Locked Psych-Ward, New Jersey, USA by Joseph Hargraves

The first rays of sun illuminate a Fantin-Latour
Bouquet in the nurses station while forcing
Morning clouds to sing a coloratura extravaganza.

If I had friends, to heal me,
They would lower me through the roof
Of Peter's house in Capernaum
Into the lap of Christ.

Coontang by Catfish McDaris

On tv the Turtleman, America's
answer to the Croc Hunter sat next
to Eddie Murphy talking about
catching possums & coons

Eddie tried to keep cool with his
goofy grin, but every time the word
coon came out of the redneck's
mouth, you could see him pissed

The Skunk Whisperers dressed like
varmint Texas Rangers went up on
a roof with a garden hose & sprayed
a coon in the ass to get it from a tree

Reminded me of Magnolia, a sex
machine with chocolate cantaloupes
& a mojo watermelon smile, she was
a stinky wet dream come true

I'd scrub both her nasty places &
armpits, then after fake orange juice,
vodka & bongs, we'd wreak havoc
like Thelonius Monk & Max Roach.

Oil and Water by Sarah Gamutan

We walked in a wonderland
where beauty never slept. We
thudded like we ruled that time.
We were ambitious, we strolled

with high heels and an unimaginable
grin. No more meek faces. Oh, but we
missed something. Our shirts got muck

at the back while the front portion spelled
"Save water, Drink beer." Embarrassing.
My chap said, " If you bang into this

door, that means you're pissed. Drink
water instead!" Then, we went our
separate ways. I went to heaven.

T E N by Sarah Gamutan

Some notes gave me
memorable stories whether this
room was loved or not. In this
room, I shared memories with some
musicians, lovers. Some of them were
cheaters, weepers, losers and mostly,
they were my counterparts. I hated the

scenery of unfinished tones, how they
didn't reach an octave, the way it gave the
worst sound in my ears - monotonic, copied.
Once, my counterparts considered music as
one boring college class that they blamed
how it defined different kinds of people,
how it caught lives of my fellows which

they hid for a long time. We asked them
to sing, dance, play and strum it the way
they'd like it. These friends, who got great
looks, married rich men, got impregnated -
those who lived their own lives. I liked

the way they meant their own songs, far
better than Mozart or any classical men
who got stuck on my head when they
were pasted on the wooden walls. I
knew I'd be like them too - loved
and cared that I'd sing songs
on my wedding, that my mates
would sing with me too, that
after 10 years, hopefully,
I'd be married too.

life is fixed by Linda M. Crate

life spins backward
from the point of
origin from your
death which is as
certain as your birth —
just unknown by
human knowledge
which is limited
even in the most
wise words or
witty retorts, life
spirals backward
plunging us forward
into straights we much
rather avoid, sometimes,
but in the end are ways
we needed to take to
either grow or learn;
sometimes, both —
it’s a sojourn that
many take yet so few
take time to enjoy,
it has the brevity
of fog’s breath yet
many waste it chasing
after things that never
mattered anyway.

Black Seed by Black Seed by Donal Mahoney

Every day the same people
at the same table
at the rear of the cafeteria.
The maiden, 35 at least,

is gray at the temples,
sour at the mouth.
The widow, 55, waves
a cigarette like a wand.

Girdled and dyed,
she needs no one now;
She ministers to a dog
and has a new apartment.

The accountant, 65, wants to retire,
his years of intemperance
tempered by a stroke,
his anger at everything

suddenly gone. The janitor, 60,
explains over and over
how over the weekend
he snipped from his garden

husks of dead sunflowers
and drove them out of the city
and into the forest
and there in a clearing

spread the black cakes
for chipmunks to strip,
black seed by black seed.
I, a young editor,

“with your whole life
in front of you,” they insist,
sit through it all,
Monday through Friday,

spooning broth, buttering slices
of rye, and praying that after
pudding again for dessert,
the phone on my desk

will explode too late
with a call I’ll take anyway,
and that after that call, I’ll rise
and take from my sport coat

a speech I wrote years ago,
a speech I’ll discard for two lines
off the cuff: “Here’s two weeks’ notice.
I have found a new job.”

A Cliché Letter to your Old Self by Jay Coral

you are a reformed pessimist
you look at your friends in Facebook
and you say to yourself
you're not so bad afterall

you are unmarried
no pictures in your profile
of academically superior kids
and huggable pets in your sofa

you are successful
at being a floater and a survivor
not that it matters
you recently overcoming an insurmountable odd
and thanking the Lord God Almighty for being your rock
but in your cynical middle age brow
you venerate the impression
that you feel for their suffering
and that sorrow is an equation
you share in the world wide web

ah happiness
you don't have a thousand dollar showerhead
but you are innocently happy
walking eating breathing fucking
on inspired lyrics of pop songs
isn't that what you want others
to know/think about you?

you are almost forty
and you wonder if you are any wiser
you wonder if they understand your poem
you wonder what they'll say to you
the next time they see you.

my life by Steve Calamars

right now is
check-engine lights
and disappointed

a lean muscular
physique and a
bearded face

i feel more like
a fighter than
a writer

pumping out pushups
over prose
6-mile morning runs
and shadow-boxing
in the park

kafka's death and
genius stretched out
across my brain like
the strings of a violin

my own pen touching
the page gentle as a bow

making a music that
never really escapes the
echo of his own . . .

Hate Department by Abigale Louise LeCavalier

Cringing in a corner
doesn’t suit her,

She does it anyway.

for the feelings to change,
in bold breaths

Slipping her eyes;
something less formal.

She has that “stay away from me” look
down pat,
because she cares too much.

Always the problem.

Her emotions burn
like cheap cigarettes,

Almost surreal.

And she can feel the sand
in her teeth,
the heat of her skin,

She knew this moment was inevitable,
tried to wish it away
with small gestures.

But it came just the same.

