Harris Coverley

The Bath’s Edge

I wander into the bathroom
and you’re bathing
the white crackling froth of the foam
your short curled brown hair dampened
your face liberated totally of makeup
patches of vulcan red between
your regular skin
white as the inner flesh of a ripe plum

and you grin
beneath those solid blue irises
and I lean in
and kiss that smooth forehead

and you are so perfectly innocent
and free
within that happy primal water

your small breasts relaxing
above the hot murk
your immaculate cunt invisible 
your toes arisen at the water’s far end
poking out like eager spectators

and I feel your hand going up my thigh
that purple nail polish flaked and dulled
and you get to my zip
and zup it down

“do it…I do want it”

and you pull out my cock
already thick with simmering blood
and you take the head in your mouth
that burning tongue
and swallow it whole
down the whole
back and back

and I feel your hair
and you cradle my balls
with the initial hand
as your other hand
retreats beneath the waterline
to stroke your clitoris
so sweet
so tender
so bloomed
so good
and I think of it so: a fruit on the tree
begging to be picked

and I cry your name
with a single tear of pleasure
driving down my cheek
my spine snapping
my shins raw and angry against the bath’s edge
as I rush into your mouth
too fast
so fast
I could not dare to hold it

and you choke a little
and pull back

you pipe my cum into your palm
looking at it with such wondrous kindness
and suck it back up
between those pale lips
which then smile so graciously

it is gone
a quick breakfast

and I have never been in love like this
within any second I have ever before existed

I kiss your lips still salty
and then each soapy soft nipple
worshipping each breast of yours in turn

I wipe down my cock
and leave you to soak
as you put the hot tap back on
in for a long set

it is only eight-thirty in the morning
and I already know that the rest of the day
will be as beautiful
as you

and even if it isn’t
it doesn’t matter.

John D Robinson

HOW CAN HE

How can he write when
there is blood on his hands,
destruction upon his breath,
hope between his fingertips,
love an explosion sprinting
through his blood,
how can he write when 
people are dying of hunger,
of disease and madness
and violence,
how can he write when
water is gold and the air
strangled and polluted,
when girls and women are
violated at the vileness
of men in every village,
town and city across
the globe,
when the planet is acting
out suicide before his eyes,
how can he write?
because he has to,
he has no choice,
it’s all he can
fucking do.

Andy Seven

All The Madwomen (Shock Corridor)

Creeping up a dark crooked staircase
pushing on a large steel door
opened up to a cracked linoleum floor
it was an empty room of women
all the madwomen
one sat in a rocking chair
singing lullabies to a doll with no eyes
and one arm missing
another laughed hysterically at me
choking on her laughter
tears rolling down her face
in cascades of pain

Hearts scrawled all over the walls
boys’ names scrawled in crayons HARRY ADAM DAVID CHUCK
a girl stared into nowhere
tearing hair from her head
whispering He Loves Me He Loves Me Not
the little black one baring her teeth at me
pushing me in the back
hissing I’m sick of your shit ya hear?

The cracked window high above
pouring broken light into the gloom
there was the blonde
who slapped me over and over 
“I’M SAD! MAKE ME LAUGH!”
a few clawed between their legs 
vigorously rubbing their vaginas
bright red raw 
mangling their breasts
as their tongues mechanically rolled around their lips
moaning like cows in an abattoir

The room heated up and manic musk filled the room
they moved in and
circled all around me
pushing me down and grabbing my sex
kissing and licking and biting me
like piranhas
a swirling maelstrom of hair and teeth
I screamed and screamed
the last thing I heard
was Daddy I love you

Paige Johnson

Sell Out

You’ve never been so excited to disappoint your parents.
It’s an endless process, them making you feel less than.
Yet it makes you laugh, posing for and PMing strangers.
These boys got something better than a bottle of bourbon
Hidden in their closet boxes or creaking nightstands.
ZipLocks full of body parts: Nail clippings and Q-tips
Sent from anonymous cuties aching for extra cash and attention.
You consider these girls an elite clique: pretty as pearls but grounded
by a need to please. “Is this sock smelly enough?” they ask themselves.
“These panties streaked with enough excitement? The photos professional?” 

You’ve always been a sucker for irony, class clashes & white-flame car crashes. 
I’d think that’d put you on the other side of selling, but you’ve got a mortgage.
Cost of moving on from umbilical cords and wedding bands cut long ago.
Reminds you of bloody baby teeth found in your mother’s sewing chest
Twelve years ago, you experienced the lockjaw jolt, spine tingle, 
The sinking shock. An unseemly discovery, things you shouldn’t have seen, 
memories tied to sinew you had to tear away with unwarranted assistance.
So, price your words and wear with a barbwire barrier to entry.
Isn’t much, but it threads the needle, keeps your teeth clean,
Your heart-shape box free of debris and fingerprints.

No one’s gonna unearth your secret before you’ve spent a few smiles,
Bought up a black void living space to melt into like ice cream on a cavity. 
Keeping busy means keeping current with the fetish trends. This month: Lips.
Floss flecked with spinach, tongue-wrapped tubes of gloss, saliva sold as lube.
If you bubble wrap the mason jars and Handcock the lids with a hearty insignia, 
You can call yourself a businesswoman, a shoulder-padded stiletto-sharp trailblazer.  
Put that degree to use, make your perverts proud they got in on the ground floor.
The crust under your soles and the spiteful grit of your teeth ensures success.
The men entrust you with re-choreographing their childhood trauma. 
Sparkling in the camera light, you recast yours in soft filters.

