By Randy Thurman, Oct 18, 2008
Tai Dong Huai
LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO HIDE WHEN THE WORLD GOES OUT
By Lester Allen, Sep 25, 2008
the threat of fire or
flood means very little
to one resting soundly
in a Manhattan hotel room
with clean drapes and
saucer of mints on the dresser
by the door
a room that for one night
might be feasible but a
week it could never last
so you stretch each second
as long as it will go
like child’s eyes on a movie
after bedtime or the
“truths” of the many
politicians driving this country
the lizards slither from the
to return as men
mean & ugly and so disillusioned
with life that it isn’t
even life but a side-show act
at a carnival now packed in upon a train and
riding the tracks to nowhere
I become curious about the
inner workings of the tv
even when it is working it is
perfectly broken and filled
with people who know
ask no questions
I do not wish to meet these people
but I have as of yet
found no way to completely avoid them
in restaurants they will be there on the street
in the museums they will be there
the art galleries the parks
especially in the municipal
buildings the squad cars
& country clubs
they will be there
thicker than all
the other places like
tree sap between fingers
trying to make peace
with the whole but
there is never any lasting
peace only the occasional
tolerances of lesser men
striving to be somebody
anybody and usually
failing money cannot make them
or golf strokes
or lack of humanity
heads become lodged is assholes
every day and yet
the broken tv mentions
the conditioned air of this
is too much so
the sheets upon my
skin feel like I imagine
a good massage might feel
or perhaps my satisfaction lies
in the knowing
that when the waters do rise
or flames fix to blaze
they will be taking
Postal dude by day, beer-drunk, pen-wielding madman by night. Lester has scattered his poems across the small presses with poems recently appearing in Up the Staircase, Debris Magazine, and Poetry Warrior. He has two books forthcoming from d/e/a/d/b/e/a/t press of California. Visit him at his MySpace.THE IDIOT IN CHARGE
By Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal, Jul 06, 2008
The idiot comes to my desk,
calls me a genius,
trying to be a funny guy.
I would respond, hey idiot
if I wanted to, but
why state such an obvious thing?
I listen to the idiot
and pretend he knows
what he is talking about. He’s
a made guy around these parts. This
is not the mafia.
But it seems like it sometimes with
all these cronies and wise guys who
defend each other’s poor
excuse for management. In his
office he snores sitting down on
his chair during work hours.
He comes in an hour late and leaves
one hour early. Collects his check
while others work themselves
to death and near madness. Perhaps
the idiot is really a
genius slacking off.
But he still remains an asshole.
Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal has a new chapbook out called Garden of Rocks from Kendra Steiner Editions.House Sitting
By Renee Emerson, Aug 26, 2008
Five days in the luxury
of a borrowed home, using
a place that does not belong
to us: the pine-paneled
floors and leather sofas, the empty
bedrooms, guestrooms, office
with paperwork they have
not yet finished, pantries
with foods we would never eat—
the cans of cerignola olives, pickled
tomatoes, organic strawberries, jars
of peach preserves, from unlabeled
summers where you and I lived
states away in homes we paid for
by the month.
When we leave,
the house fills with its familiars,
and we move again, the transient
residents of every place we’ve ever been.
Renee Emerson is an MFA student at Boston University. She was born and raised in Eads, TN, and currently resides with her husband and two cats in Malden, MA.Nubian
By Antony Hitchin, Sep 10, 2008
twisting in lights
her index finger curled
always there waiting to serve
smelling of Columbian and sweet
like a child skipping new feet
her light seas
black like death cries, black as Nubian coffee’s black,
leather curves sticky with
bare light bulb
blurs a halo
white like mortuary.
Antony Hitchin is a thirty-one-year-old prose and poetry writer, and co-editor of Eviscerator Heaven. He has recently been a Guild of Outsider Writers Feature Poet and has been published or is forthcoming in Underground Voices, Serious Ink Press (web & spoken-word CD), Fissure, Geeek, The Gut, Origami Condom, Gloom Cupboard, Instant Pussy, a UK Anthology by Forward and many others. Visit Antony at his MySpace.
