Archive for July, 2016

illusionist by Bree

Posted in Bree with tags on July 22, 2016 by Scot

we sit on a bank covered in
sand after you covered me
in it. i smile despite the grit.
you are a part-time prudent
sort of snaking river charmer,
one hand on the basket, the
other on my breast. the
basket opens nevertheless,
like by some magic. inside
are two empty caskets.


Posted in LYNNE SAVITT with tags on July 22, 2016 by Scot


for a.m.

did you get the card for the memorial
our friend, noel, “celebration of a life
most thoughtfully lived” what will they
say about us i ask you as we raise
martini glasses & light a joint looking
at photos of all our old lovers eleven
boxes in the decades we’ve known each
other’s lovers cowboys, convicts, poets,
professors, artists, mechanics, doctors,
chefs, motorcycle racers, an indian chief
& an actor we never thought this day would
come as you are to the service for once
illuminating beauty but dulled by wind &
sun mapped faces once juicy as our sex lives
now dry as feet we cream with aloe & shea
butter me up with kind words praising a life
of thoughtless pursuit & dwindling resources
oh, but the sweet memory & exaggeration of
love lies in stories bloated purple with details
how gentle & obsessed he was, how virile &
devoted our tales become classic swill but
our mirrors don’t lie look at us corpses in
training big red smears for mouths never
close the coffin & sing me a dirge wrap me
in gold-flecked red velvet use movie camera
to capture event i promise if you go first i’ll
take the sea green tulle & sequined scallop
shells float you on a gardenia covered kayak
either way, sweet pal, don’t let the legends
fade crying old lovers pulled from graves &
life to mourn us most dramatically queens
of poetry & passion may we live forever

Listening All Alone To Deep Purple In A Pittsburg Bar (Kansas, That Is) by Jason Ryberg

Posted in Jason Ryberg with tags on July 22, 2016 by Scot

-as texted to the author (more or less) by Al Ortolani

Well, there’s the bartender, of course,
pouring me another drink
even though I’ve still got one
in front of me (half full and un-paid for),
and there’s big screen tvs to the front,
rear, left and right of me (no escape,
apparently, so I guess I better just
deal with it and have another drink)
and Stevie Nicks is silently dancing
in all her ‘80s, gypsy-black, gauzy,
gossamer glory (Lord, just send me
Stevie in my dreams and maybe
keep all mamas and babies safe
for atleast one more day) and now
the Red Hot Chili Peppers
are really funkin’ and rockin’ out
and the Dodgers and the Angels
have hit the 7th inning (at 7 to 7,
no shit, guess we’ll see who gets
lucky tonight) and the Goodyear blimp
is in retrograde as the ghost of Kurt Cobain
is coming to us live and unplugged
(did he really mean to unplug and
sign off for good when he had his
ultimate dark moment of dispair or
was there something else going on there?)
and I could use another drink about now
and the bartender has been MIA for sometime
and the conspicuous odor of pot smoke
is wafting from the men’s room (seriously,
am I the only one noticing this!?)
and there’s an old gal who looks
a lot like my mother (unnervingly so,
in fact, like separated-at-birth similar)
saying HELLO!? HELLO!? into the payphone
and now some old boy is moaning
the Medicare blues, bent over the trashcan
by the backdoor with a bloody nose,
who, it turns out is an old harp player
I used to know, as he sits down on
the bar stool next to me (vodka on the rocks)
like nothing ever happened (pretty sure
we chased a possum together down Broadway
one night in 1995 behind the Stillwell Hotel)
and I say Hey man, you’re part of my poem!
Bending his ear lower and closer to me,
he says I had a feelin.

The Wireless Scream by David S. Pointer

Posted in David S. Pointer with tags on July 22, 2016 by Scot


You can huff
false-narrative paint
on a thousand problems
until your face is red as
a penal colony rash, and
the increased militarization
of the police protecting one
percent mega-property
responding to desperate
economically excluded
areas dons a reconfigured
fur-suit called reasonable
man doctrine digging the
graves for rainbow privilege
inside ongoing globalization
tricking the masses not at all
experienced enough in hot
button diversionary issues
to sort through concentric
circles of class warfare
reverberating off markets
to offer more than blood
and vast cyber-blindness

existential sickness by Mj Taylor

Posted in Mj Taylor with tags on July 22, 2016 by Scot


all the boys here
got no one
to go home to
even if they do.

bellied up
over their glasses

eyes stained with
hi-tech porno,

bird in
their throats
haggard crow.

all suffering from
a mutual sickness
of existence :

a dismay in knowing
exactly what tomorrow

will hold.

