A Single Touch & You Would Know Me With Your Skin by Lana Bella

A single touch, and you would know
me with your skin. Moving half
a step back, awareness slid across
you like a river, a floating crown of
black rope to wound. Starlings tune
turned inside my head, so sweetly
inching downward around the throat’s
undersides, kicked up bourbon
from my tumbler quarter full, cruel
to my tongue that had tasted you
a thousand perfect times. Skin alive,
my love you invented smitten,
where I spiced with the telling blood
of you, fixed to be the fjords of
viola on your fingers, wrung and
felled to where we started through air.

Lana Bella Black & White
A four-time Pushcart Prize, five-time Best of the Net, & Bettering American Poetry nominee, Lana Bella is an author of three chapbooks, Under My Dark (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2016), Adagio (Finishing Line Press, 2016), and Dear Suki: Letters (Platypus 2412 Mini Chapbook Series, 2016), has had poetry and fiction featured with over 430 journals, Acentos Review, Comstock Review, EVENT, Ilanot Review, Notre Dame Review, Rock & Sling & The Lampeter Review, among others, and work to appear in Aeolian Harp Anthology, Volume 3. Lana resides in the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam, where she is a mom of two far-too-clever-frolicsome imps. https://www.facebook.com/Lana-Bella-789916711141831/

Days Gone By by Mike Zone

in poverty
all you have
is space and fixation
compounded with isolation
furthering sexual desolation
giving rise to savage and unyielding frustration
even in the most primal and immediate form of fulfillment
can mean many things
without ever getting anywhere
could be prose or statement of momentary inspiration
funny how with time and insomnia…
set on edge by rapid stomping, trampling
above, near midnight
and the howling retard mother
causes her child to weep
so she may be entertained
tired in despair
vessel on high alert
push-ups, chin-ups, sit-ups
berries and hopefully shit
before sunrise
before the bus arrives

Michael Zone is the author of Fellow Passengers: Pubic Transit Poetry, Meditations & Musings and Better than the Movies: 4 Screenplays. His work has been featured in Because Eileen, Dead Snakes, Horror Trash Sleaze, In Between Hangovers, Sick Lit Magazine, Three Line Poetry, Triadae Magazine and The Voices Project. He scrapes by in Grand Rapids, MI

Lost by Ivan Peledov

A time to sleep peacefully when the weeds
in the nearby towns have reached the
fringes of the sun, a time to
when all the birds in the woods have been lost in the foliage
to compose a lullaby for the
when all the prairie dogs have been lost underground
for the first hangwoman in the world long dead
when all the waves in the nearby oceans have been counted

Ivan Peledov
Ivan Peledov is a poet now living in Colorado. He likes to travel and later forget the places he has visited. He doesn’t have any recent publications, mainly due to his idleness, but he had been published some years ago, among other magazines, in Ditch, Eunoia, Red Fez, Bear Creek Haiku, Unlikely Stories, and Lost and Found Times.

Accounting by Irene Cunningham

Jobs, people, faces hidden in pockets;
mounting years flicker, ticker-tape back when.

’69, flashes purple flares, dresses
ride up thighs fall down legs skirt floors. Music

sparks flames, names, oxtail soup and hot roast beef
in the Starlight Room. Songs are dates. Pixels

dance, bordered…disordered geometry
gyrates. It’s life, Jim – not as we know though

stages lose plots and minds are hot to trot
running scared, framed in film with mixed reviews;

out-takes fascinate and halt the process.
Understanding is language suddenly

learned, a code reduced to numbers
and the what-ifs slap at every wheel-turn.

Irene Cunningham
Irene Cunningham has had many poems published in lit mags across the years, including London Review of Books (as Maggie York), New Welsh Review, New Writing Scotland, Stand, Iron, Writing Women, and others. Now she’s preparing for old age before the scythe lands. Her new blog, still a work in progress, is here: https://wolfatthewindowblog.wordpress.com

Heart by Stefanie Bennett

There is a room where a street hangs.
There is a street,
                  A room

The walls of the room where
            The street hangs
& where the street has hung
      The room whose walls
          Are also sideways
                      Who has

S.Bennett 026
Stefanie Bennett has published several books of poetry, a novel & a libretto, tutored in The Institute of Modern Languages at James Cook University & worked with NO NUKES: Arts Action For Peace. Of mixed heritage [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee] she was born in Queensland, Australia.

Excoriatus * by Ken Allan Dronsfield

Run your fingers
through the depth of my soul.
be strong, like a sprig of oak
swaying in the wind of a tempest.
For once, just once, I beg of you,
feel exactly what I feel,
believe as I, of what is truth,
perceive, what your eyes see,
for I perceive what is before you.
Taste the long tracks of tears
examine and for once, just once,
understand what life screams into
your mind, emblazons in your eyes,
whispers softly to your beating heart.
Just imagine, as it may be all that’s left.

