Mom’s Birthday by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

could be thought
and she did intimate
once how a
December 25th birthday
was a jip

not to enjoy hoopla
for her own sake

play a solemn
second fiddle

and I wonder
what she’d think
of the recent
Templar talk
of Mary Magdalene
wrongly written —

how Saturnalia
had devoured
the babies

Wanda Morrow Clevenger - Copy
Wanda Morrow Clevenger is a Carlinville, IL native living in her husband’s hometown of Hettick, IL, population 200 give or take. She’s placed over 422 pieces of work in 149 print and electronic publications. She is currently attempting to sway a publisher into accepting her full-length poetry manuscript. She hasn’t seen any pigs fly by so believes she’s still got a shot.

Dawn of the Magicians (In Memory of Woodstock) by A.J. Kaufmann

Impossible tickets

valves
were screaming like tea

pots were brushes

canvas – earthlings

jungles urbanized

in the mythical days of birth
creatures gazed, and magicians, in their dawn,
upped creation- the ultimate
downer

they used us to dig for gold
in the mines of the Nibelungen

we were those creatures:
insane tickets, one way tickets
flown like skirts
into the universe

sad creatures, pale creatures
wandering the solemn wasteland

forgetting magicians’ wands
Icarus sun cliches
on
Voyager 1
gold-plated
radio

the message got home, sang Jimi at Woodstock
but really, where was it from?

A.J. Kaufmann 2
A.J. Kaufmann is a modern Polish poet, songwriter and musician. He’s the author of “Siva in Rags” (Kendra Steiner Editions, 2008), “Broke Nuptial Minds” (Virgogray Press, 2009), “Hosannah Honeypots” (KSE, 2013), and other poetry chapbooks. He blogs at http://ajkaufmann.wordpress.com, and his music/audio site is http://ajkaufmann.bandcamp.com. He’s also the founding member of Säure Adler, and their most recent album is „The Aumega Sessions” (Aumega Project, 2018) http://aumegaproject.jimdo.com/artists/säure-adler/. He is also a member of the Poznań, Poland underground collective KakofoNIKT, whose video can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUpVJbJxOJ8. These poems are from the upcoming „Viers Ze” chapbook (Huxley Invisible, 2018), which is an anti-war, love-song, camp sci-fi-based collection currently in the works.

 

The End of Winter by Adrian Slonaker

In the early eighties
when we still believed in the coming Ice Age
as much as we trusted in Pac-Man’s ghostkilling capabilities,
frigid Great Lakes winters were the norm,
with Himalayas of snow sloping onto
sinister ice patches where you could
slip and split your Jordaches,
if not your head.
Plunging wind chills be damned,
recess was still held outside
while our unseen teacher likely cradled
a much-needed cigarette
between mittened fingers.

One Thursday afternoon,
between king-of-the-mountain challenges,
Traci-
the girl-with-the-pixie-cut-and-the-runny-nose-and-the-Garfield-backpack-
invited me to follow her
past the shivering Jennifers exhaling
hopscotch hymns through
chattering teeth
and under obscenely naked maples
to an outdoor crawlspace
between the scratchy red brick of
the weatherbeaten school façade and
a big khaki-colored mechanical thinggummy
that radiated heat.
Here in this gap
was the world’s smallest microclimate,
with thaw rather than Thule,
and pointing to the preposterous purple flowers
among tenacious tufts of grass,
Traci concluded, “it’s spring here.”
I don’t remember whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow that year,
but I was convinced I knew
where the seasons changed.

Adrian Slonaker
Adrian Slonaker works as a copywriter and copy editor in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Adrian’s work has appeared in Aberration Labyrinth, Squawk Back, The Bohemyth, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Pangolin Review and others.

 

If I Should Die Before I Wake by Bruce Mundhenke

If I never woke up
Would I have ever been
And if I never woke up
Would I be missed by friends
Who some day would
Never wake up
And some day
Neither would their friends
And some day the sun we circle
Will be a dead star
In the night
Almost like a dream
That never happened
While other dreams
Are being dreamt
Was it ever real
Tell me where it went

Bruce Mundhenke
Bruce Mundhenke has worked as a laborer and a registered nurse. He enjoys writing poetry and is an avid reader. He finds in nature both inspiration and revelation. He lives in Illinois with his wife and their dog and cat.

Tiramisu by David J. Thompson

That was heavenly, I sighed
as I sucked the last taste
of cake off my dessert fork.
My new girlfriend shrugged,
told me she was glad I liked it.
This afternoon, she explained,
I was praying to God for a vision
of the mystical body of Christ,
but all I got back was this recipe
for tiramisu. I handed her my plate,
asked if I could have some more.
Sure, she said cutting another slice,
Take, eat; this is my body.

