Jonathan Baker

The Moon is a Neon Light

She is love and light
and wild mood swings
and laughter,  and a rictus smile
that says she is on the brink
and every other guy 
in this dive bar 
leans away to avoid her
but I’m stupid…

So I take a stool near hers. 
She asks what I do 
and I tell her I’m a poet 
and leave out the day job.
She slaps my thigh and squeezes,
tells me she just must hear a poem
but never leaves a space
between her own hurried words.
She tells me she lives for her art
but doesn’t see color
and thinks we all 
should get along
and thinks the protests
went too far
and there are good cops too
but not her ex.
She ashes her smoke
in her neighbor’s drink
and puts a finger to her lips
because we’re in on this together
but even though she has
those 70’s titties 
and you’re sure 
her bush is 
soft, wild, and warm
as a good dream
you head home 
because you can only
pretend to give a shit
about gemstones
for so long.

So you settle up
and slip out as she
tells the next guy down
all about Sedona.
Back on your couch 
you lovingly imagine
bringing her home.
When you finally fall into sleep
you’re glad you didn’t.

Anthony Dirk Ray

Small Treasures

Dalton pulled out on another long run into the early darkness.  Just weeks earlier, he was making runs for a mid-sized roofing distributor, before the begging call of the open road howled and cried much too loud for him to ignore.  Also, the expectation of at least $175,000 made the decision fairly easy.  So there he was, on the road again after 15 years.  Dalton had gotten married and had a kid in those years that he took off from the road.  He grew accustomed to being at home, almost in a chain-like manner.  His necessities were his bed, his video games, his couch, his food, and his family.  None of which were in his new, temporary home.  As Dalton pondered his new path in life, he looked around his small apartment on wheels, and sighed.

There was a huge reason why Dalton didn’t want to leave on this run.  It was indeed his first run back, and he was anxious, but that wasn’t the underlying issue. The problem was, it was close to Valentine’s Day, and Dalton always got some special attention downstairs on that day.  It also seemed to Dalton, the better the gift, the better the blowjob.

Days earlier, he scoured the internet looking for the perfect gift.  He found a few small items that were nice, but he still needed that ultimate treasure.  Dalton had to be on the lookout for the special gift that would insure him the most mind-blowing head of his life.

The next day, while getting gas, Dalton spotted a busy flea market across the street. He thought, with all those vendors, I’m sure to find something.  Once parked in his designated area for the night, he was free to check out his surroundings.  His first stop was the flea market.  Dalton walked aisle after aisle searching for the perfect gift.  Just then, trouvaille!, he thought, as he eyed the most intricate piece of jewelry he had ever seen.  It was a gold pendant with the birthstone of his wife.

The aged lady looked blind, like she shouldn’t be running the booth.  Not sure if he could even get her attention, Dalton waved his hand and spoke loud.

“How much for this piece, ma’am?”

“All jewelry, ten dollars!”

Dalton quickly threw down $20 and began to walk off.  He could hear the lady yelling from behind, “Stop!  You get one more piece of jewelry.”

Dalton got back to his truck and examined the pendant.  It was spectacular.  It was faceted and cut with tremendous detail.  How he was able to buy it for $20 baffled him immensely, but he wasn’t looking in any animal’s mouths.

Since Dalton had the perfect pendant, all he needed now was a necklace.  He knew that his next stop was a decent-sized regional city, so he assumed that he would have numerous options to complete his gift.

Everything fell into place perfectly the following day.  Dalton was able to make his drop, get his new load, and pull into a mall parking lot one hour before it closed.  He walked inside and located the directory, and made his way to the closest jewelry store.  A store associate greeted Dalton as he entered. 

“Good evening, sir. What are we looking for today?”

Dalton pulled out a small cloth from his pocket, carefully unfolded it, and allowed the associate to view the pendant. 

“I need a necklace to go with this amazing piece. It’s for my wife. It’s kind of an important gift. It needs to match perfectly.”

The associate’s eyes widened in appreciation of the stunning pendant. 

“That’s quite the piece you have there. It is absolutely gorgeous. If I’m not mistaken, it appears to be from the Edwardian era. If so, it has some age on it. Regardless, I’m sure you paid quite a hefty price for it.”

Dalton let the largest shit-eating grin grow on his face, as his eyes lit up with joy. 

“Actually, I only paid $20 for it, from an insane lady, on the side of a country road, just yesterday.”

The associate could only shake his head in disbelief, his mouth literally agape. 

“I am utterly speechless. Nonetheless, let’s find you a necklace for this masterpiece.”

After only about 5 minutes, they both agreed on an immaculate, white gold necklace that accentuated the pendant impeccably.  After a final inspection, payment and gift wrapping, the associate handed the bag across the counter. Dalton smiled, as he visualized the end result his perfect gift would get him. 

