Levi C. Dunn

What Not Being Depressed Feels Like

Holly and I went down to sell plasma
seven days a week and never bled
a drop or squeezed centrifuge release
or felt the cold return
that exchanged money to burn.

Every time Holly and I arrived
shaking and glancing at other folks
who supplemented their odd habits
such as children and crushed pills
straight glass pipes and electric bills.

Every time we leafed through paperwork
every time shocked by the details of blood
and what doctors might find in the test
seven days I pushed the papers at
the nurse with whispered bullshit.

Same bullshit seven different ways all cuts the same.

Seventh day we sat on Holly’s bed
in her disgusting room where we bred flies
and traded most pleasant lies,
where I’d leave her when she’d cry
and I’d go fuck someone else.

The seventh day she lifted her face
quick away from the shimmering plate
And swallowed back something cheap and sharp.

Snorted with cute fist on nose
with a theory to propose
she asked, “is this what not being depressed feels like?”

John Dervishian

A Lesson In Listening To Others

For 3 weeks straight
she called every night
looking to come over
what did I care
I had nothing else going on
I’m not sure why
I never considered myself
a great lover
but one person’s trash
is someone else’s treasure
so maybe I was hers

there would be very little
in conversation
we would strip down
have sex
make some noises
smoke cigarettes
like the orgasms were
all that great
and then just lay there
that was the most real
I ever felt
as her finger tips
gently moved
up & down
torso to chest
and back

she would then try to talk
about “us”
future plans
I would pretend to listen
as I remained in my own sanctuary

morning would come and she would leave
just as she came
with very little conversation

the phone stopped ringing after a while
I wondered what happened
I guess I should have paid more attention
to what she was saying

she probably broke up with me
and I didn’t even know it


you’re sure you still don’t wanna shower with me?

that you’re gone
I need to learn
how to be

I have to
how to sleep alone,
how to eat alone,
how to watch movies alone,
how to take showers alone,
and let me tell you,
just aren’t as fun
without a nice, cute,
naked girl
next to you.

I took
a shower
and it made me
It made me sad
because you weren’t there
and dancing
and wiggling your wet butt
to punk rock tunes
playing off
your phone.
When the shower head
saw you weren’t there
with me today
it cried salty tears
on me
instead of water,
and that made me
wanna cry too,
because crying
can be contagious
like laughing,
and like herpes,
and like laughing herpes.
I was so sad
I didn’t know
what to do,
so I just stood there
and thought about how
if you hold
a black comb facing
on your upper lip
it looks like a mustache,
but if you hold it
facing upwards
over your lips
it looks like you have
a robot smile.
Those are
the kinds of things
you think about
when you’re sad
and alone
and the shower head
is crying
on you.

Then I remembered
I was supposed to be
but I didn’t wanna
shower alone,
so I went to my room,
and grabbed my old, stuffed
teddy bear.
His name
is Cool Bear.
(I’ve had him
since I was 6 months old)
He and I
used to be pretty tight,
so I had him
shower with me.
It wasn’t the same
as when you showered
with me
He didn’t sing
or dance
or wiggle his wet butt.
it was kind of awkward.
He just stared at me
the whole time
with this really blank
on his face.
It made me
really uncomfortable,
so I tried
washing his back
like I used to do
wash yours
but it wasn’t
as nearly
as nice.
You had nice, clean,
smooth skin,
and he had fur.
Lathering up
a furry back
doesn’t feel nice.
Not even a little bit.
Actually it feels
kind of gross.
My dick used to get hard
lathering up your back,
but I didn’t even
come close
to getting hard
lathering up his back.
I don’t think stuffed animals
are meant to be
showered with,
but I just didn’t know
what else
to do.

The whole thing
was a bad idea.
If anything,
it just made me
miss you more,
and although
I wasn’t aware of it
at the time,
it made me realize
I was beginning
to fall in love
with you

is having someone
who makes all the
mundane, boring shit
we have to do
on a daily basis
if not fun
and special.

felt much more special
with you around.
Even just
sitting next to you
and biting my nails.

You’re way better
than a teddy bear,
and not to belittle Cool Bear,
but you give
way better head

I miss you.

Joseph Farley

family life

in the future
if you want
a family,
but cannot
afford one,
you will be able
to rent one
by the hour.

there will be
“Mom” and Junior
and Babs
the teenage daughter
and even gramps
in the attic
gummy without
his teeth.

you will sit down
to dinner with them,
ask your “wife’
about her day,
ask the kids
how school was.

you will listen
to everything
that is said
and dispense
fatherly advice
puffing on a pipe.

after you have
cleared the table
and done the dishes
an argument
will occur.

Junior or Babs
or both
will make a scene
over some small
and you will seek
to impose order.

your efforts
at authority
will be met
with sass
and disrespect.

you will put
one or both
of the children
in turn
over your knee
and give them
perhaps lingering
over long
on one of
their asses,
drawing shouts
from “mom”
and colds stares
from gramps,
but you will
pull back,
restrain your
base instincts
so as not
to violate
the terms
of your contract,
and save
the whippings
for the bedroom
as you spend
the night
as man and wife,
rings upon fingers,
with this rented
only too happy
to oblige
your wildest whim
so long as you
stick around
in the morning
and make some
to the house.

