Still Life of Butterfly Perched on Clenched Fist (or, How’s This for First Thought / Best Thought?, Pt.1) by Jason Ryberg

Woke up from a dream about something that seemed
really important after having fallen asleep, apparently,
in front of a fire in the backyard, only to suddenly wake,
lost somewhere inside a prairie blizzard of fortune cookie
fortunes, only to suddenly awake sitting in a rowboat
that must have followed the moon out to sea while I was
sleeping again, apparently, only to bolt awake once again
to a phone ringing and a strange voice on the other end
asking me what my fortune said, whereupon I woke
(finally, for real, this time, I think) in front of a pile of
glowing embers with the urgent, frantic need to write
down whatever it was that had come to me at the ground-
zero / epicenter / inner onion eye of all these layers of
dreams but all I could recover was something about a
butterfly perched on a clenched fist, closed around a
handful of fortune cookie fortunes. Hell, I don’t know,
maybe it was a silver dollar or an earring. Maybe it was
nothing.

Jason Ryberg
Jason Ryberg is the author of twelve books of poetry, six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders, notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be (loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry letters to various magazine and newspaper editors. He is currently an artist-in-residence at both The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collections of poems are Head Full of Boogeymen / Belly Full of Snakes (Spartan Press, 2016) and A Secret History of the Nighttime World (39 West Press, 2017). He lives part-time in Kansas City with a rooster named Little Red and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time somewhere in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River, where there are also many strange and wonderful woodland critters.

Scallywagging The Licensing Hours by Paul Tristram

We emerge from the dark, seedy corners
and the shadowed back lanes of the city.
Bloodshot eyes, scabbed knuckles
and the stench of last nights alcoholic
rollercoaster upon our lying, blagging breath.
Group and gather in the disreputable places…
of sawdust floor and haggled bar tabs
(I’ll owe ya a Blu-ray player for a Score).
It’s the 2nd Monday of the month,
which means it’s Giro Day again…
A&E and both Police Stations
will be full to bursting come evening
with the nonsensical chaos and insanity
unleashed by our ‘Pissed-Right-Up’ breed.
“I want 15 pints of ‘Against The Grain’
and half a dozen chasers of ‘Fuck You, Twice’
and I want them right fucking now!”
yells the skinny, old guy at the corner of the bar,
and we welcome him, laughing, into our midst.
The Landlord’s got Bouncers
working the inside of the pub at noon…
and the quiet, lonely folk are drinking elsewhere.
‘Dead Cities’ by The Exploited
comes blasting out from the jukebox…
as the toughest, thick-skinned Barmaids
(Sweethearts and miracle workers, the lot of ‘em!)
start their Gladiator shifts,
and give it back twice as hard as they’re getting it.

skull-bones-red-black
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/

Performance Artist by Alan Catlin

Maybe she thought that if
she lived in the same hotel
famous rock stars killed
each other in, or, if she played
all the backrooms with every
act that came through town,
maybe one of them would ask
her on stage for something
more than a cameo appearance
as a stoned white chick, apparition,
adept in all the black arts of love,
paying her way through life as
a peep show performer, a sliding
door away from never being heard
of again.

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

But In The Morning by David J. Thompson

I don’t know how it got there,
but there’s now a beehive
in my beard. The buzzing
keeps me up sometimes
at night, but in the morning
the way my girlfriend licks
the fresh honey off my body
creates enough smoke to put
the bees to sleep while we enjoy
all the slow, oozing goodness
that nature has to offer.

David J. Thompson 2
David J. Thompson is a former prep school teacher and coach who grew up in Hyde Park, New York. He is currently obsessed with the life and work of Patricia Highsmith. His poetry/photography book Grace Takes Me is due out in May from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Please visit his photo website at ninemilephoto.com.

A Poem in Parts from Forgotten Wars: Why the Retina Floats by Tom Sheehan

Just behind the retina,
cluster-hidden, is a little room
with secret doors and passageways
and key words other
than Sesame.

