Saturday, March 31, 2018

@ the café in austin texas by Justin Hyde

turn on the radio
put the thermostat up four degrees
will it rain in atlantis tomorrow?

the café owner laughs
rolling silverware alongside
a waitress
in the pre-dawn trill
of the freezer & cold case motor

he knows he’s going effete
all this ludicrous technology
interdicting some vital human component

but his belly is full
esophagus clean
it takes the food
the tecate & the tequila @ night
like a porcelain funnel

proud of his belly
like his grandfather rogelio
who would rub his own belly
after the evening supper & say: hijo
a man with a full belly
owns the pearly gates

then he would
light the big cigar
they would sit on the outdoor porch

feet splayed under the stars

as he is now
rolling silverware
alongside the waitress.

Justin Hyde's books and other poems can be found here:

Friday, March 23, 2018

Spring Break by Nancy Byrne Iannucci

Birds sound like spring
snow clips our wings

treading in Vans &

Sloshing over mashed potato streets
from Arden to Mayfair

Savers is closed
& so is the Dollar Store

lights are on
sun is out

Side-blinded by
ice shards

walking backwards
in slow motion

cassette tape garbling
vinyl scratching

playing rewind
to winter.

Nancy Byrne Iannucci is a historian who teaches history and lives poetry in Troy, NY. Her work is published/forthcoming in numerous publications including Bop Dead City, Allegro Poetry Magazine, Star 82 Review (*82), Gargoyle, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Riggwelter Press, Poetry Breakfast, Rose Red Review, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Picaroon Poetry, Dying Dahlia Review to name a few. Her debut book, Temptation of Wood, is due out in May, 2018, published by Nixes Mate Review.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Self Medicating by Ben Rasnic

Beyond this secret window,
ice water
from the gutter

forming sharp needles
to elucidate
the mind numbing

of the elements;

observation made
under the slow drip
of Ever Clear

with a twist
of lime.

Ben Rasnic currently resides in Bowie, Maryland. Author of four published collections (three available from, Ben's poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

baseball cards by John Grochalski

we were like addicts

looking under couch cushions
for loose change

checking inside washers and dryers
and public telephones for the errant nickel

trading like stock brokers
at picnic tables and on the street
under the hot sun of summer

our parents never understood this addiction

my old man said, we used to flip those things
or put them in the spokes of our bikes

my mother used to sit in the car
or bored on a bench in the mall
outside of every baseball card shop
in the surrounding pittsburgh area

don’t you think that’s a waste of money, she’d ask

when paper route paychecks and allowances
went to wax boxes of topps, fleer or donruss

to fifteen-dollar rookie cards
sold to us by fat men with fat moustaches
who smelled of cigar smoke at baseball card shows

don’t you ever want to save
and make something for yourself in this world?

they slaved forty hours a week at worthless jobs
they broke open piggy banks for dinner

but we were going to get rich off of those cards

opening every pack was the potential for wealth
a market raising boon at the next swap

some rated rookie card
some misprint
this year’s hero snagging line drives on the hot corner

we had no clue that they were mass producing them
we had no clue how worthless those baseball cards were
we had no clue how much money went down the drain

money for the hot school lunches we wanted
money for the name brand sneakers our parents couldn’t afford

trying to feed the beast that raged inside of us all

i wish it were that easy now
finding money underneath the couch
to pay off the bills and the student loans

an errant twenty rolled up in the washer
to take care of the liquor or the dinner

i don’t even have any of those cards now

they went to my brother when i was done
and then they ended up with his ex-wife when she threw him out

but honestly i don’t think
i’ve ever been as excited as anything in my life
as i was back then opening baseball cards

going sweaty palmed into the drug store
reaching inside a wax box to pull out a pack from the middle
tearing them open walking home
letting gum and paper liter the street
putting the stars in plastic sheets
in binders
in boxed sets
circling card shows in mad fits
getting the DTs the day before my allowance
racing him and him and you and you
and all of you
down sun-soaked corridors of the mall
to be the first one inside the baseball card shop
where, if nothing else,
for a moment i felt like a king

and my little life
made just a little more sense.

John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the forthcoming The Philosophers’ Ship (WineDrunk Press, 2018) He is also the author of the novels, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where the garbage can smell like roses if you wish on it hard enough.

