John Wiley

The Angel of Love,
In Her Mercy,
Plays in the Dirt

God is love – what love and
which god/dess are negotiable.

The eyes are the windows
to the crotch, and yours say
puppy wants a collar.

Oops – correction: they say busted, guilty
puppy wants a collar.

Yeah-huh, chickenshit –
I’m the fuck police
and I know where you live.
I’ve got a box of crucifixion nails
and a slow hammer
with your name on it, boy,
and if I have to sweat you all night
you’ll spill every sick, submissive thing
your self-disgusted heart desires,
and I won’t give a fuck
until you’re a hopeless mess
of tears, and snot, and shame;


Then I’ll tenderly clean your face,
kiss your forehead,
and Holy Fuck your filthy brains out;

and such is the power of My grace
that when you come, you’ll come clean –

innocent and shameless,
crying in My arms.

Charles Rammelkamp

Jezebel / Jellyroll

“Jezebel was the talk of the town,”
a vulgar playground chant began,
one of a string of dirty jokes
adolescents snickered about to each other.

We all knew who Jezebel was –
or thought we did –
some kind of lurid Biblical whore
who seduced men and killed them
when she’d finished with them –
still insatiable after a dozen.

You can see how that would enflame
the pubescent imaginations of teenage boys.

King Ahab’s wife in the Old Testament,
her crime killing God’s prophets,
supporting false gods.
Flamboyant in makeup, jewelry and a wig,
she was defenestrated by her servants,
her corpse trampled by horses.

At the same time
we learned the word “jellyroll”
from 1930’s “negro blues” songs.
I ain’t gonna give you none of my jellyroll.

Something sweet and sticky:
metaphors just out of reach to kids that age.


DJ Tyrer


Incomparable! Two lovers in one
Inseparable in his/her unity
Together we three become one
A blasphemous parody of love and desire
Yet more satisfying than the usual fare
Hermaphroditus, my only desire
Mythic master-mistress of passion
A conception rare and strange

Robert Cooperman

John Sprockett Buys a Mount for Sylvia Williams:
September, 1863

We’ve ridden one tired mount through Kansas,
Miz Williams escaping the bullwhips
of that Arkansas plantation, to make her fortune
cooking for gold rats in the Colorado fields,
me hiding from the devilment I seem to raise
like Prospero conjuring spirits, to run trap lines
in the high, desolate mountains.

We stop at a town’s livery stable, the owner,
shotgun to hand, staring at my bear-slashed face,
knowing me for one of Quantrill’s men that massacred
Lawrence, before my conscience mauled me
like the bear that clawed me into a monster.

“I know who you are,” his voice shakes. “Keep riding.”

“First, this fine lady needs a mount.” I see him
weighing if he can refuse on account of her color,
or maybe put one over on us, when she points
to a strawberry roan mare.

“Ain’t for sale,” he spits tobacco. I let him take
a good long look at the scars that talon my face,
and for him to understand we ain’t moving
without that mare and her smooth stepping lines.

I toss a coin and demand a bill of sale.
Miz Williams sits her like a Comanche
born to ride without a saddle.

“I’ll call her Miz Shakespeare,” she laughs,
“for all the poems you been teaching me.”
For the first time in as long as I can recall,
a smile warms my face like daybreak,
like that summer day the Bard wrote about.

Brian Rihlmann

One Man’s Plan to Contain Urban Sprawl

“Nothing you can do”
a friend told him
but that was never true

a large roadside sign
showed the finished product
as conceived
by brilliant architectural minds

five stories of earth toned
stucco abomination
blocking his mountain view
from the house he’d lived in for years

he wouldn’t have it

it began with small sabotage
slashing tires of trucks and loaders
filling pipes with rocks
setting fires

security increased
cameras and fences
nighttime guards
walking the beat

a new plan was devised
the fuel obtained
(don’t ask from where)
blueprints discovered online

and he was smart
he actually figured it out
but for a slight miscalculation

he’d intended to build
a small one

but when it went off
he had only a millisecond
to admire the glowing shaft
with its mushroom head
rising like a morning hard on
above the city

before he vaporized
into a dark shadow
on the rocks behind

as the city burned
leaving a pristine black crater
and a fabulous mountain view

Casey Renee Kiser


in the name of love
in the name of straightjackets
His anti-love almost killed me,
well, it did kill me
He just wasn’t smart enough to hide my body
somewhere, besides the Dark
for every Sundae, I confess with cherries and sprinkles
I make it all pretty (ugly)
He licked around it and just fucking let it melt
Mistook my wild-eyed observing for Fear
Mistook my sprinkles for a shattered soul
‘Now she knows better’, he writes
Well, at least he can speak truth
ONCE IN A WHILE in a poem
Will it be enough to save him from himself?
That demon sure is persistent

A. Theist

Swing Low

They wanna know why I done it.
You wanna know why I done it.
Ever since I been in here
they been pesterin’ me ’bout
Why, Why, Why
Well hell.
If I knowed why’d I done it,
then I wouldn’t be sittin’ right here
in this damn cell.

All I know is:
when I saw that man,
an’ that woman,
an’ them six childjurn of theirs,
all dressed up in they’s Sunday best,
ever one of em looking fed an’
happy as a pig in shit…

It just set somethin’ off in me.

An’ that little bitty ol’ house,
that wasn’t fit for even
a damn ol’ chicken pen,
sittin’ out there all alone,
‘mongst all them damned fields.

I swear.
It’s as if that house was built
just so this’d happen:
So their God,
in his infinite fucking wisdom,
could set that family on the
path to Heaven,
“in his kindness”.

You know,
I set up in that attic an’
it was like I had all
the time in the world,
just me an’ my ax,
not thinkin’ a damn thang…

Just knowin’.

I wonder you reckon?
if they is up there?
being tended to by them angels?
That’s what daddy’d say:
“The Lord works in mysterious ways”.

A damned fools answer
if they ever was one.