Damon Hubbs

Amsterdam

the potato eaters is on loan
peeled & disrobed 
from the museum wall

& then the mushrooms
the magic ones, not the trip truffles 
which are magic-lite & 

the little printed card from the hotel lobby 
cheerfully suggests the bad feeling will pass
coca-cola can help, fruit juice, a walk

dredging thought-shards the next day
like drowned bikes from the canal
we bench it, drink Heineken tallboys

could be worse
(dead after jumping from a bridge near IJ-tunnel—)
(Frenchman stabs his own dog after eating hallucino—) 
could be. But

bereft, we wonder if Amsterdam is bust 
until the girl in the lobby of the Anne Frank House 
asks if we want to party 

the poor taste 
of animal shamelessness 
fumbling at a moral-zipper

twenty years on
I still feel bad saying yes 
but the bad feeling will pass, 
always does

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Full Nudity 

We sit down to dinner 
and a movie
that promises some violence
and full nudity.

I pause the movie
and see that the running time
is 2h and 7mins.

That means everyone is naked 
for the entire movie,
I say.
Over 2 hours in the buff.
Anything less would be
“partial nudity.”

She laughs
and says she doesn’t think
that’s what it means.

When the first clothed person appears,
I tell her we should stop it 
because they have lied yet again.

But she wants me to keep it going.
Like laryngitis running a four minute mile.

They’re not even topless,
I complain.
We’re not even halfway 
there!

Brian Rosenberger

Awful things happen to good people

Car wreck. Cancer. Lightning strike.
Stray bullet. Shark attack. Bee sting.
Eaten by alligators, cats, or some flesh-eating virus,
Or by a neighbor.
You’ve seen the same headlines I have.
You know it’s true.
War. Disease. Natural disaster.
Death by mudslide. Death by Bologna sandwich.
Death by Botox. Death due to shopping.
Why do you think it’s called Black Friday?
Wrong place. Wrong time.
Victim after Victim.
You know it’s all true.
Assuredly, they are all awful things.
But good people…
Assuredly. Probably. More often than not.
But I’ve been around. You’ve been around.
Some of the awful things were, in fact, awful people.
They had it coming. Had it happened sooner
You and I, the good people, or at least us,
Making the attempt would be better off
As would the World.

Alexander Poster

Murder, We Wrote

When we played Clue as a family,
Miss Scarlet always was the killer.
It was my mother’s warning 
about a certain type of woman.
As a young Professor Plum
In the study with a candlestick
Guess who I pursued?

I don’t like to dedicate poems
But this one is for the harlots
In the room.
The ones who don’t yet want to kill me.
The ones with scars where they shouldn’t be.
The ones that actually need the unpoetic trigger warning I should 
Have just given.

Passion by both its definitions
Is a form of consideration
And the passion you gave me was a roll
Of the dice.
Through laughter and lacrimation
Verity and vulnerability 
Your crazy intertwined with mine
As we took each other’s meds
Which were the same.

I suspect
It is a crime
Against all genders
That the game lacks
A character, masculine and moonstruck,
Easy and wild.

Make an accusation,
Open the envelope
And pull out the card I drew of myself.
My mother hated when I did that.

Jeff Weddle

Into the Wild

The limp of the tiger 
stalking the ragged ape 
under a dying moon. 

Nothing lasts. 

Even the kudu understand. 

They don’t run. 
They don’t even skitter. 

The limp of the tiger, 
the puzzle of a dead man 
beside a dirt road, 

a man roaring 
just yesterday. 

His woman will never know
the truth. 

The ragged ape
turns to face the tiger, 
sizing up the limp. 

In a small house
miles away
a woman
who does not yet know
she is a widow
makes hard love 
to a boy half her age. 

Everything is vicious. 

The boy basks in his good fortune 
as the ape continues on his way
and the tiger gives up
and looks for a place 
off the beaten path
to sleep.

Waking up
or sleeping forever,
each is just the same. 
The tiger is ready for what comes. 

The widow screams in ecstasy.

The boy believes he 
understands something  
he had not known before, 
but he is wrong.

Love is a possibility 
but, as even the most ragged ape 
will tell you, a good death
is less certain 

and definitely matters more.

