Judge Santiago Burdon

Suffering Pleasure

I lit candles throughout my Studio apartment not so much as to create a romantic or Gothic ambience, but instead to be able to  navigate around my four hundred square foot living space with a small amount of light. Evidently, it seems my memory has been on a bender. Once again it got drunk and forgot to pay the electric bill. The Electric and Power guy pointed out I've used that somewhat creative as well as almost humorous excuse far too often. The novelty has worn off with the consequence  being orders to confiscate the Electric Meter and return it to the office. Which meant he couldn't just turn it upside down and push it back in. The company mid-level suits  had become sabe to me pulling it out then placing it back into the service restoring my power after the power guy left. I guess I'll be playing pioneer for a couple of days.  However, the neighbors are leaving on vacation for a month in two days, so I can jump their power and their Cable.  Then I'll try to get my T.V. out of hock or maybe just borrow one of my neighbors TV's.  This guy will be living like a suburban scumbag.

"This has to stop Santiago. There's no future in what you refer to as a recreational activity." I said out loud.

"Ya I know." I answered back with a four a.m. honesty.

"When do you think  that  might happen? Do you envision it as a revelation or an epiphany?  Maybe an intervention,  or a never-fail cure, incarceration."

"It doesn't matter. You've gotta get clean." My voice echoed in the near empty apartment

 "Ya it'll happen. I just can't say when."  I answered back to  myself in a sincere tone.  I stabbed  the syringe deep into my vein. I didn't  even have to pull back on the plunger to register.  My dark, thick, rich, red, blood  billowed into it as a preview of the explosion about to erupt inside my body.


Michael Pollentine


Do you ever feel
You haven’t looked
At the sky
Not taken in
The stars?
Or the mountain?
Or her face
Even though your eyes
Find themselves
Absorbed constantly
Almost like
Sight loses to feel
Like memory
Brush strokes
Coax and tickle
With smatterings
Of taste
And tendrils
Mental shards
A reflection of
To chew
And glue with
And blood
A collage of
In the shape
Of a mountain,
A painted sky,
Her face
Full of our life.

Alan Catlin

Guns ‘R Us

“Your rights end
where mine begin”

The guns and ammo
guy’s t-shirt said.

Was selling targets
of Obama’s and Biden’s

faces with bull’s eyes
dead center in their

foreheads. Buy in bulk,
or spend a yard,

and receive, free, targets
of #44’s and #46’s

extended families, no extra
charge. All persons

purchasing items are
automatically eligible

to win a modified-for-
maximum-effect AR.

Void where prohibited
by law.

Rob Plath

the unwanted cloak

while i shimmered
in the milky way
afloat unborn
my birth waited
like the gallows
& at last they
dragged me
to the apparatus
& looped a noose
over my silver hat
& the trap door
flapped its dark wing
& i dropped
into a bone-lined
cloak of terrible meat
dangling by a red greasy
braid of umbilical
my blue tongue unquiet

yr plans mean zero

first day of june
in the graveyard
6 feet above idle bones
little islands
of bustling anthills
dot the plots

Matthew Borczon

Santa hates the working man

At my job
they give you
100 dollars
for each of
you’re first
four donations
of plasma
as long as
your vitals
are within
an acceptable
range to donate
I laugh when
we call it a donation
since most people
only come for the money
two day before
Christmas and a
forty some year old
has a pulse rate
of 120 bpm
I joke and ask him
what he’s taking
and he says
I got fired
from my job
today  I worked
at that plant in town
that’s been on strike
for the last six months
the strike we settled
earlier this week
and today
I got fired for my part
in the whole thing

standard procedure
in my job at
the plasma center
is to offer a recheck
after the donor sits
for 15 minutes
so I ask him if
he has time to
wait around
to see if it will
come down
he says he is
pretty sure it
won’t not two
days before Christmas
not with having
three kids
and just as I
am deciding
I am just going
to change his
number just
pass him anyway
he sees it
in my eyes
and says don’t
no reason we
should both
be unemployed
at Christmas
then he walks
back to the lobby
and out the door
while I finish my shift

hating myself more
and more each
and every hour.

Emalisa Rose

Me and Bob, Joe and Marie

We sit like schlubs in the bleacher seats.

I should have married Joe.
Mother knew best.
We’d be in box seats; even better
those luxury boxes, with the giant TVs
appys and cocktails, elbows rubbed
with the ball players.

Instead I’m with Bob in the bleachers.

It’s loud and it smells; sun baking my head
beer spilled all over, by the fat drunk that leans on me.
Chick that he’s with, stinking like beans
and green onions.

Mother was right.
I’m hearing her voice now.
“You could love a rich, same as a poor man.”

But I missed the boat.
I married Bob. Joe married Marie.

Mom preferred Joe, but I sit here with Bob -
like two schlubs in the bleacher seats,
while Marie lives my best life.

Tampons and Tanqueray 

“Lay down with dogs, you’ll wake up
with puppies.”

“That slut in 4C, knocked up, having

“Ya gotta get in there, scrub like you mean
it, or your house will stay filthy”

Bernice of the lacquered up beehive, 
cracking her gum while opinning. And the

gals on the bench, while the men went to
work, living paycheck to paycheck, with the
dream to move up from the projects to suburbs.

South side of Queens, the ladies speak trash 
talk, tampons and Tanqueray, stuffed bras and
stuffed cabbage

making me wish, that I’d snuck out to Woodstock.

Daniel S. Irwin

Friday Night In Chicago

Friday night in Chicago, I head to the salsa bar.
I love the music and I love those Latin women,
Eventhough there’s always the threat of you
Getting your balls cut off…just a tradition.
The party is lively, the liquor flows freely.
And Juan says, “Let’s go home…Mejico.”
The plan:  load up on booze, drive all night,
Cross the border in the morning, get home,
Spend the day with the folks and drive back.
Seems a good idea to everybody.  My car, I drive.
Four amigos and me race south on Highway 57.
With any luck, John Law won’t slow us down.
It’s a fiesta party on wheels.  Music blasting,
Laughter, dead soldiers thrown out the window.
Fifty miles south, the inevitable starts to settle in.
Luis announces that he starts a new job Monday.
Paco says his sister said she could just watch
The kids overnight.  He needs to pick them up.
Martin calls them pussies, then starts to sober up.
To his horror, he realizes that he left his girlfriend
At the club with the wolves and no way home.
Juan don’t give a shit either way.  He just wants
Us to pull over somewhere so he can take a piss.
I stop for gas, turn the car around, head north.
No one seems to notice, they’re all too tired.
We reach the bar early evening.  Time to pay.
Paco’s sister had been calling the club all day.
He’s not in the ‘hot water’, he’s now in the fire.
Martin meets his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend.
Luis will make it to work, Juan buys another round.
Months later, after the memory of this fiasco fades,
We’ll be on the road again with the same result.

Stephen Jarrell Williams

"Coming to Your City"

Sky lit

distant shake
thunder bombs

you know
what's happening

odds are
you'll be deaf or dead

trees already filling
birds on every branch

city graffiti
soon blood wet

basements and tunnels
hopeful safety spots

metallic whistling
now overhead


even by those that don't

J.J. Campbell

the endless question of why
the darkness
surrounds you
all alone
just the quiet
and your thoughts
the endless
question of
the one question
your father never
could answer
the endless desire
to never be like him
and it's a subtle glance
into the mirror and you
can clearly see all the
evil you desperately
wanted to avoid
you refused to see
him before he died
your remaining years
will show you what
you missed