Papered Rooms and Bodies by Ben Nardolilli

How much could I be making,
Standing out in the world,
Not sitting in bed, or sleeping,
Eight hours I could be working,
Lunch too, and breakfast,
Idle luxuries,
No one grows rich by eating.
Do I really need shoes, maybe
I should wipe my hand with my ass,
Or use old calendars and phonebooks,
A waste of paper, water is free.
Money in the bank does nothing,
It has to race, find itself a home,
Some land, some people to work on it,
The bankers fondle my bills and coins,
They get all the pleasure of their company,
How can I stand and hold it back?
And why should be a bank myself,
Keep this blood in these same old veins,
Or the hair dangling in the scalp,
Cut it off for a wig store,
Drain my body dry,
I could make a killing.

When in Long Beach by Daniel Romo‏

Kiss homeless on foreheads while they sleep on the knoll
in front of the library at City Hall; drink their dreams dry

and spit out seeds from their nightmares. Wipe the soil from their
brows; grind it into skin. Tatted euphemisms yet to come.

Tiptoe, naked through the ghetto; genitalia is universal: neutral,
and you’re less likely to be mistaken for having gang ties.

Ignore single mothers’ cries, curbside memorials,
and barricaded cul-de-sacs. They occur too frequently.

Sift sand on the shore smirking at the sea, once cerulean currents
of non-conformity now jaded, gagged, bound by breakwater.

Sit Indian-style in garages, sifting through “medicinal” haze
lifting to the rafters. And chew on songs birthed from wombs

of empty Corona bottles pardoning indie bands swum mainstream.
Follow the gulls.

They know where the best places in town are to eat.

Out of Age by Jonathan Butcher

It was during that damp morning, he
declared it his last summer.

His hole filled shoes, now hung on
home made washing lines,

Those cardboard envelopes not licked
now for over eight years, the powder

now sit framed in brass, polished
daily with drying spittle.

And at the end of the bed, a thousand cider bottles
piled high, like holocaust suitcases, as dust filled as
the memories.

He cracks his knuckles in time with the mantle piece
clock, feels each rung of the ladder turn to rubber.

Those voices thought gone, now return as whispers,
on that dutiful breeze, felt on the back of his neck,
a now constant massage.

Stinkin' Lincoln by Catfish McDaris

The fat supervisor
transferred up
north from Alabama

She had her eye
on me from
the minute
she walked in

I tried to keep
from staring
but with her
red dress

And long dangling
earrings she
was hard to miss

Sauntering over
to the area
where I was working

She laid her
fat arm on
my shoulder

I cringed in
disbelief at
her boldness

She wanted me
and I wanted
no part of her

Offering to drive
me home I declined

She tried to bribe me
with whiskey
and cigars

I refused everything

Finally she offered
to buy me a new
Lincoln Continental
on the condition

That I make love
to her I reluctantly

We went out to
the parking lot
and there was
that shiny boat

She got in
the backseat
removed all
her clothes

I must have got
acute nookie shock

I barfed all over
that funky bitch
and her sparkling
luxury automobile.

shamrocks and lightening bolts by Steve Calamars

I wake early. The sky solid and still like black cement. City silent. I walk out into the kitchen. I consume eggs, potatoes, milk and blueberries. I read Machiavelli and Aristotle. I walk down into the basement. Gray walls, rubber mats, metal equipment and yellow lighting. I jump rope. I skim through a black journal with training data. I do crunches, bench presses, French presses, dips and press-downs. I record the new training data on the soft red notebook paper of the black journal. I leave the basement and go upstairs.

I shower, shave and dress. Muscular, heavily tattooed body cocooned in black suit, black tie, black shoes. I remove a large black duffel bag from the closet. I exit the room and walk back into the kitchen. I grab car keys, wallet, pen and pocket knife. I walk out of the house and get into the car. The sun is a bisected pink chunk. I drive, no music, only burgeoning city sounds . . . traffic, trains and sirens.

I park across the street from the bank. Brown brick, white cement and gray glass. I turn the car off and leave the keys in the ignition. Two people wait for the front door to be unlocked. A postal truck drives by. I unzip the duffel bag and remove a pair of black leather gloves. I slide the gloves on and reach back into the duffel bag. I remove a revolver. The revolver is composed entirely of stainless steel. Menacing, luminous and insect-like. I place the revolver in a shoulder-holster beneath my jacket. I grip the duffel bag, steady my mind and exit the car.

I walk across the street. The front door is unlocked and the two people walk in. I follow, pulling a black ski-mask from the duffel bag. I pull the ski-mask over my face and pull the revolver from beneath my jacket. The steel screams in radiant moist flashes, fear floods everyone’s hollow ghost eyes. I rationally survey my surroundings, taking in two patrons and four personnel . . .

I order the two patrons down on the floor in front of the counter. I walk forward and raise the revolver into the popcorn white faces of the four personnel. I ask in a cool, monotone voice, “Who holds keys?” Three of the personnel swivel their heads instinctively in unison. One remains motionless, neck and head stiff, eyes fixed and frightened. I leap over the counter and call calmly once, “Vault.” The barrel of the revolver presses effortlessly into his soft dough-boy chest. I march the four personnel to the rear of the bank.

The one with the keys opens the vault. Blue walls, blue lighting, green blocks. I hand him the duffel bag and order him to place an undisclosed amount of money inside. An amount of money I will not disclose here. I listen for alarms and watch for die-packs. I receive the bag back full . . . heavy, bulky and monolithic. I close the vault with the four personnel inside. I walk to the front of the bank and leap back over the counter. A guard walks in the front door. He holds coffee and a box of donuts. The coffee and donuts drop. The guard goes for his gun.

I raise my revolver, like a cannon in my hand. I squeeze. Four shots. Slugs like softballs break through his abdomen. Body drops. Blood spills out over the white tile floor like sloppy wet red butterflies. I step over the dead matter and walk out of the bank. I place the revolver beneath my jacket and pull the ski-mask from my head. I cross the street and get into the car. I turn the key and drive off. Composed, calculative and analytical.

I pull into the driveway. I exit the car and enter the house. I remove the money from the duffel bag. I remove the revolver from beneath my jacket. I remove the gloves from my hands. I place the money, revolver and gloves in a floor-safe beneath my bed. I place the suit in the closet. I shower, stretch and dress. Gray shirt, gray sweats, gray shoes. Tattoos and gorilla forearms pour out from beneath my shirt-sleeves. I walk into the kitchen. I pick up the phone and call for a woman. Black hair, white skin, red lips. The sun is a hunk of yellow light. While I wait, I close the blinds and read Hobbes.

Convention in Miami by Donal Mahoney

for Gerard Manley Hopkins

Around his navel this morning
a halo, a red stipple
Hopkins would love:
"Glory be to God for dappled things..."

It's a gift from this woman
he doesn't know.
She welcomed him last night
with open arms and open legs

sending him home to his wife
this morning, unaware
he was bringing this souvenir,
a bright halo of crab lice.

the steam pipe choir ensemble of dirty birds and the filthy word of joy by Mat Gould

the lady next to me
a wet hound dogs blanket of stale straw
and tells me
she got ran over
a Wal-Mart parking lot
thus her broken leg
as if there has been a forest fire burning in her lungs
all throughout
the rainy season
her nostrils lend no exhaust
she is checking over medical bills
everyone has gotten paid
looks into her bank account
the sleekest
a mumble
-like most of us
certainly myself indeed-
acquired the lust
steady chorus of fuck
the ease and finesse
the morning birds
back toward
an engine on full fire-


About Me

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