Chophouse Wake by Dennis Villelmi

As usual, the ceremony began with coffee and mockery
of each other ‘s penmanship when we pulled out our notepads.
You said I scratched my ditties in “Sanskrit;”
and I always accused you of recording your waking wet dreams
in “Hebrew.”
With us, it was always a study in pretense, wasn’t it?
I still think it a precursory cruelty, our preferred bistro being full
that evening.  Very unusual.
Never before had we walked in to find all booths and tables taken;
that’s why we liked it: the sparse patronage; near absolute quiet,
if not for the kitchen emissions and the shuffling feet of the silvery waitresses.
It was the suggestion of coming in off the streets of Atlanta, straight for Abaddon, for a repast before the send off.
But that evening, as if the stiffs had come back to snack,
we got our java and took to the side alley where there were
crate seats and sufficient light for us to continue the ritual.

This is a request to a shattered mirror: whatever reflections
you could give me now, please.
I’m running on filthy, and I’m trying to pull off a garden of redeemed daemons atop the wreckage of the writer I used to be.
In you I believed I’d found an antidote to bad endings;
sure, I had a knack for hook-shape intros, but what good were
they without a fillet knife finale to get to the bare bones of any
I had the one, you had the other-
we were alpha and omega and between us we had a hope for
a Moby of a breakthrough.
Then, Vegas in homage to Hunt…

…I can’t figure;  did our ritual summon him-
Saint Saturday Night Special?
I had a notion to begin with a modern day rogue; you had
the ending: ‘Kid, we’re just hip shits and you don’t wanna step in
us.  What cash we had we’re sipping now, so this ain’t worth a trip
up river-”
The kid ‘s answer was, of course, well calibrated enough
for a finish. Yours.
You, me, and Saint Saturday- we came up with a story, surely;

Another joint now, other side of Atlanta.
I was absolutely quiet during recovery;
they caught Saturday by the day after,
and I fished him out of the mug shots they brought me
with fresh coffee.  -Shit!
I bury my silence in this chophouse shiva,
and chant aloud till the stiffs tell me to hush.

Dennis Villelmi 2
Dennis Villelmi is co-editor and interviewer for the dystopian webzine, “The Bees Are Dead.” http :// He’s had numerous poems published in online venues, such as “Duane ‘s PoeTree,” ” Black Poppy Review, ” “Dead Snakes,” to name a few. In addition to his native English, he’s also been translated into Albanian and featured in publications in Albania and Kosovo. His out-of-print book “Fretensis” was released briefly in 2013, but with the prospect of a revival. Mr. Villelmi lives in Virginia.

Poems From Invulnerable (V) by Sean Burn

walkin to bob dylan. halcyon gallery. art. we walk & walk. we walk & we walk. eventual to be told yes this is still london

downstairs conversation
– its a nice frame
– very
– this is a good deal
– pounds?
– yr gettin a nice price & a very nice frame thrown in
– sterlin?
– were the ones losin out to yu
– i’m sorry?
– post-brexit. exchange rates. we’re the ones losin. out
– it is a very nice frame

some painting titles
tribute to barb(ed) wire

& so down to dylans metal
here castin incredible shadow
go ask sales assistant
how much for this shadow?
this shadow?

yesterday queues for tube-lift. crowd in shuffle forward. in fill & ascend. so shuffle-us on. lass ahead glues to screen shuffle-doorway. smartphone & in screenglow she (bare) stands buffeted by open – close doors. open close she is buffet. open close open – she is buffet. & the voice-over please do not obstruct doors. please do not obstruct. please. vid ends she pushes door / way / out

some more painting titles
ban(ne)d new leopard skinned, pill-box fat
chaining lipways
tributary ov barb wire
grit meet oyster
where (some) wor(l)ds end

Sean Burn
sean’s last volume of poetry – is that a bruise or a tattoo? is still available from shearsman press.

Stay Tuned by Bruce Mundhenke

It’s hard to watch the news
These days,
It’s petty and pathetic.
It’s sad to even watch it.
Murder, greed, maliciousness,
Accusations and denials,
Threats, retaliations,
Trials and tribulations,
A world on fire,
And burning…
Technology advancing,
Far beyond its need.
Attempts to improve nature,
Creating different seed,
Never meant to be…
Is there more to be gained
By trade or war?
Stay tuned;
We will find out,
I’m sure…

Bruce Mundhenke 2
Bruce Mundhenke is an unknown poet who lives in Illinois with his wife Mary, their dog Max, and their cat Gracie. He is an avid reader and finds in nature both inspiration and revelation.

