Donna Dallas

Dirt bag

Cinderella wanna be

blue eyes

with thick black

tire-track circles layin

right under

Where’d the boys go?

lift your skirt send them running

as if you had a hairy penis

what would they do with your clit anyways??

scrawny numbskulls

couldn’t caress a peach let alone a golden box

want them

to want you but you don’t even know why

or who

all of them perhaps

the whole pimply awkward lot of them

They’ll run home and tell everyone

what a white trash whore you are

with your dirty panties

blackened feet

and ankles

as if they actually saw your panties close up

wretched boys

saw their own boners

rise in the blistering August sun

Roosters pecked

hens clucked

your virgin bones

ached for attention

your dumb ass thought that’s what you were

supposed to do

to summon men

men baby, men

boys will crumble

men will hold you

drop you later

You’re so in need of a daddy

there ain’t been one since you was

born and you can’t ‘member him

or his beautiful face

if there ever was one

had to have been

or your skinny ass wouldn’t be

you try with your wretched self to

seduce

without a real understanding of what that

word means

But lordy

when you finally grasp hold of it

on the rim of sixteen

working in Key Food Supermarket

tall

blonde

and fresh like a newborn

you finally know

your little peach

is the end all

as they line up now

beg to touch it

Jason Ryberg

Big Mutant Buzzard Motherfuckers

for John Dorsey

There’s what, maybe 9, 10, 11 of those big

mutant buzzard motherfuckers up there

at the top of the rise of HWY D (right there,

where 705 becomes the road to Methlehem),

and they’re chowing down on whatever it was

that had the misfortune of failing to deftly

side-step out of the way, when it became clear

that the theory of the unstoppable force and

the immovable object was about to be put to

the test for real, out here, some early evening,

right about sundown, or late moonlit night, even,

when there’s more deer than cars and so, for the

last couple of days, has been a regular all you can

eat buffet for this wandering tribe of old monks. 

Frederick Pollack

Sighting

Someone’s cousin intermittently

appeared in that pre-virus family

swarm. Obese; complexion

ineffectively concealed; party dress

another burden; the genes

behind the face precluding [“conventional,”

you’re supposed to say “conventional”

or “accepted”] beauty. Furtively checked

(“it’s impolite!”) her phone

to see how she was currently being mocked.

Boys wandered, bored, from aunt to uncle,

who asked in effect if they were already

millionaires; she watched. Country club …

was there an outside,

or way or desire to get there? Nameless

familiar horror of being noticed and

of not. Worse horror of advice;

and what could mine have been? My dear,

a science-fiction writer of the ‘50s

told me that somewhere in the galaxy

lives someone lonelier than you.

Julene Tripp Weaver

The Photoshoot I Desired A Lifetime Ago

I wanted a session with Mapplethorpe

wanted to be draped in a long silken

cloth, lying against his naked body,

a brick backdrop wall

in an East Village

loft walk-up.

Wanted to be up against his tattoos—

like Patti Smith curled into him.

I’d never be next to her, wasn’t that

what always got me into trouble—

loving a girl too much

who didn’t want me.

The nude photoshoot I did do

was shot by two gay men. Naked

up against a random dick—I don’t remember

his name, it doesn’t matter—who would have

mattered was Robert 

and vicariously, Patti,

definitely Patti.

Daniel S. Irwin

Perhaps

Perhaps, mine, a life too long.

My mind fills with random thoughts

And flashes of the past, rather than,

Dreams in anticipation of the future.

Would it be better that I shouldn’t wake.

I’ve no fear of drifting away in slumber.

Life’s forced choices always having been

For least worst with no option for best.

Opportunities thwarted by the reality

Of ever present controlling circumstance.

Victim, you say?  Nay…I stand survivor.

So clear the mind.  Focus on the now.

Be the bold tiger sprung from the cage

And let the world tremble and be wary

While I yet live.

R. Bremner

What’s so funny?

I’m not laughing.

Heavy chunks of the sky

are falling on our heads.

Grass is growing downward

into the earth, not out of it.

