we’re all drinking tequila/prob first time/prob only jose.
barmaid coming over tray with the salt and all that.
mostly empty in here.
blokes round the pool table start an argument/get lary and
grabs a
plastic spoon/threatens his mate brandishing it
brandishing a plastic spoon!
we’re all back in someone’s house/folks away/cheap lager.
we’re chucking fag butts down behind the sofa cos theres no ashtray about
no one likes him anyway and some go in the fish tank.
someone’s fucking someone in his bed and he’s pissed off.
his front door gets broken round the hinges
pizzas come and he paying pissed off.
spending some time on the roof/freaking out whoever’s upstairs fucking.
fish tank is getting turned off cos no one can sleep on the carpet and the sofa with all the noise and the tropical light.
walking home
across enormous empty car parks/bricked up flats/skirting the mall and out by the station/down the hospital hill
and we’re resting up
climbing in an abandoned Citroen/roofs been cut off
smoke cigarettes
watching the dawn come up on fire over the
Fivebells roundabout laughing about the guy
plastic spoon.

I Swear to God by Murphy Clamrod

"Do you solemnly swear
or affirm that you will tell
  the truth,
   the whole truth,
      and nothing but
the truth,

-my last beer cap was a king of clubs.
-I'm listening to Faith No More.
-I can't throw away receipts or bic lighters.
-Johnny Cash was always right, in my eyes.
-Once in a lifetime by Talking Heads is good.
-Cotton & Petroleum Jelly make great wicks.
-Fact is only commonly accepted opinion &
-Truth is based on fact or acts or I get so confused
after that last hit, then the just before the next, I
wonder if I could convince everyone on the planet.
-google, youtube, twitter, facebook are tracking you-twit-face; google it...
-History is told by the living and belongs to the dead.
-I'm listening to Johnny Cash.
-Art is subjective.
-vague statements are never statements.
-American means something.
-Being American means nothing.
-Caffeine was my gateway drug.
-Drinking can keep you from thinking.
-Everyone is going to die, its our thing.
-Finding time is impossible, it isn't a thing.
-Giving is best if you need for everything.
-Hope the rest of these lines don't need to end in g.
-I am still listening to Johnny Cash.
-Jealous of what it was like w/the  'highwaymen'!
-Kindness leads to less fights and bigger tips.
-Love is based solely on perspective.
-My muse never picks up a tab, we never 'go out'
-Never is that moment where you've given up.
-Oprah is rich.
-Poetry should have never taken a backseat to stand-up comedy.
-Questions that don't lead to more questions should be kept to yourself.
-Reality is less about love and more about conditioning.
-Some people take the fun out of everything.
-Take nothing you want and everything you need.
-Umbrella's are inconvenient accessories.
-Violence is always an option.
-Weekends depend on your calender or profession.
-My next beer cap was the ten of hearts.
-Smoking cigarettes will kill me, smoking pot will keep me from killing myself...

[fucked if I know]

S.O.S. by Catfish McDaris

My old man spoke of eating shit on a shingle
for breakfast in the army, “Yes sirree bob,
nothing better, it’ll put hair on your chest”
my sisters all made ugly faces

Visions of big hairy assed roofers crapping on
top of our house came to mind & then our dad
climbing up there & bringing down a steaming
platter of monstrous green greasy turds, all
curled around for a morning meal

When we found out S.O.S. was army talk for
chipped beef & gravy on toast, we all breathed
a sigh of relief, then he started singing a marching
song about Eskimo vaginas, we all thought war
must have warped his mind forever.

Filled with Birds by Ben John Smith

The drink
doesn't work sometimes.

It props you up,
keeps the ball rolling
but it doesn't work.

Not really.

She looks for villas
in bali
on the ipad
I pour another white

A pile of books at my feet.

Vegetable soup in the kitchen.

My garden
sits in the precise
night light.


It's not a gamble.

It's a throw of dice
with out the spots mattering.

With out money on the board

the dice don't work,

the drink doesn't work
but some how,

she makes the wheels turn;

and I wake up
for work on a Sunday
to pay for our wedding

because she makes me work.

The morning
is filled with birds
and I don't worry bout things
I can't change

as the boys fall from a pub
or a woman's bed
or a park bench

and pile into our work truck

to smoke cigarettes
from a crack
in the window

and at this time in
the morning
I have nothing else to say.