Two Poems by Billy Howell-Sinnard

In The Smoke Room

glowing coil
in the wall
like an altar
a hole
big enough
to poke
a cigarette

Quasar paces
looks up
says cameras
and microphones
in the sky
follow him

i sit beside
the quiet girl
with sad eyes
who sees God
in the linoleum

she puts my hand
in the fire
between her legs
watches the door

for the devil
who prowls the halls
his keys jangling

Growing Older

Nothing seems so horrible
anymore in this new light
of waking up

on possibly our last day.
We learn to give ourselves
in ordinary ways

with what little we have left
like the fishes and loaves
when all is lost.

We've tired of looking,
content now with this
and nothing less.

for it to work, you’ll need to hide yourself away by Tyler Bigney

I got drunk again

double fisting rum and cokes
at a strip club in a town
with a name I can’t pronounce.
They want my money, but I got none,
so some chit-chat
casual as warm breezes
will have to do.
you need to keep your wits,
keep the conversation quick.
ask questions.
don’t let them see
what’s inside of you
or what’s not.
play dumb,
make it so they don’t know
you came here alone -
your friends in the bathroom,
or got sick
and went home.

and this is your first time
in a place like this.

you’re enjoying the atmosphere. the music. the comfy chairs.
everything but them.

don’t ask them for a dance
and when they’re up on stage
look the other way.

distract yourself with the pinball machine.

don’t ever let them know
you could love them.

how you want nothing more
than to love them.

The Unbearable Solidarity of the Dead by Paul Hellweg

Day four in Paris, hungover,
food coma this time,
no alcohol involved,
just despair, angst,
Big Mac, fries, pizza margarita, and
the excruciating loneliness
that, for me, always accompanies
lack of creativity.
Slowly waking,
espresso and coffee,
reading “The Wasteland,”
hotel restaurant packed,
tourists clustered together
as if afraid of being alone,
morning chatter on autopilot,
no one looking into anyone’s eyes.
I’m comforted to witness
what Eliot knew,
I’m not the only one
death hath slowly undone.

Snack and Caffeine Free Soda Break by Kevin Ridgeway

The adult daycare sanitarium
for the full-time
and part-time adult insane
opened at eight o’clock each morning

A long line of glum faces
extending from the fleet of
white van trolleys to the front desk,
where you signed in
and they handed you
three loose stale cigarettes.

Two group sessions drooled on
in monotonous stupors until noon
when we dined on
Thanksgiving turkey
and imitation cranberry slivers
with a teeny weenie
2 percent milk Dixie cup wash-down

One more group—a choice between
substance abusers or finger paints
followed by
a snack and caffeine free soda break
all of us wearing
our broken people costumes

Our deflated hangdog face masks,
medicinal vapors
pouring out of them
on the outdoor picnic benches
drenched in bitter sun
sipping on what
amounted to bubbling sugar water

Stowing away our
meds in our cheeks
for a stoned winter

Some of us made it,
and some of us will be back
for another round

Two Poems by Jay Passer


in the back room of the old shingle factory
they draw furiously
and the model keeps running to the bathroom
to puke
and someone points out how poor the light is
someone else complains that the pose is too rigid
and yet another artiste resents that the model
is constantly running off to puke:
fuckin’ junky!

there in the dusty back room
of the old factory building
where every Thursday night
they draw furiously
as if invoking
the wrecking ball.


I always end up
stuck in some room
with the lights off
pondering the infinite
shades of darkness
cast in a skull.

the ease in which
prone on my back
I ignore the alarm
of simply being
is enough to blind
every bird alive.

daylight slinks
through drab curtains
as I clutch for reasons
to keep up the farce
the utter travail
and insidious yearning.

I always end up
waiting for the bus
on some dirty street
sun and clouds
like the rent
hanging over my head.

the love of a nihilist asshole by Martin Leonard Freebase

you are asking me meaningless questions
making me think of things that I would prefer to avoid
you go to work on me with an ax
having a wonderful time of it
singing or rather humming some forgotten tune
sometimes it comes out just like you want it
the mere mechanical business
greasing all of my gears
seeing to it properly
the discomfort is an aid
or a bit of a stimulant
an electric cattle prod up the ass
putting juice to your demonic nature
killing the thinking animal
it is bad to think
I would rather have you feel
I'm not selling hope anymore
it doesn't last
as soon as i open the door
out it runs down the street
and gets hit by a car
then I'm in the middle of the street
crying because hope is dead
eventually I stop buying the shit
and I rip out that part in me
where hope lived
at our feet is an underworld
the first light of the death angel
new ranks are thinning
a hungry tug of desire
your claim for broken substance
standing against the wall
dark whispers reaching down
different words from god
violated by the madness
the stain of a dream
that has always been
a good kind of crazy
one you can sink your teeth into
together again
like dogs and angels
two people across the street
filled with doubt and self-pity
a helpless blue
painted on your heart
it beats a sticky pink
like the gums of angels
before sin enters in
all up and down
deep into the creature
out of the bottom
without a name
hot shooting in a cold medium
out your eye
around the curves
sick with fear
we all know the sleep
in the cemetery of the soul
the curse of death is in the blood
no more locks on your doors
a strange sense of love
your prison is self-made
the truth is your rejection
half torn and numb
a lifetime of mutilation
fight the possibility
beat it out of you
like the raven's quarrel
everything possessed of searching
an unfamiliar turn
in the bitter celebration
an empty victory with spread legs
appearing as if by magic
pushed up so high
the bodies move as a miracle
grinding into each other
higher and high
a child of two continents
death weeps at noon
something real and impossible
the waste of a loaded laugh
here every morning
the people have words to say
but no one wants to hear
we only want to listen to the pretty
dancing images flickering on a screen
burning into our retinas
fabricating a lie in our brains
it is a hostile condition
in their little dresses
carried and deposited by ancient angels
we play upon the frozen rock
it fell from heaven
tiny paralel lives
caught under the massive weight
pinning us down
short and tiny breaths
huge depressions
free reign over your soul
we are weak and swept aside
it is a continual battle
so hard to separate
with see-through eyes
a lovely dance filled with horror
my slaughter house memory
a few more left-handed shoves
hammer beating brains
as true as your insides
the blues into your cup
nothing I could say
someone had stolen my tongue
and it was boiling in a pot of water
sitting on your stove of hate
me inside of everything
my shell shocked and wounded heart
sucking up all that is left
every little morsel
not a crumb for a mouse
trying to hide from my hunger
thinking like a witch or a devil
leaning out your window sill
utterly pressed and depressed
busted layers of angel dust
they come alive inside me
growing through me
reaching the outside world
reaching you
with vacant eyes
using their knives
down sidewalks with beautiful looks
ths is where you slumber
you look uneven
putting you on the floor
the lights are just right
accusing me of hypocrisy
someday you become a productive human being
just like superman
collecting all your gold stars
putting them in this feeling thing
a giver instead of a taker
you were invented
I was trying to be socially responsible
when I ignored you
and placed you in the straightjacket
pointing you towards the lie

