Archive for March, 2023

Ted Jackins

Posted in Ted Jackins with tags on March 12, 2023 by Scot


For Dex

How could I know
When you woke me
Earlier than usual
That you wouldn’t
Outlive the daylight
Slowly stretching
Through the cracks
In every window
As I rose to feed
You breakfast,
Only a hint
Of the troubles
To come in your
Anxious pacing,
Circling my legs
More feverishly
Than normal,
How could I know
That the thing
Which claimed your
Vision only mere
Months ago was
A possible brain tumor?
How could I know
The pacing which
Had grown more

Pronounced in the
Weeks previous to
This were actually
How could I know
An emergency vet
Visit was in the cards,
How could I know
We’d have to choose
Between you going
Downhill or putting
You down?
How could I know
That my heart
Would break and
Your hugs-
Always a balm
When things weren’t
Going well
Would no longer
Be there when I
Needed them most?

Karl Koweski

Posted in Karl Koweski with tags on March 9, 2023 by Scot


upon reading her poetry collection

her poems
read like
to an
older set
of gods

an antler
shaking blood
her golden

transports me
to the
fantasy forests
of her mind
her words
are red eyes
every shadow

poems like
by gin wild

toward me
and implacable

strangling me
with slick

there is
nothing left
of me

my desire
for her

social media memes killed the internet poet

it’s been nearly ten years
since I’ve written a poem

around the time my children
got savvy with the
internet search engines
my fingers stopped typing

confessional poetry
is not the greatest
creative outlet
for a man with
the darkest demons
to exorcise

justifying my sins
to internet poetry sites
after a while
began to read
like fan fiction written
to myself

so I stopped

and while the world
missed nothing,
what with the
cleverly reposted memes
grabbing acknowledgements
and validations
in ego-soothing multitudes

I lost everything
I ever had to offer


finally eventually

when I discovered my audience
I lost my voice
all those fragments of wisdom
gleaned from half-priced books
refracted back at me
from half-assed experiences
lost the urgency of imagination

lately I’ve heard whispers
ten years removed
from the thrill of the byline
seventy blank notebooks
countless idle black felt pens
anticipating that meager
creative spark sputtering
across collapsing synapses

Brian Harman

Posted in BRIAN HARMAN with tags on March 9, 2023 by Scot


Obits Orbit

He died where my dad died,
Huntington Beach, CA—
sorry, not so sunny;
some would say the funny thing is,
and not think about how it’s not.
When I woke up and found out
Gerald Locklin had passed,
I was numb to emotion.
He was a mentor
at a crucial stage of my poetry.
When I woke up years ago,
I didn’t find out my dad
had passed until I went to visit
him again at the hospice,
and he wasn’t there in his room;
the hospice had forgotten
to call me.
I was numb to emotion then too.
My dad wasn’t there at a crucial
stage of my growing up.
But eventually, he was around
Eventually, somehow,
another kind of poetic justice
finds a way in as father figure,
as gravity orbits with time
and space.



Illumination of Getting Older

I bend down to plug the lamp cord
into the electrical socket
and make a sound
somewhat like a sexual moan,
but really it’s just me getting older,
reaching over to turn on the light—
then the illumination
my shadow along the walls.


COVID Church Choir

Out of thin air
they sing
like Santa Ana angels
spreading infectious psalms
at concert volume
through our third story
apartment window
that faces the back of
the church with
the two Chow Chows
that bark for hours
day and night
day and night
at cars and kids
and the unfortunate
homeless, the choir’s
holy hymns sounding
like the virtuous
greeting to the song
You Can’t Always Get
What You Want
by the Rolling Stones,
and I must agree with
the sentiment because
what I want right now
is their lord to mask
their singing
and the non-stop dogs,
the car alarms on repeat,
the fireworks,
the nextdoor neighbors
fucking against
our shared wall,
oh god yes,
oh please,


BRIAN HARMAN is a poet living in Southern California. His work has appeared in Misfit Magazine, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, and elsewhere. He is the author of Suddenly, All Hell Broke Loose!!! (Picture Show Press). He loves craft beer, music playlists, and writing poetry into the night.