The Fair Amanuensis by Lana Bella

The fair amanuensis rendered me
all blinking, knocking against
her angles and lines. Dark, a tar
of iron light, bled away the redder
of posy on her skirt like bits of
mad confetti, sowing rust through
my brain’s cool throat. Here, where
her two clever legs swung open
the calm to the ocean, I cast out to
quilted hills and delicate moon
while organisms kindling inside and
needing. Because the flesh frothed
on the brink of blown dune, she
spared me the tender aches nestled
resplendent in muscle; instead
her fingers as they lay in the palm
of my hand, pressed to the envy of
a lake, carving her initial all the way
to my sea.

Lana Bella Black & White
A four-time Pushcart Prize, five-time Best of the Net, & Bettering American Poetry nominee, Lana Bella is an author of three chapbooks, Under My Dark (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2016), Adagio (Finishing Line Press, 2016), and Dear Suki: Letters (Platypus 2412 Mini Chapbook Series, 2016), has had poetry and fiction featured with over 430 journals, Acentos Review, Comstock Review, EVENT, Ilanot Review, Notre Dame Review, Rock & Sling & The Lampeter Review, among others, and work to appear in Aeolian Harp Anthology, Volume 3. 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.



Brecon Road by Benjamin Blake

I bow my head and scuff my sneakers along the autumn damp asphalt
Blowing plumes of spectral-like smoke as I meander miserably by
I stood smoking outside of your house
Peering through trees at the curtained window
Where behind I fumbled inebriated in your bed
And chased you onto the frosted floor
I can’t help but wonder how attractive your little sister must be by now
Well someone has to answer my curtain call

Upon the sidewalk I’m dissipating into the orange glow of the streetlamp
Ghostly remnants reminiscing to when you showed him your dirty underwear
While I just sat and stared helplessly
A hapless boy not hitting a home run
Now I’m fleeing from wedding receptions
And making worthless vows yearning for somewhere fictional

If the words are worth the wasted breath
I think I smoke too little, and think too much
My best friend is a pen that I can’t even hold in the right hand

Benjamin Blake was born in the July of 1985, and grew up in the small town of Eltham, New Zealand. He is the author of the novel, The Devil’s Children, the poetry and prose collections, A Prayer for Late October, Southpaw Nights, Reciting Shakespeare with the Dead, and Standing on the Threshold of Madness, as well as the forthcoming split, All the Feral Dogs of Los Angeles (with Cole Bauer). Find more of his work at

A Bolt of Heaven’s Cloth by Peter Magliocco

She climbs the open grave
of time, whistling back at you
a plethora of rhymes & riddles
sinking into the backside
of desecrated abandoned statues

a fungus of graffiti runes
etched into fabric of skins
later sewn into souvenirs
sold at rural train stations,
her hair remains a holy relic

finer than any hagiographic finds
men weep into the whistling wind
of her forgotten songs
the sin-bearers sing odes to
under the dwindling sun

mourning becomes Electra
still weaving with light
cast over victims in
obsolete electric chars
her ghost now burns into

like a needle in dead minds
she illuminates the birth
of naked gods

Peter Magliocco
Peter Magliocco writes from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he occasionally edits the lit-zine ART:MAG. He has forthcoming poetry in HARBINGER ASYLUM, POETRY PACIFIC, MIDNIGHT LANE BOUTIQUE, and elsewhere. His speculative sci-fi novel The Burgher of Virtual Eden is now an ebook available at all the usual places.

Born Too Late by Irene Cunningham

I woulda been a babe, a real dollface
hot mamma whose dish could sink ships to place
a sailor in my path…and he’d take me
to make whoopee, blow his horn and fill me
full of giggle-juice, thinking, What a dame!
No gold-digging on my mind just a swell
night to knacker the peepers in snazzy
style – time off rot-gut booze in beat clip-joints.
I woulda been a contender; aces
in this corner, sneaky keen to rise to
cool-cat; I’d be where it’s at – no kiss-off
for this looker. I’d be, Look at me Ma,
top of the world…Patsy done good so don’t
blow your wig ‘cause I’ll be home late tonight.

