Press Enter to Continue by Howie Good‏

You couldn’t get back to sleep.
After about a thousand years,
it was dawn, napalm on wildflowers,
the flames wavering in a lost kind of way.
When the phone rang,
you thought it might be me.
Was that just?

The only voice you need
is the voice you already have.

Stink Bomb Of Love by Catfish McDaris

The used bookstore tended to fuck
over anyone wanting to trade old
books in for something new to them

I found a John Fante & a Steinbeck,
the midget clerk there scared me,
after 20 minutes ransacking my 4
boxes of trade-ins, she bellowed

My name, “That’s $7, I know you,
you’re that nasty poet from Hotel
Wisconsin” she said smiling cutely

I just stared at her, her arms & legs
were short & stubby & the rest like
it had been compressed somehow

She watched me like a mongoose
ready for a cobra, I gave her $6
for the balance of my book purchases

As I left she stripped off her Levis &
panties & said, “Here motherfucker,
now you have something to write about”

She flung her undies like Thor’s hammer,
they covered my face like a giant squid
from hell, I screamed, “I just saw a
midget’s pussy & I’m going blind.”

Two Poems by Justin Hyde

at a red light

young girls

say nineteen or twenty

don't tell me
you've ever seen
teeth so white

pixie genies
in a wheeled
magic carpet
on mom and dad's dime

i can hear
their music

feel it
vibrating my seat

one of them
combs out
long brown hair
with a yellow brush

seems to be
talking on two cell-phones
at once

the driver

inimitable phosphorescence
in angled

i'd like to
tap into that energy

into that ass

grind them down to a pulp

smear it all over myself

change my name

and start this life
from scratch.

watching rain drip off the bare branches of a cherry tree

and all is well

so far as
the beginning
and the end
are unknown

as for now
my seven year old son
stumbles into the fold

my ex wife says
he's like watching a piece of your heart
wandering around
outside you

i say
it's more like your consciousness
and sum total of fears
being thrown in your face

there is this painful wart
on the bottom
of my foot

the back of my teeth
are rotting

and i judge everyone


even if they gave us
at birth

finely drawn schematics
with an
aerial view

we'd still
fuck it

The Unrequited Essence of Not Breathing by P.A.Levy

i was already dead inside
when i considered committing suicide for
the first time

until a do-good samaritan up to no
good found me weighted
on a bridge
she said her name was codeine
with razor sharp loathsomeness i called her
using a car battery attached to nipple clamps
she shocked my heart

she fucked life back into me
rode the throb of a pulse to the impact
of a car crash

i went down on codeine
washed away the bitter after taste with kerosene
i asked her if she fancied playing
with knives
share a self harm game of
cutting peep holes in our skin
glimpse inside our rib cages
see the beat within

but she said
not tonight luv i’ve got a headache
turn over and swallow sleep

Three Poems by Kevin Ridgeway

Be Good

when I was a small child,
my mother came home
from a yard sale
carrying a doll
that looked exactly
like me

“It looks just like you,”
she said, hugging it

whenever I was bad
out came the doll
she would throw it
against the wall
and I would scream in pain
“be good” she warned

years later, I came home
from a bad marriage
and many other troubles
she pulled out the doll
by then bearded and
pot-bellied, just like me
“be good” she repeated
and she plucked a beard
hair from its chin
as I winced in pain

His Holiness

the Mexican family
on the corner
is having a
I walk past
them and one
of the men
yells out
to me
“Hey Jesus!”
due to my
long beard
and hair—
this gets a
huge laugh
from the women;
I wish I WAS
Jesus, then I
could turn this
lukewarm bottle
of water into
some strong
red wine,
flirt with
their women
and steal
them all
away from
but I’d
come back
the next day
to heal them
of their
and give them
their dogs
a pat on the head

Marriage Inequality

to the
we kept
our dirty
little secrets
where you
I fell

Three Poems by Rob Plath





this lens

i can’t help holding yr death up
to everything

you die again w/each season
you die again w/things
you’ll no longer witness

death isn’t the approaching winter
or a dark shrouded figure
death is this piece of glass
fashioned from yr absence

death is this lens i keep
holding up to everything

of pure joy

i hear my landlord yelling at the dog thru the wall. look at all this hair! it looks like a fucking barber shop floor! i’m gonna get rid of you! & i picture the old boy standing there wagging his whole backside, reminding humans that the coat of his frame is composed of magic strands of pure joy.

