‘5 poems’ by Brian Alan Ellis

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Being my own therapist may or may not be going okay

Will someone please tell me
what’s wrong with me,
mainly so I can just ignore them
and continue being wrong?

I’d follow my heart but my heart only wants that dumb, toxic, emotionally damaging good-good

For me, dating is like
momentarily leaving the island that is myself
and then immediately drowning.

Find what you love & then delude yourself into believing it could actually be enough

“Removing the toxicity from my city”
is a good way to describe a break-up,
especially if System of a Down was
your favorite band in high school.

Existential crisis to the Sir Mix-a-Lot “Baby Got Back” song at a ’90s dance night

Oh, I don’t really have friends.
These are just people who
crowd around me at bars.
Some I just happen to know
better than others.

If your brain still works then there are no safe spaces

Perhaps I seem easy going to some,
but inside I’m really just a person trying
to escape a burning building.

BRIAN ALAN ELLIS is the author of several books, including Sad Laughter (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2018) and Some­thing to Do with Self-Hate (House of Vlad/Talking Book, 2017). His writing has appeared at Juked, Hobart, Monkeybicycle, Fanzine, Electric Literature, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Funhouse, Heavy Feather Review, and Queen Mob’s Tea House, among other places. He lives in Florida, and tweets sad and clever things at both @brianalanellis and @HouseofVlad.

‘3 Poems’ by Casimir Wojciech

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HALOGEN TEMPTATION

The night is coated
in strange rhythms.
A cat in the alley eyes
a mouse, awakens
the birds. I can watch wind
blow grapefruit leaves back and
forth like this all night
out the window or beneath
starlight. I’m not thinking
about the bloody shores
or the question certainty
dies on.

Beyond a white silent wisp of
clouds we’ll all go too, very
soon. I know someone is out there
holding a baby, a bouquet
of roses, a gun. I haven’t slept
in three months. All
I do now is pull weeds, do
the dishes. G-d’s plethoras
moonlighting the distance
between a kiss & a target.
We don’t entirely understand
the mountains, the rivers, the trees,
the light. Do not go softly.
Do not bite the hand behind
stolen fire.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SIRENS & STARLIGHT

Impermanence of the body
extricates the unvanquished
from time & its dominion

is ascension
is a departure
is a revolving
is a music

the serpent listens, eats its tail
the sky pours drinks
this world dilates
the owl knows but won’t
say

stricken down
drunken toothpick alley
in rags gripping a revolver
with teeth
time barrels through
the doors singing hosanna,
who’s the highest?

through your ceremonies

: leave the doors open
to the approaching

this house crumbles
this question circles
the stage is set
the light stays on

CARTOGRAPHY OF A LIFTED VOICE

I break the predawn silence by
feeding kief smoke to the moon—
the spark of another world invites
disappearance. We breathe in
the fumes of hunger, a voiced
desolation in the stomach of
immensity walking. Coyote eyes
shiver & flicker, dilating our distance
from the unseen.

Stolen glances evade the firmament.
Owl. Hawk. Eagle. The sky of the sky.
Leaning. My eyes are wounded by passing—
a star stutters through branches.
Harnessed by a delay in recognition.
Sometimes it takes 10 years. Sometimes
20. Lifetimes. I fear memory is not enough.
It’s alright, think of me blinking in photographs
of December’s reckoning. January’s letting
go. There’s nothing else.

Casimir Wojciech is from the Bay Area, CA and now resides in the Sonoran Desert. He edits Silver Pinion. https://silverpinion.blogspot.com/

‘3 Poems’ by Jeff Bagato

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Zero Is Gone

closed in
the next enemy ship
flew right through
deliberate half-loop;

at first I thought
he’d turned,
speeding ship pushed straight into
white cloud,
burned until it crashed

gone, rolling over—
getting your nose—
losing your speed

trailing,
see him catch fire—
bombers safe

Lift Up Surrender

a stone’s throw
can’t stop
marching
bullets of meat
& potatoes
man,

a man who
just
works

for the strong?
for the wrong reasons?
for the world order?

for the
gas
liftsup
surrender
making it
impossible
to
touch

Hamburger Joy

concrete guillotine w/ a
chopper that’s purely
heavy

spontaneous
combustion in an old tin cup
sparked by a
fart,
foolish fling
of ether

a man spraying
white
toilet
like a dog

& his hamburger
hot
keeps on coming

these teeth
forever
grin

A multi-media artist living near Washington, DC, Jeff Bagato produces poetry and prose as well as electronic music and glitch video. Some of his poetry and visuals have recently appeared in Empty Mirror, Otoliths, Brave New Word, Angry Old Man, and Midnight Lane Boutique. Some short fiction has appeared in Gobbet, Danse Macabre, and The Colored Lens. He has published nineteen books, all available through the usual online markets, including Savage Magic (poetry) and Kill Claus! (fiction). A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at http://jeffbagato.com.