Alan Catlin

Posted in Alan Catlin with tags on March 9, 2023 by Scot

Young mother

pushing twin
dressed in
tight black
skirt too
boots made
for walking
all over
the names
of lover’s past
scrolled in
ornate black
tattooed to
the inside of
her thighs
good to go
then gone



Her cousin saw

mother in the City
a week before she died.
“You’d never know
She was that close
to passing on. Of course,
she was thin but
then she always was.
Seemed happy and
talked like there
was no tomorrow.
How did she die?”
I told him that
when they opened
her up, after finding
the stomach cancer they
didn’t look any further.
Was enough cancer there
to kill two people.
“Stomach cancer.
That’s supposed to be
painful, isn’t it?
She showed absolutely
no signs of pain.
We went McDonalds’
and she ate like a horse.”
“I expect her dissociative
personality gave the pain
to someone else
What did you do
when she started
talking crazy?
I mean how did you
handle it?”
“I just laughed and
laughed and eventually
the subject changed.”
He was the kind of
guy who made the best
of things. He just dealt
with stuff. He identified
the body for me too.
He was a better man
than I am.



Good Guys with Guns

The dictum: “good guys
with guns” are the be all
and end all of conflicts
involving firearms suggests
a once-upon-a-time,
make believe world,
where the good guys
all wore white hats
and the bad guys all
wore black ones
and a hero like
Hopalong Cassidy
(whoever he was)
would arrive in a dire
moment to save the day like
the cavalry is coming
in a million Western movies.
Ask Custer how that
worked for him.
Ask the school shooting
victims who can still
tell their story.

Kevin Ridgeway

Posted in Kevin Ridgeway with tags on March 9, 2023 by Scot



Mom called his shorter hairstyles
the “Winchell-Mahoney”—-
he wore it long or in glamourous
70s curls until he hit forty & just
starting shaving it all off, coloring
what remained with Grecian Formula
from the markdown aisle
at Thrifty Drug. I was
the world’s biggest adolescent
punisher with a swear jar
in my fist every time he said
fuck or motherfucker or the N word.
I would stare at his fake black
curled locks devastated by an
electric pair of clippers at
a discount hole in the wall
& giggle & piss him off royally.
He had been locked away
down at Terminal Island for years,
didn’t know how to live on the outside
so he tried to disguise himself
as a square or a lame, as he called it.
Nobody would hire him & my parents
would fight. He told me in car rides
to the methadone clinic that a man
is supposed to provide for his family,
not the woman. My mother was
the breadwinner and tired of being so.
It was only a matter of time before
I saw his pinned eyes &
Grecian Formula running
down his forehead, melting
him back into another
savage beast of the system.
I came home from school one day
& my mother cried, told me
the marshals took him away
on a parole violation. He did a
few more years time before we
saw him at home again. And
back to his Winchell-Mahoney,
the whole world waiting like us,
but against him all over again.

Paul Corman Roberts

Posted in Paul Corman Roberts with tags on March 9, 2023 by Scot



A signature tell
of despair
the repetition
of a futile act.
A point I have long surpassed.

I crank
the ignition again.
then quick
three times in a row,
screwing patience on as hard as I can.

A fourth attempt; a fifth.
On number six, the engine turns over again
in high pitched, screeching revs.
a spark.
A moment; magical
the engine catches!

I sweat, breathing my luck rapidly.
I release the keys,
take three slow breaths
then push the gas ever so gently.

The engine turns on its own now
the idle still runs obscenely fast.
I throw the transmission into reverse;
careful to move slow,
and luckily no one behind me on the approach.

Quick, before the car can even realize what’s happening,
I let up on the gas for a split second, slam the stick
into drive, and we’re back in business
moving forward.
I’m fine so long as I don’t hit the brakes.
So here a dilemma has crawled on top of the hood of the Corolla,
stares me down through the windshield
as I approach the onramp to Highway 58.

The dilemma’s right-hand
points North and East;
back toward Vegas; back over turf
I’m supposed to have severed,
left behind.

The right -hand of dilemma is a crawling,
whimpering defeat,
yes goddammit
a denial.
The condescension on its face makes me nauseous.

The left-hand of Dilemma points North and West,
toward San Francisco,
toward the Central Valley
and certain breakdown.

If that ain’t freedom,
I don’t know what is.