CRUISE SHIP by Suzy Devere

I hear you and you are
so remote
far from me like icebergs i see through binoculars
and hear
over a cold sea

i want to get closer
i thought we were the same?
but look, there you are
over there

and thats when i notice what i am
in relation to you

nothing the same...

my body is the big cheap cruise ship
faded white with strange gold accessories

soul is the little man
washing dishes

cleaning toilets
constantly being belittled and

my mind is the asshole
laying on the deck chair
showing off

ordering mix drinks
smoking to look cool
trying to fuck the rest of the passengers
just because he

and my love is the bartender

listening to everyone else's
patiently serving them all
longing for so many things
hidden beneath his smile

the bartender whose name no one knows

the quiet bartender who gives the impression
he will be

and so i look again
at your amazing integration

stare down at my fucked up

look again
at your integration
nothing separate
you are one "thing"
fully engaged
involved and massive

and i feel cheap
so i close my eyes
turn the music up

float away

Episode 16 by Sheldon Lee Compton

I've decided not to sleep for five days.
I will ascend on the sixth day and make it holy
and eliminate the seventh day all together.

There is nothing lucky in this pig shit place,
least of all a fucking number.
If I were George Lucas's stepbrother's nephew-in-law I'd be:
Harrison Ford and Sinbad would play me,
except they wouldn't.
Their daddy never taught them how to play the Sheldon.

Embracing it is the easy part,
squeezing hard enough to make it bleed through its pores
is the fun part.
I just drove 3.17 miles screaming to the bell tower of my lungs.
Now I can't speak.
I'll have to explain to people in the morning why I can't speak,
without speaking.

Maybe I will shit in my hand and write it on the wall.
Maybe they will cut my tongue out, just to be safe.
I would immediately command my broken tongue
to slap them in the face,
then lick and make up.

the new napalm by Ross Vassilev

you’d cut my head off
and feed it
to Saddam Hussein
use it to fertilize
the white phosphorous desert

the ashes of my
personal sorrow
will keep the stock market up
and fill your barren heart
with atomic warheads

I’m sick of porn
sick of fat
sick of myself
my head bursts out in flowers
that wither under your
consumer cannibal
zombie deathplex
that the hangman laughs at
in his white phosphorous dreams

As-Cen-Sion by Kyle Hemmings

So, I turned to my friend, Jherk Hand, and said, no, Nebraska is not made of bricks but rather the Nebra Disk is so hard on the sole. The mist had solidified green, formed a shale under our runny thoughts. I tossed a coin and bet which side contained a sol invictus on a quadriga. It was getting hard making a living sacrificing Spaniards in Tanumshede. The sky no longer opened up in jocular truffles and the tourists expected a free lunch with ox tails. At home, my wife was busy giving birth to Hours-Ra and Ramen Noodles but I was placing a wager that Svarog would kick some Indo-Eurasian ass. It was getting unbearable to stand before the caves waiting for The Next Coming, me with my wingtips, Jherk Hand with a sprained wrist, and of course, the rest of the contingent: Wadjet, Sekhmet, O Hathor, Nut, Bast, You-Bet, Bat, Menhit, and First Hathor. The latter could never stop talking how his mother met her death in an elevator. It didn't rain for weeks after it happened. Finally, the rocks broke and a creek of light creaked. Would this one lift night from our shoulders? He stood approximately three inches taller than Titan or as tall as I imagined him to be. A bird-man, with wing span of 6.6 feet and a beard that nearly covered his loins. His eyes turned upward and they bled blue in vociferous streams. Awondo's daughter fainted and I couldn't get a handle on The Barotse Prophesy my mom used to read me when I was knee-high to a Trojan. His mouth spilled movement, slow, gentle. "Eid thsi cor Uni be enog." He returned to the cave. We pondered the relative pronouns in our relative positions. "It means the sun has lifted," said Sekhmet who went blind by cutting the heads of too many goats. "No, it means we will have three more years of drought," said Soya, whose body was covered with tattoos of cobra, lioness, and cow. Finally, the most learned amongst us-- Inspector Zeki, said something about a solar barge, the suffering from the ground, fleeting. But these days, I wouldn't bet a sun chariot for a Hur’s crossing.

