Under the roof of the Red Umbrella by Duane Kirby Jensen

We meet casually under the roof of the Red Umbrella,
waiting for musicians to loosen digits upon stringed instruments,
and give life to words that would waffle within strummed notes.
I looked at your plate of curried brie covered in sweet honey and crushed walnuts,
accentuated by a cluster of juicy red grapes and lightly salted crackers.
I asked which menu item this was,
you responded, with a slight gleeful giggle, that it was a custom order,
offering me a taste of honey and walnut and creamy cheese.
Conversation and wine followed,
I added a Mediterranean sampler to our quickly evolving picnic,
the musicians became an afterthought as our conversation become a song.
Hours slipped away and chairs were being stacked upon tables
before we realized it was time to leave.
We walked out from beneath the Red Umbrella, into the night of a full moon,
deep orange and as expansive as our expectations.
We walked through the park over looking Port Gardner Bay
which still shimmered within the pink afterglow of another fallen day.
We purchase minutes, the way children create excuse to stay up just a little longer,
even as we planned another day, to explore possibilities of days yet to be planned.

Howling with the Dawn by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

In some countries
I'd be locked away with madness
and medicated as the day is long,
but luckily I'm not in any of those countries
and the one I'm in at present

is not aware
of me.

Thirty poems a night
and wine until I can no longer see,

when I'm done I grab a knife
from the kitchen
and chop myself another 5am salad
for dinner
as the morning workers frequent
morning showers

and the sun
bleeds through the trees.

Oh Woof by Catfish McDaris

After visiting the gargoyles
of Montmartre, my lady
decided to shop

I stood outside smoking
a Gitane watching people,
a man approached & asked
if I wanted to screw his sister

I looked around, but saw no
sister, I replied no, he replied
how about my brother, he's
young & tight, I shook my head

Do you have a dog, I asked
the Frenchie looked appalled
fucking Americans, he said
walking away swiftly

My lady exited the shop,
she said did you make a
new friend, I said almost
dear almost.

Two Poems by Maxwell Baumbach

Friend or Faux-

less charismatic
poor man's version
of me

your poor attempts
and false beliefs
that you can
change the world
are so cute

in the
phony voice
you use
that varies by subject

it is almost
as counterfeit
as you

the words you
when I am
not around
carefully knit
a web
of your own shit

your web
is about
to hit the fan



I found the pictures
that you left
of your husband
who passed
with the cut out writing
on the back of it

I found the prayers
you jotted down
asking for blessings
on our family

I found the poems
that you snipped
from newspapers
and magazines

I found the articles
you kept
that pointed to the fact
you wished to leave


I have no doubt
that you are
smiling now
even though
you are gone

3 Poems by Donal Mahoney

Crackling Again

This brilliant winter morning finds
waves of snow on every lawn
and red graffiti dripping
from the walls
of Temple Mizpah
once again
as down the street
stroll ancient men
who every morning
shuffle here for prayer.

As usual, they're lost
inside old overcoats,
their collars up,
their scarves too long,
their yarmulkes,
as always,
in diffidence

This morning, though,
they don't go in.
They shuffle near the curb
like quail.
They can't believe
the goose-step scrawl
on every wall.
They know their world's
awry again, an encore
of the chaos left behind
when they were young.

The good thing is,
Chicago's better now
than was Berlin back then
even though the temple walls
make clear this morning that
someone's struck another match
and the ovens of Auschwitz
are crackling again.

Peace For Me Now

after Baghdad

On the table by the window
balanced on its spine

this leaflet
butterfly open

and still as a

Peace for me now
zephyr through leaflet.

Peace for me soon
caribou and snow,

loping caribou
and caribou reclining.

The Whole Thing Over With

From her side of the bed
the wife suggests he get dressed,
go out in the night and
purchase a piece. She’s

not in the mood. Or
if he must, he can
go ahead, stick it in,
shoot it off, and get

the whole thing over with.
She doesn’t care any more
where he pours it
so long as he’s quiet

and doesn’t wake the kids.
Too tired to dress,
he sticks it in, explodes,
rolls off, finally spent.

Maybe now the beasts
that will never creep
within his crosshairs
can get some sleep.

my car is hemorrhaging oil by Steve Calamars

and my brain is
coughing up words
reckless as
drunk cadillacs

i run down the girl
of my dreams and
reduce her love
to ink-blots

she loses her footing
on my freudian slips
dangerous as banana peels
and cracks her head open

instead of blood and brains
it's nothing but pinballs and pink air

she says i'm easy on the eyes
and rotten to the core

left alone with her thoughts
i wash her brain
only to end up dirtying her
mind with my words, bad habits
and body language

my smart remarks
are over her head
while her loaded questions
always miss the mark

you see
my car is hemorrhaging oil
and my brain

my brain is
coughing up words
reckless as
drunk cadillacs . . .

