‘Hourglass’ by Vincent J. Fitzgerald

ss+(2018-02-12+at+03.59.57).jpg

In the second before my last grain falls, through neck, from bulb to bulb,
my life will project on the lids of my eyes, and I’ll live our days again.

I’ll savor your glance as we meet in a hall; and inhale your vanilla hair.
Aware we’d yet to share a day, yet sensing you always there.

I’ll relish our coffees and late-night calls for the bedrock formed under our feet,
And how a crack I feared might shatter the stone, instead gave birth to a tree.

I’ll thank your eyes for lighting my way; your words that served to mold,
and how you breathed in me a confidence and dared me to be bold.

I’ll seize the day I cut your chains; freed you from torments past;
And how you taught me tears were born of strength when I fought mine back steadfast.

I’ll feel your breast heave against mine as you laugh at my eccentric ways;
Those parts entrusted only to you who secured them deep in your heart.

Then, while at my most rapt, a memory will storm of a day demanding its due;
One pissed away through foolhardy rants, and lapses of reason and mind

A day we deemed superfluous, as if a day could ever be;
Kicked to the curb, expelled with our trash, sentenced to vagrancy.

We had endless chances to alter its course, if not for mulish pride,
But instead we banished it to the chill where it succumbed to cold and died.

I’ll spurn the shields we yielded and swung, as we each deflected blame;
Detest my crippling, toxic tongue once curative, and loathe to maim.

Though we mended our rift at the next day’s dawn, and vowed to stay our road,
I took brief pause to mourn the day we cast out from our abode.

Now as the grain kisses the glass and offers eternal reward,
I’m fated to stir, and toss, and turn, and grasp for the gift I ignored.

While I wander in limbo, and curse my regret, desperate to feel consoled
Will I find you there, also bereft of the day that died in the cold?

‘A Simpleton’s Grin’ by Natasha Cabot

ss+(2018-02-12+at+03.54.25).jpg

A simpleton’s grin is the vilest of all grins. Simpletons are harmless, like tiny balls of cotton. And when they grin, their faces perk up and their eyes go wide – exposing a well-hued iris to the world. Full, thick eyelashes – the ends curled, of course – dangle from doe-like lids, causing a breeze as they lift curtains of flesh up and down in order to moisten the ivory sclera that sits dully inside of vast sockets.

Their illuminating skin casts a soft shimmer through whichever room they happen to be in. People flock to the simpleton, anxious to be in is or her presence. Simpletons are always beautiful, like unicorns. Being in the mere presence of a simpleton can make even the most pessimistic person throw off his or her shackles of cynicism.  They, too, want to be near the god-like beacon of simplicity.

The simpleton is rarely intelligent. White, straight teeth stare out from behind perfect pink lips while idiotic words clumsily tumble out of their mouths.

“I wonder why the sun is yellow and not red. I mean, it is hot. Red means hot, doesn’t it? And if it is a ball of gas, why doesn’t it just float away?”  Everyone stares at the simpleton, its spell interrupted. Then he or she flashes a grin and the spell becomes strong once again. Charmed, everyone around the simpleton sighs and forgives him or her for his or her stupidity. Mere mortals are never allowed to be annoyed by a simpleton. Indeed, simpletons are stupid yet beautiful so we, as a society, must never get angry at them or be annoyed by them.

People often claim that the simpleton means well. Like Bambi, they scamper through the forest of life sniffing flowers and befriending rabbits. They’re so harmless, they say of the simpleton. Someone tell that to the worms on the ground or the bugs on the leaves Bambi walks over and/or eats. Whether or not any harm is intended, something still dies. But then Bambi flashes his simpleton’s grin, and all is forgiven. The surviving bugs and worms look at the fawn and say to themselves, “He couldn’t help it. He meant no harm. Look at his eyes…and that smile! Oh, that precious smile!”

Simpletons are often born into wealth. They are indeed financially blessed. No sweat is broken. No brow ever furrows. The simpleton floats through life without any worries. It is enough to make one bitter, but then the simpleton flashes his or her grin and any trace of envy evaporates into the air, becoming a fine mist that floats away on the waves of the wind.

Simpletons exist to remind regular people that the world is unjust. The simpleton has everything: money, beauty, nice teeth, no fat, and soft hands. The simpleton is given everything he or she wants, and they do it without asking. All they have to do is flash their simpleton’s grin, and the world drops to its knees.

Perhaps they’re not so simple after all.

Natasha Cabot is a Halifax-based Canadian writer whose work has been featured in Thrice Fiction Magazine, Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, Wilderness House Literary Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, as well as several others. She recently completed work on her first novel, Patriotland. 

Three Poems by Walker Storz

777bdfd46dcf66906a41f31f8b75fd2b--painting-people-figure-painting.jpg

Ami

To help the
descendant of
madness who
does and does
not need your
help
who is
pondering
“how can one
be both
too near
and too far
and be repulsed
and attracted at
the same time”
Pierce the
clammy veil,
go to the
Garden, start
digging
there is sin
like a sickness,
deep, dig
deep, eat the
wretched grass,
eat the
dirt, a
small amount
of a
poison is
poison, a
large amount
is a
cure

Obliterate

Then start
anew, because
you cannot
bear to see
her face
again with
nothing
between you,
tear the
veil.
But these
things cannot
be done
carelessly
without
heart like
gleaming
marble. If
you fail,
you remain.
Your heart
was never
pure or
dirty
enough, you
mediocre
sinner, you
quotidian
failure

Read More »

‘Irritable Bowels of Hell’ by Rupert McLintock

4782441897_64fe638937_b52633.jpg

The old man at the table behind me was choking on a sausage biscuit.  There was no one else in the diner. Stricken with fright, I pretended I was choking, took a sip of my drink, threw my trash in the garbage and exited the place coughing loudly and clearing my throat without paying heed to the man as he gasped and struggled to suck air.  It was raining frenziedly.

