an afterthought by Kevin Coons

I don't even bother hanging up the phone, I just let it linger.
The synapses in my brain lose their signal and suddenly, I am a dial tone.

I'm sitting on my bed alone in bare feet.
I look out the window and the world keeps rolling over.
I start to remember something my father once told me.

Down the stairs, and out the door,
I settle behind the wheel and exhale

"you can't control the shit this world piles on you
-only how you carry it "

I ease down the road and out
into the fog.

rothko by Paul Harrison


An Unfinished Story Of Lust And Sorrow - Part 2 by Aline Rahbany

It is always at night, that they find refuge in each others’ arms. Late night, way after dark – when the
crowds have slept, and the stage has emptied, and the only remaining noise was that of the heavy rain,
and the only remaining sight was that of the lightning.

They lay side by side, on his bed, staring by the window, into the dark night. He was not much of a
speaker this eve. And she was enjoying his sound of silence.

As they lay speechless, once again she started having the same old thoughts – is he real? Or is it the
illusion of reality, playing tricks on her na├»ve mind? Again, she could never tell … She tried touching him;
she laid her fingers on that sweet flesh lying beside her. Flesh is there. She ran her fingers all over his
body, reaching his face.

Laying her fingers on his lips, she tried speaking to him. “Don’t wake me up”, he said, “I am in trance."
This left her puzzled. She laid back, surrendering her ideas, giving in, for the goddess of delusion to sail
her across the ocean of hollowness.

As she closed her eyes, and entered the realm of reverie – the few seconds when the person is neither
awake nor asleep – she felt his hand caressing her face, gently. She heard words being mumbled in her
ear, but she couldn’t understand the language. Somehow, she felt the words were not addressing her.
Somehow she felt alone, and yet surrounded by a powerful shade of humanity. Why does he always reveal
himself in her moments of weakness? Why does he disappear when she is in a state of wakefulness? Could it be
he is living in her mind? Could it be he is a creation of her bitter imagination?

Conceding to her confusion, she opens her eyes to see herself in her own bed – twisting and turning …
“where are you?” she screams. The only answer she receives is the echo of her own voice, on the sound
of which, she submits her fragile body back to sleep, wrapping her arms around his shoulders.

Specter by Ally Malinenko

-for Michele and Kristen

I was mistaken for dead for a couple hours
by some old friends.
They wrote me to tell me they cried.
But during that time, when I was thought a phantom,
I floated through Sunset Park
whispering in the ears of the Mexican’s selling empanadas.
They understood me because everyone speaks the language of the dead.

I teased the Chinese kids on 8th Avenue who ignored me
because ghost or no ghost
the number 8 is still lucky.
I possessed the old Russian women down by the ocean,
who crossed themselves and hid in the church begging for Jesus.

And I did a high wire act, across the thick cables of the Brooklyn bridge.
These are the kinds of things you can get away with when you are dead.
I even haunted you, as you wondered mid-town wondering
whatever happened to that girl you used to know.

But when I wrote them back
to tell them to dry their tears,
that I was still in fact pumping blood
and bloated lungs, that I was still dividing cells
and mostly water,
I fell back to earth, with an astonishing crack.

This is what death can be like.
You can vanish, go invisible, and not even know it.
Take advantage of that time, if you are so lucky,
the city will open her secrets for you,
and let you linger in the darkest corners of Brooklyn.
Ghosts don’t have to worry about fear or chain locks.
Ghosts can pass right through
your walls and sit across from you,
watching you fall apart.

That’s what I did.
And you never even noticed.

Hand-Job by Joseph Ridgwell

his debut collection of short fiction, Oswald's Apartment, is now available from Blackheath Books.

