Brian J. Alvarado

lighting a wet match

i tossed my sin sticks and hurricanes 
into a sacrificial heap: 

am i free?

i’ve given up singing the lies in

am i free now?

i’ve not doused my hair in chemicals
for a brood of old months:

shall i be free?

i seldom leave the
great indoors anymore

a prisoner to myself, in 
shambles and shackles 

for better 
and worse

an altar-less shrine 
for mourning and rue  

where you may toss
your faulty matches

and decimate your
glass of spirits

Ian Copestick

The Pain And The Violet Sky

The violet sky
with pale grey clouds
feels oppressive overhead.
The trees on the horizon
seem to linger with intent.
I remember walking this same
route 20 years ago. 
At two in the morning to score
some smack.

I imagined serial killers
hiding in the trees.
I ran as quickly as I could,
to get back home,
holding the gear tightly
in my hand.

At least then I knew the pain would
go away as soon as I got home.
Now, I know that the pain will never go away. 

Bruce Mundhenke


Been watching a few of the Monarchs
Pass through,
Reminds me that life goes on...
And puts me in mind of a Monarch
I saw,
About 52 years ago.
What I saw in those days
Looked different for sure;
It was a time when my heart was young,
Before any real darkness
Had come...
A time before I began
To be seasoned,
More learned,
With more knowledge of pain.
Since those days
I have learned to know thirst,
And have patience,
And wait on the rain.

Ian Copestick

Serious Help

My animals, my cat and dog
have both been playing up
My dog took a shit on the
kitchen floor, even though
I'd put her lead on.
So she knew I was taking
her out.
She should know better
than that, it's not like she's
a puppy.
She's 11 years bloody old.

My cat hasn't eaten a thing
all day, no matter what I have
tried to tempt her with.

Then I noticed the date.
It's 4 months exactly since
their ' mother ', my Missus 

I'm not suggesting that they
can tell what date it is, but
it's strange that they don't
usually act this way.

Looking back, reading this
poem again, I realise that I
am the one who is really
suffering, and I am acting
completely insane trying to
involve our animals in this.

I think I might need serious
maybe I should try the vet.  

Scott Cumming

One of those what does it all mean things 
The only dreams I ever remember 
are about women I have known 
nothing sexy 
just a lingering 
as though visited upon 
by spectres 
of younger selves 
Hours spent dazed 
spaced out conjuring old faces 
inserting lives into imagined spaces 
a cunning trickster 
my mind 
a willing victim 
Bizarre to think 
any of them 
would ever read 
this shit 
A budget Rob Gordon 
A Championship wanker 
A what does it all mean thing. 

Living in pulp 
Means less holding up the mirror 
the few times I look 
see past my chin fat 
the blood thickens 
in my veins 
everything hollowed 
weighed down 
with impeding pain 
squinting at the reflected light 
auras and blurred sight 
vivid dreams 
of things once been 
new fad anxiety 
at walking through doors 
I no longer comprehend 
what I am looking for 
no longer understand 
the end. 

Daniel J. Flore III


the insane guy
made a lot of sense
standing below my deck

but it won’t keep him
from being picked up
by the cops
before nightfall

he’d didn’t seem like a threat
so he’ll probably end up
in the mental hospital

which I hope doesn’t make him go
completely nuts

Talking to my mom when she isn't there

a strong gust of wind mom
like your spirit
and I'm so tired
seems like the gold on my cross has gone pale
and I wish you were here mom
the world needs turning
and laughter isn't making a sound
I guess I'll talk to the nite lite
as if it were a lullaby 
and I could sleep
I remember swimming with Cally at White Clay
her paw underwater stretched out to paddle
just like she was made for
and I feel like I was made for nothing
just these words 
fuzzy in the poor lighting of my eyes
and the traffic won't stop
I can feel the noise in the bottom of my legs
remember how they would run mom?
seems like I'm just all out of breath
I need to get some air though it's sickly and coughing
what stars are you wishing on
what ray of sunshine set you free
why am I in this fermented jar
I should save these questions for God
I guess you just remind me of Him
I'll say goodbye now mom
my knees need the chapel floor
and my lips need the sacrament 
like no thirst they've ever had before

Daniel S. Irwin

The Fly


I’m half shot at the bar.

