Sunday, June 3, 2018

John Patrick Robbins Wants To Run With The Wolves, Collect New Scars, Take The Drug Of Love, And Leave The Old Dives

You Had To Be A Pirate

You saw us as outlaws.
Our lives lived by the sword was the appeal.

For us it was never a choice.
We dreamed cause it was our only escape from the shit that was our existence.

We paid our dues collected scars, broke hearts, and lost our souls somewhere along the way.

You saw our failures as something noble.
Hero worship is for bloated egos and old men who wish to cast their opinions down upon others.

I rather that you give me a beer and give me my space.

For you it's a path to walk maybe get laid, share some laughs, and be part of a brotherhood.

Every pup wants to run with the wolves eventually.

I never knew another’s shadow for I carved my own existence by clawing my way up and stepping on whomever tried to stop me.

You saw the bullshit and never the truth when others cast labels upon us, and you just simply wanted in the circle no matter the cost.

Once you’re in you realize the ocean is a lonely mistress and the sharks are many.

Welcome to the club.

The scars we bare are many and the rewards few.

It's not a honor its the only existence we know.

You never chose to be a pirate or outlaw it’s just a fucking label.

And I'm over it already.

Why I Got Into Poetry

The page was just there it was like that first little girlfriend we all find when the world is new and your hopes are many.
She was my first and remained my eternal passion.

Through the rest that leave you she remained and I grew to be the writer I am today.
Hearts break, people pass, and the embers of a once raging fire are all that remain.

She lays with you and eats at your very soul like any drug she can consume you like all the rest.

The best drugs all resemble some sort of twisted version of love.

And I am the worst kind of junkie that ever did exist.


I was lost to a degree and unable to find my place but I damn sure found the bottom of a bottle.

Emptiness is a disease that eats away like cancer.
I wasn't in the fight anymore I simply hung up my gloves and said goodbye.

I didn't haunt the old dives that once painted the page.
I was a recluse a former outgoing semi happy fool who now was just miserable fuck who waited to die.

My phone rang and most gave up.

I wasn't in the mood to pretend to be someone I wasn't anymore.

And no longer were my vices charming I was a addict and trying to hold a conversation while pretending I wasn't a full blown train wreck was just more than I was willing to give.

I found silence more soothing than conversation.

And I no longer cared to make up stories to entertain.

Nights were the worst and sometimes I found myself reaching out.

I mainly wrote someone who no longer cared for my words.
She never replied.
She was like the silence and I imagined within it I was still with her.

And she was as cold and empty as ever.
We shared that common trait.

See you at sunrise.

John Patrick Robbins is a barroom poet who's work is a hundred percent unfiltered. His work has been published with Piker Press, Outlaw Poetry Network, Red Fez, Inbetween Hangovers, Blognostics , Spill The Words, Horror Sleaze Trash, Romingos Porch .Your One Phone Call.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Chani Zwibel And The Daughter Of A Religious Fanatic, The Dust Of A Vesuvius Hippie's Dream, A Father's Minnow Basket, And The Chipped Nail Polish Awaiting Payday



I was tired of everyone and everything,
 the noise inflating in my head,
swelling like a fever.
 I wanted to quiet that tide of sound.
 I wanted to sleep,
rest my head against the pillow
 and have it
 not be so heavy with thought.
But it was.
 The night, outside,
 a dirty dishrag stained with soot.
 The light inside a snotty yellow.
The dog on the couch chewing a bone,
worrying it like anxiety was worrying me.
I did not know
 when the thoughts would cease.


In the dark, uncanny hours of the night,
 past my third or fourth beer,
 when my head was finally heavy on the pillow,
 the dancing demons inside my skull
began to scream and throw shit,
I open my eyes to the ceiling,
 and sighing, softly,
get out of bed to go write.
The only way to tame the monkeys
 is to get them down on paper,
or in this digital age,
trap the suckers inside a computer screen.
 I am no sword-wielding bad ass,
no heroine,
 just the daughter
of a drunk and a religious fanatic;
we all take our solace
 inside some obsession,
whether the cross or the bottle.
My husband sleeps the heavy sleep
of a man who has been working all day.
I feel restless,
 trapped in my day job,
 the purgatory of a health food store,
at home and comfy in my grey blanket,
going nowhere slowly.
Dust tickles as it settles on my skin,
 and I breathe it in,
 caught in the Vesuvius
 of some hippie’s failing dream.