‘3 poems’ by Tiffany Belieu

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Drive-Thru Chapel

through the lens
of shared delusion
we stare down the legs
of Las Vegas
everything covered
by the vague
sense of loss
a veil tumbles
through starshine
streets, dirt and trash
you ask and
I pull pearls
from my mouth
turn them in
for a chip
-toothed camera flash
blinded recitation
neon unison
oaths that lined
cozy throats
fizz our kiss, cult-
pulse in forever’s pull
always safer to fold
knowing the gamble as
I do

Free Spirit, Trapped

she was a scythe
pure decision
knew ways
I couldn’t follow
fast enough
without falling
over the barricade
beaded curtains
pieces of flesh
kept secret hurt
I wanted to suck
the black blood
from bruises
it grew, the want
to keep you
safe sweet shadow
you slipped away
into your forest
mystified by closeness
like the doe
of that children’s story
remember the one
who got killed
but everyone cheered
the fawn having lived

Bruised

Your heart grows rotten, syrup sweet.
My maggot mouth begs to save you.
Ribs splinter, at a deeper beat
your heart grows. Rotten, syrup-sweet
this feast of fallen fruit, we eat
through the gristle to the meat, chew
your heart. Grows rotten, syrup sweet,
my maggot. Mouth begs to save you.

Tiffany is a poetry late bloomer. Her work is published or forthcoming in Meow Meow Pow Pow, Collective Unrest, The Cabinet of Heed and Okay Donkey among others. She loves tea and cats and can be found @tiffobot on Twitter

‘3 poems’ by Rachel Kass

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Wings in a Hurry

a stream of fog water
seeps toes –
beside patchwork shadow
a white wicker chair
feathered lantern
skin tight, bare
Mengele, doctor sulfuric
my reincarnation:
a phoenix can also
rise from itself.
I’m a message,
you’re a missive
my pathology is
trendy, so
now I need another way to speak

Redwood Curtain

tongue a pink pearled clam
jaw beating fragility
a bouncing canoe
gently now upon
gently south
atop
my tiny red rivers
wrapped to make
my figure

Peeling

crouched atop faucet, ladybug soliloquies
her darling is fighting
the war over tile seas
nothing is newer than
childhood dreams
somewhere behind the gravesite
there lay an orange peel
when i touch it i feel real
as though the cinderblock of
self-deprecation-fear-to-tell-anyone-just-how-bad-it-feels-to-exist-in-my-body-any-any-day
simply cracks in two,
my arms holding one half each
on the shoulders, meeting
at the nape of my neck,
a shield no ancestry can track
the divine feminine in each womxn
in time who ever died for living.

‘Five Quasi-Poems +1’ by Stefano Calligaro

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#1
NIGHT DRIVING

I TYPE REALLY FAST
[ AT NIGHT ]
FROM 23:24 TO 24:08
VERY MOLTO TANTO FAST
AS IF I WERE DRIVING ONE CAR
AT 400 500 600 6000KM/H
ON A TRACK THAT NO ONE KNOWS
BECAUSE NO ONE BUILT IT
BECAUSE I AM THE ONLY ONE
RACING ON IT.

#2
ACTIVITIES AND STRUGGLES OF AN ITALIAN RACING-DRIVER-QUASI-POET [ PART II ]

I’VE BEEN PRACTICING
MY [ BOTH ] SKILLS EVERYDAY
TWICE A DAY
FOR ONE MONTH.

#3
ACTIVITIES AND STRUGGLES OF AN ITALIAN RACING-DRIVER-QUASI-POET [ PART I ]

I’VE POSTED ONE VIDEO
OF ME DRIVING MY CAR
THROUGH A MUG FULL OF COFFEE
ON YOUTUBE.
MY VIDEO

[ OF ME DRIVING MY CAR
THROUGH A MUG FULL OF COFFEE ]
HAS GOT 28 VIEWS
IN ONE WEEK.

#4
AI IS BETTER AT BLUFFING THAN PROFESSIONAL GAMBLERS.

WHAT DO YOU UNDERSTAND
WHEN I SAY
CAPISCI?

#5
23:08 AMAZON SCROLLING.

I OFFER FREE SHIPPING
[ TO ANYONE ]
AND GREAT VERY MOVING
PLOT TWISTS
[ TO THE OTHERS ]
WOULD YOU TELL ME YOUR LOWER PRICE NOW?

#6
I’M HERE.

EVERY TIME I CHECK MY PHONE
THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH IT.
NOW FOR EXAMPLE
THERE’S A STAIN ON THE SCREEN
THAT SAYS
I’M HERE.

‘The Years…’ and ‘Life’s A Yard Party’ by Joe Wells

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The Years…

unfailingly,
one by one,
page by page,
ripped off
from calendars,

imprints,
reprints
as lines, blotted
in memories, new or old,
fine and coarse,

spinning a web
like busy, narrow streets
crisscrossed
throughout a city,
overcrowded,

charting thousands,
stretching, swirling, curling
journeys
of life mapped
onto a face:

wrinkles.

Life’s A Yard Party

Resting
now on his back
with restless limbs,
the loner
sings solo
into the darkness
growing
with pauses,
faintly,
exhausted
by a night
of partying-
so lively,
and constant acrobats-
so deadly,
dodging those so luring,
now long quiet,
mood setters-
hued lights,
that buzz

as they burn…

Zap.

It’s a bug’s life, after all!

Joseph K. Wells is a businessman, doctor of occupational therapy and an adjunct professor since poetry couldn’t pay the bills. Since he began publishing in 2016, his poems have found a home in nearly two dozen journals and lit mags. A selection of his published works is available from https://paperonweb.wordpress.com