William Taylor Jr.

All The Things That Are Surely Coming

There are moments that come from nowhere
in which I realize I am perhaps more 
lonely than I’d imagined, more sad.
In my sleepless hours I consider what’s
become of me and I’m not sure what 
to make of it. I get up a while and think 
about someone who once loved me 
and is now dead. I wonder why I didn’t 
love them more, and if I should have. 
I think of a few people I did love
and wonder where they’ve gone to, 
wonder if they’d come back if I 
took the time to explain things 
a bit. I don’t imagine so. 
I think of all the things that are surely 
coming that I wouldn’t wish upon 
me or anyone. I wrote this poem 
in my head early this morning when 
I couldn’t sleep. It’s late 
afternoon now, and I’m trying 
to write it down. I think 
there was more to it, I should 
have jotted things down as they came.
I think there’s a pretty good line
that I’m missing somewhere, 
it might have tied it all together somehow.
Now I’m thinking of how nothing 
is really much after all, and how our 
dreams of immortality leave no 
impression upon the void. 
I understand my own sufferings,
such as they are, don’t register much
upon the scale of things, and I’ve made 
a peace with that. We’ve all got problems, 
as my friend is fond of saying (he’s 
not really my friend). But sometimes 
it all comes upon you unexpected, 
you know? In any case, there’s no 
need for drama. It’s 4 p.m. here
in San Francisco. The air is filled 
with ash from distant fires, and there
may be a few beers left in the fridge.

Paul Tanner

insomnia knife twitch 

there’s that moment
isn’t there

when the black of night
dilutes to blue

and you think
phew,
made it through
another one.

you allow yourself 
a half-smile 
as you put the knife 
back in the drawer
and close it. 

as if 
you won’t be needing it again
tonight.

Dave Cullern

Ben Weasels Mothers Basement

I hear they’ve cancelled Genghis Khan
from history,
presumably because of all the raping
and pillaging
and generally being a massive dick,
so they fudged the books,
deleted him out.

I get it, I really do,
they cancelled that one episode
of that one sitcom
where they took the piss out of black face
and racists
so now you have to watch it on your computer,
illegally,
if you want to see it
and grumble about all those Millennials
with their painless backs
and opinions.

I wonder what’s next,
will they cancel Hitler?
At least they’d be no more heroes to celebrate
and flags to wave
and the sales of red crosses
would plummet.

They could cancel Bill Hicks, I guess,
he was kinda homophobic
and really sexist
but he had some really special things to say too,
be a shame to lose out on all of that.
GG’s pretty much gone from history already
and no-ones interested in Ben Weasel anymore,
particularly since he punched that woman
and made excuses for himself rather than apologise.
Come to think of it,
I bet, of anyone, he’s really enraged about all of this,
which is comforting if nothing else,
I couldn’t think of a better person to be miserable
than that prick.

He probably sits in his ageing mothers basement,
spitting feathers,
and asking,
as I am now, (but probably for very different reasons)
exactly who “they” are
and exactly who “they” will choose next.

Daniel S. Irwin

The Human Race

Marita touched my ‘Very Merry’
And that led to the poppin’ of a cherry.
Which was good…so good.

Now if God is love and Satan sin,
Whose idea was it that a bottle of gin
Should get me happy first, later sad,
An’ in the mornin’ make my head hurt bad?

You know, Jesus, he’s a friend of mine,
So’s his sidekick, Frankenstein.
We get together, change some water to wine,
Chitchat ’bout women fine.

Life can be good, like that Marita I had,
But sometimes life can drive you mad.
Is there an answer?  Are we garbage in space?
No need to worry, it’s just the human race.

Casey Renee Kiser

We Live in That 80’s Song We Love

I dreamed you were on Jeopardy!
( our love’s in jeopardy, baby…. )

You got every single question 
except
the one in which the answer was
emotion

Of course on Jeopardy,
the answer IS the question 
and emotion, for You, 
certainly is

I thought
this is the most real moment 

I’ve ever seen on television
Then it caught fire

It wasn’t even plugged in

and I wasn’t even asleep

Casey Renee Kiser

The Narcissist

How the narcissist cured me
of my addiction to him

When I told him I knew
he was a cheater,
he replied:

‘Now baby, you know
I’m too lazy for that’

All I could think
in that moment
was how much
this creature’s shit
fucking bored me

A rush of anxiety overcame me
cause I just couldn’t wait
to get back home,
light candles

