Pistons in Her Haunches by Donal Mahoney

It's a 50th anniversary dinner
for Bernie and Blanche at the Elk's Hall.
After dessert Blanche grabs the mike
and primes the crowd by announcing,
"Fifty year's we've been married
and Bernie's never had a sorry day."
Then Bernie grabs the mike and says
"The nights have been wonderful, too.
Despite her orthopedic shoes, Blanche
still has pistons in her haunches."
In fact, after all these years, Bernie has
but one complaint: Blanche never
gets to the point in any conversation.
It's up to Bernie to decipher the code.

Early every morning Blanche and Bernie
sit in their recliners and sip coffee.
Blanche stares into space and then
jots down on a legal pad everything
Bernie must do before their lovely
Victorian house falls down.
Bernie in the meantime reads
the obituaries with one eye
and watches Blanche with the other
and waits for her head to rear back,
a mule ready to bray a prologue
Chaucer would envy.

Many times Bernie has asked Blanche
to give him the bottom line first.
"Tell me up front what you want me to do
and then fill in the details," he tells her.
But with no bottom line in any conversation,
Blanche makes Bernie feel as though
a python is winding around his chest.
"I know what the python wants,"
Bernie says, "and he'll be quicker."

After 50 years of marriage,
Bernie says meandering by Blanche
in conversation is a small complaint.
He'll never have a sorry day as long as
Blanche has pistons in her haunches
because every now and then,
despite stenosis of the spine,
Bernie likes to bounce off the ceiling.
That bounce, he says, is why
he married Blanche in the first place.

lorca by Steve Calamars

big dreams
burst from
small minds
and blow
holes thru
artificial realities
that we
shake like
straight jackets
to stretch
our peculiarities
and bask
in our
strength like
a million suns

Two Poems by Rob Plath


he thinks he's tough, a real self-taught poet of the streets

he wants some feedback & possibly advice on his work

after the fourth poem about just how tough he is, i ask him:

did you ever see someone w/a tumor inside their face?

no, he uncomfortably laughs

you never saw somebody w/a large mass in the maxillary cavity?

i mean the real aggressive shit that keeps growing
until it pushes their eyeballs half-out of their head?

no, man, he says, serious now

you never saw somebody hemorrhage from their eye socket,
blood streaming down like they're weeping blood?

his face scrunches up in disgust & he grabs his poems back

yr fucked up, he says & walks away


you look sick! he says

you need to eat MEAT!
he says

be a MAN! he says

have some of these
raw sausages! he says

live a little! he decides
to add to his ridiculous tirade

i look at his gut
spilling over
the notches of his belt

all i can do
is picture his liver
beneath there

fat & yellow
& suffocating

i want to rip it out
& nail it to his chest

an oversized badge
of fucking stupidity

Two Poems by Justin Hyde

putting a new battery in my car

bring it to me baby!"
comes a gravely voice
behind me
followed by catcalls.

i turn around
see a pretty blond
jogging past three bums
on the other side of grand.

"come ere bitch."

"yea come ere little bitch."

she has headphones on
either doesn't hear it
or doesn't
let it faze her.

the middle guy
a black broom of hair
sticking out behind a camouflage hat
picks up a rock
swings back
and pretends to crack her on the head.

"dinner is served boys."

they cackle like hyenas
and pass around a paper sack.

part of me
runs across the street
beats the hell out of them
right there
in the toothless sidewalk daylight

another part of me
with the gallows humor

the sheer caprice
of dichotomy.

i lean against the fence
watching them stagger back
to their tents
under the mlk bridge.

teetotaler's epitaph

quit drinking

run thirty miles a week

lift weights three days a week

six small meals
evenly spaced out

finally stay true to a girlfriend

sleep peaceful
like a turtle
seven hours a night - -

give it a go friend

break the curve
of the actuary's death charts

lock toes with jesus
in a symbolic
non denominational way - -

it's damn near impossible
to be miserable
under these conditions - -

and by proxy

write a decent poem.

Valentines Day by Mike Meraz

I am confused about the worship
of relationships.

I think we should start worshiping

find a holiday

to celebrate

the man

who is alone,

that he has
fought off the forces
and has not relented
but carried on,
remained, stood still.

there should be a holiday
not for the weakness of two
but the strength of one.


i’ve handed each of my demons a paintbrush

i’ve offered my suicide a bouquet of bok choy

i’ve poured cups of chamomile for bad memories

i’ve unlaced death’s combat boots & given it a stack of books

i’ve vacuumed up the debilitating dust

i’ve exchanged ashtrays for flowerpots

i’ve torn up my bukowski jacket for cleaning rags

look, i’m drinking a bottle of cool water

tho you’d rather me be lobbing malotov cocktails at the ceiling

a pathetic cliché dancing in my own flames


About Me

Black-Listed Magazine is an online literary magazine. We publish on a rolling basis: weekly, daily, sometimes hourly. Send submissions here: blacklistedmagazine@hotmail.com