“As The Crow Flies North” by Aqeel Parvez


licking desperate dreamscapes picking at
a homeless man’s head with dandruff
flaking into dust a crushed life like ecstasy
in paper trials of white it is my second 9-5
commute through the city centre and this
surely homeless fella is asleep outside
maccies with his head on top of a Tesco
bag for life and he looks so peaceful like a
full bellied baby with a thumb in its mouth I
wander zombified onwards in a daze of
water bills and gas bills and electric
meters and torn shoes and clothes pegs
and wonder why he looks so much more
content than me. have I not suffered more,
I figure I did less wrong and he less right
as I take the second coffee of the day and
go cross eyed typing web chats to sick
customers. I think about the young
homeless fella his Tesco bag for life pillow
and I close my eyes I am him so free and
wonderful homeless jobless routine-less
and someone lays a £1 saver menu
chicken burger on my chest with the most
delicate intimacy.

Aqeel Parvez writes and makes collages. He 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 & Expat Press.

instagram: @ap.writer

“The Spire Has Fallen” by Nick Wort



We used to name the spiders
on your porch after characters
from movies I’ve
never seen.

Watch them crawl into
the siding of your house
and laugh at the idea
of them winding up
in your bed. 

And it was all so nice
as long as we didn’t think it through. 



It really is okay, dear
you do not have to worry about me

Just put it in your mouth. 

Let it sit on the wet under-
neath your tongue
and wait for it to melt. 



Art turns on the last call lights
that run along the ceiling
— a little row of teeth, a little string of
rosary beads 

I give him my card but
I do not have to pay.

(I never have to pay)

And suddenly I am in front
of my house
and it feels so
pornographic, to step
out of your car,
feel the gravel waltz under-
neath your feet

and simply laugh.



You can watch Paris burn from the
comfort of your home.

Isn’t it lovely?



We swayed across that nicotine
yellow floor at what felt like
miles-per-hour, but really only

(it’s beautiful)

Those beads of sweat
pooled into the cotton of
my shirt, painting it green under-
neath my arms

(there’s beauty in that, too)

And who would have imagined
the patters our shifting feet
would draw, like a child
clutching an Etch-a-Sketch™

Why were we there in the first place?

(it’s less beautiful to remember)



You could sing one-hundred-
and-twenty-nine songs
about my inadequacies
and it would be okay

— I am too stupid
to understand what 

you really mean.




[Did you really think I would just
say it?]



I need help understanding your
opinion of me

but there are too many metrics—
you know that I am bad with numbers.

Hold out your hand, count
the folds that sleep under-
neath, on the back side of,
your knuckles.

Is the answer more than ten?

If you are able to, if it is not too much
trouble, imagine me bringing you
a Coca-Cola™

(full-flavor, not diet)

Is it in a can or a bottle?



You ask me where
my blanket is
and I tell you it has been under-
neath your head

this whole time.



Today I am a child again
knocking on your door.
I can hear your mother’s red
high heels clicking on the tile behind that
white washed wood

There is no answer.

I leave, sit beneath
the tree in my old backyard
feel the sticks plead under-
neath my weight

I know that there is
not much time left.

I tried to sing, but

there was only silence.


3 Poems by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois



We’ve lost
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
to Alzheimer’s and Death

I sit on the sidewalk
against the high wall
of his Cartagena compound
pink stucco hot against my back
my way of saying
I love you, man
I’m sorry

Down the street are the old dungeons
and the Palace of the Inquisition
A woman with a platter of fruit on her head
walks by and kicks me with her sharp toe
I can tell she did it on purpose

I walk into an antique store
full of heavy colonial furniture
I see an old water meter
with Spanish writing on it
pick it up and run out of the store
but it must weigh a hundred pounds
and the young man whose mother is the proprietor
easily catches up with me
I am already soaked with sweat\
breathing like an asthmatic

He is gentle as he pries the meter from my grasp
sets me down on the sidewalk
uses his cell phone to call the police

The police take me away and put me in a cell
I try to call my wife to get me out
but then realize that we were separated
then divorced
then she was hospitalized
then she died
so there are four walls between us
as thick as the walls around
Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s compound
but they let me out anyway

I return to Boca Raton
to my mother’s house
find a hatchet
the same one I used to destroy the hard drive
of my father’s computer
so no one could steal his identity
even though he was dead