All of my books are sprouting legs

and walking away.

There’s nothing funny

about these happenings,

so why do you laugh

uproariously at them?

If I could stop all of these events

and put everything back to the way it was

I would, but how can I stop

the world from changing before my eyes?

I don’t know, but I wish you would

stop saying it’s better this way.

Leah Mueller

Free-Range Teens

I worried about promiscuity

when I was seventeen,

and its alignment

with moral character.

I felt certain

I had sacrificed

my own values

without much resistance,

and I feared this

would go on

a permanent record

that would reflect badly

on me later.

In secret locations,

I furtively opened

medical pamphlets,

library books,

and paperbacks I’d bought

at yard sales.

I read everything I could

about penises and vaginas,

eagerly devoured details

about their angles

and dimensions.

I gorged myself

with gaudy images,

but felt sick afterward,

as if I’d eaten

too many hamburgers.

My boyfriend and I

had an elaborate ritual

that summer–

I spread out my body

on his basement couch

like a cheap buffet.

While my head

nestled in his lap,

my boyfriend probed

the inside of my vagina

one furtive digit at a time,

until he was finally able

to place his entire hand

inside me, as far

as his knuckles.

His parents

never came downstairs,

and never asked

what we were doing:

it was 1970s America,

and they couldn’t

have been less interested.

We ate hot dogs

in bright red baskets

at the drive-in afterward,

and my boyfriend

talked about pyramids

and where he was going

to college in the fall.

None of my

moral pronouncements

made a goddamn

bit of difference,

because our parents

and geography

would shove us

so far apart that

we would never find

each other again.

Milkshakes and sex

were all we had

for the moment–

the viscous

sweetness of cream,

and rapid metabolisms

that would

make it easier

to forget everything.

window dressing

       you have

everything arranged

          in your plate-glass window:

                 tinted skin and

      pressed silk hats

                 on plastic mannequins

                        but there’s

                                   nothing inside the shop

Jon Bennett

Night Blind 

“Kim! Kimba!” 

“What?!” 

“Where you at?!” 

“Up the block!” 

The Tenderloin streets 

are narrow 

ambulance sirens 

bounce off the SROs 

like ricochets 

long term residents 

plug their ears 

while longer term residents 

go deaf 

“Kim!” 

“Up here!” 

Street people 

have their own bird calls 

wolf whistles, owl hoots 

to identify themselves 

to their neighbors 

“Kim?” 

“You’re almost here.” 

I finally see her 

out the window 

palms out and feeling for each 

parking meter and fire hydrant 

night blind 

and no spectacles 

“Kim?” 

“Yeah?” 

“I got that nickel you wanted.” 

Alan Catlin

The Conga Line from Hell 

There they are the revelers 

wearing cheap conical hats, 

bearing breath-controlled, 

retractable whistles, metal 

noise makers they all employ  

at once as an ear drumming assault, 

all in the name of dressing up 

in new frocks and suits to  

consume vast amounts of legal 

beverages and other kinds of 

mind altering chemicals,  

driven to become adherents 

of Nietzsche’s “everything is 

permitted” edict, all rules  

abolished once partying begins, 

all sense of propriety forgotten, 

unlikely liaisons formed in back 

room office space, hotel storage 

closets, under banquet tables cloaked 

in white linens as if some merry 

musician, band leader, had declared, 

“Let the humping begin!” 

Background music becomes the refined 

crude that fuels the savage beast, 

that suggests otherwise responsible 

adults form a line alternating men 

and women , grab the waist of 

the humanoid in front of you and 

let the dance begin, let this hydra 

headed millipede begin unrestrained 

kicking anything within its path to 

jungle fever music, all the faces 

wide eyes and lust crazed, mindless 

as a herd of headless chickens, 

all of them slaves to the hypnotic 

beat, following the command of 

a pied-piper-with-a-drum music man, 

that bandleader of the doomed 

exhorting the dancers to kick, 

kick, kick until they drop, spineless 

and spent in dark, unfamiliar place, 

dead to the world.