Monday, December 12, 2022

Steve Brisendine Contemplates Giving God A Free Shot, The Angel-Slain Firstborn, And Thickets Of Fingernails

edge of evening, edge of storm

everything is just short
of something

in this moment: almost

almost rain, almost time
to go

home, almost tempting 
to grab that almost-wet

and say 
hey God,
free shot

Sahara haze: a plague of 2020

breathe in bone-remnants
of the angel-slain firstborn;

what blood can cover
our own doorposts, ward away

one more chastisement for who
we have failed to be?

the discarded of this land
cry out from dark soil;

we who exist between dust
and dust must give an answer


In which Erato, muse of love poetry, admonishes her followers:


Still your trembling
(from need

Come out from
(on one side)
your tangled burnings and yearnings,
long looks and looks of longing,

(and on the other)
your thickets of friction and fingernails,
shudders and satiated silence.

Stand here,
on the bridge between yielding 
and claiming 

and do 

for not even air can be steady here,
where all is slick and shaking
and everything rests upon


thin as two layers
of skin
(and only one 
of those

Look down.

Now write.

Steve Brisendine is a writer, poet, occasional artist and recovering journalist living and working in Mission, KS. He is the author of two collections from Spartan Press: The Words We Do Not Have (2021) and the upcoming Salt Holds No Secret But This (2022). He was a finalist for the 2021 Derick Burleson Poetry Prize.

Rp Verlaine Explores Where Androids Go To Die, The Dissolving Fish, That Heaven We Knew, And The Hemlock Of Repetition

Inadequate Patterns 

Like dissolving fish 

on the computer  

screen saver, 

we disintegrate 

each new kiss, 

each pale white room 

where we suffocate 

asking for air 

others took from us. 


Like fragile tape, 

the data truncated and bereft 

starting points or ends, 

the wheels just spin, 

no sticking to facts 

erased in fail-safe 

where androids go to die 

when love neither life supports 

or dies. 


Like sleeping patterns 

void of stimuli, 

all noiseless night 

or blinding light 

no eyes to guide us 

we drift between days 

conscious of nothing 

we take turns defining. 


Yet we can't be alone, 

malfunctioning toward 

final decay, but 

we can't be alone 

like the stars, planets 

oceans, and the 

dissolving fish 

for which no hook exists, 

at least not yet. 



Disengaged to wonder 

past the indifferent portals  

of strangers, 

I still reach out 

to your vaunted charm 

in its invisible setting 

no longer there. 


Phantoms now 

lost in the glittering 

streets of chaos 

we once navigated 

with the confidence 

of having such arrogance 

we played by calculations 

that never failed before 

transfixed by the astonishing 

blur of a roulette 

wheel we bet on 

once misnamed love. 


Now disengaged 

from all we assumed 

yet unable to validate 

With religious fervor 

all former preconceptions 

we reach out looking up 

to that heaven we knew, 

no longer there. 


 The Safe Place


In utero 1st 

antiseptic scrubs 

videoed stirrings to preschool 

slow crawl walking past 

temporarily eclipsed friends, 

sports, desires each familiar  

foreign in solemn proximity 

to a safe place no longer. 


A cautious double 

take. Comes up empty. 

a kiss held, treasured, 

missed marriage if... 

the immune two-step 

backwards the counter 

forwards to children 

in solemn proximity to 

a safe place no longer. 


Work... drone drone drone, 

the hemlock of repetition 

of time's spaces between  

cracks, sickness, retirement. 

death gives its notice 

stronger yet, ‘til finally 

blessed with acceptance  

yes, this life, 

the same game lost 

a safe place no longer.

The Extended Temporary
Into the ridiculous
we fall seemingly safe
absent this safety net
we pretends is real.
Obscure as distant friends
avoiding us in passing
we turn out the lights
and pretend the familiar
is no longer a lie.
Our latest meal together
full of empty plates
and text's to others
the new clever fictions
no rescue in sight.
Additions and subtractions
we note on the abacus
video diaries without
endings or purpose. 
Every reason obscure
clever with evasions
getting at the truth
kissing with closed lips
crashing cars in new avenues
of thought with suspended
sentences we cant finish.
Each night, turning  out lights
in separate rooms pretending
the familiar is no longer a lie.

Rp Verlaine lives in New York City.He has an MFA in creative writing from City College.He taught in New York Public schools for many years.His first volume of poetry- Damaged by Dames& Drinking was published in 2017 and another – Femme FatalesMovie Starlets & Rockers in 2018. A set of three e-books
titled Lies From The Autobiography vol 1-3 were published from
2018 to 2020. His newest bookImagined Indecencies,
was published in February of 2022.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Matt Borczon's Oak Cabinet Legacy, Perils Of Bad Jobs, And Being Hung In The Tulsa County Jail

It Was

a story
I heard
many times
both from
Sherrie and
from Dottie
her mom

how one time 
in a department store 
Dottie was 
really wanting
 this beautiful
 oak cabinet
 but told her 
kids she wanted 
but did not 
need it 
when Sherrie 
says mom 
we have 
all the things 
we need 
but none 
of the things 
we want 
so Dottie 
bought it 
with the 
child support 
check they 
only sometimes 
got in 
the mail

Sherrie died
about ten
years later 
of an 
proof that 
she was 
always more 
in what 
she wanted 
than what 
she needed 

and Dottie
died at 80 
of old age 
and a 
broken heart
I don’t know 
which of 
her kids 
got that 
cabinet when 
they cleaned 
out her house. 