afterbirth by Ross Vassilev

there’s nothing
to do in this town but

I don’t like squirrels

...(angels of blue sky
where the clouds are

I don’t like children

I like empty yellow
cardboard cups
that people leave
beside lonely walls

there’s a kind of soft
grey light falling--

tricks of light are
an illusion

they’re the Gods
trying to send out
a frantic S.O.S.
over the Internet
of Time.

The Green River Killer by David S. Pointer

Once a California mother
repeatedly sold her 12
year old daughter into
prostitution then offered
the girl physical protection
against customer beatings
or other kinky abuse— and
that’s a lot more than any
of the Green River Killer’s
victims ever got, and Gary
Ridgway didn’t bother with
any acid bath body disposal
system, he just dumped all
the corpses atop the land
bodies nearly as numerous
as PCB barrels at a Super-
Fund clean up site in Holden,
Missouri then Green River
Gary reported to work
trying to save fellow
employees from a life
of inexcusable sin.

Timing Is Everything by Cynthia Ruth Lewis

He wants to take me again tonight
but I am not in the mood;
I haven't been for a long time
but I allow his hands on me
in his clumsy attempt
to get me wet
his hands
like sandpaper on my flesh
and his cock like a red-hot poker
inside me,
pushing and thrusting
and trying to encourage the flames
and I feel nothing
but rubbing and scraping
and I want to blurt out
that I didn't love him anymore;
maybe I never did
and I am holding my breath
and biting my tongue
and fighting a scream
wishing he would finish
and get off me
so I could breathe
and find my voice
and tell him it's no good,
it's just no damned good
but he would probably misunderstand
my words and turn his back
while he nurses
a bruised ego

i’m a sucker by Steve Calamars

for a bookworm
with a stupid booty
and thick inarticulate

that open like
suicide doors and
leave me hanging
on their every word

till my heart
turns cold and
my body
goes limp

brain dead
they run psychological
autopsies to determine
what moves me

only to discover
a sex drive that
has me on a
collision course
with hard hearts
and piercing intellects

from learned women
equipped with sharp minds
and bodies curvy as
chess pieces . . .

CLOSE TO PARADISE by Stephanie Smith

The shit stains in the
toilet look like the
Hawaiian Islands

Cleaning that sucker
later on, you realize
that’s the closest you’ll
probably ever
come to paradise

Doctor, by Andrew J. Stone

I’ve seen things lately, things that shouldn’t be here. I’m not hallucinating, not yet; I’m just
glimpsing creatures from the corner of my eye. In the bath, with freshly brushed teeth, the mirror
reveals a thing scurrying out of the frame. Or in my car as I turn onto Baker Place, a flash of flesh
shoots into view from behind the fire hydrant and disappears beneath the weeds. They follow me
into bed, wait for my slumber. I’m not paranoid, Doctor, nor am I creating these creatures. They
are real. I’m not sure how much longer they’ll just simply follow. Soon, they’ll consume my

Two Poems by Sarah Ahm


The salt in your eyes drips
rolling on your right cheek
a whole world of merry demons
as I drown,
pushing my way deep in the miser ocean.


The summer breaks
shattering light,
rays burn
the likelihood of a smile
as barrenness fondles my hand.

Three Poems by Ford Dagenham


steel planes scratch straight white flames over the sky.
placing the coffee cup on a chair I pull the chair nearer

out here in castle grounds the quiet of mowers and the fence kids loud cries of fun and quick horror
The Sun Is Hot.

pages flare with nuclear glare and when the clock says
5 or 6 or 7 or 8 I will drink something harder.
lonely and empty things riot on the borders of plastic zen.

quiet finger-winds blow on yellow brick outside.
this forms an ambient movie I call
stare at the phone ringing like a fool in a movie
I call Black And White Coda.


hammers from hard ground going at it in my head.
of howling dogs today.

whisky hangover again I never learn.

near gone gin bottle falling off the fridge
left index toe.

I say
28 times

then open some wine


work in a hospital eye always out for a compassionate and giving nurse
but even all the rough and large ones have dull and bald men
them off in the morning.

Teeth. by Devlin De La Chapa

The movie star scribbled autographs, posed for pictures, shook hands with his counter elite, then
he went home and drank himself into a stupor. He despised his life. He loathed his wife. But he
loved his teeth. They were ultra white. Sleek. And perfect. His climb to stardom began in a “Close-
up” toothpaste commercial. His decline in stardom happened when he “air-jerked-off” while in a
rock band to a crowd of misspent youths who’s mama’s and papa’s tried to sue him for everything
he didn’t have. After a year of drinking and falling and getting back up, he stumbled into an agency
to beg the receptionist for a five to buy a forty but ended up signing a contract worth thousands
instead when the agent behind the receptionist jerked-off to the magnificence of his teeth. He was
now able to buy every forty in the liquor store around the corner.

New Job in a Small Office by Donal Mahoney

Third day on the new job and Sue calls.
Will I hurry home and sit with our daughter
while she runs with Sean to the doctor.