As he left the jewelry store, he heard music, shouting, and clapping coming from another wing of the mall, and went to check it out.  When he turned the corner, he saw a dance team performing for a small crowd.  The girls seemed to range in ages from high school to college, with a few a little older.

Dalton watched, as the girls chanted, leapt, and tossed each other high in the air.  He thought, Shit, this is some free entertainment.  These little bitches are talented!  And a few of them are fuckin hot.  

Dalton got a lemonade from a nearby kiosk while he continued to ogle at the dance squad.  For the finale of the routine, a small-statured, fit female ran through the center of the group, as if she had an invisible forcefield around her.  She proceeded to perform flip after flip, before landing gracefully on her feet, at the final note of the song.  

The girls were all given towels, and began to break off and conversate about their performance in the routine and what they were doing afterwards.  Dalton was left basically dragging his jaw from the ground, putting his eyes back in their sockets, and wiping copious amounts of drool from his mouth, all while hiding a massive erection with possible precum drying his pisshole to his boxers.  Needless to say, this little, sexy woman left quite the impression on Dalton, and he had to talk to her.  This was who he dreamt of at night.  He thought, she is absolutely perfect, as he  approached his pint-sized fantasy in real life.

“Hi, I’m Dalton.  I really enjoyed the show. I didn’t see it all, but I saw the end, and you were amazing! Flippin your little ass all around.”

“Thanks. I’m Tricia. Yeah, I’m their coach. I make an appearance at the end of the routine.  I only do this for fun actually, and to stay in shape. My real gig is at night, at the Fireplace.

Dalton was oblivious, but quickly realized that the Fireplace was a strip club, and Tricia was the regular feature at this club.  They talked and cut up for about thirty minutes, before mall security started making their rounds to clear and close the mall.  They bid each other goodbyes, all while Dalton searched the internet for places to park his rig around Fireplace.  He told Tricia that he would be there later tonight.  She motioned for Dalton to lean down.  He did, and she kissed him on the cheek and whispered, “I can’t wait”, into his ear.

Back in his sleeper, Dalton couldn’t get Tricia out of his mind.  He loved his wife and loved his life, but the beckoning call of curiosity was loud and prevailing.  Plus, Dalton thought, I’m only going to see her dance.  That was enough to persuade him to shower in the truck stop, brush his teeth and floss, buy some cologne and condoms, and get $1000 out in cash.

Dalton arrived at Fireplace a little before Midnight, when Tricia was scheduled to take the stage.  When he paid the cover and sat down, she wasn’t dancing.  In fact, there weren’t any dancers dancing.  Ten to fifteen guys sat at the bar and random tables sucking their beers and looking half defeated and half murderous, awaiting the next offering of flesh.  

Then, from over the music, originating from the back of the building, but getting constantly louder, Dalton heard Tricia’s voice.

“Fuck that! No, ya’ll gonna pay me! I’ll tear this motherfucker up!”

At this point, Tricia was in the main area, near the front, and all eyes were on her.  The man that followed close behind, repeatedly offering excuses, from low attendance, to a raise in rent.

“Fuck that. I’m supposed to get paid tonight and I’m getting paid.”

Something inside Dalton came alive at that moment.  The love of a thousand years amiss overtook his being, and lust fueled his confidence.  He stood and made his way toward the apparent manager.

“Listen here. You are going to pay this woman the money you owe her, or we will tear this motherfucker up. You got that? You can’t treat her differently just because she’s a midget.”

Tricia smiled at Dalton, and said, “Don’t call me the ‘M’ word. That’s your only warning.”

Dalton nodded, then turned back toward the man, unphased.

The man nodded, pulled out a wad of cash and paid Tricia more than he owed her, with a russian scowl on his face.

“But you not come back.”

Tricia took the cash, counted it, held up a middle finger, and walked out, loudly addressing Dalton.

“Let’s go, boo. Rooms on me. You better put it on me.”

Once in the room, they had drinks that were purchased before arrival, and everything was going perfectly and flowing naturally.  They talked about each other’s lives, and flirted while doing so.  By the third bourbon, Tricia was already half naked on Dalton’s lap, thanking him for his support earlier in the night.

“Thank you daddy.  That means the world to me. I think you need a reward,” she said, as she stroked his chest and started slowly sliding down between his legs.

Tricia positioned herself between Dalton’s legs, maneuvered his pants down, and accepted him into her mouth.  Dalton was overtaken by extreme pleasure.  His filter was off, and he blurted out something that would haunt him for the rest of his life.

“Goddamn, your little midget ass can suck some di..”

