Jon Bennett

Diego Rivera is My Hero 

Diego Rivera was very fat 
hugely overweight 
all day long up and down 
the scaffolding, holding brushes 
over his head 
it didn’t matter 
he ate the world 
Diego Rivera didn’t  
go on a diet or quit smoking 
yet the women flocked to him 
his ponderous belly 
his cigarette breath and 
infidelity only made him 
more attractive 
Diego Rivera was a man 
of the people 
who had no defense  
against his monstrous 
appetites 
and Frida was tiny and strong 
and put up with him 
Maybe I need 
to be a man like him 
to find a woman 
like her. 

Jeffrey Zable

In the First Place

Who would have thought I’d become famous 
so late in life—and for my poetry no less. 
It’s quite exciting, but at the same time 
it doesn’t have as much meaning as it would 
have If I’d become famous when I was a young man 
and could easily do it four or five times per day, 
drink a good deal of liquor without getting sick, 
and still had a desire to travel the world. 

“Well. . . better late than never!” a good friend said 
to me, “when you consider there are millions of poets 
who never get any attention at all, many of whom 
commit suicide because they feel that what they have 
to offer is completely ignored.”

Hearing this, I did admit that I appreciated finally 
getting paid for what I do best, because up until I was 
discovered I’d only made around 40 dollars in 50 plus 
years of writing the stuff. . . but then, I never wrote 
to make a lot of money in the first place. . .

J de Salvo

Poppyseeds

When it all started (me and you), you
brought me bags of bagels, and
the poppyseeds would fall off of them in
the toaster, on the counter, on the plate

The bagels weren’t very well-made and yet
I ate them, joyfully enough at first
thinking of you, and then,
ruefully at last, thinking again

Finally it came out:
I was just poor, I was just hungry
I never really liked those stale bagels
I fell in love for something to do

And you put your faith in new love
(never smart!) and if my naive faith in
undiscerning saviors, if it was cute for
a minute, now, my toaster is on fire

And I’m all alone in this (wooden) house
forgetting how you smother an electric
blaze, I always knew it would end like
this, they’ll all blame me, saying:

I always knew he’d drink again, and
Oh, I know, so sad

Noel Negele

High On More Things Than One

If you pull off your clothes
you’re fun to me
I have enough friends y’know?
I don’t need a deep conversation
while high close to dawn time

I want to be put out
over your body
like a candle that
actually prefers melting
without the flame burning

it’s a kindness
coming down
while going down
on you

we can mix drugs
and good fun
even if we suffer
from existential despair

all we have to do
is talk less and connect more

when I wake up
be decent enough
to have already be gone

we both know
morning faces
deserve to confront
the mirror on their own

at night I’ll switch off the lights
of the housewhile you’re sound asleep
and go through the rooms
with a flashlight
searching for the ghost of me
from when I used to be not unhappy
don’t you know
sometimes it’s the man
that scares off the ghost
and not the other way around

J.J. Campbell

the madness within

my broken soul doesn’t 
get to shine any light
anymore

while the darkness 
can be bleak

my imagination still 
has some life to it

relax and understand
the point of this exercise 
is to enjoy the madness 
within

there is beauty in blood,
guts and mayhem

even when they swear
joy comes only from
picket fences

Mather Schneider

Shit On My Shoes

The mc compares the poetry reading
to a rodeo
but I’ve seen more action

on a merry-go-round.
The sound-guy smirks in the shadow
of his hipster cowboy hat

and holds his stiff
lasso of wire.
One by one the poets stand up

and trot out on their potty-trained ponies
do a couple of high-step circles,
rubber-spur their gray-blanket mares around the clown barrels,

swinging their tails at the flies,
dropping piles
of pumpernickel rolls

on the hardwood stage 
and burping green and yellow cud
all over the mike. 

The audience just looks on
like cattle standing
in the rain. 

John D Robinson

After the Second Date

‘You’re fucking nuts! You know that?’
Fucking crazy!” she screamed at me:
it was 07:30 and I had to make it
into work within the hour:
‘I don’t know what the fuck you’re
talking about, but whatever the fuck
it is, forgive me’ I said:
‘You should feel ashamed of yourself’.
she said:
‘I do’ I replied:
‘You can’t even remember what you
did and said last night, can you?’
she shrieked at me: it was true:
‘No’ I said:
‘Well, you’re soon find out’ she said
‘and if you’re looking for your shoes
you’ll find them in the freezer
where you put them last night!’
she turned and made for the
bathroom as I stumbled
towards the kitchen.

John Tustin

Nail Holes

I’ve memorized every nail hole in these 
Four rooms.
I’ve eaten my various mélanges of pasta,
Rice, beans, tuna, salad,
And chicken
A thousand times.
I’ve asked for your help
But have not received it.
I don’t believe in magic, in God.
I like Jesus. He said a lot of good things.
He died for jerks like us.
I like Buddha. He’s pretty good.
But I can’t reconcile the fact
That he abandoned his wife and kids.
Kiss me once, as I die
In chains.
Hold my hand
As it trembles uncontrollably
With the palsy of
The past.
The bugs skitter along the walls,
Along my skin.
I am a prisoner of this flesh,
This omnipresent erection,
This pulsation, exsanguinations of
The soul.
The machinations of bone, of blood,
Of joints.
The living are crushed
Between my teeth.
I expand, I recoil.
I sit and stare as music blares.
I puke up nightly regrets 
And sorrows.
From the bed
To the toilet
To the car
To the toilet
To the bed.
If there is a God,
He sits on his throne
And don’t give a fuck.

Dustin King

Scam

Raise your hand if you were miscarried. 
Aborted?
The baby in the backseat wails,
“It’s a scam, it’s all a scam!”
You’re right, kid.
Pop music, like apple sauce, is insufferable 
and you can’t stick a candle in your asshole
and call it a birthday cake. 
One day, though, you’ll receive the gift of excess.
I fuck with deaths small and large,
whimper my orgasm about town,
had both glitter and blood in my stool.
Neither the hangovers or venereal diseases
are as bad as they say.
Broke jaw, broke ego, just plain broke,
it’s the piss test or relinquish duty, cocaine brain!
Anyways, never trust moderation or the moderator–
you could live to 105 and never cum
but if you show at your funeral, 
they’ll thank you for lifting the mood.