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) 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/


Gum Ball Machine by Alan Catlin

The bus drunk waves
his walking stick above
his head, then gestures
to all who enter, reciting
the signs of the cross,
speaking in Spanenglish,
shifting from one language
to the other creating an
almost perfect gibberish
mirroring confused thoughts,
white whiskey days warding
off the big chills of winter
even as a man across
the aisle warns,” You’d
better shut up-you’re a whack-
understand-a whack & you
know what happens to
whacks? They pull over
the bus by where all
the gum ball machine
lights are & they take
you away.”-an observation
that hits home like a
temporary tranquilizing
dart ’til the bus hits
a pot hole & he is jolted
awake-revived he begins
classifying the riders as
Ok and not okay-‘I like
you, bueno, bueno, y bueno-
but you muy malo-malo
malo, malo—” Up ahead
we see red spinning lights.
None of us are thinking
of gum ball machines.

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

Not To Bother by David J. Thompson

Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man came on
the car radio. He turned up the volume,
said, This is a perfect song, isn’t it?
When she didn’t respond, he asked her
what the hell she was so pissed about.
Pissed? She practically screamed.
We go to a party with my friends
and you sit moping on the couch
by yourself all night talking to their dog
and you want to know why I’m pissed?
He hesitated, started to scratch his head,
said softly, I told you I didn’t want to go
in the first place. All you guys ever do
is talk about work and how you hate
your jobs and your stupid ass bosses
and I never know what to say. She told him
that was all bullshit. That he didn’t even try.

Dylan was still singing about disappearing
through the smoke rings of his mind
when he hit the blinker, turned into
a gas station a few blocks from their place.
Why are we stopping here? she asked wearily.
He told her he needed a 6-pack, asked
if he should leave it running. She said
not to bother. As he walked away he realized
he was singing softly to himself about dancing
beneath the diamond sky with one hand
waving free,  but when he looked up
at the big night sky, all he saw was darkness.

David J. Thompson
David J. Thompson lists John Prine, John Sayles, and Frank O’Hara among his list of heroes. He enjoys The Simpsons, and he loves Spain and the American West. Please visit his photo website at ninemilephoto.com

Armed and Dangerous by Beth Gordon

Each morning between roses
and lavender, rows of
earth and tulips, he walks
like a man with a terminal
disease.  Something prolonged
debilitating, and unseen.
Careful not to startle
himself or anything else,
to examine each petal
before extending
his hand. He has a thousand
long stems to deliver
today. Prom season,
weddings, birthdays,
and funerals. He hears
them, their dangerous
buzzing as they move
nectar from plant to plant.
Honey-makers, hive
dwellers, harbingers
of his demise.  What’s he
so afraid of, JD asks,
it can’t just be a bee
sting.  Dead man walking
because of an insect
1/millionth his size?
Anything can happen
when you’re not looking,
I say, the boogie man is a sneaky
little bastard.

Beth Gordon 2
Beth Gordon is a writer who has been landlocked in St. Louis, Missouri for 17 years but dreams of oceans, daily. Her work has recently appeared in Into the Void, Verity La, Quail Bell,Calamus Journal, Five:2:One, After Happy Hour Review and others. She can be found on Twitter @bethgordonpoet.

Act Like I’m Somebody, Won’t You? by David Spicer

Never a likable fellow in my
overalls and paisley shirt, I don’t
smell—very much—and I’ve
witnessed lawn mowers deafen
brush fires. My hobby?
Painting watercolors of pickup
trucks and still lifes of milk
cartons, crackers, and model
airplanes. My reputation precedes—
no, precludes—me, no matter
how I button up my costume.
Hey, I barely wobble glancing
at a pretty brunette in a sunhat
when I wait on a tree stump
for the bus. If I snort, it’s not her
fault: I swim the river every
morning with a hangover after
a Bud for breakfast, ambling
to the coffee shop barefoot,
my turquoise toenails testifying
to the smooth gravel.
Plus, my collection of suitcases
is unrivaled: one saved a life
last April in Lake Erie when I
tossed it to a child drowning.
You people denied me respect
because my face with its slash-scars
glares at you like an evil president.
You don’t remember I’m a hero,
and I can’t help it, so act like
I’m somebody, won’t you?

David Spicer
David Spicer has had poems in Chiron Review, Alcatraz, Gargoyle, Easy Street, Third Wednesday, Reed Magazine, Santa Clara Review, Rat’s Ass Review, Midnight Lane Boutique, Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. The author of Everybody Has a Story and five chapbooks, he’s the former editor of raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. His latest chapbook is From the Limbs of a Pear Tree, available from Flutter Press.