Willie Smith

Joe’s Anus

For The Reader’s Digest

Hi, I’m Joe’s anus.
I like to talk, but Joe doesn’t very often let me.
My idea of a good sandwich
is liverwurst on white bread
with a side order of onion rings.
I turn my nose up at vegetarians.
I only have one eye and I
constantly concentrate on keeping
it trained on my inner self.
I don’t know anything about art,
but I do like Norman Rockwell.

If I had one wish
I would be Treasurer of the United States,
or maybe Bert Parks.
My favorite sport is baseball.
I thrill to the crack of the bat
and the towering blast exploded over
the centerfield wall
and into the mezzanine
where old drunks get their pockets picked
by truant schoolboys.

Like that of the housewife, my work
is never done. I have never slept a wink
in my entire life, and yet,
I am certain I have a firm grip
on what dreams are. 

Paul Tanner

us swellers

she had a beer belly like a man.
it was fascinating. 
she had the hips and the tits,
but then there was this dome of a belly 
and it wasn’t hard and shiny like a pregnant stomach,
it was soft with folds at the sides like a man’s beer gut
and even more amazing was that she wasn’t ashamed,
she’d sit on the couch in shorts and an open shirt,
those long strong legs out and crossed,
one firm slab of thigh on top of the other, 
her breasts that got bigger towards the bottom 
perfectly bunched up within the balcony of her bra
… but with this big old wobbly gut between them
and maybe it was the media shaming bellies have got,
but this somehow seemed even more intimate 
than if she’d shown some nips or lips
and it drove me mad,
the hot slut
sitting there 
with that big round thing that processed all her food and turned it into shit
just hanging out for all to see like that
and when I went down on her
I always had my hands on her belly,
stroking it
and she let me,
the shameless whore let me stroke 
the skin surface of the very balloon that all her intestines were coiled up in, 
how intimate is that? 
and she would look down
as she reached for
another beer.

Judson Michael Agla

The Dogs Are Hungry

You’ve beaten me, ripped my flesh to the bone,
and you’ve burnt me in your holy fires

But what’s left of this mortal coil
still hangs precariously on the threads of vengeance,
and an insatiable blood lust

I’ll return one day
My tomahawk brighter, freshly sharpened,
casting long shadows as it darkens with crimson

Many more will follow

These hills echo with the news of the fallen and oppressed
Your antiquated fables of eternal damnation
are beginning to fall on educated, enlightened ears

Like a monstrous black storm that passes by
dropping only a few subtle tears of rain

Send your men; they will die
Barricade your institutions; they will be brought down
Run; and I’ll find you

The dogs are always hungry in the twilight 

Zoltergeist the Poltergeist, By Douglas Hackle

Jimmy Green is a middle-aged limousine driver and a devoted fan of the insane TV sitcom Zoltergeist the Poltergeist. Once when he was a boy, Jimmy had an impure thought about the lead singer of The Bangles.

After confessing his sin to a drunken priest thirty-five years later, Jimmy is sentenced to six months’ penance in an old, isolated house—dubbed Penance House—in the middle of nowhere in rural Ohio. There, sequestered from civilization, Jimmy must repent for his sinful nature or else endure the Everlasting Fires of Hell.

As if Penance House weren’t creepy, whack, and janked-up enough, Jimmy is forbidden to enter the room at the end of the upstairs hallway. Does something sinister lurk beyond its closed door? And what about that leprechaun he keeps seeing skulking around in the woods?

Lucky for Jimmy, he has all forty-nine seasons of Zoltergeist the Poltergeist saved to his laptop to distract himself from his unsettling surroundings. Toward that end, probably the only thing better than rewatching old Zoltergeist episodes would be a visit from the show’s enigmatic, titular star itself…

“The head honcho of the absurd, the governor of wackiness, the top dog of insanity is back! Intelligent and imbecilic, Douglas Hackle is one of the most unique voices in bizarro fiction. Watch out, ’cause Hackle’s brain tissue is coming to town in a sleigh carved out of mad puppets and pulled by alcoholic poltergeists. Dare to see what Douglasgeist Hacklegeist leaves in your socks!”
Zoltán Komor, author of Flamingos in the Ashtray

“Zoltergeist the Poltergeist had me laughing, tittering, chortling, and popping out guffaws like nobody’s business. It even had me dancing for some reason—like I was listening to the hottest new bizarro track out this summer. Your kids are going to love it and so are you.”
—Luke Kondor, author of The Run Fantastic


James Diaz

Recovery In Pieces

“Addiction is a tunnel that wakes you up in the middle of the night.
Everything else happens out here in the light.” -Cheryl Strayed

The kid says he’s tired
of this way of life
and I’m hoping he means it

but we’ve been here before
knocking and then running 
back out the door

sleeping on motel floors 
while his mother-love 
cradles her johns 
in a bed wide enough 
for all of the pain in the world 

on this last run 
he lost all his clothes
returns home 
in a pair of women’s jeans
talkin about getting clean
it lasts a day

what can I say
I know well the way 
that wheel turns 
and turns
inside our damaged 
little heads

but this morning 
he asks for the number to rehab
and I give it and give it and give it
we’ve been here before 
and the spirit is poor
the body weary 

the kid says he’s tired
I’m tired too
but what can I do
except offer up what little I know
how you got to surrender to win
how you can’t go home again

feels like it’s written on the wall
the kid’s aiming for hope
but prepped for the fall

all I know is you gotta answer the call
give em that number again and again
just in case 
this is the bottom 
they’re calling you from.

Carrie Magness Radna 

Rich girls 

Rich girls are clueless. 
Rarely the working class 
see them in captivity— 
Nighttime actions are their elixirs. 

Hidden in their big, fancy cars, 
their next-to-nothing miniskirts 
have rode up again, but before 
another crystal-studded snatch  
is almost revealed, 
champagne corks pop in unison 

as the paparazzi gather outside  
the club, hoping to gain a side- 
boob shot on their reel.  

These girls won’t disappoint them,  
being dressed to the nines, 
& they party until 2 or 3  
with 2 or 3. 

What is that like? 

I work for my Uber & PB&J lunch, 
& the traffic is heavy today, 
so we crawl towards Queens 
while the rich girls 
are still sleeping. 

Joseph Farley

Blood and Passion

Shall I compare these to a smoking gun?
You are more loaded and twice as dangerous.

You should not drink and wave knives,
not while the children are home, even if asleep.

My death you desire at this moment,
and maybe your own,

But tomorrow, if we both survive,
you will beg me to never leave you.

It will be too late then.
I’ll already be packing my bags

in my mind if not the hallway.