Wendy Taylor Carlisle

Posted in Wendy Taylor Carlisle with tags on May 4, 2021 by Scot


Why Not Say What Happened?


Coming home
from the Family Storage
in Nail, this cardinal
flies at my car,
Ill or thrill-seeking,
who can say?
I’ve seen too many
lives dehisce
on the verge to guess.
But he escaped,
even as the Arkansas road
gathered itself
for a hard-right turn.


Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives and writes in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the author of four books and five chapbooks. Her poems have appeared on line and in print. For more about her work, check her website at www.wendytaylorcarlisle.com


Come with me if you want to live by Sissy Buckles

Posted in Sissy Buckles with tags on May 4, 2021 by Scot

One more New Year to ring in 2019 and me back
from hiding in the joyful desert feeling kinda shitty that
I’d blown off my family this Christmas go-around
not keen on their maladjusted
holiday gaiety & non-stop soul crushing
pathological gossip sessions fueled by the
constant flow of yuletide booze these people I’m
supposed to call relations these people who
haven’t cracked an honest to god book since
high school, and so took up a last minute friend’s
offer to visit with her vast extended tribe in East County
and in a hopeful mood to hear some new stories
I’d even wore my snappy gold Italian flats, but course
it’s a same old world and now
desperately realizing
I’d do anything to not turn into that extra-thin dried
up woman I’d met in the still festive backyard neurotic
muttering paranoid about the fearsome “russkies”
under her breath who proudly told me she’d
made a little girl cry earlier on Facebook in one of
those noxious political discussions that I
avoid like the plague & oh yeah, another thing
just last week she actually threw out ALL of the
cookie making fixins she’d valiantly pulled together
on the kitchen counter along with the expensive
fancy schmancy electric mixer yup, just schlepped ’em
right on into the dumpster at the side of the house
after a huge blowup with her retired Navy hubs
recently diagnosed with dementia currently presiding
over near-charred steaks on the bbq who simply would
not agree to turning off MSNBC news in the
middle of the day so she could listen to
Christmas music on the stereo to get her in the
right mood wondering to myself why she didn’t just
put on some handy earphones besides they play the same
damn news every hour so it’s not like you are missing
anything and suddenly discovering the answer like
Archimedes shouting “Eureka, I have found it!”
that is, the only way I would not end up in those
dire straits was to not offer my hand
in the first place and who in hell was I
kidding anyway I knew I didn’t want to have to
make sure my nails were immaculate and I was wearing
honest to god sexy underwear and damn is there
red lipstick on my teeth dragging out sensual heels
instead of my comforting saddles/penny loafers
and all this putting me in a tired quandary just
imagining it and Oh! to give up my classes,
lectures/film group & occasional forays to the
biker bar down the street to break up the monotony
with the rest of the assholes at least they
don’t ask questions or go two-stepping at the
Moose Lodge without a second thought, put aside
my petite important-only-to-me things and
become enmeshed with somebody else’s city
have to make shy small talk with some
gang I’d yet to meet or revive that old excitement
over a scene that once upon a time I thought
was a gas yet still, fate’s insistent murmuring low like
Poe’s tell-tale heart — can you ever have it all? (but what
could I say now anyway, when sorry’s just not good enough)
coupled with the sudden sticky superstitious intuition
that if she fell down that rabbit hole again and started
making sandwiches for another man that all she’d
forfeited and suffered for
would irrevocably,
be once
and for all lost
and gee how possibly to live without my singular violaceous
dusks on the porch where in the quietness you
can just about hear
your thoughts
out loud and Lo!   the far-off cry carried on the
wind of Bashō’s solitary hawk circling and maybe I
should plant some night blooming jasmine come spring
and could be time to buy that Washburn parlor guitar I’ve
been hankering after and wondering again about
a certain type of histrionic woman writer who
doesn’t hesitate to pull a demented Barbie out of
her bag of tricks and into some edgy artistic
metaphor dealio and I always wanna protest but
hey man, we never played with Barbie Dolls
when we were kids shoot, I was all into
my books and scribbles, practiced music
for hours or we’d secret smoke in
Kelly’s brother’s backyard fort, climbed tall
trees to hide in and rode our bikes for miles and then on
arid summery evenings determined to eke out every
last minute of fun before twilight drew the darkness down
and our mothers called us in for dinner our little gang
gathering in the middle of the cul-de-sac to decide
what games to play Kick the Can or Red Rover
or Dodgeball while sparks would fly off our fingertips
in the dry atmosphere and my wild undulating tresses
would crackle and float as our feet dashed madly
about our neighborhood but we categorically did
not play with any fucking Barbies so I guess I must be
missing the point but hey, Sonny Barger burned
every bridge he ever crossed and besides
I’ve never been interested in the lousy business of
networking; then since ’tis the season and
the still veranda night mesmerizing,
so why not?
Slipping way way back with the recollections of
an old boyfriend who looked just like Paul Newman as
Fast Eddie, played pool too real good met him at the
Alibi where he was winning a tournament his
feather shot a sight to behold but turned out he didn’t
have Eddie Felson’s humanity in fact you could maintain he
was ’bout mean as a rattlesnake which I naturally ended up
finding out a little too late, yet still now content with the
momentary day to day bits of synergetic grace
I count on like last week when I was shopping at
Walmart and a sweet teen girl looks up and apropos
of nothing proclaims me to “look beautiful in
your round lavender specs” on my way
out the door holding up my receipt so the greeter
can see I did not steal the 12-pack of good beer I buy
a couple bucks cheaper here and also savor the
memory of a pure knowing smile from
gurgling buddhababy bundledup
relaxing in J/K’s “loom of peaceful time” in a
porta-crib on a McDonalds bench while it’s family
lustily gobbles yummy greasy cheeseburgers I pass
after checkout, my thoughts jumping around like a
cornered cricket or the young immigrant busker from Italy
who tenderly played the Cavatina for me on his accordion in the
parking lot for a few bucks and then there’s that
kid I followed when I was back on tumblr who
had shockingly read my poems and
told me in a mysterious DM that he was a “fan”
of mine which made me laugh in surprise but I said
how neat that you read outlaw mag the Truck and really
meant it then promptly quit tumblr the next day out of
acute embarrassment tra la la…or just the satisfaction
of working hard and actually saving some money but now
it’s just another year come and gone and today, yet we
determinedly turn our faces towards the sun, warmed
throughout with the still mild Santa Ana winds like
the more tempestuous megafires that forced evacuations
in Calabasas overnight decimating the entire little
little town of Paradise turning to ash late last fall,
the Camp Fire as it came to be called, the city

