Daniel S. Irwin

Cool Sunglasses

Walking by the bus stop,
Spotted this dude sittin’ there
With these ultracool sunglasses.
Gotsta be a freak or a head.
I thrust one of my chapbooks
Into his hands. And tell him
That my book is full of vulgarities
But he wouldn’t go blind reading it.
He just said, “Smart ass!” And 
Struck me with his white cane.
Thank God he didn’t sic
That dog on me.

S. E. Lopez

How to Heal

Is there a right way?
Is there any way?
To heal from something that
haunts you every day?

I didn’t start grinding my teeth
until after it happened

Because that night
he didn’t just take my body,
he held my thoughts at gunpoint
He mentally overpowered me

I’m still his

Maybe it’s the Luke and Laura syndrome
He raped me, but my body liked it
He raped me, but I still crave it

And this is the truth
The horrible, awful truth
It’s another type of limbo
Another type of hell

If he only knew, what would he say?
Maybe he’d say, but you liked it
It was the best night of my life
And it was yours, too
Don’t deny it —
You wanted to be overpowered
You wanted to be taken
Don’t act all innocent

Maybe… maybe he’d confess:
I drugged you
But he wouldn’t blame
how wet I got on that

Maybe my body was just
trying to protect itself
That’s why I was so into it
Or maybe I was betrayed
by a sense of fight or flight
An urgency

I couldn’t fight,
so I flew into ecstasy
Naked and vulnerable
in his bed

He knew what he was doing
I have no idea
what happened that night
I can only go by what he said

I was never attracted to him
But my body said otherwise

You have to know,
I’m not happy about any of this

I’m broken
I feel broken
My body isn’t mine anymore
It’s his

It’ll always be his
because I can’t get over it
I can’t stop thinking about it

Do you know how awful that is?
I cry about it
I get wet again thinking about it
I want it again
I want him
I hate it

I shouldn’t be feeling this way,
but I do

It’s suicidal
And that will always be the difference
between me and you

Noel Negele

Work and Living in the UK

The shifts are 
twelve hour shifts
and a worker’s biggest daily struggle is,
as often is the case with repetitive jobs,
boredom.
There is also exhaustion,
you are, after all
working for the better part of a day,
but you can fight exhaustion 
with a good meal and some courage.
Boredom is a different beast.
It requires you to dig deep.
It requires some philosophy.
You have to be okay with who 
you are to deal 
with it.

Sometimes the boredom
will become so grand 
you’ll fake a bathroom visit 
just so you steal away ten minutes 
of not being a cog 
in a machine you can’t know where it begins 
and where it ends—
the warehouse is so big.

And you’ll sprinkle some piss
and then wash your hands 
and then your face 
and then look at yourself in the mirror
and think:
“I didn’t know you to
be so lazy”.

It’s the repetition 
you see.
It will get anyone.
Anyone with a soul,
no matter how desperate.
I don’t care if you’re 
a single father with three daughters
and one of them is 
not all up there in her head,
and you have to make target everyday,
you’ll still visit those bathrooms
more than your bladder needs you to—
those bathrooms are always full.

And then there’s the demeaning moment of
waiting to clock out, finally.
All of you in a line, trying to respect
the social distancing rule
but doing a terrible job at trying,
some not even trying at all,
and some just staring at that last minute 
in the clock, ticking slowly towards
the end of our shifts.

And then, finally, a breath away from leaving,
you have to go through security 
because apparently, people steal,
it’s a warehouse after all
a monkey can do it.
Don’t expect to find the 
elite of Bucharest here.

And then, zoom out from work
and you have daily life
because you have to live too,
at least just a little.
And so the days
pass slithering from your life 
in bad and cold and wet weather—
obnoxious snow every other day,
in the kitchen over the stove
cooking or doing laundry 
shopping necessities,
taking up books again and weed
and getting an Amazon prime account 
because you have to have things
to look forward to.
Otherwise life just sucks.

You have to have some things.
Just some aggressive fucking 
and alcohol and a movie 
and a Macdonald’s meal every week
is not enough.

“We should fire some weapons”,
you tell her
panting still and sweaty on the bed,
“There’s a firing range close by 
we should check it out one of these days.”
Or maybe go to Scotland for the weekend.
Ride some horses. Learn new poets.
We could go skydiving, she says.
No, fuck that. I wouldn’t do it
if they paid me.

