I’ll Be Writing the Rest of My Poems from Prison by Kevin Ridgeway

I never turned in my jury summons form,
they say
I had my psychiatrist decorate
it with his strange symbolism
masquerading as a note
that I’m insane
unfit for jury duty,
a flabby manic depressive
who would only
cause trouble
and paint the
court with his triumphant
skid marking psychic shit stain
of endless jibber jabber
and sudden crying fits

they seem to have ignored this,
and have sent me my notice:
a fine my meager pennies
cannot satisfy,
so I shall be writing the rest
of my strange verse
in a cell with
who will christen
me “BabyCake”
and ask me
what I’m in for

“I failed to report for jury duty—“

and he blisters my cherubic
cheeks with his supersonic
mad-headed gaze,
ready to pounce
and surely destroy

and I’ll write many poems about this
a traumatic stain
on my funky, weird-ass soul

Four Poems by Antony Hitchin

A Sweet Treat

battenburg sandwich vanilla drizzle double


I never even glimpsed her
did her passing shadow descend on me as a soft whisper - I would like to think so - I want to believe.

This gastric haze of gangrene our
paper death her
thesis: ‘the artistry of murder and the unreliability of memory’

little wonder I viewed her so vertiginously

her marijuana breath
her twin peaks of Faberge


London traffic

pigeon-purrs, the home-coming faces of
parted day.

bedroom wall
your naked
change - slithered
the scythe of harsh insistence that arrived before me,

wheels trance fading from
without any silver cord to hold
this body

collecting objects as the coffin glides away…


prefontal loins
imperial prick
seeks the
atom of your sex


Three Poems by Mather Schneider


Sometimes people feel bad
when they don’t have much
and they know others have
much more than they could ever use.
They don’t want to seem needy
and so they deny their hunger
until something explodes.

Sometimes people feel bad
when they want so much they can’t have
even if the things they want
would not make them happy or
satisfy them,
they would still
kill for them.

They believe
because their belief is
all they have.

Sometimes it feels bad
to be a human being
no matter how much you have,
no matter how much you give
or take or
beg for.

Some people think intelligence
is education
and rights come with status
and status comes with birth.

Suffering is not
and has never been


I’m driving my taxi down La Cholla Boulevard
when I see a large group of people
well dressed and with comfortable
faces and with coffee and other
drinks in hand.
They are protesting something.
One guy holds up a big sign that says:
People are honking right and left, a regular
goose festival.
I press my hand
into the taxi’s steering wheel
but the horn hasn’t worked
in over a year, the boss
won’t fix it, it was hard enough
to get him to fix the turn signals
because he thinks using turn signals
means you’re gay.
Don’t these protestors
have jobs? I think.
How do they pay
the bills?
It looks fun, standing out there
in the sun, laughing
with the other protestors, who’ve all
parked their Volvos and Camrys
with functioning horns and turn signals
up and down
the side streets
where mysteriously they don’t get
That guy with the sign probably thinks I hate freedom
but I can’t stop
to explain.
I’m late
and the clock is my


Who knows how far
this can go,
our little pageant.

Who knows how far this can go,
our little summer stock,
because summer has to end
even though we’d like to go
on afterwards.

Who knows how far this repetition
with slight variations
can delight people.

is natural on the wet rocks
and I don’t care if you’ve got 2,000
buck shoes

we’d still like to go on
without mourning your useless

so do me a favor
and just stick
to the script.

When it’s over, clap
like everyone else
and go to hell.

Margaret by Wolfgang Carstens

was eight years-old
when she died.

it was
the middle of January
and the ground
was too frozen
to bury her

so her father
put her in the cellar
until spring.

her mother spent
every night that winter
among the preserves
talking to Margaret,

stroking her hair,

for the words
that would raise
the dead.

Fresh Off The Brazier, Medium Rare by Donal Mahoney

How many times have I said
I’m through teasing myself,
through pretending
I don’t enjoy
the wreath of a woman
warm around me.
How many times have I said
I’ll go out on the streets,
as I have in the past,
in cummerbund and sash,
top hat and cane,
a one-man parade
with bugle and drum,
seeking the sweetbreads
served there all day,
fresh off the brazier,
medium rare.

The Very Last Friday by Jonathan Butcher

As it slowly approaches 10:00pm,
our hands are still just as empty as
the eyes that serve behind that bar, that
refuses to play music, or anything else
for that matter.

Tearing beer mats, you scout out the
room, your eye's ablaze, awaiting the
first inappropriate twitch from the next
poor sap who passes by.

The wraps are passed around like over
due telegrams, your hands almost passing
through the green bottles, from the two-for-ones
that never seem that great a deal once the coins
are exchanged.

Outside in a pile of grey, the hungry hands once
more plead for any superfluous, but charity was
never your strong point, your fist far too firm for
a mere conscience to prize open.