Irene Cunningham
Irene Cunningham has had many poems published in lit mags across the years, including London Review of Books (as Maggie York), New Welsh Review, New Writing Scotland, Stand, Iron, Writing Women, and others. Now she’s preparing for old age before the scythe lands. Her new blog, still a work in progress, is here:

When Meagan Sang for the Autistic Kids by Chris O’Keeffe

A kid that age only knows 1000 words…
how can they be the wrong the words?

One boy heard a nightmare, one girl
heard a penguin circus, I heard
something like hope, whatever it is
that presses you against your seat.

Conducting with pretzel rods and some
four year old mutters “fuck you” once
in a while.

This one’s getting stronger and his
mom older, her greying frizz straining
to subdue his adolescent piston strength.

Standing against cages of hands
always pulling you down, you just
want to move through the sounds
but last time you moved toward the dog
or through the window or toward the stove.

We are clapping with fingertips on palms.

Chris O'Keeffe
Although he grew up in the woods of Connecticut, Chris O’Keeffe is a poet of the city. He writes about car horns and commuter rails. He likes bars and brunch and those bodega windows that you can buy newspapers through. His poems are often interested in sound and technology. He has previously lived in both Cambridge, MA and Astoria, Queens, and maintains spiritual outposts in both. A copywriter by day and an obscure musician by necessity, Chris and his wife, Angela, live in Salem, MA with two dogs, four bikes and a bucket of usable Wiffle Balls. He was awarded the Marcia Keach Prize in Poetry from UMass Boston in 2009.

No Two Flakes Alike by Willie Smith

Drunk, nude, loud, absolutely nothing wrong, I am about to – in my fist underwater – come, when the cops come. Neighbors bitched about my off-key karaoke of Key’s anthem? I habitually belt patriotic stuff when stuffing my head with fuck.
Half-a-dozen officers out of their vehicles pile: “Hold it!”
“I am!” I grunt, assuming all know God forgives all sins save thwarting a climax.
They draw weapons. Ring the pool. Balk at wading in for the pinch.
“Place your hands on top of your head – walk out slowly backwards!”
“Which way,” I gasp, going obstreperously about my business, “is backwards?”
The cops, stumped, quiver on the edge. Till my orgasm retches shrieks breaking windows and bursting doors in a three-block radius, and the cops, scared shitless, unload their pieces.
My last sight a large (if I do say so myself) load dispersing langorously, while I am sent, through chlorine fish scent, toward the next dream of escaping, by the dawn’s early light, the law of no deposit, no return.

Willie Smith’s poems and stories have appeared in the toilet, the recycling, the gutter and in his worst nightmares. He is a retired office boy living off, in the form of a dubiously-deserved pension, the taxpayer.

Wow! Just Look At All Your Money & Drugs… You Got A Girlfriend, Cutie? by Paul Tristram

It was rhetorical, of course you’ve got one…
but, where the fuck is she?
I’d never let you outta my sight if you were mine,
you handsome muthafucking bastard!
Seriously though, if you need to talk about it?
I’m just here, kay… I’m gonna be yer best friend, ever.
Whoops! slight frontal beer-spill,
accidental side-profile.
Oi! Don’t laugh, I wasn’t showing you my arse…
but, seeing as it’s already in the conversation…
feel ‘That’, go on, prod it, it won’t bite, much…
that’s ‘phetamine that is, crack fucking walnuts with it.
I’m going to the kitchen to get another beer
and fix my Slap, now that I’ve finally got yer attention,
all the mirrors in here are manky as fuck.
You want another can? How ‘bout a sandwich?
I make the best sandwiches in the world, I swear.
Blowjob, sure thing, but not in front of yer mates,
you know, just in case this develops, honey.
Eh? Oh, Budweiser, Ha-ha too funny…
I know they don’t sound anything like each other
‘Freudian’ and ‘Slip’ are my middle names.
Right, be back in two ticks, I just love it here,
I can’t believe that I’m actually talking to you
all proper and not through a fucking letterbox for a change.

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!