And then her hand 
is reaching for your dick
again and soon her lips follow
and you’re thinking about things
to look forward to,
and that you need more of them.

That this is like a silent but very loud
scream of fear.
To need more and more things to look forward
to. Like a fear of death.
A middle age crisis
on your late twenties.

You’re thinking 
you’ll never blow your nose
in public,
you are that self conscious.

You’re thinking that 
you’ve wished for your own death 
with a whole hearted honesty 
but how does one decisively 
jump in a pool of nothingness
without second guessing 
how to slip into an irreversible
and forever-going and amnesiac 
abyss
without looking back.

You’re thinking that it’s nightmarish 
to get stuck in a public bathroom 
and reaching for toilet paper
after a hopeless shit you couldn’t avoid
and not finding any.
What else would one do
but scream for help?

You’re thinking there’s
a broken spring in your bed
and it’s fucking with your back.
That it’s snowing outside
and that inside it’s nice and warm
and that she is nice and warm on you.
That lust is like rabies when it gets a hold of you,
and that there is a lot of mindless violence
out there and ruthless competition 
and that you have to be really careful
if you want to make it 
if you want the house and the car and the garage 
and the dog and your peace of mind—
none of it easy
you have to be weary of people 
most of them don’t want you in peace 
most people are polar bears feasting 
on guts and blood 
and that the modern poem has become 
more like the writer 
talking to himself 
rather than the writer 
that writes a letter with heart and dream and mind 
and puts it in an almost empty whiskey bottle
and then sets it on the waves and watches it go.

You are hot she says
touching your thigh with her lips,
meaning your temperature 
thank you, you say,
I work out and she laughs 
and says hotboxing a car
is called submarine in Bulgaria
and you laugh 
because you’re high and she plucks 
hair from your chest 
and she has an ear fetish 
and you don’t work tomorrow.

***

Previously published at The Beatnik Cowboy

Saira Viola

Coco Cola Eyes (Mise-en-scène)

Cinema-curled hair
Snake hips melodising the night’s starry mouth 
lizard platforms jive talking with leopard  silk pumps 
Moonflower shine-slap-rapping on white chiffon thighs 
He drank bourbon with a shot of milk 
had a Harvey Keitel lip swivel
Bull dog wrinkles –
liked African  panthers and Swedish porn in that order 
The hot shagging  rhythm of boom bap highs 
Quadraphonic-fever rush-infectious curves 
A flick knife ride on a funk  guitar 
She drank a dirty martini flaunting an 
open-bosom sparkle-shag bikini 
She had  coco cola eyes 
Hot  black fizz that mesmerised 
That same year  Barings bank collapsed  
after ‘rogue trader,’ Nick Leeson blew £ 1.4 billion playing 
high-stakes speculative games on the Tokyo Stock Exchange 
Riots broke out in London 
after the death of 26 year old Wayne Douglas 
And the shimmering horror of Timothy McVeigh’s truck bomb 
was played out in real time 
Oklahoma city April 19th  1995 – the same day a zit popped kid 
folded the four corners of a fifty dollar bill and fell into a dirty secret 
He remembered watching her move like 
TALKING CANDY 
Wanted to touch lick taste feel 
The same year the Unabomber Manifesto
was published in The New York Times 
Disjointed moments a portrait of chaos 
His hotel had a Gideon bible MTV and cable sex flicks 
Caught sight of  a new world in those eyes 
Want is sharper than the thorn of a rose 
Tangled in a luckless mist  
He approached her 
Like a high wire tight rope walker 
Cherry ripe lips  
on the edge of one kiss 
Vicious  heart stomp 
High voltage lust 
Her voice cold as salamander skin 
Venom notes of rejection 
The same year 1995 – 
when a spider ate a fly.

John D Robinson

What’s So Fucking Funny

‘Look at the state of you! shameful!’
she said
I could see she was hurt
and about to cry
‘Don’t come near me or give me
any of your bullshit! I’ve had enough’
she told me
A few hours later we made love
and lay silently together
‘I love you’ I said
‘I know you do’ she said
and then I began laughing softly
‘What’s so fucking funny?’
she asked
‘Not much’ I said
‘You tell me, you love me,
and then laugh, how the fuck
am I supposed to feel
about that?’
she said
‘But you just said that
you know that I love you’
I said
‘I do, but why laugh about it?’
she said
‘I’d cry otherwise’
I said
‘Why?’ she asked
‘Because I lack any
Fucking imagination’
I said
She said nothing and
just nodded her head.