*Excoriate: first appeared in English in the 15th century, comes from “Excoriatus,” the past participle of the Late Latin verb ‘excoriare’, meaning, “to strip off the hide.”

Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet from Oklahoma. He loves thunderstorms! His published work can be found in reviews, journals, magazines and anthologies throughout the web and in print venues. His poetry has been nominated for two Pushcart Prize Awards and the Best of the Net for 2016.

What the Hell is that Tapping Outside my Goddamn Window? by Chris O’Keeffe

Squirrels piling their stock up. Jamming
acorns into cracks. A noisy little
assembly. Tap.
For the love of…

Or water breaking against
a yawning leaf. Veining its dome,
countering the deluge.

Detuned drum assailing silence,
chopped by quiet. My ears
function to spite me.

A robotic high heel. Pencil
on a steering wheel. Dashboard
orders the downbeat, a padded
fingerprint polyrhythm.

Cash registers with taped bells,
ringers gauzed, leaning toward the metal
feebly declare, “no sale. no sale.”

Vermin crossing borders, switching
yards under streetlights. Fence-knocking
skulls, befriending the future, divorcing
last time, last night.

Some sort of wren? Organize yourself
down and away, bird. Your string nested,
your eggs beating against aluminum in fragile,
yoking pulses. Your wing a conductor’s
bone, feathered and gaveling
the maestro’s pit to stillness.

Ummothered child, cease and be dead.
Half-sucked lolli thocking your glass eye,
remainder of your house. Hunger North!
Or here and never out loud.

Gargoyle weeping gems.
Stone tears on your lover’s wings.

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.


Under Their Gun by John Grey

is as much clock
as it is knuckles rubbing eyes.
It’s shuffling in the bathroom
and insistent ticking,
footsteps trudging down stairs
a step or two behind time
and that the rattle of cups,
the hiss of a kettle,
sipping of coffee,
all in aid of the realization
that the hour is uppermost.

By the time
corn flakes are quickly shoveled down
an unsuspecting throat,
a watch face is unnecessary.
A supervisor’s face
has taken over.
The scrub of teeth,
that rifling of the drawer
for clean underwear,
are conducted under
an increasingly impatient eye.

You’re running behind the day
and the day trails
the moment you’re expected
to show up at the office.
Hurried dressing and frazzled commute
live in fear of the whip of duty
that cracks a bare millimeter
from the back of your head.

You make it by the whisker
your razor never quite got to.
Okay. I’m yours now
you whisper to a large loud room
that’s crawling with cubicles.
But it’s had you since
you left work yesterday.

John Gray Copy
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Silkworm work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.

Blue Flower In A Vase by Bill Nevins

we see today that we shall die!
the children, marching, sing
as they mourn their murdered peers
dull bullets in their eyes
no thought of tests nor careers
they will waste no more time in fear

I would leave you
if I go
perhaps a blue flower
bent in ice water
perhaps a song to sing
when there is no more cash

Bill Nevins
photo by Jeannie Allen. Bill Nevins lives in both Albuquerque and Angel Fire, New Mexico, USA. His poems have appeared in Green Left Weekly, Walls, Maple Leaf Review and other publications, and in his collection “Heartbreak Ridge and Other Poems” (Swimming With Elephants Pubications). His cultural journalism has appeared in Z, No Depression, NM KIDS, RootsWorld, US Guardian, and other publications. He visited Ireland most recently in 2017. bill_nevins@yahoo.com


The Alcoholic Patsy by Paul Tristram

He doesn’t stop all that shaking
until halfway through his second drink.
Smiles and starts singing
on his third (This is the annoying phase).
Then suddenly begins weeping
in utter despair on his fourth.
It’s like a house of cards
toppling in upon itself…
it’s almost perfect in its patheticness.
Until blanking out completely on his fifth.
I swear, you can set your watch to it,
it’s going to be easy, a piece of piss.
His ex-wife got shot of him
using the very same tactic.
She got a mate to strip down to her underwear
and jump on the settee with him,
whilst he was half snoring
and pleading for mercy from the Past.
He saw the photos the next day
and acquiesced…
picked up the one bag she’d packed ready,
and said “I’m sorry…
you deserve much better than me.”
then meekly left by the backdoor.
We rub the weapon over his hands,
then hide it under the cushion he’s laying on…
place a fraction of the lifted goods
around his general, stinking vicinity,
and ‘Fanny’s Yer Aunt’
he’s in The Dock afore Christmas Time.

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/