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.


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