Before Dalton could get the word ‘dick’ out, Tricia’s eyes glowed red and she chomped down with the force of ten great whites, severing his member.  Dalton was left bleeding, cockless, and in shock, as she comedically scurried off with his dick in hand.

Dalton had officially lost it all.  His wife, his family, his entire life left with his penis.  But even more tragic was that some shark-toothed, evil little stripper ensured that Dalton would never get another blowjob again. 

Michael Devine

The Gut Bucket

Y shaped incision = blood, gristle and goo
Lips pucker and pout, eyes play peek-a-boo
Lungs crackling sponge, colon steaming poo

Heart of brawny beef, liver oozes licorice bile
Stomach chock-full of pills, uterus empty of child
Spleen purplish sludge, pancreas necrotic and vile

Scalp pulled up front to cover the face,
Skull cap removed from brain it encased
Brain a jiggly Jell-O mold no memory trace

Fluids and guts from here to Nantucket
Time for scrubby scrub scrub? Fuck it
It’s that time for the amazing Gut Bucket!

The switch flipped on it hums like a bee
But instead of sucking, it rises like a tree
The Gut Bucket then shouts orders at me

In my fluorescent speedo bloody and cold
I stand at attention and do what I’m told
These postmortem high-jinx never get old.

Finished I pour a drink of the old tipsy topsy
As for cause of demise I review the necropsy
It becomes very clear she died during autopsy

Salvatore Difalco


No, not talking armor here. Brother Johnny
owns an antique armored suit he stands
by his front door like a sentry with a million
mile stare. It’s been through some things,
it happens. But that’s not what I mean.
Brother Johnny also collects second hand
women’s shoes. I know, I know. It’s funny
in a way. But he doesn’t wear the shoes.
He swears he doesn’t wear the fucking
shoes. So what he does with them demands
a deeper look: we’ll never judge a book
blah blah blah. On the other hand a crook
would better know what to do with a safe.
Cracking it isn’t an option, Brother Johnny
keeps it tight in the crib and doesn’t play
around with snoopers or two-bit looters
or thieves who want a taste of the honey.  
What do you say, Brother Johnny, is it olfactory
in nature? If so I understand, to a degree.
That whiff of rot and fungal dust and death.
Also the shape: the remnant impression
of a woman’s foot, yum yum, for fetishists
among us, and shoes, however unsavory,
cannot charge the connoisseur for transgression.
And if this strikes the consumer of poetry
as a subject not worthy of pursuit or expression,
let me remind you that we were once eggs
waiting for completion, waiting for entry
into the bubbling universe, so that we could
say we were there, and that we wanted
to see and feel and breathe it all, taste it all, 
hear every peep and pop and smell every 
atom of it without prejudice or fear. 

Ken Kakareka


I had to 
air out 
the room. 
It smelled 
sex –  
A huge 
billowing cloud 
of it. 
Her potent 
and my 
dick and balls. 
Our combative 
like stew. 
Her powerful 
the sheets. 
the musty 
little room 
with poor 
I missed 
the smell 
of our sex 
when it 
was gone. 
But we 
replenished it 

John D Robinson

Shell-Shock Asshole

He’d been invited to his brother’s
for dinner: at some point during the
evening, he’d noticed a WW2 brass
ammunition shell on a display shelf,
about 4 inches in diameter, about 8
inches in length: he fell in love with
it and wanted it for himself: he 
discreetly took it from the shelf and
then headed to the toilets, where, he
inserted the shell into his anus: 
for the next 3 days he tried to
retrieve the object but without
success, on the 7th days he was in pain
and went to the hospital:
panic ensued: not knowing if the
shell was alive or diffused, large swathes
of the hospital were evacuated and the
military bomb disposal squad was
dispatched: after very vigorous and
painful examinations of the potential
threat by the army specialists and
the surgeons, it was declared that
the objective was inexplosive:
next time, maybe take a rucksack.

David Centorbi

I Saw The Sweaty Scales

I saw the sweaty scales
and its cracked notes
sliding down 
into a now
stillborn melody.

A melody, that once, when our legs and feet 
could breathe, we held one another and whispered 
stars and thunder into each other’s ears,
our passion melting the jealous mirrors, until

the sharp tears started spreading across the floor
pushing us toward shot glasses filled with bitter-blood-light–

a drink we would soon raise 
to our once imagined, endless horizons. 

Catfish McDaris

The Lunatic

Juanito stopped by the Super Bar on the way home, he drank enough cheap brandy and draft beer to knock down a mule or two. Then he walked to a bookstore looking for something to help him escape. He always went to the poetry section first, to see if they had any books by him. Some tall skinny guy was bent over showing his ass crack looking at bottom shelf books. When he stood upright and farted, Juanito wanted to bury his steel toed boot up the dude’s ass. When the dude bent over he farted again, Juanito elbowed him in the kidneys. What was worse than his fart stench was his sweat, urine, dog shit slimed shoes, and he reeked like an old douche bag. Juanito wished his sense of smell was worse than his sense of humor.  