If I’m lucky enough at intervals
to get inside that room at the right
time, there’s ignition, light, a flare;
now and then pure incandescence
like great white phosphorous shells
detonating my core room, the bank
holding everything I’ve ever known,
ever seen, spurting with energy.

The casual, intermittent presences
I usually know are microscope-beset,
become immediate. For those glorious
moments the splendid people rush back
into my life carrying all their baggage,
the Silver Streak unloaded, Boston’s old
South Station alive, bursting seams,
tossing images, merging comrades
for me one last time.

Sheehan served in the 31st Infantry in Korea 1951-52, graduated Boston College 1956, published 30 books, multiple works in Rosebud, Literally Stories, Linnet’s Wings, Serving House Journal, Copperfield Review, Literary Orphans, Eastlit, DM du Jour, In Other Words-Merida, Literary Yard, Rope & Wire Magazine, Green Silk Journal. He has received 32 Pushcart nominations and 5 Best of Net nominations.

Good by James Benger

She’s taken to wearing
two different colored shoes,
because she has to
be in control of something.

The kids in the park,
the kids in school,
they tease her for it,
but it’s okay,
because she knows
they would do it anyway
if she didn’t do this.

She’s controlling their taunts,
controlling them;
by giving them something
so innocuous,
so plainly stupid
to focus on,
they never see the
cracks in her face,
the bloodshot darkness
in her eyes,
the waning humanity,
the sinking humility,
the diminishing desire
for anything.

There’s little left of her,
less every day,
but they don’t notice,
because she’s wearing
two different colored shoes,
and that feels like something
she almost remembers;
almost feels like what
how she imagines good feels.

James Benger
James Benger is a father, husband and writer. He is the author of two fiction ebooks, “Flight 776” and “Jack of Diamonds” and two chapbooks of poetry, “As I Watch You Fade” and “You’ve Heard It All Before. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and son.

Labour room of a Poet by Partha Chatterjee

In a labour room
of a poet
evaporating coffee
curls upwards as
upbraided hair of
fierce Maenad.

A sherpa spider climbs
up a vertical edge
through it’s self-made
ropeway.

In a labour room
of a poet

a pen rests without
a cap between the
cleavage of a book.

Pages flutter as wings
Of a dove to get liberty.

In a labour room
of poet
heart is an
Upturned Inkpot
bleeding profusely
and table lamp a
Christmas Tree.

Partha Chatterjee
Partha Chatterjee lives in India with his family. Born in 1986 he graduated from burdwan university. He loves music and poetry. His Two- year old daughter Princia is a perfect reader of his work who even does know the alphabet properly.

 

Blue (Ribbon) Monday by Cole Bauer

Packing and driving
Paying and over-drafting
Budgeting and scamming

Applications and resumes
Phone calls and emails
Errands and cleaning

It’s been a smooth transition
Accomplishing and reliving
With minor road blocks
That have been smoothed out
All since my wife and I
Left California

We enjoy Pabst
On this Monday afternoon
With hookah and weed
In our apartment in Texas

It’s the same old story, baby
But it’s my favorite
And a reward
I’ll take it

Cole Bauer
My name is Cole Bauer. I’m an American screenwriter, author, and poet currently in the dirty south of the U.S.A.. I was born and partially raised in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. I was raised and lived for most of my life in San Diego, California. I’ve lived, off and on, in Texas for six years. Traveled around America as well. I am inspired and motivated by street-writers like Charles Bukowski, John Fante, and Dan Fante. I enjoy clearing out my brain on to blank sheets of paper and empty screens. I love writing random short stories, pilot scripts, and film screenplays also.

