I have the ability to read poetry from all corners of the world, Africa, India, and weird ass places like Florida and forgotten northern towns of California. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. As much as I complain about it, it’s truly a gift that I am allowed this.
The following issue has some really strong poems that, by themselves, stand alone as great pieces of testimonial art; but together they paint an amazing worldly portrait, as most of the poetry issues do–if, by chance, you haven’t noticed.
Poets are everywhere, fortunately or unfortunately. Now, the true task of the poet is to paint the truth (motherfucker shoulda been a painter then, huh?!) in such a way that its nakedness startles us; its rawness disgusts or offends; its remarkable accuracy enrages us; and if that doesn’t work, the poet should lie to us so well that we, in turn, applaud his or her malicious and honed skills.
won’t someone think of the janitors
By Leeroy Berlin
i can only imagine that joe wasn’t pleased
about how it went down
i know that was his favourite picture of
himself with that tranny hooker
off the five
he had framed on the walls
not a bad looking girl
i think they might be related
but it wasn’t my fault
in a bar when a guy walks up to you
and complains that
you’re in his seat
it’s not because you’re in his seat.
learned that one from my grandfather.
i also learned
to shoot the heads off squirrels
he was full of good advice
don’t shit in one hand and wish in the other
you’ll get shit on your wishes.
it was supposed to be funny
because he only had one arm
i’m not sure
but when a man tries to push you off
your seat at the bar–
i’m not entirely clear about what happened next
my head’s still swollen where
someone hit me with a pool cue
and i don’t know how larry got in the middle
i do know i wasn’t the one who broke the bottle
i wouldn’t use budweiser as a weapon
not even against that crazy guy in the cardigan
who keeps handing out flyers in front of
the bar that say things like
ABANDON ALL HOPE
YE WHO ENTER HERE
which never bothered Mr. Yi who
drove the mail route and
no matter how much that guy needs a beating
i don’t hate him enough to do that
as for how larry got stabbed with that broken bottle
i don’t know
but i do feel bad
for the unfortunate asshole
who had to clean up
after we were gone.
Bio: Leeroy Berlin was last seen escaping from a cul-de-sac somewhere in the bowels of Suburbia, Los Angeles CA. He is rumored to have been seen on several isolated Pacific islands, though these reports may not be trustworthy and often contradict each other placing him simultaneously in indistinguishable locations thousands of familiar miles apart.
By Steve Calamars
Bio: Steve Calamars lives in Texas. He has a B.A. in Philosophy and works in a grocery store. His first collection of short stories, six years of relative happiness, is available from Calliope Nerve Media. He is currently working on a small collection of poetry and looking for a publisher. He blogs @ dirtywordsoncleanliving.blogspot.com.
By Daniel Nielsen
if he thought
about other women
when they made love
only as friends
Bio: Dan Nielsen is a journeyman bookbinder living somewhere in Wisconsin. He manages an art gallery, Gallery B4S. His work has appeared in numerous small press literary journals, as well as some unlikely places, such as: Created Writing: Poetry from New Angles, a Prentice Hall/Simon & Schuster textbook, Selected Poems of Post-Beat Poets, published in Chinese by Shanghai Century Publications, Beijing, China, edited by Vernon Frazer, and Stand up Poetry: The Extended Anthology, University of Iowa Press, edited by Charles Harper Webb. Recent poetry publications/acceptances include: Verse Wisconsin, The Postcard Press, Randomly Accessed Poetics, and OneTitle, and short fiction in Linguistic Erosion ,The Feathered Flounder, The Sim Review, Belly Fat, and Alternate Trigger. Dan’s most recent chapbook, Tips, Hints, & Shortcuts, is available from Penhead Press.
By Rachel Frankel
yellow-bellied kids cried out in dreams
where shoes never fit right
when they were running away
palm trees and pavement dreams
mark a tired reaction to mutiny
Melrose bleeds to Alvarado
with the death of California’s son
and the backside of Mulholland
reveals a tanned wasteland
we turn down plumb alleyways
and shrug at Spanish billboards
yellow-bellied boys cried out in dreams
after running through the streets
they scraped elbows and knees
grafting skin to history
legs dangled from an overpass
you claimed the 405
as a resting place
when your spine bent forward
and hurtled into the night.
Bio: Rachel grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, and now lives and works in San Francisco. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Painting & Drawing and English Literature from San Francisco State University, she decided to delve back into her first love of writing as a creative focus. She is fascinated by narrative, animal instinct, human nature, and the complexities of memory. Her work has appeared in Eunoia Review.
Mute. Deaf. Blind.
By Afzal Moolla
Blinded by the cacophony,
with tongues and ears left by the wayside,
dulled senses rotting away,
while all traces of empathy,
swirl into the gutter.
embracing the soundlessness of a billion cries.
consciences left to rot,
heartless and mindless,
as the promises turn into rust,
with all traces of empathy,
swirling into the endless gutters,
while the flag of freedom limply flutters,
in the impotent breeze.
Mute. Deaf. Blind.
Bio: Afzal Moolla was born in New Delhi, India while his parents were in exile, fleeing Apartheid South Africa. His father Mosie Moolla represented the African National Congress (ANC) in India, Egypt and Finland. Afzal returned to South Africa following the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners. He works and lives in Johannesburg, and shares his literary musings with his most strident critic – his 12 year old cat.