Josh Jordan

Driving, as you ride me out of my Mind

Oh I Drive
and throttle forward
At my most
Maximum speed!
I push
Yes I Push
My desire to it’s
Undress me
in your mind?
No, not this Time!
Panties pulled down
at the speed of my design
Get a good look?
Yeah I’ll bet you did
As black fabric is spread wide,
and they slip down my thighs
You think it’s to entice your desire
But really it is what makes
Me feel in tune
with my ravenous mind

It’s torture isn’t it?
As I make you watch
while I play with where you
Most want to reside
It’s mine to give
as I shift your gears
With the sight of Me
fingering so wickedly!
You see that darkened lace
and hear my growing rapture
Barely holding on,
you want to devour me
So rabidly
And as I bite your ear
teasing you beyond belief
I whisper so lustfully
Slip them all the way off
When I say it’s time,
When I’m ready
For you to drive me
it better be right,
it better be intense
You best meet my desires
As only a girl would

My hand manipulates the wheel
Oh so very easily
You imagine it were you
my hand would grasp so
As you are throbbing so intensely
Now listen to my command
if you want any chance
of getting the honor
to please me!

Get that head between my legs
As I thrust your face towards me
Push me with that tongue of yours
Shift my gears so deeply
Press yourself into me
until I release so greedily
And if you ever want to (come) with me
make sure I
Quiver with legs shaking
in vibration, violently
Otherwise you’ve lost your chance
As you’ve lost your ride
And in the agony of
your non climax
You have learned your lesson
as you have lost your pride
Never again to experience
my Insatiable drive

M.P. Powers

A Rainy Afternoon at Lester’s Diner

… and I was eavesdropping on the couple
who’d just moved into the booth
behind me.
“so,” he says, “do you wanna hear the real story,
or the made-up one?”

“the real one,” she says.

“alright, well… i had a date last night.”

“oh, good for you, tom. i’m so glad
to hear that.”

“so am i,” he says.

(pause) “well, how was it?”

“lemme put it
this way,” he says. he taps
his cup on the table, sighs. “hmmm. how do i tread
lightly here with the
words? okay. it’s like this: while you and the kids
were asleep
last night, I was up till three in the morning
getting my cock

“shhh… quiet down…”

“fuck that. i don’t care about any
of these people here.
one of the best nights I ever had.
and ya know what?”


“she was much better than you
at giving head…”

“oh really?”

“yeah, really. you know why?”


“coz she swallowed. you never swallowed
my batch.
not once.”

just then my bill arrived. i paid it.
made a few presumptions
on the way to my car: divorcees.

she left him, completely ruined him,
has custody,
etc., etc.

and his blowjob stunk compared
to telling
her about it.

Casey Renee Kiser


He says it’s so good to see me.
He jokes and asks if I’ve gotten shorter.
He frets over saying something else clever but
as I remember, that’s as good as it gets.
He says he’s married now
(though he’s not wearing a ring).
He notices me noticing but I don’t ask about it.
He asks if I have time to get a drink.
I squint and look at my watch.
Fuck, I’m a poet. I don’t wear a watch.
I bite my lip. My heart beats fast.
I scratch my head and look confused
(it’s the one emotion I can fake).
I say,
‘What was your name again?’

Craig Sernotti


He invites you up to Alaska.

You spend the week
wishing he didn’t have a mullet
and bending over so he can
fuck your ass.

When you get home you
wish you had stayed.

He stops calling and answering your e-mails.
You try to forget him.
Your husband fucks your ass
but it isn’t the same.

Jessie Bushman

Relationship Calculus

I met her at a party,
chatting casually over cocktails,
trudging through the strain
of strangers sharing the same space
by cycling through canned questions:
Where are you from?
What do you do?
I see her face flinch
when I tell her I teach poetry.
I see the sympathy seeping
from her eyes
as the remnants of the tenuous connection
that was forming dies.

I always preferred math
She explains, curtly.
The way the numbers lined up
in neat rows to march to
rigidly right answers.

Oh God, I want to scream,
believe me, I know!
Calculations are incredibly comforting,
like a blanket of confidence
blocking out cold confusion.
And if it weren’t such an intrusion,
I would ask her to tell me:
if I add up all of my mistakes–
every neglectful night you spent alone
with me by your side,
every compliment I never gave,
every ignored plea for attention,
every game we never played–
and I subtract every misstep you made,
could she calculate who was to blame
for this mangled marriage?

If I had known her for a fraction
longer than this five-minute farce,
I would have asked her to figure for me:
exactly how many three-hour arguments
raised to the power of cunt
= leave
and how many hot meals,
small favors,
and belly laughs
from inside jokes
only you understand
= stay

If I didn’t notice her eyes
seeing everything but me,
her mind searching for
the just-right reason to leave,
I would have asked her:
How many months of
should I add
to those degrading diatribes
you dutifully deliver
enumerating my every
deficiency, before I
have to factor in

As she slipped away from
the conversation
we weren’t even having,
I begged the back of her head
to just tell me:
If, as you say,
I took someone precious
and broke them–
not out of malice,
but because my young heart
was careless–
how long should I spend
cleaning up my mess?

Believe me, I want to tell
every engineer who side-eyes
the e.e. cummings I idolize,
I would trade every poem on Earth
for the ability to solve for why.