PABST BOY STUNNA WINNERS

PABST
PABST BOY STUNNA by Lindz McLeod
Dark liquid throttles past
his tongue; sweet carbon roars,
wrapped in black and white silk,
move into fifth gear.
Picking up speed inside a
crushed tin cage. Boy,
you sure do know how to dress-
wide grey tie like a safety ribbon,
topped by bewildered brows
coagulating into joy.

 

Method of Choice by Kyla Houbolt

Worked in a factory in South Baltimore when I was about 22.  Me and my girlfriend on our days off used to walk to the corner bar, sit around drinking Rolling Rocks and eating barbecue potato chips. Baltimore was a beer town. Lots of neighborhood bars opened at 6 am, guys would sit at the bar, have a few to take the edge off the day before their shifts.

Nobody we knew would drink Pabst though. It tasted like sour piss with sugar in it, watered down. Any bar that had Pabst on draft (and surprisingly there were a few) we’d buy a bottle of something instead. But much later I did find one good use for it.

I was living in San Francisco, and one year there was lots of rain after a drought. I was trying to garden. The snails were a terror that year; the sudden abundance of water must have made them overbreed. I watched dozens of them actually race toward the garden when daylight struck. Snails don’t much like tomato plants but that year they would eat anything. 

If you don’t want to use poison, the best way to control snails is to set traps. Beer traps. Pabst was real good for that. Cheap, and nobody wanted to drink it so a six pack could sit around longer than a day. Fill little cups with beer, leave them out for the snails to drown in. Which they did, en masse. Only problem with that method was occasionally forgetting the location of one of the traps. Leave a bunch of dead snails in a beer pool for too long and the odor will almost make you pass out. But it was Pabst, so you never felt like you were wasting good beer by letting all those snails rot in it. And there would always be plenty of the six pack left, to fill more traps with. Because nobody was going to drink that stuff. As for the snails, they died happy. Pabst was just fine with them.

Lindz McLeod is a writer and poet from Edinburgh, Scotland. She enjoys archery and picnicking in the moral grey area.

Kyla Houbolt’s debut micro chapbook, Dawn’s Fool, is available from IceFloe Press: https://icefloepress.net/kyla-houbolts-dawns-fool-a-microchap/ . Most of her published work can be accessed on her Linktree: https://linktr.ee/luaz_poet and she is on Twitter @luaz_poet.

“Trying Out New Author Bios” By KKURRTT

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KKUURRTT went to a college and a university.

KKUURRTT is a writer with few accomplishments worth mentioning.

KKUURRTT has been published here and there, but do you really even care where? Like does it actually matter or is this just the game we’re supposed to play to make it in the literary industry. If I don’t participate in the game am I relieving myself of the tension, or just exacerbating the whole situation? Is this bio in fact a bio? And that, in and of itself, makes things much worse?

KKUURRTT is currently trying out new author bios.

You might be able to find KKUURRTT at next year’s AWP.

Sent from KKUURRTTs iPhone.

KKUURRTT is too humble to write about himself in the third person.

KKUURRTT wrote for his sketch comedy troupe in college and a music blog in his twenties.  Somewhere in between he wrote a feature length movie that was released on DVD and select streaming services. It is now time for him to get a new life. Tick tock.

KKUURRTT was 6’5” and a friend to all birds. He is currently buried in an undisclosed cemetery where he doesn’t do anything but slowly rot. One day, soon, he won’t even exist as a distant memory, but merely a chiseled etching on stone. He can’t wait for that day either.

KKUURRTT can be found on twitter at @wwwkurtcom.

“Allergic To” By KKURRRTT

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allergies and nose drugs don’t work super well together / doing ketamine in my friend’s apartment but they have a cat and I’m also snorting cat hair right up the old ding dong left right take me out back behind the shed and shoot in me in the back of the head / because its like are they even working am i even working? / why are drugs but allergies even and now i’ve got this psychedelic head cold or cloud hanging over my head and I’ve got to blow my nose but it’s all stuffed up and it’s like maybe I shouldn’t have taken drugs in a house where I’m allergic to a cat / normal people don’t get themselves in this situation do they? / but drugs are for taking so what does it matter if the place they are taken isn’t pristine perfect ideal conditions / this is just one life but which we live it / and now my nose is stuffed and my head is weird and this was all part of the plan so what am I even complaining about? / like I signed up for three months of a subscription service for good old stuffhead nose powder and I might as well do it exactly where it’s going to have the worst possible sensation for the passageways that run in and around and behind the skin of my face / blow it all out in a tissue and it feels really good for a second like really good like you didn’t blow all of the drugs out but you did blow all the bad stuff out and you’re clear minded for a fraction of a second and you remember how to do your taxes or at least that they’re due next week and you haven’t done them yet and then it’s all stuffed up again / clogged drain / pulling out a strand of hair so long that by the end it’s completely gray, and not just like a slight gray but a full and healthy not salt and pepper GRAY and eventually it keeps going and comes out as bone-chillingly stark white / snotty child boogies hanging off his face like somebody help him / he’s at the park and oh god doesn’t anybody have a tissue for that boy? / this is what I feel like right now / I’m this boy dripping non stop snot from his nose and it wont stop no matter how many tissues we give him or me / they dont have enough tissues they dont make enough tissues we need to turn factories into tissue making factories because this kids fucking nose is so runny it just wont stop not matter how many tissues we hand him and he blows and it keeps going / should we develop a plug for nostrils because this country is going into an economic depression just making booger paper for this boys nose? / oh please thank you for your service I know we didn’t solve anything but at least we addressed the issue / was it worth it, you ask? on the other end of the short high / yeah sure / snort a little kitten dander with a bit of kitamine and it’s like whatever it takes to get you out of your mind, right? / some people sniff jenkem so it’s like I can take a little bit of pollen in my powders, it’s all part of the process or the problem / Look it was an accident / I didn’t think about it alright? / I’m still gonna do it next time / Keep blowing my nose til morning.

