Mather Schneider

Posted in Mather Schneider with tags on January 18, 2022 by Scot





The cars stop at the red light
one guy slams on his brakes and skids
blue stink of tire smoke
they paw the line snarling and growling

112 degrees
sun the open mouth
of a lion

a young guy hustles out into the intersection
he’s thin and dark
green shirt and red pants
hair black and cut short
like burnt grass

he’s got a unicycle with a 5-foot-high seat
he gets up on it
gets up on it
falls again
finally gets up and wobblingly
keeps it going

the road is full of potholes
and rocks

he digs out 3 yellow fuzzy balls from his pocket
starts to juggle
but drops one

gets down off the unicycle
retrieves his ball
gets back up and starts again

each time he starts to juggle
he loses his balance
and has to stop juggling
or fall

for about 5 seconds he’s on all cylinders
he juggles and balances
torqueing those pedals back and forth
before noticing the light
is about to turn green

he jumps down
bows to the cars
but when he tries to collect
pesos from the car windows

all the cars peel out to the green light

one car almost runs over his foot
before he dives back to the median
an impressive acrobatic feat

he sits in the dirt
waits for the light to turn red again
watches the ants at his bare feet walk their tight rope lines
lift their boulders
build their quiet pyramids

Alan Catlin Poetry

Posted in Alan Catlin with tags on January 17, 2022 by Scot


She was one of those

dressed in black,
fool for love kind of
wannabe poets, burned
out in her twenties,
all of her heroes dead,
like Dylan Thomas, her too,
by drowning, long legged
bait, rings on her bare toes
waiting for a nibble.



Desperate Characters


They hide in the shadows of buildings
brought down to tumultuous ruin,
stand behind DO NOT ENTER signs
as of by being there no one could
see what they really were.
They all claim to be from somewhere
else but their scars betray them as
their clothes do like uniforms worn in
battles between states of mind and body
as the escapees from prison riots
that they are, always on the edge of
desperation and death. Their bodies
are marked with inscriptions, blood
oaths that can never be revoked.
They carry weapons stolen from private
stock, drive war machines super-
charged and well-primed for abductions
and assassinations/ renditions, personal as
blood libel. Their creed is a kind of cult
worship divined from black art bibles,
are coven killers whose turn-the-earth-
black way shows no mercy, draws a shroud
over the sky and tears holes in the fabric
only to let new birds of prey in.
There is so much emptiness inside them,
letting it out creates a vacuum nothing can
survive in. If they tell you a new moon
is full, you believe it. What else can you do?


Close Encounters of a Strange Kind


“You’ve got me hotter than Georgia asphalt.”
Lula Pace

She made high heel, mesh stockinged
love with the lead singers in bands
with names like: “Thick Bastards”,
“Flaming Retards”, “Space Aliens for
Peace.” Showed up for work bruised
and delirious, speaking the new language
no one could recognize, she’d learned
over the long weekend, wondering what
all the fuss over her was about,
“It’s Wednesday. You were supposed
to be at work, as usual, on Monday.”
“I guess I lost track of time.”
“Don’t bother coming back for your
last check. We’ll mail it to you.”
“Be that way.”
And they were, eventually, at every
place she ever worked. When you looked
the way she did: sober, made-up and faking it,
you got hired wherever you applied.
Were even cut some slack as if something
that gorgeous could never be as strung out as
she appeared. Might even be telling the truth
when she called in with a persistent stomach flu
that had sapped all her strength and left
her looking as if she’d spent the last
thirty-six hours sleeping in a snow bank
and had been thawed out by someone using
an acetylene torch. In fact, the closest she’d
been to snow was all those lines she’d been
snorting with the lead singer of Black Friday,
a half-dead, six foot eight, mixed race punk
rocker who called himself Raunch, who
used his uncut-for-years dreds to hang dead
things from, “Like rodents and stuff. I think
we had sex. It was really weird.”
If nothing else, these close encounters of
the strange kind made for entertaining texts.
Half the fun was figuring out who they were
from, what they expected of her, and what
she might do next.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on January 17, 2022 by Scot


Staying in the Room Where Her Ex-Husband Used to Beat Her for $49/Night



She seems to know I don’t have it in me,
staying in the room where her ex-husband used
to beat her for $49/night,
the nice couple that own the place
imploring us to pet their dying cone-headed dog
as they handed us the key,
reassured that such matters are just a precaution,
that he kept itching where he should not itch
which sits just fine with a man who has been itching
the short and scragglies for almost a half century
of higher gas and lower expectations
and she moves right in as though she never left
which makes me feel bad because this is a family place
and family should give you better although
it never really does.



