Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Heller Levinson Revels in the Burlesque Avante, the Backfired Transparency, and the Nightglue Luster Lure

Negative Dancer

aplomb-ing          ring-a-lev-i-

o bowl burlesque avant toe

derrière port de bras dip dolphin drizzle

porpoise slick

bear brigade



Calliope calypso antédiluvien liquesce



turbinate jounce ramp radical gravity decline



unbridle legere legacy leap sus-

pend float ar-tic-




dart diminish dispirit draw




the suitors wore trucks.


. backfired

bareback provides superior


      illustrious of alien is the cuttlefish.

           not too close not too far

  forthright furthermore

won’t you at the right moment

plume array cross junction superlative

permutations enliven sitting cross-legged

pleurisy in all its forms

companionship wears thin


lure in salubrious slumber

inundate disrobe scatter shutdown

      simmer swell


slur,       slide parade




bounty stellar gloam nuzzle gussied slumber sartorial

calamitous dethrone repose respite


gleam sonorous nightglue luster lure of asynchronous spur

bipedal loiter

nugget psalm




 The originator of Hinge Theory, Heller Levinson lives in the lower Hudson Valley.  His most recent book is Lurk (Black Widow Press, 2021). His upcoming Lure is scheduled for a Spring 2022 release (also BWP).

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Joshua Martin Ensorcelled In Mad Mandibles, Stopgap Mansions, A Removed Cowlick, Panther Strikes, Pig's Feet, And Spasms Galore

Cannibal sun

Cannibal sun

     look! look! look!

an oil rig

     a sheet of disasters


stammering verse until

greener earthquakes ensue

          mad mandible

          maverick staircase


            &             all the

       other catastrophic


once a laser thin operation

     away! away! away!

          an army of

          medieval mummified


the size of a carpet sample

            awake to invoke

            stadium seating

                      visible snake charming

                      folding under like a shirt

in limping tattoo

overpass of a


           skull lessened

                grouped together

                according to

                guttural sounds

      dropping                    a


never made sock puppets

into heroes

         or stakes

         into ornaments

    or                          brides into

fathomless                               lashes

brimming to fill

                       stopgap mansions

then through storms

beach covered speedo

skipping to beating

tornado puddle

                     saddled w/

                            debt trampolines

         forthcoming dimensions

         spear themselves

                                 soiled enough to be


                                                  wasteful in


speeches                yonder                     wonder

                  taken                 as a

                     given                   as                      a



worm kissed

worm kissed scrawny tongue

and collapse beside a stove

w/o pipes a grimace shivers

the flight it takes to sign a membership

          last enhance

          against a fence

          posted chalkboard

          headless promenade

                      whether running

                       in place of division

                       intervention could

                       spell constant

                       foiled zone of

                       multiplied rejection

                       mattered less than

                       horizontal symbols

                       used to spell

                       a dear john letter

                       pasted to an

                       apple core

then this did

to an unto to

an enormous hawk

wingless as contrarian delight

famous injunction

against a train conductor

of the spirit engulfing

cowardice like a stone


to be the cowlick

once removed

                                      fatty fatty fatty

                     advanced state

                                           of disrepair

decomposing teeth

to meet a formal dress

                         a tire attired

                         in the latest



clever enough to will a motorcycle

to sleep

          for a limb is a cellular


          for a branch snapped

                                    a diamond

                                                  full title

                                                  left un-


spasms galore

spasms galore


sinking ships masterful

zoned out to a zonk!

buried enough spare feathers

to contemplate a swing set

through letterbox deception

the panther strikes at


help! there’s


        GOETHE in my

                   SOUP! &

i don’t know

what to do about it!

the healing power of

sulking                  the dripping

         perfume of

pig’s feet &

                 for the cost of

    a corner

                    you could

get a dime

                       for the sake of a

             priest                  you could

get              a


Joshua Martin is a Philadelphia based writer and filmmaker, who currently works in a library. He is the author of the book Vagabond fragments of a hole (Schism Neuronics). He has had pieces previously published in Prolit, E-ratio, Nauseated Drive, Fixator Press, The Vital Sparks, and Breakwater Review among others. Check out Joshua's blog at https://joshuamartinwriting.blogspot.com/

Monday, August 23, 2021

Harris Coverley with a Velvet Straightjacket, a Turning of the Page, the Flesh of a Peach...