Vermillion Ohio by Jason Baldinger

the pharmaceutical salesmen
went feral this afternoon
in what could be a sports bar
in the suburbs of Toledo
but no one really knows
they yell SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS!
they yell ITS JACKS BIRTHDAY!
they yell again SHOTS!

there are stories of funerals
and interpretational dance
somewhere in downriver Detroit
Fermi’s stack spill steam
all over the southern Michigan night

morning fog on the North Dixie Highway
not much, just enough to accent
the abandoned. the Nuclear Lounge
permanently closed, sea gulls
bleach white the sky, I think
about 1965 even though
I wasn’t born then

I counted 65 bird nests
between the state lines
the Maumee River feeds Erie
the motels won’t stand up anymore
cornfields last forever
in a non-specific mist
vermilion is a color
that doesn’t match Ohio
Vermillion is a town
no one has ever been to

Jason Baldinger
Jason Baldinger is a poet hailing for the Appalachian hamlet of Pittsburgh. He’s the author of several books the most recent of which, the chaplet, Fumbles Revelations (Grackle and Crow) is available now, and the collection Fragments of a Rainy Season (Six Gallery Press) which is coming in September. Recent publications include the Low Ghost Anthology Unconditional Surrender, Uppagus, Lilliput Review, Rusty Truck, Dirtbag Review, In Between Hangovers, Your One Phone Call, Winedrunk Sidewalk, Anti-Heroin Chic, Nerve Cowboy Concrete Meat Press, and Heartland! Poetry of Love, Solidarity and Resistance. You can hear Jason read some poems at jasonbaldinger.bandcamp.com

 

Dreaming With Cleopatra by Daniel de Cullá

Being naked to bed
From the bedside table
Where my father kept condoms
And historical naked stars
Dreaming with them
I took a big postcard
That I thought was a chicken
In a yard: It was Cleopatra!
Naked as Pharaoh Ptolemy
Brought her to the World, who
In addition to marrying her brother
By Ptolemaic Rule
She loved in Greek, Hebrew
Sirius and Aramaic
That seduced Plutarco
Who made him catch
Pencil club
And lamp to illuminate their texts.
Turning and twisting
To the beautiful photo
I found my little bishop
Like a picanton chicken
In a yard of lovers
Starting to haunt
This Cleopatra ‘s image
Of which I am captive.
I thought: Look if she’s beautiful
See if she’s pretty
That even my father
Is falling in love with her!
Kissing it
I asked her to help me
To get better note
In my studies of literature
Mathematics and music
That blowes with a stick
Will cost me
Teacher and my parents puting
My ribs
Like nuts in a sack.
Notice that to stay alone
With Cleopatra
I gave out from the yard
The eunuchus Potinus
General dictator Aquilas
And the charlatan Teodotus
Dragging them as I could
From the tail, and so to have
Some enemies less.
As when I was youngster
They accustomed me to hits
And the cane of the doctrine
To worship the dwarf Caesar
Under the pallium
I asked Julius Caesar, late republican:
-Fast me blessed Julius Caesar
If do you can protect me
Go fuck yourself
And let me to enjoy with Cleopatra.
Do not cut my head
Like Pharaoh Ptolemy did to Pompey
Your friend and rival.
I was restless
And I wanted that Cleopatra
Like Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love
Movbed me
And so I implored her:
– Open Your door,  my heaven
Open Your door to me, my star
And send your husband to war.
Being like this
In my own loving war
More as hostage than sovereign
Some damn bells
Playing at mass
Woke me up
Seeing my little bishop of love died
For having eaten rice with milk
In Cleopatra’s yard
Dreamed in this tournament night
Whose picture was too wrinkled
And my Little bishop
Thta just now  was
From her son, his son Caesarion
Soothed calmly
As if nothing had happened
This night of captive love
Crying for joys
Because my father could not
Enjoy Cleopatra
Another day.

Daniel de Culla
Daniel de Culla (1955) is a writer, poet, and photographer. He is also a member of the Spanish Writers Association, Earthly Writers International Caucus, Poets of the World, and others. Director of Gallo Tricolor Review, and Robespierre Review. He has participated in Festivals of Poetry, and Theater in Madrid, Burgos, Berlin, Minden, Hannover and Genève .He has exposed in many galleries from Madrid, Burgos, London, and Amsterdam. He is moving between North Hollywood, Madrid and Burgos, Spain. His address is in Burgos, just now. He has more than 70 published books.