Daniel S. Irwin

So Cool

Aw, man, you are so cool.
At least, that’s what you tell everybody.
Some people are goofy enough to believe it.
You spout some words that don’t mean shit
Tryin’ to entice some ho to wrap her long legs
Around your head and koochie-koochie her
Taint in yo face so she can alternate pressin’ her
Cunt and her asshole in your face.
You don’t mind if she’s not all that clean
And don’t wipe away her crap so well
That it smears across her butt cheeks,
In turn, smearing across your face.
Jizz leakin’ from an encounter before you
Just tastes like prison juice.
Yeah, bitch, you so cool, you deserve
A face smeared with shit while you profess
To be better than everybody else.
Talk shit, loser, crawl back under your rock.

Damon Hubbs

Not with a Whimper but a Bang Bot

it turns out 
the Swiss futurologist 
was right

the Autoblow robot 
was the beginning 
of the end

Harmony 
Nova
Serenity & 

the rest of the TrueCompanions 
have left the lab
to take over the world

the question 
of whether it’s ethically dubious 
to force a toaster to make toast

is of no concern
when Wild Wendy & 
S&M Susan

fuck us to death 
while quoting Shakespeare

Kristin Garth

Star Power 

If you strip long enough in a small town 
even ghosts of sexual assaults past 
are eventually found at the round
end of a phallic shaped stage being flashed
by some “sexy librarian” in cat-eyed 
glasses, reminiscent of college girl you,
tormented in his daddy’s McMansion, pine 
forest views.  Sneak past three piece suits
to the dressing  room.  One hour to ply baby lotion,
perfume, plaid skirts, kneesocks, pigtails 
conjure innocent skin he has never been in — 
college stoner cum businessman.  Want details,
how he wailed when ejected from this bar.
A body broken by him makes you a star. 

John Yohe

autogynephilia

I have worn women’s underwear at night
I have looked in a mirror and wondered
my nylonned legs smooth and shiny in black
worrying if I even look alright
identifying my greatest asset
telling myself I’m still not good enough
but feeling sexy in panties and bra
feeling how women can dress for themselves
wondering if they desire themselves too
I have wanted to fuck myself somehow
while wanting to be fucked by a real man
I have wondered 
what would happen for real
wondered what for real for me even means

Noel Negele

The Mayhem of Our Youth

Sure it had its appeal—
that time in life
you were so unbelievably young
you were almost
legitimately insane—
and yes, looking back
at all that degeneration 
was a thing to behold—
the nonchalant 
and mindless
booze consumption 
and drug intake and
the countless stumblings
from whorehouse
to whorehouse—
and all those girls 
even wilder than you 
on your wildest—
naked, pale girls 
leaning over the plate
on the nightstand 
to take a good line
of Devil’s dandruff
as their breasts dangle
like firm but ripe fruits

Yes, the frenzied
drug-fueled nights 
with the one-on-one fights 
that made you beat your chest 
like a Gorilla
after it was done
or the group brawls
in slumping bars
under a shower of broken
beer bottle shards—
Yes, the dripping bloody
faces of people 
you had never met before that night 
and the knife threats
the knife attacks 
the Molotov cocktails 
against riot police
because you’d read Bakunin 
back then 
and because you were angry 
and willing to hurt people

Yes, you were lucky to
get out of that youth 
scathed but very much alive

And the older I get and
the less I bullshit myself,
I’ll admit I never did have
the stomach for all that 
and it never even came close
to filling that black hole 
in my heart
that always remained
and felt infinitely empty
and there’s no more absolute
nothingness
than infinitely empty 
and no matter how many people
I pushed into that hole 
the love attempts 
the literature
the intoxication
the anger
the affection
it made no difference

But now,
much older than then,
I’ve stopped dropping 
things into that hole 

Now, I’ve learned to live with it
Now, sometimes I’ll look 
deep into that hole—
and the deeper I look
the more probable it becomes
that it might not be so empty

Now, I am much older
and the thought of that lost 
and misplaced youth 
sounds loud to my ears,
it sullies my peace of mind

Now, I sit on my porch
and drink the first cold beer
in weeks 
because I promised myself I would
on the first day the temperature 
would reach thirty degrees
and I stare at the tree tops
swinging with the warm summer
breeze and notice the sound
of a particular twig 
that sounds like a creaky door 
with each mild gust 
and I think of my steaks
marinating in my fridge
the whole day now 
and even though I’m hungry 
I light a cigarette and wait
until I’m famished 

And I look deep into that hole
within my bloated heart
and realise 
I haven’t heard Edith Piaf
in a long time