Say Anything


I cannot make love to you right now

the moon glows too bright on my back

the sallow beams tickle my eyelids

it cools and burns in all the wrong spots

I cannot focus with all that going on

I cannot make love to you right now

the sea so near to us

is simply too loud

whistling and bending its turquoise waters

back and back and forth and rolling, rolling

it’s giving me a headache

or the likeness of one

at the base of my skull

and eye sockets


I cannot make love to you right now

my joints are sore with the day’s walking

my jaw is sore from the talking

you had me do with those people at our adjoining table

sore also from the ribeye steak you had us share

(tough, so tough)


I cannot make love to you right now

the sheets are too rough in some places

and too softly kept in others

it makes me itchy and drowsy

and distracted and too calm


I cannot make love to you right now

your dress is fitted too tightly

I cannot work it loose

it’s like a straightjacket made of velvet

and money

(too much money)


I cannot make love to you right now

for when I look into your eyes

they are mirrors of a memory

in which are reflected back some other lover

like a stain

something soaked into a carpet or wallpaper

like a fear of something

an unspoken oath


I cannot make love to you right now

the air of salt

and seaweed is making my nostrils sting

and my stomach rumble

and my heart feel heavy

and lost

a pebble in the sands

of your skin.


I am not the mere sum of my parts

I yearn for more than this fragile body


Sat by destiny’s river

The waters of life flowing

The stones crouched like old men

The grass sweet with innocence


A smile is on the sun’s rays

Love on that brown horizon


I turn the book’s page and...

Drowned in Love


I am not raw

or burnt with love

I am softened




like I have been broiled

in love’s little oven


I have passion for a phantasm

a nothing

a ghostling

the feeling of a woman


and yet she remains

a faded picture on desire’s wall


she is like the gold of a temple

laid out on a bed

like the flesh of a peach

between my lips and teeth

like the taste of sweat

umami on a wandering tongue

smooth like marble

on a freshly shaved cheek

buoyant like joy

in a man-child heart


I am drowned in love

the nicest death of them all.


Harris Coverley was nominated for the 2020 Rhysling Award and is a member of the Weird Poets Society. He has had verse most recently accepted for Polu Texni, Spectral Realms, Flying Fox Flash, Scifaikuest, View From Atlantis, Ordinary Madness, 5-7-5 Haiku Journal, and Better Than Starbucks, amongst many others. He lives in Manchester, England

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Mike James and The Mole Women of Ear Canals, Licorice Wrappers, Cat Allergies, The Need For Stuffing, and A Miniature Angel

The Miniature Angel

A boy went to his father with a cardboard box. His father was busy sitting at the kitchen table, smoking a pipe, wondering if the day would surprise as much as last night’s fortune cookie.

“I have something to show you,” the boy said. Then he opened the box and showed a miniature angel stuck beneath a stick.

“What’s this? How did you get this?” the father asked.

“It’s a miniature angel I caught in a shoebox trap. Angels can’t escape from or resist cardboard.”

“What are you going to do with him?”

“I’m going to keep him beneath my bed until he’s told me all of his secrets. I’ll give him a nightlight and a honey jar so that the shoebox is a lot like home.”

The Largest Couch 

There once was a couch so large it held three towns from end to end. Farmers drove their carriages across and waved at one another if they came close enough. Hikers slept in shade among velvet slopes and studded indentions. The sun was an expectation the people and the roosters knew. Choirs spent their days learning new hymns to sing beneath the late-night moon. Old hymns were recycled, along with old white pillows and old, old blankets. New stuffing was always needed. No one had to be asked to give. 

The New Cat

There was once a little girl who ran into the living room and exclaimed to her parents, “I’m not your little girl anymore! Now I am your fluffy cat.” “That’s too bad. I don’t like cats,” the father said. “I’m allergic to cats,” said the mother. Then she sneezed a dozen times. “We are going to have to find someone else to take her in. We can’t have all this sneezing. No we can’t. Your eyes are already puffy and red,” the father said as he looked at the mother. “What about the old lady in the gingerbread house?” said the mother between sneezes. “Yes,” replied the father. “She always has cats outside on her fence and in her driveway and on her front porch steps.” Then the mother and the father leaned their heads against one another and tried to remember the old lady’s name. 

The New Bird

There was once a little girl who dreamed she was a bird.

When her mother came to wake her she had already built a sleep nest on her bookshelf. It was made of twigs and licorice wrappers and the shreds of old blue cotton pajamas.

The mother looked at the nest and said, “Now this is mess. These twigs and wrappers won’t do. Thank goodness there are no eggs in here. One bird is enough for a single woman. I’ve got a career and there are many sunsets to think over.”

The Woman in the Gingerbread House 

There once was a woman with 100 children and each had the name of a flower. She was a busy woman. She was, oh yes, busy. There were soups to cook, teeth to count, a postman to gossip with, and carrots and potatoes to plant and to harvest. There was something to do as long as the sun shined, which it did dimly to brightly most hours. 

After dinner, a lucky child pointed at that night’s picture from Da Vinci’s Anatomy. The mother began a bedtime story. So the children learned about the Apes of the Tendons, the Fairies of the Liver, the Mole Women of Ear Canals, and the Very Testicle Cowboys.

