Poetry #132

We’re going to start this off with an apologize on my behalf for being late. March’s issue has transformed into April’s issue.  It was magic.

So, without further ado, we present you with bittersweet Johnnies, unknown killers, future literary divebar loners, readers of Kafka and Grouche Marx (that other Marxist) and quiet-minded genuises that speak without moving their lips.

Luis Rivas
Amber Bromer
Poetry Editors
Gloom Cupboard

The Remains
By Laurie Mackenzie

It being an easy thing to practice in the darkness

Will bleed you,

Leaving your stomach half full.

And everything you lie around

A bed, a desk, a chair.

Paint bubbles coming out of the walls

Where the rain has leaked in and drained.

These objects,

Tormenting the jugular vein.

They beat you from all the insides of the room.

Until the soul is moist with blood.

Time folds you out of the life God has granted.

Seconds tick against your impulses.

Here is death, as you bite your tongue.

Isn’t she sweeter than any other?

Shake her hands.

Lie still and frigid underneath her belly.

As if for warmth.

But no fire is there.

No flame burns here also,

In the room.

Or what we have left was burned up already

Down to the cinders.

A pile of new and black ashes

I’m about to rub my face in

Then rise, look into a glass

And pretend I’m someone else again.


Bed and Breakfast
By Jason Joyce

Sleep came like neon bees, 
the television pays
compliment. It was a great
race, though I
stayed indoors to watch Home Alone
A vision of you being force
fed at an abandoned truck stop, wearing
face paint and wicked tan lines,
cheap royalty doing all it can not to
become invisib
Blankets the color of beach feet, layered
like grilled cheese, library book lonely
falling apart on the finer furniture
a tangled wreck under a brass octopus,
busy like a bingo bus break at a donut shop
yellow booths, foam seeping out, sprinkles stuck to the corner of
a bed and breakfast mouth,
lousy tips, heavy baggage
raspberry jam voices coming from the wall
smooth moth wings, worn suitcase, tiny white teeth, tumble(weeds)
tangled sheets (tumble) through
the sea, a junior varsity poltergeist
some shitty electrician tore wires from the wall and
left for another job, probably some elegant, historic
theater in need of repair again
The room was turning into a horror movie
I took a stab

Bio: Jason Joyce recently graduated from the University of Wyoming with a bachelor’s in Business Administration and a minor in Creative Writing and is now living in Los Angeles, working in event planning at Loyola Marymount University. He plays synth in the band The Rubbish Zoo, and is working on his first full-length collection of poems. You can find out more about his writing and published poetry on his blog at jasonrjoyce.tumblr.com.


Preparing the Fire
By Carolyn Srygley-Moore

I will keep it short.     Legend tells Kafka prepared the flint & fire
in which his works were to be burnt.      My mother heated the iron
by which to flay the piled shirts into smooth compresses    means
by which to heal                  the loveless in the world.
Kafka grimaced, grinned    to be married is the bravest thing
a man could ever do. Perhaps    Or no, to have children
is the bravest thing.              Cast your eyes away…
   Transgressions of the boundary. Marx   Foucault
Derrida.                  To push the boundary, make it yield
as blue flesh yields beneath the fingerprint.              To push
until form bursts.       Mouths of flame from death         Cast your eyes
away….I prepare
the fireplace for burning pages for smoothing cotton
I prepare the wood.                   Sometimes I cannot discern
the passion of love from its inversion.                Sometimes
I fail you utterly my love                    my partner….The eyes
     of Kafka twine my mother’s laundress pianist hands //              lavendar
in the sunlight, freckled with               liver spots, going down
to ground zero of            emotionlessness to play
something rare            something without boundary going
down to play   to paint               your face as you are sleeping &
twitching do not know                   there are witnesses you
do not know the                depths of my despair being
brave in love is                  the hardest thing I have ever done.


Seeing It
By George Bishop

All around me
people are cutting down
old trees, branches and leaves
falling together into another winter
that will last forever. They drop past
the quivering cheeks of workers
on their metal ladders, floral dresses
dropping off a paper doll.
I’m so glad the trees can’t hear
the chainsaw, so happy when it faded
away from me. There’s no chance now
for the wood to become the dark wall
of a sitting room, the mantle
of a stone fireplace, even the frame
of a favorite aunt. 
I have a favorite aunt
and a photograph of her
holding me when I was one.
I also have a stone fireplace
in the den of my life.
The dump truck’s ready to leave
as I watch in the polished eyes
of squirrels roaming the phone lines.
I have work to do in the garage
I never added. There’s a sketch I saved.


