dead squirrel’s guts.

Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for Deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children’s librarian. Published in many journals through the years, his publications include a chapbook — The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press) — and a full length poetry collection — What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC

Thoughts On Dying by Mikel K

His death makes me
vividly aware of
my own mortality.
Where do they bury
people who die
with no money.
It is the type of grave
that I will own.
He was a musician
and he fell on the stage.
It was to be his final
performance.
He left many behind
who loved him.
Play your harmonicas
and guitars frequently.
You never know
when you will blow
or strum your final note.

Mikel K - Copy
Mikel K is a poet and memoirist living in Atlanta, Ga. K was voted best Atlanta Poet three years in a row, by readers of Creative Loafing, Atlanta’s weekly newspaper. He has a BS in English with a minor in Journalism from Georgia State University. He drank his way out of Florida State University one class short of a business degree. You can buy a copy of Mikel K’s book of poetry, Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself, at http://www.pskisporch.com You can buy a Mikel K’s stunning memoir, The Delivery Guy, at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/ mikelkpoet

The Birth of Munch by Kyle Hemmings

It was a cancer sky and a stormy night.
Wind chimes jangled in deep tones then did not speak.
Frightened dark-tossed ravens dropped from the belly
of clouds because the sky was a trick mirror.
That is to say their identities were reversed,
stratosphere to ground soul, their little hearts
were the shape of a witch’s omen. A displaced Maribou stork,
hungry and bill-clattering, ousted Munch from its pocket.
The weight would only bring the both of them down.

The stork eventually died from suicidal tendencies
that stopped being migratory. After living feral
in a forest of need, making friends with the foxes
disguised as lemurs and the toads managing the monarchy
as rabid kings, Munch made friends with the rocks.
After all, they formed a pattern of stepping stones across brooks,
ponds, shallow bodies, etc. From then on, he developed
a fondness for anything hard. The man who took him in,
wingless and a beard full of night, kept der Junge alive
with the fried souls of furry creatures. As Munch aged,
like holes in a cheese, der Vater illuminated his nights
with gangly fingers and the trapped reflections in animal grease.

Then the surrogate father went blind. Then he fell
from the last window in the house. Munch felt love
and pain and all kinds of self-betrayals. In the city,
he acquired a job selling perfumes to loved-starved
ladies imprisoned in their own loneliness.
Many claimed they were from Munich, but Munch suspected
they loved Paris because in urban fairy tales every girl did.
Their favorite scents: fig, cupcake, Indica, tangerine, Pink Martini,
Tibetian Spice. Forest rain. Munch didn’t have the heart
to tell them the origin of that one.

Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey.  His latest collections of poetry/prose are Future Wars and Split Brain, both on Amazon Kindle. He loves 50s Sci-Fi movies,  manga comics, and pre-punk garage bands of the 60s.

To The Poet On The Stage by John Grey

Sorry but there’s only
so much bitterness and heartbreak
a man can take.
Especially when it’s not mine.

There’s nothing wrong with wailing and moaning.
It’s this tagging it as “art” that I have a problem with.
I get it. You’re in pain.
But so are half the people on the planet.
And so very few of them
ever get to bare their scars in public.

But here you are again,
up there on the podium,
in no doubt that others are keen to hear
from your pathetic life,
tearful inner child,
abomination of a family,
excruciating love affairs.

Whatever happened to
laugh and the worlds laughs with you?
To you, it’s now
cry and you attract a crowd.
Yes, your misery gets attention.
For the rest of us poor souls,
there’s nothing for it
but to weep into our own beer.
And they only serve coffee and soda here.

And then you have the nerve to say
that reading your poetry to others is therapy.
That would make your audience
the only psychoanalysts in town who pay their clients.

I admit that I’ve written to clear my head from time to time.
And I’ve felt the need to get the last hurt down on paper.
In times of old, they called that “hate mail.”
Unlike you, I don’t foist my miserable rage on anyone.
Not unless the trash barrel is a someone.

My problem is I came here for a good time.
Not that I’m complaining mind.
If I did, I’d be you.

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.