I take the hatchet
and split my skull open
insert my copy of A Hundred Years of Solitude
signed by the author:
to Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois
Best of luck 

Old ladies on the street complain about the blood
from my head running onto the sidewalk
Fuck ‘em
If they’re not complaining about that
they’re complaining about something else 

My head absorbs Gabriel’s deathless prose
then repairs itself quickly

I walk down to the community pool with a big smile on my face
get into the hot tub
set at 125 degrees
Two old ladies smile at me
lift out of the water to show me
they are topless

I ejaculate seeds of
magic realism into the frothing tub
and a jungle of flowers blooms
A parrot shrieks





Her overmedicated, glassy blue eyes
are a perfect match for the faded denim shirt
that hangs on her bony shoulders

There’s too much in her face
for me to wake up to
Those eyes are windows to
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
She had to raise her own parents
she had to suckle them at her breast
It was too much for her

She was too much for me
I had to put on a life jacket
and jump from the second-floor window
into the flood

I floated by a rowboat
and pointed with my thumb
to where she waited for rescue


Free Use


We have an apartment in Paris
in a building
that was a carriage stop
in the eighteenth century
Horses entered under the arch
and stomped their feet
on the cobblestones

Our apartment looks out on the rail yard
Trains enter and leave all day
and night
cause the earth to rumble
shake the building
My wife is unable to distinguish
between external stimuli
and internal stimuli
a symptom of her mental illness
so she is unable to sleep
or concentrate 

She begs me to take her away from this wretched place
but the apartment is free
and we have it for an unlimited time

The owner
doesn’t even know we are here
She is renovating a houseboat in Germany
(or actually, having it renovated
by a troupe of former barmaids
who have started a construction corporation)
and is not expected back
any time during this century

So I insist:
This is where we are
and this is where we’ll be

My wife builds a rough crucifix
in the middle of the living room
and with the assistance of some
local meth heads
ties herself to it
This is so derivative, I say
I am taking you back to the asylum

Fine, she says
Anywhere is better than being here
with you


Work by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois appears in magazines worldwide. Nominated for numerous prizes, he was awarded the 2017 Booranga Centre (Australia) Fiction Prize. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and as a print edition. His poetry collection, THE ARREST OF MR. KISSY FACE, published in March 2019 by Pski’s Porch Publications, is available here. Visit his website  to read more of his poetry and flash fiction.  


“it’s raining again” by Arlene Antoinette


it’s raining again

and the little ones are sequestered in their
homes for the afternoon. Today they are forbidden
to go outside and play. I stand by my
window looking out on the wetness
of the street and chuckle. My lawn
is free of little feet running to and fro.
My grass is being nurtured instead
of laid on. My driveway is spotless.
My garage door is safe. I sip my peppermint
tea, which goes down smoothly, and all
is well in my small world until the sun
comes out and the young ones break free
from their holdings.


Arlene Antoinette is a writer who enjoys dabbling in poetry, flash fiction and song lyrics. Additional poetry by Arlene may be found @ Foxglove Journal, Cagibi Lit, Better Than Starbucks, Mojave Heart Review, With Painted Words, London Grip, Literary Heist and Your Daily Poem.

“Ten Years After The War” by Travis Cravey


The tickets are free, first come
first served. Outside the stadium
there are the wanna-be’s, grilling
meat in their jerseys, throwing a
football, pretending that, if fate had only
dealt a different hand, they, too, would
be out there. There are screams as
the players enter: our proud team still
clean before the whistle blows. They
have trained their bodies and minds for
this moment and they feel ready. The other team will
fall, effortlessly, to our superior strength.
I can still feel the pads, the armor on
my body, feel the holy communion
of running towards the opposing players,
urging my team-mates onward, forward!
Victory! My memory does not allow
the hits, the pain, the anger, the confusion.
I want to be out there still. They’re
just boys and they don’t understand
what’s happening to them.

Now I sit in the bleachers.
I’m not allowed on the sidelines anymore,
Much less the field.