KKUURRTT is glad you read his thing. He can be found on twitter at @wwwkurtcom

 

“Owning Your Shit” by Tucker Lieberman

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Accountable, you are, on a summer day
While your clique picnics under a tree;
You’re discussing debacles with someone else,
But you’re not recollecting with me.

You are owning your shit with your new best friend!
You are owning it in therapy!
Likely you own it in solitary bliss
In a hammock alongside the sea.

You’re having a drink, or you’re quitting the drink,
And sobriety will set you free.
You are having a chat with your life coach,
But I don’t hear you chatting with me.

You’re finally living your true best life!
You’re the person you were born to be!
You’re sweeping your messes with piety.
You’re not owning your shit with me.

 

Tucker Lieberman created a blank journal called Flip the Finger at Despair. He is on a life quest to determine the proper forms of owning his shit. www.tuckerlieberman.com Twitter: @tuckerlieberman

2 Poems by Jeffrey L. Taylor

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Coyote 6

Coyote is an untrustworthy guide.
He’ll abandons you half way
through the desert.  There are
things to eat here.  I see him knock
the fruits off several kinds
of cactus, raid a saguaro
for water.  He sees
I can make it
to our next rendezvous
without his help.  He is needed
elsewhere.  He has my money.
Guides through this desert are scarce.
I am on the right path with
sufficient momentum.  He’s shown me
enough desert wisdom to make it
to an urban desert
further up the road.

See him there, soliciting
under a No Panhandling sign.
I have the remains
of a cactus fruit
for his hat on the ground.

 

 

Coyote Vanishing

Coyote, sly old devil, rejoices
in the untelling of the old stories.
“Of course,” proper people say,
“he doesn’t really exist.  He’s
just a myth.”  It’s
an invisibility cloak
he didn’t have to pay for.

Coyote never has
a dime to his name.
It never stops him.
Nothing ever stops Coyote,
except Coyote himself.
All Coyote does
is about himself.
He originated
ironic self-reference.

 

Jeffrey L. Taylor’s first submitted poems won 1st place and runner-up in Riff Magazine’s 1994 Jazz and Blues Poetry Contest. Encouraged, he continues to write. Serving as sensei (instructor) to small children and professor to graduate students has taught him humility.

“Shoemobile 13” by Maura Yzmore

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I shuffle through slush and ice
in a vast parking lot
hauling a prized possession
on which I spent too much time  

box with a pair of black boots
waterproof, warm, and clunky
to be worn by a boy
soon 13, just like his shoes

I see a GMC truck
it’s black, speeding and roaring
it really needs a wash, but I
shouldn’t judge, weather’s shit

and I am struck by how much
this truck looks just like a boot

yeah, I know I’m supposed to
think something profound, such as
how cars and shoes make us move
escape or disappear

instead, I wonder why cars have
engines in front, so I google
most cars are front-wheel drive
front engine yields good traction 

mostly I’m sad and I’m angry
13’s the largest store carries
maybe my last time shoe shopping
for young boy who rolls his eyes

huge future feet live online
where I will move my worries
waterproof, warm, and clunky
dirty boots, speeding, roaring

 

Maura Yzmore lives and opes in the American Midwest. She writes computer code, research papers, and some creative stuff. Her poetry has appeared in Elephants Never, Fourth & Sycamore, and Neologism Poetry, and her short fiction hither, thither, and yon. Website: https://maurayzmore.com  Twitter: @MauraYzmore  

2 Poems by Stephen Ground

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Running

strips of flesh running like broken
flapping in heat of endless breeze

please
paint them like black cats playing skunk
stitch tight with fish line or spears
lull meat to sleep in the sun
let it sizzle
burn
let it suffer and learn
that actions cause pain
and there’s safety
in torpor

 

Next Door

in the house next door
hairless chimps observe
painted zeroes and ones
stick tines in sockets be
cause it seems good and
theoretically feels it and
the chimps feel it too in
their tines and sockets
in the middle of the night
ogling glittering rectangles
in basements washrooms
perched on bowls like self-
waxing gargoyles silent and
still though they’re sure the
others on their ledge are
asleep but they’re not just
like hairless zeroes and ones
painted gargoylezees self-
waxing alone and together
in the house next door

 

Stephen Ground graduated from York University, then skipped town for a remote, fly-in community in Saskatchewan’s far north. He’s since returned south, and co-founded Pearson House Films. Find more at www.stephenground.com, or his tweets @sualtmo.