A tiny visitor lands on the rim

Of my glass and makes me think.

If you pull the wings of a fly,

Then hold it to your ear,

Can you hear it screaming?

If it slips outta your hand,

It could get stuck in your head

And might make some changes

In your brain.   Then you might

Get fly-ish and suddenly develop

A taste for garbage and dog crap.

Freak out the neighbors stickin’

Your head in the trash can and

Lickin’ their schnauzer’s ass.

You’d be jumpin’ off bar stools

Thinkin’ you could fly, end up

With a deathly fear of spiders,

Tremble at the frog’s croak.

It would just be a matter of time

‘Fore the big flyswatter gets ya

And you go splat.


J.J. Campbell

a sad song on the fourth of july
the fireworks aren't 
as bright this year
escaping death at the
sight of every sniffle
gets old after a few
weeks, let alone 
but it's a sad song
on the fourth of july
on the back porch 
with something strong 
on the rocks
just you, a tomato 
plant gone wild and 
the fucking mosquitos
these are the nights 
you used to sit in a
cemetery and read
shitty poems to the
dead and seek advice
you swear to this day
you saw a shooting star
in a beautiful woman's eye
she left you for dead
a few weeks later
just poor communication
that is all
deep down you know
death licked your lips
that night and you were
ready to give in
another bite on the leg
hindsight wins yet again
enjoy your youth
i always laugh when
a younger woman
calls me handsome
i tell them to enjoy
their youth
this face is what 
happens when you 
are never given the 
eventually the 
turns to money
as all conversations 
seem to do
we are nothing 
but prostitutes
to whatever this 
earth has decided 
for us
not everyone is 
ready to be called
a whore

Ian Copestick


I go through
every day as
if I am a zombie,
one of the living
In fact, that sums
up exactly how I
feel. Hypnotized,
going through the
I have a big photo
of Karen that I
keep by my bed.

Every few days
I will wake up
enough to start
screaming, and
crying, " How
could you do this
to me, babe ?
How could you
leave me to face
this awful world
alone ? "

Then, thank God
I go back into my
trance, and nobody
knows how I really
feel, they all think
that I'm doing well.

But I know, and
Karen's photo

Paul Tanner

our indie goss
I’ve had it on cassette 
I’ve had it on CD
and now I’ve got an mp3 of it on my phone,
and I’m telling you:
whatever the format, it’s always the same:
two minutes and five seconds
into Ceremony by New Order,
the volume jumps. 
I can’t figure out if it’s just the bass 
being twanged especially heavily 
or an actual recording blunder,
but I swear,
in any format I listen to, the volume always seems to jump then,
even on the remaster. 
I don’t care if I’m wrong or mad. 
a part of me likes feeling like I own this observation,
like it’s a secret between me and the band,
and that’s ok:
after all, isn’t that what all music should sound like?
of course, 
if you
dear reader 
have heard it too, 
then I guess we’re both in on the secret 
and that’s ok too:
isn’t that what all writing should feel like? 
a cold pillow evening 
standing at the delivery doors out back.
smoking a roll-up 
made up of the fag ends 
of other roll-ups,
you whirl the stiff bastard of your left ankle 
until it finally cracks
whereupon, right, whereupon
some prick behind you 
feels the need to point out that 
“your shift only started about 10 minutes ago”. 
some prick that
may or may not be your manager – 
if she isn’t yet, she will be soon enough 
with that attitude –
there’s a little ugly bird whose breed you’ll never wiki 
doing a sort of flat-footed tap dance 
on a low wall opposite. it looks like it should be smarter than
that. like it’s pretending it’s happy. 
“well?” you hear. 
evidently she’s still standing behind you. 
she’ll be manager any second now. 
a scab slides off your left knee 
only to fall into your sock 
like a cornflake, wet on one side
and no one asks the bird what it’s up to.  
the happier repressed 
they say
is in their own hell
but really
it’s usually a hell
of someone else’s making:
a job 
or a boss
or a landlord 
a cage you were bequeathed.
but if you’re truly in 
your own hell,
like say 
from indulging a bad friend
or by choosing to be miserable 
with a miserable partner
then congratulations:
you’re about as free
as we can get.
just keep
your freedom 
the hell away 
from me.