Carrie Magness Radna

Amber (no. 129 of Women’s names sensual series) 

What’s going on  
at the Boom Boom Room? 
She’s making it happen; 
she’s out of the cage! 

She came from a den of thieves. 
Her Mom 
pickled her own heart 
with hot vinegar. 
& her Mom’s never satisfied; 
she’s often sinister 
& full of rage. 

But right now, 
all the lights are on. 

This girl’s eyes are burning brightly 
while wearing a top with cut-outs  
& long sleeves 
as the music plays on— 

Worlds apart, 
her loves go down 
so much quicker 

“It’s great to be ignored in stereo,” 
she whines like a jesting Valley Girl 
finally gaining some beach curls 
from a very special Japanese shampoo. 

Oh oh oh 
What to do? 

She’s got a famous resting bitch face 
the paparazzi wants to reveal; 
her curious reinvention 
sputters on, as if  
she came up 
with the first wheel. 

But when she opens up, 
she’s a little genius, not a ditzy brat 
with a soul of a black cat 

who’s working on her next free life. 
Like her Daddy 

who played good on his Fender, 
his fake Beatles haircut  
is now wearing thin; 
he never made it big 
in LA or NYC. 

He left his two girls home 
as an afterthought— 
the trip-lights, the mind benders 
& the fantasies, to him 
were more important  
than reality. 

& the cad 
that came to claim her, 
he was her secret lover 
until she was discovered 
by Hollywood 

He ditched her right after 
she gained the limelight. 

She claimed: 
“If I can’t have love, 
I want power.”

R.M. Engelhardt

The Only Thing Separating Bukowski & Rilke is Catlin

On my bookshelf

The only thing separating 
Bukowski & Rilke 

Is Catlin

Like some referee 
In a boxing ring
Or a bouncer in a 
Crowded bar

Y’ see Rilke & Bukowski
Never really got along

Celan once tried to 
Take them both out one day 
For ice cream but 
They just looked at
Each other glaring from across
The Friendly’s table

With disgust

Started insulting
Each other Rilke calling
Bukowski a disgusting swine
Bukowski calling Rilke a 
Pompous Nancy Boy

Things just weren’t
Working out & looked
Pretty bleak

Bukowski was
Drunk all the time
And Rilke was always 
Spending hours in
The bathroom
Working on his 

But then ?
Catlin’s new book 
Came out 

Exterminating Angels

And after reading it
Carefully placed it
Between Love’s A Dog From
Hell & The Sonnets of Orpheus

And now?

I haven’t heard anything
From either of them

In quite awhile 

But you never know

Last year Pessoa
Slashed Berryman’s
Tires and James Joyce 
Called the police

Robert Guffey

chili, cornbeef, & fucking a bloody cunt w/ no condom

& fucking a bloody cunt
w/ no condom.

i’ve heard of improbable events like these,
rumors passed along furtively through half-remembered whispers.
old-timers called them


just never thought i’d have one
quite as perfect as

Karl Koweski

Because I once quoted Shakespeare, I’m considered the factory intellectual

Gary stopped in the aisle
at the hydraulic factory
and asked my opinion
concerning the earth being flat.

I looked into his Scooby Doo gaze
hoping to find a looming punchline,
anything other than the fervent certainty
that modern science
had gotten it all absolutely wrong.

neutral expression upheld,
I told him I figured
this had been decided for good and all
at least six hundred years ago,
two thousand years in some of the
more forward thinking civilizations,
ten thousand years if you are
inclined to include the Atlanteans.

I wouldn’t be so sure, Gary cautioned.
I’ve been watching those tiktok videos.

the fact you’re watching
tiktok videos of anything
other than bouncing breasts
and shaking asses leads me
to question your competency.

tiktok only shows me
this kind of stuff,
Gary said, exasperated.
his peaceful pseudo-porn
obviously usurped by
algorithms purposefully
designed by Democrats
working hand in hand
with the Chinese
to wake him from the
global conspiracy
hoodwinking humanity
into believing we exist
upon the surface
of a spherical planet.

NASA knows all about it,
Gary continued without
a shade of shame to his shadow.
they photoshop all their
satellite pictures
and they’re the ones in charge
of guarding the Antarctic ice wall,
and, you know, rockets, they
can actually only go four miles
up because there’s a dome
or, uhm… something.

Gary, stop, just stop, man,
how tired of porn do you have to be
to watch these bullshit videos?

he held his tongue a bare moment,
so, you know everything, then?

I know the earth’s fucking round!

all right, can we at least agree
the moon landing was staged?

we shook hands at that,
compromising on the utter
evil duplicity
of our government.

John Grey

The Pied Piper Day Three

He suddenly realized
not only hadn’t he been paid
but he was stuck with the entire
under-twelve population
of the town of Hamelin.

Still, it solved his dilemma
of what to feed
all of those hungry rats.

Roger Netzer

Shopping For Dildos Online

Like me, you shop online for dildos,
vibrators and other sex toys.
I went from fingering my clit to pumping a vibrator
in my pussy while I watched porn.
That drifted into dildos up my ass
and double penetration.
I would buy butt plugs
and walk around the house with them
while doing the chores — vacuuming the rugs,
emptying the dishwasher, whatever.

Now I’m taking my sexual adventures into town:
Ben Wa balls in my ass sitting in a theater,
vibrating panties to the grocery store.
I don’t get caught, but I think about it.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

The Highest Office in the Land

He was the CEO of CEOs. 
Hotboxed his spacious workplace
in the clouds.  

Felt his heavy eyes fall in on themselves.
The highest office in the land.

Getting on the phone to listen
to some strange voice say a bunch
of even stranger numbers.

Then under his desk to construct a fort.
Shooting staples at imaginary armies.

Looking at his plant in the corner
and wondering about photosynthesis.

Trying to figure out why rain was wet
before the munchies kicked in.

Willie Smith

Night Piece

The cricket sings the dark 
the dark to sing away. 
To his own gut feeling 
the frog responds. 
The whippoorwill skims the pond, 
intercepting in the dark 
moth, beetle, firefly; 
calls his name the moment he forgets 
he has no name, calls his name 
the moment he forgets 
the moment he forgets calls. 
The owl intuits the soul of chance. 
The mouse, in owl claws, 
with no further complaint 
than a phrase of squeaks, 
leaves this plane for perhaps a better 
place; but the frog, the cricket, 
the whippoorwill on it do not bet.   

J.J. Campbell

just an old poet

i went dancing with a train
but never got the ride i wanted

sometimes you never reach 
the bottom of your depravity

the ghosts don’t even bother 
to show up anymore

and the hours and days start 
to pile like trash

like old phone books used 
for kindling

spread my ashes in a field
and cover them in shit

just an old poet

nothing more
nothing less

some fucking sage that 
warned all of you but 
none of you ever bothered
to listen

to understand

to squeeze the marrow 
out of life before the 
powers that be squeeze 
it for you

we were once young at this

ready to conquer the world
or something like that

Vivian Pollak

His First Drowning

He lost her in his River Ouse
Habitual her morbid ritual mood
Upper East Side between Second and First
Sex in the city and the big black hearse
December is cold, but May cherries are red
His love in the tub, in the tub, there she bled
But he is the victim — a fear he can’t handle
Coverage of a congressman’s adulterous scandal.