Friday, March 16, 2018

colin rides the R train by John Grochalski

colin rides the R train
with his son, who has to be twelve now
i try to avoid him in the neighborhood
since the old drunk at the bar days
but even new york city is sometimes too small
and then there’s colin on the street
colin in the grocery
colin riding the R train with his son
we don’t have much to say
most of our talk back then
was drunken gibberish about books
colin looks too sober now to discuss anything but rent
he says he doesn’t even go to the bar
on the weekends now
he rolls his eyes and motions toward his kid
who looks bored looking out
at the graffiti on the subway tunnel walls
back in the day, colin had a bar schedule
every week day from six to seven
and then from four to five on the weekends
he used to send text messages
to the sexy bartender who liked to fuck her boyfriend
on the men’s room sink
but that was back when his son was a baby
then one day colin’s wife said,
no kid wants to smell beer on their daddy’s breath
and he was reduced to weekends only
a few beers on the couch
then nothing
i don’t know what colin does for kicks now
hangs in his man cave looking at his old cds and guitars
extolls the virtues of sobriety to his face in the morning mirror
loiters outside the bar window
wishing that he was someone else
spends as much time as he can with his son
truth be told, i don’t even go to the bar
as you get older you get sick of things
i wonder what colin is sick of these days
what books he’s read
but suddenly he says, this is our stop
and he and his kid get up and leave
even though i know that it isn’t their stop
and it hits me that maybe colin has been
trying to avoid me in the neighborhood too
turning down the block when he sees me
avoiding the grocery store
maybe i remind him of something he’d rather forget
like the past
like the good old days
of hangovers and hell
or maybe he just always thought that i was an asshole too
and there was no one else in the bar to talk to
and that colin was just too lazy back then
like i was
to get up
grab his beer
and move his seat.

John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the forthcoming The Philosophers’ Ship (WineDrunk Press, 2018) He is also the author of the novels, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where the garbage can smell like roses if you wish on it hard enough.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Overdose by Howie Good

One by one, the mourners heft
a shovelful of cold, lumpy earth
from the heap beside the grave
and tip it, with seeming reluctance,
into the hole. The first shovelfuls
hit the lid of the plain pine coffin
with a thump. “Saddest sound
in the world,” my brother says
as he hands off the shovel to me.
Why even mention it? I wear nothing red,
nothing that is the color of blood.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize for Poetry from Thoughtcrime Press.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

"Sweet spring worms..." by Bob Carlton

Sweet spring worms
rise from
soaked soil
to greet the hunger
of returning birds.

Bob Carlton ( lives and works in Leander, TX.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

God's Chosen People by Justin Karcher

Tonight the moon is silent like
a broken espresso machine
and on the porch of a crumbling
Victorian, a bunch of teens want
to start a White Stripes cover band.
“Amy’s gotta be in it, cause she plays
the drums,” one says. And then there’s
silence. I guess none of them play guitar
and nobody feels like singing.

Down the street, a bunch of former starcatchers
are climbing trees on Symphony Circle,
but it’s cloudy out and my ex-girlfriend’s there too,
on her hands and knees inspecting the cold ground.
I crouch down beside her and she tells me the ants
are using really tiny blowtorches to melt the snow.
She’s looking at wet coffee grounds and cigarette
butts with a little red life left. Sometimes things
feel safer in the dark, but not anymore

and as I walk away from it all, there’s this Hasidic
party bus parked in front of the abandoned
liquor store and men with long beards are smoking
cigars and handing out tiny Torahs.

I take one.

Justin Karcher is a poet and playwright born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He is the author of numerous books of poetry. He is also the editor of Ghost City Review and co-editor of the anthology My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry (BlazeVOX [books], 2017). He tweets @Justin_Karcher

Monday, March 12, 2018

Snowbound by Gareth Culshaw

The snow is melting now,
like my mother who sits
in her chair, week after week,
sewing the months together.

Her laughter ripples
beneath the skin. A mouth,
that once spoke words, opens
like an unused barn door.

Her words flicker out, pigeon
like in their flight. I see the weight
of the snow, the fallen sky
trapping her in, hiding the person
I know.

Gareth Culshaw is from Wales. He has his first collection out in April by FutureCycle Press.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Eviscerator by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

The parts blown away from the child
do not make a new child,
this is not cellular mitosis

the walls of bombed out buildings
piled high in the street like toy blocks

and through a wash of dust
I see the living feasting on the dead,
crouched in a circle chewing on charred

their faces gaunt
and sunken

like a swimming pool
emptied of all its

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Walking Is Still Honest, Red Eft Review, and Anti-Heroin Chic.