By Marie Lascu
Dug straight into my ribs,
her elbow widening,
each breath reminding me,
new moon raising her arms
higher than usual,
the crack of bone stings,
but never flinch at her, sneer.
The spring bubbled so pretty,
transposed on a memory
in the mountains
sipping up real water
with our hands,
and never again,
despite talks to the contrary.
Doing well, alive and such,
unharmed, both legs and arms,
and clean clothes,
a worthy enough mantra.
Squeeze and see the worth of bone
in ash thrown to the wind
to give the feel of flight,
airborne and all knowing,
spirited but never quite evolved.
The flap of a hand not a wing,
skin to skin and the dull ring
when the hit moves away
from your face, and the sound
momentarily thunderous
in those plugged up ears.
I limp away from you,
side splitting, knowing full well
of the fool’s dance, and your walk
always suggested a jig.


Who the fuck is Lindsey Small?
By Shaun Rolls  

I’m expecting debt collectors always
and they’re not even mine.
Who the fuck is Lindsey Small?
No matter how many times
I send away her letters,
they always come back and there’s always more.
Who the fuck is Lindsey Small?
And why should I worry?
When I moved in I found her underwear,
hanging large from the airing cupboard door.
She was a big girl, Lindsey Small,
and wore her underwear through.
The thread-bare wide crotch is yellow.
I’ve looked in the gap
between the bathtub and the wall…
and seen the crust of body fat
on the tiles, the orange icicles
in the mouth of the hot tap.
Who the fuck is Lindsey Small?
I’m expecting debt collectors always.
I’ve looked in the gap
between the bathtub and the wall…
She was a big girl, Lindsey Small
And I crawl in her house.


Don’t ask, Won’t tell
By Leeroy Berlin

Someone will ask
how’s the writing going?
and I never have an answer.
but I’m reminded of
when Dick wrote A Scanner Darkly
twitching to an adderall beat
 maybe with some of that
 I’d actually get something done.
and he said
drug abuse is not a disease,
it is a decision,
like the decision to step in front of a train.
at 4 AM when I’m drunk
and exhausted
and my fingers won’t move anymore
I’ll sometimes think
 Yeah, that was pretty good
 that story didn’t turn out half bad 
as if I know what the hell I’m doing
when really
I’m just some guy screaming in the dark
hoping no one’s listening
too closely.
I like to think
that Bukowski was wrong
when he said it’s a form of insanity
and to think that
it is a decision,
like the decision to step in front of a train.

Bio: Leeroy Berlin lives in Southern California where he writes about the things that keep him from sleeping at night.



Crow Hunger
By John Sweet 
moves 3000 miles away just to
write and tell me she loves me and i am
tired of picturing the passage of time
i am tired of the raped and butchered children,
                of groups of two or more,
                of the way the stronger turn on
                                  the weaker,
                of rules and laws made only to profit the rich
the mouth of your god is
the mouth of a feral animal
always hungry, always open,
always screaming
looks like yours
looks like mine
and i no longer write about hope when i
write about distance, and i can no longer breathe
                                            when the phone rings
i am no longer anyone i recognize
when i look in the mirror
what it feels like is some
darker form of freedom


For the Next Patient
By Jane Rosenberg LaForge
My iris child, my blue-eyed
greed and lust: the wound
that grew as if it were a bruise
in you, a bloom without seed,
the ruination of the blood.
Like a third eye that records
what others refuse to acknowledge;
or a fourth, or as many eyes that
fit into bones that beat now as if
they were wildcatters, anarchists,
waiting to be organized into that
utopian government. A fifth eye,
that cannot blink and therefore
cannot clean itself: it tunnels into
the scaffolding about your lungs.
A far easier route, I’d say, then the
tender path eyes and pilgrims and
specimen collectors usually take;
they who prefer to flit about hips
and wrists and all the hinges that
determine grace or take away from it.
How many more eyes are watching now,
when so many of us are hardened by
our parents; and children who have
grown despite our eyes always
upon them. They no longer need
their laces tied each morning by
fingers that might as well
be sleepwalking.

BioJane is the author of two chapbooks of poetry, “After Voices” from Burning River in Cleveland; and “Half-Life” from Big Table Publishing Co. in Boston. More poetry is forthcoming in the Edison Literary Review.

Published by peace is illegal

I am a writer of pornography, of politics and murder.

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