Archive for January, 2021

THE COOK AFTER CLOSING (1989) by Michael J. Arcangelini

Posted in Michael J. Arcangelini with tags on January 28, 2021 by Scot


Once everything is broken down,
lights lowered, kitchen quiet,
he goes to the corner of the bar
where lost shadows gather,
commandeers his usual seat,
pulls out a pack of cigarettes.
He smells of grease and sweat.
Bartender Tom brings his bourbon,
they exchange a few words.
Someone tries to chat him up
but the cook is barely responsive,
until he gets a few drinks in him,
then he plugs old Motown
into the jukebox and babbles
to anyone pretending to listen.
If unapproached, he’ll sit quiet,
smoking, sifting through ghosts
and unrealized expectations,
until Tom shuts the place down.

Then he walks to his rented home.
A two-liter bottle of cheap whiskey
sits next to his easy chair waiting for
him and a tumbler full of ice cubes.
He watches whatever’s on cable,
chains smokes, lets his poisons
work their magic until he passes out.

He awakens three or four hours later,
ice melted, ashtray overflowing,
TV still the only light in the room,
the rude dawn has not yet arrived.
He gets fresh ice, starts over again.
The scent of saltwater mist from
Humboldt Bay, bittersweet in the air,
hides beneath the stench of cigarettes.
Sometimes he scribbles words
into a notebook, but mostly he just
kills his time until the next shift.

Gerald Lockin

Posted in Uncategorized on January 19, 2021 by Scot

Rest easy.

Three Poems by Matt Borczon

Posted in Matt Borczon with tags on January 16, 2021 by Scot

Selected power house poems from Matt Borczon’s soon to be released book Saved Rounds from Spartan Press


What we teach

When I
was in
my daughter
was two
so when
I would
skype with
my wife
and her
she would
ask me
come home
and cry
because she
didn’t understand
how far
away the
war was
now she
is twelve
and some
nights she
breaks her
scotch tape
dispenser and
cuts herself
with the
jagged end
on her
thighs long
thin lines
like notebook
paper and
when I
ask her
why she
swears she
doesn’t know
but her
therapist said
it started
when I
deployed earlier
this year
to NYC
for the
pandemic I
was working
in a
the therapist
said my
daughter told
her that
all she
from my
last deployment
was how
angry she
was that
I would
not come
back to
her and
maybe she
is still
angry that
I left
but being
my daughter
she won’t
blame me
and she
is still
too young
to blame
the war
or the
Navy or
the virus
so instead
she writes
angry letters
blaming herself
into her
skin with
anything sharp
she can


Every couple days

My mom
calls and
asks me
to buy
her a
bottle and
pick up
her mail
she has
drank every
day since
my father
died she
is trying
to forget
him and
the feeling
of being
alone that
even four
kids can’t
fill and
I think
we are
all doing
this in
my family
but my
father’s ghost
is thirsty
and the
more I
drink the
louder he
gets but
I buy
my mom
the cheap
she likes
now because
she says
it feels
like it
is killing
her faster
and some
nights I
cry as
I try
to imagine
what it
will feel
like down
the road
with both
of them



was 14
and skipping
school the
day some
crazy lady
took 3
shots at
him from
a hunting
pistol on
west 8th
street he
dove behind
a tree
and was
there for
25 minutes
until the
police rushed
her third
floor apartment
and she
put the
gun in
her mouth
and took
the shot
she could
not miss
and Stanley
went home
and never
said a
word to
anyone about
it and
now 42
years later
he eats
like M and M’s
has been
divorced 3
times and
shows up
uninvited to
his daughters
job at
the Mall
like the
ghost of
Christmas yet
to come
he has
a new
woman in
his bed
usually before
the last
one has
gone and
he can
write a
poem that
can make
a grown
man cry
and he
still says
he never
wants to
own more
than he
can fit
into the
backseat of
his car
and I
think that
he is
like this
he was
20 years
too young
when he
learned that
time is
an illusion
and nothing
last forever
so he
has spent
his whole
life running
as hard
as he
possibly can
with no
idea where
he was
to go
because nobody
is ready
to be
that grown
up at

Three Poems by John D Robinson

Posted in John D Robinson with tags on January 12, 2021 by Scot


whether a day
or a hundred years
is given
and taken away
of every day
and night:
the moon is
moving away from
the earth and the
sun is dying
but there’s
still time
to get
something right.