I marveled at the strange colors and patterns of the nasty oozing automobile fluid runoff in the parking lot. There came a near bursting from my colon. I dreaded the thought of having to go back in that place and use the bathroom.  As I was unlocking my truck I tried to hold it but couldn’t.  I ran through the rain and reentered the establishment.  The man was clearly dead and sat hunched over his table across the room.  Apparently none of the employees had come out of the back yet and noticed him.  I quickly ran to the restroom and struggled through a particularly rough bout of diarrhea.

There was a song playing on the radio while I was defecating.  I couldn’t really make out the lyrics but it sounded like “I’m gonna get me a whore in Mexico and hit her with a ball-pein hammer”.

I eventually finished, washed my hands and was prepared to ignore everything and run back to the truck when before I could reach the door I noticed there was a large winged monstrosity clung to the back of the dead man. It was furiously digging into his back with an enormous beak. It started to sling him around into a position in which it could more easily devour him.

The thing hurled his corpse to the floor with a disgusting thud, now relentlessly ripping into his guts with it’s huge beak and razor sharp talons. Blood and guts were being flung in all directions. As I stood there in a horrified stupor at the absolute insanity unfolding before me there came some sort of bloody organ flying out which smacked me right in the face and splatted onto the floor like a wet sack.

I woozily exited the place, ran like a drunken fool and scrambled to unlock my truck. I finally did so but the damned thing wouldn’t start. And worst of all my stomach was hurting again.

Rupert McLintock lives in the remote wilderness of southern Montana. He is a former quaker and an avid connoisseur of rare and unusual fruit jellies.

Two Poems by G.B. Ryan

2394721-VNOZWDIA-7.jpg

MRI

Hands at side, on your back
on a sliding table
headfirst into a tube,
panic button in reach,
you know you must not move.

The electronic sounds
begin, warble in twos,
go solo, disappear,
reappear as combos
in minimal rhythms,
unplaceable thumping.

Baby bats are crying
for their mothers who call
back, their gaping mouths full
of trapped squealing insects.

A calm tech assesses
the amount you can take.

FUN BISON FACTS

Despite a huge head and thick skull
a bison can run
up to 35 miles per hour.

At Yellowstone Park
bison injure more visitors
than grizzly bears do.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department
recounted how Standing Rock protestors
against the Dakota Access Pipeline
rode on horseback behind a bison herd
to stampede it toward law enforcement.

You know they had to see how it would look –
a posse of white dudes fighting the Sioux
get themselves run over by buffalo.

G.B. Ryan was born in Ireland and graduated from University College Dublin.  He is a ghostwriter in New York City.  Elkhound published his WHO YOU NEED TO START A RIOT in May 2017.   His poems are nearly all about incidents that involve real people in real places and use little heightened language. 

Three Poems by Melissa Kelly

ss+(2018-02-09+at+07.06.11).jpg

Little City Girl

Black boots brown shoes
Walking the sidewalks
Little legs big feet
Talking on phones
running to catch up
The large building
Looking high big lights
Windows and floors
A little girl watches
Too small so large
Rushing each step
Another working day
One of many
In the city crowd

Last Summer Night

As the pinks in the sky
And the reds draw down
The last warm breeze
And salty beach foam
Wave its final
Summer goodbye
The birds stick around
For signs of the first freeze
Before flying to
Their southern homes

The Dance

I can dance in my room
Spinning around and around
In those moments of alone
I’m free to be wonderfully bad
No one to judge my missteps
It’s me, just me
loving music and life
The way I know how
Singing too loud, and
Stepping on Invisible feet

Melissa Kelly is a Poet and Short Story writer from Long Island, NY. Most recently, one of her poems was published in the Westward Quarterly Magazine.

Four Poems by Margarita Serafimova

ss+(2018-02-08+at+06.37.47).jpg

He and I in the World Ocean

We had our own air,
and we breathed it together.

Waves slowly rolling,
sunlight falling on them under travelling wind.
A high moment.

When I am spent, I tell the bird, Rukh, inside of me
to raise her wings,
and she does.

A man with a petty, dirty little soul,
and brown, beautiful cows.
A morning procession.

Margarita Serafimova was shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize 2017. She has two collections in the Bulgarian: “Animals and Other Gods” (2016), “Demons and World” (2017). Her work appears in Agenda Poetry, London Grip New Poetry, Trafika Europe, European Literature Network, The Journal, A-Minor, Waxwing, Nixes Mate Review, StepAway, Ink, Sweat and Tears, HeadStuff, Minor Literatures, The Writing Disorder, The Birds We Piled Loosely, Noble/ Gas Quarterly, miller’s pond, Obra/ Artifact, TAYO, Shot Glass Journal Poetic Diversity, Pure Slush, Harbinger Asylum, Transnational, Home::Keep/ Geocommunetrics, Punch, Tuck, Futures Trading, Ginosko, Dark Matter, Red Wolf, Window/ Patient Sounds, SurVision, Basil O’Flaherty, Borfski Press, Peacock Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Wild Word, Plum Tree Tavern, Oddball, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Apricity, Sea Foam, Aaduna, MOON, In Between Hangovers, MockingHeart, Renegade Rant and Rave, Tales From The Forest, Misty Mountain, Pocket Change, Poetry Super Highway, Cent, Chachalaca Review, Heavy Athletics, Quail Bell Magazine, Smeuse, The Voices Project, Bezine, Outsider Poetry, Outlaw Poetry. Some of her work: https://www.facebook.com/MargaritaISerafimova/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel.