Archive for March, 2022

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Posted in Ryan Quinn Flanagan with tags on March 24, 2022 by Scot



Spilling the Beans

My parents tried to kill me,
threw me down a flight of stairs
when I was eight months old.

I had to be airlifted with a brain hemorrhage,
was given a less than 10% chance of living
by the doctors.

And when I survived,
my mother waited until I was
old enough to understand language
to tell me:
“I hate you and wish you were never born”
on many occasions.

Then she started in on my little sister.
Pulling on her hair as she combed it out
each morning, yelling at her to stop crying
like a little baby and calling her “a little bitch.”

And when I tried to protect my little sister,
my father stepped in and always
protected my mother.

Until he cheated on her
with this waitress he met at one
of his favourite restaurants.

Finally building up his asshole courage
to leave my mother and move in
with the waitress of his dreams.

Three poems by Emalisa Rose

Posted in Emalisa Rose with tags on March 24, 2022 by Scot



A good strudel, with a side of shame

My daddy was bipolar. In again, out
of work again, Daddy. Bipolar, but at
the time, they just called him “coocoo.”

His immigrant parents knew something
was wrong, but were too ashamed to
look into it. Along with his “putz”
younger brother, that married that “slut
in the drunk tank,” they liked to rip into,

as we’d sit on the couch, covered plastic
by the table with that phony wax fruit in
that ornate gold plated bowl, Grandma Sue
brought at the Gimbels, and smiled “what
a steal at that 80 percent off, though the
snobs in the suburbs, bought it, full price,
without any eye blinking.”

For Sue and her shoemaker husband, that
good stuff just didn’t come easy. She’d
flip through the Sunday sales, hoping to
keep up with the Joneses, whoever the
fuck they were. I hadn’t a clue then, but
knew it that she longed to be like them,
for whatever reason.

She taught me about shame, how to
curse in the old mother tongue, and
how to make a good strudel.



The day Leo got lucky


“Yesterday’s gone.

Tomorrow’s uncertain.

Sands slip away our today.”

He had a verse of his own,
intercepting my nerves of
first dates and my cliched

“You talk too much,” he said.

“Let’s go fuck in the woods.”

So we did, as his nail
hit my heart.

Then we married,
eleven months later.



Like a red squirrel

“After a while, they accumulate.”

“Tell a few, you’ll be telling more,
like the leaves you keep sweeping.
Perhaps you’ll get rid of them, but
more will fall overnight.”

Susie the septuagenarian, the sage
and the troublemaker.

I continued with broom to the
sidewalk, and like a red squirrel
that fights to its death, protecting
its brood, with this need to continue
the lie, I will do so

Susie or no Susie.

Marc Olmsted

Posted in Marc Olmsted with tags on March 24, 2022 by Scot


Gill Man


hair ex-president
scar tissue of America
maskless in the pandemic
white laws black jails
The Creature Walks Among Us
midnight flicker
black & white gill man surgically altered
molested pope star to breathe among celebs
nose dangerously close to dropping off
in the leprosy of victim turned predator
Israel’s dominatrix whipping Palestine
Asian-American Republicans in the Hiroshima Parade
(radiation good for business)
hippies turned alt-right
with heavy metal weapons bristling PTSD
of unjust wars they murdered in
skin heads bunkers sieg heil with concentration knives
gay black conservatives & Christians spitting venom
the next Beast will be bigger


Grown Up by Tiyasha Khanra

Posted in Tiyasha Khanra with tags on March 3, 2022 by Scot


Countless times She has
Got harassed, sexually.
She felt below the belt, every time.
She failed within to deal with this.
She buried the pain,
Her confession remain unheard.

She Is seven, and went for
Computer class in a center.
Nobody’s present today but she.
She knows nothing about
Good touch and bad.
Nobody ever taught this to her.
She didn’t know teachers too
Are human beings and thereby
Can be pervert and the
Word ‘Pervert’ even doesn’t
Exist in her child vocabulary.
She was practicing on PC
And before she understood
What is it taking her breathe away
And overthrowing a heavy weight,
She felt an embrace from behind
Like someone covered her
With guilt and sent her to prison.
She felt even prison itself is
Less terrible than this.
She starts weeping and
She is freed to light the situation.
But that leaves her a mark.