‘We are decaying’ I said
on Christmas day eve:
‘You’re so fucking morbid’
she said:
‘Maybe’ I said ‘but it’s true’
‘But today of all days!’ she said:
‘Death and dying doesn’t put
the brakes on because its
Christmas’ I said:
‘Cliché’ she said:
‘So is, ‘fuck it’ I said:
‘So is, ‘fuck you’ she said:
‘Over used’ I said:
‘Like, ‘I love you’ she said:
I lifted my glass, took a gulp
before I said:
‘Hell yes, hands-down’






‘Love never goes unpunished’
Diablo once told me one night as
we drank in a down town bar:
he laughed, when I asked why:
‘You fucking fool!’ he snarled:
‘The crown of thorns can only
be worn once’ and then he
laughed again and I looked
all around my home finding
only quietness and then I
laughed along with Diablo and
felt his embrace of frustration
as I kissed my wife goodnight,
her silhouette lit the moon
as it disappeared without a




John D Robinson is a UK poet: hundreds of his poems have appeared online and in print: he has published several chapbooks and five full collections of his work: ‘Always More’ ‘New & Selected Poems’ was recently published by Horror Sleaze Trash: he was a 2020/2021 Pushcart Prize Nominee.

Three Poems by Richard D. Houff

Posted in Richard D. Houff on January 5, 2021 by Scot

Bridge Crossing Above the Wolf

Here’s where we sat by the creek
and took our clothes off

Splashing in the spring-fed water,
and hiding under overhang,
camouflaged by leaves

Looking down into a slow current,
he wants to turn back the pages
and decades on an endless tango
with no particular starting point

Silent thoughts step forward
when the sun drops



The river flows near a secluded
bend before resuming its course

And this is my sanctuary
where there are no visitors

I plan all decisions
and campaigns through a looking glass
turned inward

We all have our hideouts
that special little place where secrets
go unspoken

The fragrance of forgotten flowers



Fairy Tale

A dream
of breathing easy
and slow in a forgotten place
called “Once Upon A Time”

And someday
we will build
our very own
clown in faded sunlight

We will blend together
near a vacant lot on the corner
of 11th and Nowhere:

We will speak of love
and I will be alone





Richard D. Houff edited Heeltap Magazine and Pariah Press Books from 1986 to 2010. He is also a journalist that’s comfortable in writing both poetry and prose. His work has been published in Academic and Arts Review, Big Hammer, Brooklyn Review, Chiron Review, Conduit, Louisiana Review, Midwest Quarterly, North American Review, Parnassus, Rattle, San Fernando Quarterly, and many other fine magazines. His most recent poetry collections are Night Watch and Other Hometown Favorites, from Black Cat Moon Press(2016), The Wonderful Farm and Other Gone Poems, from Flutter Press (2017), and Dancing on Rooftops, from Homage Press (2019) Czech Republic.




two poems by michael grover

Posted in Michael Grover with tags on January 5, 2021 by Scot

Social Media Killed The Poet


There are people too gentle
To live amongst wolves
Social media brought them to the door
They killed the fucking Poet
Crucified him to his own sins against society
Was last seen ranting with a crazed marketing mind
Trying to protect his brand
Wolves brought back from the high school hallway
Bully, desperate, lying through the teeth of their smile
They killed him, and he still wrote
Just to prove that he’s alive
to prove there was something still alive
The pack of wolves they sat outside waiting outside his door
Wolves always waiting

Social media killed the Poet
Or the wolves killed the Poet
The point is the Poet was dead
Just a matter of how you look at it
Few noticed or even cared
This Poetry game is a game of egos
You stay loyal to the boss
Or the boss puts a hit on you
Then you become invisible

Social media killed the Poet
& how ironic would it be
To post this Poem on social media
When the Poem is done with me
Cold Florida Winter nights
Scribbling Poems in sweatshirts
Rituals repeated in the dark of night
Conjuring the Muse to come out and play
Without expending too much energy
Life with cancer on the fly
Where pen runs until page runs out
It killed him with technology
Poetry takes a lot of patience now
But feels good as it flows




Someone Turned Up The Heat In Hell


The voice of the people
Talked over by some loud talker in a suit
Looks just the way a guy reporting the news
Should look, snake oil salesman of corporate agendas
Then come the commercials


Does it ever feel it has all become scripted
Even right down to the president, even trump
Keeps bragging about how much better everything is
When all he does is turn up the heat in hell
& we just keep dying in it
We the poor & deceived
Distracted by whatever living hell
We might be walking through

When it comes to private hells
The imagination is boundless
Without borders or walls
If Washington is truly so corrupt
Then this is the virus we should be eradicating
Safe from the threat of uncivil wars
Or other people’s opinions