Donna Dallas

W.T.

When I drive back to the house
Three stories with
railroad rooms
still under foreclosure
my brother holed up
in the basement
sits on a toilet that doesn’t work
smokes meth for days
and trips
until his legs are purple
and swollen
from sitting in that same spot
my sister-in-law relies heavily
on Zani
she’s got a fucking gut like
Kuato is living under her shirt
from
the drink
from God knows what

I’ve watched the daisies
the African violets
bloom
under the weeping willow
year after year
I’ve tried to help them all
when I lived upstairs
and she would come up
black eyed and fucked up
or their kids would pound
on my door
scream bloody murder
because he beat her again
and again

The Weeping willow is dead now
looks like a
sinister twisted stump 
lurks behind a busted up fish tank
a ratty chair and a crate with empty beer
bottles
in my old apartment now live
her sister 
who escaped her ex
he became a Satan worshipper
she had to change her name just in case
he came for them
her, their daughter and son live there
along with the son’s girlfriend
this is how we live
it’s called white trash
it’s so obvious it’s a nationality
a branding

I still feel it
the trash
Mom would sit out the third floor
windowsill
smoke cigarette after cigarette
watched everyone and everything
except us
I didn’t need watching
I needed a mother who wasn’t
recovering
and didn’t bring a bible toting boyfriend home
from AA
who would help us all recover
together in the house
in the middle of the block
surrounded by other white-trashers
with their own set of problems
and maybe a worse
or a lighter load
than ours

Joe Rolnicki

Volatile Scattershot 

Nihilistic but smiley
Reliably tired
I heard you’re absurd
Do you like to be choked?
I’ll drink your words like whiskey
And your cunt like coke
Where do I sign up
For the self-sabotage?
Take me to the ruins
Of a romantic mirage
I’m just a phase
I want to watch you jerk off
And runaway
Put me in your footnotes
Stick me in your seams
A volatile
Scattershot
Of humanity
And memes
I love you
Nevermind
Yes please
Unsubscribe
Ignite 
Binge 
Burn
Never learn
Drown 
Me
In 
Your 
Curves
Grab my ass
You can slap me harder than that
Who am I
Who’s asking
Who is anyone
Who cares
Let’s eat cereal
And watch cartoons
Is it nap time yet?

J.J. Campbell

sticky fingers

it’s always some old song
that makes me think about 
a lover from a quarter
century ago
 
something about those curves
and the way my tongue danced
around them that brings me
back to these empty pages
 
how those four-hour phone 
calls would always end with
sticky fingers
 
and the rare evenings we got
to spend together, laughing,
talking in bed, us against
the world
 
at least for a few months
 
i was too immature and you
were never certain i would be
the right influence for your son
 
and for an immature fucker
i understood what you meant
 
i’m sure your life turned out
how you wanted it to
 
you found the one you didn’t
have to settle for
 
yes, i remember that painful
conversation and the ramifications
it had for me to this very day
 
i could say i’m still searching
 
or i could say the truth and
throw my hands in the air
and admit defeat

The Manchurian Mandate, By Joseph Fulkerson

This chapbook is limited to a run of 50 copies, hand-numbered and signed by author. Only 21 copies left!

At a time when a nation is heavily divided by a bi-partisan political spectrum, The Manchurian Mandate acts as a call to action for the workers behind the scenes that keep the machine running. Joseph Fulkerson conjures the beat poets of past decades with this limited run manifesto which has a companion cassette tape homemade and recorded guerilla style. One long poem in a convenient paperback that can fit in your back pocket, The Manchurian Mandate urges the disenfranchised to remain patient for the right time for a revolution of thought. ‘I shudder at the consequence of my inaction,’ Fulkerson says midway through, remembering history’s harsh lessons with genocide and war, which are always a possibility for a society that has become complacent instead of vigilant. This is a piece that should be read and heard repeatedly and shared with others.

—Tim Heerdink, author of Razed Monuments and The Human Remains

BUY A COPY HERE

This is not about politics. 
 
Let me rephrase that: this isn’t about one side of the aisle or the other. 
 
This isn’t about Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. 
If you think it is, you are missing the point. You may even be part of the problem. 
 
No, this is about not having enough of the right things and too much of the wrong things. 
 
This is about having our priorities misaligned, or more aptly having our priorities aligned with those to whom our best interests are not their priority. 
 
This is for all of those who work or have worked dead end jobs, minimum wage jobs, multiple jobs, to make ends meet. 

Those who earn their keep with the sweat of their brows and at the expense of their families, dreams, and health. 

Those on the frontlines, the back lines, and everywhere in between. 

This was written for the workers whose jobs have been deemed essential, vital even, to the day to day lives of all of us. 
 
We are Legion.

ACTIVATE THE MANCHURIAN! 

The Manchurian Mandate in all it’s lo-fi glory! Performed and recorded onto cassette. Comes in a custom linocut slipcover.

BUY A COPY HERE

John Maurer

Brutus-esque Brutality

Quaalude prelude to a night not worth recalling
At me for not picking it up the first fifty fucking times
I am static, moving so fast I look like nothing, and then I am
I am not in this state, in this house, in this body, in this video
I don’t like gangs, that’s why I don’t like the police
always flashing their colors at me; the red and blue
When I run a felony across a state or two
I put on a license plate frame that says BLUE LIVES MATTER

So right before they pull me over, they don’t
And that’s a poem written for its audience that hasn’t realized it
Like all these young adult novels written by far from young adults
Obsessed with incestual lust and abuse of their characters
Both the type and the type that has dialogue
It is literary pedophilia and I’m just saying that
In the hopes that will piss off the right person
And they will come to my door at 4:45 AM with a Colt 45
And they will make me a gentle legend, a better Lennon

Dave Cullern

Bruised Romance

The trodden grapes
of song
unpicked me to the core,
replaced my blood
with the misjudged
adventures of teenage abandon
and runaway crime

My precious body,
no longer precious,
made free
as it had always been
before the weight
of guilt and fear
crippled my ailing spine,
pulled black teeth
from deep cavities
to rot amongst this dirty carpet
which once cushioned my feet

My chemical dreams
take route
amongst the anchors
in my kitchen drawers,
pick away
at their chains
and leave me floating
with the wild current,
shooting for the moon

I run into fire,
touch coal with calloused skin,
bruised and worn
from the journey,
lived in,
turned out,
worked over
like tenderised meat,
reddened in defeat
but all the while
this untethered beast
walks
free.

Joseph Farley

Behold a Pale Rider

Death is coming
upon a white horse
or driving a Camaro
or riding on a jet ski.

Death waves
and passes by.
The sweat drips
down your brow.
A smile of relief
forms on your face.

Not me. Not me.
Not this time. 
Maybe next.
But not now.

I can go on
and party and dance
or maybe just work
another day,
come home tired,
not enough energy
to fight or argue
or even watch TV.

William Taylor Jr.

The People in the Books I’m Reading

I’m at the computer with my wine
and there’s a man outside my building calling
the name of someone he’ll never see again
as the drunk poets send me messages 
telling me how they’re sad
about their latest poems not getting 
enough likes and shares
and how they’re sad about their unrecognized genius 
and their unreviewed books
one tells me of an old lover’s suicide
as she spills wine across faded letters
another hasn’t slept for days, says she’s enslaved 
by the phases of the moon
Eddy’s muse has skipped town and Jenny’s scared 
about 30 days in rehab
Anna’s stopped drinking and found god
she tells me this time for good
Frank’s checking himself into the psych ward
and they took his dog away
Angry Face is mad because I haven’t 
read his manuscript
and the people in the books I’m reading 
are all setting things on fire and committing suicide
it’s a bad night all around and I can’t 
do much for any of it. I’m sad, too
I have my own dead lovers and unreviewed books 
and now they’re putting the guy outside
into the back of a car as I gaze into
the flashing lights and pour another wine
and when I sit down to answer one of the sad messages
I tell my poet friend not to worry too much
they’ll cancel us all eventually.

Matt Amott

Steady Rhythm

Liking music, 
sometimes
depends on perspective.
Years ago there was college band
and their latest album
was going to break big.
Everyone liked them
but I just couldn’t,
nothing seemed to click.

While hanging out
at this woman’s house
she put the record on.
She explained 
the first track,
the haunting guitar
and the social
conscious lyrics
but still 
I wasn’t moved.
She pointed out
how the rythme
is just so steady.
she also added,
that it’s a good 
blow job song.

We played it again
with the lights out
while she proved
her point.

By then,
It was starting
to grow
on me.

Alan Catlin

Prairie Fires

She looked as
if she’d spent
her formative
years as a bare
backed rider
of pale horses
whipped to
a lathering
frenzy those
full moon
nights of demon
lovers, banshee
wails & ghost
coyote songs,
tone poems for
a restive soul 
in perpetual wet
heat, summer
storms never
far from her
gloss tainted
lips, blue
shaded eyes,
hooded, barely
contained pale
tints of prairie
fires