Archive for April, 2017

“To Chicago, or Heaven?” by Damian Rucci

Posted in Damian Rucci with tags on April 28, 2017 by Scot

On the corner of West 39th and Bell,
below the amber street light by the bookstore
I see you, Victor Smith,
reading beneath the moon.
We walk down Roanoke road
as you read me your poems—
I’ve never heard your voice but tonight
it is made of silk and bourbon.
Victor Smith, why have you come back here?
Why are you a vision in this late night stupor?
Where does the Midwest wind blow?
To Chicago
or to heaven?
How many street poets
know the devil by name?
I know, you’ve never claimed to be a teacher,
but tonight your words are gospel.
Victor, can dog-faced saints know serenity?
How many junkies have sold their last stanza
for a glimpse at the sun?
How many vagabonds have hopped trains
through cowtowns and became preachers
under their bridges?
How many cold lonely nights make a prophet?
Why do they always die alone?


Damian Rucci is a friendly neighborhood degenerate who sells books on street corners

PAPERWEIGHT by Rebecca Weber

Posted in Rebecca Weber with tags on April 28, 2017 by Scot


In the gutter
there is a paperweight.
On the side of the road,
a chandelier

I find myself in
but never a future

Today I’m not sure
if I’m the bullet or the brain
which side of the gun I’m on-

I’m almost certain I’ll feel better when it’s over
but it’s been over for longer than I’d care to admit.

Empathy is a curse,
an expensive waste
of garbage art.


Find Rebecca behind a Jersey Shore dumpster for more information and a tarot reading.

Poems by Bill Gainer

Posted in Bill Gainer with tags on April 28, 2017 by Scot

A Broken Window, a Cheap Hotel, a Stranger

The manager will want to know
how it happened –
I’ll tell the truth –
we lied to each other
and believed it.

A cheap hotel room
one glass to split
the bourbon
a cigarette
an empty beer bottle
to drop the butt
too much smoke
and a window
painted shut.

She’ll think
I can love you
and you’ll say
come here baby
we’ll worry about that later.
Right now,
just keep me warm.
The blankets
are thin.

From a Bar in Kansas City

I’m in a bar
in Kansas City
having a burger
a drink.
It’s cold here
18 degrees outside.

I’m reading poems
across town
a little later.

Just wanted
you to know
no matter how far
or cold
it gets
you’ll be
keeping me

Missing you
lots –
from a Bar
in Kansas City …



An Evening’s Intrusion

On the porch
wishing a cigarette
the first sip of bourbon
he looks few minutes
With the second
at peace.

The neighbor lady
widowed a decade
from her porch
he waves back.

The street lights
hide the sky
as they stagger
to life.
One by one
the stars go out.




glossary repulse & petting zoo by jim deuchars

Posted in jim d. deuchars with tags on April 28, 2017 by Scot

most attention spans are actually pigeons.

most poems are wolverines.

wolverines & underpants.

& freshly showered armpit chicken.

(depending on the sense percepted; presupposing that
sombrero is a broken toothbrush once you
realize that bricks & breasts & broth are different.)

saying lazy morning zees
each easy-tonguing lipsmack grape juice laughter
soft as toilet paper trees. casually denial causes us to think
we be more clever than we often seem to yawn out fetishistic
manifesti so we orange cone ourselves perpetual, immobile
in an unfamiliar bed the morning after cigarettes
& the broken ceiling fan that rattles
& the wolverines.


jim d. deuchars, who currently resides in pittsburgh, pa, writes poetry that has been described as, “a special brand of nonsense, doggerel and fufaraw.”

Poem by Matthew Hupert

Posted in Matthew Hupert with tags on April 28, 2017 by Scot

been given
a gift you don’t want?

my grandparents weren’t white
enough for america.
It took the ovens and the hunger
of father & mother
it took political necessity
to make my people white.


We had to be white
enough to elicit sympathy and sacrifice
and donations for war

whiteness was handed to us
like a prize with a smile
expected to mollify
sand off the jigsaw nubs that makes us unique

re gifted –
not long before the Italians and Irish and Poles were gifted–
But somehow that was different – they wanted it – wanted belonging

A woman I knew once called me a gringo
But I told her the gringos que habían cagado en sus muertos
that shit on her dead
looked at killing us as venerable traditional

I didn’t ask for this gift
& while I know it’s bad manners
I decline to accept

The only good thing is
now I can pass
through the 1st purge
at least

luminescent oils by Paul Koniecki

Posted in Paul Koniecki with tags on April 26, 2017 by Scot
– for reverie

i think if john dorsey had written
a poem about the time we lived

in that little apartment on fort worth
avenue between the i30 on-ramp

and the miramar motel with all the
car troubles and the kid’s car troubles

the trips to king tire for twenty-six
dollar used specials or ten dollar plugs

your famous lentil chick-pea curry
black-bean tomato soup simmering on

the stove and us trying to feed and save
all the world and the beautiful lights

i think he would of called us
luminescent oils

like the bottle of body-wash this morning
standing watch in the corner of the shower


Paul Koniecki keeps his poems on his smartphone to hide them from the government. 