Prayer Cards by KC Bosch

Posted in KC Bosch with tags on July 22, 2016 by Scot

Baseball cards
of the dead
They give them
away for free.
Well at least you don’t
pay with money.
Folded hands, or Jesus, or
a dated portrait with
some invocation.
No chewing gum included.
I got my rookie card
when I was still
in middle school
and have been collecting
them ever since.
The players come from
all parts of my life.
Most of them are drafted,
but a lot are walk-ons.
Some even from
the same team.
It has been a busy season
and we are not even
at the all-star break.
I thought I had a full set
but every year
they keep printing more.
I guess the only thing
that could be worse
is if they start sending
save the date cards.

IN A 1000 YEARS by R.M. Engelhardt

Posted in R.M. Engelhardt with tags on July 22, 2016 by Scot

In a thousand years
Time shall
Change you
Into a small animal
Who shall be eaten
By a larger animal
That a thousand years
Before his birth
Was the unwashed homeless guy
That you with your
Money, car and 3 piece
Suit ignored walking past
The corner of Church & 7th
Street as you drank your
Starbuck’s Cafe Latte as he
Asked if you could spare
25 cents so he could buy a
Cheaper cup of coffee
3 blocks away at the convenience
Store in a shitty, crappy urban

And just like when
You responded to his
Plea a thousand years before
He shall quietly
And without words
Simply respond back
By slightly
Shaking his head
And attempting to
Dislodge an annoying piece
Of meat

From his


Four Poems by Michael Grover

Posted in Michael Grover with tags on July 16, 2016 by Scot

I Have Walked Through Wars & Never Seen A Thingme reading
We are a culture of great wars
Seen nothing but war
For a very long time
Vietnam when I was born
We have never seen war
It is a far off place
& those that do go off to see it
Never come back the same
I don’t see much use for this war
Except to rally the troops at home
But what do I know
I am just a Poet in Toledo, Ohio
Watchin’ as the World burns
There’s a war on tv
But that’s not the real war
The real war he’s a tough son of bitch
Cold & hard as stone & steel
Too hard to show the real war
& the sacrifice it demands
I’ll be honest, I hope I never know war
I’ll be honest, war terrifies me
Like cops with lasers on their guns
That’s right, I am scared of war
I am scared of war
Like I am scared of cancer
Like I am scared of dying alone
Like I am scared of things that I cannot control
Things that control me
Like war
But I think it’s time I face these fears


All Of These Things Are Nothing

There are some days when cancer kicks my ass
There are no days when I kick cancers ass
Everyone tells me to fight cancer
What does that even mean
These days it’s a struggle to stay active
Little things like walk the dog
Or those dirty dishes are still in the sink
There are days I must push myself over the smallest hills
There are days that writing would be hard to pull off
This can last for days sometimes
I can go crazy going days without writing
Waiting for some kind of release
I am learning to be patient wait for it come back
I am learning to deal with cancer on the fly
It’s something I’ve never dealt with before
As is most of life I guess
Chewing you up & spitting you out
That cold, hard march toward death
& all around you your friends dying
Everybody dies
You start to see the truth
That it doesn’t matter
That purpose you were given by someone else
All of those purposes
That tug of pride you felt on nine-eleven
Or was that fear
Just watchin’ the tv
Thinkin’ it could be down the street
It was all nothing
Now it can’t be changed



Silent killer
Ticket to the death lottery
Slow painful death
You stir, you kill
Don’t need a reason
There is no reason
Unluck of the draw
Years of good poor livin’
Like we had a choice
Maybe the places we’ve seen
Things we could never unsee
Building up like a ball of negativity
I have seen too many eyes lost
There is no reason
Eyes that know you
Distant eyes
Every time I look in the mirror
Those eyes
At the treatment center
When I go in for a shot
So many lost eyes
There is no reason
I hear this god would never give you anything
That you cannot carry
I would like to have a talk with him
I don’t think he’s listening
He’s got an army of snake oil salesmen
He must just not care anymore