Three Poems by Ford Dagenham

AT 38

i am a stranger to myself
tired and drawn and stubbly and old-

like i landed suddenly in my future

enormous alien hands
maintenance meccanno of the soft machine.

working again
the hospital.  all my clothes are too big now.

he’s looking at me from behind deep glass
a service lift mirror.

HELLO YOU i am saying.


all this/the drunk rubbish/the drugs and whatever
i do
the mystery of it all
under light night skies of silence and diamond
it all feels glorious and like there’s answers just in front of
in the dark sky – just there


those bleak mornings SHIT!
those 3 AMs when i held the dread inside me
as still as i could
with a balled up pillow.
those panic steps to the toilet bowl FUCK!
those nights JESUS! – the stale tv/pointless books/nothing for me/even music MUSIC! was irritating and trivial.
those morning dew fields like holograms in the science museum
the sunrise views like they’re
flat wall.

those forced Saturdays going out anywhere at all
with all the cigarettes all the time.
those slow steps thru CGI nature 1000 miles away.
the world so solid and heavy on my soles pushing up!
those cold Sundays MY GOD!
wouldn’t end
never started.

that frozen up white noise in my head – couldn’t think
ran . . . tears hidden in sweat.

those moments CHRIST - those moments

lost my mind.

Two Poems by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal


I started drinking early.
I gave up on the day.
I sought oblivion in
a bottle and a few more.
I didn’t answer my phone.
I didn’t open the door.
I didn’t log onto my
computer.  I just drank.
I ate salted peanuts.
It was my only food.
I drank until I could
not drink anymore.


I heard your voice
on the answering
machine.  It was
an old recording.
You don’t call me
anymore.  You met
someone and I am
out of the picture.
I don’t know why
I don’t erase it.
Perhaps it is just
a reminder for me
of what I lost.  I
need to learn to be
good to myself.

The Bad Night by Holly Day

the secrets
of motherhood
elude me, even now, after years
of practice, of
learning to deal with
late-night temper tantrums
too little sleep. every time I think
I’ve figured parenthood out

the rules change and I have to
start all over again.
my mother
keeps telling me
that the worst is yet
to come but I’m not
sure I can imagine things getting
much harder

than this.
someday it will be over.

The man visits the cafe almost every day by John Yohe

The man visits the cafe almost every day and enjoys
the girls who work there and know his name and what he drinks
and smile seemingly sincerely when they see him and he sits in
the corner and reads books of poetry or philosophy but never
risks making a fool of himself by asking any of them if
they would like to really talk though not sure which
would be more embarrassing a girl two-thirds his age saying no
or saying yes and finding nothing to talk to her about
but still also enjoying the tight jeans they wear
almost as much and sometimes more than his books
oblivious to a woman two tables over a few years older who
is too inhibited to talk to him but sees him looking
and grows a bit more bitter but decides to eat
a slice of pumpkin bread with her maté latte anyway


Wednesday afternoon
dreaming of beautiful
women in short skirts
though Beethoven and
a day off from work
seem good enough:
if we all just accepted
what we now had as
the economy would fail
and people would flourish,
I still think of those women
even now that the cadenza
has begun and its Nigel
Kennedy behind the notes:
I suppose no one is perfect
and that’s what keeps
everything as it is.

Pistons in Her Haunches by Donal Mahoney

It's a 50th anniversary dinner
for Bernie and Blanche at the Elk's Hall.
After dessert Blanche grabs the mike
and primes the crowd by announcing,
"Fifty year's we've been married
and Bernie's never had a sorry day."
Then Bernie grabs the mike and says
"The nights have been wonderful, too.
Despite her orthopedic shoes, Blanche
still has pistons in her haunches."
In fact, after all these years, Bernie has
but one complaint: Blanche never
gets to the point in any conversation.
It's up to Bernie to decipher the code.

Early every morning Blanche and Bernie
sit in their recliners and sip coffee.
Blanche stares into space and then
jots down on a legal pad everything
Bernie must do before their lovely
Victorian house falls down.
Bernie in the meantime reads
the obituaries with one eye
and watches Blanche with the other
and waits for her head to rear back,
a mule ready to bray a prologue
Chaucer would envy.

