Joseph Farley

Worming In

Poetry is
an oily thing
that slips out
from pen or tongue.
It twists. It turns.
It makes everything
more or less or none.
The danger is
you’ll listen.
Rare chance that,
it’s true,
but words find
a way in,
and once inside
are very hard
to get rid of.

Angelica Arsan

In Control

I don’t care what I’m re-enacting
By letting you
Stick your dick
Inside me
What psychodrama
I’m re-staging
Or maybe
Just rehearsing
For an hour yet to come

All that matters
Is what I see
And touch
And feel
Your cock
Huge
Hard
Godlike
And your hands
Pinning me down
Making me behave
Annihilating my will

I’m performing
Acting out
I don’t know what I’m up to
But I do know
That it’s not you
It’s me
Who has
The greater urge

Fuck me hard
As hard as you can
Drag me to the bottom
Put me in control
Of all my rapists

James Babbs

Sometimes Broken Things

The deer were out there gathered in the field again. I told Emily about them but she didn’t seem interested. “Deer are always out there,” she said. “So what? Who fucking cares?”

“Oh,” I said. “Sorry.” I turned away from the window and went into the kitchen. I pulled another beer from the fridge and took a long drink.

“Did you hear anything from Sandra?” I asked as I came back into the living room.

Emily didn’t look up from her phone. “No,” she said. “I think she’s avoiding me.”

I sat down on the couch and took another drink from my beer. The beer was good and cold going down my throat. I heard Emily laughing about something on her phone but she didn’t say anything. I pulled out my phone and checked my emails. I didn’t have anything important so I deleted the new messages before finishing the rest of my beer. I went and got me another one and Emily kept playing on her phone. I was going to ask her something else but decided against it. Instead, I looked up the name of an actress I used to watch on an old TV show because I wanted to know what had happened to her and if she was still around.

“Hey,” Emily said, startling me after sitting for so long in the silence. “What was the name of that place we went to last week?”

“Hmm. You mean the place where we ate?”

“No. Shit. That antique place.”

“Oh,” I said. “Um, emporium something. Uh, Captain Bill’s Emporium.”

“Yes,” said Emily. “I got that lamp that doesn’t work.”

“Yeah,” I said. I took one more drink and emptied the bottle. “We could probably take it somewhere and get it fixed.”

“Maybe,” she said.

I got up and headed to the kitchen for another beer. I stopped next to Emily’s chair and looked at her.

“What are you doing?” She said.

I leaned toward her trying to keep my balance, holding the empty bottle in my hand. I kissed Emily and she laughed.

“You goofball,” she said.

I went into the kitchen and tossed the empty in the trash. The bottle hit against the other ones that were already in there and the sound it made seemed louder than it should have been. I opened the fridge and found one last beer sitting there on the shelf. I looked over at Emily and saw she was on her phone again. I reached for the bottle and slowly pulled it from the fridge before shutting the door and watching the light go out.

Alan Catlin

The Lamia

“A man who’s drinking is always dreaming
about a man who’ll listen.”

Kamel Daoud, The Meursault Investigation

The men she hung with all had
the scent of failure, half-baked on
alcohol and self-defeat, simply
waiting for someone to turn up
the flame, someone like her, who
would gladly supply the match.
A few dates with her and they were
inextricably joined at the hip like
sick Siamese twins or hosts to
parasites, drunk driving home from
bars as if it were a new kind of
On-the-road full contact sport
anyone with a BAC of 2.0 and above
could play. Despite a diet of Budweiser
and red wine, she remained lean
and wiry, only slightly withered
around the edges where skin met
bone as if she’d been left out in the rain
too long and dried off in a gale force
wind. Sunbathing topless pictures
of her were conversation pieces
along the bar all the regulars
tired to fake enthusiasm for, though
mostly they could have cared less,
felt the snaps were meant more as
relationship auditions than titillation
knowing her current man was a bottle or
two short of being used up and returned
for recycling or for the deposit, if she
could get one. Some guys compared
her to a vampire in clogs who might last
for centuries or until someone drove
a stake through her heart for the good
of all mankind. it was likely that would
happen anytime soon but it should.