On his return Moshi told me the story like this. I was lying on a bamboo bed inside a
yellow beach hut. We were in Bali. The sound of the ocean’s roar could be heard
outside. I liked that sound.
‘Did ya find a massage parlour?’ I asked.
Moshi gave me a sheepish look, ‘I just had a very strange experience,’ he
replied somewhat enigmatically.
‘Tell me everything,’ I demanded
‘Okay, but promise you won’t repeat what I’m about to tell you to anyone. I
Now I was genuinely interested and more than a little intrigued.
‘I promise?’
A troubled look appeared on Moshi’s suntanned face.
‘I searched all over for a massage parlour, but couldn’t find one anywhere.
Then I saw it.’
‘Saw what?’
‘The sign?’
‘The sign?’
‘The words, Traditional Balinese Massage, were painted on it in white letters.’
‘Inside was this ancient Balinese woman.’
‘How much?’
‘Five dollars.’
‘Yeah, and I’m thinking this elderly lady must have decades of experience, is
certain to give me a traditional massage, but I was sadly mistaken.’
‘Sadly mistaken?’
‘She takes my top off and gets me to lie on the floor. And she hasn’t got any
teeth and her lips and gums are covered in this red shit, and she smelled.’
‘She pours some oil onto my stomach and starts rubbing, I mean she must
have been around eighty years old....’
I raised a questioning eyebrow.
By now Moshi was no longer maintaining eye contact.
‘The dirty old cunt slipped a hand inside my shorts!’
‘What the fuck?’
‘I didn’t know what to do or how to react.’
‘So you stopped her, right?’
‘No, I just closed my eyes and let the wrinkled up bitch do it.’
‘Shit,’ I said.
Moshi scratched his head and appeared puzzled.
‘And afterwards she demanded thirty dollars instead of five.’
‘Fuck,’ I said.

Two Poems by Justin Hyde

swimming with unicorns

the kenyans will win marathons
the yellow lines in parking lots will be repainted
the bright eyed infantry will
take night classes to get their mbas
and become six sigma black belts
limbs will be severed in industrial accidents
foster children will be
raped in rooms full of potpourri and stuffed animals
pelicans will drown in oil spills
midgets will commit suicide amidst confetti
but the shelves will always be stocked with marshmallows
and chances are
you will float through this life
like a pink moon.

sure as this

the history books
may or may not
include you


hardly anyone
history books


the few
who do
discuss it among themselves
at superfluous conventions

or on various
esoteric internet forums

or in passing
to their wives:

those dull eyed creatures
nodding slowly out of habit
while planning the purchase of a Coach purse
or some other

exhausted earthling by Steve Calamars

tired of the planet
my finger falls asleep
on a hair-trigger

a bullet rolls down
the barrel and crashes
thru my brain cells
like bowling pins

my head snaps back
and the revolver drops

the last thing
i see is an empty
white ceiling

radiant as a
neutron star

The Corner of Wells and Madison by Donal Mahoney

I know that if I ever
fall in the street
the way that man did,
in the middle of an intersection,
someone will mind.
But if unlike that man
I make it
to the other side,
scale the curb and
mount the sidewalk
and then fall,
no one will have to
drive around me.
There will be no extra noise.
There will be only the usual honking.
People walking by
will have to watch their step, true.
But this is Chicago:
No one can blame me for that.

Two Poems by Mike Meraz


she always told me to wave.

"it's good to wave at the people
in the old folks home,"
she said.

so we waved.

me, half-heartedly,
her with a smile
that could light up
the darkest hell.

and as we walked,
we talked about the demise
of our relationship

but at that moment
it was all worth while.

at least we made
some people smile.

Light Moments

light moments between people.
I catch these every day.
"I fix cars," he said, "now get out of here."
"and I fix you," she said with an adorable smile.
how cute, I thought, how sweet,
that moment, that snap shot of love.

like the time I held her in my arms
and she looked up at me and said,
"so this is what love is."

or the time I lay on the floor half-asleep
and she woke up and asked,
"Michael, where are you?"
then she spotted me on the floor and said,
"oh good, there you are."

these are moments I remember.
although if I think of the consumption of time,
I become depressed.

it is these moments that make me happy,
and in a strange way,
give me hope.

Two Poems by Doug Draime

2 p.m.

He said he’d lost his mind
many years before
and that he was still looking
for it in all the same, insane places
He pushed the small pitcher
of beer he’d bought me closer
I poured a glass and held it up
for a toast, to bums and poets,
I said, touching his double shot of
Jim Beam with my glass of draft
He made a face. “I don’t know about
poets, fuck poets, but here’s
to bums who have lost their minds.”