Band House



is equal opportunity
in the band house

with this self-proclaimed
Matriarch of the Midwest
who burns the toast
and stirs the beans
in riddles of careful
brown molasses

so the bands
riding into town on fumes
have a place to crash
after the gig

and something
warm in the belly
for the unforgiving
road ahead.



The Great Replace The Good



That scratchy ice-swept highway of the North
waiting on another crash,
as though you are the only spent death
waiting on power windows that don’t work
because of the cold,
not a tow job for a hundred miles
if I were a betting man,
not a single flare of better sense,
the jaws of life pulled out for sport
instead of function;
it’s no hands on deck each happy hour,
that ear splintering way the great replace
the good with not good enough;
this jugular full of pumping red blood
waiting to happen.

Rob Plath Poetry

Posted in Rob Plath with tags on January 17, 2022 by Scot


they exist


i read jack
& the beanstalk
as a boy
& believed maybe
giants existed
then later realized
there were only ogres
in the shape of fathers
schoolyard bullies, etc
but then i got older
& realized that
there really were giants
great big benevolent ones
of regular size once
but who left us way too young
by barrel of needle or gun
or bottle or blade, etc…
but left nonetheless
in body but not soul
& they grew & grew
& now sit & walk next to us
grand ghosts so large
they leave no room for absence
there’s one right here
as i write this
you might know him
i’m sure you do



my mother was a poet too come to think of it

i remember some gray mornings
after unwon battles
w/ nothing much to eat
my mother taking leftover
mashed potatoes
the only two eggs in the carton
& some flour
& a little piece of cheese
hidden in plastic wrap
& mixing it all
in her old green bowl
& then pressing it all into discs
w/ her tiny palms
& laying them in sizzling butter
just enough scraped from wax paper
w/ the knife
to melt & fill the bottom
of our third-hand dented pan
w/ the loose handle
until scraps transformed
into golden pancakes
for otherwise gray souls…
& now come to think of it
my mother was a poet too
taking up meaningless mush
what little remains
w/ caring hands
& making something new
something better
something bright
to usher us thru thick fog



not even a shadow of a shadow left


one day the seas will boil
& the thing you worshipped
will turn into a red giant
& swallow the earth
fire eating all
even the bone-filled center
of the foolish tootsie pop planet
so i roll over in orange covers
ignoring flashing marquees
of terrible reports
& everything else that will not last
especially motherfucking love



blue diamond


i remember when i was 4
my grandmother moved in
she was dying
she’d be dead in less than a year
at that time i wanted a kite
but nobody bought me one
so my grandmother suggested
that i make one
so w/ her overseeing it all
i made this folded diamond
out of white drawing paper
coloring it blue w/ a crayon
then i poked a hole
in one of the tips w/ a pencil
threading a piece of twine thru it
& tied a knot
i remember my grandmother
standing at the back window
her arms crossed
in her favorite royal sweater
w/ the big brown buttons
watching me try to fly
this blue paper kite
i ran to one end of the house
where she’d sneak
to smoke cigarettes
even after chemotherapy
& then i ran to opposite side
but the kite just sank
a blue diamond in the dirt
& each time i was about to quit
i saw her grin thru the glass
her thin purple hand waving
me on & on
while her other hand
pushed back loose wild hair

New Neighbors Didn’t Bring a Parade by Mike James

Posted in Mike James with tags on December 22, 2021 by Scot


All excited about your brand new house, you opened your blinds to find the Three Little Pigs built next door. A new mishmash abode of hay, sticks, brick, barbed wire, and tires. All this after your patent for turnip-flavored gumdrops was so quickly turned down. You thought a new house, replete with stucco splendor, would change your life’s trajectory. You mainly follow the corkscrew’s direction. Your thirsts are legion. If you knew the names for all your wants, you’d occupy every shadow. The only lingering gaze you get these days is from your mirror. It never talks back. At night you light scented candles by the dozen. It’s not enough to have a pleasant aroma. You have to see something burn.

Tim Heerdink

Posted in Tim Heerdink with tags on December 20, 2021 by Scot



Avert Your Eyes, That’s Not a Sunset, the World is Aflame


It may look beautiful & you may want to stare,
but that’s not the collection of colors
pollution creates over years
spilling into the atmosphere.

So many of our kind
are taking their last breath
in this descending sequence.

Paintbrush stroking splats of orange
across the canvas with rhythmic flicks
as fires feed their appetites with the landscape.

The collective screams sound like birds
flying off in the distance toward south
in a song of farewell to good friends.

We knew this night would come,
we just never thought it’d be
within our own hundred years.

It’ll be a matter of minutes
before the end comes,
you can choose to run
for the cover which
does not exist;
I’ll take in
the view.



Tim Heerdink is the author of Final Flight as the Fog Becomes Night, Somniloquy & Trauma in the Knottseau Well, The Human Remains, Red Flag and Other Poems, Razed Monuments, Checking Tickets on Oumaumua, Sailing the Edge of Time, I Hear a Siren’s Call, Ghost Map, A Cacophony of Birds in the House of Dread, Tabletop Anxieties & Sweet Decay (with Tony Brewer) and short stories “The Tithing of Man” and “HEA-VEN2”. His poems appear in various journals and anthologies. He is the President of Midwest Writers Guild of Evansville, Indiana.

Linnet Phoenix

Posted in Linnet Phoenix with tags on December 10, 2021 by Scot




What a terrible death,
to be drowning
in too much love

Look up, human,
speak the words,
for even gods need
a prayer to stop
the rain falling



Nobody told her
she was a satellite,
reflected light
from a rock-star.
So far away
his light still burns
her face


Nathan Graziano

Posted in Nathan Graziano with tags on December 6, 2021 by Scot


Existential Crisis in Quarantine


It’s early morning, before the sun licks the window’s ear,
while the dog snores at the foot of the bed, and I’m snapped

awake by a strange and daunting dream that disappears
like a foreign word as soon as I stand up and squint to read

the world’s last clock radio on the bed stand beside my glasses.
In the bathroom, I turn on the light to piss and notice

myself shirtless in the mirror and rub my eyes and ask,
Who the fuck are you? for the fifth time since dinner. last night.

It seems that quarantine breeds with the existential crisis
like teenagers on a basement couch, Netflix streaming.

I stare back at my body, shed of its clothing, flabby and pale
and middle-aged misshapen, molded from years of beers.

But lately I’ve been laying off the alcohol and waking up
before noon and practicing yoga and meditation with my wife

and rereading the classic novels that I skimmed in college
so I can stop spewing borrowed nonsense about Nabokov.

Still, as I stare at my face, my heart pounds and breath quickens
as the birds in the bushes outside start their morning songs.

I want to run from this man who is almost smirking at me
then realize there’s no need to hide when nobody sees you.

John Dorsey

Posted in John Dorsey with tags on December 1, 2021 by Scot

Painting Flowers with a Closed Fist or The Violent Femmes Are Not a Feminist Group
for becky hernandez

this is not a revolution
you were meant to remember
the words to

overhead the sun looks like a blister
in western pennsylvania in 1985

painting flowers with a closed fist
lacks imagination
& it is no way
to learn
how to dance.


Love Letters for Jana Horn

the mailbox is full of postcards
from hipster boys
& aging dreamers
who just want
to be swallowed whole
by a desert rose.


Poem for Shelby

too young to remember jonbenet
it doesn’t seem creepy to you
to ask for donations
for a baby beauty pageant

$10 here
$5 there
for a twirl
at the baton
of immortality

sometimes there
is nothing uglier


Electra Glide in Blue with David Smith

none of us are out
on that highway alone
love is the only true thing there is
words kicking up dust
in the search for myth
we were in this together
that’s what you never understood

for a moment
you held a dream
that felt real.


Young Man

i’m not saying
you were no good
just rotten on the inside
like a bag of sour apples
who left us too young.


John Dorsey lived for several years in Toledo, Ohio. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Teaching the Dead to Sing: The Outlaw’s Prayer (Rose of Sharon Press, 2006), Sodomy is a City in New Jersey (American Mettle Books, 2010), Tombstone Factory, (Epic Rites Press, 2013), Appalachian Frankenstein (GTK Press, 2015) Being the Fire (Tangerine Press, 2016) and Shoot the Messenger (Red Flag Poetry, 2017),Your Daughter’s Country (Blue Horse Press, 2019), Which Way to the River: Selected Poems 2016-2020 (OAC Books, 2020), and Afterlife Karaoke (Crisis Chronicles, 2021). His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and the Stanley Hanks Memorial Poetry Prize. He was the winner of the 2019 Terri Award given out at the Poetry Rendezvous. He may be reached at

Michael Grover

Posted in Michael Grover with tags on December 1, 2021 by Scot


Love Poem For Junkie


She had the kindest eyes
& most disarming smile
In desperation
This was dangerous

She swayed her hips
Like she was on the prowl
Trail of tobacco smoke
Always following

She left her son
At her mom’s in the country
So he didn’t have to see
Her falling like this

Found her fallen
In a hospital bed
After disappearing for a week
Failed kidneys and a broken nose

She cashed her check
Bought more dope
She shot up
In the hospital bathroom

I watched her fade
Walk into nothing
Walk into that
Anonymous house
Where she would party and buy drugs
I knew she was leaving this world
Walking into the underworld

Last week someone suggested
That we go in there and get her
I told her we can’t save her
Only she can walk out of there