For The Outlaws
(For Doug Draime)

These modern outlaws
Busy patting themselves on the back
For that Poem they wrote years ago
Still rocks the crowd when they read it
Got nothin’ remotely controversial to say
But they’re oh so edgy
In fact they will tell you as quick as Laura Bush
as quick as the government
That there is no place for political Poetry
That there is no place for us Doug
I thought I watched you die unheard
Which would be an outrage
But I read your words tonight
It lit a spark
Which became this wildfire of a Poem
I know your fire will forever burn
I know we will keep that fire alive
Spread your name like wildfire
We will pass it on to the next generation
A message to the outlaws
We are an army
We will not be quiet
We will say what we want
When we want to say it
As Poets we are bound to the truth
No matter how dark that may be

american obligation by DB Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags on July 11, 2016 by Scot

another invisible man
lies crumpled
in the front seat
of his car
life leaking
onto the black
floor mat
his blood-covered shoes
blinking eyes
gaze up
from the bottom
of death’s dark hole
into the imaginary
soul of a cop’s
video camera lens

as the movie unwinds
his scattered mind rolls
like a broken wheel
frantically trying
to make sense
of what just happened

about a broken tail light

or was it only a dream
about something broken

in the backseat
his daughter is crying
is she broken
somebody help this little girl

or maybe
he’s dreaming
about his daughter
crying in the night

why is she crying

is she crying
for him
is she crying
for you

is she crying for us all
because we live
in a place
where many
have forgotten
what it means
to dream
a cold place
where some of us
will forever be judged
by the color of our skin
& not the content
of our character

he cries this last time
because his daughter
will continue to have tears
in her eyes
as she grows toward
more bone-cold discoveries
concerning old promises
new lies
& american obligation

somebody help this little girl
she cannot stop crying

petrol station by Matthew J. Hall

Posted in Matthew J. Hall with tags on July 11, 2016 by Scot

I took a job at a petrol station
I needed a job
I’ll stay for six months, I said

four years of ill-feeling later
I left

you’d think
a job like that
where time was measured
by all those thousands of interactions
that the poems would flow

but they didn’t
they wouldn’t
no matter how hard I tried

there were very few stories
in all those dead eyes
and seldom a poetic line
from all those loose mouths

there was nothing to say about the functional drunk
who fashioned a habit out of interrupting
my cigarette break
who’d lecture me on the unethical practice
of selling booze from a petrol station

it’s the oil industry, mate
I’d say
as soon as we step foot on the forecourt
we’re on morally shaky ground

he’d pretend not to hear me
and make a big production
out of paying for his generic vodka
with a credit card
which, without exception
never failed to decline

he’d reach inside his jacket
rummage around in there
pull out half-smoked cigarettes
betting slips
loose matches
a well-used handkerchief
and finally a five and change
all of which he’d put in a pile
and invite me to extract the necessary funds

I thought, perhaps the beggar
the one I slung a quid to on occasion
might do or say something of note

the one who came into the shop late one night
looked at the price of confectionary
called me a cunt
paid for a 75p bar of chocolate with a score
picked up his change with fussy fingers
muttering under his breath about,
this cunt’s ripping me off

I thought I might get a poem or two
out of the school boy in uniform

a handsome young fellow
whose eyes bulged at the sugary treats
I was sure I’d get a page or two out of his greed
and how I related to it
something about the early stages of addiction
and the unfortunate path he had started on
but I was wrong

there was however
something to be said
about the chronic alcoholic
big old piss-patch on his trousers
and fear in his voice
a good man but easily distracted
kept threatening to bring on over a batch of his short stories
and read them to me, out loud, right there in the shop

and maybe
if I’m lucky
at some point
I’ll get a few stanzas out of the chef
who always stank of spilt wine
yet never appeared drunk
he told me he couldn’t cook for shit
but knew how to gamble and drink

there was always Cathy, though
she was an open book
from which I willfully stole
line after line
poem after poem

and some of those poems were picked up
by small-time publishers
placed in magazines
and a couple of hand’s full of people
read all about Cathy