I tell the boss why I’m leaving.
He says too bad about the boy and calls
the timekeeper who marks his ledger

and begins to keen for the parents
and for the deaf mute bobbing in the back room
stuffing envelopes and licking them.

I’m four tiles away from the front door
when my co-workers rise from their desks,
zipping their flies, changing their tampons.

They sing, a cappella,
“We’re all going with you.”
Except for the receptionist

who is eight months pregnant.
Her nails are chipping,
her ankles are swelling.

She sits all day, eyes
on the switchboard, ears in receivers,
her stomach a zeppelin

a moment from lift-off.
When the others rush out the door
it’s too much: She screams, throws her

breasts in the air like beach balls
and cries, “What soul among you cares:
For months my vagina’s been itching.”

Three Poems by John Tustin


Little Chinese chicks in striped socks
on their way to school
away from me

Young teachers
in flimsy summer dresses
taking my baby
walking away from me

The rainbow of high school girls
outside Dunkin Donuts
chattering, waving their hands
silken legs, animated faces
turning their heads
away from me

On the bus
on the street
in the window
white and peach
and yellow
and brown and brown

As I age
as I wither
as I ponder
as my eyes darken
in dim energy and inactivity
they turn further and further
away from me


I’ve never been to prison.
Never been locked up.

Never been on the streets.
Or had a tooth knocked out.

Never had cancer.
Never been in the hospital overnight.

But I have been married.
And that’s hard time.


There’s a madman in my skin
picking at the scabs
needling the scars
fingering the sores

There’s a madman in my clothes
getting jerked off by whores
hating them
calling them bitches under our breath

There’s a madman behind my eyes
eating subtle poisons
popping pills
not sleeping

There’s a madman in my bed
leaving come stains
and half-formed thoughts
obsessed with legs
with feet
with lips with hips
with eyes with thighs

There’s a madman beneath my heart
scratching our balls
talking to ourself
singing the same songs
to earless heads
to blank expressions
to canceled faces

There’s a madman in my smile
wearing a mask the world cannot look through
we cannot see beyond
eyes wrapped in gray gauze
with barely the strength
to hug the kids goodnight

There’s a madman in my skin
dying to get out
dying to die

Two Pieces by Michael Frissore


They order scotch on the rocks until they shit Michelangelo’s David. He glances Wanna fuck, she
does a Groucho Marx impression using the tampon that fell out of her purse. There are dirt and
leaves all over the floor of his room, and a refrigerator, no door. In the kitchen he bends over
like her father – head first into the open oven. Like his own father. She can’t win here. She
spanks him and says Move over.


Her moustache is sexier than any man’s, including Rollie Fingers. Many hover, wanting to pluck,
thinking it’s painted on. Others ask her where Higgins and TC are. Still others are her son, her
mechanic, people who gave her blumpkins before she became a she. Their hands retreat, hoping
her ‘stache won’t eat their beards. She laughs because she knows this is a Woody Allen line.
Still it hurts because that’s how she lost her beard.

Two Poems by Zach Wilson

Can I Buy Salvation With A Visa?


God says,
cash only.

And Donne says reason is our soul's left hand,
faith her right.

That makes me a paraplegic,
soul bled out from the screams
of my mother's womb.
Circumcision truly is a bitch.

And if final hope is
indeed flat despair;
I've been sleeping
in the palm of Armageddon
for far too long.

Don't wake me,
I'll find my way back
to the crumbs of this
clumsy living
with a hand. - Yes,
thats all
anyone needs.
I flat-lined at hello
and waned
at goodbye.


Break a line,
maybe of poetry,
or geometric
Break a line of power,
emanating electricity
or one of corruption.
Break a line of formation,
one of warfare,
or intellectual paradigms.
Break a line of genealogy,
or the expectation that follows.

For the art
of Breaking
is a freedom,

and Point A to Point B
is shortest distance
to nowhere.

Three Poems by Paul Hellweg

Reading Bukowski Backwards

It’s been said we read to know
we’re not alone. Hungover,
breakfast at Mike’s Diner,
chipped-cup coffee, black, strong,
bring it on, bring it on.
Tried reading my favorite poet backwards,
caffeinated fields of asphodel,
my beloved skid row elocutionist
read like a Jedi Master, green,
wisdom for now, truth for the ages.
From the poem, the last winter:
“Now long too
waited have I,
on it bring, on it bring,
agree can we now ...”
Up, down, backwards, forwards,
direction matters little,
poetry inspires, words resonate.
Seeking affinity anywhere, I’m desperate
for the one and only message
every spirit craves, every soul needs, and
until I find it, I’d like another cup of coffee
and one more good poem, black, strong.

Breakfast at the Local Diner

Attractive young women peddling death,
cholesterol, bane of arteries young and old,
refined carbs, ticket to front-row seat
at the next diabetes fund-raiser.
Bacon, eggs, pancakes,
ample butter, extra syrup,
delectable as the servers,
sweet, friendly, earnest,
low-cut uniforms,
Wonder Bread breasts and
leave-me-a-big-tip eyes.
I only go there hungover,
these days all too frequent,
the artery-clogging fare and
a twenty-something’s smile
antidote to life’s pain.
This morning, that is enough.

God Is On Our Side, but Where’s Buddha?

June 1968, year of the Monkey,
mud-brick hooch thatched with rice straw,
dirt floor, dirt yard,
yellow-skinned babe toddling bottomless,
defecating anywhere, anytime the urge arises,
mama-san rushing over,
dangling babe by arms,
no Pampers, just mongrel mutt
delighted to eat the mess and lick clean
blissful baby butt.

Seeing that, on routine patrol,
armed with M-16s and
all the best firepower technology had yet
been able to muster,
we gagged and berated and condemned,
but mostly gagged.
They’re the Other, we thought, not one of us.
We’re civilized,
we have disposable diapers choking our landfills
and a proper sense of shame
when it comes to bodily functions,
not to mention B-52s capable of bombing
this shithole country back into the Stone Age.