Nobody’s daughter, everybody’s type.

Daniel S. Irwin

Random Thoughts In The Morning

Life is sometimes
As thrilling as
Being the “Next”
In the waiting room
Of the dentist office.

The special fire house chili
Brought tears to the eyes,
Flamin’ farts soon followed.
One must always consider
The consequences of one’s
Actions.  Ice cream is not
Always readily available.

In all the years of
Carousing about
And all the women
Who fascinated me,
I only asked two
To marry me.
One said, “Yes”.
One said, “No”.
Both were a 
Disappointment.

My first thought upon
Waking in such an odd
Inexplicably good mood
Was that I must be
Someone else.

Greg Sendi

In Nineteen Whatever

In nineteen whatever my brothers and I
bought a derelict place built from PVC, pine logs,

some sheetrock and hollow core doors in a recluse
scrub maple stand deep in the Kingdom of Dum. 

Look, don’t tell me it’s just how things roll in that part
of the mitten.
I don’t mean homespun local color,

okay? I mean Odal rune dirtbags and methmouthed
faux-butternut shitjacks at every gas pump and

degenerate bumblecunts armed like they work for El
Chapo streaming RPG vids from the woods

and the warped and malignant ex-mayor of Fuckville
who wants (not to over-finesse the point)

camps.

Whenever it was, say the baby was one
so call it ninety-eight or I think, working back

from the November bonechill the first visit up
on that soupyellow night—there were turkeys out front,

plump with beechnuts and bugs, a whole rafter, so-called
for the roof timbers they would hang from as feast meat

but, listen, the point is not wildfowl or which
goddamned year, though, for probity’s sake, let’s just say,

ninety-nine?—since as fathomed the watchful Odawa,
years are inconsequential except to mark famine,

who bequeathed requital to us who came after,
the cannibal Wendigo, bringer of civil

collapse—

and the end of the ways we could hold like to like,
before particleboard and shit plywood and all

the miasmic offgasing formaldehyde resins that
pickled what’s left of the upright bluewater

republic, whole hamlets and townships now loopy
and fuddled with kuru in humanflesh frenzies

to signal starvations their broke-brained, dysphasic,
fat famisher-god says they suffer with him

for eternity. Listen, I’m not here to fuss
like some wobbly collegetown sniffy—forearms

are breaching the surface at Antrim and Skegmog
The Rubicon loamsands aren’t holding the

corpse.

***

Originally appeared in Cathexis Northwest

J.J. Campbell

i think i finally found the right drugs

and in my dreams
i’m elvis straining
on the toilet, wondering
when peanut butter
and banana beat out
pussy as my favorite
thing to eat
 
suddenly, pam grier
saunters into the room
 
explaining to me all the
reasons why we could
never work as a couple
 
she slides me her room
key and begs me to come
prove her wrong
 
my juices start to flow
 
this is a challenge i’ve
been dying to accept for
forty fucking years now
 
i get up and start to march
to her room, all the while
 
forgetting to wipe
 
i wake up and grab a pen
 
laughing
 
someone somewhere
will see the metaphor
here and will hopefully
be laughing as well

Kristin Garth

Gloved Hands Are The Cruelest In A Ballroom 

You pray on parquet before it begins
not to a god or seraphim but to 
the pinstriped swathed cock of one of his friends 
that he may be softer than it is to you.

Your leash released into his hand is yanked
until you hurriedly stand so he can 
whisper evils he has planned.  You will thank 
him later on the ground while others stand 

in masks, ballgowns.  You hear rustles of ruffled 
skirts, whispers of women who want to see
you hurt summon another to muffle 
the mouth with lace opera gloves.  Screams 

allowable as you appraise your doom. 
Gloved hands are the cruelest in a ballroom. 

Dan Cuddy

Romance of the Fortune Teller

lightning, thunder
chalk scraped against a blackboard

we learn, yes, we learn
we read signs in the sky
in the entrails of fowl
in leaves
though we need a gypsy lady 
to open her wide dark eyes
surrounded by so much mascara
like rainbows around streetlights
or maybe the moon

we need glasses
disguises
so we don’t see the everyday
homeliness
that dresses up to fool us
with castanets and dire predictions

I don’t know if I would be afraid
to lean over
grab that old gypsy woman’s chin
kiss her more like a lover
than an old aunt

would I be afraid of a scorpion
in that old mouth?
would I mummify on the spot?
the dust of my eyes blows away
joins the desert 
that is the remains of the dead?

that gypsy was young, I think, once
olive skin, midnight dark hair
lips that glistened in bewitched dreams

someone would have taken her
did take her once
to a room with a balcony
a great antique bed
a canopy and curtains
and space on that bed
to make a future
greater than a prediction

I look at her
see the embers of beauty
burn away
breathe the smoke 
of all the world’s illusions

truth is a homely old lady
selling her wares behind so much make-up
telling the young
“and happily ever after”

I don’t want to listen
or look
I want to believe
in song
in dancing hips
in the wind of fear
which makes you alive
and dares you to grab
the body of this sweet life