Daniel S. Irwin

The Reaper

Sooner or later, the Reaper’s
Coming for you.  No big deal.
Did you want to live forever
With all the disappointments
In life, all the jerks and a-holes
Making you miserable?
There’s some comfort in the
Thought of checking out and
Leaving all this behind.
Of course, breathing is good.
You can always appreciate some
Agreeable cuisine.  And there’s
That occasional piece of nookie
That still curls your toes.
Think about it.  The good times
Didn’t outweigh the bad.  But,
Damn, some of those good times
Were damn good.  Maybe,
I’m not ready to go just yet.
If Death shows up, I’ll just
Send him next door or to
Handi Mart for a latte.

Alan Catlin

Doug’s Life of Crime

started almost as soon
as he was able to know
what thieving was: taking
stuff that didn’t belong
to you and not getting
caught. We were maybe 13
when he said there was this
empty house up the road
where they had free stuff
and you could just go in
and take what you wanted.
When we got there, I saw
that meant climbing inside
through a broken window
to load stuff onto a stolen
shopping cart; stuff you
scammed from inside.
It was pretty obvious
this wasn’t stuff people
were giving away.
“I’m not going in there.”
I said. “Coward.”
“Damn straight, I am.”
The cops nailed Doug
wheeling a cart load of radios,
toasters, clocks and whatever
else was small enough to
fit in the wagon and looked
like something people could
use. He had to appear in court
and his old man went way
beyond ballistic. That’s how
Doug learned his old man knew
how to beat you silly and not
leave marks. It was skill he
learned in the army during the war.

Guy Roads

The January Effect

The years grow shorter
as the winters get longer

Yesterday I heard a rock star say
he might only have ten more summers

He didn’t sound confident

Who knows 
what life sees in us—
what it wants to be in us

or how to make time
a friend you love to hate
when spring is so far off

and the days keep running away
without ever saying goodbye.

Elise Neuman

Cattleman
I find myself fiddling with my poems
Picking and poking and prodding
Like some cattle rancher
Pushing the heifers to greener pastures.
I shove the words together
Hoping they feel like their inspiration
Shoved through a tiny gate, one word at a time

Perhaps a poem of poems is cliche
But it is one I don’t think I will try to move
Let it graze these lands to dust

Judge Santiago Burdon

They Can't Kill Me

They can't kill me
Although many have tried
All disappointed by the results
When they discovered
I had survived 
The Police and gangsters, 
Mexican and Colombian  
gangs
And even Drug Dealers I failed to pay 
Ex-husbands of girlfriends Ex-girlfriends that felt betrayed
Car accidents and a plane crash
But I walked away 
I've lived through Earthquakes Hurricanes Volcanic eruptions
Even Tornadoes that caused devastating destruction 
I've been bitten by Scorpions 
a Brazilian Wandering Spider   
A Rattlesnake and Jelly Fish
All painful reminders
Survived Prostate Cancer  
A Sepsis Infection 
a 30 day coma
Tuberculosis when I was just a kid
Two heart attacks and Double Pneumonia 
Maybe now you'll understand
And may possibly believe
They can't kill me I'll never die
Due to my immortality 

Noel Negele

Old boy


Restful days 
of uneventful
contentment 
meddle into one
like obscure parts
of a life lived 
through the peripherals 
of one’s eyes 

hard to believe it
but you can become 
numb to boredom

only reason 
of knowing the date 
you’re living in
is the obligation of a job.

Ian, the forklift driver goes:
“ work hard 
and have fun, kid.
Took forever to get to 18.
All of a sudden I’m 49”.

it hits in full

time goes by fast,
too fast,
sometimes I’m afraid
to sleep

to blink

how does 
the galloping time
equip you
against the incoming loss
of your parents?

“loss is the standard trajectory
of all things”

how to endure it
how to cope with it

A natural fear 
coats your thoughts 
but you have to follow
the fear 
otherwise it starts following you

there is so much waste
in most people’s lives
as they age 
as they so irreversibly age
that it pains to look at
and yet
your waste is just as big

some times I don’t feel like 
a 31 year old adult
but more like 
a boy who grew older.

sometimes it rains
for weeks

sometimes 
I’m starving for a meaningful 
conversation

some times
I’m so lonely 
I make small talk 
with my barber

and when he cuts my hair
I look at my puffy face 
in that mirror
staring into my own 
eyes for twenty minutes 
with the knowledge that
I have to lie a lot
about who I really am
to get some pussy.

Terry Trowbridge

Lime slices

 
Bespoked green wheel of Gaia
where a knife cut open
the tropical citrus oil equator
and for the rest of the day
left the urgent aroma of
verdant, wakeful gulps of clean air
right where you traced an equator
by turning the slice over
one complete rotation
rolling it across the tropic line
in the palm of your hand.

J.J. Campbell

swimming in our imaginations
 
sometimes i think
about the old
girlfriends when
i'm trying to fall
asleep
 
it's not very sexual
in nature
 
i miss more of the
long talks
 
the time swimming
in our imaginations
 
the excitement of
seeking something
new with a beautiful
soul by my side
 
don't get me wrong
 
the sex is very
missed as well
 
but not as much as
a i love you at four
in the morning from
the other side of the
world

------------------------------------------------------------------
that still loves you
 
a little snow in the air
as winter tries to hang
on for a few more weeks
 
you think about the only
woman that still loves you
 
wonder when she will get
up the nerve to tell you to
grow the fuck up and
say yes
 
you think of your father
 
the worthless piece
of shit that never provided
any example of a loving
relationship or how
to treat a woman at all
 
your mother doesn't
want any grandchildren
running around here
 
try finding the right
woman that is just fine
never having children
 
like finding cheese
on the moon

Damon Hubbs

A Girl and a Gun

We grow accustomed to the Dark / when Light is put away
Emily Dickinson


these are borderless 
seasons. The butter 
& egg man reads 
the daily as the boys 
play Risk, these 

are borderless seasons
stitched together with cement 

& steel-girder bridges. 
The skin-loosened water 
ankles by like a narrative hook 

crook, tick, hiss 
fuse

these are borderless 
seasons & 

the couple 
with the cover story
rent a room cash-in-
hand at a tenement 
on Acre St., loaded 
gun in the landlady’s drawer
the scrap-salvaged car

scrapped again. 
Another getaway, clear the 
grid. The sun 
burns

ticks, hiss, crooks
boom



Backtrack


the little red caboose 
is enshrined in the city 
of the hills

it’s the most historic 
railroad car in America
a bronze plaque

affixed to the caboose
lists the names of men who organized 
the first railroad workers union

kids slip 
behind it to drink 40s
and smoke weed

and now 
the Brotherhood 
of Railroad Trainmen 

share shelter 
with dick doodles
and nudie cartoons

the layers of 
scrotty scribble 
its own youthful union 

Cock Lobster
You Can’t Buy Cool 
I Fucked Your Mom 

and Satan Lives 
bringing up the 
rear  

Donna Dallas

Lady Fortune
Her face ghosts through me
out my window
back into me 
then down my spine
sickening
like a guilt that spawned a root
prickly
vines wrap and twist
around my gut 
as we watch each other age

Her touch a cancer
her gaze a cigarette burn
as I stare back and smoke her