June 2011, year of the Hare
three boilermakers thus far tonight,
desire strong to write a poem based on
the theme of forgiveness, but
whom do I forgive?
Them, for shooting me, or
myself, for allowing all that horror
into my life?
What I really needed was sufficient courage
to just say “No thank you, Sir”
when my dear uncle Samuel
requested my attendance
at his then current tea party,
the one in Southeast Asia,
3.5 million human beings destined to die
for the sake of our myopic national interests.
Old, young, male, female, babes without diapers,
they were the Other, them, not us, but
most of “them” didn’t have
the option to say no,
not when we brought the war
to their doorsteps and
didn’t even knock before entering.

Two Poems by Mike Meraz

Somewhere Between God And The Devil

somewhere between God and the devil
each man searches
for his own niche, his own groove
in the pavement of life.
(some find it, some don't).

somewhere between God and the devil
each woman searches for a man
who has found his own niche, his own groove
in the pavement of life.
(some find him, some don't).

Cheap Ass Poem On A Friday Night Because I Was Bored

this is my
"now I'm really pissed off" hair cut
and these are my
"never been in your room" shoes
and this is my
"everywhere but in the national publications" pen
and these are my
"never will be immortal" thoughts
being read by your
"how does he get away with this shit" eyes.

For Gram Parsons by Melanie Browne

Tonight I decorate
my bar with paper lanterns,
and listen to The Burrito Brothers’
Dark end of the street

I finish off a Bud Light
and staple the
last glowing orb in place

I stare up at
The lanterns,
their colors like
a dirty cantina

paper devils,
ominous and dangerous,
throw our silhouettes
around the room,

each one becomes
Spinning off
Into the wilderness,

until it’s
only the night,
the imaginary stars,
and more
luke-warm beer

Twisted Or The 1,287 Word Sentence In William Faulkner's Absalom! Absalom! by Catfish McDaris

I sat trying to think of titles

Pop That Thang
Pop That Ugly Thang
Jackalope Mambo
Mezcalito Mambo
Magpie Jones
Wolfman Funk
Naked Tattoo Douchebag
The Douchebag Gargle
Fingerfucking The World
I'd Love To Eat Your Mother
Vagina Jones
Horsedick Mambo
Bald Pussy Itch
Pussy Fart Blues
Nipple Cunt Funk

Something else came about,
I knew Burroughs had used
guns & paint to create, I'd try
something with a twist like
Chubby Checker's peppermints

I wrapped 50 thumbtacks & 7
shotgun shells in a roll of
aluminum foil & surrounded it
with 8 cans of spray paint in
rainbow hues, then I placed

Sheets of canvas in all directions,
surrounding the microwave & I
juiced it up with an extension cord

Just before I could crank it, my lady
came home, I was cursed in 3
languages & my rocket never
left my pocket.

scribbling like a symphony by Steve Calamars

i feel these girls

out like rubik’s cubes

and then i feel them up

like braille picassos

almost reading their minds

i thumb thru their thoughts

and ear-mark their insecurities

getting inside their heads

i pour over past pains like

passports and catch a train

of thought straight to their hearts

where i piece together their

pensiveness like a puzzle

creating mental pictures of happiness

that thru their imaginations look

more like masterpieces and less

like the crudely traced knock-offs

they actually are—

And I didn’t want to be a writer, anyway by Melanie Browne

And I don’t have a dick
And I have a husband and kids,
And I’m from the south
And I don’t hate Jesus
And I don’t care about gay marriage,
Because, frankly,
It isn’t that interesting,
And I like grits,
And I have a tattoo
On my shoulder that
Says Rebel Yell
And I put it out on the
For no good reason,
I think I just wanted some
Which is the same reason
I am writing this poem

if the spirit moves you by Mat Gould

huddled away from a soft rain
waiting out its drifting hour
giving ourselves back to another day
spring was long over and somehow the summer was in the middle of ending
yet still full of long nights having an affair with the dallying sun
lovers that must part but are holding on
as they too are waiting out the drifting hour
I speak of such easily
all of this
waiting it out
waiting for what?
I am only certain of nothing so much as the drunken later-

Three Poems by Justin Hyde


see the twenty-two year olds
huddled around the pool table
burgeoning dictators
ignorant like

see the forty-five year olds
leaning over their beers in silence
the impotence of defeat
ringing in their ears.

see the thirty year olds
caught on both sides
like deer
hung up
in barbed wire.

watch closely
the leopard eyed women
scattered amongst them
like leeches.

the old red barn

they'd bus in
from cedar rapids
to play horns
farmer was the sheriff's brother
no trouble there
back pasture full of cars
ames des-moines huxley bondurant
even see plates
from kossuth and wapsecon county
blacks would start
playin the horns
farmer selling milk pails
full of beer
for a quarter
ladies of the night
with blankets
working overtime
out in the pastures
we all got our
pickles popped
at the old red barn
then saturday night
sitting with our girlfriends
watching lawrence welk
in their parent's living room
heads still spinning
from cigarettes
the long hair
in sandals sold us
lawrence playing bubbles
or something else square
we'd be holding their hands
cause that's as far as
they'd let us go
one of us would start laughing
then we'd all fall in
what's funny? the girls would ask
what's so
all gone funny?
they'd get angry
stomping their feet
old dad
yelling down
from the top of the stairs
pipe down
or he'd
toss us out
with the cat.

cattle call

the people
are lonely

but their loneliness
is not sacred

not learned

or aged.

it's banal

like the inside
of a styrofoam

their love
is faceless


a blind
stupid force

two magnets
in a

Three Poems by Leeroy Berlin

the devil you know

there's a devil in the corner
in a dark, well-tailored suit
watching me. wears a fedora and
smokes a Dominican Upmann
eyes and ember glowing
he's not so fond of Zevon as I am
he follows me around
and likes to leap from the
dark places of the world,
grip me by the throat, and
make me listen.

there's a devil in the corner
he keeps telling stories
to no one in particular.
it’s just me, him, and the empty room
punctuated by a clacking keyboard
and a soft electric glow
that makes the folding chairs
and empty floor seem lonelier.

there’s a devil in the corner
he followed me last night and
snuck into the back seat of my car and waited
until I was whipping around the bend
he reached forward fingers tight
around my neck and screamed
because even the devil wants
to see an end to all of this.

there's a devil in the corner
and for now we drink together
and each beer wraps him in
a little more darkness
we're used to each other
and to the smoldering hate
familiarity breeds attachment
so I lift my beer and smile
Not tonight old friend, not tonight.

dead trees and ink

I'm sitting on the floor

surrounded by loosed sheets
printed with words I wrote

and remember

the tears


and blood.
Writing one once

I tossed my laptop out a second-story window
furious that syllables refused to bend with me.