Against John Berryman by Mark Kerstetter


The pressure in my head is threatening
this morning. An endless fucking sea of words.
And the words are fucking.

each other.

Dip into the sea:
Henry is not smiling. Henry does not feel well.
Moreover, Henry feels that he is not well.
This is what I think, and I have Big Eyes.
Henry gave me permission to use his name.
This is not plagiarism.
A mind has been fucked.

by another mind.

It occurred to me that this was a pleasant thought.
That I suppose was the orgasm.
Short lived:


Two Poems by Ivan Brkaric

Missing Piece

It wasn’t meant for love,
but a mere arrangement.

A marriage of
family and ideas.

A puzzle
we could piece together.

A piece for culture,
family values
and security.

But in the end,
all the pieces were there.

Accept for one,
the missing piece
that was me.

Hard Times

She tells him a story.

How she was an orphan
and started dancing
to survive.

Then she talks about
the college tuition
she has to pay
and how hard it is
to be a single mom.

She talks about a better life,
but is soon interrupted
when the DJ calls her
back to the stage.

Leaving Behind by Ally Malinenko

Some time last year
or the year before that
you said that there was nothing wrong with being hopeful
as long as I don’t make a habit of it
and I know now,
with the veins on the backs of hands bulging,
the bones and sinew warping like wood,
how right you are.

I can feel the cells sloughing off,
the coming age, the dying, the next decade,
the pull of gravity and each time I see that girl
in the pictures of us when we were younger,
I hate her a little more.

Back home there is mostly quiet
where there used to be rap music
and you said that tonight, when you get in
with a six-pack we’ll take it down to the Narrows
and watch the lights disappear.
You said we need to stop taking everything so seriously

And that makes me feel pretty damn hopeful.
Cause the best thing about us has always been our triviality
little kisses and faces drawn with sharpies. The way you make
me howl with laughter, cupping my big mouth, in a serious movie.
The huffing and sighing everyone else does. Their dirty little jealousy.

I want to stay like this but I said that ten years ago and it didn’t work.
Besides, my nails are breaking off, paging through these books.
Little pieces of me I’m leaving behind in different cities
across this country. I can’t stop getting older.
What am I if not 22 and stubborn?
Something was left behind a few years ago
back in the first city.
You know I don’t like to talk about it but I know it as well as you
that things aren’t going to stay the same.

Last weekend the radio was talking just to me
a static whir till the dj broke through and offered
up some resolution. I wrote down what he said.
It’s another absolution.

I realized that I failed
because in the end, I probably don’t have the stamina
to stay in one place.
I’m washing away bit by bit
tiny suicides, part by part.

The Avant-garde Poet by Melanie Browne

ties you up,
wraps your hands
to the bed

you are the tangled explosion
of salt on a
watercolor painting

when he’s
finished he
gives you a sip
of water
from his leather

you are silence
and snowflakes,
the laurel and

the revelation


optimism has a two drink minimum
the gentle love thats soft like lions
comes growing up thru . . .
like a cherry
surprised on the estuary tide

I am alone
with Things and Stuff
a gentle love
like warm rising dough
for People
the odd and old process
the Big Wheel
uplifts me
thaws down frozen nostalgia
that is always there . . .

. . . sad
as a
football terrace chant

Two Poems by Steve Calamars

the main course

i load shot-gun shells
the size of salt-shakers
into a revolver that looks
more like a cargo-plane
than a hand-gun

you see i’ve decided to
bite the bullet and eat
death alive

slipping the barrel in my mouth
i begin to salivate and start
chomping at the bit

