Vivian Pollak

Choose Venus

Pink swirl tattoo
the skin of Venus.
Her arms and heart and legs
open wider
than Nefertiti, Aphrodite and Hera,
those mean girls.  

When my conjured flowers 
need to feed
I boast they are damned 
strong
and impervious to absorb ammonia.
Don’t be afraid. 

My pipe smoke rises
from phoenix fires.
Rain is not made of foolish tears,
desire 
and disaster season this water –
no salt here.  

I churn and flare mighty
like a constant glowing liar,
a hot green house fire.
Venus shows herself
to be the truthful 
God of Love. 

John Grey

The Saw

Its most common use
is pruning those pesky branches
that encroach upon the house.
Or chopping down the whole tree
if required.

But a saw can also be a musical instrument
Bending and unbending,
an onrush of glissando,
replicates a theremin. 

Another common practice 
with such an implement 
is removing the head of an enemy
whom you’ve drugged 
and bound to a parlor chair.

The instructions saws come with
only mention the first of these applications. 

But there’s no reason that
you shouldn’t wield a saw
to decapitate some guy.
You can even play a tune or two
while you’re doing it.

John Tustin

Deb

I keep thinking of her,
just one of many who ghosted me,
to use the 21st century parlance.

I keep thinking of her,
so-so looking,
incredibly stupid,
nice thighs in the pictures,
sturdy fleshy body.
That’s the way I thought about her –
like chicken parts,
something I wanted to tear into
just because I was famished.
I imagine the things I would do to her
if I was confident and there were no consequences:
things I would do with my hands
and with not-my-hands.
Rude things I would do
while she told me she didn’t like it
but secretly did like it.

I keep thinking of her.
Among all the ghost-wreckage,
much of it unremembered,
for some reason it’s Deb
that keeps crossing into my mind
while I’m lying here.
It’s bestial. 
I’m a real animal
and she’s still pretty stupid
but she wants me now
because she knows what I’m for
and I know what she’s for,
so it doesn’t matter how dumb
or otherwise useless she is
and I get to getting to it;
putting her to use.
Really getting it done.

Kristin Garth

littlest

littlest hearts live in littlest towns 
lopsided labia in leftover 
liminal playgrounds lunatics loll around 
in lieu of a libertine’s life, laid over 
in the land of nod without lunesta 
or knife but rife with a violence 
towards anything small. fashion a 
weapon from a corroded see-saw, glints 
in the sunlight, similar steel he once rode 
in his own lackluster park when he was
less, long ago, dark, looking to implode
in a stark public treehouse, midnight— does 
not believe anyone innocent climbs
at this time.  littlest parts are all they find. 

Harry Whitewolf

Jubilant Jubilee

Johnny Rotten’s putting up bunting
For the cunting queen’s jubilee.
Don’t get me started on the street parties 
And all the bonkers bank holiday glee.

Troops are colouring in your minds
With lies to feed your loyalty.
Andrew’s sweating like a ham.
Fuck all the fucking royalty.

Queen and country’s a fan club
And a symbol of all that’s wrong
With this land of hope and glory
And the buying-it throbbing throng.

Celebrate with burgers and beer, 
And a sunny day off work.
Me? I played God Save the Queen
LOUDLY, with a smirk.

Charles Rammelkamp

Too Much Monkey Business

“Monkeypox likely spread by sex
at raves in Europe, experts say.”
The headline in the local paper 
read like a grocery store checkout line tabloid.

Weary from all the Covid drama –
a million dead in the United States alone! –
we now had another 
disaster movie scenario to contend with.

A WHO scientist cited raves in Belgium and Spain.
“We know Monkeypox can spread
when there’s close contact with lesions 
of someone who’s infected,” he told the reporter.
“Now it appears 
sexual contact has amplified the transmission.”

Seeking to tamp down the hysteria, 
the “expert” went on:
“There haven’t been any deaths.
Typically, the virus causes fever, chills, rash,
and lesions on the face and genitals.
Most people recover within weeks,
without having to go to a hospital.
Also, it’s not spread through the air,
and we do have vaccines.”

Whew.