Mike James makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee. He has published in numerous magazines, large and small, throughout the country. His many poetry collections include: Leftover Distances (Luchador), Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), and Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog.) He has received multiple Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Jon Riccio and the Disco Incredible Hulk, the Bed of Nails Hammock, and Seraphim Science

Pan- Variations Featuring Carter-Era Mutant

“Dr. David Banner: physician, scientist; searching for a way to tap into the

  hidden strengths that all humans have.” – The Incredible Hulk

There’s a disco version of The Incredible Hulk 

putting a piano together from sawdust. 

Its harmony leads to window gazing and 

the panoply of children sired by neighbor 

whose passenger side has a broken sun visor, 

so I place pancetta and a roll of duct tape 

on his doorstep like the deadpan Samaritan 

advised. Faith, your backup panoramic 

sparing the 1/3 peace sign of my 

gluteal crack carousing loose pants

because we’re a surge from Easter 

metaphor pandering to Judas virus. 

Pandemonium, the gamma rays essential 

to David Banner’s crisis, tabloid 

panic tangential to ‘Hulking out,’

Lou Ferrigno’s makeup seat 

panoptical with swivel. Adrenalized, 

a Eucharist bench presses a city block. 

Pantone couture? Sewing-machine grey. 

Pandemic-on-newsprint, a testament worse. 

Distortion Aphrodite 


Circus and ficus, the horticulturist trapezing

that embroidery trick because the bed-of-nails

overnighter wanted a hammock, not homecoming.


Sideshow journals were hanging on a social-

media comeback: Carniveil and Gaff Quarterly


stage-hands cleaning tightrope perspiration.

Who wouldn’t be a stilt of nerves on highwires

that stretch from there to equilibrium when


lifeline and paycheck depend on sensitivity

of feet? Christ, the ankle variables! Then


you have the barker’s pyrite shouted

into microphone: juggler gospels and

machete physics that break their promises 

when crowds peer too closely. We’ve run 

out of elan. The fire eater lab-bound or tent,

the dung records a peanut-allergy elephant 

breaks. Flowers to photoshoot, Aphrodite 

wobbles the conch between make-believes.

Malaria and Christ Helmet

My Grandpa Floyd’s combat stories included a bullet- 

dinged helmet because Catholicism had his survival

down to a seraphim science. Nicknamed Doc based 

on the telephone repair kit he carried, his last days 

walkie-talkie sized.


         The funeral luncheon fed us 

a buffet of spaghetti in ceramic bowls better suited 

to the pomodoro elbows my father made two nights 

a week. 

             Half the family got his name wrong. 

Punishment for my parents’ quickie California 

marriage three months pregnant—an Eastern 

European to a hairdresser Italian. 

Did Floyd ever move him like a chess 

piece into son-in-law tense? 

Maybe your grandfather had worse war 

wounds than malaria and Christ helmet, 

house emptied of mementos prior 

to the estate sale. 

                            My one request, 

a globe with calendar numbers wed 

to Australia, the stakes life and cocktail 

sauce spilled on obituary draft.    

Jon Riccio received his PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Writers. His chapbook, Eye, Romanov, is forthcoming from SurVision Books, and his full-length, Agoreography, will be published by 3: A Taos Press. 

Friday, June 11, 2021

Vernon Frazer with an Actuarial Burp Cartel, a Decimation Sutra, and Squid Warranties

Grand Opening

server transparency

prides a shuffle rumored oblong

skillet failure diversions

refute trellis gender octagons

rumors inspector

looming unseals

radar slush cans

ricochet pollution

panellist dockets

chart antipathy, reprint

soil lacquers

when lachrymose probationers medicate boldly

( )

hard awareness rash

seeding used enormities

headlights follow-on crazes

an actuarial burp cartel

calling the whether pollution

indeterminate vertebra

server beyond sample

lends their blip dockets

gabardine turned relaxation

( )

the headlines

rush the pronouncements

wrapper gadget technologies

breath flutter crazes

innocent follow-up starved a nun


suburban panegyric


the abdominal tablespoon


the tragic reconciliation

refutes a server vertebra

Guerilla Tactic

lemur decimation sutra

where a gaping instance applied

dilatory involution taper

better less than unmentioned




when playing the role of spare parts

dominion curls

the ears of the

chant hearing

wet echoes

aching across a tongue

and breath

an instant’s gasp beat

for time cycle

no camel raga

drone can dare to afford

Species After Dark

libido badgers

dissemble their bleary hypotenuse


in conversational storage

their tell-tale fury

tears a taint unknown

tambourine luxury

beats a calamine drill

when elsewheres vacate

columnar shading

behind the outpost

hanging timber loose


the wary cadges

squid warranties


limberjacks to jump

tentacles dangling obliquely



a cougar thicket

burning in the bush


Vernon Frazer’s latest poetry collection is Gravity Darkening.