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

Ed Brickell

How the Words Come 

 
Sometimes they parade like naked children perched on ponies. 
Sometimes they ooze from a golden cup in a godly hand. 
Sometimes they bust in with guns gripped high. 
Sometimes they dart from the sky like blind birds. 
Sometimes they are revealed by reverent servants. 
Sometimes they are hammered out hot on a workbench. 
Sometimes they are gifted by grinning demons. 
Sometimes they just bud and bloom in our eyes. 
Sometimes we must come to them, the smug bastards. 

Howie Good

A Deep Dive


As robots with only one thing in mind pursue women up and down the street, the police watch from a safe distance or scroll through the photos on their phones. The I Ching says, “Free yourself of your big toe.” Ah, I think, interesting, and then feel a tingling in my feet. It's probably just a matter of days before someone in the family is diagnosed with cancer and the Internet recommends the healing power of dog saliva. We’re like sailors trapped in a disabled submarine, furiously eating pancakes on the finest porcelain in our dwindling moments.

Alan Catlin

After graduating from

high school, the Kiwanis
invited the seniors to
a yacht club dinner as
a reward for years of Key
Club service. The food
was passable, conversation
with the red neck suits,
surreal, and would have
been unbearable if most
of us weren’t stoned.
After dinner, showing us
around, I stood before
life-sized oil portraits
of the founders: my grand-
father and great uncle,
who never had a real job
in his life. I debated sharing
family lore of how they
were bootlegging rum
from Cuba and Canadian
whiskey from up north.
Business must have been
good given Uncle Manny’s
resume and our relative
affluence during the depression.
I thought: we were men now,
in a smoke-filled room,
sharing man talk, after a couple
of three underage cocktails
but decided some things are
better left unsaid.

In a few years, two of us
would be busted for on campus
drug sales, another would be
a Green Beret and one guy
dead. The rest of us would be
draft dodging and heavily involved
in perusing our college majors
in substance abuse. It was the 60’s
and we were hell-bent and crazy
like everyone else.



By the time Doug

was 16 he was more
junkyard dog than
anything else. Spent
half his time working
the motor shop and
the other half as lord
of the landfill. Knew
where all the stumble
bums hid the good
stuff like Mexican
cigarettes you could get
high from, naked women
with men, white lightning
tequila with the worm
in the bottle. Said, “You
weren’t a man if you
didn’t eat the worm.”
not that anyone had actually
seen him do it. Still,
he always had the goods
people wanted. Those real
fuck books, not the air-
brushed commercial American
bunny ears crap, the hard core
stuff he’d sell you for
a price. No one knew
where in the hell he got
them but I had a good idea.
The musty odor was a dead
give away, not that anyone
cared about that, it was
the pictures they wanted.
Doug always sold out
faster than he could steal them.

Ken Kakareka

civilization

 

I went to Starbucks one morning
during the week of Christmas
to write for a change.
A lit tree beamed
through the window
as I was walking in.
A small part of me
felt hopeful,
which is the best feeling
you can hope for
during Christmas time.
I hadn’t been acquainted
with civilization
for some yrs. –
the mountains are my home
now.
But an obligation lured me
into town.
The drive-thru line
was a freight train.
I thought about making a joke 
to the barista,
but as I opened the door
and our eyes met,
the jolly warmth in my soul
shivered.
She was a big, dark woman
and the color in her eyes
was sour.
“What would you like,”
she demanded
like she was Santa Clause
at the end of his shift
and I was a screaming,
nagging toddler
behind a long line of other
screaming, nagging toddlers
who already sat and pissed
on his lap.
“A small, hot coffee,”
I said, spitefully.
“You mean tall?”
“I mean small.”
Our eyes locked
until she rolled hers
and scoffed.
“Whatever.”
She spun the machine
at me
and fetched my coffee.
I inserted my card
but nothing happened.
She returned with the coffee.
“Can I have a packet of raw sugar?”
“Inside or out?”
“Just the packet.”
She scoffed again and fetched it.
“The machine isn’t reading my card.”
“Just give it a minute.”
I gave it 2.
An option to tip the barista
appeared.
For doing her job, rudely?
I declined.
She scoffed again.
“Next!”
“Oh, and can I get a stirring stick, please?”
Her eyes really came after me
this time.
She marched away
and lifted 2 sticks
over the window
of the pickup counter.
“Down here!”
I am a short man.
She had a few inches
on me.
She held the sticks
just high enough
so that I had to
humiliate myself
on my tippy toes.
It was
a brilliant move.
I gave her this round.
In fact, I gave
all of civilization
this round.
I was rusty now
that I was a mountain man.
I found a table
and wrote this poem.
Then I got in my jeep
and said,
“Take me the hell home.”