shrouded in apocalyptic haze burning down more
structures than any other California wildfire on record
the death toll making it one of the deadliest
(only the Griffith Park Fire in 1933 and Taunnel Fire
in 1991 have claimed more lives) several of the bodies
discovered in or near burned out cars melted to puddles,
the flames descended on Paradise so quickly that
many folks were forced to abandon their
vehicles dread running for their very lives
down the only road through the mountain town
all this colossal commotion caused
by those ancient devil winds
blowing through the rambling hills huge, hot and
fast enough to make you claw at your skin
rip panicky fingers through your hair
eyes dry as sandpaper sticking to the lids holding
your breath until the burning tempest is finally
over…..  and it was Veteran’s day so I took off work and
headed up North County square in the middle of the
wildfire hazard zone to the dentist for my appointment in
Fallbrook scanning the horizon for smoke driving the
Chevy plumb into the belly of the beast, and listening to
the radio where they suddenly announced that the
catastrophic bumbling war criminal
who lied his way through Iraq,
George W Bush & his wife Laura were given

the $100,000 Liberty Medal by Joe Biden at
Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center which,
in the massive scheme of things
and thusly getting right down to the real nitty-gritty
notwithstanding the ten years of devastating
Violence, Trauma, Death & Displacement and the
fabricated Al Qaeda psyops boogeyman
to be feared under our beds
so you might just as well say
this was nothing more than another
well placed kick up
America’s collective ass.



Bradley Mason Hamlin

Posted in Bradley Mason Hamlin with tags on April 27, 2021 by Scot

Murdering Rainbows

(For Nicky Christine)


Of the great

You get
With children

The amazing

Stick figures

Purple unicorns

Or super
Wildly explosive

That look
Brilliantly murdered
By the sun

The best part
Of all
Is the look

On their
Beautiful mother’s

Eyes appreciating
The raw talent
And emotion

Only she
Never forgets

The kids
Turn into teenage

And do
Their very best

To eat
Our brains

Sees the best
She is
The best

And sometimes
I screw up

To remember
To forget

The Crayon family
The psychedelic

Reminds me
I too

To strangle
The sun.


Mother’s Day, 2020
Sacramento, California




Sacramento Surf


The California
Wild cats scream
Against violent windstorm

As the giant palm gods
Palm fronds flip-fly

Surfing through the rain
Against brick roofs

Bang, bang
The valley swings

A drunken go-go girl
Too skilled
To fall

Oceans down
In kahunic waves from Heaven

Until the ancient
Gold dust stirs
From the bones of the broken

As we clear our psyche
With beer, & wine, & spirits
And cosmic sex

Are rich again.