Many times Bernie has asked Blanche
to give him the bottom line first.
"Tell me up front what you want me to do
and then fill in the details," he tells her.
But with no bottom line in any conversation,
Blanche makes Bernie feel as though
a python is winding around his chest.
"I know what the python wants,"
Bernie says, "and he'll be quicker."

After 50 years of marriage,
Bernie says meandering by Blanche
in conversation is a small complaint.
He'll never have a sorry day as long as
Blanche has pistons in her haunches
because every now and then,
despite stenosis of the spine,
Bernie likes to bounce off the ceiling.
That bounce, he says, is why
he married Blanche in the first place.

lorca by Steve Calamars

big dreams
burst from
small minds
and blow
holes thru
artificial realities
that we
shake like
straight jackets
to stretch
our peculiarities
and bask
in our
strength like
a million suns

Two Poems by Rob Plath


he thinks he's tough, a real self-taught poet of the streets

he wants some feedback & possibly advice on his work

after the fourth poem about just how tough he is, i ask him:

did you ever see someone w/a tumor inside their face?

no, he uncomfortably laughs

you never saw somebody w/a large mass in the maxillary cavity?

i mean the real aggressive shit that keeps growing
until it pushes their eyeballs half-out of their head?

no, man, he says, serious now

you never saw somebody hemorrhage from their eye socket,
blood streaming down like they're weeping blood?

his face scrunches up in disgust & he grabs his poems back

yr fucked up, he says & walks away


you look sick! he says

you need to eat MEAT!
he says

be a MAN! he says

have some of these
raw sausages! he says

live a little! he decides
to add to his ridiculous tirade

i look at his gut
spilling over
the notches of his belt

all i can do
is picture his liver
beneath there

fat & yellow
& suffocating

i want to rip it out
& nail it to his chest

an oversized badge
of fucking stupidity

Two Poems by Justin Hyde

putting a new battery in my car

bring it to me baby!"
comes a gravely voice
behind me
followed by catcalls.

i turn around
see a pretty blond
jogging past three bums
on the other side of grand.

"come ere bitch."

"yea come ere little bitch."

she has headphones on
either doesn't hear it
or doesn't
let it faze her.

the middle guy
a black broom of hair
sticking out behind a camouflage hat
picks up a rock
swings back
and pretends to crack her on the head.

"dinner is served boys."

they cackle like hyenas
and pass around a paper sack.

part of me
runs across the street
beats the hell out of them
right there
in the toothless sidewalk daylight

another part of me
with the gallows humor

the sheer caprice
of dichotomy.

i lean against the fence
watching them stagger back
to their tents
under the mlk bridge.

teetotaler's epitaph

quit drinking

run thirty miles a week

lift weights three days a week

six small meals
evenly spaced out

finally stay true to a girlfriend

sleep peaceful
like a turtle
seven hours a night - -

give it a go friend

break the curve
of the actuary's death charts

lock toes with jesus
in a symbolic
non denominational way - -

it's damn near impossible
to be miserable
under these conditions - -

and by proxy

write a decent poem.

Valentines Day by Mike Meraz

I am confused about the worship
of relationships.

I think we should start worshiping

find a holiday

to celebrate

the man

who is alone,

that he has
fought off the forces
and has not relented
but carried on,
remained, stood still.

there should be a holiday
not for the weakness of two
but the strength of one.


i’ve handed each of my demons a paintbrush

i’ve offered my suicide a bouquet of bok choy

i’ve poured cups of chamomile for bad memories

i’ve unlaced death’s combat boots & given it a stack of books

i’ve vacuumed up the debilitating dust

i’ve exchanged ashtrays for flowerpots

i’ve torn up my bukowski jacket for cleaning rags

look, i’m drinking a bottle of cool water

tho you’d rather me be lobbing malotov cocktails at the ceiling

a pathetic cliché dancing in my own flames

DREAMS & ASHES by Rob Plath

i dream of a table in the middle of a wooded road
& natalie portman runs up to a bush, crouches down
& pulls out a binder marked ‘suicide letters’
along w/a tray of freshly baked peanut butter cookies

