Poetry # 133

Once upon a time immigrants had some radical ideas on labor, rights, democracy and society overall.  In May of 1886 in the cold streets of Chicago, they organized for the eight-hour workday and eventually were hanged.  Italians, Germans, Americans.  Anarchists, Socialists, Activists: Immigrants, all of them.  This issue has nothing to do with that whatsoever.  Happy May and enjoy!

Luis Rivas
Poetry Editor
Amber Bromer
Poetry Editor

By Ross Leese

the sun wears on in the sky
as the coffin dodgers continue to coax and dodge
and those less fortunate scrape and scream
at their

and earthworms are harmless
until they’re gnawing at
your eyeballs

and soil is healthy until it’s
clogging up your

and the sweetest words
have not yet been

and the greatest lines
are not yet on

and the dead will remain dead
long after the mourning and the ceremonial
end of it is

and we all go back
to our homes
to start

to start attempting
to make sense
of it all

all over

Bio: Ross Leese is from the cold North of England and he tends to be far too miserable, far too often.

Destination Daniel
For: Daniel
By Joel Ferdon

You chain smoked,

Daniel, when we drove

Down to Charleston,

Blasting the acoustic account

Of Mazzy Starr. You would flick

My ear, like Granny

Used to do, when I let my eyes roll

To the back of my head,

the humidity coating

my forehead.

You had already cut

The hospital plastic

From your wrist, locked away

The shot gun, and packed up

That apartment where memories

Were small stones


The insides of your temples

And the four chambers of your heart.

Me, I kept hearing

Myself breathe, and the burning

Of the unfiltered Camel that hung

From your lip like a soul

On the crack

Between heaven and hell.

We couldn’t

Talk about it.

It was too soon after

The pills had been pumped

From your pink stomach,

And I had held you

While your tears bleached

My favorite shirt.

What we could do was drive,

And drive we did

In fifth Gear the whole way.

God we were brothers,

And you were still


Bio: Joel Ferdon is a chain smoking, coffee slinging, poetry fiend. His poetry has been published in such places as Gloom Cupboard, Indigo Rising Magazine and soon Rusty Truck. He lives and writes in Charlotte, NC.

By Ashley Fisher

I met Chloe at the shelter.
She was about twenty-five,
with blonde hair, dulled eyes
but, with a couple of months of decent meals
could possibly have been attractive.

Her first words to me were: you can fuck me
for a tenner; I’ll give head for five
I think she was trying to sound matter-of-fact,
but she just sounded
flat and monotone.

I declined in an embarrassed voice:
I had no cash, but even given the choice
it’s not the sort of thing I’d do.

It was the first line she spoke
to any new bloke
turning up at the shelter, delivered
while her fella sat half-comatosed
with the other junkies.

They spent their days at a nearby squat,
a dingy shit hole where they’d pop
all sorts of crap into their veins
in the hope of ridding their brains
from the horrors of the streets.

It was her task to get the money,
by begging
or fucking
or stealing.

He didn’t seem to notice
so long as he never wake long
enough to taste the reality the
rest of us crawled in.

And just sometimes, I found myself
wishing I had ten pounds for
that momentary escape.

Bio: Ashley Fisher was born in South Cumbria in 1976 and currently lives in East Yorkshire.

By Walter Conley

there’s evidence
the bathroom door
once was
broken down

a piece of wall
above the toilet
has marks
resembling an eye
a nose a

he looks
concerned the
cracked plaster man
i wonder if
he saw
what led to this

if he’s waiting
for it
to happen again
so he can make sense
of people filled with
not dust
who call anywhere
they can hide

Bio: Walter Conley’s work appeared most recently at Nefarious Muse, Mad Swirl, The Camel Saloon and Pulp Metal Magazine.  His blog, Back Again and Gone, is at http://baag2009.blogspot.com.

By all the wrong numbers
By Michael Ceraso

I’ve been painted by

all the wrong numbers

and my lousy reputation

grows like wily tufts and tusks

from out of the hide

of some newly feral sow.

All these friendships,

still fresh in their decay,

in their state of disrepair,

they are mine to heal.

When I hear Patsy Cline,

I fall to pieces,

and like a damned fool,

I think I need this.

Bio: Michael Ceraso was born in the Ivory Coast to an Italian father from Milano and an Irish American mother from Brooklyn.  Raised in Queens, he currently works at CUNY Queens College.  These poems were written between 2003 and 2009.  He is working on new material so that, as Billy Collins once observed about his own maturation as a poet, he can shed any ”late juvenilia” of style. His poetry has been published in Third Wednesday, The Refined Savage Poetry Review, and the Poetry Super Highway.  He has poetry forthcoming in the Spring 2011 edition of Utopia Parkway, a Queens College CUNY Literary Journal where he helps with editing part time.

I Must Fill Each Space

By Doctori Sadisco

I must fill each space
with my hunger
and make words
out of the dust
between us. Not
yet love, but
a smile, often
mistaken for love,
like a kitten’s face
looks upon a thread
high up on a curtain,
the smirk before the climb.


By Dean Carver

Do I really want to be here?
among the shuffle of orderlies
that pass and go in the stale
noonday traffic of these streets
driving their cars with such
blank expressions, no expressions
at all.  They live their lives
through airwaves, calling their
friends, their family, their coworkers,
piling down the service road with
one hand on the wheel and one hand
fused with their electronic gods
which spit and sputter demands and
easy words at them. Okay, thanks,
see you later, hey Jan how are you,
check your e-mail, check your inbox,
pay online, make a status update,
fill the voids in your blank stares
by ignoring the road signs,
swerve into the next lane, it’s okay,
your status update can’t wait til later

Bio: Dean Carver is an English undergraduate living in North Texas, and a living legend in his own mind (at least half the time).
You can explore the recesses of his foggy brain material at his blog, The Drawing Board, http://brekfastochumps.blogspot.com/.
The Young Parents
By Justin Hyde
arguing over money

while the little guy

in a plaid button up

sits in a high-chair

sluicing apple sauce

between his fingers.

we can’t keep

putting everything

on the cards,

she says.

we need

a plan.

it’ll all

even out,

he says.

little guy

throws a

french fry

on the floor

she shoves

a finger

in his face

scolding him

like a dog.

the father

starts whistling

an insouciant


little guy

is enthralled

smiling up at him

like god.

what’s that

teach him?

she hisses

slapping the father

across the face

cold and sharp

making my spine jump

three booths over.

he laughs

and keeps on


Published by peace is illegal

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

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