Another fell out, like some small thing lost in a suitcase,
from a week-long vicodin binge

self-prescribed for acute cardiac fracture.
I pick one up that's laying next to me and remember
how it stumbled from my fingertips

fifty-three hours after the last time I'd slept.
There in the corner I see the bastard

child of a bottle and a half of gin
and the realization that she wasn't coming back.

I poured into all of them
everything I knew de los cojones

but now I read them and
I don't feel what I used to feel

I see dead trees and ink.
It's like meeting a woman

you used to fuck
and when you told her you loved her

she left
meeting her years later and

you don't feel what you used to feel
you see this stranger who reminds you

that you can't get those feelings back.

miles of asphalt and heart-break

as I roll past Skirball
crane my neck to look

she lives down that road
half a mile, then a right

the house is just out of view from the 405
and it's not the smog

that stops my breath
or the shattering glass

crunch of steel
that stops my heart

but those things don't help.


Oh it’s all well and good
when the world helps a sad lady
get back on her feet again
and truly start to believe again
and laugh out loud
in the wide-open-like-a-flower,
sun is shining,
birds are singing
outside world again
and takes her out dancin'
and buys her drinks
and shows her the glittering path
to new and fabulous romance.

But, how does a fella
get his groove back,

his moves,
his verve,
his nerve to follow through
on the follow-through,

or, is he like a race horse
come up lame
or a ball player
that's lost his game,
for most intents and purposes, ruined?

That is to say,
once he starts losin'
(and losin'
and losin')
is he doomed
to keep on losin'
and with little hope
for some new precedent set
to stop his slow, grinding
-of-an-undersea-canyon-like descent
into the funky, foul-smelling pit
of compounded booganism?

And if (as some would say)
a man is his game,
his moves,
his groove,
and the groove
is what maketh the man,
then is a man that's lost his groove
less than a man;

maybe a bumbling, buffoonish,
fundamentally clueless
hybrid kind of a man,

a mildly amusing Charlie Chaplin tramp
or Giligan-esque court jester always good
for a tumbling pratfall kind of a man,

maybe a skittish little Woody Allen
without the jokes or geeky, boyish charm kind of a man
or a poor Little Oliver with wide, hopeful
kitten eyes and empty bowl kind of a man,

a "right away, on the double, sir" kind of man,
an "of course I wouldn't mind
dancing your Cutty and water
over to you, sir" kind of man,
a "my lord, the Royal Chef assures me
your Hasenpfeffer should be ready
any minute now" kind of man.

And whereby and therefore (in accordance
with the universal laws of God, woman
and natural selection),
should anyone but this man's mama
really even give a damn?

And once the “It,”
Which so vitally composes and contributes
To “The Shit” (which it seems he must
At all times and with supreme
universal confidence
Believe himself to be), is lost
is there really any chance
of getting it back again,

any probability or possibility
of hope, left in Pandora's
little black grab bag,
for a monkey-boy to be a man again?

Or, is a man,
once his spirit and stature
have been properly dismantled
(and the parts all sold for scrap),
best led out back behind the wood shed
or to an open pasture, somewhere,
and the fabled diamond bullet
of clarity put through his head?

'Cause sometimes there seems to be
a mighty fine line between
the merely walking wounded

and the dead that just don't know
they're dead.

Two Poems by Stephanie Smith


Your ignorance confounds me

I corrupt your closed-in world
with a shot of cum in your mouth

And some eye candy

The death of your friends

And everything you’ve known
to be safe and secure
and comfortable in your home


When a man is dead
he does not rise
to check the morning mail
He doesn’t barge in
on his wife and her lover
lying naked in the bed they shared
before he put a pistol
to his head

Facing West by A.g. Synclair

The Jazz station is playing Chet Baker
something recorded near the end of his life
he sounded like chocolate
if chocolate
was ravaged by heroin
and time.

In Europe, Jazz is revered
crowds jam darkened doorways
and tiny tables lit by unscented candles
at clubs like Ronnie Scott's
or The Vortex
which could also be a metaphor for all of this.

The shoulder cracks under the weight
I stop for a moment to consider the red sky
and why they jump from buildings
Baker, McCorkle....
they wore their scars
softly, I think

like rain.

The Party Animal #2 by Paul Hellweg

Went to a party last night,
second time in as many years.
Room heavy, sweaty, warm,
jostling, bumping, squeezing through,
“excuse me” the most frequent words,
no place for a wallflower to hide.
Free wine, all you could want, but
ate dinner before, too full to drink,
too depressed to chat,
too self-conscious to flirt.
Wanted to leave immediately,
forced myself to stay an hour,
remembering my therapist’s words,
people unwilling to face their fears
risk living
isolated and withdrawn lives.

But what about those of us
who go out and brave
that bewildering world
other people inhabit, only to find
it’s not for us?

Two Poems by Ford Dagenham


apparently my Time is NOW.
my Life; NOW.
in this weird slot straddling centuries
appliance times may vary.

radio on back door open occasionally a friend will call. her
again new black underwear.
listen to blackbird cry out flies slowly over.
Life Fire and the Death TV.
whisky flows softly to douse the burnout of my brain.
appliance times may vary.

