Sharmagne Leland-St. John
I Said Coffee

I said coffee
I didn’t say,
“would you
like to cup
my warm
soft breasts
in your
ringless fingered

I said coffee
I didn’t say,
“would you
like to
run your tongue
along my neck
just below
my left ear-lobe?”

I said coffee
I didn’t say,
“would you
like to
hold me
in your arms
and feel my heart
skip beats
as you press your
hard lean body
up against mine
until I melt
into you
with desire?”

I said coffee
as we stood there
in the jasmine
scented night
my car door
like some modern day
bundling board
separating us,
protecting us
from ourselves
and lust

I said,
“would you
like to go for
a cup of coffee?”
I didn’t say,
“would you
like to brush
your lips
across mine
as you move
to bury your face
in my long, silky,
raven black hair?”

But you said,
“I can’t
I’m married
I can’t trust myself
to be alone
with you.”
so I looked you
dead in the eye
and repeated
“I said coffee”



Puma Perl
a fuck you kind of rain

it was a fuck you dirty socks kind of rain
left everything feeling damp unwashed
no dewy smells like long island rain
no summer storms sprinkling flowers with names
without a tulip I sat on a skeletal bench
in front of the methadone program
eating an ice cream cone from a dingdong truck
usually my posture and game face prevent
the usual ninety milligram remarks
like “lick that thang” and “que lengua”
but brown liquid clouds have covered the city
there is no etiquette in this syringe of a street
i struggle to conduct myself with dignity
regain my withering looks, my miss lady sneer
i can still strut down an avenue
chocolate in the corner of my lip
sprinkles dripping down my right breast



David McLean
life tonight

life tonight might be luscious
for the absurdity isn’t bothered
by incongruity, roots of trees
glower in the loam
full of the abundance of life
i need tonight, fingers
fondle keys like they were a neck
stuffed with love’s clogging blood

and all they remember is living
this, stepmum nature who forced
us to exist her numb insecurity
and an insect’s tremulous touch
is life

though we never asked for it
sometimes it’s alright



Brandi Hutchinson
The Milk Trial

She didn’t want it
Milk the taste of
Warm cow tears
Her four year old tongue
Had had enough
Settled and never consumed
The cup sat
Never spilled

The trial commenced
One hour after lunch
The bitter woman was
Distressed about the
Lonely and unfinished
Burden of the full glass

Who did it?

All ages of
“I don’t know”
“I drank mine!”
All three confessed
To nothing

Politics and a guessing game
There was no progress
The judge had become
The impatient step-father
Who stated
His rubber band was about
To SNAP! if and only if
The truth were to stretch
Any longer

One 4 year old girl promise
To a 6 year old brother
Of a go-kart push
Along side the yuccas and
25mph surburbans and sedans
Racing the world
In 60 second
Turn around
Then it’s over

Promise unfulfilled
All three chicks
Dyed somber
Each in their cage
Twiddling thumbs
And idle minds
Go-karting with freedom

Four year olds
Are great liars
Six year old boys
Are great scapegoats
Seven year old sisters
Are great tattletalers

All three
Were punished over
Unspilled milk.



Ed Baker
Old Poet Sits Near Back of pastry shop

His needs return to the Everyday Café
to see what s been done on her behalf

(when her sonofabitch dilettante
suddenly went back to his mother)
left this whitehaired
poet with

art and poems

He eats from her

off plate

into lap

swims away

Her lips
the color of pomegranate

kiss is light and moist

hugs him in front of her



of want

gaze is into


cay cay fruit

pink juicy

small persimmons

her offerings

play is






Howie Good

How can I drink so much
and not be numb

or singing

morose but clear
like the ding

when you drop a coin
into the cigarette vending machine

there’s sleep
pouring from my sleeve

and without my consent

just because
I couldn’t find the switch

for the light
the children either

small and exhausted
making their beds somewhere

under the tangled trees
of the untended orchard



John Rocco
Voyage to the Kingdom of the Dead

I cut the ram’s throat and the blood came quick
and hot thick
pouring into the hole I dug
for the dead to drink from.
The shades came to drink
but I waved them away
for I have finally achieved it:
I am dead.
At least that’s what the
collection notice
said addressed to my Estate.
They think I’m dead
so I’ve broken natural law
and good sense
and voyaged to the Kingdom of the Dead
where all the burnt-out souls go
and sway and hey look there’s
Philip K. Dick blowing up his own safe
and Bogart and Virgil and Johnny Carson
and Achilles and Savannah and Marilyn
and Hemingway and Cobain
and Raoul Duke making a beast of himself with devil ether
and Gertrude going down on Alice
and Edgar A. Poe fingering coughing-up-blood Virginia .
The sad spirits block my path.
I walk into something:
a table covered with food
(sizzling steaks and boiled bulging lobsters and glistening chops and tangled peasant pasta and dark old wine bottles and
escargot and thick soups and crowded chowders and
hot bread and butter)
Orson Welles, looming, sitting at it busy.
He jabs a lobster claw at me:
“It’s easy to live! Dying is forever!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: