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

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.

Curt Last

The Stripper

She said she was 23…
turned out she was 19
and it showed more
and more as the days went on.
She was epileptic and bipolar—
I wasn’t too fond of the mania,
as she would often jump
me and wrestle me to the ground
until I had to forcefully overpower
her by twisting her wrists back
until she was in enough pain
to stop fucking with me.
Met her at the strip club,
she was dancing to Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable”—
it should have been her theme,
better yet, Erykah Badu’s “Baglady.”
She sat in my lap while talking
to my best friend,
said it was the only way to get
through to me, but my stoic hardness
always seems to attract these women.
Then it was late nights at Denny’s
after her shifts until she suddenly moved in.
She blazed chronic everyday,
I learned through her exactly
what a heaven Huntington Beach
was to a 420 loser since there were
5 head shops within a 2-mile radius
of my apartment, and I got to know
each one and the ugly ceramic
“water pipes” she bought at them.
She was loaded always, and the epileptic fits
made me sit and freak out—watching
her body contort on the ground,
making sure her tongue was in her
mouth and that she wasn’t going
to hit anything. 
She danced to Jack Johnson
in my living room—
it reminded me of Juliet Lewis 
in Natural Born Killers,
the scene when Robert Downey Jr.
visits her cell, and she’s flowing
and dancing, completely gone,
let go, and ready to strike
like a wild animal if bothered.
She would dance, and it disturbed me,
because I would always think of the movie
and that character and how unstable 
the character was, and how
it mirrored her instability,
how she would grab me
out of nowhere
and try to wrestle me to the ground.
I usually gave in and let myself drop,
but if it was hurting, or if she was
going to far, trying to put a hand up 
my ass, trying to push the humiliation,
that’s where I would grab the wrists 
and push them back until she cried,
until she left me the fuck alone.
She was fun the first two weeks
of this 6-month storm
and when we dosed on E
rolling hard on an ocean
in my living room,
but that was brief
and the long spells
and learning her background
just made it feel more and more
like a death I couldn’t escape.
She would dance, laugh,
try to put me in a choke hold—
all in the same moment sometimes.
I had to take her to an island
to shake her. It wasn’t me,
it was something in my subconscious.
Got her on the other side of the Pacific,
took her to a strip club one night
and later she would tell me,
“You took the crackhead to the crackhouse.”
And I left her there.
I went home alone,
and she left Guam a few years later
with a husband
after screwing over the bouncer
at her club, who I actually liked.
She hit me up a month short of
boot camp, and I listened 
to the message and just said,
“Fuck that,”
as I was a month away from
going into the Navy,
head-first on some crazy
writer’s pursuit of experience,
and I had had enough of flawed women
at that moment.

William Taylor Jr.

A Reprieve

It’s the plague times, California’s on fire
and most everything you can name
has gone to shit.

Each day we wake to learn how easily
200 and some odd years of more
or less democracy can be dismantled 
like a makeshift stage by a television 
con man, his assemblage of toadies
and an indifferent population.

The days are are dreary, nebulous
and each the same.

But Jon comes by in his old car like some
broken saint and he takes us 
to North Beach where the sidewalk cafes 
are just opening again after months 
of being shuttered.

We sit outside Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store 
across from Washington Square Park
drinking wine and beer and the world 
feels nearly right again.

The air is filled with good talk and laughter
as we look at the girls and shoot shit about the poets
and you can imagine the neighborhood 

how it was back when Kerouac got dead 
drunk in the alley that now bears his name
and Brautigan sat in the park with a jug 
of wine and one of his pretty girlfriends.

It feels like the day after the end of a war
and the giant sky and the lazy sun
and the people alive beneath it all miracles 
you thought you’d never see again

but in truth the war’s just gearing up
and the afternoon just a quick gift of light, 
a tease to give us something to maybe 
remember or fight for, and me and Jon 
we’re like prisoners on a holiday sucking 
it all in as best we can before everything 
goes dark again.

J.J. Campbell

drowning sorrows

boredom is always
a concern for me
 
too much time on 
my hands leads to 
endless thoughts
of death
 
drowning sorrows 
in liquor
 
and dreams of pissing 
on my father’s grave
 
i remember when 
my imagination
still had a sense 
of wonder
 
of course, i had 
money and drugs 
during those days
 
now i have neither
 
soon, i feel like they 
will be taking me 
behind the old 
barn
 
and we all know 
what happens
there

damion snow

artist

i can show up at your address
with a mask and duct tape
probably a crowbar to break in
and for my killing tool
i’d use my hands
but i don’t want to choke you

if i were gonna kill you i’d want
it to be that personal and that violent
but not so abrupt and
i’d like to be more raw

maybe i could stick my hands in your mouth
gripping both sets of teeth
and just push.

push with all my might till your jaw
separates and the skin tears
leaving your neck exposed
blood gushing everywhere

then i’d grab the tongue and pull
and pull until it snapped out

maybe explore the rest of your organs
i mean, the blood loss you’ve suffered
by this point your dead
but the rest of this isn’t about
shock factor or sexual release
it’s about exploration

a sense of wonder
to hold an appendix sack
in your palm.

all these little cogs
we’re comprised of

so very sensitive

and then i’ll put it all back together again
into a big mountain of pure carnage

i’m not an engineer
so i take many liberties
in this stage of conduct

and this
is the painting i made for us

David J. Thompson

Part Of The Show

I’ve always been afraid of clowns,
coulrophobia, I guess they call it.
In fact, I remember the first time
I saw a clown up close in person,
I wet my pants. Unfortunately,
this happened just yesterday
at a backyard birthday party
for my friends’ grandson.
When the rent-a-clown tried
to give me a comic hug, I lost
control of my bladder in fear.
The little kids all noticed and started
to laugh hysterically; they thought 
it was part of the show. I started
them singing Happy Birthday,
covered my darkened crotch
with my baseball cap, and walked
hurriedly to my car, thankful
it was only piss that the goddamn clown
scared out of me. It could have been
a whole lot worse.