Borrowing Night From Day
By William Lusk Coppage, Aug 09, 2008
At seventeen, we dropped acid
like the changing leaves in autumn. Brightly colored
bits of paper floating down to the ground, our tongues.
We drove the levees—
long serpents of dirt, twisting
our underage breaths with Red Stripe, while our lungs
screamed to Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails,
and against our city—
the low lying lands of farms and forest,
faults deeper than our silt rich soil.
We took shots of whiskey
from the bottle of a black man
outside a country corner juke. He laughed as I puked
and drove away. We leapt over railroad crossings—
four tires flew through the night,
flew through untilled fields, mud
and clay, caking wheel-wells and boot heels.
We climbed water towers
but never spray-painted our names. We kept guns
next to our heads, paraded on racks
for display, but never thought
to use them on each other. One night, Thomas had a knife.
He was sick of the constant torment
of varsity blues, the blue blood’s attitudes.
You hate me?
You hate me?
Then here, use this, kill me now motherfucker!
He didn’t die that night, but was reborn.
No one fucked with him anymore. Calling their bluff,
he walked back to our car
slow and confident. And as we drove
through the night, our electric veins,
a pulse only heard by us, thumped
and thumped as city lights became stars
and flickered out of existence.
Drawing on personal experiences of growing up in the Mississippi Delta, William Lusk Coppage takes his readers on a journey through lush landscapes, high school anxieties, and adolescent hell-raising, all the while tackling the internal conflict of identity and responsibility to family. He received his BFA in poetry at the University of North Carolina - Wilmington and is currently enrolled in the MFA program at McNeese State University. Visit him at his MySpace.They always get what they want
By Aleathia Drehmer, Aug 10, 2008
The thought of mating rituals
has not been entertained in years
and she fails to notice
the dances going on around her,
already captured and caged
forgetting the thrill of a man’s advances;
The smell of cologne, hands at the small of her back
or a gentle cupping of the elbow.
She has forgotten how close
He’ll lean in to whisper nothings in her ear
about dinner or music or even the weather,
and she won’t hear words,
only the treble in his voice
as it vibrates across her skin.
She remembers now about the loud music
and its excuse for him to angle into her
to smell the sweetness of her shampoo
mixed with the excited musk of her flesh.
In turn he knows his breath,
warm and fast, will melt her
in all the right places
regardless of what he says.
And he plays cat and mouse, easing back,
out and away from her,
knowing she is hungry
Aleathia Drehmer is a writer who has spent the first two and a half decades of her life moving around America with her family like a band of gypsies. She now finds herself settled in the village of Painted Post, NY, with her darling daughter and their crazy cat Carrot. She is a co-editor of Zygote in My Coffee. Her work can be found in print and online in some of these fine journals: Silenced Press, Ottawa Arts Review, Laura Hird Showcase, Cause & Effect, The Cerebral Catalyst, Word Riot, Gloom Cupboard, Cherry Bleeds, Kill Poet, and Lit Up Magazine.Driving with the Top Down
By Christine Hamm, Aug 15, 2008
You’re touching my waist, my hips, but it’s not you,
it’s the guy who looks like you and we’re climbing
the stairs between rooms of warm pink light, complicated
wallpaper and soft, soft gray couches. One of my
friends—the long-haired one with hand tattoos—
is trying to teach us guitar, but we can only watch
each other’s lips and tongues. Your words have a
feel, they feel like felt or a wool skirt and everything
is just a little too hot so I take off my skirt and I’m
wearing my knee socks pulled all the way
up and some high-heeled boots which catch on
the rug while we leave the noisy warm room with
its guitar music and lacy pink drapes, but you catch
my hand, you grab me by the elbow and haul me
up and you say, next time, I’m driving.
