A Rose Was A Rose by Peter Magliocco

So patiently does the rose deflower itself
when a child’s hand defiles it
slowly, on a broken stem
fingers twirl into the twisted shape
of its last rites.

So its supple vermillion petals
emboss the wind of ages
caressing it into a gentle disturbance
of denuding slow-motions before
freeing it from an unkind earth,

where beauty
grows
again.

Peter Magliocco
Peter Magliocco writes from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he edits the lit-zine ART:MAG now and then. His recent sci-fi novel is SPLANX from Cosmic Egg Books.

She Moved Like A Stevie Ray Vaughn Song When She Walked by Paul Koniecki

“there’s floodin’ down in texas”

we drank a lot of jameson
and all the stubborn mules

i liked how the ice was
already crushed

mint and ginger muddled
with some lime

frosted copper mug
shot touching skin

each time she took up
my colors and my helmet

the moon swallowed the earth
and the flood grew

this morning the sky tender
soft and low as a child

sleeping in your arm
walking to brunch

i cross the street in last night’s clothes
you wear the morning

like knee-high leather boots
i love you drips from my lips

and the city feels like our bed
you are holy goddess made

temporal empress
i am shot by the police

abandoned phone poles
bow to our love

but i am beautiful i bleed
but i am bulletproof i bleed

she moved like a stevie ray
vaughn song when she walked

i liked how the ice was
already crushed

each time she took up
my colors and my helmet

the moon swallowed the earth
and the flood grew

paul-koniecki
Paul Koniecki is co-curator of Pandora’s Box Poetry Showcase at Deep Vellum Books in Dallas, Texas where he also hosts the monthly open mic series, The Vellum Ouroboros. Most recently his chapbook, Reject Convention, was published by Kleft Jaw Press and his poems have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies since 1985. Noted director Richard Bailey’s film, “One Of The Rough” contains several Paul Koniecki original poems and was shown at The Berlin Experimental Film Festival in December of 2016. When he isn’t writing he is dreaming of being reborn as a poetry tree. His motto remains, “I want to write a book of poetry to chase down loneliness and punch it in the face”.

Success by Blaine Kaltman

So this is success, here I am at the part, where one chapter closes and another one starts.
And as I march forth although sometimes I fear I remind myself courage holds to persevere.

So this is success, I’ve done things wrong. I’m far from perfect, but I try to be strong.
And I’ve never forgotten what’s wrong and what’s right, and try every day not to lose that from sight.

So this is success, I’ve followed dreams. And as they mature more come true it seems.
And I never look back on the ones lost before, because I’m too busy looking for what’s next in store.
And too busy working to be all I can, for hard work and morals are what make a man.

So this is success, I know how to write. I can laugh at myself. I won’t shy from a fight.
I’ve researched things most men don’t know, and traveled further than most men go.
Yet through all this what I’ve discerned is there’s so much more out there to be learned.

So here’s to success, to the leaps and the falls, to the quest for self betterment, to heeding the call.
To adventure and learning, to wonder and strife, to becoming a man, to loving, to life.

And whatever I find in the journey ahead, I just hope that they say of me after I’m dead
That he was honest and upright and did his best.
And learned, and loved…and was a success.

blaine-kaltman
Blaine Kaltman has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Queensland. He is the author of “Under the Heel of the Dragon” http://www.ohioswallow.com/author/Blaine+Kaltman and the producer, lead actor, and screenplay writer of the award winning film “Back Alley Bulls” http://influxmagazine.com/back-alley-bulls-review/. He is a Foreign Service officer with the US State Department and fluent in Mandarin Chinese. His latest artistic venture is a hard rock band named Stone Mob and a cowboy themed video to support their first single “Murder Town” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK-S9vPdpNs . But none of this has stopped Blaine from writing poems almost everyday for the past twenty years.

Interstate Merging by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

in memoriam Great Aunt Anna

more than once
I was trapped
in close proximity
to the disagreement
between Mom and
Great Aunt Anna
(pronounced Annie)

Anna’s view
on Interstate merging
was as hardboiled
as Mad Max

all those poor shlubs
driving to work
to the Ozarks
to the liquor store
and daycare
coming and going,
merging in and out
as was necessary
to daily life
in the byways,
were on their own
they were paid no heed
receive no mercy
from Great Aunt Anna

the merge lane was not
her concern not her problem
not anywhere on her radar

the worry of collisions,
sideswipes, tangled fiery
fatal carnage was the
singular fate
of the mergers, the slackers
who weren’t up to
the task at hand

Mom disagreed,
her voice two full
octaves higher
than normal

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.

