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.

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. 

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. 

Daniel S. Irwin

The Spawning

Bill swore he was spawned
From the left nut of God.
Why else would he end up
In the asylum on a regular basis.
He knew the world was crazy,
He wasn’t the only one insane.
But, somehow, somewhere
There was a logic to it all.
Fish can live in water but not
So well in tea.  Vinegar is out.
The saucers come at night
But they never take him away.
Damn them for that!  He’d like
To disappear to another planet.
He’d really prefer one with air.
The doctor comes in twice a day
To do Bill’s rectal exam.  And,
Twice a day, the wandering doctor
Is shown back to his padded cell.
Maybe it was better on the street.
For sure, for Bill life was a daily grind.
But there were fewer doctors there.

Taryn Allan

Strange Roads and Nowhere Paths

Empty people passing empty store-fronts,
Spice and tax and no tomorrow,
Paths with neither beginning nor end,
Roads which loop forever backwards.
Fake tan so we can pretend we’ve been somewhere,
Betting slips so we can pretend we’ll go anywhere,

Patches of blood like sunspots,
Stain the taxi’s aged upholstery,
‘I’m sorry, sometimes she hurts herself’,
‘Mate, every bodily fluid’s been spilt in ‘ere’’,
At least she knows she’s still alive,
She’s not yet gone fully ghost,

They drive past gloom-drenched bars,
Sallow faces sucking blackened pints,
Never drunk enough to see the stars,
Never sober enough to see the dark,
But they say its all worthwhile, 
That it all serves a purpose,

To everything its place,
And to every place its cause,
Even while we worry that there is no ‘therefore’,
No ‘therefore’, only ‘and then’,
‘And then’, 
And no ‘therefore’.

Michael D. Amitin

amsterdam 3/23

the oldish new grey train like texas ribs
sizzles out of gare du nord
past crackerbox shores
to the opening…

riding rail joys graffiti garden windmills
feel the smooth steel rising, tickling my travel loins
of greenfield days

who wouldn’t know where to go, what to write
on a train

even unvaxed vixens heeding heathens call
who circle the earth blindly
in looking glass jars eyes of a blind blonde man

from a candleit pipe organ aesthetic dear
i woke to ‘loosen the grip’ 
whispered from the harangued lips of cryin’ foghorn freeload
standin on a street corner beneath pink morning clouds
as we blow by in a blackbird wind

sad eye dove can’t win
its got her runnin the grand ol reaper man
carrying his last stand dragon stick
ghosts running in the sand and
she’s hangin on to forever melodies

kid eye blind
what house guarantees immortal-ese
racing trains hither and hather
just a suit that fits
for a housewarming party in the sky baby

you’ll all be together again sad eyes 
no fret let the music begin
before these days peel away your love
like riptorn cheap fishnet stockings

things are bound to turnaround
this run of bad luck
that croupier’s hung up his what’s-up-his sleeve cleats

and the sad, zero-eye angels of the reformation
pasted to marble
ascending the walls of galilee nowhere’s in a heavenly squall
where dixieland swing-blowing trumpets yield to brother Joshua

and outside the foxhole crumpets adorn the green green rocky
road the grass of morning grows