I attempt Werds to not die useless
but its all coming out as barren self portraits
appliance times may vary.

Write New and Write Again- yes
tonight there will be drugs
tomorrow I work at the desk coffee cups and small lamp.
must Write Werds like burning forest painting ash on flowers.

must not die useless don’t know how long I have
appliance times may vary.


these loose easy hot coffee days shine like a Mars.
the evenings!
the nights!
are slow cold
are stale tired
are difficult and stubborn.

attempt to file accurate reports when home safe.
awful blank head!
demented clock hands spin round I am sitting in the kitchen
hands still as stone.
4 pm.

so light so late sky rich deep rock blue blooms black
air is empty eager for autumn to rush in and die.

Two Poems by Donal Mahoney

The Deli On Granville

I lived in the attic back then,
and late those evenings I had to study
and couldn't afford to go drinking
I'd run down to the deli and buy

bagels and smoked lox.
I'd watch the lame son
wrap each item in white paper
while his father, coughing at the register,

pointed to the cans on the wall
and screamed, "Serve yourself! Serve yourself!"
I'd grab a tin of baked beans and he'd smile.
Now, years later, I return to the deli

and find that it's closed.
The sign on the door confirms
what everyone else already knows:
There has been a death in the family.

Father: Every Morning of His Life

The cup he took his tea from
all those years was Army surplus,
made of tin. It whirred

to the spoon he wound in it
15 times per lump of sugar.
We who slept in rooms just off

the kitchen rose like ghosts
to the winding of that spoon.
In my house, now, mornings

Sue’s the first downstairs. She
scalds the leaves and wonders:
Will the winding ever end?

Three Poems by Sarah Marie Miller

a moon painting in spain.

and the she

gets uncomfortably close

colors blurring the lines till they

become muddy hues muddy uncomfortable hues

til one day she sees a light raises her eyes realizes

art is her meditation realization of truth of life of getting
back to real to feel to remember to forget
she frowns a brown frown at the colors she has made
paints it black

starting from the neck of the dove who dared to
in hungry dark chocolate hues
runs away

cries a glass of tears in your waterpark blues

homesick subterranean alien


everything in here smells old. moldy. filthy and covered in sweat from the seventies. sixties. my parents when they were my age and horny.
it is suede it is maroon. it is cracked and dry. it is my skin. it is my chimney stopped up for decades for fear of tenants burning the damn building down. utopia. thats what they called my apartment building. in nineteen twenty. when ladies had creme coloured lace gloves and wore perfume and crossed their legs.
whats that mold causes dementia.

(if i pull this last bit of nail off i will bleed.

i have to pull it off.)


in line with ipod ears buzzing signs flash buy this overpriced banner
a woman dressed to kill .herself. with some feathers and is that a clothespin sticking out of her head
a man with sportscoat and store-bought wrinkles ironed into the back of his stonewashed gap jeans

inside i am laughing at everyone and somber as can be

on the walk home i shoot out a first floor office window to push the button on the monitor of a computer left on overnight.

(to save electricity.)

A beautiful song, just beautiful… by William J Fedigan

Michael says he sings to cancer, says cancer sings to him.
Michael says cancer is a woman. Michael says she loves him, says he
loves her.
Michael says she will kill him. He tells Jimmy:
-I sing to her, Jimmy. I sing a beautiful song, Jimmy, just
-She sings to me, Jimmy. She sings a beautiful song, Jimmy,
just beautiful… Can you hear the song?
-We love each other, Jimmy.
-She will kill me, Jimmy.

Michael and Jimmy on Ward B, basement.
Michael on Ward because he sings to cancer, hears cancer sing
to him. Jimmy on Ward because he wants to kill self. Jimmy tells ER
doc he wants to kill self. Jimmy gets 14 days on Ward B. 14 days.

Jimmy likes Michael’s song. Beautiful song.
-My mother sang a beautiful song, Jimmy, just beautiful…I wish
you could have heard her…beautiful song, just beautiful…

-Delusional, doc says.
Doc puts Michael on different meds, heavy meds. Meds don’t
work. Michael sings beautiful song.

-Tell him to shut the fuck up! Mouse says to Jimmy. Anger issues.
-He’s just singing to himself, Jimmy tells Mouse.
-Fuck you and fuck him! Mouse says. Anger issues. Assault with
intent to kill.

-Any thoughts of suicide, Jimmy? doc asks.
-No. Feel good.
-Any thoughts of hurting yourself, Jimmy? doc asks.
-No. Feel good, Jimmy says.

Jimmy discharged. Jimmy out. Week later Mouse out. Jimmy
sees Mouse in park. Mouse looks for clean butts on ground. Finds clean
butt with good tread left. Mouse cleans it off, fires it up.
Jimmy asks about Michael.
-How’s Michael doing? Jimmy asks Mouse.
-The asshole’s dead, Mouse says.
-He’s dead.
-Cancer? Was it cancer?
-He hung himself with a bed sheet.
-He says over and over he hears his mother. She sings to me, he
says, it’s a beautiful song, he says, just beautiful… next thing doc and
nurses running around. Code Blue, crash cart…dead.

Jimmy walks away.
Jimmy listens.
Jimmy listens for her voice.

Jimmy listens for her song. Beautiful song, just beautiful…

Three Poems by Jonathan Butcher

Spare Time

We walk over the pavements that display
a crude mosaic of chewing gum, needles
and half dead pigeons.

I know that mountains reside here, that
fields now entombed with concrete offer
a catacomb only visible through aged eyes.

As our coats hang loose, the change in
our pockets jangle, just enough ammo to
pass this free time, that we never hold
sacred enough.

It now frees us momentarily from the iron traps
that have become far more comfortable than
we ever anticipated.

No need now for those once consistent
breakouts, as the waters now run at our pace,
not theirs.

Morning Rush

That afternoon pacing towards work, in
frantic lateness I saw the gathered crowds.