Travis Cravey is a mechanic in Southeastern Pennsylvania. An editor @malarkeybooks and @mythicpicnic, he’s had stories in a few places. He’ll show them to you if you’re interested. 
Twitter: @traviscravey 

2 Poems by Jill Bergantz Carley


Soft Tissue


Tonight the animal of my grief pads down the hallway in a light blue nightgown clawing a cold bottle of white and the end of a roll of Brawny paper towels, the kind that are perforated closely choose-your-own-adventure when I drop them not a single muscle cares: I’ll retrace that path in the late of night cracking open every window a wish for one cool breeze upon my cheek; the earth owes me that much at least last week almost etherized I spread my arms for a scrub nurse deploying soft restraints a little horizontal crucifixion I awoke wombless  mine own bloody coup finally: do you understand I will always trace this low scar my fertility no longer a dark mark against me a threat made love to me in bed I am the last of me and I am wanting a warren in which to keep my heart I would crawl to the ocean on my knees I would leap from the bridge in early light there is a razor edge where I end and time begins and it will not begin anew with me, let me spare you this neverdaughter, let me be the death of you.




Five Star Review for a Cordless Rotary Tool


With the diamond-edge Dremel blade I gave you at Christmas; you
deserve beauty; you
told me to hold still left palm up standing naked at our bed; you
cut the ring square off my finger, ease-steady with a sureness I’ll never know,

The suddenness and the surprise of the welt wringing the raw skin where my wedding band has lived since the evening you placed it on my finger under an arbor of mistletoe crashing the oak branches under which we took our vows,

kiss, now, the world goes, asking quietly,

The reaction of your body to mine a stiffening and a steadying were you even touching me or was it the extension of your fingers small buzz saw sharp as day light 

it was my own arteries pumping away,

The whirr of your machine it radiated to my heart; I
am feral, darling; I
am making Vantablack dark jokes; I
am crying about absolutely nothing; I
am an all-consuming vat of fear and I
am the photograph of a black hole in our universe and I’m
hungry or I’m vomiting and my fear is a branch of forsythia the cold day it vaults to a caution yellow soft as gold.


Jill Bergantz Carley is a Pushcart-nominated poet living in rural Northern California.  Her work has appeared recently in ENTROPY, OPOSSUM, Collective Unrest, Okay Donkey, Headlight Anthology, and elsewhere.  She’s very, very left-handed, which makes this poem even more uneasy; she trusts her husband a whole damn lot.

jillbergantzcarley.com ✏✨
@jbergantzcarley 🐦
@jillbergantzcarley 📸

3 Poems by DS Maolalai


Dollymount Strand.


the best thing – the city
swings inwards, sea
a swelling belly
disgorging itself of seaweed, wrack
and whales from every storm. off east
you see britain
or imagine it,
and sometimes
only the haze of other countries
you would some day like
to see – we share sandwiches, wine
and beercans cooled in rockpools. trade cigarettes with strangers
and drop ashed cotton
to blow into the dunes. northward
howth burns blue
with stacked driftwood
and south dun laoghaire shines like lighthouses
and imagined wealth. it’s been so long
since I’ve lived near the sea – I love it.
walking barefoot, holding my shoes
and tasting sand. salt air
cold and toothsome,
snacks, and the sky open,
filled and brimming with birds.






Everyone out, and flowers.


taking corners
without slowing, moving
like a swinging
pendulum, or like being
a bat, flying
toward buildings
and turning at full speed. biking home
in hot summer
while kids cross the road
and men in vans
play loud music
and lean through open
windows. it’s a joy;
everyone out,
and flowers. cans by the canal.
girls in dresses
smoking cigarettes
rolled up
at 4pm.






A naturally skinny man.


I remember
this prof we had
in college. he taught poetry
and was a poet himself, though I never read
his stuff. Ger Dawes – tiresome old rabbit. and my biggest impression
leaving his lectures
as a 20 y/o
was that a naturally skinny man
should be careful
never to get fat. for him, it lived in his throat.
thin arms, thin legs,
a chest like a bottle
and the expanding neck
of a bullfrog. 

but anyway; I remember, this lecture
he did on his own
poetry – the balls
that takes. all these kids listening embarrassed
as finally
the passion came over. there was one with capitals
he wrote, young as we were
then, and the words –
he really
yelled them. yeah; imagine the balls
and the passion – I hate to think
that at 60
I’ll be so passionate
about what I’m doing


DS Maolalai has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016) and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019)