3 Poems by Adam Matcho

My Boss Used To Write

He would leave Post-it notes
all over the place.
Suspended yellow flags
on the bathroom door
reminding us to flush;

above the paperwork binders
when he had to whiteout
mathematical errors; on the whiteout
when it was used
excessively. I found a blue flap

on my nametag once, telling me
don’t forget to wear my nametag.
They were all mean and colorful
passive-aggressive reminders. Slaying the spirit
of the workplace with hot pink threats.

Notes when the dollars didn’t face
the same direction or when somebody left
the refrigerator open all night,
so the backroom smelled like spoiled milk.
And everyone who read them knew you fucked up.

If you accidentally stacked the lava lamps
without color-coding them first, you’d find
several sticky notes, each one a different color,
suggesting you follow the pattern
and stock the store right, next time.

It was always such a shock
to see them, their pointed language
and sharp penmanship, coming
from a guy who was so nice
when it was just you and him.

How To Take Out The Trash

Fill the garbage cart
until it is bloated
and unmanageable. Some
will spill, but it’s important
to only make one trip.

Try not to touch the trash
that’s green or moist. Roll the cart
slowly. You are getting paid.
Stop and collect the garbage
that falls from the sides.

Outside, look around. You
may not get to see
outside again. Slam
the cart into the dumpster.
Stare at the sky.

Light up. Lean
against the wall, watch
passing people and clouds.
Make money. Do something
with the garbage.

When the boss demands
answers, what took so long,
why your eyes are so red,
explain how the garbage
kept spilling from the sides.

Workplace Post-it Note #17

Dyslexic Llydia,

do not leave
the toilet paper roll
ever again

and when you hang
the new one
please don’t do so
in an underhanded fashion

even with
your disability
you wipe your ass
just like everyone else.

3 Poems by Ford Dagenham


she. didn’t. think. of. me.
(it is a crucial moment,
my hand is a dead creature
clutching a plastic and trivial phone
to a numb numb screaming head)
like. that’s. a reason!
(and some of me DIES.
Hello! corpse talking . . .
not this again!)
I said Silence
I said Tears
baby heart
into. my. dry. mouth.
(I am Jack Bauer’s understated face;
I react but the cut is framed tight and kept short,
I am Jacks rogue SUV
heading into LA suicide)
and now hanging my wet pants out on the airer
will never feel the same again.
she hung them out, just one time, in the light
from a sepia window.
on some softly stale weekday afternoon.


on the sofa.
by 4.30 pm.
another dozen episodes
of 24
(I am Jack Bauer’s unmade bed . . .)
endless row
whisky shots.
another list
of the dead comes out
the TV.
and mildly
I panic again
(without the old enthusiasm)
the Black Plague
and all the AIDS
growing in my beer fucked throat.
another pizza
I cannot afford
is delivered
by that
utter nerd,
that fucking life-happy kid from Dominos



I was going to go up to London town
going to drink and walk the streets there
get my misanthrope-on
then get out
before the
the end game must be at home
where its calm and its safe
I didn’t go anywhere at all
power napped
made sure
there was
a wide
range of

Muse by J. Bradley

I want someone to write me
a love poem. Until then,
I will not write another one.

I will write like poems
to the way Rosencrantz uses high fives
as punctuation, Rapunzel wishing
God wasn't watching when wanting
to let down her hair, to the white
Ford Escort swimming in the summer
toward a hotel room where we lost
our names.

I will slit open my wrists
and let the slow dances left
spill into them, use their sighs
like boyband slow jams
to coax chins into clavicles,
until they autograph the yearbook
of my neck.

I want someone to write me
a love poem because I can't
keep making rope out of scars.
I want these arms to stop
being rungs of ladders
that someone else climbs
to escape.

This isn't a challenge;
this is a wish I rub out
of empty bottles of Jameson
because I know when I'm in the room,
no one wants to crack me open
and watch me swoon.

It's why when you say I'm cute,
I don't believe you. When you say
I'm beautiful, I want to let you borrow
my glasses. When you say I'm amazing,
I feel my spine like a spellbook for the words
to undo your curse.

You're probably looking for catering
for the pity party but it's the truth.
I didn't believe I deserved
what I was worth. I loved
like a bruise. I know I cannot keep
coughing up goodbye like scabs.

I'm not waiting for someone
to write me a love poem;
I will wear dust like a tuxedo
if I do.