1,400 Degrees: Five Micros by Sheldon Lee Compton


The room is empty as scars without stories when Ben wakes.  It is a knocked about box 
made of soot, and he tries again to swallow, as if his lips aren’t burned away, as if in prayer.


That first date.  Ben saw her auburn hair illuminate color each time she lit a match, 
smiled when she smiled, stared at his feet when she let the match burn to her fingertips.


Children were drawn to her in the way sunlight seems drawn to still water.  He watched, 
and was drawn, too.


When Ben spoke to her, she studied him so closely.  He might have been in a hog pen, 
not a man with cold, meaty hands in his pockets.


Lonely Ben.  The dark lady.  Friend of a friend, and then more.  This dark lady who will 
talk to him.  And listen, mouth slightly open.

Past Life Regression Attempt #4 by Melanie Browne

There are Cloudless skies;
I am shoving cake in my own
mouth, faster and faster
Like a bulimic’s wet dream,
While in the distance,
An ocean of peasants
Laughs and jeers,
They want to
Use my head for
A piƱata,
But then I realize,
They don’t
Play that game in France
I know I should say something
but I can’t,
I hang my head in quiet resignation,
It begins to rain,
My wig drips
Between my breasts,
The peasants head home,
Their amusement over,
I drift through the city
Dirty and alone

Two Poems by Joseph Ridgwell

The Sun Goes Down on Another Day

The millions stuck in dead jobs
Dead people in a dead world
Ferried to and from joyless employment
By Automobile, plane and train
Boat and bicycle
To spend an allotted amount of time
Breathing bad air and staring at paperclips
Subjugated by processes and automatons
Harassed by insane men and women
The Yes people
To emerge finally
Like battle-scarred warriors of the mundane
Onto dusty, polluted streets
Hot with maddened traffic
Alongside millions of others
Just in time to witness
The sun go down on another day
The sun go down on their dreams
The sun go down on them

Watch for Me by Moonlight

When I’m gone
Watch for me on a starry night
Or a lonesome beach
Bottle in hand
One arm waving free
A trail of footprints in the sand
Beside an ocean's roar
Or street corners and cosy nooks
Shady corners and dirty dead ends
Propping up a ghostly bar
By a fire bright
And remember that I once lived
And loved
And sung rebel songs
Till the morning came
Caressing and cavorting
Seeking truth and beauty
And the shining path
That leads the way
To silent caves
And lonely rocks
And dark mountains
And green valleys
So watch for me by moonlight
And I’ll show you the way

Nightlife by Stephen Jarrell Williams

On the street sticky wet
careful where you step

never turn your back
on dudes or women tattooed

here the dark has substance
whispering in your perked ears

memory mirages
around every corner

she teases you to follow
down the long alley

trashcans stuffed and dented
with how you use to be

she giggles
leaving her warped door open

silver beads and bullets
dangling from her unmade bed

she's in the bathroom gargling
her backside already bare

you step in stiff
knowing the price

daylight unable to heal you
when she spits you out.

THE KNIFE by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

Under the bed
he kept the knife.
It kept him safe
from the perils of
the world.  The knife
would dream along
with him.  The shiny
blade was like a mirror
when he looked into it.
His hair was out of place.
The knife was there
every night ready
for action in case
anything went down.

Man at the Bus Stop on Halloween by Donal Mahoney

The others, of course,
are more rabid than he
but less apt to show it.
Whenever he strikes,
he never romps off.
He stands with the wrist
that he's snatched
from the lady
tight in his teeth
as he waits with a smile
for the wagon.
He's one of the few
wrist-snatchers still
on the streets of Chicago,
and he makes his rounds
in old tennies.
His technique is simple:
He dives for the purse hand,
gives it a whack, and severs
the wrist without slobber,
then stands like a Vatican Guard
with the wrist in his teeth
until he is certain
he has no pursuers.
At night in his dreams he sees
the women whose wrists
he has held in his teeth.
They stand at the bus stop
like Statues of Liberty,
shrieking and waving
their stumps like flares.
He prays their screams
will bring to a frieze
the patrol cars glowing
in the middle of the street.

On Hearing About a Possible Taliban Shooting of a 14 Year Old Girl by David S. Pointer

Unlikable Islamic extremists
fill the world with honor killings,
fill hospitals, morgues and midnight
shifts with dismembered bodies,
make it too easy for the blue suits
of elite economic complicity to
disappear into the deeper pockets
of designed perception, telling the
public it’s all good except for them


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