G.P. DeSalvo

After the Meteor Shower

We set the collapsible table up in the garage. Our house was 175 years old and the garage was a cave of pink insulation and fifty pound salt bags (for the water softener).  It was haphazardly connected to the slat board shack where we slept and fought.  The night before the picnic, dad moved the Buick, our two rabbits and the tractor so we could sweep the place out.  We were so busy we missed the meteor shower.

The next day it was ugly hot, air so damp like breathing water.  I was sweating in my party suit.  Why did I wear this?

When I went to stir the bean dip, there was this enormous cockroach looking bug that was the typical color… like super-tanned hide, with a waxy sheen. Then, another thing appeared: a combination slug/turtle with the same exoskeleton.  It surfaced, shell first, in the chilé con queso, tilted back revealing its soft underbelly, and, from its behind, sprayed a viscous yellow fluid across the gingham table cloth.

Neither mom nor dad were anywhere to be found.  All the people arriving, that I thought I knew, were strangers of the most simple and needy variety.

As I prepared to start gathering things up, dulled by the lame horror creeping in my synapses and the doddering party attendees, I saw the “insects” outside: through the window in the garage.  Fat, pulsing larvae with wet green eyes and veined wings.  They swarmed in clouds clicking against the siding like sleet, splattering kamikaze on the windows.  There were so many of them, they snuffed the sun.  Now they were flying in, pinging off the guests, falling in the baked beans, dying in the Jello Pudding.  I was distracted by something else at that point.  I kept thinking, I need to immediately throw away all this food because there was no salvaging it; the creatures were dying, squirting and multiplying among the pot luck offerings faster than I could stumble across the oil-stained garage floor.

What is everyone going to eat?  A picnic isn’t a picnic without food.

I slipped on the nasty things three times, almost hitting my head on the picnic table bench as I scurried, responding to the conditions and questions from people I no longer recognized yet who seemed to know everything.  That is, everything except for where my parents where.

Overwhelmed, I ran around trying to act normal as possible while trying desperately to distract everyone from the increasingly grotesque environment. I belted an acapella version of One Direction’s ‘Bring Me Down’ while I dumped uneaten food, crockery and all, into the trash can.  As the fourth Pyrex dish of vermin riddled picnic food disappeared with a thud and a sharp crack into the plastic container, I noticed several homunculoid creatures (also with waxen flesh. but more ostensibly human) shivering in out-of-the-way places… as if they were consciously hiding, waiting for their opportunity to do… whatever.  One in particular was a larger half-formed ‘male’ dragging his misshapen torso and impotent legs around using heavily veined and sinewed arms.  The abomination was maybe a foot and a half long, its face a shrunken-head-mask consumed by grin: the hands claws.  When it moved, it left jellied blood streaks on the pavement.  When it noticed me noticing it with its one pus filled eye, it shambled under our tool bench at the far end of the garage as quickly as it could.  Which wasn’t very quickly at all.

I thought, “I have to kill these things.  I can kill the ones that have heads, and even the ones that don’t, by hitting them with a shovel.”  The shovel is always the go-to answer, isn’t it?   The best way to kill any slow-moving or maimed thing in the garage or backyard.  Shovel or hoe.  To avoid the splatter and mess, my solution was to open the rear door.  It was insane, considering this allowed more of the things to enter that way.  Nothing was leaving; the space was filling.  But, in my disordered thinking, maybe the chaos of the garage would be too much and, at least, the larger things would seek escape outside.  Then, I could follow and relentlessly smash… as many of them as I could… to death.

