Ben Barton
Tattooed Hearts

Every man has his secrets
Every husband in bed
betrays his wife on the pillows
each and every night.

No one will ever know
the lives and loves
that the men of the world
lead while in dreams.


Perfunctory Orgasm

thrashing like epileptics
in the throes of a fit
On the mattress
we sweat it out

for love and peace,
the sanctity of marriage
Well, our bastardised version anyway
of that sacred institution

Counting down from twenty five,
just the same every Friday night
Until we let go,
expelling a week’s worth of frustrations
a libation
for a love in pieces.



Dan Provost
Something I Thought of After Talking to Lisa LaTourette

If you have to work at the words—throw them away…
Let them go into the abyss, letting others frame them into beauty.

If you reaching for an ideal with the pen, leave in alone and move on,
There are other tales to kill and other riders to ride.

When lies seemed forced—stifled with someone else’s
voice—keep them hidden.

They are not your soul…only regurgitated dogma from an original.

If your heart hates it…and you do not feel right about what is in
front of your face…follow another path…

Keep going elsewhere, somewhere where the truth will make you smile.

If you give up…then quit, walk alone among 100 strangers who never gave a damn anyways.

But if you need to yell, cry and scream…and you find that the muse is
the only outlet to portray your hurt…

Then please keep going…we need you,

I need you.



Lucy Wiggins
Eyes of October Twilight

Oh security,
it feels so enchanting.
Safe, and warm,
like October twilight.
Sweet smells of
apple cider
entice my senses.
Cool crisp air
gently curls
around falling
Like your eyes.
Visions of Autumn
dilate there.
I realize that I am in love.
No wonder they call it



Daniel Casebeer
Heart Transplant

Her heart was shaped like a tadpole. When they opened her chest, it
wiggled in the thoracic cavity, and the surgeons had to use their
scalpels to keep it from jumping out. The donor was a poet, mortally
stricken with melancholy. His heart was shaped like a valentine, and
there were scraps of Oscar Wilde’s poetry scribbled in blue ink around
the edges. All things considered, the operation was a success. The
patient suffered from headaches and chest pains, but she was otherwise
unaffected by the surgery. Incidentally, she also developed a fondness
for the scent of crepuscular flowers, but didn’t feel the need to
report it.



Jan Oscar Hansen
The Jogger

They said he had invented jogging and he was quite
addicted to his invention, ran every afternoon longer
and longer distances; till he dropped dead.
“He had congenital heart disease and would have died
anyway,” the defenders of jogging said.

Sure but that’s not the point he could have died when
copulating, angling, having a splendid meal with wine
or congenial drink with friends in the bar, and not
prancing about in shorts on a cold road alone a chilly
autumnal evening.



Justin Hyde
every damn time i drink jack daniels

the dumpy brunette
in fatigue pants
is looking at me
like i think she’s
anything more
than a handful of
pubic hairs
in an oil slick.

i’ll find the
supple angle
and we’ll conjoin
like anorexic lumberjacks
caught in an avalanche,
i say to her
in my best
stilted monotone.

what the hell
does that mean?
she asks
pulling her purse
in closer.

it means
something like
the unicorn dream
sluicing though
the eye
of a needle,
i say
and ask if
i can buy her
a shot.

i’m not
fucking you,
she says
doubling me over
in laughter.

turns out
she’s kin
to the bartender.

he’s got
points a stout finger
to the exit
and says
i must leave.

one more jd
and you wont’ have to
break a sweat,
i say.

he indulges my

to the
ontological paradox,
i say
and funnel it down
and merge out stumbling
into the
cricket night.




is the new foreman
at the screen-door factory
where six guys
from work-release
are on
second shift.

they’re due back at eleven
but juan usually
calls twice a night
extending them to
four or five
in the morning.

cluster-fuck down there,
the guys say
coming back completely spent
hands blistered up
like crabs.

they’re always
three weeks
behind on orders
missing this part
that part:

the guys get
seventy plus hours a week
if they want it.

new foreman
sounds like a decent guy,
i tell them.

they tell me
juan’s better than
the guy that just got fired

how that bastard
stayed in his office
playing computer solitaire

but juan’s
out on the floor
working just as hard as
any of them.

Polish check forger
tells me
juan gets by
on two hours sleep:

how he drops
the six of them off
at work-release
goes home
and sleeps
from seven to nine

then watches
his five kids
while his wife
goes to work.

we all agree.

a guy named jake
called into work-release
to extend the guys.

what happened to juan?
i ask
when they get back.

hadn’t it
made the news?
they ask.

as i pat them down
and run the metal detector
they tell me how
juan lost his marbles:

he’d fired a pistol
into the ceiling of his house
beat his wife
with the butt end of the thing
lit her car on fire
and disappeared
into the woods.

nobody says a word.

we just nod silently there

knowing full well
juan could be
any one of us

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