Homeless Sellout With A PO Box

The odds were
against me, maybe
100 to 1
that they’d accept
any of the poems
I sent. Then one day
in my PO Box
a check for $25 and a note
saying they were
going to publish
one. The worst
one I submitted. But then,
what the hell
do I know
about poetry? I still think
Rod Mc Kuen
is a better poet than
John Ashbery. And Bob Dylan
has said more in one song than
William Carlos Williams said
in his entire
writing career. So, they were
publishing one of my poems,
one I didn’t
like much,
in their corporate magazine ...
with their large board of directors.
Well, I cashed their check, bought the
first real meal I’d had
in several days
and sent them some more crap.

The New Siberia Is the Old Siberia by Kyle Hemmings

If Hitler came down
with Swine Flu,
or Margaret Truman
discovered spiders
beyond the 38th parallel
of her sheets
I wouldn’t take a Glock
aim for the hamstrings
of history professors
denying their personal gulags
the rotting teeth of their wives
from too many chocolate truffles
and the mistresses
bedding any stranger
claiming to be a Trotskyite
from the old block,
never missing a chance
to cause a revolution
on crutches
making a scene
in Finnish train stations
under closely watched clocks.

All of These People Should Die Fucking Losers by xTx

It’s a radio
played all day
for dogs

How the girl
believes it’s important
to be only

The skinned sleeve
of the boy
with the lion

A wrestling
before every prince
taking me down

Two Poems by Joseph Hargraves


When I told you I was working
on a new poem- you asked: “Is it
about me?” Antecedent receding.
Jesus cursed the fig tree when
it didn’t bear him fruit. This is
a threat. Foregone conclusions
of your status change daily. I’m
a crooked and crazy behaviorist,
with a nihilist bent. You want the
word made flesh. As a doctor, I
will no longer count your T-cells
or ambivalence. You’ve mis-
calculated figures, with me as a
constant value. This is basic
math; because you refuse to hear
the colloquial phrase: “Get lost.”


We whistle violent tunes,
eat spotted crab-meat, savor
the burn of Wild Turkey.
Timid Shirley twitches as
wincing tweezers start
pulling back the skin of her
coded, antiseptic silence.
Stunned: bones, sinew, tendons
snap and tear in syncopation
with our angry pulses.

We hot-wire a banged-up
Corvette with a crooked
engine and flaked paint.
She drives. I’m here for
the ride; until the silver
highway ends in a desert.

Loaded, we climb out
of the wreck. Feet push
hot sand. Silent, we
notice the alcohol
has stolen our clothes.
Naked, we shake to rhythmic
waves of heat. Taut skin
goose-bumps to the beat
of pounding eardrums.

Without having moved,
rivulets of sweat run
between us. Her weight
starts the motion. No
smiles. Bodies shift.
Hesitant lips glide up
my neck. Fingertips trace
the arch of her spine.
Brines mix and drip from
joyous wool. Nothing
depends on this moment.

red star descending by Karl Koweski

I’ve never been good with affairs.
I’ve never been able to
compartmentalize my emotions
despite what I say to the contrary,
I fall in love easy,
fall out hard.

I’m addicted to the heart sick enchantment
excitement and disillusionment,
the hope and crippled expectations
that comes with giving oneself
over unconditionally
to someone
with a list of conditions.

but don’t read this as a warning
or as an invitation
to scorch your flesh
on the heat
of my white hot obsessions.
I’m incapable of burning
anyone other than myself.

beware instead
of the black hole left in my wake,
the implosion of our passion
as the red star descends
and our shared time and space collapses
leaving an absence so total
not even memory
can escape its allure.

Two Poems by Rob Plath

bruised from head to toe but unbound & alone






baudelaire my flesh is on fire tonight

baudelaire my flesh
is on fire tonight

i've come down
w/ ringworm

my skin itches
from my forehead
to my shins

the nurse said
don't scratch

but these parasites
are squatting
on my body
eating my cells

red patches like
cigarette burns
like cigar holes

if i itch it spreads
like pockets of death
across my shape

baudelaire i have
a weak liver
& bad teeth

i'm full of panic
sex starved
& always on
the verge
of going
over the edge

& now these
invisible shits
are eating me alive

but baudelaire
look how my bile shines
in my fucking lines!


About Me

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

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