“HOME AT LAST” by John Grey

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to a dark pleasure hole,
a kind of low mass,
labor-saving devices,
dismal yellow wallpaper –
no wonder a man drinks
from boiling hell,
a kitchen table will have to do,
a series of apposite deluding
sermons on the pleasures
of the self-
beliefs balance so precariously
and here’s me praising them,
refusing to leave the building,
as solitude stares out at the universe
and then some –
where the stars cheer
at whatever Duchamp is painting these days,
as booze reclaims its place in religion,
colorless morphine for the masses
turning the world away from me –
what is it like out there anyhow?
baritone voice through megaphone,
boutique balustrades, psychotic rainbows,
bums pissing in the gutter –
can’t clean myself up for
if I shave I leave blood in traces,
can’t ask the light::
causality has never been so clean-shaven –
heady days of the early nineties,
don’t wait for formal burial,
enlist in a war with even electric shavers
and foam licking bloody chins –
a laugh riot for all who believe
in the rotting worth of bodies.

 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in
That, Muse, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming
in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Hawaii Review and the Dunes
Review.

2 Poems by Rickey Rivers Jr.

 

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Hotel Room Floor

Crying
on the hotel room floor,
not knowing where I’m going.
Where is my life at this moment?
Do I even deserve it?
My tears soak the carpet.
I belong on the floor.
It is the only thing that would have me,
welcome me
with open arms.
I lay here.
The rough bristles caress my face
as I ponder my future.
Do I even deserve it?
Nothing I have now means anything.
I am at peace.
Let me sink
and merge
into the carpentry.
This is indeed a place for me.

 

♦◊♦

 

Sorry for Breaking It

 

I switch; a dumb move precedes catastrophe.

Amazon in a printed dress, her neck fragile,

shatter ceramic, apologies are like glue,

fixing mistakes. I feel terrible, still.

Accidents forgiven, not forgotten,

mistakes make or break creatives.

Things were fine seconds ago.

Let this not become a “remember when you-” moment.

I apologize. Please, let the glue do its job.

 

 

Two Poems by Emily Nicol

 

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I HAVE REGURGITATED NOT ONE TRANSFORMATION

I have been feeling
very much like a worm, lately.

Small and writhing,
need to be beneath
dirt, a larger filth.

To roll in silt, to avoid
the pull of light, some
other euphoria.

Very much a deeper
downwards, warm
sodden womb-like.

Virginal worms,
soft round and

pink, laid out in loam.

 

♦◊♦

 

For Now I Think of Teeth

I have always wondered
about wearing the dead.
Hair lockets, mourning rings.
But have you hung the teeth?
Have they rattled around your neck?

Pulling myself apart, I should like
to give my teeth to my mother,
each split in half,
to be seeded and sown.

If someone should dance in my skin,
let it un-fit them. 

 


 Emily is a graduate student and bookseller in Northern California.

find her on twitter and instagram: @johnbrownsbabe

 

“Never Wednesdays” by Donald Ryan

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It was 1994 and he was working
at this restaurant outside Shreveport,
Pearl Jam on the box
and a broken wrist.
It was his day off, a day of rest.
Yet he was standing in the kitchen.
Glove stretched over his fat palm.
He should have said no, I’ve got plans,
and the joints he smoked agreed.
It was the extra pain pill popped said yes.
So he dropped baskets and burnt toast
when walked in

Streamers.

Bright painted fucking joy, fucking hi-yuck
rictus kiddies, here’s a balloon twisted gimmick
as if the free kid for every adult meal didn’t bring
the families in in hordes (it didn’t).
There was Streamers.
In all her fearfulness cheerfulness.
In all her fuckery. 

Just get a drink and don’t look up
Just get a drink and don’t look up
Just get a drink and don’t look fuck.
“How are we today?”  We?
Words of terror from a Chelsea grimace
between cheeks painted rum red.
Just forget the drink and don’t piss self.
“Do we know how Kathy’s doing?”
Kathy had cancer.
Streamers came claiming Kathy.
“Kathy.  Fucking fan-tastic.”

