Peter Magliocco

Maybe the Illiterate Demigods

Poets are the most pedestrian people of all:
They can’t pretend to be Rock stars,
Wearing trendy garb & looking hip
Sporting Elton John sunglasses – no,
They are the everyday sorts you see
Looking like hell in supermarkets
Shopping for what might be a last supper.
From lips of bourgeois infidels
Streaming across minds of mad men,
The poets blend in with the crowd
& sing their songs in sotto voce
While mice & men wage war constantly
For the might of the illiterate demigods
Lusting for greater corporate oligarchy
To feed the mass media mendacity.
“But I’m not a poet,” you tell me,
“Just another whore jerking you off.
Don’t cry out at my illiterate hands
Caressing your balls while you pretend
To be jaded, in extremis …”
My words don’t mean shit, I know that:
All the profound rhetoric we flood blogs
& the social media quagmire are negligible, I tell you;
It took you to find me a phony underneath
The spasm-moments of the void
Evacuating the sperm count of humanity
Crying out its language of lusts
In a nanosecond where your clit
Merged with the colossus of time,
Riddling me with your tonguing slit-
Vacuum (where the cum resides
In sweet syllables for the one night stand?).

Give me one more head, Magdalene, then
I might learn the gospels of your lust
Written in the palm
Of your savior’s bleeding hand.

Michael D. Amitin

Holy Candle Blues

In the red-sweet sunset
angel brother bends his blown glass ear
over the wall of eternity
listening in on my restless rathouse jam

She entered peeling story-caked walls
riding lightning rod brooms
swept me out to half-dippermoon bridge
we swung downtown where
waltzing heirs warmed six-figure derrieres above smorgasboard fires
I faked all the right questions into hell’s paradise

panting at the emerald city orgasm
waiting beneath her olive skin gypsy thin cocktail feast
ignoring the runaway beast

and someone beamed
they make a great couple
as we dished sweat
to god’s blistering last-chance desperate romance bugle call
my ragged sailor heart pirouetting out the hornpipe door
where muddy cliffs lick their chops and more..

On the way down
the devil in white linen gown served dark red obsession wine
before flaming flambé soft brown coconut limbs stole my grin
a fly doing backflips in the honey pot

The lava-baked sea
million miles away
a moaning rusted ship creaked like a red infection
begging to be freed from the last ripples in that skin game port

You knew all along prophet of the beautiful tracks
that my ramble played in a forest of doom
I surrendered dear Monk in the sad samba night

That wind pushed me mountains away
flushed me out of hiding in the prehistoric pubescent
road-burnt grotto
at the piano bar you played me like a thundering chord
till a midnight candle grabbed the shades
fire roaring down in flames
we crawled like god’s sweet snails to the clear-as-a-bell day

Glaring up through the dark blue smoke
where red sunset angel rained wild, untamed amazing grace ashes
down on desperate love’s last twitch
applauding the singed curtain call
live! live! he cried from his bongo perch on heaven street
hot orange coals fading in the chilled breeze
words we’ll never speak again you and I
unless fate has too much time to deal strange train cards

This harp strung midnight reverie
sad violins hijack innocent dreams
and twist the arm of violet-coated wishes

In my hidden dark room
holy candle blues…
whispers a sea wind blowing

Dave Cullern

The Torture King

When I was young,
But not that young,
I wanted to run away
With the circus
Of course
But my skill set
Lent itself only
To banging in the pegs

I could have been a geek
I guess
But I’ve never liked
The taste of snakes
And I can only get so drunk
Before I vomit up
The reservations of sobriety

I read a book
About eating glass,
Dreamed of getting on
That ferris wheel truck
I saw from my parents car window
On motorway drives
To safe holiday villages

I lay on spiked beds
For my school friends
But my sinuses
Never accepted masonry nails
And juggling anything other than my balls
Was always going to be perilous
And end in bloody sheets

So I stayed home,
Read long books
About freaks
And carnies
And wrestlers and crime,
Dark shit
Of course

But I always wished
I’d learnt to fall,
Practised up a funny walk,
Picked up tips on
Taking a custard pie to the face
Like the clown
I always longed to be.

