Archive for poetry

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Posted in Ryan Quinn Flanagan with tags on April 11, 2023 by Scot


Rape Trees

The cartels
control everything.

Making more money
off human trafficking than
they ever did drugs.

A single jug of water
and debts to settle on
the other side.

Young girls
given their birth control
and sent out towards
the border.

Wandering past
all those panty-filled
rape trees sprouting up,
wondering if this is the beginning
of a better life.

Christian Ward

Posted in Christian Ward with tags on April 11, 2023 by Scot
I can’t remember much
about the nurse
whose face swung open
to reveal a doll’s house
in good working order.
A snow-dusted field
in my memory is studded
with north Wales,
dyed blonde hair, sounds
Mancunian. Little else.
I can’t remember why
my presence irritated her,
or why the chairs
in her doll’s house
were always upside down.

Dan Provost

Posted in Dan Provost with tags on April 11, 2023 by Scot

For a Moment

I never solved the inevitable
failed love or sanity–

Tried escaping through
the standard manuals,

the desirable

of the moment
that one moment.

When, trying to sketch introspective
melancholy across the tortured

forever featuring the pain of
enlightened isolation…

We’ve only got one shot
to express ourselves

Only one true attempt,
To convey to the reader—
To ourselves…

What was taking
Place in that one moment.

That one place in time.

John D Robinson

Posted in John D Robinson with tags on April 11, 2023 by Scot



‘I do these things because
it helps me to live’
she told me with a history
of swallowing sewing
needles and razor blades,
of inserting broken glass
and shards of metal into
her sex:
‘It helps you to live?’
I asked:
‘To feel alive, to reach
out to the pain, to get to
know the pain, to be one
with the pain’
she tried to smile and
failed and then she said:
‘I remember the first time
I cut myself, I can’t
remember why I did it,
maybe it was a trendy
teenager thing, but, as I
cut and watched the
blood seep, it was real,
it was a release, a relief,
like I had never known,
it gave me a freedom
from myself’
she said,
delivering a genuine

John Grochalski

Posted in John Grochalski with tags on April 11, 2023 by Scot


bread money

my parents tried
to do right by my brother and i

they tried to keep us safe

catholic school and daycare
after school in some rich lady’s house
full of kids who looked abandoned too

there was hardly any money
left to go around after that

we had to break open my piggy bank
for a loaf of bread
so that we could make lunches
for the next school day

the car wasn’t working
so we had to walk
up to the grocery store

it was a cold winter evening
and the house lights along the street
were dim and warm looking

with people inside
eating dinner
watching tv
or reading a newspaper
that i’d delivered to them hours ago

we passed the house
where my brother and i
went to daycare

it was huge and glowing
and i hated the place upon site
for how much it took from us

some kid was in the window
a straggler whose mom was still stuck at work

when we made eye contact
he gave me the middle finger
and i gave it right back to him

and the next morning
when our moms would drop us off
we’d forget it even happened

because we were two kids
fucked by a system
that purported to love families

yet made them work so hard
just to feel hollow and alone

with nothing
but a few crumbs

to show for it.

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.