He was spread across the curb; ironed
polo shirt, clean shaved, gelled hair,
knife wound in his left side.

The red river at his feet seemed to glisten,
reflecting the torrid tale of the hour previous,
as the air thickened within the crowd, like
a fog with the power to deafen as well as blind.

The crowd then dispersed, no two eyes meeting,
chatter suddenly erupted, as the help arrived
neither asking for or gaining assistance.

Within time's jaws we left him, in that waiting
room of ours, our responsibilities waving their
flags at yet another parade of delays.


You hang oblivious, dust encrusted, a foul design
job, left over by previous irresponsible occupiers.

Hanging limp, like flaked skin, your rail fractured
like a soot covered broken spine.

When appropriate wipe away tears on your ends,
that are soaked into your fabric, and drank with gusto.

The cracked windows know you all to well, know
your almost smug like presence is really just
a cover for the secrets you hold.

And for all your time there, tying up the room,
you still don't fit the windows.

Two Poems by Jay Passer


In the shuttered darkness
Of a kitchenette
I’m nodding in the morning
And the world resistant to
My leap out the window
Into emptied lake of street
Into welcome menace of mortuary stillness
Adrift and misanthropic
When the blam-blam alarm
And landing splat in a pratfall
Shattering café idleness
Of urban mamas yapping Chihuahuas
And babies with pinched pink faces
Fate of the free world bundled into strollers
Screaming WA-WA! cuddly soldiers-to-be
In training from the potty seat to guzzle the dream
At a ratio of tit versus
Miles per gallon


Uranium to critical mass
That’s all you need to remember

No doubt about it, the world is nearing its finale
I hear trees whispering about it in foreign languages

Here I sit with dice and cup
I can’t afford insurance.

This, This is an African Moment by Amit Parmessur

Lighting a crooked cigarette in a bus overfed

with bushed Sunday people. The young conductor

too effeminate to bring back order, with the smoke

stirring silent angry looks.

Sipping some stale

Coca-Cola while being already drunk, with the

body swaying to every whim of a hungry bus driver.

Watching then the tragic landscape

for a bit of elusive escapism.

Feeling too hot, and a bit frustrated

with someone’s beautiful wife sitting just in front.

Trying to swear in a language not resembling the

mother tongue but that of a faraway father’s habit.

Falling asleep after a few drags on the cigarette

that rebels and falls down

after being left alone between stinking fingers

as good as dry ladyfingers without balls.

Being laughed at by neighbors,

by well-dressed and perfumed neighbors

with intentions darker than lethal black ants.

Waking up to have a second drag on a cigarette

that is missing. Starting to

swear heroically, searching for the cigarette that

has rolled into someone else’s temporary territory.

Aggravating the situation by releasing

from the pocket a handful of stolen,

old and bent coins onto the ground, with them rolling

everywhere like the rapid shells of paralyzed tortoises.

After Pancakes (Cause and Effect) by Rebeca Linney


During the car ride uninterrupted by
cell phone-talkers, my father's
pinky snare and index crash tapped
loudly on the steering wheel.
I played air-piano.
He silenced his other children in the back seat
so he could hear me sing loudly, in perfect-pitch,
gesturing during the chorus.
My sisters sat with their arms crossed, rolling their eyes.
My brother scowled and leaned his freckled forehead
against the vibrating window.


"Get over here, Fat Bitch!"
My brother, standing at the top of the stairs
psoriasis-covered arms
embracing a blue sleeping bag.
I ran up the stairs to the back of our makeshift line
behind my laughing sisters.
James began his face-first slide
onto the downstairs landing.

Three Poems by James D Quinton

hell is other people

I find that nothing
ever gets beyond

missing the freedom
of childhood,
the relinquishment
of responsibility

honesty dissolves
into telephone lies
nodding and smiling
nothing to say
blank blue eyes

three chord songs
blisters on my fingertips
hibernating in summer
fear of traffic jams
and exchanges

hopes and dreams of a young girl lost

daddy and mummy
must be proud,
twenty-something year old
daughter on late night telly
humping and grinding
in bra and panties
fake tanned flesh exposed
thrusting wildly at the camera

beauty lost
enhanced, airbrushed
disfigured with products and surgery
on explicit pictures
that can be sent to my phone
selling herself
it’s all in an evening’s work

I’m fascinated, not titillated
she gyrates, gestures
sound off, she talks
she shakes,
pulls at her body,
contorts her face
pretends she’s being…

trying to make herself alluring
waving a nokia
trying to get me to phone
£2 a minute and
£1.50 connection fee
and I want to call
and tell her about
Jesus, Gandhi
about another way, the light
about recapturing innocence

when the mike comes on
I’m surprised
her voice eloquent
she tells me what’s on offer
what the other girls are up to
signing off with
‘naughty kisses’

I look into her eyes,
I think I see sadness

I wonder what her
seven year old self
would say
if she where to see
her hopes
and dreams

when love turns pornographic

rare, banished in the literati
the simplest language communicates
the most complicated feelings

slogans, red paint, brick walls

blood stains white cloth

Two Poems by John Tustin


The review are pouring

halfway through the season

of “John’s Life,”:

an unmitigated disaster!

A situation comedy more sad

than funny.

Poorly acted, sparsely staged,

the villain too evil to be believed,

the hero unlovable.

Like watching a car wreck

in slow motion.

The only bright spot

those two up-and-comers,

ages five and two.

Maybe they can spin off successfully,

giving viewers something beyond

a numb ass

and a bad memory.


Horses are beautiful,

contentedly snorting, coats glimmering

as they eat their hay.

Cicadas are beautiful,

making chittering calls in the sycamores,

flicking lizard-like wings

for eagerly waiting lovers.

Sparrows are beautiful,

battling pigeons for crusts and turf,

losing and trying,

frenetically grabbing.

Pigs are beautiful.

Geckos are beautiful.

Suckerfish are beautiful.

People are not beautiful.


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

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