Well, angels give respite
 and I’ve been out at all angles
 trying to call them down to save me,
but they keep taking me
back to the garden
 my mother grew
at my childhood home,
 and reminding me
of the little fish in my father’s minnow basket,
waiting in the creek
for a man who will not need them
 to fish with in this lifetime ever again.
Death’s pale mare takes them,
 same as the hand who set the trap for them,
 metal basket in creek water
 a grave just as much
 as yawning six-foot- deep rectangle
 in the churchyard.
 Dead father,
dead minnows,
anxious angels.


You see the demons
 keep dancing around
to the same jingle,
on an out-of-tune
of pain,
and they keep rolling
 the same dice.
Playing the” not-enough-money game,”
The “You’ll-never-amount-to-much roulette.”
 Spin the wheel for “you’ll-die-alone-and-obscure.”


I can hear rats
scratching and chewing
in the walls.
 My chipped red toe nail polish
reminds me
next paycheck
is a week away
I can hear rats
chewing in the walls,
and the rats can hear me typing.
 I type and the rats chew
 and it is almost like
 we’re collaborating
 on this poem for you.

Chani Zwibel is a graduate of Agnes Scott College, was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but now dwells in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and their dog. She is an associate editor with Madness Muse Press. She enjoys writing poetry after nature walks and daydreaming.  

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Marianne Szlyk Runs Towards The Baseball Field Plane Crash

A Dream of November

The red, white, and gold belly
of the plane bulges above me.
November wind becomes roar of engines,
no longer October’s swoosh and swirl
of trees, of leaves, of hair.
I can no longer hear you.

I do not look up, knowing
I will see the cloudless sky
and the plane, the last thing
I may see.  Nothing good ever
happens on days like these.

I run away, denim skirt slapping
thick calves, bruising them, losing myself
on uphill streets past three-decker houses.
My heart races.  I brace myself,
escaping the city, the plane’s target.

Miles away, the plane crashes,
smashing against an out of season
baseball field.  Sirens throb, faster, faster
than my heart.  Someone else dies.

Catching my breath, I inch back
to the crash.  I find you,
still talking.

A Dream of Airports

I stand in line at Purdue’s tiny airport
on a brilliantly sunny day.  No clouds
to delay.   No turbulence to jar us.
No rain in the forecast.
I am going home from Indiana
with my bag of books and junk food.

I know this plane will crash
as it takes off from the airport.
Weighed down by hardback books
and granola bars, flaming,
it will fall into rows of soybeans.

As synthesizers play a peppy funeral march,
we queue up for the vehicle
that will take us to heaven or hell.
The thin ticket-taker wears a death’s head.

I step out of line.

September 10 in Indiana

Still newlyweds, we watched TV at your parents’.
In the background CNN hummed
a tune we’d never quite catch.

Perched on the scratchy couch,
we drank water—or tea—if
your mother was feeling festive.

Once again Chandra Levy surfaced
like the refrain everyone recognized
in a mumbled, droning song.

Your father thought that she was
his granddaughter snatched from
her husband and child in Chicago.

A woman my age, his granddaughter
looked like the missing girl
with bristling hair the color of

damp twigs and branches, taut arms,
a baggy sleeveless top with tights.
Both women leaned in for the camera.

Both women ran off gravel paths in parks.
You grabbed the remote from the table,
changed the channel to the local news.

A blonde meteorologist in a black dress
with long sleeves promised
blue skies until the weekend.

Marianne Szlyk edits The Song Is... a blog-zine for poetry and prose inspired by music (especially jazz).  Her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, is available on Amazon.  Her poems have appeared in of/with, bird's thumb, Cactifur, Solidago, Red Bird Chapbook's Weekly Read, and Resurrection of a Sunflower, an anthology of work responding to Vincent Van Gogh's art.  She has not flown in an airplane since Thanksgiving 2001.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Stefanie Bennett And A Star-Shaping Pencil Sharpener, A Speckled Bird, A Problem With Jules Verne, And A Looking-Glass War


         ... The burning tree quivers
         surrounded now by night.
         Talking to it I talk to you.

                              Octavio Paz

My misplaced pencil-sharpener,
How is it I’m to manage
The analogue without you!
Who beckoned you from
Your rightful place?
Was the act committed while
I was sleeping;
My head turned?
Did I simply
Neglect you
For too long?

Come back down... you don’t
Belong in the heavens.
Reshaping the stars
Is my judgement.
Forgive me. Forgive me.


Yet another one! The tongues click & off I go
demanding – this is no message – my
qualifications are shaky anyway...