April 4, 2021
Sacramento, California

Kevin Ridgeway

Posted in Kevin Ridgeway, Uncategorized with tags on April 25, 2021 by Scot


was me
and he wonders
38 years later
in a prison cell
who his son is out there
in the gruesome world
he could no longer live in,
after trying to be a gangster
of the heart and a gangster
of the mind, surviving it
with words as ammunition
to prove just how dangerous
I can be ever since my mother
told me that he was never
going to come home.
I cried a lifetime of tears
until I was able to break
free of them and avoid
prosecution. I’ve got
no more time to kill
with a mind that’s half
of my Mensa mother
and the other half
a dope fiend. I thought
the world owed me
for taking my father
away. I morphed
into a stranger
my father will never
recognize. the man
he created. I’m alone
and on the run from him
in a free world
made insane with
his son hidden in it
as a survivor of
my father’s curse
with endless poetry
that has left me
beyond recognition
and a father to myself.



I was eleven years old
when it was decided
that I needed to go
to another school
because all of
my classmates
made me
but not as
miserable as
the morning
my mother waltzed
into the classroom
on my first day
at my new school
and used a fake
game show
announcer’s voice
to introduce me
to a bunch of
weary crickets.
i emerged
from behind her
and looked out
at my new
and I could
already see
in their eyes
what they were
all planning
to do with me.



You arrived at the front gates
of the cemetery in an uber
with a musician you traveled
from Missouri with, on your
way to discovering America.
I was your lowlife guide
in a yard full of dead
renegades in arts, letters,
music and plenty of jocks
who didn’t read poetry.
I led you up a hill
to an orange traffic cone
where you collapsed
on top of the dead,
dirty old man
who we both chased
into the pages
of literature.
We said nothing
as he spoke to us.
We hurried across
the large memorial park
in order for you
to get back to the airport
in time but first
we paid our respects
to a San Pedro punk legend
who lost his life
on the same offbeat road
traveled by the old man
and wee lads like us
in the beautiful ugliness
of this world in relentless
search for a beer-drunk
nirvana of our own.



My grandma always
said that to us, an old term
intended for perverse men
who tried to take advantage
of her, a beauty that became
wrinkled from the children
she raised throughout
the Great Depression,
a time when she used her
skills as an athlete to wrestle
other women in desperate
matches for money
to feed her children.
I’ll box your ears!
she growled after
I slapped her fanny,
which triggered
her infamous uppercut,
which swung to barely
graze the same face
I managed to plant
onto the floor, where
it wasn’t as fresh
as a hard-won lover.
She took my hand
to help me get back
on my feet while
she hollered at me
for being a pest,
a pest who needed
to get off the floor
she mopped him with.



beyond the time I first opened my eyes
into the fire of this dream, which they all
whispered had finally came true with
the promise I made to myself when
I watched deputies drag my father away
to prison and my mother sobbed against
my shoulders until her tears drowned me
long enough for my mother to never dry
her eyes long enough for the opportunity
to meet her son, shake my hand and
disappear when she was no longer
looking for all of her missing dreams,
dreams where I chase the ghosts
she has left hidden inside of me.

glasser’s motivation theory or being told you can’t is about the same thing by Scot Young

Posted in Scot Young with tags on April 7, 2021 by Scot

william glasser derived
motivation worked best
from the inside out as
an internal drive for success
or sense of purpose.
intrinsic vs extrinsic
my high school counselor
said i wasn’t college material
i should go build cars
at ford or gm or
work construction

so i did

when i did go to college
it was motivated
by the opposite sex
when i got married for
love everyone thought
and said
it would only last a year
that was 40 years now
and those people are
now gone

later family and a sense
i needed to provide more
be more
so i returned to those halls
seeking more

there i was told i needed two
semesters of As to be admitted
to the teaching program
and with 100 hours at a
perfect 2.0
and never having more
than a few As in that
previous life
would be impossible.
i answered but i didn’t have to

so i did

before glasser my k-12
teachers said not working
up to his potential
does not play well with others

after a certificate of completion
from the school
of hard knocks and
three college
degrees i found those early
educators were at least

half right


A FIX by John D Robinson

Posted in John D Robinson with tags on April 7, 2021 by Scot

The calling bells
hide in the crevices
of a lost love poem,
now dead upon the
eyes of a day when
we need a fix of
nothing else,
a shot of
colour against
the windows
of whoever
may be

Baseball Before the Apocalypse by Leah Mueller

Posted in Leah Mueller with tags on April 7, 2021 by Scot


Cluster of bodies, soap
bubbles at a Cub’s game:
1983, our bicycles shackled
to poles outside, entwined in

a steel snare. To saw through
tempered metal would
give thieves the pick of several.