John Grochalski

fear and loathing at the hibachi restaurant

the suburban goth girl
with the blue hair
and purple eyeshadow
didn’t know you could refuse the side salad
so it sits there coagulating
under the hot lights
as the blonde at the table next to us
drunkenly shouts across the room to her pals
something about ruining her new shoes
from dropping some of her third drink on them
something about her husband’s birthday
and the president being close to god
she’s had three sexy ladies tonight
and if she doesn’t vomit
she says there might be room for a fourth
and
wink
wink
a special surprise for hubby when they get home
as everyone around her
laughs and laughs
doing the puritan end-of-the-work-week rage
and i wonder what a goth girl
with blue hair and purple eyeshadow
is doing in a hibachi restaurant
on a friday night
other than tilting the perfect picture
making things a tad askew
contributing another food waste in wasteful america
but this big, dumb colossus of stolen land
is full of surprises
and growing up in small cities
breeds a kind of useless rebellion
and plastic discontent
that can only be found at the mall
you can make mountains out of molehills
in the knowing light the chain store’s come-hither stare
i wonder what i’m doing here
hundreds of miles from home
anchoring the dead weight of citizenry
unnecessarily sober at a hibachi restaurant
stuck inside of buffalo, new york
with the brooklyn blues again
coming off a panic attack on the i-81
where i couldn’t breathe
and had to pull the car over to the side of the road
as idiot patriots with bumper sticker prophesies
zipped by me
going 90 in a 65
but across from me the hibachi chef
he knows my fate
he’s squirting sake into the mouths of babes
red faced business men
with their necks too fat for their oxfords
frat boys with their hats on backwards
greasing up their dates
for their own patriarchal surprise later
a sea of jaws undulating, filling up with all of that booze
spilling out of their mouths onto the table
because people can never get enough
of the free stuff
the chef asks me if i want a taste
i want to tell him that i think anxiety is just another word for america
i want to tell him that i’m thinking art is dead
how i’m ready to capitulate
move to the burbs
buy a car and complain about the traffic
hoist that fucking flag every morning
learn to live for the weekend
and how to love parades
each a hibachi dinner with my wife and good pals
each and every single friday night
buy the boss a christmas gift
and learn how to change a flat tire
burn all of my books
and walt whitman in effigy
at a neighborhood weenie roast
but i say no
and go back to my flat beer
keeping my flat opinions to myself
as he squirts some oil on the grill
and sets our world ablaze
with a flame that reaches almost to the roof
red and yellow and orange
tickling our fancy
we ooh and awe like cavemen in discovery’s first light
catching broccoli in our mouths
from an expert flip
huffing and huffing
at its heat
filming it all on our cell phones
as dead meat fries and sizzles
as sexy lady number four is presented to the table
to claps and chants
and soft debauchery
as the blonde woman screams and screams and screams
her useless constitution
and hubby knows
that
wink
wink
will just be her passing out again
as he circle jerks the witching hour
toggling between espn and fox news and internet porn
while back here on hibachi mother earth
a mountain of crystal white onion on the grill
burns like a tire fire
from a fizzled-out riot
in an abandoned strip mall
parking lot
of the mind

and to be perfectly honest with you
…i didn’t eat my goddamned side salad either

Marc Blackie

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Marc Blackie is a English photographer and filmmaker, whose often controversial work has been described as “Bergmanesque Erotica” & “Jarringly combining eroticism with the uncomfortable and sinister” by the New York Magazine and, less eloquently perhaps, as “if created by David Lynch with a Hard-on”.

His photographs and films convey an ever-so-slightly queasy interpretation of the erotic imagination, via a variety of sexual scenarios and surrealistically charged visions, displaying no small degree of cynicism towards their subject matter and imbued with a laconic wit.

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After following a successful career as a photographer, exhibiting Worldwide, including Paris, Rome, London, New York and more, Blackie turned his attention to the medium of cinema and has to date produced over twenty films.

His last project “Fucking Doesn’t Help” premiered at Vienna’s Atelier Theatre and went on to win the “Best Experimental Film” award at the 2017 Hong Kong Third Culture film festival and Nick Knight’s ShowStudio has recently featured his two film collaborations with Tessa Kuragi, “Adoration” and “Sometimes, My Body Betrays Me”.

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Blackie’s work is unashamedly unrestrained. Comparisons are as likely to be drawn from Buñuel’s “Un Chien Andalou” as from tropes to be found in contemporary pornography or an unnerving dream one can’t quite shake. This has lead to film screenings being halted by the British Council and an occasional hostile reception to his work from audiences, but Blackie’s work continues to push boundaries and challenge preconceived notions of desire, lust and the ridiculousness of the human libido.

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He still continues to pursue an interest in photography, though the short films are now his greatest passion.

He has also produced a number of music videos whilst pursuing a vocation as a cinematographer and writer and currently lives in London, with a variety of emotional issues as they take up less room than cats.

More of Marc’s work can be viewed below:

http://www.disappointedvirginity.com

 

Rhonda Parrish

Grampa Got Bit

There’s a board on the pole for his feet
but the damned things are never still;
always running mid-air marathons.
He lost a shoe in the corn stalks,
kicked it off one day, I reckon.
He keeps the birds away, though,
his gnashing teeth and flailing limbs
far more effective than any man
stuffed with straw