Now of course, when you think of that final hour,
with the rest of us miles in the distance, we now only
see your face as a fading flicker, that lost its spark an
age ago.

shipping news by Sam Ledger

I laced you to the ships foremast, passing rope between your ribs and tying a binding knot. You never
realised we were at sea until this moment. I felled the oak in the far right corner of the garden to craft
a carrack with rusted nails and sails stitched from bled on bedding. I liked the elements of renaissance
in the craft and named her Mary Rose.

You said shadows were too deep          
and the cold was making your                    bones rattle.

I cut out the shape of branches and leaves and roots and my own silhouette standing amongst
browning acorns from news papers. The scissors were blunt and each of your words barbed burrowed
under my skin. I had never wanted to scratch my own flesh from my bones until that moment but my
finger nails were chewed to the quick.  Yellow sulphurs stench wafted on cooling air of late autumn.
Ignition of emotion would have created more commodious elements of warmth, stretching into an
effortless eternity of unconscious contentment.

 I have only now fires of hell to warm me and words
of Milton bleed from my lips.

Carbon has a sense of weightlessness about itself, a belief in a freedom flesh could not promise much
less deliver. My stomach turned inside out, finally I consume. Acidity bites organs, muscles, sinews and
synapse and nerves wired incorrectly, firing misleading statements from head to heart. I judge it seeks
sights of oceans and scents of good clean sea air.

All this longing for sailors gone too long in rusted vessels riddled with holes and we have only buckets
to bail out  guilt as it rushes over the bow.  Would you have had it any other way.

I was always cruel in my forgetfulness as I was in love.

Two Poems by Danny D Ford‏

The Bookcase

The bookcase
has been replaced with
another bookcase

The new thing is made in Sweden
and assembled
in the wet dreams of code breakers
and psychiatrists

I try
all the bits are there
I thumb tiny pieces of metal
into crude wooden holes
the ‘designated ports of joinery’ I believe they’re called

Before we know it
we have a coffin shaped box
in the middle of the floor

The inevitable heated exchange ensues
planning ideas are slung back and forth
with the girlfriend
she’s flustered and gorgeous
I’m half erect and inappropriate
- which is more than can be said about the cheap furniture

and then I pause

look at us all grown up
we’ve made it
we’re finally fighting
about things
that don’t matter

Three Yet to be Free

Mother worried
rumination running 'round eyes
twisted sleep bag deprivation
desperation ticks
and a yearning for warm body bed comfort

Daddy dead to the world
dead on his feet
workman hands stretched to brittle bone
calluses’, bumps, Band-Aid
broken skin
and short tempered
watching young shapely legs in the rear view mirror

watching clouds creating shapes
drift to nothing and disperse
into blue
the ever endless blue
where dreams escape beyond horizons
and where lost pets play
forever out of sight

under the tuscan sundress by John Grochalski

she looks like one of those cinematic
raven haired italian chicks
created to stop the heart
but she’s speaking pigeon english to the boy
across from her
pressing her purple sundress
talking about the university
as he rubs her ankles
kisses her feet
occasionally she’ll look over to me
and smirk in an unkind way
frown or furrow her brow
it’s okay, i think
i know she knows that i’m the ugly american
on this train
spoiling the tuscan landscape
with my baseball cap and mcdonald’s bag
but i’m too tired to try and act like i belong
it’s too taxing to try and hide oneself in europe
all of the time
to not be so american on these ancient streets
when that poison oozes so easily
out of every pore
let her look
let her talk that college talk to her boy
as vineyards
and homes tucked into green mountains
roll by the train window
let this girl think what she wants to think about me
anything she wants
just so long as she doesn’t put her knee down
because this chick isn’t wearing
any underwear
and i’ve been staring at her cunt since rome
memorizing its twirl of hair
its every contour
the way an art scholar would
the david
the sistine chapel
caravaggio’s the calling of st. matthew
or any of that other shit
that i came to this country
to see.

Gray Matter by Dena Rash Guzman

maybe you fit somewhere else better,
maybe inside coffee cups or onto lined tablets of old paper,
the real kind, the kind you don't mind.
maybe you will learn to accept imperfection,
maybe your next cat will be white and not a cat at all but a dog,
forget the litter, don't litter, don't litter at all,
those cigarette butts end up in strange places.
maybe peasants curse me for smoking on the street,
the lines don't keep my writing straight,
maybe I don't care about that anyway,
nor really do you,
but maybe I can look inside my own brain for once,
not afraid anymore of what you don't want for me.
maybe this is the arrogance of youth,
well earned at the end of it
when my ancestors were considered ancient
and babies cried in their arms for mothers, dead at 14 from childbirth,
and maybe I can make something nourishing now,
maybe money, maybe poems, maybe love, maybe not
but maybe you can settle in and down and let me see for myself,
without your hand in mine,
guiding and maybe strangling it to death on a curbside outside a terminal.