The line dead, wag dragon fired,
the fool kept focus on death’s swinging doors.
Fear held no bound as long as he
was on the safest side.
He went home early, on account of
his hand and all—right—
fucked stasis fakes
bravery in composure.

She chose to paint her face;
The sweet southern belle.
“A dissident is here,” he said.

Never Wednesdays.

 

Donald Ryan’s words have appeared, or are forthcoming in, Cleaver, Fiction Southeast, Hobart, Soft Cartel, Owl Canyon Press’s hackathon anthology, Short Edition’s international story dispensers, and elsewhere. He’s a full-time part-time librarian in the GA Pines. donaldryanswords.com and/or @dryanswords because, you know…

“i’ll ask the shower walls one more time” by Jared Povanda

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do you know what the tooth fairy does with all those teeth?
do you know how heavy her sack must be after a single night?
incisors
molars
bicuspids, i think,
but i don’t really know
because the dentist never sits and
explains which teeth are which teeth instead
she just points
to the generalized moderate bleeding of
my gums with a sharp tip
and tsks jared i know you know
but do you know what the tooth fairy does with all those teeth?
i imagine she builds bridges and paves roads with
fairy tale taxpayer dollars going to the coins left under pillows
and all those workers in their pink vests
patch potholes with polly’s baby
teeth clicking and pissy because the easter bunny’s egg shells
collected last april just wouldn’t cut it

Jared Povanda is a writer who just started dabbling in poetry recently. His prose has been published in Back Patio Press, and also in Cheap Pop, Riggwelter Press, Maudlin House, and Lammergeier, among others. Follow him @JaredPovanda 

“cello needles” by Aqeel Parvez

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senseless and real

illogical death of hours.

a beheaded dumbbell death,

a cat creeping sideways

a cat leaping over fences.

cello needles nearing,

ravished concertos of pain

thrown to barbaric knife,

drowning with the angels

drowning with the hours,

drowning in yourself.

we tremble and shake

when the lights come on,

staggering out into a world

that starves a man of strength

like a raw pig with no meat

on its bones.

 

Aqeel Parvez is a poet who lives in Leeds, UK. He is the author of the chapbook The Streetlights Are Beckoning Nirvana (Analog Submission Press). His work has been published in 16 Pages Press, Sludge Lit, Horror Sleaze Trash, Back Patio Press, Saturday Night Bombers. Find him on instagram @ap.writer, & twitter @aqeelparvez

“CATFIGHT” by Valium Hippy

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i’m taking selfies with valium under my tongue
we’ll be fucking at your house at night

all the boys that i kiss look the same
i’m longing for a life with meaning, but leaving my future for a graceless party

i want cash money, and also golden jewlery
mama is on tranquilizers so i put on my best saturday shoes real tight
and get to your house to eat your butt

wish i could stay the night
sleep over with my head on your chest
my dick is on fire, so i’d like to touch you if you let me

next morning you’re acting like i didn’t eat you good
i was high, i’m clueless, i’m dumb, babe
but what a beautiful song i sing
when i know i’m young and terribly obsessed with you

i hate crocodile tears, but i get obsessed with yours
but i can also go “whatever” in a minute like i’m warhol

for minor inconveniences i’m willing to end me
your words cut like razors on my thighs
i hate going nuts, but you’re asking for it

i’m drawing your face in a canvas
and sending you the moon emoji
don’t laugh at me, i drank a little bit
and i think i fucking love you
despite the shade, despite disgrace

to be fair, deep inside i’m aware
the only reason you’re rejecting me is because
your lips are ugly and your ass is small
mine’s not, so it’s fine

 

Valium Hippy (birth name Rogério Berardo Filho) is a writer and poet born and living in Recife, in northeastern Brazil. He is currently 20 years old, LGBT, a dog dad, loves tranquilizer medication and writes to cope with mental health complications.