Nadja Moore

Forty-six and divorced

So I’m divorced.
I’m two decades older
than I was the last time
I was single
and I’m two inches further
from being happy.
But
Forty is the new sixty.
Wait.
Sixty is the new forty.
So.
Forty is like being thirty which
means yes. I’m really horny.
I am.
I think dick 99% of the time.
At my desk, I’m working and
also being fucked by two guys
with thick penises.
Oh yeah.
My imagination’s just strong enough
to get me a few feet from the edge.
So I’m forty-six.
I look good.
I don’t have kids.
So no shame there or errands there
or apple juice on my sweater.
I’m ready.
I put on some nice clothes,
my girlfriend meets me at the bar
and we drink an expensive cocktail
and nothing happens. Not a thing.
So I go home thinking, “This just isn’t
my night”, and imagine being fucked
by just one big dick this time
and fall asleep. I masturbate maybe
three times the next morning and scrub
my vibrator to death before putting it back
in the box (some good things happen
when you get older). I go to work and
there’s my co-worker. Well he’s lovely
and he bends over my desk with those
hard shoulders and that brown hair
and we talk (work stuff) and I say:
“D’you like Westlife?” “Haven’t heard of them”
“They’re playing a show tonight, wanna come?”
“Sure”, and we meet that evening and he’s only
just joined so I have no clue who he really is
and we dance and he’s laughing which gets
me laughing and I’m thinking, “This is it. This is
the night. You rock! Sixty is the new forty!”
Then after the show we walk towards the station
and he says: “You know I think I’ve heard of them”
“Oh yeah?” “Yeah my mum is a massive fan” “Your mum, huh?”
“Yeah” “Would kissing me feel like kissing your mum?”
“Dancing with you felt like dancing with my mum” and
he broke into some weird dad dance and said “This
is how you guys used to dance, right? In the eighties?”
“Nineties”, I said. “Right, this is me”, he points to the station
across the road and says “Thanks” and walks off.

Nineties, Hugo. It was the nineties.
When twenty was just twenty.

Jeff Weddle

Coming Right Up

Small cracks in old china 
arthritic hands barely useful
memories floating in time’s sewage 
addled conversation 
legs that surrender without a fight
spines devil bent
broken roads leading nowhere
cars that won’t run again
abandoned houses
lost dogs
love gone jagged
all joints begging mercy
empty shelves
broken dishes in high grass
dim light fading
mumbled dreams
lies held dear
these things we have become.

Noel Negele

Who Even Cares About Love Anymore

It’s one of those good days
I am high on Pregabalin and 
have been jobless for three 
weeks now but no matter,
somehow I make it work—
A clever bet, a this and that,
odds and ends of alley hand shakes
and here I find myself this 
rainless morning, wearing her stockings
over my face, holding a remote control 
in my hand like a gun

“Scream and I’ll put a bullet through your pretty face!”

It’s a good day and the sun 
shines brightly through the window 
on her naked profile
as she taps the ashes of her cigarette
onto the ashtray, moving like 
Ozzy Osborne she’s so fucked up

“Oh no” she exclaims “a burglar, all of a sudden!”

There’s tossing and turning
and I’m hard and thirsty for her
and I flip her on the bed and she laughs
and laughs as her cigarette burns my sheets

“Our life is just normalisation of deviance, isn’t it?”
she says, with a frown all of a sudden
“how long are we going to be lucky for?”

“You’re a smart little pickle aren’t you,” I tell her,
“Luck’s the residue of design babe,
it got nothing to do with anything
and don’t use your fancy words on me bitch,
I’m about to rape ya!”

She leans her head back and laughs 
and laughs and I place my mouth on her 
neckband and feel her joy 
vibrating against my lips

We are both out of our minds

And this is a good day
indeed

John Yohe

what sissies want

I want a little black dress
to be forced to wear in public
to the mall
so everyone will know
that I’m not a real man

I want a little black dress
w/long sleeves
to make my arms look thinner
hem so short
you can tell
what kind of hosiery
I’m wearing
bend me over
easily assert your dominance

I want a little black dress
tight to show off my best asset
w/plunging backline
so everyone can see
my padded bra strap
which is also black
because bad girls wear black bras
and I want to be bad

I want a little black dress
w/high heels
to wear to a bar
full of strong brown-eyed men
so they will know
what a slut I am
and treat me accordingly

I want a little black dress
to be the woman I want to fuck
as a way to attract the attention of women
because I still want women
in little black dresses of their own
to talk to me
take me home
we could lay in bed
creating a fantasy
kissing
rubbing nylonned legs
together
making a wish