Archive for December, 2021

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

John D Robinson

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


‘You’ve hardly spoken to me for
3 weeks and now you won’t
shut up!’ she told me:
I was beautifully stoned on
valium and codeine and some
very naughty hash: I was
attempting to engage my wife
into a conversation about
who, why? how, we are as a
species upon this planet,
what is our purpose?
beauty and horror!
that’s us!
‘You know’ she said ‘when
you do talk to me sometimes,
it makes absolutely no fucking
‘I love you’ I said:
‘There you go again!’ she said.