In The Studio by Ben Myers

from his great blog "I, Axl - An American Dream": http://iaxl.blogspot.com

“You know if they dropped
the fucking bomb on the planet
and just levelled the place
and you were, like, the only survivor
and you’d be walking along
and at first you’d just see basic destruction,
like collapsed houses and sparking electrical cables
and shit, but as you keep on walking
you’d see, like bodies, scattered here and there,
and maybe they don’t look superficially damaged
but they’re dead alright, and you keep walking
and you see smoking shoes lying in the street,
and bodies, all bald and burnt and shit,
like charred down one side or something,
and everything would be
quiet except for the low whistle of a warm
nuclear wind blowing in from the east,
and then you start seeing more bodies,
piles of them, flesh ripped from their bones,
their eyeballs incinerated in their sockets,
their hands twisted and distorted, skulls
grimacing, rictus, the strangely sweet smell
of burning flesh everywhere, the sky dashed
with red hues, everything dead and useless,
gone and hollow, and you just stand there,
grabbing at your face, screaming, screaming
screaming into a void of nothingness.
OK? Well, that’s exactly how I want your
drum fill to sound, bro.”

Ben Myers' new novel RICHARD is out in the UK on October 1st through Picador.

LAUREN by Tony Colella

She's a beauty in brown bangs
floating far above old kingdoms,
whipper of those sands when
she flies to the earth beneath
her plane's wings and steps into
the summer of the queens,
coming home
from another world with a pack in
one hand, a brush in another
She'll flush out the stories of her
long-dead mothers. She says
she no longer wants this sun or
these sphinxes, she is ready
for conditioned white halls
beyond sandboxes. When she
builds, her blocks still mirror
the Niles overhead in the
beautiful days of Hatshepsut.

4 Poems by Ivan P.

~ ~ ~ ~

the sound of a thousand trains
shall not awaken a butterfly
that lost her mind somewhere
over the pacific
when mao composed
his first poems

~ ~ ~ ~

foreign words always full of bliss
and nasty meaning penetrate
dirty stars and wet pavement
in a town where
doleful mystery writers are born
every saturday and squirrels
silently laugh in the foliage

~ ~ ~ ~

dragonflies buried jesus
on saturn hiding the tears from
the void where the
rustle of
wings never ceases

~ ~ ~ ~

every tree forms a secret
wing every cheek yearns to
be smitten every eye longs
to see holy shit

As Pride Slips into Vanity by Ray Succre

Too much of a good thing.
Too many flags everywhere.

Two dozen of them flying in my view just now.
Fourteen across the port walkway, numerous others
on shirts, in windows, on truck bumpers…

The most colossal of flags,
the municipally official one,
waves about in the town square beside the port.
There may be more flags than people out, today.
The dozens of flags in my view just now…
Who is supposed to be convinced?
I know where I live.

What of the other flags that used to fly
atop this boardwalk? There was Japan, Brazil,
England, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Greece,
Russia… because there were more countries
mentioned in my own.


They were taken down for Independence Day two years ago,
those foreign flags, replaced with the stars and bars, all,
and never put back up along the port. It is November,
years later, and the U.S. flag is only.


The Death Of Food by Mike Meraz

the death of food
came to me
when I was 18
with the birth of a woman
wearing long hippie dresses,
Italian eyes,
with a love for white picket fences
and bad boys.
I never told you I was an over-eater.
in and out of despair
at age 15
with my head placed
on window glass
staring at my world
as it passed me by.
but now I have caught up,
grown up,
moved out.
I am slim,
with blue eyes
and dark hair.
I have made it!
but why do I still cry?

Three Poems by Jay-James May

To Summer.

A summer suicide note
May appear anywhere
At any time.

To keep the
World in check
To keep the
Conversation flowing.

You see,
We’re all shirts off
Leaning on
Standing on
Exhausted from the heat
And spitting
In the road.

We’re turning left
While aiming right.

Way Station.

Ghosts pass in hallways
And on this beach.

Where the sun reflects
Images of cells
Two nuclei.

Where I sit and reflect
On fear
And how to abandon it.

This beach is made of skulls,
Bones ascending,
From dead fish waters.

Rat-skin spines stem from
This beach.

Their branches hang
Like guilty men.


This is my Cuba.
The balcony,
My veranda
Overlooking the brown rooftops
Grey houses and
Tarmac lakes.

The kids are my ocean waves
Crashing against the cars
And electricity.

Our revolution
Will never come
Through words.

Two Poems by Kevin Barcellos

The Ex-Girlfriend

After six
and three
bowls of smoke
wearing an empty
box of Budweiser
as a helmet,
she jumped from
the trampoline
into my chest,
giving me an
ambulance ride
to the hospital,
seven staples
in my head,
and another
Lumbar disk.

Sandy Mush

Waiting for my
release from
this Merced
facility, I play
chess. And
on television
I watch "Cops
in San Antonio"
with my
while rolling
a joint with
the pages of
chapter twenty-five,
verses one
through four.