And masturbate to old videos
of Christian Slater
and put away my laundry

Michael D. Amitin

Ride

i died last night
swept away in some dirty shack,
dark sea storm
faces and places shipwrecked pasts
crashing into my night waves

i feel good when i go there
tonight
bottle of sweet red wine,
or king louie’s can-can oil

ma earth giving humanity sharp right hook 
fog smacked world, fuck it

dr sargebait dropping medicine bombs
on pretty docile dolls,
sweet swab queencakes

eskimos laying out welcome mats
sea polar bears took a wrong turn

swig my way to the night burgundy shores
well-lit wharf rats,
fudge sundae carnivals
past the sword swallower’s den, 
speed of night,
rebirth of a moment
a quasar 

… ride

David Calogero Centorbi

If It’s Not Saint Laurent Leather

When I saw him in his Lululemon Athletics, drinking a bud light, and standing in a Juul cloud at the end of the bar, I decided it meant that living and lazy could live happily ever after: we ended up with a Peloton, two Peterbald cats, and a greenhouse full of Hart’s-tongue ferns.

When I left, I took the Peloton. 

After that, I decided it would be much easier to live my life in dreams: as long as my mind stayed firm I could say things like, “We’ll always have Paris” and “My tastes are very singular.” My lovers would always know what that meant and every morning we could fly to the Grancaffè Quadri in Venice for brunch.

That plan burned out quickly: I knew I could only dream for so long until my Hulu and Amazon Prime were canceled and Siri taken away because my love-dreams couldn’t pay the bills.

I fought that truth for a bit, but I got it together.

I even met my new neighbor in the Whole Foods parking lot. He was in Gucci and his cart was full of Bud Light seltzer. I decided that meant flash and sweet could be the mix that lived happily ever after.

The next day he introduced me to his new, no-one-knows-what-breed-it-is, rescue dog. I went on walks with them. He and I would indulge in the centuries-old custom of ice cream in the park on a bench near a fountain. 

And, once again, that thing started to slink its way back into my life. Don’t call it by its name I kept telling myself, not yet. 

So, I gave it some time, but finally said its name, and he cried, “I was waiting for this, but I wanted you to say it first.”

Our decision was Eastside or Westside. He decided Eastside because it was closer to the park. 

To celebrate our first year his friends and family gathered around his enviable RH dining room table ready to enjoy his version of Chef Alexis Gauthier’s Vegan Foie Gras and Beetroot Terrine, even though none of us were vegan. 

Before we ate he decided there should be candlelight, and there was Owen Drew. 

During the meal he decided there should be music: there was a cello, a violin, and Beethoven’s Duet in C Major.

And then, the next morning, over Presco Mamassos, I decided to say goodbye and thought: from now on it will be sunlit brunches at Grancaffè and moonlit strolls through the Bois de Vincennes in Paris, and all my lovers will be in Saint Laurent Leather and drinking Mitchter’s Bourbon.

Curt Last

The Stripper, Part Deux

Don’t let anyone tell you
a stripper is better in bed
than a regular woman…
possibly because they know
they can work less
for more returns—
like a Ferrari—
you can put time
and money into them, but…
take them out on the street?
All looks and high performance
that breaks down quickly
and is constantly in the shop
for repairs as your soul
dwindles.
Mine was hot, 5’2”
petite with curves
for a skinny girl
and what other strippers told her
was “a pretty pussy.”
I never said shit.
She rode me in reverse cowgirl one night,
turned and said,
“Do you like that?”
I wasn’t into the visual,
only when watching good porn,
as sex is the ultimate
spectator sport—
as evidenced by the fact that
so many think they’re good,
but on game day
reality hits them in the face;
though for me,
straight, deep fucking
with only a few positions changes
always works well,
and they get loudest 
when one goes deepest
and hardest
and their moans and screams can’t
hide that fact.
Acrobats and showmen
are just that, while true performers
are athletes—and often women 
can’t even understand this fact;
But we’re talking about this one
and that one
and keeping it hard has never
been an issue,
even after it’s all done
and the cum is dripping
off a still-swollen head…
yes, to me the real thing 
needed less than games
and play—the simpleness
of penetration
and just right angles
activate all the moving
and only moving-through-
specific-action parts, and
her action was alright,
though I felt trapped in
by that question.
Damn this writer’s mind
of mine—
it makes one hard to impress
with stale bedroom
stereotypes.
She yelled out “This pussy 
is yours!” on another night.
All I could think to myself 
was, “Shut the fuck up,
I’m trying to get off!”
Bullshit lines never
did anything for me.
She even gave me
a blow job after a shift
one night, and I fell dead
asleep.
The next morning 
I was greeted by her anger
and the statement,
“I can’t believe you fell
asleep while I was
giving you a blowjob.
I’ll never give you
another one.”
I just thought, “Good,
if that’s all you got,
I don’t need it.”
A stripper
who couldn’t give
a decent blow job—
that’s just my luck in life.