J.J. Campbell

certain rushes of blood 

she walked into the room
and immediately reminded
me of stevie nicks

i needed to pause for a second

certain rushes of blood can
bring me to my knees these
days

she had the laugh of the most
beautiful demon i have ever
seen

she saw me and said hello

i raised my glass of scotch
and she said i hear you write
some poems

oh shit, people are finally
talking about the elephant
in the room

she then wanted to know if
i wrote the poem about eating
her panties under a neon moon

i decided to take the bait and
said yes

she said she admires someone
that can use their imagination
in such a vivid way

i would love to replace the
imagined events with experience

she laughed and said buy me
a drink and see if you have the
balls to take the shot

Mark Anthony Pearce

Kevin

Kevin has a slightly inflamed liver
From drinking so much
He’s suffered from agoraphobia
And the alcohol takes away his fears
The flat where he lived
Became uninhabitable
And he was threatened
By some local gypsy
That if he didn’t get him any Valium
He’d cut his arms and legs off
Kevin knows a bit about dismembered legs
Nine years in the army
His best friend got his leg blown off
During friendly fire
While he was training up in Royston
He had to pick up his best friend’s leg
He said and take it to the doctors
But they said there was nothing they could do
Kevin has Lucy tattooed on his left hand
And doesn’t want to talk about the army much
He’d fought in the First Gulf War
But he said nothing much happened there

Ardleigh Ward,
The Lakes Mental Health Centre,
Colchester, February 2011

Bogdan Dragos

Failing Forward

in high school
he repeatedly told her
that he was saving
himself for marriage

and eventually
she left him alone
but after graduation
she approached him
yet again

and this time he told her
that he was focusing on
his career as a writer

they both had their dreams
and they kept dreaming and
fighting to accomplish them,
insisting and getting up
from every defeat

failing forward
as some would say

It took decades but
eventually both of their
dreams came true

they were married
and he still hadn’t struck a deal
with any publisher but
made a relatively okay
income self-publishing

he wrote for a very narrow niche
very trashy erotic fiction
and his lovely wife helped him
with inspiration and research

“C’mon,” he urged her,
“moan a bit harder,
cry some too.”

she did as she was told
as he went around her
with the camera

it was hard work but
at least the German Shepard
fucking her from behind
had fun

Donna Dallas

The Dead Know

Death goes unnoticed the day
your blood seeps out of
your virginity cup, the day
you lie, eagle-spread, younger
than spring, forgetting funerals
and peers and if your Momma
could just see your hips swinging, hair wet
and your face a shiny gloss like
the shellac on rosewood,
she would lift up,
dried bones and all,
to rip you out from under him.

But graves don’t talk
and the dead never
come back to mourn themselves.
If your Momma could have
scrawled one message with
grainy hands
would it have been
to save yourself—like
she did?

Matthew Licht

Sucked Into the Cult

Harry Doss was in a foul mood when he got off the flight from Houston. Fat passengers had crowded him from both sides. Infants shrieked in the rows ahead and behind. A stewardess spilled coffee in his lap. Aside from the pain and the un-businesslike stain, his cell-phone was ruined in the accident. The plane landed nearly two hours late.

He fumbled his pockets outside a phone booth in the Arrivals zone. He didn’t have enough change to make an urgent call. Harry was about to miss the most important meeting of his career.

A hooded figure swathed in sunset hues chose this moment to approach.

Out of the corner of his eye, Harry Doss saw someone shove a book in his face. He wanted to lash out, or at least be verbally abusive. But when he saw her, he was paralyzed and struck dumb. He forgot his business appointment. He forgot his struggling electronics corporation. He wanted to kneel, surrender his soul and devote himself to the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

“Have you accessed the godhead today, sir? For a small donation, the Ultimate Truth can be yours. If you would only give me a few minutes of your valuable time, I can explain…”

Oh Hell yes. Harry Doss put down the germ-laden receiver he’d intended to use as a bludgeon. Instead of telephone change, he pulled business expense cash from his pocket. Twenty, forty, sixty bucks was a small price to pay for Ultimate Truth. Each additional banknote made the woman who was proof of God’s existence to shake and jiggle in surprised delight.

Harry Doss went from harried businessman to horny Everyman, eager to cheat on his wife.

Betty-Sue Doss was a good homemaker. He’d kept his promise to forsake all others, but the godhead had given a sign that his fast must end.

Harry and the cult woman went to sit in a quiet spot. She opened the book Harry had so expensively bought to a picture of a bald-headed, prune-faced gentleman with flowing gray nose-hair.

“This is Swami Vishnaswoti.” She sighed at the name, and pulled back the hood of her orange sweatshirt.

Harry looked to see whether she was blonde or brunette, and was shocked to discover she was as bald as the dude in the picture. He pictured her nude, being shaven by other saffron-robed figures in some initiation ritual, with muted drums and a droning chant.