The Not-So-Epic by Shawn Misener

Yesterday I finished my imaginary novel

took me three years to write,
three years of immaculate invisible toil
three years of faux sweat and tears
hardest thing I've ever done

I dedicated it to my imaginary friends
and I hope that it finds the transparent hands
of millions of imaginary readers

the invisible man is slated to pen the review,
I imagined we discussed it through the aether

my imaginary wife pretends to be patient
pretends to love me
pretends to tell me I don't know how to dream

but I wrote with angry fingers:
I'm awake I'm awake I'm awake

only those awake and alive write novels
and in their dreams they fake their deaths

Three Poems by Cassandra Dallett


I remember what dead hands feel like
and they’re not worth holding
at all.

I remember when I asked you to smash my Fisher Price
push popper so I could get the gumballs out
even though I knew they weren’t really gum balls
You smashed it with your sledgehammer
Shirt off blonde hairy chest all lean and sweaty.

I remember how I liked to steal your
Smith Brother’s cough drops black licorice
and after that Luden’s Lemon from the glove box.

How your jaw clicked when you bit into an Almond Joy
or a Pecan Pie from the Village Store
we didn’t tell mom about the sweets.

I remember when Franny Bear got shot
came home leaking red pools
you examining her furry body and exclaimed
the bullet had gone clean through.

All those other dogs you straddled on the kitchen floor
pulling quills from whining snouts with
needle nose pliers.

And the stories you read, Wind in The Willows,
Frog and Toad, and Richard Scary
Personified animals hold you the most

You liked to get stoned and watch people
in their little cars and trucks
buzzing around quaint New England towns
imagining them as Richard Scary characters
Lowly Worm in his apple car
the Beagle policeman
you laughed with such abandon.
I remember.

The Raptor on E.14th

There is a tower in East Oakland.
Down by Seminary on the hoe stroll,
that’s where he lives.
I’ve never seen him,
but I heard
from the heating and air conditioning guy
who works the building.
He hunts this wasted tundra
of coke smokers, winos,
Baby girls on colt legs wobbling by on stilettos
thick-assed mini-skirted vets holding up street corners.
Like the girls, the Great White Owl
uses the “sit and wait” style of hunting.
His penthouse home is high in the brick tower
above the low-standing blighted buildings
of the flat lands.
Above the taco trucks
and ice cream carts of the surenos.
He’s built a queen-bed size nest
surrounded by shit pellets and pigeon carcasses
like fried chicken bones outside The Fish King
a few blocks up.
I want to stalk this bird of prey
catch him in action
taloned king of the ghetto
he rules among scavengers
no one scraping up much more
than a welfare check
or a stolen flat screen

Moist Petals

panties drop
shea butter fingers
I don’t miss you at all
a lone wolf
I lean into new men
at parties tall bodies
bathroom hallways

a sharp knife I push
under tortoise shells
pry at tender spots
kiss strange lips

I’m pillowy in a size 14
a steak too big  for the plate

I’m back!

Threw the plastic pill pack
in the trash
a cage
small enough to palm
locked me in a body without nerve endings

But oh baby

I’m here horny hormonal
fat and wiggly as a grub worm
in a frying pan

Two Poems by Ali Znaidi

Digital Flesh

in social media/
Flesh is digital/
Facebookian flesh
tastes like wires
& cables/
Venus is watching over/
Perhaps her flesh
wants its share
of digitization/
& recycling/
A dream of evenings
drenched by
of digital flesh/


In fields similar to black ash,
over a scarecrow,
a crow
disguised in pigeons’ white
is learning graceful movements
& experimenting with cooing,
trying to invent
seductive songs
[sardonic tunes]
—luring hymns
of sirens.
Sporadic cooing
has gone with the wind
across a body of black,
& bursts of laughter
are echoing across
fields similar to black ash.

The Science Of Free Prostitution by Robert Wilson

She always claimed to want gold
Before tossing it to the trash
After acquisition
With bags of bones and hearts

Instead her hand is outreached
For rotted trees
Eager to carve trophies out of death
Put them on display
for all to see
Hoping to shape-shift
Into a status symbol

But a wish for vogue repute
Is just regression
The only way to evolve
Is to love

Two Poems by David Parham


would I know you in the store
aisle three
where cans of soup for one sit lonely
or in line banking on a chance unknown
to soothe a soul
would your scarf cover my vision
of yesterday's losses as I simply order a dream
to go
perhaps a sign would be more appropriate

enter here

..and I wonder where they are now...no I don't

Don was bad ass
an original Drugstore Cowboy
shrimper by day
doper by Life
he's dead

Andrew was my back up
a natural born drummer
never missed a beat
or a chance to escape
he's dead

Mark was a thief
who stole hearts
if you knew him
you Loved him
he's dead

Mike was the clever one
big designs on everything
planned to own a home
when his Mom died
he's dead

Russel was available
any hour of the day
a true business man
with no account for taste
he's dead

Paul was the quiet guy
always thinking
how to help you out
before you had to go
he's dead

Emily was the future
six strings in her hand
a magician for the masses
she played too hard
she's dead

David was a runner
chasing his tail
never catching on
but always ahead of the game
he's alive


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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