Christine Hamm is a PhD candidate in English Literature at Drew University. She won the MiPoesias First Annual Chapbook Competition with her manuscript, Children Having Trouble with Meat. Her poetry has been published in The Adirondack Review, Pebble Lake Review, Lodestar Quarterly, Poetry Midwest, Rattle, and over ninety others. She has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, and she teaches English and poetry writing at Rutgers University. The Transparent Dinner, her book of poems, was published by Mayapple Press in 2006. Christine was recently named a runner-up to the Poet Laureate of Queens. Visit her at her blog.A Common Place
By Mitch James, Sep 04, 2008
There’s a coffee gospel screaming from the grinder,
Crossing a matrix of chatter on politics,
There’s a cute blonde who always talks to me,
Wanting to know what I’m working on from day to day,
And I want to invite her to sit,
But she brandishes her bible
I can’t tell her I kill children, mothers,
Whole families in my mind,
That I want to make a living doing it,
Feed her future children with it...
Homework, I reply. Always reply.
She smiles in that Christian way;
It says marry me so I can fuck,
Love, have children
Get into heaven.
I smile back with that smile that says
Darling, we’re there,
Buffets, the starving,
Free to fuck
Morning after pills.
Please wake up, stupid bitch.
You didn’t invent it all.
I want to tell her I believe in God, too,
But I don’t understand it.
She’ll never understand that sort of thing.
Peter and Paul sit on the couch,
Preaching back and forth.
They’ve never gone to war,
Had a broken heart—
Cum inside a woman.
Unfaltering faith, one of them utters.
It’s easy, here, to be unfaltering
How would they respond to
To their God in Sudan?
Mitch James was born and raised in Central Illinois, where he received a BA in English with a minor in creative writing from Eastern Illinois University. He currently lives in Pennsylvania, where he just completed his Masters degree in Literature. He has had fiction and poetry published in such journals as Westward Quarterly and The Vehicle, and hopes to be getting his feet wet in a PhD or MFA program in creative writing this time next year.ELEGANT RAINCOATS, NEGLECTED GARDENS
By Oliver Rice, Sep 08, 2008
We are here, he says, between thesis and antithesis,
are here, they say, with horoscopes, gondolas,
kebabs cooking in dingy shops,
here, he says, between mysticism and rationalism,
here, they say, with casinos, fish tanks,
resthouses in the African bush,
flea markets, neglected gardens,
rules of the tea ceremony,
between Dionysus and Apollo, Eros and Thanitos,
with elegant raincoats, dancing horses,
saxophones seizing the night,
dog races, button boxes,
poppies on the rolling hills,
dream houses, karate lessons,
gulls at low tide on the flats.
Oliver Rice has received the Theodore Roethke Prize and twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His poems have appeared widely in journals and anthologies in the United States, as well as in Canada, England, Austria, Turkey, and India. His book of poems, On Consenting to Be a Man, has been introduced by Cyberwit, a diversified publishing house in the cultural capital Allahabad, India, and is available on Amazon.com.
Knowing You Possess Nothing
By Matthew D’Abate, Aug 08, 2008
Hell of a thing
just takes a couple of moments
to really ingest
a couple breaths
swimming in quicksand
when one person becomes memory
you start to believe that there
has never been a time that they had existed
that they had touched you
that they have never told you
they loved you
you think that all the smiles
accumulated in all those
moments have never amounted to anything
but the problem really is
is that each human being
has numerous special moments
the heart being a most
it says one thing one year
and does the opposite the next
the potential for love
is the same as the flower stem
reaching towards the sun
it just keeps pointing to the light
the thing is that no one owns the light
or the direction of it
but grows towards it
despite the silence
and the gravity below.
Matthew D’Abate splits his time between his writing desk and the bar he is gainfully employed at. Drinking helps. Art is better. Dating is silly. He has completely accepted his cliché of bartender/writer. Luckily, alcohol makes it all go away. His fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in Thieves Jargon, Dogmatika, Word-Myth, The Pedestal Magazine, Cherry Bleeds, and Zygote in My Coffee. He lives in Brooklyn, NYC.The Game Show Hour
By Theresa Edwards, Aug 26, 2008
At home, in the quick intervals of my
husband’s channel changing, the
consonants and vowels toggle
on a flashing billboard like Scrabble
pieces in air. Wheel flaps sound
like those old playing cards
in the spokes of that two-wheeler
I rode when I was eleven.