& we sit at the table straddling the center white line
& slowly read the letters & eat the sweet, warm cookies
& never once look up to see if a car is coming

& when i awake my mother’s ashes
are right there on the table
but i feel briefly & strangely consoled…

Three Poems by Robert D. Lyons

into the
and remembering all
the women
the hungover mornings
their eyes
as they scrubbed my
and back

their hair
in my hands

the way the
over their

like rain
over a rose

their hands were so
so compassionate

half dead
they resurrected me
with soap
and a smile

but today
there is only a
in here
with me

i imagine its

but i drown her
with my


breathing the ash
of old wamac
over a dollar fifty

an old town
that has become

half the town
to the
forty years ago
they only rebuilt the
and the liquor stores

and it’s the closest thing
ive ever seen
to eden

the gods
on the stools
up front
and speak as they
always have

in a drunken


for the past year now
i have been consumed
by the need
to flee
this city

i want to become a

but im barely
my bus pass

i dream of finding
a city
not in sunlight
but in shadow
and rain

where the
and women
are easy

and where the
of bottles
can be heard
as soon as you

Miss Lakeishia Sings The Blues by Donal Mahoney

Listen, mister, you're a guest
at the Night Owl Club
so you can sit here
all night long, tip me
after every song,
buy me scotch
till the final gong
but none of that will help.

You'll still go home alone
unless some other lady has a need
to make her rent
and sees the opportunity
you offer. It won't be me;
I can't be bothered.
I need a different kind of man,
a man who'll hug me tighter

than my panties can,
a big ole man
whose big ole tongue
will be my tampon
when I'm dry.
Get off that stool
and look in the mirror
behind those whiskey bottles

so you can see what I see.
Then we'll both know why
you can never be that man,
not even for an hour.
I'm no Billie Holiday,
but even with my glasses off,
I can see that you
ain't no John Wayne.

Two Poems by Mike Meraz


a girl, Italian, big hips,
tattooed legs, comes in
my store every week
to buy groceries.

I’ve been meaning to talk
to her but all I get out is:

“can I help you?”


“uh, excuse me…”

and all I can get out of her




though our conversations are short,
I feel we have something going on,
a little pitter patter floods my heart
every time I see her.

I must think of something
smooth to say to her,
something clever,

like in one of my poems
where a light shines
at the end
and a smile enters
the heart.

You Are Beautiful, Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Different
your eyes write books.
your mouth plays songs.
your body is an orchestra.

you are not one
that needs to create.
you are a creation.

be still
and wondrous.

Three Poems by Rob Plath


i asked patti smith
to write me a poem
about taking a healthy shit
"i have no time," she said
so i flashed her
my HOLY THE ABYSS tattoo
she said, "that's cool"
but still didn't write me
a poem about taking
a healthy shit
i was sad on the subway
damn her, i thought
as the car screeched
thru the dark tunnel
i'll write a fucking poem
about patti smith not writing
me a poem about taking
a healthy shit then!
i was happy i 'd decided on it
in fact, i was psyched
& far from constipated


some absences are colossal
the emptiness the size of a planet
have you ever traveled in a lonely capsule to PLANET ABSENCE?
have you have wandered its terrible wilderness
where every one of the twisted trees is braided w/absence?


yes—there is a wound
for each doomed love

many scars from failures
like ugly constellations

& misery is for keeps,
my friend

but then again, there are
always white teacups
offering sweetness

a generously open window
resuscitating yr dead angel

& a bird in morning fog
whistling of peace

Three Poems by Mather Schneider


shin splints and a
pimple inside my nostril
way inside where it’s dark and hard to reach
impossible to pop
I just keep touching outside of it
and checking the mirror like a
demented chicken

another job lost
like a lottery ticket in the wash
another job lost
like a dollar bill in a sandstorm

this going against the grain
1/3rd laziness
1/3rd  disbelief
1/3rd incompetence
this going against the grain
like a surfer

dreaming of the rocks.


I’ve eaten my beef stew
and popped my vitamin complex
I’ve slept my 8 hours
on a firm but
not too firm mattress

I did the laundry
and had a bath
and thoroughly toweled all parts.
I’ve cleaned the apartment
and I’ve sat sober

thinking of the next workday
thinking of the next dollar
thinking of how
to be a good citizen.