David J. Thompson 2
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

 

 

The Deep You by Gregg Dotoli

Some of us are blind
or never hear a poem
only the deep self sees poetry
only the deep self hears beauty
only the deep self rides dimension
Is your deep you eye 20-20?
Does your deep you ear hear?
If you’re only you
verse is a stranger
in a flat world

II

art and propaganda
two lovers
of sway

gregg-dotoli
Gregg Dotoli lives in New York City area and has studied English at Seton Hall University. He works as a white hat hacker, but his first love is the arts. His poems have been published in, Quail Bell Magazine, The Four Quarters Magazine, Calvary Cross, Dead Snakes, Halcyon Magazine, Allegro Magazine, the Mad Swirl, Voices Project, Writing Raw and Down in the Dirt.

Beat L.A by Steven Storrie

Hollywood Boulevard is an intense cage
Filled with mad, rabid monkeys and
Tourists who point cameras at
Everything they see
One guy I watch, a German visitor
Feverishly snaps a homeless guy
Like he was one of the attractions
Really lining up his shot just so
Before stalking off, visibly pleased
With the angle and the light
I feel sad at this
Immeasurably sad
The sidewalks keep moving madly
This is L.A after all
And there is money to be made

Steven Storrie 2
Steven Storrie is the author of two poetry collections, Working With The Negatives and Taking Back The Underground, as well as a collection of short stories entitled 4PM In Los Angeles, available through DevilHouse Press.

Tramp Featurette by Paul Tristram

Oh hiya, Maureen. Long time no see.
It must have been in the Town’s pubs
just after we left school
that I last talked to you…
Jesus Christ, the years fly by, don’t they.
Where? London, how long?
Weren’t you homesick? I’d have been.
What went wrong ‘en?
Broken heart and come back home,
well, it happens to us all, love.
Anyway, you’re back where you belong now.
No, I got shot of ‘Him’ years ago,
useless pile of shit.
Both boys have grown up
and flown the nest now an all.
Nuh, not working myself, like,
it’s enough of a job
just trying to keep sane about the place.
Aye, I come out to Victoria Gardens
most afternoons, when it ain’t pissing down.
Bring a couple o’ ham sandwiches
and watch that ‘School Of Drunks’
batter each other senseless by the bandstand.
Stay at a safe distance though,
or they’ll cadge fags
and pocket shrapnel off yuh,
and try and worm their way into yer nylons.
Yeah, it’s exciting, innit,
bit of harmless fun if you’re a spectator,
and it’s all free to boot.
I watched one of the dopey bastards
lose a bloody eye one day…
and the ranting and raving that goes on
is hysterical… shit they come out with…
better than the cinema any day of the week.

Arty Pic Of Pauly
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/

 

 

 

Cold Turkey 101 by Alan Catlin

He looked as if
he’d been born
in an alcoholic coma
and had spent those
dangerous years,
between birth
and total inebriation,
perfecting his radiant
glow of ruddy bad health,
following a strict
regimen of exercise:
diving for Returnable
containers in trash bags
and for  comestibles in
Quick N Easy dumpsters,
the trash barrels outside
of McDonalds’,
vying with the strays
for the solid food,
staples of life.
Unrolled a few soiled
dollar bills, that had
been kept in a safe spot
under a paving stone
near some back alley
flop house for an emergency
such as this one sd.,
“Come on, give me one
more for the ditch.”
“You live in a ditch.”
I sd.  He countered by
asking, “What’s the strongest
shot you have?”
“Wild Turkey 101.”
“I’ll take it.”
“Your money’s no good here.”
“Come on, have a heart.”
“I had one once but I sold it,
my good sense, and my soul
for something like a living
wage when I took this job.”
“Come one, one more won’t
kill me.” He sd. looking
over at the bar at me with
lusterless buckshot eyes,
recessed inside swollen
craters of dead flesh.
I poured a shot for myself
and took a sip before slugging
the rest down and sd.,
“Says who?”

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

Piles Of Bottles by John Grochalski

piles of bottles
on the floor
no ambition to pick them up
piles of bottles
on the floor
and another year rolls in
like a sloppy suicide
the faces on the street
they lack charisma and charm
they are as ugly as mine
they are cigarette ash and hungover memories
and exist for nothing else
but to pay taxes and die
piles of bottles
on the floor
and the oven is dead
and the refrigerator is dying
we are overrun with morons
claiming that they have the will to lead
while i sit drunk on the couch
paralyzed by their audacity
piles of bottles
on the floor
rosy red and once full of courage
but now my heart is like an onion
baked into the center of a chocolate cake
a lump of cold shit
on a pepperoni pizza
there are piles of bottles
on the floor
and if i clean them up
they will only come again
like thanksgiving
like christmas and the super bowl
like love and death
cold coffee and burnt dinners
like election day
worn on the breasts of well-meaning fools
like people who love the summer
and the fucking
fourth of july.

John Grochalski 3
John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the novels, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where the garbage can smell like roses if you wish on it hard enough.