We smuggled imported
beer in white bottles, eight
bucks a pack, and salads
in sturdy plastic containers
from the Bread Shop.

Bleacher seats three dollars,
nicknamed the “Animal Section.”
No one at the entry gate
ever checked for weapons.

We were good to go, unless
bottles protruded from the
sides of our backpacks,

or we spilled marijuana
on the sidewalk by mistake
as we entered Wrigley Field.
A friend once said,

“If you were one of the lucky
people who got to change
the scoreboard by hand, you’d
be so fucking cool by default.”

We drank beer, passed
around joints, ate salads
and, when the game was over.

we took our trash home
and disposed of it properly.
We were good citizens.

No one patted our thighs,
thrust their hands down our shirts,
groped under the waistbands of
our shorts, searching for explosives.
No one checked our health records

for evidence of compliance.
It was just a goddamned Cub’s game,
a few 22-year-old kids,

and a summer that would end
like all the others after.

This Time by James Diaz

Posted in JAMES DIAZ with tags on April 7, 2021 by Scot


This time

the past is the past
depends on how bad it really was

he hit me here
and here
in the parking lot of the auto mechanic’s
neon glow
I said do it again
and I’ll put you in the ground

there was a name my mother used to call the neighbors
angrily in Spanish
there was a way she held the salt shaker in her hand
that reminded me of
a solo dancer
heels clicking on a sad High school gymnasium floor
abandoned by her date for a hotter flame

my father was at the race track
with the rent again

I was sent after him
around the corner
with my tiny hands
held out like contrition
momma says tell him milk and bread
I say I won’t forget this pain, ever
my only inheritance

tonight i cut deeper than I expected
the vein in me sang the whole chorus this time,
she cooed like a rail yard
at the end of the world
I looked like I felt
like I looked hooked up to the moon
trailed by barking dogs and no last name
they said it wouldn’t hurt so much if I just handed it over to him

they were wrong

it had a life of its own
a death-bell
that i ate like laughter
motel-vacancy in my eyes,
past the bone
is the spirit
past the spirit
is the pain

you can’t outrun what you are –
not ever

it’s twenty dollars to forget
it’s twenty years
to remember

the county off road & grid
in the tall pine
moon mother
shouts after tail lights
disappearing into the mountains
her daughter, in her mouth –
she breaks the thing in two

a god of silence
walking home
to build a wreckage
from her womb.

Dancing lessons from God by Jay Sizemore

Posted in Jay Sizemore with tags on April 7, 2021 by Scot

~after Kurt Vonnegut

If I wanted to end the world,
they’d give me the Nobel Prize
for perfecting genocide,
for understanding the plight
of the garden plow
and inventing the first religion
to call prayer nothing
but a poem written in excrement.

The cat’s cradle
of God’s love
can be found
in the indices
of the unholy.
but what is God?
What is love?

Time, such a beguiling bastion
of the illusive spirit,
its passage like a staircase
accepting the momentary weight
of our countless footsteps,
where we fool ourselves
into believing we matter
more than we are matter.

The ragged rim of oblivion,
welcoming as a leper’s smile,
calls us from our oubliette
to explore,
to build the better bicycle
and pretend
not to feel the cold
of the nuclear winter,

where the snow falls
like orange blossoms,
and the horizon yawns,
a Calypso
made of beautiful worms.

your country, the whore by John Sweet

Posted in John Sweet with tags on April 7, 2021 by Scot


jezebel’s remains found the next morning,
but the dogs all disappeared

believe in hope
without assigning it a value

can it be done?

try harder

there are days that matter,
of course,
but this has always been true

burn each page once it’s been written
and then swallow the ashes

and what is prayer but a
darker form of hunger?

what is the future but the place where
your story is finally
brought to its conclusion?

violence is a given, of course,
usually in some obscure form

walls and windows and
the fine art of escape

we fall in love at the wrong age,
in the wrong town,
with the wrong people

we dream of sunlight and of warmth
and then wake up to late
winter rain

we have children,
but our children are gone


the bills are overdue,
the curtains on fire

nothing from nothing is a start

the news of a war or a
failed revolution,
of a plane crashing in the ocean

179 people dead, but no one you know,
no one you will ever miss,
and so how can it be a tragedy?

how many graves do we have to dig if
no bodies are ever recovered?

let the truth be a mirror held high
in a darkened room

let the false king be dragged
out into the street and hung

a revolution to hold us over
until the next one

the promise of unity
which was always a lie

we will never learn to
define ourselves
without the presence of an enemy