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.


About Me

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