The kind speckled bird has told me what depths
some will lean at. Whisperings. ‘Her trade’s
unisexual –& a would be blimp’ – & ‘don’t
you just know the poems flaunt a new left
set on self destruct?’

Well... that’s a bit much. As Dali
so pleasantly put it,

“instead of writing a history of art I am
writing the art of history.” Also, “If men go on dying,
blame Jules Verne – he was logical.” What I’m saying
is – I’ve no way of out-stating these things
& I’m not sure

if all of me wants to agree when I’m busily
being awed... YES, awed

by the sure flashes of colour – seemingly true – [dream
of a  Cosmic Unity] that I’d like to surrender myself
& would be cream-bun pacifists to. In full Spirit
can I again mime [Ah! manifestation] & toss this ‘other one’
... how the Great Speckled Bird rests

in the breast of each name-creed; that if – indeed – there
must be symbols, then best adopt this near divine invention

you need care for only when Unity stands its trial & much
is made of the perishing geometry; the detention of dance,
song, & fiction’s loss... the lingering anti-matter
we inspire – a whitewashed shy-hook & the Senses – hung,


What must word-play
Do with
A subject
That doesn’t exist!

Revisit the flaw
‘The Looking-Glass

Stefanie Bennett, ex-blues singer & musician, has published
several books of poetry & a novel & works with No Nukes, Arts
Action For Peace. Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-
Shawnee] she was born in Queensland, Australia.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Matt Borczon With War In His Boot, The Cross Of Another Day, Dire Body Bags, And The Village Elders

Favorite  song

some days

this  song

is an

ace up

my sleeve

when the

war is

a loaded

gun in

my boot

and my


love is

the nail

I use

to hang


up on

the cross

of another


Compassion fatigue #4























Winter in Helmand

The first

night I

saw a

group of

village elders

asleep on

the ground

no blankets

or pillows

just paper

thin robes

on a night

the wind

cut so

cold it

hurt I

think I


we were

never going

to win

this war

Matthew Borczon is a poet from Erie, Pa he has written seven books of poetry so far. His new book Code 3 the prison blues is now available from Alien Buddha press. When he is not writing he is a nurse for developmentally disabled adults.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Mark Young Returns With Egregious Windmills, Circumsized USB Ports, Cosmic Emanations, And The Hubs Of A So-Called Civilization

geographies: Ciudad Bolivar

                   Now that the instruments
                           of the national orchestra
                have been turned into
                       mulch for the cacoa
                           plantations, it's easy to
                             see why US president
                  Donald Trump's decision
                    to send a task force of
             egregious windmills into
                   Venezuala to resolve the
                  country's political crisis
                           was anathema to the
                     local musical community.

geographies: Antalya

                              One of the hubs in this so-
                 called cradle of civilization is a

                           treasure house of circum-
                     cized single USB ports. It also

                         includes a kitchen that uses an
                   obscure cosmic emanation known

                as "fast radio bursts" to facilitate the
                  production of their artisanal craft

                          beers which are now available
                            in cans & bottles or on tap. 

geographies: Qaraghandy

                       CCTV allows the large
              Coyote Canyon framed print
                      currently occupying wall
                   space in a small Melbourne
                                  based design studio

                          to also be on display in a
                          place considered by many
                                  in the former USSR as
                   the middle of nowhere without
                having to be anywhere near there.

Mark Young's geographies have, over the years, been collected as e-books, chapbooks, & full-on collections from Argotist Ebooks, Dysphasia Press, Beard of Bees, & One Sentence Chapbooks, as well as being included as separate sections in The Codicils from Otoliths Books, & the eclectic world from gradient books.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Beau Blue With A Jade Dragon, A Cherry Nightstand, A Slender Syringe, And A Finale In The Mourning


     dried wine roses
     surrounding a jade dragon.
     the mantel's vase empty
     save a layer of dust.

     an urn, centered
     over the fireplace waits
     for its mate upstairs
     sleeping with tubes.

     a watch nurse prays
     into her black notebook,
     'the patient asks
     for more heat'.

     the cherry nightstand,
     inlay of rosewood,
     the brass handled drawer,
     a slender syringe.


     the moon reviews
     our tufted landscape
     dry spikes needle the air
     silence tills your desert
     bright night sands fill
     my retreating footsteps
     witness we were never there

Beau Blue has been around a while. Currently, he is the force behind 
animatedpoets.com, virtual stage manager at the Cruzio Cafe.