No Surprise by Dan Abernathy

A plastic cow
does not have real teats.
A toy chicken
does not cluck
or lay real eggs.
Acid trips
hold no resemblance
to looking through a kaleidoscope.
People drink
and make no sense
while others only want
fake flowers in their homes.
I will never stop wondering,
About the delusional things
people say and do
as there is little surprise
or amazement
left lingering within me.

Dan Abernathy
Welcome to the chaotic and often strange life of a Quasi, Clumsy Spiritual Warrior, Dan Abernathy. This Renaissance man is known as an outlaw poet, artist and purveyor of words, a junkyard philosopher, and a vagabond searching for a pure hedonistic meaning for his of life. His voice, be it in his words or in his art, is a collection of oddities, fascinations, desires and obsessions – a road map of sorts, tracking the life of a man that can’t and won’t fit in. “His poems are a bit like a well fingered bowl of mixed treats in a dark bar – filled with some salty Charles Bukowski, some chewy Hunter S. Thompson, and a little zap-a-hooty sweetness ala Dr. Seuss (tossed in just for the kiddies…er, ah, not that I’d recommend this one for any mother’s son.” – David Vaughan, an artist, writer from the Pacific Northwest coast. Abernathy makes available 98% of all his perspectives, be they fluid and random thoughts, or meandering and incomplete rants to the masses. They other 2% he keeps to himself, archived and a gift for the scholars and naysayers to decipher. Abernathy has published two books of poetry, Looking For Security While Wearing a Loincloth and I Don’t Shave on Sundays. He is also the Editor/Publisher of The Contributor, a monthly newspaper of free speech, art, travel, the spoken word and other oddities that should be revealed.

We Fail To Get Out In Time. A Fire Consumes by Gary Lundy

letters unabated. soft shoulders a brief shudder believed. they pass quietly out of town and back on the road. where promise a future to come aloud in conversation.

crescendo toward sudden bright quiet. insist on a knowledge they can never master. a small child learning to tie shoes. it feels like terrible the only useless news.

they know we have no luck with other languages so stop writing. we rely then upon hearsay. broken fragments from other narratives pointing toward a possible sighting.

we sit impatiently at the kitchen table. put off necessary chores in case they show up unexpectedly. we ought to have met them when they briefly passed through town.

blue hair eyes strummed violin. and a smile that spoke it all. why wait until the end of a book to stop singing. they comfort by distributing pain unevenly.

all the while we look at the ceiling opening to expose forgotten secrets. they have our number we promise. as failure follows our first attempt to travel mid afternoon nap.

Gary Lundy’s poetry has appeared most recently in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Beautiful Losers, Vallum, The BeZine and Fragmentarily/Meta-Phor(e)/Play. heartbreak elopes into a kind of forgiving, was released this past July by is a rose press. He is a queer living in Missoula, Montana.

Not A Studio by Jonathan Beale

…after Stephen Romer

It wasn’t really a studio –
Just a corner in a big house
Where stood a broken easel
Supported by dusty old
paint splattered encyclopaedias’
a mass of different paint –tins
of type – colour –
this world is undefinable
by form representation
lay broken in fragments
on the floor
it was always cold in that corner
“it had to be” she’d say –
“too much comfort leads no where.”
To me this strange meeting point
I’d never understand nor wanted to.
I’d watch her create – this creature create
As (being privileged) I’d watch another world
Through the eyes of David Attenbourgh  –
This place was not a studio
If not, what then?

Jonathan Beale
Jonathan Beale has poems published in Penwood Review, Danse Macabre, Poetic Diversity, Down in the Dirt, Mad Swirl, Deadsnakes, Bitchin Kitsch, Pyrokinection, Ygdrasil, Van Gogh’s Ear, The Beatnik Cowboy, The Jawline Review, Bluepepper, Jellyfish Whispers, The Outsider, and Yellow Mama. His work has appeared in such books as ‘Drowning’ (Scar publications) and ‘The Poet as Sociopath’ (Scar publications). He is currently working on his second volume. His first collection of poetry ‘The Destinations of Raxiera’ is published by Hammer & Anvil. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Destinations-Raxiera-Jonathan-Beale-ebook/dp/B018F6GWQ6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1452199641&sr=1-1&keywords=jonathan+beale He studied philosophy at Birkbeck College London and lives in Surrey England.