I’ve scrubbed the oven
and jogged 3 and one half miles
and made the bed
and resisted masturbation.

I should be feeling
better by


I used to walk down to the corner
on Sunday mornings
to use the pay phone
to call my mom.

One morning I went and
the phone had been removed.
I didn’t know why and didn’t
know who to ask, so I just walked
down to the Chevron gas station
and used the pay phone there.

This was fine for a few weeks.
But today I walked down and discovered
the phone by Chevron had
been ripped out too.
There was nothing left but the cement base
swept clean with a broom.
So now
I have to hoof it
all the way to McDonald’s
to use the phone outside
the thoroughfare of their front door.

I suppose when they rip that one out I’ll
move on down
to Fry’s
then to that Circle K on Broadmont
and from there I’ll have
to see.

Mom can’t live forever,
can she?

Two Poems by Kevin Ridgeway

The Kid

The kid is maybe
thirteen years old,
raking the leaves
and dirt
of a small lawn
adjacent to
the bus stop
I’m sitting at

He sweats
while I sip
from a plastic
water bottle
full of wine,
and he curses
as I fumble for
my disabled

His father
at him
in Spanish
while I
in gibberish

I’m twenty five years
dressed in fly-bitten
and kissed
by the darkness
of my flophouse

this kid
is royalty
compared to me.

The Two Poets

I saw a well known-poet,
and I approached him
to introduce myself
and tell him I
admired his work

another well-known poet
who knew the well-known poet
I was talking to
rounded the corner
and the two men
greeted each other
this other poet looked at me,
who’s this?

I told him my name,
and his three name nom de plume
shattered my parent’s
meager baby book choices
like glass

as they walked away
from me,
a bird took a shit
on my notebook
of recent poems

Tethered by Melanie Browne

One day after
Valentine's Day
I surf the net for
conspiracy theories
like any good American.
I read about
Illuminati handshakes
so I know who they are,
I think about how cold
society has become,
I read zen books
and occasionally the bible
hoping to figure out
how to withstand
this permanent goose flesh,
how to tackle this inertia,
I think of us,
all tethered astronauts,
just one flimsy string
away from the final

Two Poems by H. L. Nelson

Mutinous Me

I’m going to explode one day,
I just know it.
Not an angry exploding
with limbs flailing
at the nearestperson,
due to something they said
or did.
I’m no Hulk
with super smashing skills.
You should not be afraid.
My explosion will begin
with a quiet surging
of skin.
Emotions suppressed
will jostle up
and jettison their way
out of my body
on tiny cell ships,
destined for less destitute,
more perfect planets.
My fingernails and cuticles
will fly off,
like boosters and external tanks,
not needed
for the trip.
My fingertips will
become small space pods
that rocket my mutinying
feelings far away.

One Week Late

I pee on the stick,
a zygotal divining rod,
and wait.
I wonder how many women
have done the same
and hoped for a different outcome,
translating the configurations
of pink lines into something positive
for their lives.
Hopes and dreams
not once considered
that hot night,
hips raised,
a larger stick between their thighs.

Two Poems by Brian Le Lay

Eulogy for a Modernist

They say he hung it all out to dry,
The old forms, his women,
The publishers in New York
Even himself. He said:

"I am not the spokesperson
For a generation," like a father
In denial of his children.
When he died, his women said:

"That's all you ever do;
All you ever do is go."

Blanket Fort

Your heart floats in holy water
When you French kiss
The California Merlot,
But when you were seven
At a moment like this
You would build a blanket fort
In your grandmother's
Dining room, which, then,
Was all you needed
To insulate yourself

el sangrado de algo precioso (the bleeding of something precious) by Michael Ashley‏


Juan kept
  his eye on
the target
through dirt
& dust
dos Chilangos
taking a stroll
San Pablo
in black
two shadows
in plinths
of sunlight
their pace
almost as if
they sense
& then
the gunshot
her hollow


Miguel mi
his face
blown wide
like the head
of a dark
-red Dahlia
& just before
the shot
fell between
his eyes
I smile
the moment
a tiny nugget
  of gold
in the filth
of Mexico


About Me

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