3 Poems by Tom Snarsky

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Moral Desert

 

Laura Jensen’s blog is called
spice drawer mouse and her avi
is a selfie with her flip phone

I long for this Game Boy
Advance SP energy renewable
battery pak no one start yet

damn I still have all these CDRs
left even though I used
like 40 to burn everything I had

by Lil Wayne for a stupid
reason at least I gave them
away no one need know

about the hours I spent
nor that this act was just
a placebo for the music

I wanted to burn and give
to you instead your whole face
your body on the roof with me

your mouth full of ropes

 

 

 

Theory of Suicide

 

I finger the airlock switch like
It’s a small, inconsequential thing

Life is way harder than reading
Wikipedia pages for trees

I watch porn on my phone instead
Of dancing and feel bad about it

It is funny and complicated
To be a window into grief

I have done almost nothing
All week and the sunrise is imminent

Hey let me borrow your shirt
The universe is about to begin

 

 


Psychometrician, Among The Flowers

I expect the love to end
Because instead of looking
At you I’m looking down

At the gladioli wondering
How they got so tall
And look so strong like

Two to five feet of
Worry + water isn’t nothing
Their riot of colors how

They flower every year if
Treated well if you got
Sick I don’t know what I’d

Do become a casualty
Of morning wash my hair
In secret I owe so much

Debt to your heartbeat’s
Chamber music arr. a
Mother with love from a

Piano piece that’s less
Well known now the tune
A warm memory when

You hear its new timbre
You become aware
Of a debt hand in the

River testing the water
In the dream I fall off the
Horse instead of talking

To the Dutch boy so you’ll
Be happy the pictures
I take will come out well

Terza rima will be re-
Instated starting now and
The belt you buckled

Round my throat’ll tighten
Like a shot of the lake
Moored boats like grave

Stones standing at
Attention walking on water
We need not rehearse

These debts recorded in
Pictures in the ledger
Of life a box somewhere

Unopened for years
Not hiding a secret   but
Not not hiding it either

 

Tom Snarsky’s chapbook Recent Starred Trash comes out soon from marlskarx.

“3 More Poems” by Josh Sherman

space junk

(cover art by Julienne Bay)

 

SPACE ME LIKE LAIKA

When I think of what I’m most jealous of
I think of Russian space junk
Satellites shot into the atmosphere
Laika burning up or lost, careening
cosmic software in need of updates
That famous photo of earth taken from
6-billion kilometres away

Indifference like CAA auto insurance
Uselessness like a store dedicated
to fidget spinners at the Dufferin Mall

*title was stolen from a Tinder profile

 

AMERICAN THANKSGIVING 

“I’ll see if my bitch-ass family is available,”
says the man with the knuckle tattoos
before exiting the train
with his girlfriend

It was American Thanksgiving
not too long ago

Around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019

 

HUMIDITY

On my way home
they were rolling a corpse out
of the seniors’ facility;
I didn’t see the body, it was wrapped
in a thick, white cover
—it was such a humid night

Aug. 13, 2019, 12:55 a.m.

 

Josh Sherman has not been published in Granta. 

“Coming Home” by Lynne Schmidt

 

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I never boxed you up
like the others.

Instead, the lucky coin you gave
stayed in my wallet so I could see you 

each time I reached for coffee.
You stayed in my words

so that ‘cute’ took on a
sarcastic tone.

You stayed out on display
so those who sat on my couch

Or laid in my bed
paled in comparison.

Because all those boys
who were packed into boxes

were labeled, dated, and buried
like lost loved ones.

And you stayed
where everyone could see you

because after all this time
I hold onto hope that you’ll come home.

 

Lynne Schmidt is a mental health professional and an award winning poet and memoir author who also writes young adult fiction. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks, Gravity (Nightingale and Sparrow Press 2019), and On Becoming a Role Model (Thirty West 2020). Her work has received the Maine Nonfiction Award, Editor’s Choice Award, and was a 2018 and 2019 PNWA finalist for memoir and poetry respectively. Lynne is a five time 2019 Best of the Net Nominee, and an honorable mention for the Charles Bukowski Poetry Award. In 2012 she started the project, AbortionChat, which aims to lessen the stigma around abortion. When given the choice, Lynne prefers the company of her three dogs and one cat to humans.