She is fourteen and again
Goes to the same center
Where something bad
Happened to her.
She told none about this
And buried the pain within.
And the culprit had to leave
The center after some week
As he got a secure job somewhere else.
She felt relief after he has gone.
But never knew that daredevils
Can return with someone else.
And this time she got
Helplessly molested by her senior.
And he didn’t stop even if
She wept furiously.
Once returned home,
She got traumatized.
After few months she herself
Leaves the center once and for all.

She is seventeen now,
She got promoted in high school.
And she takes a car
To go for her tuition.
The car was carrying another
Passenger and the fellow passenger
Is giving her a very dirty sign
Every time their eyes are meeting.
She feels insecure, she knows
What may come for her
As she is now grown up.
She keeps the bag in between
To maintain a certain distance
From the culprit but
Nothing is of any use actually.
He is spreading his legs to touch her.
And now she feels a red bulb
Is twinkling in her head.
She buries her head in her bag.
She squeezes in the corner of her seat.
The destination comes
And even much of her surprise
The car stops and she hustles
To get off and by the time
The perpetrator slaps on her butt.
She drags herself out of the car.

She is now nineteen,
First year in college.
She is fully grown up.
Even if she can’t protest
She can now save herself
From sexual harassment-
It is all she thinks.
But thoughts are sometimes
Partially truth and often entirely false.
She catches a bus.
The bus is packed up with passengers.
One guy, fully drank
Starts taking advantage of her.
The moron started rubbing
His swelled up organ
On her butt and again
She feels helplessly alone.
This time too nobody
Came to save her.

Apart from these she got touched
A number of times and
Couldn’t help herself but cried.
She blames herself for having a
Vulnerable side and a female body
That makes her fall in trouble.



Bio- Tiyasha Khanra is a poetess and an author, lives in Kolkata, India. She has been published on International Times, Inkpantry, Innsaei Journals, Indian Periodical, Ode to a Poetess, Storrymirror, Spillwords, The Lakeview Journals, Fevers of the Mind Poetry and Art Press, Setu Magazine (forthcoming) and elsewhere. She is a bilingual poet and writes in English and Bengali only. She writes on Female issues, teenage psyche, Modern Issues, Urban crisis, Patriarchy and Christianity.

Mike James

Posted in Mike James with tags on March 3, 2022 by Scot


Under the Sign of the Lamp

For a very long time there was silence
People kept to themselves
Communicated with nods, unscripted gestures
The wind quit doing what the wind does
Even rain fell noiselessly

Then, one Tuesday, before afternoon’s midpoint,
A phonograph began to play in the attic
Of a large, old house everyone thought empty

Townspeople gathered beneath the attic window
The phonograph played an instrumental over and again
Some old women began to speak
At first, their voices all rasps and hollow bird cries
Very quickly they were singing the melody
At every refrain, they added and replaced words



What I Learned From Rocky Balboa

Staying upright is often enough.
Not all broken places heal the right way.
Say your fears out loud to those who love you most.
Everyone needs an Adrian.
Be thankful for big chances, cufflink turtles, and spaghetti.
Don’t forget to celebrate at the top of the steps.
There are so many steps.


Tell Me How You’re Doing

The horizon stays in place no matter how many steps I take.
There’s a dullness at the edge of every corner.
Nothing seems sharp. Even stars get blurry when I try to stare past.
I lose track of them when I count. And it stays night.
I get rejuvenated when I should sleep.
Also the reverse. One more puzzle I can’t fix.
Despite my recent wonderments, that hasn’t changed.






Mike James lives and works right outside Nashville, TN. His work has been widely published. His 20th collection, Portable Light: Poems 1991-2021, will be published in April by Redhawk.