Today is all 

about the 
grinding gears 
the rattle 
and hum 
the icy 
wind across 
my windshield 

as I 
drive too 
fast towards 
a job 
I really 
don’t want 
to go to 
at all. 

I want you to 

Hang me 
in the 
Tulsa County 
stars sing 
me lovely
lady May 
I want 
you to 
hold me 
like the 
baby Jesus 
in the 
painting of 
the 3 
handed Madonna 
I want 
you to 
make me 
a pallet 
on your 
floor cry 
me a river 
love me 
like a 
blues song 
drive me 
like you 
stole me 
out of 
a banker’s 
four car 

Matthew Borczon is a nurse and Navy Corpsman from Erie Pa. He served in the busiest combat hospital in Afghanistan from 2010-2011; he writes about his experiences on Camp Bastion and about the difficulties he has had since coming home. 


Monday, November 21, 2022

Howie Good Returns With Invisible Powers, The Titanic Shipyard, And Bonfire-Sized Roses

 In Lieu of Flowers

I told the doctors flat out, “Cure me or kill me,” only to be strapped down like the ladder on the roof of the white work van, but not before I managed to channel the zealotry of a martyr an declare every day should be a mental health day, something that was feeling suddenly necessary now that a first cousin about my age had died from an overdose, an unsuspected heart condition, invisibility, if the invisible is defined as “what light cannot illuminate,” or just so much sadness.


My dad tried to kill himself three times. Well, four if you count the time he fell asleep smoking in bed and woke up with the mattress on fire. That country no longer exists. I remember because I arrived on a ship built in the same shipyard as the Titanic. Others who came from faraway don’t want to believe their own memories. Each night the moon grows darker. The family dog wails like a soul in hell demented by unbearable pain. A lot of things happen that just kind of happen; for example, the human skulls on sale on Etsy.


I was born in the rain and the dark – a vague but sinister omen. Almost immediately, familiar words were given unfamiliar meanings; familiar objects, unfamiliar names. I grew up surrounded on three sides by ghosts imprisoned behind barbed wire. Today’s rain falls on yesterday. A 100-year-old former concentration camp guard has been arrested in Bavaria on 3,518 counts of being an accessory to murder. Up, you corpses! Get up! Wounds heal from the inside out. It’s only a matter of weeks perhaps before there are wild roses the size of bonfires.

Howie Good is the author of Failed Haiku, a poetry collection that is the co-winner of the 2021 Grey Book Press Chapbook Contest and scheduled for publication in summer 2022

Friday, October 14, 2022

Joshua Martin Explores Fireflies Trapped in Eardrums, Avant Guarding Angels, And Rechristened Zombies

Leaving a Piece of Mind Beneath a Wheelbarrow 

After an ounce. In point of

fact. misspelled abbreviations.

a curse on the purse

that laid to waste

HENRY & his day


SOUP of heavenly


i have an EYE to


unable & un


average. without the light


Delight. Of a daring escape

artist composer


fireflies in eardrums

& the


four wheel drives. Dusting

off the violin penis size




wound around

the neck tattoo

parking lot. an


square root. dismissed.


Used. Grief stricken

bass solo. i had to glisten

to be a typhoon.

No Kind of Criteria

Coming to blows,

AVANT guarding angels



soothing lotions

up to the eyeballs

& w/ curmudgeon

folding feathered

paper, let a touch

be the guide to

an approaching

seat. rivers RUN


visions wooded,

fenced off







pulls a face to the

water’s surface,

abandoning blood



race car driver

left in the supermarket.


fears / peer pressure


potassium production expo

queen of meaty palms

     panning LeFt

           cross = iNG      landscape

suicidal                  telepathic 


   , fearless ogre chuckles


                      [!] Across centuries

of polar paranoia

, rechristened zombies

  murmur thumping

  genealogical suites

                            [?] Lisps

poison LAW,less igloo

                  / diametrically

                    unabashed     /

           perversity at the equator

& sullen chirping

                manhole cover

                in silhouette.

Joshua Martin is a Philadelphia based writer and filmmaker, who currently works in a library. He is the author of the books combustible panoramic twists (Trainwreck Press), Pointillistic Venetian Blinds (Alien Buddha Press) and Vagabond fragments of a hole (Schism Neuronics). He has had numerous pieces published in various journals including Otoliths, M58, The Sparrow’s Trombone, Coven, Scud, Ygdrasil, RASPUTIN, Ink Pantry, and Synchronized Chaos. You can find links to his published work at joshuamartinwriting.blogspot.com