If there was a God, Harry wondered, why should some codger with excess nose-hair get to stare at, and probably fondle, his most glorious creation.

Harry’s previous attempts at infidelity were a history of failure. Women he met on business trips and at conventions always declined his invitations to come back to a hotel room for meaningless, wonderfully mechanical adultery. One of them, when he asked her why not, said, “Oh, come on, darling. You’re the kind who always says, ‘I can’t do this. I love my wife.'”

What followed was a kiss that made Harry Doss wonder what might’ve been for months.

This time,’ he thought, ‘it’s not going to go that way.’

He dropped his voice to interrupt the flow of Swami-blab.

“What’s your name, young lady?”

“Kryst…I mean, Davadip.”

“I’m Harry. Listen, what you’re telling me is just what I wanted—needed—to hear. Our meeting is no coincidence, it’s synchronicity. I’m in a spiritual crisis. I’m lonely, Davadip. Lonely and scared of what lies ahead. Perhaps you and Swami…”

“Vishnaswoti.”

“…can relieve a troubled soul.”

Sales meetings be damned. Hello, bankruptcy court. Goodbye, wife and kids. Harry Doss, minor-league business manager, was gonna grab him some cult cunt.

They exited the airport and got into a cab.

“Kranepool Hotel,” Harry told the turbanned, bearded taxi driver. “Step on it.”

Harry’s head buzzed with visions of nude Davadip in a hotel shower stall.

“Wait a minute,” she said. “Oh my God mister, I didn’t say I was going to a hotel with you.” Davadip sounded like she was about to cry.

Harry Doss felt his spirit drain. “Oh I’m sorry. Of course not. But I swear I only want to talk to you. Tell me where we could go instead.”

“Driver, take us to the Ashkanoma Ashram. It’s at the end of Crapper Boulevard.”

But the driver refused to go to that outlandish address unless he got extra cash up front. Harry took out his wallet and was bled further. He’d have a tough time explaining these additional expenses, on top of the missed conference.

They entered a bad neighborhood. Texas Prisons looked more inviting than the Ashram. Davadip, however, sighed happily when she saw her home.

“Hurry up and get out,” the cab driver said. He threw the car into reverse and was gone.

On the dirt driveway, Harry was surrounded by hulking men in orange hooded sweatshirts. Their faces boded ill.

“Rama-lama, brothers,” Davadip said. “I’ve passed out all my tracts, gathered my donation quota, and I’ve brought a new truth-seeker to visit. Uhm, mister? I forgot your name.”

“Harry. Pleased to meet you guys, but I think I gotta go…”

He stuck out his hand for shakes that never came. Gruff voices muttered words of friendship and welcome. Strong arms embraced him, and dragged him towards the tumbledown shack made to look like some hillbilly’s idea of the Taj Mahal.

In a candle-lit darkness that reeked of incense and sweat, Harry Doss was relieved of his briefcase, then his clothes. “Hey! Knock it off!”

He stopped struggling when he saw he was being lightened and stripped by Davadip and several of her cult Sisters. Davadip looked into his eyes. “Relax,” she said. “Let go. Let it happen.”

She unzipped her sweatshirt. Harry’s mouth hung open at the sight. There was even a trickle of drool. Here body was a milky white expanse, like a glimpse of the distant Himalayas.

“Oooh look, sisters. He’s in need,” one of the cult women whispered.

“Wouldn’t he like to join with us,” said another, pushing her bosom together.

“But he’s not ready yet.”

“Aw, poor guy. Let’s give him a taste.”

Eyes can only open so wide, but Harry’s tried to break the World Record. Davadip’s squeaky voice split the air.

“Wait, sisters! I found him. That means I get to minister to him first…”

Her eyes glowed with spiritual love and bliss.

Harry Doss thought he’d died and gone to Heaven, or Nirvana, whichever was heavenlier. His brain turned itself off. He reverted to a primitive state.

“Glaah…Baaah….Phlurgle…”

Davadip eventually moved aside and let her sisters join in. What was left of Harry’s brain exploded. He saw pink visions of the Holy Ecstasy Beyond.

“That’s enough, for now,” said the senior shaven-headed Den Mother, zipping up her sweatshirt. Harry nearly broke down at the assertion.

“Bluh! Duh! Noooo!” He felt a hooded sweatshirt being pulled over his head.

“Time for you to grovel before Swami Vishnaswoti, o luckiest brother.”

“Oh it’ll blow your mind.” Davadip planted a chaste kiss on Harry’s cheek.