How I Remember the Night Pavey Recited (from Memory) His Great Waffle House Poem in the Parking Lot of the Waffle House in (or Just Outside of) Blue Springs, MO by Scott Silsbe

Posted in Scott Silsbe with tags on April 26, 2017 by Scot

It was late, after a reading, and we poets were hungry.
We’d had milkshakes earlier for dinner, then beers or
shots or wine. And a lot of poetry. Perhaps too much.
And poetry can only satiate a certain kind of hunger.

And so the Waffle House sign hovering just off I-70
called out to us, was a sort of beacon in the night sky,
and our small caravan pulled off the freeway for grub.
We sat at the counter and the waitress was sweet to us.
I think we all ordered breakfast—several of us getting
their hashbrowns scattered, smothered, and / or covered.

It was clear the Waffle House chef took pride in his work.
Pavey covered the bill, saying that he knew it isn’t easy
being a poor poet on the road. He was right about that.
And one last gift, before we headed our separate ways,
was a poem, recited from memory, in the parking lot,
there, with the cop cars, the holy Waffle House sign
above us—a poem about a Waffle House, of course.

And I can’t recall how it went exactly, or even what
it was about, save that it mentioned a Waffle House.
But I think that I remember Pavey quoting scripture
in it, citing text some people believe came from some
great unseen, all-powerful, all-knowing force of life.
And for a moment, I believed in something greater
than myself, the spirit moved me, there in, or just
outside of, Blue Springs, MO in that Waffle House lot.
I don’t believe it was God I felt. I think it was poetry.



Scott Silsbe was born in Detroit and now lives in Pittsburgh, where he writes and works as a bookseller.

Who’s Happy Here Tonight? by Daniel Crocker

Posted in Daniel Crocker with tags on April 26, 2017 by Scot

for Lexepro
Certainly not the chopped up pig
boiling in the pot of beans
in the kitchen

Not the guy whose throat
is raw again from smoking

Not the woman asleep in the bedroom
or the husband who hasn’t fucked
her in months

Some nights I’m so sure I will
die here, stoned and wondering
if my neighbors can smell it
and one day I will

feel their footsteps above me
a rattle in my chest

but for now

The only one happy
tonight is the poem
the bees thank you
the rattling pipes thank you
the fat engagement ring on the finger
of this hot mama thanks
you Anheuser-Busch thanks you
Doe Run thanks you, boys of lice
and lean faces thank you
your ridiculous call to beauty
the red pepper
added to the boiling pot
thanks you, but not me.
Not me and not the pig.

Pooka by Jason Baldinger

Posted in Jason Baldinger with tags on April 26, 2017 by Scot

 (for Matt Borczon)

I’ve been doing a piss poor
Jimmy Stewart impersonation
all day, him reading
the first few lines of Howl
I try again as I spark
a joint, hotbox the Silver
Bullet Calivan. Silsbe
reaches for the Van Morrison cd
we play the first track or two
then he says alright let’s get right
to it and plays Almost Independence Day
we talk about all his guttural
moaning, his interjections, his
ejaculations as he sings it’s impossible
to replicate, it’s always overdone
it’s always perfect. Today though
it’s the title track of St Domenic’s Preview
that’s put a nail in my heart, when Van sings
Everyone is determined not to feel each other pain

We have to walk through a cloud
of vapor smoke to get to the coffee shop
upstairs, there are snacks from the
event in the hallway and the barista
seems confused I want both a regular
coffee and a regular tea. Black and black
Borczon is talking about being in the naval reserve
with the Syrian chemical weapons strike his people
are clamoring for answers, there’s a storm
coming, there’s a war about to dawn
I hear your poems now and I think
this is not about what you’ve already seem
this about dread, a premonition of what
you’ll see, what we will all see again
whether live or on the news, in our living rooms
he remembers talking to a group of soldiers
reminding them democracy is something
you fight for, but don’t mistake this as a democracy

Van and the road have me thinking about
America, I was in a house that was a stop
on the Underground Railroad this morning
with this administration, I think more
on the meaning of freedom than I have
before, I see coming wars as good
for business, good for a cabal of
rich white men, they have no concern
for us, for the citizens of an alleged
democracy. I’m in a bar with Stolte,
his lady and Silsbe and there
are paintings of Jimmy Stewart movies
hanging, Stolte is not familiar with Harvey
one of my maternal grandmothers favorite
movies, and now one of mine. It seems
that democracy as we know it is a Pooka



Jason Baldinger has spent a life in odd jobs. Somewhere in time he has traveled the country and wrote a few books

“new” world by Jim McGowin

Posted in Jim McGowin with tags on April 26, 2017 by Scot


only the necropolis decides
who gets to go to the pinnacle,
the engendered or endangered ascension,
a treacherous ruse that cloaks itself noble in
sloppy approximations of belief,
and people can’t sock away enough comfort
in their barbed wire yards,
dragged tangled, clinging or cast away by
a tide of serpent’s tongues
flicked heavily against lost orphans
who collect garbled star chanties
hanging like effluvia
racing above synthetic heavenly peaks,
until the foundering meat brutes,
honorable to the pure blood
setters of infliction,
come preaching about deliverance
via homicidal sensations of
falling into pottery shards
and bones broken against the flags,
ordered by mechanical
gunmetal garnished
trigger eaters,
all in the name of
a fraudulent word game.


Jim McGowin does art among other things and lives in St. Louis MO