The Wheel of Fortune makes me think
of all the nights my parents dozed on and off,
tired bodies plopped on each other
or at opposite sides of an orange couch.
Jeopardy’s final-round theme song
reminds me of the 7-8 p.m. ritual:
my father stating the questions,
me wanting to change the channel,
my mother, eyes closed, mumbling throughout
the game-show hour under her breath.
I watch my husband offer the right guess
to the distinguished host who, no matter
who he is, never seems to age
in the façade of plasma skewing.
Even tired Vanna stays the course:
teeth whiter than any of ours who whiten
every couple of months, blue liners
hollowing out half-an-hour smiles.
And I’m aware of truths: my parents,
dead more than ten years each,
resonate in a glow of TV game shows.
In those interludes of Jeopardy,
I lounge, eyes closed, head tucked perfectly
in between my husband’s armpit and shoulder.
He helps to ease the ache: press of knuckles
against my left breast bone—
my parents’ absence.
Theresa Edwards’s poetry has appeared in Triplopia, AdmitTwo, Boxcar Poetry Review, Clean Sheets Magazine, Softblow, Chronogram, and elsewhere. She has an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing (poetry). She tutors writing at Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY, and is founder and editor of Holly Rose Review, a new online poetry and tattoo literary journal.THE MADNESS OF ACTION FIGURES
By Jason Hardung, Sep 02, 2008
When I lay down to sleep
war is declared between my ears two
ideals one on the verge of change
and the other a nation of small plastic
soldiers with no home and angry
that they can’t walk because their
legs don’t bend like normal
When I had baby teeth and believed
life was unbreakable
my mom warned me not to take
C-3PO and Luke Skywalker in the
bath tub with me.
Their limbs will lose elasticity
she would say and plus light
sabers don’t work underwater you idiot.
I didn’t listen.
And the British robot’s electrical system
went haywire while a ring
of dirt stuck to the edge of the tub.
I stuck him in a shoebox
and never defended the fate of the universe
with him again.
I think of people in my life like
my friend Paul that was always an asshole
but one night in the snowy mountains he
almost died in a highway car crash
heading west to Laramie
to see some girl
he just met.
He ended up in a coma for a couple months
with a head injury and when he came to
he would play with himself
so the nurses could see
and bit doctors with his dirty mouth.
He was a bigger asshole than before.
All it took was a cracked white
skull on black ice
to make him a monster.
I have a shoebox full of friends
buried in my closet.
Sometimes it’s water
a brutal crash
a needle in a vein
an unsympathetic cock
broken teeth on the sidewalk
an angry flower peddler
a divine intervention.
Sometimes it’s nothing at all.
Jason “Juice” Hardung is a late bloomer. After years of trying to live the junkies dream, he decided that junkies’ dreams never come true. He went to rehab and shook the insecurities out of his head and decided to pick up the pen again after a ten-year hiatus. Since then he has been published in Zygote in My Coffee, Lummox Journal, Underground Voices, Covert Poetics, Heroin Love Songs, Thrasher, Polarity, Flutter, The Socialist Women, Matter, Red Pulp Underground, Juice, Thick with Conviction, Iodine Poetry Journal, Sunken Lines, Up the Staircase, Outsider Writers, Straight from the Fridge and many more. He has two chapbooks forthcoming and readings across the country. He is an editor for Matter Journal Front Range Review and managing editor of the Great Ecstatic Reporter. He also is the Beards Minister Of Defense. He resides in Ft. Collins, Colorado, with his cat and they watch mountains out the window.the only time i remember laughing with the old man
By Justin Hyde, Oct 02, 2008
we were watching
and chong movie.
they were siphoning gas
from a parked car
length of hose.
cheech got some
in his mouth
getting it started.
i was young
five or six years old
didn’t really understand
why we were laughing.
it felt good.
His name is Justin Hyde. He lives in Iowa where he works with criminals.