Jerry’s Talkin’ John Birch Society Blues by John Grochalski

jerry says
you know they never got back to me
the john birch society
i talked to a person at the number you gave me
a really lovely lady
she sounded like the mystical south
we talked about the state of the nation
and standing for the anthem
she asked me if i wanted a constitutional convention
and i told her hell no
jerry says
she gushed over the police
we trashed NAFTA and the U.N.
and i told her i would’ve served in the marines
if it weren’t for that bum knee of mine
and having to take care
of my mother
jerry says
gee, she was so nice on the phone
that woman from the john bitch society
it felt like i knew her for years
you ever meet someone like that?
feel like you know them for years?
well, that was what it was like between me and her
she told me that she was thankful
for my interest
in the john birch society
she said she’d mail me along some literature
and maybe some forms
but that was weeks ago
and i still haven’t heard a thing
jerry says
i wonder what went wrong
like maybe she didn’t feel the same way as me
or maybe she lost my address
gee, maybe i didn’t sound patriotic enough on the phone
i should’ve told her
how much i love the flag
jerry says
you know….next time i call
the john birch society
i think i’m going to ask
to speak
to a man.

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.
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The Vice- President Flies His Freak Flag by Melanie Browne

We women strut in our corsets,
in our pantelletes.
our men-folk call us “mamma.”
“mamma,” they say  ‘fix me
a sarsaparilla or
a soda-pop if you will’
We hustle into the Allsup’s
& powder our oily noses
sometimes we get
on’ry
like in a Waylon Jennings song
‘settle down now mamma’
the straight- laced men  say.
‘set yourself right’
Every Monday the vice president
flies his freak flag
I like to hang mine out too
it catches in the mighty
American wind,
I watch it soar
across the highways
and zoom along
the conspiracy
call centers
until it finally
lands in the
martini bar on
a national cruise line,
Glory Hallelujah
life in Pence- land sure is fine

Melanie Browne
Melanie Browne is a poet and fiction writer living in Texas with her husband and three kids.

Lovely Dreams by Mitchel Montagna

I cannot sleep
because I fall
into a dream
as beautiful

as summer fields,
the aqua skies
and streams are clear,
the sun is high

above the hills
that line the plains,
a breeze rolls down
as sweet as rain.

The petals spark
like polished jade,
the sunset blinks
and stirs the shade.

We see the light
is fading there
while whistling winds
blow through our hair

so that we laugh
and wail and seethe,
we’re sure the air
is ours to breathe.

I’m driving through
a dimming dome,
with air enough
for me alone,

the moon comes up,
the breeze turns cool
through lovely dreams
of lonely fools.

Mitchel Montagna
Mitchel Montagna is a corporate communications writer for a large professional services firm. He has also been a special education teacher and radio news reporter. Publications include White Liquor Journal, Naturewriting, The Penwood Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, and Amarillo Bay. He is married and lives in New Jersey.

The Lonesome Cowboy by Grant Guy

The lonesome cowboy
Was lonesome because he did not drink.
Even his horse laughed at him,
“What kind of cowboy are you?
Can’t get drunk enough to fall off your horse.”

It was then the lonesome cowboy
Gave up the ranching life.
Moved to the big city.
Became an accountant for a large firm.

Died an alcoholic in 1907.

Last words: Trigger. Trigger.

Grant Guy is a Winnipeg, Canada, poet, writer and playwright. Former artistic director of Adhere + Deny. His writings have been published in Canada, the United States and England. He has three books published; Open Fragments, On the Bright Side of Down and Bus Stop Bus Stop. He was the 2004 recipient of the Manitoba Arts Council’s 2004 Award of Distinction and the 2017 recipient of the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Making A Difference Award.

Grappling by Len Kuntz

Me, I am always grappling
In dreams, falling down
A black hole whose muddy walls
Are too far apart
To reach or claw
To stop the constant dropping
I grapple with the wind
With the swollen moon so close
I can see her gray fetus roiling sea sick
In a bunk bed I grapple with
Each night wondering why
In the morning the sun
Even bothers to show up
When it’s the same old play everyday
The one about the woman who
Convinces her children they’d be
Better off dead but decides to
Use them as kindling because
That’s the only time
Their crackle sounds sweet
The only time
They burn bright

len-kuntz
Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State, an editor at the online magazine Literary Orphans, and the author of I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE AND NEITHER ARE YOU out now from Unknown Press. You can also find him at lenkuntz.blogspot.com

The Shepherd by Gareth Culshaw

The fields were his home.
His walking stick his God.
The sheep blobbed fields
and his dog chased their legs.
He never knew sunlight
or the moon. He didn’t see
clouds or notice the sky
was blue when cleaned.
He only saw the boots
that crowded his feet.
And felt the prints leave
his steps then fade behind him.
The miles he walked laboured
with the years, fell away
from him with each day of work.
And his dog replaced another dog,
and the flock replaced another.
But he kept treading the hills
scared that if he stopped,
they would float away to a place
above his head, a place
he had never seen.

Gareth Culshaw
Gareth lives in Wales. He has his first collection out in 2018 by futurecycle.

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.