Ian Copestick

        Dr Mohamed

When I was taken
to hospital
with cirrhosis of
the liver.

The first person
I saw was Dr
Mohamed. After
examining me,
and asking a lot
of questions
he told me that my
liver was in a bad

I was really ill
I was really scared.

I asked him
" Is this going
to kill me ? "

" Not this time. "
He answered.

" It's like you've
driven right up to
the edge of the cliff
but you haven't gone
over the edge, yet. "

As I was leaving to
go to wait to be
admitted to a ward.

His last words to
me were 

" You do know that
you've picked the
longest, most painful
way to kill yourself ? "

That shocked me.

I thought I was
drinking to stop
my depressive

I thought I was
drinking to keep
from killing myself.

Ken Kakareka


Does poetry
a faceless freak.
I guffawed.
Holy shit!
Not unless
Amanda Gorman!
Who’s that?
Look her up.
How long
does it take
to learn
how to write
another voice.
A lifetime.
Must poetry
Not when
you’re drinking
How come
none of
your poetry
has form?
not as important
as rhythm.
What do
you think
good poetry?
I maintained
one-word answers
from there;
it wore them
I had to
make a
fast break
for the
liquor store
closing at 8.
We made it. 

Daniel S.Irwin

St. Patrick’s Day

A wave of gloom and terror
Quickly passed throughout
The land of the Leprechaun
When it was whispered
That, on this St. Patrick’s Day,
Santa was coming to town.
Everyone has heard that
He favors the little ones.
Rumor has it that he can
Savagely devour thirty elves
In one sitting.  Yum.

Home Security

Thefts in the neighborhood.
Must secure house from robbers.
All the locks have been changed.
Shotguns rigged up at doors with
Trip wires carefully tied to triggers.
Vicious dog, suspected of rabies,
Brought home from the pound
And beaten over and over to
Ensure his raw savageness. Now,
If I can only get in my house.

Mimi Bourdeaux


One two to five six done twelve dexies by midnight on I am flying 
like a vulture combing land over Atlantic seas PI see your great 
head stuck in the pillow face covered by feathers how 

I love your hair sticking out dreadies no comb put through it in 
months put pen to paper let the good times roll now
I am really vibing got the dexies working ‘til after twelve midday 
yeah awake wide eyed child of your friend’s house we’re covered 
til winter summer close by we will go swimming in LA sands 
beachfront bulk great hilltop.

It’s time to drive to New Orleans tonight let’s get pilled and hit the booze joints with some cool jazz playing I’m a coming!

S.F. Wright


That invincibility
After scoring:
So impervious
That you don’t
Think twice
About leaving
Your Pontiac
In front of a
While you rush into

A few places
You’ve discovered,
But tried and true
Is the McDonald’s on
First and 23rd:
A locking door;
A haven—
Even if piss
Puddles the floor
And vomit
Infects the air.

So useless
Is every other place—
Everything, in fact—
That this room’s
An ethereality.

Briskly walking out,
Unlit cigarette
Between fingers,
Touching your lighter;
That first drag’s
Majestical, too;
And look:
No ticket.

Nick Olson


They got me to ride a bull in a West Texas rodeo!
I fell off and broke my head;
Took all of about a second and a half.
The son-of-a-gun would’ve liked to kill me dead.
So I decided right then and there, that if I was going be in the rodeo,
A clown was what I was gonna be.
I always thought I was kinda funny anyway.
Driving around the country telling all my jokes,
To all kinds of spectating folks.
Paint on my face, my barrel in place.
I always feel pretty safe hanging out with the pick-up man.
Pretty much livin’ in my minivan.
Trying to help the bullfighters with props made of old used mops.
Doing rope tricks, and trying to impress all the chicks.
Having a lot of fun. 
Then when the rodeo is done,
I head to the bar, no paint on my face,
And nobody knows who I am;
‘Cause I’m not a damn bull rider, just a silly old clown.


Merritt Waldon

In the times of struggle/\a new smoke break poem___ 
Waking up and going to sleep 
Living a life constantly on the ropes  
Blocking nor feet shuffling. Brings 
Sitting out side  
The frozen world crawls upon me 
I am shivering beneath it 
Beneath the weight of all of it 
Smoking one of my rare these days  
thinking of how such 
A life was once sought by my younger 
now ragged and embroiled with 
Dis ease and despair 
I exhale what smokey life remains 



Howie Good

Kama Sutra for the Afterlife

We were just getting into it on the den couch when your parents arrived back home from a Saturday night out. And so we waited and we waited until they went to bed and then we quietly finished up. Later as I drove away from your house, I blew the horn a few times in goodbye. The next day a neighbor complained to your dad about the honking at one in the morning. Today I saw a flock of starlings covering a tree like black leaves. When we’re both dead, I want us to be buried together, not side by side, but top to bottom, in what the Kama Sutra inventively calls the Milk and Water Embrace.

Leah Mueller

No Sense in Waiting

Rain fell like artillery
on a chilly March evening
while the four of us huddled
beside a tiny wood stove
in a damp farmhouse.

We rubbed our hands together
in front of the fire,
and the flames sparked abruptly,
making popcorn sounds
as the wet wood ignited.

It was one of those nights
when no one had much to say--

words fell to the floor
like sacks of laundry
and remained there, unattended
until the entire room was filled
with the stench of dullness.

My visiting boyfriend was an attorney
who had followed me from Chicago
to a tiny island in Puget Sound
where I lived with Chris and Debbie,

two women I’d met on the highway
only a month beforehand.

Debbie owned a dog
who’d roamed the same highway
while in heat,
searching for a willing partner
to alleviate her strange discomfort.

Eventually she coupled with a canine
who had bad genes,
then gave birth to a batch
of deformed puppies, who lay now

in a jumbled pile in the nearby barn,
attended by their anxious mother,
waiting for their fate to be decided.

We humans had known their fate for a while,
but never discussed it openly.

Debbie was a single mother
who had migrated to the Northwest
from somewhere in the South,

her sullen toddler son and the dog
tossed into the back of her car
with their few possessions,
stopping only to purchase soda,
disposable diapers and cigarettes.

Now she had a squirming mess
of defective puppies
but no money for a vet bill
for their humane extermination.

Still, Debbie was nothing
if not intrepid--
she suddenly rose to her feet,
strode across the room,
and heaved herself over to the corner
where her shotgun lay.

She lifted the barrel to her shoulder
and, while everyone stared at her
with stupefied amazement,
she said,

“Well, might as well do it now.
There ain’t no sense in waiting,”
and stormed outside into the rain.

A minute later, the gun fired six times
and everything was quiet--

at least until Debbie came back inside
sat down beside the wood stove,
snapped the door open,
and threw a new log on the fire.

Jodie Baeyens

Collecting Dust


I have a collection of single lines

that will never become poems.


Thoughts and moments

that I can’t pull anything from.


Like waking from a dream

with nothing more than a feeling

that can’t be put into words,

but stays with you throughout the day.


Draped over my shoulders

until I discard it

over the back

of an old chair

waiting to be put away.