The Sensitive Machine by Shawn Misener

The body is a sensitive machine
susceptible to green neon muses
held together with holy glue
with the threshold of words
and images
and memories tossed backwards
like sopping wet notebooks

ghosts of giraffes inhabit my dreams
and I see them through the rear view
in my 1998 Ford Taurus

Driving over clay vases
inside of the cappuccino cafe:
I'm amazed there is room to drive


This is what happens
when you wake up at night

Your dreams have washed over
and off of your sensitive machine

That's why you shake your head,
sitting up at the end of the wet mattress


is a good, good thing

Though apparently
too much of it means you're depressed
and too little of it
means you're overstressed


My car has vanished
but I'm ordering a latte from a barista-
she doesn't know how to make one
so I jump the counter
and make it myself


the night through the window
the crackling of metallic mosquitoes

the slow wind and the distant highway

caravaggio by Paul Harrison

like some football hoolie
was a right fucking cunt
ran with the roman firm
in the early sixteen hundreds
reclaimed the human form
from a mincing
mannered seicento style
painted all those bible scenes
of martyrdom
hunger and sacrifice
caravaggio had a pair
and liked his trade rough
was dark, vernacular, queer
the critics said he was an evil cunt
though the collectors and patrons
had other ideas
darkness and light
light and shade
the last four years
of his thirty nine
were spent on the run
from assassins and cops
in 1606 he killed a man
with a single thrust to the groin
wounded a few including a screw
and a waiter who served him
bruised artichokes
even got himself
all fucked up
in a naples bar-room brawl
home and away
light and shade
come on cunts
at last
increasingly possessed
by death
and the radical real
he died in a pestilent, spanish shit hole
north of rome
and nothing
would ever be the same again
darkness and light, light and shade
they dont make artists
like that anymore
and it’s probably just as well

Control by Danila Botha

from her book "Got No Secrets" available at Tightropebooks.com

I only have five minutes to go to the bathroom. I duck into the stall and role up my sleeves. I take the Swiss Army knife out of the back of my left shoe,
where it’s covered by my pants. I don’t remember how old I was the first time I cut myself. I was in my parents’ kitchen, and I was having a really bad day. I wanted to eat ice cream, but we didn’t have any. Plus, it would have made me really sick anyway—I’m allergic to dairy. I decided to be good and started
slicing one of those awful, healthy vegetables—I think it was a red pepper. I took a bite and it tasted like shit, so I figured it had to be good for me. I was
concentrating on the taste, wondering if I should’ve just taken a multi-vitamin instead, when I accidentally sliced my fucking palm open. It was so gross. I
spread my fingers open in front of me. I bled all over and didn’t even feel it. The blood spilled onto the white counter and I stared at it for at least a
minute. I ran into the bathroom, grabbed a towel and held it there. I applied pressure to the wound, cleaned it with iodine, and put a couple of Band-Aids
over it.

I felt so good—I’d made a mess that I’d managed to clean up. I had taken care of myself and the situation. I didn’t even feel the pain—so I just kept doing
it. I have scars up and down my arms now—puffy red lines that poke out of the flesh, scabs that have no desire to heal. I’m young—I bet they’d heal
eventually if I just gave them a chance. Maybe one day. My legs look fucked up, too, because I went through a burning phase. I threw hot oil from a frying
pan onto my thighs for a couple of months. It hurt like hell so I didn’t do it for long. People used to say my legs were my best feature. I never saw it. But
now there’s something beautiful about them—like I decided how they’d look, like I’m in control.

I cut myself every day, sometimes twice or even three times a day if I have a lot of stress. It gives me a release like nothing else. It helps me feel real, brings my anxieties and fears down to earth—it makes me feel like I’m taking all the shit I feel on the inside and putting it in a place I can see it, so I never forget it. If someone hurts me, I never forget it now. If a guy betrays me, even if I try to forget, my body will always have the scar.

Old News by Zach King-Smith

she use to talk about
the man she was with before
me whenever the past came up
& i would listen all the while
the name sent flames up & down
my spine but the history of love
is in all the details so i held
her hand and let her talk my brain
rattled in hatred and in fear the days
since she left and the bad dreams have
turned into dust the radio plays infinitely
sad music but i'm ready & waiting for the next
trainwreck but the thought does come when the
empty feeling of night settles in--does she talk of
me with him?

Show Illness by Colin Dardis

Sitting cross-legged
in bed
waiting for the vomit to come.
I hope it is high-class vomit,
undisputed calibre of disease
that traders will offer me
a high penny for.

I will take that penny
and throw it away,
so that in starvation
and loneliness
further vomit will come.

Then I will return
to the traders,
and they will say,
‘but this is just like your last vomit,
we don’t want any of this’.
And having lost their interest,
I’ll turn away, penniless
and then I will truly be sick.


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

Blog Archive