“Hey motherfucker, you should clean up your act.” Smelly boy looked like he’d been hit in the head with a twenty-pound sledge hammer. He stopped and spoke with the clerks and they all looked at Juanito. He just smiled and gave them all a little wave. After finding one book by Chekov, he headed for home. The summer night was like a hobo’s armpit. Juanito stopped for a six pack of tall boy Budweiser. 

Juanito was trying to catch forty winks, it sounded like his lady, Lupe and their cat were wrestling or having sex at the foot end of the bed.  

“Hey, I’m trying to sleep. The damn machine noise from the post office letter sorter is ricocheting inside my screaming skull.” 

The cat meowed like a Husqvarna mower was chewing and gnawing him into pieces. He thought Lupe was committing murder and mayhem. “Hold still, you little son of a bitch,” she said. 

“What in the hell are you doing woman?” Juanito asked.  

“I’m trying to clean the cat’s ass. He took a nasty dump in the litter box and now wants to rub his ass all over my white down comforter.” 

“Just quit corn holing that cat, please. The fucking zip code madness won’t leave me alone tonight.”  

 “Why do you act like your hero, Bukowski?” 

He yelled, “Bukowski can kiss my brown ass!”

Juanito was soon snoring like a constipated chainsaw trying to cut through an anvil.


From: Sex Doll Gumbo

Lords of the Afterglow, By Judge Santiago Burdon

Lords Of The Afterglow: Renegades and Noblemen is a collection of sixteen bizarre, precarious, as well as comical Bohemian tales of adventurous mayhem. While working as a drug smuggler for a Mexican Cartel, Santiago, a recovering addict, ex-con, womanizer, gambler, and ill-fated pilgrim encounters situations of irresistible misfortune. Adding chaos to these events is his ex-cellmate, loose cannon, drug and alcohol fueled Colombian partner, Johnny Rico. It is an expedition into twisted and hilarious states of mind and body. Every story in this collection centers on the working relationship and unique friendship of these ‘Dos Chiflados’ (Two Whacky Guys). Lords Of The Afterglow is a must read!”

— Jesse James Kennedy, author of Missouri HomegrownTijuana Mean, and Black Hills Reckoning

Judge Santiago Burdon gives us another collection of short stories in adventurous mayhem with his latest book, Lords of the Afterglow: Renegades and Noblemen. Paul Gilliland, Editor Publisher of Southern Arizona Press, is excited to announce the release of this assortment of Bohemian tales with razor sharp slices of vivid and lurid lives that are brutal, tragic and painfully funny. Set against a backdrop of down and dirty incidents resulting from Santiago and Johnny Rico’s precarious work in the drug world’s sleazy underbelly. The stories are well written and Santiago’s prose is clear, the language concise: spiced with the Spanish of his streetwise bilingualism. One reviewer described it as “a mesmerizing literary journey that lingers in your thoughts long after you’ve read the final page.” There is no doubt you will experience a similar reaction after reading. Pick up your copy today!


Kayla Rose


I am from drooping ceilings, caving in under the weight of half-truths and broken promises.

I am from a house, but not a home. A building filled with strangers that share the same name. I am from the comfort of streetlights guiding me away.

I am from cultures that are not my own. The smell of spices wrapping me in a warm embrace. The language of my town teaching me words that my soul could not find. I am from water, not from blood.

I am from park benches next to tall oak trees. In this spot, I learned to love myself. Familiarity found in the scent of flowers, in the banter of squirrels, in the laughs of neighborhood children. I am from the strong branches that taught me resilience.

I am from rhythmic monitor beeping and wailing siren cries. My home a box on wheels, both bassinet and hearse. My insides overflowing with stories of lives saved and lives lost. I am from the tears shed on my shoulder.

I am from cancer. Cool rags wiped over pale foreheads. A curse coursing through her bones and finding home within my cells. My body has become inflamed from housing the pain of generations. I am from poison swallowed in hopes it will help.

I am from ghosts. I am from still-frame photographs preserving memories of warm smiles. I am from memorial services and funeral homes. Tattoos of handwriting and inside jokes dancing across my skin. I am from the mosaic of funeral cards above my bed.

I am from all of this and more. I am from hushed whispers. I am from running. I am from the ghosts that haunt my home. I am from the dirt pouring out of broken flowerpots. I am from the voice that has grown strong deep within my bones. I am from me.