The men of the cult dragged him away with his orange drawstring pants around his ankles.

They dumped him on the rough floor in a dungeon rank with body odor. He heard a low hum, felt himself observed through the blackness. Someone struck a match and lit a candle, then several others. Harry saw the face of Swami Vishnaswoti.

He was even more wizened than in the photo Davadip had shown him. The Swami had grown a white mustache, Harry thought. Then he saw it wasn’t a mustache at all, but the most luxuriant nose-hair in the history of the world. The Swami’s eyes were hypnotic.

“Uh, hello,” Harry said, and instantly felt a sharp smack to the back of his head.

“Silence before the Heavenly Master.”

The Swami regarded Harry placidly. “You seem like a no-nonsense kinda guy,” he said, with a heavy New York accent.

“Uh, sure. I guess.”

“OK, I’m gonna level with you. We’re on a holy mission here, but it’s a business deal too. You start at the bottom and work your way up, through prayer and devotion to the cause. You hip?”

“Yeah. But…”

“Here’s the deal: for every hundred bucks you bring in, you get five minutes with one of the girls–your choice. I mean, it’s up to her, of course. You gotta get a sister’s consent and approval first, but you’ll find most of your new sisters to be quite receptive.”

Harry was about to say, “But I’ve got a wife and kids and a job and…”

Another thought occurred. “Business, huh? What’s in it for the girls? If this is some kind of brainwashing scam, I’m gonna call the cops.”

“Relax, hero. They’re in on the deal. For each C-note a sister brings home, she gets a personal worship-session. And for every dupe… that is, for every new devotee a girl converts, she gets to enjoy Holy Communion with the Master. And that’s me, baby.”

Harry snorted.

The Swami chuckled, his nose hair twitched.

“How ’bout a little demonstration? Been a slow day. Brother Hasham, go fetch Sister Davadip. This dude’s not official yet, but let’s say he counts.”

“Yeah, o master.”

The Swami slowly unwound himself from his lotus position. “Feel free to join in,” he said. “With the chant, I mean.”

The drone grew louder. Harry’s eyes adapted to the eerie candlelight.

A sitar twanged. Muffled drums beat. Harry Doss thought of the business conference going on without him, of his wife Betty-Sue living out her daily routine. Then Davadip entered the basement and Harry thought no more.

“O Divine Teacher, thank you for this most sublime opportunity.”

The Swami gave a curt wave. “Shake it, baby.”

Davadip began to dance. Her sweatshirt fluttered in the air as she leapt and flew all around. By the time she finally bared it all, there wasn’t much left of Harry Doss besides a pile of volcanic ash.

Dewy with sweat, Davadip approached the Swami.

Vishnaswoti leaned back against a brocade cushion and let his devotee have her way.

The chant grew louder.

“Rama-lama! Looba-gabba!”

Harry Doss joined in like a zombie.

“Rammalamma! Loobagooba!”

The show was disappointing. If Harry Doss had been in his ordinary state of mind, he would’ve thought, ‘Big deal.’ But Harry Doss wasn’t in his ordinary state of mind. He was chanting at the top of his lungs.

You might see Harry Doss—he goes by Hare Das these days—at an airport or a street corner near you. His eyes shine with missionary zeal. He is a forceful proselytizer. The first time he brought a hundred dollars back to the Ashram, Davadip told him she knew he could do better. So he’s working on bringing in a cool thousand. He knows he’ll get to Heaven one of these days. The Master told him so.

Anthony Dirk Ray

The Taylor

I once thought I was in love with a whore
she was married and fed me lies
tales of a separation and divorce
I was a slave to the cunt
a slave to that cunt
many times stuck by the phone
waiting on her call
only to be let down
defeated
demasculinized
a beefcake turned into a cupcake
without a ringing call
this time was to be different
we set up a meeting at the Taylor Motel
a lowlife
low down motel
low on the totem pole of said establishments
I had a few pre-rolls of weed ready
and picked up a twelve pack of some kind of beer
she said she’d call at ten
I got to the Taylor at nine
ready to get the fuckfeast started
I got the key
parked
and headed toward the room
just before I reached the door
an old
white
wrinkled crackhead
with glasses and no bra
asked if I needed help with the beer
I politely told her no
that I was waiting on someone
as I entered into the disheveled fuck shack
I cracked open a few cans in preparation
and waited
and waited
and waited
that fucking bitch
that fucking bitch did it again
and then I regretted not sharing my beer
with the braless
four-eyed
crackwhore