A Burial of Tears by John Anthony Fingleton

A light shower began to fall,
‘A soft day’
As we call it in my country.
It settled on the coffin
Forming on the polished surface
Drops of transparent dew –
Tears of the rain –
Some hung like late and slightly drunken mourners
Discretely from nearby trees.
Christ, spread-eagled in bronze,
Miraculously was not affected by this;
In fact it made him looked bored.
As if this was his mundane, monotonous daily task.
Two men (dressed in black)
Faces masked with the sympathetic
Camouflage of their task,
Opened umbrellas over a group
That were also mainly, wearing dark colours.
With the exception of a white cassocked priest.
He sprinkled water –
Disturbing the perfect composition of nature.
Still the eyes of Christ never cried.
The grave which already had been dug,
Was covered with a flower bedecked board
This was moved aside;
The straps were slung –
The weight tested –
Some drops ran urgently
But too late to escape,
A volley of shots
Then we buried the tears.

John Anthony Fingleton
John Anthony Fingleton: He was born in Cork City, in the Republic of Ireland. But has spent most of his adult outside of Ireland… Lived in the UK, France, Mexico. He is at present in Paraguay. He speaks English, Gaelic, French and Spanish, as well as a splattering of African dialects, but mainly writes in English. He has been writing for as long as he can remember. Poems published in journals and anthologies in, Ireland, UK, USA, India and France as well as three plays produced. Poet of the Year (2016) Destiny Poets International Community. Poems read on Irish, American radio as well in Spanish on South American broadcasts. Also on some blog poetry websites. Contributed to four books of poetry for children. His poems are published in numerous national and international journals, reviews, and anthologies, and his first solo collection ‘Poems from the Shadowlands’ was publish last November by CreatSpace and is also available on Amazon He uses the name Löst Viking for family historical reasons.

Jerk Office Jig by Willie Smith

You know the drill:
Every day I die a little bit,
dye a little bit crimson
as blood in the shit.
I’m in the employ of an acronym.
Three letters ensure I can’t BM.
Corporate ploy to keep me fulla shit.
When alone, poke fun at my own phlegm.
Act snotty when in fact I’m not.
Commute not bad. Hour packed
with suckers likewise upright, deodorized, mute.
Gird the loins, holding down the GERD.

Step off the bus into office waste waist-deep.
Key in myself. Square things in my cube away.
Power the computer up for yet another fucked-up day.
Remind myself others work for a living.
Whereas I, each day, bit by bit, die a little bit.

You know the drill:
Dye a little bit
as blood
in the

Willie Smith’s poems and stories have appeared in the toilet, the recycling, the gutter and in his worst nightmares. He is a retired office boy living off, in the form of a dubiously-deserved pension, the taxpayer.

Second Shame by Sam Rose

we were meant to be going out
for new year, but he said he would
rather be with me alone than try to
get into the only club in town without
ID. my parents went out to celebrate 2006
rolling in, and we lied and said we would be
leaving soon, too. we went into the spare
bedroom because sex was all he ever really
wanted, and I only properly saw that afterwards.
he had arrived unprepared so he hunted in
my parents’ room for condoms but came up
empty. he went down on me instead, and came
back up a minute into it, to tell me with disgust
that I had started my period, as if to ask why I
would choose such an inconvenient time to
menstruate. he mistook my embarrassment
for guilt, and said “aw, look at that ‘I’m
sorry’ face”. that wasn’t the face I was
wearing and he didn’t know me well enough
to know that. I wasn’t sorry, because
there was no reason for me to apologise.
I was just young and not sure enough
of myself to say so. still, on some level
I was sorry about my body then, and
conditioning has made me sorry about it now.
we spent the rest of the night eating Chinese
food and watching the fireworks on TV.
I sat on the floor while he lay on the sofa
above me and leant down to stroke my hair.
little moments that made everything
else okay. later my mum found the takeaway
boxes in the bin. being coerced into lying
to my parents was the second shame
I felt that night.

Sam Rose
Sam Rose is a writer and editor from Northamptonshire, England. She is the editor of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine and The Creative Truth. Her work has appeared in Scarlet Leaf Review, Poetry Pacific, Haiku Journal, and others. https://www.writersam.co.uk/

The Schwenksville Folk Fest by Gene Halus

Folkies with banjos and floats
are out on the creek
ruining the fishing at dusk,
but are otherwise good people.
Laughing, singing, howling
once the cold Perkiomen
wets their asses for bathtime.
Still into the creek
tuxedoed with top hat, shorts
and Cindy Brady ponytails
he goes.

Gene Halus
Gene Halus grew up in Philadelphia and wandered around Washington, D.C., Dublin, Cork, Dingle, Port Au Prince, Leogane, Gonave, Managua, Jinotega and points in between. He now lives outside of Philadelphia in Skippack, PA. He earned his Piled High and Deep in political science, was a tenured professor and now works in the non-profit world. Besides poetry he has also published in the areas of American political history, political philosophy and ethnicity.

At What Price by Ann Christine Tabaka

He stood outside the door
asking for directions,
lost hope in hand.
Paying the toll with
a pocketful of dreams.
Aspirations evaporating
at the sound of his own voice.

A pervading ache,
a need he could not fill.
Giving blood to pay his dues.
No where left to go,
he steps off the curb.
His foot sinks into the soft mud.
He watches while it sucks him in,
even deeper as he struggles to get free.
He is gone

Ann Christine Tabaka was born and lives in Delaware.  She is a published poet, an artist, a chemist, and a personal trainer.  She loves gardening, cooking, and the ocean.  Chris lives with her husband and two cats.  Her poems have been published in numerous national and international poetry journals, reviews, and anthologies. Chris has been selected as the resident Haiku poet for Stanzaic Stylings.

Soft & Gray by James Babbs

when you’re lost
you speak another language
nobody understands
tongue in your mouth
like a separate organism
you feel cold all the time
so you keep adding more layers
while things keep happening
but you don’t know why
and you’re always moving
moving like the wind
but you never get anywhere
you see the light
when it falls
when it penetrates the glass
and touches the floor
you run to the window
just to feel the warmth
you look out
trying to see what’s there
something soft and gray
and you keep wondering
what comes next
but most of the time
it’s nothing
you keep looking
but it’s really
nothing at all

James Babbs-Author Photo
James Babbs is a writer, a dreamer, a three-time loser and an all-around nice guy who just wants to be left alone. James is the author of Disturbing The Light(2013) & The Weight of Invisible Things(2013) and has hundreds of poems and a few short stories scattered all over the internet.

Just Smile by Jeri Thompson

I have Smiling Depression, I was told.
It comes from my father always demanding,
“Get that frown off your face, Smile._
“Don’t look at me that way,”
_Smile, SMILE__
“Don’t wanna smile? I’ll give you something to cry about.”

Years later, told by many men:
_Smile, you’re such a pretty girl when you Smile._
“What’s wrong? You should Smile.”
“…Smile more.”
“You look tired, you should Smile.”
_Just Smile.”
“Give us a Smile, Sweetie”
_Smile, Baby, Smile._

Smile__ Just

Fuck You_

Jeri Thompson
Jeri Thompson is a poet living and writing in Long Beach, Ca and has her degree from CSULB. She has appeared in numerous publications and has her favorite poetry home, here. Her goal is to get into Rattle one day. You can find her work in Chiron Review, The Fox Poetry Box, Carnival Lit, Silver Birch Press and Red light lit, among others she can’t think of right now.