Timothy Resau

Motorcycle Madonna 

The girl rides through the September road shadows,
tanned and tattooed — blue cross on nude back—
Harley between muscled legs—
Body half covered in shiny black Spandex—
Today’s woman heading into tomorrow—
should I call her Venus?
Open road motorcycle lady, highway star,
lady of the hour, lady of this speeding moment.
Erotica in the street: so tres masculine/famine, n’est-ce pas?

Kristin Garth

Then She Was A Real Girl Because It Hurt

Nourishment is through your ceramic lips.
Pink nipple delivers various amounts 
of their potion composed of powders — bone mixed 
with dry milk.  Fuck dolls can’t taste it, spit it out 
pulverized skeleton, a draught of one 
of their own.  If you swallow its marrow,
lost pheromones, you grow vulnerable bones,
beneath this chipped anatomy (they threw
themselves onto without pity.) Shatter a
porcelain pelvis though you can’t even cry. 
Patching kintsugi cunt with gold mica 
will not bring a real tear to glass eyes.
Afters month of bone milk, you even grow skin.
Peeled porcelain punctures before they begin.

Noel Negele

You have to have some good reasons to love yourself otherwise you’re just licking your own asshole

“This is 500mg’s each, take with caution”

He said with a grin.

It was a good and rare
sunny September day 
here in northern England,

People wore t-shirts and shades
and bermuda shorts 
and they smiled and strolled around
as pasty as an all-white toothpaste 
getting redder and rawer by the second
and they drank pints of beers
and their laughter was loud but well hearted
as people entered shops
and got out of them carrying bags,
and at the town center 
a Gypsy dressed as a Native American
was whistling one wooden type of
musical instrument or another
which made me laugh 
and I threw a pound in his box
and decided to take a second Gummy Bear.

I had two bags
on the left back pocket.
Each contained six of these things
and the bags are small
and child-like in color,
and it would be unsuspecting
to any decent passing folk that I was
gulping down 500mg more
of weed in me at that moment.

Later that afternoon
I was with a friend at a fancy pub
at some place or another
( I never contain names of places )
And I ordered a cocktail 
taking down two more of these things
finally thinking agitated by the possibility 
of these things being fake
and how much I loathe violence 
in general.

On my second cocktail
I decide to enter the pub 
myself and I start flirting 
with the bartender as I guide
her to make my Paloma cocktail—
she’s this wide shouldered younger girl
with nice blonde hair, a pleasant eagerness 
to her movements and all smiles.

I decide to ask for her number.

It’s midnight and I wake up
at a train going to
Manchester.
I don’t remember much, but flashes
of me stumbling and my friend
asking me if I’m alright.

All my belongings are with me,
even my shades,
tucked on the collar of my
all too plain black t-shirt.
Everything but the bartender’s number
and a train ticket.

I take the last two gummy bears
I have left on me
so that I don’t have to stress about 
a possible train fine
and I lean myself cozy and tired
against the vibrating window
and I see nothing 
but absolutely nothing
on the other side,
only my own drowsy reflection 
trying to avoid itself—
and sometimes the random street lamp
is some field, across some road
shading light to something 
lonely-feeling like a small brick bridge 
over an unused railroad
or a glimpse of it through
some black and much too thick woods—
and then
absolutely nothing but darkness again
and my own face again 
realizing I’ll have to spend the night in Manchester 
and leaning deeper into the seat
and out of the view of my reflection.

Saira Viola

Blowing Bolan On a Purple Haired Unicorn 30 Seconds of Hot

Mascara rocka!
Kitchy koo Prince of pop land
With your halo of black popcorn curls
and glitter frosted eyelids
You bang that gong!
Strut and slide-rouged face glamsta
Love Warlock
Rolling those electric
snake hips in the blue pit
charming mesmerising
Tender all the way through
Making her feel sexy in the mouth
Making her pussy scream
And her purple rose tattoo shout
You sent that ectomorphic princess
to cosmic paradise
Fucking the innocence out of her eyes
Batting your thick-lick lustrous giraffe lashes
on a life size purple haired papier mache unicorn.