they read about her true smile
and her rotten teeth
about her undeniable freedom
in spite of her obvious bounds

and the dirt on her eyelids
and her worn down heels
and the sadness of screaming failure
and her girlish innocence
of which she had no legitimate claim

and in other poems
which weren’t picked up
they didn’t read
about her fascination with fire
about the burns and soot-stained skin

they didn’t read about the bruises
all over her neck
how she told me,
my friend grabbed me there
and tried to twist my head

nor did they read
about the time she told me,
I love you
she hadn’t meant to say that

she’d come into the station
to tell me she didn’t have any cigarettes
knowing full well I’d roll her one of my own
which I did
as she left, she said it, she said
I love you

all in a flush of red she retracted
I mean, I like you
I mean, you’re a good man
I mean, thank you

I wanted to say
I know
but I just stood there
with dumb-grinning eyes
and watched her leave

the first time I met her
she approached the point of service
with two pockets of jingling change
she dug deep in there
and spilled all those one and two pence pieces
over the counter

I counted up the money
and swapped it for
a five pound note
a 50p
a 10p
and a 5p
and she smiled

and the smile cracked the grime on her face
from the corners of her thin mouth
all the way up to her deep crow’s feet

when she left
the manager, with a smug sense of self, said
I have a theory about her
I think she’s the local prostitute

any half-idiot could see
she was no type of scrubber
for sure, desperate times
demand desperate measures
and she may well have knelt down
given some head
but that didn’t make her a part of the oldest profession

the manager, however
was a whole idiot
and couldn’t see much of anything at all

a year or so later
at the end of a night shift
when the morning people
were fueling up
buying newspapers
coffee and the like

I stared out of the big glass window
and watched Cathy saunter up the street
she stopped at a bin and rifled through it
discarding the rubbish on the floor
at her feet

once she was satisfied
that the bin held nothing of worth
she picked up the litter she had dropped
and put it back into the bin

there was a delicacy to her movements
she was the crippled ballerina

a regular customer
nodded in Cathy’s direction
crack head, he said
sorry? I said
she’s a crack head, he said
oh, yeah, I said
it’s ravished her body
but is yet to chew through her soul

the regular customer looked at me
as though I’d shit on the counter between us
paid for his coffee and got out

sometimes when walking to work
or walking home
or just walking the city with neither plan nor purpose
I would see Cathy asking people for change

and when she saw me
and saw that I’d seen her
she’d wave bashfully
and I could see she was ashamed
so I’d pretend not to have noticed her
and I’d walk the other way

Cathy was the only line of poetry
in that box of artificial light
built on a foundation of greed and illegal practice
there was nothing else to say

working at the petrol station
suicide was often on my mind
I was often bored
more often depressed
and more often than not,
disabled by a raging sense of anxiety

I realised early on
that the general public’s common stupidity
was symptomatic of lots and lots of
individual selfishness
and their anxiety was contagious;
the human condition is a terminal illness

they were all in a rush
wanted to be first
wanted to win a fight that didn’t exist

the factories and the warehouses
put me in good stead for the boredom
and depression is a waiting game
but anxiety is a wild and unpredictable beast

occasionally, customers would stand waiting
at an abandoned till
while I hid in the storeroom
with the Coca-Cola and crisps
and tried, with limited success
to stop crying

I longed for a fire
a big fuck-off forecourt explosion
or a gun-point robbery
or an honest-to-goodness lunatic
who’d tie me up in back
and subject me to prolonged acts of obscenity
anything other than the dead line of repeated routine

but I was a coward
stuck in a rut
too scared to move on
yet petrified of living out my days
activating pumps
and printing VAT receipts

I learnt
not too long ago
through a mutual acquaintance of ours
that they’d finally come along
and taken Cathy away

she’s in the mad house
he said
she got herself a nice wee flat
he said
and she burnt it to the ground

what hospital is she in?
I asked
don’t know and don’t care
he answered

I could have easily found out
gone for a visit
taken her some cigarettes and flowers
seen about that true-smile of hers

but I didn’t
and I won’t
because I’ve left the petrol station
and I’ve exhausted its poems
so the next line
will have to come
from somewhere else