i squeeze the trigger

buck-shot blows across
my taste-buds and out
the back of my skull

peppering the wall and
leaving me with nothing but
a bad taste in my mouth—

sucker punched

she gets inside my
chest and roughs up
my heart pretty good

a couple of jabs
a few right hooks

she says she’s just

but something must
be getting thru
‘cause i can feel
every blow

she’s left my poor ol’
heart with a black-eye
and a busted lip

she says she’s just
interested in light sparring
and some foot-work

but somewhere in our
exchange a body-shot
slips in

now i’m down on one knee
gasping for air

wishing i had put up a
better defense and not
taken her advances so

Coming Worlds Apart by Doug Draime

We had little in common
( except we both loved sex)
She used heroin
I smoked pot
She loved disco
I invented the term disco sucks
She was a rich young widow
I was a poor young starving writer hanging on the edge
She was full of bourgeois culture
I lived a countercultural lifestyle
She liked fancy restaurants
I was a bean and spaghetti man
She had a Doctorate in Comparative Literature from UCLA
I barely got through 2 semesters on the G.I. Bill at Los Angeles City College
She believed in the political process and voted
I didn’t vote and thought politics was a cancer and could solve nothing

She was reading William James, Robert Frost and Susan Sontag
I was reading Louis-Ferdinard Celine, Henry Miller and LeRoi Jones
She bought things
I gave away things
She thought the Black Panther Party were criminals
I considered them heroes
She liked movie musicals
I hated them
She drank Southern Comfort on the rocks
I drank Eastside beer the cheapest I could find
She drove a Lincoln convertible
I took buses and cabs
We both loved sex
We got high and had sex and smoked cigarettes
( but not the same brand )

five minutes and you're almost dead: 3 Poems by David McLean

the water gets hard

the water gets hard
because it is angry envy

and aspires to life,
just as we aspire to eternity

before we can manage time,
we aspire to being after death

before we have learned
to be precisely alive

each car

each car which insults the street
trudges through the dirt that was white

innocence once (they call white
the color of innocence – i think

their god knows why).
because even the snow

declines with time, as children's
arms get crossed with angry

scars, and love grows tired

guilty blood

the guilty blood runs
because it must

as we scatter junk
through a world

that needs nothing
better, that expects

dutiful replication
and sex, the guilty blood

stinks of the needy seed
that becomes death


another poem written on the clock by Karl Koweski

fifty bad parts,
the hole bored
.020 too small

and now
I’m on the hot seat

between writing
smut stories all shift
and breezing through
the latest
Palahniuk novel
I’ve somehow neglected
to zero out
my calipers

and management wants
to know why
I couldn’t take
the two seconds
to double check

I don’t believe in zero
I tell them, simply

what do you mean,
you don’t believe in zero?

it don’t exist
the Romans got along fine
for hundreds of years
without using
a single zero

the Romans…?

let me tell you something
know where zero comes from?
the Arabs…
and ever since 9/11
I don’t have any use
for anything
the Muslims have to offer
so now
I’m all about
the Xs, Is and Vs, baby

management considers this
torn between
and common sense

all right,
the quality assurance
manager speaks
I can understand that.
I got a nephew
in Iraq right now
fighting those towelheads
but you got exactly
five seconds
to come up with
a suitable replacement

I’ve got any number
of zero synonyms
beginning with my life
and ending with this job

2009: The Tallest Titan by David S. Pointer

The NFL's tough-
The Titans went with
a small back attack
because Chris Johnson
cuts like an Indian wars
era bayonet turning
up chronic pain lane
helping teammates heal
from the Steve McNair
grief bear on their
numbered backs..45,
50, 45, 40,....Chris
has burned on now
even VY's jumping again
and the crowd is juiced
on fan joy where opposing
players packaged in high
tech pro pads normally
thought to be preservative
pinball onto injured reserve
as the white and blue
vapor back shines in
those silvercloud cleats
keeping him safe and speedy

A Smith for a Spleen by Ben Nardolilli

Lose your poems, instead
Read the hours entwined
With dizzy laughs and care.
Go to a cemetery for lovers
Looking ripped with smiles
Where miserable minutes meet
Shoving kicks around at children
While your dreaded whores
Write wanted sunny prose
Salutations to Keats, Yates,
And Caligula

But find them once more
As voluptuous vampires
Your skin whimpers to embrace,
Find the alchemy of souls
In order to escape
The false grandeur of cadavers
Finding the damned flowers
With delight,
Glittering clarity
From suckling bones


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